One more thing for this Halloween

October 31, 2023 0 By leonizer

Coming Through the Gates of All Hallows Eve, Agrippa Is Back! (As Terry Lavere)

The 31 st of October has a lot of names. Halloween. All Hallows Eve. National Slutty Costume
Day. Mock the Friendless Nerd Day.
Oh, right, that may not be the 31st; sorry, I seem to be confusing it with all fucking year.
“Seriously, Ned, are you sure your church would let you come here?” Mick asks for the I-don’t-know-how-many-times-because-it already-wasn’t-funny-the-first-time-around.
“Would you give it a rest? We get it; he’s called Ned. He’s not a Simpsons character,” Liz reprimands the blond uber-jock, earning a grateful smile from me to the shortish, blue-haired, denim-jacket-wearing tomboy.
“Thanks, Liz; I—”
“Ned Flanders is buff, after all,” she interrupts my heartfelt gratitude before punching my arm.
Rubbing said arm, I retaliate with a scathing, maybe even more hurtful glare. Maybe.
Going by her widening smirk, either Liz is a masochist, or my stern disapproval is not actually
comparable to physical pain. Let’s hope for the former and buy a set of handcuffs.

* * *

If you just read the above segment and went, “Wait a second, this writing style sounds familiar,” I’m happy to greet an old player. For those of you who either don’t remember or never played any of the games I worked on, I used to write for Lesson of Passion since the very beginning, back in the times of Macromedia Flash. Some of my projects included Living with Serena, Looking for Love, Beneath Steel Clouds, The Heist: Audra vs Rhett, Abyss – The Rise of Chtulhu, The Bitcher, and up to seventy games and short episodes, so… you should have a pretty good idea of what my writing is all about.

In case you don’t? Humor, snark, character depth, sensuality, and the proverbial, often quoted, “I skipped the smut for the plot” always makes me feel conflicted because, flattering as that is, I work hard on that smut. These are all my calling cards, and since I stopped writing games, I’ve started focusing on short stories, novellas, and novels, which has forced me to improve on things that I rarely touched on when I only had to write dialog and some sparse descriptions.
As to the results? Well, as one reader recently put it: “So. Laugh boners are a thing. Thanks for letting me know.”

Now, as to the opening segment of this post, what’s that all about? Who’s Ned, and why’s he hanging out on Halloween with a bunch of people who seem to take perverse delight in riling him up?

Well, that would be the actual point of this post: I’m now publishing my work on Amazon. Because I’ve spent all of my adult life learning how to write and then how to write better. Because I’m goddamn passionate about my craft. Because I can’t see myself doing anything other than coming up with stories for you all. And this is just one of them.

I started my Seasonal Specials as a way to thank my supporters on Patreon, and then I gathered my courage and posted them on Amazon for everyone else to find and read. As it turns out, the “finding” part is the harder one, as I’m fighting an uphill battle in the middle of an overcrowded market that just got flooded with AI short stories.

So, well, you know me, or at least know about me. You know what I’m all about, how in-depth I can go into a character’s mind even in the middle of a heated-up sex scene, how vivid and natural I can make dialog sound, and how much I just plain care. So here’s the deal: I’m about to give you a longer preview of Ned and Liz’s story, a horror erotic comedy set on a Halloween night. I’m going to let you check for yourselves how much better I’ve gotten and if what I now write is something you’d be interested in. If you are?

Thank you. I’m glad to have you.


You Can Leave Your Mask On

The 31 st of October has a lot of names. Halloween. All Hallows Eve. National Slutty Costume Day.
Mock the Friendless Nerd Day.
Oh, right, that may not be the 31 st ; sorry, I seem to be confusing it with all fucking year.
“Seriously, Ned, are you sure your church would let you come here?” Mick asks for the I-don’t-
know-how-many-times-because-it already-wasn’t-funny-the-first-time-around.
“Would you give it a rest? We get it; he’s called Ned. He’s not a Simpsons character,” Liz
reprimands the blond uber-jock, earning a grateful smile from me to the shortish, blue-haired,
denim-jacket-wearing tomboy.
“Thanks, Liz; I—”
“Ned Flanders is buff, after all,” she interrupts my heartfelt gratitude before punching my arm.
Rubbing said arm, I retaliate with a scathing, maybe even more hurtful glare.
Going by her widening smirk, either Liz is a masochist, or my stern disapproval is not actually
comparable to physical pain. Let’s hope for the former and buy a set of handcuffs.
With the resigned sigh of those who learned to be the butt of all jokes sometime around
kindergarten and have devotedly stuck with their role, I look around us at the allegedly haunted
Victorian mansion that we’ll be spending the night in. Why, you ask? Well, it could be because of
the daring challenge to our collective courage, it could be because of our criminal lack of
originality, or it could be because we’re in college, under twenty-one, and need a good place to
get drunk in, so when Liz let it slip that her grandparents owned this currently unoccupied home in
the outskirts of Salem, we all couldn’t resist.
Of course, when we all joked around about the abundant opportunities for a slasher to do their
thing (read: people joked, and I laughed while trying very hard to pretend I’m an integral part of
the group and not just a hanger-on they tolerate for shits and giggles), we weren’t standing in the
unkempt yard in front of said haunted mansion, looking up at its three stories of white-painted
wood siding and murder.
I mean, it at least has big windows, which is good in most horror movie scenarios, as it means it’s
hard to get trapped without an escape route. On the other hand, it’s really, really bad in the other
scenarios, as it means you can’t keep something else out.
“You’re nerding out. I can tell when you’re nerding out,” Liz whispers to me after a not-really
painful nudge with her elbow.
“We’re about to spend Halloween in a haunted mansion, of course I’m nerding out,” I say with the
air of somebody who was pondering the narrative possibilities of the setting rather than once
again bemoaning how utterly wasteful The Zombie Survival Guide is as anything remotely helpful
in a survival scenario other than as kindling to start a fire or something hygiene related.
Look, we all went through a pandemic and know how valuable certain comforts are. Stop judging

“Sure. That’s the only reason for you to be your dweeby self,” she says with an implicit eye-roll
that soon becomes explicit. Then she takes a step forward that I don’t take advantage of to look at
how tightly her jeans fit around a magnificently round butt I wouldn’t be so crass as to—
“Stop being a creep,” Jess says as she gives me a passing dope slap before following Liz into her
grandparents’ mansion.
Reproachfully rubbing the back of my head and ignoring Mick and his three jock brothers
(Quadruplets, seriously—how can there be quadruplets in the group and I’m still the freak?), I go
to follow my painfully obviously unrequited crush along the gravel path and into her murder
I mean, what could go wrong? And by ‘wrong,’ I mean ‘even worse than what college’s been so


I’m a moron.
Now, please, don’t misunderstand. This isn’t coming from some misguided cry for attention or an
objectively wrong assessment of my innate capabilities after a lifetime of verbal and emotional
abuse. Nor is it some kind of false modesty. I am, in fact, quite intelligent, as both my grades,
hobbies, and lack of a criminal record can attest to.
(Yes, I’m counting not going on a serial-killing spree as proof of my intelligence. Sorry, Hollywood,
I’ve looked at the data, and most of them are illiterate cretins rather than creepy geniuses with a
taste for high cuisine.)
Anyway, why am I saying that I’m both a moron and intelligent? Well, it’s because there’s a certain
kind of stupidity that only really smart people can manage, such as recognizing a pattern too
subtle for inferior minds and still managing to act in the worst way possible for such a pattern.
For instance, let’s say a group of teens and twenty-somethings gather in a famous murder spot for
Halloween, an old house that smells like the wood could do with some maintenance and has
incandescent lightbulbs that keep on flickering with an eerie buzzing. Do you:
A) Realize where this is going, and nope the fuck out.
B) Realize that horror movies are not a thing that actually happens, yet remain wary of the
obviously spooky place.
C) Decide that, while the real world doesn’t run on tropes, it doesn’t not run on tropes, so you may
very well be living through the beginning of a horror movie, but your hot, blue-haired tomboy
pseudo-friend dressed in tight denim is here, and there’s alcohol, and you may as well stick around
with the sad, dying hope that it all could lead to something before your memory is wiped by black-
out drunkness.
If you picked ‘C?’ Congratulations! You just signed your gruesome death sentence at the altar of
drunken, sloppy, regret-laden make-outs.
… That I haven’t gotten.

Thus the objective reality that I’m a moron. I mean, if I had gotten stabbed through the chest after
some tongue action from Liz, I may consider this a successful night—better than my average
Saturday, at least—but as things stand, I’m afraid the evening is a wash.
“He is taking his sweet time coming back,” Jess, pony-tailed blonde ex-cheerleader that she is, says
with a worried tone.
“He went to the basement after hearing a suspicious noise, asking if there was anybody down
there and reassuring us that he would be right back. He’s dead,” I tell her from my place of
security on the floor beside the flower-patterned sofa laid in the middle of the spacious, window-
slash-security-exit-filled living room.
Liz kicks my shin.
“Stop being… you,” she tells me, unwittingly echoing to me the most valuable piece of advice my
father ever gave me.
“I’m gonna check it out,” one of Mick’s interchangeable siblings says before he stands up and goes
to the hallway, never to be seen again.
“Can you at least go in a group?!” I yell to the stupid lemming.
“Good idea!” Liz says.
Before taking my right hand and leaning back with all her weight until she manages to drag me to
my feet, only to then push me out the door.
… Fuck.
I shoot her a resentful glare over my shoulder, and she answers with a cheeky tongue (no stud in
there, but a man can dream) that I riposte by flipping her the bird.
Yes, I’m a suave Casanova with a long list of conquests; why do you ask?
Also, the hallway is empty. Because of course Sibling Number Two couldn’t wait for a fricking
minute for me to catch up.
“Anybody there?” I ask, but ironically, so it doesn’t count.
I hope.
The door to the basement beneath the stairs landing is open, slightly swaying on its hinges, and
the yellow light coming from down below assures me at least the part of the jumpscare is over and
done with.
Which prompts me to quickly look behind me, just in case.
Then, with all the courage instilled in me by not having drunk a single beer yet, because people
keep ‘forgetting’ to ask me what I want when they go to the portable fridge to get drinks, I push
the door open all the way and…
Well, I guess I should start keeping in mind that whole ‘do not speak ill of the dead’ thing.

Mostly because Generic Sibling the Second is standing in the middle of the cracked concrete floor,
looking up at his brother hanging from the wooden beams, dripping a lot of blood, and…
OK, I’m not equipped to handle this situation. I’ve got neither the tact, the social skills, or any
other fitting synonym for those two things that are essentially the same.
So I take some slow, careful steps down the stairs, deliberately making enough noise to warn the
mysterious quadruplet of my approach, and lay a tentative hand on his shoulder.
“I’m… I’m sorry. Do you want me to call the others…?” I offer.
And he slowly turns to look at me with a dead stare.
“You hated him,” he states with a flat tone.
“Well, ‘hate’ is such a strong word—”
“You hated him, and now he’s gone.”
“I mean, people use that word all the time, you know? ‘I hate radishes,’ ‘I hate getting a paper
cut,’ ‘I hate being compared to a Simpsons character’…”
“It was you! It had to be you!”
“Hey, slow down. I was up there with you the whole time; I couldn’t have done anything! I mean,
even if I was, Mick weighed, like, three of me. Do you really think I could’ve hanged him up there
by myself—”
“That’s Raph! I’m Mick!”
“Oh. I mean! Oh God, Mick, you’re alive! That’s such a relief!”
“Fuck you, Ned!” he says.
And begins to chase me.
Why, you ask? Well, because I may be a moron, but I’m certainly not that much of a moron, so
running away from the muscle-bound, enraged brute with a thing about blaming me for the
murder of his recently deceased brother is kind of a no-brainer.
Let’s hope that isn’t literal.
The thing is…
Well, I jump up the stairs three steps at a time and rush toward the living room where I hope the
remaining jock siblings will help me survive by acting according to their enlightened self-interest of
keeping their dumbest brother out of jail, but, as has already been established, I’m a nerd, and
Mick’s a jock, so that whole running away from him may have been wishful thinking on my part
seeing how he quickly maneuvers in front of me and leaves me no path of retreat but…
Going upstairs.

That whole ‘pattern-recognition’ thing I’m so fond of? Well, it turns out that when you’re being
charged at by a homicidally furious man who weighs about triple what you do, it gets thrown out
of the window like I hope I can do with my stick-thin body when I reach the nearest one.
I should survive a one-story fall.
I think.
Still, there’s one last tactic I can employ in my fight for survival. A resource as of yet untapped that
doesn’t require my legs to work better than they ever have.
“Help! Heeeeeeeeelp!”
Yes, screaming like a little girl. How did you guess?
“Stop trying to scare me shitless, dweeb!” Liz, the actual (physically) little girl, screams back from
the living room.
“Fuck you, Liz! My death shall be on your conscience!” I yell right before I rush past the open door
at the top of the stairs and grab the end of the banister to do a turn in mid-air and hit the ground
“I’ll always remember you fondly! You and your ass-staring ways!” Fuck, she knows.
“Stay still, and let me kill you!” Mick reasonably demands.
But when have I ever been reasonable?
So I dash along the corridor until I slam open the door right in front of me, and…
OK, on the bright side, there’s a window in front of me. On the not-so-bright side, I’m not feeling
up to jumping through it like an action hero.
Sooo…. Change of plans.
I turn around and slam the door closed in Mick’s face with a few seconds to spare. Just barely
enough to realize this thing has a thumb-turn lock that I hurriedly slide closed.
Then Mick’s full, intimidating, yet aesthetically pleasant weight slams against the door.
“Open up! Open up so I can murder you!”
“I fear your argument is somewhat lacking in persuasiveness!”
“You are gonna lack in persuasiveness!”
“That doesn’t make any sense!”
“You are not gonna make any sense!”
“… This isn’t deserving of any violence!”
“You are not deserving of any—you fucking smartass!”
Drats. Worth a try.

Anyway, it looks like the door is solid wood and can withstand Mick’s ramming assault for a while,
so I do have time to walk away from it, sit on the sheet-covered, dusty bed, and call someone on
my phone to tell them to take the poster child for roid rage away from me, and—
No service.

Of all the damn clichés—do you know who invented the ‘no service’ thing as a narrative device?
Star Trek. Frickin’ Star Trek, the original series. Because they had teleporters, so any situation
should’ve been easily dealt with by the expeditious method of calling in instant reinforcements
from the Enterprise, so the writers had to stew on that for a bit until one of them just suggested
that, at appropriately tense times, the communicators should stop working.
And so, decades later, I find myself staring at what would have passed for a supercomputer back
then, being as useless as a Vulcan’s sense of humor.
Also, Mick keeps slamming against the door.

He’s gotta get tired at some point, doesn’t he?
And, I mean, yeah, it’s a given that nobody will come to check up on me, but, presumably, not
everybody down there dislikes Mick as much I do, so they will, at some point, decide to see what’s
going on, find him violently trashing Liz’s grandparents’ murder house, and talk him down.
Then, after all’s said and done, somebody will remember I exist.
OK, so this is just a matter of time. Look, I’m just gonna take off this sheet and—
Sneeze violently for about five minutes, more or less.
Damn, that was… a lot of dust. Like, a lot.
Good thing I don’t have asthma anymore.
Neither does Mick, going by how enthusiastically he’s pounding that door. He should’ve at least
treated it to dinner before that. Really. Even a dateless virgin like myself knows that much.

OK, I’m getting tired of this, yet Mick obviously isn’t, so, now that I’ve got an uncovered bed to lie
“Wha—who the Hell are you?!” Mick screams, obviously trying to scare me and not because he’s
seeing an actual horror movie monster. Ha-ha. That Mick. Such a kidder. Always with the jokes.
Good old Mick.
“Stay back! Stay back, or I will—I will defend myself, I swear!”
The man’s devoted to his act. Gotta give him that much.

“No! No, drop that knife—I said to drop it! Don’t come any closer!”
“Nice performance, Mick; you almost had me going!” I tell him from where I’m currently grasping
the dusty sheet, for no other reason than me realizing I should be polite and not throw anything
on the floor while being a guest in a respectable murder house.
“Ned! Ned, open up, please! Please, I beg you!”
“Very convincing! Outstanding! Bravo!”
“She’s… She’s dripping blood, Ned! Please, you need to let me in, or I’ll—aaaaahhhhh!”
“Great job, Mick! I never knew you were such a thespian!”
“Aaaaahhh! It hurts! It…hurts… so… bad…”
“The dialogue could do with a little work, but the delivery? Brilliant. Astounding, really.”
I wait for a moment to hear Mick’s reply, but he’s so in character that he only lets out a wet
Truly, so devoted to his art. The stage has lost such a great actor to the banality of spectator
sports. A tragedy, really.
Also, somebody is hitting the door.
With a slightly different cadence than Mick. Don’t ask me how I know; it’s just one of those things
you learn when you’re a connoisseur of being chased down by angry jocks. Appreciating the
nuances becomes second nature, a prerequisite to truly enjoying the deeper subtleties of the
OK, that was bullshit. What isn’t bullshit is that the door isn’t shaking as strongly as it was a
moment ago when it was Mick frantically pounding on it, and there’s a kind of mechanical
regularity to it, coupled with a thudding noise that isn’t quite like a hand or a shoulder.
No, it’s more like a knife, the tip violently sinking into the wood, the metal rattling, and the door
shuddering when it’s pulled out.
So I, very calmly and for no apparent reason, wrap the previously discarded sheet around my hand
and make an experimental, disproportionately thick fist with it.
Look, there are plenty of reasons for this. For one thing, there’s that whole deal about a boxer’s
fracture, because it turns out the human hand has a lot of tiny bones far thinner than a skull, so
hits to the head can backfire badly. There’s also the thing where dueling manuals sometimes
taught how to use a cloak wrapped around the arm as an impromptu shield, given that cloth
armor is far more useful than usually given credit for, even when compared to chainmail.
Another reason is to try and see if slashers are susceptible to bullfighting tactics, but that’s kind of
a last resort.
“Shit! Fuck!” I say as something critically approaching ‘last resort’ levels of urgency occurs.
In this particular case? That’s a knife breaking through a wooden door.
The blade retracts, and, through cracked wood, I can spy…

A Jason fangirl?
I mean… There’s the whole hockey mask thing, splattered with thick, dripping blood, and the blue
overalls that are… OK, they are quite a bit more form-fitting than Jason’s usual garb, but the
mechanical, lumbering strikes? The silent air of menace? The huge fricking knife? Yeah, those are
all on point.
Ten out of ten. Would vote for ‘Best Girl to Get Murdered by’ at San Diego Comics Con.
The fact that she’s got metallic red hair, a bust that keeps shaking with every stabbing motion,
and, from what I can see, eyes slightly less furious than most girls I talk to all add to the charm.
Sadly, our romance was not meant to be. Not when this room is adequately equipped with the one
feature I wisely appreciated before coming into this tastefully decorated Victorian murder house.
That is: huge-ass windows.
So, at the leisurely pace of someone who’s running for his life, I dive to the wall opposite the door
currently losing durability points at a steady rate, and, making use of all of my not-inconsiderable
ingenuity, hit the glass as hard as I can with my sheet-wrapped hand.
“Shit! Fuck!” I creatively repeat for comedic effect.
That, and I think I just broke my hand. You know, rather than the glass that, when carefully
examined, seems to be… quite thick. And one of those that has a metallic mesh embedded
between panes.
… God fucking damn it.
OK, all is not lost: I’m a grown-up man going against a girl whose only advantage seems to be a
horror movie knife, tenacity, and being able to stab to death the guy I was terrified of moments
ago. Meanwhile, I have on my side the greatest advantage I could ever have: a dusty sheet.

“Just out of curiosity, do you have any allergies I should know about?” I considerately ask the
courteous girl while pondering the hypothetical reach of my breath weapon.
She stops for a moment, cocks her head curiously, and shakes it in a very eloquent and definitive
Then proceeds to restab the door, widening the gap with every strike.
“Ah… Look, I’m sure you are a very dedicated horror movie monster and all that, but maybe I
should draw your attention to the fact that there are other, less protected people in this house.
You know, people who aren’t behind a locked door that you need to tear down. And, well, not to
point out the obvious, but if you were to leave right now, just for a quick stab or two, I would likely
be terrified enough that I would stupidly vacate this semi-secure location to try and escape by
foot. That means running. And have you seen me? What kind of endurance can you expect from
this build? Sure, I may outrun you in a short dash, but in a prolonged race for survival? Absolutely
no chance. It’s a known fact that women tend to outperform men in stamina-related tasks when
accounting for the difference in size—”

She’s stopped stabbing the door, which may be the first time one of my rants has caused a lack of
physical violence. Sadly, this only means that the gap is now large enough to slip her hand through
and turn the lock.
“… OK, that may change some of the premises of my argument about leaving me alone to shank
more entertaining prey, but I feel my argument is still, overall, quite solid,” I tell her with slumping
shoulders and the resigned sigh of one who knows the unwashed masses are, once again,
reluctant to listen to wisdom.
The only answer I get is the door creepily and slowly creaking open before rule 63 Jason looks at
me from the doorway and shrugs in a ‘Don’t hate the player, hate the game’ way.


And that’s all he wrote.
Except these are just the first 3.5k words of the story, and there’s actually 11.5k words of it in the full version, so, once again, if you like my writing, if you liked any of the games I ever worked on, or if you just desperately want to find out how a dusty sheet stands up to a horror movieknife…
Welcome aboard!
I’ll do my best so that you enjoy your stay.