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NOTE: Adult situations and language.
The AC Trans all-nighter, the 822, gets me close, but I still have to run the last few miles to Bly the Fly’s place. With my head and hand both throbbing, I wonder what state I’ll be in when I get there, but I can’t let that stop me.
The demon knew something, but didn’t want to tell Reyes because of me. I had to fix that. How I was going to do that I have no idea, but I’ll figure it out.
A couple of blocks away from the demon’s house, I slow my pace.
It’s dark as shit. Even the stars have disappeared. I scan the heavens. Fog from the bay rolls up the hills, over-topping the entire neighborhood. By morning, it’ll hug the ground tight, but now, it looks like the wings of a massive angel of death.
Down the hill, I can see the city’s orange light reflecting off its underbelly, but right here, it’s pitch black as if the electricity was out.
When I round the corner, I skitter to a stop.
Lanterns hang from the tips of tree branches, setting Blyrthek’s house ablaze. Bright, hanging globes line the path up to the front door. A doorman, in coattails, tall hat, and swank leather boots, motions for me to come forward. He’s the Hungarian dude that gave Reyes the evil eye the day before.
I blink and something clicks near my left shoulder. I look, but there’s nothing there. When I turn back, the doorman is gone and the front door is open.
Was he real or had I imagined him?
Without giving it another thought, I run up the steps, my feet skimming over the stone as if I’m in a dream. Am I?
Inside, the house is so bright I have to squint. Pulling down the hood of my sweater to shade my eyes, I swear under my breath that this is a different house. Like a snake shedding its old skin, the furniture’s reds and golds nearly glow.
Someone in a feathered mask stands at the bottom of the staircase, pointing up the stairs. I know she’s the girl who led us in the first time because she’s sporting a black dress with a neck line so low and wide, she might as well just put her boobs on a shelf. I get moist thinking about what I can do with her when she gets old enough, but that clicking noise interrupts my day-dream.
I give the girl a nod and wink on my way up the stairs.
In the hallway, the adjacent rooms are open. As I pass, I peak in. One has an old couple, leering at me as if they know what I was planning to do to their granddaughter. Another room has a teenage boy reading from a book. He presses his finger to his lips when he sees me staring and gives me a wink. He likes his cousin, too. He doesn’t say it, but somehow I know he brushes his groin up against her every chance he gets. The next room has a man screwing a woman who looks like me. He resembles the teenager in the next room, but ten years older. The woman is bent over the edge of the bed, bottom lip pinched between her teeth, her pale-brown ass rippling with each hip thrust. He looks over his shoulder at me. Sweat runs down the side of his face and his dark eyes ask me whether I want to be fucked or do the fucking?
Am I in the teenager’s dream or mine?
I can only nod my head and move on.
When I get to the possessed girl’s closed bedroom at the end of the hall, I’m not sure what to expect, but open the door anyway and walk in.
I jump in my skin when the door slams shut behind me.
The room is dark. I give myself a moment to let my eyes adjust to the gloom. When they do, I see a small lump under the covers of the bed. The sound of the girl’s steady breathing reaches my ears.
Without making a sound, I’m at the side of her bed, peering down at her. The girl’s eyes are closed and the slow and steady rise of her chest confirms the kid is fast asleep despite the asshole who shut the door. It makes me wonder if the door had really slammed shut or if I had imagined it.
Something clicks over my left shoulder and I look up into the corner of the ceiling.
Blyrthek is up there in a nest of dreams and lies, bloated and ugly as sin. Clicks and groans come out of its beak-like mouth, and I shake my head. I don’t know demon-speak.
Spindle legs ratchet out from its core black body. It skitters across and down the wall until it hovers over the girl’s bed.
I draw back. A part of me wants to swat the thing away, make it stop feeding off her soul. But I need it to tell me where Niki is.
The demon seems to sense my intentions because it stops, suspending its bristle-covered bloated belly over the girl’s head, as if preparing itself to scurry away like a cockroach caught in the light.
I notice its dull red eyes staring at me and I look away in disgust.
I can hear it enter the girl. It clicks and clacks its way into her ears, nose and mouth. A shaking grips me. It’s all I can do to keep my hands in my pockets instead of smashing the thing against the wall.
After a moment, the girl wakes, her inky eyes threatening to swallow me whole as she sits up in bed. She doesn’t bother to wipe the sleep from her eyes because she’s not really awake, is she? It’s the demon controller her now.
“What do you want,” Blyrthek says.
The girl’s voice is like any other; sweet and innocent.
“You know where Niki is,” I say.
I don’t really know that, but it’s worth a shot. I’ve got nothing else.
“No, but you do,” the demon says.
I arch an eyebrow. Do I?
I think back on everything I know about Merryweather, what McLean dug up on her and Lou Jing, but nothing comes up.
“Maybe we should compare notes?” I say.
The demon makes the girl laugh. It almost sounds right, but there’s an edge of hysteria that raises the hairs on the back of my neck.
“You want me to tell you what I know?” she asks. “That will cost you.”
Of course, everything has a price. But what the hell would a ghost want?
A ghost’s words have the power to put their souls to rest. What if they held that in? Does it grow more powerful with each passing year? What power did Blyrthek hold?
For a moment I wonder why Merryweather told me her story. There was nothing to it. She could have held it in, waited for someone worthy. All she did was tell me to find her son.
My heart skips a beat when I realize I blew it. I ruined Merryweather’s chance to change things. A ghost’s story isn’t just about what it has to say, but who’s doing the listening.
I should have asked different questions; should have focused on Merryweather’s words, her concern. Instead, I asked for her address.
But she had chosen to tell me her story. She could have went with Reyes or McLean, but she chose me.
Would Merryweather’s trust in me cost her son’s life?
“Name your price,” I say, knowing that I’ll regret it.
“Protection,” the demon says in that little girl voice that breaks my heart.
“You,” the demon says. “Who else?”
I don’t know what to say to that.
Something in my head clicks and I swear the room got brighter.
I remember that the girl’s mother had said she was afraid of me. At the time, I thought the mother had meant the girl was afraid of me. Reyes had thought it was Blyrthek.
If Bly the Fly was afraid of me, there had to be a reason.
Moving on instinct, I reach out, plunging my hand into the girl’s chest. The sensation is cloy and warm and so many levels of wrong I almost pull out. But then I feel it – the demon. There’s a slight static shock and it fights me, but I wrestle the monster out of that little girl’s body.
The demon’s body is thick and moist. It bugles between my fingers, trying to get away. Its bristle hairs lining its bulbous belly and long limbs claw at my skin. Its eyes stare at me as it struggles to get away, but it can’t. I know it can’t.
I hold it between my hands, close to my chest and stare at the essence of Blyrthek the demon. Its as big as a small dog, but not nearly as cute.
How does one possess a demon?
I shrug and stuff it into my mouth. It doesn’t go down easy. It claws at my throat and guts. Good thing I’m used to things burning me from the inside out. I just hope I can hold the beast down long enough to find out what I need.
Turning away from the girl, prone on the bed now, I take one step towards the door and collapse. Convulsions rack my body. I bite my tongue, blood fills my mouth, and my head pounds on the hardwood floors. Boils and fissures sprout along my arms and body, and I figure Bly is about to tear me apart to get out.
Instead, I come out.
At least, I think I’m me. But I can’t be because I’m looking down at my empty body. It looks like a deflated blow-up doll wearing dark clothing and a gun.
It’s a good thing I had put on my badge, else I’m sure one of my colleagues would have put a bullet through me if they had seen me dressed like that.
I snort a sarcastic laugh and a clicking noise fills the room.
Hell – is that me?
A quick glance around shows I’m on the wall, at an angle that could only mean I’m in Bly the Fly’s corner nest.
Holy shit! I possessed a demon?
How is that even possible? The massive solar flares thinned the veil between the living and dead, but this?
No. I’m dreaming. This is all a dream. Or a nightmare.
I think back on the man and woman screwing in the other room and I add: Wet-dream.
But this is some seriously fucked up wet-dream. More like a nightmare.
There are more clicks and groans filling the room, and I realize I’m talking out loud through the demon’s voice-box or whatever it is that this creature has.
The girl is prone on the bed, but she’s stirring, as if she really is waking up now.
But it’s a dream, right? I’m not really in her house, am I?
Footsteps pound on the stairs below, sending small tremors through the walls. When they reach the hallway, real or not, I can’t risk them finding my body in its present state. They would probably burn it.
In a flash, I scuttle down the wall, across the floor, and slide under the bed, taking my deflated body with me. It’s mushy and a lot heavier than I figured. I wrap Bly’s hairy legs around it and crouch beneath the bed as someone opens the door.
It’s just as dark in the hallway as it is in the girl’s bedroom. Wasn’t it just brighter than a desert day in there a moment ago?
I can’t explain it, and when whoever comes in sits at the edge of the bed, I wrap Bly around my body in a protective, bristly cocoon.
A woman speaks in low tones to the girl. Shushing sounds meant to sooth. But the girl is crying now, saying something in what I think is Hungarian. Or sometime Slavic, at least.
The bed rocks a bit and I imagine the girl’s mother hugging the poor girl’s nightmares away.
As the girl mutters into her mother’s chest, I feel a pressure building in the pit of Bly’s distended belly. No one had ever hugged my fears away, or the bruises my father gave me. Not for the first time I wondered what my life would have been like had I not killed my mother.
This kid had it easy. All she had to do was put up with having Bly the Fly take over her body every now and then. As far as I could tell, the demon treated her fairly well. The little bitch didn’t know how good she had it.
I tensed Bly’s leg muscles, readying to shake the bed out from under the sniveling kid, when the mother abruptly gets up. She asks the kid something in an un-mother-like tone.
The girl answers, her voice an octave higher than it should have been. She ends in English, saying she’s sorry over and over.
Sorry for what?
The girl’s mother bolts from the room.
Huh, maybe it wasn’t the demon keeping the girl, but the girl keeping the demon?
The patter of the little girl’s feet makes Bly’s heart go a thousand beats per minute.
The girl goes to the closet and opens it up. She’s looking for something and it’s only a matter of seconds before she finds us under the bed: Bly with a mushed-up human doll with a gun and badge strapped to it.
What would they do if they found us?
I don’t even know how to get back into my body and I sure as shit didn’t want them to take it from me-in-Bly-the-Fly. I have to get out of here.
With her back to me, I scramble out, dragging my body against the wood floor. Hoisting it over my shoulder, I don’t dare look at the girl in case she feels my gaze – our gaze.
With a deftness one could only muster when one has eight legs, I slide open the bedroom window, tuck my human body in a cage of extra limbs, and vault over the sill.
I allow Bly’s body to take over. On instinct, it scurries up the side of the house until it finds the highest peak. A light wind batters fog around the house and tree tops. Bly extends her ass up into the air and I think it pees into the wind. But I can feel something tugging at its hindquarters and before I know it, we’re airborne.
In a panic, with two free limbs I reach for the wood shingles, springing a few free of their moorings with a squeal. The sound echoes through the night and then I hear a shout.
The whole family is outside, the dim glow from the open front door showing disbelief and anger on their faces. The Hungarian dude waves his fist at me.
I bark a laugh through Bly’s esophagus.
Fucking hell. I stole their demon.
Now what is Tesserak gonna do? Find out on Halloween in the final part of Ghost Stories – Possession.