The Curse Of The Moongician (And Other Tales To Tell 'Round Midnight) presents...
The Slightly Haunted Mansion Party
(Across The Street From The Significantly More Haunted Mansion Party)The invitations were sent out by The Mysterious Host three years before the date of the party. He wanted to ensure everyone would attend, for this was no ordinary party. It was a dinner party, and those (he felt) were more important than ordinary parties. One week after the invitations were sent out, The Mysterious Host received his first RSVP. âNo way,â it said. The Mysterious Host infuriated himself (meaning that he was infuriated). âNo?!?â he shouted to the ceiling. âFuck youâ¦â he turned the RSVP over. âFuck you, Rilph Mangoomery! You will be attending this dinner party!â The Mysterious Host walked over to the fireplace that was somehow in the center of the room. A strange beaked sculpture sat atop the mantle. The beak had eyes and The Mysterious Host stared at them for a good four minutes, deep in concentration and infuriation. Very suddenly, a tuxedoed man with no beak to speak of entered the great hall. âWhat is it, Toddy?â whispered The Mysterious Host. Toddy (the butler) lowered his head and spoke softly, âThe kindly basement ghosts told me the first RSVP has arrived.â âThat it has, Toddy. That it has.â âAndâ¦?â âIt is no matter, Toddy,â answered The Mysterious Host. âEveryone will attend. The Beaked Sculpture will make sure of that.â âOf course,â said Toddy oh so humbly. âWill the Master need anything else before bed?â âNothing out of the ordinary, Toddy.â âSo just the hug, then?â âYes, Toddy. Just the hug.â Toddy (the butler) hobbled over to The Mysterious Host and gave him a great big hug. He whistled horribly as he walked out of the room, leaving The Mysterious Host alone. âMake sure the kindly basement ghosts donât stay up too late,â said The Mysterious Host. âThey have school tomorrow.â âOf course, sir,â Toddy whispered as he closed the door behind him. ***************************************************** Three years later, after four more negative RSVPâs and four more assurances from the Beaked Sculpture that everyone would attend, it was time for the dinner party. The mansion was alive with activity even though most everyone in the mansion was very much dead. The preparations were 3 years in the making and The Mysterious Host was elated with the results, though he was currently hiding in the dungeonâs closet until the designated time. The food was delicious, the place was spotless, and the terror was being kept to a minimum. âBING-BONG-BOO!â shrieked the doorbell, and Toddy (the butler) hobbled to the gate. He opened the door, glanced out, and turned back around. âThe Duke and Duchess of Jersey!â Toddy announced, as a marvelously-wigged couple entered the mansion. They glanced around the great hall in awe. They would have gawked, but neither of them could open their jaws ever since a few days after they RSVPâd that they would not be attending the party. âAnd yet here you are,â thought the nearby Beaked Sculpture. Both the Duke and Duchess avoided its gaze but could still feel its eyes penetrating their decadence. âBING-BONG-BOO!â shrieked the doorbell. âGeneral Bonard Ancients!â announced Toddy, as a gruff old man in a tan uniform entered. His medals were so plentiful that many of them had to stay home, but his favorites were still adorning his uniform. âMost Burdens Carried.â âBest R & B Album of 2006.â âBravest Handshake.â The Generalâs gun could also be seen holstered on his right side. âYouâre going to have to do better than that,â thought the Beaked Sculpture. Bonard coughed into his hand, which (after the cough) had a spot of blood on it. Yes, General Ancients had been coughing up blood ever since several days after he RSVPâd that he could not attend the party. âBING-BONG-BOO!â shrieked the doorbell. Toddy opened the front gate once more and announced, âPlease welcome Lady Hello Iâm Beth!â Lady Hello Iâm Beth entered quaintly and quietly. She walked with grace and frailty, and her pale white skin was reminiscent of any porcelain doll you might want to consider at the moment. She glanced at General Ancientsâ blood-splattered palm and felt a pang of envy. âYes,â thought the Beaked Sculpture. âYou miss your blood, donât you?â Lady Hello Iâm Beth did, in fact, miss her blood greatly, but she was definitely not going to answer the Beaked Sculpture. This was partly because the Beaked Sculpture was thinking and not speaking, but more importantly she was terrified of it. âBING-BONG-BOO!â shrieked the doorbell. âMy goodness, what a startling doorbell,â said a startled Lady Hello Iâm Beth. âDonât worry, madam,â consoled General Ancients. âThere is nothing to be too worried about. The truly terrifying mansion is across the street.â The Duke and Duchess of Jersey gave their muffled agreement. The final two guests arrived at the same time. Dr. Marney Eloquence was one of them. He was a basketball-maker turned avalanche expert. The other was Rilph Mangoomery, the famous Congressman and dancer. Each had seven black eyes. Mangoomery also sported a nasty limp. In the interest of keeping things moving, letâs just say the Beaked Sculpture taunted both of them and then it was time for dinner. *********************************************************** The mansionâs overly polite staff served dinner promptly and accurately. They were clearly specters of some kind, but they were extremely helpful and mostly kept to themselves. Mostly. Dinner was a kind of meat and a kind of vegetable and that was that. The Mysterious Hostâs empty chair at the head of the table was so noticeable, his absence was practically all they discussed. One thing they for sure didnât want to discuss was the Beaked Sculpture that was perched on the back of The Mysterious Hostâs empty chair. âDoes anyone even know who owns this mansion?â asked the General. âReason and logic would dictate whoever it is should be sitting in that chair,â deduced Dr. Eloquence. âYou see, when I was in the Andes studying avalanchesâ effect on marmalade, I found thatââ âListen, Egghead,â interrupted the General. âYour scientific babble will do you no good here. You must know how haunted this mansion is.â âOnly slightly, it would seem,â observed the Doctor. âYou see, when I was in my lab, conducting experiments to determine whether or not avalanches could survive a nicotine overdose, I found that-â âAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!â came a spine-shattering scream from somewhere outside the mansion. âOh, good heavens!â exclaimed Lady Hello Iâm Beth. âYou still neednât worry, madam,â General Ancients calmly told her. âThat definitely came from across the street. I can only imagine what
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