As you come home after a hard day you notice a loud sound of static eminating from one of the rooms in your house. This could be your living room, family room, kitchen or your bedroom but you see that your television has turned on. You thought that you turned it off before you left however before you reach it to turn it off a wooden stand with a bit of cardboard on it proclaims:
“Welcome to the Grand Ghoul’s Gallery!” in sickly green letters on a black background. Ominoius organ music begins to play and as drives towards a crescendo the view changes. You are now looking at what appears to be a graveyard although set in miniature as fog seems to be enshrouding the tombstones that litter the property. We see the camera pan along the cemetery and then focus on an elaborate crypt on a hill as we zoom in on this massive structure before briefly fading to black.
When the camera comes back you are looking at the inside of a crypt as a coffin is placed upon a raised dais. The coffin lid creaks open loudly as you can see a black hoof followed by a green fetlock push it open. The pony sits up as he looks almost as if he is somewhere between the living and the dead. His eyes are bright almost mad as they shift from looking off screen to then look directly at you almost as if looking through the television screen.
The pony yawns theatrically stretching as he leaps from the coffin clattering onto the stone floor smiling at his audience.
“Good evening!” he says with a voice that radiates that sounds something between a nobleman and something long since dead. “Welcome to the Grand Ghoul’s Gallery and I am your noble host.. The Grand Ghoul.” He wears a smile that looks almost deranged but bordering on the side of sanity for now. “With my tonight in the gallery is my lovely pet Skelley.”
The camera focuses on a stack of old and decaying books that have been subjected to the horrors of age as a skeleton cat puppet leaps on top of the pile. He seems to groom himself for a moment and then looks at the camera with glowing red eyes. “Hey folks!” he says in a heavy bronx accent “Pleased ta meetcha! Hope you’ll stay for awhile...or forever. “
As the camera focuses back on the Grand Ghoul he smiles to his right “And we are also joined by my good friend Grimm. Say hello to the folks at home!”
The camera focuses to the right in a VERY shadowy corner and almost out of nowhere another pony black as night emerges from the shadows. You can see that painted all over his body are bones where they would be beneath his coat. He carries a very sharp looking Scythe as he raises it menacingly to bring it down on an apple that he chops in half in one swift stroke. He just grins at the camera and says nothing.
The shot widens to encompass all three as the Grand Ghoul looks at the camera “Before we begin I just want to make a statement. The Grand Ghoul is for adults and not for the fillies and colts that may be watching us. However, if you are watching us right now good for you!”
Lightning and thunder crashes as the crypt goes black for a moment.
The screen is filled with the visage of the Grand Ghoul shining a flashlight underneath him to give him a very sinister look “But if you get nightmares.. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” And with that he lets out a roar of sinister laughter that seems to echo throughout your house.
The camera then zooms out as the lights flick back on as Skelley looks at him “I think ya made yer point boss. So what do we have on the agenda tonite?”
He speaks up “Tonight we have a special feature for our debut it is a film that was made some time ago and we are going to show it live on our show. The feature is called.. “
Two heads are better than one?
As the camera shifts the feature starts as you see the splash page which is FHS (standing for Fancy Hooves Studios) as this feature is in color but it seems to be older like shot in the 1980’s as it uses neon in the opening sequence. As the movie starts it is a story of a pony going by the name Wild Strikes as he is a rebel. One day as he is out in the countryside he encounters a sign that is posted on the edge of twisted woods.
The sign reads “Warning! Do not enter! This means you!”
The pony shrugs as he rears up and kicks the sign breaking it in half. He snorts and chuckles as he enters the woods unabated and undaunted. Light barely filters into the forest as the branches seem to choke off any light entering the woods as he’s unable to escape. As he pushes deeper into the forest he notices that he’s not alone. He still looks undaunted as he flips his jet black, greasy mane against his brown coat. He’s wearing a black leather jacket studded with chains as he continues his way down the narrow trail.
As he pushes deeper he notices that the vines seem to push in from every direction and soon they are pushing against him tightly hampering his progress. He continues undaunted as he can’t go forward anymore as he tries to turn around he realizes he can’t.
The pony starts to thrash as the vines cut against his coat as he realizes that his hooves are being bound by the vines. One of the vines wraps around his head as he realizes that this is going to be end of him. The scene fades to black.
“Awaken.” a voice filled with venom echoes in Wild Strike’s ears.
The pony opens his eyes wide as he in an underground lair. He looks around madly to see if he can figure out where he is or who’s talking to him.
“W-Who’s there? W-what’s going on?”
A pair of sickly yellow eyes seem to raidate from the darkness as they hover in front of Wild Strike’s vision. “You may call me Shadow. And I saved your life just now as you have saved the life of one of my own.”
As the form approached the prone pony his eyes were getting used to the darkness as he thought he saw a pony clad all in black with wings. But as he stared a lump formed in his throat.
This wasn’t a normal pony as her gaze seemed to bore into his. From what he could make out this mare had batwings that flexed in annoyance. Her coat was scarred from god knows what as she had a long scar right under her right eye running all the way down her cheek.
He wanted to get up. Wanted to run away. But as he tried he felt as if he couldn’t. Not as if he was restrained but as if his limbs did not work. He looked back at the pony as her eyes narrowed into slits as she started to laugh.
“Foolish pony! You should have heeded the sign… MY SIGN! However, it is all in good fortune. As I had need of a young strong pony such as yourself.”
“W-what are you talking about? Why can’t I move?”
Shadow looked down at the pony with a toothy grin “See for yourself!” With that she reached up and pulled down on a cord which brought down a mirror. As Wild Strikes stared up into the mirror he was horrified with what he saw.
His head was the only thing that remained.
Everything else was belonging to another male pony with a deep blood red coat and eyes to match. His head was stitched roughly to the body of the pony. As he opened his eyes a sickly green seemed to radiate from deep within the creature as it spoke with a raspy voice.
“Thank you for saving me.. Brother.”
Wild Strikes let out a scream that echoed off the walls.
The scene fades to black and we are now shown the interior of the crypt as Grand Ghoul stands with his two friends grinning at them both.
“Well folks it looks like Wild Strikes has a good head on his shoulders.”
Skelley interrupts “Yeah boss, seems t’me he has two heads on his shoulders.” He cackles.
Grimm seems to smile at this almost chuckling but we don’t hear anything not a snicker nor a snort.
The Grand Ghoul looks directly at the television “Well now don’t you go losing your head.. or heads dear viewer as we are coming back with the stunning conclusion to our feature film! Roll it Skelley!”
The skeleton cat is by an old projector as he flips the switch “You got it boss!” as it flickers to life with a ratcheting sound as the screen fades to black once more.
As the scene fades in we see the two headed monstrosity still stretched out on the table. The blood red pony smiles at Wild Strikes “You may call me Crimson Mask. And I thank you for saving me..”
Shadow grins down wickedly at her new creation “You see dear pony.. Crimson Mask had suffered an unique affliction that was eating away at his body. It was rotting him away from the inside so I had to do something. Luckily for me you stumbled into my trap so.. I harvested your body but kept your spine and organs and fused them with Crimson’s own. That along with your blood makes for a full recovery. How do you feel Crimson?”
Crimson Mask grins up at her “Alive and strong with the blood of a young pony. I think we will be ready to march on Trotsdale within a day or so.”
‘Trotsdale.’ Wild Strikes thought ‘That’s my home town!’
Crimson Mask grinned at Wild Strikes “Indeed it is! We have had our eye on it for some time now. Oh and if you haven’t already guessed I share everything including your thoughts.”
Wild Strikes was horrified. He always loved to be kept to himself and to have his thoughts to his own. He always loved listening to music especially heavy metal as he remembered his favorite song and as he did that he saw a slight grimace of pain from the red pony.
“Ugh!” Crimson Mask grimaced “What was that?”
Wild Strikes looked confused “You mean that song? It’s from Iron Mane-den haven’t you heard of it?”
Shadow glared at Wild Strikes “Enough! We haven’t time for pleasantries as we need to raise our army now.”
Wild Strikes looked confused as he looked around “Army? What army?”
Crimson Mask lept up from the table as he clattered up the stairs with Shadow right in front of them. They made their way through a twisted series of caverns and within moments were outside in a clearing of the twisted woods that Wild Strikes entered in earlier. The moon hung high in the dark blue skies above almost judging them for what was about to take place.
Shadow glared at Wild Strikes “Behold! My army!”
He looked around and saw nothing but an empty clearing as he was about to say something he felt a surge of power erupt from Crimon Mask. He was chanting in an ancient language as raw power seemed to flow from the pony into the ground. The ground seemed to breath as it flexed up and down and seconds later dozens of hooves thrust forth from the ground.
Shadow smiled triumphantly looking at Wild Strikes “This is my vision foolish pony. These will be my foot soldiers as they will descend upon the town and devour anyone or thing that gets in their way”
Rotted bodies of various ponies seemed to claw their way from the earth as they collectively let out a moan of anguish. Hides that were once clean and well kept were now faded and even showing bone and decaying muscle. Eyes that were once bright and full of life were cloudy and some sockets were empty showing bone and shadow. Within a minute their “army” of zombie ponies stood wavering in the field ready to be unleashed on the unsuspecting town.
Shadow grinned at Crimson Mask “If you would be so kind to give the order dear Crimson.”
Crimson noded enthusiastically. “Zombies. MARCH!”
Wild Strikes knew they weren’t far from his home town and while he desipsed some of the people in town others he actually cared for. He had family and friends in Trotsdale and he knew he had to save them. He saw that Crimson Mask was concentrating in order to keep the zombie horde moving.
At this point Wild Strikes knew what he had to do.
He started to remember all the bands that he had listen to from when he was a colt up until now. With names like Iron Mane-den, Equestria Metallers, TROT and others he rememberd the songs that had squealing guitars as ponies shouted lyrics about every topic under the sun. He thought hard about some of his favorite songs especially the ones that were fast, hard and loud.
Crimson Mask gritted his teeth and then yowled in pain as he brought his hooves to his ears. “W-What are you d-doing?!? STOP!”
Wild Strikes didn’t stop in fact he redoubled his efforts as he remembered to all the songs he’s listened to either at shows, on the radio or on tapes / CD’s. He remembered being at the stadium sitting in the front row of one of his favorite bands. The roar of the crowd, the loud music, the atmosphere was alive and loud and he channelled his memory into his current thoughts. He was rewarded with a scream of anguish and then realized he heard another scream as well.
The zombies were surrounding Shadow and they looked … hungry.
Shadow’s eyes were wide with terror “Stay back! I command you! Crimson Mask help me!”
But it was too late as the horde of the undead surrounded and enveloped Shadows as her screams were cut by painful gurgling and then silence. Crimson Mask looked on horrified as he was frozen in place as the zombies took notice of the red pony.
“You.. you fool! You’ll kill us both!” He shouted in panic.
Wild Strikes grimaced through clenched teeth. “I’m.. already.. dead..and you will be too..”
The zombies moved in and started biting and clawing at Crimson Mask and Wild Strikes as he heard the red pony yowl in pain. Wild Strikes stayed silent but a grin slowly started to creep across his face. He felt everything that the undead army was doing to the other pony however, he knew he was stopping these monsters laying waste to his town. As he was losing consciousness he saw that the zombies were falling apart not being kept together by Crimson Mask’s magic. The last thing he thought of before he lost consciousness was ‘At least I am going out in a blaze of glory.’
The last thing we see is the clearing as it seems that the ground swallows up all the corpses and it becomes a tranquil forest once more. Trees reach for the skies once more as the forest becomes lush and green once more.
The view flashes back to the stone crypt as he we see The Grand Ghoul, Skelley and Grimm looking out at the viewer.
The Grand Ghoul just grins at the camera “Never underestimate the power of metal eh Grimm?”
Grimm just nods brandishing his scythe as he wails on it plaiyng some wicked air guitar as we hear a riff seem to come out of nowhere.
Skelley smiles and looks on “Way to shred Grimm-dude!”
The Grand Ghoul chuckles and looks at both the pony and the skeleton cat puppet. “Well folks, that concludes our show for this evening. I hope you enjoyed our first episode and hopefully the network will allow us to have another one.”
Skelley gulps audibly “Y’dont think they’d axe us so quickly d’ya boss?”
Grimm shivers and looks nervous as he holds onto his scythe for dear life.
The Grand Ghoul grins at them both “Oh come now you two. Don’t be so silly! Afterall this show will be airing around Halloween so we should get a few viewers. Oh and before I forget! If you liked what you saw here tonight you can write to us at the following address.”
Grimm holds up a card with an address that says “The Grand Ghoul Fan Club. PO Box 1412. Sac-mare-ento.”
The camera focuses on the green pony again “ You can send in fan mail to the PO Box but we really prefer if you emailed us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send in your own scary pictures of myself, grimm or even Skelley!”
Skelley smirks “Gee thanks boss.”
The Grand Ghoul yawns theatrically as he’s about to go to sleep but Grimm nudges him.
“Hmm? Did we forget something Grimm?”
Grimm nods enthusicatically as he pulls out a pumpkin from out of nowhere and gets his scythe. In a flurry of strikes he carves the front of the pumpkin with likenesses of himself, Skelley and the Grand Ghoul. He places a candle in it as it glows as the lights start to dim as it bathes the entire crypt in a warm, orange glow.
“Ah, that’s better. Thank you dear Grimm!”
Grimm nods as he seems to melt back into the shadows. Skelley climbs up on the rotted stack of books as he curls up and goes to sleep. The Grand Ghoul smiles as he climbs back onto his stone dais and gets into his coffin as he slowly closes the lid with an ominous creak.
“Good night everypony and have happy … nightmares.”
The lid closes as the camera slowly zooms out from the crypt and then back to the model graveyard for a few seconds before fading to black. We only see this blackness for a few seconds before your TV resorts to snow and then shuts itself off as if watching.. waiting for the next epsiode.. of the Grand Ghoul’s Gallery.
T H E E N D