The Trap

March 21, 2007

It is a dark and stormy night.

Victor Smith is driving home along the same road he drives on each and every night.

His eyes are red and his shirt is covered in booze. His normally smooth hair is rumpled and wild. His windshield lights are working feverishly to keep his view clear, and one of his headlights is flickering on and off.

His car has been making sputtering noises since he turned it on, and the only thing that seems to keep it running is his will alone. Victor gives a loud curse as it hits a bump in the road and lets out another coughing fit. It was running perfectly the day before.

But then, he also hadn’t been seeing things the day before. It started when he got to the bar. He had caught a glimpse of pale eyes staring at him from the corner of his vision – but when he turned to look, nothing. Again and again. Whispering words, too, floating in the back of his mind, but always just shy of the brink of being able to make out what was being said.

He was crossing the Drayvin Bridge when all four of his tires blew out at once.

“Bitch!” he cried out as his car shuddered back and forth, the brakes squeeling as he slammed them into the ground. Scraping against the railing, the car came to a stop, surprisingly intact.

Victor opened the door and stepped out into the pouring rain. His mouth sealed tight into a thin line, he walked around his car, shaking his head at the sight.

With a sigh he stopped in front of the car, and put his hands on the rail as he looked over the side of the bridge.

“The very spot you killed me, Victor.”

He turned around. Slowly.

Hovering in the air in the middle of the bridge was the spectral figure of a dead woman, neck still bent and broken. Her eyes were filled with malice, and the rain turned to ice as it passed through her, gently shattering as it hit the ground.

“Did you think you could get away with it forever? So many bodies down there, buried in the slude and stench… I couldn’t hear them crying out for vengeance, but I knew they would want it, just as much as I.” She smiled, a ghastly sight, stepping toward the figure standing at the railing.

“And I’m going to set things right, Vic. You won’t charm any more women into following you home, only to be dropped into an early grave. You die here, lover.”

And Vic smiled.

“No. I don’t.”

Lightning flashed in the difference, illuminating a figure standing on the opposite side of the bridge. Something brilliantly red gleamed in the light as it soared through the air, landing beneath the vengeful ghost. Ghostly eyes, filled with hate, but also filled with confusion, widened with fear as the ruby pulsed once, and then twice – and then the spirit was gone, and the ruby gleamed with its own inner light.

Victor walked forward and kneeled down to pick up the gem. “Looks like we make our quota for the year, Jack.”

Jack walked closer. A tall man, black haired, wearing sunglasses despite the weather – but given that his suit was perfectly dry despite the rain, that wasn’t as surprising as it might have been. “Think they’ll ever find out you’re producing the very spectres you’re sealing away to make the world ‘safer’?”

Victor smiled, and smoothed out his shirt. “Not if you don’t tell ’em. Our jobs to hunt ghosts, and as long as we keep proving there are ghosts to hunt, they stay happy, and don’t bother asking questions.”

Pearly white teeth – including a pair of curiously sharp ones – returned Victor’s smile. “Guess you stay in luck then. I’ve got no problem at all with keeping them worried about the ‘ghostly menace.'”

Vic’s red eyes gleamed in the night as he pocketed the gem. “Well then, I guess we don’t have any problems at all.”

A pause. “At least, assuming you brought enough spare tires for the damn car…”

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