Friday, October 31, 2014

FREE READ: Hellhounds! Happy Halloween! by @KarynGerrard (With Help from Sims 2)

NOTE: This was done for fun years ago, (in 2009) before I was published, so excuse any grammar or punctuation faux pas! Also, a big nod to Supernatural!(Obviously) Click the 'read more' below to continue...
You will soon meet Tristan Black. Creatures of shadow call him VENATOR, or hunter.
Hunters are loners, usually with their own sad stories to tell. But all hunters, from all over the globe have one thing in common, destroy evil where ever they can find it, in whatever form they find it.

Venators are the elite of the hunters, assassins to a point. They have their own agendas. While they do take jobs or 'hunts' from an outside source, whether from within the Shadow World or outside it, generally they hunt for themselves.
Some hunters work for the creatures of the underworld as a 'gun for hire'. A supernatural gumshoe. They are referred to as PATRONUS.

In a Venator's mind, clans of vampires, packs of wolfen, covens of witches for example can exist without interference from them as long as they stay hidden, living quiet lives. Cross the line and harm a human, and to a are then fair game. Literally.

Autumn 1999

Duncan Charlton had been driving around aimlessly for hours. Without a clear destination in mind, he merely  wanted to forget his troubles. He drove his classic 1970 Dodge Challenger off the main highway and found himself on a barren back road, no idea where, as he had stopped looking at road signs ages ago.
Drive. Forget.

Lights at last. Nestled in the hills was a bar. Some rundown, shit-hole roadhouse from another era. Duncan could use a drink or four. The rain was getting bad, he should pull off anyway. Peering through the fogged up windshield, a flickering neon sign, flashed "Lucky's Lounge." Yeah, he could use some luck about now.

Duncan had just left the hospital where they informed him there was nothing more they could do for his wife, Daisy. His love, his partner for the last four years. They were going to move her to a hospice. All hope had been exhausted. He could not accept it and did not want to accept it. The acute pain roared through him. How could he go on without her? He would do anything—anything.—to keep her with him. Alive. Healthy. Beautiful.
Goddamn cancer!

The hiss and crack of neon assaulted his senses, along with something else, a foul odor...maybe the garbage bins where rain-slicked rats were foraging noisily.
Jesus, this really was a dive. If he was smart, he would get back in his car and keep driving. But the lure of brain-numbing alcohol was too great.

He walked in. Surprisingly, there were a few people hanging out in the bar. And not your usual roadhouse barflies, these people seemed well-to-do if he were to categorize them as such.
Who cares...he found an empty table and walked to it.

A noisy video game popped and screeched behind him. He glanced over, a pale woman with tattoos and a skimpy black dress was killing aliens with impunity.
His thoughts drifted to Daisy, lying in that bed, hooked up to wires and tubes and mindless machines. She was barely conscious most of the time now. Moving to the die.

He laid his head on the table. The grief and anger overwhelming him. A deep, raspy female voice asked, "What can I get you, sugar?"

"How about a miracle?" He mumbled miserably.

"Well sugar, you came to the right place, this is called 'Lucky's Lounge'. And you certainly picked the right night. Want to tell Lucinda all about it?"

"Maybe later, all I want right now is a drink." he sighed, misery in his voice.

"Suit yourself sugar, I will get you that drink, but whatever it is, I can make it happen."

Duncan laughed sharply. "Right. Sure. Just a drink, bring two."

"Come over to the bar and sit. Save me some steps."

Three beers later, and Duncan told his sad tale. How cliched was this, pouring your guts out to a bartender. But to her credit, she listened, and acted sympathetic.

"I can make it right for you, sugar. Tell me, is there nothing you would not do to save your love's life? Even, give up your own?" she whispered.

"I would give up my life in a heartbeat if it would save Daisy." he rasped.

She slammed the glass of whiskey on the table. "Then, come outside...and let's make a deal."

They no sooner stepped into the darkness and lightning roared and cracked, touching down at the crossroads.

"Jesus!" Duncan cried out, it was enough to almost sober him up, but not quite.

Lucinda took his hand. "Come ,sugar. We are going to stand just where that lightning make the deal."

Duncan belched. " Sure, whatever."

She stood very close, and began to whisper in a cold, insistent voice. "I will give your wife back her life, she will live to a healthy, ripe old age, I promise. But instead of taking yours in exchange, I offer you ten years. It is quite a bargain, I am feeling generous tonight. You will get ten long years with your pretty wife. Then, I will send for you,then, your soul will be mine. Do we have a deal?"

Duncan threw back his head and laughed. How drunk was he? Who the hell was this woman?

"I only offer this once...see everyone in the bar? Before the night is through, they will be making deals as well. I want you to be the first. Do you accept?"

What did he have to lose? This was a sick game, he was getting soaked, he just wanted to drink some more. "I accept!" He said grandly...and a little drunkenly.

"So...what do we do, shake on it?" Duncan laughed.

"No, sugar. This is how we seal the deal..." She grabbed Duncan and kissed him, all but swallowing his entire mouth.

It was done. His fate, sealed. His soul...gone. And soon, his life.

Autumn 2009

Tristan Black could down the passageway. It dragged a lead pipe along the brick wall, a loud, ragged moan could be heard in accompaniment. He had been tracking the creature for two months.

Tristan was a hunter.

Not the type that mounted stag heads on the wall, but a hunter of the underworld, of all things unexplainable and unprovable in most cases. All things...supernatural.

The odour of death assaulted his nostrils, rotting flesh, which he knew of quite intimately, and the smell of fetid earth. Was this a zombie? It sounded like one, the brainless moaning, the dragging of the feet. The limping gait these fucks always had. So easy to kill. They couldn't get out of their own way.

But what kind of zombie, a rage, a ghoul, or a demon zombie? He was going to guess a ghoul zombie, because of the gait and the moaning. A bullet to the head...and fire. Tristan glanced down at the gas canister at his feet.
He smiled slyly.

Tristan threw himself to the ground and fired the shotgun straight for the head. A Nurse!? In bloody clothes...interesting. He grabbed the gas canister and rolled it to the feet of the killer nurse/zombie and fired a bullet straight at it, piercing the canister.
It exploded, as Tristan rolled away and stood, escaping the blast.

"Burn, hell bitch."

The zombie, responsible for grisly deaths in two counties, was at last destroyed.

Tristan stood and watched as it burned. Was it re-animated or did it come back on its own? Or could it be a voodoo curse? No way to prove it now. Anyway, it was toast. It's bloody reign ended.

Tristan walked away as the passageway became completely engulfed in flame, the zombie reduced to ash. In the distance, he could hear the sirens. They would find nothing, assume teens started a fire for a thrill, and go back to the station and play cards or PlayStation and eat lasagna.

Tristan took a deep breath. Fried zombie. Nothing like it. And nothing like a kill. He headed toward his classic '79 Trans Am. He could go for some breakfast right now. Eggs, ham, hash browns, toast. Orange marmalade. The whole enchilada.
Then back to his apartment. Check his messages.

After his early bird breakfast at a roadside diner, he returned to his large apartment. Been gone a few weeks, and the place was cold, so Tristan lit a fire.
Check his mail, messages, and hit the sack.
He was tired, and he ached all over. He knew without checking their would be bruising on his side, where he hit the pavement.

He gazed at the unopened correspondence on his desk. He was not in the mood to look at it right now since his eyes were burning with fatigue. No doubt bills in the pile.

Luckily, he had a trust fund, investments he could live on, because being a hunter earned him no money, not even any thanks or praise in most cases. A lonely existence.
He looked up at his phone, the voice mail light was blinking.

He pressed the button and listened.

"Hello...Tristan? It's...Duncan Charlton, I know it has been a while, Ok, hell, it has been twelve years. Since we graduated University...I need your help, man, I'm in trouble. Big time. Your kind of trouble. Call me at 204-555-8123. Please."

He could hear the desperation in Duncan's voice. He and Duncan were best friends once. Duncan was one of the very few people that knew what he did for a living. He'd return his call in the morning. For now, he needed sleep more.

Duncan could not believe it. He read it again, "Famous Novelist Found Dead in Penthouse".

Charlene Ames. The woman that was in lounge the same night as him. Yes, he knew all their names, followed their lives, as they no doubt followed his. They all had a deadly connection. That fateful night ten years ago at Lucky's Lounge.
Were they taking them alphabetically? How methodical.
Charlton...he would be next.

Daisy walked in twirling her car keys on the tip of her manicured fingernail. "Hi Dunc. Going shopping, want to come? I thought I would hit Bloomingdale's, Prada and Mark Jacobs...Dunc, you are not laughing, I'm joking, I'm actually going to Walmart for toilet paper and sensible underwear. Maybe stop at MacDonald's. Come on, it will be fun!" She laughed.

God, she was beautiful. Not a day went by in the last ten years he did not admire the inner light that shone through those eyes, he could dive in and lose himself forever.

There were no children, even though she did have a miraculous recovery from her cancer. The damage was done to her ovaries, that did not correct itself. Not part of the bargain, he guessed. Should have been more specific.
It was happening again, it was happening more often...her face began to distort.

Hollow, eyeless sockets stared at him...the thing...hissed at him through its broken, rotting teeth. Not Daisy. Not Daisy.
In the distance, he could hear barking dogs...or was it howling wolves?
His time was drawing near. The hallucinations were the proof.

He closed his eyes, shutting out the horror. He just got off the phone with Tristan. He was on his way over, though it would take him a day to get here. Hope it wouldn't be too late, the visions were getting worse, the barking and howling getting closer. Was he going mad?

"Dunc? Are you alright, darling?" She asked softly.

"Yes, sorry love. No, I can't come shopping. Listen, why don't you go visit your sister for a few days, leave tomorrow."

"Are you trying to get rid of me?" She said, feigning anger.

"Well, yes. I just spoke to Tristan Black, he is coming up tomorrow for a visit. I know it has been a long while and we have a lot of catching up to do, male bonding, drinking, sports, you know the drill. Could be some puking involved."

Daisy laughed. "You nut! Tristan? I thought..your friendship ended. I'm surprised."

Duncan shrugged. "Got nostalgic for my college days. I made the first move and we decided to bury the hatchet."

Daisy smiled. "All right, I'll call Jennifer. I'll head upstate tomorrow and leave you to your male bonding."

Tristan arrived right after lunch the next day and shown to Duncan's study. He had a look around. Lush, expensive. Ah yes, he remembered, Daisy came from money. Big money.
So much so that Duncan did not have to work.

Duncan volunteered he was a part-time reporter for the local paper, wrote a column once a week. Yes, a rich man's occupation and past-time.

Duncan explained what happened ten years ago. In fact, just a few days shy of ten years. He explained about the deal. That he put no credence in it, until he returned to the hospital and Daisy had more or less recovered, the cancer in remission, never to return. The doctors had been flummoxed.

He contacted the others in the bar that night. The man in the wheelchair...could walk again. The woman, now a famous novelist, and now dead.
Another man, won the lottery.
They got everything they asked for.

Tristan could not believe it. "Are you insane? Are you aware of what you have done? You made a deal with a demon. A demon, Duncan. That barking you hear? Demon dogs...or hell hounds. They are coming for you, man. They can appear out of nowhere, like a phantom, they are coming for your soul, the one you so callously bargained away. They will rip you to shreds, then take your soul to hell."

"You would not have bargained for Chesley's life?" Duncan whispered.

Tristan's eyes narrowed. "No. Never. Not to a demon. What was the deal, ten years?"

Duncan nodded.

"You selfish bastard, you deal with the devil to keep Daisy with you, now you are going to let her live through your death? Leave her alone to suffer? To mourn?" Tristan hissed.

Duncan closed his eyes. Tristan was right. "What...what can I do about these werewolves?"

"Hell hounds are demon servants. Protectors of Hell. Werewolves are a type of Wolfen creature, of which there are Lycans, Thropes, Lupusnox, and I hear, there are now Vampire/Thrope hybrids. Totally different from hellhounds. Hellhounds are relentless, they will not stop. You said that writer was found torn to bits?"

"What do you have, some hunter newsletter?" Duncan asked incredulously, still trying to get his head around the different Wolfen creatures.

"We all keep in touch, we have our ways. The Writer?"

Duncan exhaled. "She was on the 30th floor in a locked room. Yeah, torn to bits."

"That proves it, Hellhounds. Daisy is away?"

Duncan nodded.

"We have to go back to this roadhouse. I need to gather a few things in order to summon the demon. We will go tonight. I will be honest, I am not sure I can do anything here to help you. But, I'll try."

Later that night:

"Are you sure it is out this road?" Tristan asked.

Duncan looked around. "I think so, I haven't been back in ten years...what if the place isn't here anymore?"

"It isn't the bar, it is the crossroads it's sitting at. Centuries ago, they used to bury criminals and suicide victims at the crossroads, it is a place where evil congregates. Where I can summon the demon."

Duncan raised his eyebrows. "How? And do what? Play 'let's make a deal'? What about the other people that were in the bar that night?"

Tristan shook his head. "I can't be concerned about them, this is about you. As it is, I have one chance for this, or we both will be roasting on a spit in hell."

"Tristan...I don't know what to say. All these years, we did not speak. Over...what? I can hardly remember. And now, you are helping me, to the detriment of your life." Duncan said quietly.

"This is my life's work, Duncan. And come on, you KNOW why. Chelsey. When she...died. I couldn't continue with University. I had to find out who or what killed her. That's how I became a hunter. We fought, you said I was insane."

Duncan exhaled. "Right...Yeah. I tried to find you, to apologize. But you disappeared off the face of the earth. For years."

Tristan pulled the car into the roadhouse lot. "How did you find me, by the way?" Tristan asked.

Duncan shrugged. "I have my ways."

"Get the stuff out of the trunk, I am going to make a circle on the ground of rock salt, you are to stay in it until I say different, hear me?"

"How are those hell hounds going to find me out here?"

Tristan snorted. "Dude, they can find you anywhere in this world. You can't hide."

Duncan stopped short and looked around. "God, nothing has changed in ten years. Nothing."

"Ten years IS nothing, it goes by in a flash. You may think it is a long time, but the demon knows it is no time at all. Put the bag over by the sign."

"Is the lounge even open?"

"Who cares, no one will bother us." Tristan replied.

The rock salt on the ground, Duncan stepped inside. "And what does this do again?"

"It will keep the demon away from you, and hopefully, the hell hounds, too."

"HOPEFULLY?" Duncan yelled. He stopped. "Tristan, I hear them, the dogs. Dig faster. Can you hear them?"

"No dude, they are not coming for me...yet."

"What is the the box you are burying?" Duncan was nervous, and his incessant chatter was starting to wear on Tristan.

"Hoodoo stuff, bones from a dead black cat...and other things. Buried at the crossroads, it should summon the demon."

"Shit! They're here!" Duncan yelled.

"How many!" Tristan roared back, digging faster.


"Have they crossed the line of salt?"

"No, it is keeping them back!"

"Under any circumstance, do NOT cross that line, dude. Or you're hamburger, they will rip you to shreds before they take your soul!"

Tristan no sooner buried the hoodoo box when the demon appeared. "Well, what have we here? Tristan Black. My, you are even more handsome than I heard. What can I do for you, sugar?" The demon glanced behind her. "Hmmm, something to do with him? Or is this long-distance call for you?"

Tristan remained nonchalant. Did not want to give the demon any extraneous information. "You might say it has to do with him. I came to make a deal, with you."

"You do not have anything to offer, sugar. But, I could offer you something. Your precious Chelsey. Your young, innocent love, the only woman you ever really loved, I can bring her back." The demon trilled.
Tristan fought to keep his face neutral. "Let me guess, and I get ten years."

"No sugar, not you. You are coveted too much in hell. Five years. That's it. But you get five loving years with the woman you could not save, the woman you loved so much." The demon laughed mockingly.

Tristan walked toward the demon, backing her up toward the wall of the bar.

"Do you think I would ever deal with the likes of you? I am here to bargain...for him."

"Tristan, how cold. You would not deal for your lovely Chelsey, but you would for that man. I see. Did not know you swung that way, sugar." The demon tried to walk toward Tristan, but could not move, as if her feet were set in cement. She closed her eyes.

"Look up, 'sugar'" Tristan snarled. "I got you. You, are mine."

On the rough wood roof jut out above the demon's head, was a hastily drawn 'devil's trap' or heptagram, in chalk. Very effective, the mystical symbol was used to imbolise and control demons, Tristan went nowhere without his book, 'The Lesser Key of Solomon" which contained spells and rituals for both demons and angels.

"Damn you! Let me out of here!" The demon screamed.

"Shut your pie-hole. I think, we are now ready to deal." Tristan laughed cruelly.

"Go to hell!" The demon roared.

"You first, bitch." Tristan reached down into the bag and pulled out an ancient book. A book of exorcism. "I am going to send you there, on an express elevator, going down."

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, in nomine et virtute Domini Nostri Jesu + Christi, eradicare et effugare a Dei Ecclesia..."

The demon began to growl and snarl, her head and body starting to vibrate. Her eyes rolled back in her head.

eradicare et effugare a Dei Ecclesia, ab animabus ad imaginem Dei conditis ac pretioso divini Agni sanguine redemptis.

"ALL RIGHT! STOP!" the Demon roared. "What do you want?"

Tristan snapped the book closed. "Let Duncan out of his deal. He walks away clean."

"You...all right. Fine." The demon gritted her teeth. "I will not take his soul."

"Call off the" Tristan whispered in a deadly voice.

"You are going to be sorry for this, Tristan Black, mark my words. You just moved up on our most wanted list. Oh yes." She whispered. The demon snapped her fingers and the phantom hounds disappeared.

"DUNCAN! Are they gone?"

"Yeah...they are!" He yelled back.

Tristan reached up to break the chalk line in the circle, allowing the demon to step outside.
"You should have been more specific in your request. This deal? Breaking it has wiped out the previous one. You really are not too bright, are you, sugar?"

"What are you saying?"

"You will find out soon enough. And don't try coming here to summon me again. I will not answer. Our dealings, are done. And I am more reasonable than most. I will put the word out, no demon will ever deal with you, at least, not as fairly as I had. So long, sugar..."

The demon was gone in a puff of thick, black smoke.

"Is it over?" Duncan whispered. "Am I free?"

Tristan did not know what to say. He had this feeling in the pit of his gut. He never thought, never dreamed, the previous deal would be wiped out. How could he be so stupid? Demons will cross you every chance they can get, he knew this. It was all on him.


Duncan's cell phone rang.

"Jennifer! Calm down! What is it? What has happened..."

Duncan grew quiet. But Tristan could hear Duncan's sister-in-law in hysterics. He could make out what she was saying.

Daisy...was dead. She dropped dead right in front of her sister Jennifer in mid-sentence. And Tristan knew, if and when they did an autopsy, she would be riddled with cancer, just like she was ten years ago.

'Breaking the deal wiped out the previous one' Oh Jesus...

Duncan dropped the phone, it hit the dirt, with Jennifer still screaming on the other end. Duncan's legs gave out, his knees hit the soft soil. Then, he let out a soul breaking wail that shook Tristan to his very core. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!"

Tristan felt sick. What could he say, "At least you had ten years?" Lame. Things went back to the way they were, they way...they should have been.

"Look, you made a deal with the devil, do you really think you can play with the devil or his demons and have him play nice? The deal was binding. It would have cost one of you, I see that clearly now. Damn!" Tristan shook his head in disbelief.

Three weeks later:

Duncan and Tristan met at the graveyard where Daisy was laid to rest. "You were right, Tristan, The autopsy said she was riddled with cancer. Damn demon bitch."

Tristan swallowed. "It's my fault, I should have known. I am so sorry Duncan."

Duncan sighed and looked off. "Well. It is done. But Tris, you now got yourself a partner. Like it or not."

"Duncan, this is no kind of life..." Tristan began.

"Without Daisy, that doesn't matter. I've got nothing that means anything to me...nothing to lose. But I have means. I'm quite good at research, sniffing things out, I found you. We had better get started." He then said with a cold smile, "To evil, I will be as the biblical pale rider because to evil it will be as if hell follows me."

Drops of rain began to fall. Distant rumblings of thunder was getting closer by the minute.

The two men began to walk away. Both had lost the women they loved to some supernatural creature or circumstance.

Both wanted revenge in their own way.

Both men were determined to get it, anyway they could.

If they had to kill or destroy every demon, spirit, vampire, wolfen, zombie, ghost, demi-god or mythological creature to do so, they would.

Lightning touched down not far from where they were walking, neither man flinched or batted an eyelash.

"Where do you want to start?" Tristan asked.

"There have been attacks not far from here, in Vermont. People's throats ripped out. Could be one of these Wolfen creatures you talked about." Duncan replied, in a cold, determined voice.

"Guess we better load up on the silver bullets and silver knives..." Tristan sneered.

~The End

Happy Halloween!

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