"A-Are you sure you're sure about this, kid?" Cross nervously asked a yawning and stretching Scott. It was four in the afternoon, and he'd gotten up half an hour ago to lay out his plan. They'd taken it about as well as he expected.
"What!? Kid, just what the HELL is wrong with your brain!?" Cross'd screeched.
"Yeah, this's insane!" Amber'd chimed in.
"I agree. But allow me a rebuttal: do you got anything better?" he'd pointed out.
"Relax, relax." Scott said, holding up his hands. "I got it all worked out. It'll do the job, a whole lot better than that half-assed assassination plan of yours. We need a lot more firepower than that gun can provide. Just get the stuff I asked you for, your presence here isn't required, it'll be detrimental to what I'm trying to achieve." he reaffirmed.
"But it's my apartment!" Cross snapped.
"And if it gets blown up by the time you get back you can bill me." he replied coolly. "Now shoo, shoo." Cross growled and gnashed her teeth at him, but realized she was only delaying the inevitable.
"Fine. But if anything happens, it's on your head!" She stormed out, slamming the door behind her. She stomped to her car and pulled out her phone. "Hey, Tommy. It's me. Yeah. Listen, you know how I covered for you that time with the sergeant’s cigars? Yeah. I'm calling in that favor. Round up as many guys as you can, tell 'em to meet me at the Amity Memorial Cemetery in Craven Falls tomorrow at five o' clock. I know it's Halloween. No, I need men here! You'll find out when you get here. And be ready to rock. Yeah, there's a situation. Gotta be off the books. Yeah...you'll find out when you get here. Yeah. I know. You in? Good. See you later." She hung up and started the car, glancing at the list he'd made. She didn't notice the black clouds and cold wind beginning to blow. "I hope you know what you're doing, kid."
Back in Cross's apartment, Amber fidgeted nervously while Scott cleared space on the wooden floor.
"S-Scott? A-Are you sure you know what you're doing? It just seems really dangerous and...stupid."
"Mad! The word you're looking for is mad!" he replied cheerfully, pulling out his chalk. "But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I have no problem fighting fire with fire." He double-checked the Necronomicon, making sure the passages were right as he drew a circle imprisoning a five-pointed star on the floor, strange mystical sigils surrounding it on all sides.
"But doesn't this seem like the opposite of what we want to happen? I feel like this's the opposite of what we want to happen." Amber said, eyeing the circle nervously. Already, there was a strange, unearthly aura about it that would've made her skin crawl had she still possessed it.
“Hey, hey.” he said comfortingly, finishing the circle. “Don’t worry, it’ll all work out. Trust me.” She gulped, and glanced back at the circle.
“If you’re sure…” Scott nodded, and cleared his throat, checking the book once again. There was no way this could be allowed to go wrong. He began to chant.
“Alzahmed, den, athlathakin. C’etous, in’a bakagauan et spirtous almehd houn. Alzahmed, den, athlathakin. C’etous, in’a bakagauan et spirtous almehd houn. Alzahmed, den, athlathakin.” The air vibrated, and the room began to shake and tremble. “C’etous, in’a bakagauan et spirtous almehd houn. Alzahmed, den, athlathakin. C’etous, in’a bakagauan et spirtous almehd houn! Come! I call you, by my power, come! Hastazemus!”
The lights went out. No, it was more than that; the light seemed to be sucked out of the air, leaving only deep darkness behind. A foul smell emanated from the circle, charnel and putrid. A satanic red glow illuminated the eldritch pattern, and a strange, leathery smoke arose from its center. It billowed and swelled, unfolding into a ten-foot caped black mass with four ruby red eyes glaring forth with pure hatred.
“By my name I, Hastazemus, have answered your summons. Who has dared call me?” it spoke in a voice like oil poured over gravel. A cold, foul wind blew around the room, making both Scott and Amber shake.
“I-I have dared call you forth, Hastazemus!” Scott called out, suddenly very glad he wasn’t alone.
“Hmm?” The daemon narrowed all four of his eyes. “A mere human whelp and a ghost? For what purpose have you summoned me?”
“Straight to business. I like that in a daemon, don’t you Amber? Very refreshing.” he said to her quickly, and turned back to the creature in the circle. “Well, great Hastazemus, I won’t waste your time. There’s a coven of witches in town, trying to put some nasty mojo down on us. Think you can help us stop it?”
“Such aid is well within my powers.” he said, a hand slithering out of his cape to rub his chin. They saw it was solidly square, his whole face harsh angles and definitions.
“I think they have a daemon too, though.”
“Hmph. Do not insult me, boy. I am more than a match for human spells, and whatever lesser being they have called. After all-” He grinned widely, bright teeth appearing in the black mass. “If they had managed to summon one of our Archlords, you would not be alive to call me right now.” He chuckled darkly. “Very well. But since you know enough to call me, you know the services we provide are not free. We must strike a bargain.”
“Fair enough.” Scott nodded. “What do you want? I’m not signing over my soul or anything, though.”
“And what of hers?” the daemon said, pointing at Amber. She flinched, and Scott automatically stepped in front of her.
“No dice. No souls. What else can we do for you?” he said resolutely. The daemon grinned.
“A pity. Hmm. Well, if you’re not prepared to offer a sacrifice, there is another option. Grant me a boon. A favor, to be fulfilled at a later date. An IOU, as you mortals say.” he said, smiling like a beast. The teens looked at each other. Somehow, Amber turned pale and vigorously shook her head.
“Got it. I agree to your terms.” Scott said. Amber groaned. Hastazemus grinned triumphantly.
“Excellent! We have a deal. Call upon me when you wish to vanquish your enemy. I await your command.” Chuckling, he receded back into the circle, and the light and normal air returned. Scott let out a breath he wasn’t aware he was holding, and Amber fell to her knees through the floor.
“Well. That went well.” Scott said.
Cross returned an hour later, arms laden with packages, including a large brown bag that Scott’s eyes immediately zeroed in on.
“Yes. And it was more expensive than I originally envisioned, because no one in their right mind buys them!” Cross snapped. “And that other stuff. I got the beans along with the filters, but I couldn’t get enough chalk.” Scott’s head whipped around to her, horrified. “Relax. We have to pass by your school on the way, I’ll just go in and ‘borrow’ the line drawer from there.” she dismissed, then frowned. “I have to say though, I’m a bit worried you know how to do this.”
“Come now, Detective. A quick Google search will tell you anything you need to know nowadays. Truly, we live in an age of wonder.” Scott tittered, stuffing everything into his backpack.
“Is it even gonna work?” she asked dubiously. Scott tilted his hand in a so-so gesture.
“Ehh, maybe, maybe not. It’s really more of a backup solution, but I figure hey, why not? Give us as many chances as possible.” He slung the bag over his shoulder. “Ready to go, Amber?”
“Coming! Just give me a sec.” she called form the living room. Cross leaned over and saw her practicing moving objects again, this time using a broom to sweep away the summoning circle.
“I take it everything went smoothly?” she asked the necromancer. “There isn’t going to be any…residue, or hauntings, or anything like that?”
“Nope, all good! He’s waiting to come at my command, the circle’s meaningless now.” he said cheerfully. Cross shook her head.
“I hope that doesn’t stain. Alright, let’s get you guys home. And get plenty of rest tonight, you’ll need it for tomorrow.”
“I’m home!” Scott called as he opened his door. Seeing no one around, he pumped his fist victoriously and headed directly for the stairs. Amber sighed and rolled her eyes.
“Ahh, Scott. Welcome back. You’re pretty late today, what kept you?” his mother said, coming in from the kitchen, toweling off her hands. Scott bit back a curse and smiled brightly and fake at her.
“Oh, y’know, the usual. Homework, reports, basically this big project I’m working on for…science class.” he said, hefting up his full bag. “Almost done now, gonna present it tomorrow. So I have to put the finishing touches on it now, love you gotta go bye.” He started up the stairs, but his mother laughed and called him down again.
“Scott. It’s all right. I know what you’ve been doing after school lately.” Rebecca said, a twinkle in her eye.
“You do?” Scott asked, puzzled. She nodded.
“Yeah, I know about your little secret.”
“You DO!?” Scott yelped, nearly jumping out of his skin.
“Smooth, Scott. Real smooth.” Amber noted. He shot her a dirty look, then turned back to his mother.
“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, Scott.” she continued. “I mean, it’s not a crime to have a girlfriend. Frankly, your father and I were getting a bit worried, with you always holed up in your room.”
“Oh! Girl-girlfriend!?” He stared at her for a moment, then his hand met his forehead. “I take it you’ve been talking to Clay.” he said, eyes pinched shut.
“I may have. So what’s her name? What’s she like?” she asked excitedly, leaning on the railing. “You should introduce her to us. I bet she’d love to be asked to the Halloween party tomorrow, we’d love to meet her there.” At the mention of the party, his eyes went wide.
“The party? You’re going!?” he shouted.
“Y-Yes?” she said, taken aback at his outburst. He grabbed her by the shoulders. “H-Hey, listen. I’d really rather we not go to the party. I, uh, think it would be a bad idea.”
“Why?” Rebecca asked, bewildered.
“Because…I….know a better place to go!” he said, struck by sudden inspiration. “You know Blackwell Manor, in the old district on Raimi Lane? Well, they fixed it up and they’re gonna be hosting a haunted house that night! Y’know, the place is supposed to be haunted…heh heh…” he laughed weakly. Rebecca looked unconvinced.
“Really? Sounds great. But we really should go to the party.” She frowned, as if finding something wrong with that statement, but couldn’t identify what. “I don’t see why we should go out of our way like that.”
“You should, because…” He sighed, and debated internally with himself. After a moment, he lost. Eye twitching, he said “If you do, I’ll introduce you to my girlfriend.”
“Really?” she said, eyebrow raised.
“Yes. Nothing would make me happier.” he ground out in a flat voice, his jaw set. Amber was howling, beside herself with laughter.
“Well, if it means that much to you, I suppose we could. How’s Saturday sound, bring her around for dinner?”
“Saturday sounds lovely.” he said, not willing to glare at his mother, but this close.
“Great! I’ll let everyone know. Dinner’ll be ready by six.” she said, giving him a kiss on the forehead.
“Thank you.” Scott said, stone-faced. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go murder my brother.” He went up the stairs, then took a deep, calming breath and turned to the gigging spirit. “I have a favor I must ask of you, should we live through tomorrow.”
“I gathered, yeah.” Amber said, infinitely amused. “But you’re not really not gonna kill your brother, right?” Scott looked shifty.
“I can bring him back, it’s not a big deal.”