The Haunting of Slaughter Creek
A petite girl with dancing lavender eyes laughed loudly as she swung her legs back and forth. She had a perfect view of her ghosts' latest antics at the local dance hall from the balcony's rail. Its Almost Halloween was playing in the background and it was almost drowning out the loud screech Psyke was filling the mortal's heads with.
The little gremlin, Sassy, was playing around with the DJ's turntable now and the music was suddenly cut out. The mortals that hadn't left already clutched at their ears or scratched frantically at their arms as the little glowing maggots climbed up them. Calamity looked up at her ghost master and flashed a grinned. She loved releasing the small ectoplasmic creatures out almost as much as Juliana loved her job.
"Juliana, we need to speak." The voice of Juliana's supervisor killed her laughter. It was never good news when he showed up. Especially if it was during a paying job.
"What do you want?" She snapped at Gary, casting a faint glance at him. "I'm getting a good amount of plasm for this and my team needs this!"
"Your Uncle Horatio was killed." Gary said rather bluntly. He studied Juliana as she froze, and then stood up. It always made him nervous when she would just stand up in mid-air. Ghost masters didn't often utilize their ghostly sides, not like this one did.
"How? We're immortal!" She shouted, causing her three ghosts to stop what they were going.
"You know how!" He hissed back, "One of those crone witches got a hold of him. He left his territory to you."
"You don't beat around the bush do you?" Juliana stepped through the railing and stomped past the man that had oh-so-graciously taken her under his wing.
"What's the point?" He shrugged and followed behind her.
As she passed a couple of mortals entwined with each other in a door way, Juliana ran her hand through the girl's face. She cracked a smile when the teen shrieked and batted at her face.
Juliana didn't want to leave this small niche she had finally dug out for her team and herself. She especially didn't want to go to one of the biggest territories in the books, Slaughter Creek.
"When did he die?"
"Actually, a decade ago." Gary ran his hand through his premature silver hair. He knew what was coming.
"No one told me before now?" Juliana said with stiff jaws.
"Well, he, um, told his second in command that he didn't want you to know until you were ready to take on the responsibility." He stepped back when she stepped forward.
"So, he died a decade ago, and nobody knew because I wasn't ready? Do you know what kind of state Slaughter Creek must be in?" Juliana felt the weight of it coming down on her.
"It's pretty sad. No one believes in the paranormal. Good thing part of his team stayed to help you."
"Who says I'm going?"
"Juliana, we should go. It'd be good for us. I mean, we don't even have a head quarters here!" Calamity floated towards the arguing masters. Psyke nodded silently while Sassy ran around wagging her tail.
"You don't have a headquarters?" Gary turned back to his ward. She ducked her head and slipped through the wall into the chilly autumn air.
"Did I say that? I meant we didn't have a roomy headquarter." The quirky horde babbled on.
"Save it, Cal. You've blown it for us all." Juliana pulled her hood up to hide her face, even though the mortals couldn't see her. In reality, she was trying to hold in the fear that she'll fail her team and the ghost master council.
"So we're going?" Calamity asked when Psyke touched her arm and nodded towards Juliana.
"Yes, I guess we are. This old town is getting old anyways." Juliana said with her signature confidence, the façade that kept her alive in the cold world of the haunters.
The quartet parted ways with Gary and made their way up north towards the American-Gothic town. Calamity was the only one that kept the conversation going. Juliana was thinking about anything and everything that could go wrong and didn't dare let her hood down. Just because Psyke didn't talk, didn't mean that she wouldn't bother Juliana if she sensed her uneasy feelings.
Slaughter Creek was definitely too comfortable for the humans. It was nearly midnight and the college kids were still out walking as if it were lunch time. It bugged Juliana that it had taken her this long to earn the right to take her Uncle Horatio's place. She didn't like it one bit.
"Ma'am?" Juliana turned her head towards the voice. On the side of the road, a quivering man in a tuxedo stood staring at her. His hair was matted on one side and on the other side you could see where his hair had been ripped out in life.
"It's Juliana Percival. And you are?" She stood straight with her shoulders square and head tilted up as if she were royalty.
"Th-Th-Theodore Montgomery. I was t-t-told to meet you here. Th-th-there's already a manor waiting for you. It's been clear since th-th-the th-th-thirty's." As she studied the stuttering ghost, she saw the gaping gash on the side of his face, where the man's jaw muscles had been cut. Obviously, Theodore Montgomery had met a violent end.
"I'll see about that before I send my team in there." Juliana walked past the man with an air of arrogance, something that she had mastered years before. If someone thought you were stuck up, they weren't thinking about the fear in your eyes.
As soon as the young ghost master stepped onto the large property, she felt the bad vibes. She could detect a few ghosts on the property, but those weren't the vibes she was worried about. She could feel the constant ebb of electronics.
"I thought you said this place was clear!" She hissed loudly and spun to look at the poor phantom. Her hood fell around her shoulders from the motion.
"It was th-th-this morning." The phantom looked around helplessly.
"Get out of here, now." She pushed her team off the property before turning back to inspect more.
Her heels clicked against the brick pathway and echoed across the long dead gardens. No one was patrolling the grounds, or they would've heard her walking. She loved the fact that mortals could hear her coming but never see her unless she warranted it. As she reached the door, she pictured her heels becoming sneakers. If the ghost breakers were inside, she didn't want them to find her.
Immediately after walking through the door, Juliana noticed three things: There was a banshee cowering on the ceiling, a ghost breaker very close to discovering her, and a spectre in the doorway pondering his next move. She floated calmly over to the large man with a large hammer in one hand and a long blade in the other. His hair was greasy and hung loosely around his worried face. By the black markings all over the man, he'd been a blacksmith in life and died on the job.
"What are you thinking of doing? Besides getting out of the house and to safety, I mean." Juliana said while looking up at the banshee. They seemed to be from the same era in time, she thought.
"I have to get my wife out of here." That explained that. "Who are you?"
"Juliana Percival at your service." She winked before stepping up to the ghost breaker. "I'll distract him and you get your wife out of here. Meet up with the others just outside the gates."
She knew she'd need to get them back into the manor later if she wanted to clear the place, but first she was going to make sure no one was trapped inside with the ghost breakers. As she approached the nasty looking hunter, she hid her shaking hands in the folds of her black cloak. If something went wrong, she herself could become trapped. Nothing would stop her from protecting that banshee, not even her fear.
"Hey there, punk." Juliana whispered in the man's ear and flitted to the doorway. He jerked towards her and she knocked on the wall to draw his attention to her even more. She walked backwards and made sure to make small noises to get him to follow her. When she saw the couple of ghosts go through the door, she ducked sideways into another room.
Juliana closed her eyes to hone in on another ghost. She felt only two other spirits within the walls of the house and she could feel their fear. Right as an overweight man opened the door, Juliana floated up through the ceiling. She internally laughed as she thought about Gary's reaction to her doing that in the past.
A boy was sunk into the corner with a fierce look on his face. Obviously, if a child were to wander through this room, the poltergeist wouldn't hesitate in attaching himself to the mortal.
"What's your name?" Juliana sat easily in a dusty chair.
"Franklin, who are you?" The ghost growled and his small grey eyes glowed with his anger.
"I'm the new ghost master around here. I'm gonna get you guys out of here." She flicked her hand towards the window.
"Well, I ain't going nowhere. So leave me alone."
"Aren't you the nicest kid around? Look, I'm not gonna play games, Franklin. Before I can plan to get the ghost breakers out of this place, I need all of the ghosts out of here. Play difficult if you want, but I will not hesitate in ordering you around." She rose to her feet and came to stand right in front of the kid.
Franklin rose so that he was at her eye level. "Why should I listen to you? You're nothing like the ghost master from before."
"Really? That's a nice tidbit of information, but frankly, I don't want to be like my uncle." This kid was starting to annoy Juliana. Couldn't he tell that she was trying to help him?
"You're Horatio's niece?" Franklin lowered himself back down to the floor and looked down.
"That's correct. Where is the other ghost?" She turned towards the door now that the poltergeist seemed to be calmer.
"Marian is probably in the bathroom. She ain't too bright, and she thinks if she just stays in the mirror she can't be found." He rolled his eyes dramatically.
"Listen, kid. I need you to meet up with the others outside. When I get out there, we'll talk about a plan." Franklin nodded at her and disappeared into a cloud of green smoke.
Juliana took note of every single radar and device set up around the house as she tried to find the rest room. She stopped in front of a bedroom with a vanity set up. She walked slowly to the mirrored table and picked up the small hand mirror. It was beautifully crafted, though she couldn't figure out why the past resident needed a smaller mirror with a huge one right in front of her. Juliana shrugged and slipped it into her cloak's pocket.
She heard a noise from the second door in the room and stepped forward. Again, she hid her hands in hopes of her fear hiding as well. The man she had lead away from the ghostly couple was now scanning near a mirror. As soon as she stepped through the door, his radar began going off radically. She backed up slowly, but as soon as she saw the scared face of Marian in the reflective glass, Juliana stopped. She couldn't just leave her.
The man lit up brightly and let out a yelp of excitement. He was obviously a new breaker since she didn't remember him having a scanner downstairs. Maybe it would be easy to get him away, but then again there was a reason she had taken the mirror.
"Marian?" She whispered in fear of the breaker hearing her. The brunette turned her wide eyes towards Juliana and put a hand up to the glass. "I need you to get into this mirror. Then we can go outside."
Marian looked at the breaker then nodded. If one mirror could 'protect' her, then why couldn't the one in Juliana's hand? She vanished for a moment, and then showed up in the smaller mirror in the master's hand. With the last ghost safe with Juliana, she went through the outside wall right as the breaker fumbled the dangerous gun-like weapon out of its holder. As she descended from the second floor, she studied her new gang of haunters. For a moment, she worried about the amount of plasm it would take to keep this group strong but her thoughts went away when her feet touched the ground.
Juliana walked to the middle of the group of haunters. "This is what we'll do."