“Lamoreaux? Where are you?” The kid whispered into the dark.
“Over here,” Lamoureaux whispered back.
The kid, what was his name? Sawyer... no, not Tom; Bill. That was it, Bill Sawyer. Bill crept over to Lamoreaux.
“What are you doing?”
“Hiding, like you should be.”
“How are you going to fight it if you’re hiding from it?”
“I’m sorry, Bill, I missed the part where you know... anything! This wasn’t supposed to be a stand-up fight.”
No, it wasn’t supposed to be a stand-up fight, Lamoureaux avoided those. This was supposed to be just a little look-see.
Earlier that day, Sawyer had found him in his office above the Indian restaurant. He had one of Lamoreaux’s business cards, a rare sight. Lindsay Carmichael had sent him.
“If Lins gave you my card, it must be pretty bad.”
“It is, Mr. Lamoreaux. My parents and my sister are... dead.”
Lamoreaux pocketed the card.
“My advice, kid: move. Sell the house with everything in it.”
“Officer Carmichael said you were a mercenary, but that you knew about this sort of thing. I have money.”
“How much money?”
“I can pay you $5000.”
Lamoreaux had still refused. But Sawyer had looked so forlorn and utterly defeated, tears welling in those big blue eyes.
“Oh hell, don’t cry. I’ll take a look.”
I am such a sucker, Lamoreaux had thought as he rummaged through his desk and transferred things into his pockets.
Sawyer had driven the two of them to a good-sized Victorian down off the Boulevard. It hadn’t looked haunted. They rarely did.
Lamoreaux’s tattoos had started itching immediately.
It had attacked just minutes after they had entered the living room.
“It’s coming,” Bill had shouted over the din of its arrival: everything in the room was being tossed inches into the air, to come crashing back down. The floor shook from the impact of the heavy furniture; the few knick-knacks and framed photos that had survived previous assaults fell over, tumbled to the ground, or were picked up by invisible hands and hurled into walls.
The lights went out. It screamed: a high-pitched ululating wail. It materialized two steps from the kitchen, rushing towards them, green and glowing.
It was fast. Lamoreaux had shoved the kid down. He flung a handful of rock-salt, produced from one of his many pockets. The crystals struck home and it dematerialized in a blinding flash, leaving behind only a whiff of ozone and glistening splatters of ectoplasmic goo.
Lamoureaux pulled Bill to his feet. There was a ragged, six inch gash across the kid’s cheek. If Lamoreaux had been any slower, it would have opened his throat instead.
“Go,” Lamoureaux said. “Run!” Propelling him towards the front door; Sawyer took three stumbling steps and bolted up the stairs instead.
They’d been separated in the darkened house for several minutes before Sawyer had found Lamoreaux. Now they were crouched together, hiding behind a pink and white dresser.
Lamoreaux reached into a pocket, found a handkerchief. He wiped the blood from the younger man’s cheek. The white handkerchief emphasized the olive tone in his skin: something Latin or Mediterranean in there somewhere. It went well with his sandy hair and those green eyes.
Somethings not right here, Lamoreaux thought.
“Maybe after, you want to come back to my place?”
“Are you hitting on me? Lamoreaux, you bastard.”
Sawyer snatched the handkerchief and jerked his head away.
“That’s me, mercenary bastard,” Lamoreaux muttered as he pulled a small lacquered box out of his pocket. “Whatever, this will fix her wagon.”
“Spirit trap,” Lamoreaux said.
“Yeah, like Ghostbusters.”
He didn’t tell Sawyer that if the trap worked it would place the spirit under his control.
Lamoreaux stuck his free hand into his pocket searching for the talisman he wanted, praying in Latin under his breath. He put the spirit trap down and flipped the catch that secured the lid.
Lamoreaux turned towards Sawyer.
“How about a kiss, for luck?”
Lamoreaux grabbed a fist full of Sawyer’s hair and whipped his hand out of his pocket brandishing the talisman: a Star of David.
“Oh hell,” Lamoreaux said.
It was supposed to be a Solomonic sigil designed to command spirits. That had been the point of the Latin prayer: to charge the sigil.
It laughed at him, its green eyes staring out of Sawyer’s flesh. It showed Lamoreaux Sawyer’s teeth and they were dripping with green ectoplasmic goo.
“Glad you passed on the kiss,” Lamoreaux said and then intoned, deeply:” Adonai!”
Lamoreaux’s Hebrew was awful, he hoped that he hadn’t butchered their name for God. Names were a big deal in this business.The Star in his fist flared into blue flame. Its laughter turned into a howl of pain and it tore away from Lamoreaux’s grasp.
Lamoreaux tossed out his arm and knocked over the spirit trap. The lid flipped open, triggering the trap. Blinding white light spilled out and flowed towards Sawyer in waves.
“Keep it away from me,” it shrieked in a voice that was not Sawyer’s.
“Into the light, bitch,” Lamoreaux swore, brandishing the Star again.
The light lapped over Sawyer and everywhere it touched the light turned green, pulling the spirit out of Sawyer’s body. It howled and cursed Lamoreaux’s name but the trap was working.
The light, tinged green now, was running back towards the trap. First in rivulets then a rushing torrent that tried to spill over the sides but was inexorably drawn into it.
When the last drop splashed inside, Lamoreaux closed the lid and flipped the latch. He tucked the box into his pocket.
He sat down on the floor next to Sawyer, helped him to sit up, draped an arm around the younger man’s shoulders.
“How did you know it was inside me?”
Lamoreaux reached out and grasped Sawyer’s chin, turning his face so they were looking into each other’s eyes.
“No mistaking those,” Lamoreaux said.
“How ‘bout that kiss?
This story first appeared in Renderosity's Annual Halloween Contest in 2014, where it took second place, if I remember correctly.