J_Seigal for encouraging me in writing the original story,
KojinkaLuigiGodzilla for inspiring me to rewrite and improve the story- she drew the story's cover art. Check out her art page at Deviantart.
Warning(s): This story has a lot of horror elements, some basic (slasher), some complex (psychological). Horror is not the main theme of the story but it is there.
A dark and stormy night: the perfect night to capture Peach again. As fierce lightning split the sky and heavy rain rushed downwards at violent speeds, Bowser and the army he had brought with him crept in the darkness.
About a mile ahead of Bowser wandered a weak patrol, scouting out the area for signs of Mario or Luigi. The scouting patrol was a sad bunch- they were the newest members of the Koopa Troop. This patrol was defined by Bowser as "the most easily expendable", as it was decided that there was no time to train them, and it'd just be easier to use them as part of a sacrificial plan. The patrol was aware of its probably imminent death, and some of the group prayed as they marched. Near the back, a younger koopa named Wes trekked slowly, messing with the luck charm tied around his neck: a dried, golden mushroom. It was pretty crappy as most charms go, but it was all he had now. He was traveling through the miserable, hellish wind and rain, forced into Bowser's army to go out and fight, and actually try to FIND Mario- to go out into the terrifying darkness and attempt to find death itself. Wes wondered solemnly if Mario was already nearby, but a voice coming from beyond a nearby layer of trees was already answering the terrible question.
"Hurry up, Luigi" Whispered Mario, trying to be as quiet as possible, but still loud enough so that his clumsy brother could hear him. The words had little effect, as Luigi continued to bumble through the woods, tripping over roots, stumps, and even what appeared to be a bone jutting out of the soggy earth. Right as Luigi reached Mario he stumbled over a final rock, landing face first in a mud puddle. Mario sighed. "Come on Luigi, let's get serious. The informant said they'd be coming this…" but the deadly sound of marching feet coming from the other side of the trees interrupted his words.
"ATTACK!" A voice screamed from within the patrol: Kan, the captain of the group and Wes' superior. The koopas rushed and Mario and Luigi jumped into view. The battle was on. Some of the koopas began to run away, but Wes stood his ground, panicking. He grasped the lucky mushroom charm desperately for a moment and then rushed straight into the middle of the fray.
STOMP! CRACK! CRUNCH! The sickening sounds repeated as Mario practically tore apart the unfortunate koopas. Luigi had disappeared somewhere into the battle, but the nearby sounds of shells cracking confirmed that he was still standing. The blood seemed to form a tornado around Mario, and though it felt like it took an hour, Mario was strangely exhilarated when the carnage had ended. Koopa bodies were littered everywhere: red shells, green shells, some blue shells even, and…green cloth. That wasn't a koopa shell.
"Luigi?" Gasped Mario. He ran over to Luigi's side, actually feeling scared for the first time that night.
Wes slowly moved his head. The pain was unreal- absolutely unbearable, to the point of being ridiculous in its scope and intensity. He heard someone say "Luigi", and, struggling, he managed to look up enough to see Mario cradling Luigi's crumpled body. Wes closed his eyes and tried to play dead. Judging by the resounding silence all around him, it seemed everyone else was either dead or pretending as he was, although the overwhelming stench of death suggested the former. Was he really the only one who had survived? Maybe his lucky charm had worked.
Suddenly, the wretched sound of coughing arose from behind Mario, opposite from Wes' location. The cough was strange and unreal- or perhaps the moment was just making everything unreal- but the sound of the cough seemed to curl around the battlefield and echo into the night sky, and even beyond. The cough was unworldly, the sound of demise. Mario looked around wildly for the source, eyes wide. In his wild state it took him a few seconds longer than it should have to realize the sound was coming from behind him.
Mario stood up slowly and approached the offending koopa, who whimpered. Another CRUNCH and it was over. Mario picked up Luigi's body and moved away into the darkness of the forest. Thank God, Wes thought. Another explosion of thunder let out, and when the light flashed Mario's receding figure could be seen in the far distance.
The thick mud coated the inside of his throat, threatening to choke him every time he tried to breathe- but Wes HAD to breathe. It was a painful situation, but Wes had to thank his luck charm- he would never go anywhere without it now. He had survived a face-to-face encounter with Luigi, and then had avoided being torn apart by a grief stricken Mario. Maybe he was the luckiest koopa alive…but oh God, the pain. He still couldn't stand, and because of the mud in his throat, he couldn't call for help, either. To make things even worse, the continuing storm was continuing to conjure up more mud, which in turn began to slowly drain into his slightly open mouth. What a fun death- survive an encounter with the most powerful being in the world, and choke to death on mud. Maybe he wasn't so lucky after all…
…Or so he thought, until the sound of marching feet began to approach. Marching koopas- it was the main force of the night's attack, led directly by King Bowser himself. The squadron marched into the once beautiful field, trying not to groan at the horrible sight before them. Bowser marched at the front, stepping on the fallen bodies without care and in turn making another symphony of demise. SNAP CRACK CRUNCH SMUSH: a final message and song of the dead. Several members of the squadron following Bowser had to resist the urge to throw up.
"A pity…but it's only a fraction of the army." Said Bowser, looking over the fallen bodies- and then looking at Wes! He had to get Bowser's attention. Wes struggled to speak, but the mud refused to permit it. He tried winking, but even his eyes were too tired…he was too weak to do anything. It would be disgraceful, but perhaps he could vomit…no, but that too was beyond his abilities. As Bowser and the squadron turned away from Wes and marched on, Wes squirmed and struggled internally to be able to do SOMETHING to get Bowser's attention. He found he could just barely move his fingers, but no one could see him anymore. There was no more he could do- he was going to die.
Fortunately for Luigi, his and Mario's house wasn't too far away. Mario reached the home as quickly as he could and laid Luigi down in his warm bed. Outside, as Mario tried not to think about it, the noises of the rain hitting the roof and the moist mud reminded Mario of the image of the battlefield: a shadowy clearing of dead bodies, with Luigi's broken form the ghastly centerpiece. Mario shivered and watched Luigi closely. His eyes were closed, and he was stiff…but barely, just barely was he breathing. Mario considered running to get toad paramedics, but he was afraid that by the time he returned Luigi would be dead. Anxiously, Mario began to shake Luigi's hand and softly call his name, but Luigi wouldn't respond- only his heartbeat would increase to a violent tempo. The rapid heartbeat frightened Mario. He considered getting something to cool Luigi down…but was that what he needed? His body was still wet from the rain…and the cuts…Mario hadn't even begun to look at the cuts yet. Suddenly, Mario's thoughts were interrupted by a loud knocking at the door.
Windy…cold…raining. Bowser hated these nights, but they were always the best to capture Peach on. The moronic toad guards NEVER saw him coming at night. As for Mario…well…Bowser already had a plan for THAT little problem. He probably couldn't kill him, but he could definitely slow him down.
Soon enough, the squadron arrived at Mario's house. Bowser snapped his fingers, and three Magikoopas that had been specially brought for the mission stood before Bowser.
"Knock on the door, and don't come back without Mario and Luigi's eyes" Growled Bowser. The Magikoopas nodded silently; though they had no illusions about their task- they knew it was a suicide mission. While Bowser and the squadron disappeared back into the forest, heading for Peach's Castle, the Magikoopa with the tallest cap fixed his crooked glasses and knocked on the door.
Mario walked to the door, the padding of his now-dried shoes on the shiny wooden floor making a pleasant "pap pap pap" noise. Mario opened the door.
"WHOA!" Yelled Mario as he ducked to the floor, narrowly dodging a Magikoopa's spell. The other two Magikoopa's sped into the house, shutting the door and quickly surrounding Mario. Just as Mario got up all three of the Magikoopas fired deadly throat-tightening spells at him, an attack that should've hit- if Mario wasn't so fast. He back-flipped, landing on one Magikoopa with fatal force- its head was crushed in. The other two Magikoopas quickly formed a wall between Mario and the bed that Luigi laid on, alternately firing spells in a panicked and unprofessional manner. Mario triple jumped, and grabbed onto a beam in the ceiling. Just as the two Magikoopas looked up, Mario dropped. Both of the Magikoopas managed to dodge Mario, while getting closer to Luigi's bed. As he approached Luigi the Magikoopa with the tallest cap managed to fire a lightning-quick spell that hit Mario in the chest, sending him flying backwards into a wall. The whole house shook, and a clock that was hanging on the wall tilted a little as if about to fall. The spell that had actually hit Mario, however, wasn't fatal. The two Magikoopas quickly rushed forward to correct this. It was a gouging spell- they decided it was an appropriate measure for Mario's murder of their friend.
"Mario…" Croaked a voice- Luigi was still alive! The Magikoopas turned around in surprise, giving Mario the opportunity to attack. The koopas quickly realized their error, but as they turned back Mario jumped and kicked the tall-capped Magikoopa in the face. He screamed in pain and stumbled backwards, throwing his hands up in front of his face. Mario then turned his attention to the other Magikoopa, grabbing his neck with a beefy hand. The Magikoopa tried to level his wand at Mario's face, but the terror of the situation and his weakening strength caused him to drop the weapon onto the floor. The last thing the Magikoopa saw was the blurry, swirly white of Mario's gloves suddenly being stained by an explosion of red. Mario threw the dead koopa to the ground and walked towards the last Magikoopa, who was whimpering through a broken beak. A burst of excitement and deranged hate suddenly possessed Mario and he kicked as hard as he could.
"Hurry up!" Bowser growled to the lagging troops behind him. It infuriated him that these were some of his best troops- koopas who could barely keep up after two days of marching. They had finally reached Peach's Castle, and they were all pathetically tired. Even worse, because of their speed, the sun was starting to rise, and even the storm was ending- the night's cover would be lost. It seemed the failures of his army were never ending- he should have just sent them all against Mario to die.
"Go Rope Troopas!" Bowser called. Several koopas skilled at scaling heights ran up to the wall of the castle while trying not to look completely tired. "And Junk Squad- get to the Warp Pipe!" A large portion of the troop hurried east with a varied assortment of junk: broken pipe, blocks, a crowbar, general trash…Bowser laughed a little. This was the best part of his plan. Once Mario had killed the Magikoopas (they were merely meant to slow him down) the first thing he would do would be to jump in the Warp Pipe outside of his house. If it was blocked with all of the junk that a third of the troop had carried with them as part of the plan…he wouldn't be getting anywhere.
"…And the rest of you get ready- because of your own failures the toad guards may attempt to attack. You'll have to fight them off." Bowser watched as the Rope Troopas tossed their grappling hooks up, and then climbed up to Peach's window. They were usually the ones who handled the Peach-nabbing missions, always climbing up the tower to her bedroom.
As the sun started to rise higher and higher Bowser began to grow impatient. It had been nearly five minutes- what the hell were the Rope Troopas doing? The other members of the Troop began to shift from exhaustion to anxiety- toads were weak, but there would still be some koopa deaths if a fight was to break out. Bowser stamped his foot. Screw it, he thought. I'll just go up there myself. He wasn't as heavy as he appeared, and though it WAS a little difficult, he was able to climb up the long rope to the far-up castle window. Pushing aside the billowing curtains, Bowser jumped inside the bedroom- and then stopped in sheer shock of the scene inside.