The team of investigators stood around Mr. Baker’s bed ready for anything. Each one had their own reasons for dedicating themselves to this line of work. Doug knew he had seen a demon in a blue cape with yellow skin whilst attending summer camp as a young man. Jayne swore without an ounce of doubt that she had been visited by her Mother days after she passed on. Then there was Tom, he rained on the group’s parade a bit. He wasn’t so quick to believe. He didn’t consider himself a skeptic though. In fact he knew in his heart that he had once lived in a remarkably haunted house. He had witnessed his dog bark at the same spot in their house on multiple occasions. He had documented numerous instances when things had gone missing throughout the house. On one fateful night he was even sure the entity had sat beside him while he attempted to fall asleep. Unfortunately for the rest of the group’s paranormal high he wasn’t so quick to believe other people’s ghost stories.
Tom didn’t even fully believe the stories of his fellow paranormal investigators. In fact he was quite sure Doug’s demon was a result of an early experience with marijuana and Jayne’s was a grief induced dream. The only thing that really kept him with the two was that they were the only people he knew volunteering to accompany him into generally freighting scenarios. In fact they were downright elated by the prospect. To Tom this was a duty that he had. He needed to help people come to terms with their fears, whether that involved disproving the fantasies that scared them or hiring a priest to give them a blessing. During his time living in his haunted house all he had wanted was someone to help him and he had dedicated himself to being that person for others. It was never really an obsession though. It was more like a weekend hobby.
A week before the group had been contacted by the enigmatic Mr. Baker. He was the closest thing America had to an aristocrat. He inherited a fortune from his father when he passed. Throughout Mr. Baker’s life he had done little of note with the money except enjoy it. He was one of lowest profile wealthy patrons of the massive Gothic city the group inhabited. When he contacted the group he was in a total panic. Tom almost hung up the group’s hotline on him because he was convinced the man was a lunatic. Something about the man’s desperation managed to stop Tom’s skeptical nature from ignoring him. As Mr. Baker calmed down and became more rational on the phone Tom knew this was not a man prone to madness but one who had been pushed to it.
The next day the group met with him in a fancy restaurant that called itself a lounge. It was a bit ritzy for Tom, Jayne and Doug. They all considered themselves lower middle class. Jayne worked at a fast food place a lot of the week, Doug sold herbal refreshments that weren’t tea and Tom spent his days building up his own plumbing business. He had worked for a local company in the city for many years that had an exclusive contract with the city’s biggest company owned by a billionaire playboy. Tom had made good money doing the job but he needed to get his freedom from overbearing bosses.
Doug remarked to the group that despite the Lounge’s high class exterior something seedy lurked within the air. They were all treated to a meal on Mr. Baker’s tab for meeting him . The old aristocrat had a grandfatherly nature about him as he explained his tale. According to him a month or so prior he had awoken late at night around three in the morning. At first he did not think anything was out of the ordinary and attempted to go back to bed. Then a tap came from his window. Without thinking he said he had turned on the light next to his bed and spotted a dark shape that lingered outside of his window for a moment.
After the initial shock wore off he convinced himself that it was his old brain playing tricks on him. That was until the next night. Mr. Baker said he had come back late from a meeting with friends and was just getting into his bedroom when he heard the wind blowing into his bedroom. He discovered his window wide open as his curtains blew in the wind. He called the police but no evidence was discovered that made them believe Mr. Baker was anything other than a senile old man. Then on the third night Mr. Baker said whatever was haunting him finally fully appeared.
As he lay in bed a dark shape stood watching his bed only to vanish when he turned on lights or attempted to investigate. The group took in his tale. After a few minutes of pensive thought they decided they were convinced by both his story and his huge check. They decided to set up their equipment in his bedroom and sat with him on the following Friday night to determine if the entity would appear when more people were present to witness it.
Now the group stood ready to document whatever might come their way. Tom had spent a good twenty minutes trying to re-create the dark shape using the environment within the bedroom and outside of it to no avail. Together they simply sat next to Mr. Baker in his bed awaiting the appearance of the mysterious being. The group had discussed what they might see this evening and Doug was handily committed to the notion that aliens had taken an interest in Mr. Baker. While Jayne dismissed the idea as ridiculous since she did not believe in aliens and professed her belief that it was a psychically spawned representation of Mr. Baker himself. Tom thought the two of them needed to put more stock in reality and less in movies.
Tom sat back in his chair impatiently. He was on the right side of Mr. Baker’s bed. The window the figure was said to appear in stood directly in front of the lavish queen sized bed. On the left side Jayne and Doug sat together near the door. The room had been left in darkness at the request of Jayne who stated that spirits were more likely to manifest in a darkened room because they feared light. Tom stretched and accidentally hit the painting that hung next to Mr. Baker’s bed. Mr. Baker gave Tom an annoyed glance from his position in his bed. It was the first time the old man had been anything more than pleasant around the gang. Suddenly his annoyed eyebrows were raised and his head turned away from Tom at lightning speed.
“It’s HERE,” shouted Mr. Baker in utter fear as he moved backwards against his bed trying to get away from what he saw in the window. Tom’s head darted to Jayne and Doug next as the two jumped out of their chairs in horror knocking them down. Finally Tom’s eyes found their way to the window and in it stood something from a nightmare he didn’t remember having. It was black with white eyes. It seemed to flow in different directions with the wind and might have had some kind of antennas sticking from its head.
“What..is it?” asked Doug.
“A demon!” shouted Mr. Baker. “It’s come to take me away for my sins!” Tom’s eyes didn’t leave the creature at the window but he found himself wondering what the old man was talking about. Then things went from scary to terrifying.
The window crashed open as the phantom presence entered the room in a burst. Doug went for the door but the creature sent something flying out of itself that hit Doug’s hand hard.
“You’re coming with me Mr. Baker,” it said in a voice that seemed to echo from a brimstone filled hell.
“They wanted me too! It was always consensual! I gave their parents checks for years afterwards! I swear!” In a matter of moments that seemed to last for years the dark figure charged Tom’s spot against the wall. He closed his eyes and peed himself at the same time while he was preparing to die horrifically. He always knew fraying too deep into the supernatural would be his undoing. Then he heard what sounded like paper ripping followed by the crash of something metal on the hardwood floor. Tom found the courage to pry his eyes open slightly. His courage was rewarded with an empty bedroom. A cold breeze streamed in from the window. Glass was strewn about the floor where the creature had entered.
“Where…where did he go?” asked Jayne from the corner she was huddling in with Doug. Tom’s immediate thought was that she meant the creature but then he noticed that Mr. Baker was missing from his bed. After this Tom found himself looking at the portrait that hung besides Mr. Baker’s bed. It was ripped open and inside there was a small space. Something hit Tom’s leg and he looked down to see an old Polaroid photo sticking to it. His eyes followed its trajectory and he saw a pile of them spread out on the floor under a metal box with a busted lock. In a moment of pure reflex Tom picked up the Polaroid to look at it and found himself puking seconds afterwards.
An hour later the cops had arrived on the scene. The pictures were taken as evidence. Tom didn’t tell the group what he had seen. He didn’t want those images shared with anyone unnecessarily. He was ashamed he had ever tried to help the disgusting Mr. Baker and found himself happy that he had met whatever fate the creature had conjured up for him. The three of them explained their story to the leading officer, Detective Bullock. Afterwards none of them were any closer to answers when they were told they could go.
“Detective what the hell happened here tonight?” asked Tom as he prepared to leave the premises.
“I think you met the God Damn Batman,” said Bullock with a half-smile forming and a cigar drooping from his mouth.
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