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Despite the spirit's undramatic exit, Noir still managed to find the stairs and started to make his way up to the top of them. He carried a large wooden box he'd found in the basement. Noir needed to get it to the poltergeist, but he didn't hear them running around any more.
Instead, the floor above creaked. Heavy footsteps moved around, each step methodical. It sounded like there was a fair number of them.
"Great. Who am I dealing with now?" Noir grunted and continued up the stairs. He hoped it for local police, or something like idiot teenagers. Knowing his luck it would be something worse than police. "The mob. The local mob, angry at me for taking their best place to kill people. And now they need to finish me off to protect it."
The door to the basement opened, just as Noir reached it. The necromancer tried to glance over the top of the wooden crate he carried. "Hey, might giving a helping hand or are you just going to stare buddy?"
"Excuse me?" A woman's voice greeted him. Hands took the crate from Noir before he could respond. Noir looked at room full of officers in kevlar. The letters 'USMS' was on shoulders and chests around him. "Do you want to explain what you are doing here sir? Does that box belong to you?"
"Hey! Don't take-" Noir looked around, annoyed. "We need to use that box sooner than later, whoever you are."
He looked at the woman glaring at him.
Almost his height, a dishwater blond with a bit of a belly had a hand on gun on her hip. She wasn't scarily thin, her build looked average. Noir couldn't place her age, but noted the kevlar that covered her. Her stance and her jeans, however, looked like that which belonged to someone experienced with violence. Her eyes both were green, and she didn't wear much makeup. Her skin was a darkish color, but Noir was confused by her eyes' shape and her hair color, he couldn't place an ethnicity with that. A tattoo on one of her arms looked tribal, like a Northwestern tribal version of Raven.
Noir didn't know the local Native tribes enough to place the symbology. He tried to think of a clever thing to follow say, but couldn't think of the right thing to come up with. He did note that she had a ring on one hand, an emerald glittering in the light. Around her neck, a lanyard dangled with a badge and a name: Ada Blackthunder.
"Sir, we are with the United States Multiversal Survey. Please explain who you are and what you think you are doing here." Blackthunder repeated.
Noir sighed. "We don't have time for this- lady, you need to give me that crate. I need to open it sooner rather than later."
"Sir- unless you own this property, we are going to have to ask you to leave if you won't be cooperative." Blackthunder's face remained neutral. Noir wondered if her hand being on her holster was a good sign or not. "Name or leave, can you understand that?"
Noir heard more than a little irritation. They were here for a reason and he was getting in the way. Yay.
"I'm Noir Badarte. And that box-"
"Why are you here Mr. Badarte? Don't you have better places to be on Christmas Eve?"
"I didn't really have a choice in the matter. A-"
"An entity took you, and left you here against your will. And when you got here, dozens of children, but deformed and screaming attacked you didn't they?" Blackthunder pointed up.
Noir glanced up. All of the Poltergeist's orphan ectoplasmic forms were on the ceiling, hanging upside and watching them. "Uh, oh. That's where they went."
"This many adults and they don't know what to do. Damn little monsters watch until one of them gets the courage to attack us. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to get my job done before they decide to turn this into the usual shitstorm I deal with every year." She grabbed one of Noir's arms, dragging him toward a door.
"Hey!" Noir protested. "You can't do this! You need to listen to me!"
"We are the External Hazard Containment unit. Its my job to come out here, every year, and to keep the damn ghost monster things here from killing somebody. This year its you. My people will debrief you then-"
Noir slipped out of his hoodie and tried to break the woman's grasp. His wrist stung as she twisted it around, bending it a direction it shouldn't bend. Noir raised a hand, letting out a tiny, small spell directed at the ceiling. He hoped that the same spell as before, a little necrokinesis to help free the spirits of their mortal ties.
It did as it did before. The poltergeist, its hive of orphan child ghost forms went berserk. They flew at Noir, screaming and clawing. And they screamed and clawed at each USMS agent there, including Blackthunder.
"You sonofa-" Blackthunder's eyes widened. Noir felt a fist slam him into the ground. The back of his head exploded in pain. Blackness greeted him. He tried to collect his thoughts, but hands grabbed and carried him. Screams and curses.
* * * * *
"You can really hear them?" Elle asked Noir.
He looked up at her, smiling. "Yes. I thought you didn't believe me?"
Elle punched the teenage Noir in the shoulder. "I thought you were messing with me. But this... How long have you known these guys?"
"Last year I met them when my Dad and I ran the sheep through here," Noir answered.
Elle giggled at the sight of it.
Still invisible to her sight, Noir was glad. The three ghost jugglers, to him, danced about as they juggled and tossed around objects about them. Elle couldn't hear or see them, but he could hear the wonder in her voice. Tears filled his eyes.
"I just wanted someone to believe me." Noir muttered.
Elle grabbed his shoulders, hugging him tight. "I'll always believe you, Blacky. Always."
Then Noir and Elle kissed for the first time. Noir remembered it, it was one of the best Christmas nights of his life, even if he was only fourteen back then.
* * * * *
He woke up in handcuffs in the back of a van. No windows, black walls and dark grey floor. Noir looked around, getting a sense of his setting. He was sitting down on a bench.
Noir shook his head. It was only a memory. A good memory, back when Christmases seemed great to him.
"I am not Elle." The Christmas Spirit's voice didn't surprise him.
Noir looked up. He tried not to smile at the sight of the too tall spirit squatting unconfortably in the back of the van. Frost coated most surfaces in the van too. She didn't look too happy either.
He didn't know why, if it was the cold or the silliness of it or the absurd sight. Maybe he was too tired. Whatever the reason, Noir started to laugh.
The Christmas Spirit glared at him. She then slapped him again, only this caused him to guffaw.
"I'm sorry... spirit... but... haha-" Noir tried to stop, but he kept laughing. "Heehee. You look... a little... cramped..."
"Deathwalker. You can't help if you are bound here."
"No shit." Noir laughed.
"Free yourself, Deathwalker. Finish it."
Noir stopped laughing. "Spirit, you keep asking but you don't give any. I'll fix this, but because its the right thing to do. Not for you. You are an invasive bitch.
"If you want something from me, give me a reason not to just nod off okay? Otherwise, stay out of the way and please respect me. I have a plan, got it?"
Frowning, the spirit stared at Noir. She cocked her head, confused.
"Curious, Deathwalker. You are curious."