BEHIND THE STEPS OF A GHOST
“... We contact with you to invite you to the Fantendo Resort, a new reality show that will be broadcasted on various TV channels. If you accept this invitation, you will be able to win an enormous quantity of money. A small ship will come to bring you to the Resort in one day. You can accept or decline this invitation. You will be play a special part on this contest.
Signed, The Producers”
The Producers had decided to let the other contestants watch Ella’s return to the outside world. They found it fair and less suspicious that the other contestants watched an interview about her, telling why she was eliminated. The rest of heroes were impatient, they wanted to know about their partner, how she felt, how she was and her version about what caused the expulsion.
“I don’t understand how Ella got the lowest score! Her performance was amazing, really...” Teardrop stated, surprised by the results.
Strafe buried his head in his hands, although there were no tears. He had no idea how to react.
“God dammit...” Strafe cursed under his breath.
“Shut up, you two!” Pesh yelled at them, slightly annoyed, and with no tact at all. “I’m trying to watch the interview! And... find out what happened to our buddy, I guess.”
Suddenly, the image appeared on the TV. Ella was there, but her face didn’t show shame or sadness. She was quiet, it was as if nothing had ever happened. The interviewer was just starting to ask some questions.
“Welcome back, Ella. We wanted to ask you... How was your experience in this contest?” The interviewer asked Ella. His voice was deep and loud.
“It... it was alright. Maybe a bit short. I would probably accept if they invited me to another edition.” Ella answered, stoic and serene.
“Why do you think you got the lowest score? You know, most people thought you were going to score first! He asked.
“I honestly think some of my teammates did worse on the challenge than me. But I’m not one of the judges, so...” Ella said.
“Our last question is... if you were on the Resort again, what would you do? Do you miss anyone currently on it?” The interviewer yelled, interrogating Ella.
“I don’t know what I would do... But yes, there is someone in the hotel that I really, really miss... My husband came with me to the Resort, and as I was the first contestant to go, we may not see each other in months...” she remarked, tears flowing down her face. “I am going to miss him so much. I really, really am.” she added.
Everyone stared at Strafe. He looked away while whispering something. It was somewhat painful to see those two lovers separated. Pesh walked towards him, and put his hand on his shoulder.
“Sorry, bro...” he said, somewhat ashamed of how he had told him to shut up moments before.
“You know nothing. You’re the one who should shut up, knight.” Strafe told him.
The TV was still on, broadcasting the end of the interview. When the lights went off in the stage, and the advertising started to play, the television went off. The cameras started to work again, sending footage of the contestants’ reactions to the interview and showing their every move. Suddenly, everyone stopped talking. A loud noise came from the kitchen. Everyone stared at their mates, suspicious.
“Hey, is anyone missing? Or did anyone leave the oven on...? I’m getting a tiny wee-bit scared, guys!” 3.14 said, frightened.
“Nope, we’re all here. Teardrop, Strafe, Hooly, Zak, Micheal, you, Sixty, everyone.” Meta-Form said, somewhat annoyed, in his trademark robotic tone.
“Then, what the heck is happening in the kitchen?” 3.14 asked.
“It is possible we left the window open. A strong gust of wind might have come inside, and made one of the kitchen tools fall into the floor. It's not that paranormal.” Teardrop remarked, annoyed by how 3.14 was scared by a simple sound.
“W-well then, go investigate, water-face! I will stay here and... and comfort Strafe, ok? Right?” 3.14 yelled, shaking with fear.
“Fuck you” Strafe replied, standing up and walking towards the kitchen. Teardrop and Sixty Four followed him, the oceanian making constant remarks about how this mysterious noise would have a simple, scientific explanation, and that they needed to look more on the rational side of things. Strafe quickly told him to shut up.
When they entered the kitchen, the window wasn’t open, but the oven was on. A burned paper had fell on the floor, along with lots of forks and spoons. Teardrop washed them with his water powers, and then put them where they were. Strafe took the paper, but it wasn’t readable anymore.
“This is getting creepier” Sixty felt the need to say.
That night was getting weirder and weirder. First, Ella was eliminated for seemingly no reason, then, strange, mysterious noises in the kitchen. Everyone was panicking, except Teardrop, who was trying to find a rational explanation for those strange clues. He wouldn’t sleep until he found it, and uncovered the mystery.
Meanwhile, everyone was getting ready to go to sleep, but nearly no one could sleep. Everyone simply felt that they needed to discuss what had happened that day. The contestants started to obsess over it, and eventually stopped talking about their missing teammate, Ella. Strafe didn’t say a word either, but it wasn’t because of that: he simply didn’t want to show his emotions to his fellow companions.
“That noise was... very, very strange. What do you think it was?” Sixty Four, who was quite intrigued by that event, wanted to start the conversation. Everyone was tense and no one really wanted to keep on this uncomfortable silence, which was made out of a necessity to avoid those paranormal events.
“Maybe it was... a ghost?” Zak asked, imitating a spooky voice and joking about it.
“Pfft... a ghost? Let’s get rational here! Woah, guys. I’m starting to sound like Teardrop...” Aingeru stated. “Maybe it’s simply a challenge the producers are making us face?”
“You... you might be right... I guess...” 3.14 accepted. However, suddenly, they heard a door being open, and smoke started to appear. Zak, Sixty Four, 3.14 and Aingeru ran to the hallway to see what was happening, and found lots of ashes. In the walls, they found burn marks making a strange figure.
“... Yup. Still believe the Producers did this, angel?” Sixty Four asked.
“It must be true... T-there is a ghost here! WE’RE HAAAAUNTED!” 3.14 couldn’t hide his panic. Teardrop quickly opened the door, breathing heavily.
“What’s wrong, guys!? Can’t we just have a rest!?” he screamed.
“Wait, haven’t you heard the sounds? Hmmm... Have you heard the door? Where did that come from?” Aingeru replied.
“The door noise? That could’ve been anyone. But... how can you explain the burn mark?” Sixty Four answered.
“Why are you trying to convince yourselves it’s a ghost? Every question in this universe has a logical, reasonable, rational, scientific answer.” Teardrop wanted to find a good explanation for all those events, but no one believed in him.
After that, everyone went to sleep, or at least tried to. At 4:00 AM, they all woke up due to the loud noise of the hotel’s fire alarm: all of the contestants panicked, and ran away from their rooms, only to find that it was a false warning and there was no fire at all. However, one of the candles was lit up, and sometimes, smoke came from the center of the room. However, there was no visible source for it. Everyone came back to their rooms after setting it off, thankful of the fact there was no danger, and finally had their well-deserved rest.
The next day, the contestants woke up and met in the main room. Teardrop was giving a talk about how he had figured out who was the one behind the strange events that had happened these days.
“The first time one of those happened, it was in the kitchen. The oven was on, and lots of forks and spoons had fell. We saw a mysterious note that had been burned. There was nothing in the oven. The second time? A door seemed to have been open, and strange burn marks appeared on the walls. The third time? The fire alarm suddenly activated at 4:00 AM. What is happening on here? Well, let me tell you: one of us is messing with our minds. A ghost.” he explained.
“B-but... I haven’t done anything...” Smile said, as everyone stared at him.
“I’m not talking about you, Smile. I’m talking about a ghost of the fire variety - a ghost that would be capable of burning walls, notes, and creating fires” he remarked.
“So... we were right?...” 3.14 said. He was happy and scared at the same time.
Soon, Teardrop noticed that smoke had appeared from the second floor.
“Excuse me, there is something I left on my room...” Teardrop left the hallway and chased the smoke.
When he arrived to the corridor in which the burn walls had appeared, he meet with the “ghost”. Teardrop was surprised. He already knew that ghost. It was a will-o-wisp, a humanoid made of fire, with a mask. But as the ghost was not supposed to be discovered yet, it started to run across the second floor of the resort. Teardrop went after that being until the spirit disappeared through the wall. He thought about why it always used the same place to hide itself. Then he remembered how Aingeru suggested there might be a hidden door on that room...
There was a hidden door in that place, but he hadn’t got any clue on how to open it. He recalled something: the first time, the ghost attacked in the kitchen. Maybe the key was there? He ran to the kitchen, but didn’t find anything. Then, he thought of the oven. When he investigated it, he checked the buttons. Most of them did their job well, except one. When he clicked it, nothing happened. Maybe that one was the key to this mystery.
When he came back to the burned wall, the burns had disappeared. He was right, that button was the key. When he got into the hidden room, a voice started to talk...
“Sweet, sweet Teardrop. It took you long to solve this mystery, didn’t it?” The voice said.
“I should have known it was you. Playing with fire? Burnings papers? Setting alarms on? Going through walls?” Teardrop faced the creature.
“I had fun. Lots, lots of fun! You are always the funniest, Waterboy. Always on the rational side of things. Boring boring boring boring boring side of things. Why does everything have to make sense? Your attempts to convince them were useless, anyway...” The ghost started to laugh at him.
“I was convinced it was you since I saw your mask... yet you fooled me this time.” Teardrop yelled, a bit angry, feeling down. “Now, what are you going to do, drama prince? I hope you’re done with your jokes. Are you going to stay here or just go and don’t bother us?
“You know this place, Waterboy. No blood, no organs, no fun, no jokes. Staying here would be like being imprisoned!” Inferadness stated. He knew he would be bored here, and, anyway, the Producers didn’t want him for anything else than to distract the contestants. No point on him staying here. “Goodbye, Teardrop. Meet you again in Atlantica! Elfain sends...” said Inferadness, getting closer to Tear and throwing his fire breath at his face. “sweet, sweet kisses.”
Inferadness turned into fire, and then disappeared, seemingly becoming ashes and smoke. Teardrop coughed, and then went back to the main hall.
“Did you see his face? Who was it? Did you punch him? Boom! Puck! Shoosh! Smash!” John Jerome said, making boxing gestures.
Teardrop decided to lie. “No, I didn’t see his face. He was a fire ghost who covered his face with a... mask, yeah. I didn’t punch him either, he just said there was no point on him being here after we had discovered him. I have no idea who he was...”
“But why would they send a special guest to bother us...? A distraction? Fun for the viewers?” Sixty Four asked, curious.
Teardrop knew something was wrong. Why had they chosen a sadistic, mad prince to star in their contest? Why not a hero, like them? Something was going on under the scenes, and he wanted to find out.
“... Fun for the viewers, I guess” he said.
Better don’t let the Producers know that you plan on finding out their schemes.