Amber and Erin arrive with a treasure trove of ghostbusting herbs, crystals and stones to clear the specter. Will they succeed, or will the ghost kill them?
It’s 2 days after the ghost manifested and attacked Amber. She’s stayed with Erin on Bainbridge Island, and they’ve spent the last day researching how to clear the ghost. As a precaution, Amber left Chester with Laurel. As for Don, he knows there was another attack, and he’s on his way home from the East Coast.
Don’t Let The Dead Things Bite
Erin sat in front of her iMac, searching for ways to get rid of spirits. She’d look for psychics and mediums, but they sounded like quacks and wanted hundreds of dollars to do the job.
One search led to another and she started to build an information arsenal to remove the ghost.
“Hon, grab my phone. I got a list of herbs, crystals and other stuff that should do the trick,” she asked Amber.
“Sure. What kind of stuff did you find?” Amber asked.
“Well, I think we can get a lot of it at the grocery store in town,” she said. “Then we can go to the New Age place in Bremerton.”
Amber wasn’t convinced that these things would work and she cocked her brow, questioning all this crazy ghostbusting information.
“Don’t give me that look,” Erin said after a glance caught Amber’s doubtful look. “You got the ghost, not me.”
Erin made a ghostly shopping list, picked up her purse and grabbed her keys. “Let’s get this over with,” she said and they got into her black SUV.
Inside the grocery store, Amber and Erin combed the spice aisles, looking for the ingredients. The main herb they wanted was asafoetida. According to a Wiccan website, it would banish the spirit with ease. As the ladies filled their shopping baskets with different plants and spices, a store employee came up.
“Excuse me, ladies,” she said. “How can I help you? It looks like you’ve got a big order. Need some help?”
Amber greeted her with a smile and snatched Erin’s phone from her hand.
“Hi! Yes, we need so much stuff,” Amber said. “I don’t know where to begin, so I’m just putting as much…”
Erin cut her off. “Do you have some of these things in the back?”
The store employee pushed down her glasses and stared into the screen. “Hmmmm….,” she murmured. “This is an interesting list. I can find most of it the back, but I think you need some other herbs and fresher ones too,” she responded. “But you’re right about the asafoetida. I’ve got some fresh gum. Burn it and that should help with whatever you got haunting you.”
“How do you know about this?!” the Erin and Amber said, almost shouting.
“My wife clears evil things for a living, but I thought she was a quack,” she responded. “Give me a few minutes to bag these herbs up.”
Erin found a parking space next to the New Age store. It was purple with large enough windows, you could see all the candles, incense, books, and crystals behind the checkout counter.
“Wow!” Amber said as she opened the door.
A wall of lavender and sage smells smacked her and Erin in the face.
“Yep, this is definitely the place,” Erin said. She approached the counter with a sturdy woman with salt-and-pepper hair and a lot of jangley bangles.
“Hi,” she said. “Sorry to bother you, but I’ve got a long shopping list and i don’t know where to start.”
“Oh, that’s no problem at all,” the shopkeeper said, smiling. “It’s what I’m here for.” She glanced over the list.
“Do you know what these items are for?” she asked Erin.
“I’ve got an idea of what they can do, but I don’t really know how to do it,” Erin confessed. “I watched some videos on YouTube.”
“Oh dear,” the shopkeeper said and added without hesitating, “Do you want to banish a ghost or a demon? Because these stones and herbs would banish the Devil himself.”
Amber cut in to tell her, “It’s tall, skinny, covered in tar, pulls my hair, and it mucks up the electricity!”
After thinking about it for a minute, the lady said, “Sounds like a specter or meta demon. Let me go in the back and pull some things together for you.”
As she stepped away from the glass counter and pulled back a curtain to the storage area, Amber added, “Do you have anything to protect kitties?”
Erin pulled into the driveway, put the SUV into park, and pulled back on the parking brake until it clicked. With a strong ghost in the house, she didn’t want it to send her car into the street and prevent her and Amber from getting away.
“Let’s get a look at the ghostbusting stuff before we clear this motherfucker,” Erin said.
She popped the hatchback and Amber pulled some biodegradable bags toward her. One bag held spices, herbs and plants ready to burn and drive out spirits. The second bag had asafoetida gum, incense holders and charcoal disks. In the third bag were stones and crystals, which should deflect evil spirits.
“I don’t know where to start,” Amber said, her voice cracking.
“Maybe we should just use the strongest stuff?” Erin asked.
“I guess so,” Amber said. “The most powerful herb is asafoetida and the lady said something about burning the frankincense, sage and myrrh thingymajig.”
“That sounds good,” Erin added. “I think you want that onyx bracelet and that obsidian trinket.”
“Okay, what about the other stuff?” Amber said.
“I don’t know. It sounds like we can burn most of these plants and boil the root stuff,” Erin said. “This Abramelin Oil might be useful, too.”
“That sounds like the plan,” Amber replied.
“What if that doesn’t work?” Erin asked.
“I’ll sell the house,” Amber responded without hesitating.
The friends closed the SUV hatch and walked to the front door. As Amber reached for the handle, the door opened about an inch or two on its own. They stepped inside and saw that the house as it looked when they left: a kitchen chair lay on the floor where Laurel fell; the TV screen shattered by the golf club; popcorn scattered across the great room’s hardwood floors and coffee table.
“I guess this is the part where I ask the ghost to appear,” Amber said.
“Wait, not yet,” Erin said. “We gotta light the incense and boil these plants.”
Erin and Amber pulled two pots from the cupboard next to the stove, and dumped a bag of roots and flowering plants into them. They filled each with a gallon of water and lit the stove top.
“Shit! These stink,” Erin said with a frown.
“I can smell why these get rid of ghosts,” Amber replied.
It would take a few minutes for the water to boil and the steam to begin cleansing the house. They stepped into the great room to call the evil spirit. The sun had started to go down, and the friends wanted to end this nightmare before it was dark and Don arrived.
“Should we light some candles? I read about using three of them to call a ghost,” Erin said.
“I don’t want to burn down the house,” Amber replied. “That thing could fling them on the couch and then everything burns.”
“Good point,” Erin responded.
“Okay, let’s get the stuff ready. I’ll wear the obsidian thing and the onyx bracelet,” Amber said.
“I’ll use the incense and this oil,” Erin responded.
They nodded in agreement and smelled something like rotting meat. It was the roots and herbs in the pot. It started to boil and the stench wafted through the house. Frothy bubbles started to run down the sides of the pots. The fire grew up their sides and the bubbles hissed and popped where they met.
“Let me turn down the heat,” Erin said and stepped away from Amber.
Amber pulled out her phone from her back pocket and entered the pass code. She wanted to search for the right way to summon the ghost. Holding her phone to her mouth, she asked the personal assistant how to call a spirit.
The results pulled up on the screen, then blinked and the screen went black. Her battery had died.
“Erin,” Amber said in a soft voice. “I think it’s here.”
Erin turned toward Amber when she felt cold rush over her chest. She reached for the asafoetida gum on the kitchen island, when it flew across the room and hit the wall. Erin took a step back and up against the kitchen counter. Her eyes darted back and forth trying to see the ghost.
“Where?” she asked. “Where would it be? How come I can’t see it?!”
Amber shouted to her, “You can’t always see it!”
“Why aren’t the herbs keeping it away or killing it?!” Erin yelled to Amber.
“Fuck if I know?!” she shouted back.
Erin reached to turn up the heat on the stove, but her hand got slapped away. She stepped toward the kitchen island, but one boiling pot of herbs and roots tumbled off the stove. It hit the floor with a clang and the boiling water rushed out, splashing on Erin’s boots. She yelped, more from the shock than the hot water. Those Filson Jag boots saved her from third-degree burns.
“Omigod!” she screamed and moved toward the bundle of incense and sage sticks on the other side of the kitchen. She felt a kick in her back and fell face first on the floor. Stunned, her vision was blurry for a moment. The hot water started to soak into her blue jeans and socks, burning her skin. As she tried to pick herself up, something shoved her down on the floor, pinning her. On the stove, the second pot of boiling water inched to the edge.
Amber saw the events unfold in the kitchen and ran has hard as she could. In five or six long-jumper steps, she made it to the kitchen and reached out as the pot began to fall. She grabbed the cast iron handle and flung it up and away. It landed in the sink with a crack and the water splashed on to the counter, a steaming flow of St. John’s Wort, daffodils and Scotch Broom washing over the marble. This water, thankfully, was moving away from Erin.
Amber looked at the burn mark on her hand. The handle had seared her and blisters would form soon. That didn’t matter to her: She knelt by her friend and tried to help Erin up. As Amber placed her hands on Erin’s shoulders to roll her over, her hands passed through a freezing, invisible blob. When her onyx bracelet touched it, a spark flew off and an arc of blue light ricocheted within a crouching human form. The ghost was on top of Erin.
The ghost’s blue silhouette stood and stomped its foot next to Erin’s head. As it did, the ground felt like it dropped a few inches and a gust of ashtray-smelling wind whipped by Amber.
The ghost was gone.
With help from Amber, Erin stood, but had to lean on Amber to stand upright.
“Ouchouchouch,” Erin said. “I need a morphine drip, stat.”
“I don’t know if we should leave or try to light up the incense stuff,” Amber said. “I don’t know if that ghost is gone or just hiding again.”
“Hon, we are in way over our heads,” Erin said. “Maybe we should go back to the crystal store or grocery store and ask for help?”
Amber thought about it for a minute. “Look, I’ve got to stay. Don will be home any minute now and I can’t risk him getting hurt.”
Erin hugged her and said she’d stay, too. They’ll fight this thing together.
“Okay, let’s get some sage and smoke this bitch out!” Erin said.
Amber nodded and picked up the incense bag and some of the sage sticks from the floor. Most of them were wet and unusable. Amber left the ruined ones to the side, but a few sticks of sage could work. There was also Abramelin Oil, but the asafoetida gum was soaked.
Erin took a sage stick and lit it from the stove. She let it burn for a few seconds, blew the flame out, and handed it to Amber.
“I think you have to open a window or door to let the spirit out,” she told Amber.
“Okay, I’ll go open one of the great room windows,” Amber replied. “What else do I do?”
“Make sure the smoke gets into every nook and cranny,” Erin said. “And say something like only good energy is allowed in your home.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Amber responded and walked to the windows.
“I’ll light this frankincense and myrrh one next, and I’ll be there in a second,” Erin said to Amber.
Amber stood next to the curtain and pulled it back. She turned the handle on the lower-end of the window to open it. The crank pushed the glass out about half-a-foot and a rush of winter air chilled her. Waving her hand, she started to get the smoke into the curtains, under a stand, and around Don’s favorite recliner.
She began to say her affirmations when she heard a creak and a few footsteps.
“Erin! Hurry up!” she yelled and then her head snapped back.
Her blond hair got pulled tight behind her, twisting like braids in a Saw movie trap, held by a tar-covered hand. But it was only the hand. The rest of ghost had yet to manifest. It yanked her hair down, so hard, that Amber thought it would take a fistful of hair.
Her heart began to race, her breath short and fast. Amber could feel the shock start to roll over her again. The numbness, like a Novocaine shot, crawled over her body.
“…mine…so pretty…,” the ghost said in a low grumble, then heaved her head first towards the popcorn-covered coffee table. She slammed into it, flipping it over and landing hard on her shoulder. Her onyx bracelet broke, scattering the beads all over the great room.
“Omigod! No!” Erin screamed and charged into the great room, waving the incense in one hand and splashing a bit of Abramelin Oil with the other. But she couldn’t see where the ghost went. It had vanished again.
“Amber, sweetie, tell me you’re ok!” Erin said as she moved the coffee table to the side. “Hon, we are going to leave now! I’ll text Don and tell him to stay away!”
Amber opened her eyes and looked up at Erin. Her head was still spinning from hitting the table and couldn’t focus on what Erin said. She saw a figure–a murky shadow–forming behind Erin and tried to pointed at it. She tried to say “look behind you,” but the words didn’t come out right. It sounded like a garbled mess and Erin looked at her like she wasn’t making sense.
As Erin tried to help Amber up, she felt a chill. It was strong enough to make her shiver. And she heard a creaking.
“Where is it?” she asked Amber in a whisper, holding the Abramelin Oil tighter in her hand and dropping the incense stick to the floor.
Amber shook her head side-to-side to clear the fog from her mind and looked at Erin.
“Right behind you,” she said.
Erin looked over her shoulder and caught the ghost’s ruby-red eyes. It stood a few feet behind her. Its oozing tar-like skin dripping on the floor. It had its arm raised, holding the wedge golf club. It grinned at her, exposing its hundreds of bone needle teeth.
“Oh shit,” Erin said as the club came down between her shoulder blades. The blunt impact knocked her to the floor with a thud, and she spit blood. Erin took a deep breath and propped herself up on one forearm. She didn’t know how she’d be able to get away with Amber. Her mind raced, trying to find an option. She just knew she had to get up.
The ghost said nothing and swung the club again. This time on the back of Erin’s head.
The metal met her skull with a squishing crack and blood shot from her nose. Her hand opened and the oil rolled a few inches from Amber. Erin fell down again on her right cheek, her bloodied face pointed in Amber’s direction.
Tossing the bloody club to the side, the ghost turned to Amber. It knelt in front of her, its dripping tar-like face a few inches from her. She stared at the tiny ripples swirling across it, the hollowness to its red eyes, and its needley maw. Its freezing breath rolled across her face, smelling like an ashtray.
Amber pushed back until her back was against the couch. She looked down to find a weapon, but all she had was an obsidian trinket on her necklace. She thought it may not be enough since her onyx had scattered across the room.
The ghost reached out and grabbed Amber by both sides of her head. She opened her mouth to scream, but the ooze flowed from the ghost’s hands and filled her mouth. It tasted like mud and cigarette butts, and it was so cold. It was as if someone shoved dry ice into her mouth. The spectral ooze gummed up her mouth and she couldn’t speak. It was too thick to move her jaw.
“…pretty thing…,” it said in a low, gravely tone. “I take you now.”
Amber reached up and grasped its wrists, trying to pull them away, but she couldn’t break its grip. She twisted and pulled her legs under the specter and put her feet against its stomach, trying to push it away. Her feet sunk into it a few inches and she felt something solid, covered under the goo. She pushed hard, her legs straining with all the strength she’d gained from kickboxing.
It was enough to break its grip and it backed a few steps away. Its ooze turned to a gray, sandy substance on her face. She spit it out of her mouth and rolled over to push herself off the floor. As she did, she saw the bottle of Abramelin Oil and snatched it.
Now, Amber stood with the ghost in the middle of the great room. It was directly across from her, not far from the spot where it walked out of the TV. Surrounded by the wreckage of the things she loved, Amber drew in a breath, her muscles tensed, and she attacked first.
She stepped in, throwing a roundhouse kick towards its stomach, her favorite kickboxing move. The ghost pivoted, dodging her foot, then pushed her away and back toward the coffee table. Amber stumbled to right herself and get back in position. This time, she stood, her feet a little more than shoulders apart and her fists at waist level. She lunged forward with her left fist and the ghost stepped to the side again. But it gripped her arm, twisting it and forcing Amber to kneel in front of it. It laughed as it started to bend her arm near its breaking point. The ghost wanted to Amber to suffer.
But Amber is a smart young woman. In her right hand, she held the Abramelin Oil. She made that hand as tight as she could and plunged it into the ghost’s gut.
The ooze swirled around her fist and gripped it. It started to pull her hand deeper into its body and tar vines slithered down her arm. Amber knew this would be her last chance if she wanted to beat this monster. She bit her lip and squeezed as hard as she could on the oil bottle in her submerged hand. Her nails bent on the glass and pulled back from the pressure, but she felt the bottle cracking, then the searing pain as the glass broke and sliced her hand.
As the oil mixed with the ghost’s tar body, the vines pulled back from Amber’s arm. The ghost looked at her, its red eyes narrowing and its twisted smile turning to a frown. It kicked her in her chest to force her farther away.
Amber gasped when the phantom’s foot struck her: It almost knocked the breath out her. She scuffled away, still facing the ghost.
Its body began to contort, with its arms melting into its body, then popping out of its back, head or legs. Its eyes lost half their glow and they began to look like charcoal briquettes. It turned toward Amber and screamed, then took a few slow, heavy steps, each one creaking. The specter became too weak and stumbled. A gray sand formed on its exterior and fell off with each lumbering step, sprinkling on the floor. Finally, it started to teeter and sway. Its form was falling apart: The ghost was dying.
It collapsed in a heap of sand right in front of Amber. Only its head, neck and shoulders holding together. It gnashed its teeth at her, trying to inflict pain on her one more time. Amber stood and took a few steps to what was left of the specter. She grabbed the obsidian necklace and ripped it off. She leaned over the ghost’s head, teasing it. As it opened its mouth, exposing its gullet, she dropped the obsidian trinket inside and kicked its jaw shut. Its jaws clapped shut. A moment later, its head began to bubble and toil. Its eyes went black and sank into its skull. Then its head boiled and blew apart in a puff of ash and sand.
But, Amber couldn’t relax. Erin was laying on the floor bleeding and unconscious. She turned to her friend when she heard two loud bangs from the kitchen.
It was Don, who had dropped his bags on the kitchen floor. He stood stupefied by what he had seen. “What the fuck just happened?!” he yelled.
“Call 911 now!” Amber responded, rolling Erin over to check her pulse. She pressed two fingers against her wrist and felt her heartbeat. Amber then leaned over to hear her breathing. She put her ear next to Erin’s bloody face and heard the faint rasp of her labored breathing.
As Amber looked over to Don, he was already finishing up with emergency services. The police and ambulance would be here in a few minutes. Amber took a deep breath and exhaled. She looked at the pile of sand from the ghost, her burned and bloody hands and Erin, and hoped this was the last time she had to deal with ghosts.
Ed. Note: To keep the couple’s privacy, we’ve used pseudonyms. This story is inspired by events at a home in Snoqualmie, Washington, so treat it as fiction.