Date: October 27, 2010
A charity haunted house event is set up to help cover the costs of both fixing up Sunagakure and taking care of its people. This is day one, and it is a "spooktacular" day indeed.
"Sunagakure's First Annual Halloween Event - The Temple of Terror"
Book Restoration Clinic/Temple of Terror - Sunagakure
Sunagakure has seen a lot of reconstruction efforts. Supplies are still coming in, along with workers, and though the Seishukuni Clan has done much to aid the rebuilding of Sunagakure, most of what needs to be done isn't as simple as just building new houses. Very few buildings actually physically fell down or collapsed or similar during the earthquakes, despite their severity. Only about four or five toppled, and two or three fell underground into previously unknown underground caverns.
No, most of the damage has not been so obvious. Many houses are still standing, still appearing to be intact, and yet may potentially be unsafe. Each building has to be checked out thoroughly by safety inspectors, construction workers, and sometimes even actual ninja that possess familiarity with the Earth Chakra Nature and thus can gauge the stability of a given structure.
It is thus doubly frustrating for those families who can see their homes still standing, still right where they were BEFORE the Storm of the Century, and yet can not go inside to reclaim their lives, simply because those homes MIGHT be unsafe. Temporary sheltes have been erected, of course, but non-perishable food is at an all-time low, and importing food, clothing, and other resources is expensive.
So what is done about this? A fund-raiser. A fund-raiser for all the people of Sunagakure who have plenty of cash but nothing to spend it on. It is the ruling body of Sunagakure that is placing the import orders after all. They are footing the bill completely. A tax levelled on the people to pay to repair everything would have been apalling, unseemly, and might have lead to rioting, after all that has already been suffered. So a simple solution was suggested by Hone Nai, the Head Recordskeeper: Make the financial support voluntary, and market it as a charity rather than recompensating the government for failing to foresee the threat of the bandit army and whomever was behind it. Nai even offered his own home as the location. A haunted house, decorated both by himself and any workers from the Administration Dome or otherwise that wished to volunteer.
It was originally a Book Restoration Clinic, but Nai only uses the basement for living in. That leaves three floors and an attic for a 'spooktacular haunted house charity event'. Halloween is a new idea and a new holiday for Sunagakure, but seems to be taken up readily enough. Bakeries have churned out all sorts of confections, candies, and so forth for the patrons, and costumes have even been provided, stored in Scrolls that are then sold to families at the merest fraction of their actual worth. Ninjutsu Scrolls are not exactly commonplace on the civilian market, since each one must be made on an individual basis, and every outfit must be stored manually. But all the ninja and businesspeople of Sunagakure have come out in full force for the remainder of the week, to provide services and goods for free, at their own expense. Not a single Shu will be retained by any of them. They all go directly to pay for food and shelter for Sunagakure's residents.
Nai's house has been turned from an empty building to a 'Temple of Terror'. The first floor is for unaccompanied children or accompanied small children. It is open to everyone, and features a maze of mirrors, black tarps, and so forth, all with volunteer 'frighteners', decorations, and more. The second floor is for older kids and teenagers, with more frightening decorations, and more clever use of theatrical effects to induce real — though hopefully temporary — fear.
The third floor is for adults, and is a place to relax while in-costume, socialize, and enjoy the spooky decor, which features dismembered bodyparts, realistic-looking skeletons, and so forth. The Attic is set aside for telling ghost stories, spooky tales, and so on, in a dimly-lit, cob-webbed, and appropriately creepy environment.
The basement is off-limits. There is a single, muscular, lumpy-faced, bald man standing at the door leading down to the basement. He sharpens a butcher knife and gives the evil eye to any who come to close. If anyone tries to engage him in conversation or go down in the basement, he tells them plainly, "Stay out of the basement." Then he resumes sharpening his knife. So far, no one has had to be told twice.
Wandering the town like a zombie has brought Toshiro to a place that sort of fits the bill. He looks up and blinks at the put together haunted house, staring up at it for a long moment before chuckling to himself. His lips twitch a little as he stares at it before idly stepping forward. His eyes glance around as he approaches and then he idly pulls out a small amount of money to pay for a sweet treat. He then stares at it and takes a bite, "To fill one void but not another…must find balance." The last part is whispered as he turns and starts for the entrance with a little more cash.
This was certainly an interesting event. Halloween. Itami wasn't exactly sure what it was about, but apparently it involved spooky things and treats and the people around the village looked like they were having fun. She thought she'd like to have fun also, so she decided to get a costume, though she wasn't sure of what to pick. She was suggested a few and settled with the typical witch outfit.
Now it was time to go to the event at Nai's home. Temple of Terror. The name was catchy and she was curious about what she'd find inside. Once she paid the necessary amount and went inside, she took the time out to look around at the decorations. A smile passed across her face. This was all so exciting.
Risu came with Yoko, and this is quite a new thing for the girl. She's been told you dress up and after her latest interesting experiences she's decided to dress up as a suna-ninja! With help from Yoko she's got a complete outfit, a ninja costume with blunt kunai, an old forehead protector (that's around her torso like a sash) and various pockets that mostly appear empty. Still it is a cute outfit, and she is all smiles as she comes up to the event with Yoko, tagging along or maybe Yoko is tagging along with Risu? Hard to tell, but Risu seems rather eager!
Why is it that most Halloween costumes for adult women are always 'Sexy (Fill In The Blank)'? Well, okay, maybe that's only true in the towns and places that make Halloween a regular event each year, but no one told Kara that, cause here she is, dressed up as… A 'Sexy Mummy'! This is not that different from her normal outfit theme, but in this case she has ditched the Ancient Egyptian head garment and so forth, and is instead dressed entirely in strategically placed bandages! Also some body paint to give her the proper supernatural hue.
She saw the crowds and the Haunted House from all the way at the other end of the street, but up close it is even more impressive. Stands are set up with all kinds of foods and beverages laid out, a temporary shop with Scroll-costumes is set up, and there's plenty of cheerful chattering, screams from within the haunted house, and all sorts of things. It is… Exciting. And in a good way, rather than the life-or-death way that she usually has to deal with.
Kara smiles around at everyone and the fun they are having, relishing the looks she may or may not receive from males present, but not returning them for once. Why? Because she is >seeing someone<! Yes, really! Kara has a >date<! After all these years, she has had a first date, and is now on a second! She turns to look for said date and lifts up on her tip toes to wave and call out, "Takumi-kunnnn~! Hurry up! I want to go innnnnn~!"
What is Takumi dressed as? Well, there was a lot of debate, but eventually Kara managed to convince Takumi to dress as the Ancient Egyptian god 'Osiris'! He has the crown, the beard, the green body paint, and the robe and all of that! And possibly the lower half of his face is still covered for some reason. Takumi is weird like that.
Takumi is making his way toward Kara, trying his best to keep from tripping on his costume robe. He isn't quite sure what he is still, but Kara seemed excited about the idea, and it was his impression that dates go better when the girl is happy. He waves back with one of the scepter thingies in his hand and picks up his pace, catching back up with Kara. He stops next to her and looks around before asking, "Where exactly is the entrance? Also, whats going to go on here? This is…quite odd if I do say so. Though interesting."
Meimei/Yoko is almost not thinking of herself as 'Meimei' anymore when she's in public. Or at least she responds to 'Yoko' within an acceptable time frame, as opposed to not realizing she was being spoken to for a few seconds. And right now, being pulled around by an eager little girl, she is finding it hard to seperate 'Meimei' and 'Yoko' in her mind. She never got this. She never got this childhood that Risu is experiencing now. The celebration, the fun, the excitement… The companionship. She never had that. And now Risu gets it. This is what she has been struggling for. To make sure that Risu is happy. And now that Risu is happy… She feels… Jealous? Jealous for what she never had? But that's stupid!
And selfish. Meimei can seperate her emotions just fine now. Realizing what a dumb thing it would be to be envious of her new friend she puts herself firmly into the 'Yoko' mindset and stops just being dragged along. She joins in the galavanting and running. Her legs aren't much longer than Risu's after all, so she just picks up the pace until they have arrived!
And what is Yoko dressed as? A bat. Yeah, she has a black one-piece swimsuit sort of thing, but with leggings, bat wings, a headband with big bat ears, boots with wings, sleeves with wings, and her ever-present dark-tinted goggles. It is not the height of 'sexy', like Kara's is, but then she wasn't trying to be. Even so, she could probably pass for Risu's slightly-older sister or something, if her hair was blonde.
"Hey, try not to eat too much candy. We can bring some home, but if you eat a bunch now, and get sick, then that's it. You can't enjoy it later. One moment of super-sugar-rush, and then nothing! That said, if you want something, just let me know, okay, Risu-chan?" She then begins searching for the admission booth.
Frosted jack-o-lantern cookies. Check. Toshiro just bought one. Scroll-storage costume shop. Check. Itami just purchased a witch costume. Admission booth attended by friendly volunteer. Check. Yoko and Risu just approached and got washable ink stamps on the backs of their hands by a nice old lady dressed as a faerie godmother or some such. Appropriate levels of fear for the different customer-types. Check. While Risu and other children will likely be satisfied with the first floor, and the thrill of navigating a maze without the actual 'cling to your mommy and cry' level of complete and utter terror that the upper floors might generate. Some children are a bit more mature than others, however, and thus may be able to go to those higher floors. But there is an age restriction on the third floor, at least.
Itami is welcomed by three youths dressed as the mythical story character(s) 'Maikubi', the quarelling heads of three dead miscreants. "Welcome, Councilor Itami-sama!" "Welcome, Councilwoman Watanabe-sama!" "Welcome, Itami-sama!" they all call out at once. Then they turn to each other and start arguing. "That's not the right title!" "Yours wasn't gender-specific enough!" "You were both too formal!" This bickering goes round and round in circles, but the kid in the giant papier-mache severed head closest to the Haunted House's entrance holds open the door for Itami at least.
There's a few poles with pumpkins on them lining the path to the front door, so Kara and Takumi can probably find their way there. There are indeed some very INTERESTED looks given Kara's way by various males, but they soon turn to looks of envy towards Takumi. If they recognized Kara in her costume they probably would be making nasty comments to each other and laughing at Takumi's misfortune. But they don't recognize her, so Kara gets to be admired and Takumi gets to be envied. Lucky them.
Right in front of Takumi, someone's cat quickly scampers by with some sort of black and orange vest hanging off its body. A little girl in a faerie princess outfit chases after the cat calling out, "Come back, Salem! You're not DRESSED yet!"
Upon getting his admission stamp and entering the Haunted House, Toshiro would be presented with two options. Or three, but the third is just 'go back outside'. The first option is to proceed into the watered-down version of the Temple of Terror, which is apparently a maze of black tarps and mirrors, with things like rubber rats and spiders and people ready to leap out and scare passers-by. Option #2 is to go up some stairs to the right, and proceed to the second floor. There's also the basement entrance behind one of the tarps, but Mister Lumpy-Face McKnifeyman is still standing guard, and most people do not even know to look back there.
Walking into the haunted house, Toshiro looks at the stamp on his hand for a moment and then looks up at the first area he could go to. Seeing what it is, he shakes his head and turns to walk up the stairs. He isn't really into being 'scared' right now and doubts he'd be any fun for those jumping out.
Risu seems a bit overwhelmed. This is all so new to her she hardly knows what to make of it. The candy, she's not used to even getting one piece let alone being able to have 'lots'! And the outfits, and costumes. She's not really going to be scared by much, unless something tries to kill her or Yoko mostly, or at least that's what she's telling herself. She keeps tugging on Yoko's sleeve to lead her from one thing to another. After getting some treats (and not that many to be honest) she tries to lead Yoko into the Haunted House itself, curious about what 'horrors' hide inside. She keeps looking at people but the costumes and all, it's as if this is all a bit too much and she's having trouble telling people apart or recognizing people so far.
"Hello and thank you!" Itami chimes happily, though she sweatdrops when she sees them all start to argue with one another over her how to refer to her properly. "It's..it's okay!" She raises her voice, but she isn't sure if she's been heard. Stepping away slowly she looks ahead to see that a door has been opened for her by one of the quarelling miscreants and she nods to him in thanks as she starts to walk inside.
She's curious of what she'd discover while going beyond this door.
Yoko is tugged around, and slowly whatever stupid jealousy she had is not just forgotten or shoved aside, but relegated to the 'temporary insanity' section of her emotional library. How could she possibly be jealous? She's having fun NOW. The childhood she didn't get is being lived right in front of her eyes, and she is a part of it! Who cares about the past? Seriously, who cares? So, smiling for once, the purple-haired woman continues to follow Risu around, buying her whatever she asks for. Maybe it's spoiling her, but… She deserves to be spoiled.
Yoko nods once to the giant papier-mache heads upon approaching the door, and assuming it is opened for her she and Risu walk right in behind Itami! However, Yoko takes a moment to make a muttered observation on one thing. "Man, that was the second-largest severed head I've ever seen." Her attention is soon returned to her surroundings. Looks like this is the 'kid-stuff' floor. But that's okay. She'll go through with Risu, pretend to be scared when necessary, and be comfortingly brave when necessary, but mostly just have fun!
"It's dark enough in here I could take off my goggles," she mutters mostly to herself as she surveys the maze. She moves around Itami if the Council Member has stopped, or just continues following behind if she is moving forward. And if she goes up the stairs like Toshiro, then she's out of the way! "Stay close, Risu-chan. If you get lost in here, you might wander around… For-ev-errrrrr!" She wiggles her fingers as she makes with the mock-spooky voice, and then goes, "OoooOOOOooOOOOooo!" And messes with Risu's hair from behind, with her left hand.
Kara points vaguely towards the poles with pumpkins. "I think the entrance is over there. We need to pay admission first though. A haunted house is… Like… Uhh…" She thinks. "…Well, I'm not >entirely< sure, but I think it's just a house that has been decorated for this foreign event or holiday or something called 'Hallow's End' or something. I don't know for certain. But the idea of the holiday is that you enjoy the thrill of dressing up, of being someone or something else, and being frightened!" She bounces on her heels a few times, throwing her arms above her head and holding her hands limp so she is like some kind of creeping mummy creature. Or something.
She is smiling a bit too widely to really be taken seriously as a monster though. "So, we just go over there, get admitted, and then we can go in and see what they have. Also, there's food. Food is good. But not too much! I can't afford to let >this< figure turn to fat!" She turns half-away from Takumi and traces a finger from her thigh up along her side, and up to her ribs, before moving her hand away with a flourish. "See?" Then she heads over to the booth to get her stamp.
She pauses when a little girl runs by chasing a cat that is apparently reluctant to get dressed, but then just shakes her head. "Salem? Funny name."
Takumi listen's to Kara's explantion of the holiday with some skepticism. When she finishes he gives a big nod with a bit of a squint and says, "Ok. That's an odd thing to celebrate, but I'll go with it." He smiles at her antics, and watches her finger closely, then gives her a very flat look. "Well, let's go get our admittance out of the way first!" And with that he heads toward the entrance of the haunted house with intent to buy admission for him and Kara. On his way, he scopes out the various food items and starts listing priorities in his head.
Toshiro goes up the stairs, and finds a slightly different scene on the second floor. Another maze of sorts… But this one uses plenty of optical illusions, a fog-generator, and ambient noises played on a casette tape of scary noises that someone got from somewhere, to make a rather interestingly creepy graveyard. The passages are not linear, but rather divide into three paths. The one to the left is draped in spider webs. The one directly ahead is an oddly warm and moist doorway carved from stone that features a skull motif rather prominently. The path to the right appears to be a broken window with heavy, blood-red curtains being blown around somehow. A strong fan maybe? Lightning flashes through the 'window' as though it looked out onto a stormy countryside instead of the right side of the room.
A guard that appears to be a humanoid spider stands at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the 'adults' section. The third floor.
Indeed, Itami is greeted with the same sight that Toshiro was. A maze made out of mirrors and black tarps, with various decorations. It's designed with younger children in mind, but might prove amusing to an adult as well! And no doubt the volunteers kids who are the frighteners will want to impress a Council Woman with their skills at scaring people.
On the other hand, this IS the 'kid floor' of the Temple of Terror. If Itami wants to go upstairs to the second floor, where the really scary stuff is, or the third floor, to socialize with other adults, she can do that too. But she better decide fast because she has a couple Haunted House-goers lurking behind and to the side of her, incase the noises from Yoko were not evidence enough. The screams of a group of little girls up ahead becomes louder as three little ones no older than 6 come running out in their costumes, screaming their heads off. And yet, despite running out the door, they do not appear to be all THAT frightened… Or at least when they are outside with everyone else they regain their nerve, as they turn to giggling and talking excitedly about a 'puppyman' or something.
As the pumpkin, the black cat, and yet another faerie princess all dare each other to go back inside, Yoko, Risu, and Itami are left with the daunting prospect of whether to go encounter a 'puppyman' or to ditch this floor and go upstairs. Takumi and Kara, meanwhile, get their stamps and are granted access to the entire event! Though the old lady in her faerie godmother costume eyes Kara's costume and offers the sage advice, "Try not to run too fast, sweetie. You don't want to give yourself two black eyes." Then she turns a smile on the family that approaches next, leaving Kara's strategically placed censor-bandages to their own devices.
Itami has continued to move into the first floor of the haunted house, but might be a little slow compared to the others who are coming through, so Yoko is free to move around her along with Risu. She hasn't run into anything frightful yet, but it was the beginning after all. She decides to move off to the side so she won't impede traffic and she couldn't have picked a better time as three girls come running up from beyond and towards the exit screaming. The council woman wasn't able to get a good look at their faces, but she thinks she might be in for a bit of a fright the further she goes in.
So, when a few have passed her by, including Yoko and Risu, she says "Greetings," to them both while attempting to be quick about her progress through here. She can't be slow the whole time and she was brushing up against the tarps. Probably not a good idea to do that.
As Risu walks along she is /trying/ to play the brave Shinobi. As Yoko teases her playfully, Risu pulls out one of the Kunai, which in her small hands is more like a short sword than a small dagger, "I'll keep any evil at bay!" Fortunately the thing is blunt, and at most someone might get bruised so no fear there, but she's playing her roll as Yoko wiggles her fingers at the little girl. "In fact, I'll keep /you/ safe tonight!" She says cheerfully. When Yoko seems to move around Itami, Risu pauses, looks then grins, "Oh! Itami-san! Hi! Wanna go with us through the maze? I can keep you safe too!"
Yoko grins and says. "Good. I knew you were strong! And now you get to show it! You're a fine Sand Ninja, Risu-chan! If rumors are to be believed, there is some sort of… 'Wolfman' up ahead!" She interprets the phrases used by the 6-year olds to mean 'wolf' rather than 'puppy', because… Seriously. What's scary about a puppy? She then hides behind Risu, until Itami is identified. She does a double-take and says, "…Oh, hi! Didn't recognize you from behind, Itami-san." She then remembers the mood set by the place rather quickly, and stage-whispers, "Risu-chan is going to protect us against whatever lies in wait here, so we better not get in her way. I'm just a helpless bat, and witches need material components for their spells. And you don't look like you have any eye of newt on you."
She continues walking the whole time, of course, navigating the dim path and expecting someone to jump out right around the next corner.
It really is dimly-lit, with only an occasional string of jack-o-lantern electric lights hung on the tarps to provide SOME illumination… So when some kid wearing glow-in-the-dark skeleton pajamas leaps out from around the corner (just as Yoko expected!) he looks like a glowing skeleton as opposed to a kid in pajamas that have greenish-white bones on them. He gibbers and wails and flails his arms around, doing his best to appear frightening — especially to Risu, but he wouldn't mind scaring some adults too — before retreating back into a standing, cardboard 'coffin' and closing the lid partially.
"Huh? Oh, yes, I'd like that a lot. You'd keep me safe? That's wonderful!" Itami nods a few times and takes a few steps back so that she's behind Risu. "I wasn't sure if I wanted to go through this alone to be truthful…" She mutters and then thinks about what's going to come out ahead. A wolfman? "Greetings, Yoko-san. I decided to dress up as well." She explains now that she's nearby. Listening to Yoko's whispers she nods silently and says, "I see." She smirks and continues on with the two of them, through the dimly-lit walkway.
When the skeleton comes popping out from the darkness, Itami actually jumped. Sure there were lanterns around and what not, but a glow in the dark skeleton isn't normal, but so was nothing else around here. She hadn't seen a lot of this stuff before. To say she was spooked would be a bit of an understatement.
Risu should be spooked, but when you've spent a lot of time worrying about where your next meal will come from and all, some how glow in the dark skeleton clad boys aren't so scary. She leaps out in front of the two women behind her to 'protect' them, brandishing her little Kunai. Mind you she's careful not to hurt anyone, or really try to get close to them, it's all play. Still, she tries to have fun with it. She even gives a little squeal, but it isn't clear if it is in fun, surprise or fear, although it doesn't sound very fearful, at least so far. Mind you this is the kids stuff, so… she might be less brave later on! She glances back, "See? One bad thing down! I'll keep you both safe." She says with a grin, "Like a mission!"
Meimei expected something to leap out at them, but a skeleton was not it. She was expecting something a bit… Furrier. Still, she makes a noise like she's scared — a surprised gasp and clasps her hands to her mouth. When the skeleton is thwarted by Risu's brave leap to the fore, she grins and lowers her hands, waiting until the glowing skeleton retreats fully. "My heroine, Risu-chan~!" she offers with a lilt. Then she looks at Itami, a bit surprised that a Council Member could be so easily startled. But… This is not exactly a familiar holiday to the people of the Sand. They may have taken readily to it, but the concepts and experiences of it are new.
She shrugs and says, "We can't stop here." Then she points at herself. "This is bat country!" A moment later she is hiding behind Risu again, ready for her to lead the way. "Better be quick with that kunai when we reach the wolfman. If he scratches you or bites you, you'll turn into one too!" Where did she get that from? Some myth or something from her travels.