Rick is beginning to worry about Brittney. She’s always been quirky, uniquely quirky amongst the quirky ones as she’d shamelessly tell you if you had the bananas to ask her, but her behavior over the course of the last hour has given Rick ample reason to be worried. It usually doesn’t start out bad, just a little odd. Like that – she was attaching a miniature tripod to the digital camera a moment ago. Why? To hold it by the tripod? Fine. A little odd, but fine. But now she’s splayed the legs of the tripod apart like it was an old television antenna, now the camera is upside down, now she’s turning it on to use it. See? It starts out a little odd, then it gets strange. It gets downright worrisome. Rick doesn’t like it one bit.
It wouldn’t be so bad if Brittney told Rick what the plan was in the first place… if there even is a plan. Hey Rick, let’s go for a drive turned into Rick, grab my laptop for me which then morphed into Open the door for me, I’m a lady, and now they’re just standing here in the middle of the foyer of the Dead House and Rick hardly even knows what time it is, let alone the day of the week.
Oh yeah, they’re in the foyer of the infamous Dead House of Wuester, New Jersey. Legends tell of a tractorload of partygoers whom took a haunted hay ride deep into the woods of Wuester one Halloween night way back before such events could be recorded and broadcasted to the world to be ignored in favor of videos of either cats or porn. The driver of the tractor, a local yokel who spent his time looking for the wild mushrooms that didn’t give him seizures when he ate them, snuck into the party, killed the family’s gardener (who had fallen asleep in the shed out back with an empty jar of moonshine in his hand), hotwired the old tractor, and took all the party-goers out to the unfinished house he’d been squatting at recently to hold them as hostages. The thing is though, the partygoers had no idea, and they were so intoxicated that they turned the entire thing into a big intervention for the town drunk. He wound up blowing his brains out to escape the situation, and his ghost has been haunting the Dead House ever since.
“And tonight, you’re going to see that ghost, Ricky.”
Normal. Well, definitely a little quirky, but normal for Brittney.
“You’re going to see it when I capture it with this device.”
See? “That camera, you mean?”
“If it was just a simple camera I wouldn’t be holding it upside-down like a momo. No, Ricky, I meant device. Did you set up my laptop like I asked?”
Rick looks to the floor. Sitting on a pile of broken pieces of plywood is Brittney’s computer. It’s powered on and the desktop is showing, no programs or anything of the sort are running. “I mean, it’s on.”
“Perfect!” Brittney, putting the miniature tripod in her mouth like the handle of a dagger, plunges into the camera case and pulls out a charger for the camera’s battery, what looks like a USB/SD adapter, and an extra battery for the camera. She pockets the battery, drops the case, and lobs the rest at Rick. He surprises himself by catching it.
“So you’re going to take a picture of a ghost? Is that what’s going on here?”
Brittney offers Rick a look that makes him feel inferior to her even though they spent nine months in the womb together, then looks away and starts playing with the camera. “No, dingbat. I’m going to capture the ghost’s spirit in this ghostzapper device and then use my computer to send it through a transdimensional internet of sorts to an alternate reality’s Earth, which is where the ghostzapper device came from by the way, I have connections, thanks a bundle. The fate of the Multiverse literally hangs in the balance, Ricky, so just pipe down and let me do my work.”
Worrisome. Downright worrisome.
At least it would be, but the moment Brittney turned away, Rick’s consciousness was shoved into the deepest, darkest recess of his publicly educated mind and he lost the ability to worry. He appeared to stand up on his tippy toes, then he left the ground altogether. His left hand tightened around the USB/SD adapter to the point where the thing’s shell began to crack, and his right hand ejected the charger’s electrical prongs and plunged them into his left arm, which is probably why the left hand is clenched so tightly. Brittney turns around and sees this nonsense after her tirade is complete, but only because she heard Rick’s blood pooling up on the floor. If the ghost of Wuester’s late town drunk wasn’t such a sadistic bastard he probably could have put some miles on Rick, used the boy’s body to drink himself to death again like a proper ghost drunk, but no, he had to be egregious in his death, he had to try to scare the living who dared disturb him. Speaking frankly, if he wasn’t already disturbed then his spirit wouldn’t be stuck on Earth, that’s just what it is. And Brittney knows this. She ain’t afraid of no disturbed, perverted ghosts.
A blinding green light brings tears to both Brittney and Rick’s eyes. The legs of the tripod are all curled as if wilted, the camera’s battery cover is popped open, and a bit of the battery is sticking out. It glows blue and lets rip hot plumes of thick white steam.
And the battery charger is still plugged into Rick’s arm.
Trying to rush to the hospital would be pointless, apparently, because the old dirt road is going to be a slow drive anyway. Sending the ghost across the Multiverse will only take a few minutes, it’s not a big deal. This place creeps Rick out, especially after what happened to him a moment ago, but he can just go wait in the car.
“Oh, but give me the battery charger first, I need it. Yes, I know that’s how Steve Irwin died, but the charger isn’t plugged into your heart and a stingray doesn’t hold the fate of the Multiverse in its gills. Whatever, you know what I mean. Give it.”
She doesn’t start off bad, just a little odd. Then she gets downright worrisome, but Rick is no longer worrying about Brittney.
Rick is beginning to worry about Rick.
An Explanation of That Nonsense That Went Down at Dead House
“I refuse to give you an explanation of that nonsense that went down at Dead House.”
“Why? Because I already told you, I sent a ghost to an Earth in another dimension to save the entire Multiverse. Reality is saved, woohoo… not much else to explain, bro.”
“The ghostzapper device and all the accessories and stuff were made of nanotech, it went back to the alternate Earth. Don’t ask me how.”
Brittney sighs. “Well the same way it got here, it… I don’t know dude, I just saw the stuff melt into living dust and fly into my computer. Poof, gone. Now the Dead House is exorcised of demons and you’re gonna have a badass scar. Everybody wins.”
“No, it doesn’t look like you got bit by a defective vampire. Look, I can see the line of cars, we’re almost at the garage sale. It’s the only one on the map in this part of town, so you know it’s ‘bout’a be big. Get your game face on brothah, we got dips to flip!”
“Fine, I promise not to buy another camera. Now smile, say cheese or something.”