I stumbled backward, nearly falling when I reached the stairs. Unable to speak or take my eyes off the fangs that extended from his canines, the sharp points making slight indentions in his lower lip. I grabbed on to the banister for support as I debated running screaming from the house. That is, if I could get past him. Rambin and his fangs were between me and the front door.
He got to his feet slowly. I could hear joints popping as he flexed his arms and neck. Blood covered much of his shirt, matted his hair, and stained a path down his forehead. He wiped it out of his left eye, then licked it from his fingers.
That was just about enough. “Dude!”
Rambin shrugged, looking like a kid caught doing something naughty. “What? It’s my blood.”
I bugged my eyes at him. It was about as eloquent as I could get at the moment.
He held up a hand. “Look, I gather this is a shock to you. In which case, I’m sorry you found out like this.”
Apparently the ghost didn’t like being left out of the conversation because he tossed a decorative bowl at Rambin, hitting him in the chest. Snarling, he called up at the ghost, “I’ve had about enough out of you!”
I looked up to see the ghost shimmer with rage. It seemed to expand, then draw in on itself. I’d seen ghosts do that before and knew to get out of the way. It cannonballed down the stairs to crash into Rambin, knocking him to the floor and sending him sliding until he hit the front door.
Cussing with impressive flair, Rambin grabbed the door knob and pulled himself up. He met my eyes, gesturing wildly as the ghost cracked the glass in a grandfather clock. “See what I have to put up with? I want this damn ghost outta my house.”
The damn ghost started tossing around shards of broken glass. As I took refuge inside the living room, I could kind of see Rambin’s point.
As the ghost made hash of the large clock Rambin continued to yell and curse it at. I’d seen this kind of frustration in homeowners before, at the end of their rope and desperate for relief. The fact that I was watching a vampire lose his shit somehow made it worse.
Vampire. Yeah. Time to reconsider packing a booze-filled flask on the job. I could sure use a nip of fortifying beverage right about now.
“Oh no you don’t!” Rambin yelled. He stood in the middle of the foyer, staring up at the chandelier directly overhead. A large ornate bronze number, it had several arms, all kinds of glass or crystal balls hanging from it, and half a dozen light fixtures shaped like candle flames. Gripped in a violent shaking, it looked ready to explode. “Not my brand new Pottery Barn chandelier!” As if on cue, the light fixtures burst, raining glass on Rambin. He threw his arms over his head, both hands balled into fists and giving the ghost the middle finger. “You bastard!”
A disembodied cackle of maniacal laughter filled the room as the crystal balls were ripped from the chandelier’s arms and used as projectiles. Rambin was pelted from all sides, jumping at every impact, his cursing becoming increasingly creative. One of the balls shot up from the floor to hit him between the eyes, opening a gash and painting his face with more blood.
Normally I would never laugh at the distress of a client but this time I couldn’t help it. That ghost was kicking the vampire’s ass. But then I felt guilty for laughing. “Mr. Rambin! Mr. Rambin!” I was still sitting just inside the living room sheltered behind the wall and though I wanted to help my client, I didn’t relish the thought of walking into the hot zone and getting beaned with chandelier parts. “Daniel, come here!”
He finally quit flailing around and paid attention. I stood as he joined me. “You’ve got to do something about this. Please!”
A crystal ball bounced off his chest and hit the top of my shoulder, so hard I was sure I’d have a bruise. “We need to get out of the line of fire first.”
His fangs had retracted but he looked furious enough to take on a grizzly. “The guest bathroom is just down the hall. How about we make a run for it?”
I nodded, motioning for him to lead the way. By the time he slammed the door behind me I had a few more bruises but nothing serious. I pulled a container of salt from a pocket of my cargo pants and poured a thick line in front of the door, then looked around to make sure there was no other way for the ghost to enter. Seeing none, I said, “We should be safe as long as we stay in here.”
The guest bath was as impressive as the rest of the house. Marble fixtures, flocked wallpaper, slate floor tiles, and a large gilt mirror in which the vampire did in fact have a reflection. I stared at that reflection, then lowered my glasses to get a look at his aura. Still mostly the same sunny yellow, but with a smattering of red that I would have interpreted as great agitation in anyone else. I wasn’t sure if it meant the same with him. I just hoped it didn’t mean he was hungry. Thirsty, whatever.
A vampire. Damn. This was definitely the weirdest thing I’d come across since that sasquatch femur bone.
He took a step back, leaned against the wall. “You don’t have to be afraid of me. I got you out here to do a job, not, you know, like a pizza delivery or something.”
There was nothing in his aura or his attitude that suggested he was lying. And he for damn sure had a ghost problem. I decided to take him at his word. “I’ve got some stuff in my car to do a banishing spell. It’ll take time but it should be effective.”
Rambin pushed off from the wall and moved to the sink, turning on the cold water. As he washed the blood from his face, an act I was deeply grateful for, he said, “Look, I’m sure that would work under normal circumstances. I don’t think this is normal, though. You’re the third person I’ve had out here and so far nobody’s been able to get that ghost out of my house.”
That made me intensely curious. “Who’d you have out here?”
“A shaman friend of mine, and a friend of his that’s a medium. I’m new here in town so I went with old contacts. When they weren’t able to help I started looking local.” He dried his face with a hand towel.
“And they both did banishings that didn’t work?”
“Great big ceremonies.” He waved a hand. “Funky incense and candle wax on the hardwood. Didn’t do a damn thing. I think he’s holding on tight because of me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I think that ghost is prejudiced against vampires.”
Stay tuned for the conclusion next week!