Disclaim: Non profit dreaming. Written purely for fun!

I don't own the rights to Starsky and Hutch.

Thank you for reading!

GRAVEYARD BARBEQUE

By: Karen B.

Summary: Flamingo's 'Monster Mash' karaoke challenge.

Snippet: Bloodbath MS. Hutch pov.

Thank you Laura: She is never afraid to jump into the boiling caldron to help out a friend!

CHORUS

He did the mash
He did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash
It caught on in a flash
He did the mash
He did the monster mash

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This is an actual piece of writing on someone's headstone:


All you that doth my grave pass by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now so you must be,
Prepare for death & follow me.

I hadn't slept since this whole thing started. I tried, but the longer I lay in bed the more anxious I got. I just couldn't get the blood written letters out of my head. Starsky and I had slammed Simon Marcus's ass in jail, and I was shocked at finding out that the evil genie wasn't so easily put back into his bottle.

Marcus was a skilled game player, and I was running out of chips. It was a gamble, but all I presently had to go on, as I drove to see a rancher about a dead cow. I'd run out of pavement about twenty-five miles back, having turned left down an unnamed road. I choked on the dust that continued to flow up from under the wheels and into the Torino's open window. I could have rolled up the window, but it was hot and either way -- I couldn't breathe. Starsky wouldn't be happy to know his car was receiving a dust bath. Not much was out here. I kept waiting to see a covered wagon, but all I saw was rocks, railroad tracks and Roy's Caf'e -- only place left open in a one-horse ghost town I'd passed.

My stomach knotted as I thought of my partner. Of what those sick freaks might be doing to him right that very moment. I could still feel Marcus's eyes on me. His demeanor inside the dark interrogation room was calm, but I could feel the root of elemental evil rage through his bloodstream.

It struck me hard and fast, like a bullet to the brain -- Starsky was a dead man. No matter what I did, those freaks weren't going to let him go. I had to find him and fast.

If there truly was a devil -- Simon Marcus was working side by side with him. They say you never know someone until you've walked in their shoes or crawled into their skin for a while. These were one man's shoes I never wanted to be in. He had a heart made of ice, eyes full of fire, and his breath smelled of sulfur. Whatever Simon dreamed came true – well, not this time. This time I was going to steal his dreams.

"Dreams," I snorted out my nose.

You couldn't dream up a guy as evil as Simon Marcus. He was clever, aggressive and violent. Nothing scared him and that scared me. But take away his kingdom -- which Starsky and I had done after many months of tracking him -- and he was nothing more than a two-bit punk.

Marcus said I was 'The White Knight.' I guessed that made him the fierce dragon.

"White knight," I muttered as I shook my head.

It's a distinct personality type like James Bond, Don Quixote or Captain Marvel -- all heroes doing good deeds, expecting zip in return. Was I expected to do the good deed of releasing Marcus -- knowing my partner was a dead man either way? The 'white knight' -- he was a necessity in the survival of any kingdom -- in this case 'the kingdom' being my partner. Marcus had seen me in action, and read me like the front-page story of a royal decree. Loyal. Brave. Following the law -- able to kill -- but only when absolutely necessary. Never wanting to see my friends hurt or in pain. I wouldn't make a deal with the devil -- no matter what was at stake -- or would I? Simon Marcus had done his homework.

In frustration, I slammed a balled fist to the steering wheel. "Son of a bitch!" I yelled, as I flashed back to the night Starsky and I had arrested the fallen angel.

While I wasn't convinced of Simon's little dream world, my partner sure was wired about it. Starsky kept telling me about his nightmare. It was the same one over and over again. He dreamed Marcus turned me into some sort of evil demon and how I slit his throat while it was his turn to sleep on one of our stakeouts.

I told Starsky it was his unhealthy obsession with a couple of chilidogs that was the culprit, not Simon Marcus. That remark didn't cut the mustard with my partner. It was a documented fact that Simon Marcus was into the realm of the supernatural, and Starsky was sure the man was possessed. We had never even come face to face with him until his arrest, in all the months we'd been working the case -- other than in the mug shot books. Starsky and I were a couple of dogs chasing a flea on the tips of their tails, and Simon Marcus was the phantom tugging at the leash. He may as well have been a tall tale -- an urban legend -- a story folks told around the campfire. As it was, the media had turned him into some carnival sideshow. If it weren't for the reality of the dead bodies baking in the sun, floating belly up in the harbor, or lying in maggot infested dumpsters -- I would have loved to have fluffed him off as such.

My partner and I had received an anonymous tip that the sideshow freak was going to be at the century old cemetery on Burial Hill. Hey -- believe me, it's really the name of the street. You can't make that shit up. We had searched there once before on another random tip, looking for the monster named Simon Marcus, but only came away with a few broken lanterns, a broken shovel propped up against a tree, a dead goat, and a bad case of the willies. Even in broad daylight, the graveyard was cloaked in shadows, and for some reason seemed cold and damp when there hadn't even been a cloud in the sky. The graveyard was overcrowded with marble headstones so old most the engravings had worn away. The oldest headstone I recalled seeing was dated 1638. One could only imagine who was buried there.

The newest tip had come, of all times, on Friday the 13th, at eleven-thirty p.m. It was midnight by the time we reached the cemetery. Starsky reluctantly parked the Torino out of sight behind a rotting, hollowed-out tree that was surrounded by a thick twining patch of blackberries. We walked side by side down a gravel path as I waved my flashlight back and forth in front of us. I watched my superstitious partner gingerly tiptoe around the grave markers and I had to smile a little, knowing he was trying hard not to disturb any restless spirits. Everything looked blue-gray and a lot of the headstones were embossed with an hourglass, crossbones, or a skull with wings -- all symbols of death. I kept envisioning Dracula opening the lid of his coffin, a laboratory in a castle high on a cliff, and some guy named Igor in chains. I rolled my eyes, silently thanking my partner for all the creature features he had forced me to watch with him last month when he had a bout with the flu.

I shuddered, feeling the breeze of wings fly right past my ear. "Damn bats." I ducked.

"Vampire?" Starsky's shaky voice drew my eyes to him.

He looked at me strangely, as if I would turn into a vampire and bite his neck. I laughed inwardly. I had graduated from throat slasher to vampire in the matter of a few days.

"Bats, Starsky. Just bats." I shuddered again as I eyed the pitch-black sky above for any more dive-bombers. "Can't imagine being in this place alone." I allowed a toothy grin to spread over my face. "I'm glad you're here with me, Starsk."

"Glad you're here too, Hutch," he muttered in an unconvincing tone, as he shuddered and drew his jacket collar up higher to protect his neck.

It was warm, but I shivered anyway as I felt something creepy tingle my spine. The place didn't smell like any graveyard I remembered. There was no earthy dampness of old trees and leaves. It smelled more of week-old egg rolls, like a strange party spot where college kids smoked their bongs and drank skunky beer in some crazy stoner-fest.

"Hey." Starsky stopped in his tracks and I came to stand beside him. "What's that?" He pointed up ahead.

I followed his finger and could see the flickering of flames that swathed the area in a dreamlike glow. "Looks like a bonfire, and some sort of wooden structure," I said. "What'd you say we go check it out?"

Starsky didn't respond. I looked over at him and watched him do this quick little side-to-side movement that made me smile. My tough cop partner was feeling uneasy.

"Starsk?"

"I have a really weird feeling about this, Hutch," he said in a hollow voice.

He wasn't the only one. The same feeling crept up on me like the creeping ivy that clung to the stone walls of this place. "It's okay, partner. We're grown men, tough street cops." I slipped a hand to his belly and patted. "No ghost would dare mess with us, " I gave a small laugh. "If it's a knock 'em down- drag 'em out- fight they want -- that's what they'll get."

"Don't give them any ideas, Hutch," Starsky nervously said.

I watched him swallow hard as if his heart had been in his throat. "Just take it easy, Gordo." I clapped my hand to his shoulder and felt Starsky relax a little as we continued toward the fire.

We hadn't walked far when Starsky grabbed onto my arm and dragged me down to a crouch beside him. "Hutch." Starsky waved a hand over a shadowy form that lay partial buried in the dry crunchy leaves.

"What is it?" I asked, catching the sick smell of burnt flesh.

I nervously held the flashlight, kept one eye on my partner's back and the other scanning the dark tree line with my beam. I knew shadows could play tricks on you at night, but I was very aware of someone there -- watching. I couldn't see whom, but I could feel their eyes.

"Hutch!"

"What?" I startled.

"The light!"

"Sorry," I breathed and shined the light back at the form.

"It's another body. Human," Starsky said sadly.

"Oh, God." The flashlight revealed the half-charred remains, confirming what my partner had said. "That makes thirteen," I whispered.

"Twenty, if you count the animal bodies," Starsky added, as we stood in unison. "Let's just check out that fire, then go call it in."

I sighed and gave a nod of agreement.

The glow of the large fire lit the area. I turned the flashlight off, and shoved it into the inside pocket of my jacket in exchange for my gun. We cautiously moved toward what looked like possibly a caretaker's shack, passing by crumbled headstones that had been vandalized. I felt a little squeamish as I watched a large hairy spider crawl across an upside down cross that had been painted red on one of the stones. Surrounding the area, strange mobiles dangled from wires attatched to trees.The mobiles were made out of bones and the sound they made was jarring, not musical in any sense of the word. I couldn't be certain if the bone used to make the eerie instruments were of animal, human or both.

I shivered, thinking how unnaturally quiet it was here. Not so much as a cricket, an owl, or the wind rustled through the dried dead leaves. Only the sound of the bone chimes and our footfalls upon the gray, stony path. I knew it to be irrational, but maybe Starsky's childhood fears of monsters, brain-eating zombies and ghoulish ghouls was right -- a real monster mash.

My heart beat faster in my chest as we came closer to the bonfire and a structure that looked like an altar on stilts. I swore I could hear my partner's heartbeat in time with mine, amplified by the fear that tingled in our toes, and worked its way up to shaky hands. We were tough guy cops, but we were also human -- I couldn't say the same for Simon Marcus. I took a deep, steadying breath, thinking of all the victims we'd found over the many months of tracking this monster. Bloated bodies. Faces contorted in pain. Some whose eyes were wide in horror, others whose eyeballs had been spooned out of their skulls and left in a jar beside their rotting corpses. Sometimes there was no body at all -- only the remains of charred clothing and a trail of blood that always led to an upside down cross painted in red on the side of a building, tree, or dirty alley wall. In a few cases, the bloody trail led us to a large half-torn apart, twisted legged animal carcasses, more than likely used in some sort of ritual sacrifice.

For the first time since I was six, I felt afraid of the dark. I shook myself from the images. I wasn't a six-year-old hiding under the bed sheets. I was a thirty-one-year-old street cop. I gripped my security blanket -- a .357 magnum.

Starsky was a few feet ahead of me and I didn't feel comfortable as he kept disappearing in and out of the nightmarish shadows.

"Go slow, Starsk," I called to him softly.

Just as we reached the shack a shrill scream of a woman split the night and something fell from the platform into the flames sending sparks flying upward into the night.

"Oh, God." I ran toward the fire pit, not feeling the heat but a horrifying coldness.

As I watched a body burn to ash -- mute and still, I became aware it was meant only as a cruel joke. Normally, any living thing shoved into a raging fire squirmed and screamed in a violent attempt to escape the pain. The well crafted female gazed back at me, as I watched the sad lipstick smile drip from the angelic face. Someone had a real sick sense of humor that brought an even stronger wave of coldness to me.

"It's a dummy," I whispered.

"You're kidding?" Starsky said, breathing heavily at my side.

"Not in the least." I nodded faintly keeping my eyes on the woman for a moment longer, then turned toward Starsky. "Look, let's get back to the car and call for backup. We need the Fire Department to put out this fire, the coroner's wagon, and help finding this joker."

"Good plan." Starsky nodded, I think he was grateful, I could tell by his eyes he didn't want to be here.

"Hutch! Ghost!" Starsky suddenly yelled, and pointed upward. "Change of plan. Cover me." He scampered into the night and all I could hear was the gravel under his fast-moving feet.

Stunned, I looked up at the platform; it was ten times larger than I originally thought. I was just in time to see a looming robed silhouette step into the light of the fire, long frizzy hair strangely flowing in the wind -- only there was no wind. Darkness concealed his features but I knew it was him.

"Marcus!" I tried to inform my over zealous partner as I followed him. Before I could catch up to Starsky I crashed right into a bush. "Starsky!" I called out again, trying to un-snag myself from the foliage that seemed to have come alive.

By the time I did, Starsky was more than halfway up a ladder that leaned against the structure, and had disappeared once again into the nightmarish shadows.

"Shit!" I shoved my gun into my waistband, and sprinted toward the ladder. I frantically climbed as fast as I could when I heard Starsky's gun go off. He was firing over and over again.

The gunplay had stopped as quickly as it started. I assumed because Starsky had emptied his clip. My partner wasn't chasing a ghost and Marcus wasn't bulletproof – but neither was my partner. Everything felt like it slowed to a near halt. As I climbed I could still hear the crackle of the fire, its flames rising higher and its light shimmering like a candlelit chandelier. I could hear feet crazily scrambling about over the wood planks above. I knew my partner was in trouble and forced myself to gain speed.

In my haste to get to Starsky, I stumbled unto the large raised platform, my fingers tingling from breathing too fast. I pulled my gun from my waistband and gripped it tightly, holding it stiff and outstretched before me. The light of the fire flicked about, bringing every shadow to life. Everything was silent, everything except for the crackle of wood and the soft smack of bare feet on the wood planks off to my left. I aimed my weapon in the direction of the sound, but saw nothing.

"Police! Come out, you're under arrest!" I took a tentative step toward the unseen movement.

All I could hear was someone's harsh breathing, and my heart skipped a beat. "Starsky?"

"What's the matter? Are you scared?" Came a soft voice from the darkness. "Where's your partner?" he said in a sick bout of laughter.

"Marcus, give it up!" I snarled. "Last time I checked you were no ghost -- and these bullets aren't blanks." I eyed the darkness. "You're a coward. Give it up!" I repeated.

"Do you think I would so easily do so? You're dead. I've seen it in my dreams," he said with hair-raising calm.

A shadow moved and I caught the faint glimpse of a man's face surrounded by long shaggy hair. "Freeze!" A surge of anger propelled me forward. I wanted to pull the trigger, but my fingers wouldn't obey my brain. "Are you finished with your ghost act yet? Come out, now! Hands in the air! What have you done with --"

"Starsky?" The word echoed in my ears.

Suddenly, a shadowy figure lunged at me. I quick stepped to the left, dropped and rolled to avoid the blade that swiped at me. I planted a hand to the wood and launched myself back up to my feet, and ducked under the blade that crossed close to my neck. I came up under the swing, grabbed a hold of the robed arm and twisted until the dagger fell to the ground. My opponent was quick, but I was quicker, thrusting the butt end of my gun across his face so hard it knocked him down to the ground.

Pulling a hand behind his back I quickly reached for my cuffs, as I looked around for my partner. "Starsk?" I called out. "Starsky!" No answer. "Star--"

"H-here." Starsky stumbled from the shadows. "You -- you get him?" he asked frantically, as he sucked air in and out, obviously winded.

"What happened to you?" I turned my head to peer at Starsky. "You okay?" Starsky shivered slightly, not answering. "Hey, you okay?" I demanded, my concern evident in my shrill tone.

"'S not bad. 'S all right," Starsky breathlessly panted. "Need help?"

"I got him," I said sternly as clasped one cuff around my half-conscious prisoner's wrist and flipped the man over. For a moment, I stared into a pair of black eyes, that could pull your very soul from your body. He truly was possessed by something. "You're under arrest, Simon Marcus," I said, reading him his rights.

"My followers will not betray me," Simon mumbled.

For a moment I froze as it dawned on me -- the man was unharmed. Starsky had unloaded his entire clip and there wasn't one bullet hole, bruise, or drop of blood on this guy. Crazy thoughts about ghosts and how bullets could pass right through the vaporous images filled my head.

"You've got to be kidding me."

"Simon does not kid. I'll be seeing you in your dreams, Hutchinson." He smiled wickedly.

"Only place you'll be seeing me from is behind a cell door, creep," I growled, drug him to his feet and secured him to a wooden pole at the center of the platform. I turned toward Starsky; he had a hand clasped to his shoulder. "You don't look okay there, buddy." I moved toward him and eased his hand away from his shoulder. Blood flowed down his arm. The same dagger that Marcus had tried to use on me had cut into my partner's flesh. Starsky stiffened, and I could tell he was fighting hard to stay on his feet. "I think you need to sit down there, partner." I took him by his good arm and tried to get him into a sitting position, but Starsky wouldn't have that. I should have known my partner didn't want to appear weak in the eyes of this monster.

"Don't, Hutch. Jus' a scratch." Starsky eased back one step as he tightened his hand back over the wound and grimaced, his breaths more labored than before.

"He's fine," Marcus laughed. "My dagger has seen much bloodshed. If I wanted him dead -- he would be dead. When I am ready -- I will kill him." That brought a chuckle to Marcus's lips.

"That's doubtful, creep!" I locked eyes with Marcus and stared at him hard. I could feel his grin burn my skin as if he were shooting flames my way.

The spell was broken by the sound of sirens pulling up to the cemetery entrance. Starsky's shots must have woken up a good Samaritan and we now had our backup.

Uniformed officers flooded the scene. "Detective Hutchinson." I flashed my badge. "Call an ambulance and get this punk out of my sight I'll be there later to fill out a report. Detective Starsky needs to see a doctor first."

I waited until Marcus was out of sight before turning back to my partner. Starsky seemed lightheaded as he swayed on his feet. "Hey, sit down now, will you?" I said almost in anger. "Let me take a look at that, Starsk."

He didn't argue this time, just closed his eyes as I sat him down and leaned him against the pole. "Easy." I gently pried his hand away so I could see how deep the cut was, and felt the flooding warmth of blood run over my fingers. "What the hell," I was a bit freaked, expecting a small cut, not a long laceration. "I thought you said it was a scratch? He did this?"

"No, Hutch, pixies did it -- of course Marcus." Starsky winced.

"Funny. That's some scratch, pal," I drawled out. Carefully I probed the torn flesh. Starsky winced again, but didn't say a word. "It's not too deep, but a pretty wide-open slice, Starsk," I said shrugging out of my flannel shirt. I balled the material up and pressed my palm down over the wound slowly adding more and more pressure. "You're going to need --"

"Stit-stitches!" Starsky's breath caught and his eyes flew open. "Errr," he hissed, and reflexively pulled away.

"Shh." I stilled his movements with my free hand. "Pain bad?" I asked the stupid question.

Starsky shook his head 'no.'

"Dizzy?"

He shook his head.

"Still afraid I'm a vampire?"

He shook his head again.

I glanced to the sky and watched the moon slide out from behind a cloud. It was full, bright and hung low in the sky.

"Hey," I said, trying to distract my partner from the pain I knew he was lying about. "Would you look at that."

Starsky opened his eyes. "Wha'?"

I took hold of his chin and turned his head. "The moon."

"It's full," Starsky said, his gaze intensifying his body trembling with adrenaline and shock.

"Sorry I'm hurting you, but I gotta keep the pressure on."

"Not--" Starsky took a breath, closing his eyes and bracing his body against the pole. "Not hurting me."

"And I'm not a vampire, buddy, "I laughed and brushed my fingers up and down his neck "Just take it easy, ambulance will be here."

"Hey." Starsky's eyes flew open again. "What are you doing?" he said roughly.

"I'm trying to relax you, dummy." I rolled my eyes. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Contemplating your next meal." Starsky swallowed, and pulled slightly away.

"C'mon, Starsk," I said, looking into his eyes I could tell he was serious. "I don't have fangs. See." I flashed a toothy grin. "Besides, full moons are for werewolves, not vampires," I joked.

"Hutch." Starsky shuddered. "That doesn't prove a thing."

"You're afraid."

"I ain't afraid of no ghosts, Hutch."

"Sorry, partner, I'm not sold."

"Zoiks, Hutch. We've been playing the caper 'Simon, where are you now,' and tripping over ourselves for eighteen months only to catch up with him in a graveyard. I have a right to be a little jumpy."

"Zoiks, Starsky? This is no Scooby-Doo cartoon. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, monsters -- they just don't exist. Simon Marcus is just a man."

"I know."

"Oh, you know, do you? Then why are you shaking?"

"Not shaking, just cold."

"Oh, right," I said, in an unbelieving tone.

A colony of small bats swooped and dived crazily about on soundless wings, as the moon slid behind another cloud. "Why do they have to come out at night?" Starsky asked, as he looked at me wild eyed.

"Because they have nothing better to do, pal," I joked, then seriously said, "They're nocturnal; it's when they feed."

"Feed?" Starsky shuddered again. "Hutch, can we leave now?"

"Come here, buddy." I shifted my weight so I could scoot closer to him, and my boot accidentally knocked against the floorboards.

Starky jolted and nearly jumped into my lap. "What was that?"

"Hey, hey. Just my boot. I thought you weren't afraid?" I pulled back to look into his eyes, and tried not to smile.

"You're a real scream, Blondie! You trying to give a guy a heart attack?"

This time I had to laugh. "I'm sorry buddy," I said then glanced up. From this height I could see the flashing lights of the ambulance as it pulled in through the cemetery gate. "We'll be out of here in just a bit. You can relax." I raised my hand off the wound and eyed it a few moments. Satisfied the bleeding was under control, I left it alone.

"What are you doing now?" Starsky's eyes narrowed and I could feel his tension.

"Vampire -- remember?" I scowled and licked my lips, feigning hunger as I ran my fingers playfully through his unruly curls, trying to smooth them down.

"You're making fun," Starsky muttered.

I leaned toward him, and pressed my lips to Starsky's ear. "No, buddy. Actually, you're beautiful when you're scared," I whispered.

I swathed my arm around him, and tucked Starsky close to me.

"What are you doing now?" Starsky asked, in a sleepy tone.

"Wrapping you in my cape, buddy," I softly said.

"You ain't no Lugosi, Hutch."

"Let's find out." I moved toward his neck.

"Let's not." Starsky pushed me away.

A bump in the road brought me back to the present, and the small smile the memory had given me faded. This whole Marcus thing was sort of like a horror movie and I was scared out of my mind at what could happen to my partner.

It felt like I'd been driving forever through the dust bowl. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, following the endless row of telephone wires with nothing to look at but the occasional small farmhouse, herds of grazing animals or a slow moving cloud. I exhaled loudly and shifted my gaze from the road to my reflection in the rearview mirror. I almost expected to see the blood red letters -- but instead I swore I could see dark blue beseeching eyes looking back at me. "Where are you, Starsk?" I whispered as I reached out to touch the eyes.

Of course, I got no answer, and the eyes were not my partner's. My hand fell limp to the steering wheel and I wondered if there truly was a devil. I turned right; up ahead I could see a house with a well-manicured green yard, a white picket fence, a porch swing, and a large barn right behind it.

"Finally," I said, wiping the sweat from my brow, and ignoring the sick gut-grinding feeling deep inside.

I didn't believe in monsters, ghosts or devils. I didn't believe in anything I couldn't see, feel, or touch. But what if?

What if there was a devil? I wondered what things he had in mind for Marcus once he reached the fiery pits of hell. I put the Torino in park, killed the engine, got out, and headed toward the house. 'Cause if my partner doesn't make it -- that's where Simon Marcus was going to be going -- hell.

I'd see to that.

The end.