New York City, April 8th 1992
New York is called the city that never sleeps and in a way it doesn't, not just the activity from people or the lights that remain burning long into the night, but also from the ghosts that won't stay dead.
There was a noise that echoed through the city of tall skyscrapers, a high pitched whining that rose and fell in pitch. It was a siren that was meant to be heard for miles around and Ray Stanz could clearly hear it because he was sitting right underneath it. He was sat in the passenger seat of Ecto-1, a white hearse a company called Ghostbusters had converted into a transport vehicle for both the Ghostbusters and their equipment. It had two sets of flashing bar lights and a dozen other warning lights that lit the roof rack up like a Christmas tree.
Ray had to hang on for dear life when Winston, who was at the wheel, turned a corner sharply sending the white hearse pitching and Ray at times like this feared the old car will end up on two wheels or snapping in half. Thankfully Winston was an expert driver and he made the turn without crashing or spinning out of control. Did Winston ever drive racing cars? Ray often asked himself, because he could make this two ton hearse move and skid around like it was driving in a rally, which was saying something because Ecto-1 was the length of a small bus.
Winston was an African American with short, dark hair, he looked out intensely at a silver sedan that was tearing through the streets of New York. This was no ordinary sedan they were casing however, this one was special not just because it was a vintage year, not just because it looked expensive, but because it was glowing bright blue, was hovering off the ground and had grown a pair of horns, large teeth and evil looking eyes where it's headlights would usually be.
"Okay Silver!" Peter called from the roof of Ecto-1 "time to lasso and bring them home" Peter was sitting in a small seat of the proton cannon, one of their Ghost blasters which was mounted on the roof rack.
"Hold her steady Winston" Ray said letting his head lean out the open window of the car door. He didn't do this for any practical reason other than it just looked cool.
"I hope he's got insurance!" Peter called and fired the proton cannon. A long lance of rubberised, yellow light shot from the end of the cannon and smashed into the back of the sedan causing it to buffet and screech its tires a little as its wheels dipped onto the road but otherwise it did nothing.
Peter was an averaged sized man with dark, brown hair and was wearing a dark brown boiler suit. Ray glanced up at him, Ray really wanted to use the proton cannon, they hardly use it and Ray insisted it was his turn while Peter insisted it was his turn. In the end they drew hot dogs and Peter's was the shortest. "Damn!" Ray had complained "The one time I wanted the short one and I didn't get it!"
"Statistically speaking Ray, the chances when you didn't get the short one had to come eventually." Egon said from the backseat of Ecto-1. Egon was a tall, scrawny man with blond hair in a strange twisting style, he spoke in a monotone as he examined a piece of equipment in front of him that was giving him a readout on its screen.
"But did it have to be this time?" Ray complained "Why couldn't it have happened on Ellis Island?"
"You volunteered that time, if I remember." Egon added in his dullish monotone.
"Yeah, well that's not the point!" Ray replied.
"Hey, quiet you two or you can get out and walk!" Winston snapped annoyingly. He did have to focus on the road, the streets of Manhatten were rarely this empty.
"Watch out we don't hit traffic" Ray commented.
"Going at this speed and from the breaking distance of a Cadillac miller meteor with 1.23 tonnes of ghost catching equipment onboard, if we see traffic we will certainly hit it." Egon chipped in.
"Now's not the time to tell me stuff like that Egon!" Winston snapped again turning another sharp bend.
Ray held on as hard as he could. This had all started out as a routine call, a spirit terrorising the streets of New York, what they weren't expecting was to find a ghost and a ghost car tearing up the streets, literally.
"Hey Egon!" Peter shouted down into the car from the cannon. "I know there's a ghost in that car but how come the car also has a ghost?" Ecto-1 hit a bump sending everyone up and down.
"It's a psychic projection." Egon said before going into an explanation "the ghost, when he was alive must've owned a vehicle he grew attached to, to the point where he treated it as if it was alive. I guess he crashed the car and killed himself, in essence the car died with him so his spirit retains the spirit form of the vehicle that was imprinted into the Ghost world."
"Ray?" Peter then called "English translation please."
"He means the car's like a foot print on the beach, the guy stood on his car with his love of it that he left an imprint of it in the spirit world." Ray said "Is that clear enough for you?"
"Better!" Peter called back. "Why can't you explain things like that Egon?"
"Because it's not strictly speaking correct." Egon replied. Everyone except Winston cried in terror as the lengthy hearse turned yet another tight bend and still the Ectomobile stuck to the road like glue.
"Keep going, we've got 'em now!" Peter called down and fired the proton cannon again, and again there was little effect.
The sedan sped past a bunch of pedestrians and smashed through the gates into central park Ecto-1 hot on its trail. Unfortunately Ecto-1 was disadvantaged here because the floating sedan didn't have to cope with soft soil on which Ecto-1 could gain very little traction.
"Peter" Egon called "have you tried turning up the wavelength to match the harmonic frequency of the sedan's metallic structure?"
"You know, for some reason I never thought of it." Peter shouted down sarcastically now having to fight to remain in the seat of the proton cannon. "How do I set it?"
"Never mind!" Egon shouted, opening a hatch to Ecto's roof and adjusted the settings on the cannon himself. "I'll do it."
"Will this make a difference?" Peter asked.
"If we fire at the cars harmonic frequency we might disturb the entities Ecto-electric filed causing fission between it and the vehicle!" Egon explained.
"I'll take that as a yes" Peter said simply.
Ray gripped the dash board as Winston took a sharp turn that nearly sent old Ecto spinning wildly, Ray could not believe they could get away with this stuff these days. "I remember in my collage days we'd get arrested for stuff like this!"
"Ray, half of what we do we'd usually get arrested for, why stop at dangerous driving?" Winston quipped as they sped over another hill, Winston hit the brakes and came to a stop on solid concrete. The Ecto-1 had stopped on a path that went straight ahead. In front of them about a thousand yards ahead was the silver sedan. It's hood had grown two larger pair of sharp looking horns and its round tyres had transformed into long, rubber limbs. It now walked around on these limbs like a bull. It clawed at the ground with its left tyre, or foot or hoof or whatever it was now.
"I get it, you wanna play chicken!" Peter called out to it as the possessed vehicle shot forward and took off heading straight towards them, sharp horns poised to skewer them.
"Whoa!" Winston cried "I don't wanna play no more!" and he shifted Ecto-1 into reverse and sped as fast as he could away from this crazed sedan. Ecto-1 couldn't go in reverse as fast as it went forward and within moments the ghostly sedan would ram them. But Winston turned the wheel and limo length hearse did a one eighty degree turn and the white hearse took off back out of the park through the gates and sped down the road again, an angry bull sedan hot on its trail.
"Hey, can't this cannon turn?" Peter called down to Egon.
"I never anticipated we would be running away from the ghosts." Egon called up.
"Egon, don't you pay attention? That's what we spend half the job doing!" Peter called down.
"I admit I never saw it as a potential design flaw." Egon called up.
"It is now!" Peter called back down.
"Wait, I've got an idea!" Ray cried cheerily, "Winston slow down so it catches us up, but keep a good distance!"
"Yeah, I'm keeping a distance alright, a distance of about 1,000 yards!" Winston called back to Ray who turned to Egon in the back.
"Egon, open the back doors and prepare to throw out all the traps!" Ray called.
"This is a very dangerous risk Ray. If it doesn't work we won't have any traps left to catch it." Egon said, then suddenly Ecto-1 bucked as the sedan smashed into the back of it.
"Winston!" Ray called.
"You said let it come close." Winston called back.
"I didn't mean let it ram us off the road!" Ray called back as Egon undid his seat belt, disappeared into the back of Ecto-1 and gathered up the four black traps, small boxes about the size of a shoebox with two yellow doors with black stripes on them.
Egon waited for the sedan to ram them and back off again. Then the scrawny scientist kicked the back hatch of the car open and let the traps spill out onto the road behind them. He held onto the long cords that attached them to the activation peddles. The traps clattered across the pavement like tin cans tied to a wedding car, it was fortunate Egon and Ray had built these things to be robust because otherwise they'd have been ripped apart by the uneven road. The car bucked, but not because of the sedan. "Damn pot holes!" Winston muttered.
Ray stuck his head out the window and looked back at the sedan. "Just let him get a little closer Winston"
"Guys! You know when you said you feared we'd hit traffic?" Winston said.
"Yeah?" Ray asked.
"Well, we've got traffic!" Winston said, just ahead of them were a bunch of cars stuck at traffic lights, the opposite lane was jammed and there was no way to turn the car around. It was times like this Ray cursed choosing this bus long hearse for their company vehicle. He looked back and the sedan had just moved under the traps.
"NOW!" Ray called and Egon pressed all the activation peddles, all the traps opened at once. Most clattered pointing sideways or upside down rendering them useless, but thankfully one trap was rolling along the ground on its casters and was pointing upright when it opened. A cone of bright light flashed up under the monster sedan and the car actually screamed and tried to jump away from the box, but it was too late for it, it was already caught. It tried lifting its legs to jump but that just caused all four of them to be pulled into the trap more effectively. The car's form twisted and screamed and was crushed down, stretching out of shape and pulled down into the tiny trap, its doors snapped shut trapping the entity inside.
"We've got him!" Ray cheered.
"Yeah, and I'm about to get points on my licence!" Winston called and slammed sharply on Ecto's breaks but the momentum of the car kept it moving. They weren't losing speed fast enough and it looked like at any moment they were going to plough right into traffic, Ray, Egon and Peter clenched for impact. But then the traffic lights turned green and the guys breathed a sigh of relief as Ecto-1 came to a screeching halt with inches to spare, but only because the traffic had started moving again. Had the lights stayed red for 2 more seconds there would've been insurance claims involved.
"Hey" Ray said smiling like a child "Piece of cake, I told you this one would be easy" Ray didn't notice that the guys were looking at him like was crazy.
To be continued...
Authors notes: Nothing really much to say about this new chapter other than it introduces the guys.
I welcome all reviews.