Trick or Treat

Bob held the tablet upside down. No other error in history matched his mistake for its effect on the human race. When Bob told Irma that the required proton concentration was 108, the universe shivered.

Irma, whose back was to Bob, accepted the value and fed it into the Electronic Ectoplasmic Removal & Irradiation Engine. The purpose of the E.E.R.I.E device was similar to that of the Proton Pack of Ghostbuster fame: killing any demon, wraith or unearthly being that would otherwise cast a pall on daily human living.

It was not a sophisticated device, by 21st century standards. When Irma punched 108 into the device’s keypad, sparks shot out in a seemingly random sequence. To Irma, the sparks were asking, “Are you sure?” To which she “responded” by pressing a little green button.

“It’s ready, Bob.” Irma rolled the E.E.R.I.E. to him.

“Okie dokie, then. I’ll be back!”

{Famous last words.}

Bob packed the E.E.R.I.E. into his dusty old Ford Galaxie. He drove five miles up and down the streets of San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, until he reached the Daunted Hotel at the end of Kearney Street. He got out, grabbed the E.E.R.I.E. and trudged into the lobby.

The first thing he noticed was that some wag had spray-painted an “H” over the D on the sign behind the front desk. Bob smiled at the receptionist, identified himself as a paranormal investigator and asked to speak with the manager.

“Para-what sir?”


“Ah. Wait there.”

The gangly receptionist flounced into the back office, where she remained for twenty minutes. When she came back out, she goggled, “You’re still here? Don’t make me call the police. Go on, git!”

Bob was used to this behavior. He lowered the octave of his voice to a sepulchral baritone and boomed, “There is evil all around you. Eldritch spirits, murdered in their sleep, seek to return to the astral plane. You must allow me to assist them. Do not hinder their departure!”

The receptionist’s eyes widened in fear. For good measure, Bob yelled, “Boo!” She yelped, ran back into the office. Bob heard the lock click and, satisfied that he would not be disturbed, began to set up the E.E.R.I.E.

Ten minutes later, the grand debacle occurred. Instead of removing and irradiating specters, the E.E.R.I.E.’s weak beam blasted open a portal between the living realm and a heretofore unknown realm of reeking revenants. Hordes of undead things poured through the breach and went in search of candy.

Copyright © 2016 by Mitchell Allen

Originally appeared on CreativeCopyChallenge #459.