All good things must come to an end, and thus it is with October Frights 2019. As always, big thanks to AF Stewart for wrangling this bunch and setting this up every year!
Fear not, October is only half over, and the fun has just begun.
And now, the finale.
I ran for the nearest tree, and pulled the pistol out of my pocket. An arm wrapped around my throat and tried to pull me down. I turned to look, and the hipster zombie was trying to take a bite. I shoved the muzzle of the gun into his face, but a hand came down and knocked it away. A spirit came in and knocked me to the ground. Another dove in and tried to pry its way in through my mouth, and found a nasty surprise there, but the hipster was trying to gnaw his way through the leather into my neck.
I threw an elbow back, knocking him loose.
I cut a quick look at JayJay. Rumble was giving him a hell of a fight, and taking enough attention away he couldn’t finish the ritual, but I saw my hound’s resolve weakening.
Another spirit laid a hell of a punch into my jaw, and everything went gray, but for a moment. I grabbed a fallen branch, and slammed it into the hipster. If he’d been alive, it was a killing blow, but it only got his attention.
I drew back, and put my palm into his nose, hoping to drive some bone and cartilage into his brain, and pulled back. I rolled over to grab my pistol, and missed another cheap shot from a ghost that must have been a boxer.
I drew back and leveled with the hipster’s head and fired. Amazing what a small hole in the front can do, but I laid him to rest permanently as whatever was left of his brains clung to the inside of his exploded brain pan.
I said a quick prayer, and the boxer vanished into the nearest coin. I was going to have a hell of a tab in the underworld.
I rubbed my arm and neck where the hipster used me for a chew toy, and closed the gap, holding my pistol as steady as I could. JayJay’s eyes burned with hate in my direction, but in this half-state, he’d hit about all he could take.
“Oliver, you got two choices. You’re about to vanish forever either down the gut of a necromancer or a hellhound.” I glanced at a shiny coin on the ground. “Or you can take your chances with the ferryman.”
“I can’t move.” Oliver’s eyes plead in agony. “Help me.”
“No.” Ellie cried. I felt the burn across my side before I even heard the shot. “I need this. We… need this.”
I’d had enough family disfunction for one day. I squeezed the trigger, and hit JayJay in the shoulder. I’d been aiming for his head, but was thrilled I’d hit the necromancer at all.
Rumble fell free, and pounced onto Ellie, holding her down.
I held my hand over my wound. The leather had taken most of it, but I’d have a new scar across my side where her shot cut a crease.
JayJay clawed at Oliver’s spirit, pulling him towards his final reward.
I limped forward, “Oliver, what did you decide?”
“I’ll take my chances.” The spirit punched at his former body. “Just please, help me.”
JayJay spat a curse at me, but he could either attack me, or chew down on Oliver, but not both. And this was a one-shot deal.
“You should have taken my offer, necromancer.” I took aim at his heart, pulled the trigger and came down on an empty shell.
JayJay erupted in a guttural laugh. “Soon as I’m done with him, you’re mine.”
I whipped the gun around in my hand and charged, bringing the wooden grip down between his eyes and breaking the bridge of his nose. The necromancer’s eyes closed, and he tried to open his mouth to escape. I clamped his mouth shut with one hand, and smashed his temple with the grip of the gun until he went limp.
Ellie stumbled over, Rumble growling on her heels.
“I need tape now.” I pointed to the house. “Get it, or my hound finishes the job.”
Oliver stared down at his body. “What now? Can you put me back in there now that you’ve… taken care of JayJay?”
Oliver’s pulse was thready and fading fast. He didn’t have much time. I opened his eyelid. JayJay’s rage stared back. He didn’t have total control over the body, and couldn’t escape. It was a race to the finish. “I’m sorry, but no. Only way to destroy him at this point is in a corporeal form. And even if I could put you back in, I’m pretty sure it’s not somewhere you’d want to go. Whatever damage I didn’t cause to your brain incapacitating him, JayJay is shredding as he fights to take over.”
“The die is cast. When you cut deals with forces you don’t understand, you still have to pay the price.” JayJay was stirring, trying to lift his hand to knock mine away. “Where is that damn tape?”
“Here.” Ellie threw a roll of duct tape at me like it was a bunch of rotten bananas. “What do you intend— “
I ripped off a strip as best I could with a hand and a half and slapped it over his mouth. A few strips later, and JayJay’s host looked fit to be the silver disco version of the invisible man in bandages. I strapped his hands and feet together for good measure.
Ellie sat down on the stairs and buried her face in her hands. “What do I do now?”
“I’d suggest you say your piece, but he’s standing there.” I pointed in Oliver’s general direction. “I’ll have you a body back in a few hours. Mostly ash, but you’ll have something to bury.”
“I have people that can clean up the mess.” She looked up blowing snot and tears. “We’re famous. They can’t just disappear. And what about our business? All this for nothing?”
“Lady,” I grabbed JayJay’s taped together hands and lifted him up to throw over my shoulder. “You’re lucky I don’t send you along with your brother to the next life, but I expect that’ll come soon enough. And as for your money, I couldn’t give two damns.”
I loaded Oliver’s body onto my shoulder and ignored the chain of threats and curses behind me. It might have been kinder to let Rumble have one more snack, but I’m not that nice.
Besides, I was sure she’d give him indigestion, and I didn’t need another brimstone cloud in the car.
I loaded the body onto the slab. Oliver’s spirit climbed in to ride along. I could leave him here, or toss him a coin, and he’d fade away soon enough. Or maybe haunt his half-sister. I’d drop him off for his last trip after I took care of JayJay.
I slipped into the driver’s seat.
“Now what?” Angelique chirped.
I leapt out the car to try to catch my pounding heart before it escaped my throat. “What are you doing there?” Her hold on the world had been so thin, she should’ve been long gone.
“Well?” She shrugged, “Something about taking refuge in Betty. She says I’m stuck.”
I sensed something about the same coming from my car.
“And she says you owe her a deep cleaning, new whitewalls, paint— “
Sweet Jesus. I cranked Betty up. I’d at least be able to get rid of one du Ballay today.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s offering!
Looking for some horror and supernatural scares? Need some new books for Halloween? Check out the October Frights Spooktacular.
Remember to hop on over to check out the other participants offerings as well.