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Bloodlines #2 October 16, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Shadows moved through the darkened hallway without any light source to cast them. Virgil let his senses brush through the house, and a chill that had nothing to do with the cold air outside sent needles of fear running down his spine. Something in here was pissed, and he had just gotten its undivided attention. The truly unsettling part was that Lares didn’t seem to notice anything amiss. She was one of top mediums working for the Tactical Paranormal Response Unit; she should have sensed the wave of rage rolling through the halls. But there she was, chatting with her cousin Linda as if nothing had happened.

The lights clicked back on and Lares took one of the smaller bags from him. “This way. We used to have sleepovers in this room with our friends from down the hill. There’s a private bathroom, and a side porch if you need to go out for a smoke.” She said that last part with a frown. Lares did not approve of his habit. He didn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thought about it. It kept his nerves calm when things got weird, which, in their line of work, was pretty much every day.

The room looked like it had once been an office – a roll-top desk sat to one side, and a wire for a phone hung out of the wall next to it. An ancient, dust covered dot-matrix printer sat on the floor, and a pile of old bills and paperwork were stacked on top. There was no sign of a network cable, and a quick check of his cell phone told Virgil there was no wifi within range. Virgil sighed inwardly. So much for contacting one of his pals in HQ to whip up a program to contain the ghost.  He hadn’t thought to pack a portable spirit jar, and he’d never gotten the knack of working directly with entities. That was Lares’ job, and she was too upset right now to even try it.He’d just have put up with the poltergeist till morning when he could drive into town and borrow some bandwidth.

Fortunately he still had one of the company’s special chips in his cell phone. The Agency had brought the art of dealing with spirits into the high tech era – the electrical impulses that once ran through the body could now live inside of machines. Once he downloaded the right snippet of code he could simply lure the ghost inside it and keep the specter busy chasing algorithms for awhile. He’d have to recharge it every few hours, but that was better than the alternative.

The ghost, however, was not content to wait till morning to introduce itself. As Virgil tossed their bags onto a small daybed that sat against the far wall, a feeling of rage started seeping into the room. It circled around the edges, probing and shuffling along as if it were a blind creature hunting by sense of smell.  Virgil strengthened the shields on his empathic sense, but the feeling would not go away.

“You know, I think I’ll take you up on that offer to have a smoke,” he said to Lares, suddenly desperate for a breath of air.  He swung out onto the porch, lighting up one of his unfiltered Lucky Strikes before the door shut behind him. The sensation of being stalked pooled around the door jamb and started crawling out. Virgil moved further down the porch.

It wasn’t until his teeth started to chatter that he shook off his unease. “What the hell are you doing freezing your cojones off out here?” he said to himself. “It’s a haunted house, dumbass. Feelings of dread, a sudden urge to leave?  It’s a textbook haunting and you’re letting it push you around.”

Virgil lit up a second cigarette off the butt of the first and collected his thoughts. First step was to talk to the ghost, set the ground rules. He blew out a cloud of nicotine and squared his shoulders. “All right great-granny, grandpa or whoever the hell you are. I get it. You don’t want me messing with your relatives. But Lares asked me to give her auntie a peaceful wake, and I intend to make that happen. I’m not going to hurt anyone, but I am going to make them behave. Are you cool with that?”

The house made an ominous settling noise, almost like a growl.

Virgil blew some more smoke at it. “Grumble all you like, but stay out of it. You’ve been warned.” He tossed both cigarette butts into a trash can that sat to one side, and headed back into the house.

Lares had already unpacked her bags and was wrestling a cot out of a closet. He hurried to give her a hand.

“Feeling better now?” she asked, her thoughts radiating disapproval.

“Not really. I’m getting the distinct impression I’m not welcome here.”

“Oh, don’t let Alex rattle you; he’s always been over-protective,” Lares said. “I think he chased off every boyfriend I ever had.”

She thought Alex was the problem? Virgil glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. She really didn’t sense anything from the house. Then again, she was of the bloodline. It probably wouldn’t bother her at all.

He started to unpack his own bags, using some of the desk shelves to hold his clothes. “Alex is a real peach. On behalf of Caucasian males everywhere, I’d like apologize for everything you had to put up with from him.”

“Thanks,” she said, with a wry smile. “I really do appreciate your coming here, Virgil. I know it’s an awful imposition.”

Virgil waved her off. “Nothing I can’t handle, Lar…Sophie,” he said, remembering at the last second not to use her code-name.

He was glad he did, because a moment later a young, curvy brunette sauntered in without so much as knocking. She wore painted-on jeans, a tight sweater, and a look that would have been sultry if he hadn’t been able to read how petty her thoughts were.

“Hello, Soph. I just wanted to let you know you’ll be on the ten o’clock shift to sit with Auntie. Daddy will take over at midnight, if he gets here by then.”

“Thanks. We’ll be out as soon as we finish unpacking,” Lares said, the dismissal obvious in her voice.

Supertramp ignored it and gave Virgil a coy look. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

“I’m Virgil,” he said, stepping between the two of them, “and you must be Desiree.”

“That’s right. Dinner will be ready soon.” She looked Virgil up and down, and all but licked her chops before sauntering back out.

Virgil shut the door behind her. “Dare I ask what’s on the menu?”

Lares made a sour face. “I’d watch yourself. She has the fastest hands in the county.”

Virgil shrugged. “I’ve handled worse out in LA. She’d get eaten alive at some of the parties I’ve been to.”

They headed out to the dining room, their footsteps dogged by the angry presence. The words “eaten alive” seemed to hang in Virgil’s mind. He shoved the thought away, along with the dread that came with it. If his co-workers ever got wind of him getting spooked by an old school haunt he’d never live it down…

—–

<–Bloodlines #1   ~~~|||~~~  Bloodlines #3 ->

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