The house stands at the top of the hill like a tall, creepy coffin, the kind you see in scary old movies. The kind that always has a skeleton or something inside, just waiting for someone to open the lid so it can scare the pants off of them. In the glow of the full moon, it looks //even more creepy//.
"This is definitely the place," says your best worst friend Astrid. "Look at the crystal ball. It's telling me: There are ghosts in there for sure."
[["I don't see anything in there."->Astrid-Ball]]
[["Do you really trust the antique store owner who sold us that thing?"->Astrid-Owner]]"You're just not naturally in tune with the spirit world," says Astrid. "Like I am."
You make a face.
(display:"Astrid-2")"I'm sure there was a perfectly normal reason he was laughing maniacally while he sold it to us. Probably he was remembering something really funny he saw on the internet."
You're not convinced that spooky old antiques store even had a working telephone line, much less WiFi.
(display:"Astrid-2")"Just go in there and find us some evidence of the supernatural," Astrid orders. "Real, solid physical evidence of ghosts. We'll be famous."
[["Aren't you coming with me?"|Astrid-Protest]]"That's the //spirit!//" says Astrid. She begins laughing hysterically at her own joke. Oh brother. "I'll be watching everything you do on the crystal ball. Don't hestitate to come and ask if you need some advice on what to do next."
(display:"Path")"Someone's got to direct the mission from afar! I'll be watching everything you do in the crystal ball. Don't hesitate to come ask me if you need any advice on what to do next."
(display:"Path")A creepy dirt path winds from your feet up and up the hill towards the old [[MANSION->Doorstep]].
"Good luck!" says Astrid. "Knock 'em //dead!// Hahaha!"(if: $door_locked is false)[(display:"Doorstep-Unlocked")](else:)[(display:"Doorstep-Locked")]//CREEEEEEEEEEEEK.//
You are standing on the creakiest FRONT STOOP you have ever stood on, in front of the creepiest old house you have ever visited. In front of you is one of the shut-est [[doors->Locked-Door]] you have ever seen. Beneath it is a [[welcome mat->Welcome]], but you don't feel very welcome.
A creepy trail leads back down the hill toward [[Astrid]].//CREEEEEEEEEEEEK.//
Every single motion you make on this old FRONT STOOP makes the whole thing creak. Even scratching your head makes it whine.
The door is open, leading into the [[FOYER->Foyer]] of the spooky old mansion.
A creepy trail leads back down the hill toward [[Astrid]].The doorknob has this creepy face carved into it. It looks like the face of someone who's about to sneeze. You hesitantly put your hand on the knob and turn.
The door is **locked**.(set: $advice to 1)
(if: $found_key is true)[Do you want to [[try the key in the lock->Use-Key]]?
][[Back|Doorstep]]Wait a second! This mat has "UNWELCOME" written on it, not "WELCOME"! Well, that explains it.
(if: $found_key is false)[There's a weird lump in the middle of the mat, under the L. You cautiously lift the mat - and find a **key**! The key is shaped sort of like a skeleton. Weird.(set: $found_key to true)](else:)[There's nothing else under the mat.]
[[Back->Doorstep]]Astrid has spread out a blanket at the foot of the hill and is sitting crosslegged in front of the crystal ball. She looks up as you come down the path.
"Do you need some of my [[sage wisdom->Astrid-Advice]]?" she asks. "I am an expert on all things supernatural."
Or you could turn around and follow the path back to the [[MANSION->Doorstep]].(if: $ghosts_visible is true and $ghost_lecture is false)["Yess! I knew the mansion was haunted!" Astrid pumps her fist in the air. "But if we're going to prove it, we need physical evidence. Ghosts can't leave the places they haunt. You're just going to have to find some sort of...ghost residue."(set: $ghost_lecture to true)](else:)[(if: $advice is 0)["Oh, go on, it's not //that// scary. Just try the door."](if: $advice is 1)["Door's locked, huh? Sometimes people leave a spare key under their doormats. They used to, anyway. It's a pretty old house."](if: $advice is 2)["Try looking around the mansion! There's //got// to be something ghostly in there!"](if: $advice is 3)["Wait, you found a cool glowing switch and you //didn't try switching it on?// What's the worst that could happen?"](if: $advice is 4)["Did you try looking around the attic? Attics in creepy old houses are //always// haunted."](if: $advice is 5)["Burgers, huh? If I was an old mansion, what part of me would a burger be in?"](if: $advice is 6)["There's got to be some way to pick up that burger. Did you try using a plate?"](if: $advice is 7)["What's that you've got there? An empty plate?"
Astrid's right! The burger on your plate has faded from sight! I guess like most spirits, it's bound to its final resting place: the mansion.
"Get back up there and find me some ghost residue!" says Astrid.]]
She looks back down at the crystal ball. I guess you'd better head back to the [[MANSION->Doorstep]].(if: $flashlight_on is false)[It's pitch dark in here! You almost make up your mind to quit and leave this scary house behind forever - when you remember the flashlight in your pocket. Oh yeah.
You turn it on.(set: $flashlight_on to true)
]You are in a creepy cobwebbed FOYER. A huge doorway leads left to a [[DINING ROOM->Dining-Room]], while a much smaller one leads right to what looks like a [[LIBRARY->Library]].
Moonlight streaks through the open door, leading back outside to the [[FRONT STOOP->Doorstep]].You put the weird skeleton key in the lock and turn. It clicks! The door is **unlocked**!
You give the knob a turn. This time, the door opens with a long, loud //groooooaaan//. Well, if anyone lives here, they probably know you're coming.(set: $door_locked to false)(set: $advice to 2)
[[Back->Doorstep]]This is the fanciest DINING ROOM you've ever seen! Or it probably was, a long time ago. Now the long dining table is covered in an inch-thick layer of soot, and the fancy silver platter sitting on the table is turning green.
(if: $ghosts_visible)[(print: (either:"Out of the corner of your eye you think you see a roast turkey on the platter, but when you look at the platter it's empty.","You think you hear a voice ask someone to pass the peas, but there's no one there.","You hear a voice from the past: //`''I challenge you to a staring contest!''`// Then, silence.","You think you hear the tinkling of glasses and the sloshing of fancy drinks, but the room is empty.","For a second it looks like the chandelier overhead is lit, but on second glance it's covered in cobwebs."))
]In the back of the room is a small door leading to a [[KITCHEN->Kitchen]]. An opening to the right returns to the [[FOYER->Foyer]]. You're standing in what appears to be a small LIBRARY. The bookshelves are filled with old, old, yellowed [[books->Read-Book]].
A door in the back of the room leads to some kind of [[PARLOR->Parlor]], while a door to the left leads back to the [[FOYER->Foyer]].
(if: $ghosts_visible is false)[It seems like there's a trapdoor in the ceiling, too! But it's way too high to reach.](else:)[A glowing blue (text-style: "blur")[stepladder] is standing in the middle of the library. It leads up to the [[TRAPDOOR->Climb-Ladder]] in the ceiling.]You pull a book off the shelf at random. The cover says:
*(print: (either:"Rotwither's Potions for Beginners","Dead but Not Silent: Know Your Rights","Beyond Lydia Deetz: Can the Living and the Dead Coexist?","1001 New Uses for Ectoplasm","No More White Sheets: Fashion for the Post-Living","This Really Old House: Secret Passages for Cheap","A Spectre Haunting Europe: A Travel Guide for Spirits","Nightfallow's Abridged Magical Grimoire","Haunted: Learning to Let Go of Your Past","On Poltergeisting","Fudgewallow's Cookbook for the Incorporeal"))*
You put it back on the shelf.
[[Back->Library]]This must have been a really cozy PARLOR back in the day. Now it's covered in dust and shadows. (if: $ghosts_visible is false)[Near a fireplace that probably hasn't been lit in a hundred years is an old [[rocking chair->Rocker]].](else:)[An old (text-style: "blur")[gentleman], partially transparent, is sitting in a rocking chair near a cold fireplace, reading a newspaper and muttering to [[himself->Archibald]].]
In the back of the room is a [[china cabinet->China]] that still manages to look impressive despite its age.
A little door in the back seems to lead to a [[MAINTENANCE ROOM->Maintenance]] of some kind, while another door leads to the [[LIBRARY->Library]].The thought of food coming out of this KITCHEN makes your stomach turn! Everything here is, to put it gently, a little slimy. It smells kind of weird in here too.
A retro-looking [[fridge->Fridge]] stands in the corner. Magnets on the fridge have been ominously arranged to spell out "APPLE JUICE."
Food would have been prepared here and then served in the nearby [[DINING ROOM->Dining-Room]].You're in some sort cold, dark MAINTENANCE ROOM. The walls are lined with empty, broken shelves that probably once held gardening supplies. There's an old metal boiler whose pipes seem permanently frozen.
(if: $ghosts_visible is false)[The only thing that seems like it might still work is a [[glowing light-switch->Ghost-Switch]] on the far wall.](else:)[Ghostly (text-style: "blur")[candles] are floating around the room. Instead of giving off warmth, though, they just seem to make it colder. Your hand passes right through them.]
You can retreat through a small doorway to the [[PARLOR->Parlor]].The rocking chair seems to be rocking slowly back and forth. That's probably just the wind or something, right?
[[Back->Parlor]](if: $got_china is true)[One of the plates is missing from the china cabinet. That's because you took it.](else:)[You have to wipe the dust off of the glass to see what's in the cabinet: A set of fine glass plates. They shine like little moons. Someone probably paid a lot of money for them, very long ago.(if: $ghosts_visible is true)[
"Ghost china," says (if: $archibald_intro is true)[Archibald](else:)[the ghost in the rocking chair]. "Not the place, I mean. The type of ceramic. Those plates are made from a special material that can hold incoporeal food. An absolute must for any ghost."
Maybe you can [[ask if you can take one->Take-China]]?]]
[[Back->Parlor]]It looks like one of those light-switches that lights up when it's dark, so you can find it? Except the glow is an eerie blue-green color.
Do you want to [[flip it on->Flip-Switch]]?(set: $advice to 3)
You flip the switch and immediately the room lights up! But it's not electric light - spooky green (text-style: "blur")[candles] are floating around the room! Jeepers!
You hear a faint mumbling coming from somewhere nearby. Could there be other apparitions in the mansion? Did you just - turn on all the ghosts?(set: $ghosts_visible to true)(set: $advice to 4)
[[Back->Maintenance]](if: $climbed_ladder is true)[(display: "Attic-Right")](else:)[Can ladders be ghosts? Maybe this one burned up in a fire. It seems like it'll hold your weight. You climb it in a hurry in case it decides to suddenly become insubstantial again.
The trapdoor leads to a spooky [[ATTIC->Attic-Right]].(set:$climbed_ladder to true)](if: $cleared_cobwebs is false)[This creepy old ATTIC is covered in //cobwebs//! They're as thick as blankets! Maybe you could clear some of them away.
There's a pile of old boxes in one corner of the room. One of them is almost bigger than you. [There's a label on the box, but it's covered in cobwebs.]<box|(click-replace: ?box)[Aha! The label on the box reads //Spider Nuggets.// Gross.]
Next to the boxes is a creepy steamer trunk. It looks like something a vampire would take a nap in. [It's open, but you can't see what's inside because of all the cobwebs.]<trunk|(click-replace: ?trunk)[Underneath all the cobwebs, you find a plunger wrapped in bandages. You can't imagine a mummified plunger being all that useful.]
[Then there's a giant spiderweb in the corner.]<passage|(click-replace: ?passage)[You try not to think about what kind of spider makes webs this big. But what's this? The spiderweb was hiding a small passage leading to some kind of [[STORAGE ROOM->Attic-Left]]!(set: $cleared_cobwebs to true)]](else:)[The ATTIC is filled with piles of gross old junk. There's a passage in the corner leading to a [[STORAGE ROOM->Attic-Left]].]
A trapdoor in the floor leads back down to the [[LIBRARY->Library]].You're in a bare, creepy STORAGE ROOM at the very top of the mansion. Floating around the room is a (text-style: "blur")[ghost] of the classic "floating sheet" variety. It drifts around the room despondantly, [[moaning->Burghost]] to itself.
You could leave the ghost to its hauntings and return to the [[ATTIC->Attic-Right]].(if: $archibald_intro is false)[The ghost's eyebrow raises when he sees you. "Ah," he says. "Seems we have a //live one.// Eh?" He smirks and folds up his newspaper.
"Archibald Prancibald, deceased, at your service," he introduces himself. "Not often we get visitors. What can I do for you?"(set: $archibald_intro to true)](else:)["Hello again," says Archibald. "What can I do for you?"]
(display: "Archibald-Questions")//You say://
[["What are you reading?"->Archibald-Reading]]
[["What's it like being dead?"->Archibald-Dead]]
[["How did you die?"->Archibald-How]]
[["Are there any other ghosts here?"->Archibald-Others]]
[["Goodbye for now."->Archibald-Bye]]"I'm just reading today's paper," says Archibald. "Apparently they'd invented some sort of worldwide electronic network you can use to watch moving images of cats." He wrinkles his ghostly nose incredulously. "Can't imagine very many people having use for such a thing."
(display: "Archibald-Questions")"Being dead," he says, "is not nearly so strange as being alive. You do get to walk through walls, though. Great fun."
(display: "Archibald-Questions")"I lost a staring contest against my rival," he says, seriously. "It was a very intense staring contest."
(display: "Archibald-Questions")"Have you met the fellow in the attic? A bit of a broken record if you ask me, but maybe you can get through to them somehow."
(display: "Archibald-Questions")"Always a pleasure to talk to someone breathing," says Archibald. "I'll be here if you've any need for me to repeat myself."
He unfolds his newspaper and resumes reading. "What in blazes is a 'selfie stick?'" he mutters.
(set: $advice to 0)
(set: $door_locked to true)
(set: $found_key to false)
(set: $flashlight_on to false)
(set: $ghosts_visible to false)
(set: $climbed_ladder to false)
(set: $ghost_lecture to false)
(set: $archibald_intro to false)
(set: $checked_fridge to false)
(set: $got_china to false)
(set: $got_burger to false)
(set: $cleared_cobwebs to false)
<img src="spacer.png"><img src="ghost_burgers.png">
[[START->Astrid-1]](if: $checked_fridge is false)[Are you //sure// you want to look in this fridge? It's been unplugged for decades. There could be something really gross and disgusting inside!
[[Open the fridge->Open-Fridge]]
[[Nevermind!->Kitchen]]](else:)[(display: "Open-Fridge")](if: $checked_fridge is false)[Oh. It's empty.(set: $checked_fridge to true)](else:)[The fridge is empty.]
(if: $ghosts_visible is true and $got_burger is false)[Wait, there's a single, glowing (text-style: "blur")[burger] in here. A ghost burger? You suppose most burgers die a violent death.
Do you want to [[take the burger->Burger]]?
][[Back->Kitchen]](if: $got_china is false)[Your hand passes right through the ghost burger! I guess you can't pick it up with your bare hands.](set: $advice to 6)(else:)[You scoop up the burger onto the plate of ghost china. It works! You now have a transparent **burger on a plate**.(set: $got_burger to true)(set: $advice to 7)]
[[Back->Kitchen]]"Well, I don't see why not. Just don't break it! That stuff is mighty expensive."
The china cabinet magically unlatches itself and opens for you. You carefully retrieve a **plate of ghost china**. It glints eerily with some sort of inner light.(set: $got_china to true)
Could this be the ghost of someone who died from wanting a burger too badly? (if: $advice < 5)[(set: $advice to 5)](if: $got_burger is false)[Alas, you have no burgers to offer the hungry spirit.](else:)[
Will you [[offer the ghost your ghost burger->Give-Burger]]?]
[[Back->Attic-Left]]//"BURGER!"// shrieks the ghost happily. It descends upon the spectral burger!
//Chomp! Smack! Gobble! Slurp!//
With just a few noisy verbs the ghost devours its burger. The ghost smiles in satisfaction. It squirts out something green and slimy onto the plate, then fades away, its unfinished business on Earth finally finished.
You look at the green stuff. Is this - [[ghost poop|Ectoplasm]]?"It's **ectoplasm**!" squeals Astrid when you show her the plate. "This is the real deal! Physical evidence of the undead! I can see it all now - the university funding, the government grants, the reality TV shows! '//Ghost Stalkers,//' that'll be the name of our show!"
You look at the green goo. Probably people will just think you mixed applesauce with green food coloring.
//Applesauce.// Your tummy rumbles.
"Hungry, eh?" says Astrid. "It //has// been a pretty long night! Since you made me rich and famous, I'll take you out somewhere to eat, my treat. What do you want?"
[["How about //burgers//?"->End]]So you go out for burgers.
anna anthropy 2015