jashyr: skull (horror)
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Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 20/22
Author: Jashyr
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.

Chapter Twenty

Witch Hunt

The yellow Ferrari careered down the moor like a pregnant whale. Being built for speed didn’t really help when it was racing across a soaked, slippery heather embankment with massive pot holes every few feet to make the ride even worse. However, Dr Perez appeared to have experience with racing cars over uneven surfaces as, to James’ surprise, then didn’t spin once. Spotting the motorway Perez pulled the car into an almost parallel course, edging steadily down the steep embankment towards the hard shoulder at close to sixty miles per hour. James had to close his eyes as they hurtled towards the outside lane full of tired lorry drivers with very little in the way of fine steering. With a bump that almost made James’ head hit the ceiling of the car the Ferrari contacted with the road and with a flick of the steering wheel from Perez it started to weave it’s way through the sparse traffic.

Moving into the fast lane and ramping up to 120 miles per hour Dr Perez engaged the cruise control. “James,” he said conversationally, “we’ve now got the entire mystical might of Reapmore’s warlock division out to get us. Thank you so much for ensuring I’m going to die before my time.” The sarcasm wasn’t lost on Holt who squirmed in his seat. “We’re going to have to stop soon so I can make sure no-one can trace the car. I'll have to perform a quick incantation with the odd rune to make sure they can't scry on us. It’ll wreck your paintwork but better that than a slow, painful death. Now what in all of the Netherworld is around here that we could hide this monstrosity in?”

James looked up at the junction sign that they were whipping past at speed. “Just off the next junction along is a classic car showroom. Its got a few Ferraris in the forecourt. We wouldn’t look too out of place near it. I was thinking of buying the Maserati they had in the showroom as a Christmas present to myself.”

“Perfect,” said Perez, looking in the mirror to make sure they weren’t being followed then flooring the gas again and drifting across the lanes to leave at the next exit.

“So what happens then?” asked James. “Where will be safe for us to lie low for a bit?”

Perez grimaced. “They’ll be watching the airports and you REALLY don’t want to be caught in an aeroplane when a warlock is out to kill you. Staying on the mainland would only work for a while as they’d eventually get around the anti-scrying incantation and then we’d be toast. Running water messes with scrying though, so we could really do with getting offshore.”
"We could go to the Isle of Wight," said James helpfully. “It’s quite nice down there.”

"You do now what a wight is, don't you?" asked Perez with a look of derision.

“Er, no,” admitted James. “Anyway Anglesey is fairly close and we could make it in a night.”

Perez thought about this for a while, “the tax breaks are better on the Isle of Man and the motorway does take us all the way to Liverpool. Otherwise we’ll be dodging down Welsh country roads in the dark. The Welsh Redcaps don’t like mystical strangers turning up unannounced on their turf. They might hand us back to Charles."

Spotting the classic car showroom in the distance he pulled the car in to stop outside it. “Time to get our runes on.”


The Reapmore team and the four friends materialised in what Raj could only really describe as a magic circle, he’d just never imagined a magic circle that was a beautiful gold inlay into a perfectly smooth and incredibly expensive marble floor in a penthouse suite at the top of a twenty story office block. Looking out of the full length windows he could see the lights from a city centre below and  the roof of a cathedral next door, dwarfed by the industrial edifice he was standing in. The countryside around the building was so flat he could see for miles and he determined that there was a good chance that this was Lincolnshire and they’d just travelled the best part of seventy five miles in the blink of an eye. They certainly weren’t up in the Pennines any more, that was sure.

Joe and Lee had already started dragging Frazier’s remains out of the door as Grace sat down in a large leather chair at one end of the office while several catering staff hurried in with carafes of tea and coffee as well as plates of biscuits. Taking a sip of her coffee, Grace motioned for the four friends to sit on the chairs that the security team had pull out for them. She watched their reactions for a minute – Raj looked suspicious, Pete looked worried, Kim looked scared and Shona looked fascinated. Then she placed the coffee down on the cable and rested her chin on her arched hands. “Now what am I going to do with you four?” At the alarmed looks she waved a hand at them dismissively. “No, not in that way. You four have just stopped a minor emergency from becoming a world wide panic as well as an earth shattering disaster for the company. I, and all my employees are in your debt, especially if word of the small problem during the power cut never gets out of this room. It’d be easy for it simply to have been a break in by unruly youths which the four of you just happened to miss after you left the party early because it was far too boring.”

The four took note of the people with guns surrounding them and nodded.

“Of course, the fact that your company has gone under and also the mental anguish from being so close to death yet still doing the right thing to stop it all leads me to the prospect of compensation for your losses. I’m thinking a quarter of a million each might be a nice round figure?”

There was silence for a moment as the number sank in then Pete piped up with, “I think that’s a very generous offer ma’am. Thank you very much.”

“I’m good with that too,” said Raj quickly.

“Me too,” added Shona

“Eep!” said Kim still in shock.

Grace smiled, “that’s settled then. I’ll have one of my limo drivers take you back the slow way. I think it’ll be more enjoyable for you. If ever any of you need a job in the future please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m always on the lookout for loyal employees.” She motioned to one of the guards who saluted then held the door open for the four to wander through, still quite dazed.

Roy watched them go then asked, "Do you want them killed?"

Grace glanced at him indulgently, "Of course not, we could do with fresh, deviant minds like theirs. The money will slip through their fingers as fast as they can spend it, just like we’ve cursed it to. I’ll just wait until they fritter the money away then sweep in to reemploy them."


On the way down in the lift a discussion was going on about the money in question.

"So what are you three planning to do first?" asked Kim, still with a stunned look

"I'm thinking of a nice quiet holiday,” answered Raj with a faraway look in his eyes. “Somewhere hot with quiet beaches, very, very far from here."

"Yeah,” agreed Pete, “ I could just go for golden sands and sunlit waves. I hear Barbados is nice this time of year, what with the hurricane season being over and all that".

Shona glanced over at him with an exasperated look. "Pete? You do know where the zombie tales started out don't you?"


“The Caribbean!” At Pete’s blank look she just gave up. "Never mind, just go and watch Live And Let Die"

"Or Serpent and the Rainbow," interjected Raj.

"Yep, then see if you still want to go to the Caribbean. Anyway, what are you going to do with the money Kim? Go to Disneyland with the kids?”

“Oh sod the family,” laughed Kim, “I’m going to sun myself on a beach somewhere in Hawaii! What about you Shona? Going to relax somewhere nice?”

“I don’t know. I’m not very good at sitting still all the time; I need to something to occupy me. However if that job offer is good I might just take advantage of the slump in the housing market to set myself up with a house down here.”


Back on the motorway the two security operatives in the land rover were swearing furiously at their sat nav after the scrying trail they were following suddenly gave out. The target had pulled off onto a country road then the signal had simply vanished. While the driver headed for the last known location his collegue hit the speed dial button on his mobile phone. "It's Morgan and Jones, sir. The signal's gone cold. We're proceeding to the last known location - just off the Huddersfield junction." He stopped and listened to the voice on the other end before replying, "Yes, sir. The scan gives their average speed as 118 miles per hour. I don't think they'll leave the motorway for long, they'd have to slow down and that car's too obvious for them to hide in plain sight."

Back at the Moorlands Road industrial estate Scott Miller listened to this information while flipping through a small, leather-bound notebook. "Find out where they did the ritual," he instructed his operatives, "we might get a clue to where they're headed. I'll make a few calls - I think they've made a vitally important mistake taking that car."

He ended the call and dialed another number and grinned. "Hi Roger, it's Scott. I need a favour."


After ten minutes with no sign of pursuit Perez started to relax, only for his concentration to be broken by the sudden blast of a police siren. Looking in the mirror he could see a police car speeding to catch up with the Ferrari. "Damnation. How did they find us?"

"Maybe because we're going twice the speed limit in a bright yellow sportscar?" James looked back at the flashing blue lights. “It's just a bunch of traffic cops. Let’s just play this cool, otherwise they’ll catch us by following the trail of dead bodies up the motorway.”

Grumbling, Perez acknowledged that this might be the better course of action and pulled over with the police car stopping behind them. Two police officers got out of the panda car and one of them stayed back talking into his radio while the other one meandered over and tapped on the windscreen.

Rolling down the window and hoping he could get away with pretending to be a foreigner who didn’t know the speed limits, Perez put on his strongest Barcelona accent and asked, “Hello officer, what can I be helping you with?”

The police office looked Perez and Holt up and down then asked in a bored tone of voice, “do you gentlemen know how fast you were going?”

 “Please speak slow officer, I speak bad English not good,” replied Perez desperately hoping the policeman would give up and go away.

“Is this your car, sir?” asked the officer politely.

Holt nodded but didn’t say a word.

“That’s interesting, sir,” said the policeman with a malevolent tone to his voice as he gestured to the other side of the car, “because this gentleman says it’s his.”

Perez and Holt jumped as they saw Scott Miller grinning at them from the other side of the passenger side window.


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September 2010

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