(Again, to show mercy I've broken this post into two parts. This would be part one of my Halloween adventure.)
It’s a little after one AM when we pull up to the Asian Art Museum in Hydrangea’s Lincoln town car. The wind has picked up. The moonlit shadows of swaying branches dance across the post modern façade of the museum. The giant foo dog statues that guard the entrance seem to stare at us as through the tinted windows.
“This is the place?” I ask. It looks spooky enough. And hey, it is the Asian Art Museum. If you were a reincarnated evil lama, where would you hang out?
“Yes,” Hydrangea says. She’s sitting next to me in her tight satin dress and opera gloves. I can feel her body heat through my Marauder armor. Well, no I can’t, but you know what I mean. “This is the building I saw in my dream.”
“Right, your dream. I hope there’s nothing from my dreams here. If I see a Chihuahua with spider legs, I’m fucking out of here.”
She looks at me from behind her domino mask. “Are you nervous?”
I give her a pshaw laugh and say, “Nervous? I’m psyched, I’m happy to be here. Bring on the Hungry Ghosts I say.”
“Pull around back,” she says through the tinted screen to the driver, and we move.
The driver is a big Samoan dude with braided hair in a black suit with a skinny tie. He could be a Bond villain. I don’t think I’ve heard him say a word.
“What’s up with your driver, is he like, your Kato or something?”
She looks at me blankly.
“Kato. The Green Hornet’s chauffer. He’s a kung fu master.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever met him.”
“Who?” I ask.
“The Green Hornet.”
“No, it’s an old TV show about a crime fighter guy.”
“Oh,” she says. Then, almost apologetically: “I was raised by monks.”
We pull around back and find a police car by the loading bay. The car’s flashing blue and red lights are going, but there are no cops around.
“I sense danger,” she says.
“I’m all about danger, lady.” I really say that.
I open the car door and step out into the crisp October night. Kato turns off the car engine, and it’s suddenly quiet except for the hissing of the wind in the trees.
Nobody in the cop car. The shotgun is gone. The radio squawks softly.
Hydrangea steps out of the town car, holds her hand up as if she’s testing the air.
I walk towards the loading dock at the back of the museum, which is lit by a single glaring halogen. A side door on the loading platform swings open in the breeze. Inside, it’s dark.
I hop up on the platform.
Dead leaves scuttle like crabs across the concrete, scuttling over spent shotgun shells and pools of blood.
I remember thinking, That looks like blood and then I heard a snarl and the dead cop jumps on me, teeth gnashing.
It’s a fucking zombie! The dead cop clumsily grabs at me, bloody teeth snapping at my neck. His eyes roll around in the sockets, unfocused but seeing. Hydrangea shouts, “Look out!” Helpful.
He’s strong, but I’ve got mid-range super strength. I bat him off me and he bounces off the loading dock wall.
“Jesus!” I say, checking my face for scratches. “That’s a fucking zombie!”
Hydrangea runs up. “It’s a ghoul, a corpse possessed by a Hungry Ghost.”
The dead cop springs to his feet with a howl and lurches forward, clawing.
“How do I kill it?” I ask. I’ve got a good six inches on the zombie, so I just hold on to his head and let him flail at me. Colin used to do this to me when we were kids.
“Sever or destroy the head,” she says.
“Kill the brain, kill the ghoul? Okay…” I look around for something, a head-severing implement. “Umm, I don’t really have anything…”
“Just rip it’s head off, you’re strong,” she says. The dead cop is still snarling and clawing at me and making weird gargling noises. He sounds like the Hamburglar, or a tauntaun.
“Gaaah, I don’t think I can do that.”
“Oh, for the love of…” Hydrangea stalks off. The dead cop is swatting at my arm now, trying to bite my wrist. I just tighten my grip on his head.
Once when we were kids my Uncle Steve took us bird hunting on vacation. Our mom just absolutely hated guns and the thought of shooting a living animal was just inconceivable to her, so of course Colin and I were psyched. But when I got out there in the field, I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t bring myself to shoot. It seemed like a good idea until I got out there and actually had to shoot the grouse or whatever it was.
It’s kind of like that with the dead cop. I could crush his head like a grapefruit, or just rip it clean off, but I… I can’t.
Hydrangea reappears holding a tire iron.
She gives me the tire iron. I look at the scrabbling, spitting, gnashing creature at the end of my arm…
…and I knock his head right fucking off.
The head bounces like a soccer ball around the loading dock, trailing gore. Spurting blood, the headless body collapses, twitching.
I look at the tire iron in my hand, it’s dripping with blood. I feel dizzy.
“I’m all right. It’s my first decapitation.”
Then I puke.