Monday, April 28, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 15

Ashtyn had asked Bobby to accompany her back to the office.  She had also wanted Kurt to come, but he couldn’t miss another day of work.  So the two of them had headed out that morning, both seeming to dread returning to the scene of the crime.

As they walked down the hallway towards the office door they both noticed the faint, pink stain still marking the white wall across from the door. 

“A message written in dripping blood.”  Bobby’s voice sounded flat.  “How cliché.”

“It didn’t make it any less terrifying.”  Ashtyn shuddered at the memory.  “I know I’ve faced a lot of things, but there is something… frightening about dealing with a crazy person.” 

“Worse then a tentacle sprouting demon bent on returning to the earthly realm?”  He gave her a confused look. 

“That stuff is still kind of abstract to me.”  She glanced away from the stain on the wall, and down to her keys.  “It’s a reality, I know, but it’s so over the top that, I guess… I guess my mind just processes it as fantasy. A crazed person, though, is something more realistic.  It’s a danger I’ve been warned about since I was a little kid.” 

Ashtyn continued to fumble with her keys.  Bobby, sighing with frustration, pulled out his own set, and opened the office door, letting them both in. 

“Do you think the police have figured out where the blood came from?  You said they were pretty sure it wasn’t human.”  Bobby slid his keys back into his pocket, and headed towards his desk. 

“I doubt it.”  She watched him, noticing how distant he seemed.  “Things don’t move as fast in real life as they do on TV shows.  Lab work takes time.” 

“Why were they sure it wasn’t human?”  He sat down, glancing at the large stack of papers that covered his already messy desk. 

“It was a guess.”  She turned towards her own desk, flipping on her computer.  “Maybe they were just trying to keep me calm.  I don’t know.” 

Once the computer had booted up, Ashtyn was greeted by the sound of a loud ding. She had an email. 

She clicked on the small envelope icon, and checked her inbox.  One message, from an email she didn’t recognize, and there was no subject heading. 

It was probably spam, she thought to herself. 

“Check it.”  Tabitha’s voice was faint. 

Ashtyn did as she was told, and opened the email. 

“If this turns out to be a virus, I swear to God…”  She muttered the words, but they were loud enough where she got an odd glance from Bobby. 

“You’ll get use to it.”  Bobby glanced up from his papers, a rare smile on his lips.  “It takes a while, but the conversations become easier.  You might get a headache at first, but they pass.” 

She turned away from her computer.  The email could wait.  This was the most normal Bobby had seemed in a while.  He was calmer, less jumpy.  Maybe he was just exhausted from all the stress. 

“You’re taking this pretty well.”  Her voice was soft.  She was still ashamed for lying, and for doubting that one of her best friends would have reacted badly to her… little secret.  “I was worried that…” 

“Like I said before, it’s strength in numbers.”  His eyes returned to the paperwork.  “Juktha is totally confused, but she isn’t unhappy.  I don’t blame her for her confusion, though.  It’s not every day you find out you have a child that you don’t remember ever giving birth to.” 

“Read the email.”  Tabitha’s voice was a little louder.  “Don’t ask me why, but it’s important.  I just know it is.” 

“Fine!”  Ashtyn didn’t even try and lower her voice this time. 

She turned towards her computer and looked at the email that was open on her desktop.  It was a link to a news site.  She clicked on it, and waited for the page to load. 

Once the headline became clear, Ashtyn felt her stomach twist into a knot. 

“This can’t be real.”  She was shaking. 

Bobby was on his feet, and in a few steps he was standing next to her desk.  “What does it…” 

He froze when he saw the article. 

A picture of Megan, the nurse they had met while on the jobs at Yamada labs, was at the top of the page.  She was smiling, her bright eyes glistening in the flash of the camera.  The picture was older.  She looked much younger then either of them had remembered, but her smile was what gave her away.  It was warm, friendly. 

Below the picture was the headline.  ‘Local Nurse Found Murdered.’

“How’d she…” Bobby’s eyes scanned the text of the article. 

Ashtyn could feel the bile rising in her throat.  “She was bled.  The guy who found the body said she was strung up, and bled like a pig.  Oh God…”

Her hand shot to her mouth, and it took every ounce of strength in her body not to throw up at that very moment.  The police had just made up some story to calm her down.  She knew that now.  When those tests came back, the blood would be identified as human.  Not just human, but as Megan’s blood. 

There was another loud ding.  She had a new email. 

“Check it.”  Bobby never took his eyes off the screen. 

Ashtyn closed out the news story, and went back to her inbox.  The new email was from the same, unfamiliar email address, and again there was no subject.  She didn’t want to, but she knew she had to.  She opened the email. 

This time it was a picture.  Megan, her skin an icy shade of white, was strung upside down.  Her throat had been cut, and a bucket laid under her head, filled to the brim with a dark, crimson liquid.  Her killer stood next to the body, a large, curved knife in her right hand.  Her face was not hidden by a mask, and they could see that she was smiling. 

It was the woman Ashtyn had seen standing on the steps in Lilac Park.  She was pretty sure it was the same woman that Bobby had seen watching them when he had left the day before.  At the time Ashtyn hadn’t been able to recognize her, but now, seeing her clearly in the picture, she knew who she was looking at. 

Elizabeth, proud servant of Grath.

Bobby looked at Ashtyn, that nervous tightness gripping his facial features once more.  “We need to call Clare.  This is worse then we thought.” 

All Ashtyn could do was nod.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 14

Brittany had opted to stay in her room that night.  She was still a little woozy from her dip in the lake, and she also didn’t feel like explaining how the bites on her leg had started healing so quickly. 

She had faked a limp while she was still around the others, playing up the pain she was supposed to be feeling.  In reality, because of her demon biology, she had started healing almost the second Clare had wrapped her leg. 

Brittany was sprawled out on her bed, doing her best to push the image of that… thing in the water, from her mind.  She could still see it, it’s stringy, black hair, it’s white shirt and red little skirt floating in the water.  She could still recall the way it looked at her with those glassy, lifeless eyes. 

She shivered.  She had dealt with evil gnomes before.  Her first real job after the whole Sumthak incident had been dealing with demonic garden gnomes.  Those little guys had been annoying, not creepy.  They definitely hadn’t scared her.  That thing in the water, though, terrified her.   It wasn’t so much how it looked, but instead, the power she had sensed inside of it. 

She was pulled from her thoughts by the sound of a knock on her door. 

“Who is it?”  She called out as loudly as she could. 

“It’s Rico, the camera guy.”  The door muffled his voice.  “I just wanted to see if you were alright.” 

Brittany got up, making sure to practice her limp before opening the door.  When she opened the door she was greeted by Rico’s smile. 

Rico was a good-looking guy.  He wasn’t the same type of handsome that Max was.  Max was a picture of male perfection.  His hair, skin, body, his everything was made to please the eye.  There was something fake about it, though.  It was all a mask, a barrier to make it easier for people to like him. 

Rico, on the other hand, was short and stocky.  He had rich, olive skin, and body that looked like it was use to hard work.  His hands were a little to big for his size, and his hair was a little stringy and dried out from to much time in the sun.  Still, he had honesty to his looks.  He was attractive in a real natural way. 

“How’s the leg?”  He smiled, revealing uneven teeth that seemed to only make him cuter. 

“It’s been better.”  Brittany gave him a once over.  She was looking for a distraction, and maybe Rico was it.  “Do you want to come in?  I really haven’t been able to fall asleep, and…” 

She had to remind herself not to come out and just ask for sex.  Apparently that was frowned upon in most human cultures.  She didn’t really understand the need for games.  She wanted it, and from the way he was looking at her, he at least had thought about it.  Still, they needed to go through the motions before getting to it. 

“You could use a little distraction?” His cheeks seemed to redden.  “I don’t know, I…” 

“Are you married?”  She hadn’t seen a ring on his finger, but she couldn’t be sure. 

“No.”  He laughed. 


“Nope.”  He laughed again.  His response told her that at least he was confident in his sexuality. 

“Then come on in.”  She gently pulled him into the room. 

She was being forward, but Rico didn’t seem to mind.  Maybe he was one of those guys who said he didn’t like games and meant it. 

“I’m just not use to women acting this way towards me.”  He was closer to her now, and his breath smelled sweet.  “Usually they head straight for Max.” 

She closed the door.  “Well, Max strikes me as someone who is more focused on his needs.  You, on the other hand, seem like you would probably be a little more considerate in that department.”  Brittany smiled. 

She was getting impatient.  She had played this mating dance long enough, and so, without another word, she pressed Rico against the door, kissing him.  “You saved me earlier today.  Let me repay the favor.” 

He didn’t argue.


The little house on the lake was hidden by the trees’ shadows.  None of the workers seemed to even notice it.  They didn’t notice when the front door opened, or when Ujin made his trip towards his fishing spot.  They didn’t notice as he sat down, and watched them. 

He watched them as they placed lights, and small cameras around the outside of the temple.  He watched them, and he let them do what they were doing.  Normally he would have taken care of them by now, but he knew that if he interfered now he would risk not getting her back. 

He needed her.  She was the one that they had all been waiting for. 

So, Ujin sat there, his little fishing pole in his left hand, and he watched them, and he waited.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 13

Clare had wanted to start exploring the temple as soon as they could, but Max’s crew still needed to set up some lights, and by the time they had gotten Brittany situated, the sun was already starting to set. 

So, she found herself at a cheap hotel, sitting in a bar that hadn't been updated since the 1970’s, drinking cheap beer with Max and his remaining two-man crew.  She had always assumed that when he filmed he had more people with him, but apparently most of the people didn’t come along on the lock-ins, just one production assistant, and Rico, his camera guy.  The rest placed lights and cameras around the locations, then left. 

“How’s Brittany doing?”  Rico had passed on getting a beer, and had instead settled on a diet pop.  “What ever that thing was that bit her, really did a number on her leg.” 

“It was probably a trout, or a carp or something.” Max took a long swig of his beer.  He had already downed a few, and was looking a little tipsy.  “Can you believe her?  One of the elf figures?  I mean, it played great for the camera, but come on!”

“I don’t know, man.  Those things were pretty creepy.”  Rico shook his head.  “The way that one looked at us?  What was it’s name?” 

“Ujin.”  It was Rita’s turn to finally pipe in. 

Rita was young, probably still in film school.  She had short, spikey red hair, so bright that it had to be dyed, and a slim body.  The only thing that seemed out of place on her was her rather large breasts, but Clare chalked that up to a little padding a good bra.

“That thing scared the hell out of me!”  Rita sipped on her beer like someone who didn’t trust her own limits with alcohol.  “When its head snapped towards us…” She shivered. 

“I don’t think that thing would look any less creepy when it was brand new.” Rico was fiddling with the straw in his drink.  “That whole place just seems off.  Maybe it’s just because it’s old.  I don’t know.” 

Clare shook her head.  “It’s always been that way.  I went there once, when I was kid.  That was… over twenty-five years ago.  It was in better shape, but there was still something about that place that just seemed unhealthy.”

“It reminds me of a nightmare I’ve had a few times.”  Rita didn’t look at anyone, but instead, focused on her beer bottle.  “In the dream, I’m standing on this beach, in front of this little house.  It actually kind of looked like Ujin’s house, but the surroundings were different.  It was rocky, and the house was up on a cliff.”  She took a deep breath.  “Anyways, I’m standing there, in this flimsy little night gown, looking up at the house, and the door opens.  This creature walks out, walks over to the woodpile, and picks up an axe, and then he walks to the edge of the cliff, looking down at me.” 

As Rita spoke, I felt a chill run down my spine.  “Then what happens?” 

She shook her head.  “Then I wake up.  That moment, though, where our eyes meet, fills me with so much fear.  It’s hard to even describe it, but it’s like I’m looking into the eyes of pure evil.” 

Max slammed his hand down on the table.  “We so need to get you saying that on camera!” 

Rita laughed, finally looking up at her boss.  “It’s just a stupid nightmare.” 

“That ties directly into the location we are working.  Come on, it’s prime reality TV!” He downed a huge swig of beer, slamming the bottle on the tabletop.  “You,  someone who has never set foot in the park before, experiencing a psychic link with the sordid, creepy past with Fantasy Land.  Pure gold!” 

“If you think it will work,” she smiled, “then I’m game.”  

“Now that’s what I like to here.”  Max was laughing, and drawing the attention of the other customers in the bar. 

“Well, you two can figure out how we will film that segment.”  Rico stood up, placing a couple bucks on the table, “I am going to get some sleep.  I have to get to the park early to finish setting up the main monitor hub in the manager’s office before we start filming tomorrow.”

Rico said his goodnights, and left the table. 

Clare waited until Max went to grab another round of beers before she tried to dig a little deeper into Rita’s dream. 

“So, does the dream really end there?”  Clare leaned in, keeping her tone friendly, playful.  She didn’t want to scare the girl off. 

“No.”  Rita started to blush.  “The rest isn’t really… TV safe.” 

“Oh?” Clare was even more interested now.  “Do tell!” 

“Well,” Rita cleared her throat, glancing over at the bar to make sure Max wasn’t on his way back.  “This is really weird, but the elf… kind of has his way with me. “ 

“Has his way?”  Clare sat back in her seat, a little surprised with the direction Rita’s dream was going. 

“He… well, he holds the axe he has in his hand to my throat.”  Rita looked away from Clare, the playfulness vanishing as she continued to talk.  “Then he… he rips at my nightgown… and then he…” 

The clinking of three full beers being placed on the table cut Rita off.  Max was standing there, smiling like the showman that he was. 

“What are you two talking about?” He gave Clare a little wink. 

“The lack of fulfilling sex in our lives.”  Clare couldn’t help but throw him a little ego jab.

The conversation moved back to the shoot the next day, and Clare mostly zoned out.  Still, Rita’s dream seemed to always be there, just in the back of her mind.  What could it all mean?  And was it safe to let Rita back into that park?  What if it really was some kind of psychic link to whatever was making people disappear there? 

She needed to figure this all out before Rita, or anyone else, really started exploring Fantasy Land tomorrow.  If she didn’t, she didn’t want to think of what could happen to Rita, or to the rest of them. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Accidental Demon Slayers: Daughter of Darkness pt. 12

That night Ashtyn found herself in the living room of Kurt and Bobby’s apartment.  She was still shaken up by the ghastly message that had been scrawled on the hallway wall outside of the office.  How had she not heard someone out there?  And what did it mean? 

Bobby was sitting across from her, and now that she could get a good look at him, she saw just how beaten up he still was.  His hair was messy, his skin pale.  He had dark circles under his eyes, and his muscles seemed so tense that it appeared that the smallest noise would set him off. 

Kurt walked into the room, placing a mug full of hot tea in front of her.  He sat in the chair next to Bobby’s.  Kurt looked healthier, but no less wound up.

“So, you called the cops?”  Bobby wasn’t taking his eyes off of her. 

“I didn’t know what else to do.”  She picked up the mug, wrapping her hands around the hot ceramic.  The tea smelled like peppermint and herbs.  “They took some pictures, and they’re testing the blood that was used to write the message.” 

“So, it was for sure blood?”  Kurt had his hand on Bobby’s knee, gently squeezing it. 

“Yes.”  Ashtyn took a sip of the tea.  The hot liquid seemed to melt away the chill that had settled inside of her.  “They don’t think it’s human, but they are testing it to make sure.” 

“What did you tell them about Grath?”  Bobby leaned closer, his eyes unblinking. 

“Nothing.” She shook her head.  “They wouldn’t believe me anyways.  Who knows what that really means, anyway?  Grath’s followers, at least the two we came into contact with, weren’t exactly the most stable bunch.” 

“Do you think there are more?  Steven is dead, but Elizabeth…” Kurt looked nervous.  “Do you think she managed to recruit more?”

“It hasn’t been that long.  How many people could she have brainwashed in… what? A couple of weeks?”  Ashtyn shook her head and took another sip. 

“How quickly did he convert her?”  Bobby was grinding his teeth.  “A matter of hours?  All it took was the sound of his voice.  Those spores are still out there, which means he’s still out there.  How many people do you think have heard his voice by now?” 

“I don’t want to think about it.”  Kurt stood up, and headed towards the kitchen.  “I need something a little stronger then tea.  I’ll be right back.”

“That spore wasn’t the only thing that left the lab.”  Bobby leaned back, but his eyes never left Ashtyn. 

“I think he knows.”  Tabitha’s voice was a mere whisper.  “About me.  I think he’s starting to figure out about me.” 

“We know.”  There was another voice, a woman’s voice in Ashtyn’s mind.  It was familiar. 

“How long?”  It was Bobby who broke the silence that had fallen over the room.

“The day after we got out of the lab.”  Ashtyn shook her head.  “She may have been there longer, but that was when she made herself known.” 

“Tabitha.” Bobby spoke her name out loud. 

It felt weird hearing someone else saying that name.  It was a name she had heard many times in her own mind, but hearing it from someone else?  It suddenly made her reality all the more real. 

“She’s the reason I was able to defeat Grath.” She gave him a half smile.  “He could steal Juktha’s power, but not Tabitha’s.  So…” 

Bobby flinched at her words.  She had just reminded him of what it had felt like to be powerless, defenseless. 

“I didn’t really know how to bring up the subject.  Hell, I didn’t even know if she was real until you and Juktha called me out on it.”  She looked down into her mug.  When she finally looked up, Bobby was smiling.  He seemed more relaxed. 

“This is a good thing.” He sighed.  “I know you will be protected, but I also know that, no matter how weak Juktha and I may be against Grath, there will be someone else there who can do some damage to that son of a bitch.” 

It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of Ashtyn’s shoulders.

Kurt poked his head in from the kitchen.  “Who’s up for some Chinese?  Normally I would cook, but honestly, I don’t have the energy.” 

“Sounds good.”  Bobby turned towards Kurt, and the sight of his smile made Kurt do a small double take. 

When Kurt had returned back to the kitchen, Bobby brought the conversation back to the message on the wall. 

“Do you think there could possibly be a real temple?”  Even though he seemed calmer, his eyes still bore the same intensity as before. 

“I could do some digging, but I couldn’t tell you for sure.”  Ashtyn placed her mug down on the table. 

“If Grath is gaining followers, we need to nip this quick before his numbers get to large.” Bobby’s jaw tightened.  “Are you ready for round two with him?” 

Ashtyn nodded, but inside she wasn’t so sure.  They had only just made it out of there last time, and now, if he was gaining strength, then who knew what was in store for them.