Title: Leave It To The Professionals
Fandom: The Monster Squad/Supernatural
Category: Action/Adventure, Crossover, Drama, Fic-For Kids, Gen, Holiday, Horror
Characters/Pairing: Sean Crenshaw, Horace, Patrick, Rudy, Eugene, Phoebe, Del, Scary German Guy, Pete The Dog & John Winchester
Warnings: Language, Horror
Spoilers: For the movie The Monster Squad.
Summary: It’s serious Monster Squad business in a haunted house on Halloween night. As long as Sean knows what he’s doing. You do know what you’re doing, right, Sean?!
Word Count: 7,962 words.
Date Written: October, 2016.
Disclaimer: None of these things belong to me, except the story herein.
Beta’d: By the always, always wonderful dodger_sister. Thank you, babe!
Author's Notes: The Monster Squad was a favorite of my little brother’s growing up, so of course I had to show it to his son. I actually own the DVD and watch it every Halloween. My nephew loved it, so I decided to write him this fic. I forgot how much I hate writing action though! Idk how it occurred to me that John Winchester would be hunting by this point in the 80s, but once it did, I couldn’t shake the idea of these kids showing up a Winchester.
Dedication: To The Nephew! You’d be a prime member of any monster-club and the only one I’d ever want to face Dracula with!
“Homework or squad work?” his dad asked.
Sean looked up from where he had papers strewn across his bed to see his dad leaning in his bedroom doorway.
“Squad work,” Sean told him. “I think I’ve got a big lead.”
“No more apocalypses though, right?” his dad asked. It sounded like a joke, but his dad wasn’t smiling. Sean didn’t blame him though - the one apocalypse they’d already faced had been bad enough, they didn’t need another.
“Naw,” Sean reassured his dad. “Just plain old monster stuff this time. No apocalypses.”
“Good,” his dad told him and then checked the hallway behind him for Sean’s mom before adding, “Okay, five more minutes and then bed, champ. Cool?”
“Rad, dad,” Sean replied.
It was fifteen more minutes, not five, and then it was Sean’s mom who came and switched the bedroom light off on him, right in the middle of the sentence he was reading.
Rudy was looking out the clubhouse window at Patrick’s sister - again, still, like always - instead of paying attention, like he should be - again, still, like always.
“Lame-o,” Patrick told him, “She’s not interested in you. She’s like a senior in high school now. That’s way older than she was last year when you tried to get her to go out with you and she wouldn’t do it then, so she’s not doing it now.”
“Yeah, lame-o,” Rudy said, “I’m a year older too.”
“Technically we are all a year older,” Horace said. “It’s almost just over a year since we fought Dracula.”
No one listened to Horace - again, still, like always.
“Plus,” Rudy said, “I killed like five monsters. I’m a monster-ass-kicking hotrod. She’s gotta go for that.”
“It was more like four monsters,” Horace said.
“Naw, three,” Patrick said.
Rudy hit Patrick in the shoulder as hard as he could.
“Ooww,” Patrick said, rubbing his shoulder.
Horace snorted through his nose with laughter. Patrick hit him as hard as he could in the shoulder.
“Hey, what was that for?” Horace cried.
“Just passing it on,” Patrick told him with a smirk.
“You guys!” Sean hollered. “I’m serious here, this is important Monster Squad business. Pay attention!”
“Yeah…sorry…okay,” all the guys grumbled.
“I was already paying attention,” Eugene told him.
“Me too, Sean,” Phoebe said, but that was a lie, because she was fiddling with the toy tiara on top of her head and the feather boa around her neck, so she most assuredly was not paying attention.
“Okay,” Sean said, now that everyone had quieted down. “I found a haunted house. Like a real haunted house, not one of those fake pay-to-get-scared places. And the best part is…it is only haunted on Halloween night.”
“How is that the best part?” Rudy asked.
“Wait, is this gonna interfere with trick-or-treating?” Patrick asked.
“No one interferes with my trick-or-treating, Sean,” Horace said.
“I’m gonna be an army guy for Halloween,” Eugene told them, but no one was surprised by this. Eugene was an army guy every Halloween.
“I’m gonna be a princess ballerina,” Phoebe said. No one was surprised by this either.
“You guys,” Sean said, “We get to spend Halloween night in a real live haunted house. How boss is that?”
“Yeah, okay,” Patrick grumbled. “That’s pretty boss.”
“My trick-or-treats though,” Horace said sadly. But no one was listening to Horace.
The problem was, none of their parents were going to let them spend the night in a haunted house by themselves, so they had to come up with a plan.
Sean told his parents that he and the guys were going trick-or-treating and then spending the night at Patrick’s house. Patrick told his parents he and the guys were going trick-or-treating and then spending the night at Horace’s house. Horace told his parents that he and the guys were going trick-or-treating and then spending the night at Sean’s house.
Rudy didn’t tell his parents anything. Clearly if their kid was running around with knifes, silver bullets and cigarettes - well, his parents weren’t really paying attention, were they?
Eugene forgot to tell his parents anything, so they would end up spending all of Halloween night worried sick about their son.
There ended up being one problem with the plan though - Phoebe threatened to tell on them if they didn’t let her go with them.
“No one will believe we invited you to spend the night with us, Phoebe-the beavie,” Sean told her in disgust. He was not going to be blackmailed by a six-year old.
“Figure it out, Sean,” she said and put her hands on her hips, the way she did when she meant serious business.
Sean was so screwed.
His dad seemed totally suspicious when he told him Phoebe was coming with them.
“The trick-or-treating I get,” his dad said. “Your mom and I were going to make you take her out trick-or-treating anyways.”
Sean rolled his eyes. Of course they were. They never let him have a minute without her tagging along.
“But to spend the night at Patrick’s house?” his dad asked.
“Well, yeah, sure, Dad. She’s part of the Monster Squad now.”
“Uh-huh,” his dad said. He still sounded suspicious.
“Look,” Sean said and put his hand on his dad’s arm. For some reason that always made his dad take him more seriously. “We invited Pete the dog. The dog, Dad. If we invited the dog, we’re going to invite the little sister too, right?”
His dad shrugged. “Okay, whatever, champ. You’re the one who has to watch out for her all night.”
“I know,” Sean said, because he did know.
He was her big brother - it had always been his job to watch out for her. Whether that meant helping her cross the street or saving her from Dracula, he took his job seriously.
Now it was going to be his job to keep her safe in a real live haunted house on Halloween night.
Sean was so screwed.
Horace didn’t back down about the trick-or-treating.
“I want my candy, Sean,” he said.
“Okay,” Sean said and held up one finger, “But we get to the haunted house before dark, agreed?”
“Agreed,” everyone said.
Horace dressed as a muscle man, with stuffing under his sleeves to make his arms look bigger. Patrick dressed as a wolfman, even though his sister told him that was pretty insensitive to the real wolfman who got killed in their fight.
“He was a person, dweebo,” she told him.
“Mememememe,” Patrick whined at her and went as a wolfman anyways. Rudy wouldn’t make eye contact with him all night and Patrick was too oblivious to remember Rudy had been the one that had killed that man, the year before during their apocalyptic fight.
Sean went dressed as Van Helsing.
“He’d appreciate the homage,” he said, when his dad asked him about it.
Even Pete the dog dressed up, wearing a cape like he was a superhero.
“He tried to save me from a mummy,” Phoebe said. “He is a superhero.”
Rudy didn’t dress up. “Why be someone else when I, myself, am so cool to begin with?” he asked.
Everyone groaned at Rudy.
Somewhere around the half-hour mark of trick-or-treats, they ran into EJ.
“Fat Kid,” he said and then shook his head and said, “I mean Horace, Horace. What are you doing for Halloween? Fighting monsters? Something cool? Can I come?”
“It’s Monster Squad business,” Horace said and gently pushed EJ away from him.
“Let me take the monster test. I can be in the club,” EJ said.
“I don’t think so,” Horace told him and walked away. He wasn’t gonna lie, it felt pretty good to have EJ think he was cool, even though EJ was kind of a jerk. He’d been less of a jerk since Horace had saved his life from the swamp monster though.
Right before the sun started to set, they stopped off at the scary German guy’s house - his name was actually Johan Adelsdorf and it’d been a long time since the kids had called him anything but Mr. Johan.
Mr. Johan gave them all full-sized candy bars - which was unheard of in this neighborhood - and told them he’d be standing by if they needed help with their haunted house.
“How’d you know about that?” Sean said.
Mr. Johan was an honorary member of the Monster Squad, but he was still an adult, so they couldn’t always tell him their secret plans.
“I did some research about the area. Thought, hmm, bet those kids want to get their hands on that haunted house, yes?”
“Mum’s the word though,” Sean said and mimed like he was zipping his mouth shut.
“Indeed,” Mr. Johan said and mimed the zipper motion right back at him.
In the end, they got their pillowcases halfway full before they had to head out on their bikes to Murray Hill Lane and the haunted house that awaited them there.
The haunted house sat up on a big hill, the old dirt driveway covered in fallen brush and tree limbs. No one had been here in years.
The kids ditched their Halloween costumes for their regular clothes, worn underneath their costumes, since Sean insisted Monster Squad business was important and serious.
They parked their bikes at the bottom of the hill, hidden among some bushes, and walked up the dirt drive.
“So, what’s the deal with this place?” Rudy asked, chewing on a toothpick and looking around at the three-story house with broken windows and dilapidated shingles.
“Okay,” Sean said, in his ‘serious business’ voice. “The story goes that an old man and woman lived here and one year like a really long time ago, like in the 1960s or something, some kids came to the house to trick-or-treat and the old couple invited them inside for candy apples and then killed them,” Seam told them, eyes going wide at the end from the horror of the murders.
“No way,” Patrick said, “If there had been some big murder like that in our town, everyone would have heard about it.”
“No, the police covered it up because the old couple had a son on the force. Their name was Henderson and I even asked my dad if there had been a Henderson on the force.”
“And?” Patrick asked, still disbelieving.
“And he said ‘yes’,” Sean told them. “But he said the guy retired a long time ago and then he wouldn’t say anything else about it.”
“Woah,” Horace said. It sounded legit to him.
“How did you even find out about it?” Patrick asked. He still sounded disbelieving, but less disbelieving than he had a minute ago.
“I’ve been to the library to look through the old newspaper clippings for mysterious cases. I found an article about a murder at the house, but it only said one kid died. But the librarian told me that wasn’t the whole story.”
“The librarian reads to me,” Eugene said.
“Yeah, and she knows everything about this town,” Sean said, determined.
“I believe you, Sean,” Phoebe told him.
Sean tried to be grateful to his sister, but he was feeling a little outnumbered here.
“You’ll see,” he said. “Wait until dark when the spooks come alive.”
“Makes sense they come out on Halloween night, at least,” Rudy said.
Horace shrugged. “Sounds like a fun sleepover, at least. We can eat candy and tell ghost stories, if nothing else.”
“Oh, there’ll be something else,” Sean said. “There will definitely be something else.”
Pete the dog just barked at them.
“Don’t let the dog have any chocolate!” Patrick cried and grabbed a mini Snickers bar from Pete’s mouth. “That stuff can kill him.”
“Someone gave me a bag of carrots,” Phoebe said and opened the little baggie, dumping the carrots out in front of the dog. “You can have these, Pete,” she said.
“Eeewww, carrots,” Eugene said and ate a piece of candy corn.
“I’ll trade you a pack of Sweet Tarts for your Tootsie Pop,” Horace told Patrick.
“No one gets my Tootsie Pop,” Patrick answered him. “I’ll trade you a mini Milky Way for the Sweet Tarts though.”
“Deal,” Horace told him.
“We need to investigate the house,” Sean said, interrupting them all and their candy-trade deals.
“Don’t we wait until like midnight or something?” Horace asked, his mouth full of caramel bits.
Everyone else was ignoring Sean to try and get Eugene to trade his giant pack of Smarties to them.
“We should investigate first. There has to be clues to what really happened here.”
Everyone ignored Sean in favor of tickling Phoebe so they could grab her Jolly Ranchers while she was laughing.
“Hey!” Sean yelled. “Do you guys want to get killed by ghosts or what?”
“Maybe the ghosts are nice?” Eugene said and shrugged his shoulders at Sean.
“Chill to the max, man,” Rudy told him. “I’ll come with you.”
“Great,” Sean said and then looked at Horace. “You watch out for my sister.”
“I can do it,” Patrick told him.
Sean just laughed. “Sure you can, wuss.”
“I know you are, but what am I?” Patrick spat back.
“Don’t let the dog eat chocolate,” Phoebe screamed and they all turned to see Pete trying to run off with one of Patrick’s Hershey bars.
“No, Pete!” they all yelled and dog-piled on top of the dog.
The stairs creaked as Sean and Rudy walked up to the second floor, shining their flashlights in front of them.
“Do you really think someone here murdered a bunch of kids?” Rudy asked. He actually sounded a little bit scared. Maybe.
“Something happened in this house. I mean, why else has it sat empty for years and years? That’s just creepy.”
“Yeah, but mass murder? Come on, no way.”
Sean shrugged. “The newspaper said they caught the responsible party, but it never said a name. Tell me that’s not fishy.”
Rudy was going to answer him, but that’s when there was a flash of light from overhead, on the second story landing.
“What the sam-hell was that?!” Sean cried.
The light flickered again and then they heard the sound of a small child laughing.
“Eugene?” Rudy said into the now eerie quiet.
“Phoebe?” Sean said.
They had both just set foot on the landing when suddenly a baseball came rolling out of the room in front of them and bounced its way down the stairs.
“Oh, hell no,” Rudy said.
“Ok, this is what we trained for,” Sean told him, breathing hard from fear and excitement. “All my research says we have to do a blessing on every floor of the house and then burn any personal objects of the dead people we find.”
“Yeah, but…” Rudy started and that’s when they heard a scream.
It was a child screaming, but this time Sean knew exactly who it was.
“Phoebe!” he yelled and went running for the stairs.
Horace was standing in front of the group of kids on the first floor, holding a shotgun filled with packed BBs of salt, which Mr. Johan had said would repel ghosts. Phoebe was behind him, clutching a vial of holy water and Eugene was next to her, holding Pete against his chest.
Patrick was hiding behind all of them, with two stakes pulled from his supply pack, making a cross and yelling, “Get back, spirits, get back!”
“What happened?!” Sean yelled.
“We saw something,” Horace told him.
“It was a shadow-man,” Eugene said.
Horace nodded. “It was a shadow something. We could hear his footsteps and everything.”
“How big was it?”
“Really super big,” Phoebe said. “Bigger than Dad,” because their dad was still the biggest person she knew.
“Okay, okay,” Sean said and took a deep breath. “I’ll take the holy water to every floor and do a blessing. Horace, you come with me and watch my back with the gun. The rest of you, find any objects in the house that may need to be burned.”
“Like that baseball,” Rudy said.
“Exactly,” Sean told him.
They started to spread out and fight their very first haunting.
Sean did the blessing on the first floor, dumping a splash of holy water out. He figured any prayer he learned at church would work, so he started in with, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee…”
“Uh, Sean?” Horace said, before he could get any further.
Sean turned around to see a ghost.
Yes, a ghost.
A real live, dead ghost.
It was a man, in a police uniform, grinning at them with a mouth that had no teeth, just black, black, blackness stretching down his throat.
Sean screamed. “Shoot it, shoot it!”
Horace raised his gun and fired.
The shot went right through the ghost and he fizzled out like sparks on a fire.
“Shit, now I have to start over,” Sean said and began again, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee…”
He could hear the sound of someone walking overhead, on the second floor. It sounded big and hard and not at all like anything the size of a kid. Or even a bunch of kids and a dog.
He kept going with the prayer.
“Aaahhh,” Horace screamed and Sean looked up to see the ghost was back and charging at them.
Horace fired another shot. It went through the ghost and blew it into ash-smoke, just as it reached Horace.
“It got on me, it got on me!” Horace screamed.
Sean hurried through the end of the prayer.
“…pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
“Did it work?” Horace asked, still scrubbing at his clothes like there might be ghost-dust on him.
“I don’t know,” Sean said. “But let’s go do the second floor. The sooner we finish this, the sooner…”
“We can get back to our candy,” Horace finished for him.
“No, dweebo, the sooner these people can rest in peace.”
“Oh,” Horace said. “Yeah. That too.”
“You go first,” Patrick said.
“You’re older. You go first,” Eugene told him.
Pete went into the kitchen first.
“Good dog,” Patrick said, then peeked around the corner and looked into the room.
There was nothing there except the usual kitchen stuff; a sink, a spider-web covered stove, a spot where a refrigerator used to stand. In the middle of the kitchen was a table with four chairs. One of the chairs was tipped over and broken.
Patrick and Eugene went into the kitchen after Pete.
“Okay, just look through everything and make sure there’s nothing here,” Patrick said.
Eugene looked in the stove. It was empty.
Patrick looked in the kitchen drawers.
“Hey,” he said, “I found something.”
Patrick held up a Swiss army knife. On the side were the words ‘R. Henderson.’
“Where else should we look?” Eugene asked.
There was only one place left they hadn’t checked.
“You do it,” Patrick said.
“You’re older. You do it,” Eugene told him.
“But…” Patrick protested, looking warily at the sink drain. “I’ve seen this horror movie. I stick my hand down there and something grabs me.”
“I’m too short to reach,” Eugene said and smiled that smile he had that made everyone think he was smarter cleverer than any of them.
Patrick grumbled, “Buttmuncher,” under his breath, but went ahead and slowly, oh so very slowly, stuck his hand in the sink drain.
Eugene grabbed Patrick by the arm and started tugging.
“What, what?!” Patrick screamed, ripping his hand from the drain and spinning around to see a ghost in the corner of the kitchen.
This ghost was an old lady in a nightgown. She was looking at the Swiss army knife in Eugene’s hand.
“Aaahhh,” Patrick screamed and grabbed his stakes, making a cross again and yelling, “Get back, spirits, get back!”
Eugene knocked the stakes out of Patrick’s hands.
“What are you doing?!” Patrick screamed.
“Maybe she’s nice,” Eugene told him.
“Ghosts can’t be nice!” Patrick screamed.
The old-lady ghost turned towards the wall and then, poof, walked through it and disappeared.
“What do we do?” Patrick asked.
Pete barked and went after the ghost into the other room.
“Follow the dog?” Eugene suggested.
They followed the dog.
“The attic is always where scary stuff happens,” Rudy said, looking up at the ladder to the third floor, half the size of the other floors and with decaying rotting floors. “You sure you want to go up?”
“No,” Phoebe said and rolled her little eyes. “I want to stay by myself, all alone, in the creepy house.”
“Smartass,” Rudy muttered and helped Phoebe up the ladder.
Phoebe peered up onto the landing.
“What do you see?” Rudy asked, holding her from behind, halfway up the ladder himself.
“Wooaah,” Phoebe said. “Cool,” and she clamored the rest of the way up.
Rudy followed her to see exactly what she was looking at.
There in the middle of the attic floor was one thing - a rocking horse. It was brown and had a white mane and a red saddle.
“Oh great,” Rudy said. “We have to get everything we find outside so we can burn it. How are we gonna carry this thing down the freaking ladder?”
“We can’t burn it!” Phoebe cried. “It’s so pretty. I want to name her Petunia.”
“Yeah, sure, let’s take the haunted horse back to your house and give it a braid,” Rudy told her, sarcastically.
Phoebe stuck her tongue out at him. Then she went and climbed on the rocking horse.
“Petunia is mine and you can’t set her on fire,” she told Rudy.
That’s when they heard the creaking and felt the floor shift beneath them.
“Phoebe, get off the horse,” Rudy told her.
“Her name is Petunia!” Phoebe yelled at him.
“Fine, get off Petunia,” he said.
“Make me, butthead,” she said.
The floor creaked and shifted again and then the old rotting floor gave way and Petunia and Phoebe were both falling through it.
“Aaahhh,” Phoebe screamed.
Rudy jumped and slid across the floor on his belly, grabbing Phoebe by the back of her little pink jacket.
She dangled there in the air, her feet kicking. They could hear Petunia crashing to the ground below them.
Rudy pulled hard and Phoebe reached up and grabbed his bicep - or what bicep he had anyways, which wasn’t much, but no one ever dared tell him that. He pulled her up and Phoebe clung to him like baby monkey.
“Is Petunia dead?” she asked.
Beneath them they heard Sean yell, “What the ever-loving hell, you guys?!”
A rocking horse had fallen through the floor above them and missed Sean’s head by an inch. Of all the ways to die in a haunted house, Sean had never imagined ‘hit in the head by a rocking horse’ was one of them.
Horace shot it with a pellet of salt.
“What was that for, dweebo?” Sean asked him.
“I thought it might be haunted,” Horace told him.
“It’s not haunted,” Rudy said, dropping down from the attic ladder “It’s Petunia.”
He helped Phoebe down and she immediately ran to check on the rocking horse’s state.
“It’s Petunia?” Sean asked.
“Don’t look at me,” Rudy said. “I would have named her ‘Jackhammer’.”
“Did you see her, did you see her?!” Patrick hollered, coming up the stairs from the first floor and smacking right into Rudy’s back.
“She’s right there, bean-brain,” Sean said and pointed at his sister.
“Not her!” Patrick said, trying to catch his breath.
“There was a ghost in the kitchen,” Eugene said, mildly, and then went to check out the rocking horse.
“Whoa,” Rudy said and pointed to the doorway of the room at the top of the staircase landing.
The old-lady ghost was standing there, like she had been there the whole time, watching them.
Horace raised his shotgun. Eugene promptly knocked it out of his hand.
Everyone stared at Eugene.
“Maybe she’s nice,” Eugene told them.
“Would you stop saying that?!” Patrick screamed. “Ghosts aren’t nice!”
The old-lady ghost turned and walked into the other room.
Eugene just shrugged and followed her.
Pete the dog followed him.
Horace wasn’t going to let the nine-year old be braver than he was, so he followed Eugene into the room too. Besides, someone had to have the kid’s back, right?
In the hallway behind them, they could hear Sean saying the Hail Mary as fast as he could.
The room looked like it had once been a bedroom. There was a broken dresser against one wall, a metal night table in the corner and a bed frame against the other side.
The old-lady ghost was standing next to the bed and pointing underneath it.
“Okay,” Eugene told her and crawled on his belly under the bed.
He came out holding a necklace; a silver chain with a butterfly pendant on it, the color on the butterfly worn down from age.
“This?” Eugene asked the ghost.
She just turned to look at Horace and then pointed into the broken-out dresser.
“No, no, no,” Horace said, shaking his head.
The old-lady ghost just kept pointing.
Eugene just stood there, waiting for Horace to man up.
“Okay, okay, okay,” Horace said, through shaky breaths.
To get to the dresser he had to walk right up next to the ghost.
“She’s nice, she’s nice,” Horace kept muttering to himself.
He pulled open the only remaining drawer in the dresser and there he found an old leather wallet, frayed on the edges and empty inside except for a driver’s license. The license read, ‘Peter Henderson,’ and had the face of a man in his sixties with a white beard staring up at Horace.
That’s when the old-lady ghost walked right through him.
“Aaahhh,” Horace screamed.
The ghost disappeared into the wall.
“There’s a hole in the floor. Don’t fall and die,” Rudy said, as Sean climbed up into the attic to do the last Hail Mary.
“Just watch my six,” Sean told him and Rudy climbed up after him.
“Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art…”
“Holy cowabunga,” Rudy said.
“What?” Sean asked and then, “Dammit, I have to start over now.”
“Well, go faster this time, loser,” Rudy told him and Sean followed the other boy’s eye-line to see exactly what he was looking at.
It was the same scary policeman ghost from earlier. And he was coming straight for Sean.
“Aaahhh,” Sean screamed and jumped and rolled out of the way.
But he rolled straight into the open hole where Phoebe had fallen through and hung there, dangling and trying to pull himself back up.
“Rudy, Rudy,” Sean screamed and tossed the vial of holy water at him.
Rudy caught it like a pro, just as the ghost ran through him.
“Where’d he go?” Rudy asked.
“Behind you!” Sean yelled.
Rudy spun around and was face-to-face with the ghost, who opened his mouth to the black, black emptiness…and screamed.
Rudy covered his ears. Sean was still using his arms to keep himself from falling, so he couldn’t cover his ears.
As soon as the screaming stopped, Rudy flipped the cork off the vial and splashed holy water at the ghost.
It made a noise like it was burning, like water thrown on a fire, and black ran from the ghost’s eyes.
And then it disappeared.
Someone - or something - grabbed Sean’s legs and yanked on him where he was still hanging from the open floorboards.
“Aaahhh,” Sean screamed, only to see it was just Patrick pulling him down.
Patrick said something to him, but Sean couldn’t hear him.
“What?!” Sean yelled.
Patrick said something else.
“What?!” Sean yelled.
Patrick reached up and wiped some blood from Sean’s ear and showed it to him, dripping off of Patrick’s finger.
“Eeewww,” Sean said. “That scream must have busted my eardrum.”
“Guys!” Rudy hollered from above them. “Do the prayer, do the prayer!”
“You do the prayer,” Patrick yelled.
“What?!” Sean yelled.
“I don’t know the prayer!” Rudy yelled back.
“Sean!” Patrick said. “Say the Hail Mary as loud as loud as you can!!!”
Sean started hollering, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.”
He couldn’t hear it, but from the attic came the sound of Rudy repeating everything Sean was saying, followed by the ghost screaming like murder, then the sound of holy water splashing and finally, smoke on a fire.
This happened four times before Rudy could finish the prayer and then he dropped down from the hole in the floor and wiped his wet hands on his pants.
“That was messed up, gentlemen.”
“What?!” Sean yelled.
“She went through the wall,” Horace said, as he came running out of the bedroom and down the hallway to the next room.
Eugene ran after him and Pete ran after them both.
Eugene stopped in the doorway, turned around to see Patrick hiding in a corner, Sean sticking his finger in his own ear, Phoebe trying to braid Petunia’s hair and Rudy trying to pull the girl off of the rocking horse with all his might.
Eugene just shrugged and went into the other room with Horace.
This room had been a bedroom too, but it was smaller, clearly a kid’s room. The wallpaper was of baseball players; running, catching, throwing, batting. Over the spot where the bed had been, there was a giant wall sticker of a baseball.
The room was totally empty though, except for the old-lady ghost and something small stuffed into the far corner.
“I got this one,” Horace said, straightening his shoulders.
A ghost had run into him twice now, he figured after that he could handle anything.
In the corner of the room, he bent down and picked up a picture frame, 4x6 and wooden with the words ‘family’ carved in the top by a knife. Horace dusted off the glass to see a picture of a family there; the man from the wallet and the old-lady, but when she was younger, and two boys, one an older teenager and the other maybe five or six years old.
They looked happy.
The old-lady ghost looked sad.
“You seemed like a nice family,” Horace told her.
That was when they heard the sound of laughing, like a small child, and then, out of nowhere, a baseball came rolling across the floor.
Pete the dog picked the baseball up in his mouth.
“Pete, drop it!” Eugene told him.
Pete dropped the ball and it rolled to Horace’s feet. Horace picked it up.
“Your kid liked baseball, huh?” Horace asked the ghost, but when he looked to where she had been, she was gone.
They left the bedroom feeling sad for this family. Whatever had happened here, it hadn’t been good.
“Hey, Sean, think fast,” Horace said, coming out of the child’s bedroom and tossing the baseball at Sean.
“What?!” Sean yelled.
The baseball hit him in the face.
“Ow,” Sean said. Then he picked up the baseball and studied it. “Hey, Rudy and I saw this earlier.”
“It belonged to the little kid who lived here,” Horace told him.
Sean shook his head and stuck his finger in his ear. “I think my hearing’s coming back a little. But you sound like you’re all underwater.”
“I can’t swim,” Eugene said.
There was only one more room on the second floor, a bathroom, but it was mostly empty. There was a toilet full of mud - “Groitty to the max, dude,” Patrick said - a bathtub full of mold and an empty spot where a sink used to be.
“I guess that’s all, then,” Sean told them. “We just have to burn the stuff we found and…”
“The shadow-man, the shadow-man!” Phoebe cried.
They all spun around to see the shadow of a man, tall and stretched out, on the wall of the staircase. It stopped, turned and went back down to the first floor.
The stairs creaked as it moved.
“Get it!” Sean hollered and went running after the figure, Rudy right behind him, lugging Petunia with him.
Horace shrugged and followed them and the other kids went after him, though maybe a little bit slower, because if Sean was going to get killed by a shadow-man, they weren’t in any rush to join him.
They all rounded the corner from the stairs and saw the shadow-man entering the kitchen where Patrick and Eugene had found the Swiss army knife. They could see the shadow-man fully now - he had short, dark hair, a beard and was wearing a leather jacket over a grey AC/DC t-shirt, blue jeans and a pair of combat boots.
They all chased after him, expecting to see him disappear through a wall. Instead he went into the kitchen and kicked in a door - ‘why would a ghost kick a door?’ Sean wondered - in the far corner that Patrick and Eugene had missed seeing earlier, probably because they were so scared to see a ghost and all.
“Hey!” Sean yelled. “That’s no shadow-man! That’s just a regular old-man.”
“Oh,” Patrick said, from the rear of the group. “In that case, I got this,” and he went tearing after the man, shouting, “Raaaaaah!”
Apparently Patrick was terrified of supernatural monsters, but regular grown men he had no fear of.
They all went after Patrick into the next room, which was small and clearly had been a storage room, empty shelves still clinging to the walls. There was a staircase in the corner, leading down to a…
“Patrick, wait!” Sean cried out, but it was too late - Patrick was already charging the man and throwing his full body weight against him.
“What the ever-loving…” the man started.
Then there was the creaking of the floor and Rudy tried to jump and grab Patrick, but this time he missed, sliding across the floor on his belly and stopping just short of being able to reach.
The floor gave way and the man and Patrick both fell through.
“…hell!” the man finished, just as he hit the floor beneath them with a smack.
“Hey, look a basement,” Horace said.
“Patrick, are you okay, buddy?“ Sean asked, peering over the edge of the open hole in the floor.
“I think I broke his fall,” the man answered Sean.
“Yeah,” Patrick said, jumping up. “Thanks for that, old man.”
“Who you calling old?” the man asked. He was in his early thirties maybe, but to the kids, that was still old. “Help me up, I think you broke my fricking ankle.”
Patrick tried to help him up, the best he could, even though the man was a lot bigger than him.
“I’m coming down,” Sean said and hopped down through the hole, landing on his feet like he had done this a million times - he’d never tell the others, but Sean had practiced that move on the steps at home, probably more than a million times.
“Why not use the stairs?” Rudy said, hauling the rocking horse and shining his flashlight down the basement steps at the same time.
“Aaahhh!” Patrick screamed, as Rudy’s flashlight fell on two skeletons laying there on the basement floor.
“Aaahhh!” the rest of the kids screamed too, packed together on the stairs in a huddle.
“Huh,” the man said, shining his own flashlight on the pair of skeletons. “Mr. and Mrs. Henderson, I presume.”
“Oh,” Horace said, sadly. “She died here, huh?”
“Guess so. They were both hardly ever seen outside the house after the murder,” the man told them.
“Who are you anyways?” Horace asked him.
“Name’s John. How about you?”
The man chuckled. “Shit, kid, with a name like that, I’d try a nickname.”
“I had one,” Horace told him. “I didn’t like it.”
“Hold up, hold up,” Sean said. “If they had killed someone, they’d have died in jail. So who killed someone?”
“Their son,” John told him. “Ronald.”
“The cop,” Sean said. “That makes sense as to why it was covered up.”
“Did he kill a little boy?” Eugene asked and pressed against Rudy’s side for protection from even the thought.
“His brother. One Halloween,” John said. “No one knows why, but then they put him in a psych hospital, covered it up so the police force wouldn‘t look bad. He died there a couple of years ago. That’s when the hauntings started.”
“I think there were ghosts here before that,” Horace said. “I think that woman has been here a long time.”
“Maybe,” John said. “I took care of the older son’s bones last night, thought I’d come here and see if it worked. Didn’t expect any company though.”
“Hey, you guys!” Phoebe cried and they all turned to see her poking around in the corner of the room. “What’s that?”
The ‘that’ in question was a coffin. A small, crude, probably homemade, child-sized coffin.
“Help me pull it out,” Rudy said and Horace helped him scoot it closer to the middle of the room.
“Sure, just move the coffin. Nothing bad ever happened to anyone moving coffins around,” Patrick told them, sarcastically.
The lid to the coffin popped open and inside they all saw a small child’s skeleton.
“Aaahhh,” all the kids screamed at once.
“That’s why I couldn’t find where the little son was buried,” John mused. “They buried him in their own house and then died here too.”
Suddenly there was a flickering light and the old-lady ghost appeared before them. This time she was holding the hand of a small boy, close to Eugene’s age, dressed in a cowboy outfit.
‘His Halloween costume from the night he was killed,’ Sean thought.
“Hi,” Horace said to her.
“See,” Eugene said, smirking at Patrick. “I told you the ghost was nice.”
“Fire!” Sean hollered. “We have to burn the stuff.”
“What stuff?” John asked.
“This,” Patrick said and held out the Swiss army knife he had found earlier, with the words ‘R. Henderson’ engraved on the side.
“And these,” Horace said and held up the necklace, wallet and family photo.
“And probably that,” Rudy said and pointed at the rocking horse.
Phoebe let out a small sob.
“Salt first,” John said and pulled some salt packets from his coat pocket, ripping them open and sprinkling the salt on the bones on the floor and in the coffin.
“Why?” Phoebe asked, scrunching up her little nose.
“It purifies the bones,” John told her, but Phoebe just continued to scrunch up her nose at him. “It helps them not be ghosts anymore,” he explained.
“Why didn’t you just say that already?” she asked, putting her hands on her hips in disgust.
“Geez, sorry,” John said and then looked at Sean. “What the hell is a six-year old doing here anyways?”
“Tagalong little sister,” Sean said and shrugged. “What am I suppose to do?”
“I stopped Dracula!” Phoebe hollered and stomped her foot.
She would have kept going, but they were very rudely and abruptly interrupted by another ghost.
The policeman was back.
The kids were all screaming. The police-ghost was screaming. The old lady-ghost and the little boy were sobbing.
Then the police-ghost went running…straight for Patrick.
“Why me?! Why me?!” Patrick cried.
This time the ghost didn’t simply rush through him like a breeze, he plowed straight into him and knocked Patrick back, slamming him against the wall behind them. Patrick slid down the wall in slow-motion, like a cartoon. Sean could have sworn, if Patrick had just shook his head, little cartoon birds would have appeared there and started chirping, just like in a Looney Tunes bit.
Something fell from Patrick’s hand as he hit the wall - the little Swiss army knife.
“R. Henderson,” Eugene said.
“Ronald!” Sean cried.
He was just trying to let Patrick know that the knife clearly belonged to the ghost, but instead what happened was the ghost turned to look at him, like he remembered his own name.
“Oh crap,” Sean said.
The ghost screamed at Sean and the force of it knocked him on to his butt and slid him across the room.
“Aaahhh,” Patrick cried and threw the knife on the pile of bones.
“Cover me,” John said to Horace and pulled a small container from his pocket. As soon as he popped it open, they could all smell what it was - gasoline.
John started to dump the gas on the bones, but Ronald Henderson’s ghost clearly figured what he was doing and charged at him.
Horace fired his gun.
“Damn, kid,” John muttered, shoving the gas back in his pocket and fumbling around for his lighter.
The ghost disappeared, but he was back again in an instant. He charged at John and then suddenly, just as he hit John, he disappeared. John went tumbling though, head over butt, his lighter sliding from his hand as he did so.
The ghost appeared again a second later, right in front of Horace.
Horace screamed too. And accidentally dropped his gun.
Sean raced towards John’s lighter, but the ghost flicked his hand at him and Sean went flying up. To the ceiling. Where he stayed, pinned.
“Whoa,” Patrick said.
“Seeeaaan!” Phoebe screamed.
“Light it up, light it up!” Sean screamed back.
Rudy reached into his jacket and pulled out his own lighter. He flicked it open and then the ghost turned on him.
“Oh, crap,” Rudy said, as Ronald Henderson’s very scary ghost charged at him.
And then, just then, a new ghost appeared. It was a man in his sixties with a white beard and he appeared directly in between the police-ghost and Rudy.
This new ghost opened his own mouth and screamed and Ronald covered his ears like it actually hurt him. Ronald’s concentration must have been broken by it all, because Sean started to fall.
Fall from the ceiling.
“Aaahhh!” Sean cried.
“Screw this,” Rudy said and bent over, flicking his lighter and touching the dancing flame to the pile of bones, salt, gasoline and one Swiss army knife.
It lit up like a firework fuse, popping and sizzling.
Ronald’s ghost screamed, like wind in a hurricane,
Sean fell from the ceiling and landed on the floor, right next to the fire. John grabbed him and hauled him to his feet, yanking Sean away from the flames.
Black ooze poured out of Ronald’s eyes and then…poof, he was gone.
“Whoa,” Patrick said.
“Double whoa,” Sean said.
“Woah to infinity,” Patrick said.
“Shut up, dweebo,” Sean said.
“Thanks, Mr. Henderson,” Horace told the old-man ghost.
“Oh,” Sean said. “Yeah, thanks.”
Mr. Henderson’s ghost just turned and smiled warmly at his wife and little son.
“See you,” Horace said, holding up the old frayed wallet. “Or not, I guess,” and he tossed the wallet onto the fire.
It burned, along with the crackling bones.
Mr. Henderson’s ghost flickered out, then in, then out one last time.
He was gone to rest now.
“Sorry, kid,” Rudy said then and that was when Sean noticed Phoebe was crying. “It has to be done.”
Rudy pushed the rocking horse towards the fire and it lit up, first the mane, then all the way to the tail.
“Goodbye, Petunia,” Phoebe said through her tears. “I’ll never forget you.”
Sean actually felt bad for his sister. For a second, anyways.
“It was nice to meet you,” Horace said to Mrs. Henderson’s ghost.
“Stop talking to it,” Patrick whispered.
Horace just rolled his eyes at Patrick and tossed the necklace and the old family photo onto the fire. The photo slowly burned, curling around the edges.
The old-lady ghost smiled at Horace and then flickered, out, in and out one last time. Then she was gone.
But the little boy-ghost still stood there, holding his hand up for his mother.
“What’d we miss?” Rudy asked, coughing now from the smoke filling the room.
“You kids get outta here before the whole place goes,” John told them.
Pete bumped against Sean, then stood up on his back legs and tried sticking his face in Sean’s jacket pocket.
“Pete! I don’t have any candy,” Sean said and tried to push the dog away, but Pete was too intent.
When Sean finally got the dog off of him, Pete had a baseball in his mouth that he had pulled from Sean’s coat pocket.
“Ooohh,” Sean said.
“Good boy,” Patrick told Pete.
“One last toss then, I guess,” Sean said to the little boy-ghost and then threw the ball in an upward arc, watching it fall and land in the fire.
The little boy-ghost waved and flickered and then he was gone.
“Great, let’s get out of here,” John told them.
“Wait,” Sean said and then started in, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women…”
The kids all bowed their heads and folded their hands.
“You have got to be kidding me,” John said.
“It’s respectful,” Rudy told him and punched John in the arm, before bowing his head again.
“…and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
“Amen,” all the kids said.
“Amen,” John said. “Now can we get outta here?”
He limped to the stairs and Rudy slid an arm under the man and helped him up.
“This whole house is going to burn,” Sean said.
“Not a bad thing,” John said, wincing through the pain in his ankle. “Bad stuff happened here, it could use a good cleanse.”
“Wait, if the whole house is going to burn…” Horace started and then took off running towards the front room. “Our candy!”
“Oh, hell no,” Patrick said and then all of the kids went running and screaming to save their candy. Pete ran after them, barking and wagging his tail.
“You have got to be kidding me,” John said, to no one, because there was no one left in the room.
They helped John down the long dirt driveway. Eugene brought him a stick to use as a cane.
“You should put some ice on that,” Phoebe told John.
“Oh, should I now?” John asked her, raising an eyebrow.
“I don’t know, that’s just what Daddy always says when we get hurt.”
At the end of the driveway, hidden mostly behind some fallen trees, they found John’s car.
“Daaamn,” Rudy said in awe. “Sweet ride.”
“67’ Chevy Impala,” Patrick said with a grin.
Everyone started at him.
“What, I know stuff!”
“Well,” John said to the huddle of kids standing in front of him. “That was an interesting night.”
“I think we all learned something for sure,” Sean said.
“That ghosts can be nice,” Eugene told him.
“Would you stop saying that?” Patrick muttered.
“Uh, that’s not exactly what I meant,” Sean said. “But okay.”
“And here I thought you were going to say that you learned not to mess around in haunted houses,” John told him.
“I don’t think so,” Sean said. “You’re the one who got hurt, lame-o.”
“That one landed on me!” John yelled and pointed at Patrick.
“You were in our haunted house!” Patrick yelled back.
“It’s okay, John,” Sean said and patted the man’s arm. “Just, maybe next time, leave it to the professionals.”
“What?!” John cried. “Who in the hell are you kids anyways?”
Phoebe pushed forward then, past each of the boys and the dog, to the front of the group. She crossed her little arms on her chest, cocked her head, smiled up at him and said…
“We’re the Monster Squad.”