EQUAL: Season I
The woman's footsteps rang out as she bulleted down the dark and desolate highway. She kept running, too afraid to look back. Too afraid to see what was there. Too afraid to see him, or it. Her fear continued to grow exponentially as she kept thinking of what she had seen so briefly. A tear began to slide down her cheek. "I don't wanta die," she whimpered.
BANG! It was in front of her. Her scream was silenced just as soon as it began to leave her lips. Her lifeless body fell to the ground with a sickening thump.
Justin Reeks had been a cop for two years now. When he saw the abandoned car on the side of the road, he knew one of two things were about to happen. Either he would continue down the road and find the dead body belonging to the car, or there would be missing persons tip the next morning about someone who didn't return home that night.
He saw a lump protruding from the road. He knew right then it was the first option. His patrol car slowed to a halt. He called in on his radio giving his coordinates and the situation.
Peering down at the body, there was no sign of cause of death, but that didn't mean there wasn't one. He sighed along sigh. This was going to be a long night.
Josephina (Josie) Billings, a twenty-one year old junior in college, strolled on the lit sidewalk next to her oldest friend Sam Livings, throwing her long blonde hair back from in front of her face. "That was a great movie," Josie remarked casually breaking an odd silence that had befallen the two college friends.
"No it wasn't. That was complete and utter crap. It began like a comedy, then switched to an hour of porn, then ended with the thirty most gruesome and horrifying minutes of my life," Twenty-two-year-old Sam said passionately a large grin spreading across his face.
"I know, it was pretty bad. It was your choice, I didn't want you to feel…" She began but stopped mid sentence as the pulse they were walking in halted. In the park across the road they saw a group of people gathered around a fire dressed in black. They were hoisting a body into the air. It eerily matched that of the crucifixion of Jesus.
The body being lifted twisted and turned defiantly. Blood red markings seemed to painted on his naked chest. Sam began to feel very uneasy in the pit of his stomach. They had to do something. He snapped is head towards Josie. She stared right back and nodded.
They began to sneak behind the trees of the park to get a better look. This was definitely some sick ritual. The beating of drums was surprisingly soft, but present. The dance around the fire mirrored the percussive pulse.
None of the seven dancers were armed. There was no defense whatsoever. Josie could easily take two of them at a time. They looked scrawny and starving. With her history of tae kwon doe, her training in bow staff, and being the captain of the girl's lacrosse team, she knew she could take them. She knew that Sam would be just as likely to be able to beat a couple of them to a pulp. He was the quarterback of the college football team and spent hours each day in the weight room.
Sam looked like your everyday jock. His brown locks of hair reached his eyebrows and were beautifully combed. He had the build of a football player, and yet he acted nothing like the others. In fact he could not stand them.
"Here," Sam said handing Josie a stick from the tree next to him. It seemed very strong and sturdy, and best of all was the point at the tip.
"You ready?" Josie asked raising her eyebrows. She was not only asking him, but challenging him.
With that they sprinted from their hiding spots. The ritual began to break apart. One dancer ran toward Josie, three towards Sam, one to the sacrifice, and two split yelling about something having to do with a ritual prophecy.
Josie surprised her attacker with her knowledge of the martial arts. She easily knocked him out with a dodge of his first attempt to punch her and a hard smack across the back of his head.
Sam was having a little more trouble. The three attackers surrounded him and began to attack simultaneously. Sam ducked under the first punch thrown. He threw his own fist out towards one of the life forms. It made contact but with the contact one of the other attackers landed a punch across his own face. Sam could feel the blood begin to flow from his nose. Another punch followed in his moment of weakness. It smashed into the side of his torso knocking the wind out of him. For a moment he felt as though he would never breath again. He was trapped underwater. Arms reached around his neck pulling him into a hold in which he could not escape. The other two began to lay one punch after another.
Josie swung her staff hard into the back of one of the attackers. He stopped punching his victim and fell backwards. Pain filled his senses. He scrambled to his feet and began to run from the fight. The other attacker stopped punching as well, "It's true."
With that the attacker ran. The arms around Sam unhooked and the body they belonged to disappeared into the trees. "Sammy, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Sam gasped, "What about the kid?"
Josie saw the sacrifice laying on the ground, "Oh no!"
She ran towards the body. He was face down, but did appear to be breathing. She rolled him over. He looked to be a little younger than she was, but he was definitely shorter. He had unusually pale skin and completely black hair. She shook his body lightly, "Kid? KID?"
"Wha?" The sacrifice opened his eyes slightly. It took him a moment to remember what was happening. "Shit! Help! Someone! Help!"
"No, stop screaming. It's okay, they're gone," Josie's voice had a soft, caring undertone. His muscles relaxed slightly. He surveyed the surroundings. It was obvious they were gone.
"That means…" his eyes began to slide open to the size of saucers. He had pitch black irises, which made him look slightly eerie. "You two are the ones in the prophecy thing."
"What are you talking about? Are you okay?" Josie asked a little worried.
"Yes. You two are the ones in that prophecy thing. My mom always said that you two would come at a time when I needed help and that I was going to be the one who helped you. I didn't believe her, but here you are! I thought it was just a story!"
Josie couldn't catch everything he said he was speaking so fast. He was obviously very excited about Josie and Sam. Her thoughts began to shift to Sam. She looked over to his body still lying in the grass. His chest raised and fell at an even tempo. He sat up and shook his head. Blood had created a trail from his nose and mouth to a stain on his shirt. Bruises looked as though they were forming rapidly. "You okay Sammy?"
Sam raised a hand and nodded dismissing the question. "Is he good?"
She shifted her attention again. "Can you stand up?"
"Yeah." With that the sacrifice lifted himself up. He wobbled for a moment. It took him a moment to regain his balance. He blinked rapidly in succession.
"What's your name?" Sam asked still sitting where he had fallen.
"Benson? That's an interesting name."
"Just call me Ben," Ben shrugged.
"Ben," Josie began, "Who were those people?"
"Oh, vampires," Ben commented casually.
"Vampires, of course," Sam laughed sarcastically.
"Yeah, watch," Ben said as he picked up Josie's makeshift spear. He strolled over to the body Josie had knocked out. He lifted the stick, point down. He thrusted it into the body of the man. It punctured the man's heart. Instantly his skin began to light on fire. As he screamed his entire body became engulfed in flames. His screams began to die out as his body was reduced to a pile of black ash.
"Oh my God. What did you do?" Josie exclaimed, worried more about what Ben had just done rather than the strange happening she had just witnessed.
"It's okay. He's a bad guy. And I'm only half vampire. If there is anything vampires hate more than humans, it's vamans," Ben explained.
"Ha, cute, vampire-human is a vaman," Sam commented semi-casually. He hadn't been able to completely process what he had just seen before him. Nothing added up.
"You two are the one's in my mom's prophecy," Ben began to explain, excitement poured through his veins.
"Okay what?" Josie questioned everything opening up so fast.
"Let me explain. My mom is a vampire, my dad is human, you get the idea. Anyways, my mom always told me a story when I was young about the two heroes who were to save my life. When you did I would end up helping you to realize your potential and you two would be the next heroes to keep the equal balance between the two worlds."
"Two worlds?" Josie interrupted.
"Yes, this world, and what you would call the paranormal world. There has been traffic coming from the paranormal world lately. Vampires travel as they please as they belong to both worlds, but ghosts and any other creatures are not allowed to pass into this world. For thousands of years, the paranormal beings have been breaking these rules with no real consequences. You two are the heroes who will restore the equality.
"My mom told this story to many. Most just laughed at her. Others created followings of the two great leaders and here you are. Unfortunately most of those followings do not last because of the non-believers attacks on them. But she was right all along. My mom died last year, when I was nineteen. She left this prophecy etched in the hearts of many paranormal beings. They fear you two. They love you two. They know she is right. It's me they don't believe in. They don't think I can help you two. They're probably right," Ben shrugged.
Sam was standing now with a shocked look on his face. "For some reason, I believe you."
"Well I don't," Josie said dismissively, "How is all that possible and no one in this world knows about them?"
"Lots of people know. Most ghost stories are true," Ben smiled. He couldn't grasp the fact that they did not know about this alternate world
"How are we supposed to believe you?" Josie continued to interrogate.
"I believe him," Sam shrugged, "Did you see that body just burst into flames? And is it really that hard to believe that some ghost stories are actually authentic?"
"Yes, it is hard to believe they are true, because they are not!"
"Yes they are!" Ben butted in.
The shouting between the three began to increase. Sam arguing with Josie about it actually being possible for ghosts to be real. And Josie arguing with Ben about the existence of the paranormal world.
"What if I prove to you two that this all exists? What if I showed you a real ghost?" Ben began, the shouting died.
"Fine," Josie challenged.
"Sure," Sam chimed in.
"I'm sure you two have heard about the killings on Route 123. The people who get killed after abandoning their cars. And when they are found by the police there is no cause of death."
As a matter of fact, both Sam and Josie had heard of the killings. They had taken place right near George Mason University (the college they both attend).
"Well, that is no ordinary serial killer. That's a ghost. I can feel it. It matches that of a vengeful ghost. Let's go see him tonight."
Sam and Josie looked at each other shocked. Josie felt scared that she may be wrong about the ghosts and Sam felt scared that he might be right.
"Fine," Josie's challenge was weaker this time.
Sam pulled his large, black truck up on the side of Route 123. The three got out, Ben wearing one of Sam's workout shirts, which fit more like a dress than a shirt. Sam's heart was racing. He being the biggest and oldest of the three would be the most likely to be the bravest and yet the scrawny, twenty-year-old was braver.
"Hey ghostie, come out come out wherever you are!" Josie joked weakly. A shiver ran down her spine after she said it.
Bang, Bang, Bang. The sounds caused the three of them to huddle together.
"Was that someone shooting?" Sam asked nervously.
"Shit no. This is bad. This is worse than I thought. We didn't come armed," Ben said hurriedly, "Back to the car!"
The three of them began to run towards the truck. As they did another bang rang out causing Josie to scream.
"Hey!" The voice from mid air seemed to fill their heads. It was deep with a hint of a malicious tone.
"Who's there?" Sam whimpered trying to take control. He kept telling himself it wasn't true. This was not happening.
"Right here!" Sam heard the voice come from behind him. He spun around wide-eyed only to see a pickax come flying towards him. The flat side of the pickax smacked his chest. Josie could swear she heard his ribs break even over his painful screams.
The pickax rose again. This time the sharp end inserted itself into his forearm. Blood began to leak from the puncture. Screams flowed from Sam's mouth just as the blood flowed from his arm. "Oh my god!" He screamed his senses flared with the pain he felt. He then felt something even more horrifying. His body was being dragged. "NO please! Help!"
"Sammy!" Josie screamed watching his body being dragged by the invisible entity. The blood from his arm began to create a trail that both Ben and Josie followed. Sam's screams began to die out as he was dragged further down the highway.
Josie and Ben continued to sprint along the dark road following the darker trail of blood. Josie had to strain her eyes just to see where she was going, but she could tell that Ben was having no trouble with his sight. If he really was half vampire, this chase should be no problem for him.
The blood trail veered left and off the road. The two followed it. They arrived just in time to see the pickax in the air again, this time aimed directly for Sam's chest.
"No please," Sam gasped, feeling weaker as each painfully slow second droned on. He could see the pickax but not the thing holding it. It seemed that that was more horrifying than the pickax that was about to kill him. "NO!"
The pickax began to slice through the air. It was heading straight for Sam's chest. He didn't have the energy to move. He clenched his eyes closed waiting to die.
Josie saw the pickax beginning to make its way towards Sam's body. She leapt at it in desperation. She smacked straight into it knocking it far off the side of the road and into the curtain of darkness surrounding them.
Ben and Josie lifted Sam together and began to move as fast as they could in the direction of the truck. They hadn't traveled as far as Josie had remembered. They reached the truck without anymore attacks. She opened the back door of the truck and slid Sam into the seats. Reaching into his pocket she found his keys. With Ben in the passenger seat she turned the ignition and slammed the accelerator pedal down causing the rubber tires to squeal. The truck raced into the darkness towards Josie's dorm room.
Ben and Josie raced into her dorm while carrying Sam. They laid him down on her bed. Her roommate was out for the week because of the death of her father so Josie didn't need to worry about her.
Josie had been in the girl scouts starting in elementary school, all the way to high school. She knew what to do to dress Sam's wound, but she was afraid of the possibly broken ribs. She felt more scared now than she did when they were being attacked. She didn't want to lose him. She was too afraid to take him to the hospital because she figured that she would have to tell them what had happened and she wasn't so sure they would believe her if she tried. Ben felt the same way.
Josie cleaned his wound and began to dress his it rapidly. The blood began to soak the bandage she made from his shirt. But it was definitely already slowing. She prayed it would stop. She felt better. The makeshift bandage was working. "Sam? Sam?"
He didn't respond. His eyes remained closed. She felt for his pulse. It was there, but she couldn't help but notice that it was weaker than normal.
"Sammy please. Sam! SAM!" Josie began to scream beating her fists on the floor of her room.
Ben covered his mouth. He could feel tears forming in his eyes. Sam couldn't die. He just couldn't. It was his job to teach the two heroes and so far he had managed to get one of them killed. He began to do something he had not done since his father's death when he was ten. He began to pray.
"SAM! SAMMY! SAMMY!" Josie began to scream with tears streaming down her face. Fear filled her senses. "SAMMY!"
"Wha…" Sam murmured. His eyes opened to slight slits. Light beamed down at him. Was he dead?
"Oh Sammy," Josie let out an exasperated breath.
Ben's eyes shot down at Sam. He began to feel thankful. His prayers were answered.
Ben sat in the library. A large book of records was opened in front of him. He was lazily reading each entry trying to find some clue of why that ghost haunts Route 123.
Josie hurriedly walked into the library. She sat next to Ben. "All right, Sam is still sleeping. It's three o'clock in the afternoon, should I be worried?"
"We all had a long night last night, but he had an especially hard one. Let him sleep. I think I may have just found why our ghost is haunting Route 123."
"Oh? Let's hear it?" Josie inquired. She now of coarse fully believed in everything Ben had said, although she was still skeptical on why she and Sam were prophesized to do great things.
"All right, it says here that James Canyon was shot by an inmate while helping build the road as a part of his sentence after murdering his wife. Just so you know ghosts usually have a violent past. Anyways, it continues to say that the officer in charge that day didn't want to deal with the death of his responsibility so he had the other inmates bury the body with the pickax so no one would find him. Fifty years later the police found out about all this but no case was opened because of the span of time and the history of the victim."
"That all makes a lot of sense. Hence why he was using a pickax and the bang sounds are from the murder weapon of his murderer. My question is how come he tried to kill us with a pickax, but all the others killed by him had no cause of death?"
"Well, my guess is that when he killed those people, he was gaining energy. This energy he used to pick up the pickax and to make himself invisible."
"All right, do you know how to kill this guy?"
"Uh yes, I think. This is a very vengeful ghost, and obviously he has never cared for other humans. We need to extinguish him, but the problem is that we don't have the materials."
"What do we need?"
"A shotgun and salt bullets. That's how you kill any ghost. We need to shoot the ghost. That should do it." Ben shrugged.
"I think I know where we can get the shotgun. My brother hunts a lot. He would lend me the shotgun. In fact, I bet he would let me have one. God knows he has enough of them."
"Sounds good! Let's go check on Sam."
With that the two of them got up and began to walk towards Josie's dorm.
When they reached the dorm room, Sam was awake.
"Where have you guys been?" Sam asked looking up at Ben and Josie.
"We were researching the ghost that tried to kill you," Josie replied nonchalantly.
"We're going to get him tonight," Ben chimed in. Josie whirled around and glared at Ben. He looked at her questioningly.
"Oh, how are we going to do it?" Sam asked.
"Just me and Ben. Not you Sam. You are not well enough," Josie commanded uselessly. She knew he would want to be there too.
"What the hell are you talking about? You can't expect me to just lie here while you guys get to go kill things. I'm going!" Sam commanded back.
"We're not arguing about this Sam, you are not going!"
"Josie's right Sam, you are not well enough. You could get hurt, or even killed," Ben attempted.
"Whatever," Sam sighed and rolled over facing away from Josie and Ben. They left the room without another word. This was his chance. He snuck out of the bed and crept behind them. Pain seared from his ribs, this was not healthy. He snuck into the back of his own truck, which they were actually stealing to use. And waited for them to drive off with him in the bed of the truck.
Josie and Ben (and Sam) pulled up in the same place they had parked the night before on Route 123. They got out of the car, this time ready for what they were about to face.
BANG! "Are you back again?" The malicious voice croaked from the air. The pickax raised above Ben this time. Josie raised her shotgun with the salt bullets loaded in it. She didn't know exactly where to aim, and with only two shots, she had to be careful. She didn't want to hit Ben either.
"Ben!" Josie screamed. He leapt out of the way just as the pickax swung down over his head. Josie took aim at nothing and shot.
"Missed!" The voice cackled. He was playing with them. The end of the pickax punched Josie hard in the stomach causing her to fly backwards and the shotgun to fall out of her hands and under the truck.
The pickax raised itself from the ground. Ben raised himself as well chasing after the pickax. It swung around with out warning throwing him in the opposite direction of Josie.
The pickax rose again this time ready to strike a blow into Josie's chest as it had attempted the night before on Sam.
"JOSIE!" Ben screamed. She peered at the pickax, frozen in fear. She began to drag herself from the weapon as it held itself above her chest. It began to swing down hard.
BANG! A gunshot rang out. This time, the ghost wasn't causing the noise. The pickax froze momentarily before falling limply out of the air. Josie rolled from the weapon she looked up at the now visible ghost.
She could see the body of the ghost in pure silver light. It had a look of pain on its face. Blood actually began to pour from the hole in his stomach. Ghosts bled. The silvery wisp began to evaporate until all that was left was a bloodstain and a pickax on the road.
Josie whirled around to see Sam on his chest by the bed of the truck. In his hands was the shotgun that had fallen under the truck. He smiled, "That was cool."
Ben's comically shocked look made Sam's smile brighter. He seemed to create light in the darkness of Route 123. Ben helped Josie up then they together helped Sam into the car. His wound looked like it was healing, and he claimed his ribs felt better.
"Is this what every night is going to be like?" Josie asked. She liked what had just happened. Even though her life was almost taken from her, she still felt pure excitement for the first time in her life. Along with that she felt like she was important.
"I believe so," Ben shrugged.
Josie could tell Sam and Ben felt the same as her. Their new lives were different, but even more important than them being different, was that they were exciting.