Devil Cares: Chapter Nine

May 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm (Devil Cares) ()


After Kimber’s proclamation, the two brothers had turned on the ceiling fan and opened the windows to allow the smoke to be drawn out of the room. Following that, Kimber made sure Barrett had a big ole’ swallow of humble pie. He’d been right about Mackayla Byrne’s death being influence by the supernatural, and he was going to make Barrett own up to it.
“All right,” Barrett grumbled, “so the tub’s haunted.”
Kimber beamed, “That’s right.”
“What are we gonna do about it?” the elder Mossberg asked gruffly.
“Well,” Kimber said slowly, “we could always fill the tub up with a purification bath and then let out the water.”
He shrugged. “If it’s a just a restless spirit that should be enough.”
Barrett nodded. “Okay. I suppose you have everything we need for that in your bag of tricks.”
Pulling out a tube of salt, Kimber replied, “I suppose you’d be right.”
In no time at all the tub was full of water, and Kimber began pouring salt in, moving the container around to make sure it was evenly spread. Next, Kimber pulled out a small bag of basil and began sprinkling it into the tub.
“What’s that?” Barrett asked.
“This is basil,” Kimber said, “it works well in purification baths.”
“Something else Mom taught you?”
Kimber nodded. “Do the Byrne’s have a fireplace?”
“I don’t know,” Barrett shrugged. “Why?”
“If they do, their pokers might be made of iron.” Kimber continued, “Stirring this up with an iron poker might help it along because otherworldly creatures are affected by iron.”
“I’ll go check,” Barrett said, and started down the stairs.
While his brother was doing that, Kimber reached down and started picking up all the hawthorn leaves. There was no sense in letting them go to waste, so he added them to the tub as well. Then he took back up the salt and emptied the rest of the bottle.
Without any warning at all, Kimber felt himself falling forward into the tub. He barely had time to shout out, “Barr—!” before he was going under. There was no pressure against his back, no hold around his wrist, there was no physical presence that Kimber could discern at all. One second he was fine, and the next he was in the tub.
Salt and basil stung his eyes as Kimber desperately fought to get out of the water. He thrashed around until he was facing the surface, reaching frantically for the air just above him. But it was like the liquid had suddenly turned to gelatin, for the water line expanded around his hands as he pushed upward.
He could find no purchase, get no traction. It was like the walls of the tub had suddenly expanded outward in all directions. He tried to pushed against the far end with his feet, but they wouldn’t touch. His fingers clawed at the sides, but they were just a hair out of reach. Bubbles escaped from his mouth and nose as he tried not to panic and scream outright, tried to hold on to the scant air he had.
Finally, his conscious thought came back him to him and he scrambled at his neckline to get his shirt open, just those few buttons that would release his holy icon. Beneath the water, his fingers lacked the dexterity to undo them, so he grabbed either side of the line of buttons and pulled. Though he couldn’t hear the tear of the fabric, his icon tumbled free and pale blue light erupted in the water.
Downstairs Barrett had been asking Andy if he knew whether or not the Byrne’s had used a fireplace when he heard his brother’s strangled cry. He instantly whipped around.
“Kimber!” He bellowed as he charged up the stairs. Dimly he was aware that Andy was lumbering along behind.
When he burst into the bathroom he paused for only a second to whip his cross free and wrap it around his right hand. As he did so, the light of Kimber’s own icon shown up from the tub as the water began to churn and froth. Barrett dove to the side of the tub, falling to his knees, and plunged his hand beneath the surface.
Kimber almost wept as he felt Barrett’s hand grip his collar and pull him up. Coughing and hawking, his blondish head broke the surface and Barrett fell backward, dragging him completely free of the tub. Both collapsed to the carpet, Barrett on his back and Kimber on his stomach.
“Yeah,” Kimber hacked, “definitely haunted.”
While his brother recovered, Barrett went downstairs to get the Byrne’s own salt and proceeded to draw a circle around the tub when he came back upstairs. Kimber had changed into an extra pair of clothes he had apparently been keeping in his attaché bag. The ones he had been wearing were in a plastic sack. He was just in his socks for the moment; Andy was taking the blow dryer to his shoes.
Finishing up the circle around the tub, Barrett came back over to Kimber. “You know, that was a pretty violent reaction for a lost soul. Usually they want to cross over.”
“I don’t think it is just a wanderer,” Kimber said, “I think it’s a residual essence.”
Brows furrowing, Barrett cast a dark glance at the tub before looking back at his brother. “You think so?”
“It makes more sense than the usual haunting.”
Hesitantly, from where he stood by the counter with the blow dryer, Andy asked, “W-what’s a…residual essence.”
It was Kimber who explained. “A residual essence is a kind of haunting that doesn’t incorporate the spirits of the dead. Instead, spiritual and emotional energy has become so entrenched into a specific place that it takes on a life of its own, which hunters call an ‘essence.’ They’re more dangerous and more work than the run-of-the-mill hauntings because they become stronger over time.”
“How?” Andy asked, his beady eyes wide.
“They endeavor to generate more emotion the longer they’re left unattended,” Kimber said. “The panic and fear that an unexpected attack generate increase their power, and should the person actually die in the attack it doesn’t hurt.”
Andy’s wide face was slack as he stared at Kimber, and then the tub. “You said the essence is locked into a specific place?”
“When they get stronger…can the place move?”
Kimber and Barrett shared a look. Finally, the younger said, “They don’t move, exactly, but they do expand, yes. That’s probably why it was able to affect me before I was actually in the tub.”
The cop began shuffling backwards.
“It’s all right, Andy,” Barrett sighed. “The salt will keep it contained for now.”
“For now?” Andy’s voice was soft.
“Another reason essences are more dangerous is because they take actual magic to get rid of,” Kimber said. “Some ghosts pass on by themselves with time, but a residual essence never does.”
Here Barrett cut in. “I wouldn’t call it magic exactly.”
Kimber looked at him. “What would you call it, then?”
“Well,” Barrett began, “it’s more like a really ritualistic prayer than magic.”
At this, Kimber merely arched a brow. “Barrett, what do you think magic is?”
He didn’t wait for a reply. “Anyway, whether you keep to the folk magic or employ Christian sorcery, the result is the same. We’re going to need to go home to get more supplies and then come back and do some heavy duty casting out.”
“Well, we haven’t let Jim back in yet, so you should have all the time you need,” Andy said.
“We should get going, though,” Barrett said.
Sighing, Kimber nodded. “Yes. I agree.”
He raised his hand to his damp hair. “Barrett, can you go down now and start the truck’s heater? I’ll be down when it’s warmed up.”
Barrett agreed and headed off. When he was gone, Kimber walked over to Andy. The cop turned off the dryer and handed him his shoes. Kimber took them.
“Andy, do you believe in god?” he asked.
A little guiltily, he replied, “I don’t go to church that often, but—”
“I didn’t ask you if you go to church,” Kimber said, “I asked if you believe in god.”
“Yeah,” Andy said. “Yeah, I believe. Why?”
“There is something happening in this town, Andy,” Kimber told him. “If you don’t have a necklace with an icon of your faith on it, go out and buy one. Wear it all the time, even if it’s under your shirt. Don’t take it off.”
Andy just looked at him.
“Promise me, Andy!”
He jumped. “Okay, I promise.”
Kimber nodded, then he put on his still slightly damp shoes and went downstairs.



  1. Zappaz said,

    O_o Holy cow. Possessed bathtub indeed. I’m glad I take showers.

    Anyway, a wonderful update as always! *wants to know what Kimber’s icon is* Keeping me guessing on a number of things, you! Good.

  2. Yahrlan said,

    But are showers that much safer, Zappaz, dear? It doesn’t take much water to drown…And then there’s the plastic curtains to asphyxiate or glass to be smashed into/through (plus the shards of said glass after) and washcloths… ^_^ Are you taking your salt shaker and holy icon to your shower yet Zappy?

    Devil cares Chapter Playlist
    Anyway, I can’t find ‘Fears in the Water’ which is what Seth said is the title he tweaked, so I have another goof-off track, though still similarly named.

  3. Zappaz said,

    v.v I will be now, Yahr.

  4. jekloneo said,

    Salt shakers and holy icons? I’ve never taken either to my shower.

  5. Yahrlan said,

    lol. Salt (as seen in the stories) is a purifier and good to draw a protection circle (not to mention good for exfoliating your skin lol). Holy icon should be self-explanatory.
    Lol possessed shower! Ahh!

  6. Seth Gray said,

    It isn’t possessed it’s haunted. ~_^

  7. jekloneo said,

    Problem is, I don’t have a holy icon, or at least, not yet.
    And bringing salt into the bathroom should raise some eyebrows.

  8. Zappaz said,

    Well, haunted. My bad. 😛 It’s still hella freaky.

  9. Yahrlan said,

    I’m talking about the shower, not the tub lol.

    Sometimes something as simple as making a cross with your fingers is enough of an emblem (that is if your Christian…I can’t think of another religion right off with a ‘quick-fix’ to no emblem at hand– er pardon the pun)
    As far as eyebrows raising, just tell them it’s to exfoliate your skin. 😛

  10. jekloneo said,

    Hmm. That’s exactly the problem: I have no religion. So I suppose I’ll just hang around. No one’s died in the bathroom yet so I suppose I’m relatively safe.
    Exfoliate my skin? Uh, okay…

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