"Lemme get this right: you want me to accompany you to an abandoned warehouse? On Halloween?"
Funny thing, really. When Corey's crazy plans that just might work aren't related to snatching up a new gig or saving one, they're actually pretty bad ideas. Like this one, for instance.
After you turn thirteen, trick-or-treating on Halloween just kinda loses it's appeal. Sure, the whole "free candy" aspect of it is fun, but it gets old. Now when Halloween rolls around, it's all about parties and gory costumes and which scary movies to watch; if you're popular, that is. But our dear Grojbandians (although they were admirable) didn't have too many friends besides themselves, which meant no parties for them. They would've gone with the "gory costumes and horror films" route, but Kin and Kon were away visiting family, so the left Corey and Laney to do whatever they wanted on the holiday. And I guess Corey wanted to hike out into the woods with his sarcastic and pessimistic best friend!
"Yeah!" Corey confirmed. He didn't seem to notice the dreadful look on Laney's face. "It'll be so much fun, Lanes!"
"It would be so much fun if trouble didn't follow us everywhere we go!" Laney corrected, looking more exasperated with her frontman the longer she had to explain this to him. He was cute, but she sometimes questioned if he had any common sense; that would totally be a dealbreaker.
Her worries didn't seem to rain on his parade. He hopped up on the stage, grabbed her shoulders, and turned her body entirely in his direction. Again, he didn't notice her facial expression, which had changed from the usual, sarcastic-neutral to a small mouthed, eyes widened stare of surprise, complete with a tinge of pink on her cheeks. Forget having common sense, was he blind or just that oblivious?
"Lanes," he began, looking dead serious, "I promise you that if you agree to adventure out into the unknown with me, it'll be the best Halloween ever! Even better than that time we raised the dead!"
Laney giggled at the memory. "That was because of your crappy lyrics."
Corey rolled his eyes, letting Laney have this one. "True, but I promise I won't sing this time. I won't even bring my guitar, and that's, like, my main weapon!"
"You use your guitar as a weapon?" Laney repeated jokingly. "No wonder it takes so long for you to tune it."
"Anyway!" Corey strained, shaking Laney's shoulders to bring her back to the topic at hand. She knew how bad he wanted to do this, and she was just trying to mess with him and get him sidetracked. "Will you please come with me?"
The redhead comically tapped her index finger against her chin, deeply considering her friend's proposal and listing to pros and cons in her head. On the one hand, in every horror movie she'd seen, horrifying things happen when people decide to check out an abandoned place alone at night, and she didn't exactly want to be the victim of such events. But on the other hand, she literally had nothing else to do and this was pretty intriguing. Putting the gruesome (mostly fictional) murders aside, Corey had informed her that it was one of Barney's old buildings from another failed startup, and let's be honest here, Barney couldn't conjure up anything even remotely freaky or dangerous. Just ask the Newmans about their first gig, they'll tell you all about it.
Finally she shrugged. "Buy me some candy, and I'm in." What, did you really think she wasn't going to try and bribe him?
Corey let out a squeak of excitement, quickly hugging Laney (and making her face turn the shade of her hair), and immediately began babbling about how they were gonna get there, how late they would have to leave to avoid any trick-or-treaters, the legend that one of Barney's workers died there and now haunts the place-
Wait, "haunts?" Laney was sure he was joking. He had to be, right?
Laney showed up at the Riffin's porch right at 7:00, as she had been instructed to. It was already dark out, but the amount of jack-o-lanterns and eerie lights out on people's front yards made up for it. Her attire had changed, since only a moron would go exploring in the dead of night in only skinny jeans and a t-shirt. She was still wearing them, but a fleece, black hoodie had been added to her outfit, along with a beanie of her own. Now that's what she should've tried to pawn off of Corey.
Before she even had a chance to think about knocking, Corey flung the door open, seemingly having been awaiting her arrival. "Nice to see you didn't chicken out, Lanes," he joked, playfully ruffling her hair, much to her disapproval.
"I wouldn't dream of it," she replied, her tone ten times more sarcastic than her friend's as she fixed her hair. "You and I both know that you'd be too scared to go by yourself; lets's face it, I'm the tough one here!"
"That you are, fella," Corey nonchalantly quipped, dragging his bassist inside and quickly closing the door as to not let anymore cold air inside. "I don't think I've ever seen you wearing sleeves, by the way."
Oh, he noticed. Laney felt her face flush, and she looked down at her boots, tugging the the sleeves of her oversized hoodie; in reality, it was one of her sister's, who is an averaged sized human, but Laney was barely 5'1 and she was practically a twig, so everything looked and felt baggy, a.k.a comfy.
"We just never leave the garage, so I haven't really had to before," she explained, shrugging.
Corey chuckled, traces of a dopy smile remaining on his face. "Yeah, you're right. You look nice, though." He mumbled that last part more to himself, but Laney definitely heard.
He quickly changed the topic, noticing the backpack slung over Laney's shoulders. "What's in the bag?"
"Oh!" Laney exclaimed, almost as if she'd forgotten about the weight on her upper half and the uncomfortable, scratchy straps digging into her collarbones. "I brought a map, flashlights, and it's to store the candy you hopefully got me?"
Corey sighed. Laney hadn't forgotten, unfortunately. He didn't forget to buy candy, but he was hoping she wouldn't remember so that he could have it. Corey grabbed the mix bag of candy sitting on the stage and dropped it into Laney's palm, receiving a small "thank you" in return.
"When were you thinking we head out?"
"Soon," Corey answered. "We wouldn't wanna go out super late, right? I mean, that's gotta be a little unsettling, even by your standards."
Laney nodded, popping a piece of candy in her mouth, relishing in the sweet, somewhat overbearingly fake strawberry flavor. "Yeah, I hate being alone at night. This place isn't too far, correct? Because there's no way I'm gonna walk for hours just to get spooked."
Corey chuckled, hopping up onto the stage. It felt kinda weird hanging out with just Laney; a good weird, though. "Don't worry, it's not that far from here. It's just on the outskirts of town."
Laney hummed in response, joining Corey on the stage. "Do ya' think we'll find a ghost?" She asked in a joking tone, elbowing him in the ribs.
"I hope so!" Corey mumbled, excitement illuminating his eyes. "Kin and Kon would be wicked jealous!"
The readhead scoffed. "If he even believed us! I don't even believe in ghosts, and I love anything and everything paranormal!" She glanced at the clock. "We should get going, yeah?"
Corey grinned adventurously. "Yeah, let's go."
Grasping each other's hands (Laney tried to hide the pink hue on her cheeks, Corey didn't even notice it), the two ran out of the garage and down the street, blindly following the street lights and Corey's half baked directions.
"Are you sure that we're going the right way?" Laney piped up after a while. "We passed the town sign, like, eight minutes ago!"
To be blunt, Corey's sense of direction sucked just as much as the daily abuse his sister puts her "best friend" through everyday. Laney and him were officially lost in the woods. This night couldn't have gotten any worse.
"Next time, I'm picking where we adventure off to," Laney grumbled, her expected sarcasm really shining through now.
All Corey could do was sheepishly grin and hope Laney wouldn't try to punch him. "Sorry, Lanes! I probably should've let you lead this one. But I'm sure we can find our way back to town; we've just gotta remember all the zigs and zags we made to end up here..."
He trailed off, seeing that his comment had just irritated Laney more. In case you didn't already know, or you're new here, when Laney Penn gets angry, you do not want to be on the receiving end of it. She may be small, but that hotheaded bassist will mow you down quicker than Hunky Nick Mallory fan girls. You'd probably be lucky if you walked away with a broken bone, that's how violent she can get.
"You had best be glad that I didn't bring my main weapon with me," she hissed, slowing her walking and leaning against one of the trees, gruffly crossing her arms over her chest.
Corey frowned; he hated upsetting Laney. He leaned up against the sturdy pine tree, too, and slung an arm around Laney's shoulders for good measure. Her stone-cold expression didn't waver, her emerald eyes just drifted towards him to shoot daggers at his face. He should probably say something, unless he wanted to prove Kin's theory that looks actually can kill.
"I really am sorry," he apologized again, begging for the redhead's face to drop the death stare, "I just wanted to do something fun on Halloween this year, just you and me! Like when we were kids! I didn't mean to get us lost, I swear."
Laney sighed, shrugged, but made sure to keep her friend's arm around her shoulders. "I know, Core. I guess I'm just disappointed that this night turned into kind of a bust. Like, we can pull off scary stuff, but nothing scary ever happens to us. Y'know?"
Ha, the blue haired teen begged to differ; plenty of scary things happened to him, Kin, and Kon, often times constructed by his bassist, who'd seen every horror picture that's ever played in the Peaceville Theater and then some. Instead of her body being 78% water, it was 78% nightmare fuel that she had no problem unleashing on her poor, surprisingly un-expecting (which was super weird, because she pulls her tricks every week) band mates. But whatever made her feel better, Corey would go along with it.
"Speaking of which, what was the freakiest, scariest thing we've ever done?" Corey posed the question, hoping to cheer her up.
Laney didn't even have to think about it. "It's a tie," she quickly responded, "between the "revenge puppets" and the song we did at Camp Screamly. I mean, that even creeped me out!"
Ah, yes, some of their most horrific (and super fun) stunts. Corey loved scaring his sister half to death and he was certain that those kids at camp would need fifteen years of full time therapy to get over that one.
"Those were pretty wicked," Corey agreed. Suddenly, the nonchalant, chill expression was wiped away from his face as a sickening thought popped into his brain. "Hey, uh, did we ever actually get rid of those suits?"
Laney blinked. "I thought you did?"
Corey shook his head. "No, Kin told me that you did it...?"
And suddenly, in the most cliché, horror-film fashion, a loud, squeaky, ominous clank came from behind them.
The two teenagers froze, whipping their heads from side to side to see where the noise came from. As much as Laney tried, she couldn't bite back the grin beginning to decorate her face; she wanted scary, and that's exactly what she's getting. It's always nice to get what you wished for, isn't it? Corey was mentally freaking out, seeing as just coming to the conclusion that those suits had never been destroyed was terrifying enough, let alone that they could've fallen into the wrong hands. Now, you're probably thinking, "well, what if the puppets just came to life to enact revenge on the band? They were the ones that left them for dead, after all," but Corey would prefer to not go down that road right now. Maybe in the following two minutes, though.
"Lanes, what in the hey is happening?" He squeaked, eyes darting all over the place. Believe it or not, he was considering hiding behind Laney's short stature; whether that would shield him from what was to come, he had no idea, but it was worth a shot, right?
"Why're you asking me?" She replied, only to receive a deadpan stare in response. Laney rolled her eyes. "Oh, I get it. Look, just because I've been prancing you for years doesn't mean I'm doing it now! Jeez, Core, I thought we were friends!" If that last bit wasn't the pure definition of sarcasm, I don't know what is.
Just as Corey was about to respond, something else spoke instead. A dry, rusty drone of "revenge..." was enough to make Corey run for the hills. Don't judge him, it's Halloween! This is the one night he can act like a wimp without any repercussions.
Laney blinked. "Was that what I think it was?" She turned around and saw Corey square up, knowing that he would probably just end up bolting. It was still funny looking.
"Yep!" He nodded. "They've come to kill us and drag our souls down to their puppet heck-hole!"
"No, dude, I obviously knew it was the puppets," Laney explained, still calm as ever, "what I meant was, isn't that voice just a little high pitched to be yours? Or a guy's voice at all for that matter?"
Corey shrugged, just as another gravely cry and louder clanks and clunks came from behind them, growing louder and louder, because the metal skeletons were getting closer and closer. Laney spun on her heels, cautiously trekking forward. She was suspicious, because this truly seemed like a well-constructed prank. But then again, weird stuff tended to follow the Grojbandians around, whether they wanted it or not.
"Revenge..." the voice drawled again, followed by more heavy footsteps. Laney's fists were balled up in front of her face; oh, it's on!
Suddenly, the slimy, broken, and long since retired mechanical animatronics burst through the trees, looking even more run down than Corey and Laney had remembered. The green gunk covered more than half of them, and the parts that weren't were just raw mechanics, with beady blinking red eyes, hungry for blood. They looked unstable, like the could teeter over and shatter on the dirt ground. The puppet masters were nowhere to be seen, making the human teens' blood run cold. It even freaked Laney out, making her hunker just like her best friend had been doing.
"So...should we run now?" Corey asked, grabbing Laney by the shoulder and pulling her closer, so she wouldn't get left behind when they started sprinting.
Laney vigorously nodded, squeaking in fear. With a sudden shot of adrenaline coursing through their veins, the two teens took off, constantly looking behind their shoulders to see if the puppets were following. They did for a couple measly steps, but settled on just screaming "REVENGE!" from afar; equally scary, in my opinion.
"Oh, my God!" Laney wheezed, trying not to stumble, seeing as Corey was dragging her away from the scene. "That is officially the weirdest and most terrifying thing I've ever seen!"
"Do you think they're gone?"
"I dunno, running away and screaming sure sound like "gone" to me."
Quietly, avoiding stepping on any twigs or tripping over rocks, Carrie and Larry stepped out from behind a clump of trees, wearing the funky-looking puppet suits and looking immensely accomplished.
"That was probably the best thing we've ever done together," Carrie concluded, fist bumping her friend, who looked like he was about to explode with excitement. "How did you know where to find these things, though?"
Larry shrugged. "It's pretty easy to find things out when people constantly mistake you for the girl in your rival band!"
A/N: This was written halfway in the middle ofa super boring online class, and I must say, I think it turned out great! If you couldn't tell, I have a major headcannon that Laney is the toughest member of the band and it's really fun to write Corey as such a timid character from time to time, and I totally plan on doing more of it in the future. Happy Halloween, and thanks for coming out, everyone!