She had maintained for over a year that this sort of thing would happen in this town.
Ever since Phosphora had moved here, she’d been waiting for something unnatural to happen. She couldn’t say what it was exactly that pushed her buttons. It wasn’t your traditional ‘spooky-scary town’-it was hot most of the year; large, but not super large, not the kind of large where you know that at least one serial killer lived there at some point. Her apartment wasn’t decrepit, nor was it suspiciously nice. The larger area had ghost rumors, but nothing near where she lived.
And yet, something always felt… off.
“Maybe it’s you,” her roommate had quipped the first time Phosphora mentioned it. “Maybe you’re a ghost magnet, ever think of that?”
“Maybe you’re the ghost magnet.” It was a weak response-this distant feeling of weirdness had been there longer than she and Viridi had been living together. One was a local environmental activist riding on a good scholarship for a bio degree (it was unclear what Viridi was planning to do with it, specifically-maybe she just felt it was the only thing she’d finish); the other, an amateur musician around her job at the local gym. The two had run into each other at a beach clean-up out of town, had realized they lived within an hour of each other, and had arranged a plan to decrease both their costs of living. In hindsight, signing up to live together so quickly wasn’t a great plan-she definitely wouldn’t take the risk next time-but thankfully, it had worked out.
Didn’t make her any less certain that there was something weird hidden just under the surface of this city.
At this point in the night, she was pacing her room, playing with the strings of her guitar and humming a favorite song. She found, as inpractical as it seemed, that moving helped her think. Her bare feet barely made a sound on the carpet, letting herself focus on the music. At this point in the night, she didn’t dare pick up the electric guitar, instead strumming on the acoustic. Somewhere along the way, she’d stopped humming, instead singing under her breath:
“Now, that room, it starts to dim; set the mood for onset sin; and now we’re passed out on the floor of your apartment. With every single warning sign, it passed you up and slipped you by, but we’re all bound to end up back to where we started, yeah!”
Before she could get any further into the song, she heard the distinct wind chime-like sound of a text from Viridi. She sighed, then started playing again, telling herself she’d check in a moment.
“Make no mistake, I’ll break you down-”
Another chime. Before she could get annoyed, her phone went off two more times, the last one coming in so fast it cut off the one before it. Phosphora bit her lip. Four in a row was really bad, right? She set the guitar down gently, picking up the phone with one hand as she did.
Phosphora, you there?
Somethings at the window
She noticed her hand shaking as her eyes flicked over the four texts again. As she did, a fifth one rolled in.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR ROOM DON’T CALL THE COPS IM COMING
Hesitently, she looked up at the window to the bedroom. The curtains were drawn back, and she could see out into the cityscape. Nothing was there. She means the big one in the living room, I guess.
She could’ve listened. Could’ve stayed in her room while Viridi did whatever she was planning. Maybe that was the safer, smarter option.
But when she heard the crash of glass breaking, that idea was, pardon the pun, thrown out the window.
The phone dropped from her hand, and she rushed to the softball bat that she kept by the door-in case of emergencies. She hurried to the door, as fast as she could while still keeping quiet, one hand resting on the doorknob. For a moment, she considering doing what Viridi had said-lying low, staying safe. Then, holding her breath, she slowly opened the door.
The window was behind the couch, and she could already see the curtains flapping loosely in the wind. She bit her lip, and had almost pulled herself together when she heard a noise-somewhere between a growl and a moan-from behind the couch. Her fingers curled tighter around the handle of the bat, and she stepped closer. She considered yelling a threat, then decided against it, in case that would just give them a chance to attack first. Once they came in through the window, she saw no point in warnings.
She wasn’t sure what she was expecting to see when she came around the couch. The fact that Viridi said not to call the cops should’ve tipped her off that something was wrong, especially since Phosphora was the one who kept insisting that something was off around here. She probably shouldn’t have been so surprised to see something definitely not human under the window.
At first, it certainly looked human enough-the right shape, roughly, curled up on its hands and knees. The first clue was the things hanging off the side of the figure. At first, she thought it was an artifact of the dim moonlight, casting strange shadows, but no, those were, in fact, wings. Not normal, functional-looking wings, either-she could’ve sworn she saw bone peaking out from under the black feathers.
It was about then that her brain decided oh, a cryptid, and she sent the softball bat bearing down on its head, turning away as she did. Her swing stuttered to a stop sooner than she’d expected, and when she turned to look oh Jesus Christ it caught it.
It was then that she got a look at clues number two and three. First, the hand. It was dark and clawed, the possibly-black fingertips fading into a pale, ashen color by the elbow. Second, the eyes. Four glowing, solid wine-red eyes stared up at her, burning with malice. Below the eyes, she could faintly see a mouth, curled back in a snarl, sharp teeth bared.
She couldn’t stop herself from yelping as she stumbled backwards, barely jerking the bat out of the thing’s grasp. It growled in response, springing from the floor, and she swung the bat wildly to deflect it. She hit something, then stumbled back to catch her breath. The creature was leaning against the couch, grasping at its side, wings partially outstretched (though hindered by the lack of space). She was readying another swing when she heard a door fly open.
To her surprise, Viridi waited until she had the door closed to hiss “Wait!” in the loudest whisper Phosphora had ever heard.
Phosphora followed the order, freezing in place but keeping her eyes on the creature. She didn’t move until the lights came on a moment later, at which point she flinched and blinked. The creature, meanwhile, let out a screech, throwing its wings over its face.
“Easy, big guy, easy…” Out of the corner of her eye, Phosphora saw Viridi slowly walking closer. “Phosphora, you didn’t hurt it, did you?!”
“Well, what’d you want me to do when Satan himself comes crashing through our window?!” The creature made a snorting sound, and Phosphora wondered if it was amused. Could it even be amused? How sentient was it? Or… sapient? Which was the right word for this?!
Viridi didn’t seem to think it was all that wise, instead treating it the same way she would a wounded animal. “Shh, it’s alright, buddy…” She stepped around Phosphora, and as Phosphora’s eyes followed her, she caught sight of the puddles of black fluid on the floor around the creature, accompanied by broken glass.
“It’s… bleeding?” Again, she wanted to say that if it didn’t want to get cut by broken glass, it shouldn’t have come through her window, but then she remembered how often birds crashed into windows because they were confused by the reflection. Probably a similar thing here, right?
“Yep. Can you get the first-aid kit?” They actually had two-one for humans, and a smaller one for Viridi’s animal rescues. Looking at the puddles of black… blood?, Phosphora decided to just grab both. Wordlessly, she took off, running to the bathroom where both were stored. Meanwhile, she could hear Viridi cooing, “You poor dear, must’ve gotten lost… Hang in there, we’ll get you all fixed up~!”
She went silent, and Phosphora was busy trying to balance both kits in her arms. When she finally had what she felt was a good set, she sighed-
Then heard Viridi scream.
The first aid kits fell from her arms as she ran back to the living room, finding herself shoved sideways as she rounded the corner. She stumbled, but felt a burst of relief when she saw Viridi sitting on the floor, frightened but unhurt. “Vi, what-”
“It talks!” Viridi scrambled up from the floor (looked almost like she was tossed, Phosphora realized), pointing behind Phosphora. Phosphora whirled around, eyes falling on the now-closed door to the bathroom. “The creature talks!”
“Yeah, probably!” Phosphora shot back, then saw Viridi’s incredulous face and added, “What did you think it was?!”
“I-I dunno, some sort of… undiscovered species!” The petite woman ran a hand through her hair, trying to hold up her disintegrating ponytail. “Not something that could threaten to rip my guts out!”
“Huh.” Phosphora strode over to the couch, trying not to wince at the collection of feathers, glass and blood back there. If it wanted help, it shouldn’t have threatened her roommate.
A loud thump came from the bathroom, and the two women shot a glare that way. “Is he throwing a tantrum in there now?!” Viridi asked.
“Dunno, but I’m gonna find out.” Phosphora picked up the softball bat again, making her way back to the bathroom door. She got as far as putting her hand on the doorknob, then felt a hand grab the back of her shirt.
“Wait!” Phosphora turned back to look at Viridi, who, other than her initial protest, was suddenly quiet. Frankly, there were a lot of reasons Phosphora should slow down-beating the crap out of anybody injured was unsportsmanlike, and if it just stayed in the bathroom, it couldn’t hurt them. Maybe it would be better to wait
But the need for an actual resolution won out, and she pulled the door open (though slower than she initially planned to, at least), with Viridi leaning around her to look in.
The thing was lying on the floor, face up. For a moment, both girls held their breath, waiting to see if the creature was breathing itself. Its chest rose and fell, shakily, and tiny lines of dark covered its limbs, lines that Phosphora could’ve sworn weren’t there a moment ago. She also noticed-much to her amusement-that unlike the animal they’d thought it was, the thing was wearing a pair of black cargo shorts.
“Well, look at that.” Viridi scoffed. “I told you not to move too much, or you’d reopen your wounds, and now look!” She got a soft grunt in response.
“Are those from coming through the window? Wait-what do you mean reopen, then?”
“They were already closing up by the time I was cleaning them up. Dunno how.”
“Probably the same bogus way it’s flying with bones stickin’ out of its wings.” Phosphora passed the bat to Viridi, striding over to the creature. She wasn’t so confident in her abilities with an injured animal, but this wasn’t like an animal. This was more like dealing with an idiot human, which she was much better with. “Not your best plan, huh, big guy?”
The creature growled in response. “Oh, knock it off,” Phosphora said, earning a confused look from it. “I know you can talk. Now, we can do this one of two ways. I know you crashed through a window and all, and you’re probably in a lot of pain. I won’t blame you for being moody. So if you calm your ass down, we’ll get you patched up, alright? Otherwise, I’m asking my roommate for the bat back.” She held out a hand to help the creature up.
The hand was swatted away, but the creature didn’t try to attack. Instead, it planted its hands on the tile floor, groaning as it pushed itself into a sitting position. It held that position for a moment, before tilting sideways into the wall. It yelled-an almost-human yell, which was creepier to hear than Phosphora would’ve thought-in pain, causing the girls to flinch. It panted for a moment, then, in a low voice, grumbled, “...Fuck. Th… that’s bad.”
Viridi snapped out of it first. Without a word, she dove around Phosphora, grabbing a few towels from the cabinet. “Phosphora, gimme a hand, would ya?” Viridi knelt by the creature, ignoring the stare it gave her. “Just lift ‘em up a bit-yeah, that’s it-” Viridi shoved a towel between its shoulder and the wall, gently patting the cuts on that arm with the towel as she did. “Now grab me the first aid stuff. I’ll clean up the blood. Again.” She shot a glare at the creature, and to the girls’ surprise, the creature looked away with a huff, its cheeks going dark in what had to be a blush.
Before Phosphora realized it, they were back at the same point they’d been at in the living room. Viridi wiped away the blood from the open wounds, which closed themselves up before she could even bandage them. The creature was breathing funny again, and Phosphora had put herself at the side not against the wall in order to prop it up. This gave her a chance to look closely at the creature. The mop of black hair on its head was now hanging over its top-left eye, while she could see the other three darting between her and Viridi. She smiled slightly-wasn’t convinced that would help its mood, but it was worth a shot. It took a deep breath, eyes falling to its own hands resting in its lap.
Well, she could do better than this. “So, you got a name, big guy? Pronouns?” Should probably quit calling you a thing, she added to herself.
“Species, maybe?” Viridi muttered, spitting a piece of medical tape out. A couple of wounds must’ve been too deep to close up on their own, and Viridi was doing her best to bandage those.
There was a moment of silence. “Not tellin’ you my name. Uh… masculine, I guess.” He wrung out his hands, furrowing his brow. Another stretch of silence, then, quietly, “You gonna make me pay for the window and mirror?”
“Wh-mirror?” The girls turned to look at the vanity mirror, seeing the broken spot in the middle. “Are you serious?!” Viridi yelled, throwing her hands up. “What was that for?!”
“I thought I could get out! If I could just- oh.” He wobbled in place as he was yelling, then he fell sideways against Phosphora with a gasp. “Ugh.”
“Whoa,” Phosphora said, reaching out to catch him. The creature whimpered, though the look in its eyes said it was from more than pain. “Easy, big guy. Breathe.”
He screwed his eyes shut, his voice softer now. “I thought I could leave, through the mirror… but I must’ve drained all my strength trying to heal. Can’t travel, can barely move…”
Phosphora and Viridi shared a look. The anger in Viridi’s eyes had melted to annoyence-it was hard to be mad when he was like this. She cocked her head, asking Phosphora a silent question.
Instead of answering, Phosphora wrapped her arms around him, leaning him over her shoulder. He was silent, but she saw a flash of discomfort in his eyes as they flew open-she felt bad, but it wasn’t like leaving him on the floor was in the plan. She pushed herself to her feet with a groan, muttering, “Hang in there, alright? Sleep on the couch for a lil’, then you can head out when you feel better, cool?” She heard a soft grunt that she hoped was an agreement.
Viridi followed her to the living room, biting her lip as her eyes fell back on the window. She sighed, stepping over the glass (she still hadn’t taken her shoes off) and saying, “Yeah, and jokes aside, whatever you are, do you have money?”
Phosphora felt him shift in her arms, then he muttered, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll pull it together. Just so you two keep the softball bat away from me.” He gasped as Phosphora put him down on the couch, and she saw a flash of something on his face before he turned away. “I’ll be gone in the morning, and I’ll get the money to you. On one condition.”
“Don’t say a word ‘bout this to anyone, alright?” One corner of his mouth curled up in a smirk. “Don’t need you running your mouth about a demon coming through your window.”
Phosphora snapped a salute, ignoring Viridi’s groan from behind the couch. “Sounds like a deal.”
Alright, went through the footage..
...you just gonna leave me on read huh?
Didn’t find anything too interesting.
I know! I felt good bout this!!!!!
...same time next week?
Sure, why not. Got somewhere in mind?
Dunno yet. I’ll think on it.
I might know a place
<3 <3 <3 RAAAAAAAAY
Raven scoffed, tossing his phone onto the counter next to him. Pit certainly was a lot to deal with sometimes, but that was fine. That was why they were doing this in the first place.
Pit had stumbled into the coffee shop where Raven was now working, with more stuff than usual-a camera bag, a tape recorder, flashlights. Raven had, of course, asked what all that was for. Pit explained, sheepishly, that he’d heard that one of the houses on the edge of the city was haunted. He wasn’t sure he bought it, but if it was, he wanted to be prepared. Raven, who had been waiting for this moment, offered to accompany Pit-wasn’t like he had anything better to do.
That had been three months ago, and-remiss as he would be to say it-those were the most entertaining three months of his life. He was starting to legitimately enjoy Pit’s company, whereas he’d mostly joined in at first just to laugh at him. And all it had taken was a video camera, soem cell phones, and a nineteen-year-old he'd seen in the woods one day.
Man, that old hag didn’t know what she was on about, he thought, still chuckling to himself as he finished cleaning up. You don’t need to torment them. Sometimes they torment themselves enough. Watching Pit squeal in fright at a creaky floorboard was more funny than anything a demon could inflict on him, at least in his opinion.
“Heading out!” He called back to his boss, taking his tips (along with the change he had shorted particularly rude customers) and shoving them in his pockets. As if to make sure he didn’t get too attached to that money, a pain flared up in his side, and he hissed, fighting to not slap his hand over the bandage. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out into the early evening, letting the breeze sweep his hair from in front of his eyes. He wished he’d been more patient, had waited for a night like tonight, with gentler winds, less clouds. Less chance of crashing. Oh, well. What was done was done, he supposed.
He sighed. “You’d best keep your end of the deal, blondies,” he muttered to himself. “That’s a mess I don’t want to deal with.”