Written for Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor SpookFest 2015.
My prompt: One night, a strange widow becomes possessed and tries to kidnap a ghost hunter.
Everyone’s strange. We all have our quirks, our insanity – we always say that we’re not insane, but what is sanity? What is normal? For me, normal is smoking 30 cigarettes a day, drinking until my liver decides to bail on me, shag everything in sight and on occasion, more often than I particularly fancy, help out with a demonic possession. Maybe I should cut down on my vices to make sure that I survive long enough to pull Astra’s soul from hell and release it to heaven, but I digress. For others, working a day job and have a glass of wine to wind down is normal.
Imagine my surprise to find this crazy Irish lass in this bar in New Orleans. I just helped out Father Kieran O’Connell with one of his dark objects that didn’t want to behave, and I was having a celebratory drink when she walked in. All fair hair and an innocent look on her face. Innocent, my arse. Her face was marked with scars, age lines and some splatters of blood, and she was heading straight for me.
“Hello,” she purred as she hopped on the chair next to me. She was shorter than a regular woman; she smelled like lavender and strawberries, and she missed an earring. The remaining earring was shaped like an orange. Upon closer inspection, it was a bloody orange, just miniaturized. The girl – no, woman – was likely a witch. “John Constantine.”
Bloody hell, just my night, innit? “You know my name, what’s yours, lass?”
“Luna, Luna Lovegood,” she said as she looked at the bartender. “I’d like to have a fizzy drink, please, make it extra strong.” She was definitely off her rocker.
“Wow, go easy,” I say. It wasn’t unheard of that I’d come across someone knowing who I am, what I did, where I lived, where I sat down for a shit. It was part of the business. Word travelled, people wanted my head; I wanted theirs, there was this whole vicious circle going on, much like a hamster wheel, and I couldn’t escape from it. “What do you want?”
“Oh, nothing,” she said in her sing-song voice. It was enchanting, endearing, but something told me that she was far from it. She had seen battle. She had seen strife. Was she like me?
Of course not, no one was like me. I’m John Constantine. My business card tells you that I’m an exorcist, demonologist and a master of the dark arts. Yes, I still have to adjust the text to something less presumptuous, but do you have any idea how much it costs to make those bloody things? I’m a complete wanker. Nobody liked my presence, and yet, she seemed to have deliberately sought me out.
I downed my drink and paid for it before stumbling off the stool and headed outside. Stupid smoking regulations didn’t allow me to smoke inside anymore. I tried. They kicked me out, and I prefer not to be thrown out again. If this Luna wanted my business, she’d follow me. If not, I’d slink off to my hotel with a whore and have some fun.
Of course not, not even five minutes later, she followed me out, suddenly all handsy. “Not that I don’t mind some female attention, but what the bloody hell are you doing?”
“I recently lost my husband, and I’m just checking you out,” she said as she spun around a few times on her feet, giggling, before suddenly stopping. “I could do with a new man,” Luna grabbed me by the coat and started to drag me off with too much force to be normal for such a lithe being, and I’m wondering if I’m too shit-faced to deal with this shit. No. No, I am not.
She had enough blood on her that I wasn’t going to be surprised if she had killed her husband, that ‘recently’ was five minutes ago. I allow myself to be pulled along to wherever she wants me to go and as cliché’s go, she drags me into a dark alley smelling of rot and decay. And piss. It’s always the smell of piss that gets my juices going.
“I’m flattered,” I say as she pushed me against a wall. “But you’re not my type, love.”
“Nonsense,” she purred again, pressing herself against me. “Word on the street is that everything’s your type, John Constantine.” Before I knew it, she had me hands handcuffed behind my back and within a blink of an eye, she transported me to an entirely different place. “I’m going to keep you all to myself,” she sighed happily and pushed me into a chair.
I have no idea what just happened, but it made me feel ill. Almost like some of the after effects after an exorcism, the world was spinning, and I sure hoped it would stop soon. By the time she had me in the chair, I had already freed myself from the cuffs, and I could see that her eyes had gone from the bluest of blue to the darkest of black.
Just my luck.
Possessions were easy enough. It was a simple matter of identifying the demon and send it back to where it came from, why was I going along with this? I wanted to go for a shag and then a nap. I’d been summoned to Europe, and my plane was departing tomorrow.
I got up from my chair, stumbled towards Luna and grabbed her hair, pulling her head back so I could place my other hand on her forehead. “I’m addressing the creature that’s possessing this poor woman, identify yourself!” I commanded, not bothering with bracing for impact; there was a 95% chance that I would be flung across the space.
Scrambling back to my feet, I mentally went over the state of my body, and was satisfied enough with the outcome. I was sober now. I could do this.
“You’re my newest plaything, John Constantine,” Luna’s voice sounded, and she retrieved a stick – no, a wand – from her inside pocket and pointed at me. She muttered something, and I once again fell flat on my ass.
“Stop it,” I told her once I was horizontal again and marched towards her. “Who are you, tell me your name!”
“Now, that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?” Luna giggled and started to skip away from me. “You can’t hurt me, Constantine.”
“Hear my words, spirit,” I command and she stops dead in her tracks. “In the name of the Creator, I command you to leave this poor girl, this place. By the blood of Man-” She knocked me over after coming at me at full speed, she was on top of me, her spit dripping on my face as she tried to bite me.
This was a routine, not hard at all but what the everloving fuck?
“By the blood of Man, be not and be gone!”
She sits up and starts to smack me hard on the chest, and I’m taking this opportunity to gain the upper hand by rolling us over and pinning her down. “Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine!”
As expected, half the ceiling came crashing down as the spirit left the girl’s body. The energy didn’t have another place to go other than up, apart from being channelled into the chair I had sat on the moment before. It was now lodged inside a wall like some shitty piece of art. The girl was blissfully unconscious now, and I get up, straightened myself up and tossed my business card on top of her. If she had any questions, she could call me.
The nearest exit is a warped door, and I make my way through, only to be greeted by a familiar landmark in the distance when I do.
The bloody Eiffel Tower.
Groaning because of the time difference, I put my sunglasses on my head, lit a cig and started to walk towards the train station. All my stuff was still in New Orleans. One call from me to my buddy and he’d fetch them for me, but if I was going to help out the Prime Minister of Belgium, I was going to need new things.
Just a normal day at the office.
Damn that witch.