Skellington on the Island Edited by: @Arlesienne Chapter 1: Voice of the radio Once upon a Halloween, the Halloween Town awards were roaring in town hall. The Mayor was awarding the citizens of the town their talents. He congratulated their local hero, Jack Skellington, for how spectacular it was. The pumpkin king agreed to his friend, bowing with respect. Lights dimmed down as the festivities were at a close. With another Halloween almost over, the huge grand guignol of the town had turned silent(much to the skeleton's relief). Yet with that relief, a sensation nagged at the back of his skull. Needing inspiration once again. Jack headed behind the stage curtains and let his true thoughts come out as a external monologue. "Something's missing... There's got to be a way to make Halloween more hideous, more terrifying, more frightening-" He slowed out a sigh with defeat in his frustration. "This just can't go on... You've got to do  better, Jack." Heading home, Jack went to sit on his bed in thought, the lack of inspiration causing him to stoop, the chin resting on his hands as the hours drifted by. Then... A odd static sound could be heard. Causing Jack to stiffen in confusion. His head turned, eye sockets widening to the sound of a radio. Hey pal... That radio Sally got me for Christmas? Jack wondered to himself as he approached it. The Voxola radio continued to make static, even to Jack's surprise of it not being plugged in. "Hello...?" Jack tried to play its game. Having trouble finding a reason for the season? "Oh. I do. Trying to find new scares. It's... Not as fun as it used to be." Jack rubbed the back of his neck with a look of regret to the floor. The radio got to him and he couldn't help but agree. I can give you that inspiration... If you'll let me. "Maybe later." Jack quickly denied, waving a hand in disagreement. "I'll think about it though." Standing up, he backed toward the door. For a master of terror, the radio really left him unnerved. He headed over to his dear friend Doctor Finklestine's laboratory to seek counsel. "A new Halloween...?" The doctor asked while gazing into his advanced microscope, multitasking as Jack's confidence came back again. "A fresh, new and improved Halloween, doctor. After last year, we can't just do the same old thing." The skeleton's sense of showmanship just sifted through. "We should all be inspired to do something different!" He walked over to Finklestine. The doctor now gazing at his examples. Yet Jack continued. "We need new scares, new ideas, new discoveries!" Finklestine cocked his head with interest. "New discoveries, eh? I think I have just the kind of thing you're talking about." The good doctor reached under his table, picking up a fairly large glass container. Its contents being something eldritch. Alive. Finklestine placed it on the table. "I call it the soul robber. Take it, Jack." Yet the creature wasn't being patient. It bounced around the container trying to be free.   Jack gingerly outstretched a hand to the jar, the fingers hesitant, trying hard to be careful. The doctor pressed on. "I'm sure it will come in handy." Agreeing to the reassurance, Jack placed his hand on the lid, suddenly not finding it as difficult as he perceived it to be. Like a leech, it sprang onto his arm. Clutching tight for dear life. Jack was taken back, letting out a gasp of surprise. Yet nothing of anger, rather the opposite. Carefully, Jack swung his arm lightly around in curiosity. Taking this in all at once. Unfortunately the action of just a slight swing caused the creature to break one of Finklestine's materials from a distance. The creature jotted out to grab a item and return to Jack's wrist. "Amazing!" The pumpkin king pleasantly exclaimed at the soul robber's display. He turned to find Finklestine driving away in his wheelchair to give himself space to look at  Jack.  "Exactly, doctor, exactly! That settles it. I'll head out in search of more new discoveries for next year's Halloween!" The confidence just overpowered from the new batch of inspiration pouring in. Calming down, Jack took a few steps in front of Finklestine. "Doctor, please watch after things while I'm away. I just know you'll keep things in check." There was a curious smirk on the good doctor's face. "Oh... Now I'm certainly looking forward to next Halloween." He rolled away with Jack staring for a few minutes in thought.  He broke free from his daze with a shaking of the head and headed for out of town. A grin from side to side as Jack just knew he was going to have a edifying experience. Running to the graveyard and onto... Spiral Hill? Someone's standing on the hill, Jack thought to himself. He stopped for a moment. Eye sockets trying to get a good look at the tall figure. Step by step, he tried to get a good look at the man standing in front of the moon. The bright round shape framing him in view like a portrait. Jack had to stop. He knew the man was staring back at him. Trying to break free from his concern, he got closer to the man. "Hello? Are you lost?" Jack asked, hoping for the man to speak. Though with just a second, the man finally moved. Head tilting with a subtle meanness to it. "No, you are..." Pal. The voice from the radio! Jack took a step back. Feeling a tingle up his spinal column. "How?" "I think you know what I mean. Loss in inspiration." The tall man walked up to Jack. Hands behind his back as though he had a regal air about him. Jack could only notice now that the man looked like a twisted reflection of himself. Thin limbs, a swallow tail coat... Jack shook his head, trying to ignore the observation. "I can give you what you want, just give me your hand." The stranger outstretched his arm out to Jack. He smirked with a cold stare. Pupils so tiny and black, it paled to the expressive wide sockets of Jack's. Yet they wouldn't look away from Jack's position. Shaking his head, Jack took some more steps back. He wasn't sure why he didn't just ignore him but the stare got to Jack. Tutting, the man in the swallowtail coat was just a few inches away. "For a man who loves fear, you're not really appreciating what I have to offer." "This is different. Not when I don't know who I'm dealing with." "True. Yet you're not listening. I can give you what you want with no consequences. Just trust me." Jack took back at the statement. Thinking back to all the times he tried to trust Lock, Shock, and Barrel. What if this was the same? Could he take this chance? "I don't know." Jack glanced down, hands turning into fists. The stranger's hand reached out again politely. "Just trust me." Within one silent minute, time slowed down, leaving separate images behind. Jack's body, stiff in the confrontation. Giving in after a while feeling longer than it really was. A shaky arm reaching out to the stranger. With uncertainty, taking the hand. Before he knew it, the shadows from the epithets and the hill stretched out to Jack. The pumpkin king tried to fight the man's grip by wrestling the arm free, but not even the soul robber could protect him. He tried to walk back to pry the hand off but the grinning stranger just stood there without even moving. Jack's eyes gazed as the shadows crawled up his body like hands, slithering up quickly to devour him. Skellington knew he couldn't escape this as he felt his body lower into the dirt, his sockets watching the grinning stranger stare down. Welcome to the shadows... Pal. To be continued...  Future chapter titles and discussion.