Egon hung there, thunderstruck, the colour draining from his face.
“Janine!” he gasped. Ray reached him, and grabbed his shoulders, trying to pull him back. Egon pushed him off at once.
“I’ve got to go down there!”
“Don’t be mental!” Ray tried to hold Egon back, and Egon tried to fight him off, but Ray hung on this time.
“I can’t just leave her down there!” Egon fumed.
“You can’t just leave me up here!” Ray shouted, red-faced. “Lucifer’s coming! Venkman’s gone! Now you want to go kill yourself?!”
Ray hugged Egon tightly, almost crying. Egon hugged him back and looked skyward, for hope, for any sign of his guardian angel. She said she’d be with him, didn’t she?
“Have a little faith, Ray,”
“What?” Ray asked, drawing back again.
“Gabriel believes in me. She won’t let me dive into the jaws of death unprotected, she’ll follow me into Hell as I will after Janine. She’ll protect you too, and Venkman. You’ll be alright,”
Ray swallowed, and drew himself up to his full height, “I’m ready to believe you,” he said, bravely.
“Listen Ray, I need your help if me and Janine are going to make it back. Round up the ghosts, they’re still charged with protons and they’ve just beaten demons. They can still be of help. And call Venkman, we’ll need him too,”
Ray nodded, but still looked anxious.
“Rounding up a million ghosts is going to take some time,”
“Then I suggest you get started, ‘cause I’m going in,”
“Egon-” Ray started, but right then, Egon leapt straight into the mouth of Hell.
He looked up to see Ray’s face, framed in a circle of white, shrinking fast.
Egon fell down ... down ... down ... Craggy rock jutted out at him on either side, but he didn’t hit anything along the way. He guessed that something – or someone – was guiding his fall. A scarlet glow appeared beneath him, getting steadily brighter, and it grew hotter the further he fell towards it.
The light and heat grew until it was unmistakable. There was some tremendous boiling, burning, and melting going on down there, as though he were headed straight for a glass-blower’s oven. Vapour drifted past him, and Egon felt sweat trickle down his face and back.
He landed softly, on both feet, and gaped.
In front of him there towered two, jet-black, wrought-iron gates gaping wide to permit him. Egon mopped his forehead in the intolerable heat, but even now, he knew something wasn’t quite right. This was Hell, and he was mortal. Shouldn’t he be suffering far worse than this? He felt like he was being led into a false sense of security.
Then, Egon did the bravest thing he would ever do in his life: He stepped inside the gates of Hell. No mortal had ever set foot here before and, he prayed, no mortal ever would again.
He gripped his proton wand very tightly, and wondered how much protection it would give him here. Egon kept walking until he reached a high ledge, overlooking a massive, scarlet cave ringed with a flaming river of molten lava.
The cave was swarming with demons, and in the very centre, stood The Devil himself, no longer in human form, but in all his scarlet glory. He stood, with sinewy arms folded, but he hadn’t seen Egon. Lucifer was watching something to Egon’s left, and Egon noticed that all the other demons were looking that way too, and chattering, excitedly.
Egon wished that Ray was with him, just to hear an enthusiastic ‘Wow, that’s great!’, or that Peter was here so he could make a dry joke and relax the knot in his stomach. Any kind of comfort would be really nice, right about now ...
And that’s when something caught his eye, something very apart from the blood-red surroundings and the river of orange.
A blue sphere of light - or was that positive energy? – flickered to one side of the cave. It was what everyone was looking at, and Egon looked too.
Janine! He gaped as he saw that she was actually fending the demons off somehow, for each time one lunged at her, it was repelled by the spherical force-field. Each demon that was fended off writhed on the ground, and shrieked in unmistakable agony. Janine was stood in the centre of the flickering blue sphere, one hand raised in front of her, like she was holding something.
Egon skidded down the rocky slope and sprinted straight for her, blasting demons out of the way with fleeting bursts from the proton wand.
That was when Lucifer’s eyes fell on him, and from the way he was smiling, he had long known that Egon was there.
Lucifer didn’t move, he just followed Egon with his eyes.
He waited until he had almost reached Janine’s side before whipping his trident out of the air beside him and pointing it at Egon.
Egon felt as though he had just received a massive electric shock, and he crumpled to the ground convulsing, violently.
“EGON!” Janine screamed.
The demons laughed in their horrible voices.
“I’ve been looking forward to this,” The Devil rumbled.
Egon’s vision cleared, and as Janine bent over him, he saw what she had in her hand: Gabriel’s essence!
The Devil fired again – Janine sheltered Egon – but she didn’t need to. The sphere enveloped them both now, and reflected The Devil’s attack.
The demons snarled, frustrated, but The Devil chuckled.
Egon forced himself to his feel, helped up by Janine. Instinctively, Egon pointed his proton wand the demons. They were still attacking their protective shield.
“Patience, my minions,” The Devil purred, as they protested, “angel essence has very limited time here. Before long, it’s power will wear thin, and the secretary only has a very small amount of it,”
He wasn’t wrong. Already the sphere of light was beginning to lose its strength, its light just starting to fade. The demons grinned, and prowled like wild dogs, searching for a weak spot.
The Devil laughed again, “What do you do now, Egon Spengler? It looks like you’re not as clever as Gabriel thought. You let your heart lead you into Hell when your head told you otherwise,”
“That’s not true!” Egon yelled, “My head agreed wholeheartedly, and I’d rather die before leaving Janine alone to suffer,”
“Is that a promise?” one of the demons sneered, cackling as one of it’s claws ripped through the sphere.
“You’ve got guts,” Satan said, approvingly, “but that is not enough to save you. Proton wands are no match for me,”
“What about a million positively charged ghosts?” Egon shouted.
There came a tremendous buzzing noise from the mouth of the cave. For a moment, it looked like a swarm of giant bees had just poured in, but it wasn’t bees, it was the ghosts, for their bodies still glowed yellow.
They boiled over the cave floor, aiming for Lucifer. They completely enveloped The Devil who bellowed and snarled as he suffered unspeakable pain, trying to fight them off.
Egon and Janine broke into a run, and the sphere died around them. They ran, flat-out, towards the cave’s entrance, but there was no way they could outpace the slathering demons.
“Help!” they yelled.
One of the ghosts detached itself from the seething masses, and swooped down between them. It grabbed both their hands, easily lifting them clean off the ground.
Egon stared at him, overjoyed by who it was.
“Thank you for choosing Slimer Airways, please enjoy the truly awesome flight!” Slimer grinned.
He carried them both out of the cave and set them down outside the giant, black gates.
“What’s he doing? We have to get out of here!” Janine cried.
“We have to close the gates,” Egon explained, aiming his proton wand, “or they’ll all get back out again. Slimer, give me a boost,”
“Cross the streams!” Slimer cried.
Egon fired and Slimer plunged his hands into the tractor beam, using it to channel his own positively-charged energy. The effect was tremendous, tripling the strength of the power. The beam struck one of the gates, slowly forcing it shut with an almighty groan.
Egon and Slimer began firing at the other gate, but Janine grabbed Egon’s arm.
“Wait! What about the other ghosts? How are they going to get out?”
Egon and Slimer looked at each other, but the answer to that was simple: The terrific groaning noise caused by the gates had got the ghosts’ attention, and they were already pouring back out the way they had come. Their positive energy was slowly running out and so, to Egon’s horror, was Slimer’s.
“Come on!” Egon said, imploringly, to him, “Not much further!”
The gate was almost shut, but Slimer was tiring.
The Devil’s arm appeared over the cave’s edge, claws digging deep into the ground.
“Egon, hurry!” Janine yelled.
Slimer was exhausted, the last of his energy spent, and with nothing but his own negative energy left, he was blasted away from the tractor beam. The Devil crawled towards them, weakened but deadly.
His blazing eyes were fixed on Egon and Janine.
The gate had an inch to go, but Egon’s wand alone was not enough to move it.
Suddenly, there were two thuds either side of him, and they were made by two men in Ghostbusters attire.
“Hi, Egon,” said Ray, “you didn’t think we’d let you get all fun, did you?”
Their proton wands blazed as they crossed the streams, the gate closed with a noise like a giant gong, and Satan was flung backwards from sight with a long, echoing roar.
The Next Day
The day the Ghostbusters beat The Devil was one, Egon was certain, no one would ever forget. But Gabriel had made it a day no one, except the Ghostbusters, Janine, and Slimer, would ever remember. She altered everyone’s memories of that day to make them forget, and Egon suspected she did it to cover explanations of how the demons’ victims came back to life.
But the real reason was made clear when she visited him in his lab, one last time.
He had been inspecting his mould collection when she arrived.
“I’m sorry,” were the first words she said.
“Gabriel!” Egon cried, picking up her essence and coming over.
He stopped, abruptly, and gazed at her. She looked saddened.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I was selfish, Egon,” she said, eyes downcast, “I bargained with Lucifer because, I wanted something for you that you didn’t. I wanted a better world, a world without fear of what goes bump in the night. Now I know that you need those bumps,”
Egon shrugged and smiled, “Bustin’ makes me feel good,” he joked.
But Gabriel didn’t laugh. She still looked guilty.
“It’s alright, I understand,” he told her, “You’re an angel, it’s in your nature to do good,”
Gabriel looked a little happier, glad that Egon wasn’t angry with her.
“There’s something I need to know,” Egon said, “Will you tell me?”
“Yes, of course,”
“What happened to the other ghosts, the ones who helped us? Where did they go?”
Gabriel smiled. In answer, she raised a hand, and pointed upwards.
Egon sighed with relief, “That is really good news,”
Gabriel leant forward and kissed his forehead. Then she took back her essence from his hand and stepped backwards.
“Well done, Egon Spengler, and thank you for what you’ve done. Enjoy life,”
The room filled with golden light, and she was gone for the last time.
Egon wasn’t sure if he felt happy or sad about her going, but it didn’t matter too much. He had helped innocent souls into Heaven, and saved Earth from Hell. That was pretty damn good enough, wasn’t it?
All of a sudden, the door burst open. Peter came into the room, raising both fists in the air, “I’ve got my voice back!” he cheered, “I missed me so much! But enough about me, how is Dr. “World Saving” Spengler?”
He clasped Egon in a tight hug.
“I’m suffocating thanks, Peter,” Egon gasped, turning blue. Peter let him go.
Next second, he, Peter and Ray wandered the building together.
“So what happens next?” Ray asked, wonderingly, “Gabriel’s got rid of all the ghosts. What do we do?”
“Well,” Egon said, thoughtfully, “There’s a highly likely chance that the ghosts locked in Hell will slowly leak back out in time, so we definitely won’t go out of business,”
“That would be Gabriel’s doing again,” Peter guessed.
“I predict a 95% chance that that will be her work, yes,” Egon said.
“See, he’s got all the ladies running after him now, Ray,” Peter teased, just as Janine passed them. She kissed Egon’s cheek along the way.
“Easy, Tiger!” Peter called after her, “Good God things have changed round here!”
“I know! Do you think we’ll take on any new recruits in future?” Ray asked.
“I predict a 0% chance of that,” Egon said, putting his arms round the other two, “This is a seriously weird business,”