|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
Made for the Part
"Tell me, have you ever worked in a haunted house before?"
I smiled as I looked up at the fresh-faced manager. "Actually, yes. I just hope your house is better than the last one."
He frowned at that. "In what way?"
"Well", I said, crossing my legs casually, "The last house I worked for was a charity job. Apparently they didn't have anyone to tell them the safety rules." I grimaced and rolled my eyes as I remembered. "For instance, they wanted their spaceship set to look like a spaceship that was falling apart, so they strung telephone jack wire everywhere."
"With the jacks still attached?" That made him wince.
"So, someone lost an eye?"
"Oh, nothing so dramatic. This one lady came through with long, kinky blonde hair" ... he winced again ... "And she turned out to be a screamer."
He buried his head in his hands. "Oh, no."
"Oh, yes. There she was, screaming her lungs out, scared to death of me, TRY-ing to run away, and her hair's caught in a phone jack."
"What'd you do?"
I smiled wickedly ... and a bit sheepishly. "Well ... I did the only thing I could do, really ... I grabbed the cord and pulled." As he winced, I went on. "After a few seconds, her hair pulled loose from the jack ... all but one strand ... and she went flying down the hall into the next room." I chuckled grimly. "Judging by the short roars I heard them make, she barely touched the ground in there."
The manager sniled, enjoying the same thrill I felt whenever a customer's expectations were exceeded. "Well, you don't have to worry about that here. At Castle Bathory, we pride ourselves on keeping things safe for our patrons. So, if you'll just sign here", he said as he pushed a contract across the table to me, "we can get you set up and checked in to your scene."
I scanned the document briefly ... my mother didn't raise any fools. (One potential suicide and a stuck-up prig ... and me ... but no fools.) It was pretty standard. It even had the clause where I basically agreed not to let the customers see me in only half of my costume. They'd started including that after that lawsuit at Disney. Especially since the parents won. I still can't see why any kid would have nightmares after something like that.
Oh, well. Go figure.
After I'd finished scanning it, I took the pen the manager ... Mr. Bishop .. had sitting on his desk and signed. Then I handed it back to him.
"Perfect", he said as he read my signature. "Now, do you have any preferences as to creature type, or is it dealer's choice?"
I smiled at the joke ... but I already knew what I wanted to be. "Well ... I've always been particularly fond of werewolves ... "
"Done. Now, let's go and pick out your costume."
With Mr. Bishop leading the way, we went into a dimly-lit room with hundreds ... I think maybe thousands ... of costumes. I whistled softly as I took in the racks upon racks of (apparently) quality costumes. Mr. Bishop smiled at me. "Yeah, they're pretty impressive, aren't they? And all made on-site."
"Nope. Every last inch is handmade by either me or Wolf ... he's our head costumer. Now, let's see", he murmured as he started paging through a clipboarded list hanging from a nail. "Werewolves, werewolves ... ah, here we are. Werewolves. Rack 36B." With that, he started off again, with me following in his wake.
Moments later, he turned down another aisle. I couldn't see any markings ... but then, I was still pretty stunned by the sheer scale of this operation. Moving down the row, he finally rolled out a rack filled with furry shapes of every color ... black, grey, silver, brown ... even white! And you know how hard that color is to keep clean. But it looked showroom perfect.
Turning, he eyeballed me, then selected a costume from the rack. It was gray, with a perfectly wolfish pattern running through the fur ... and a movable jaw. The most expensive kind of costume there is. He handed it to me and went back to rummaging as I stood there and admired the detail. Every hair, every patch of leather, every pad and claw ... it was all perfect. Just as though it'd been created for me that very instant.
I looked up just barely in time to shift the load in my arms and catch the clothes he tossed at me. They looked as though they'd been ... well, shredded.
They were certainly going to great ... and expensive ... lengths for a haunted house. Even one as big as a castle.
"Okay. Now just get into the dressing room, strip down to briefs and t-shirt, and let's see how this thing looks on you."
******************* The costume was tight, but not uncomfortable. Even the eyeholes fit so closely I could hardly tell the difference. Well, except for leaving my glasses behind. But, I'd had to do that before.
Once I had the clothes on over the costume, the effect was perfect. It actually looked as though I'd burst through the seams on the plaid shirt and blue jeans.
Then I turned to the mirror.
There, perfect in every way, was exactly what I'd wanted to play. A great, magnificent beast of a werewolf. For a few moments, I just stood there and watched the hands I moved be reflected back at me as hairy paws.
It was great.
Finally, I decided I'd had enough of my reflection for one day and left the dressing room. When he saw me, he gave a small, slight smile ... and started rearranging me. Oh, nothing drastic. Just a touch here, a button there, ruffling up my fur for a wilder look ... the usual costume touches.
"Okay", he said. "Now, we've got a scene we think you can handle, and as soon as you're in we'll open the gate to it. But understand this", he said with a stern glare. "Castle Bathory is the centerpiece of what is going to be the world's largest and best terror-filled amusement park ever. While you're in your scene, you are not to talk, not even to yourself. It might spoil the illusion. You are also not to take breaks without clearing it with me, Wolf, or one of the other managers. We'll be coming around, checking up on you from time to time, and you can ask for a break then, if you need it. You understand?"
I realized then, that even with a movable jaw, the mask's material was still muffling my voice. I spoke up louder. "YES."
A short stairclimb and a secret passageway later, we came to a treasure vault. The coins were all fake, of course, but (hopefully) the patrons wouldn't be sticking around for a look. Mr. Bishop led me to where a large metal staple was embedded in the wall. With a chain attached. Aha. The old watchdog shtick.
My guess was confirmed a moment later. "Here", Mr. Bishop said as he picked up the spiked collar dangling at the chain's far end, "is where you'll be stationed. The chain is long enough for you to come within two or three inches of the rail. We figure that should be close enough for a good scare without endangering you. Any questions?"
I held up two of the digits on my paw. Then, taking great pains in my enunciation, I asked, "ONE, HOW STRONG IS THE CHAIN?"
He smiled and gave it a hard yank ... that didn't even begin to bend it. "Strong enough that you can jump all the way to the end of it and not break it." I nodded, exaggerating the movement so it carried through the costume. "TWO, WHAT IF SOMEONE CLIMBS THE RAIL?"
He grinned. "This side of the rail, all bets are off. If they're here, they're fair game. Kick, scratch, bite ... anything goes. That about cover it?" I nodded large again, and he closed the collar around my neck. Feeling around it, I quickly found the spot where the catch sat and memorized that I needed to keep my hands away from it. The one thing that could really louse up this gig was if I blew a prop.
"Okay", he said as he went through the hidden door. "We'll be opening this room up in just a few short minutes, so be ready." I nodded, and he left. Quickly, I coughed, breaking the mucus membrane in my throat for a more guttural growl, and began bouncing up and down on my toes, readying myself to spring. Fortunately, the room was set up to hide me from view until the patrons passed a huge pile of gold pieces that were set up with a low-wattage 'glamour' light. While they were watching the pretty shinies, I'd be getting ready to spring.
A few minutes and a couple of practice growls later, the sound effects started up. If it weren't for the mask's padding, I couldn't've born it. A combination of shrieks, wails, moans, and some noises that had to be proprietary to the company. And only a minute later, it happened.
My first patron of the job.
Biding my time, I watched the shadow on the far wall ease to the right, slowly but steadily. Then, just as I saw an edge of clothing ... I LEAPED from the shadows with a ROAR!
As she rebounded from the far wall, I could see her gaping at the huge beast that had just attacked. Then I switched from roar to grrrrrowl, feeling the vibration deep in my throat. She began to sloooowly edge along the wall toward the exit ahead ... and with a last end-of-chain leap and a roar, I scared her out of the room ... and straight into whatever was waiting on the other side, judging by her shriek. (She had a higher range than the SFX tape)
And so it went, hour after hour, scare after scare. (I still haven't really figured out why that one woman was screaming "Take the money! Take the money!" all the way to the door, though.) Oh, from time to time I got an itch, usually on my ankle or my knee, and I'd reach my foot up to scratch it. I didn't want to bend over and miss an incoming patron, y'know.
Finally, the sound effects faded away, and the work lights came on. Crouching on my haunches, I waited for Mr. Bishop to come and get me out of the collar so I could take off the mask.
But he wasn't the one who came for me.
Through the near door came ... no, strode ... a huge, silver-gray werewolf, at least seven feet tall and built for it. Leaping the rail with a single motion, he came to me ...
And unsnapped the collar from the chain.
Puzzled, I started to ask him why ... but he grabbed the collar and started dragging me along behind him like some wayward puppy. For some reason, I couldn't reach behind me far enough to reach him, and I had absolutely no effect on his hand, so I reached for the collar's catch.
The padded paws I was wearing didn't fit it.
Finally, outside the rear of the house, he stopped and let me go. As I started to pick myself up off the ground, whimpering from the rough treatment, I heard Mr. Bishop's voice.
"You didn't have to be so rough with him, you know."
Looking up, I saw him bending over me, a look of concern on his face. "Are you all right?" I nodded. "Here, let me get the collar off you." Reaching beneath my muzzle, he quickly undid the catch and drew the metal band from around my throat.
Suddenly, the bigwolf and the bigbigwolf looked bigbigbigger. Bigwolf said to goingate. I didn't wanna goingate, but bigbigwolf growled and I'm a notbigwolf, so I went. Lotsawolves here. Found fence. Fence bit me. Not like fence. Found shewolf. Like shewolf. Alpha first, though.
Bigwolf says we get to go out again soonsoon. To-mor-row.
Bigwolf say it safe here. Not like here. Wanna be like bigwolf again. Wanna stand like bigwolf again. Wannawannawannawannawanna ...
Sleep now. Maybe food later.
Made for the Part copyright 1996 by Wanderer.
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