Friday, June 15, 2018

Messages

74.

"I told you not to taunt the universe." Gilbert had seen Viktor immediately. Not many people wait outside of Gilbert's office dressed all in black. Considerably less do so in the middle of the day sticking out like the sorest of sore thumbs.

"Maybe he just needs our help."

"In the sense that he needs to die, sure he needs our help, in that you think he wants to hire us, no someone like that does not want to hire us, you'll have to trust me on this." Gilbert exited the van and went around to the back to gather up his things including his Naginata.

"Mr. Dunkley." Viktor had a booming way of talking, like a child who never learned what an inside voice was. Gilbert shot him, three bullets didn't seem to do much. Gilbert charged forward with the Naginata swinging a wide arc, Viktor caught the weapons blade between his hands and then in a quick motion broke it. The sound didn't sound like metal, or glass, it sounded an energy conduit exploding. Gilbert was thrown back from the action. He landed on the ground startled at what he was facing.

"If you don't take care of your toys you lose them Mr. Dunkley, Ms. Shipley before you think about attacking me with something I want you to know something." Clarissa had exited the van and notched an arrow, Viktor manged to wrench her through the air to his hand, he strangled her to the point of passing out and she hit the ground like a sack of potato's Gilbert feared she was dead.

"You won't take me without a fight."

"If I wanted to 'take' either of you, you'd be dead, no Mr. Dunkley this is a message, a message from your betters, stay out of our damn way or I will simply rend you both in twain and be done with it, there are things in motion you need to just let happen. I'm going to leave now, don't make me come back, this town smell like cow shit and failure." Viktor didn't just disappear, he walked to an expensive looking car and drove off, he waved at Gilbert as he drove by. As soon as he was out of sight Gilbert ran to Clarissa to see she was doing, she had woken up coughing, but seemed mostly ok.

"Who the fuck was that?"

"I have no idea, and I don't like what I don't know, lets get inside."

****

"Nothing, I see not a damn thing on who that guy is or what he is." Clarissa, Gilbert and Even Doris were looking through various volumes to discover the identity of the man who attacked them.

"Maybe he's a god."

"No one is a god, he's just something I haven't run across before."

"You don't know that Gilbert I've been around longer than either of you combined, there are gods." Doris didn't like how dismissive Gilbert was to the God theory.

"Doris, Clarissa I appreciate both of you coming up with theories..."

"He's nottttttt a goddd." Santinni arrived to settle the debate. "Viktor Reane, someone who hated life so much he became infuuuuused with death."

"What does that even mean?" Clarissa could accept all kinds of things, but someone being infused with death just seemed dumb.

"It meaaannnnss you should leave him be."

"Yeah that's not how I do things Santinni you know that." Santinni looked at Gilbert and then towards the door.

"You make your oooooowwwwn choices, but know this, you make that one, you won't be coming home." And with his words of vague warning Santinni left.

****

"I need you two to stay here, and don't do anything, and I mean it, nothing, just take a vacation relax, don't bother anyone." Gilbert had gathered up his traveling bag.

"And where will you be?"

"Japan, got some stuff to get sorted, don't worry I'll take care of myself, just again don't do anything while I'm gone." Doris looked to Clarissa who sighed and nodded. Gilbert hugged both of them, "I mean it really, don't do any jobs while I'm gone, bad things are out and about."

"We hear you." They said in unison and Gilbert left, trying to remember if he ever sorted out his issues with Japan the last time he was there.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sometimes Bad Guys Do Dress in Black

73.

"Humans are not animals, you buy your food in stores, you live in comfort, and for the most part you have forgotten your animalistic ways, but," The man in the black coat paused, the homeless person he was standing over eyes went wide in fear, "there are still days when those old instincts come back to you, you smell it first normally, that sense of something off in the air, then you see it, a real predator, not some big cat or bear, but something you put out of your mind, something you all collectively forgot, but it didn't forget you." The man's body enveloped that of the homeless person, leaving behind nothing but a pair of dirty shoes. The man emerged from the alleyway licking his fingers like he had a particularly good bbq.

"This is Viktor, I'm now on site, please tell me where I'm to go." Viktor listened to his instructions and frowned, "Where the fuck is Ellensburg?"

****
"I'm super glad you came by Mr. Dunkley we'll certainly pay your fees and expenses." Gilbert was covered in guts and various fluids. He and Clarissa had killed the leeches, which Clarissa had taken calling Geeches for gigantic leech, it fit for Gilbert.

"Thank you Mr. Francis, its always nice to work for the wildlife department, shame about Simmons though." Paul Francis was also a game warden, he's come across Gilbert and Clarissa as they were dynamite fishing the last Geech having run out of traditional poisons and other weapons earlier. Clarissa was especially proud of the dynamite fishing because of her liking the movie tremors.

"Who?"

"Simmons the guy I got the job from in the first place, we ran across his body earlier."

"We don't have a man named Simmons working at fish and wildlife, least not in this area." Gilbert was confused. If Simmons wasn't at the wildlife department, than who the hell was he?

"He wears glasses he was white, uhh," Gilbert realized he knew very little of Simmons other than he knew who Gilbert was. Gilbert was trying to think of more information when he saw in the Wildlife truck a picture of Simmons. "Man I know you're screwing with me, you have a picture of him in your truck."

"You found this guy?"

"Has he been missing?" Gilbert didn't like the tone.

"Sort of in that he escaped an insane asylum and was reported to be in the area."

"What was he in the nut house for?"

"Some kind of biological experim..." The warden stopped for a moment and looked at Gilbert with wide eyes, "Oh god do you think he made these things?"

"It's possible, people are weird, at least he too fell victim to them."

"That's a horrifying thought, well thanks again Mr. Dunkley and happy late birthday."

"Yeah thanks." Gilbert walked away slightly worried that on top of regular monsters, now people were making new ones. He figured best to not tell Clarissa that.

"So we're done here? All the geeches are dead?"

"We're done here."

"Good, I hope nothing awful is waiting for us at the office."

"Why would you even say that Clarissa? Now we definitely know something awful is waiting for us at the office."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Failure of Biological Reason

72.

"I guess for me I struggle with trying to figure out how." Gilbert and Clarissa had climbed a tree, there were four of the large leech creatures below looking for the, though Gilbert had correctly surmised they could not see.

"How what?" Clarissa regretted picking up the phone when Gilbert had called, she regretted it more than anything else she had done that day.

"There is no way this many large creatures have subsisted here eating fish wildlife and people, something else is going on."

"Could we solve this mystery when we aren't about to be the victim of it? And you said they don't have eyes but what about ears can't they hear us?" Clarissa had been whispering, Gilbert didn't feel the need to.

"If they had ears they'd be up in this tree right now, must be smell or some kind of ground sense."

"Wonderful Gilbert, as long as we don't smell or step on the ground we'll be fine."

"They'll probably give up and go kill something else after a time, reminds me of one time I had got stuck on top of a roof for three days in arizona, man that was awful, by the time I got down I was so thirsty."

"Not making it any better Gilbert."

"It shouldn't take three days, I mean weekend is coming up, people will be showing up."

"Really not helping now Gilbert." Gilbert shrugged.

"Was just trying to look on the bright side."

"That someone else might die? That's not a bright side."

"Could be a cougar, you know those things are the real killers, friend of mine."

"Gilbert stop making it worse."


****

Five hours later the creatures had gone off somewhere else enough for Gilbert to feel confident he could climb down. Clarissa wanted him to do it first in case they were hiding, Gilbert thought she was being silly but could tell she was angry enough to just follow her request. They moved as gingerly as possible to the van and Gilbert rearmed himself with his usual kit of supplies.

"What if they just like disappeared?"

"Like what we imagined them? No, they are out there, and we've got a job to do."

"A job we aren't be paid for."

"Oh we'll get paid," Gilbert locked a harness into place and checked the bullets in his revolver, "Someone is putting up the bill for this."

"Or we'll get killed."

"Nah, I'm not dying on my birthday, some other day sure, my birthday? Too perfect circle." Clarissa laughed. The gallows humor would make the long night go a lot easier, she also didn't want to inform Gilbert he was wrong, it wasn't his birthday anymore.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A New One

71.

The creature emerged from the water, or more the water fell away from it in beads. It was the entire size of the water it emerged from, Gilbert almost laughed at the idea he'd been literally casting on top of the creature he was looking for. It looked like a huge worm or leech, just a long tube of teeth emerging frighteningly fast. Clarissa fired a couple arrows into its side, a green fluid came from where they impacted but otherwise didn't seem to slow or even show any kind of outward distress to the creature.

"I'm shooting it, I don't see it doing any damn good." Clarissa was running out of arrows.

"Should have brought some damn dynamite, but I didn't assume what was doing the killing was this big." The only good thing about the size of the thing was how slow it was moving, Clarissa and Gilbert were easily able to out pace it. Gilbert figured it must have killed the other people by them being dumb enough to jump in the water with it. Gilbert did have his sample bag, he was trying to think of what was really toxic in there. The creature despite its size was catching up because of all the brush and water blocking their way.

"Open to some ideas Gilbert I don't think we can make the van."

"This might do, but I worry about the environmental impact." Clarissa snatched the vial from Gilbert hand and threw it at the creature. It shattered against its skin and for a moment nothing happened and then the impact turned brown and started to melt through the flesh. The worm stopped in its tracks and vomited, parts of the game warden simmons splashed on to the ground.

"Well that worked."

"Clarissa we need to talk about your technique, you can't just grab things and throw them at creatures, that substance is incredibly toxic, this is a wild life conserve..."

"There is a body right there, partially digested, the creature behind us dead, I think the greater concern was it eating us." Gilbert frowned.

"We'll have this conversation some other time." Gilbert kept his frown when looking at the corpse of Simmons, he started to doubt he'd get paid by the state for the job.

"So does that mean we don't get paid?"

"It becomes considerably harder yes."

"Wonderful, mosquito bites, almost getting eaten by a worm, not getting paid, today was great, happy birthday Gilbert."

"You know I almost forgot, but thank you, did you get me anything?"

"A ride home?"

"Hardly feels..." There was noise behind them, an even larger worm creature burst through the brush.

"You know what I'll take a ride home, lets get the fuck out of here."

Friday, May 18, 2018

Stumped

70.

"I just think it's unfair you said I couldn't take a job, but here you are on your day off your birthday taking a job." Simmons had left before Clarissa got there, he had told Gilbert he was going to file the proper job paperwork.

"When you're the boss you can be the hypocrite, until then we operate on Gilbert rules."

"Well I'll never be a hypocrite."

"You know Clarissa I hope to live long enough to see that be true." Gilbert put the bag he'd requested down in the grass. The left over remnants of bodies was confusing. He'd seen all manner of dead bodies, and remains, but he'd never seen partially digested pieces like this. The bag contained a jars of various sizes and types, each one would react to all kind of creatures Gilbert had run across, he hoped one of them would at least give him a direction. He tried twenty different solutions, none of them so much as gave any indication.

"Ok I'll bite what are you doing over there with your fun with chemistry set, other than making the air wreak like six kinds of ass."

"Certain creatures fluids when they interact with something they find caustic will cause a reaction, unfortunately whatever killed these people I haven't faced, or I haven't killed them with a chemical before."

"Well think of it like a scientist, what do we know? Its a creature that likes water right or at least wet environments, it eats people so probably a meat eater, but not all of them based on what's left behind, and it leaves a slimey goo behind when it vomits or shits them back out, what's that sound like to you?" Gilbert looked at the parts, looked at the water nearby, didn't see anything that had smoothed out the ground from where the parts were and water was and shrugged.

"Nothing."

"Not even like some weird word I'd struggle to pronounce?"

"I am 100% completely unaware on what could have done this."

"Well shit what do we do now?" Gilbert shrugged.

"I guess we build a bit of a blind and wait." Clarissa sighed.

"Maybe we could bait the creature somewhow."

"You volunteering?"

"No you said you were fishing right and this thing goes after fisherman so..."

"You want me to be the bait?"

"You are the boss." Now Gilbert sighed, her logic was unfortunately on point.

****

Night time was falling, Gilbert was fishing though his heart wasn't in it. He knew close by Clarissa was waiting with her bow and some other supplies. He just didn't like being out front not know what he was out front of. The fish weren't even biting anymore, another sign something bad was going to happen. Gilbert decided he'd just start singing, some religious song he remembered from long ago.

"Aren't you worried that'll scare the fish?" Clarissa and he had radios set up, he smiled at her question.

"Fish aren't biting anyway."

"Maybe what's out here isn't biting either?" Just then the water bubbled, the shape almost taking up the entire section of water where Gilbert was standing.

"Doesn't look like I'll be that lucky."

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Gift To Myself

69.

Gilbert slung the cast into the water. The sun was shining, the heat was still pleasant and there was a slight breeze enough the extra gear for his fishing trip was not too cumbersome. It had been a month since his trip to the succubus and after a week of feeling bad he was back to mostly good health. He rewarded himself with a fishing trip on his birthday. He loved to fish in potholes for bass, and Clarissa promised him she'd take no jobs or do anything while he was gone. The fish were even biting that morning. He'd caught two earlier and let them go, Gilbert never much liked eating fish, he just loved fishing something that always caused people to give him the side eye. For him he could think of no better thing than to spend the day fishing, go home and then have a steak, a perfect day.

"Good morning." And then it was ruined, he heard the voice and saw the man with the glasses coming his game warden badge gleaming in the sun.

"I got my license, somewhere." Gilbert reeled in his line and went looking through his tackle box.

"Take your time, beautiful day right?"

"The best, its actually my birthday." Gilbert felt a bit of panic setting in, he couldn't find the license he had bought one that morning, he must have just left it in his van.

"Well happy birthday, having trouble finding that license."

"I swear I bought one, must have left it in my van." The warden who's name tag said Simmons rolled his eyes.

"Mind if we have a walk back to your van then." Gilbert sighed, he knew this was going to ruin the day. He managed to walk back to his van in 15 minutes, which felt faster than it took to walk in, but he assumed that was based on him having to find a path originally and that he was taking his time just enjoying the day off.

"You're an exterminator?" Gilbert went looking through all the paperwork in the van, he was surprised at all the garbage that had accumulated.

"Yes Sir."

"GD that stand for something?"

"Gilbert Dunkley, me." He found the license and handed it over to Simmons.

"Gilbert Dunkley? The Gilbert Dunkley?"

"If there is more than one that's news to me sir."

"Well I feel like an asshole for hassling you," He handed back the license without even really looking it over, "You're a myth a legend in the parks service, I thought the guys were just making you up, always one of those lowered eyes looking around 'let me tell you about a real scary thing I saw' type story." Gilbert had done quite a few jobs locally over the years, he never assumed he'd become a name to anyone.

"Well that's flattering, always tried to do right by your sort, especially when something from my line crossed lanes with someone in yours."

"Are bigfoots real?"

"Yeah, real nasty, like actual wookies, but intelligent enough you can talk to them if you aren't threatening, though its the kind of negotiation I'm not exactly fond of."

"So I'm sure you've heard of the problems we're having."

"I had not actually, been having some troubles of my own recently, something you think I could handle?" Gilbert didn't want to work on his birthday, but as a curious person, he also didn't like to just leave things as they are.

"I don't actually know, like at first we thought maybe just cougars or something, people went missing who knows right? Then we started finding pieces of them, parts of them, its actually what I was doing when I ran across you, I found something and was on my way back to my truck when I saw you, was about to warn you actually."

"All right you got my curiosity Mr. Simmons, can you take me to where you found the piece?"

"Have the Gilbert Dunkley investigate my mysterious shit? Oh hell yeah." Gilbert was still flattered by the adulation, but he also knew the park service could pay well if he was successful.

****

The sun was high in the sky, the beauty of the day overridden by how hot it was now, especially with the trek to the remains. Gilbert felt sweat beading up on his brow uncomfortably. There was also a smell in the air, like wet garbage, it was even worse than the rotten flesh from the mismatched body parts in front of him. The parts were coated in a slime, they didn't look so much as chewed as having been partially digested.

"Clarissa, yeah Gilbert, I'm going to need you to come down to Moses Lake, yeah and bring my brown bag, no not that one, ok not that one either, yes that one, I know I have a lot of brown bags, ok see you in a few hours."

"You know what we have?" Gilbert looked down at the parts again, looked at the sun's position and figured he had a couple hours before dark when Clarissa got there.

"Nope not a fucking clue."

Friday, May 4, 2018

Presentation is Everything

68.

The sign out front said "Chinese Acupuncture", it was in the middle of a strip mall next to a place that did pay day loans and a discount cell phone shop. Gilbert had only gotten worse in the drive, Clarissa had to practically carry him inside. The lobby of the Acupuncture place wasn't exactly winning Clarissa over to its healing powers. There were a couple old office chairs, some flyers for a chinese new year party that looked to be over a decade old, and the receptionist doing her nails while smoking, she barely looked up when Clarissa arrived. She was wearing some kind of asian robe that Clarissa forgot the name of, it looked as raggedy as the rest of the office

"Do you have an appointment?" The receptionist had a voice that sounded like a movie version of a Russian accent.

"Demurra cut the shit I'm in trouble." Gilbert's voice was more raspy than Clarissa had heard earlier, it sounded like each breath was a struggle.

"Well you certainly are short on manners, bring him back." Demurra opened the door and helped Clarissa get Gilbert on to what looked like a dentist chair, there were straps for securing him and Demurra quickly did so, Clarissa worried for a moment something bad was going to happen.

"You can leave or stay, up to you, shit's about to get," Demurra took a long drag on her cigarette and blew out a lot of smoke that lingered over Gilbert's body "Real." Demurra took her robe off and Clarissa blushed, the other woman was completely naked. Weird glowing runes etched into her flesh.

"I should probably go." Clarissa wanted to be anywhere else at the moment.

"No honey stay, your awkward sexual energy will help this more than anything else, I promise I won't bite, unless you ask me too."

"Stay Clarissa, you need to be here, this is part of the job same as anything else." Clarissa nodded though she looked away, Demurra moved on top of Gilbert, Clarissa began to wonder if this was to heal him or just one final time with a woman.

"Nothing sexual, and yes I can read your thoughts, though its not hard, you wear them on your sleeve." Clarissa felt herself go flush again.

"She's a succubus, or was Clarissa, some demons reform, or claim they do." Demurra worked her hands over Gilbert's chest and he coughed out something black.

"Careful Gilbert, exorcism like this isn't exactly easy, hate for your judgemental old ass making me screw up my work here."

"Just remember I was married, you can't use your sex magic on me Demurra."

"I feel even worse for your poor dead wife." Demurra ran a hand under Gilbert's throat and Clarissa saw fire leap from her finger tips. "Gilbert where you've been, its not a nice place."

"None of them are."

"Yeah but this shit is evil beyond evil, were I you, I'd leave this to someone else."

"Were you me you wouldn't have to shave your horns down and pretend to do chinese acupuncture."

"Demon exorcism isn't covered by Cigna." Demurra ripped Gilbert's shirt open and pressed her hands against his bare chest like they were shock paddles. Gilbert groaned out in pain, Clarissa went to stand up, but Gilbert held his hand out to tell her to stay back. Demurra hit Gilbert again in the chest and he screamed this time, uncomfortably loud, Clarissa wondered if other people could hear it. Demurra hit Gilbert once more in the chest and then Gilbert lurched back and vomitted out a green fluid that slowly started to accumulate and form into the shape of a person.

"Demon." It's voice seemed to come from inside Clarissa's head more so than from her ears.

"Former Demon." Demurra had gotten off of Gilbert's lap and stood defiantly against the green goo creature.

"Not your place."

"Paying clients, rent's due." Demurra reached her hand out to the goo and bopped it on where it nose would be. From the impact a fire emerged and torched the rest of it. All that remained of the green creature was a lingering sense of dread. Gilbert coughed and laid back on the chair exhausted. Demurra put her robe back on.

"Gilbert will be fine few hours tops. He'll be hungry though, might want to get some food later." Clarissa felt awkward even talking to Demurra who had taken up another cigarette.

"So are you really a succubus?" Demurra's eyes lit up a little.

"Women always appreciate true beauty, men, they see a hole they want it, they fuck it, but a woman? She covets you in a way that makes you feel appreciated, back when I did that sort of thing I always preferred women, when I'd make them empty I'd make them feel happy as they went. But no I'm not a succubus anymore."

"How do you stop being a demon?"

"You saw the runes, they lock it away, or attempt to, obviously I can still do a limited amount of my previous work, its how I do the exorcisms, but my powers are mostly for good." Demurra smiled, Clarissa could see her teeth were almost fang like "Mostly." Clarissa felt unsettled something she figured Demurra did on purpose.

"I'll just wait for Gilbert to wake up."

"Suit yourself, if you want to have some fun, I'm available." The not demon laughed, and then went back to filing her nails.

****

"So what's the charge?" Gilbert felt terrible, and better at the same time. He had a head ache, a fever, and his groin ached in a way that was all too familiar from his time in the military.

"Blood of a virgin."

"The real charge."

"As you age you are not fun Gilbert, two grand, rent's due." Gilbert whistled.

"Two grand? Am I paying your rent for the rest of the year?"

"You want a price, I give you a price, I could charge more, what was inside you was bad, almost worst thing I ever saw."

"Almost?" Demurra smiled.

"A girl needs her secrets Gilbert, but yeah that was the real dark dark stuff, stuff not supposed to be out and about, you're lucky I am what I am."

"I don't feel two thousand dollars lucky, you take american express?"

"No, visa or mastercard, amex has expensive charge back bullshit, and they call me a fucking demon." Gilbert gave her his credit card.

"Can I see your license?"

"Are you joking?"

"Yes yes, god you people have no fun in your hearts." Gilbert signed the receipt and went to leave Clarissa following after.

"Clarissa my offer still stands if you ever want to experience a good time." She left and could hear Demurra laughing after her.

"You know some weird people Gilbert."

"Oh Demurra's not so bad, you should have met her before the runes."

"Did you?"

"No, if you can believe it she did that to herself, never got the full story on how or why, I'd seen a previous demon who did that, had to track him down and put an end to him, he'd gone back to being a demon and up here that's no good."

"So many questions."

"Can you ask them another time, I'd rather get home and get to bed I feel like I have six different ailments working to decide which one hates me more."