|Destiny at the Haunted Mansion
Author: Aquarian Wolf PM
Destiny just bought a house. It's a big old mansion. Unfortunately, she wasn't told about the 999 ghosts haunting it, the curse, or the nosy paranormal investigator. And why does that guy in the painting look so familiar?Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural - Chapters: 48 - Words: 151,852 - Reviews: 130 - Favs: 53 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 10-10-10 - Published: 12-18-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2709130
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The parking lot of the Parker Institute for Supernatural Research was almost empty, save for a few cars and two men. Koji crouched on the asphalt, his car blocking Professor Hahn's view of him. Once again, he was late, and once again, he was going to try to escape any possible chastisement. Just when he thought the coast had been clear, the professor had gone out to his car to get something. Koji had ducked in time, and was now waiting for the opportune moment to dash. Hahn ducked his balding head into his Chevy.
He stumbled only once while running up the stairs, nearly falling flat on his face. However, he did manage to get inside the building and slide into his office before Hahn even looked up. Sneakers skidding on the tile, he slammed into the Parker Institute's Chief Gadget Guy, Blaine.
Blaine was Professor Hahn's younger, although much bigger, cousin. Like Hahn, Blaine had a beard, but his was thick. His red hair, too, put his cousin's to shame. He was broader around the shoulders and chest, with a thick middle. He wasn't so much muscle as just girth. Due to spending all of his time in his lab tinkering with machinery, he was extremely pale. Koji had no idea what Blaine's last name was, or if Blaine was even the man's first name. Everyone just called him Blaine--or Inspector Gadget-- and left it at that.
"Late again, little man?" the red head asked with a mouthful of popcorn. In one hand he held a greasy bowl. The other hand was busy shoveling food into his mouth.
"So what if I am?" Koji retorted smartly. Remembering who Blaine was, he quickly added, "Please don't tell your cousin!"
Laughing, Blaine sprayed various furniture and papers with popcorn chunks. "I'm not going to rat you out, Koji." Wiping his mouth, he grinned. "Did you know that in the trench coat you look like Data from The Goonies?"
Koji took off his coat and threw it over the back of his chair. "I always considered myself more of the Cory Feldman type." Collapsing into the chair, he propped his feet up on his desk. "What are you doing in here anyway?"
"Just wanted to tell you that we're going to be out doing some field work today. I've developed some new gizmos especially for the assignment."
"Cool. Where are we going?"
Before Blaine could answer him, Professor Hahn stepped into the cubicle. "Hmm, I could have sworn you weren't in here earlier, Mr. Wendell."
"Oh, Koji and me have been chatting for nearly an hour, cuz." Blaine slapped a hand on Koji's shoulder.
Hahn blinked, surprised and just a bit put down that he couldn't give Koji his morning lecture on tardiness. "Good. Nice to see you're willing to put forth the same amount of effort as the rest of us. Blaine, I need to see if those new prototypes are ready."
Koji watched as the two kin walked out, with Blaine chattering nonstop while shoving popcorn into his mouth. Something about what had just transpired nagged at the back of his mind. Frowning, he tried to remember what it was. At the instant he thought he had it, his phone rang. "Parker Institute for--Hi, Mom."
"Good morning sweetie. Did you have a good night's sleep?"
"Get to work on time?"
"In time to not get busted."
"Have a healthy breakfast?"
"It was doughnuts, wasn't it?"
Guilt made him confess. "Yes."
"Bavarian cream filled?" He could hear her sighing with disappointment.
"I was running late!"
"No, it's not about that. Did you call Destiny?"
Suddenly it hit him. That's what that important thing had been. Exhaling through clenched teeth, he admitted, "Tried once, but didn't get a hold of her. Completely forgot to call again. But it's no big deal. Hahn said he doesn't plan on going out until tomorrow. I can still call her later."
"For some reason, I doubt--"
Professor Hahn poked his head into the office at that point. "Oh, I don't know if Blaine told you, but I've shifted around some stuff on the schedule. We're checking out the Gracey place today. We're heading out in about thirty minutes. Get all of your notes and everything together; you're going to be our guide."
Koji's jaw and phone dropped as Hahn ducked back out. "But… I didn't get to… AW, CRAP!" Pulling the phone back up by the cord, he cried, "Mom, are you still there?"
"Yes, Koji. And yes, I heard." She sighed. "Am I going to have to leave sticky notes everywhere for you, like I had to do when you were little?"
"Mom, you're on the other side of the East coast."
"If it means preventing things like this, I'll find a way. Go and stall as much as possible. I'll call the house."
"But Destiny will be at work."
"I'm aware of that."
With a softer tone, she said, "Cheer up, my koishii Koji. Everything will be fine."
"So there's no need to worry?"
"No, there'll be plenty of reasons to worry."
"What? Was I being cryptic again? Sorry. I love you, sweetie."
"Love you too, Mom. Give Dad a hug for me." Koji groaned and hung up the phone. Silently, he glared at the pile of notepads on his desk. With a heavy thud his feet hit the floor. This wasn't going to be easy.
A pleasant female voice spoke. "Hello."
Ezra pulled the phone away from his face and stared at it wide-eyed. "H--hi! Can you understand me?"
"Of course I can."
Slowly, he pulled the phone back. He was suddenly aware of how awkward he felt. Telephone manners had never been his forte. "You do realize you're talking to a dead man, right?"
"Yes, now, listen--"
Ezra screamed. "The telemarketers are psychic! We're all doomed!"
"Listen! This is Haru Wendell, Koji's mother--"
"Oh you poor, dear woman. You know, I always thought he was some kind of genetic experiment."
Even the woman who had raised Koji had her breaking point. Exasperated, she cried, "Shut up! A group of paranormal investigators is on its way to the house. Trust me on this: Just lay low. Got it?"
"Sure thing. Thanks for the heads-up." After hanging up the phone, he put the table back in its proper place. Turning on his heel, he was surprised to come face-to-face with George. "Man, you're creepy when you do that."
Graceysmirked, retorting, "This comes from a man who delights in materializing in people's cars?" Peering through the other ghost's shoulder at the appliance, he asked, "Who was on the phone?"
Master Gracey blinked in surprise, eyebrows arched. "There's a Mrs. Wendell?" he asked in disbelief.
"Koji's ma," the skeletal spook clarified.
"Oh. For a second there I thought there was some poor girl who had married him out of pity," he remarked dryly. He sniffed. "Well, what did Mrs. Wendell want?"
"We've got some ghost hunters heading our way. Are we going to let Destiny know?"
"Why? After all, there's nothing she can do from work. Besides, this is a matter between the ghosts and the ghost hunters. We can take care of ourselves."
Running as fast as his legs could carry him, Phineas ran into the foyer, upset and frazzled. Before he could zip past, Ezra grabbed Phineas by his collar and yanked him to a halt. "What's wrong with you, Phinny?"
After slapping away Ezra's bony hand, he explained. "I was just trying to get some quality time with Amelia in the ballroom, and she kicked me out!" Queeg cried it as if a crime had been committed against him. "Me!"
George crossed his arms and grunted a noncommittal, "Humph."
"Oh, what's wrong, George?" the plump phantom drawled. "Don't like the idea of me and your aunt--"
"Stop it!" George clamped his hands over his ears, his mature, calm demeanor gone. "I don't want to hear it!"
Not in the least bit perturbed by George's tantrum, Phineas continued. "Meanwhile, Gus was just trying to help Mr. Baker compose a new song." An image of Gus jumping up and down on the organ's keys came to George's mind. At that instant, the little man ran screaming down the hallway. The small skull-like wraiths that usually made their home in Baker's organ pipes were dive bombing his head, snarling and pulling on his beard.
"Go away!" the dwarf screamed, slapping at his attackers. George suspected that his imagination had not been too far from the truth. Content with the torture inflicted, the spirits flew away, back to their pipes. "We wasn't hurting anyone," whined Gus. "They just threw us out."
George titled his head to the side. "'They'?"
"Yeah," Phineas began. "Bea was there, too. She and Amelia have something planned in that ballroom. Bet you a dollar it's got something to do with Dustin. So," he quickly changed the subject, "what needs to be taken care of?"
"Ghost hunters," Ezra said quickly. "Thanks to all this jabber, they're going to be here any second and we don't have a plan. Koji's ma just said to keep quiet."
Gus snickered. "His mother."
"Well, are we going to warn anyone?" demanded Phineas. "We've never dealt with professional--" He couldn't get the phrase out without laughing. "Professional ghost hunters."
George had sauntered over to the window and was now holding back the curtain and peeking out. "Their vehicle is coming down the road now. At least, I'm guessing it's them. Who else would have 'Got Ghosts?' painted on the side of their van?" Flinging the curtains shut dramatically, he declared, "Phineas, make sure all of the doors are locked."
"You got it," the laid back spirit confirmed before jogging away.
"Ezra, spread the word." Before vanishing, Dobbins saluted the ghostly leader. "Gus--Gus! Quit playing with that Ouija board! For the last time, Marilyn Monroe is not asking you to 'get down with her' on that thing!" Rubbing the bridge of his nose, George closed his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh.
It seemed as if his quiet afterlife had become much more complicated since Destiny had shown up. The sound of car doors slamming tore him out of his contemplations. Slowly, he pulled the curtain back just a tiny bit. A small group of men stood around the large, white van, Koji among them. George hoped the young man caught his glare before following behind a middle-aged man with balding, light red hair. The ghost soon lost sight of the paranormal investigators as they walked around the side of the mansion.
"Yeah," Koji agreed with a sigh, "it's a big graveyard all right." He kicked absentmindedly at the dirt.
They were a small group, consisting of only four men: Koji, Professor Hahn, Dr. Gipson, and Blaine. Dr. Gipson was a frail looking man in his mid forties with thin, dark blond hair, and a nervous habit of picking the skin around his fingernails. He always paid amazing attention to detail and was an expert photographer.
Blaine took off his Ghost Busters backpack, unzipped it, and pulled out his latest creation. Waving it proudly, he proclaimed, "It's my new, patent pending Wave Electromagnetic Detector, or W. E. D. for short."
The others stared, unsure. "'Wave Electromagnetic'?" asked Koji.
The creator looked down at his apparatus. "My dyslexic brother named it. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I kept the name the same." Looking back up at them, he said brightly, "Plus, doesn't W. E. D. just sound cool?"
"So what exactly does it do?" asked Professor Hahn, tentatively tapping it.
"Detects disturbances in the atmosphere around us." Blaine turned a red knob and punched a series of numbered buttons. Upon closer inspection, Koji thought the W. E. D. looked like a mutated graphing calculator. "It finds ghosts."
The machine emitted a low hum.
"And," Blaine grinned maniacally, "they're close."
"Paranormal investigators. Don't worry; the doors are locked." Thoughtfully, he watched as the biggest of the four took odd, beeping boxes out of his satchel. One was attached to a microphone and headphones, which the man placed over his ears. "Hmm…"
Wary, Dustin finally looked up at George. "What do you have planned?"
"Well, I was just thinking that those are probably for hearing ghosts, correct?"
Frowning thoughtfully, the Englishman replied, "I suppose…"
"Maybe if we can tell them to leave, they will. People usually run screaming at the sound of my voice."
"George, I don't think--"
The aristocratic spirit strode towards the door. Rolling his eyes heavenward in silent prayer, Dustin sprang up and followed him.
George and Dustin stuck their heads through the back door, looked around, then slowly stepped through.
"I'll never get used to the whole 'going through walls' thing," Dustin muttered as he smoothed down his coat.
George clamped a hand over the younger man's mouth. "Shh, let's watch for a moment while I think of what to say." He nodded his head towards the group.
Dustin mumbled, "'Ere's onee 'or?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," George apologized, taking his hand off of Dustin's face. "What did you say?" He wiped his hand on his jacket.
Dustin wiped his mouth. "I said, 'there's only four?'"
The man with the back pack began walking towards them as he stared down at a small, beeping, box-like object in his left hand. In his right hand, he held the device with the microphone. "The W. E. D. 's picking something up!" he cried out happily. "It's right over...here!" With the antenna right on the tip of George's nose, he came to a stop.
The ghost stared down cross-eyed at the wire for a moment. After taking a step back, he bent down near the microphone. He tapped it. There was no hiss or feedback. "Hello sir, I'm George Gracey. I would humbly request that you leave."
"Blaine," Koji began. Looking down at the voice recorder, he saw that it was off.
Dropping the mike and tape player, Blaine smacked the other machine with his palm. "Stupid thing must be on the fritz again." Sticking his arm out, he waved it through George's head. "There's nothing here."
Gracey staggered after the man pulled back his arm. "God that feels weird."
As Blaine took a few steps towards the back porch, the machine beeped louder. "We have to get inside."
"No," commanded Dustin, "what you have to do is leave."
Hahn walked past Dustin and onto the back porch. After trying to open the door, he groaned, "It's locked."
George breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hey Rob!" Dr. Gipson called. "Look at this!"
"What is it?" asked Hahn as he walked to the spot at the side of the house where Gipson was standing.
"I think it's an entrance," the photographer said. Carefully, he pushed aside two rose bushes and brushed away leaves. Underneath the foliage was a set of two doors.
"Cellar doors!" exclaimed the professor. "Brilliant work!" He reached down, and with some difficulty, pulled them open
"Nice job," Blaine said as he put his backpack back on and picked up his tape recorder.
Koji stayed behind as Hahn, Gipson, and Blaine made their way into the cellar. "Isn't this breaking and entering?" the youngest asked. He looked over at George and Dustin.
"Stop them!" Dustin yelled.
"You never worried about that before," Hahn said flippantly. "Besides, we'll be out before she gets home, and she'll probably be grateful. Now, are you coming or not?"
Koji shot one last sorry look at the ghosts, then disappeared into the cellar.
"What now?" asked Dustin.
George turned and marched into the house. Dustin had to run to keep up with him. "What now?" he repeated.
Gracey stopped. "Change of plans. They want ghosts, we'll give them ghosts."
"Koji's the only one who can see us. What are we supposed to do, wear a sheet and rattle some bloody chains?"
Slowly, George smiled.
"What? No! No, no, no!" Dustin waved his hands frantically. Pointing at where the mortals had been standing, he yelled, "I will not humiliate myself for these people!"
"How about for Destiny?"
Dustin opened his mouth and looked as if he was about to say something, closed his mouth, raised a hand and lifted a finger as if he was about to make a point, then let his arm fall by his side in defeat. "Get me a bed sheet and a pair of scissors."
"This is so embarrassing," Dustin mumbled. "I can't believe I'm stooping this low. Why am I the only one in a sheet?"
"You're the main attention getter." She looked over his costume. "Something's not right...Aha!" She snapped her fingers. "Got it!" Lifting the blanket up enough to uncover his face, she snatched his spectacles.
"Hey!" her brother cried.
"Don't worry." Using her dress, she cleaned any smudges off the lenses. She pulled the sheet back down and placed his glasses in front of the eyeholes. "There, isn't that better?"
"Yeah," he admitted reluctantly, rolling his eyes playfully.
"Anything for my favorite brother." She raised up the sheet one last time and rubbed the tip of her nose against his. "Good luck, Dustin. Scare 'em out!"
Dustin grinned and scoffed under the sheet. "Scare? Ha! I'll terrify them. Scary, dear sister, is my middle name."
"I thought your middle name was Thomas."
He paused. "It is, isn't it?" he said slowly. "Dustin T. Dust. Dustin...Thomas..." Frustrated, he scowled. "If I could only remember what our last name is... Oh, and what where you and Amelia doing--"
Bea playfully shoved him out of the room. "Oh, don't worry about that now, you've got some foolish mortals to scare. Now give me your best 'boo!'"
The girl giggled. "It needs a little work."