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Chapter 61

Shelly couldn’t believe she had finally caught her second glimpse of Allen. But not this way, not about to go into battle to protect her from some creature that looked like it had come from hell. The other figure was huge and covered with scales. The hands, which Shelly realized she had felt running down her body, were made up of four sinewy fingers, each with long nails that could cut through flesh like it was butter. She still felt the thin gashes where the monsters nails had ripped her to taste her blood. She pulled her jeans over her legs and pulled the sides of her blouse together.

The figures were a few feet apart. Allen, if it really was him, was thinner, but taller than the less human hulking creature which he was facing. Shelly wondered if he was a match for the terrifying monster who seemed to be measuring his opponent before attacking.

“Let her leave with me,” Allen said, his eyes never leaving the monster’s glaring red eyes, “We’ll let you escape. They’ll destroy you otherwise.”

“You can’t stop me. She and they are mine,” the monster roared, and hurled himself toward Allen.

Shelly was terrified Allen would not be strong enough to fight such a powerful entity. They were wrestling now, one, a nightmarish hulking mass of fleshy red muscle, eyes glowing

like red flame, and the other, less tall, more slender, with skin color almost transparent like smoky crystal. The latter, the human-like fighter, she now was certain had to be Allen. She wished she could help him. She tried to scramble away, but her legs seemed unable to move. She was forced to watch in fear as she saw Allen was struggling to hold onto his much larger opponent, a creature with huge red horns on his head and a double row of spikes on his back. “I can’t hold him much longer,” Allen said, “Go! Save yourself!”

Shelly, unable to move, was unable to stop watching. It was the fascination of witnessing a fatal car accident, horrified by the damaged cars, the bloodied bodies, but unable to take eyes away from the gory scene. Shelly had to see Allen, stay with him, even if she knew he was badly out-powered by his opponent, even if she knew she would be the next target of the monster’s lust and rage.

The two combatants were now punching each other, flames shooting out from the larger creature’s body. The monster let out a ferocious roar and Allen was being bent backwards, his hands struggling to keep the claws of the monster from shredding his flesh, reaching his throat. “Run away, Shelly,” Allen gasped. “I can’t hold him.”

So this is Allen, Shelly thought, still mesmerized by her first real sighting of her ghost. She wished she could see his face, but first things first. Somehow she had to do something to help him. She didn’t want to lose him now…not like this…not when he had endangered himself to rescue her yet again. Can a ghost be destroyed? Shelly didn’t know, but she didn’t want to take that chance. “Hey ugly,” she impulsively screamed at the monster. “Pick on someone your own size.”

The monster was distracted for an instant and then threw Allen across the room. He took two steps toward Shelly who let out a terrified scream, backing away against the wall.

“You are still mine,” the monster roared, reaching for her with his talons.

Allen charged at him again. This time he knew if he didn’t win, Shelly would be the

monster’s next victim. The fearful image of that monster savaging her, raping her, ignited a surge of incredible energy and Allen gripped the monster’s throat, refusing to let go no matter how hard the creature tried to free himself. “ Go!” He gasped again. “Get Loco!”

The creature bucked under him wildly, but Allen refused to let go of the scaly throat, twisting its head, his legs locked against the spiny torso. Again and again the creature tried to pull Allen’s hands free, slicing with his claws, but Allen’s eyes were locked shut, his brain filled with the vision of a naked Shelly, bloody and torn, being ravaged by this hideous beast, a vision that Allen would never let become real.

Suddenly there was a blood-chilling scream.

“Allen!” Shelly cried, thinking he had been sliced in shreds by the demon’s claws. She knew the creature would come for her and pulled her body as far away as she could, awaiting its stinking breath and clawing hands. She held the top of her jeans and swore she would fight him so hard that he would have to kill her before he could do what he wanted with her body. She was ready to die, ready if she could join Allen. Braced against the wall, she saw a smoky figure bent over on the dirt floor. It didn’t look like the monster. It looked like a naked man, his face almost touching the floor. “Allen,” she asked, afraid and excited at the hope it was him.

“What happened to him,” Allen gasped. “Are you okay, Shelly? Are you okay?”

“Are you okay?” Shelly was staring into the smoke, a vague outline of Allen still visible, but fading quickly. She crawled toward him, her hands pulling her body, legs unable to move. It hurt, but she wanted to get to him fast so she could see his face. “You’re fading. Are you okay?”

“I think so. I don’t know? I’m a ghost, remember?” He gave a little laugh, but felt very weak, drained again of energy in his effort to remain materialized to save Shelly.

Shelly, relieved he seemed unhurt, inched toward him, not believing she was finally able to see at least an outline of this man, ghost, who had become such an important part of her life in just a few days. “Allen, show me your face before the smoke is gone,” Shelly asked. “Allen, please before the smoke is…gone.”

He turned toward her. “Did he hurt you? I had to stop him.” She reached up, searching through the fading gray mist.

It was too late. The smoke had drifted away and Allen was invisible again. “Damn,” Shelly moaned. “I wanted to see your face.”

He coughed. “That’s what you think about when I’ve almost just been demolished by a creature from hell, Allen asked, as he searched the basement in case the creature was still there, hiding, waiting to attack again. “Females,” he teased. “All you want is our bodies.”

“I saw you for a second.” Shelly smiled sadly. “You’ve got a nice butt.” She laughed, pain shooting up her legs and chest.

“Great,” Allen said. “Every ghost wants to hear that. Can we please concentrate on business here? We’ve got to find that horrible thing . I know I didn’t kill it.”

Shelly sighed. “You’re right. I was just curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat and the ghost-catcher,” Allen said. “Now do you want to know what I just learned from our fiery friend?”

Shelly nodded. “I hope it’s something we can use to save this family?”

“Our ghost, if that’s what it is, killed his parents and his little sister one hundred years ago. And guess what he used?”

“An axe?”

“Right. As I was holding him, it was like his horrors were pouring into my brain.” “Wait a minute! You said he killed his sister? How little was the sister?”

“About the age of our little girl,” Allen said. “Shit! How do we stop him?”

“Do you think he would tell me that? There’s something else you should know. This guy killed his family one hundred years ago tonight. The professor knew that. That’s why the sly sonofabitch brought us here exactly tonight.”

“One hundred years ago? That’s why the old furniture and clothing,” Shelly gasped. “He’s recreating the scene of the crime!”

“Hey, you’re getting good at this. Shelly, he’s been taking over the father’s soul because as a ghost, just like me, he is limited in how long he can stay materialized. He needs a human body to swing the axe. I’m sure that’s it.”

“We’ve got to tell Dr. Lasker,” Shelly said, standing for support against the wall, already groping her way in the dark toward the stairs.

“I wish I could help you with the steps,” Allen said. “I used up all my energy…I need to recharge, I guess.”

Shelly grimaced as she pulled herself up the wooden stairs, holding the wood banister tightly as each step seemed to torment her pained body. She no longer cared her blouse was open and her bra was swinging loose. Her only thought was to reach the top of the staircase and open that damn door so she could get help for the little girl and family upstairs.

Allen was watching her struggle up the stairs, a growing admiration for her courage, knowing she must be in terrible pain still. He felt almost as if he was feeling her pain shoot through his invisible body. Could the link be that strong he wondered?

“Allen, the door is locked. I can’t get out.” Shelly began to bang on the door furiously. “Damn! Nobody is answering. It may already be too late!”

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