Geist

Chapter 7 Eddie Makes a Deal

As Shamm and Saluna led an unmistakably awed Evyn on a grand tour of the Afterworld, Eddie lagged behind, gradually drifting away from them. The road sign said he was heading the opposite direction of his home, but he didn't much care. Nothing mattered anymore if this fragile scheme, which didn't even benefit him, was uncovered by that wicked sorceress and her hideous husband. Certainly they couldn't kill him, but not even ghosts were immune to pain. Melda Rick was just waiting for something like this to happen. A time when she could toss civility out the window and unleash all the pent up anger and hatred that had been fueled on numerous occasions throughout her death.

Eddie recalled the old fairy tales and myths he used to tell his two young children before his murder. In his home country of Germany, stories with happy, or even complete, endings were rare. But one thing that remains constant about fairy tales, from the beginning of time, to the end of it, is the way villain's minds work. There was always, and will always be a lust for something with villains. Power, money, the other gender. And if it isn't that, it's just some sort of evil brewing inside them. Whether that evil had an explanation or not was up to the author. Sometimes there is no plausible or visible reason that the villains do bad things, they just do.

He snickered dryly to himself as he thought about how the rule of fairy stories did not apply in real afterlife. Melda needed the reason. She had the motive, she had the ability, all that was missing was the reason. And now, she had that reason. He knew he himself wasn't in danger if he simply gave up the child willingly without a fight. But he also knew that Shamm, and maybe Saluna, wouldn't give up that easily. Not that he liked them or anything, but good, qualified teachers were scarce.

The girl. That's who he was worried about. If they did get caught, it would make no sense for Melda to kill her. She'd just end up in the Afterworld permanently-and legitimately. No, the sorceress would concoct something far more sinister. Maybe kill her and lock her out in the sunlight, or perhaps an exorcism. Both of these seemed very unlikely though, once Melda's bottled rage poured out, Evyn's (or whatever her name was) demise would be much more drawn out and complex than that. But he didn't like to think of it.

Eddie stopped walking and sat, on a path side bench, deep in thought. But a noise captured his attention. Right across the path, a bush rustled.

Odd, he thought, there's no wind out tonight. Must be a bat.

Reassured that the creature in the bush was a bat, he slipped back into his pity party. But it rustled again, this time louder and with more force. He eyed it warily.

"What the-?"

Slowly, the ghost stood from the bench and walked toward it, growing more uneasy. He stretched his hand to it. Somewhere in the distance, the Psycho theme song is playing. I'm consulting the Magic 8 Ball, all signs point to negative, GET OUTTA THERE, EDDIE!

But instead of a horrible, tentacled monster, as he had half expected, a teenage boy tumbled out. Eddie recoiled hastily, but the boy didn't even notice him. He was tending to his scratched up arms, grimacing.

"Stupid thorns..."

The geist's anxiety vanished. The principal inside him rose.

"Very funny kid, now get back home, before I tell your guardians you've been goofing off instead of doing your homework."

The boy gasped and fell backwards, staring wide-eyed up at him. Eddie gave him a stern look.

"Now boy, or it's two day's detention, let's go."

He still didn't move. Eddie sighed heavily and was about to grab him by the ear and drag him back to his guardians, when he realized the boy didn't have pointed ears. Everyone on the Afterworld had pointed ears, no matter what species you were. No one quite knew why... But this boy's ears were rounded off-like a human's!

He yanked his hand away as if he'd been bitten by a snake and took a step back, unable to believe it.

"They're multiplying!" he cried, almost hysterically. "Ya get one in here, and they spread like bunnies!"

Just as he was about to run off into the distance, screaming a few octaves higher than that of an average woman, the boy leaped up with new found courage and caught him by the ponytail.

"Curses."

Percy twisted the hair to prevent Eddie's escape and sat him back down on the bench. That right there just shows how pathetic and underdeveloped a ghost's muscles can be. Now do you feel better about going down into the basement to confront the ghost in the laundry room? Honestly, if you have a baseball bat, you'll be perfectly fine.

"Okay, Mr. Ghost, now just calm down," he reasoned, "and listen to me."

Eddie drew in some deep breaths, not knowing how much more of this mortal business he could stand. But he nodded anyway.

Percy let go of his hair and crossed his arms.

"Where's Evyn?"

The ghost groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, sick of that subject.

"How should I know?" he muttered, "Rox took her somewhere."

Confused, Percy raised an eyebrow.

"Rocks? What rocks, I didn't see any-"

"Ugh, ROX kid, R. O. X., Shamm Rox."

The boy scratched his head.

"I didn't see any four-leaf clovers anywhere either..."

Eddie was getting really annoyed. Shamm's name was always hard to explain to people. Especially mortals.

"No, it's the redhead's name. Her name! Shamm - first name, Rox - last name. GOT IT?!"

Percy nodded quickly. "You mean the one wielding the blowtorch."

"...Yeah. Whatever." he went back to rubbing his temples and swore repeatedly under his breath. Still nodding slightly to himself, Percy repeated the name quietly. Eddie glared at him.

"What are you doing here anyway mortal?" he interrogated, "How did you get in for one thing?"

The teenager looked sheepishly down at his feet.

"I followed you four in," he said, "I read the riddle Shamm gave Evyn two days ago and I wanted to make sure it wasn't some dumb joke, so I followed her too, and saw the whole deal with the camera and everything. By that time, I was really worried about her and so when the 'new student' suddenly showed up and was being all friendly to her, I got suspicious of her motives, so I followed them and heard about this place," he paused for oxygen, "and eventually followed you all into the crypt and got sidetracked by sirens, so I guess I lost them and followed you accidentally and...and now we're here having this conversation."

Eddie gaped at him.

"...The end."

Shaking his head and still trying to process all the information he'd just received, the ghost said accusingly,

"So basically all you've done is follow people around? How long were you planning on keeping that up?"

Percy sat on the bench next to him and absently counted the stones on the path.

"I guess I knew my luck would run out sooner or later," he said finally, "it's just...she's my best friend...well, my only friend actually and I didn't like seeing her going through all this weird stuff." He glanced over at Eddie.

"No offence."

The ghost shrugged.

"Plus, I had no idea if she was going to get hurt or even killed. There'd be nothing I could do to stop it, but I still couldn't let her go alone."

Sighing, Eddie started counting the stones as well.

"You could've just told her all this, instead of letting her end up here," he mumbled, really regretting allowing this to happen himself, "would'a saved us the all this trouble,"

Percy nodded but was silent and Eddie turned to face him, dead serious.

"She's in danger, kid," he said flatly, true sympathy in his eyes, "there's two beings I know of already, who don't want your friend here. Not to mention, my afterlife's on the line too, and I'm not very happy about it."

The boy hopped off the bench with a decided look on his face and held out his hand.

"If you help me get Evyn out of here, I promise, you'll never see or hear from us again. Deal?"

Slightly amused that this naive teenager was willing to make such an unsteady deal, Eddie smiled wryly and shook his hand.

"Deal. But there's no promises, got it?" he clarified, "your life's in danger now too and if at any time you bail on me, I'm tossing in the towel and ratting out your friend."

Percy grinned.

"Don't worry, if the rest of this cemetery's as weak as you, we'll have this whole thing over in about an hour."

A/N: Yay! The two most boring characters have their own chapter, isn't that cute? I hinted at Eddie's time of death, did you notice that? Aw, and he had kids...sad.