At first I wasn’t sure what happened. There was some pain and then more pain and I was on the floor. I reached up to grab my head then realized I had done that myself. As soon as Specter said what Doug was planning, I did what I could to get him out of me. I remembered his feeling of shock just before I kicked him out. I knew his name now because he had told me. I couldn’t see much of his mind but he let me see that at least.
“Specter? Specter?” I got up, rubbing my forehead.
Specter was struggling. “Chance, untie me–hurry!”
I looked around. “Where did he go?”
“I don’t know, I think he went upstairs–come on, untie me. I’ll get the gun and get him,” Specter said breathlessly. I hurried around to untie him and as soon as my fingers touched the cord I hesitated. Why had Doug gone upstairs? He was super determined to get what he wanted which I now knew was Villy. So what could possibly be upstairs?
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m sure, come on hun, untie me.” Now I froze. Then went around to face him. “What are you doing?!”
I put my hands on his cheeks. “I love you,” I said.
“I love you too now untie me before he comes back!”
I let go of his face and backed up, looking around and spotting the ghost gun Specter had brought. I picked it up and pointed it at him. “Get outta him.”
“What? Chance?! What are you–he’s upstairs!”
“I know you’re possessing him now,” I said as firmly as I could. The gun felt heavy and icky in my hands but I kept it pointing. “So get out of him.”
I wondered if he would keep arguing but instead he began laughing. “How did you know?”
“Because Specter wouldn’t have said he loves me back. He would have been yelling at me, and probably cussing.”
“Wow, great husband you have.”
I smiled. “I know. He’s wonderful. Now get out of him.”
“Why don’t you just shoot me now?” he asked with a super creepy smile on his face. “You would, I know you would. Except you don’t know what would happen to Specter’s body if you did. I know what would happen. I know about those things. It will hurt him. Could kill him. If it kills my spirit, it will kill his.”
I frowned. Did ghost guns work that way? I looked down at it then at Specter. Er. Doug. I couldn’t trust him–but then why hadn’t Specter shot me? Not after the gun was pulled out, the real gun, but… I shook my head, feeling super confused. “Look, you’re not going to get Vilkas.”
“Oh. I’ll get him.” He said that so calmly that it sent a shiver down my spine. “One way or another. You think that will kill me for good?” He jerked his chin towards the gun in my hands. “No. I’m powerful. And you don’t want to shoot anyway.”
He was right, I didn’t want to. I lowered the gun a bit. “Just leave,” I said. “Please.”
“I’ll kill you.”
“Then kill us, but you don’t want to.”
I sniffled and then looked around, trying to figure out what to do. I felt terrible. The image of hurting Uncle Kay was running through my head. I had tried to fight but couldn’t, he was too strong. It wasn’t until the knowledge of him wanting to hurt Vilkas that I had the strength to literally shove him out of my body. “Specter, you’re strong,” I said. “Kick him out. Get him out.”
“Oh, he’s trying,” Doug laughed in Specter’s voice. “Hmm. You know, he’s quite sexy.” He looked down at Specter’s body. “You got yourself a good one. It’s been a while since I had sex. Last time was… oh, about… six months ago. Possessed a guy to get some.” He sighed and sat back, adjusting his weight. “Not the same thing, really. But he was worth it. He got me the gun.” He indicated the gun he had used in my body–we had gotten it from somewhere in the woods nearby. It was buried and sure enough he continued with, “Got the gun, buried it. Got some sex. Killed him…” He stopped at the sight of my face and giggled. “What? I couldn’t have him blabbing about me.”
His lips twisted cruelly. “Am I so different? I do what is needed to get what I want. You’re standing here with a gun, ready to kill me and your husband to protect your kid.” He made a scoffing sound. “I don’t understand doing such a thing. You chose your husband, you didn’t pick your kids–“
“We picked Vilkas,” I said swiftly.
“Mmmm, touché.” He moved around on the seat and pulled at the wrists. “I tied these far too well. You should untie me. I mean what are we going to do? Stay here until the kids get home?” He perked up. “That’s a good idea. You might shoot your husband but could you point that gun at one of the kiddos?”
“DON’T YOU DARE!”
“You and Specter are far too obsessed with your kids. I never understood it. I don’t understand why anyone would want kids.”
“You had kids,” I said hesitantly.
He shrugged. “Yeah but they were had for specific reasons. I didn’t want them, I just wanted a way to keep Sebastian around and he was all sentimental over children. You remind me of him. Must be the eyes. And the freckles. Shame you’re not blond, too.”
I felt queasy and sick and like I might vomit. “You’re my grandfather,” I croaked, clutching my stomach with one hand.
“And don’t you just hate it,” Doug hissed out, eyes narrowing, making Specter’s eyes so stormy and dark that it made me even sicker still. “But we’re connected, Chance. You’re my grandson. We share the same blood.” His voice dropped, the words going very clippy and sharp. “The blood of a murderer.”
“You married a murderer too. How many ghosts did your husband kill? He tried to kill you, yet you jumped right into bed with him. Probably because you just didn’t care.”
“Yes!” he roared, jerking forward, the back two legs of the chair lifting just a bit. “You didn’t care, you knew his job and you didn’t care–“
“Stop!” I cried, backing up.
“–because you thought it was fine, nothing wrong with it, nothing wrong with him murdering ghosts–“
I dropped the gun, falling to the floor while reaching up with shaky hands to cover my ears. “Please…”
“–because you’re my grandson, you have my blood, the blood of a murderer and like me you just don’t care if others live or die as long as it’s nothing to do with you or the people you love–“
“–and that’s who you are, Chance.”
I buried my face in my hands, crying because he was right. I had been a ghost and I never tried to stop Specter from hunting down my kind. I judged the supernatural hunters now but just a few years ago I was happily kissing Specter goodbye as he went to kill ghosts.
“I’ve been inside your mind. I know who you are,” he continued, voice whispery now, washing over me like ice water. “Release me, and I’ll leave you. I know you can’t trust my word but I swear. I will leave Specter alone, I will leave Vilkas alone, all of you. If you help me. We’ll find someone else. Another werewolf, or perhaps a vampire. I’ll enter their body, and I’ll leave you all alone.”
I shook my head, sobbing still.
“Come on, Chance. It’s the best choice. You’ll all be left alone. It won’t do any of you any harm. Specter thinks it’s a good idea. He’s shouting in this head. Begging you to take this deal. Take the deal.”
I looked up, barely able to see through the tears. “Specter wouldn’t be…”
“He is.” Doug leaned forward, staring at me. “Take this deal. Come on.”
I shakily stood up, wiping my eyes off on my shoulders. “No…”
“What? Chance, listen to me–“
“Then I’ll take Vilkas.”
“No,” I said and went to get my phone. I called Gretchen, keeping my eye on Specter and Doug. I was relieved when Gretchen answered. “Hey Gretchen…”
“Chance? Are you okay? You sound like you’ve been crying.”
I took in a deep breath, trying to calm down. “I’m okay. But there’s something going on, and I was wondering if you could pick up the kids today?”
“Well, yeah honey, of course I will,” she said. “Everything is all right?”
My eyes closed tightly. “Yeah,” I lied. “Everything’s fine. Thank you.” I hung up then went over, taking hold of the gun, pointing it at my husband. “No you won’t be taking Vilkas either. Specter…” I felt like I might fall over from dizziness.
“Specter, I love you. So much. And I know you’re trying to tell me to do this. I’m sorry.” I leveled the gun straight at him, closed my eyes, and squeezed the trigger.
I screamed as I was knocked back, not expecting the force of the gun. Specter had never told me how much of a kick these things had. There was a crashing sound and a scream from Specter, too, as I fell. I rubbed my head and then after a few seconds got up, panting for air, scrambling for the gun. Specter was still tied in the chair and it was knocked over so he was on his side. But his eyes were open. Not dead-open. Open.
“Watcher, Chance, I’m okay–I was trying to tell you–the gun wouldn’t hurt me, you got him but I don’t know where he went I blacked out for a second, get me untied.”
I scrambled over and began untying him, crying for joy.”You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay,” I kept repeating over and over. As soon as he was untied I yanked him up and wrapped my arms around him. “You’re okay!”
“I’m f–wait.” He pulled back, holding me at arms length. “Chance?”
“What?” I asked.
“When’s my birthday?”
“I blacked out–the ghost, he…” Specter was looking at me and then he pulled away, going for the ghost gun. He grabbed it and then held it up, pointing at me. I backed up, hands in the air, mind racing of ways to convince him I wasn’t possessed but then I lowered my hands, realizing…
“When is my birthday?” I asked.
“Chance, for Watcher’s sake–“
“You think I’m possessed? You could very well be possessed as well,” I said, feeling naked and weak without the gun. Then I remembered the one upstairs. “How do I know it’s you and not him in there?”
“Damn it, Chance, it’s me,” he spat out angrily. “When’s my birthday? You haven’t answered that question.”
“August twenty-first,” I said and his eyes narrowed. “When is my birthday?”
“September,” he answered as I cautiously stepped towards the stairs. “Thirtieth. Where are you going?”
“Upstairs,” I answered. “If you were Specter, you’d know why,” I added.
“I am Specter, and I know why I just want to know how the hell you know?” he demanded, stepping with me. “Except he can access memories so knowing my birthday doesn’t mean a thing.”
“Knowing mine then doesn’t mean a thing either,” I said. “So if you know what I’m going for, and you’re really Specter, you wouldn’t care I’m going for it.”
He eyed me and then loosened his arms a bit. “Fine. Let’s get it.”
We went upstairs, me going awkwardly backwards so I could keep an eye on him, and he kept the ghost gun pointed at me, suspicion in his eyes. Was Doug in him? If he could see Specter’s memories how would I ever know? I tried to think of questions that Specter would know the answer to immediately without having to think about it. I tripped on the last stair and scrambled to my feet, going to the bedroom and getting the key from the bedside table and then the gun from its box. I felt better once I had the gun in my hand but now Specter and I were standing there, pointing these guns at each other.
“Now what?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, feeling scared. What if it was just Specter in there? What if Doug was in there? How long could someone be possessed? Long enough to get a gun, bury it, and have some……. intimacy at least. “If he can read your mind–“
“You mean your mind, he’s not here,” Specter said.
“He’s not here either,” I said, rather overwhelmed. “So one of us is lying.”
“How are we going to figure out which?” Specter inquired.
“I… I don’t know.” I lowered the gun a bit and bit my bottom lip. “Specter, I’m scared.” A couple tears came out–it was so hard to stop them. “I’m scared.”
The reaction I got was not one I expected. Specter’s eyes darkened a bit and the tip of his tongue darted out to lick his lips. My eyes got huge and he… Doug… must have realized his mistake. He quickly straightened up and tried to say something about making sure I’d be okay but it was too late because I really doubted Specter would have gotten so turned on by my being scared, and Doug had been in my head and I knew he thrived on fear and it turned him on in a gross, disgusting way.
I guess he sensed I knew because he threw the gun at me and took off running. I had to duck to avoid getting hit, and then took off after him. Unfortunately I was super clumsy and I was running down the steps and I fell. I screeched as I tumbled down the final few stairs and I slammed into the floor in a lot of pain. I felt dizzy and my head pounded. I groaned and started to get up but Specter… Doug was standing over me with the real gun aimed at me.
“How?” I asked, voice quavering from the thudding ache inside of me. “I shot you.”
He laughed. “You missed, you moron. You closed your eyes. You pointed at my HEAD!! I just moved my head and the electricity shot past my head. I just threw the chair over and faked it. Word of advice, shoot at the chest, and don’t close your eyes. Want me to show you?” he added with a grin, leaning forward and swinging the gun towards my heart.
I pushed myself back towards the stairs and then got up, staring at his face and not the gun. “You really think Specter would let you shoot me?” I asked, squaring my shoulders and looking hard into his eyes.
“You let me stab your precious Uncle,” he said darkly. “I meant what I said about us not being so different. I also meant what I said. You help me, and I’ll leave your kid alone.”
“No. I’m not letting you,” I said.
He shook his head and then began fumbling in Specter’s pockets till he found the phone. “You say a thing, I will shoot you,” he warned as he messed with the phone. Then he paused. “I don’t know if I can trust you…” He grabbed my arm and hauled me to the bathroom throwing me in and slamming the door shut. I had no idea what he was doing. I yanked at the knob and then began pounding at the door, screaming. I could just barely hear him talking but I didn’t know what was being said or if he was even on the phone though I guessed he was. I threw myself at the door and screamed as loud as I could.
The door was yanked open. “So noisy,” he said, seizing my arm and pulled me out of the bathroom. “I called that old biddy and told her Vilkas was to come here, so in a few hours my new body will be here. Your other kids won’t be here though. Aren’t I nice? I thought it’d be better if they didn’t see it.” He spun around, holding me close. “I’m just such a nice guy, hmm?”
I was dragged to the couch and thrown down but Doug didn’t sit down with me, he just paced around, keeping the gun mostly aimed at me. I watched him moving around as I tried to think of a way out of this. I turned to look over my shoulder at the anti-ghost gun laying near the stairs. Then a hand went on my cheek and my head was pulled back around to face Doug.
“Ah-ah-ah,” he said silkily. “Don’t get any ideas in that empty head of yours.”
I sniffled and then pulled my feet up onto the couch. “So what does that machine you stole do? Put you into a body?”
“Yes,” he said. “I hook the one end up to the werewolf, it fits on like a bracelet, and I touch the other part of the wiring. I think it will be painful but… worth it, oh so worth it. Shame I couldn’t steal the full machine, it works much better, but far too big to steal.”
“How did you know about all this?” I asked, resting my chin on my arms.
“Everett, mostly,” he answered. “He worked with me a lot when I was kept prisoner at the labs. He did a lot of digging on the Roods, those bastards.” He whirled around and kicked the couch I was on. I jerked and scooted away from him. “I hate them. I’m seeing in Specter’s mind I didn’t kill that stuttering moron.”
“How come you used a nail? And not the gun?”
He shrugged and began fiddling with Specter’s bangs. “Sebastian killed me with a nail. I thought it’d be sweet revenge to kill the professor with one.”
I got up quietly since his back was to me now, really focusing on Specter’s hair now. “The professor told me you shouldn’t have your powers anymore, how come you need to possess people if you can uh, solidify?”
As he talked I began tiptoeing towards the stairs. “I can’t solidify anymore completely, I lost that one. I still have my psychic powers, and I can possess. I’ve gotten talented at changing my form, and such. Ugh this hair is awful. And this beard. I should do him a favor and shave it all off. Hah!”
I glanced over and saw he was busy laughing maniacally so I took this chance to dive at the anti-ghost gun. I hit the floor hard but my fingers managed to wrap my fingers around the handle. I rolled onto my back and pointed where he had been but he wasn’t there anymore. I got to my feet, nearly dropping the gun since my hands were all sweaty.
Then Specter was standing up from the other side of the couch, rubbing his head. He saw me and quickly put his hands up. “WAIT! He’s not in me! Don’t shoot!”
“Like I’ll believe that,” I snorted. “Get out of him.”
“No, Chance, I swear it’s me, and if you hit me with that I don’t know what will happen,” he said quickly, holding his hands up. “He left me, and he turned invisible, I don’t know where he is. We need to get out of here.”
I gulped, hand shaking a bit. I couldn’t trust him. I wanted to shoot but what if it did do something bad to Specter? I had done it earlier but now having a gun on my husband again was not easy. “Specter, I–I have to–“
“If he was in me yes, I’d agree, but he’s not!” Specter shouted. “Chance, please–“
“NO! STOP IT!” I yelled. “JUST SHUT UP!”
“I’m sorry Specter!” I shrieked and I pulled the trigger. Specter/Doug yelped and dove, avoiding getting zapped and then something cold hit me hard. I almost fell as Doug enter me yet again. I dropped the gun and the last thing I did before he took possession was cry out in horror because Specter hadn’t been possessed and I had almost hit him and then I couldn’t do anything because he was in me and making me move.
There was a mad scramble for guns. Specter got the real gun which had been next to him, and Doug got the ghost gun. It was strange as they were aimed at each other. It would hurt him, if I shot him with this, Doug’s voice said in my head. He thinks it will, anyway. Shall I shoot him?
NO! I struggled, trying to fight but he was really anticipating it and fighting back. Please, let him go, just let him go and you and I can stay in here and we’ll take that thingie and go somewhere else, just let Specter go and not Vilkas.
Doug laughed, out loud. “He’s still trying to reason with me,” said my voice. “He’s crying. So pathetic. What is it with Danevbie men being so weak? Sebastian cried a lot. I remember all the times he begged me…”
The images were in my head now since he was thinking about them. Eyes that matched mine staring in fear as blood and bruises covered a freckled face. You’re awful, I said. I kept trying to fight but the images were so awful, too much for me to handle. He switched from the blond man to an image of him thrusting his ghostly hand into a woman with purple hair. I could almost remember the feeling of the hand turning solid since Doug’s memory was so vivid. You deserve hell, I thought, struggling against these memories but it was just too much. I didn’t remember my mother or grandfather at all but it was still painful, and overpowering.
“I deserve hell,” he spoke out loud. “That’s what Chance thinks. What do you think, Specter? You agree with him? Because really, it’s not fair that you’re judging me. You killed so many ghosts… you’re more of a murderer than me! And you’re a necrophiliac.” Specter’s lip curled in disgust as I wondered what a necrowhatsit was. “That means he slept with a dead person,” Doug said. “Namely you. Man, Specter, you chose someone with such a small IQ. So little brains. How can you stand it?”
And then there was a zap as Doug shot the anti-ghost gun. Specter tried to jump out of the way but this time he didn’t manage to. The beam hit his arm… the sound he made hurt me, it sounded so pained–and he collapsed down to the floor. Doug walked over, swaying my hips a bit as we went. He took the real gun and pointed it at Specter’s face.
“I’m done with this,” he said and Specter blinked slowly, clutching his arm. “Chance, any last words? No? Just tears? All right then.”
I tried to look away, I tried hard to look away but I couldn’t. I could see out my eyes and Doug was not looking away. There was a banging sound… but not from the gun. A louder sound. A booming sound, really. The entire house shook. Doug nearly fell over and looked around, dozens of questions going through his mind and he was shouting at me in my mind, demanding to know what it was.
Then incredible pain in my knee. I yelped internally while Doug yelped out loud and down we went. Specter had kicked my… Doug’s… the… this body’s knee. There was another booming sound and the house began shaking continually. EARTHQUAKE! Doug yelled, rolling away from Specter and scrambling towards the bathroom. HOW THE HELL IS THERE AN EARTHQUAKE HERE?! He threw open the door and sat on the ground, hands against the frame, shaking even more than the house.
I was scared, but I thought it was kinda ridiculous Doug was scared since he was a ghost and an earthquake wouldn’t hurt him, and then I mentally kicked myself for thinking that since he knew what I thought and he agreed. He stood up, brushing himself off and then going to Specter again but Specter had the ghost gun in his one hand.
Except there was something wrong with him. His eyes were black. Completely black. The brown, the white–all gone. Just black.
“What the…” Doug searched my brain for some sort of answer but I had none.
Specter spoke, but it wasn’t his voice. It was lighter, higher–but deeper. And all rumbly, and quiet, and whispery, and loud and booming and it hurt, it hurt my ears and it hurt my insides and it hurt. “The Danevbie-Greyson family is protected,” the voice said, coming from Specter’s mouth. “And you will leave.”
Doug snorted. “Who are you to tell me what to do? Do you have any idea who I am? I’m practically immortal.”
Specter smiled, a creepy smile but not creepy in the way he smiled when Doug possessed him. “Practically, my dear, is not fully. I know what you want… you want life. I can give you life.”
“You can do what now? Who… or what are you?” Doug demanded, looking around for the gun, the real gun.
“I am more powerful than you.” Specter looked at the gun in his hand and then tossed it aside and stretched both arms out, hands spread out, palms towards us. “I can give you life. That is all you desire, isn’t it? To be living once more?”
“You can’t do shiiiiiaaaaahhh!” Doug screamed and I screamed because there was pain. Coldness and hotness and it felt like I was ripping in half.
“I am sorry for the pain, Chance,” the voice said and then I staggered back, staring at Doug who was in front of me.
He looked down at his red hands and then snapped his head back up to glare at Specter. “HOW DID YOU–” But he stopped and began gasping. “What–are you… doing… AHHHH!” More screaming. I moved away from him, hugging myself and watching as his body solidified and turned from red, glowy, ghostiness to…
“Oh Watcher,” I said.
Doug was human. Living. Alive. He began grinning and bouncing up and down. “I’m alive. I’M ALIVE!” he yelled “I’M ALIVE AGAIN!”
“Yes,” the voice said. “And now for what you’ve done, receive your punishment.”
Doug was very still and then he began backing up. “Punishment? I need no punishment, I’ve done nothing wrong–“
“Oh, my dear, you have. You’ve murdered so many.”
“Emella, the witch?” Specter stepped forward. “Anthony, the faerie?” Another step. “You even managed to murder Cassidy, the vampire. You wanted their powers. You tried to get their powers.”
Doug was being drawn forward. His feet were digging into the floor and he was flailing his arms, turning around and holding his hands out. “Chance, help me, help me!” he gasped. “I’m your grandfather–you have to help me–please–“
“And if you had your way you would have murdered Vilkas.”
“Time to take your punishment,” the voice rumbled.
Doug began glowing brightly. I covered my eyes because it hurt and Doug was screaming and then his scream was cut short. The brightness dulled and I carefully opened one eye. Specter was picking something up. It was… a rat. A rat?
He smiled, holding the rat… holding Doug. “Max will enjoy you,” he said, running a finger along the rat’s back. “He likes to play with his food.” The rat gave a little flash of light, disappearing from his hand. He wiped his hands off on the coat then came closer to me.
“Who are you?” I managed to ask in a trembling voice.
“Don’t worry,” the voice said calmly. “Specter is fine. He is weak, hurt–from being hit by the gun. But he will be fine.” He reached out and took my hands. “That monster is gone. He will be dead within the hour, I promise. After a bit of… torture from my associate. He has done so much wrong.”
“Who are you?”
“Maybe one day you’ll know.” He leaned in and kissed my forehead in a manner that was more fatherly than anything. “You’re safe now. Goodbye.”
Specter’s eyes got super wide and the blackness faded until his eyes were normal, and then he collapsed forward into my arms. I couldn’t hold him up and we both fell to the ground. “Specter?” I asked but there was no answer. His eyes were closed but he was breathing. He was alive. I held him close, shaking uncontrollably and weeping.