This is my Terror Tuesday for this week. Step into the shoes of Robert Schantz if you dare!
GHOST NO MORE
He’s pissed, but he tries to keep his emotions under control. “That’s not a very nice attitude you have, Robert.”
“And I should have a better one?”
“Why certainly. After all, I am one half of the source of reference for your Books. This is a two-sided story.”
I laugh. “Yes, you’re right, but you always seem to want to muddy things up. Your wanna-be war against the Chosen Ones is not too cool. You are trying to change some of what is written in Demon Rift. It can not be changed now. Too late, Bozo.”
Jumping out of his chair and rushing me, He is stopped mere inches from my face, coming to an abrupt halt when he encounters a force which prevents Him from completing his assault.
“What’s the matter, Lucifer? Are you getting cold feet. Let me touch the mother-fuckers and see if that’s the case.”
Rushing down before He knows what I’m up to, I grab his right foot and jerk upwards on it with everything I have. He crashes to the carpet, whacking His head pretty good on the leg of the chair He was sitting in.
“Just as I thought: this foot is cold as ice. Why . . . why, it’s a cowards foot. This is the appendage of a sneaky bastard who would attempt to kill little children because they stand in his way. Shame, shame. No wonder The Creator kicked your sorry ass out of Heaven. You’re already on the floor. Maybe you should try your hand at praying for forgiveness. That would look mighty purty.”
Mia takes this moment to walk into the living room and levels her gaze at the Dark One. No words come out of her mouth. She merely stares; she absorbs His thoughts; and she forces him to crawl to the other side of the room.
“Get her away from me!” He shouts. “Get her away!”
“On the contrary. You get away from her. Leave here now and the presence of what you fear will no longer surround you. In case you didn’t notice, you’re not really too high on anybody’s list in this place.”
The words still hovering in the air around us, he vanishes as fast as He arrived.
“Well, my little one,” I say. “You have quite some gift. I am very proud of the way you handle yourself.”
She smiles impishly, jumps onto my lap, and puts her little arms around me.
“There is no keeping the two of you in bed, is there?”
Staring at Joan, I say, “You think?”
“I know. Let me pull up the other recliner and we’ll all just sleep out here.”
“Satan was just sitting in that one. You might not want to use it.”
She thinks for a second. “At least it will be warm.”
“Not the foot rests,” Mia says.
“Good point, Mia,” I say.
Joan shakes her head. “I don’t think I want to know what you two know that I don’t. Does that make sense to you? Just pull me off the chair if anything evil happens. I’m dog-tired.”
“Makes perfect sense to me,” I say.
With Joan’s left hand in mine, and my right arm around Mia, the two of them go back to sleep. At this moment, there is no safer place on the planet for them to be.
* * * *
In a couple hours, I carry Mia back to her bed and get some coffee going for my morning ritual. This is no day for headaches. I need to be at my best; I need to be beyond sharp.
The odor of the coffee wakes Joan. “It’s still dark,” she says. “Coffee already?”
“You know how it is with me, sweetie,” I say. “It takes time to rid myself of these headaches, and the dark is a big part of the magic pill.”
“Yes, I know. The grogginess is not conducive to me being too sharp yet.”
“Go back to sleep then. There is no need for you to be up this early.”
“Yes, there is. Let me share this with you. I will leave you to your thoughts; I won’t speak a word. Maybe my simply being here for you will ease your pain a bit.”
“You’ll do that for me?”
“Of course. There is a catch, though.”
“You will share the coffee won’t you? It smells delicious.”
“My coffee is your coffee, my dear.”
Joan gets up and pours us both a cup and brings in my ice cube and cup as well. She knows exactly the right amount of sugar and cream I take. What a woman.
Two hours later, it’s still dark, but my headache is gone and it is time to prepare for the big day. Joan and I slip in to our bedroom, and I motion for her to get ready first. She drops her pajamas and robe to the floor, showing me the gorgeous back-side that drives me wild.
“I can feel your eyes on me, big guy.”
“If this wasn’t the day it is, you would be feeling a lot more than my eyes on that luscious tush of yours.”
“I’ll take a rain check on that, lover boy.”
“Rain check accepted.”
Laughing, she struts her stuff and vanishes into the bathroom. I go to my closet and whip out my new tuxedo, not a normal one by any means. It is black, with flames on the lapel of the right side and a band of white Angels on the other. On the rib area of the right side is a schism in the air surrounded by blue lightning, and on the left side are the letters DEMON RIFT in alternating red, orange, and yellow, blood dripping down from the title, and “by Robert Schantz” in bright red letters at a slight angle beneath. The back of the tux is a carbon copy of the front. Laying it on the bed, I smile at the handicraft my tailor had to go through to get this just the way I like it.
Joan comes out of the bathroom, her towel wrapped casually around her. She wanders to the bed and shakes her head. “How am I to compete with you? Anything I wear will look so blah.”
“Not really, my dear. I have thought of everything. Your outfit is hanging up in my closet. I can hardly wait to see how it looks on you. You finish with your hair and whatever, and I’ll hop in the shower. I won’t dawdle, believe me.”
She gives me a weird look, but rapidly gets to business, not wanting to wait too long before trying on whatever I got her. “She’ll love it!” I say to myself.
Shaving and showering quickly, I walk to where she waits for me. She looks like an Angel. Her bright red, low cut dress, has a golden sword embroidered from her navel to just below her cleavage, blue lightning bolts to match the ones on my tux shooting out from the blade. “Joan the Demon Slayer” is emblazoned across her breasts in silver glitter, sending out a light show with every breath she takes.
“Do you like what you see?” she asks me.
My eyes popping out of my head, I think words aren’t really necessary, but I answer anyway. “You know what I’m thinking, my love.”
She laughs. “I suppose the dress rising to a few inches above my knees and slit on both sides almost to the top of my thighs means something other than eye-candy for your rather obvious desires?”
“Why certainly, my love. You know what we’re in for. You’ll need . . . you’ll need freedom to move about.”
Taking a few exploratory twirls and faux parries and thrusts, she smiles and says, “Okay, you’re right. You planned this out carefully.”
Becoming more serious, I say, “I had to, Joan. There’s a lot at stake. Yes, our clothing is a bit flashy, but we will be putting on a show, and freedom of movement will be pretty important when things heat up.”
She gives me a big hug. “I know, Robert. You know, I’m excited by what is to happen, but I’m afraid as well. If I had to endure this with any other man, I don’t think I would have the fortitude to weather the storm. You bring out the best in me.”
“You bring out the best in me as well, sweetie.”
Pulling my towel off of me, she says, “You better get dressed, my dear, before I ravish you here and now.”
“Alas, only that I could.”
Toweling off, I dress as Joan watches my every move. “Wow! That tux fits you exquisitely. I would prefer a little more show and tell, but you will be the center of attraction and any more might have the ladies watching you in the wrong light.”
“We can’t have that, can we?”
“Ah, no, we can’t. Let’s wake the others.”
“They’re already awake and up. In fact, I smell breakfast. Let’s dazzle them with our wardrobe.”
Joan shakes her head. “I certainly hope so. My wish is they don’t think we’re too over the top.”
Chuckling, I say, “I don’t think that will happen.”
Sure enough, Mia and Catherine are waiting for us in the kitchen, along with Mary and George. George is the only one surprised at the way we are dressed. “Holy, crap!” he says. “What’s with the Rhinestone Cowboy look?”
Mia says, “Silly, George! Mr. Schantz will be conducting a super show for his fans.”
“Did you read the book, George?” Catherine asks.
“Yes, I did. But I didn’t see this get-up.”
“You had to read between the lines for this, George,” Mary says. “But it’s in there.”
“And what am I supposed to wear?”
“Whatever you want,” I say. “Just be ready to move when the time comes.”
Snickering, he says, “How about full-blown combat gear?”
“Do it,” I say. “Drape a couple of assault weapons over your shoulders and have plenty of clips and a side arm or two.”
“That’s what I intend to wear,” Mary says. “I want to be ready for what’s to happen.”
George looks at his lady love, and figures if she can do it, he can do it. He’s ready for what’s to come, but there are certain things he’s confused about.
“Don’t worry, George,” Joan says. “We’ll all handle this just fine today.”
“Mommy and I will wear our usual clothes today,” Mia says. “Our part will be a little different from the rest of you.”
Yes, the Chosen Ones . . . the Chosen Ones, other than Joan and I, will be waging war in an entirely different manner than the rest of the planet. I’m glad they’re on my side and I’m one of them.
“I’m glad you fixed breakfast, Catherine. We better eat hearty because we’ll be pretty busy in a hurry once the Book Launch starts. We’ll be virtually eating on the run for quite some time,” I say.
“Smells delicious,” Joan says. “I better not over eat or I’ll pop the zipper on this slinky number I’m wearing.”
“I’d pay good money to see that,” I say.
Joan puts her hand over my mouth and motions her head in Mia’s direction.
Catherine laughs. “Mia knows a lot more than anyone gives her credit for. She can sort this all out.”
I stick my tongue out at Joan. “See, my love, Mia knows the difference between love and mere urges.”
Mia giggles, once more not feeling the need to say any words.
We eat the great spread placed before us. By the time we’re finished, the sun is rising. It’s almost time to leave.
“I’m going to check on the others,” I say. “Joan and Grog can watch over you and make certain no harm comes to you.”
“Grog?” George asks.
“He’s in the Book,” Mary says.
“Oh, he’s the one in charge of the Demons helping to protect us.”
“One and the same,” I say. “He’ll be here as soon as I leave. I’ll be back in a hurry.”
I open the door and Grog stands in front of me, a shit eating grin on his deformed face. “Don’t be so cocky, my friend,” I say. I knew you would be there.
His smile broadens more as his lips push through his boil-filled face, and his irregularly shaped yellow and black teeth become more prominent. “Whatever you say,” Mr. Schantz.”
Mia comes running up to him and grabs his hand. “Come with me, Grog, while the others dress.”
Grog loves to visit with Mia whenever the opportunity arises. She genuinely likes him. He’s her friend. He nods and goes with her.
“You look hungry, Grog. There is food left. You should eat,” Mia says.
Smiling, I close the door behind me and make certain all my friends are up and about and ready to go. As I knew they would be, they stand before me, dressed and ready for the big day.
Two buses are waiting for us, and the chosen Ones and their families load into the vehicles. The Demons are sharp, watching for anything that might happen. Anything. The extra bus? We will be needing it. God has provided this, and will supply us with anything else we might need.
The hearse arrives, and Demons empty out. “Okay, George,” I say. “You’re in charge of this baby. The uniform looks good on you.
“You too, Mary.”
“Thank you,” Mary says. “I feel like I’m ready to rock and roll.”
“Rocking and rolling it is,” George says. “Let’s go!”
Mia, Catherine, Joan, Mary, George, and I load into the hearse. Everyone else is fine in the buses.
In a matter of minutes we pull up in front of the Barnes&Noble. Already, a huge crowd has arrived, even though we are over an hour and a half early. We all unload from the hearse and buses, and I hold the others back as I raise my hands to the sky. The air becomes deathly still, and huge black clouds arrive.
Punching my fists wildly towards the darkness, a vehemence of thunder rips through the air, no lightning to be seen. Joan walks up besides me and raises a golden sword which materializes from an unknown void and slides easily into her hands. Blue lighting emanates upwards from her sword towards the ominous gathering of disturbance approaching us.
I stand in the middle of the wide sidewalk, my arms outstretched as if in supplication to whatever force is present. A vortex of Darkness forms and widens as it approaches me. Once it reaches the ground, I am completely immersed within its fury, but the tornado does not disturb a hair on my head.
Joan swirls her sword around her, and the sky tears in half, forming a giant gash in the air. My entourage is protected from the force within, but the people in the huge crowd have to hang on to each other and whatever else they can grab to keep from being pulled forward. Dark and White Angels flit in and out of the rift, coming close to the crowd and then retreating. Humongous screams of pain and agony shove out into the morning air from within the schism, telling one and all of the horrors within.
An assortment of limbs force their way through the walls of the Black Hole and grab me. I can not escape their grasp!
The Rift closes with me trapped inside. Before silence from the outside world envelops me, I listen to the screams of the crowd.
I hear nothing more . . .