The Hell House
Not a short story but I hope you enjoy this. The opening of my new novel "The Hell House" first draft is finished, now I just have to edit it.
The demon stalked toward me opening it's jaws wide enough to swallow a killer whale in one bite. Between it's teeth I could see all the way to the beast's horrendous claws. I took a step back and bumped into a rotted wooden wall. My hands frantically searched my pockets for a vial of holy water. The problem with my job is that I often wear clothes with many pockets. A photographer's vest to store batteries for my equipment, memory cards for my cameras, protective stones, and business cards. Cargo pants held the bigger stuff, back up voice recorders, digital thermometers, holy water, religious amulets, smudge sticks, wallet and keys. The problem with so many pockets is that you can never find anything in the first one you check.
"Cut!" The aggravated voice of the director shouted.
My shoulders slumped and I turned toward the directer. A sawed off little man that always made me think of a hobbit with an attitude problem.
"Frank is this really necessary?" I asked pointing at the poor actor trapped in the demon suit.
"What are you talking about Jack?" The angry hobbit stalked towards to me.
"A demon, holy water..." I reached into a pocket and pulled out a jumble of religious amulets, a Cross, Star of David, a Pentacle, and my pride in joy, a rabbit's foot, "This crap?"
"You wanted the show Jack, you signed the contract, you actually believe in this crap. I'm just here to make it look good and that's what we're going to do." He stood with his hands on his hips, jaw thrust out staring up at me. I'm not exactly tall, between five foot eleven and six foot two depending on the convenience store I'm walking out of. Still he only came to my chest.
"Frank I wanted the show, yes, but this bullshit? I know this is just a promo but come on? When I signed on for this the deal was that we would keep it real. The real life stories of America's leading ghost hunters. That's the tag line Frank. In twenty years I have never once seen a damn demon and if I had I sure as hell never would have pulled out this shit." I shook the jumble of amulets at him.
"Oh great ghost hunters. Tell me smart guy, what would you have done then." I had a feeling this was rhetorical.
"Ran like hell and found a different job."
"The public doesn't want real Jack, they want the demons and the fear, so play the game, or go to hell. I don't give a shit really. Your ratings drop any further and you'll be on your ass anyway."
I stared down at the man and thought. After three years I was ready for the show to end anyway.
"Since you put it like that." I held the amulets out over Frank's head. "I believe I'll go to hell. See you Frank."
I let go of the jumble of junk and walked off the set. Frank called my name but I didn't turn around. I was done.