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Abandon Hope all ye who enter!

Posted on Wed May 10th, 2023 @ 10:18 by Claire Cavendish & Valjean Beaumont & Phoebe Hunter & Jonathan Monroe & Reagan D'Angelo & Cameron Johnston & Donald Johnson & Kaylee Ashton BSc & Otis Jackson & Rebecca McMillen & Sarah Bright & Adeline Pomeroy & William McAvoy & Jhanvi Dhar & Tom Albridge

Chapter: All Hallow's Eve
Location: Auditorium, Avalon Institute
Timeline: 2200 hours, Sunday October 31st, 1992
2965 words - 5.9 OF Standard Post Measure

The green overalls were perhaps a bit simplistic but Ellen Ripley was everything the head mistress wanted in a Halloween costume. Easy to put together, immediately recognisable for the in-crowd, even if she was purple, and an opportunity to talk about strong female leading characters to those who couldn't immediate place it. She'd really gone the extra mile to make the outfit accurate, with a name patch and her hair in curlers all day. The pacifist head teacher even broke her own rule of not romanticising weapons by lugging around a self-made prop of the flamethrower Ripley had carried in the movie. She was sure Cameron would appreciate what she had done with the supplies she had commandeered from the garage to do so.

The teachers and support staff had been milling around the room, to a soundtrack of all the best spooky tracks that their collection of CDs had to offer and Claire made her way back over to the Halloween themed snacks. Valjean had truly outdone himself with 'eyeballs', 'severed fingers', and 'pints of blood', but she couldn't find the prime version of him to give him the compliment. He wasn't much of a people person so he was probably still in the kitchen while sending out duplicates to do the mingling and passing of trays.

"It's so spooky I love it." came a familiar voice. Rebecca had come a long way from that chance meeting in the cellar months ago. Now it was hard to imagine the halls without her roaming around, cheerful smile on her face despite the hardships that society threw at them. At the castle. At their people.

For the past month, she had been wracking her brain coming up with a costume that didn't involve anything mousey, rodent, or otherwise cliche. In the end, she settled for something less spooky and more rooted in culture. A single green slip dress, shoes with little pom poms on the tip, and thin prop wings. Currently armed with a plate of cheese cubes carved in the shape of little headstones, the sprite in disguise moved about from gathering to gathering, making sure that folks were included, were having fun. Which eventually brought her to Claire. "Oh, I love it." she admired the costume, and then held up her plate. "I never really got to enjoy Halloween."

"That's a negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full," Jonathan quipped as he slid past Rebecca and scooped up a cheese cube before popping it quickly in his mouth. He tipped the large aviators down his nose and winked. His green flight suit was topped with his leather motorcycle jacket, recycled for the purpose of adding to the effect of the 'Maverick' costume. "What's not to love? Crazy costumes, good food. Hopefully some great company to pull it all together."

Out in the vast hall, Adeline Pomeroy peered in through a sliver of door partially opened to the auditorium where the others amassed, chatting and making easy greetings to one another. She was accomplished at neither, but determined to continue making the attempt no matter how calamitous the outcome may be. She had of course met in some capacity most of the faculty during her month at The Avalon Institute. She took meals in the same cafeteria, walked the same hallways and awkwardly lingered in the lounge at times, but to say she’d made every effort possible to put herself out there would have been a fallacy. No, she mostly kept to herself, near at hand, but never engaged. But tonight was Halloween - a night above all others when she should be in her element. Spooky was after all the course for the evening. If she could not make a becoming introduction on All Hallow's Eve….

"You can do this, Addy," she buoyed herself, taking a deep breath and committing to the plan she'd set about while getting ready for the evening. She smoothed down the white scapular she'd sewn herself, shook out her shoulders and joined the party. In true spooky fashion. The electric lights flickered then went out. The door creaked open slowly with the trite squeal of overdone literature and poorly oiled hinges. Lightning flashed from…the windows? Or was it the hallway? Silhouetted against the bolts of lightning was a woman's figure - a nun complete with habit and cowl and barefooted. She crept into the room rasping and wheezing dragging something behind her…

For someone that felt at ease in darkness, the type of suffocating darkness that just entered the room was a bit too much for even the purple skinned head mistress. A momentary shimmer into half invisibility showed her discomfort before she realised it was an overly dramatic entrance by the new math's teacher. Completely in line with the night's theme. After the momentary hesitance and possibly fear Claire revealed a radiant smile and applauded loudly to break the tension.

Otis waited in the hall outside where he also spotted the maths teacher doing the same. He knew why he was waiting outside but why was she? He would have asked her but he hadn't introduced himself yet and outside of the auditorium didn't feel quite like the right place, so he waited. He wanted the perfect entrance; the show-stopper! Well damn! He thought to himself, knowing he couldn't top hers, everything about it was perfect. Can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Otis slid into the room as the lights came back on and gave a knowing look to the DJ, who returned with a smile. The song changed to the sound of footsteps and a werewolf's distance howl. The beat thudded along as it slowly got louder until it reached a crescendo and the melody played loud over the speakers to a song that everyone would be familiar with: Thriller! Otis, in his red leather jacket, matching red trousers, and ouch-these-hurt contact lenses slid into the middle of the dancefloor and did what he did best, entertained the crowd.

DJ entered the room wearing blue jeans, a white tshirt, an electric guitar on his back, and a hat similar to Stevie Ray Vaughn's. He walked over to the refreshments and got a drink before finding a section of the wall tha needed a wallflower. He wasn't typically a dancer, but he enjoyed socializing.

A hurried pace stopped short when Reagan finally managed to push into the room through the doors. A little foot race with Cameron? Those two? Never. One fancy boot in front of the other, Reagan adjusted her white, form hugging costume and the glamorous blonde curls held back by a winged headband. She honestly didn't know much about She-Ra or her supposed brother, He-Man, but there was no way the pair wasn't going to coordinate costumes, and so here she was, fake sword and all. "So we're masters of the entire universe, you said? Why can't we afford full outfits then?"

"Speak for yourself, mine is packed."

It was pure coincidence that Cameron was, at that point, having major issues with his crotch-fuzz.

Knowing the man, his reference was more likely to apply to the ridiculous amount of fake padding that had come with what was otherwise barely a costume. He'd been talked out of adding fake chest hair by the very astute observation that it would make him look more like a caveman than a superhero, but nothing had convinced him that the muscle suit didn't add to the overall appeal despite technically sporting a better physique of his own beneath. Running, even at a fairly normal pace, had complicated the arrangement of the lower half of the costume, however, and so he entered with a stuffed Battlecat wedged under his arm, gripping both sides of his belt to wiggle and twist himself back into some semblance of recognition. It was only after he barrelled into the back of Reagan that Cameron realised the lingering hesitancy in the room. Glancing up, he noticed at least half of the room was staring in the direction of the entrance, or perhaps more to the point, trying not to stare at someone whose costume, admittedly, outshone his by several degrees.

Otis' wasn't bad either. It was more than could be said for his dance moves.

"Get the feeling we're just in time to save the day?," he leaned forward to murmur in Reagan's ear.

"The Universe, Dash. Go big or go home, right?" Reagan gives him an eyebrow waggle before she suddenly gets excited and starts shuffling toward the tables on the side. "Oh, food and punch!"

Making her way down to the Auditorium, Kaylee was running a little late because she wanted to make some finishing touches to her costume. She was dressed in a white wedding gown complete with veil and slippers with the finishing touch being a spray of red dye down the front of her dress. As she got close to the doors leading to the auditorium, an idea came to her to help make her entrance to this horror themed party more fitting. Taking a few deep breaths in and out, Kaylee used her ice powers to create a low mist that she had flow into the room before her. Quickly pulling the vail over her face, Kaylee put on a sorrowful look before slowly walking in.

Phoebe was running late which was ironic for someone with precognitive abilities to say the least. She had decided that her long white dress, hair in an ornate style and bangles up her arms were enough to conjure up the looks of Greek goddess or muse easily enough. “What did I … we miss?” She wondered to Otis stepping in to the room, looping arms with Kaylee who had been late alongside into full on party mode.

"I've not long arrived myself," Otis replied as he eyed the two women and their costumes. "So really the party has only just started," he added with a cheesy grin. "You both look fantastic by the way and this mist has really added to the aesthetics."

"Hasn't it just," Pheobe responded before moving through the crowd to find a drink. She had to remember that she needed to take a photo.

William had been watching the last few entrances without reactions confused and intrigued all at the same time. “Tell me again what the point of the outfit is?” He wondered to the small group that were milling by the food. The caretaker was starving having told to wait until the evening so he could enjoy different foods.

"Oh wow, these are all fantastic." Rebecca commented, glancing around from Maverick to He-Man to an Ice Princess, and further. "Next year I have to go all out. Hard finding a costume that works with me that isn't just mouse pajamas or something." she offered, before turning to William.

"Well, okay so I've heard a ton of stories about the how and why. My favorite is that on All Hallow's Eve, monsters get to roam the land for a day. So everyone dresses up as monsters to confuse them and make them think they're already here, so they move on to the next place until the dawn, and they have to all go back. I know that's not THE story, but I heard it once or twice and I like it."

"Oh, interesting, I heard it was that the costumes allowed the monsters to mingle without scaring the normal people. Make them feel welcome." There wasn't really a purple person from pop-culture or folklore to fashion herself after otherwise it might've also had the same effect for Claire and others like her with more overt mutations.

"Though, seriously, excellent costumes all of you." the mouse-turned-fairy complimented to the others.

Sarah joined Claire at the table full of gory-themed snacks. She picked up two of the eyeball cakes and briefly inspected them, as if to ensure that they were in fact cakes, and not real eyeballs. She'd watched the procession of fashionably late arrivals with both growing awe and amusement as they all seemed to try to outdo one another with spectacle. As Sarah had volunteered to help set up the party, she'd been one of the first to arrive... no spectacular entrance for her. Like the headmistress, Sarah's costume was highly iconic, to the point of being unmistakable---she was Indiana Jones--albeit in gender-bent form, though the only real difference was her long hair, spilling down from her brown Fedora. The vintage second-hand clothing store in New Cresthill had had everything she needed, and the only detail that kept it from being a God-tier cosplay was her whip, was actually a coiled length of braided rope dyed brown.

As an eerie vibe crept into the room, complete with mist, Sarah fought the strong urge to bust into her own dorky rendition of the Thriller dance. No one wanted to see that, and someone probably had a camcorder set up that would unfortunately film it and commit her to eternal shame. She turned to the headmistress, pointing the eyeball cakes her way. "If I were a teacher, and this was my class, you'd have an office full of tardy pupils right now." She gestured with the googly-eyed cakes to drive home the astoundingly bad pun before popping one of them into her mouth, savoring the snack with a pleased murmur.

Claire smiled a bit, "The important part is they're all here now and they clearly took the effort to come in fancy dress." From the horror nun to the Airforce pilot, from a Disney fairy to the Masters of the Universe. It was an amazing collection of people they had gathered, something that was a source of true happiness for the head mistress.

"Like we had a choice," Phoebe said in passing grinning at the woman. They had not been friends for long but it felt like longer for Phoebe, moving there was the best choice she had made even though it had been out of her control really.

Though it all, Rebecca listened to the alternate explanation. One that, rather than depending on deception and trickery, focused on inclusion. Equality. Acceptance. Don't trick the monsters into leaving, but invite them to stay a while. And if everyone's a monster, then no one is.

"I think I like your explanation a lot better." the mousey blonde confided.

The creepy nun joined them and stared awkwardly at a snack plate. "I have no wish to diminish the magic of the holiday for any of you, or cause undue alarm, but as the resident expert on fear inducing monsters, I can assure you that their prevalence upon this earth is not dependent upon the night of the year, nor any particular point on the calendar. It is true, however, that there are factors which weaken the veil between our worlds, and that is never a good thing.”

Claire, ever the rationalist, never really put much credence in talk of 'other worlds' and 'monsters'. Just as research into fairies and witches had revealed there was a very small fraction of the population manifesting mutant powers as far back as ancient Egypt, she was sure there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for any super-natural sightings. "Whatever or whomever it may be, as I said before, Avalon welcomes everyone with open arms. Now. Go. Mingle!" She called out to everyone around her and popped an eyeball cake into her mouth before shuffling her way over to the dance floor as Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party started.

With his mouth predictably half-full of eyeballs, Cameron attempted a few syllables that immediately became a muffled avalanche of biscuit crumbs and then, renegotiating his mouthful first, tried again to call out to Claire. "Someone owes me a dance!" Leaning sideways towards Reagan, he added in hushed tones, "Is the fuzz still covering my butt? I'd kind of prefer not to head into the middle of a dancefloor with displaced furry bits."

"Fear not, He Man, She-Ra will cover your butt!" Reagan announces proudly to the room, before popping in a biscuit of her own and leaning down to check out his fancy, fuzzy skirt. Barbarians, right? Popping back up, she gave him a thumbs up. "No wedgie risk detected, have at her, hero."

Sarah had been mulling over Adeline's words about the veil between worlds with a measure of concern. She honestly couldn't tell if the other woman was joking or not. A month ago she would have dismissed such talk outright, but now? The librarian was no longer so sure. She'd seen many things at Avalon that couldn't be explained. She couldn't even explain the things she could do. Then she caught a closer look at Cameron's costume, and couldn't explain that either. The furry loincloth was a bold choice, for sure. Far too bold for her. Reagan looked very nice in her She-Ra costume, and Sarah did her best not to stare.

The librarian did her best to not do a lot of things, actually. Claire had given them commands to mingle, but Sarah wasn't very good at that. Especially not when there was music involved. And women in interesting costumes. She wouldn't have minded asking any of them to dance, and that was precisely why she resisted the urge to. She didn't mind dancing with men or women, but she worried about the few that might see a dance as being more than what it was. Plus though her colleagues might not think twice about what she did tonight, tomorrow might be a different story. Sadly, if anyone wanted to see the librarian loosen up and have fun, they were probably going to have to twist her arm.


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