You wake up in a room that is definitely not yours. The first thing you notice is the throbbing pain on the back of your head, radiating in waves beneath your eyes. The second thing you notice, particularly about this strange room, is its almost blinding darkness, illuminated only by the light from the hallway streaming in from the slightly open door. You are careful to sit up despite the panic bubbling in your stomach as any sudden movement could only make your headache worse.
You observe that the room is incredibly... ordinary as if it hasn’t been used in years. No personal belongings are found on the bedside tables, tacked on the walls, or strewn about the floor. It’s just you and some boring furniture. Nothing about this place rings a bell. But why does it feel as if you’ve seen this place before?
You try to remember what happened before the blackout. You were with two of your friends, walking around the neighborhood on Halloween night amid the throng of costumed children and accompanying parents. Your little ragtag group had decided to stop wheedling neighbors of ten-cent candies and to get straight into the “trick” part of the holiday. That was where all the fun was, after all. A few pranks on some unsuspecting houses later, however, all of you wanted a challenge and went for the solitary house on the end of the street, the one with the round window on the top floor.
Much like the round window in the room you are in right now.
Shocked, you ignore the ache in your head and start to get off the bed, only to fall over as a searing pain rips through one of your ankles. You look down.
A small box with a blinking red light is attached to your lower leg. It isn’t strapped there, however. You have the sinking feeling that it has been hooked into your flesh. To confirm your suspicions, the skin around the strange device appears reddish and is covered in dried blood.
Part of you wants to bolt out of there and run, but you are stopped by two realizations. First, you wouldn’t get very far with this thing on you. Second, you dread that your friends are trapped in this house too.
With slow agonizing steps, you begin to limp out of the room and walk down the dimly illuminated hallway.
Like the room, the hallway has a clean look that is unnerving. Nothing in this house looks like it has been lived in, unless the person who lives here makes sure it stays that way. Could it be that this person took you and your friends a convenient distance from the usual trick-or-treat crowd?
The hallway is devoid of any doors and dips neatly into an ordinary staircase that leads you to the living room.
You gulp as you take in this peculiar layout. The space is illuminated only by candlelight, some from inside jack-o’-lanterns. You recognize some fake cobwebs on the walls, complete with plastic spiders, as well as comical-looking skeletons sitting on the plush sofas. A giant banner sporting the words Happy Halloween frames the eerie spectacle.
Now you aren’t the smartest kid in middle school, but you know these decorations are meant to be put outside rather than inside. Something about the display tells you that the decorations are meant exclusively for the people inside the house. So far, that only means you. Did your friends see this as well?
You limp toward the front door. Unsurprisingly, it’s locked. This sets something off inside you, making you realize that you are indeed trapped here with no way out.
In a newfound frenzy, you try every other door on the first floor, finding every one of them locked, save for a door leading to the basement. You knew this was coming.
You hold your breath and take that dark descent. Unlike the first room, the place is pitch-black. At the bottom of the stairs is the light switch. With a shaky finger, you flick it on and immediately regret doing so.
At the end of this room are your friends, moaning in terror while being held in horrifying positions. On the right, one of your friends is tied to a chair with his head strapped back uncomfortably. His mouth is held open by forceps as a bubbling pot of melted sugar swings precariously above him. On the left, your other friend is tied down to another chair only a little more comfortably—save for the barrel of a revolver in his mouth. The sides of his mouth are stapled shut, ensuring that the barrel stays there. A mechanism overhead turns the gun’s six-bullet chamber, which sports only one bullet.
At the sight of you, your friends squirm in place and make distressed sounds, their teary eyes pleading, the fronts of their pants soaked in urine.
It feels like a choked scream is trying to claw its way out of your throat, but you are too stunned by the gruesome sight of your friends to react. Hyperventilating, you observe further that a floor-to-ceiling glass pane separates you from them. In the middle stands a strange black pedestal with a control panel sporting only two buttons and a blinking red light, just like the red light blinking relentlessly on the box attached to your ankle.
You know what those buttons mean and that if you want to get out of there alive, only one thing has to happen.
You start to cry at the unfairness of it all because it doesn’t feel like a real choice. But in the first place, you never really gave any of your prank victims a choice, did you?
So pick one. Because I’m watching.
Trick or treat?
Disclaimer: Images are not ours. Credit to the owner.