The Ghostbusters franchise in Southern California are about to have their first major case when one of their own disappears without a trace..
Except for his clothes
“I’m feeling the spirits now!” Gwendolyn said, in her best dreamy voice. “They are calling to us to look into the basement! They YEARN to be free of their unearthly bonds!" she said, hugging herself. Thomas Cantone, the lead investigator nodded, and looked into the camera that was being operated by Carlos Remirez. "We are going to make a run down into the basement then. I’ve never seen this much of a reaction from Gwyn, so it must be pretty a strong essence." and began moving down the hallway, towards the main stair case. Carlos rolled his eyes, and followed. He hadn’t seen this much of a reaction since last week, he thought. How had he gotten here, he pondered as they descended down the stairs, Gwyn nearly floating as she quick stepped. Their "psychic" was an actress, and not a particularly good one, but he had to admit, was a fair dancer. This was evident as she glided across the foyer into the kitchen area, spouting such nonsense as "They are pulling me!" and "They Need my Inner Light." Cantone, an actor as well with a few more brain cells than Gwyn, was hurrying behind his partner, holding out what looked like a PKE Meter, the small Rods on the side moving slightly as it picked up small variances in spectromagnetic fluxes..
From wall sockets, and the small wall sconces..
The PKE Meter was a dressed up EMF Detector, taken to look like a piece of equipment used by Ghostbusters. Ever since the PKE Surge some twenty years ago, Ectoplasmic entities have become a very real part of life. Some people have even allowed them to remain in their homes, after a short period of intervention from groups like TAPS and NAGS, and after coming to grips with having some disembodied spirit wandering around their house or business. There were some cases, however, that the spirit was dangerous to the occupants, in which Ghostbusters was called to remove the spirit.
However, If there were ghosts in the McCarthy mansion, it wouldn’t be these two yahoo's who would find them. neither of them had a clue about the paranormal, nor even about the vaguely abnormal. He shook his head again, as they began moving down into the basement. "CUT" Cantone said, stopping for a second. "Why don’t you get down the stairs, and get a shot of us approaching the bottom."
Carlos raised an eyebrow. "Don’t you think people are going to realize that your completely unedited footage is edited?"
"Its not edited, your turning it off, and running down the stairs and turning it back on." Cantone smiled back, showing brilliant white teeth. Carlos smirked "That’s editing." and started down the stairs. Gwyn crossed her arms. "Let’s hurry this up, ok.. this place is really giving me the creeps." Cantone, still smiling, said "That’s because all the lights are out. It’s a lot nicer with them on." Gwyn looked down the stairs. "The background of this place is spooky too. I mean, c’mon.. Didn’t that actor kill his entire family and eat them, or something?"
Cantone shook his head. "No, no bodies where ever found, and Matthew McCarthy went to the Asylum in Pasadena, went completely mad." as he felt the slight vibrations in his shirt pocket. Pulling out the Phone, he stepped away from the basement. "Hello? Were shooting!" he said, terse. Gwyn leaned on the wall, and pulled out a cigarette and her lighter. Sparking up the coffin nail, she took a deep drag, and blew the smoke into the cool stale air. She wanted a drink, and as soon as they finished with the shoot, they’d head to the bar on Sunset that they usually ended up at. Gwyn still had two DUI’s before they took her license away, and she planned on getting plastered. If she was lucky, she’d get on some film as well, either going in or coming out. Taking another drag, she held it in a moment before letting it out.
The face that stared back at her startled her. It was a womans, and looked like it was screaming at her, formed from the smoke. Gwyn did what any self respecting B Actress slash Waitress did it the City of Angels. She Screamed, and leapt back, her ballet slipper getting bunched up with her long flow dress, and tumbled down the stairs..
Her ankle hurt, and she felt like she pulled a muscle in her back. Gwyn sat up, wincing as she did so as Carlos moved over to her. “Jeez, are you ok?” he asked, grabbing her under her arms and carefully helped her up. “I just fell down the stairs, what do you think?” she spat, and looked around the basement. “What were you doing down here that took you so long?” Carlos allowed her to put her weight on his shoulders as he pointed towards the far wall. “I was taking some reference shots. What happened to you?”
“I think I saw a ghost.” She said, now shaken. “I was having a smoke, and in it there was a woman’s face, like she was screaming at me.” Gwen related. “It scared the crap out of me.” Carlos nodded. “Yeah, I can see how that could be scary..” and let her stand on her own weight, to which she yelped. “And you need to get out of here. You at least sprained you ankle.” He put the camera down, and picked her up. He was surprised how heavy she was, as she was a fairly small woman. “Ill get you to the camera van, there’s a first aid kit there, with some Ace’s. Well get you wrapped and take you to Keiser.” As he was heading up the stairs, he looked at her. “You are on the Screen Guilds insurance, right?”
Gwen rolled her eyes, “Sure I am.”
At the top of the stairs, he moved her through the Mansion towards the Foyer as both of them heard giggling. Children’s giggling, and they could hear small footfalls running around them. They both looked at each other, and doubled their speed towards the front door. As they approached, they could see Thomas pulling on the huge double doors. “Their stuck..” and looked back..
Lucy Anderson, Paranormal investigator and consultant, was sitting in the Camera van, waiting for this ridiculous charade to end when she heard the scream. Knowing the people she was associated with, she knew that it was real, as none of them could gather that kind of acting prowess. She leapt out of the van, and rushed to the Mansion Double doors. She could hear banging from the opposite side, and high pitched screaming of who she knew to be Thomas. Carlos’s deeper voice could be heard yelling “Let us Out! Let us OUT!” Lucy shouldered the door repeatedly until it finally blew open, and the two actors and the cameraman tumbled out. All three were wild eyed as they scrambled away from the front of the McCarthy Mansion. “What the hell happened?”
Thomas just pointed at the mansion, as Carlos just looked shocked. “It was rushing towards us, from the top of the stairs. Black shape, it was even blacker that the unlit areas, It was like a shadow, a really REALLY dark shadow..”
Lucy nodded. “Was it moving on its own?” she asked.
Gwen nodded. “Hell yeah, it was moving on its own. It had a face too. A really scary face.” She said between hyperventilating breaths. “I quit! I’m going to take that job doing Conventions.”
Lucy shook her head. “Where’s your camera, Carlos. Did you get a shot of it?” The Camera man shook his head. “No, I left it in the basement when Gwen fell down the stairs.” He said. “They can have it.” Thomas, suddenly shocked out of his panic, looked at the Cameraman. “Like Hell. That camera is a rental, and I don’t have twenty large to pay for it.” Or rather didn’t want to spend twenty thousand for it. Lucy stood, and marched to the van. Rummaging through her bag, she pulled out the headlamp and camera combo, a radio and a real PKE Meter, and walked past the three fake investigators and into the Mansion.
She could tell instantly that something in the air was wrong. It was cold, much colder than it should be. The Barometric pressure inside resulted in her ears to fill, and pop repeatedly and the small blond hairs on her neck stood on end. A lot of static electricity. Lucy switched on the refurbished PKE Meter, and began studying the variances and fluxuations. The small arms went vertically almost instantly, which indicated that this Mansion was Hot. Very hot. Carlos had said that the Camera was in the basement. When she did the first walk through, when they arrived here at sun down, she did a sweep of the place, which had minute indications of spectral activity, at the time thinking that it was a Class I repeater, a form of psychic recording, sort of a memory of psychic energy. Now, the house seemed much more active, and maybe even a full blown Class IV may be living here. The History of the place warranted it. Mathew McCarthy moved into this Mansion with his wife Cassandra and their three children some eleven years ago. McCarthy was a successful screen actor, not a leading man, but remarkable enough to get A list jobs, and Cassandra was known as Vampira, Lady of Darkness on the late night movie channel. According to accounts. The Mansion was known formally as the Eastbanks Estate, owned by the 1930s adventure film icon Miles Eastbanks who was reputed to have been found dead at the base of the stairs, his neck broken. It had been built in 1890 by Ralph Bordon, owner of Bordon Publishing. This Mansion had something along the lines of twelve bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a bunch of other spaces that she couldn’t even fathom.
McCarthy was now a resident of the Sunny Days Asylum for the Criminally disturbed after he reportedly killed his Cassandra and his children Fey, Ray and May. He was found running down the road naked, screaming that the house ate his family. The cops found their clothing laying out like they had been in them, but no bodies, with even undergarments in place. Oddly enough, there was little or no information on Eastbanks, or Bordon’s accounts of the Mansion.
Lucy arrived at the doorway to the basement, and taking a deep breath, ascended the stairs. Careful to not slip, she stepped off of the last step, and the PKE Meter pegged. Following the highest surge, she moved through the basement, panning around with the headlamp. Along one wall was a façade of an old castle, with a lounging sofa in the middle. Mounts for Cameras and sound equipment was in front of the facade, as was a couple of director chairs which she could still make out the words Vampira and Joel. This must have been where she filmed the intro’s for the late night Horror film show for Cable Movie Classics. Carlos’s camera was laying close to the set, and picking it up, she turned to go back up the stairs.
But there was still something here..
This was stupid, her going into this place alone. The First rule of Parapsychology and Paranormal investigation. Never go alone.
Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out her cell, and dialed..
Jason Willis pulled the white Prius behind the van, and turned off the motor. His heart was beating fast as he stepped out of the ergonomic interior and into the cool night air in front of the McCarthy Mansion. He closed the door, the Ghostbusters No Ghost symbol emblazoned on the metal as he moved to the trunk, where the license plate read ECTO 4, and opened it. Inside was the small mount where a single Proton Pack set, its Cyclotron set at idle speed as he unlocked it from it Static Free mount, and hefted the forty plus pound pack onto his back, and securing the ALICE straps. Reaching into the small box on the side of the trunk, he pulled out a single pair of Ecto goggles and placed them onto his head. Making sure his NOMEX overalls were all smoothed out, he adjusted his utility belt, ensuring that his Lifegard II Pass Alarm Emergency Transponder was operating properly, and transmitting to the Office. A little over thirty minutes ago, he had gotten the call from Lucy that she needed help at the McCarthy Mansion, and he had quickly assembled his gear, and headed over.
They had gone to UCLA together, and had dated almost exclusively while they were taking Prof. Whites class on Paranormal Studies and Cryptozoology. Once out of college with their bachelors, however, they took completely different paths. They began taking jobs as a Paranormal Consultant on reality TV shows, movies and Web casts of haunted places, which at first was really interesting, and occasionally, they would find something. However, ghosts don’t run on schedule, and are many times shy to cameras. The Studios began asking them to fake findings, to make it more interesting to the viewers. Well, Jason wasn’t about to start faking such things, and Lucy didn’t seem to have a problem with it. It was around this time that he applied to Ghostbusters, and took the job when they offered it. That was the end of their relationship for the most part. Lucy felt he had left her adrift, and refused to return his calls. That was three months ago..
It caught him by surprise when she called. He had been at the Office, that had once been a Fire Station, closed due to budget cuts and made available to Ghostbusters Corporate as a possible site for the franchise. Fire Houses tended to have superior electrical conduits, better than average construction, and an uninterrupted power supply. All things needed for the Containment Grid. The State required that the Containment Grid be monitored at all times by at least one member of Ghostbusters, and remotely by the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Norris was watching the grid this evening, who seemed to be absorbed working on some new piece of equipment that they would strap on his back, and would hopefully wouldn’t explode, or make him impotent.
Now, in hindsight, he just hoped he didn’t get fired.
He secured the Nutrona wand on its dove tail mount, and moved towards the three civilians that were huddled around the front entrance. The two men stood up, and stared at him. The woman looked up, her ankle wrapped in a heavy Ace bandage. “Where’s Lucy at.” Jason said simply. “I got a call from her a little while ago.”
The Latino man stepped forward first. “She’s still inside. We got a call from her over the radio a couple of minutes ago.” Holding out his hand, he introduced himself. “I’m Carlos Remirez, by the way. This is Thomas, and that’s Gwen,” he said, motioning towards the other two. “There’s some crazy stuff happening in there, Willis.” He said, reading his name tag, and handed him another radio. “It’s already on the right frequency.” Jason nodded, and tucking it into the empty radio holder, began walking up the stairs. “Where was her last location?” Carlos pointed to the right. “She’s in the basement, to the right of the stairs.” Nodding, Jason Willis entered the building, and flipping on the Ecto Goggles began to look around. The goggles HUD showed high levels of PKE, with spikes that seemed to peg the meter. Pulling the radio out, he spoke into the mic. “Lucy, where are you.”
<<<Jason? I’m in the Basement. You wouldn’t believe the readings I’m getting down here.>>>
Jason nodded, and began moving towards her location, panning around with the Ecto Goggles. On the hardwood floor was small footprints, probably those of a child, or multiple children imprinted as if they had ran through a puddle of ectoplasm. He could hear the giggling as well, as if they were in the foyer. Reaching back behind him, he pulled out his own PKE Meter, which had a higher range than his Ecto Goggles. The arms moved as he swept them around as he continued down towards the area where the people outside said the basement was. Past the grand staircase and he entered the kitchen. It was large, easily able to accommodate whatever dinner party the houses owners would have. There was residual smells of cooking meat, and vegitables sautéing, which actually made his stomach growl. He had missed dinner, he had realized.
There was a heavy thunk behind him, and whipping around,he saw behind the cutting board was a large man, very heavy set with a chef’s hat and smock. The ghosts face had become a distorted, almost a characture of human features. He was cutting something on the preparation board, into small pieces. Jason focused the goggles on the board, and was sorry for it. He was cutting his own fingers into smaller pieces. He lifted the goggles, and saw no one there. Putting the goggle back over his eyes, the chef was still there, humming happily as he began working on his pinky. “Class III full torso..” and turned back towards the basement. There was another Thunk, this time closer as he looked..
The Chef’s knife was imbedded into the wall, next to him.
The Chef was staring at him, a rather perturbed look on his face. Jason backed out of the Kitchen..
Moments later, he found the Basement entrance, and went down the stairs. Lucy was sitting in the middle of the space, the PKE Meter sitting in her lap, and her head lamp showing that it was losing power. “Lucy, are you alright?” he said, pulling up the goggles..
She hadnt changed much in three months. She was still blond, bobbed in a page boy cut which framed her face. She was still gorgeous, at least to him in any case. She explained to him that she was a “California Six” which would make her a nine or ten anywhere else in the country. Lucy whipped around, and stood up. She threw her arms around him. “Thank goodness you’re here. Theres a lot of activity in this place.” He nodded. “Yeah, I know.” Remembering the chef. “Lets get out of here..”
“No, wait. I think McCarthy’s wife is here..” She said, holding onto his arm. “I keep seeing some shapes around the couch..” she said, motioning towards the studio set. He shook his head. “This place isn’t safe. We need to get out of here..” and began leading her towards the stairs. She shrugged him off. “I’m telling you she’s in here. She’s at least a Class IV, so she should be able to communicate.” Jason shook his head, and looked at her, but could see that her jaw was set, and her arms crossed across her small chest meant that she wasn’t budging. “Fine.” He finally said, and pulled his ecto goggles back into place.
The wall were covered with slime, which showed high purple in the spectrum. The couch was covered with Ectoplasmic residue as well. On the couch was a woman, wearing what looked like a Vampire costume, open to the navel and showing amazing amounts of cleavage. She was completely human looking. The specter looked up to him, and mouthed something..
Jason grabbed Lucy’s hand, and turned towards the stairs and ran smack dab into a impassable force, pushing him back away from the stairs. He looked at it in the Ecto Goggles, and it showed as a pure mass of ectoplasm, covered in glyphs and symbols. It had a darker mouth, which was agape in pure rage. He pulled his Nutrona wand from its mount, and released a short blast at the entity, weakening it, and pushing it back away from the stairs. Jason took her hand again, and sprinted up the stairs and into the kitchen. The Chef was waiting for them, and began throwing cutlery at them, causing them to back pedal towards the basement entrance again. Lucy screeched as she saw the Dark shape coming up the stairs from the basement. He threw another proton stream down the basement, and yelled. “Get us out of here!”
Lucy grabbed his hand, and led him towards the ball room. “This leads to the Foyer!” and burst into large space through the kitchen access. It was filled with ghosts, dancing and whirling about, most of them transparent from the waist down and like the Chef, a characture of their former human selves. “Run, don’t stop!” Jason said. As he looked behind them. The shadow was behind them, his large mouth agape and gaining. “RUN!”
Jason and Lucy moved through the crowd of ghosts, who didn’t seem interested in them in the least. They got to the ball room doors, which was underneath the top landing of the double staircases and the foyer. It would be a straight shot out. Once outside, he could call the rest of the Ghostbusters, and they could clean out this place.
There was a sudden bright light in front of them, and it was too late to stop…
They ran through it….
Carlos Remirez stood by the opened double doors as he heard the thuds, and what sounded like something heavy hitting the hardwood floors in the foyer. He lifted the light, and flashed it towards the sound.
Two sets of clothing were there. One was what Lucy was wearing, the faded jeans and plain white blouse. The other sent was the Khaki jumpsuit with the NO GHOST symbol on the shoulder, and still on the shoulders was the Proton Pack as if it was being worn by the empty clothing. The utility belt around the waist was likewise still emplaced, as one of the devices on his belt began to blink, and then let off a steady high pitched sound. Carlos recognized it as a Lifegard II Pass Alarm Emergency Transponder, worn by fire fighters in case their trapped and can’t get out..
He also knew that the Transponder was transmitting back to their offices…