Cucumber Jump Scare


The great thing about living in the same house was the fact that Wallace and Abraham had plenty of opportunity to come up with great ideas on how to spend some time outside of the house. Together!

In theory this had sounded like a better idea than the skating rink they'd done, months ago. In practice, Wallace was feeling pretty nervous as they stood in line for what was being promised as an Incredibly Eerie Time by the flyer that had made its way into his mailbox. Even from outside he could hear screaming inside the building.

It was spooking season, after all, and Wallace couldn't remember the last time he'd been to a haunted anything. Not even a corn maze. He would have never done this alone. He felt like he was barely doing this now.

It wouldn't be so bad once they were inside. That was what he was telling himself. Anticipation was a bitch.

"How much will you judge me if I go through the whole thing with my eyes closed," he "joked."

This was a dumbass idea, but Abraham was pretty fucking in control these days. There came a calm in strength; you didn't have to jump and puff up at every little thing when you could punch most little things into space.

With a jaguar fist.

Covered in claws.

The line was approximately one million percent teenagers who all seemed to be both vaping and dabbing, and Abraham was increasingly aware that he was too old to be around that particular population. Wishing he was a little taller, as if another four inches of height would dampen all the chatter, he huffed.

"I won't judge you at all right up until you accidentally wander into some staff only shit and they have to kick you out."

"God. Straight into the back where they commit actual murder."

A high pitched scream that Wallace swore he only heard because he was a tiger cut through the building waiting ahead. Particularly shrill. He felt goosebumps already.

"You're going to have to take me by the elbow. They really can't touch you in there, right? He was trying to find ways to make himself feel better about moving forward in this line. His eyes weren't even violet, the tiger itself mostly at ease for the moment, though certainly alert to the many sensations around.

Wallace was all kinds of spooked, and maybe that created something of a calming effect on Abraham to allow for better bullying. He lifted his chin up a little, peering ahead in line.

"Why am I holding your elbow? You hold my elbow," he said, like this was the most obvious thing in the world. Because it was!

Behind them, a woman wearing old fashioned roller skates, a tutu, and definitely missing half her face was rolling soundlessly up behind them, a clown horn prepped in her hand for maximum noise.

Abraham was feeling confident enough not to notice.

Wallace was, being Wallace, going to respond to this teasing by promptly attempting to claim Abraham's elbow with his hand/wrist in a scooping motion as he frowned with ferocious nerves.

He was preparing himself for the worst. What he assumed was up ahead. The idea that anything could be coming sooner than that was beyond him. Also was the fact that being tall as he was--and visibly anxious as he was--probably made him a fair target.

They'd eaten plenty beforehand, but at the moment that mostly just made him feel slow, like a recently fed python.

Gayest tiger in the whole world. Number one gay tiger.

This was all a dumb idea. But it was nice to go do dumb shit with a pal, especially after being largely alone for a few months. And really, Wallace had been alone too, so...

Good socializing, even if it was a stupid place to do it. Spending time with Wallace always left Abraham feeling like-


This was the sound of a clown horn wedged nearly between their heads, squeezed twice for maximum alarm, and Abraham jumped a good inch or so into the air and yelled out a proper, nonsensical "FUCKING- shit!"

May as well have just struck him with lightning, thanks!!

He might have sworn, much like Abraham. His brain cussed out the noise mightily. But his jaw had clenched in reaction and any would-be words were muffled and nonsensical as every hair on his body stood.

Because the cat was in on this now. Violet eyed shock. Tiger, fluffed to the max and wanting to stare down the threat that had come upon him from behind! Ambushed! Him! AMBUSHED.

It was a strong feeling, sent down the line from his suddenly bunched shoulders to the hand that had just taken Abraham's arm, clenching as he backed away two steps from the offending clown horn and the... holy shit she was missing half her face. He stared at her in a way that the tiger wanted to have be accusing, but was really rather pale face as Wallace's chest hurt.

Not a lot. Nothing was breaking. But he was creaking like a pirate ship on rough waters. Even as she wheeled away to torment someone else unsuspecting.

Hey whoa HOO boy, this was bad news.

Purple eyes popped up on his pal immediately, and while Abraham's eyes rarely shifted colors anymore, he felt that tension, too. There was laughter and shrill screams from the group ahead of them, and that did not help one bit.

This would leave them both standing there like stupid hairy statues. Abraham swallowed some lump in his throat after a moment, croaking out:

"Hey. Buddy. You alright?"

Tiger brain zeroed in on every noise. That had been so loud and everyone was screaming, and it was no wonder Hobbes could not parse a logical reason for them to be here. Did they need to go? Run? It was a very silly fight or flight instinct, but silly was still real.

"God, not really, what the fuck." That noise would have made even your average joe poop his pants, probably, but for a creature with sensitive ears, it had felt suspiciously similar to an assault.

To his credit, he was not on the ground and growing a tail. Just yet.

Hey just so everyone here knows, the things that go bump in the night are perfectly capable of being deeply frightened, too!

Okay. So.

Time to be real here. They'd had one (1) scary encounter so far and that was just in line in a normal, non scary house environment, and Wallace was about to bust a tail out of his ass. And, frankly, Abraham wasn't so far behind.

It had been thirty bucks a piece to get in here, but more priceless was not having another public shift. So.

"Maybe we... go take a picture with the scary clown guy by the gift shop. Buy a spooky chili dog. And just tell everyone we went and had a great time."

"Everyone" meaning... not very many people, but. Still.

A gap formed ahead as the like began to move, and Abraham wasn't super inclined to fill it.

It was all very reasonable. A wise out. They really should just... go home!

But Wallace was pretty tired of being scared of things. Not that he felt especially terrorized by the world these days in comparison to the last couple of years, but... Still, he knew his tendencies, knew what he could be if he let himself be that. Being here was a small thing in the great wide world of the supernatural they inhabited. If he couldn't face this, could he face anything else? Were fight nights (dear god), or were gyms, or just... meeting vampires in his store.

He'd done that. He could do this?

"Let's... get closer and see how we feel," he said, feeling brave just to do that much. If Abraham insisted, though... well, their roles in who knew the most had flipped a long time ago.

Tall guy Wallace was too cool to turn back now. Abraham had given the tiger his out, and he wasn't gonna be the one to wuss out now.

"You got tactics for talking yourself down?" he asked, moving them forward in the line.

Abraham had figured out a lot of his own ways to chill the fuck out, but he wasn't sure if Wallace actually was...

If he faced things that put that pressure on him very often.

He'd let go of Abraham, forced himself to stop thinking about ways this could go wrong, exactly. The tiger was still lashing but he enough sense to realize they were with a friend and the perceived danger had moved on. Roll of his shoulders, a few long breaths.

"I mean... a few. I don't use them a lot," he admitted, knowing it wasn't exactly a secret that he'd rather hide than face things. There was a reason he was stuck in that giant house in North Glenn instead of comfortably anywhere else. Not that he hated it there it just... was a product of a bad time. It had been very easy to justify a hermit life in a place like that.

"Mostly just reminding myself that things are actually okay. Like uhh... man I don't even know how to explain it."

Maybe a little bit like a checklist of things he had that the tiger did not need to provide him. Like legs, to run! That was a good one.

That was as good a tactic as any. Abraham waved a gently dismissive hand as Wallace struggled to explain it.

"I get it," he said. "It's hard to put any of this shit into words. Just kinda making it up as we go."

He heard the honk of the horn in the line ahead of them, then glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one was approaching from behind. Coast looked clear.

"You think it's worse to go first or last? First you don't know what's coming, but... last they sneak up behind you."

Both a little more wary now, Wallace was relaxing by degrees as they drew further up the line. Still, there was a bedrock of nervousness here, one he knew he wouldn't be able to go below until they changed scenery. It was just a matter of not making any leaps that would set his tiger figuratively ablaze.

Abraham then asked a question which floated him a little higher on the anxiety scale for a few breaths. "Fuck me, we should have brought a third person." Not that Wallace knew any third people worth inviting but whatever! "I think... second. I mean, I think I'd prefer to be in back. There might not be anything bad behind us but there's always going to be something up ahead. If that. Makes sense."

Second, of course. Abraham would be going in here first while Wallace tried to cram himself into his buttcheeks. (Wallace's buttcheeks? Abraham's buttcheeks? Pronouns!)

"Makes sense," he said, moving further ahead. Further ahead. Someone with a big fake chainsaw was a few yards beyond them, and Abraham eyed the fake blood soaked maniac with a frown.

"That fucker's gonna sense your fear. Don't let him startle you when we get closer."

And closer.

And closer.

And he could see the guy turning his head slowly toward them, monster mouth opening to reveal nasty black inkiness inside.

Maybe he should have felt bad, giving the debated worse position to his bestest bud, but... he was but a baby tiger in comparison to the fallen king.

Somehow, Abraham talking about the man they were coming up on helped. A reminder that this was all just... fun! A job for this guy! Not really a monster. Just a dude! All the people in there would be that. No real things that could hurt him. No actual vampires! That was a good thought. He'd stared down a vampire before (sorta) and hadn't died so...

He looked at the void-mouthed man and his fake blood that did nothing to stir the tiger and frowned in defiance. Creepy, yes. Dangerous... no.

Way to go, Wallace! Abraham, for his part, wrinkled his face at the smell of exhaust and gasoline from a chainsaw revving but chainless. Eugh.

It all felt fairly okay, at least until their tickets were scanned right before the entrance, and he peered up at some huge, slitted, plastic sheet that separated them from the Darkness Within.

He could hear screaming, surprised yelps. Monster sounds. The cat wasn't real into it, and neither was he, frowning up at plastic that swayed slightly in the breeze.

"Just remember, if we get separated, we both die."

The previous, distant, muffled screams from way back down the line that had only been picked up by supernatural senses were now... a lot louder. More obvious, one might say. Wallace experienced determination and regret all in the same moment and felt his brain fold in on itself for the sensation. He was not a man to take dares, even from himself, but it felt like he had a point to make tonight.


Shit, Abraham, you're not helping. He forced a laugh to keep himself from sweating it, and had no intention whatsoever of letting Abraham get away from him. That was the number one goal here--don't split the party.

"Call 'em when you see 'em," he said, treating it like it was a game to try and cope. They weren't coming in here to shoot anything, but that wouldn't stop them from clearing targets at least mentally to get through this, right?

At least they could sort of see in the dark better than was being accounted for. Wallace felt decent about that.

That was the thing, Wallace.

Once you saw them, there was no time to call. They were there. Yowling in your face. Waving guts at you or something.

Abraham gave a slightly stiff nod, his own moment of tension settling into his shoulders.

The attendant gave a cheerful smile, nodding them ahead, offering a warning not to run.

Abraham answered with a grimace, then pushed through the plastic into a space very dark... but not impossible see! A thumping grind of music played above them, too loud for were ears.

Fake bodies hung from the ceiling, guts on the walls, immediately some kind of fucking torture chamber.

Great start! But at least, like, plastic dummies weren't-

EXCEPT fuck, one of them was leaping out, decidedly human, and Abraham made a panicked charge forward toward anywhere safer.

Better hold on, Wallace. :(((

Wallace had sort of had some dumb hope that he'd be able to pick up some of the terrors by their heartbeat. But guess what you couldn't hear over the music and other ambient noises of this place? Yeah, heartbeats. That meant relying largely on spotting movement, which he learned basically immediately would not actually save him from much at all. Because hello, tight quarters meant that anything that move was pretty much immediately upon you.

The imagery itself was unsettling, but if it was just that Wallace was pretty sure he'd be okay. It was a large "no thank you" but more than that, not the sort of thing that wound up in his nightmares. It didn't smell like death or anything.

Busy trying to rationalize this, he did a bad job of anticipating the inevitable.

So when Abraham, being the target of an ambush, decided to go charging forward, Wallace backpedaled a couple steps and froze instead. What was that about splitting the party? Do it immediately? Good deal.

Abraham squealed again, dodging away from this stupid asshole with KNIFE FINGERS.

But he realized quickly that he was solo, immediately, except for heavy breathing murder man.


"Wallace!" he called out, turning and waving his pal closer.

Upsettingly, murder guy also gave out a mocking shrill "Waalllaaaace!" as he receded back behind a fake wall.

Wallace felt too tall to be in here. Conspicuous. A target, inevitably. Even with the knife-finger man terrorizing Abraham foremost, Wallace kept the wariest of eyes out, and only when the man seemed to be going away did he find the courage to dart down the walkway after Abraham, catching up and only getting particularly antsy when he passed the spot where he knew the false wall was now, as if they might come back out.

They didn't! But he was spooked anyway!

"Wow, that was..." Breathing! "Not doing that again." The separated momentarily bit, he meant, even as he urged Abraham forward with a few nudges, sort of wanting to get through this as fast as they could now that the entrance was behind them.

Not doing what again, Wallace. This? All of this? Because, like. Same.

The music was still very loud as he pushed forward into a room containing a variety of cages of different sizes, nearly all with... guts and shit hanging out of them. Ugly, animatronic animals snarled and screamed, and something in his jaguar brain felt offended. Two fake dogs tugged on the innards of a halved corpse, and Abraham grimaced but pushed forward, having no idea what would be next but feeling some sense it would be noisy and startling.

Regret at not taking Abraham up on the out was building. Not rapidly, but steadily. How long were these things? He didn't even know. Coming into this relatively blind as to what they were like was probably the worst of it. Way to not scout ahead, dummy.

The creepy un-jumpy stuff was mostly just grating on him. The noise and the movement--he nor the tiger enjoyed it much at all. It was just gross for the sake of being gross, and as someone who regularly saw bodies--his own, no less!--morph and misshape... it was that kind of horror that somehow fell flat. Which, would have been fine if it had calmed him instead of muddying the mental waters.

It was setting them up for something worse. He knew this. But all the same... unprepared.

Especially as they moved into the next portion. Momentarily, very dark, almost too dark for even him. Something misty in this room that he could feel, probably a fog machine, so he mentally prepared himself for something coming out of fog or something, not really sure if he was meant to--

A sudden crash of fake thunder--or so he assumed, it was so loud over the already noisy atmosphere of the place that it was very difficult on sensitive ears, difficult to discern. The tiger was instantly back to arms, especially when a strobe light flashed on suddenly, disorienting and cruel and he felt the beast rise unhappily even before shadows began to move.

The thunder was fucking loud, enough that the cat went off into a honking tornado siren, noisy in his... brain ears when everything else was noisy in his actual fucking ears.

Abraham clapped his hands over them (the real ones [the real ears]), wincing, pushing through a mist that seemed to be blurry and then suddenly moving very fast and!

It was some ugly swamp person, and the costume wasn't alarming so much as the piercing scream she gave out, rushing toward him and then turning to scream at Wallace as well.

Fucking great! Abraham made an unhappy "unggh!" sort of sound and fought the urge to punch her as he pushed forward, hoping Wallace would actually follow this time.

Everything about this was real, real bad. Wereperson torture chamber, honestly! Wallace didn't even think it was because he and Abraham were particularly soft people or anything! This just sucked! And continued to suck!

This time he ran, right on Abraham's heels, leaping away like some newborn gazelle after a crocodile showed itself at the watering hole. Stupid leggy thing shouldn't have come here! Big actual baby!

It felt no less a miracle that he didn't have a tiger coming out of his face as he yelled at her, grasping at Abraham's shirt like the powerful jaguar was going to tear away faster than he could go.

Out, out, out, out of this hellscape, please!

The hand at his back had him wriggling forward like something had just stuck itself into his ass, but he realized what it was after a moment, some giraffe grabbing on to him for dear fucking life.

Abraham went ahead fast... for walking inside a twisty, dark, foggy, confusingly lit series of corridors, anyway. A murder kitchen where bodies were in various stages of preparation, a jail area where Abraham was mercifully able to spot and point out a spooky jumper guy before he could pounce for a startle. (The guy did, of course, pounce, but at least it was expected.)

A creepy garden. And then, some spooky fucking graveyard, something that unexpectedly left Abraham sweating a lot. Because. He'd had some bad experiences in a graveyard before!

Thankfully, the zombie creature blending in with the mist and low hanging fake tree limbs was coming up from behind for Wallace, not Abraham :3.

Maybe this would have been fun if they were just people. They could get the crap scared out of them over and over again and come out on the other end exhausted and laughing about it. But this constant tension was giving Wallace a serious headache, and he was almost surprised at how well it was going, considering that. The tiger felt right up at the surface, constantly, but sheer willpower or maybe just not wanting to make a fool of himself with Abraham here kept it just under control.

So when there was a zombie shriek from behind him, yes, he jumped about a foot in the air, shoving abruptly forward into Abraham as he turned and brought a defensive foot up like he might actually kick the zombie actor away, narrowly restraining himself as he offered a very articulate, "MOTHERFRADFKJERRR!" in protest of the ambush.

There would be an attempt, at this point, to get ahead of Abraham, because bye.

Abraham wasn't going to even argue. Nerd-ass Wallace tried to wiggle by him, and Abraham wanted absolutely nothing touching him so, you know what, you go, buddy!

He sidestepped with some maybe excessive wiggling, and in fact, it was perfect! Because ahead was the exit, but first, red lasers pointing into the mist directly at them, blinding and disorienting. He could very conveniently hide behind Wallace's tall fucking frame and give him a shove for good measure.

Getting out of here was ideal, but Wallace DID NOT LIKE being in front, he realized, even as he charged down the path at point. He dared to hope that that was it, that the disorienting finale was good enough, that they had made it.

And then someone dressed almost completely in black, hidden so well in the misty mess, stepped out just when freedom seemed certain. Hilariously--not hilariously!!--they appeared to be some effort at a werewolf, but twisted and ugly and with very convincing, wet-sounding snarling noises that put him right back on the horrified defensive, startled and overwrung. The tiger was ready to fight.

The yell was different than others from this adventure. Pain, as his wrist snapped, paws far better for slapping the face off of a wrong werewolf than hands could ever be.

Abraham wasn't matebonded with Wallace yet, so he didn't exactly feel his buddy's pain on a physical level. But he sure as hell heard it, along with a sound of confusion from the stupid asshole (who was technically doing his job) that had startled his buddy. The werewolf guy stepped back, clearly sensing something had gone wrong or awry, and Abraham gave him a big stupid snarly face in the dark as he sought to put a hand to Wallace's back and encourage him forward.

"Let's go dude, just an asshole in a costume!" he said, the white glow of the exit in plain sight only a few yards ahead.

For the love of fucking God do not tiger in here, Wallace.

Just an asshole in a costume who was gonna get his FACE CLAWED OFF FOR SCARING A CAT MUCH BIGGER AND SCARIER THAN HIM.

Or so tiger brain went, irrationally furious for having been so startled repeatedly. Hobbes was a patient cat, a very calm cat, but there was only so much abuse one could take before one did some cat slaps.

But Wallace knew better than that, and he knew he had to resist it. No good would come from letting the feline protect him now, and even as he was growing a few claws and feeling fur creep up his arm beneath the sleeves of his jacket, he was fighting it. And Abraham was here, to remind him that he was basically fucked if he didn't get it together.

The exit, there. Rather than fixating on a would-be victim, he let himself be ushered out the exit, clutching at the worst arm with the other, though they were both trying to stripe out on him, and there was an uncomfortable pressure in his back that would precede much worse if he didn't... fucking focus on winding back!

This was the dumbest idea. The dumbest stupidest idea. Were Wallace not in the middle of becoming a tiger, Abraham might have berated him a little.

Instead, his focus was on going ahead, pushing past a crowd that stared at them with interest, wondering how they fared. Not good, you nosy little fuckers!

"Hey buddy, breathe, think about something calming, like what you're gonna make me for dinner."

Breathing, right. He heard Abraham almost distantly, distracted by the pain of a shift trying to come in fits and starts. After a few moments Wallace couldn't keep going anywhere and had to find the nearest... wall, was that a wall? Sure, here was a wall to stagger against and sink to a crouch as his knees started to hurt. A familiar internal swelling of joints, but slow as he fought it. No, no no, nope.

Dinner. What was dinner. Dinner was not any of these people here. Not that "werewolf." Dinner was... He couldn't articulate it out loud, his jaw clenched, but he had it there. In his mind. BLTs, wouldn't that be something, he could... yeah, there was bacon in the fridge at home and even though the tomato quality was on the decline this time of year it'd still be good...

Not a werewolf. No more werewolves invited to dinner. Nothing more to startle anyone tonight.

The tiger wasn't beaten back yet, but outside of the house of terror, he had halted his advance.

There was laughter and screaming and thumping techno for some reason because they needed a live DJ outside of a haunted house, and there was the rumble of fog machines and generators and a fake chainsaw and all of this kind of needed to simmer the fuck down.

He kept a steady walk with Wallace, eyes ahead, ready to kick anyone in the dick for staring too long.

"I'm thinking... two bags of Pizza Rolls? All on the same tray. So they just come out soggy and awful. Unless you had a different suggestion."

He'd calmed down enough to really hear him. Wallace even found it in himself to laugh--wry, mildly horrified, offended by the idea that he'd ever let anything so poorly done come out of his oven. He clung to that, that very human nose-wrinkling idea, and took breaths.

"We can... that... but... you gotta space 'em evenly, dude."

He didn't have enough brain yet to construct the addition of what was on his own hopeful menu, feeling like words fought him as it was, but the itch of his skin was easing up, and the pressure in joints and spine were seeping away. A slow regression as the tiger put its hackles down. As long as nothing else happened... maybe he was okay? Hard to tell, adrenaline was a bitch.

Abraham shook his head, one hand going out and even waving a little to express just how much mo way, man, not happening here.

"Nah. Stack them real high so some are right by the heating element. Just fuck it all up."

He said it as dead pan as possible, but looked to Wallace with a growing grin, content to be a shithead. It was calming his friend down!

Which was good because approaching quite swiftly in front of them was that fucking clown with the loud-ass fucking horn. Abraham stared, feeling like this was some kind of western standoff.

"Don't let this asshole scare you," he wanted quietly, eyes on the horn.

Don't do it, pal.

It really was working. Because the tiger did not give two shits about pizza rolls, burned or otherwise, but Wallace was pretty horrified by the suggestions that Abraham came up with way, way too easily. Offensively easily.

"You're-- hah, you're a monster."

And weren't they all. Especially this dickhole coming up on her skates again. At least this time Wallace saw her. He had warning. He was braced for it, even with his wrist popping grossly back into place. But it was a pair of violet eyes that stared her down. If she knew the couple of wildcats she was actually facing, she wouldn't have even come close.

But she did, and she clearly recognized them as the easy targets from before, because she lingered several feet away, clearly pleased with herself. You know, as pleased as anyone could look with half a face.

Wallace focused as best he could on wondering how well she could see with all that makeup on.

Abraham was a monster. He'd eaten drunk meals too horrifying to tell Wallace or the guy would definitely go all stripes.

He was glad for the approach to be working, though as he watched Honk Bitch, some threat remained.

One last obstacle. He had this. In fact, he was ready to speak up and-

HONKA HONKA instead, at least from a distance this time. It was enough to make him grimace and jump a little, but in the end it was expected. They had this.

"Let's get outta here," he grumped, eyes on the lady as she mercifully rolled off to other, younger prey.

It was loud and the tiger rumbled, but only in threat to the woman, not threat to Wallace, who was still feeling pretty shaky but... human. Two feet, two hands, no fur--unless some was still disappearing beneath his jacket, entirely possible.

In the end, it had been really terrible as ideas went. Never, ever again. But having Abraham here had both enabled and saved him, so it was a giant cosmic wash.

"Yeah," Wallace agreed, rubbing at his own arms and straightening up appropriately. "I need pizza rolls and BLTs and a fucking Christmas movie or some shit."

This could have ended so much worse. He knew that. But that was a dark place for him, with his experiences, to dwell too long.

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