Spooky Shirley
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All Hallows' Eve, 2727
Khorgragg's Pub

Spooky Shirley was inebriated to a ludicrous degree despite lacking a digestive system. He howled back another pint of ale, which sloshed through his ribcage and down the barstool into sticky puddles on the floor. There was no doubt the bar's immortal owner would declare the hardwood flooring a write-off. As he had done countless times before in the presence of Spooky Shirley.

His name wasn't even Shirley, even if the dead guy he inhabited seven-hundred-odd years ago had been. There was a single thing he shared with his bodily jailor from centuries past. And that was a fondness for downing thaumaturgically-generated endless barrels of brewskies with his pals. Or his "fellow fuckboys", as he often slurred.

"Another!" he belched, twisting his head. He faced the bartender: a hairy, faceless, multi-armed creature. It muttered an exotic incantation, and seconds later, another pint of ale filled into a tarnished chalice in front of Spooky Shirley.

"How is he even drinking these? Like, doesn't he realize it's going right through him?" stuttered Pumpkinskull. Pumpkinskull was no different from the (now-rare) average human, unlike the monsters that frequented Khorgragg's Pub. Except for the fact that his head had been transfigured into a pumpkin, that is.

"How mortifyingly myopic must you be to ask such a quacked question, Gourdgullet?" screeched Samara, a translucent apparition with long black hair, shackled to the table.

"What, we was all thinking it! Even Nedritch. Wasn't you, Ned?" Pumpkinskull said to the chair next to him. It was empty.

Shirley stood, heaving the chalice up with him, which splashed everyone at the table with its contents. His jaw chattered alive. "Fellow fuckboys and laylassies! Tonight we be seated here betwixt the heat of the Purple Sun and the Otherworld fer another ghoulish treat. We close our celebration of consumption and cliff-hangers for the year!"

"But wait, we're missing someone!" squealed Pumpkinskull.

"Aye, who'll be smooching the ole toad Khorgragg fer their tardiness?"

"It's that batty old witch. She forgot the spell that turns her back into a bitch, and now she's stuck as a pussycat until the Hollow's Day!"

As if summoned, a coal-furred cat jumped to the table top and began to groom itself.

Pumpkinskull let out an enormous guffaw. "Speak of the demoness! We was just joking about ya! Oh, you look RIDICULOUS right now!"

With a whisper of a yelp, the cat clawed at the pumpkin man's head, gouging at his pulpy eye. "Pipe it down, fruit face. You wish you could look as purrfect as I do right now," said the feline, otherwise known as cranky thaumaturge Occultess Arabella Kovalanskaya.

"May the grungey goblin pour a round o' the strongest potion in the Otherworld fer all the fuckboys by me side. And with all parties present, I'll begin me tale o' the Skeleton War!"

Samara turned a shade of ectoplasmic green, indicating a sneer of bratty proportions. "The Skeleton War? Again?! Oh, I wish I could still die." Everyone else moaned in their own personal flavour of agony.

At once, as if to ease the pain that Spooky Shirley's story would bring them, helpings of a dark hazel elixir filled each personalized goblet at the table. Pumpkinskull's was a floating jack-o-lantern with his own likeness. Samara conjured up a phantom pot, tailored to be functionally bottomless. Nedritch — who wasn't there — sparked up nothingness from nowhere. And Arabella, who could use neither her magicks nor her hands in this form, was handed an ordinary saucer by the goblin behind the bar.

With everyone placated by the numbing wonders of alcohol, Spooky Shirley began his account.


INCIDENT LOG


MTF-Theta-0 ("Mr. Bones’ Wild Ride") sat on their great skeletal stallions, looking over the valley beneath them. At the front was their leader, the esteemed Col. Shirley Bones, atop the head of an unearthed Tyrannosaurus Rex. One hundred men of bones strong, they were still facing ten-to-one odds against the Skeleton Legion of the Lost.

"Mr. Bones, the enemy attacks Site-66! What shall we do?" squealed one of Mr. Bones' cowardly men.

"We will vanquish these foes and save the Living within our walls. For we are the Bones who Hurt. On Rex, charge!"

And they charged.

[INCIDENT LOG VERY INCOMPLETE]


As he finished his story, Spooky Shirley realized that everyone around him had blacked out from intoxication. They never did ever hear the end of his story, and the moment of triumph he and his men felt.

And as the Purple Sun rose once more, this Hollow's Day would come and pass no differently than the last. And though Shirley was dead inside, he knew that his actions of valiance had made him feel the most alive. He downed the last of his ale, looked to the friends that listened, and the ones that did not. And as Khorgragg's Pub faded away into the twilight, until the next year, Shirley mustered the closest he could make to a smile.


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