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By TAPS_Family_Anthony
#4821201
86th Street
Manhattan, New York
June 2, 1993


The night was hot and muggy. Heat hung in the air, moist and wretched. Car horns blared as the city that never slept kept going, its human pulse stronger in the night than it ever was during the day. Captain James Frump of the New York Police Department rode in the unmarked police car’s passenger seat. He took a napkin and mopped up the beads of sweat on his forehead as the old brown Ford Crown Victoria hit a pothole, bouncing hard, its shocks groaning. The lights of the buildings gleamed and the streetlights glared, flaring off of the glass in sparkling specks of artificial sunlight, sunlight that tried to pierce the heart of one of the blackest nights the city had seen in many years, yet even it failed on nights such as this.

The light pollution blocked out most of the stars and the moon wasn’t even out tonight. One of his detectives, Felicia Stone, was driving. She was a small but tough young woman. She had seen her fair share of violence in the city and had seen all kinds of horror that people could do to each other.

Frump looked her over and wondered how such a woman came to be interested in the law. She was built like an athlete, with brown hair that she kept short. Her eyes were sharp, the eyes of a predatory bird, always watching for the most minute details. She had the brains too. Woman was like a living computer. Her only problem was that she wasn’t one for interacting with people. Then again, Frump thought, that was what quite a few people said about him. He caught a glimpse of himself in the passenger’s side mirror as they passed a well lit intersection, turning towards their final destination.

He was in his late thirties, nearing forty years old he grimaced. He was a tall man, very broad and large, heavy set but was still powerful and quite imposing. He had switched out his police blues for the white business shirt, dark overcoat and black business slack once he hit detective a year ago and had kept the look ever since. He studied his lined face and his tired eyes. Need to lay off the drink a bit, he thought, chewing the toothpick that he always carried with him.

“What’s the address again?” he asked, his gruff voice tainted slightly by his Brooklyn accent.

“487 north 87th street, apartment 305.” Stone replied, her voice even and level. She took the last turn to hit 87th street properly and instantly the neighborhood changed. The streets suddenly weren’t so clean. Litter, paper and trash cluttered the corners. The buildings here were made of old brown stone. What he saw through the windshield confirmed what he was dreading inside their destination. Up ahead, there were three police cars with their blue lights flashing, strobing in the dark, creating a strange staccato effect.

There were police barricades set up, blocking off access to the apartment building that was apparently he focus of all the attention. A white cargo van with a blue stripe sat outside as well, its rear doors open. Its sides were unmarked but Frump knew what it was. Everyone did. Around it, men and women in blue hazmat suits were cataloging things in plastic bags.

Stone pulled the car up to the curb just in front of the coroner’s van and killed the engine.

“You ready for this?” She asked, reaching for her door handle.

Frump made a sound in his throat. “I’ve been doing this for twenty years. You’re never ready for it, no matter how much you think you are. Let’s get it over with.” Sighing, he opened his door and with a little effort, extricated himself from the car. Stone did the same making sure her gun was in its holster on her side under her jacket. They approached the barricade where a young man, a beat cop, probably no more than twenty three years old stood, shivering in his police blues. Frump could hear his teeth rattling. It wasn’t cold.

“Sir, this is a crime scene, you can’t come through here.” He said stammering.

Frump pulled out his badge and flashed it in front of the young cop.

“Relax, half-pint. Captain J. Frump, NYPD, homicide division.”

Recognizing his superior, the young man fumbled and moved the barricade quickly out of the way as Stone and Frump moved behind it, walking purposefully towards the steps leading up to the old brownstone in front of them. Officers, both in uniform and plain clothes hung around the building, trading notes, checking in evidence. The air here was tense, painfully so. Anyone who spoke did so in quiet whispers. Mounting the steps, Frump lifted the yellow police tape to let Stone enter first.

As they moved down the hallway to the stairs leading up to the third floor, nervous tenants had their heads stuck out of doorways looking at the action going on around them, their eyes wide and their voices silent. Death had paid a visit to the building tonight and it was clear that he was not kind during his visit from the expression’s on people’s faces.

“You familiar with the report?” Frump asked. He liked keeping his detectives on their toes.

“Yes, sir. A neighbor called to report that she had heard what sounded like fighting. There were some loud bangs and a woman’s scream. Then it was quiet. Being curious, the neighbor stepped out of her unit and made her way over to 305. She called us when she noticed the blood pool seeping out from under the doorway.” Stone recited in her practiced objective manner.

“So why did they call me in?” Frump wondered aloud.

“That, sir, is what I would like to know. The lead detective just told me to get my ass over here now and to bring you. He said you’d know what to do with it.” She replied as they mounted the stairs.

“I don’t like this, Stone. I’ll be the first one to tell you, something doesn’t feel right about this. I mean, it’s a murder, yeah but something….something is just wrong here….” He said as they hit the first floor landing.

“What do you mean?” she asked, turning down the second hallway, their footsteps strangely loud in the confined space.

“Don’t you feel it?”

Stone shook her head. “It seems quiet, quieter and less busy than most crime scenes I’ve seen. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be feeling.”

They finally reached the third floor and the apartment itself was obvious. Four uniformed cops stood outside, each one not really looking towards the door to the unit, each trying to stay busy. Even the lead coroner and detective were standing outside. Frump scowled. They had a job to be doing.

“Look alive you clowns,” he said gruffly as he approached. “What happened here?”

The lead detective looked up and stammered before giving up.

“I don’t know….I’ve never seen anything like this…”

“Step outside. Get you some coffee and then come back, kid. You look like you’re about to pass out. What do you have, Rodgers?” Frump asked, looking from the pale faced detective to the much older coroner. Dennis Rodgers had been with the NYPD for forty years, and his lined wrinkled face had seen everything from murders, to suicides to mass killings. While his hair was mostly gone, his mind and memory were still unbelievably sharp. His glasses were smudged with a streak of red, Frump noticed. The man was also shaking.

“Captain, I’ve never seen the likes of what happened in that room. I don’t know what to tell you other than you need to see it for yourself.” His voice was quiet and rushed as though he were trying hard not to vomit. The man had an iron stomach. Rodgers dug out a pair of latex gloves and gave a pair to both Frump and Stone.

Feeling the tingle of dread start to creep up his spine, Frump turned slowly to the apartment door was currently closed. Looking down where he stood, Frump saw that the clean up team had at least cleaned up the blood in the hallway; the floor bore the marks of intense scrubbing and looked much lighter than the floor around it. Snapping on the gloves, Frump turned the knob to the apartment door and swung the door open.

His eyes widened.

His breath froze in his lungs. His heart fluttered so fast for a moment he thought he was going to have a heart attack. His stomach protested and lurched as the smell hit him. The coppery iron smell of wet blood. It was thick, the air tainted. Every breath was like breathing in and tasting death itself.

“Jesus Christ….Mary and Joseph….” He said, unable to bring himself to cross the thresh hold. Putting his hand to his mouth, he looked around the living room…what had been the living room…now it was more like something out of a meat butchering plant. The furniture was tossed around as if a tornado had exploded into the small space. The couch was torn into two pieces, each one shredded…the ends….looked chewed.

The walls had been white but now they too were scarlet as blood ran down them in drying sheets. Everything was coated. He saw something that was tinged blue with ragged edges hanging from a light fixture. It looked pale in the light, as scarlet dripped from the torn edges at what been an elbow.

It was the victim’s arm.

Hung like a trophy.

His eyes moving, unable to blink finally found the victim herself. Her body was mangled, torn, shredded, her innards strung around the room, spilling their funk and bile. Her right foot was missing.

There were strange marks on her arm that was remaining, on her torso, on her neck….strange U shaped marks….

He felt the world swim a bit as he realized he was looking at human bite marks.

On the walls, there was more than blood. There were strange deep gouges, five of them, dragged down through the plaster and dry wall, each gouged lined with flecks of gore…one even had an eyelid stuck in it. These rips were all over the room. A greenish-black liquid oozed from the bookshelf across the room and puddle up on the floor. The room itself was cold, far too cold. He realized he could see his breath condense in front of his face.

He looked at the victim again.

He realized she had no face. It had been ripped away, even her nose.

It looked like a rabid animal had been set loose in the apartment; there was simply no way this could have been another human being. It couldn’t have.

The cold in the air…the green slime….the rips in the wall….

This was something beyond a normal homicide…..this was….something else.

“Get me a phone.” He said, stumbling back as he closed the door to the apartment.

“What’s wrong?” Stone asked, standing in front of him, blocking him from moving.

“Get out of my way before I throw up on you, and get me a goddamned phone…NOW!” He barked at her and she jumped to do as she was told. Frump quickly made the three flights out of the building and barely made to a nearby trash can before his stomach contents finally made an appearance, splashing all over the pavement, missing the can entirely.


*** **************


Six blocks away, Club DuRant was pumping its music into the night, its bright neon lights flashing, its music thumping the walls. Men and women dressed to the nines went into and out of the club in a steady stream. One woman, a young beautiful blonde wearing a black leather miniskirt, fishnets, black stilettos and a crop top came out of the club. She was laughing, her white flawless teeth flashing a seductive grin. She tucked her purse under her arm and began to walk down the sidewalk, bouncing to a tune only she could hear. As she passed the alleyway between Club DuRant and the convenience store next door, movement caught her eyes.

A trash can fell over, and rats ran scurrying, squealing into the street. She gasped as a man came into view. He was strange looking, crouched over, like an animal. He was covered in what looked like dirt and mud. She couldn’t really tell. His clothes were torn in places and his skin looked strange…his fingertips were black and blue, like someone suffering from frostbite. Frostbite in June?

He was shivering, as if he were freezing. She could hear his teeth clacking together and she felt a swell of pity for him. She knew what it was like to live on the streets. Hell, they were her home half of the time. He was probably coming down off of his drug of choice, the real demons of the street. Sighing, she walked over towards him as he crouched low to the ground.

“Hey, mister. Do you need help? Maybe let me call an ambulance for you? You don’t look so good.” She said. Up close, she could smell him. It was the most awful smell she had ever encountered; rotting flesh, bile and well, shit. He stank of shit.

He lurched forward and she dropped her purse to catch him. She didn’t know what made her do it but hell, he was human after all, no matter how much of a needle junkie he was.

“Easy there! Lemme call you someone. You got a girl or a guy? What’s their number?” she said, trying to stand up. She found she couldn’t. The man while he looked weak was terrifically strong. His grip on her shoulders was like a metal vice, his touch colder than a winter’s frost.

“I….” he spoke, his voice sounding like he was speaking through dirt….through grave dirt… “I….I’m so….so hungry….”

“Okay hun, no problem. I can probably get you a burger or something…” she offered, trying again to stand.

“So…hungry…” he said again, his eyes lingering on her neck.

It must have been at trick of the light because his eyes seemed to change, change colors, into a fiery yellow sulfur red.

“What the hell are you?!” she stammered and tried to pull away.

With a inhuman growl, the man yanked her hard back into the shadows.

For a moment, there was the sound of a struggle, violent blows and then a strange wet ripping sound followed by a sickening popping crunch. A pair of a red eyes stared out from the shadows followed by a wet sounding voice, a voice that sounded like someone who was speaking with their mouth full.

“So….hungry….”



************


GHOSTBUSTERS

“Hunger Strike.”

By: Anthony Milhorn




Based on characters created by Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman. All copyrights to characters belong to Sony Pictures © 1984-2014. Original story by Anthony Milhorn.


************************************



14th North Moore Street
New York, NY 10013
June 3, 1993



“I don’t like this, not one bit.” Dr. Ray Stantz said as he leaned over the lab table. Before him pages upon pages of data, graphs and charts were laid out. Each one showed spiking numbers, levels and readings. Next to him, his colleague and long time friend, Dr. Egon Spengler, similarly leaned over the table, his black round glasses near the tip of his nose, his eyes moving quickly from one page to the other. Both men were dressed in their civilian clothes, easy business slacks, and shirts with long white lab coats on. The only difference was where Egon wore shined dress shoes, Ray wore beat up sneakers.

“Your concern is a valid one. Ray, these data indicate large spikes all over every scale we have. Massive PKE fluctuations all over the city and even outside New York.” Spengler said, pushing his glasses up on his face and straightening up.

A tall African-American man, Dr. Winston Zeddemore came up the stairs from the lobby and approached the table. Unlike the other two, he was a powerfully built imposing figure but with a heart of a gold. His black mustache gave him the bearing of a police officer or a Marine. Fitting, because he had been in the Marines as an electronics warfare specialist. Since joining the Ghostbusters in 1984, his interest in the paranormal and history had shifted his studies into Egyptology.

“Egon’s right. Every case we’ve had, from Amityville to Utah to the Altoona and even here, in New York with that shisha, has been getting harder and more violent. We used to bust an average of two or three Class two’s and three’s a week. What’s going on, fellas?” he said, pulling up a chair at the table, rolling up the sleeves on his plaid shirt. Running a hand through his brown auburn hair, Ray shook his head and shrugged.

“I don’t know, Winston. From all the data we’ve collected from every case in the last six months, especially in the last two, the readings are stronger, longer lasting and the manifestations have became more dangerous. Its almost like Gozer all over again.”

“Great. Another big Twinkie.” Winston muttered.

Egon shook his head. “No, I don’t think its another Gozer manifestation. His energy was utterly obliterated by Shandor when he converted his own form three years ago. Gozer, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist anymore.”

“Except for the left over energy we have in our grid downstairs.” Winston reminded him pointedly.

Frowning, Ray replied. “I wouldn’t worry about Stay Puft. He seems harmless enough now that the negative energy has dissipated from his ectoplasm .”

Egon’s eyebrow drifted north towards his hairline but he didn’t say anything.

For a moment, the three of them studied the readouts and Ray finally sighed in frustration, throwing up his hands in surrender.

“I just don’t get it. There’s no central source for any of this. No reason it should be occurring.”

Glancing outside, he saw the sky was darkening and storm clouds were rolling in. A few seconds later, he heard the grumble of thunder.

“Even the weather is changing.” He added quietly.

The phone rang loudly, the jangle piercing the silence that had suddenly invaded the lab and Janine had the day off.

“I got it.” Ray said, jumping up from the table. Winston knew very well that when Ray became frustrated, he got antsy.

Across the room, Ray picked up the extension headset, sliding it over his ears. Adjusting the microphone, he tapped the pick up key.

“Ghostbusters. This is Dr. Ray Stantz. How can I help you?”

Egon and Winston watched as Ray’s face grew darker as his eyebrows knitted together into a frown.

“Yeah. I understand. I’ll get everyone down there now. Bye.”

Ray clicked the off key and took off the headset, setting it down on the table in front of him with a soft clack. He turned to his friends.

“That was the strangest call I think we’ve ever gotten.”

“Who was it?” Winston asked, standing up, feeling the uneasiness radiate off of Ray like a heat wave.

“It was Frump. He wants us to come down the police station.”

Winston shook his head. “Whatever it is, we didn't do it.”

“No, it isn’t that,” Ray told him, putting his hands in his lab coat pocket. “He said he needs our help on a case….a murder case.”

Egon and Winston both looked at each other.

“Let’s head down before it really rains,” Ray said as the first drops of water began to splatter against the firehouse’s windows. “I’ll wake up Pete.” He said, moving off towards the dorms.

A few minutes later, they were each dressed in dark trench coats and were walking down the stairs, with Peter Venkman looking less than awake.

“Should we take any gear?” Winston asked as they approached the long white 1959 Cadillac ambulance they called Ecto-1 in the main garage.

“The car’s loaded. Bryan recharged and loaded it before he left on his vacation. We should have plenty if we need it.” Egon replied, opening the passenger door and sliding across the front seat, settling into place. Winston slid in next to him, the car’s dark green leather seating cold through his jeans. Peter sleepily eased himself into the right rear jump seat shutting the door clumsily behind him.

“Where are we going?” he asked, his speech slurred as he yawned.

“The police station.” Ray told him as he took the driver’s seat, putting the jangling keys into the ignition. Peter instantly snapped awake.

“Why?”

“Because our old pal Frump asked us to.”

“Do I need to get my own lawyer? I’m not asking Louis.” Peter said quickly, brushing his hair down flat and back from his forehead.

“No lawyer, Peter. There was a murder last night. Frump thinks there’s something unusual about it.” Ray said, starting the huge car’s massive V8 engine.

The motor roared to well-tuned life. Hitting the dashboard switch, Ray opened the twin garage doors. The big wooden doors clicked as their lock disengaged and they swung wide, letting the big car out onto the street. Ray pulled the long ambulance out into the street and as usual people stared. It wasn’t often that one saw a car that old, with its spotless white paint, fat white-walls and long severe red rocket tail fins, not to mention the countless pieces of tracking and ectoplasmic study gear on the roof top, along with the blue police lights which for now were dark.

The red NO-GHOST symbol on the driver and passenger door however was familiar enough. A few people pointed. Usually, they associated the car with weird stuff happening somewhere and most gave it a wide berth. Ray stopped the Ecto-1, put in park and got out, going back to lock the big doors and the smaller one. Since Janine wasn’t here, he didn’t want nosey folks getting into the firehouse and causing some kind of cross –rip event by touching the wrong thing. Satisfied, he returned, and shut the driver’s door with a hard THUNK just as the rain finally began to pour in earnest. It splattered and spat on the windshield, quickly blurring any visibility to zero. Lightning split the dark clouds and Ray flicked on the wipers and headlights.

“This is not going to be a good day, is it?” Peter said from the backseat, looking out his window at the storm which had now grown to cover every visible inch of the sky.

“And just think, its barely after noon.” Winston quipped, resting his arm on the door panel as the Ecto-1 pulled into traffic and headed downtown.
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By TAPS_Family_Anthony
#4821612
*****

New York City Police Department, 5th Precinct
19 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10013



The rain pelted the glass of the Ecto-1. The atmosphere of the city had changed since the end of May. It seemed darker, more foreboding, almost sad and angry at the same time. The tone of the city’s heart seemed to have changed. Ray slowed as he brought the old Cadillac to a stop at the red light. In the car, no one spoke. Everyone burned with questions and curiosity. As he waited for the light to change, Ray let his mind wander.

This was the first time that Frump had ever called them on anything or over anything. Their previous interactions had been strained to be quite honest. The first time he was going to arrest them, pinning a series of vicious and deadly attacks on them, thinking they had somehow collared a ghost and set it loose trying to kill people. It ended up being the Headless Horseman trying to settle an old grudge. The horseman of course, ended up in the containment unit and the Ghostbusters were freed of all charges. The second time they had anything to do with Frump was when a bog hound had appeared in New York, seeking to drag off another police officer as part of a family curse. Frump had arrested them but thankfully, the officer in charge had ordered their release.

Lastly, they had a brush with Frump and his task force during the Thanksgiving Day parade several years ago when a balloon of the cartoon character Murray the Mantis had accidently been possessed by a massive release of death force energy when it was filled over an old morgue. It had came to life and turned into a giant mantis. Frump had tried to arrest them there as well thinking it was their fault (it wasn’t).

They had not heard from Frump in over a year and frankly, Ray thought, his contact with them now was surprising.

And the subject of his call was even more so. A homicide.

The light switched and with a lurch, the Ecto-1 lumbered back onto the street. Outside, pedestrians walked, their heads hung low under newspapers and umbrellas, anything to escape the monsoon. Pulling the long ambulance over to the opposite side of the street, Ray parked expertly directly across from the 5th Precinct.

“There it is. 5th Precinct.” Ray said, putting the car in park and killing the motor.

Looking out, they saw the building.

It was a four story tall older white building, smooth with triumphant window ledges. Its roof was green with ornate scrollwork on the edges and a black fire escape ran up the front of the building, ending just short of the blue-green door under the sign that read 5th Precinct. An American flag waved roughly in the storm at the building’s peak. On either side of the door, old style lanterns were bolted to the walls. Modern electric lights had taken the place of what had once been gas lighting behind the panes of green frosted glass.

“Do I have to get out? Cops make me nervous…..especially THAT cop.” Peter grumbled from the back jump seat.

Not even bothering to look at him, Winston flatly told him in no uncertain terms yes.

“You’re no fun.” Venkman said back, opening his door, instantly getting pelted with rain. He cursed loudly, his face soaking wet. The others joined him and with a slamming of car doors, they moved across the street rapidly as the storm made new rivers in the road, the gutters gushing with storm surge. Ray turned up the collar on his trench coat and braced himself against the icy wet wind. Mounting the four steps to the door of the precinct, he held the door open for his friends. As Peter passed him, he looked Ray in the eyes.

“If we get arrested, I’m holding you personally responsible.”

Shrugging, Ray followed Peter in, the door swinging shut behind them. Shaking the water out of his face and glad to be in the relatively dry building, Ray was swallowed up in the activity almost immediately. The four of them stood in the tide of people, police, convicts, detectives and victims. Somewhere, someone laughed. Somewhere, someone cried. There was a large desk with a uniformed officer behind it. She was answering phones, sorting files, stopping to grab a cup of coffee, sipping it while she went about her duties expertly and efficiently. It made Ray think of Janine back home…if Janine wore a gun and a badge. This woman had dark hair that was pulled back into a bun and her young face was tired but dedicated. Her gold name tag on her dark uniform’s right breast pocket read “Wong.”

Thunder growled mutedly as Ray tapped on the desk gently.

“I’m sorry to bother you. I’m looking for Captain Frump.” He said politely.

Wong looked up at him and then at Egon and Winston, her eyes lingeringly distrustfully over Peter.

“I need to put you on hold, John. One sec.” she pushed the hold key and rested the phone on her shoulder. “You’re looking for who?”

“Frump. Captain James Frump.” Egon said, cleaning the water off of his glasses.

“Frump huh? I’m sorry. I really am. Who are you?” she said, her eyebrows going up.

“Dr. Ray Stantz,” Ray said. He pointed to his friends. “Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Winston Zeddemore and uh, Dr. Peter Venkman.” He secretly hoped Peter didn’t have unpaid parking tickets as Wong typed out rapidly on her computer. For a moment, her eyes read the screen, the glow reflected in her eyes. She nodded, raising back up.

“Right. Cleared you. Frump is on the second floor. Take the stairs and it’s the third office down the hall on your left. You can’t miss it.”

Peter visibly sighed in relief and Ray glared at him.

“Thanks.” He said to Wong and the group made its way to the flight of stairs in the middle of the hall in the main entrance, offices lining either side of the hall, each one filled with cops. The smell of coffee was strong in the air. Mounting the stairs, Ray and the others moved quickly, hitting the second floor. Ray surveyed the offices and discovered that Wong was right. There was no missing it.

An angry male voice belted out.

“I said I needed those ballistics analysis on my desk two hours ago! The DA needs them to prosecute the Leeds case. Damn it, Jenkins, don’t stand there. Go get me my analysis!”

The gruff strongly accented Brooklyn accent confirmed it. Yup. That was definitely the office. As they walked down to the office, a young man in uniform bolted out of the office, his face white and scared as he practically ran to the stair way and headed up stairs, panting for breath. Ray looked over at Peter.

“Ray, I swear…” Peter said again, his voice barely a concealed threat.

“Relax, Pete.” Winston said, as they stepped in front of the office door.

The first thing Ray noted was how messy the office was. Papers, files and binders were stacked all over the place. A large bulletin board on the left wall was covered in portraits and wanted posters. The wall next to the door had twin frosted glass windows in it. Twin file cabinets were stacked against the far right wall. The window behind the desk was covered with white plastic mini-blinds, half drawn and open, the storm apparently still lashing the building hard. A desk fan stirred the air and a computer terminal and a phone sat on the well worn green metal desk behind which sat James Frump.

Frump hadn’t changed much, Ray thought. He was still an imposing six foot plus heavily built large gutted gruff yet incredibly observant man. His eyes were sharp behind the haze of cigarette smoke that hung in the air. He was dressed in a white shirt, a blue suit jack that hung open and black slacks with black shoes. His black trench coat and trademark hat hung on a coat rack next to the two chairs that sat forlornly in front of the cluttered desk.

He signed and looked up at the Ghostbusters.

“Don’t just stand there like a bunch of mooks, get your asses in here. All of you.” He snapped loudly. Somewhat crowded, the four of them worked their way into the office, Ray and Egon taking a seat in front of the desk, with Peter and Winston taking up standing positions behind them.

“What, did your momma raise in a barn, Venkman? Shut the damn door.” Frump growled, taking a draw off of his cigarette.

Venkman complied and did his best to stay near the door, in case Frump decided to charge them with something.

Frump took a long draw off of his cigarette and then stamped it out in the loaded ashtray, the smoke beginning to dissipate.

He looked with serious eyes at Ray.

“Did you tell em?”

Ray nodded. “All they and all I know is that there has been a homicide and you called us.”

Frump nodded. “That’s right. A homicide.”

“Whatever happened, we didn’t’ have anything to do with it.” Peter said quickly and defensively.

“I never said you did, Venkman. I didn’t call you hear to charge you.”

“Then why call us here?” Winston asked, crossing his arms.

“Because I need your help.”

Egon frowned. “Our help? I used to be a licensed coroner but I imagine you have your own people to handle that.”

“No, Spengler. I don’t need you as a coroner. The details I am about to tell you do not leave this room, you understand?”

A pregnant pause was born into the room as all four men shook their heads.

“Alright then. Last night there was a murder over on 87th street at Cornwell Apartments. Rough part of town.” Frump began, pulling out a thick file folder from his desk drawer. Opening it up, he dug out a photograph.

“None of you got weak stomachs?”

Ray and Egon looked at each other. They shook their heads in the negative. Winston and Peter said nothing, preparing themselves mentally.

“Good. I’m sorry to have to show you this but I don’t possess words in my vocabulary to begin to describe what we found.” He put the picture, face down on the desk and slid it towards Ray and Egon.

Egon looked at Ray and Ray nodded at him. With his previous experience as a coroner and with his limited medical training, Egon was best suited to make any observations. Bracing himself, Egon reached out and picked up the picture, turning it over.

Egon Spengler was infamous for his control over his emotions. At all times, he was the serious one, the logical one. Not a few people had actually went so far as to call him Spock, for his scientific and cool logical approach to situations. Very little could rattle him and get behind his barriers. To some people, he could seem cold, even though Ray knew that wasn’t the case. But now, looking at Egon’s face, Ray saw something was terribly wrong.

Egon’s long face had drained of color, turning a pale sick pasty white. His dark eyebrows came together. Ray saw something red reflected in the lenses of his glasses.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Ray asked. Egon had seen dead bodies before. Hell, he had dissected a human as part of his college courses back in his day. To see him shaken like this was making Ray very uneasy. Egon handed the photo to Ray.

Ray felt his stomach leap into his throat and sit there, throbbing. A cold wave of fear and disgust washed over him. He felt his scalp prickle as his hair stood on end. He had never seen devastation done to a human being like what he was seeing now.

The photo was of what appeared to be a living room with what had been white walls. A simple apartment most likely, homey and small. The walls were no longer white. They had been polluted, drenched in red scarlet blood. The floor was soaked in blood. The couch and furniture had been tossed aside, ripped and….chewed.

The woman….what had been a human being…was left in torn ripped apart chunks. One of her arms was missing.....so was her face, her eyeless sockets full of drying blood, looking sightlessly out, her exposed and chewed jawbone slack in a silent final scream.

Ray swallowed the urge to vomit. Winston and Peter had leaned in and Winston’s face grew dark. It reminded him of some of the combat situations he had seen…it turned his stomach. Peter was silent, no longer afraid of being arrested but rather a new shadow crossed his face.

“Why call us in to help? We can’t handle stuff like this.” He said.

“No, I think you can, Dr. Venkman. Look at that photo closer.” Frump said.

Unwillingly but having no other choice, the four Ghostbusters did look closer.

Ray saw it first.

“Those gouges…on the wall….they look like claw marks.” He said quietly.

“Very good, Dr. Stantz. Now to win the big prize you tell me two things. One, who or what did this.”

Frump reached below his desk, searching for something.

Nodding, Ray asked, concentrating not to loose his breakfast. "What's the second question?" This was getting darker and darker.

“Secondly,” Frump said, setting a large clear sealed glass container on the desk with a thump. Outside, thunder snarled and lightning flashed. “You tell me what this is and how it relates to that dead woman so we can catch the son of a bitch who tore her apart.”

Ray put down the photograph and his attention was immediately grabbed by the contents of the jar. In the jar, which was filled nearly to the brim, sat a large volume of a brightly glowing substance. It was a strange gel-like fluid. It moved and swam of its own accord. It was mostly green, with swirling streaks of jet black in it.

Turning his head, Ray looked at Egon, his brows furrowed. He had never seen any kind of ectoplasm like this before.

This was utterly alien to anything they had studied. Ectoplasm was always one color and each color had different properties.

Some, like the dull green of Slimer’s ectoplasm, was harmless. Others, like the pink slime had mood reactive properties, reacting violently to emotional states. They had never encountered slime with two colors before, let alone one that was ….moving. Sure the pink slime in the sewers back in 1989 that Vigo spawned was moving but it was just flowing through the tunnels and pipes. This stuff was moving on its own.

Ray reached out his hand and touched his fingers to the glass.

The slime instantly reacted, all motion and action whirling in on itself and swirling to the point on the glass where Ray’s finger’s touched. The gel shimmered and fluoresced with a dull purple gleam. Shocked, Ray pulled his fingers back and the glow faded away and the slime went back to swimming in itself.

Egon looked at Ray and then back at the slime, his face contorted in confusion, surprise and worry.

This, Ray thought, was a whole new ball game.

A whole new damned ball game, indeed.


*****
User avatar
By TAPS_Family_Anthony
#4821697
*****
E. 23rd Street
New York, New York



“Her name was Rebecca Desdemona.” Egon said. He was thumbing through a copy of the police file that Frump had given them. Back in the Ecto-1 the rain pounded, drumming on the roof top, splattering the glass with wet slaps. Besides his deep level voice, the only sound in the car was the slow rhythmic flick-flick-flick of the wipers. Beside him, Ray focused on the road ahead but he was listening all the same. Between them, Winston had a stone-like expression on his face as Egon went over the case file, thankfully sparing them anymore pictures.

Even Peter was quiet in the back.

“She was twenty-nine, no children, no pets. A nursing student at Columbia University. She didn't have any substantial savings and as far as the forensic team can tell, nothing was stolen during the attack.” Egon continued, flipping up the pages on the thick folder. A photo fell out and Winston grabbed it before it could hit the floor.

The photo was a family portrait of the victim (REBECCA he forced himself to think. She wasn’t nameless). In it, a heavy set balding man dressed in a business suit with a wide grin on his face stood on the left of a stunningly beautiful young woman with large open brown eyes. Her skin was smooth and her smile was infectious.

You just wanted to smile with her as she beamed. She was dressed typically enough of younger people, in a red sweater that was too big for her and winter slacks. Gold earrings glinted in her ears and her short shoulder length hair was parted and styled into wavy locks. It was chocolate brown, just like her eyes.

On her right was a woman whom Winston supposed was her mother. She was a smaller woman with neatly conservative black hair and dark eyes. She too was well dressed. A golden cross hung around her neck. The background suggested a professional portrait. Flipping it over, Winston read the back.

Owen Mills. Acceptance Day, September 4, 1991.

Rebecca had been a few months away from graduating. She could have gone on to be an RN in a few years if she had chosen to at that point. Something in him hurt when he looked at the young woman who’s life had been snuffed out so violently. She seemed to be quiet and gentle spoken. Why would anyone want to do this?

“Apparently, the ectoplasm was discovered by the forensic team inside of deep claw marks inside the walls. There was also some on the furniture and the body.” Egon read aloud.

The car hit a pot hole and bumped hard, bouncing everyone inside.

“Sorry.” Ray apologized. “Did anyone touch it?”

Egon read quickly, flipping through pages.

“Not seeing any mention of contact. If protocol was followed, everyone would have worn gloves so I doubt contamination of the sample was an issue.”

“How close are we? I’m actually dreading this, fellas.” Winston said, putting the photo of the girl in his chest pocket. She deserved so much better.

“Not too long now. The morgue is over on 1st Avenue on the next street.” Ray told him, slowing for a stoplight.

“I can’t believe Frump authorized us to work on this case and actually got clearance. I would have never thought in a thousand years that we would have been working WITH the NYPD instead of being arrested by them.” Ray thought aloud, taking a left hand turn, the large ambulance curving as the white walls splashed through a thick puddle, throwing dirty rain water up on the windows.

“I agree. It’s most unusual.” Egon said absently, reading through the reports in the folder, lost in the data. Ray could practically hear the gears in his mind whirl and turn.

Through the windshield, a large brown building came into view. Twenty-five stories tall, it rose into the stormy sky, its many windows flashing every time lightning ripped open the sky. Its red brick and ornate grounds were surrounded by a roughly U-shaped campus wrapping around it like arms.

A black ornamental gate with scroll work rarely seen anymore stood out front, even though it was no longer the entrance. A cursive word was woven into the top of the scrolls and curves in black iron.
Bellevue.

“They took her to Bellevue? Isn’t there anything closer to where she lived?” Peter asked as Ray brought the big car up and over the curb turning down the entrance roadway to the gigantic hospital.

Egon looked up from the folder. “My guess? The damage done to her is so extreme that they wanted to bring her to the best hospital in the city. The mortuary forensics department is the best in the state. I haven’t been here in years.”

Ray looked over at him. “Why not?”

“I was kicked out after I tried experimenting to raise the dead. They were very unscientific about it.” Egon replied.

Scowling, Peter leaned over the seat. “Egon, they have a great psychiatric ward here.”

“It is the best. Much better than the one we were all locked into back in 89. Better food.” Spengler replied.

Peter frowned. The man had no sense of humor nor irony. Sighing, Peter sat back as Ray struggled to find a place to park the long ambulance. He looked over into the rack to his left that held the sample jar of the strange ectoplasm and proton packs. The large jar sat there, among the gadgets and spare traps, clinking against the metal when the car would hit a bump.

The green and black slime swirled slowly, always moving. Curiosity took hold of him and Peter reached out and touched the jar. Like in Frump’s office, the slime’s movement redirected instantly to flow and concentrate towards where he his fingers touched the glass. A small spot of purple began to glow where he touched it. Leaning forward, he picked up the jar, holding it in his hands. Holding it in front of him in both hands, he studied it.

There was something about it. What it was, he couldn't tell. The jar began to glow purple all over. The longer he held it, the brighter it became, the swirling moving faster and faster. Peter felt his heart speed up and a cold sweat break out on his forehead. He really shouldn't be holding it, he knew. But it was pulling him, inviting him, begging him to take off the lid and put his hand inside.

He reached for the lid.

The car came to a rough stop as Ray put the transmission into park.

“Found a spot.” He said with a fake cheery tone, trying to shake the morose feeling in the air.

Peter shook his head and put down the jar back into the rack. Instantly, his head began to clear. Frowning, he didn't know what happened or why he had just picked up that jar. The science stuff was Egon’s business not his. His was in the green…as in money. He wiped his hands off onto his trousers, even though nothing was there. They felt dirty.

Braving the rain the four of them got out, with Ray locking the car as they were quickly drenched. Moving fast under the entrance roof, they were thankful to not have drowned in those few seconds. Wiping water out of his eyes, Peter took a glance at Ray’s parking spot. Egon tucked the police folder under his arm.

“Ray?”

Ray shook water off of his arms. “Yes, Peter?”

“Why are we parked in a fire lane?”

Ray took a short glance over his shoulder, looking at the caution striping that clearly outlined fire trucks only. In bold letters.

“Well, we're an emergency service…sort of.”

Peter sighed and turned towards the sliding hospital doors, Egon in the lead.

“What?” Ray asked, seeing Peter’s irritated face. “We’re government employees! They can’t ticket us.”

“Its New York. They'll ticket anyone.” Peter said over his shoulder as they entered the hospital. Egon reached into the deep pocket of his coat with his free hand and pulled out a PKE meter. Switching it on, he began sweeping it in slow arcs in front of him, the meter beeping slowly yet constantly as the antenna wings on the side lit up slowly, moving slightly up and down.
The front desk triage nurse and at least fifteen people in the waiting area stared at him, their mouths slack jawed as he ran the meter up the walls, over outlets and under seats.

Peter sighed again. He looked up at the confused triage nurse.

“Hi, how’s your day?” he asked.

“Great.” The nurse replied, her attention and her eyes never leaving Egon as he scanned a woman sitting in the waiting area, the woman’s eyes pinning the meter.

Winston stepped up to the desk.

“I’m sorry. Don’t mind him,” he said, looking at Egon. “He’s a scientist.” He leaned in closer, lowering his voice as the triage nurse took her eyes off of Egon and looked at the rest of them, her eyebrows going up. “We’re the Ghostbusters. Captain Frump, NYPD, should have called ahead and told Dr. Morgan in the morgue to expect us.” He finished quietly, lowering his voice further to a whisper.

Peter glanced back over at Egon.

“Egon!” he yelled.

Egon snapped up and looked at him, his expression neutral as his meter whirred.

“Yes?”

“Heel.” Peter said pointedly, nodding his head emphatically back to the group.

Egon took the hint, shut off the meter and moved back to join his friends.

“There’s low level PKE here. Nothing more than ambient energy that spikes on the higher levels.” Egon reported. Ray nodded. “To be expected, though. Lots of people die here or are dying. I’d say it’s a slow over time release of death energy. Nothing to be worried about.”

Everyone in the waiting area was now looking at them, one lady’s jaw had dropped open and her eyes were wide at the mention of dead people.

Peter wiped his face in exasperation. He leaned in towards Egon and Ray and whispered.

“We can’t take you two anywhere. Let’s stop scaring the straights, okay?”

Winston took control of the situation again. “Fellas, we got a job to do. Let’s do it and not make asses out of ourselves? These people may be clients one day.”

Ray nodded in agreement. “Fair point.”

“I’m sorry, let me check the registration for visitors.” The triage nurse said, shaking her head. This was not what she had signed on for. She moved her computer mouse and clicked through a few screens, tapping her keys.

Shaking her blonde head, she found her entry. She took a stack of adhesive paper out and began writing on them, looking at the screen and then back to the paper. Ray noticed she was scribbling their names on them.

“Alright, I've got you. Wear these at all times. The morgue is down stairs. Take the staff elevator down the hall there to your right. It’s the first basement. After you get off, take a left and you can’t miss it. Dr. Morgan is waiting on you.” She said, handing each man a blue and white visitor’s tag as they stepped forward to pick out their names. Egon had already started off for the elevator.

Ray slapped on his visitor’s sticker on his left breast on his coat and nodded his thanks.

“Thanks. Have a great day!” he said, turning to follow Egon and Winston down the hall. Peter caught the nurses shell shocked look and turned to her, his hands in his coat pockets, playing with the visitors tag he had stuffed there.

“I don’t know those people.” He said nodding. The triage nurse was young and pretty. He didn't see a ring on her hand either.
He wondered when she got off for the night. Her face registered typical New York skepticism, a powerful force indeed.

“I see. You know we have a world class psychiatric ward here. I’d be happy to give you a card.” She said, digging around on her desk.

Peter shook his head. “Don’t bother sweet heart. Let me give you one of our cards and you call us if you need us. Or if you ever want to go out for dinner and a drink. Preferably the second.” He pulled out a white business card from his pocket and handed it to her, walking off to catch up with his friends.

The triage nurse looked at the card.

It was a standard white business card with the international red symbol for NO on it, surrounding a white cartoon ghost. In black letters it read Ghostbusters, Incorporated and gave a phone number and an address, with CEO listed as a Dr. Peter Venkman. A motto lined the bottom. Ready to believe you, it read. Sighing, she tossed the card in the trash.

Looking up over the desk, she called out.

“Next!”
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