Friday, February 24, 2017

The Thing At Geode Creek


Gilbert had guessed incorrectly, it had taken three hours to clear the Lovejoy's house of goblins. Ultimately it didn't mater Julia Lovejoy did not return, so Gilbert locked the house up and pocketed the key, he'd mail it back to her once the payment had cleared. He left the bill on the door with a note written by Clarissa about the key. Gilbert was thankful for Clarissa as his own hand writing was rather poor, and her's very fine, he felt at that time he'd made the right choice at taking her on as his assistant. Both of them had been covered in goblin remains by the time the job was through. Clarissa had also got a scratch that ran the length of her neck, Gilbert had done what he could with his first aid kit, but told her to watch for an infection, goblins had poor nail care.

"Are all jobs like this?" They were down the road, it was getting dark out and Clarissa could see storm clouds on the horizon.

"More or less, some are obviously harder, involve more prep work, but at the end of the day, proper technique applied properly will get you home and mostly in one piece."

"Mostly in one piece." Clarissa could feel the burn from the claw marks, she didn't even see the goblin that gave them to her, she just felt the pain and then the splatter of the goblin as Gilbert killed it.

"I'm really sorry about your neck, even small jobs in this business are dangerous, never forget that."

"I won't Gil, and don't worry it was mostly my fault, I got a little blood lusty there and I paid for it." Gilbert laughed, "What's so funny?"

"Oh just how things went, you started today not knowing monsters were real, and you end it that you got hurt because you were trying to kill goblins recklessly. World is a funny place sometimes."

"I guess that's true, so do you have any other..." Clarissa was interrupted by Gilbert's phone going off.

"Doris you know I don't like talking while I'm driving."

"I know that, client insisted."

"And I'm insisting I'm tired Doris, it was a long day, lots of goblins."

"I did not realize tired was a reason not to do work Gilbert, maybe I should be too tired to balance the books next month, or make sure that bills get paid, or answe..."

"Point taken Doris, so the client is insisting."

"Said it can't wait till the morning and you're close to Canada anyway." Clarissa got a little worried when she heard Canada, she didn't have her passport with her.

"Canada?" Gilbert sighed and pulled the van over, they were on a two lane highway and were the only car in the area, but driving safety was something Gilbert took very seriously. He pulled a small note pad and pen up from the center console area. "Ok put the man through."

"Didn't say it was a man Gilbert you know that's sex..."

"Doris put the client through and stop trying my patience." There was a sigh and then a click and then a man's voice replaced Doris.

"Is this Gilbert Dunkley?" The voice sounded upper class, just the way he pronounced Dunkley made Clarissa feel embarrassed.


"What do you know about Geode Creek." The place sounded familiar to Clarissa, but she couldn't remember why.

"Nine murders, they said it was a serial Mr?"

"Dufton, Francis Dufton, and yes I heard the same thing, just some lone wolf killer, let me buy the cabins up there at a discounted rate, and rent them out to thrill seekers looking for ghosts."

"Smart people don't go looking for Ghosts Mr. Dufton, they leave that shit be."

"All the same, I made some money, everything was going fine except recently."

"You lost contact with people you sent up to those cabins, and you suspect it wasn't a serial that killed those nine people."

"Correct Mr. Dunkley, something is up in those woods that's for sure, and it killed at least nine people, and an associate of mine said you handle these things."

"And you need me up there right away?"

"Tonight if you're able, your receptionist said you were in the area." Gilbert cursed under his breath.

"Yeah I'm able, won't be cheap though, you'll get a weekend rate."

"Money is no object, success is all that matters."

"Give me the address, speak slowly please Mr. Dufton." Dufton gave Gilbert the address and then Gilbert hung up his phone and got the van going again, the windows had fogged up a bit while he was talking.

"Sorry to do this to you Clarissa, and I can let you out if you don't want to go, this will not be an easy job, and the danger level is rather high."

"As long as whatever this is doesn't explode on me I'll be ok."

"Well don't necessarily know if it'll explode, but you never can tell with shit like this." That caused Clarissa to laugh and Gilbert found himself laughing along. Just two people in a van driving down a dark highway laughing at the idea of exploding monsters. The usual.

Friday, February 17, 2017

No Love For the Lovejoys


"I take it back you are a monster." They'd been driving for two hours in mostly silence. Clarissa hadn't noticed it at first, but Gilbert didn't have a radio in his van. It wasn't just turned off, it wasn't there at all. She had never been on a long drive before without some kind of background noise, and driving the backroads of eastern Washington in the van was even more boring than usual.

"What did I do now? Fail to yield for a possum?"

"Why do you not have a radio in here? Like I assumed a cassette deck at the bare min, but you have nothing."

"Oh," Gilbert laughed, "Yeah I got rid of it after Charlie and I had a fight over music. He always liked this gospel shit and having been in the air force I was pretty much all gospeled out. I tried to balance it with my own music, but Charlie wasn't a man of balance and so after the fight I took the whole thing out. When he stopped working with me I just got used to the silence, I spose I could put another radio in if it bothers you, but you'd have to commit to more than one job for it to be worth it for me."

"I'm just surprised you aren't bothered by the silence."

"Nah working alone like I have been I've just gotten used to my own thoughts. Like wondering if the M's will be good this year, or if a movie I want to see is playing close by. I even talk to myself, though I try and keep that down, you don't want to be that guy who only talks to himself."

"I'll just make sure to charge my cell phone next time."

"If there is a next time."

"If there is a next time." They made small talk on the way to the Lovejoy's mansion. Clarissa found out that Gilbert was married, but not anymore due to his wifes death of a disease he didn't want to get into. Gilbert found out that Clarissa didn't have her appendix or gall bladder anymore, he didn't know why she volunteered this information, but he suspected it was to erase the awkward conversation ender about his dead wife. Both were happy when Gilbert pulled in front of the house.

"Now I just want to warn you Clarissa, the Lovejoys are the biggest group of assholes I have ever talked to." Gilbert had gotten out of the driver seat and moved to the back to gather his stuff. Clarissa saw him take out two fairly large knives and dip them in the fluid he'd purchased at the Double O. He then put the knives into separate sheathes, he handed one to Clarissa with a brown jump suit.

"Not my fashion."

"Not negotiable, we are professionals, part of that is dressing the same, on your own time you can do whatever you want, on my time you dress like I tell you to." Clarissa nodded, she didn't want to wear the suit, but Gilbert made a good enough case why she should, an again she needed the money.

"Ok just let me have the van for a moment."

"You can show me your scar, but you are afraid when putting on a work suit I'll see something else?"

"Can you just give me the van."

"Sure." Gilbert got out of the side and looked up at the mansion. It was a more modern take on home construction. Gilbert couldn't place what he didn't like about it, but he definitely did not like it. Clarissa joined him in staring, she'd tied her dreads back with a rubber band, it didn't look great, but it looked better than it had.

"These people are assholes?" Gilbert laughed at her just picking up the previous conversation tangent.

"Huge assholes, its one reason they have Goblins, goblins are attracted to nasty people, well either that or a nasty group of assholes left you a house full of goblins, but since in my limited experience with Julia Lovejoy no one left them the goblins."

"How do we kill a goblin?"

"Iron blade dipped in fairy blood, and yes before you ask fairies are real and they are a lot nastier than a goblin." He handed her one of the knives, Clarissa pulled the knife out to look at the fairy blood and felt a part of her child hood dying.

"So we stab the goblin?"

"Yeah pierce the flesh, just a quick stab and step back the reaction can be volatile." Clarissa didn't like the the vagueness to the "volatile" that Gilbert said, but before she could ask what that meant Julia Lovejoy came screaming out of her house. She was in her mid 40's with stark white hair, almost unnaturally thin looking and being attacked by two actual goblins. Clarissa wasn't sure what she expected, she almost have expected Gilbert to have been lying about the whole monster hunting thing until she saw the creatures. They were small, no taller than a toddler and scaly, she could see they had claws because they had scratched up Julia Lovejoy pretty badly.

Gilbert and Clarissa ran to the screaming woman, Clarissa got their first and pulled one of the goblins off of her. The creature denied its prey turned and slashed at her face, she held it away, but could already feel the strength of the goblin as it was wrenching itself free, and then it exploded in green blood and cuts all over her. She wiped the slime from her eyes to see Gilbert moving from her to the remaining Goblin. He, a more practiced hunter than her, kicked the creature from Julia and then made an over head hack on the creature. It too exploded, but with minimal mess on Gilbert or Julia. The smell hit Clarissa and she almost wretched, but she wanted to appear professional for Gilbert despite how mad she was at him.

"How many more are there?" Gilbert was all business didn't even ask if Julia Lovejoy was ok.

"I dunno hundreds they are all over the house, just get rid of the bastards, GET RID OF THEM!" Mrs. Lovejoy tossed a house key at Gilbert and ran to her car.

"It should be no more than a few hour..." She was in the car and down the drive way before he finished shouting after her. Clarissa had moved up along side Gilbert, she had cleaned most of the slime from her face and was worried about how much she'd swallowed.

"Volatile? Next time Gil just say they fucking explode ok." Gilbert laughed at that.

"If there is a next time."

"Oh there will be a next time, I didn't get covered in goblin guts to give up now." They moved toward the door and Gilbert could hear more of the goblins destroying things inside. He held out his hand for a fist bump and Clarissa bumped it in return.

"Remember volatile." Clarissa unsheathed the knife and nodded.

"So am I." And so the exterminators, did as their title suggested.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shopping at The Double O


"I just want to ask you a question that's it."

Shirley's Diner was a small eight table restaurant on the lesser used highway out of Ellensburgh. Originally it was someone's house, converted to a sunday brunch and workman's cafe in years gone by. It was the kind of place you hear about from a friend of a friend. Gilbert had taken Clarissa there because he said they had the proper amount of cream selection for his coffee and since her last meal had been lunch the day before she didn't feel it was her place to disagree. They were seated near the door, one of only two people there at ten am on a Wednesday. Gilbert told her it got busier closer to lunch time, Clarissa wasn't a fan of the cold air that blew on her when the door opened, but she put up with it for the free meal.

The two men who had come in looked immediately like trouble. Clarissa hadn't even really known someone who had done meth, but she had watched TV and these guys fit the stereotype clearly. That they were both armed with shotguns also told her they had ill intent. She wanted to hide under the table, but Gilbert of all people had stood up upon them entering and started talking; she thought more so than his claim of hunting monsters this made him truly crazy.

"I'm talking to you son, can I ask you a question?" Gilbert had his head turned, that gesture of trying to look smaller despite looming over the men standing in front of him.

"Ask it." Fast and spit out, he had dirty brown hair and was more unclean shaven than the man behind him, Clarissa saw him grip the shotgun tighter when he talked. She didn't like the gesture. There was the sound of a plate breaking behind Gilbert and the gunmen, Clarissa didn't turn around, both shooters kept their weapons tight.

"It's ok Shirley, these boys are lost, I'm helping them with directions."

"The fuck we are old man, get out of our way before we kill you dead." The second man spoke up, Clarissa didn't like the tone.

"Boys, what has gone wrong for you in life that this seemed like a good idea?" Gilbert finally asked his question. They didn't respond in words. The lead man tried to bring his shotgun up, but Gilbert already had the barrel of the weapon in his right hand, he brought it straight down into the shooters crotch and then smashed him in the face with it which sent him sprawling into his buddy, by the time the second shooter steadied himself he was looking down the barrel of the firsts shotgun.

"Now I know you're thinking you can kill me before I kill you, and I want you to think real hard on that, real hard, because you may wonder what its like to kill a man, I don't, make your next choice carefully." The second shooter put his shotgun down and Clarissa didn't even see Gilbert take a breath. He just stood there stoically over the two men, until the Sheriff arrived.


"So that happened." They had finished their food and got back on the road, the sheriff hadn't questioned Gilbert much, it was more of a nod and acceptance. Clarissa wondered if that was a monster hunting thing, or just Gilbert having lived in town a long time thing.

"Wasn't even the first time."

"You've beaten those guys up before?" Gilbert laughed.

"No, not the first time Shirley's has had someone try and rob it, starting to suspect I better find a place that has the creamers I like Clarissa, Shirley's trading in rough crowd." Now Clarissa laughed and Gilbert smiled, she hadn't seen him smile since the diner, she found warmth in it.

"You have to do that kind of thing often? Stare down armed men?"

"Nah, I was in the air force and I only flew cargo planes."

"I meant like as a monster exterminator."

"Not usually, we hunt supernatural creatures, real bad things, but we don't take down crazy people, that's what my taxes go to for the Sheriff."

"You just seemed to know what you were doing there is all."

"Trust me it was all bravado, you ever read Elmore Leonard? He's a western writer, did some urban crime stuff, all his guys were all these big tough talkers, I hoped maybe those two would see someone my size, see someone standing in their way and take a different path you know? And they mostly did, mostly." Clarissa nodded, though Gilbert's words about not wondering what its like to kill a man struck in her, it didn't seem like a brag, more of a fact. She knew even if he wanted to play it off, he'd killed people plural sometime in his past, and she didn't know how she felt about that.

They were on the road north towards Leavenworth when Gilbert pulled over at a shopping center. It looked like some kind of tradesman strip mall. The store he had pulled into specifically looked normal enough "Double O Pest Disposal". The initial displays and shelf items even looked like usual exterminator stuff. Clarissa was wondering if monster killing was so standard that Gilbert didn't even need specialized stuff for it.

"While I live and breathe if its not the last unicorn himself." The shop owner had a crooked "Larry" name tag on, he was short, barely over five feet and he wore suspenders that made his belly look bigger than it was. Hair was mostly missing from the top and what remained was long and slick backed in a style that Clarissa felt did him no favors.

"Larry its nice to see you, this is my new assistant Clarissa." Larry did a small bow in the aisle he came to meet Gilbert and Clarissa in.

"Nice to meet you Clarissa, I told him someone would answer the help wanted sign soon enough, but Gil is always one of those pessimist types, figured no one would ever replace Charlie."


"My old assistant, older assistant, don't worry he didn't die, he quit to run some kind of farm."

"Alpacas." Larry chimed in a way that told Clarissa Gilbert frequently forgot the type of farm.

"Right like a Llama, something about their wool? I never did understand it, but Charlie was a man of vision, told me he'd come back one day and we'd be alpacamillionares, I figure the money I invested in him was wasted on some scrawny animals that he barely keeps fed, I never figured Charlie much for farming."

"That's rude Gil."

"So Goblins Larry, I got a pack of em and I need..."

"Well come on come on before some normal guy comes in here." Larry lead the exterminator pair to the back and through a couple normal looking doors and into his own ritual Lair. It was bigger than Gilberts office, and better organized, but the various items and markings were still horrific. If Clarissa hadn't seen Gilbert's office prior she'd have been real worried by the Double O market place, but as it was, it was just something else to do with the new life she was embarking on. Gilbert seemed to know what he was looking for as he sorted the shelves and came away with a jar of some glowy fluid.

"Is this price right?" Larry shook his head and looked at Clarissa with a "see what I have to put up with smile".

"Gil I been telling you, you're one of the last of a dying breed, a true unicorn, and being a unicorn means I can't sell in bulk like days gone by."

"Right I keep forgetting its all corporate now, my phone doesn't seem any less ringing for all the love of corporations."

"People always love artisan extermination Gil, I mean your Slayer ranking is still the only five star."

"Slayer? I'm sorry I'm new."

"He means that dumb website where people keep track, I personally never signed up for that Larry."

"That's modesty talking Clarissa, your boss is a legend in this industry, anytime someone runs into something no one has killed they all turn to GD Exterminators, I don't believe Gil has ever failed a job." Gilbert was standing near Larry now, having gotten his glowy fluid and found his wallet.

"Not yet, someday I'm sure, don't listen to Larry, he loves to talk a bunch, lot of the boys love to talk, but ain't nothing special about me and Doris, we just been luckier than most."

"Modesty is one thing Gil, but I honestly think you have no idea how hard it is to kill what you kill."

"Proper technique applied properly Larry, like my daddy used to say about growing corn, any damn fool can grow corn, it takes a farmer to grow it right."

"Anything else other than your usual cornball hokum Gil?" Gilbert stopped for a moment and thought it over. Clarissa hadn't known Gilbert long, but she could tell he was actually deep in thought for a moment.

"Anyone seen Frank yet?" Larry's look told Clarissa the story immediately, she didn't have to ask who Frank was, or why Gilbert was asking.

"No Gil, no ones seen Frank, I think you know how this story goes."

"I do Larry, I do, its been nice jawing at you and thanks for the stuff."

"Before you go you want to look at this hellfire..."

"Nope nope nope Larry, I only like hellfire in my chili and you know that, sell that shit to the Orkin man." Clarissa looked back at Larry as they were leaving, he waved with a smile.

"Where to next?"

"The Lovejoys, time to do what I'm paying you for."

Friday, February 3, 2017

I Need Help


Clarissa felt like Alice. Behind her in the hallway was the normal world. An office, a receptionist, a boring college town. In the office was wonderland. There are certain things you expect in an office, desks, chairs, a phone, maybe a window. You don't expect to find a table with several bones inscribed with what appeared to be blood. The table would almost look like a normal thing if not for the contents on top. There was a magnifier for detail work, and a pair of stools that looked well worn. Around the room were shelves of what Clarissa could only think of as ritualistic paraphernalia. Animal corpses, blood in jars, some shrunken heads. What books she could see all had titles that did not seem like they should be in an exterminators office, things about the supernatural, and guides to ritual magic. She wanted to run, clearly this tall soft spoken man wasn't an exterminator, he was crazy, and she was his next victim.

"Please don't kill me." Gilbert frowned, the pipe hanging from his lip drooping comically.

"Why would I kill you?"

"Because I saw your ritual murder area! You're some kind of monster." Gilbert started laughing, deep hearty laughs, they were punctuated by the smoke from the pipe to almost make him look like a large robot blowing its top. Clarissa didn't know if she should be more afraid or less by the laughter.

"Murder area? Monster? No Clarissa, I am not a monster, I hunt them, this is my workshop."

"That's insane, there are no real monsters."

"Oh is that what your biology class taught you? Is that what your parents told you? Plenty of things out there exist whether you believe in them doing so or not. I know I can't convince you of that by words, but I can if you come with me, if you work with me, you will see things that will turn your hair white."

"I don't know Gilbert this feels crazy, I mean look at you compared to me, what can I do to help?"

"I'm getting old Clarissa, I used to have an assistant, he retired and I kept going, I figured I could keep doing this job, keep killing monsters and I'll be all right but," Gilbert sat down on one of the stools and unbuttoned his jump suit. Underneath it was a white shirt and what appeared to be grey jeans, when he lifted his shirt she could see a wound that looked recently healed that ran the length of his torso, "I got sloppy, Wendigo in Oregon damn near gutted me, I killed it, but I had to walk out holding my insides in and I really thought I was going down for good. I can't keep doing this job solo, I need your help if you'll give it."

Clarissa was silent for a bit, "What's a Wendigo?"

"Like a bigfoot, but meaner, they are normally people who eat people and become the Wendigo."

"So that's what Bigfoots really are?" Gilbert smiled, it had been a while since he'd dealt with someone who had wonder in his business.

"No Bigfoots are their own thing, usually not dangerous, usually."

"Now I know you're just fucking with me."

"I never joke about Monsters Clarissa, everything else yes, monsters no, so I take it you'll accept the job?"

"I'm broke, I'm homeless, and my parents have basically disowned me until I get work Gil, if I don't take this job I'll be working at a fast food restaurant, but I dunno monster exterminating sounds dangerous." Gilbert nodded, he expected that kind of response.

"I understand, tell you what, I have a milk run I've been sitting on, nothing dangerous, just goblins, basically ants of the monster hunter world, come with me on that, if you don't like that, I'll pay you well for the day and you can go on your way."

"Milk run?"

"Air force term, means its easy like a trial run."

"Ok I'm in for this trial run, but that's it, if I don't like it I'm out."

"Trust me it'll be real easy." Gilbert and Clarissa shook on it, and both felt it was the start of something. Whether good or ill rested in the unknowable intent of the universe.