Halloween Special: The Haunting Shift
Suppressing the urge to laugh Alyana watched Brielle literally bouncing with excitement after she’d concurred it was okay for her malleable friend to utilize, within reason, her abilities for the Halloween evening. Overjoyed Brielle had immediately morphed into a soccer ball. A few euphoric bounces later she spaghettified into a spring. More bounces and the spring compressed and expanded, becoming a tire. The tire twisted round itself into a pogo stick.
Unsurprisingly Halloween was Brielle’s favourite holiday. Alyana recalled as children Brielle would have three or four elaborate costumes ready to go and make several rounds through their neighborhood with no one the wiser. Later she’d always share her haul with friends and classmates.
“Just remember,” Alyana warned her shapeshifting friend. “The rules are still in place. No mimicking other people. Believable Halloween costumes only.”
On the pogo stick's next bounce it hit the floor and splattered like it was suddenly made of honey. The fleshtone puddle sloshed and swirled, twisting up off the floor, building and molding until a very well-endowed mummy wrapped from head to toe in aged linen bandages stood with her fists planted on her shapely hips.
Slipping on her glasses Alyana examined Brielle’s new form. While the dimensions of what was wrapped under the bandages were impressive the details on the bandages themselves were even more so. They looked very convincingly like they could be thousands of years old. Brielle raised her arms rigidly in front of her and started limping stiffly around the room, eerily groaning and moaning.
As she shambled about the bandages started rippling, limbs shriveling. The remarkable curves slowly deflated. Soon a bleached white skeleton replaced the mummy. Holding up a bony hand in front of empty eye sockets Brielle inspected her work. “I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull this off.”
Alyana scrutinized her with the critical eye of someone versed in anatomy. “Not bad, not bad.” Giving her a gentle tap under the nasal cavity she observed, “You’re missing the Vomer bone.” Brielle brought an ossified finger up to the same spot. “The what?” Smirking Alyana slipped off her glasses. “I wouldn’t worry. I doubt anyone will even notice. I think they’ll be more focused on a walking, talking skeleton.”
Brielle chuckled. “Yeah, like this I’m more suited as decoration.”
A nearly invisible strand spooled from her crown and attached itself to the ceiling, pulling Brielle up so she dangled limply off the ground. After a few seconds her body jerked, arms gesticulating wildly, and in a deep voice bellowed “BOO!”. Despite half expecting the jump scare Alyana still flinched. Brielle giggled.
“Ha, ha. Very funny,” Alyana said dryly, putting away her glasses.
The strand slid along Brielle’s spine to rest between her shoulder blades. She held her arms out to the side. A thin film spread under them, connecting to her hollow ribcage which was rapidly filling in. Her legs shortened, feet reshaping into long, slender toes capped by razor claws. The human skull sprouted black-brown fur as its features melted into those of a large bat. Her wings tested the air experimentally.
The bat sagged, wings drooping and connecting. The flat nose and pointed ears dissolved into a featureless orb. Fur shrank away, replaced by a frayed, moth-eaten, moldy white sheet. The far edges of the worn cloth raised as if lifted by emaciated arms. Splotches resembling distorted ragged eyes and a mouth locked in a permanent scream stained the orb.
Crossing her arms Alyana nodded approvingly. “You’re like a one-woman haunted house.”
The corners of the ghost’s mouth twitched up in a wicked grin. Alyana put her hands up. “Now remember what happens if you spread yourself too thin.”
The strand yanked the ghost up towards the ceiling causing it to strike with a gravity defying inverted splash. The resulting fleshtoned blob turned a dingy weathered ashen and rapidly crawled over parts of the ceiling before stopping and oozing walls towards the floor from its edges.
As an artificial twilight engulfed her Alyana guesstimated Brielle was creating a room roughly three meters by six meters. In the pitch black she became aware of odd, faint sounds she’d never noticed before. They were like nothing she’d ever heard but felt they were what she might imagine for the sound of dough being kneaded and molded.
The sounds stopped and everything was still for long seconds. She was about to say something when a small crack materialized in one of the walls permitting a narrow shaft of light. The gap churned and the bright white light's spectrum shifted to a sickly shade of greenish-grey. More fissures appeared creating a bizarre pattern of shadows.
In the diffuse light Alyana caught glimpses of forms. Bats hanging from the ceiling. Dense webbing cascading down the walls draped over dilapidated furniture. She was thankful they were spider free. A pair of skeletons lay crumpled on the floor, one clutching a blood-caked knife embedded in the other’s skull. On one wall a bizarrely illuminated painting of a serene woman smiled gently at her. The peculiar spotlight strobed several times as the woman’s features twisted grotesquely.
Behind her a barely audible moan drew her attention from the painting. From a different direction a far-off broken cackle rose and fell. Above wings beat the air accompanied by random, staccato screeches. The sound of an unearthly wind whistled through a nearby hole. Creaking began on the far end like something was slowly creeping across old floorboards.
“Okay… yeah… good job Brielle,” Alyana gulped. “You do make one heck of a haunted house.” Under her breath she muttered, “I never should have helped you figure out how to change your voice.”
The side of the room furthest from her was still cloaked in deep shadow. A jagged beam of pallid light sliced into the murky dark, highlighting an aged casket leaning haphazardly against the back wall, its lid slightly ajar.
“Right,” Alyana started. “I guess I’m supposed to go that way.”
Unconsciously tensing she maneuvered across the cluttered room, expecting some jump scare at any moment. A loud thump in an inky, veiled corner caused her breath to catch but she saw nothing moving. Tip-toeing past the painting she watched the eyes follow her. Something scurried over her feet extracting a startled yelp as she lost whatever it was in the patchwork of light and shadows.
“Jeesh Brielle,” she gasped. “Give me a little mercy.”
Alyana had to shield her eyes when a bright light abruptly flickered across the space and the sound of distant thunder rumbled through the room as the walls rattled.
Reaching the coffin she took a deep breath and cautiously slid the lid aside. The inside was empty save a few cobwebs. Breathing a sigh of relief she moved to return the lid. A very large hand clamped down on her right shoulder. She screamed, dropping the lid which clattered as it bounced on the floor.
The walls opened. Brielle's gleeful laughter rolled through the diorama. Alyana, still trying to catch her breath, watched as everything melted around her. Staring down at the still collecting pile that was her friend she exerted maximum effort in preventing herself from giving the blob a swift kick for scaring the hell out of her.
Fully recovered Alyana smoothed her top and cleared her throat. "So, have you decided what you plan to go as for Halloween?"
The blob rippled and molded, rising up into the form of a familiar young brunette girl wearing a white princess dress with silvery trim and a matching half mask and tiara. Holding up a pink unicorn candy bucket she beamed. "Trick or Treat!"
"Really?" Alyana asked dumbfounded. "Trick or treating?”
The girl's costume turned black and the tiara was replaced by a pointed matching hat. Her hair now a vibrant auburn her skin colour shifted as her face rearranged transforming into a cute, green witch with a long, crooked nose. The witch inflated, turned white, and "popped" near her feet, the resulting sheet billowed for a moment then settled around her as a cartoonish ghost with a silly “drawn on” face. The sheet drew in, conforming to her body. Limbs thickened as soft brown fuzz covered every centimeter forming an adorable teddy bear with a heart-shaped pink necklace and matching bow. The fuzzy bear returned to its original girlish proportions. A green dress resembling sewn together giant leaves replaced the short fur and translucent fairy wings sprouted from her back.
Grabbing Alyana's hand the energetic fairy pulled her towards the door. "Come on Aunt Aly!”
"You've got to be kidding," Alyana sighed wearily.
“I’ll split my haul with you,” Brielle tempted.
She considered the bribe. “Enticing. Though people might get suspicious if you keep showing up with the same adult.” Thinking for a moment she snapped her fingers. “Split.” Brielle grinned mischievously. “I like how you thinnkkkk…” The final word gurgled to an end as the fairy melted. Pulling apart into two blobs she rapidly transformed, one back to the fairy while the other the teddy bear.
Alyana held out a hand for each of Brielle’s guises. “Let’s go get some candy!”
Metamorphosed to Malleability (Halloween, Pt2)Halloween Special: The Haunting Shift
The fairy and teddy bear took the offered hands, looked at each other, then up at Alyana. Grinning impishly they said in unison, "You need a costume too, Aunt Aly."
It took Alyana a moment to realize what her friend had in mind. Globules extended from the fairy and teddy bear, stopping when they reached her shoulders. Brielle waited expectantly.
"And I get to pick the costume?" Alyana asked warily.
"Of course!" the fairy giggled. "Anything you want," the teddy bear replied.
Trying to choose a costume she suddenly felt herself in decision paralysis. I wonder if this is how Brielle feels sometimes? she speculated. "Can I change the costume later?" she asked.
"As many times as you want," the teddy bear answered. "Just say the word," the fairy smiled.
After long internal deliberations she gave up and went with the costume she'd worn to a party her senior year of college. "Alright. How about a sultry vampire?" The beads of Briell