New York's Dolls: pt III


J. Edward Tremlett

(Lights up a new cigarette. Exhales)

Of course poltergeists are real. It's not all teenage girls who want to get down and dirty with the boy next door but don't want to admit it, yet. It's German for "noisy ghost," and that's that they are. Noisy.

And if you want someplace to do your business, you can't pick a worse place than a crackhouse. The folks in there are so fucked out of their skulls that half the time you're playing to an audience of one. Talk about a short attention span.

You see, that's what it's all about. Attention.

They're angry, but they need someone to pay attention or they can't stay angry for too long. People can stay mad forever but I guess these kinds of ghosts can't. The guy who told me about this, he said they need our fear to be the mirror of their anger. Without it they just dry up and blow away after a few years.

More on that later.


Anthony ducked. It was the only thing he could do at the moment. The cloud may have been fast but it wasn't too quick on the turn, and that was all that saved his life.

He booked to the right, heading for the open passageway that he now saw led to the stairs. The stairs went to the left and up, heading for a landing over the kitchen. He could only hope that there were rooms up there with doors or he was in deep, deep trouble.

Behind him, he heard the crashing of metal on metal and a gurgling scream. It sounded like that crackhead, or his friend, had come around at the wrong moment in time.

"Jesus fuck..." he muttered; So much for a harmless 'look and see.' This was going to turn into a bloodbath if he wasn't careful.

As he reached the landing and saw that he had his choice of three doors, he heard the crashing, clashing sound coming towards him. The first door was locked. The second was also locked. He ran down towards the third as fast as he could, praying to the God he'd only played lip service to since he was 12 that it would be open.

But it was also locked. The handle turned but the door would not open. He figured that this was Billy's doing, too, and cursed. The swarm would be on him soon. There was no time for this.

He took a step back as the cutlery swarm turned the corner and headed straight for him, and then he ran at the door with every bit of strength he could muster. He hadn't played football in school, of course, but he'd gotten his father's height and his mother's girth out of the bargain of birth, and it had gotten him through a few scrapes before.

It did this time, too. The door's cheap, flimsy lock tore open the moment he rammed up against it. His momentum carried him into the darkened room and then down just as the swarm flew over his head and shoulders.

He then very quickly reversed direction and ran back out again, closing the door behind him. There was a sound like something metal getting stuck in a fan blade's way, and then the door was shot through and splintered. Fork prongs and sharp, bloody knives protruded from the cheap door, sunk up to the handles and able to go no further.

"Ah..., ha ha," Anthony laughed, his head going light as his heart skipped a few beats. That was just too close. The utensils in the door quivered and rocked, still trying to wiggle their way through...

You can't go upstairs! Billy screamed from downstairs: I won't fucking let you!

"Sorry, kid," Anthony said, running towards the previous door before Billy got any more homicidal ideas. The lock on this one broke as easily as the other one, and he was in.

Inside, there was nothing but a tiny shower stall, a rickety sink and a broken toilet filled with ancient, dried turds and wads of toilet paper. He flicked on the light and found it was broken. Swell.

I'm gonna kill you, mister! Billy shrieked. He was heading for the stairs, now. Anthony could hear the wet SPLORT SPLORT of his bloody stumps on the steps.

As much as Anthony didn't want to do it, he closed the door behind him. It got real dark real quick, so he pulled out his lighter. It was all he'd brought, light-wise.

"Okay," he said: "Good going, boy genius. I guess we just have to hope..."

He looked up, and smiled. Just his luck there was a small access hatch next to the steam vent. He'd have to be quick, but he figured he could pull this one off.

First, he pulled the top from the toilet's reservoir and wedged it between the remnants of the bowl's base and the door. He tested it with his foot and figured it would hold against the kid, at least for a little while.

Then he went over to the hatch and, jumping up, tried to smack the hatch up and over so he could grab hold of the rim and pull himself up. No joy. It was stuck from disuse. Either that or the kid was holding it down.

"Fuck," he muttered. The SPLORT SPLORT noises were coming closer. He could almost feel the kid coming up the stairs, heading for the door. The rage in his eyes would be a terrible thing to see, now...

Anthony took a deep breath, and then looked up again. It was just a piece of wood that had gotten stiff in the joint. Nothing more. There was nothing more holding it down. He refused to believe in it. It couldn't be really held down by a dead kid, could it?

He jumped up, and saw that he was right. The hatch swung up and over and his nostrils were filled with the smell of dust, neglect and decay. He had a good idea of what he'd find up there, but he wouldn't know for sure until he saw it.

I'm gonna get you! Billy screamed from right outside the door. But he was shouting to an empty room. Anthony's feet were disappearing through the hole, and then there was nothing in there but a makeshift barrier and a dried, old stink.

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