Today was a day to take it easy—which would usually be done by kicking her feet up at the movies. Unfortunately, with the “merge” there was no more theater, only a drive-in. Fun, probably, but Wren didn’t have a car and sitting outside in the cold to enjoy old movies just wasn’t her thing. Not today at least. For Heaven’s Cake was another viable option, but she was a little hungry—and not for cake. So Misery Manor it was.

Wren had gotten to know some of the people there. It was nice to meet people like her and she even considered a job at one point, but as many eloquently put it, “you don’t shit where you eat”. So, Wren came by every now and then for a lazy meal. Similar to how she once did at the theater months ago.

Thankfully, Misery Manor was open year round.

A late night on a weekend was when it was particularly full, which was better for Wren. This particular day had a decent crowd, but Wren also had enough space to fully enjoy the haunt (more so the people getting scared). They got her sometimes, the jump scares, which gave her a good laugh, mostly because it was hard to do in the first place. So, an employee tried really hard to get her off guard. It was a bit difficult to in the first place considering she was a bugbear who saw through illusions so it was props and people dressed up that would get to her.

Wren found herself distracted by a section in the haunted house, the fog and blinking lights weren’t helping her navigate. She could hear disembodied sounds, but wasn’t troubled by them. While having been in this section before, she still found them disorienting, but believed she’d find her way soon enough. She put her hands out, not wanting to bump into a prop. She knew a jump scare wasn’t too far from here..

Right as she thought so, she felt someone bump into her side and then turned to see a ghoulish figure come out of the fog.

Go to Misery Manor they said. It’ll
be fun they said.

haunted house had somewhat of a reputation among the students of Ashkent Creek
High. Open all year, it was one of the “fun” activities to go to with a group
of friends, one where you tried your best to appear like none of the jump scares
were affecting you in any way. Misery Manor was harmless, right? And you were a
baby if you were too scared to go in, right? Rumour had it that two years ago
Simon Belkin had literally wet his pants from a scare – he had claimed it had
been a devil with red eyes that had suddenly fallen from the ceiling, but his
friend who had been with him had insisted it was a spider. It was very strange.
According to another rumour, Bill Jefferson had snuck into the Desperation tour
with a fake ID and still refused to talk about what had happened. However, his
friends would tell everyone who would listen that at night, sometimes he would
scream so loudly he was waking up the neighbours.

wasn’t here with a group of friends. No. Apart from the fact he literally had
no group of friends to hang out with after school, this wasn’t really for fun.
This was just because of this stupid bet that he’d lost against his sister, and
now he had to go through the Insomnia tour all alone. Or rather, in a group
full of strangers. There was no way he could have gotten out of it. Over the
years, Lea had acquired far too much blackmail material for him to get out of

his jaw, Dustin walked along the corridors, trying not to jump at every sudden
movement. None of this was real, none of the monster really existed, no one had
died in here. Or so he thought. Actually, he wasn’t too sure about that. He
couldn’t help but grasp at his inhaler inside the pocket of his jacket with his
right hand. His throat felt a little tighter with every step, but why would he
get an asthma attack here? He wasn’t doing any exercise, it was ridiculous.
Maybe it was the thick fog all around him? Where was he, anyway? He suddenly
couldn’t make out anything but lights blinking somewhere in the fog. He could
barely see his own feet, which was what he blamed for suddenly bumping into
someone. He wanted to apologise, but then-

woman’s head darted forward through the fog, almost close enough to touch him.
Her mouth was open wide, baring sharp teeth, her eyes black and furious. Claws
reached out from her feathered body. Her body, which was only half-attached to
head. Her neck was almost completely severed, blood seeping out from the wound.
Dustin jumped back, only now noticing that apparently, he had let out a scream
at the sudden movement.


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