Wild Ghost Chase
Reggie's lungs ached with every breath of chill air he sucked into them as he ran. A roiling mass of greenish-black clouds was gathering over the city, darkening the already dim autumn day. All around him, people were pausing to observe the strange atmospheric conditions, but Reggie didn't have time to stop and stare with them even though he wanted to. He had a possessed girlfriend to catch.
And she was quick. However fast he sprinted, whatever shortcut he took, she always seemed to be one step ahead of him. Fortunately her trail wasn't too hard to pick up since she seemed to be leaving a string of bowled over pedestrians in her wake along the way. He knew she was knocking them over too because every one of them complained loudly about a crazed freak plowing through without so much as a backward glance.
"'Scuse me, comin' through, pardon me, sorry!" Reggie apologized as he jumped over and pushed past the confused people sprawled out on the ground the best he could. He loped along on his gangly legs until he was sure his heart was about to explode and was finally forced to stagger to a halt. Hands on his knees, he gulped in each breath like it was his last with sweat dripping from his face despite the cool air.
An ominous rumble of thunder met his ears, cutting through the sound of his thumping heartbeats and dragged him back into the reality of the situation. He hardly understood what was going on, but he knew enough to realize he couldn't afford to rest here any longer—
A horrible smash followed by a chorus of honking car horns stopped that thought in its tracks. He snapped up in time to see an impressive car pileup at the intersection in front of him, and right in the middle was none other than…
She was standing at the heart of the intersecting streets, arms raised above her head, eyes wide. All around her, as if an invisible circular wall had been placed in a four foot radius between her and the oncoming traffic, was a mess of crunched up cars, taxis, trucks and busses.
Nobody seemed to be hurt, but everyone was angry. And the noise was incredible, even for a busy city street. People began emerging from vehicles, all shouting and cursing at each other and at Sophie. Cars were honking, even a dog or two joined in the racket, barking and howling until the area sounded like a zoo.
Reggie's jaw dropped. If he wasn't mistaken, Sophie had just brought traffic on this busy New York street to a complete standstill…with her mind. This was almost too much!
Sophie glared nastily around her at the wreckage and lowered her arms as several drivers stepped out of the jumble of dented vehicles looking ready to pick a fight.
"What's da big idea, huh?" shouted a gruff-looking truck driver. "I got a delivery deadline t'make here—"
"Yeah!" yelled a woman off to his side. "Whaddaya think you're doin'? You pretty much just totaled my cab!"
The insane, livid look on Sophie's grayish face disappeared suddenly and was replaced with an expression of complete confusion.
"Wha…I…?" she spluttered as if seeing this place for the first time. "W-where am I…?"
"Aw, don't play stupid with us, kid!" another member of the throng piped up.
"Get outta da road, you weirdo!"
The crowd made a threatening move in unison toward Sophie. Pulling himself together at last, Reggie sprang into action, darting forward and shoving himself in front of her.
"STOP!" he yelped, flinging his arms out protectively. "She doesn't know what she's doing! She's been possessed by an evil nut job who wants to destroy us with his tele-catharsis …or something like that."
Every face in the mob was a mix of befuddlement and irritation.
"Speaking of nut jobs…" muttered the woman.
"Uh…anyway," Reggie continued, backing off slightly, "don't even think about coming near her or you'll have me to deal with!"
The truck driver snorted, raising a hairy fist and shaking it right under Reggie's nose. "Ha! Ya think we believe that? I could take you out with one little finger, buddy."
Reggie gulped, then laughed nervously. "Eheheh…I believe it. Look, let's not get too uptight about this, huh?" He reached up and delicately pushed the fist away with a couple fingers. "Well, then, if you folks don't mind, we'll just be going…"
Before anybody in the group could react, Reggie seized Sophie's hand, pulling her after him out of the intersection and onto the sidewalk on the opposite side. Once their feet touched the cement, he chanced a quick over-the-shoulder glimpse and his stomach lurched at the sight of several fuming motorists hot on their tails. Apparently, they were in no mood to let this one slide.
"Aw man! You really made'em mad, didn't ya, Soph? Run for it!"
Again he yanked her after him, gathering speed and dodging other curious onlookers as they went. They zigged and zagged past buildings, across streets and through alleyways for what seemed like forever. At last, Sophie faltered as they headed down a narrow, grungy passage between two brick buildings with a large metal dumpster at one end.
"Reggie!" she gasped, dropping to her hands and knees. "I…can't go…any further…"
Reggie stopped and took a cautious peek around the corner. "I think…we lost'em."
There was a pause where nothing could be heard except their labored breathing in tandem with the usual ruckus of the streets
"W-what're you doing out here?" Sophie spluttered. "No…what am I doing out here…? All those cars and people back there…"
"To sum it up, you caused a little accident."
Her eyes widened. "Oh no..."
"But first you zapped me back at the Ghostbusters place and ran off. I've been following you out here for the last fifteen minutes." He crouched down beside her. "We can't stay. We've gotta get back to that Firehouse so they can do whatever they were gonna do before you shocked me."
"Wait…wait…" Sophie pleaded, clutching her forehead and wincing in pain. "Give me a minute or two…I don't feel so good."
Reggie knelt beside her in the dim light of the street lamp flooding in through passageway entrance. Then he wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. She leaned weakly over into his shoulder, shivering.
"I'm so s-sorry, Reg," she said, voice wavering slightly. "This is insane. I s-should've told you…" She trailed off, unable to hold back her emotions any longer. A tear slid down her ghastly grey cheek.
"Not gonna lie," Reggie replied, gently wiping it away as she looked up at him, "this is pretty messed up, and…well, I guess I'm a little miffed that you never got around to telling me about your uh…special condition, but I'll get over it. Right now, we've gotta get you back to that mad scientist and his buddies so they can fix this."
"I'm s-so scared…" she whispered hoarsely, huddling closer into his side.
"Understandable, but I'll be with you from now on, don't worry. I'm not going anywhere."
Sophie sniffled, attempting a small smile.
"Think you can stand up and walk a little?"
"Yeah," she answered quietly.
Reggie unwrapped his arms, then got to his feet and started to help Sophie do the same…
"AAAAGH!" she screamed suddenly in complete agony, dropping heavily back down to the ground and pressing both hands into her temples. The light coming from the lamppost buzzed, then went out altogether leaving them in near darkness.
"What's wrong? What's happening?"
She didn't answer, but doubled over in pain until her face almost touched the dirty pavement. Another long and horribly anguished cry escaped her lips, piercing through the murkiness. This time, the hair on the back of Reggie's neck prickled and he clapped his hands over his ears, wincing as the unearthly sound began to rise in pitch and intensity.
After several more seconds, the scream died off into a pitiful whimper and Sophie fell silent, still hunched over.
Reggie released his ears. "Soph…?" he ventured.
No answer. Tentatively, he knelt back down in front of her, reaching out…
"Sophie?" he said, a little louder, eyes wide and heart thumping. Something was definitely wrong.
No sooner had his fingertips touched the top of her trembling head, she jerked upright, her own hand shooting forward and wrapping tightly around his neck.
"AAACK!" he choked, clawing at the suddenly superhuman grip his girlfriend had on his throat.
Eyes still closed, Sophie stood slowly, dragging Reggie upwards with her. She continued to lift him high over her head, drawing on some supernatural well of strength that obviously wasn't her own. Then, she let go, but he remained suspended several feet above her, held there by an unseen telekinetic force.
"Sophie, what're you doing?" Reggie rasped, rubbing his neck. "Put me down!"
Her eyelids slid apart, revealing not her normally gentle hazel eyes, but two glowing orange orbs where they used to be.
"Oh boy. This can't be good…"
"I do not answer to that name," hissed the Sorcerer, arm still raised.
Reggie squirmed in a measly attempt to get back on solid ground, but it was no use. He was stuck in midair and it wasn't hard to tell his immediate options were very limited. Maybe, just maybe he could talk his way out of this one…probably not, but it was at least worth a try.
"Listen, uh, ghost-guy…that's my girlfriend you've taken over and I'd really like her back."
The annoyed ghost growled.
"Hey! Take it easy, will ya?"
"I am the Sorcerer!"
"Oh, for crying out loud, no you're not! You're Sophie Martin, my girlfriend!"
"I DO NOT ANSWER TO THAT NAME!" the voice coming out of Sophie's mouth bellowed, echoing between the close walls of the alley. "That is the name of the host who will soon be eliminated!"
"NO! Sophie, fight it! You can beat this guy! Listen to me…you're gonna be ok—"
"SILENCE!" screamed the Sorcerer, eyes flashing brighter still.
"You're a kind of a jerk, you know thaAAAAT!"
Reggie found himself yet again flying backwards. He caromed off the brick wall about ten feet away and fell right into the open dumpster, causing the heavy lid to bang shut.
The Sorcerer threw back Sophie's head and let out a high, cold laugh before turning around and darting off into the dark city.
"Peter, watch your back!" Ray yelled as he zapped a skeleton about to ambush his colleague from behind.
Peter yelped, then ducked as the bluish-red stream zoomed right over his head, missing him by inches, and caught the ghost full on.
"You need to learn how to aim that thing, Stantz!"
"You're welcome," Ray replied as he yanked the screeching spirit into the air. "Winston, I need a trap over here!"
"Little busy at the moment…" Winston shouted over the sounds of his own battle with a second ghost. They were just about to finish busting the first floor of the building they were in and these two spooks were the only ones left…in this part of town, anyway.
"Here ya go, Ray," Peter said coolly. He slid an empty trap out onto the floor underneath Ray's ghost, then leaned over onto a cement pillar to watch, yawning. "Ok, kids. Let's wrap this up and get outta here."
Ray stuck his tongue between his teeth in concentration as he wrangled the flailing skeleton into the flood of light that erupted from the trap.
"Yeeahoo! Got'im!" he shouted triumphantly as the doors flipped shut. Behind him, Winston's ghost was sucked out of sight as well. "Alriiiight!" he exclaimed again, grinning and high-fiving Winston as he turned around. "Not too shabby!"
"I don't know about you guys," replied Winston, wiping his forehead on a sleeve as he and Ray began gathering the plethora of smoking traps on the floor, "but I'm getting a little sick of these dudes."
"Hate to break it to ya, Zed," said Peter, still leaning casually on the pillar while he watched them pick up the equipment, "but we've still got a whole city of skeletons to clean up. We've only caught seven."
"Aw, c'mon, Venkman," said Ray, handing off a couple of the traps to the less than enthusiastic Peter. "This isn't so bad. Besides, I'm pretty sure Egon's come up with something to take care of the Sorcerer by now."
They started for the entrance, walking single file with Ray taking the lead.
"Then how come we're still out here fighting these skinless creeps?" Winston asked.
Ray stopped to ponder for a few seconds, rubbing his chin while Peter sent Winston an approving look.
The three of them moved forward once more, and Ray was the first to push through the glass door.
Peter paused. "I worry about him sometimes," he grumbled behind a hand.
"You and me, both," agreed Winston.
"All I can say, Ray," continued Peter, raising his voice again as he too exited the building, "is that you and Egon better find a solution to this soon. Bravely defending an entire city full of these freaks can really take it out of a guyoomf!—Stantz!"
Ray had stopped dead just outside the door to stare openmouthed at the swirling greenish-black clouds now hanging low over the skyline. Peter, too busy complaining to watch where he was going, had smacked right into him.
"What's the hold up?" asked Winston, coming out behind them.
"Whoooooa…" Ray, unfazed by Peter nearly flattening him, stood smiling slightly in childish excitement at the eerie sight. "Would ya look at that? This is fantastic! Absolutely incredible!"
"Sure is gettin' creepy out here, that's for sure," Winston observed.
"Will you get a move on?" Peter gave Ray a heave in the direction of Ecto-1. "Those skeletons aren't getting any deader!"
"Alright, alright," said Ray, snapping back into reality.
"Uh…not so fast, guys," warned Winston. "We got company."
Both Peter and Ray turned to see what he was pointing at…and gulped. Headed straight for them on the warpath, were about fifty more groaning skeletons.
The three Ghostbusters each spun around, ready to make a hasty getaway in the opposite direction, but were instead greeted with the unwelcome realization that they were well and truly surrounded.