Tuesday, December 28, 2010

248 - ALAN uses STASIS LEVEL 45

ALAN: Sorry, Rhys. Needs done. Explain on "Monday." You can't hear me, since you're in stasis, but... polite to tell you.

ALAN picks up the FEDORA. ALAN picks up the MULE KICK HAT. ALAN picks up the RED RUBBER STOPPER. ALAN touches STASIS FIELD.


ALAN and STASIS RHYS chrono-teleport away.

>Whuh... uh... follow ALAN?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

246 - Christmas 2010!

>>Return to CANON

245 - Explain YOURSELF

You take off the FEDORA.

What... what just happened? You are quite confused and decide to give yourself a brief, non-noir SEMI-RHYMING RECAPITULATION.

You fell down a trapdoor and landed with a SPLAT. Your landing killed an unlucky RAT. Then you picked up and wore a sweet HAT. You drank bad ROSÉ and then you spat. Some RAT POLICE investigated the death and had you a CHAT. You bribed them but lost half your SCRABBLE TILES, oh drat! They departed after this small TIT FOR TAT. With guilt, you hit on the WIDOW RAT. You told her you'd find the killer (even though you were that crazy CAT). A skeleton fell down the stairs to the MAT, a double of you (but without any FAT)*. His head looked splintered, like hit with a BAT. And that brings you up to where you are AT.

>Briefly depart CANON

*This counted as finding the murderer in a strange, lawyerly way, because since it's a version of Rhys and Rhys killed the rat, then the Skeleton Rhys is kinda-sorta like the killer. Not really, but enough to pass in a very bad light. Like if it was really dark. Or, like, noir. Don't overthink it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

244 - Go UPSTAI--- no. Console WIDOW RAT.

The stairway beckons, a shining beacon lighting the way out of this hole. You take a step towards it, then another, but each one is another step through quick setting concrete. You can feel a pair of eyes on you and while the way out gives you every reason to leave... the eyes have it.

You turn back to the rat widow, those tiny eyes selling a sad story as old as that Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Stop me if you've heard it before. Two newlywed rats frolic in a damp, dark cellar. One is killed by a falling soda jerk. The jerk pays off the cops with some game pieces and gets away scott free. It's the kind of thing you see every day.

You kneel down. The widow turns away, but your warm hand on her face stops her mid-movement. A small shutter runs down her rattus lividus spine. She stares deep into your eyes, her own are nothing more than milky black seas. You sigh. "It's a tough life, kid."

The widow nods weakly, her cheese-fed curves shaking with the sobs she dare not let out.

"We'll find the guy who did this," you say, your uncooperative face belying the irony. You were that sap that did this. An accident, maybe, but you're only alive because that dirty rat met his tiny reaper. But you mean what you say. You want to make this right... but where can you find someone to take the fall?

A sad sack of bones rolls down the stairs, the back of its skull busted open. You recognize him immediately, confronted as you are with your own mortality.

You've... found the murderer (kinda) and he's been brought to justice (in a way). You turn back to the rat widow, but she's gone, scurrying off back into some hole in the wall.

You stare at yourself lying dead on the floor. Man. Your own flesh and blood. Well, no, but your own bones.

The back of Rhys O'Skellington's head is busted open. And this looks like murder.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

243 - Bribe COP with SCRABBLE TILES

You catch the rat cop's beady little eye and it gets the unimaginative twinkle of an animal who thinks himself cunning. He nods a quick, well-practiced signal to his partner, another rat just as corrupt as the first. The rat cop comes over to see your offer. You're both men or rats of the world; you both know how to grease the wheels of justice.

His opening bid is a sawbuck, but you're really not as up on your noir slang as you should be, so you suggest a dollar. He nods his rodent-like rodent face. It's pudgy and soft from all the "gifts" from rat cheesemongers in need of special . . . "protection." You check your pockets and come up with nothing but scrabble tiles. It's a paltry sum. Just an A, C, D, L, E, and R. You think fast. Thinking fast is the difference between life and life up the river.

Some fast words and half-hidden hints of future favors help the "dollar" becomes a "D-O-L-L-E-R" and then you chat him down to half price. He splits the "L-E-R" with his partner and splits; you hold on to the "C-A-D". Because if you haven't got your friends, you haven't got anything at all.


Monday, December 20, 2010

242 - Abuse METAPHOR and SIMILE

The wine is an old school photo, a disgusting memory from a bad year that makes your stomach churn. You put down the rosé and move on. It's a big cellar. Must be something somewhere to take your mind off of life for a while; right now, all you want on your mind is your hat.

A picture got you into this mess, a portrait of old man Death; it was its puzzle that stuck his beak into your business. Another portrait mocks you nearby. A Scottish Terrier sits idly by, blissfully unaware and staring out of its frame. It's a Scotch on the grass, but you'd prefer a scotch on the rocks. You peek behind the portrait, but it's a dog's life and nothing more. The little shrine isn't hiding any secrets--- at least none it cares to tell you at this time. You stare back at the dog. This dumb mutt is just that--- dumb. You move on.

The rat called the cops and out they crawled through the hole in the wall. She sings like a canary through her wet, birdy tears. The rat cop listens, a stone solid look of disinterest spread across his face. The weeping widow spins her tale, her tail spinning slowly behind her in distraught arcs, her dead love still beside her, colder by the second. She describes the perp, a red-headed man in a brown cap. The rat cop drops his eye on you, some stranger down on his luck who just happens to match the description. Maybe an open and shut case, he thinks; maybe a quick night of it before some cheese donuts back at the station hole. He's got your number all right... and that number is twenty to life in Sing Sing if you don't think of something fast.


Friday, December 17, 2010

241 - Wear FEDORA

You hop off your RAT and approach the FEDORA. It's a serviceable hat and you brush it off a bit. Nothing in it or on it aside from a bit of DUST. Seems safe. You set aside your MULE CAP and replace it with the FEDORA. Yeah. It's rather (haber-)dashing. It even matches your MULE KICK UNIFORM.

But as you wear the hat, things appear... a bit different.

The room's a cold hole, walls seeping damp secrets buried here below. Some rat's dead on the ground, some rat's mourning. That's the way it is here down here and no denying it.

So many things wrong that there's no right way to start figuring it out. A bottle's lying on its side, half drained. Who spilled it? It's the obvious question. Someone in a hurry knock it down, roll it across the floor? Someone with something to hide? If the rats know, they won't tell. Never will. It's just another mystery, and another one of them comes along every minute. If you stopped to figure 'em all then you wouldn't have time for a drink. And that would be a cryin' shame.

Two bottles of liquid amnesia sit on barrels by the stairs. One's got a lock--- why? What's it hiding? The other has a picture of a rose. A rosé? Don't know much about wine, don't care, either. A drink's a drink. You pop the red rubber stopper, dumping it on the floor. It won't be needed. But down here....

Down here you definitely need the drink.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

240 - Be... dead?

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

Man. Throwing those four PRETZELS down the PIT ahead of you in order to lure some VERY FAST STARVING RATS with which to cushion your landing was probably your BEST IDEA EVER. In retrospect, it was so obvious, too. For some reason, though, you totally expected a whole metric crap-ton of SPIKES.

In any case, you now find yourself in what appears to be a WINE CELLAR. Muted lights set into the high VAULTED CEILING provide soft but ample light. Two large CASKS are built into the wall, each unlabeled, but equipped with obvious SPIGOTS. A WINE RACK to your left contains many, many wines in individual CUBBYHOLES (or whatever WINE SNOBS call them. Those elitists. Probably call them something special like... WINE... HOLES....) with several other WINE BOTTLES scattered around the cellar. There are three BARRELS, untapped, as well as six WINE GLASSES around the room (RED WINE GLASSES, by the shape of them. Wait. Is that elitist to know? Are you a WINE SNOB?).

You are, of course, standing on the crushed remains of a large DEAD RAT (well, the crushed remains of a LIVE RAT, which is now dead.), which is amidst the remains of your four precious PRETZELS. Another large RAT lingers nearby. You briefly consider firing off a shot with your REVOLVER to scare him away, but he doesn't seem to be threatening you at the moment and you'd rather not waste the bullet. A brown FEDORA lies on the floor by the RACK. A PAINTING of a DOG is propped against a wall, a SQUEAKY TOY in front of it, along with SIX CANDLES, one of which is lit. A MATCHBOOK lies beside the PAINTING. On the other side of the PAINTING, a BOTTLE is spilled, and there is a small PUDDLE.

A DOORWAY leads to STAIRS which lead UP which leads... somewhere. Aside from the HOLE you came in by, this STAIRWAY seems the only way out.

You briefly lament the (hopefully temporary) loss of the HAND CART. Why must all your friends leave you? WHY???


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

238 - Solve PUZZLE

Bah. This RIDDLE is almost a waste of your talents. You pocket the SCRABBLE TILES for L, C, E, A, D, and R since you don't really need them for the solution and pop them into your PRETZEL BAG. It was half empty before, so there's plenty of room. Then place the M TILE alone on the the first SLOT of the PUZZLE.

You hear a CLICK.

A SECRET FREAKING DOOR opens in the CLOSET and a DAPPER SKELETON in a FEDORA and BOW TIE peaks out. It looks like this SECRET DOOR leads to some previously unseen region of the HAUNTED HOUSE which may help you understand the SINISTER SECRETS behind its---

Wait. Why is the ZOMMELIER chuckling?

You hear a second CLICK.


RHYS: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

You are now falling down a DEEP PIT. Exits are UP (currently inaccessible) and DOWN. Could this be the END for you? What is coming up below? How will you survive? WHAT HAPPENS NEXT???

>Land... SAFELY?

Monday, December 13, 2010

237 - Look behind PORTRAIT

The SKELETONS are driven off by your completely gentlemanly assault with CITIZEN CANE. They--- wait, there are three of them now? Whatever. The SKELETONS are driven off and heading EAST, fleeing the room.

With your precious HANDCART safe, you continue your INVESTIGATION and lift the PLAGUE DOCTOR / DEATH PORTRAIT off the wall.

Hey, a PUZZLE! It's... been a while. What have we here?

The PLAQUE reads "What comes once per minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?" There are six SLOTS below the PLAQUE, and below that there's a SHELF with seven SCRABBLE TILES.

If you're right about this, and it might be a bit of a stretch, but maybe, just maybe you're supposed to use the SCRABBLE TILES to answer the RIDDLE? Man, this is complicated. Maybe you should just drink that ROSÉ the ZOMMOLIER poured and forget the whole thing.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Fan Art!

Colored fan art from CageyJay! Regular updates resume Monday.


Thursday, December 9, 2010



>Look behind PORTRAIT

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

235 - Check VOXCO, VASE(CO)

All right, time to interact the heck out of some stuff. First off, you snag the COCKTAIL from the ZOMBIE BUTLER'S TRAY. You've left him hanging long enough. It's a GIBSON MARTINI, six parts GIN, one part DRY VERMOUTH. This one is garnished with a CHERRY--- unheard of!

You pick the LIGHTER up from under the TABLE and place it on top. You then check the VASE, but it's very attached to the TABLE. It is also quite dead, JIM. The DEAD FLOWERS are also dead (obviously), and PLASTIC, and attached inside the DEAD VASE. There are no secrets here, not a single RUPEE.

Might as well check the VOXCO RECORDER. You pull some hot thriller dancing moves and avoid that DOORWAY with the... CLAW MARKS. Those can't be good.

You mash PLAY and listen.

"Our lanterns are fully charged, a necessity here it seems. There's no switch for the lights. Atmospheric. I almost ran into a zommelier in the dark, but as soon as I struck him up in conversation, he seemed quite (un-)lively. Limited vocabulary, but that is to be expected. I have drunk some of his proffered red wine, and I must say it is delicious, though it possesses a strange bouquet. It is a pleasant development in this unpleasant place.

"I took the time to examine the the portraits on the wall. Toblerone seemed to recognize the Candaemon, but would not elaborate. Curse his muteness! Miles was more interested in the portraiture of Death. Quite an accurate likeness, I must admit. I've only met the (cough) 'man' once, at the university--- and heavens forbid I shall not meet him again for some time! I'm not sure, but there's something strange about the picture. However, certain impulses are driving me to press on and I will not linger. We shall make camp for the day in the next room, assuming it is not so horrendous a place as to be drenched in blood or having arms hanging from the ceiling or something vile to do with puppies, lasers and gaudy silver clockworks."


234 - Look AROUND

The ROOM is similar to its previous state, but now it's brighter.

You busy yourself with looking AROUND for a while. For example, you look at the little NAME PLATE below the PLAGUE DOCTOR PORTRAIT. It says



Monday, December 6, 2010

233 - Let there be LIGHTER

Grabbing the SODA CORPORATION HAND TRUCK for defense, you THRILLER DANCE your way over to the ZOMBIE BUTLER to ask for a LIGHT for your HYPOTHETICAL CIGARETTE.

You then realize that was the BEST SENTENCE EVER.

RHYS: Howdy, partner. Say, y'all wouldn't hap' ta have a flame-hocker to sizzle my t'bacca roll, would ya, cuz?
ZB: ...brians...?

The ZOMBIE BUTLER (who you suddenly realize is a wine steward and thus a ZOMMELIER, not a ZOMBIE BUTLER) produces a small LIGHTER from one of his POCKETS and lights it up, expecting you to produce a... T'BACCA ROLL.

You do not oblige.

You quickly snatch the LIGHTER and hurl it through the AIR, somehow keeping it lit despite its SAFETY FEATURES. You are not at all conscious of appropriate FIRE SAFETY! You are QUITE RECKLESS! You and the ZOMBIE BUTLER (sorry, ZOMMELIER) watch it slowly arc toward the CHANDELIER....

One of the CHANDELIER'S CANDLES lights up and the room becomes much easier to investigate, but it will take until the beginning of the next turn to look around.

The ZOMBIE BUTLER is not amused*.


*If asked, the Zombie Butler will now only supply Rhys with the lowest class of wine from his extensive wine collection, a frankly disgusting Rosé from a very bad year. He will not offer anything better, much less his prized Red Brain Wine. No. He'll keep that for himself. He gets so lonely in the Haunted House. So very lonely. Sometimes he takes a sip after letting a small glass breathe, making sure the bottle is sealed very tight. He doesn't want to waste it, even though he knows no one else would want Brain Wine. No one else would understand. But he still feels guilty, even after all these years.

He had a dog once. A real dog, not a zombie dog. It's name was Brian. He loved Brian. Then Brian died one day. The Zombie Butler ate some of his brain, but he felt bad about it and left half-way through the meal. He still thinks about Brian sometimes. When it's dark. When he's alone. When he's sipping more Red Brain Wine and realizing he's finished the bottle, another bottle, yet again, way down in the cellar where no one ever visited, where no one ever heard him. He was silent, unable to cry.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


If you only move while doing the THRILLER DANCE then there's no way the ZOMBIE BUTLER will attack you.

Your thinking is flawless.


Thursday, December 2, 2010




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

230 - Grab a FLASHLIGHT

You double back to the LOBBY and ask the CONFEDERBOT for the FLASHLIGHT and BATTERIES that were back behind the COUNTER. After a bit of a debate, you convince him to trade you the NEEDED ITEMS in exchange for your SAUCY MAGAZINE. Man, that thing is useful for trading. And seemingly very little else.

You head back into the next ROOM with the FLICKERING FLASHLIGHT in hand. Time to look around.

You seem to be in some sort of ATMOSPHERIC FOYER. Points of interest include a ZOMBIE BUTLER, some PORTRAITURE (apparently of a CANDAEMON and... is that a PLAGUE DOCTOR?), a CHANDELIER, another VOXCO RECORDING, and a small TABLE with a DEAD VASE filled with WILTED FLOWERS. A set of STAIRS leads up to a higher level... but it's not really a grand staircase. Not really. There's also a DOOR to what you assume is a CLOSET (perhaps a spooky CLOSET) and another HALLWAY to the EAST.

You don't see a LIGHT SWITCH. Kinda seems like a design oversight.