–Five Years Later–
“Honey, I’m home.” Chad walked through the front door of his raised ranch house. A gust of snow followed him in, sending a shiver down the back of his neck.
“Where were you?” Sarah, Chad’s wife, came out of the kitchen. “I thought you’d died in a car crash or something.”
Chad knotted his eyebrows. “You know my boss, he always wants the reports on his desk before the end of the day. If you were really that concerned, you could have just called me.”
Sarah rolled her eyes and turned back towards the kitchen. “Well, dinner’s ready. It’s probably cold, but I guess we can microwave it.”
Chad chased behind her while trying to pull off his jacket, drop his briefcase and kick off his shoes. “Sarah, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you worry.” He knew his apology was in vain. If there was one thing he could always count on with Sarah, it was that once she was in a bad mood, nothing could change it.
She had been right, dinner had gone cold. Chad refused to heat it up though, instead insisting to his wife that it was just how he liked it.
After he finished the dishes, Chad headed for the garage to grab a beer.
The garage was cluttered. Boxes from when he and Sarah had moved in two years earlier still sat against the walls. She was always telling him that he needed to clean the space so that they could actually park their car inside it, but he seemed to never get around to it.
“Hey Charlie,” Chad said as he slapped the bronzed Charles Bronson bust on the shoulder. He made his way to the old fridge and gave the handle a yank (it always stuck). He reeled back in surprise when he saw that the fridge was empty.
“God Burner!” He stalked over to the pulldown ladder which led to the attic above the garage. He jumped to reach the string but it was too far above him.
“What’s up, homie?” The demon came walking into the garage from within the house. A beer hat sat on his head, the last two beers sitting snuggly in the holders on either side.
Stunned, Chad stormed past the hellish being, stuck his head into the house, looked both ways, and then gently closed the door.
“Are you fucking nuts? You know you’re not supposed to go into the house.” Spittle flew from Chad’s lips.
The demon took a long pull from the thick straw leading to the beer cans. “Relax big guy, Sasha’s in the shower, she didn’t see me.”
“That’s not the point,” Chad began before stopping abruptly. “Wait, did you just say ‘Sasha’?”
“Uh, yeah, you’re wife? I’m telling you, Hard-On, they’re working you too much at wherever the fuck it is you work.”
Chad shook his head. “Are you fucking kidding? Her name’s Sarah. Shit, GB, you’ve lived in our fucking attic since we moved in here. How do you not know her name?”
“Huh…are you sure her name’s not Sasha?”
“Yes, I’m fucking sure.” Chad grunted as he yanked one of the beers from GB’s hat. “And speaking of my wife, I have to get back in there. It’s date night.”
GB cocked an eyebrow. “What the fuck is a ‘date night’?”
A slick smile split Chad’s face. “You know, ‘date night’.” The smile vanished at the sight of the confusion on the demon’s face. “Sex, man! It’s sex night.”
“You guys have a night scheduled for that?”
“Yep. The second Friday of every month.” Chad humped the air in front of him. “Sarah’s not going to be able to walk tomorrow, if you catch my drift.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re telling me, that the thing you guys do on the second Friday of every month is sex?” GB bent over as a huge belly laugh escaped him.
“Yeah…why did you say that like you’ve seen us do it?” Chad asked hesitantly.
GB wiped an errant tear from his left eye. “I always watch you guys.”
“What? How? You’re a huge fucking demon. How in the fuck could you possible sneak up on us while we’re having sex?”
GB smiled as he pointed a taloned finger towards the trap door which lead to the attic. “I take it you didn’t know there is a panel in your closet that accesses the attic, did you? I sit in your closet and watch the show.”
Chad was furious, he slammed the nearly empty beer can to the garage floor. “You fucking pervert! What, you just sit there and watch us have sex?”
“Calm down, Hard-On. Besides, what you guys do could barely be called sex. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but usually the girl moves around and makes some noise when riding the bologna pony. Sasha just lays there like a dead fish.”
“Her name is Sarah!”
GB scooped up the beer can before the remaining liquid could dribble out. “Listen, man, I don’t care about your sad sex life, I just feel like it’s my duty to inform you that I’ve seen two dead animals on the road have hotter sex than you and your wife.”
“Fuck you, GB!”
The demon shrugged his shoulders. “It would probably be better than that can of cold tuna you got waiting inside.”
“You know what? I’ve got a sexy lady waiting for me, I don’t got time for your bullshit.” Chad brushed past the demon.
“Wait,” GB grabbed the human. “I think it’s time I moved on. I used to like making your life hell, but ever since you got married, well shit, I can’t compete with your wife. I need to find another loser to curse.”
Chad turned to look at GB. “C’mon, man, we’ve been over this so many times already. Nobody will take that damn coin…we’re stuck together.”
GB chewed his bottom lip as he spoke. “Yeah, well I made some calls.”
Chad shook his head. “You made some calls? What’s that mean? You’re from Hell!”
“Yeah, your phone bill is gonna be a big one. But that’s neither-here-nor-there, the important thing is, I found a way out of this. It turns out that we can have the curse canceled if we do something for the high-ups in Hell.”
“Okay…” Chad leaned on the Bronson bust as he listened.
“I’ve told you before how Hell harvests souls to fill their army for the eventual second war with Heaven, right?” Chad nodded. “Well, as you’d imagine, the more evil the soul, the more sought after by Hell it is,” GB continued, “and there is one soul that is wanted above all others.”
“Oh my god, is it Mel Gibson?” Chad blurted.
“No dummy,” GB flicked Chad’s forehead. “This guy is even worse, if you can believe that.”
“Okay, so what are we supposed to do?” Chad rubbed the spot on his head gingerly.
A smile spread across GB’s face. “That’s what I love about you, Hard-On, it never takes much to persuade you. All we have to do is find this guy, touch him with the coin, and bang, curse is over we go our separate ways.”
“Sounds good to me, let’s do it.” Chad walked over to a calendar of dogs in yoga positions which hung next to the garage door. “Where are we going and when do we leave?”
“Quebec City and we leave tonight.”
Chad shook his head. “Tonight? You’re crazy, I can’t leave tonight. And did you say Quebec City? Can you speak French, because I sure as shit can’t!”
“Sorry, Hard-On, but the offer is time sensitive. This guy we’re looking for only comes out of hiding a few days a year. We go now or it’s another year of watching you and Sasha have the most unappealing sex ever.”
Chad shook his head. “But…what am I supposed to tell Sasha—fuck, Sarah, you got me doing it now!”
GB slapped Chad on the shoulder. “Don’t worry about her, Hard-On, I left her a note.”
Vatican City, Rome
Cardinal Molson ran down the marble-tiled hallway. Lightning flashed outside sending stain-glassed mosaics across his path. His heart demanded that he slow down, but he had been summoned by the most holy and that meant that haste was warranted. Gasping for breath, he approached the intricately carved door at the end of the hall. Two Pontifical Swiss Guards stood in their flamboyant attire before the entrance.
One of the guards directed the business end of his staff towards the Cardinal. “This room is off limits.”
Cardinal Molson pushed the weapon to the side. “Deus mingentem inimicorum nostrorum.” The words had the desired effect as both of the garish guards moved aside.
As he entered the room, Cardinal Molson reflected on the fact that only a select few people in the entire world knew of this room’s existence. Fewer still of who resided within it.
The woman sat in an antique chair—passed down for nearly two thousand years—and smoked a thin cigarette. The Cardinal dropped to his knees before her and kissed the ring on her finger when she presented it to him. The woman was the most important person in the entire Catholic Church.
People think that St. Peter was the first pope, but the truth was, Mary Magdalene was the real first pope. In fact, every pope since then has been nothing more than a puppet for the true female pope controlling things from behind the scenes.
“Popess Neveah, I am yours to command.”
The woman looked down at the man before allowing him to rise. “Cardinal Molson, you’ve been a true servant of the church ever since you quashed the Rainbow Rebellion of San Francisco in nineteen ninety-eight.”
“Thank you your Holimiss.” The Cardinal still struggled to catch his breath.
“Please, Cardinal, take a drink.” The Popess motioned towards a pitcher of water on a nearby table. “I bet you’re wondering why I’ve summoned you.”
Molson coughed as he hurried to swallow the water in his mouth. “I am curious.”
The Popess smiled. “The Church has a very important mission for you.”
The woman snapped her finger. Across the room, a door which had been cleverly designed to match the wall on both sides, swung open. A trio of Swiss Guard marched out dragging a man with a bag on his head behind them.
Cardinal Molson crinkled his nose. The man was sweating profusely. The shirt he wore was nearly transparent thanks to the greasy excretion.
“You dumb fucks is gonna be sorry!” The bagged man yelled.
Popess Neveah flicked her cigarette, a clump of ash tumbled to the floor. “Cardinal Molson, meet Mr. T.”
At saying his name, one of the guards yanked the bag from his head.
“What da fuck kinda treatment is this?” Mr. T shouted. “I got rights!”
“You have no rights in here, sir.” The Popess circled the man as she talked. “Now why don’t you tell the Cardinal exactly what you told me?”
Mr. T looked at the three guards surrounding him and decided that it would be in his best interest to comply. “Alright,” he cleared his throat, “well, about five years ago I used to own a pawn shop in southern Ontario. This pawn shop was the best! Whatever you needed, I had it. So anyways, I had this little dick-pimple named Hard-On that was working for me.”
Mr. T recounted the events which transpired the night he fired Hard-On. He said he followed him to the river and was going to demand that Hard-On return the bronze Charles Bronson bust he’d stolen, when all of a sudden the earth opened up and a demon emerged. Mr. T had hid in the bushes. The whole thing, along with the twelve tacos he’s eaten well tailing his ex-employee had caused him to blackout. In the morning he had convinced himself it was all a dream. Only recently when he realized that he might be able to make some money off the story, had he brought it to the church.
“I’m sorry, your Holimiss,” the Cardinal turned to the Popess after Mr. T finished his story, “but why am I here again?”
With another flick of her cigarette, the Popess smiled and said, “I want you to take Mr. T and go to southern Ontario, find this Hard-On and his pet demon and destroy them.”
“But, but, I’m the last person that should be dealing with it…I’m nearly eighty years old!” The Cardinal stuttered.
The woman laughed. “Don’t sell yourself short, Cardinal, you are the perfect man for the job. Like I said earlier, your devotion to the cause in unquestionable. And besides that, you’ll have a special advantage.” She let her eyes drift towards the pitcher of water as she spoke.
A strange sensation began swirling around the Cardinal’s stomach. “What? What did you give me?”
“Angel semen,” she said bluntly. “For the next week or so, you’ll possess extraordinary powers. Now enough talk. Find that demon.” The Popess dismissed the Cardinal with a flick of her wrist.
Chad sat behind the wheel of his car. GB, wrapped in a blanket to hide his appearance from passing motorists, fiddled with the radio in the passenger seat.
“So, you never told me who this guy that we’re supposed to find is,” Chad said as he merged onto to 401 heading east. The plan was to make it to Cornwall, near the Ontario, Quebec border, get a hotel room and then continue on towards Quebec City in the morning.
“The name he goes by now is something like Bortam…Bonhiem…Bonnemy? Shit, I forget.” GB laughed.
“C’mon, man, how are we supposed to find this guy if you can’t even remember his name?” Chad let out a frustrated sigh.
The demon began fumbling with something underneath the blanket “Relax, ass. I got this picture I found online.” He revealed a crumbled scrap of paper and handed it to Chad.
Chad nearly lost control of the car when he looked at the image. “Holy fucking shit, GB! That’s Bonhomme de neige!”
“Oh great, you know him, this should be easy then.”
Christian Laforet is the author of the short horror collection, The Space Between Houses and co-founder of Adventure Worlds.
The Space Between Houses is available through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Space-Between-Houses-Christian-Laforet-ebook/dp/B00P5N8TRS/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-ueredtext&ie=UTF8&qid=1420681234&sr=1-2&keywords=the+space+between+houses