Its All Hallows Eve, biznotches! I’m in Gilroy, home to massive fields of garlic farms, about to enter what’s advertised as the “scariest haunted house in all of reality.” (Appropriately enough, it’s called Crazy Pants House).
Despite the tongue-in-cheek name and ominous tag line, it doesn’t look all that scary—at least not from the outside, anyway; it’s just a big ol’ red barn. I walk up to the entrance, a little disappointed, and pay for a ticket.
Here we go. I’m treated to the standard booga-booga: people in costumes, unbladed chainsaws motoring away, fake spiders and snakes and bats…then I see two doors directly to my front. The door to the left reads: REGULAR SCARY STUFF. The door to the right reads: NEXT LEVEL PEE-YOUR-PANTS STUFF.
For the last five years, I’ve served as Martha Stewart’s personal harlot and cried myself to sleep nine nights out of ten. You think some door labeled NEXT LEVEL PEE-YOUR-PANTS STUFF is gonna intimidate me?
I open the door and walk in.
Wait a second…something doesn’t feel right. Everything’s dark…you know when you can’t see, and your body assembles assorted stimuli into an overall impression? That’s what’s happening—I can tell that I’m in an expansive space, and that everything’s bigger.
Way bigger than the inside of this barn should be.
To my front, two rows of light sputter to life, illuminating an ancient-looking stone path. Are those road flares? If so, they look way more…lightning-ey than any I’ve seen. And this path…not only does it look like it’s made out of real stone, but it also seems well over a mile long. Did they use mirrors or something to make it look this long? I can’t—
HO-ACHI MAMA! Some dude who looks like a naked, herpes-ridden Gary Busey jumps out at me, gibbering and pawing at my shoulders. I instinctively punch him in the throat, but before my fist can meet flesh, he disappears in a puff of smoke.
What the hell?
I keep walking, my heartbeat sounding audibly loud in my ears. Suddenly, I hear giggling girls.
I scream “DARK KNIGHT SAVE US!” as a horde of Beliebers rushes toward me. Dozens of them, all riding letterman-jacketed boyfriends who are snarling and babbling like tween-emo Gollums. I curl up in a standing fetal position.
As they close the distance, they turn into smoke and run right through me, jolting my flesh with flashes of cold. I yelp and whimper as each one makes contact. After the last one disappears, their hideous laughter trails through the air.
Okay, this is too goddamn much!
“LEMME OUT!” I yell, circling in place and looking blindly up into darkness. “LEMME THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!!”
Suddenly, the stone path disappears and my surroundings become clearer. Whew! These guys sure know how to make a haunted house! I can’t wait to get the hell out of—
But wait—I’m not looking at the inside of a barn; I’m looking at a vast expanse of darkened office. Everything is cracked and decrepit; this could easily be Dilbert’s workspace…after a zombie apocalypse, that is. The paneled ceiling is dotted with flickering banks of neon lights.
I spin jerkily, trying to locate the source of the voice, my eyes as wide as dinner plates. “WHO’S THERE? WHO THE FUCK IS THAT??”
“Oh ho. Ah ha. Eh hee. Hee hee. Hoo.”
I ball my hands into tight, quivering fists. “FUCKING SHOW YOURSELF!”
Dozens of people step into view. They emerge from everywhere—from behind cabinets, from around cubicle walls, from the door of the breakroom…I swivel from side to side, my mouth parting in astonishment as an army of soul-deadened sadists creeps towards me.
Not just any sadists. Accountants.
One of them slants his head at a demonic angle, and gives me a helter-skelter smile. “Come and join us, Kent! Let us relieve you of all that testosterone and creativity! Come frolic with us at dismal happy hours, and agonizingly boring powerpoint meetings!”
And then they rush me.
Guttural howls emerge from my lips as their pasty, vitamin D-deprived hands touch my flesh. I feel my ginormous cock receding from its typical, head-touches-kneecap length into an approximation of a baby acorn. My hair thins and recedes in a quick flash, withering and vanishing like a burning leaf. My hard-earned muscle softens and plumps, quickly assuming dad-bod status.
Only one option left. I reach into my pocket and open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers.
Bitefighter—my loyal buddy and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire—crashes through the ceiling. He hunches over and begins morphing into a 7-foot tall velociraptor, one with X-wing s-foils sprouting from its sides.
He beings tearing into accountants, flinging their insipid, pencil-pushing bodies away from me with vicious twists of his reptilian jaws. He nuzzles me to my feet and guides me onto his back, and we vanish through a mandala-coated portal into another dimension.
An instant later, we’re flying high above what I will later come to know as the Enchanted Booty Forest. Bitefighter’s Star Wars wings emit a steady hum as we cruise above a fantasy wonderland. He turns his head and squawks at me:
“Rawk. Awk. McCaw.” (Translation: this is a holy land, Friend Kent. I know of several wizards who will be able to lift the curse on your body and restore you to your Man Whore glory.)
I breathe a sigh of relief.
Thank Odin for the Enchanted Booty Forest!
Have you been accosted by hell-realm yuppies who want to induct you into their Astaroth-worshipping ranks? Never fear! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book