Ghost Stories from Hell, page 25
The scene on Main Street was horrifying.
A large fire had been built in front of the firehouse, and a spit had been set up over the fire itself. A giant, perhaps ten or twelve feet high, was slowly turning the spit while a trio of gutted men was bound to it. A female giant, her great breasts swinging with each step, stood close to the fire, mashing up something in a dumpster.
Off to the left, in front of Franceur’s Bakery, goblins had gathered, dozens of them. They were keeping themselves entertained by eating baked goods as well as banging on a variety of musical instruments taken from Alex’s Music Shop, and let’s not forget, by forcing a couple of people to dance endlessly.
Crying started on the far right and Philip shifted his gaze to there.
Faeries were crossing the road. Small things, no bigger than three feet. They were wearing bright clothing that they had found somewhere—probably in the same houses from where they had stolen the children.
The faeries were carrying children, some under a year, some as old as four or five. Some of the children cried, but others simply walked along, stunned.
The wind shifted slightly, carrying to him the smell of the flesh roasting on the spit. He turned his head away and closed his eyes for a moment. The flesh smelled exactly like a pot roast slowly basting in its own juices.
With a sigh, Philip stood up and left the room, his stomach rumbling. He needed to find something to eat.
Walking down into the basement he looked around at the few survivors. Chris stood with the reverend, several women of various ages whom he didn’t know, and the two men who had been guarding the door earlier. But guarding the door didn’t seem to matter anymore. They all knew that the faeries out there would certainly come in whenever they wanted to.
Philip stopped by the boxes of bottled water and took one out, cracking open the top and taking a long drink. He’d have a meal shortly, but for now, just the water.
Although, he’d be happy with a few shots of vodka as well.
He went to an ancient-looking wooden folding chair and sat down, grunting as he settled in, taking another drink. The sun would be setting in another hour, hour and a half at max.
Night would come.
What would the faery folk do?
What would he do? Could they slip away, all of them at once? Would they have to leave singly or in pairs? Would someone panic and give the whole thing away? Would someone refuse to leave, try to stay behind and wait it out?
Philip shook his head.
It was one of those days when he really wished he’d made it to work at the garage so he could wrench on cars all day.
But that wouldn’t have stopped what had happened—probably wouldn’t even have slowed it down.
Chris came over, took out a chair, and sat down across from him. “How are you doing?”
Philip looked at the man. Chris was a psychiatrist or therapist or life coach or something in Nashua and Philip really didn’t want any therapy or New Age bullshit, but hell, he could at least talk to the man.
“Tired,” Philip said honestly. “Worried too. I’m worried about what’s going to happen tonight.”
“Tonight?” Chris asked.
“Tonight,” Philip said again, nodding. “We need to try and figure out what we’re going to be doing. Are we staying? Are we going?”
“Why tonight?” Chris asked, genuinely confused.
“Too easy for them not to. Perfect opportunity for them to take care of us.”
“Oh,” Chris said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. “Oh.”
Philip finished the bottle of water, crushed it loudly and put the cap back on. “I’ll be right back,” he said, standing up.
“What’s that smell out there?” Chris asked. “It’s driving me crazy. Smells, like they’re, have a great big pot roast. I’m so damned hungry for a roast now.”
“Well,” Philip said, turning away from Chris, “don’t eat that one.”
“Because that’s the smell of people being cooked for someone’s dinner.”
Chapter 34: Erin and Klaus in the Pharmacy, 4:3o PM
Erin led Klaus around the back of the pharmacy, when suddenly, he stopped her.
She stopped immediately, looking back at him. Silently, he pointed forward, and Erin saw, in the growing shadows, the shape of a man lying down on the ground. Beyond him were Main Street and a nightmare that numbed her mind.
Then Klaus’s lips were close to her ear.
“My friend,” he said in a low whisper, “we mustn’t be afraid. That man waits and so shall we, with him. We must crawl, though, yes?”
Erin nodded, and together the two of them got on the ground and started crawling towards the stranger. She nearly jumped as Klaus put his hand on her behind and pressed down. It took her a moment to realize that she was moving with her rear nearly straight up in the air, and that he wasn’t being inappropriate.
She forced her hips to hug the earth. By the time they reached the shadow where the man was, the stranger had rolled silently to his side.
“Does that work?” the man whispered, nodding to the sword that Klaus carried.
“Ja,” Klaus whispered back.
“He’s great with it,” Erin said softly.
The stranger smiled. “Good. Name’s Evan.”
“Erin,” Erin said, “and this is Klaus.”
“Sind SieDeutschlander?” Evan asked.
Klaus grinned, a great big grin and he nodded happily at Evan.
“Are we waiting for night?” Erin asked.
“That’s what I wanted to do,” Evan stated, “but I’m not sure now.”
Evan shook his head. “The situation is looking worse. I’m wondering if someone might try to make a run for it. I think that tonight is going to be bad for whoever is in there.”
“Yes,” Klaus said. “They will move in tonight. They’ll try to flush the people within out. They will send in the giants, around three sides, you see, and force the people out through the front and into the arms of the goblins. The people will feel that they have a better chance against the goblins. It will be a rationale of fear.”
Evan nodded. “That sounds dead on.”
“So,” Erin said, looking out once more, “we’ll need to open a path through the goblins for them.”
“Das istsehr gut, Fraulein Harper,” Klaus said. “Very good indeed.”
“Well,” Evan said, focusing on the street again, “let’s try to think of what we can do.”
Then the three of them grew silent, listening to the horror of the street beyond and thinking of what it was they might be able to do.
Chapter 35: Jim, Fred, Rose Mary, and Gwen at the Cottage
“Look,” Fred said softly, pointing across the street at the pharmacy.
Jim caught the faintest hint of two people moving, and then they disappeared, dropping down and out of sight.
“Definitely not faeries,” Rose Mary said. Gwen was against Rose Mary’s chest, swaddled and held in place by a blanket. Gwen had a pacifier in her mouth and was looking up happily at her mother.
“No,” Jim agreed. “Definitely not.”
The four of them were in the front yard of a modest little New England cottage, sitting behind a row of short hedges with an angled view of downtown. They could see the town hall, Main Street, and the pharmacy. The goblins had stopped tormenting the people they had captured, and Jim wasn’t sure if the people were dead or simply exhausted.
The giants, in turn, were fighting over their rather disturbing rotisserie, and the sound of bones tearing out of joints actually reached the front yard. Regardless of the sound, the smell was disturbingly good.
Jim tried not to think about it.
“What do you think we should do?” Rose Mary asked.
“We should wait,” Fred said, his eyes never leaving Main Street. “Those three by the pharmacy have the right idea.”
“Three?” Jim asked, looking o
Fred nodded. “I saw the glint of light off of gun metal. There’s no mistaking it. Someone else is there, and the three of them have decided to wait.”
“For what?” Rose Mary asked.
“The people in the town hall to make a decision,” Fred answered.
“I didn’t see any people,” she said.
Neither did I, Jim thought, looking back at the building. Boards had been nailed up over the inside of the windows, and he suspected that the front door was barred from the inside, but that hadn’t meant that anyone was still alive in there.
“Every once in a while a shape will pass by a window, specifically the one to the left of the door on the first floor,” Fred said. “Add to that the smoke that occasionally comes out of the vent pipe on the roof. That means someone’s in there to monitor the heat. And, finally, the door’s closed. The few houses that we saw where the faeries had been through, well, they hadn’t bothered to close the doors.”
“True,” Jim said, shaking his head. “Hell, I’m supposed to be a cop, and I didn’t notice any of that.”
“So,” Rose Mary said, “what do you think they’re waiting for?”
“I think the people in town hall are waiting for night. They’ll think it’s the best time to make a run for it. Pretty sure, though,” Fred continued, “that the faeries will think that it’s a grand time to force them out. Either way, something’ll happen—more than likely right after night falls.”
“Well,” Jim sighed, looking at the darkening sky, “we shouldn’t have to wait too long then.”
Chapter 36: Brian and the Dead
Brian zipped up and walked back to his cruiser. Around him, the Blood dead were gathering, dozens of them of all ages. They stood in silence, adding a deep chill to the air as the sun continued its descent.
“It won’t be long now,” Hollis Blood said. He stood by the cruiser, hands folded neatly over the top of his cane.
“No?” Brian asked.
“No,” Hollis answered. “When they come, we will take care of the exit.”
Brian looked over at him, wanting to ask what the hell the ghost meant, but then he didn’t. The man was dead. Brian was literally speaking with a dead man. He could cut himself some slack in regards to questioning current events.
“We need you to be prepared to help those that come through,” Hollis continued. “Morgan told us that the key is to have another contract drawn up. We will have to protect them while it is written and signed. Will you be able to help, Sheriff Ricard?”
“Yes,” Brian said simply. He looked out at the barricade of trees. “Yes.”
Chapter 37: Night Falls
With the coming of night, all hell broke loose in Thorne, New Hampshire.
“You have to leave,” Philip said to those gathered around him in the basement of the town hall. He tried to keep the anger out of his voice, but as he buttoned his flannel jacket, his shaking hands betrayed him.
“We can’t,” the Reverend said. “We just can’t. It’s safe here. The National Guard will be here soon.”
“Soon isn’t going to come soon enough for us,” Philip snapped, his patience gone. “Anyone who stays here is going to die.”
Philip looked at Chris, but the man looked away.
“Jesus Christ,” Philip spat, “listen—”
And the walls of town hall started shaking, deep, terrible voices howled, and Philip knew that the giants were attacking the building, seeking a way in.
“We have to go!” he screamed.
The rest of them, though, fled further back into the basement.
Philip dropped his rifle and ran up the stairs towards the front door.
There was nothing banging at the front door, and he knew instantly that it was a trap, all of it. He didn’t have a choice, though.
He had no choice at all.
Bending down, he picked up the drill and started taking the screws out of the barrier.
“It’s happening,” Erin said softly.
Klaus and Evan rolled over and looked out at Main Street.
The giants ran, the ground shaking as they surrounded the sides and the back of the house. The great beasts started hammering away at the walls, yelling so loudly that Erin’s ears hurt. Goblins gathered around the front of town hall, forming a semicircle around the stairs.
“It is time,” Klaus said, standing up, rolling his shoulders back and forth, and swinging the sword with ease. “It is time.”
The German teenager looked down at them both. “Be ready to help whoever comes out, yes?”
“Sehr gut,” Klaus said, and he started walking towards the goblins, the noise of his approach drowned out by the howling of the giants.
“Someone’s moving,” Fred said.
Jim and Rose Mary looked out. In the light of the bonfire, they saw someone approaching the gathered goblins from behind as the door to Town Hall opened. A howl of joy rose up from the goblins, and they started jumping up and down happily.
“Move down to the pharmacy,” Fred said, and it was an order, polite but firm. The man stretched out on the ground, his clips on a clean patch of grass, his rifle aimed downtown.
Jim and Rose Mary got to their feet, Rose Mary double checking that Gwen was still sleeping, and then they hurried towards the pharmacy as a goblin shrieked.
Klaus killed the first two goblins with ease, the beasts never seeing him as he managed to strike from behind, yet as the door to the town hall opened and a man came leaping down the stairs, Klaus’s third target turned at the wrong moment. Klaus killed the thing, but it was a messy kill, and the thing managed to shriek before dying, which alerted its foul brethren to Klaus’s presence.
The goblins were shocked, their weapons sheathed or set aside in anticipation of grabbing hold of those who would escape. Klaus killed the next pair neatly and efficiently.
Then the goblins near him turned on him completely, even as the others surged towards the sole runner.
A rifle cracked in the distance, and Klaus was surprised but pleased when a goblin’s chest burst open directly in front of him. The goblins faced towards the sound of the gunshot as more broke through the violence of the night, and Klaus raised his blade and began killing once more.
Philip didn’t know who was shooting, or how the shooter’s rifle was effective against the damn things, but he didn’t care.
He was running straight towards the teenager with the sword.
The kid was sprayed with dark blood, and he looked absolutely thrilled to be butchering the little goblin bastards, and Philip thought that was a great thing.
But it was time to leave.
“Run!” Philip screamed. “I’m the only one!”
The teenager gave him a curt nod, finished off another goblin, then turned and started sprinting towards the pharmacy. The tempo of the rifle fire increased, but Philip didn’t look back.
He simply raced after the teen.
“Hey,” Jim said as he and Rose Mary approached the pharmacy from the back.
A teenage girl and a man in his twenties whipped around to face them.
“Who the hell is shooting?” the young man asked. “And how is the weapon working? My rifle didn’t do anything.”
“Too long to tell,” Jim said, drawing the knife and stepping close to hand it to him. “You can use this?”
“Definitely,” the young man said, shucking his rifle and dropping it.
Jim turned to the teenager. “Don’t suppose you can use a sword can you?”
She grinned, “Three years of fencing.”
A moment later, she had the sword in her hand and was checking the swing. “Beautiful,” she sighed happily.
“Run!” someone yelled from the street, “I’m the only one!”
Jim and the others turned to look. The man with the sword killed ano
There was only the slightest of pauses, and then the firing resumed.
Jim drew his pistol as the teenager with the sword and the other man went running by, and started firing at the goblins racing after them.
Each shot found its mark and as goblins closed in, the others started fighting as well. Someone started yelling in German, and beyond the pharmacy, the windows of the town hall started shattering as boards fell to the pavement.
Within moments it was done.
Jim, panting, looked around. No one was hurt, but the ground was littered with goblin corpses.
“The giants,” the boy with the sword said with a German accent, “they will be after us soon.”
“Not what I’m worried about, kid,” the man with the knife said, “the dogs.”
Jim was about to ask what dogs when he heard them, great barking things whose cries echoed off of the buildings.
Then Morgan was there, his pale face serious.
“Run,” he said, “run for Gilson Road.”
Fred heard the dogs and held his fire. He had twenty rounds left overall. Not nearly as much as he’d like, but enough to do some more damage.
He could still remember the drill instructors on Parris Island hammering home the importance of shooting properly, and Fred did remember. Every shot he fired was a killing shot, but now he had to wait for the dogs.
The others wouldn’t be able to outrun the dogs, especially not dogs of a supernatural nature.
So he waited.
The wait wasn’t long.
Half a dozen of the creatures came streaming out from between the music shop and an insurance office. They were followed by what looked like an English gentleman riding on the back of a disturbingly large goat.