Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dead Man Stew 9: Bloody Salt Water


Noir stepped out onto the lobby. Most of the windows were broken, one wall had been destroyed. The storm of undead swirled outside the Sleepy Bear Inn, screaming in their torrent of translucent green. No ghosts were in the lobby at all. They had vacated, and wisps of ectoplasmic sea water clung to the floor. This was the eye of the storm, safe ground from the torrent of ectoplasm outside. Vickie stood there, next to the window. The glow of the green ghosts highlighting her as she stood there. She looked. Noir couldn't not stare at Vickie. Her dress was bloodsoaked, ruddy sea water dripping from it onto the floor around her. Vickie stood still. Frozen, like a statue of ice. She didn't breath, because she didn't have to. Noir just stood there, and he felt Vickie's presence wash over him. His body reacted, and his mind was paralyzed by the sensation of it all. He just stood there, watching, like he was waiting for her to do something. "Its alright, Noir." Vickie waved a hand at the storm outside. It growled back at her. Like chained dogs they strained to get closer to her, but something held them back. "They know their place, Noir. Isn't that nice? Like you, they want to help me help them. Isn't that what you want Noir?" Noir felt his legs move him closer to her. "I... er... Vickie-" "The blood isn't mine you know," Vickie replied. "Whose is it?" She turned to the necromancer and flashed him a smile. Noir felt warmth flood his body. Baser, lusty instincts took over as his chest puffed up. He took another step closer. Noir reached out his arms. He would embrace this woman. This was salvation, love, true grace from the pains of the world. This is where he belonged. It'd all be fixed. No more wandering and no more grumbling. Vickie placed a hand on his chest. She smirked as hair fell down to cover her face. Noir could still see her glowing crimson eyes lock on him. "Not yet Noir. Soon." He stopped, disappointed. A voice in the furthest back reaches of his mind screamed at him, but he couldn't hear it. No. A part of Noir Bedarte found it better to be controlled, cajoled by whatever Vickie was doing than continue to chase Elle. The tired part of him wanted a place to rest awhile. To start over. But when he was about to act on this, instead a bit of cold curiosity escaped Noir's mouth. "Why?" "We'll get to have our embrace. Eventually. Don't you want to see all the dead you've been fretting over?" Noir closed his eyes. He focused on the question in his mind. Almost like casting a spell, he felt concentration guide his words. "Why Vickie? Why would you kill so many of them?" "Oh." Vickie blinked and looked out at the storm of young male and female ghosts. Some of them were bulbous, others skinny. All looked like they'd died the same cold way: drowning. "They need to be fixed, Noir. I only kill the most disgusting of them, the ones who need to pay for their crimes." Noir paused. "Crimes? What crimes?" Vickie waved a hand. "Every year some partiers go out and cause problems. They dump garbage onto the beaches, harass the wildlife. More than a few of them I found after they'd tortured poor creatures who'd deserved better. "The first one... That was the hardest, Noir, but somebody at to do something about those fucking assholes. A whale had been beached not far from here. It had been raining, and well, the local biologists and others thought that it might get out in the coming high tide, as long as people kept a distance. I took up a vigil. I can't stand to watch the thing be alone and... "The fucking morons came out that night. Three of them, drunk as hell. I watched them ram their motorcycles into the poor thing, over and over. They just keep doing it... and I went down there to stop them. "It didn't take much, really." Vickie looked back into the storm. "The three of them were too stupid not to take my free offer for a sexy boat trip. We got out there. I threw each of them overboard. Too stupid to not listen to me. Then I dived in after them. You know that dead people can swim? I don't need to breath, Noir. They needed to breath. So I clutched onto their necks hard. I cut them open and swam in the bloodsoaked water they left behind." Noir stared out at the storm of dead. "And the rest of them?" "They deserved it all Noir. Guests of mine who didn't deserve to live with Nature. Each of them committed a crime no one else would've stopped. I had the power to stop them." Vickie shivered. "And each of their deaths felt so... delicious." Noir shuddered. "Vickie... that's..." "My body didn't change because of all that. I've met other Posthumans like me who hunt Humans. They taught me how to better blend into them. Not all of them are as... picky as I am, but we all want the same thing. A better thing for all of us, Noir. Fewer humans. It'll save the world." Noir felt sick to his stomach. The charming spell Vickie had placed on him kept him from acting on it right away. But Noir let his disgust corrode Vickie's influence over him. A bit at a time. Noir instead spoke in a monotone. "Culling." "Depopulation is needed, Noir. Your species is too wasteful, too disastrous on nature. Your betters can fix you though." Vickie patted him on the cheek, like one might pat a dog. "I won't let any harm come to you, Noir. But you can help me fix Newport. Be good, and I promise you all of me for yourself." Noir's body liked that idea. He chided himself. This internal conflict felt like one he was going to lose. Boards snapped. They creaked. Crack. The wooden door to the dining room exploded off its hinges. It flew into a nearby wall. "What the hell is that?" Vickie spat, staring at the source of the door crash. "Her?! I thought she'd checked out this morning-" The creature in the doorway wasn't the same Jesha that Noir or Vickie had seen before. It was a huge, black-furred wolf. It stood nine feet at the shoulder. Black, red and blue dreadlocks hung from her head. Both of the wolf's eyes glowed a bluish white light. Its fangs were bared, growling at Vickie. "Jesha?" Noir scratched his head. "Uh... you are bigger than I remember..." "'The better to eat you with, Red Riding Hood,'" The Wolf responded. It sounded like Jesha's voice, except translated through a set of guttural sounds that made Noir take an involuntary step back. "Hey bitch! Catch!" Vickie didn't waste anytime. She picked out the Inn's reception desk and threw it at Jesha. The desk flew through the room. "Try harder than that." Jesha ducked under the desk, which crashed into the ceiling above her. Jesha dashed under the caving ceiling. She fell down upon Vickie, claws extending from paws and teeth clamping down onto the beatific undead blood drinker Noir had helped to create. Noir wasn't sure Wolves were supposed to have claws at all. "Argh!" A moment later, however, there was a snap of bone. "Get off of me you big FATASS BITCH!" Jesha's left front leg bent the wrong way as Vickie broke it. The giant wolf snapped at vickie, trying to get a hold of her. Vickie used her smaller size, dodging each snap. "Get back here!" Vickie leapt at Noir, grabbing him by the neck. Noir didn't resist as Vickie grabbed him. Vickie dragged him. "Stop! One move and I kill him! How many things do you think he's got that are ready to come out if he bites it?" Jesha hesitated. Her eyes betrayed a frown of frustration. She backed up a step. "Fine. Don't hurt him." "Good. Stay right there Bitch." Vickie dragged Noir, moving toward the busted front wall of the Inn. Massive bites had left her right arm a bloody pulp. She limped as she dragged Noir with her. "You stay, until we are good and far away, you got it? Or-" Vickie paused. She let go of Noir, shivering. Noir held up a hand, eyes closed. The spell sustaining Vickie flowed into him. He looked it over, drawing in energy around him. He took the entirety of the spell that Vickie had been kept alive with. The spell had been corrupted. The once living, beautiful creation of his had been warped and corrupted. It had grown cancerous, taking more and more from Vickie. It had replaced most of what she'd been originally. Noir shattered the spell. He took out every thread, every piece of it. The shards of it blew apart, like ashes in the wind. He opened his eyes to see a bloated, waterlogged corpse, covered in blood, on the floor behind him. Still. Unmoving. He moved away from it, stepping out of the Sleepy Bear Inn. The sun had come out, and not a single ghost could be seen in the sky. All of them had gone, released like rubber bands from a pin that had been chaining them down. "Oh. Too much. Too... much..." Noir felt drained. His arms went limp. Part of him wondered what had happened to Bert and if he'd see him again. Blackness hit him as he slumped onto the ground. "That is so cute. You never watched him sleep before?" Jesha asked. "That sounds creepy as hell to me." Bert replied. "Just turn the music up and let him sleep." "Whuh?" Noir sat up. His hair had been frazzled. He was in the cadillac, and his head throbbed. "Newport... Giant wolf. What happened?" Jesha looked back at him from the passenger seat. "You talk in your sleep you know." "Bert why is there a strange person in the car?" Bert shrugged. "She insisted." Jesha waved her right hand at her arm, which hung in the sling. "Bert took pity on a cripple. You, on the other hand, I decided to take along too. Necromancer might be handy." "Right." Noir shook his head. "You can't stay-" "You think you get a choice in this? I still haven't gotten that kiss from you." Noir blushed. He tried to avoid her gaze. Jesha chuckled. "That's what I thought, Noir."