Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fiction Friday - Biggs and Wedge Occult Occurrences

For the first time in six months, I started writing some fiction last night... and I actually finished a short story! When I say short, I mean short: it's roughly three and a half pages long. It's the first is what I'm sort of envisioning as a series of short stories with these characters and the world they live in. It's a little rough, as I wrote it as it came to me without any planning and am still feeling out the world and the character voices, but I kind of like it. If you read it... and I think you should... leave me a comment, let me know what you think!

Biggs and Wedge Occult Occurrences

    “That’s definitely blood pouring out of the sink faucet.” The blood, viscous, dark red, looked ridiculously out of place as it poured into the peppermint-green sink basin. What an absurd thing to notice, I thought to myself as I impotently turned the faucet on and off, neither hot or cold knobs having any affect on the blood flow.
    “I know its blood, Biggsy,” a voice from the bathroom doorway behind me pointed out. “Any idea what’s causing it?”
    I turned to face my partner, Aldredge “Wedge” Thompson, and simply shrugged before turning back to the sink, staring into the waterfall of blood. “That’s unacceptable, Biggsy. You’ve got to have some kind of idea.” When I didn’t answer, lost as I was watching the blood flow, his voice became more insistent. “Come on, Hank. Give me something.”
    Henry Biggs. That was me, the other half of “Biggs and Wedge Occult Occurrences.” Go ahead, make the Star Wars joke, everyone does. Hell, as our company got more popular and our name started to spread, George Lucas even tried to sue us once. We went in with the defense that you can’t sue people for using their own name… but since “Wedge” technically isn’t anywhere on my partner’s birth certificate, we weren’t getting very far with that line. Until, that is, Lucas needed our particular services, and in return, he let us keep the name… but that’s a story for another day.
    I shook my head and sighed as I pulled myself away from the sink and turned to face him. “This one manifestation isn’t a lot to go on.”
    “Clearly the house is haunted.” He looked at the sink. “Could be a ghost, or a poltergeist.”
    I gave him a look that bordered on long-suffering. “You’ve been doing this long enough to know a violent blood manifestation like this means if it’s a spirit, it can’t be just a ghost.”
    “Poltergeist it is,” he said, rubbing his hands together, eager to get to the “violence” phase of the job. “I’ll go get the gear out of the truck.
    “I said if it’s a spirit,” I repeated as I grabbed his shoulder to keep him in the bathroom with me. “It could be any number of things, from a curse to a psychic manifestation. I’m not risking a summoning until we know for sure what’s what.” I shuddered at the thought. For a medium like me… especially a medium like me… a summoning was one of the worst things you could ever go through, even when you were definite about doing it. But when you weren’t sure? It was a thousand times worse.
    “Fine.” Wedge sighed in disappointment. As a medium, I was the “occult” part of the business, but Wedge was the violence. And no encounter was more violent than a poltergeist, so of course that’s what he was always hoping for. “What now?”
    “Check the rest of the house, see if you can find any other clues.”
    “But the Hendersons already said nothing weird is going on anywhere else except this sink,” he whined. He hated the research and exploration part of the proceedings.
    “Just do it,” I snapped, the look on my face no longer simply bordering on long-suffering. “I’m pretty sure they aren’t experts, or else we wouldn’t be here. Maybe you’ll see something they missed. I’m going to stay here and see what else I can see.”
    He might have said something as he walked out of the room, but I was already purposefully ignoring him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Wedge like a brother; he was my oldest friend, and after some of the things we’d been through together, both before and after starting our business, there was no way that would ever change. Sometimes, though, his enjoyment of the violence this job sometimes called for and his disinterest in the subtler aspects even after all these years annoyed the crap out of me.
    I shook myself, visibly clearing Wedge and the rest of my thoughts from my head and once again stared at the crimson deluge falling into the sink. I looked into it, through it, trying to find any hint of what might be going on, but there was nothing. Not expecting it to do anything, I tried the knobs again, and got what I expected. I looked around the bathroom, taking in the toilet, the towel rack, the flowery purple mat on the floor in front of the tub that clashed with the green color of everything else, the bathtub itself...
    As I looked at the tub, a thought struck me. The Hendersons had said nothing weird was going on anywhere else in the house. They also said they hadn’t been in this bathroom since the sink started gushing blood, using the bathroom downstairs instead. If they left the bathroom as soon as the sink started, what about the tub and shower faucets, did they ever check them?
    I stepped over to the tub and turned the knobs to turn the shower on, jumping back quickly to avoid any bloody downpours just in case. The shower, however, stayed dry. No blood, no water, nothing. My eyebrow arched curiously. Stepping back to the tub, I turned the shower off and then knelt down, turning the bathroom faucet on. The faucet stayed dry, but something else happened.
    The blood suddenly stopped pouring from the sink. I looked from the sink to the tub and back again, and, with a shrug, turned the tub faucet off again… and the sink stayed dry.
    “Curiouser and curiouser,” I mumbled. Never smart enough to leave well enough alone, I reached out and turned the tub faucet on again… and it promptly exploded in a burst of blood so powerful the faucet itself was shredded, bits of metal flying everywhere, one jagged piece cutting a gash in my cheek.
    “Fuck,” I growled as I was knocked back against the wall, as covered in blood as the shower walls and the insides of the tub were. My hand traced the jagged line that now cut across my cheek, but I couldn’t tell where my blood ended and the blood from the explosion began. As the ringing in my ears subsided, I could hear Wedge barreling up the stairs and yelling, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying.
    “I’m alright,” I yelled to him. “Just go get the gear out of the truck. It’s a poltergeist.”

* * * * *

    The thing you have to understand is that while all poltergeists are ghosts, not all ghosts are poltergeists. If you’ve ever glimpsed something watching you, or thought you saw a lost loved one out of the corner of your eye, that was a ghost. They’re just… there. For some reason, they can’t, or won’t move on, and they just linger. It’s sad, actually. Poltergeists, on the other hand… those are the nasty, bitter bastards who throw things around the room, slam doors, break windows, or, you know, explode faucets into people’s faces. Ghosts and poltergeists only have two things in common: they’re both spirits of the dead, and they can both only be dispatched through a summoning.
    Wedge had gotten the gear out of the truck. For me, that included a paintbrush and a mop. A paintbrush to take the blood that was already splattered all around the bathroom and paint in into a double pentagram on the floor, and a mop to mop up all the extra blood so the double pentagram was perfect… and it had to be perfect. You see, what a summoning did was literally summon the spirit, forcing it to manifest a corporeal form, and then bound it within the pentagram. If there was only one pentagram, the spirit would be summoned, but not bound. That’s what the double pentagram was for. Once it was summoned and bound, well, that was where Wedge came in.
    The gear he had brought up from the truck for himself was a keenly sharpened, perfectly weighted long sword that he was strong enough to wield one-handed, and a matching jeweled dagger. Both had been anointed in the blood of the innocent, which made them capable of banishing and effectively killing a bound spirit.
    “I’m glad all this blood was already here,” Wedge opined as he leaned against the wall, watching me put the finishing touches on the double pentagram on the bathroom floor, “I really didn’t feel like having to kill another chicken for this.”
    “I’m so happy for you,” I muttered, glaring up at him over the angry gash on my cheek. “Now listen,” I said as I stood up, looking down to make sure everything was perfect. “When I kneel in the middle to do the summoning, there isn’t a lot of room. Our poltergeist here is going to manifest pretty much right on top of me, so I need you to be quick, or it’s my ass.”
    Wedge nodded. “I’m on it.”
    With a sigh, I knelt down in the center of the double pentagram, closed my eyes, and concentrated. If I had an audience, I might have chanted some nonsense for the sake of drama, but it wasn’t necessary. To summon a spirit, all a medium had to do was concentrate and feel. In this case, I concentrated on the bathtub, and was immediately awash in feelings of fear, sadness, and confusion… but not anger. Something was wrong here, but it was too late to stop now. Once I hooked onto the feelings at the epicenter of the spirit’s haunting, there was no stopping the summoning.
    I felt the spirit in front of me and opened my eyes at the exact time I heard Wedge start lunging with the sword. I opened my eyes, ready to get out of the way…
    …and in front of me was the spirit of a naked little boy, no more than two years old. Every inch of him was covered in water, and as he looked around in confusion and fear, his eyes wept endlessly. He wasn’t moving to attack or harm anyone, he was just standing there. “Stop!” I screamed to Wedge, in time to get him to halt his lunge, the tip of the long sword barely millimeter from plunging into the spirit’s chest and banishing him forever.
    “What the hell, Biggsy?” he growled at me.
    “Something’s wrong here,” I said softly as I knelt towards the boy. “I’m going to find out what.”
    “Aw, don’t,” Wedge said softly, knowing what I was about to do. He also knew he wouldn’t be able to talk me out of it, so he lowered the sword, giving me enough room to reach out and lightly touch the boy’s cheek.
    I’ve already mentioned all a medium needed to do to summon a spirit was feel. That’s basically what a medium really did: we felt the feelings of the dead. Usually we sensed those feelings around us, like at séances or readings. You know, John Edwards stuff. But when we wanted to, we could go deeper than that. And there was no deeper than touching a spirit.
    As my hand cupped the boy’s cheek, I was overwhelmed by how confused and scared he was. His memories flooded into me. I saw the bathtub through his eyes, the eyes of a happy little boy taking a bath. I looked up through his eyes and saw Mrs. Henderson… Mama, I realized… washing him. I saw Daddy, Mr. Henderson, walk into the room.
    “You know it’s the only way, Sheila,” Daddy was saying. “Without that job, I don’t know how we’ll be able to keep the house, or feed ourselves, let alone feed three mouths. Don’t make him suffer with us. When things get better, we can try again.”
    “I know, Alex,” Mommy said sadly. Her hand gently touched my… the boy’s, I mean… face. “I just… I can’t bring myself to do it,” she whispered as she started to cry.
    “Let me.” Daddy came into the room and gently moved Mommy out of the way, then took the little boy’s head and pushed it under the water…

    I broke the connection with a scream.
    “You alright, Biggs?” Wedge asked as he eyes the spirit warily. The little boy had started crying harder now.
    “I’m fine,” I said as I caught my breath, forcing the boy’s feelings out of me. “I’m sorry, kid,” I said softly. “Do it,” I nodded up to Wedge, turning away so I didn’t have to watch as he drew back and plunged his sword into the spirit’s chest, banishing him forever.

* * * * *

    I called the Hendersons as we left their house to tell them the job was done. When Mr. Henderson asked who to make the check out to, I told him to take his money and go fuck himself. Wedge was aghast at that until I explained what I had seen when I touched the boy; once he understood, I had to stop him from paying the Hendersons a visit himself.
    I’d love to tell you we went to the cops with what I had seen, but the truth is, even though the world had become much more aware of the spirit world all around us, what a medium saw in a spirit’s mind wasn’t exactly admissible in a court of law, so there wasn’t much point.
    So we went to The Haunted Hops, the bar we had bought together a few years ago after the occult business started to pick up. Wedge ran away from what we went through the way he usually did; he drank a bit, put on a brave face, and started telling stories of our cases to the regulars and to any cute girl that would listen.
    It wasn’t as easy for me to shake off what I had felt from that poor little boy. No, for me it required an awful lot of Jameson Irish Whiskey. I must have been on the fifth or sixth shot in my crusade to wipe the pain away when Wedge came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. “Do you remember when this job used to be fun, Hank?”
    In answer, I refilled my shot glass and gazed into the warm, inviting liquid. “No,” I answered before downing the shot.

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