HELL-OWEEN

Filed by Aidan Munroe, GBWC
With contributions from the entire GBWC team
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2007-25/308

It had gone on for far too long. The scratching at the front door had to stop. Mrs. Emily Van Horn, proud resident of New York City, had had to endure this relentless noise at all hours of the night for the last week, ever since she began decorating the house for Halloween. A widow for ten years now, with all of her kids now living in other states, she did her best to put on a scary show for the neighborhood kids every Halloween. At the rate this was going, she wouldn’t have enough energy to put out a pot of candy if this damn noise didn’t stop. She quietly tiptoed to the front door, twisted the old-fashioned knob very carefully, and then flung it open, hoping to catch whatever was responsible by surprise. She looked down at the grotesque orange thing on the doorstep with a look of stunned incomprehension. It hissed and then snarled, showing sticky yellow fangs that gleamed in the light of the street lamps. She screamed as it leapt upwards, directly for her throat…
October 31, 2007
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty-Five
San Francisco, California
Mick Nielson half yawned, half groaned in the passenger seat of the ECTO-WC. They had been called down to San Francisco to deal with an inexplicable fog that had sprouted up in the Bay without warning or apparent reason. He had a funny feeling what it could be, but he didn’t think that could be possible. HE was restricted to the Caribbean area and knew if he stepped out of there, his butt was busted. No, it had to be something else. It was Halloween after all, even though the night was still many hours off.

Mick, along with the other members of Ghostbusters West Coast had a mixed feeling on Halloween. Everyone enjoyed Halloween as a kid, as it’s the one night of the year you can load up on as much free candy as you can fill a bucket or pillowcase with. Alternately it is the busiest working day of the year for any Ghostbusters franchise and the extra weird things always seemed to come out at Halloween. Last year alone, they had faced alternate versions of themselves from what was called the Flip Side. In addition, a group of aspiring warlocks had used the influx of energy to cause even more trouble for the great state of California later on. Aint it great?

Pulling up onto one of the streets that ran parallel to the shore of the bay, Andy Harness shifted into park and gazed at the line of police cruisers and news vans parked ahead of him.

“The circus is in town,” he joked.

The Ghostbusters West Coast--Andy Harness, Mick Nielson, Jeremy Hicks, Jeff Nash, Aidan Munroe and Jason Knetge--piled out of the Ecto-WC, strapping on Proton Packs and other equipment.

One of their long time members, Kyle Stevens was currently in a kind of limbo state. He had told Fritz he resigned over the phone and then disappeared. Fritz had not officially logged the resignation in hopes that Kyle would be back soon. Will Ketchum was currently out of town on assignment.

A grizzled police captain and the Deputy Mayor approached the Ghostbusters. They told them that the fog had rolled in this morning out of a clear sky and had refused to go away. What made them think that it was supernatural in nature was the fact that it was unnaturally thick and was confined to the Bay area only. Also the ghostly sounds of creaking wood and flapping canvas could be heard and water slapping against wood. Elsewhere in the city, it was a cloudless, sunny day.

“The Meter’s picking up a high concentration of PKE energy,” said Andy.

“Let me see the readings,” said Mick. He studied them for a moment and then groaned.

“I’m gonna have Jerry’s head for this!” Mick turned towards the grey fog, cupped his hands about his mouth and bellowed.

“SPARROW! GET YOUR FOGGY BUTT OUT HERE RIGHT NOW! I AINT PLAYIN’ AROUND!!!”

“Sparrow?” asked Jason.

“As in Captain-?” began Aidan.

“Yep,” said Mick with a heavy frown, “HIM.”

For a few moments, there was absolute silence, then the sound of a bell, ringing split the air. A sound of rushing water could be heard. Slowly, a shape materialized out of the foggy gloom. A huge masted sailing ship of the kind seen up until the end of the 18th Century. The ship was black from prow to stern gallery. The sails were also black and hung tattered and seemingly useless. The ship however continued at a rapid pace even though there was very little wind. The black ship pulled along side the shore and aimed for a small pier. Skeletal figures could be seen lowering a gangplank. As the black ship drew closer to the pier, another figure, this one more well defined and less dead appeared at the top the ramp and began to walk down it. It looked like he was about to take the plunge but just as he raised a leg to walk off the plank, no pun intended, the ship drew level with the pier and the man planted a booted foot down on the wooden pier and stepped forward as if it were an everyday occurrence. Having stepped out of the fog the man could be clearly seen. H e was tall and wiry with scraggly black hair and a goatee and mustache, all braided into long knots. He had mischievous eyes and a roguish grin. He wore the familiar triangular chapeau, popular in the ancient sailing days of the world’s navies and a bizarre collection of black, navy and white clothes along with tall black leather boots. He strode up to Mick with an eerily familiar wavering gait and stepped about four feet from the Ghostbuster, spreading his arms and smiling crookedly.

“Mick! It’s been ages!”

Mick just crossed his arms and glared.

“You’re not supposed to be here Jack. You know what we said we’d do to the Pearl if you…”

“Believe me Mr. Nielson I would never dream of breaking our accord, but you see, last night we were anchored off Tortuga and I had gone into town to find some fun. I tell you, your century’s horribly dull you know that?” Mick cocked an eyebrow.

“Well I returned to the ship and when we woke up, we were here and for some incredibly odd reason, we can’t sail past that bloody orange monstrosity over there!” said Jack, pointing wildly at the distant Golden Gate Bridge.

Mick sighed and buried his hands in his face for a moment.

“Even if you aren’t lying to me Jack, we can’t let you just hang around here in the Bay.” Jack started to protest but Mick cut him off. “No way Jack! Not happening. Now here’s the deal. You tell the crew of the Pearl to cut out the smog effects and go anchor in some little nook until we can sort this out, or we can trap the Pearl and her crew and have the SFPD put you in jail until we feeling like bailing you out. Sound fair?”

Jack tried to speak, failed four times, and then stuck out his hand to shake Mick’s. “You drive a hard bargain Mr. Nielson,” Jack then spun around on one heel and bellowed up at the ship, “Mr. Gibbs!!”

“Aye sir?” called a spectral skeleton from over the railings.

“Make anchor over at that little island over there in the bay and wait until I return! Savvy?”

“Not Alcatraz!” wailed the Deputy Mayor from over by the throng of reporters.

“Not the little island then!” shouted Jack.

“Just find some little corner of the bay and stay there!” shouted Mick, waving his thrower for emphasis.

“What he said!” bellowed Jack.

“Aye aye, Cap’n Sparrow!” replied the skeleton Mr. Gibbs.

“And stay out of the city or we’ll blast you all back to hell!” bellowed Mick

“What he said!” bellowed Sparrow as well.

“Aye Cap’n!” bawled Mr. Gibbs.

The Black Pearl began to move and within seconds had vanished from sight. The fog began to dissolve as well and suddenly all of San Francisco Bay was suffused with warm, bright sunshine.

Mick clapped a hand on Jack’s shoulder.

“You’ll be coming with us back to Los Angeles right Jack?” he asked with a horrible mock grin.

“Sure mate. A city of angels has got to be absolutely filled with delightful women.”

“Is that all you ever think about?” asked Mick.

“Au contraire Mr. Nielson, I think about lots of other things as well, such as rum, treasure, my ship, and

the sea.”

“You’re kinda weird you know?” said Jeff.

“Speak for yourself mate,” replied Jack, eyeing the frost curling around Jeff’s hands.

“Anyway, I’d like to meet those ladies that work at your headquarters that you mentioned,” said Jack.

“One’s married,” said Andy.

“The other has a boyfriend,” replied Jeremy.

“Married hm?” said Jack, “Never stopped me before.”

“Did we mention she’s also got a kid?” said Jeff.

“Never stopped me before.”

“You’re sick, you know that right?” said Jason in disgust.

“No I’m not, I’m fit as a fiddle,” replied Jack in confusion.

“This is gonna be a LONG day, I can tell,” groaned Aidan.

GB Central West
Inside Ghostbusters West Coast HQ, small groups of kids ranging from eight to nine were in different costumes. The kids, along with their teacher, followed Rose listening intently as she gave a tour. "Over here is the room with our containment unit where we keep all of our ghosts that we bust." One of the kids dressed as the black Spider-man shot his hand up.

"Oooh, can we go in to see it?" Several other kids raised their hands

"How does it work?" Said a girl dressed as a witch. Rose calmly shook her head.

"Sorry but only the West Coast staff is allowed access." All the kids let out a collective groan.

"Sorry kids but Miss Rose it right," said Otter as he came out of the containment room holding a PKE meter.

" Hey mister, what is that? " asked a kid in a Darth Vader outfit.

Otter held up the device, "Oh, this it what we use to detect ghosts." The group of kids crowded around him all trying to get a good look as he showed them.

The teacher went over by Rose, "Once again thank you for letting the kids have a tour. We promised them that if they all got good grades they could pick where they want to go for Halloween."

"It's no problem. Some of the staff thinks it is always important to educate people about ghosts. However, I am surprised that they wanted to come here."

"Oh yes, most of them are big fans."

A small hand reached up and tugged on Rose's vest, "Um, excuse me Miss Rose?"

Looking down Rose saw a young girl dressed in a light purple and pink Ghostbuster outfit. "Wow! That's a good costume. You must be a big fan. What's your name kid?"

"My name is Mindy Lou Gladstone. " She then put her hands on her hips. " I sure am!! When I grow up, I'm going to be a Ghostbuster and be Mrs. Fritz Baugh! "

" Well I think you're a little young for him and besides he's already married, " replied Rose.

" Ah she’s a floozy, " quipped Mindy waving a dismissive hand.

Rose look at the teacher then stared puzzled at the girl for a bit before looking at the group and saying, " OK let’s move on with the tour. "

Not in a particularly cheerful mood, Fritz Baugh literally stumped into the garage of GBCW. He’d been dealing with the crisis caused by what the press were calling “The Attack of the Killer Jack O’ Lanterns” and trying to look into the current whereabouts of both Rachel and Kyle Stevens That'd be enough for anyone. Add in his and Chelsea’s newborn Abigail and dealing with a crowd of elementary schoolers in the building.

He’d heard what the kid, Mindy Sue or whatever the hell her name had been, had said and it had served to remove the last piece from the Jenga tower that was his mood and send it crumbling to the floor. In addition to all that, his leg was acting up again. All in all, Fritz figured that this Halloween was going to be almost as bad as the last one.

The garage door cycled up to let in one of the GBWC’s new Ecto Cruisers, converted Police squad cars refitted for duty as Ghostbuster vehicles. This particular one was painted gray with the standard neon orange stripes. The cars had been a part of Mick Nielson’s “housewarming” when he joined up with the GBWC earlier in the year.

From out of the car stepped the GBWC’s Mobile Agent, Will Ketchum, former CEO of Maryland Ghostbusters and father of Talena.

“Will! Any luck in Bakersfield?”

“More of the same. Those damn pumpkins are nasty SOBs. Like rabid pit bulls with none of the charm.”

“And it won’t get any better until we track down the source. All these manifestations are repeaters. We won’t stop the flood until we can dam the source.”

Will and Fritz turned as the second garage door began to roll noisily upwards to admit the Ecto-WC. Fritz had thought that his mood couldn’t get any worse until he saw the bearded man that followed Mick out of the back of the converted SWAT van.

“Mick! You brought him here?!”

“Well I wasn’t gonna leave him on his ship. The first thing he’d do is try to steal everything that isn’t nailed down in downtown San Francisco for a start.”

“I resent that remark Mr. Nielson. Just because it’s not nailed down doesn’t mean it’s valuable. Savvy?”

“You see what I mean?” groaned Mick.

“Well Mr. Sparrow, if you’re going to be our guest here, then you’re going to have to follow some rules…” Fritz began but tailed off when Jack, completely ignoring him, sauntered over to where Chelsea Baugh had just walked into the garage with 1-month-old Abigail in tow.

“Ten says she knocks his head off,” said Jason.

“Fifty says she kicks him in the balls,” countered Aidan.

“Benjamin Franklin says that she’ll do all that and shoot him with his own pistol,” deadpanned Jeff.

“Benjamin Franklin and fifty more says she’ll do all of that AND cut off said genatalia and feed ‘em to him,” grinned Will.

Stopping before Chelsea, Jack swept off his hat and executed a surprisingly graceful bow.

“Good day good lady. I am Captain Jack Sparrow and I…”

“I know who you are, Captain, and I want to point out a few things,” said Chelsea, cutting Jack off. She pointed to her wedding ring, and then pointed to the baby in her arms. She then pointed to her husband and the other Ghostbusters. Then she made a gun with her fingers and pretended to shoot him. Sparrow grinned disarmingly.

“The lady makes an excellent point.” Jeff and Mick and Mick grabbed Jack and began to frog march him from the room.

“Try that again and you’ll be eating soft food for a month,” hissed Mick.

Fritz was just about to follow the odd procession out when a voice spoke up from the garage doors.

“Is Jeff Nash here?”

“Oh. It’s you!” said Fritz in surprise.

GB Central West-Main Lab
Aidan Munroe, 21-year-old Ghostbuster decided that this was the oddest group of people he’d been with in his life, so far. In addition to the regular staff of the company there was one legendary pirate captain who should be 250 years dead or so and one honest to goodness ninja. Well, two really if you counted Jeff. The rest of the group also had their own little oddities. Andy Harness had a rep for being a magnet for Class VII’s and Jeremy had once been possessed by Vinz Clortho.

“Here on the screen we have the PKE tracks we’ve been scanning since these incidents began a week ago,” said Fritz pointing to a pull down screen set against the wall which had a map with blue blobs spread over a certain area projected on it.

“As you know, the surge of activity across the state has been caused by these,” Fritz continued, leaning across the table and yanking a green cloth off of a cage sitting in the middle of the table. What was in the cage started bashing itself against the bars and growled and drooled. It was a Jack O’ Lantern, but no Jack O’ Lantern ever carved by the hands of man ever tried to use its orange and dripping yellow fangs to chew through aluminum.

“Looks like the sucker’s actually getting through,” noted Will.

“So it is. Aidan, Jason?”

With a nod the two junior members of the team leveled a pair of proton pistols and blasted the cage and the snarling pumpkin. A glob of orange mist shot through with ethereal light floated out of the ruins. Jason snared it with a beam and Aidan sucked away into a Ghost Trap.

“Nasty little bugger,” Aidan said with a grimace. Fritz pushed his glasses higher up on his nose as Aidan set the trap down on a spare to table to be emptied later.

“We’ve been getting calls from as far away as Sacramento about these things so we’ve made tracking them down our highest priority. Jeff?”

"Whenever a Ghostbuster hears about 'Pumpkins' and 'Halloween', one name floats to mind pretty quickly." Jeff told the group. "But I checked this personally--the Hain Witch is still inside Nightsquad's Containment Unit, where it's been for the last four years. So about the only thing we do know is that it isn't Samhain."

Jeff brought typed at the computer for a second. A red, striped diamond shape appeared over a certain area of the map.

“This ball park indicates the most likely area of the origination of the problem,” said Jeff, “We just have to find out where exactly.” All of the Ghostbusters leaned towards the map, studying it intently. Jack daintily picked at the remains of the pumpkin whilst Sub-Zero simply leaned against the wall and watched.

“It’s Greenwood,” said Aidan suddenly. Andy frowned at him.

“What makes you say that rookie?”

“Well, it’s right in the middle of your ballpark here,” said Aidan, pointing to the map, “You guys had a case there once, right? The Hanging Tree case yes?”

“Oh shit...,” Said Jeremy. "I'd just about forgotten about that one. Or more accurately, was trying to forget about that one...One of the first cases the North Team had on their own... I puked three times afterward and took showers twice a day for a week."

“Aidan does have a point,” said Fritz, “That town was the residence of a powerful Class IV for many years. It’s the best lead we have so we might as well investigate. The Governor’s tied up with all these fires, but this pumpkin business is adding stress he doesn’t need.”

“That, and the local moonbats have started screaming that some of our guys might’ve started those fires with our beams,” said Jason sourly.

“And Fox Noise says it was Al Quaeda. Right then, grab your gear and let’s roll out,” said Fritz. As the Ghostbusters began to disperse, Mick pulled Fritz off to the side.

“We have to take Jack and Mr. Iceman with us Fritz.”

“I can understand Sub Zero going but Jack Sparrow…”

“I’m not gonna leave him here for two primary reasons Fritz." Mick shook his head. "First, Chelsea and Rose will probably kill him. Second, the last time a franchise left a civilian alone in an HQ, that civilian got possessed, open their containment unit, nearly let a minor demon loose and basically just caused a headache for South Coast. Granted they nearly got themselves killed trying to stop the thing, but the mess could have been avoided if they’d been less hasty."

For half a second, Fritz thought about reminding Mick that this wasn't the South Coast, and Mick wasn't in charge here, but finally admitted “I see your point Mick. Normally I’d say no but as its Jack Sparrow…”

“Captain. Captain Jack Sparrow, savvy?” said Jack from over by the table where the remains of the pumpkin and the cage were still smoldering. After shooting Jack a dirty look, Mick said, “Well?” “Alright, we’ll take him,” said Fritz as he began to grin crookedly, “But you get to be his keeper.” Mick slapped hand to his face as Jack grinned broadly.

Greenwood, California-400 miles north of LA
They arrived in Greenwood after a 4½ drive. Even barreling down the highway at 90 mph, it had taken them that long. They had opted for a mix of vehicles this time, the Ecto-WC, Will’s Ecto Cruiser, and Aidan was riding the Ecto Interceptor, a former LAPD motorcycle that had been donated to the GBWC after the T-1000 case. Will and Mick were in the car, with Jack in the back seat while everyone else, including Sub Zero was in the Ecto-WC.

“Andy, why’d you wear your costume?” asked Jeremy.

“I thought I might be able to get one of the reservists to sub for me this year so I could to a Halloween bash with a couple of hotties I might down on Sunset Blvd. but no, I had to work. I swear, Halloween aint any fun anymore.” Andy was dressed in some very familiar grey slacks, brown boots, brown leather jacket, and fedora.

Riding through the outskirts of town, the first thing they all noticed was that it seemed to be a ghost town, no pun intended.

“I’ve seen this movie before I think,” said Aidan over the radio, “After we do a thorough investigation, the hidden menace will attack us and the medic will be the first to go, right Doc Ste-“ Aidan tailed off, realizing his gaffe. It was yet another reminder that the Southern Gentleman of the GBWC was no longer among them.

They parked in the town square, facing the city hall. Greenwood was one of those old 1940’s and 50’s type towns where the center had been designed around the local government offices. Here too, the town was devoid of life, cars with open door and warm motors that been abandoned on the street, shop lights left on, spilled groceries on the sidewalks.

Fritz examined his PKE meter as the small device beeped at an increasing rate.

“Well, looks like Aidan was right, this place is crawling with more free PKE than the entire state.”

“But where IS everyone?” asked Jeremy.

“Don’t jinx it man,” said Will.

Aidan and Jason examined one of the abandoned cars, a bag of spilled McDonald’s laying the street by the driver’s side door.

“Seems everyone just dropped what they were doing and left.

“Yeah,” said Aidan, “It’s like the one scene in Serenity…”

“I swear Aidan,” said Mick, “If you make another movie reference, I will shoot you.”

Aidan shrugged and went into a nearby gas station convenience store with a PKE meter.

“Over here!” called the deep voice of Sub Zero. The Ghostbusters and Jack all joined him where he had been crouching by the steps of city Hall. He had in his gloved fist a medium-sized digital camcorder.

“I believe this might contain answers we need,” he said simply and passed the camera to Jeff. Jeff switched it on and pressed rewind. After it finished he pressed play and the tiny screen flickered and then resolved into a picture of a bunch of people running. The time and date indicated that this was shot just three days ago. The people on the video and the unseen camera operator spoke of just escaping from a horde of the living pumpkins. One man began to panic as another in the uniform of a local LEO tried to calm him down. There was a loud crash and then the screaming began. There were several loud reports from the officer’s gun and the cameraman went nuts. The camera fell to the ground with the lens facing away from whatever was still happening. Jeff shut off the video.

“Well, that was not at all foreboding or creepy,” deadpanned Jeff.

“It seems we know some idea of what happened here, but we still need to, wait, where’s Jack?” said Fritz. They all looked around but the pirate captain had vanished.

“Dammit he can turn invisible, I should have remembered!” growled Mick.

“Do not worry, his ki isn’t far. It’s around there,” said Sub Zero, pointing to the far side of the City Hall building. At that moment there was a long, ululating scream that could only have come from Jack Sparrow.

The Ghostbusters and the ninja master watched as Jack came tearing around the side of the building and ran past them at something less than the speed of sound. A low, deep rumbling sound began to vibrate through the square, growing louder with each passing second. As one, they turned their heads, watching the building again. As the roar reached a fever pitch, a literal tide of the animated Jack O’ Lanterns came pouring around the corner, bouncing, rolling and sliding towards them. There were hundreds of the things coming straight for them.

“Oh crap,” said Andy, which pretty much summed up the whole situation.

“Defend yourselves!” roared Sub Zero. Suiting words to action he cupped his hands and then thrust them forward and a wave of pure cold flowed out from them and trapped the first wave in a solid block of sparkling ice. Everyone else powered up their throwers with the familiar subsonic click-whine and opened fire on the horde.

“Eat sub-atomic particles ya pumpkin bitches!” shouted Jeremy in challenge.

It seemed to be working so far, but there were more and more of the pumpkins all the time. The flood of orange nastiness creeped closer and closer to them until they were blasting them from only five feet away.

“Jeffrey, take your friends and go, I will hold them here!” shouted the blue-clad ninja master.

“Sifu, I’m not gonna let you do some stupidly heroic Custer’s Last Stand maneuver! The Clan needs you!”

“And the Clan would erase my very memory if they knew I had allowed myself to be killed at the hands of a horde of vegetables. Go!” and with that, Sub Zero leapt high into the air and slammed his fist down into the pavement. A wave of cold spread forth and stopped everything within fifty feet in glittering frost. The ninja formed a sword of jagged ice in his hand and sprang forward, each swing taking out half a dozen of his attackers,

By that time, the Ghostbusters were down the street, in the direction of their vehicles. They found Jack desperately trying to get the Interceptor started.

“Going somewhere Jack?” asked Mick angrily. Before the pirate could respond there was another loud rumble and the sewer covers along the street popped off, flying high into the air. Pumpkins, snarling and howling boiled forth, coming at them from both directions.

“That’s interesting,” commented Jack.

“As they said in the cartoon, RUN AWAY!” called Fritz. In retrospect, their retreat could have been executed more gracefully but one does what one can. Mick, Aidan and Jack took off down an alleyway, Jeremy, Fritz and Andy headed into a nearby store and started making their way to the back, and Jason and Jeff leapt from the roof of the Ecto-WC to its roof, then to the roof of a bank. The pumpkins pursued them all, snarling and bouncing over each other to be the first to get to the intruders.

Fritz Baugh’s head and leg hurt a lot. This was why he didn’t take field assignments anymore, he thought. Too easy to wreck his prosthetic and injure the area where his original foot had once been before a curse had caused it too literally melt off. Right now though he had to find out where they were.

He set up from where he had been laying on his side. He noted that all of his comrades where here except for Mick, Aidan and Jack. Even Sub Zero was here, albeit heavily injured. Their weapons and other gadgets had been removed and lay in a pile nearby. Fritz didn’t really entertain the idea of trying to get it because of one simple thing. The entire population of Greenwood surrounded them, all of them bowing in a prayerful attitude, straightening up and sitting on their heels and then bowing and repeating the same thing. Fritz had a funny feeling that if he made a run for the proton packs he would be restrained… or worse. A fear suddenly gripped, more powerful than he had ever felt before. He hadn’t felt this scared even when he’d faced the Ravisher and Anubis or when they had tangled with Ashram or when Gozer had made his return engagement. In fact the only time he had felt this rising, strangling panic had been when Chelsea…

That was it. He wasn’t afraid for himself. He was afraid for Chelsea and their newborn daughter. The last thing he wanted was to leave them without father and husband. Fighting down the choking fear, the leader of the Ghostbusters West Coast silently vowed that he would not die here. After all compared to Gozer what was a bunch of squishy pumpkins.

Spoke too soon idiot.

Fritz had been doing a slow 360 degree survey of where they’d been dumped, noting that they were in the Greenwood graveyard and mortuary, the same one in which the former North Team had tangled with the spirit of Alex Miles in 2003. When Fritz looked behind him, he saw that the Ghostbusters had been dumped in front of a large ritual circle, done up in chalk on the ground. Within the circle was pentagram and in the middle of that was the biggest pumpkin Fritz had ever seen. A horrific face had been carved into the flesh of the monster gourd and was lit from within by three large, black candles.

“Hey Charlie Brown, it’s the Great Pumpkin.” Andy had just woken up and from the groans so where the rest of the group.

“Sifu,” said Jeff as he moved to his master’s side to check his wounds.

“How long were we out Fritz?” asked Jeremy, rubbing his head. Fritz glanced at his watch.

“It’s 11:59 right now. 30-40 minutes? We arrived here quite late…” Fritz tailed off as the crowd of clearly possessed people began chanting something under their breath. With so many people doing it though, the volume began to rise in intensity.

“Maybe it’s a false hope, but doesn’t Halloween end at midnight?” asked Jason nervously.

“Technically yes,” said Fritz, “But there’s a way to cheat at that. If you follow the twenty-four hour clock, the next day doesn’t really start until 1:00.”

“Perfect” Andy grumbled.

The citizen’s chanting to gain in pace and when the hands on Fritz’s watch clicked to midnight, a great crack of thunder reverberated around the ritual area even though the sky was clear and the moon shone down on them. The candle in the pumpkin flared and the gourd began to rise of the ground. What lay underneath was a cluster of tangled root and leaves that boiled out of the ground. The pumpkin continued to rise, the growth beneath him twisting and morphing to begin to resemble weird body. When the strange thing was twenty feet tall, it let out a great roar, “FREEDOM!”

It spoke not with its flaming maw but its deep, thunderous voice reverberated inside their skulls like a jackhammer. The citizens gazed up and the sight with their mouths hanging open, eyes staring, not blinking even once.

“I have seen many strange things in my life my student, “ said Sub Zero who had been helped to his feet by Jeff, “But this by far the strangest thing yet.”

“AT LAST I TAKE FORM! NOW I SHALL TAKE MY PLACE AS THE LORD OF HALLOWEEN!!! YES! THE PUMPKIN LORD WILL BE AS A KING IN THIS WORLD!”

At this little monologue, Fritz, Andy, Jeremy, and Jeff snorted with poorly disguised laughter.

“THOU MORTALS SEEK TO MOCK ME? WHO ART THOU TO BE SO BRAZEN?”

"Oh cut the Old Testament act would ya? It’s really freakin’ stupid,” said Andy scornfully.

“INSOLENCE? DOST THOU THINK THOU ART A GOD TO DARE SPEAK SO TO ME?”

“I’m not touching that one,” grinned Andy. Fritz couldn’t help himself though. He wasn’t gonna back down to this ectoplasmic blowhard.

“You might have to make sure you’re using the correct definition of the word “god.” If you take it from the latest edition of Webster’s English Dictionary, that of beings who wield power and control over the lives of others, then the answer would be a resounding negative. However if you take it in the definition of people watching from a gallery so to speak, then in a sense we are all gods.”

Jeff was struggling not to laugh. Really he was. He was sure that one of his floating ribs had already parted under the stress.

“You’re friend is either very brave or extremely foolish,” said Sub Zero.

“We’re Ghostbusters. We’re a little of both.”

The pumpkin headed entity before actually paused for several seconds, trying to figure out what the frizzy haired mortal had said to him. Why weren’t these mortals cowering in fear? Well that would soon be remedied.

“DOST THOU NOT COMPREHEND WHAT I AM? I AM THE SPIRIT OF HALLOWEEN!”

“No you’re not, he’s locked in my basement!” laughed Jeff.

This was intolerable, they were laughing!

“Let me lay it out like this for you buddy,” said Andy, “We’ve all seen shit that is way scarier than you. You’re a joke dude. You expect us to take you seriously with your Charlton Heston Ten Commandments accent and your Samhain impression? We already kicked his old ass like twenty times. Ashram is scarier than you and he dressed like a freakin’ girl’s doll. The Ravisher dressed himself in a hoodie for crap’s sake and he still had style, for a crazy murdering ghost that is. Rachel Leavenworth is scarier! And Gozer would melt you with a glance! You’re worse than joke, you’re a poser!”

“In short my flame-eyes friend,” said Fritz, glaring up at the Pumpkin Lord arrogantly, “You’re finished.”

This was incredible. An example had to be made.

“BEGONE INSECTS!” he bellowed with a wave of his hand.

Instantly, the populace of Greenwood began to fade back into the trees as a flood of pumpkins surged past them. Instead of attacking the Ghostbusters however, they spread throughout the graveyard. They couldn’t see what was happening for a few minutes but then shambling forms could be seen through the low mist.

“Weapons,” said Fritz. Expertly the Ghostbusters strapped on their trusty Proton Packs, Jeff powering up his trademark neutrona saber shaped like Link’s Master Sword.

They could see now what was coming towards them. An army of skeletons and corpses, the heads replaced with the Jack O’ Lanterns. They glared at the Ghostbusters with burning red eyes and mouths stretched in fang-filled rictus’s.

“Let’s have a fight scene!” shouted Jeff, a manic grin on his face as he sent a frost bolt at the approaching ghouls. The others followed him, bellowing war cries, Proton throwers blazing. Fritz stayed with Sub Zero, the two attacking from a distance.

Jeremy ducked under one skeleton Jack O’ Lantern as it tried to rake him with right hand full of over long claws. Jeremy found that he was surrounded by four of the pumpkin-headed fiends. One had a machete gripped in a fist, another had a rusty kitchen knife and the last had inexplicably gotten a hold of a chainsaw that he revved up with growling buzz.

“Hmm, Freddy Krueger, Jason, Michael Myers and Leatherface,” said Jeremy as he pointed to each of them in turn, “Let’s dance boys,” he grinned as he fired his thrower at the nearest one.

A few yards away, the self-proclaimed Pumpkin Lord loomed over Fritz and Sub Zero.

“PREPARE TO SLEEP IN THY GRAVE PITIFUL ONES!”

“Oh I don’t think so,” said Sub Zero as he coked his hands back and thrust them forward, unleashing a massive blast of frost at the entity’s face. The creature roared and tried to clean the ice from its face with its fiery breath

“I SMELL THE STENCH OF OUTWORLD ON YOU MORTAL. ARE YOU ONE OF ITS LORDS? OR PERHAPS ONE OF THEIR DESCENDANTS? IT MATTERS NOT. YOU ARE STILL GOING TO DIE LIN KUEI!” “I see now why Jeffery and his friends get so tired of this ‘villain monologue.’ If I had a Yuan for every time a man told me he was going to kill me, I could buy all of China!”

The battle was going in the Ghostbusters favor but there was an entire legion of these Jack O’ Lantern zombies and there was still the pumpkin lord to contend with. Jeff had ditched his Pack in favor of his N-Saber and was using it along with his Lin Kuei skills to cut a wide swath through the enemy. “I find your lack of skill pathetic,” he taunted

However, they were slowly being pushed back towards the ritual circle where Sub Zero and the Pumpkin Lord were still doing their level best to tear each other apart.

“You can’t win. Did anyone not tell you that frost is particularly deadly to plants?” taunted the ninja master as he released a blast of frost at the Lord’s foot and then struck it with a fist, causing it to shatter. The Pumpkin Lord shrieked and swept a gnarled fist down, knocking the ice ninja into Jeff, Andy and Will.

The Pumpkin Lord raised a hand, talons curled to strike the stunned men.

“DOST THOU WISH TO MOCK ME NOW?”

Two things then happened almost at once. There was a pair of loud gunshots, almost like cannon detonations. The Pumpkin Lord shrieked again, clutching the side of his bulbous head, which was now missing a chunk. Everyone turned as one to look at where the gunshots had come from. Jack Sparrow stood proud and tall on the branch of a tall oak, smoking pistols gripped in his hands. Grabbing a nearby vine, he swung down to the ground gracefully.

“You gentlemen seemed to be doing well on your own but I, as a rule, take offence to people or creatures that try to kill me. So I thought I would lend some extra assistance.”

“KILL HIM!!” The Pumpkin Lord shrieked.

A nearby zombie lunged forward and raked Jack’s chest with its talons. Instead of crying out in pain, Jack bellowed, “OY! These are me best clothes you scabrous dog!” Jack whipped out his saber and expertly sliced the zombie’s pumpkin head off then crushed it under one boot, As Jack steeped into the moonlight to engage some more zombies, he changed, becoming a skeletal entity himself.

“The Curse of Isla De Muerta,” murmured Fritz.

The moment of distraction created by Jack was all that was need though, as the roar of a motorcycle filled the graveyard. Jumping off of a thick tree trunk that had partially smashed in a mausoleum, the ECTO Interceptor, lights blazing and siren wailing, knifed through the air on a direct collision course with the Pumpkin Lord. Ole Pumps paused just long enough to try to figure out what this new threat was and that spelled his downfall. Gripping the handlebars for dear life, eyes popping from a combination of fear and adrenaline, Aidan prayed placed one hand on his thrower that was mounted on a movable bracket atop the handlebars. Mick, riding behind him gripped a huge 12-gauge shotgun and was shouting wildly.

As the arc of their jump began to dip toward the Pumpkin Lord, Mick jumped off the back of the bike. His last thought as he began to fall through the air on his own was, I bet Evel Kneivel never tried something like this!

“HAPPY HALLOWEEN!” Mick bellowed at the Pumpkin Lord. Just as he and the bike were about to crash into the entity’s head, Mick pulled the trigger on the gun, unleashing a resounding boom! A huge junk of the Lord’s head was blown out, the shot actually going out the other side. The recoil from the blast stopped Mick from crashing headlong into the head, but made him tumble down the Lord’s viney body.

Then Aidan and the Interceptor slammed into the Pumpkin Lord. 1,000 lbs. of motorcycle and 250 lbs. of Aidan and Proton Pack slammed into the pumpkin lord like an 80-car freight train wreck. A huge chunk of the Lord’s head caved in and Aidan, in the moment before gravity took over, took the opportunity to fire. The Pumpkin Lord shrieked so badly that everyone thought their heads were going to explode.

Falling to the ground with the collapsing body of the Pumpkin Lord, Aidan was clear-headed enough to jump clear of the Interceptor, landing in a heap next to Mick.

The damage done to the Pumpkin Lord must have been extreme for his control over his minions seemed to be failing, the skeletons and dead bodies collapsing and even the Jack O’ Lantern heads rolling around dazedly.

“Now’s our chance! Clear a path!” shouted Fritz as he, the rest of the team, Sub Zero and Jack began carving a path through the few remaining zombies to the downed Pumpkin Lord. Said Lord was slowly getting back to his feet, gouts of fire pouring out of the wounds in his head.

“THY TORMENT SHALL LAST AN ETERNITY. I SHALL REND THE FLESH FROM YOUR BONES AND RIP THE STILL BEATING HEART FROM THY BOSOM!!”

“That just sounds funked up in so many ways,” moaned Mick, dizzy from his fall.

“How about you shut the hell up for eternity?!” roared Aidan, getting back to his feet and pointing his thrower at the Pumpkin Lord. As the entity turned to face him, Aidan noticed something. Through the guttering flames of its mouth, he could see three large black candles that seemed to be feeding the flames. One of the candles had been smashed though, whether by Mick’s shotgun blast or Aidan’s own Proton beam. Aidan smirked, aimed and opened fire. The crackling yellow beam of ionized protons was true, slipping through the entity’s mouth and turning one of the two remaining candles to sludge. The Pumpkin Lord howled in pain.

“His head! Go for his head! That’s his weak spot!” Aidan bellowed to the others

“NO!!” roared the Pumpkin Lord, sweeping out his talons, knocking Mick and Aidan back into the others. The Pumpkin Lord reared up, throwing his head back, and then unleashed a torrent of flame from his mouth, headed straight for the Ghostbusters.

“Polar Blast!!” bellowed Sub Zero, spreading his hands and feet like he was about to start jumping jacks. There was a flash of blue-white light and the temperature instantly dropped to about 25 degrees. Everything within 100 feet had instantly been frozen, except for the Ghostbusters, Jack and the ninja master.

“That was interesting,” commented Jack, pulling another pistol out from the back of his belt, aiming and then firing. A huge chunk of frozen pumpkin flesh shattered, exposing a gaping hole in the entity’s face. The first ones to shake off the cold and fire where Jason and Aidan. There shots were good, penetrating through the hole and vaporizing the last of the black candles. The Pumpkin Lord screamed as his body burst into flame, his head beginning to blacken and cave inwards as the flames consumed it. A horrible stench of burning plants and pumpkin filled the air. A globe of pulsing orange light shot up from the conflagration, trailing it’s own wrath of spectral yellow flames.

“Don’t let him get away!” cried Jason. The Ghostbusters fired together, encasing the Pumpkin Lord’s spectral form in a cage of energy.

“Trap!” shouted Fritz. Jeff sprang forward, grabbed a trap off of Will’s back and hurled it to the ground underneath the trapped Pumpkin Lord. Stomping on the activation pedal, an inverted cone of white light fountained forth from the open door of the trap. The others cut off their beams one by one as the light slowly sucked the would-be Pumpkin Lord into it. The striped door clapped shut; the trap sparked, hissed then beeped the all clear.

They gathered around it, grinning in triumph. Jack bent down and poked the trap with one finger and got a shock in return, causing him to straighten back up immediately. “I think you got him,” he said.

“One in the box,” said Aidan.

“Ready to go,” said Jason.

“We be fast and he be slow!” they all said together.

Once the erstwhile Pumpkin Lord had been trapped, his enslavement of the populace ended. All though it was now pretty much past Halloween, the EXTREMELY grateful residents of Greenwood, threw a massive party for the Ghostbusters. Because everyone was in costume, Jack blended right in as he made the rounds with the ladies and Mick got pissed and dragged him off repeatedly. Fritz had to disappoint a few girls with marriage proposals while some of the other guys had to think of creative ways of saying no without hurting anyone’s feelings. Even Sub Zero, camped out in a back corner of the high school gym where they were having the party didn’t look at all out of place, even with his forearms sheathed in perpetual frost.

At about 5:00 in the morning this impromptu party broke up. The citizens cheered the Ghostbusters on as they climbed into their vehicles and drove off. Mick had borrowed Will’s Ecto Cruiser so he could take Jack back to San Francisco and get him back on the Pearl.

As the three vehicles turned onto the highway, the first rays of the morning sun broke over the horizon, bathing the surrounding area in a rich red-gold light. Jeremy and Andy, loaded to the rafters with caffeine, were the designated drivers of the Ecto-WC and the Interceptor. In the back of the WC, the rest of the Ghostbusters dozed off.

Jason mumbled something about, “Go and rest our heroes.”

The three Ghostbuster vehicles continued to speed down the highway and vanished into the light of the dawn.

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