Once everyone was feeling fresher, the girls headed out of their caravan and towards the main castle, keen to do the first walkthrough. As they walked, Alicia spotted Sharon, Ulla, and Mara exiting their caravan.
Stood outside the castle were two new guards and a third woman. This one was clad in a long dress which looked more renaissance fair than horror. But like the others, she was caked in white face paint and had drops of fake blood on her cheek.
As the girls approached, the vampire woman looked them up and down with a mixture of disgust and hunger. Alicia had to admit, this woman was a much better actress than the one from earlier.
As Sharon, Mara, and Ulla made their way over, several other groups made their way across from the caravan area. It was more people than Alicia had expected, but still not that many.
Once everyone was gathered around, the woman huffed and stuck her nose in the air. "Disgusting mortals," she exclaimed theatrically, "I can't believe that you dare besmirch this place with your presence. Disgusting mortals. But, the Lamia Queen has offered you this chance to see her wonderful kingdom and all the dark beasts who dwell within it!"
Alicia relaxed a little as the woman talked. So far it was a normal Halloween attraction. Bad costumes, acting so hammy it could open a butcher shop, and liberal use of every movie trope of the last eighty years.
"But I," chuckled the woman, "I see it differently, as a courtesan is wont to do. I see it not as a visitation, but as a challenge. A challenge for you to escape with your lives!" she finished as she started to laugh maniacally. The guards on the door pulled the doors open and motioned for the groups to move forward.
Everyone started to move forward towards the door. As she walked, Alicia looked back at her mother only to spot her twirling Ulla's little finger. At first Alicia was confused, but as she saw Ulla's body relax Alicia giggled to herself. Had Sharon given Ulla a trigger to help her cope with the scares?
The corridor inside the building was very small, forcing the girls to walk in single file. It was obvious that these interior walls were just painted plywood and not the old castle's actual interior.
The whole room reeked of artificial smoke and fake cobwebs hung from every rafter. Every few steps, a hole would open in the wall and someone would stick their head out and scream. Katie almost jumped out of her skin every time this happened, but Alicia wasn't phased.
She could hear her mother and Mara screaming and giggling from just behind them. It was nice to hear them having a nice time, even if Alicia was still weirded out by this place.
The route looped the girls through various switchbacks until they arrived in a large central room with a throne in the center. The woman from outside was kneeling just in front of the throne as a woman in an even bigger dressed lounged in it.
"You arrived," sighed the courtesan. "How terrible," she added before looking at Katie and screaming. "Avert your eyes! Don't stare at the Lamia Queen, you insect!"
"Oh gosh! Sorry!" Katie blurted out as she quickly ducked her head. Within a few minutes the rest of the guests ended up in the room, all of them standing before the throne.
"Delicious," smirked the woman in the throne as she rose. "You have done well, my sweet. They will make a delicious feast!" She gently ruffled the concubine's hair.
Alicia looked over at her Mom as the Lamia Queen started to pace around her platform. She was squeezing Ulla and Mara's hands as they watched the woman. Ulla seemed a lot calmer than she had been, but Alicia wasn't sure if that was the trigger or that Ulla had just gotten used to the atmosphere.
"Tonight, you are not people, but food. Your blood and spirit will fuel me and my harem! You will be nothing but blood bags! You will not survive to dawn!" continued the Lamia Queen.
Suddenly, the walls behind the group opened up as a load of hissing vampires poured out, waving obviously fake knives. A few of the crowd screamed out as the vampires got closer.
"Run if you think you can! You will not escape!" shouted the Lamia Queen as a door near her throne opened. Quickly, everyone made their way through the door as the vampires continued to swing and hiss.
Beyond the door was another set of tight switchbacks full of people popping out of walls. After the sudden surprise of the throne room, this seemed quite normal.
But Alicia and her friends pushed on. The next few rooms were the same, but as they walked, there seemed to be more props including flashing strobe lights and fake body bags hanging across the path. Beth giggled as she pushed through them, causing some of them to smack Alicia in the face.
After a few more turns, the girls came to what seemed to be a door. They moved towards it, only for a high-pitched whine to echo around the corridor. A woman wielding a chainsaw jumped out from around a corner, making Katie jump into Alicia's arms.
"Run!" growled the woman as Beth upped her pace and left the building. Alicia gave Katie a guiding push and quickly helped her get out of the door.
The door led outside of the castle. The cool night air was a reprieve from the cramped confines of the corridors. Alicia gently rubbed Katie's back and smiled at her. "Deep breaths."
"That was scary!" cried out Katie.
"It was cool!" giggled Beth.
"Very," nodded Alicia, "but it was startling!"
As Alicia continued to rub Katie's back, she looked around a little bit. They were out the back of the castle and before them was a path that led into a small forest. This area of the park was decaying more heavily, with damaged flat rides and overgrown pavement as far as the eye could see.
As Alicia continued to turn her head, she saw her mom walking out of the door with Ulla and Mara and tow. Alicia quickly walked over, only to hear Ulla ranting under her breath.
"I'm just saying, chainsaws make terrible weapons! Good luck trying to keep control of it as it revs or getting it to grip what you want to cut. You'll either miss, or it will stall. Useless. All having a chainsaw says is, ‘I'm an idiot, punch me’," continued Ulla as Mara giggled along.
"You're just upset she made you jump," jabbed Mara.
"No! I just like actual weapons!" huffed Ulla.
"Hey!" shouted Sharon as she waved at Alicia. Katie and Beth turned around and waved back at Sharon.
"Oh, you've all not met!" noticed Alicia as Mara and Ulla upped their pace to catch up. "So Mom, Ulla, and Mara. This is Beth and Katie," Alicia explained as she pointed to each person in turn.
"Hi!" Katie smiled. "Having a good time?"
"I'm loving it!" grinned Mara. "Ulla, not as much."
"I'm fine! Just realism," replied Ulla.
"So what next," asked Alicia, "do we just stand here?"
"I think we have to wait for people to catch up," Sharon supposed as she rubbed Ulla's hair. "Then, the forest trail starts."
"Forest trail?" asked Ulla.
"Yeah they're going to chase us through the," Beth started, but before she could finish, a chainsaw revving noise filled the air as several vampires came around the corner with the Courtesan in tow.
"Hunt them down! Bring them to the Lamia Queen!” screamed the courtesan as several vampires popped out of the bushes at the edge of the forest.
"Run humans," hissed the vampires as the girls started to move into the forest. This area felt a lot creepier than the castle. Alicia wasn't sure if it was because of how spaced out the groups were now, or because the lack of fake walls made the whole thing feel more real.
As they moved through the forest path, they found more and more unsettling sights: strange shrines, skeletons sitting in trees, and mauled "victims" lining the path. Every few feet, a vampire or victim would jump out of the bushes and scream at the girls.
Eventually they ended up back in the caravan area only to find another woman waiting for them. Alicia panted a little bit, trying to get her heart rate under control.
She looked back to see the rest of her group. Katie was very clearly shaken while Beth was utterly thrilled. Her Mom was giggling while Mara and Ulla were both bright red.
"Have fun?" smirked Alicia.
"So much fun!" Sharon replied and grinned. "I think we're a little faster than they expected!"
"Likely so! I'm fueled by fear!" added Alicia as she looked at the other costumed woman.
The woman glared at Alicia for a few minutes before pointing to a table with cups and large water jugs. "You have survived for now, mortal. The Lamia Queen will not be pleased. But refresh while you can, as the dark of the night only brings fear."
"Nice!" smiled Beth as she walked over and grabbed herself a cup of water, pouring one for Katie as she did. Alicia made her way over to her mother.
"Did you enjoy that?" smiled Sharon.
"Loved it!" chimed Alicia, "but you two are quite red," she smiled as she looked at Mara and Ulla.
"I was teasing them," chuckled Sharon, "but, did you spot the towers?"
"Towers?" Blinked Alicia.
Sharon turned around and subtly motioned towards the top of the trees. Alicia quickly realized what her mother was pointing to. There were several watchtowers in the forest and each one had some people atop it.
They were obviously built recently, but they still made Alicia uneasy. She could understand some watchers but there were at least nine towers, each with at least three people sitting atop them.
"Weird," mumbled Alicia. "What do you think?"
"Worrying," interjected Mara, "but I need water. Ulla?"
"Oh yes please!" Ulla smiled.
"Well I'll need help to carry it," sighed Mara.
"Oh right!" Nodded Ulla as she followed Mara over to the table.
After a few minutes, Mara and Ulla returned with cups of water. Mara passed one to Sharon while Ulla passed one to Alicia. "It's clean," whispered Mara as Sharon took a sip.
"Thanks," giggled Sharon. Slowly, Beth and Katie made their way over and they all started to chat, keen to see what would happen next. Over time, the other guests made it out of the forest and helped themselves to some water.
However, one woman ignored the water. Instead, she dashed over to the vampire woman. "Can you help me?" asked the woman.
"I can't help you disgusting human," huffed the Vampire. Alicia turned around, unsure if this was a bit or not.
"No, seriously. My friend is missing! In the forest!" the woman continued, now shouting, obviously distressed.
"How did you lose her?" asked the vampire.
"She was with me as I was walking, but I got distracted and when I turned around, she was gone!" the woman explained.
"I see," nodded the vampire. Mara moved towards the vampire, obviously slightly uneasy about the whole situation.
"Is everything okay?" she asked. "If your friend is missing, we can go look for her."
"No need!" shouted the vampire. "Our team will find her. Most people simply get too scared and end up going the wrong way. Just enjoy the rest of the night as we'll bring her to you soon."
"Okay." nodded the woman as she took a deep breath.
"Well, if you need help, then I'm more than willing to help out."
"You won't be needed," replied the vampire firmly. "Now, please return to your sleeping quarters. We have left you a surprise outside."
"Okay, if you insist," replied Mara, obviously suspicious. However, none of the girls refused the request and they all started to make their way back to their caravan.
As they walked, Ulla moved up to Alicia. "If anything happens, shout. We'll be right there."
"Got it," nodded Alicia, "same for you." And with that, she, Beth, and Katie turned the corner and moved towards their caravan.