The bar in Room 237 was empty at two in the morning. Not because everyone else was asleep, but because they were all downstairs at the bar in the Gold Room.
Morgana had gone to bed. She'd left about two hours ago, leaving the General to be the only one seated at the bar. He already on his third tall wine, though he had a famously high tolerance so the three glasses had little to no affect on him.
Room 237 was unrecognizable from what it was supposed to look like. It had even been connected to the hotel room next door after they busted down the wall between. It looked like an average, dimly-lit, wood pub. It had dark wood walls, a dark plywood floor, a poker table smack in the midst of the wooden tables, and a bar along the left wall directly next to the door. In the far corner at the back was the door that led the bathroom.
Nobody went to the bathroom in 237. It made them uncomfortable.
Bar 237, as it was now called, was where the monsters went to drink if they weren't in the mood to socialize, had screwed up orders from a superior, or were having some form of random identity crisis.
Hannibal was in here quite often.
He thought Morgana would've found it fascinating. He thought his ability to mix his own drinks would impress her. Instead, she had demanded answers of her whereabouts and survival from him. In the end, she stormed out and he ended up drinking her Cranberry Chianti Supreme.
As the General dipped some salted crackers into a Grande Grape Martini Tequila, the door creaked open and Krueger stepped in.
"Sorry, but I don't speak to filthy backstabbers," Hannibal barked.
The Lieutenant groaned and closed the door. He approached Hannibal and sat on the stool next to him, folding his arms over the counter.
"Listen, man, he had to know. Sooner or later, the Captain was gonna go down to the garage and see that car, wonder what the hell happened to it, and then punch the snot outta the Server,"
"Good. Two birds with one stone. Serves them right for calling this place by your ridiculous nickname," Hannibal spat. "The BOO. Please."
"It is not a ridiculous nickname, it is an incredibly clever nickname that perfectly sums up where we work; and it's funny because we're horror Characters," the Lieutenant stated, leaning one arm on the bar. "But we aren't here to talk about my incredibly clever nickname. We are here because..."
He looked at the ceiling and closed his eyes. The General frowned.
"I'm sorry," The Lieutenant sighed and looked back down. "I can't believe I'm saying this, and I hope never to say it again...but you were right and I'm sorry."
A smirk crossed Hannibal's face.
"Don't make me say it again. Anyway, I was handicapped in that moment. I should've respected your choice to drive. This does not mean I think you're a good driver, you are a frickin' terrible driver. But in that moment, your call made sense and I was a jerk,"
There was a pause. The General guffawed.
"Yeah, you were!"
"So were you though,"
"But being jerks is what we do, duuude," Hannibal winked, nudging Krueger with his elbow.
There was a deadpan look on the Lieutenant's face.
"Don't ever say 'dude' again,"
Another beat. The Lieutenant sighed dramatically, picking at a small piece of wood on the bar's counter with a bladed finger.
"Where's the witch?"
"Morgana's not a witch,"
"Whatever. Where is she?"
"She went to bed,"
"Aw. Date didn't go as planned?"
The General glowered. "It was not a date, Lieutenant. It was meant to be two adults speaking to one another about their personal lives and opinions,"
"That's what a date is!" Krueger cried.
The General said nothing and chugged back the last of his martini tequila. Then, he smiled slyly, narrowing his dark eyes.
"Oh boy," Krueger whispered. "I hate that face. What weird dastardly plan to impress the entities of the universe have you just come up with?"
"I wanna mix a drink for you, moron,"
"Oh. Wait- you mix? You?"
"After I saw how many of those ghost females you attracted downstairs from doing it, I immediately watched several videos on YouTube about it. Then, I wasted seven more hours on YouTube. You know how amazing that place is? You can watch literally anything you want," Hannibal gushed with wide eyes.
The Lieutenant stared at him with a horrified expression.
"Did you use my laptop?"
The General was grinning madly.
"Okay, remind me to delete my internet history next time I turn it on, alright?" the Lieutenant moaned.
Lecter put two hands on the counter and pulled himself up, swinging his body around to the other side of the counter. The Lieutenant nodded approvingly.
"That was cool. Where'd you learn that trick? Oh wait-"
"YouTube," Krueger buried his burned face in his hands. "That internet history is so gone."
While the General started pouring drinks into a mixer and began to shake them around, he asked- "Do you think signing that Tract was a good idea?"
"You're in charge, not me. I mean, I was a little pissed about it at first but, after thinking about it for a while, we have to do what's best for the WDP,"
"Why'd you even come up here? You're too evil to come up here just to apologize,"
"There's no such thing as being too evil to apologize," the Lieutenant noted.
"Then why don't I ever apologize for anything?"
"Because you're nuts," the Lieutenant laughed. "But that's alright, cuz so am I."
The General poured the dark red liquid from the shaker into a martini glass and then whipped out two other long containers.
"To be honest," the Lieutenant said. "One reason I came up here because the Secretary was screaming Bonnie Tyler on the karaoke machine downstairs and I was done with that."
"Understandable," Hannibal nodded.
He squeezed what looked like purple icing into the drink, stirred it, squeezed a substance like red jelly on top of that, then striped them back and forth.
The Lieutenant cocked an eyebrow, as this looked more like cake decorating than drink mixing.
"I'm trying to make this tequila look like your sweater," he informed.
"It's red and green, man,"
"Shuddup, I'm almost done,"
"Hey, I'm not a critic,"
The General grinned maliciously at the drink as he poured in a new red wine. He delicately stuck a yellow umbrella in it and handed it to his friend.
"Here you are. I call it... Elm Street Chianti Martini Dream,"
"You flatter me," the Lieutenant smirked. He cheered the drink and then sipped at it. The General watched on excitedly.
Before the Lieutenant had even swallowed, his eyes went wide and he held the liquid in his mouth, making a low 'hrrrmmmmm' noise. Hannibal smiled.
"Is it good? It's good, right?"
Krueger set the drink down and, still not swallowing, smiled forcefully with a shaky thumbs up. The General's face fell.
"You hate it,"
The Lieutenant shook his head unconvincingly. However, he spun around and spit it out over the floor.
"What the hell was IN that?"
"Grape cream! You love grape cream!" Hannibal snapped.
"On ICE CREAM! You don't put ice cream drizzle in a DRINK! I thought food was, like, your thing, man!"
"My thing," Lecter said, his eyes shadowing dangerously. "is making sure you idiots don't get in the way of my conquest of this pathetic universe."
"Yeah. Like I'm gonna get in your way," Krueger rolled his eyes. But he smirked playfully and Hannibal did so in return.
The door opened again and a man in a black suit and red bow tie rode in on a tricycle far too small for him. His black hair was slick and parted and his face was painted white with small red targets on his cheeks.
"Yo! My homies! What is up! Are we chillin' like villains up in here?"
"Get out," the Lieutenant and General chorused.
"Your entire life is garbage," Hannibal said.
"No one loves you," Krueger added.
The man turned his tricycle and rode out in an instant. Once the door closed, the other two shook their heads at each other.
"The nerve," the General sighed.
"Some peoples' kids," the Lieutenant added.
They sat in silence before the door swung open once more and the Commander barged inside.
"What the-?" he panted. "What are you guys doing in here?"
"Making effing daisy chains," Hannibal snarled. "It's a bar, imbecile, what do you think we're doing?"
"Look- man- you know that crazy lady we just brought back from the dead? She's running around like a maniac!" Jason cried, looking over his shoulder.
Following an angry scream, there was a dinging sound like a tricycle bell and a loud crash.
"I think she just totalled the Plumber's bike!" the Commander cried.
That was all it took to have Hannibal leap over the counter and Krueger scramble off the stool, launching out the door past Jason.
The hotel hallways were almost all identical with white walls and a bizarre dark orange and brown carpet with hexagonal patterns. Currently, the hallway outside of Bar 237 was being trashed by a Morgana Pendragon, who was striding down the hall in a fit of rage, blasting what looked like fireballs at the walls.
"Holy shhhhhe looks pissed," Krueger breathed.
The Plumber screamed in horror at the mangled tricycle that had been tossed down the hall.
"That- was- MINE!" He whipped out a long knife and the Secretary, who was watching from the sidelines, held up her phone.
"Oh, I am so happy I came upstairs. This should be excellent!"
"Secretary," Lecter growled. Carrie looked up, wide-eyed.
Cracking a smile, the General said- "Send me that video when you're done," He turned to watch the oncoming fight and cupped his hands around his mouth. "GREAT IDEA, PLUMBER, YOU DO YOU!"
Krueger snorted behind his hand.
The Plumber ran at Morgana, who had just flicked her wrist and launched Michael Myers into a wall. She stopped walking and raised a hand just as the Plumber raised his knife over his head.
Her pupils glowed a light orange colour and before the eager and impressed faces of the monsters, the Plumber's entire body was thrown into the air by some invisible force. He hit the ceiling hard and then collided with the floor, making a nasty thud that caused Jason and Krueger to cringe. Carrie whooped encouragingly, filming the entire ordeal.
The Plumber did not get up and Morgana stepped over his body and approached Hannibal, who had burst into applause.
"Very good! Very impressive! You'll have to tell me all of your tricks, really! I've never seen anything like that-"
"I need to talk to you and they DENIED that I see you!" Morgana hissed, gripping the front of the General's blue jumpsuit.
She pointed past her wreckage down the hall to where the Grady Twins were standing in the distance, emotionless and silent. The General rolled his eyes.
"You have to excuse them, they're idiots,"
"Idiots! Ha! As if anyone in this ridiculous building is smart enough to call others 'idiots'!" Morgana sneered. She straightened her black dress, taking a few deep breaths before continuing.
"I must speak with you, Lecter. Personally,"
The General glanced around at his comrades, who simply watched with wide eyes. The Plumber had not moved but was breathing steadily. Nobody cared.
Sighing, the General drew upright from Morgana's intense gaze.
"I see. We will step into the bar together and I will mix you a drink-"
"I don't want that rubbish you call drinks," Morgana spat.
"Hey, what's going on?"
Captain Torrance came bounding down the hallway holding typewriter. Morgana spun around and raised a hand threateningly but The General slowly lowered it with a smirk.
"Relax. You may have to kill him later," he whispered.
Morgana shot him an angry look and jerked her arm away.
"What did you do to my wallpaper?" Jack cried.
"Lady Morgana was denied to speak with me by the Privates," the General explained. "She seemed quite distressed. It wasn't her fault she damaged it."
"What is it, exactly?" Morgana asked, glancing up and down the left wall.
"Wallpaper. Coloured paper we put on a wall," the Lieutenant explained.
"Oh have you never seen wallpaper before, great and powerful Lady Morgana?" the Secretary teased, tucking her phone into her cleavage.
"Watch your tongue, child, or you may find it gone," Morgana snapped. She stormed towards the Captain, who glanced down at her breasts for a second. "Do you own this god-forsaken place?"
"I need a crystal ball,"
"How stupid are you? A crystal ball,"
"To be fair, you didn't know what wallpaper was-"
"QUIET!" Morgana screeched. Everyone fell silent and the General smiled approvingly. All else looked slightly terrified.
"Um- a crystal ball- Well, seeing as we're in a haunted hotel, there is some weird stuff here... I think I got one in the freezer downstairs," the Captain muttered, taking a few steps back from the seething Morgana. "Just gimme, like, five minutes-"
He turned and bolted the other direction down the hall, jumping over the Plumber's body, holding his typewriter like a baby. Spinning on her heel, Morgana strode back towards the General and grasped the front of the white t-shirt under his jumpsuit, dragging him back into Bar 237.
The General was thrown lightly against a table and he smoothed his front with a smile.
"I'm very flattered for having a personal conversation but-"
Morgana glared at the bar door and it slammed shut. She pointed at a table in the corner.
"Sit. Now. Being in a room alone with you is pitiful and I want to get this over with,"
They moved to the table for two and sat on either side. The General folded his hands on the table's surface. He was still smirking evilly. It was what he considered to be his signature look and he prided himself on having it.
"How may I help you?"
"I know what you're planning," Morgana said.
"Did the Lieutenant show you the WDP?"
"Question answered. So you know I plan to take this universe for myself. How did you manage to find out, may I ask?"
"I had a nightmare just now,"
"Oh my. Yes, that can happen here. Especially if you eat the red pepper burritos right before bed," He straightened up. "You're in luck. I'm an ex-psychologist."
"Don't act stupid," Hannibal sneered. He couldn't wipe that grin from his face, he was having too much fun. "You came to me to receive mental health solutions. I'm the man people come to when they need to express their feelings. People sense that about me whether they understand what a psychologist is or not. I'm a listener. So, have you had any past traumas or-"
"My nightmares are not petty little anxiety dreams I come up with," Morgana gasped, though her cheeks had reddened slightly. "They're visions that predict the future. And I just had one about you, Krueger, and everyone in this place."
"I'm pleased to see that we're staying in your conscience-"
"For someone who claims to listen, you never seem to stop talking," Morgana interrupted again. "I know you don't believe in magic-"
The General finally stopped smiling. He scoffed. "Nonsense and non-existent practices,"
"- but it's real. I have it. I was born with it. All of my kind are. There were three powerful witches in my time: l the Disir. Their power of sight reached beyond any practiced before. They could predict the stone truth, something many aren't able to do. As you've taken me a thousand years from home...something I'm having a difficult time processing-"
"Understandable. I know what it feels like to be unfairly taken from your home and being trapped somewhere you hate,"
"- I believed the Disir to be dead. But they spoke to me. In my dream, Lecter, they spoke to me,"
The General was smirking once again, now with disbelief. What she was saying was beyond ludicrous. But he wanted to humour her and he had been fascinated by her since he first read about her. Hearing her speak was oddly enjoyable for him.
"And what did they tell you?"
"That you will lose everything,"
"Yes! They said that you will lose everything you and your comrades have built! Your plan to take Charactia will fail!" Morgana cried. "I want to help take Charactia. I do. But the Disir say that you will lose and what the Disir say is most likely set in stone."
"Morgana, I've decided to believe that you make your own future," the General said. "I'm pleased you'd like to help us in my conquest and I will be sure to give you a fraction of this Earth-"
"You don't believe me,"
"Is it obvious?"
"I am trying to warn you!"
"I don't need warning. I'm far too intelligent for-"
The door opened and the Lieutenant walked in gingerly with a small crystal ball filled with white smoke, seated on a gold pedestal. He set it on the table between Morgana and the General.
"So apparently we have one of these now," he said. "The Captain replicated it."
"What does 'replicate' mean?" Morgana demanded.
"It's a way of creating something that didn't exist before," the General answered. "A sort of copy of something."
Hannibal dramatically rolled his eyes. "If you say so,"
"So it's not a real crystal ball?"
"Are you going to keep asking bothersome questions or are you going to actually make a case for your harebrained claims?"
Morgana fell silent and scowled.
"Good work," the General said and waved a hand to dismiss Krueger. Krueger saluted and left sullenly. Lecter turned back to Morgana. He intertwined his fingers and rested his chin upon them.
"So why do you need this exactly?"
"I need to show you what I saw in my dream. The Disir told me that there is a real All-Knower here in Charactia that will tear down what you've built," Morgana whispered.
A crease appeared between Hannibal's eyebrows. "An All-Knower? Here? But that's not possible. They don't know Charactia exists,"
"You knew about the existence of All-Knowers?!" Morgana hissed.
"I've known for quite some time," the General explained thoughtfully. "We had enough transporter juice to use for one trip there and back. It was a brief trip. All I know is that they know all about us...hence their names. And there's one here in Charactia? You're sure?"
Morgana nodded. "It's what I intend to show you. But it requires a real crystal ball and, as you said, this is only a copy. It might not even work,"
"Well, let's try it out then, shall we?"
Morgana outstretched her hand over the crystal ball and closed her eyes. Long sentences of ancient and unknown tongue spilled from her mouth and when she opened her eyes, her pupils shone gold again.
"The Disir call her...Alice,"
The smoke in the crystal ball cleared and Gwendolyn MacMillan's face, scared and white as seen in the food court, swam into view.
Hannibal's hands hit the table, and his jaw hit the floor
"Her..." he whispered.
"You know her?"
"Know her?!" The General ran a hand over his slicked back hair. His heart was going a mile a minute. "I spoke to her- I stood barely a few feet away from her- I sent the Commander to apprehend her to use against that annoying Ethan Hunt and then- then I changed my mind. We were cornered so- so I told the Lieutenant there was no need to take her! There was no need- no- Are you trying to tell me that this girl- this terrified girl who screamed her ruddy guts out at me- is going to end everything I've created?"
Morgana nodded slowly, her mouth open a little. Hannibal looked down at the table breathing heavily, his hands clenched into white fists.
"She's the All-Knower,"
Morgana's lip curled. "I believe that the spirits of the Disir are not as reliable as they were when they were in both body and mind. If we can kill Alice, we might have a chance of winning.
"Look who doesn't believe the fortune-tellers now,"
"You'd understand my logic if you actually took magic seriously. At least you know who the All-Knower is. She'll be easier to kill that way,"
There was silence between them and slowly, the General looked up, an evil grin spread from each of his stuck-out ears. His eyes were darting around hungrily.
"No. She won't be killed. She's an All-Knower. She's holds all of the secrets of this universe..." He licked his lips. "Imagine what we could learn."
"That is a horrible idea!" Morgana said. "The Disir said that she'll destroy you- she must die!"
But the General was already on his feet, wringing his hands and racing to exit the bar. Morgana jumped up after him, calling his name. He pounded outside of the bar with a wide toothy grin, facing Krueger, Carrie, Jason, and a newly awakened Myers and Plumber.
"I want you to call another WDP meeting and spread the word,"
Everyone groaned but the General cut them off. "Sleep is for the weak. I have new information and we have to get to work,"
No one moved.
"Go on! Get moving! All of you!"
The Lieutenant cocked an eyebrow and raced off the other way down the hall. One by one, saluting, the group split up. However, just as the Secretary turned to leave, the General raised a hand.
"Not you. I have a very important task for you,"
The Secretary gave a frustrated smile and remained back.
"I want you to find the Tracker and have him speak to me in an hour," Hannibal explained. "Then, I want to speak with you privately in my office tomorrow morning."
Saluting, the Secretary took off down the hall.
Clapping his hands together, the General looked to Morgana, who had a nasty scowl on her face.
"Come now, Lady," The General whispered. "I think you just saved this operation."
"I think you just doomed it,"
"Go on downstairs and join the meeting. I'm going to think,"
Rolling her green eyes, Morgana crossed her arms and turned to stride away down the hall. But she jerked to a stop when Lecter gripped her arm. He was staring up at the ceiling with glossy eyes that almost appeared yellow from the lights.
"I saved your life, Morgana Pendragon," he whispered dangerously. "And therefore, you will do as I say."
Looking down, the deep blue irises returned and he gave Morgana an evil smile. He let her go and she whipped round, charging off down the hallway.
The General folded his hands behind his back and whistled to himself, walking the other way, drunk in thought about the infinite things he was going to learn from Alice the All-Knower.
TO BE CONTINUED...