Emerald Gore Society

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This is Halloween (A Simon Hobb Story)

This is Halloween

 

It had been over a year since the events at the church and thankfully for Simon the year had been fairly quite. There was the odd bit of small stuff with nasty things hunting in places they shouldn't have been, but nothing that had really taxed his abilities. Over the last year Simon had spent alot of time thinking of what had happened to him in the church. He had actually channelled the power of the catholic God, something he hadn't even heard of happening to anyone that wasn't well versed in both catholic believes and the reality of what could really be done in this world.

He sat in the backyard of his most recent home enjoying a nice cold beer on a nice hot summers day when he heard a voice from the back gate, “Hey, how's it goin”. His sister Jen had rang him an hour earlier saying that she would drop in after she finished work and arrived right when he expected. “Not too bad” he replied, “Want a beer?”. Jen strolled into the garden and took a seat next to him by the back door “Nah, I'm good” she answered “So what did you want to show me?”. Simon took a swig from his bottle before placing it on the ground next to him, he then leaned closer to his sister and very quietly said “I've figured it out......kind of”. He then made a claw of his hand and began to concentrate. Jen could see small arcs of blue light travelling up Simons fingers until at the tips they sparked and began to form a ring of energy between them. “It gets better” he said. Energy shot from his finger tips into the centre of his hand where they began to form a ball of energy. Simon lifted his hand and pointed at the back wall before straightening his palm and thrusting it forward. A bolt of energy shot up his arm at the same time sending the blue white ball he held flying at the targeted wall. Chips of cement flew from the wall as a half inch crater was blasted from it. Jen turned from the wall to her brother with a look that spoke of both surprise and worry, “How did you do that?” she asked. “The way I see it” Simon replied taking another swig from his bottle, “When I was in the church I accidently drew on the power at the centre of the beacon. Now I may not be a follower but I do believe that the Catholic God exists and at that moment I needed an energy source that would work under the circumstances. Now maybe their God decided to lend a hand with that......thing and maybe I just happend to be in the right place at the right time. Either way, when I drew in that power it was like a door opened in my head. I channelled the faith that had built up in that place and was able to use it. Of course I also drew in some of whatever it is that guards those places, but the theory of drawing in energy seems sound. I can stretch out my hand and not only feel the energy that flows, but bending it to my will, I can draw it in”. To epmhasise the point Simon clenched his fist into a blue white ball before calmly opening his hand to allow the energy to drift, shimmering back to nothingness.

Three months later Simon found himself attending a Halloween fancy dress party with some friends at an old castle that had been converted into a hotel a few decades before. The party was a yearly event that had people from all over the world vying to claim one of the various different trophies for best costume. As a result, some of the most elaborate costumes Simon had ever seen strode past as he waited in line. With the popularity of certain supernatural themed tv shows recently there was more then enough inspiration for people to come up with, or buy, very convincing make up effects. A half dozen zombies waited up ahead of him, all of them looking like they had just walked right out of their own deaths to attend the festivities. Looking behind him, Simon could see the cast from a fairly well known horror laughing and making slight adjustments to their leather and spiked clothes. “How does he get those things to stay in his face when he drinks?” Simon muttered to himself. “Probably uses a straw,” said the giant blood stained purple dinosaur ahead of him, “At least till he forgets and gets a pin up the nose.” Keith always did have a way of finding the funny side of things. It was thanks to Keith and his fiancee Lianne that Simon was even at the party tonight. Living in the area, they had invited him up for the weekend to enjoy the holiday with them when they had managed to get four tickets through some friend, school or business contact of Liannes. All Simon had to hear were the words Halloween Fancy Dress Party to get him interested. He had spent the last couple of months skrimping his cash together so that he and his companions could splurge on themselves in the name of horror themed fun. Unfortunately that meant certain concessions had to be made in regards his costume. He hadn't cared at the time, but as he looked at his cheap plastic scythe through the eye holes of his even cheaper plastic skull mask he felt a little self conscious. A black hoody, black jeans, steel toed work boots and leather waist coat, covered by his oft worn leather trench coat, finished off what Simon loosely called a costume. “We came here to have a laugh, “ continued Keith, “Not win any contests.” “Apart from the odd impromptu drinking contest of course,” pointed out Simon with a sly smile. “Of course,” responded Kieth stoically, “Have to maintain certain standards.” “Don't try to hard,” laughed Lianne next to him, “Someone has to be able to guide the rest of us home later.” Standing a head shorter then Keith, she had gone to great lengths to either make or buy a blue coat, of a fabric Simon couldn't name, with leather shoulder pads. Which she wore with a leather sword belt, housing a plastic curved blade, brown leather pants and black calf high leather boots. With her hair recently bleached she looked the image of regal ferocity and beamed up at her man with a not so innocent smile. Finishing off their group was a pirate princess named Anna. A work friend of Liannes, she stood next to him happily reengaging Lianne in conversation as they watched the group ahead of them shuffle through the reception area. Attractive and intelligent, she had made a good first impression on Simon. See what happens after a few drinks to bolster my nerve, he thought to himself. He hadn't come here to pull, but he wasn't against the idea of getting to know new people a little better either. “Oh man,” exclaimed Kieth looking in past the reception to the main room, “I just saw two Predators in there, this is gonna be class.” “Easy for you to say, you look like every three year old's worst nightmare,” replied Simon while handing over his ticket, “I just look like Death's under funded helper.” “Give me five minutes and we'll assault the bar in a well organised military campaign of drunkenness,” laughed Keith, “That should cheer you up.” With that he put the head back on his costume and Barney, the blood thirsty dinosaur strutted with his Dragon Queen to the costume contests photo area.

Half an hour later the group, drinks firmly in hand, concluded their brief tour of the party by returning to the bar located beneath the main hall, with it's mainstream might club music, and above the sub basements secondary hall, currently hosting the more alternative and industrial loving revellers. The bar had a sound system that seemed to link with both floors, alternating between channels seemingly at random. Slightly quieter then either dance floors, Simon and the others found themselves an empty table, while their was one, and ordered another round of drinks. Once again, Simon found himself observing, and in more then a few case's ogling, his fellow fancy dressers. The Predators that Keith had spotted earlier had been more than willing to get photos taken with the group and where now standing at the bar drinking pints through slits in their prosthetic heads aided by black straws which seemed to be in nearly every drink served by the bar. Easier to get through the costumes, Simon figured. That being said, for every well thought out costume in attendance, there seemed to be just as many haphazard attempts at dressing up. And some of them had nothing to do with the season of monsters and madness. Two scantily clad nurses in stiletto heels sauntered down the steps and over to the bar, grabbing just the right amount of attention from every guy with a line of sight on them. The barman nearest them didn't even bother to hide his interest as one of them leaned up on the footrest of the bar getting closer to the mans ear, giving him the ideal vantage point from which to appreciate the woman's.....uniform. “Not to bad, eh?” said Keith taking in the place as he turned a chair backwards to sit, the tail preventing sitting normally of course. “Yeah,” replied Simon dragging his eyes away from the interesting view at the bar. “Think I'll take a wonder back down to the metal music in awhile. Let my hair down for a bit.” he said with a smile. The next hour passed with them more or less staying at their table drinking and generally conversing about everything from how their lives had been going lately to commenting on people's costumes as they passed through. Simon had chatted to Anna a couple of times as they sat and the occasional flirtatious remark from him had been met with smiles and laughs but not much in the way of reciprocation. Feeling none deterred, he decided to take in the sights of the secondary hall again and maybe return to chatting up Anna when her inhibitions were a bit lower. Turning to Keith he asked, “You up for goin down to the goth part for a bit?” “I think I'll pass man,” replied Kieth, “The suites alright to walk around in, but no way am I going to try moshing in it.” The mental image of that brought a smile to everyone's face. “Fair enough, I'm gonna leave the scythe here. Be back in a little bit.”

The Goth floor was an industrial dungeon dipped in multicoloured lights, feed with heavy beats bone jarring bass notes and ear shredding guitar riffs. Whoever was dj'ing knew what they were doing. Hardcore dance flowed into industrial rock only to be brought to a heavy high with bone crushing metal. The dance floor seethed at times with people smashing into each other, only to be replaced a few beats later with almost elegant ghostly movements as bodies twisted in time to some techno goth mash up designed to be both dark and energetic. For the most part, the costumes here seemed less fancy and more scary. Leather, latex and anything black were the general theme. The occasional neon colored hair do or stripped coloured piece of clothing acted like beacons amid the murky colours as they walked past the black lights set high up on every wall of the seating areas surrounding the pit like dance floor. It was while strolling around the seating area's perimeter and watching the dance floor that Simon began to feel it. At first he thought that he had just gotten too close to a speaker, but there were none around him. A vibration seemed to be going through him wherever he walked. For a split second he thought it was just the effects of the beer, but beer hadn't ever made him feel like this before. In fact, the last time he could remember every feeling like this, apart from standing in front of a big speaker, was the incident in the church. Of course, when it had happened that time he didn't consider his entire body vibrating as a big deal since it seemed the least troubling thing to be happening to him at the time. Casting furtive glances around at the crowd, Simon began to move back towards the stairs to the bar. He had to get to his friends and get them out of here. Someone was doing something big and magical here. “Yep,” he said to himself as he glided between people, “Knew there was no way I'd get to just enjoy a Halloween.”

He darted up the stairs and through the doors to the bar. His entrance drew the attention of one of the barmen and a few party goers near the door. He quickly spotted Kieth and the girls still at the table and strode over to them. “Ok,” he said calmly, “This is gonna sound really weird but I promise you I am telling the truth. Something very wrong is either about to happen or has already happend and I think you should leave as quickly and calmly as you possibly can.” All three of them stared at him for a second before almost simultaneously bursting out into fits of laughter. Tears began to roll down Keith's face as he looked at Simon's own stoney visage waiting for it to crack. After nearly a minute of Simon not joining them and looking increasingly more anctious, the others began to become more serious themselves. “Your not joking are you?” asked Kieth, only traces of a smile left on his face. “No, I'm not. And I don't know whats going on either which is why I think ye need to get as far away from here as possible.” Simon's tone had alarmed Lianne a little and she looked witheringly at him, “You've just had to much to drink. Sit down for awhile and have something to eat, a bag of taytos or something.” The last was said with a kind smile, her annoyance vanishing as quickly as it had appeared. “Look,” said Simon with exasperation in his voice, “I'm not drunk. The world isn't the way you think it is and we don't have time for me to get into just how more there is to this world then is dreamt of in your philosophy, so would you all please just.....” A scream from the other side of the bar drew everyone's attention. One of the dead students walking that Simon had seen outside earlier had just ripped the flesh from one of the leather and spiked clad horror fans with her teeth. Pins stuck out through the flesh of her jaws as she tried to chew the meat, eventually hanging from her face as she got it all down only to have one or two fall as she leaped for a woman wearing an elaborate french period style gown. People screamed and the woman's companions tried to pull the zombie from her back, but it was too late. Flesh tore, blood spurted and another person had died. At the same time, one of the Predators had gone to the aid of the former Pin face, only to have his aid returned by violence. Whatever the Predators suite was made of was clearly stronger then teeth, but Simon didn't think it would save the man for long. As Predator and Pompadour both fell to their attackers, the downstairs doors flew open and a mob of leather clad people came screaming through. The last being grabbed by a neon green braided pigtail and pulled back through, only to be hurled back again with out a throat. When people think of zombies, they generally think of shambling corpses that are only dangerous when they get too close or are en masse. However, these zombies appeared to be fast, vicious and strong. The first two through the doors were on people before Simon had time to even think about moving. But once he started, he ran right at them bringing both arms up from his side as he turned his fingers into claws of arcing energy. Stopping a few feet from them, he brought both hand up and forward together releasing a wave of blue and white electric fire that blasted both attackers into charred bits. People were screaming, trying to get up the stairs to safety when the music cut and all that could be heard was the screaming of hundreds of people all panicking at once. The doors to the downstairs were open again, but this time what came through was exactly the stereo type. A pack came shambling through the doors and a few quite literally fell on the Predator before Simon could get to him. Realising that he could be cut off from his friends, he ran back to the startled group. Anna and Lianne were just staring at him as he came back while Kieth was standing in front of them with chair ready to hit anyone that came to close, “What the hell was that!?”exclaimed Lianne while clutching one of Kieth's empty bottles as a potential weapon. “No idea,” responded Kieth, a little bit in awe of what he'd seen.“We need to get out of here.” he said shakely as Simon ran back over to them. “You think?” replied Simon with a hint of sarcasm, “Anyone seen a fire door or something?” “Over there,” Anna pointed at an exit sign perpendicular to the downstairs doors. The mob was shambling it's way up the bar and had just passed the door as they turned to look. “Of course it is,” grumbled Simon as he hung his head for an instant. “Ok, Lianne get Kieth out of his suite. I hope your wearing somethin underneath that thing man cus we're gonna be runnin in a couple of minutes and I don't think you want it slowing you down.” “Agreed,” said Lianne as she moved to undo the zip at the back of the costume. Some of the crowd had started throwing things in an attempt to slow the mob but when a body came flying back down the stairs people started to panic again and Simon saw more then one person get trampled underfoot or pushed over the railing. “Get ready to run for the exit,” he said as he stepped into the bars thoruoghfare. Placing his left leg forward and his right leg back, he took a fighting stance in front of the mob. “What are you gonna do this time?” asked Keith as he stepped out of his costume revealing a wife beater t-shirt and a dark pair of baggy swimming trunks. “This,” grinned Simon as he once again made claws of his fingers, this time bringing them both together on his right side. As his hands came together, the arcs between the fingers of each hand leapt to great each other and a small ball of light began to grew between them. Kieth and the girls stepped out from the chairs to stand behind Simon and as he watched, Kieth would have sworn that the colors of objects close to Simon were starting to leech away into his hands. The side of the bar closest to Simon grew darker and even the lights above them seemed to fade in time with the growing ball of energy he was holding. After a second or two the Simon held a basketball size sphere of blue and white electric fire and that's when he thrust both arms forward and yelled at the top of his lungs, “HADOKEN!!!” The blast incinerated the first five, the next three had holes burned through them and every member of the mob had arcs of electric fire conduct through them ripping through necrotised flesh and tendons, popping eyeballs and generally making a sizzled mess of the newly re-dead. Simon turned to his friends with a smile on his face, “Always wanted to d that,” he panted, "Now run!”