There was total silence. Both Ray and Peter looked at Egon, stunned.
Then, Peter looked at Ray, “Did you know about this?”
Ray shook his head in earnest, and Peter looked back at Egon.
“Well, I can understand you not telling Ray, he’s underage, but why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.
“‘ Same reason I didn’t tell you about Gabriel. I thought you’d ridicule me,”
“Ridicule you? Me?” Peter said, innocently, then clapped a hand on Egon’s shoulder, “I couldn’t be happier for you both! Are you serious?”
“I’m always serious,” Egon said, eyes twinkling.
Ray beamed, “Hell, it’s about time!”
As if his words contained some magic power, a deep rumbling noise erupted. It was as though the Earth had grown a stomach and was having serious hunger pangs. The guys looked out the window just in time to see the sky turn red. It was the red of a million demons, swarming passed the window.
“Was that my fault?” Ray croaked.
“No,” Egon said, grimacing, “It was Gabriel’s,”
Slimer opened his eyes, and was relieved to find he still had eyes.
The relief didn’t last long though, for he was not alone. Standing, motionless, next to him, was a hooded figure, a scythe in one hand.
The robe it wore was not black, but faded grey, and it had ripped edges that wafted, constantly, round its’ owner.
It was the Grim Reaper, and he looked at Slimer, silently.
Slimer gulped, but the Reaper turned his attention to the horizon.
Slimer looked too.
He appeared to be in a desert, but it was a desert with a difference.
Deserts, amazingly, are full of life - insects, scorpions, lizards, snakes - despite the extreme conditions. But this was limbo. Desert for the dead. There was proof of that on the horizon.
The Reaper led Slimer over to them, all one million of them, waiting to greet him. They were the ghosts of Earth, all here for the same reason Slimer was, and none were looking happy about it.
Slimer turned to the Grim Reaper, “Why am I here?” he said, angrily, and clapped a hand over his mouth. Then, very slowly, he removed it again.
“I have a voice? I have a voice in limbo!”
It was a familiar voice too, not just anyone’s. Slimer frowned.
“Why do I sound like Peter Venkman?”
“You cannot design a voice for yourself, so you are borrowing his,” Death replied.
Slimer’s eyes widened in excitement, “So, am I right in thinking, right now, Peter can’t say a word?”
“Not until you return it to him,”
Slimer grinned, mischievously. “Oh, that’s made my day,”
He tried singing for a bit, then cleared his throat as he saw Death staring at him.
“Ahem, like I said, I asked you a question: Why am I here?”
“You are here, Spirit of Mischief, because The Devil has meddled with order,”
“What order?” Slimer asked.
“The ordering of souls. It’s my job to do that,” Death stabbed the tip of his scythe into the sand, “Not his!”
The Reaper swept off his hood and Slimer saw his eye-sockets glowing red.
“Satan may be the ultimate evil, but this time he’s gone too far,” he growled.
“So, you’ll help me get back to Earth?” Slimer asked, craftily.
The Grim Reaper gazed at the million-fold before him, and grinned in a way only he could.
“I will help you all get back to Earth,” he said, tugging the scythe out again, “but it’s up to you and the Ghostbusters how you deal with the demons,”
“That’s ok, Egon can do that,” Slimer said, lazily, “He’s really clever, he’ll think of something,”
“Your loyalty impresses me,” Death said.
“He has a nice fridge,” Slimer shrugged, “Just like Venkman’s,” he added, smirking.
“Fridge’s come with every house in the world,” the Reaper said, unconvinced, “Tell me something ... Why of all places did you pick the Ghostbusters?”
Slimer looked away, embarrassed.
“Because I’m lonely,” he mumbled, “That’s why I eat,”
“All the more reason to get you back to Earth,”
Meanwhile on Earth, the Ghostbusters were leaping into Ecto-1, suited up and bristling with every weapon they had.
Janine ran straight into Egon’s arms, looking terrified. “Egon, what’s happening? Is it the end of the world again?”
“Get in, I’ll explain along the way,”
“Get in? Why?”
“Because the building isn’t demon-proof,” he took her face in his hands, “and I need you with me,”
Soon, they were zipping along in Ecto-1. Peter was at the wheel, Ray in the seat next to him, Egon and Janine in the back.
Peter tried to say something to Ray ... and freaked out as he found his voice gone.
No one noticed, however, as demons were dive-bombing the car, snarling and growling. The ones that attacked bounced off Ecto-1’s protective shield. So, the spook-proof shield was demon-proof too! Any other time, Egon would have smiled with pride, but not today. He put an arm round Janine, and felt a lump in his throat.
He then told her everything.
“ ... and The Devil’s going to kidnap you,”
Janine looked like she was going to explode, “That bastard! This is so typical!”
She kicked the car’s insides in time to her words, “We - finally - get – together, and this just has go and happen!”
Egon watched her, amazed.
Janine folded her arms, tightly, “Well if he’s gonna give me a hard time, you just wait see what I’m gonna give him!”
“I love you,” Egon said.
Janine’s face crumpled and she hugged him.
Outside, crowds were running and screaming in panic. Demons pounced upon them, lifting some in the air, devouring others on sight.
They smashed through windows, fell lamp-posts, and turned cars over, wrecking everything in their path.
Egon, Ray, and Janine were firing proton wands like crazy out Ecto-1’s windows, but it was ludicrous. They stood no chance against such numbers.
“What do we do?” Ray shouted to Egon as demons blasted off the windscreen.
“I don’t know!” Egon yelled back.
The car bumped as they drove over one of the monsters.
Peter bellowed, mutely, from behind the wheel, red-faced with frustration.
“Save your breath,” Ray told him, “Egon, think of something, please!”
Egon shook his head, over and over, “We need help!”
As if in answer to his prayer, there came a flash of blinding white from outside.
The Ghostbusters looked out the windows, and saw a sight that made their hearts lift. There they were, on the horizon, in never-ending rows of glowing colours.
A small, green one stood in their lead, and its’ eyes burned yellow.
“Respect the dead,” it muttered.
In two, rolling waves of gnashing teeth and blazing eyes, the demons and the ghosts charged each other. The noise that followed when they crashed could be compared with a couple million wild predators.
From inside Ecto-1, Peter decided now was a good time to sort out his voice problem. He slammed on the brakes, bringing Ecto-1 to a halt.
“Peter, what the Hell are you doing?” Janine shouted.
Peter had gotten out, he threw open Ray’s door and dragged him out the car, pointing at his throat and shouting, wordlessly.
Ray slapped him round the head, “I don’t give a damn what’s happened to your voice! Now you know how Slimer feels when you don’t listen to him! Maybe if you’d put up more of a fight for him, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”
Peter’s face fell and his arms dropped to his sides.
Janine appeared from nowhere, and yanked them apart, “This no time for petty argument!” she shouted.
“She’s right,” Egon told them, coming over, “Come on, guys, we’re a team!”
But Peter had reached the end of his tether, and strode off, heading for an abandoned taxi.
Ray chased after him and wrenched him round, “Where do you think you’re going!” Peter looked him in the eye and pointed at his wedding ring.
Ray understood, and did nothing to stop him this time. Peter got into the taxi, roared the engine, and shot off.
“This is a bad time to split up,” Ray said.
Something big and round swooped from out of the sky. Ray looked up, just in time, to see a green cannon ball smack into his chest, and hug him.
He was floored, flat on his back, goggling at the ghost on his chest.
“Boo!” Slimer shouted at him. Ray stared in amazement as Slimer laughed in his face with Peter’s vocal chords.
“Slimer, you can talk!” he gasped, “And you’ve got Peter’s voice! But how?”
Egon and Janine ran over to Ray and Slimer. “Slimer, can you help us?”
“That’s why I’m back, Egon,” Slimer said, releasing Ray, “Just tell me what to do,”
Egon thought hard.
“There must be something more we can do with the ghosts,” he said after a few seconds, “they match the demons one to one,”
Janine spoke up.
“Can you and the other ghosts possess the demons?” she asked Slimer.
Egon looked at her, impressed.
“Fun idea,” Slimer smirked, “but no. We’re not strong enough,”
Egon thought some more. Then, the sun flashed off his glasses, and he gave Janine a look of triumph, “They’re not strong enough yet,” he said, kissing her, “Janine, you’re a genius!”
She grinned, “I know!”
Egon lifted his proton wand towards Slimer, saying, “You can’t possess demons, but have you ever tried possessing protons?”
“Are you kidding?” Slimer said, nervously, “That stuff tires me out!”
“It tires you when it’s on your outsides, but it’s energy, Slimer, and so are you! Inside, it’ll double your strength, maybe more. So, how about it?”
Slimer looked apprehensive. Then the old cunning crept into his eyes.
“If I do this for you,” he said, “I want my own fridge-freezer,”
“It’s a deal,” Egon smiled.
He blasted a stream of protons into the air, and Slimer dove straight at it.
He braced himself for impact ... It didn’t come. Instead, what came was an extraordinary feeling of invincibility, and a pretty after-effect.
Slimer was now Magma, for he glowed orange-yellow all over, fully-charged with proton energy. He gave them the thumbs up and rocketed off like a meteorite, heading straight for the cloud of demons. They exploded on impact, and Slimer zipped round them like a crazed pin-ball, touching the other ghosts and charging them with the same energy. They copied him, spreading the protons like a virus until the sky burned with magma-like bodies.
The Ghostbusters cheered as demons rained from the sky in clouds of ash.
Egon marvelled at his own plan, it was better than his one about crossing the streams.
Janine threw her arms round him. He held her tight, glad that it was all over.
She drew back to kiss him, but that was when it all went wrong.
Something wrenched her from his arms at shocking speed.
She landed flat on her front, on the ground, but her unseen attacker didn’t stop there. Egon almost reached her when she was on the move again.
Janine screamed and struggled as the invisible force dragged her, fast, along the ground. It was like her feet were tied to the back of an invisible car.
Egon chased after her, the proton pack slowing him down, Ray in hot pursuit.
Ahead of Janine, the middle of the road burst open, forming a black pit that opened, wider and wider, like a mouth.
He lunged for her as she was tipped over the edge, missing her outstretched hands by inches. He landed, half-in, half out of the hole, watching, as she fell away into the black mouth of Hell, white-faced with terror.