Posts Tagged ‘scotland ghosts’

Unholy Wedlock

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

I led the three vampires into the living room and ordered them to stand in front of a small table containing a crystal decanter foolish enough to have its top off.

“You must now bind yourselves to me by blood,” I told them. Another tip from Ravi although I don’t think he had expected me to be foolish enough to use it.

I motioned to them to come forward, extending my two index finger-blades. They hissed, features distorted to display a little of what lay beneath. I’d have to teach them the error of their ways and hope that I wasn’t turning into a ghoulish version of Henry Higgins in the process. If I was very unlucky they’d develop cod-cockney accents and the horror would be complete.

Sullenly they extended their wrists and I slashed each in turn, quick slicing motions that brought brackish blood smelling faintly of the sea welling up from pale skins. Like an old hand I caught it in the decanter before slashing my own wrist, taking care to do it horizontally. The wrist was probably not the best place but I only needed a few drops and the symbolism was worth it. The delicate patter as my blood joined theirs: a metallic tang, a brief spot of crimson in the darkness of the viscous fluid marked the most dangerous point of our brief acquaintance. Morgan’s cheeks visibly hollowed and Marjorie choked, drool running down her perfect chin onto her t-shirt.

They were, I realised, starving. For the first time I felt like the idiot in the tigers’ cage who had volunteered just to impress but now wished he hadn’t as they picked his limbs off like boys with flies’ wings. A brief hiatus, pregnant with the import of what I’d just done hung heavy in the room. To my knowledge no one had messed about with this particular little ménage a quatre and there was usually a good reason for that.

“To blood of thine add blood of mine, together ere we die. So mote it be,” I whispered. The spell was cast and, much like the act of flinging yourself under the wheels of a bus, there was no undoing it. No going back.

With their gaze boring into the back of my head I locked the decanter in a small cupboard by the window, noticing absently that snow was falling thick and fast obscuring the world as though some old god had wished it away. Even Fife, usually all too visible from this window, was a distant nightmare that I couldn’t see anymore. I needed to get going or I’d suffer the same fate. I threaded the key onto a chain and put it around my neck where it hung glistening dully in the meagre light. No sound disturbed the gravid silence apart from the tick-tock of the clock and the faint rumble of traffic muffled by the snow.

A marriage made in Hell, indeed. But who was going to wear the trousers?

Dietary Fibre

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Murder always drew the bad stuff to it: a lonely spot at the side of a road where a hit and run victim had died; the bedroom where a sadistic killer finished off his thirteenth victim; the site of a car crash engineered by a unloving husband for his unsuspecting wife. But the real jackpot were the murderers themselves, hoaching with enough raw, spiritual sewage to generate enough power to light up the city. Oh, and little old me of course.

Not being a telepath I couldn’t access the murdering bastard’s memories directly, but the evil spirits that infested them could. They literally ate into the homicidal maniac’s fond recollections and I ate them. From these memories it was possible to piece the victims final moments together and it was rarely a pretty picture. But I couldn’t deny, it was indeed a proud moment when you realised you were standing at the top of such a distinguished food chain.

And then the dreams…

Flesh Fish

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

I sat in the car because, simply, there was nowhere else to go.

To the west, the darkening stain of an oncoming storm gradually cast a caul over the deserted street where I was parked and the sensation of being smothered was very nearly overwhelming. Yet there was still a shimmering quality to the air, as though trying to contain something that was intent on getting out.

I knew the feeling.

To my left was a fish shop which, although it displayed the closed sign, still had meat of indeterminate origin in the window. Great, grey eels were stacked on one side next to what looked like a small pieces of shark meat. Dun coloured fillets rubbed innards with something that had a huge head and lots of small, sharp teeth reminding me of an old school-mate from primary school.

A blurred burst of purple and red in the interior of the shop made me look again. The darkened interior stared blankly back at me and the hairs began to rise on the back of my neck because in that brief monent I had seen a familiar hulking shape: a creature I knew had never been burdened with the vulgarity of a pulse and the flesh over-coat that contained it.

Two doors down in the window above the grocer’s, the corner of a net curtain twitched as though hastily dropped by whatever was behind it. I was trapped in the eye of the storm, knowing that something irrevocable was just about come crashing down, something from which neither I nor this benighted village was ever going to escape.

I did what I normally did when faced with the end of the world, the end of humanity, the end of the end: I pulled out my hip flask and drained it dry.

Monday, Monday

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

I woke up after seven to darkness and the dead, so closely packed it was impossible to tell how many there were. They stood silently, their milky eyes though blind, still able to track me wherever I went, like a field of grey translucent sun flowers.

Had my live visitors wrecked my wards earlier today? I’d rip their limbs off and feed them to them if they had, but somehow I didn’t think it was their style. Besides the wards were so powerful, I didn’t see how anyone could disable them but me.

The Deadlights woke, excited by the promise of all that dark energy and the room thrummed with them, making my head hurt worse than it already did. I waded effortfully through the frozen press of the dead, as though miles down underwater, with a million tonnes of water bearing down on my unprotected head.

I remembered I had a job on tonight and as if to confirm I got a full on visual from one of the Boabhan Sith showing the unmistakable shape of Salisbury Crags and the whispered message:

“The Guardian is awake. You must come.”

I also remembered that it was probably a bad idea given the Hand-of-Glory some kind soul had sent me last night.

It would be madness, mayhem, murder and worse if I accepted such a rash invitation. But then again, it was either that or spend a cheerless Monday night in the cold bosom of the dearly departed.

Of course I went.

The Company Of Wulvers

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

We walked into an enormous room with high vaulted ceilings bathed in enough candlelight to make it look like it had been sprayed with old gold. The mellow wash flattered the hectic crowd as it drank, talked and clinked glasses; some of its members were even dancing to the inevitable ceilidh band who I could just see crammed onto a little podium. The band, a collection of shaggy haired young men, were howling, stamping and playing their fiddles as though their lives depended upon it. Maybe they did. There was enough dark energy here to power the coming of the Antichrist – if you believed in such things.

And then, as though someone had flicked on a switch, it all changed. A raw, roiling energy beat in waves over my head, as though I had just been pitched to the bottom of the ocean, where I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. No one else in the gathering seemed to feel it although the chatter, dancing and drinking became fevered, compulsive even, as though this was the last night on earth and there was nothing left to lose. I began to make out vague shapes flickering above their heads: formless at first, gradually assuming a bestial cast as though something was trying to escape the human clay but couldn’t quite break free.

The band played louder, the dancers whirled faster as though I was standing in the midst of an immensely powerful battery that everyone in the room was simultaneously feeding and draining, feeding and draining. Each time the power peaked it was at a higher level and the party got wilder and uglier in the no time at all I’d been here. A couple of scuffles broke out in the corner of the room, in one a one big burly guy threw a smaller one into a table which promptly collapsed covering him with food and drink which he was made to eat. The strange thing was that the smaller mand didn’t seem too upset about it.

There was still no let up in the power surges and the pain in my head became a vice. Time to leave. Then something else caught my eye and that dark sense of mine began to vibrate in time with the power: a young blond girl, blouse in tatters, head flung back in a weird, grunting ecstasy, with a grizzled head of indeterminate sex nursing at her breasts and rivulets of blood running down her bony ribs. The twisted energy in the room rose in a shimmering multicoloured arc above the heads of the crowd and the force of it was a singing, living thing so intense it had its own gravitational pull.

I’d only felt this much squeezing power once before and I knew it for what it was: shape-shifter. The room had become the pulsing chamber of a gigantic, infarcted, heart, each beat a countdown to detonation that would beggar Hiroshima. And here I was at the epicentre without so much as a table to cower under. Well if cowering was out, there was only one thing for it…

Killing Me Softly

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

The parasite first got my attention when it tried to suck my soul on Edinburgh’s High Street.  I watched with a certain clinical detachment as the grey, ragged substance of it began to swell outwards, misshapen teeth sunk into the exposed flesh in my hand.  Not physically you understand because at this stage in the little bastards evolution it didn’t have a body.  What it did have however, was a will hell bent on finding a way.  It was a doppelganger: a vicious predator that survived by duplicating what it fed on, human or non, it didn’t matter.

I watched it chow on down, lip curling as it began the transformation.  What had been a plume of dirty smoke began to balloon out in a parody of humanity, the skull taking shape, gaping maw still barnacled onto my hand.  I shook the offending appendage from side to side and the beast swung with it, at this stage at least weightless, like a jellyfish in tune with the ebb and flow of the ocean.  What it was really doing was getting in tune with me: the way I walked, to quote an old Cramps song, would soon be the way we walked.

Although it was a primitive spirit, without much in the way of intelligence its ability to replicate whatever it latched onto was an architectural achievement of Gaudi-esque proportions.  Although I suppose strictly speaking it was a master forger good enough to fool the victims family and friends, at least for a little while.  The thing was that the original always died while the copy piloted by the doppelganger, painted the town blood red.

I watched my own skull gaining flesh as the mouth worked ever more feverishly on my arm, siphoning my essence and growing stronger by the second.  Within seconds it had grown to five feet eleven and sported a short crop of hair dyed an alarming shade of scarlet.  I gazed critically at it, vowing I’d kill Mariella for talking me into letting her loose on my hair while we were both too drunk to remember anything about it.  My second self was on its knees, jaw working, gaining mass, solidity and an exact copy of my leopard print fake fur in a matter of seconds.

I began to feel a little faint, although that might have had something to do with the vat of whisky I’d had last night.  It was two in the afternoon in the heart of a frozen November and people shouldered past me with grim purpose and if they noticed anything it would just be a tall young woman standing stock still in the middle of the street.  But through the milling throng, I realised that I was wrong, someone had noticed the freak show and was staring at me with an expression of concern on her plump face.  I knew she could see my new best friend because her eyes were flicking between us and she was evidently deciding what to do.  She took a purposeful step in my direction which for some reason aroused me from my torpor.  The last thing I needed was some idiot who fancied herself as a bit of a psychic trying to help me out.  That particular little parlour game always ended in tears and sometimes in other less disposable body fluids.

I was beside the creepy Museum of Childhood and quickly ducked into on of the innumerable closes that infest the High Street, although I’d no idea which one I’d picked which could be very bad news.  I waited a few seconds scanning the street from the safety of the close and the plump woman had disappeared.  I looked down at the thing that was killing me softly and the increased heft of it wasn’t exactly a good sign.

“What am I going to do with you?” I asked it softly, running my hand along its brow complete with dark eyebrows and strange, silver-grey eyes upturned and fixed on mine while it sucked on me like a monstrous baby.  The disturbing thing was that I could touch it.  It had gone from nothing to something in under ten minutes.  I had noticed that the spirit world had become much more active lately; reports of the demonic had shot through the roof, but relatively unusual spirits like this doppelganger never had this much juice.

And yet here we were.

My speciality was communicating with spirits, but that was a euphemism for so much more.  I saw what they saw, felt what they felt in glorious Technicolor and surround sound.  Most of them were just re-runs, sad little shades who’d become stuck doing a particular, usually random thing with not much mind remaining.  But some of them had deliberately chosen not to pass on, usually the deranged, the ones who’d felt cheated by an uncaring universe and were out for blood as long as it was someone else’s.  But this ‘communication’ meant that some of the spirit’s essence stayed with me permanently and in my own way I wasn’t so dissimilar to the parasite I was trying to dislodge.

With every encounter, I was stronger, changed, carrying with me another alien piece in the vast jig-saw puzzle that was my life.  And if I didn’t stop this transference process in time I would consume the spirit totally, just as the parasite was trying to consume me.  That meant that I could kill pure spirit, whether it was the soul of a dead person, or my newest little friend that had become so attached to me.  But I could only kill if I was stronger than the spirit I was siphoning and so far I had been lucky: if you could call the Frankenstein patchwork that I’d become lucky.  Because make no mistake: you are what you eat and the bad shit I’d consumed lately was going to do more than harden my arteries.

“While I’m loving this whole weird twin thing,” I crooned to the thing stroking its/my hair, “the thing is, this town definitely ain’t big enough for the both of us and it’s not me who’s going to leave.”  The doppelganger began to purr, a wet, rasping sound and I staggered against the wall of the close.  A chill wind fresh from whipping up mischief in the North Sea nipped at my face reviving me slightly and  I realised I was close to passing out.  My lack of adrenalin was literally going to be the death of me one day soon.

But the seduction of the hunt was as ever too strong and I knew I’d risk everything for it.  Sometimes I wasn’t sure what I liked best: the hunt; or the kill.  That was the other prong of this wonderful talent I enjoyed so much: I could kill spirit so that it did not exist anywhere on any plane at any time.  It was the reason the psychic community shunned me because they felt, rather wetly I thought, that all forms of existence were sacred.  I shunned them because a) I had to keep my end up on the shunning front and b) I thought they were lily livered liberals and would personally liked to have inserted their own little doppelganger passenger in an intimate part of their anatomy for a few months to see if that changed their minds.  Whatever they liked to believe, there were beings in this world that deserved the kiss of death that only I could give them.  But I didn’t do it for the victims; no, I did it because I liked it.  Without wanting to sound like a high school cheerleader with a profound punning disability, the thrill of the chase was to die for.  As long as the thrill was mine and someone or something else did the dying.

Now I was about to find out what little doppelgangers were made of and if I survived I’d wear its skin next to mine.

Until the next hunt that is.