Chapter One: Terror at the Tipton
Genevieve Marie always thought superheroes existed only in comic books.
It was a common misconception to assume. This was real life, and there wasn’t such a thing as superheroes in real life. Then again, she lived in a society where a mouse with red shorts and round ears walked around a dog named after a dwarf planet.
Could anything else be just as uncommon as that?
Yes, a woman at twenty years of age who still reads comics, she thought to herself, standing among a crowd of New Yorkers gathered to watch the strange lights and flashes emanating from the upper floors of the Tipton Hotel.
Much of the residents of the hotel were evacuated:
Ditzy London Tipton – daughter of Wilfred Tipton, the owner of the hotel.
And some twins named Zack and Cody Martin, whose mother (Carey Martin) was one of the two people still trapped upstairs in the hotel, for some unknown reason, along with a guy named Arwin.
London stood near Genevieve, contacting her father over the phone.
“Daddy, I don’t know what happened,” she sounded panicked. “One minute, I was partying with some friends…” She stopped for a second to hear her father give an angry response. “No, Daddy. It wasn’t a big party. It was a little-big party. Oh, oh! Johnny D. was there! Did you know he’s signed up for ‘Pirates 4’?”
Genevieve rolled her eyes in disbelief.
Here they were, near the end of the world, and this stupid girl was giddy about a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
Wow! Is New York ever the most unbelievable place in the world, even at the end of it!
Marion Moseby, the uptight manager of the hotel, ran out of the building with Maddie Fitzpatrick (the teenage candy-counter girl) and Esteban Ramirez (the head bellman). He was highly urgent as he told the hotel residents standing outside, “This situation will be taken care of immediately, ladies and gentlemen. I just alerted the mayor of our situation, and he has agreed to let the Ghostbusters handle this.”
Genevieve smiled. She knew they were going to come.
Earlier, they were charged by some idiot from the Environmental Protection Agency for misuse of toxic chemicals (or some mess like that).
Good to know they were cleared.
“Aw, man,” Zack exclaimed. “The Ghostbusters are comin’, and here I am without my camera!”
Cody gave his brother a dirty look. “Are you insane?!” he yelled. “Mom is still up there and heaven knows what’s happening to her! And all you care about is some stupid five-second photo?!”
Zack paused as if he was taking a minute to think about what Cody just said, and then he quickly responded with a simple “Yep.”
Feeling the need to choke his only brother, Cody was about to do just that until the screaming of sirens turned his and everyone else’s attention to an arriving motorcade. They could clearly see the Ecto-1 (or “The Ectomobile” as a few fans called it), the standard vehicle of the Ghostbusters, a 1959 Cadillac ambulance/hearse combination car fitted with communication wafers and antennae and blue and red strobes.
As it rounded the corner, a huge cheer went up from the crowd.
London jumped up and down with excitement over the arrival.
“Oh, oh! Daddy, Daddy! They’re here! They’re here!” She paused to listen to her father ask a question. “Who? The Ghostbusters, Daddy! They’re here to exchange autographs with me…” She lowly added afterwards, “Oh, yeah…and save the day, too.”
Genevieve ignored London, watching the Ecto-1 pull up in front of the Tipton.
The doors flew open and one-by-one the Ghostbusters piled out:
Dr. Natalie Venkman, a 27-year-old Native American who was one of the three parapsychologists on the team, although she also held a PhD in psychology. To most that knew her, she possessed a very flippant personality and proved to be very lackadaisical to her profession. Still, she was well liked by most of her fans (predominantly men) because of her magnificent beauty and social skills. It was this reason, as well as her savvy, street-smart attitude, that made her a reasonable front woman for the team.
Dr. J.G. “Jay” Stantz was a 19-year-old Hispanic Mensa-level genius who skipped most of grade school and started college at eleven years old. He was an expert on paranormal history and metallurgy, having a childlike enthusiasm towards his work and forthright acceptance of paranormal activity. Natalie often credited him as being the “heart” of the team and kind of looked to him like a kid brother – something that came from the friendship they shared during their college years.
J.G. was responsible for pioneering the team’s theories and designing and building the equipment used for catching and containing ghosts, along with Dr. Sean Spengler. Like Natalie and J.G., he had an expertise in the paranormal. The tall, laconic, bespectacled, and African American 22-year-old scientist was heavily addicted to science, thus making him the “brains” of the team. If the others didn’t understand something about their situations, they would ask him to explain; although they often wouldn’t understand the answer. Despite his brilliance, Spengler didn’t have much social ability, and he generally needed Natalie to do the talking.
Lastly, there was Jacqueline Zeddemore, who stood close in age with Spengler and didn’t hold a PhD or had any backgrounds in the paranormal. She was also the only Ghostbuster on the team that was Caucasian, though this was up for debate between her love for R&B music and well-grown backside (or “sistah booty,” as Natalie called it). She was hired on the spot in the previous week, seemingly because she was the only applicant at the time. Regardless of her lack of PhDs, she proved to be someone who could serve as a voice of reason, displaying far more common sense than the others.
That much was certain when she told her teammates, “I think we should get on a plane right now and go to Australia or Indonesia until this blows over. Wouldn’t ya’ll think so?”
“Tell you what, Zee,” Natalie said, “I’ll make a note of your suggestion and possibly bring it up later if this thing really does get out of hand.”
Jacqueline rolled her eyes in annoyance while they pulled out a rack from the rear of the Ecto-1, containing their Proton Packs. Backpack-sized particle accelerators with handheld wands that fired proton streams. The streams were polarized with the negatively charged energy of a ghost, allowing it to be held while active.
As soon as they geared up, they waved to the roaring crowd and approached the lobby entrance.
“Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters!” The crowd cheered.
Moseby sighed deep as he watched them enter. “I hope they take care of this situation as quickly as possible.”
“This is no sweat, Mr. Moseby,” Maddie said. “Remember the business with that straight-up nasty, slimy green ghost London found on the thirtieth floor?”
“Ugh,” Moseby shivered. “Don’t remind me!”
On the rooftop of the Tipton Hotel, Carey Martin and Arwin Hawkhauser emerged from the stairwell, both looking extraordinarily pale and disheveled.
Carey’s eyes were wide open, filled with a kind of love-slave longing, and her clothes were seductively tattered. Arwin walked stiffly in his janitor attire with a glazed look in his eyes. Both of them held each other’s hands.
In truth, they were controlled by demigods known as Zuul and Vinz Clortho.
They were respectively known as the “Gatekeeper” and the “Keymaster” because of the role they played in opening the elaborate, decorative temple located atop the Tipton, complete with an altar, stairs, and Babylonian columns.
Carey and Arwin mounted the pedestals once occupied by doglike demons – the same ones that were once statues but brought to life on the same night the two Tipton residents were possessed. Zack and Cody hung around the rooftop often and jokingly referred to them as “Terror Dogs.”
That nickname just might seem highly appropriate at this time.
With Carey and Arwin in position, the walls of the temple began to vibrate and blinding beams of light flashed from all the windows.
Natalie, J.G., Sean, and Jacqueline exhaustingly trudged up thirty-five flights of stairs, panting and hacking on the way up. The elevators shut down from the chaos, leaving them with no other option.
Natalie fell behind a little, expressing her distain in the best words possible: “For years I’ve busted my butt at the gym! And I can’t even figure out why the heck I’m even out of breath now of all times! What the hell, man?!”
“Relax, Nat,” J.G. said. “We’re just about there.”
“Alright, well, when we do get there, let me know,” Natalie remarked, “because I’m two seconds away from throwin’ up!”
A few more floors up, the Ghostbusters staggered into the hallway, completely bushed. They headed towards the door to Carey Martin’s suite.
“Should we ring the doorbell?” Jacqueline asked.
“Why not?” Natalie replied. “We’ll say, ‘Oh, hi! We’re the Ghostbusters. Don’t mind us. We’re just here to kick some demigod booty’.”
Jacqueline shook her head at her and then turned back to the door.
It was charred and blackened by soot.
Instead of ringing the doorbell, she knocked.
The door instantly fell off its hinges and crashed to the floor.
Jacqueline was already on her way out. “See you all in Indonesia!”
Natalie briskly stood in her path and pinned her against the wall. “You know, for someone who claims she practices Martial Arts in her résumé, you really are chicken!”
“Come on, ladies,” J.G. pleaded. “A lot of people are counting on us down there. You don’t want to disappoint the kids, would ya?”
Jacqueline looked down towards the floor, thinking about what Stantz said and admitting how right he was. She was mostly into this ghost-busting gig for the kids, who were their biggest fans. “Alright,” she said with a nod. “Let’s do this.”
Stantz and Spengler gaped at the damage to the suite.
The exterior building wall was completely gone, providing an unobstructed view of the Hudson and New Jersey. All the furniture was overturned and the other walls were cracked. A powerful wind blew through the apartment, fluttering the shredded curtains.
They proceeded onward through the kitchen and noticed how the refrigerator had been blown away, revealing a hole in the wall and the entrance to a stone staircase behind it. “I wonder where they go,” J.G. pondered aloud.
“Where else? They go up,” Natalie told him. She was about to approach them until a sudden bolt of lightning struck the staircase, putting a monster-sized crack into one of the stairs. Venkman then turned to her fellow teammates and ushered them on one-by-one, “C’mon! Gentleman first! Go! Get your butts up there!”
Our “fearless” leader, Jacqueline thought in sarcasm.
Carey and Arwin blankly stared at the temple and began a miraculous, terrifying transformation into the hideous forms of the Terror Dogs.
The solid stone walls of the temple rumbled ominously and separated.
Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters arrived in time to see the entire scene take place, perplexed and astonished. They saw the walls open, revealing the secret architecture of the temple: a stone staircase leading to a set of monumental doors; beyond them was a massive pyramid that appeared to be suspended in midair with no visible means of support.
“Anybody got any Bacon Bits? You know...in case they want to take a chunk out of our butts?” Natalie inquired. The others weren’t certain if she was joking or not from that sentiment.
The heavy rumbling of moving stone drew their attention back to the temple.
The Terror Dogs had taken ritual positions on the staircase.
The heavy stone gates opened.
A dark, bluish form emerged down the stairs.The Ghostbusters instantly recognized the form as the Greek god of the underworld – Hades.