Rainy Halloweens Suck
A/N: Thanks to Annie for the quick Beta.
A/N2: Written for the spook-me ficathon on LJ.
Creature Prompt: Mad Scientist
Secret Prompts: The Amazing Transparent Man, The Creeping Terror
It was a dark and stormy night. And what a cliché that was, but it fit the ugly night that this Halloween had turned out to be. Blair sighed and pulled his coat tighter around himself as he fidgeted in his seat. Jim had already cranked the heat up in the truck and yet Blair still shivered as he felt yet another drop of icy rain run down his neck, soaking into the collar of his shirt.
"Sucks to be a kid tonight, huh?" he muttered as he turned his face to the window, catching his own visage staring back at himself before he was able to focus his gaze beyond the rain-spattered glass and out into the inky darkness.
Jim chuckled. "You got that right, Chief."
"Huh?" Blair said.
Jim grinned. "You said it sucks to be a kid tonight and I was just agreeing with you. I remember how much it sucked to be a kid on a rainy Halloween and tonight is the worst I can ever remember. It looks like a monsoon out there."
Blair had turned his head toward Jim as he spoke and now he turned back to peer out the window again. Sure, it sucked to be a kid on a night like tonight; trick-or-treating in the rain had to be bad enough, but on a night like tonight it wouldn't even pay to try to go out. He leaned his head against the glass and sighed again.
"You okay, Chief?" Jim asked suddenly, making Blair jump.
Blair nodded. "Yeah, man, I'm fine - just thinking."
Jim actually sounded interested and Blair had to bite back the snort of amusement that welled up. "Nothing," he managed.
Jim sighed. "Don't shut me out, Blair. You were obviously thinking about something."
Blair bit his lip. "Just thinking that I never went trick-or-treating when I was a kid."
"Never?" Jim asked. "I would have thought Naomi -"
Blair did snort then, interrupting Jim. "Yeah, Naomi. Naomi wasn't the 'make a Halloween costume' kinda mom." Silence reigned in the truck for a moment and then Blair continued, "Once I dressed in my oldest, baggiest clothes, put some of Naomi's eye liner on my face and kinda rubbed it around to look like soot. I grabbed an old pillow case and was about to head out when she saw me. I got the lecture about dirty old men and taking candy from strangers and she made me take a shower to get the makeup off my face. When I finished she handed me a fresh algae shake and we toasted the night before meditating. She wouldn't even let me open the door when kids rang the bell."
"That's sad, Chief. Every kid should go out at least once. Getting all that loot is really secondary to the experience: kids running all over the neighborhood, the older kids jumping out of bushes and scaring the crap out of the younger kids, toilet-papering the principal's house. Hell, it's a rite of passage for kids."
Blair banged his head lightly against the glass. "Yeah, well, I've gone through a lot of rites-of-passage, just not this one. And now, it's too late to go back."
"It's never too late, Chief."
Blair chuckled. "Well, I'm not dressing up as Batman and going out in this weather!"
Jim grinned. "Maybe next year."
Blair shrugged. He'd never done it as a child so it really didn't matter if he didn't get to trick-or-treat as an adult. "Whatever, man."
They continued on in silence, Blair lost in his own thoughts. Suddenly, he gasped and sat up. "Stop, Jim!"
Jim applied the brakes gently, slowing the truck.
"Stop! Jim, you have to stop the truck," Blair said urgently as he peered into the darkness, turning in the seat to peer around behind the truck.
"What is it, Chief?" Jim asked as he looked in the rearview mirror. He pulled the truck over to the side of the road, putting on his four-way flashers.
The orange glow of the lights lent an eerie glow to the rain-slicked night. Blair pushed his door open, the rain immediately soaking him through as he stepped out onto the deserted sidewalk.
"Chief!" Jim growled softly as he opened his own door and followed Blair out into the night.
Blair was already disappearing into the darkness as Jim stepped up onto the curb. He dialed up his sight as high as possible and took off after Blair.
"When I catch up to you-" Jim groused as his feet sloshed through puddles of standing water. "Blair!" he called out as he saw the younger man turn into an alley. "Shit." Jim sped up, moving at a trot now, sure that when he turned into the alley Blair would be waiting for him. "Damn it, Blair," he said as he made the corner - and stopped. The alley was deserted.
Jim moved forward cautiously. "Blair! Where are you?" The rain continued to pound down on him, drowning his voice as each drop of water echoed off the concrete. As he turned up his hearing, the ringing of the raindrops hitting the metal of the fire escapes rang in his ears and he covered them with his hands instinctively, hurrying to turn his sense of hearing down to more manageable levels.
Pulling his weapon out, Jim moved forward. He glanced over his shoulder once, looking out toward the street. Nothing was moving out there - everyone who was sane probably holed up at home, eating all the candy they'd bought for the non-existent trick-or-treaters.
"Fuck, Chief, what have you gotten into this time?"
Taking a deep breath, he began walking forward again, placing his feet carefully and watching for any movement ahead of him. By the time he reached the end of the alley, he had tried three doors (all locked) and scared up a couple of rats. Other than that, he'd come up empty. For all intents and purposes, Blair had vanished into thin air.
Twenty minutes later the alley was awash with red and blue flashing lights. After searching the alley and coming up empty, Jim had called in reinforcements. Jim watched as the bobbing lights of the officers' flashlights illuminated the brick walls and concrete pavement of the alley.
"You okay, Jim?"
Jim turned his head. It was Simon - again, asking the same question he'd asked a dozen times already. Jim shook his head. "Anything new?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer. He heard every man in the alley, every whisper, every curse, every time they said that Jim was crazy. He heard it all, unable to 'dial it down' to use Blair's vernacular. But the one thing he wanted and 'needed' to hear was absent. He no longer heard his Guide's heartbeat.
The first thing they'd done was set up a perimeter: nothing allowed in or out of the alley or surrounding area. In the past hour no one had tried to breach the perimeter, unless you counted a waterlogged rat. Jim didn't. Once the perimeter was set, they started searching the surrounding buildings, coming up empty each and every time. Jim flinched as the doors off the alley were pried open, the nails squealing as they were forced out of the surrounding wood. Footfalls echoed in his head as the cops swarmed into the buildings, out of the pounding rain, voices whispering in the dark, each and every word as loud in Jim's ears as if they were being spoken directly in front of him instead of hundreds of yards away. He tensed as each new doorway was breached and sagged in disappointment when the building was deemed deserted, even though he knew Blair was nowhere nearby. He would hear him if he was close - wouldn't he?
The inky blackness was broken by a flash of light. He groaned as the light seared his retinas, the flash imprinting on the darkness even when he clenched his eyes shut again. Biting back a groan of pain, Blair rolled his head to one side, opening his eyes just enough to check out his immediate vicinity. Was that a faint glow?
"I see you!"
Blair flinched away from the hissing voice, turning his head again as he heard a soft scuttling sound off to his left. The room he was in was dim and he wished for a moment that he had Jim's senses and could 'dial up' his sight so he could see past the small circle of twilight he was sitting in. And speaking of sitting, he leaned forward, pulling on the ropes that secured his hands behind him around a pole. If he looked up, he lost the top of the pole in the darkness. The room itself 'felt' huge - warehouse huge - and Blair wondered if he was in one of the abandoned buildings near where he was taken.
Taken. Jim was going to be so pissed that he'd run off after a shadow. He'd be even more upset that he was missing - taken - again. Blair sighed softly as he hung his head. And then, suddenly, he threw his head back, careful not to brain himself against the post he was tied to, and screamed long and loud for Jim.
He heard a sudden growl off to the right of where he sat but was unprepared for the blow to the face that whipped his head to the left and split his lip in the process. Gasping in pain, Blair looked up at his attacker and saw - nothing, no one. He hadn't heard his attacker move off but there was no one in front of him. Looking left and then right showed no one in his immediate vicinity.
Suddenly, he heard a low chuckle and he looked around again, expecting to see someone standing directly in front of him. All he saw was an empty space, extending out to the edge of the dim light. The voice had sounded closer than that edge of darkness - but he didn't see anyone.
"Wh-who's there?" Blair stammered fearfully, tugging at the ropes binding his wrists behind the post he was sitting against.
"A mouse!" came the whisper off to his right and Blair turned his head quickly. No one was there.
"A man!" The voice was behind him now and he twisted as far as he was able, trying to see who was tormenting him.
"What do you want?" Blair asked quickly.
Only silence met his question and he growled in frustration as he leaned his head back against the pole again. After a minute, Blair heard someone moving around again. He peered into the darkness as the sounds got closer.
"Jack, leave the young man alone."
Blair's eyes opened wide as the owner of the second voice walked into view. He was an older man; slightly stooped with age, his skin wrinkled, his hair a shocking white. Blair thought him the perfect "mad scientist" except for the white sneakers and blue cardigan sweater.
"Who are you?" Blair asked as the old man walked past him. "And who is Jack?"
"I'm Jack!" a voice said off to his right.
Blair turned to look and saw no one again.
"Jack, leave the young man alone!" the old man said again.
"I'm the Creeping Terror!" the hissing voice said.
The old man turned and sighed loudly. "Creeping Terror, my ass. You may be the Amazing Transparent Man, but terrifying you're not. Now shut up and get over here so I can undo this mess."
Blair looked toward the old man, who was just visible against the outline of blackness, working at what looked like an old workbench. As he stared, he thought he saw a shadow, a flicker of something not quite solid, near the old man. It wasn't until the voice spoke again that he realized what he was seeing - or, rather, what he wasn't seeing - or was it who? The old man was talking to - the slight distortion at his side. Was it a transparent man?
Blair closed his eyes and let his head hang for a long minute. The night and circumstances were getting to him. That had to be it. There was no Amazing Transparent Man. There was just a crazy old man who was messing with his head. Blair had convinced himself of that and he believed it wholeheartedly - right up until both voices began to speak at the same time.
"Jim, you gotta find me, man," Blair said softly. "Come on. I know you're looking for me. You've got to get me out of here."
Blair lifted his head, glancing at the old man again. "Jim, come on, man. I need to get out of here. This is seriously creeping me out."
The old man was talking animatedly with whoever or whatever was beside him. The Amazing Transparent Man? Blair didn't want to believe in a transparent man. He didn't want to give in to the hype of the holiday but, when the old man knocked over a beaker full of a green powder and it stuck to something - he had to believe. The green powder moved around, seeming to hang in the air, while the old man merely shrugged his shoulders and turned back to his workbench.
"Whatcha looking at?" the "Jack" voice snarled, startling Blair.
It was then that Blair realized that Jack was much closer to him than before. In fact, now that Jack was covered in the green powder, Blair could almost see the outline of a man's body and didn't that freak him out.
"Wh-what are you?" Blair whispered.
"I'm the Amazing Transparent-"
"Jack, leave the young man alone. We have to finish up here," the old man interrupted.
Blair watched as the green shimmer moved away, back toward the workbench and the old man there. He blinked, thinking that this had to be some sort of a nightmare. Sure, he'd fallen asleep in the truck, that was it. Only, if he knew he was sleeping, why couldn't he wake himself? With a groan, Blair banged his head softly against the pole behind him.
Jim's head came up and he closed his eyes, focusing his sense of hearing well past what he thought his limit was. On the verge of a zone out there would be no coming back from without his Guide, he dug his nails into his palms, grounding himself on the pain as he searched for Blair's voice, his heartbeat, anything to let him know that his Guide was alive.
It was faint, but Jim heard his name on the wind, a muffled shriek that told him his Guide was alive and in trouble.
Jim came back to himself with Simon shaking him, his fingers digging into Jim's bicep. He hissed in pain as he opened his fists, blood welling up to fill the crescent-shaped cuts on his palms.
"What the hell happened?" Simon demanded.
"He's out there, Simon."
"Blair?" Simon took hold of Jim's arms again. "You heard him?" he asked quietly.
Jim nodded. "He's close by - but the sound was muffled." Jim looked around. "Somehow he's right here and we missed him."
"People!" Simon said loudly. "We need to search these buildings one more time."
Jim shook his head. "You won't find him, Simon."
Simon stared at Jim. "You said he was here, Jim."
Jim nodded. "He is, Simon, but you've already looked in these buildings. You won't find him by looking again." He sighed loudly and pushed away from the brick wall. "You need to pull these guys out. I have to do this on my own, Simon. There's too much noise, too many heartbeats."
Simon nodded and turned away from Jim. Soon, the alley was deserted except for him and Simon.
"Go, Simon. I'll be fine."
Simon frowned. "Jim, I'm staying. I'll keep back, but I'm not leaving you here alone."
Jim sighed. "I'm not going to talk you out of this, am I?"
Simon grinned. "No way. You're stuck with me."
"Fine," Jim muttered as he walked away. Moving slowly, Jim walked the length of the alley, turning the dial up on his hearing as he moved. When he got to the end of the alley, he leaned forward, bracing one hand on the brick wall in front of him, his head hanging. He heard Simon start forward, his shoes scuffing on the concrete, and he held up his free hand. "Stay back," he said calmly. A soft sigh told him that Simon had gotten the message.
After a minute, Jim lifted his head. He heard it again, softer this time, but it was definitely Blair's voice. Moving swiftly now, he started back toward the mouth of the alley. Intellectually he knew that he hadn't been too far behind Blair so he should have been behind one of the first doors he'd come to. Now Blair's voice was leading him back toward the front of the alley.
Moving carefully, Jim entered the warehouse again. He could hear Simon muttering in the alley behind him and he wanted to shout for him to shut up - but, instead he concentrated on tuning him out, filtering out his voice until he could only hear Blair. A blank wall was in front of him, but he was positive he could hear Blair behind it. Closing his eyes, he moved forward, concentrating just on the voice. He put his hands out in front of him, expecting to come into contact with the wall. Instead, he felt a brief tug on his skin and then cooler air.
Opening his eyes, he looked behind him. The wall looked solid. He reached out to put his hand against it - or through it as the case may be, but all he felt was solid brick. It looked like there was no going back the way he came. Sighing softly, he looked around. It was dark - but he could see a faint light ahead and he moved toward it. Listening carefully, he realized he could hear Blair much more clearly now. Moving cautiously, he reached the end of the room and peered around the corner. Blair was seated with his back to him - his wrists bound behind him. Jim looked around the large room, peering into the dim recesses. He saw a small, hunched man with a flash of green at his side scuttling away. As he reached the wall, he seemed to melt into it - and then he was gone and all Jim saw was Blair. When he dialed up his hearing, however, he could hear two distinct heartbeats moving away from his position.
"Jim, please find me," Blair muttered. "C'mon, man. I need you."
Jim smiled and walked into the room. "Hey Chief," he said quietly, not wanting to startle Blair.
Blair turned his head, a smile breaking out on his face. "Jim! Man, is it good to see you!" He tugged at his bound wrists. "Get me out of here - please."
Jim grinned as he squatted behind Blair and untied the ropes binding Blair's wrists. When he was free, Blair got to his feet with a groan, rubbing his wrists.
"You okay, Chief?"
Blair nodded. "Yeah - fine. Can we just go?"
Jim nodded and then put out his hand as Blair made to move past him back the way Jim came. "We can't go that way."
Blair stared. "But - that's where you came from, isn't it?"
Jim could hear Blair's heart begin to race. "I came through that way, but the way back is blocked. We have to move forward."
Blair licked his lips and nodded. "I - I was afraid of that," he said softly. "I felt it when h-he dragged me through the wall."
"He - who?" Jim asked quietly.
"Jack - the Amazing Transparent Man," Blair answered with a soft snort. "Y-you probably saw him when you c-came in. He was kinda green because the Mad Scientist spilled some fluorescent powder on him."
"Chief," Jim said carefully.
Blair stared up at him. "I'm not crazy, Jim, but crazy things are happening tonight and I really need to get out of this warehouse."
Jim nodded and drew his gun. "Let's go, Chief," he said softly as he moved out.
Blair followed. Jim could feel him at his back. His heart was still racing and his breathing was ragged. Jim only hoped Blair didn't have a full blown panic attack before this was all done. They walked through a maze of rooms, Blair following closely as Jim carefully checked out each new room before entering it. As they reached yet another doorway, Jim put up a hand, halting Blair.
"I think this is it," he said softly.
"This door seems to lead outside. You stay here - I'm going to check this out."
Blair nodded jerkily and bit his lip as he hugged the wall. Jim smiled once and then slipped through the door. When he stepped outside, he stumbled to a halt. He recognized this place - but it was miles from where he'd entered the warehouse. Looking around quickly, he realized Blair's captors were no where in sight. With a soft sigh he turned and leaned back into the building at his back.
"Come on, Blair. It's clear."
Blair walked outside. "Where are we?" he asked as he looked around.
"The other side of town from where we started," Jim said as he pulled his cell phone out of his jacket pocket.
"What are you doing?"
"Calling Simon. We're going to need a ride back to my truck."
Blair nodded and fell into step beside Jim, who had begun walking away from the building they'd just come out of. "How did we get here, Jim?"
Jim scowled and shook his head. "Damned if I know, Chief."
Blair walked along with Jim for another minute. "We walked through that wall, didn't we?"
Jim nodded. "Yeah - I think we did."
Blair nodded. "So - Jim?"
"Yeah, Chief?" Jim said as he pulled his coat up around his ears to ward off the chill rain.
"Next year I'm staying in on Halloween. I think I've had enough of Halloween for a long time."
Jim snorted. "Not what you were imagining when you were complaining about missing out, huh?"
Blair swatted Jim. "No - not what I was imagining."
They continued to walk.
"So, is Simon coming to get us?"
Jim nodded. "Yeah, Chief. He's on his way."
Blair sighed. "Good. Can we keep walking, Jim? I don't trust this place not to get weird on us again."
Jim looked around quickly. They were alone for now, but Blair was right. Things could get weird very quickly. With a terse nod, he picked up his pace. Simon couldn't get to them quick enough for his taste.