A CHRISTMAS PERIL
By Melissa L. Webb
Darkness lay thick before him as Sean stepped into the house. The air was chilly as he tossed the bag containing his weapons onto the couch. Shrugging out of his leather jacket, he ventured deeper into the darkness.
The air hung thick around him, pressing against his flesh like a living thing. One thing he had learned during his years of hunting the supernatural was to listen to the atmosphere around him. It could tell you some really useful things.
For instance, Sean knew he wasn’t alone in the house.
He slipped into the hallway, venturing deeper into the darkness. Uneasiness settled like a rock in his stomach. He was weaponless. This had always been a sanctuary. He never expected to need a weapon in his own home.
Sliding his back against the wall, he let his eyes adjust to the jet blackness at the end of the wall. What would be laying in wait for him? One of the vamps he had tangled with last week? Or how about someone from the pack of lycanthropes he had busted up last month?
Sean shifted slightly. Who was he kidding? It could be anything. The supernatural world definitely had a bone to pick with him.
Taking a deep breath, he started down the hall. This was his house. Whoever it was in the bedroom would have to pay for invading his turf. He just hopped he didn’t have to die in the process.
He reached his bedroom and flung the door open wide, stepping into the darkness. Fumbling for the light switch, he prayed the thing wouldn’t attack before he turned on the light. He’d hate to die before he saw what was killing him.
Light bathed the room. Looking around quickly, his eyes fell on a figure in the corner. “What the…”
He stood there in shock. This was definitely not what he had expected. “Uncle Charlie?”
The figure moved closer, stepping through a pile of dirty laundry. “How have you been, boy?”
“Um, busy,” Sean responded. He watched as the man who raised him, who had taught him everything there was to hunting, stepped through another pile of clothes. “What are you doing here, Uncle Charlie? Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
The ghost gave a dry chuckle. “Oh, I’m still dead, boy, but it doesn’t stop me from having to save your sorry butt one more time.”
“I don’t need any help. I have it all under control.”
“Listen, Sean,” Uncle Charlie’s specter snapped. “You need plenty of help. Way more then I could ever give you.”
Sean folded his arms over his chest. “What are you talking about?”
The ghost shook his head sadly. “You’ve become jaded, boy. You’ve seen so much evil in this world that you’ve begun to think that’s all there is.”
“Damn straight,” Sean growled. “This world is sick and will choke on its own filth.”
Uncle Charlie sighed. “There is still so much good in this world, Sean, and you’ve turned a blind eye to it. All this hate and loathing you have inside you, it’s slowly killing you.” He looked away. “You’re going to die bitter and alone. That’s a thought I can’t even unlive with.”
“So, what? You think you can just fix it all?”
The ghost shook his head. “Not me. I’m just here to prepare you.”
Sean frowned. “Prepare me for what?”
“You will be visited by three ghosts tonight, boy. Hopefully they can knock some sense into that thick skull of yours.”
Seam glared at his uncle’s ghost. “Oh no, that’s not happening. I’ve just come back from a seven-day Creeper job. I haven’t slept. I need a shower and something to eat.” He took a step closer. “The last thing I’m going to do is play Dickens with a bunch of ghosts.”
His uncle looked down at him, fire in his eyes. “Listen to me, boy. I’m tired of your attitude. I’m not going to watch you rot away while you’re still alive. You’re going to listen to what these ghosts have to tell you. You got that?”
Sean rolled his eyes. Even dead, his uncle still had to lecture him. He turned around.
“Are you listening to me, Sean?”
Sean saw a duffle bag sticking out of his closet. He grinned. That’s exactly what he needed. He snatched it up fast and took a small container out of it.
“What do you think you’re doing?” his uncle asked, eyeing the container in his hands.
“I’m getting rid of you.” He pulled the pourer out of the box of salt, flinging the crystals in the ghost’s direction. “Sorry, Uncle Charlie. I’m in no mood for this tonight.”
Salt flew towards his uncle, making the ghost shimmer before disappearing completely.
Sean smiled. That would teach his uncle to mind his own business. He headed towards the kitchen to get more salt. It was time to salt the perimeter of the house. There was no way any ghost was getting in tonight. They would just have to come back next Christmas eve.