Friday, October 12, 2018

All Signs Point to Not Promising

91.

"Well I didn't want you to worry Gilbert is all." Clarissa had called Gilbert as soon as she had gotten to her jeep. She didn't want him to freak out that she was doing work, or be mad she didn't expect to get paid.

"I appreciate it, but you can handle this one on your own, probably just rats, though be careful rats can be mean little bastards." Gilbert remembered once he almost lost an eye to a rat suddenly lunging at him, he felt himself absent mindidly scratching near the eye.

"You sure? What if its not rats? What if its a secret Witch Cabal?"

"Well A. Witches aren't really a thing, I didn't say it earlier but yeah not a thing, and B. I highly doubt she left a note at a store to bring you to her secret Cabal that can not possibly exist in the first place. Make sure to wear a jumpsuit, don't want to get that dirt and shit on your clothes, also a mask, old places tend to have bad building materials."

"Yes dad."

"You'll thank me when you're fifty and your lungs work, have fun doing your spooky old lady house, I might have a line on something, its also probably nothing, but you said you wanted work." Clarissa smiled, her spooktober would be a thing!

"Sweet, well I'll check in with uhhh Mrs. Clausen and then check back in with you after I'm done."

"You do that, and on the off chance its job worthy be careful and bring our cards! This might be a charity case for you, but we aren't a charity."

"Will do Boss." Clarissa hung up and Gilbert looked over at Doris who was frowning at him.

"Don't look at me like that."

"You don't have anymore work."

"Well always been meaning to check out that ghost town in arizona."

"A ghost town?"

"Doris don't you have shows you should be watching?"

"You yell at me when I watch TV."

"Well I'm yelling at you now for bothering me, so go back to watching TV."

"Can't please you ever old man."

"DORIS!"

"Right right watching my TV, go look up your ghost town." Gilbert muttered under his breath he would go look up his ghost town. He secretly hoped Clarissa did stumble on to a real job, he already felt bored.

****

Clarissa pulled into the driveway and her heart was already in her stomach. The house looked like a normal rambler in a fairly average suburb neighborhood. The grass was even well maintained. Nothing looked out place, she double and triple checked the address, hoping she was wrong, but that was not the case. This was the address Clausen had provided. Clarissa didn't even know how to approach the house, she had on her jumpsuit with GD Exterminators she hoped that would be enough.

"Hello?" The old woman was fully dressed in a neat pantsuit she looked like she was ready for work at a bank or something.

"I'm sorry if I came at a bad time, Larry from the Double O sent me." Mrs. Clausen looked puzzled for a bit, and then like a light going on in her head.

"Oh the exterminator, come in come in." Inside the woman's house looked like it was the seventies all over again, walls painted in orange with deep shag carpeting covering the living room. The furniture was an awful lime green that Clarissa felt looked more like vomit than a good furniture color. Mrs. Clausen indicated a small table and some chairs she could sit at and Clarissa took her seat.

"So what exactly has been happening?" Nothing appeared out of the ordinary other than the decor.

"Its the basement, something is in my basement." The something sent a chill down Clarissa's spine, but she was also excited, maybe it would be a real case after all!

"Can you show me?" Mrs. Clausen pointed a shaky finger toward her kitchen and a door that was across from the stove.

Clarissa got up from the table and made her way toward the door, she noticed dust in the kitchen, as if no one had been in there in a while. There were also no lights on, but the switches were flipped to the on position indicating the bulbs had burnt out. Whatever was in the basement had scared Mrs. Clausen so bad she had left her kitchen and not returned. The door to the basement looked normal enough even with a lock to keep something in theory down stairs. Mrs. Clausen seemed on edge as Clarissa approached the door, she undid the latch and heard the old woman catch a breath. Clarissa cursed herself for not bringing any weapons, all she had was a flash light and her cell phone, she hadn't expected to be plunging into the unknown.

The door opened, Clarissa bravely took up her flash light and into the depths she went.

Friday, October 5, 2018

SpookTober

90.

"It's literally our slowest month of the year." Clarissa had recovered from her injury, but now she was upset about October.

"How? How is that possible? It's literally the spookiest month of the year and you're telling me no one calls us out?" Clarissa was excited to use all the new monster knowledge she'd been reading up on since she'd been out of action.

"I dunno guess monsters take the month off since humanity goes all in, I mean we'll have some jobs maybe, but it's mostly quiet."

"But how? HOW?"

"After all you two have done recently you don't want to take it easy?" Doris welcomed it being slower, it meant Gilbert wouldn't be on her about watching TV at work.

"I refuse to accept this lying down! I'm going to find someone being harrased by a witches coven summoning zombies and this month will be spooky!" Clarissa stomped out of the office and Gilbert and Doris shrugged, she was young she'd learn soon enough.

"The young are weird Gilbert."

"I think she just wants to be involved in something, I'll call around maybe there's some plague of rats or something I can scrounge up."

"You go looking for work? Are you sure you came out ok from the Devil almost taking your soul?"

"I wonder that myself Doris, I wonder that myself." Gilbert retreated to his office and Doris went back to watching TV, she hoped he would not be successful in finding work. Gilbert too hoped he would be unsuccessful in finding work.

****

"Seriously nothing?" Clarissa had gone to the Double O, it was completely deserted, not even regular exterminators were coming and going.

Larry shrugged, "It's normally a slow month kid I don't know what to tell you."

"But its a spooky month! We kill creatures of the night, you can't tell me there aren't any out there." Larry shrugged again.

"Well I did have an old woman come in..."

"I'll take it."

"Probably just nerves or the grand kids aren't coming, but I'll get her address just let me go to the back."

"Thanks Larry."

"Yeah just don't be cursing my name when you're stuck drinking weak tea and looking for rats in some old dusty crawl space." Clarissa was out the door as soon as Larry had come back with the slip. She was sure that this old woman totally would lead to a witches coven or a zombie cult, or something. It was october god damn it and she was going to do something spooky at her spooky job!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Independent Contractors

89.

Gunshots and screams. That's what her plan had come down to, gunshots and screams. Gilbert Dunkley had beaten her and she was left wondering how. Parker's minions were dying, the magical spells she'd worked, the time she'd waited and stupid bullets were destroying all of it. She knew someone strong was backing Dunkley, but it didn't matter, she'd lost, he'd won.

"Dunkley!" She screamed at him when the door blew open. Gilbert was not alone though, she figured he'd have brought his assistant, but it was worse he'd brought Satan himself.

"Hello Parker, good of you to be in such an obvious place."

"I should have known."

"You should have, I mean Dunkley is a great instrument, but only a master maestro could orchestrate this set up, and you were so kind to be stupidly easy to manipulate." Gilbert shot Parker and he shocked expression told the story.

"Are we done now?" Gilbert wanted all of this to be over, he was tired of the devil, tired of the list, and mostly just tired.

"I was monologuing Gilbert that was rude, and we are a long way from being done." The devil turned his hand slightly and Gilbert dropped the pistol. "Just like Parker you're too easy to manipulate, take away a toy, give you a new one, and a purpose and away you go, make sure its just dangerous to strip you of your support and here you are, now my personal slave."

"All a set up then?"

"Well I am the lord of lies, I would feel kind of stupid if I was telling you the truth." Gilbert felt the pull of hell at his feet. A burning pain that worked its way up his legs. And then it stopped, the devil's power was revoked.

"That'll beeeeeeeeeeee alllll today Lucifer." The demon game warden Santinni was there with Clarissa.

"What is the meaning of this Santinni you work for me!" Satan tried to fight the lock on his power, but it was absolute.

"Worked for you, but I believe as you explained it to me I'm an 'independent' contractor, annnnnnddd you are poaching, time to go to hell." Santinni snapped his fingers and Lucifer went down in a gout of flame. One final snarl as he went. Clarissa ran to Gilbert, he was surprised but unharmed.

"How did you know?" It was an open question to either of them.

"Your asssssssistant clued me in, ifffffff you realllllllly wantedddd to make a deal with a demon Gilbert, I'm hurt it wasn't me. Still poaching is a serious offense, and Lucifer will spend some time in time out, he will be back, so be ready for that." Santinni collected the .45s as they were "proof" of the crime and left.

"Thank god that's over." Clarissa hugged Gilbert again and he returned it making sure to be soft on her injured arm.

"Well its not really over, but nothing ever is is it? Lets go home, can you drive? I feel like I want to sleep for a very long time." Clarissa didn't know if she could really drive all that well with her arm, but seeing as Santinni hell magic'd her over there it wasn't like she had any other options.

"Sure, just like don't be bothered by the bumps." And so they drove back to Ellensburgh, the world safe again, for a time.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Devil Lies It's What He Does

88.

"So that happened." Clarissa caught Demurra up on her interaction with the Devil. Demurra had actually been banished several thousand miles away, something she said was the devil being nice as he could have sent her a lot worse places.

"He must be really afraid of you."

"I'm sorry I don't follow you there."

"The devil wants you away from Gilbert, he's afraid of you, something he's doing here you can stop and he knows that and so he's trying to scare you off." Clarissa was even more confused.

"What am I against the devil?"

"So modest you are. You've stood up against creatures scary and strong and come out on top, the forest creatures alone are as old and terrifying as the devil and you went in looking for someone you didn't even know. The devil is afraid of you in a way he's not afraid of Gilbert and that power honey, that's real power." Clarissa rubbed her healing arm and didn't feel very powerful.

"I guess I don't see it."

"Because you were raised to be subserviant, its something that honestly ironic about americans, for all your individualism and standing on your own, your schooling and parenting generally wants you to subvert to authorities and never take a stand for yourself. You are told to obey obey obey, and yet sell yourselves as rugged individualists, its hilarious and sad." Clarissa frowned, she hadn't thought of it like that, but it made sense.

"So what do you want me to do?"

"Believe in yourself! Slap the devil in the dick and help Gilbert or do whatever you want, Clarissa you're hurt and I know you've been feeling down about that, but this arm will heal, but your self confidence never will if you keep letting the demon's of doubt in your head." Clarissa leaned forward and kissed Demurra and things as they always do went from there.

****

"I'm in a fucking hurricane and Clarissa isn't picking up, this is like my week in a nutshell." Gilbert heard something slap into the van he could have sworn was a fish.

"She's not picking up? Maybe she gave up on you." The devil of course had decided to keep Gilbert company, Gilbert did not welcome the companionship.

"I remember when I didn't work for the devil those were nice days." The devil laughed.

"As if this is the first time you've worked for me, probably first open time, but certainly not the first, anyway buddy, I didn't want to just bother you for no reason I wanted to apologize for uhh sending you here."

"Why apologize?"

"Because the creature you need to kill isn't here, yeah before you..." Gilbert fired one of the .45s into the devils face. He figured it couldn't kill the devil, it could just get him not to be there, but it felt nice.

"So that happened."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Never Coming Back to Louisiana

87.

There weren't gators. Gilbert took solace in that. The swamp was gator free. But there was a large Weado, a creature he'd read the name of but did not appreciate the horror of until its ropey tendrils were laid in front of him. The song was like a concert reverberating off of everything deafening in its cacophony.

"The death man comes." The voice spoke in song in an aggravating way to Gilbert. Like a beatnick poet of stereotypes.

"You feed on people, and I'm the death man, sure." Gilbert couldn't tell where the creature was, mainly based in to shoot it. He figured enough bullets and he'd kill it, but it was one of those questions lore was empty on as no one had actually killed a Weado before.

"Working for the fallen, you will not win." It lashed a tentacle at Gilbert, but the size of the thing meant it was too slow, far too slow for Gilbert and the .45. He fired one time and the tentacle shriveled like a plant caught in the sun. Subsequent rounds on the rest of the tentacles he could see and the song was twisted and broken, the Weado's voice went to a wail of screams. It emerged from the muck its true form like that of a woman that had mated with a particularly large venus fly trap. Gilbert reloaded and filled it full of bullets and the sound stopped. The creature just oozed in the swamp.

"Well played I hate that sound." The devil didn't so much as stand on the water as hover above it, Gilbert hated him for that as he could feel with each splorching step.

"That why it was on your list?"

"Yes, just offended me, there are others mind you, but I figure air travel with a devil enhanced hand gun is frowned up on in these elevated times, so I picked one local."

"That's all this list is, things that bother you?"

"No and you aren't going to suss it out of me by being nosey, just like your assistant wasn't able to, lovely girl, shame you'll get her killed or maimed or whatever else happens to people like you." Gilbert looked at the devil cross.

"Don't you have something to do?"

"I do, and I'm doing it, I'm doing three million things at this very moment, but unlike primitives like yourself I can do those things and still find time to annoy you. Oh by the way everyone this creature touched just died, so you might want to leave Louisiana with a little bit of hustle."

"Thanks for that, you could have just not told me and then when the police arrested me come and gloated."

"You're working for me, you get tipped off, just like I know there is a road block being set up west, I'd recommend you go east, besides you need to go east anyway, next on the list is in florida, careful weather report looks like hurricane."

"Thanks." The devil was already gone before the words left Gilbert's lips. He sighed and tried to think of the roads to Florida and how much he hated Hurricanes.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Weadon't Do That

86.

"It sings to you at first." The little person's name was Robert, Gilbert had asked what he preferred to be called and he said Robert, not Robbie or Rob but Robert, "Just a tune on the wind, you almost think you're just putting method to ocean sounds, but the longer you hear it, the more the song comes to you, the more the song draws you to it." The sun had gone down, but the heat remained, Gilbert felt himself sweating even with the air conditioning on high.

"And that's how it gets you?"

"That's how it gets its helpers, people who start to make sure it feeds, make sure its insulated, this town used to be a nice normal place, full of unsaid bigotries, now all these people do is feed the Weado, they meet with it nightly."

"But not you?" Robert smiled.

"Still think I'm setting you up?"

"You said it needs food, I'm a nice chunk of dark meat."

"I'm not considered good enough to be a helper, it was devastating the creature that sings people to their doom is biased against short people."

"And you aren't big enough for a snack?"

"Not yet, Louisiana is full of good large people for it to eat, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried, so how do you plan on killing it?" Gilbert didn't trust Robert, he was saying the right things and being nice enough, but Gilbert also knew liars switch tracks to lie to you in a way they think you'll bite on more.

"Poison, I got some stuff that I just need to get in the pool with the creature. I got shit that can kill anything really."

"Anything?"

"Well anything except sugar ants, those bastards come back from pretty much anything, believe me I've tried things off the regular and nothing kills them for good, don't believe the shit you hear about borax, that's a lie spread by the ants, they love borax." Robert didn't laugh, didn't register it, Gilbert knew he was being set up, he slammed on the breaks and drew out one of the .45's.

"What the fuck is this?"

"I believe in politics this is called preemptive defense, get out of my van."

"You going crazy on me Gilbert?" Robert got out of the van and Gilbert noticed his directions had lead him directly in the middle of nowhere, just a road and swamp. Gilbert shot him three times, the green blood eruptions told him he had guessed properly. He heard a scream in the distance, it broke him out of a lull he hadn't realized he'd fallen into. In a way it reminded him of the forest's song. He went to the van and got some waders out, he hoped against hope there were gators in the water, and started moving towards the song.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Down on the Bayou

85.

It was over a hundred and Gilbert wished his van was a refrigerator. It was hotter than he'd been in a long time and he hadn't even gotten out of the van. He looked outside and swore he saw heat waves coming from the heat waves. The bait and tackle store he was parked in most certainly didn't have a very good ac system and Gilbert already dreaded the short walk inside. When he opened the door he felt the wave of heat and humidity hit him and sighed, it was going to be a long day.

"Help you with something?" Gilbert wasn't even fully into the bait shop when the grey haired missing toothed guy behind the counter asked after him.

"I'm looking for something strange." Gilbert had made the plea at four other local bait shops, he was already ready for the usual.

"Poaching's illegal, and I want you to know I won't support it."

"Do I look like a poacher to you?"

"You look lost honestly Mister." The inherent racism in the lost wasn't lost on Gilbert he'd dealt with it in every rural community he found himself in.

"I am lost, but I'm also looking for something, you ever hear of a Weado?" It was like the non existent cold found itself into the bait shop. The old man staring slack jawed to be disrespectful, closed his mouth and looked around like the very name could summon the creature.

"I think you should leave."

"You've seen it."

"Now, just leave now."

"I'm here to kill it you see." The man got out from behind the counter and he was armed, Gilbert had run into similar issues earlier and he hoped someone in the swamp would finally just give up the ghost. Unfortunately the influence of the Weado was too strong, he saw that now. He left and went out in the heat and humidity almost expecting a group of the creatures followers waiting for him, but the only person there was a midget, or dwarf Gilbert forgot what people who suffered from the condition called themselves.

"You're looking for the Weado?" Gilbert was hesitant, the information Clarissa had given about them mentioned they were sneaky and often would use misdirection to lead people to their doom.

"Nah I'm a poacher hoping to hire out for someone who can hoist a gator and keep their mouth shut." The midget smiled.

"You think I'm working with it?" Gilbert went to get into his van.

"Almost assuredly."

"Is there anyway I could convince you I'm not?"

"Take me to it."

"Deal." Gilbert suspected the small person was telling the truth, but even if he wasn't, if he took him to the Weado he could get the hell out of the bayou and into a climate not designed by Satan.