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Hot From the Evil Oven
By Tucker Burns and Grace Hall
NEW YORK — Last week at Poulet De La Mer, a swanky new French eatery in Manhattan, four people came face to face with their biggest fears when they encountered a haunted oven. That’s right. A haunted oven.
The oven’s first victim was Cole Nelson, a repairmen brought in to get the accursed appliance working. “He crawled inside to switch on the gas, and I heard this roar,” said Kenny, a busboy. “Then the oven just sucked him in and swallowed him whole.”
Kenney immediately called the World Chronicle, which sprang into action. The killer kiln was quickly identified as a model produced by Anton La Haine, a master appliance maker from the turn of the 20th century. La Haine’s ovens were considered the best in the world and were used by all of Europe’s greatest chefs. However, La Haine cursed a select few, turning them into supernatural portals.
“People who encountered the cursed models frequently vanished or went insane,” explained Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Donald Stern. “It happened to Czars and world leaders, and it happened to a good friend of mine. I wasn’t going to let it happen again.”
The oven was tracked to its previous owners at the Monolith Hotel, where eight kitchen employees had vanished. The only remaining member of the kitchen staff, Orlando Franchetti, had gone insane. When questioned by the Chronicle, all Franchetti could reveal was that the evil stated when the pilot light was lit and the cryptic advice to “battle the evil within.”
Ruby, the Chronicle’s psychic, was brought in to see if Cole was still trapped in the oven’s grasp. “I sensed his presence, and I could tell he feared for his life,” said Ruby. Shortly after she made contact, the oven once again roared, and this time spit out putrid yellow goo, along with one of Cole’s boots.
The goo, eventually identified as P.E.S. (Pandimensional Emotive Secretion), was actually an emotionally sensitive mucus membrane that separates our world from the oven’s dimension.
Soon, Mr. Dumont, the establishment’s proprietor, wanted to disconnect the oven. However, fearing that Cole would be forever trapped inside if the pilot were turned off, the Chronicle staff tried and failed to flush him out with a vial of specially blessed holy water. In the attempt, Chronicle staff photographer Wes Freewald was dragged into the oven, as well. To rescue Freewald, these two reporters went in after him.
We immediately found ourselves in a bizarre, nightmare-like circus. When we spotted Wes, we realized that the nightmare was his.
“The oven figured out what I was most scared of, and it preyed on that,” Freewald said. “For me, it was clowns, and they were all around me. Why couldn’t I have been scared of girls in bikinis or something?”
After Wes succeeded in confronting his fear, the environment shifted to Grace Hall’s nightmare. An alien-abductee in high school, Hall had to confront her fear of telling people close to her about her experience.
Next, we spotted Cole. While the scenario seemed at first to be Cole’s nightmare, the situation turned out really to be from the subconscious of Chronicle reporter Tucker Burns. Burns had met Cole’s wife and promised to find him. However, in order to escape from the oven, Burns had to realize that Cole was gone, and that Burns couldn’t save everybody.
Once all our fears were overcome, we were spit out of the oven in a current of goo. Soon afterward, the oven was destroyed. However, those who had been trapped inside are still haunted by the ordeal.
“I feel better now that I’ve confronted my fear,” said Freewald. “I’m not going to be scared anymore. … Actually, that’s not true. Nowadays, I’m pretty freaked out by ovens.”
“Hot From the Oven”
Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Directed by Jay Tobias