Names Writ in Blood and Darkness

November 10, 2018:

Blade and Dead Girl are each drawn to a house in Long Island where unspeakable horrors have occurred. There, they are forced to deal with the cause and effect of those horrors. (NPCs emitted by Moon Knight.)

Long Island, NYC

An abandoned house on the coast of Long Island.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

In an old house on the Long Island coast, a man sits on a bloody throne, his body painted with the life-force of his victims.

To the right eyes, the blood leaves a trail - a trail in the shape of footprints. Footprints that spread backwards to the point of abduction, sometimes a public place but far more frequently a private one. Many are homes.

The dead walk their paths, forward and backward, throughout the night, each night. Unseen, unheard, unnoticed - at least by most.

Sometimes, though, they are noticed.

An elderly woman turns as she walks her route across a busy street, her sunken eyes catching those of Blade. She points ahead even as she moves backwards.

Elsewhere, a silently sobbing child drips tears of phantasmal blood on the ground before a dead girl. The blood pools into the address of an old house on the Long Island coast.

Hunting predators means looking for their marks. Watering holes. Game trails. Scat leavings. Picking through corpses and dead bodies. And sometimes, taking tips from ghosts.

Blade hunts that which preys on people. And that leaves him hunkered down in a low squat in a dirty alley behind a seedy bar, staring at a splotch of oil-stained brick wall. The ghost had directed him with a bony extension of a finger. The stain is not oil. His nostrils flare. Blood. Dry, but not yet old.

Blade uses a knife to scrape some into a small phial, the metal ringing hollow in the late autumn chill. His breath coils in front of his face as he works to get enough into the jar.

The hunter plays amateur chemist for a few moments. A bit of water to rinse the brick. Sort out the matter from the remains. He's left with just a trace of blood. His lips pull thin in a grimace, and he removes a glove and settles into a kneeling position. A pinprick to the side of a fingernail elicits a few drops of blood and he adds it to the mixture.

Words of a dead language are murmured over the remains, and he touches a needletip to the blood, then rests it in a clear tin with a small amount of liquid in it. The needle drifts a little, then waveringly points in a clear direction.

Blade steps out of the alley and stalks down the road towards the nearby coast. The grimace on his face and the sword strapped between his shoulders suggests anyone who gets in his way is going to regret it.

Dead Girl frowns quietly. The ghosts of children always get to her. Children should be out having fun- not weeping tears of blood.

Luckily, it doesn't take long to get to Long Island from Manhattan. A quick hop on a train and there we are- Dead Girl with a pad of paper in hand as she follows street numbers and names until she gets to where the ghost said to get to. She crumples the paper up and looks up at the house, head cocked to the side. Could she sense the death inside? Probably- the stuff of death is Dead Girl's very being. She can sense it. Communicate with it. Control it.

"This is a pretty nice neighborhood." Dead Girl mentions to herself. "Too bad about the property values, though." she mumbles as she approaches the house and goes somewhat more see-through as she shifts herself to be primarily on the Astral Plane and slowly starts to sneak through the house, silent as only the dead could be, with nothing getting into her way.

The old house would probably look run down if there weren't so many ghosts near it, their baleful circuits fortuitously bringing them towards it at roughly the same time.

Those whose paths have led them back into the house settle into the poses of their death: splayed on a couch, bent over a sink, disassembled into a refrigerator.

The man sitting on the throne upstairs has dozens lying about his feet, their insubstantial forms passing through one another. He appears not to notice, instead humming some tune to himself as he flicks blood about the room.

His most recent kill sits nearby, slumped over a writing desk. Its spirit slowly tries to push itself up from the seat and detach itself from the body - but it is not quite dead. Yet.

Blade finds the location the needle points to, triangulating with a few careful steps in each direction. The house was once nice. Evil acts, beyond just the neglect of an occupant, have a way of decaying homes. Breaking down the spirit of family that occupied them. Dead flowers, moldy wood, termites eagerly destroying the corrupt and rotten wood within.

And the stench of death is impossible to miss. Maybe the humans might not notice it; but Blade does. He inhales a few times, testing. Blood. Bile. Terror. The stench of murder most foul, not merely manslaughter or passing into that good night.

Blade doesn't bother with the backdoor. Silent as a whisper he leaps onto a low patio roof and creeps across the shingles with preternatural grace. The windows are old, their latches easy to defeat. A shim slipped between the wood and glass undoes the minor security, and Blade slips into the room. Instead of his little SMG, he unslings a shotgun and inspects one of the rounds. Rock salt and iron filings instead of buckshot. Hell on wheels for the supernatural.

"Oh, you're not dead." Dead Girl notes to the spirit, "Do you want to live? Can you live?" she asks, next, "The answer to the first one is usually yes. The second question is a bit more complicated. I'm not very good at keeping people alive." Dead Girl notes, as she floats into the desk itself to look the almost corpse in the eyes. To check the body. Was there even a chance of saving a life here?

"Who did this to you?" Dead Girl wonders- "Many ghosts have asked, already, for this to end. But the who is difficult for the recently deceased. You think they'd set up a handbook or something, but nope."

The not-quite dead girl's spirit turns slowly to face the dead girl. "I …" she mouths, looking back down at herself, her features stretching to try and both stay connected to and separated from the physical body. "I don't want to be … here," she says sadly. "Like this. Where …"

The ghost touches her neck and the slash opened up across it.

Upstairs, in the room with the throne, the man painted in blood slips off of his seat and kneels on the floor. Beneath the ghosts is a large circle and pentagram. The man stretches his hands out across it.

"Please," he mutters before shouting, "PLEASE! … Please," he adds more quietly. "I have called you so many times. Lord of the dead and darkness. Look what I have offered you! Why do you not come to me? Grant me your gifts. I beg you, one more time. Please."

All around him, the ghosts slowly stand back up and begin their backwards-moving circuit, shuddering in memory of a violent death, and then slowly walking down the stairs.

Blade flicks the switch on his shotgun, and racks the action. The loaded round goes flying, and he drops the sights squarely between the kneeling supplicant's shoulderblades.

"Oh, they heard you," Blade rasps in his gravelly baritone. "They just don't give a shit. Stay down!" he barks, commandingly, and circles to put his back to a wall. It keeps him just on the edge of the man's vision. "Hands where I can see them, or I drop a load of buckshot into your spine."

"So this is some devil worship shit," Blade conjectures, looking around. The ghosts, and Dead Girl, are invisible to him. "Calling down dark powers. You got me instead."

He bares his fangs in a humorless grin. "Merry Christmas, motherfucker."

Dead Girl looks up. Then back down to the ghost. "No way to save your life. No." Dead Girl then reaches out to help the ghost pull away from the dying body- a power shooting through the room as she helps one pass on. A part of any Dead Girl's work, clearly. "Now, the question is do you move on- or haunt a while. I suggest moving on, haunting a while becomes a very long while if you can't finish all those things." she explains, before looking up.

"Ooh. Something interesting going on up there, isn't there?" Dead Girl wonders softly as she begins to float upwards- the dying/departing ghost forgotten for a moment. "I'll be back, if you haven't figured all this out." she explains, "Just relax for now- it's an interesting feeling to die. IT doesn't happen but once, so.. really enjoy it. Experience it, you know?"

Perhaps that is an odd thing to say, but Dead Girl appears through the floor- before the throne. Her eyes glowing bright, even as her body is translucent. "Oh my. This is quite the mess, isn't it?" she asks, a certain irreverence in her tone.

"Why would you kill so many? Do you have any idea how many ghosts you've created?" Dead Girl wonders next, hands on her hips. Tone sassy. "Well. I guess I've got to punish you or something… Will you stop begging for death, Jesus Christ, it's easy to die. Take a long walk off a short, but very tall building for instance. It's a pretty good way to go. Oh! There's also the take a hand full of sleeping pills and go for a long, nice swim. Very popular down south."

"Aaaanyways,I think it be best if your victims tore you limb from limb…."

"Oh, hey!" Dead Girl says, wiggling fingers towards Blade, "Hi there, guy! You're here for the party too, huh? Neat. He looks mean." Dead Girl notes over to the man with his pentagram. "Like really mean." But then the corpses start to shiver and shake as Dead Girl's power urges them to rise up. Her baleful red eyes glow brighter, a flash as that same fire starts to light in the eyes of all the zombies she's creating. All under the same, baleful power.

"Now, the real question is.." All the corpses speaking now in their own voices. "Do I invite the spirits of the dead back into their bodies to do this… or do I do it myself."

The dying girl offers a thin, sad smile to her companion as her spirit is freed and she fades into nothingness.

Upstairs, the bloody man on the floor tries to glance at Blade out of the corner of his eye. "Who - ? What the -?"

He trembles, smearing blood on the floor near the edge of the pentagram. "I … I wanted the /power/, man! Eternal life …!" The man swallows a large lump in his throat. "Don't cheat me out of that! I've /earned/ it. Do you even know what it's cost me?"

He nearly screams, though, when the floating girl suddenly appears and speaks. "Oh /shit/!" he cries, whirling about, completely having forgotten Blade's demands.

"Dark one! Please reward me for my work! Don't have me killed! Why - why would you repay me so?" he asks, his voice cracking with fear.

The barrel swings over to the man and Blade pulls the trigger. An ounce of lead bearings sails through the air in a fist-sized cluster, the pattern's center aimed right for the supplicant's temple.

It's like hitting a watermelon with a sledgehammer. He drops like a sack of wet rice.

*chunk-CHUNK*. Blade chambers a new round and aims the compact shotgun at Dead Girl. "He's dead," Blade rasps. "Done and dead. Now stop the zombies," he orders her, face cold and unreadable. He hefts the shotgun fractionally. "Rock salt and iron. I got no problems with spooks but if you start raising zombies, it's yo' ass," he informs Dead Girl.

"Put. Them. Back. Down."

Dead Girl's fury is hot. A rush of anger running over the dead woman as those eyes- all of the countless, glowing read eyes flash brighter. Like an angry fire growing in intensity. The voices all start to dip in tone and timbre, all becoming more like Dead Girl's- but not quiet. A Chorus of voices that are *almost* alike now speaking together.

"Well, shit." They all say, each putting their hands on their hips- Dead Girl still there. "You know you didn't have to kill him. I just need to scare him a little. Goddamnit." she says, shaking her head.

"Rock salt and iron? Really?" Dead Girl asks as she goes solid. The walking dead remain- unmoving for now- all facing Blade. "You know that won't do a goddamn thing to me, right?"

Blade bares his teeth in another humorless grin. "Didn't have to?" he wonders, aloud. "Why not? Nutcase like that killed five, ten people?" Blade guesses, looking around. "Supplicating to the fangs, or the dark lord. I don't give a shit if he wanted to blow the goddamn Burger King. Easier to make him dead and let someone else short this shit out."

He keeps Dead Girl in his perihperal vision while he speaks, and swivels his head to look at her. "Heard that before," he assures her. "Only one way to find out. But I'm sure I can lay down these corpses, and then if I have to go find something more exotic to hunt you with— well, that's the job," he says, with a tone that implies humor without actually expressing amusement.

The various ghosts break from their regular paths, slowly moving to converge here in the room with the pentagram. None of them is tangible, but they are all becoming visible, translucent and bleeding into the others' spectral forms.

Another ghost rises, too - the newly dead man, whose head is - incorporeally, at least - floating about in the loosely reassembled shape it had in life.

He moves about sluggishly, as if in water, and then screams silently at the sight of the ghostly throng all about him.

One of the victims nearest Dead Girl points to the circle on the floor.

"Yeah, good luck with that." Dead Girl says, rolling her eyes as she starts to lay the various dead corpses back to the positions they'd been in before. "You may have made it hard for me to lay the ghosts to rest, is the point. Just running off and shooting a dude in the head isn't very good. I mean, shit- clearly he had some issues. Issues that could have been dealt with in prison, maybe? I hear that Arkham place does good work." Dead Girl notes, "It's right across the bay in New Jersey."

Dead Girl, of course, does not keep up on a lot of modern news. She's typically speaking just to the dead, these days. She follows the circle. "Ah, Right. Break the circle." Dead Girl steps forward- now solid- and starts to break up the circle with her claws. Hands shifting to allow her to break through the wood of the floor and tear it open. "There we go- should be good enough." she says, looking to the ghosts. "There you go- have fun with your new friend." Dead Girl says, eyes turning towards the man who's been made a ghost. "You shouldn't have done what you did. AFter they're done with you- you'll be lucky to stick around. You're probably being dragged down to hell. Not a good thing, let me tell you."

Blade opens his duster and lets the short shotgun hide under it, a sling holding it out of view. He's armed to the teeth— swords, guns, knives, daggers, stakes, holy water ampules. All of it looks well maintained and heavily used. The duster falls shut and when Dead Girl is done tearing up the pentagram, Blade simply observes the fallout with his arms folded over his chest. Her remonstrations go ignored, dismissing her challenge of method. The hunter merely watches to ensure the ghosts proceed in an orderly fashion to their final destinations.

As soon as the floor, and thus the circle, is broken, the ghosts swarm the spirit of their killer. Their fingers tear into his ectoplasmic flesh, clawing chunks out of him as they sink into the shadows below, bringing him an inch, and then a foot, further down with each attack. His eyes are wide in horror as he is eviscerated and, indeed, dragged down into the hellish darkness.

Before long, the room is empty except for the living - and the dead bodies.

Without all the spectral clutter, it's a bit easier to read the inscription around the pentagram. Perhaps it's not surprising that there are calligraphic errors - errors that did not summon a demon but instead held onto spirits involved in rituals in the circle.

"Ah. Another group of the dead passed onto either rapture or perdition. A goood day's work." Dead Girl announces, "No help from you, though." she notes over to Blade with narrowed eyes. "I mean, shit. We could have played with him a little, you know? REally made him terrified before we killed him. Where's your sense of fun?" Dead Girl wonders, hands again on her hips .

"Oh, here's where you went wrong." Dead Girl notes, pointing at the errors. "Yeah, classic newbie mistake." she notes as she continues to deface the circle- just in case.

Blade's a progressive, and a little more pragmatic about planning ahead than Dead Girl might think: he produces a cell phone and starts taking photographs of the calligraphy before it's obliterated.

It doesn't take long for him to document the wretched sigils, and he pockets the phone and starts searching the place with a casual destruction. 'Tossing' might be a better word; he starts pulling wallets, rings, and watches from the corpses. Money in drawers is pocketed, and credit cards are whipped through a portable skimmer. More than money, though, he starts looking for texts and tomes. Books. Blade obviously knows a thing or two about the undead, and tosses books on the floor as he glances at the titles. Hack books off Amazon are flung away from him, but older tomes with worn lettering and ichor-stained covers are examined. He finds a duffel bag, dumps out a bundle of clothing, and starts throwing some of the more maleficent looking content into the duffel.

"Poor ass motherfucker," Blade growls, pitching a fake Rolex into the corner. "At least the asshole could have petitioned for some money. Nothing but cheap suits and fake watches."

He looks around, scowl deepening. "Where's that damn book," he mutters, head swivelling back and forth. "/Someone/ gave him the study material for that pentagram."

The book, it turns out, is under the body slumped over the desk - a slender book and one hidden under the murdered form.

In fact, it's less a 'book' than it is a poorly photocopied zine. But its contents are important, because the two dozen or so pages inside appear to have been photocopied from the Darkhold.

Just as alarming, perhaps, are the handwritten notes scrawled about the pages - notes that suggest the dead man's efforts to summon a demon he called ZARNOBLOK.

Dead Girl raises an eyebrow- watching as Blade goes and steals from the dead. Her eyebrows knit together then. "You shouldn't steal from the dead. At least, not while I'm watching." Dead Girl notes quietly, taking a slow breath. "They might have an issue with it." Dead Girl notes.

She floats along the floor again- through corpses and things in the way- just looking over Blade's shoulder towards the thing that is written there.

"Hrm." Dead Girl says, "That doesn't look like a nice thing. I mean, jeez. Get some resolution. Was this copied with one of those ditto machines?"

Blade flicks through the pages, reading quickly. The mechanics of the spell are lost on him. He's not a member of the Wise. But it's easy enough to spot some familiar sigils and read crazed, scrawling notes. The sigils hurt the eye, even photocopied. They're wrong, inherently flawed constructs designed to break reality and reshape it according to the will of a madman.

Blade turns his head when Dead Girl looks over his shoulder, face a blank mask. "Anyone ever tell you about personal space?" he says, coldly, and folds the photocopies in half to be tucked into his duster pocket. He turns slowly to face her, the bag cradled loosely in his left hand. "Don't know who you are. Don't know what your name is. Raising the dead never ends well," he warns her. "Zombies. Ghouls. Spectres. They all hunger for humans. Figured you should know that, Ghost Lady."

"Oh, you don't know very much about the dead, do you?" Dead Girl asks, "I'm Dead Girl." she replies, going solid again as she grins wide- eyes still glowing. Those eyes that glow with the lights of the underworld. "No.. You know don't know them very well at all. Most of the dead aren't out for humans. Humans barely register." she notes, "No. There are ghosts everywhere…"

"Some of them just want to check on their loved ones." Dead Girl notes. "Protect those things important to them in life. Finish something they focused on, something close to their heart- enough that they'd be willing to exist in the shadows of eternity just to watch those things they love, those things they hated… Live or die." she says softly.

"Look at me. I'm Dead. I don't hunger for anything- okay, that's not entirely true- I really, really miss out on pumpkin spice season. A little basic, sure, but jeez. Pumpkin spice, man."

"Yeah. You're dead," Blade observes, coldly. "And you're walking around capping necromancers and summoning zombies. That ain't the behaviour of a living being." He shoulders the duffel and walks towards the window, pushing it open.

One foot on the lintel, he turns and gives Dead Girl a cold look even behind his sunglasses. "The necromancer got ganked. You came to help with that. For that, tonight, you get a pass." He points a gloved finger at her, leather creaking. "I find out zombies and ghosts are crawling around, you're the first one of them I'm gonna track down." He grins, an expression utterly devoid of humor, and it fades as his hand lowers.

"I didn't summon anything. That was me." Dead Girl notes. "Do you want me to summon a zombie? A few of these guys are still around- I mean, we could give them another hour of life or so." Dead Girl notes, "Well. Not life. They'd still be dead- but they'd be themselves. They could say goodbye to their loved ones." she notes.

"And how, exactly, would you stop me?" Dead Girl asks, still following Blade- quite a bit brighter than he is, despite the lack of a heartbeat.

"I mean, I'm not easy to stop. It's sort of a challenge." Dead Girl remarks, with a little grin. "As for Zombies and Ghosts- who are you to tell me how to live my life? I'm hurt, really, I mean- shit, you just murdered a dude and you got words like that for me?" Dead Girl asks with faux offense in her voice. It's exceedingly convincing.

"Why should I get a pass?" Dead Girl wonders next, "I mean, I'm right here. I'm really very curious how you'd stop me." Dead Girl asks next, a playful tone in her voice as she follows the man.

"Who are you , anyways? I told you my name." Dead Girl continues, "It's only fair~"

Blade pauses, turning back to Dead Girl with his brows raised in mild surprise. "You think you're invulnerable because you're some kind of wraith," Blade says. "Funny. I've heard that line before. Lots of monsters brag about how unstoppable they are. They're all dead now, too. See you around, Dead Girl."

Blade bares his fangs at Dead Girl in a grin, again. He falls backwards out the window with a whisper of noise. Somehow he clings to the shadows despite his heavy duster and the duffel in his hand. Once outside, he fairly vanishes into the night.

"I told you once already, I'm already dead!" Dead Girl replies- a finger up. "And no, not invulnerable- but pretty close. I mean, I blew myself up with a grenade once!" Dead Girl notes, "Not a scratch on me." She remarks, "Well. In truth, it turned my into a pile of meat and bones- but after that I was okay." Dead Girl says, still grinning in return.

"I'll see you later Fangs!" Dead Girl shouts into the night as Blade bares his fangs and hurries off into the night. "I gotta good feeling we're meant to be best friiiieeends!"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License