October 23rd: I found any excuse I could to delay my final confrontation with the forces of evil. And why not? Sara's nightmares and sleepwalking had stopped.
It was funny but despite the weird way our relationship had begun she and I were having great times together, both in and out of bed. We even managed to see a movie without any supernatural incursions or, worse yet, people talking on their cell phones.
Then today happened. Today I came home to find Sara's suicide note taped to the door.
All things considered I got lucky. She was unconscious but alive, after the ambulance stabilized her and took her away I went to the hardware store and bought a container of kerosene...
THE NIGHT BLOGGER:
The Graveyard Game
And Other Cemetery Plots
Under The Eye of Luna
Al Bruno III
...I may have mentioned before that I do not like the smell of junkyards; the swampy, rusty, oily air always leaves me feeling dizzy. The junk yard known as Keller & Sons was no better than any of the rest. In fact, it smelled a little worse than your average scrapyard, there was an undercurrent of something like week-old roadkill. The odor made those far-fetched rumors of this place being a dumping ground for the mobsters of Mechanicville seem suddenly plausible.
My skills at fence climbing didn't fail me and soon I was wandering along the muddy paths that wove through the stripped, ruined cars, tall piles of old tires and dormant heavy machinery. The moon was waxing and gibbous; everything was quiet save for the occasional hooting of an owl. I had my penlight in one hand, the can of kerosene in the other and my trusty carryall/man-purse slung over one shoulder. I also had no idea how I always seemed to end up in places like this at night.
The partial reason was that I didn't think Keller or his sons would take kindly to my asking if I could hunt down the daemon god hiding on their property and maybe set it on fire. The other reason is that it seems that creeping around in the dark is my lot in life.
Cold mud squelched around my feet and seeped into my sneakers. I moved as quietly as I could and only flicked on my penlight when I had to. It didn’t matter though, I couldn’t shake the feeling I was being watched.
I thought of Sara’s chant of “Gorgo! Mormo! Luna! Thousand faced moon!” and looked up into the sky. You didn’t have to be a student of the occult to know that Luna meant the Moon. Is that what was watching me? The idea left a crawling sensation in my stomach but I pressed on.
Finally I found what I was looking for, an old municipal bus; it had no tires or engine and the windows had been painted black. I flicked on my penlight and wasn’t surprised to see it’s markings named it number 55. Was this somehow the same bus prowling the streets of Albany?
The frontmost double doors were practically welded shut but the rear exit doors opened easily.
The first thing I noticed was that the sickening, rotten smell had gotten stronger. Then I realized that the bus was ...occupied.
One sweep of my penlight and a terrified sob later I saw that the figures in the seats were perfectly still. They were corpses, they were completely desiccated and only sat up because they had been tied into their seats. Their faces had been made up with black and white greasepaint. I entered the bus, trying not to think of those damn zombie snakes from before.
The altar of Luna was up at the front of the bus, on top of the gutted dashboard. I had to make my way through row after row of mummified clowns to get to it. With every step I took the crawling sensation moved further from my stomach to my balls.
Were these the things that had ruined my first date with Sara? I suppose they had to be. I opened the can of kerosene and started splashing it around. Who had these people been? Had they volunteered for this or had they been ...drafted shall we say?
Once I was out of kerosene I made my way to the idol of Luna. It was a sphere of finely polished black stone. For a crazy moment I wondered if it was a moon rock.
Then the vehicle’s front doors crashed open and Mister Jack stepped calmly onto the first step. His knife was in his hand. “Tsk-tsk.” he said, “Hasn’t anyone ever told you to respect other people’s property?”
“Stay back!” I shouted, “Or I’ll ...I’ll...”
He grinned his ugly clown grin, “You’ll what?”
Since actions speak louder than words I threw the empty kerosene can at his head. It bounced off his face with a hollow clang.
Then I was backpedaling, not wanting to take my eyes off him as I rummaged around in my carryall. Finally my fingers closed around the brittle page of the Apocryphal Book of Tobit.
Mister Jack shouted and came at me, he was screaming and laughing all at once.
Almost at the rear exit I flung my penlight at his head and missed.
With my free hand I found my lighter, lit up the page and dropped it into the nearest puddle of kerosene.
A second later a sheet of flame engulfed the seats, the mummies and Mister Jack himself...
My sneakers caught fire as well but a convenient mud puddle kept me from having to go to the Emergency Room.
Or the shoe store.
Considering the amount of improperly stored motor oil, the possibility that Mister Jack had escaped the conflagration, and that I already had one court date looming ahead of me, fleeing the scene seemed like a good idea.
I couldn't wait to tell Sara that the mission was accomplished, that everything was going to be all right. I had already gotten halfway back to my apartment when I remembered that she wasn't there.