Encounters of the Vampire Kind.

A Daria Halloween fanfic.

Daria and the cast are copyright of Viacom and MTV,

 

Summary:

Daria is uncomfortable about school trip to China from the start despite having both Jane and Tom along for the ride, but when Principal Li inadvertently (?) unleashes an assortment of spirits, zombies, and one very determined Kyonshi (Chinese hopping vampires) they find themselves on the run and having to rely upon nothing more than their wits, a diary of knowledge from a questionable source and surprisingly enough the Taoist knowledge of Mr DeMartino!  There are thrills and spills in this deliciously dark comedy tribute to Hong Kong horror movies.

 

1.

Daria sighed as she lay back on the hard mattress that the inn called a bed, this had seemed like a good idea at the time as well, a trip to China as part of their studies on the history of the country…they should have been suspicious the moment they saw how little it would be costing them, but then they decided that since it was a village near where Principal Li had grown up that she must have called in some favours to get cheap accommodation…they had been half right,

 

They had wound up in a small village that appeared to have remained oblivious to the onset of technology; Daria reasoned she would have been able to buy half the surrounding land using her Montana cabin fund.  Hell Tom had even jokingly offered to buy the inn after the first night.  Apparently Li had tried to get some of the funding for the trip by offering to ‘go halves’ on the cost with Fielding prep, however since Tom, Elsie and a bunch of junior ‘upper-class twits’ had paid to go that really hadn’t done much, especially as most of the Lawndale student body had decided against the trip, there where less than 10 people who Daria actually knew out here.

 

Still the visits where interesting…albeit for all the wrong reasons, Mr O’Neill kept on trying to be the usual marshmallow man but on the locals, and hence he had only a rudimentary grasp of Chinese at best they had been able to watch several interesting demonstrations of kung-fu, especially when Barch tried to get involved, when the wandering monk stated that it was against Buddha’s will to strike a woman she got mad and decided he was being sexist, sadly for her it seemed Buddha was ok with using feet, she still had the faint impressions of a footprint on her face.

 

Li was constantly trying to petition the head of the village to be able to organise an ‘educational’ archaeological dig which Daria was convinced was just an attempt to unearth some long lost treasure she no doubt heard of in the local bar.

 

Mr DeMartino on the other hand seemed to spend most of his time glancing around nervously, muttering stuff about the place ‘not feeling right’ and had twice been seen trying to re-organise the furniture in various places.

 

Sighing once more Daria looked out the window, it was getting dark and a storm looked like it was going to be approaching, she hoped the others would get back soon, Jane was out painting the scenery while Tom had gotten a new digital camera and was being the typical guy with a new toy running around taking photos of everything, she wouldn’t admit to being superstitious but she did feel uncomfortable on her own and the sooner either of them got back the better.

 

There was something about the approaching darkness that truly did not feel right.

2.

Daria was relieved when Jane and Tom finally got back, it had started to rain and since Jane wasn’t interested in painting watercolours she decided to head back and had found Tom idly watching his sister fending off the advances of Upchuck, he was disappointed in the rain causing them both to head back before he could get a photo of some good brutality.

 

The three had killed a few hours by playing cards until it had gotten late, Tom had decided he would crash out on their floor at the risk of much innuendo and mocking from his sister whom he was sharing a room with. But compared to having to actually share a room with her it was a price worth paying, so at around 2am with the rain pouring down they decided it was time to call it night and should get some sleep…at least that was the plan.

 

At around 3am they where woken by a quite but very noticeable TAP…TAP…TAP sound at the door, as they lay awake listening they heard it again TAP…TAP…TAP causing them all to sit up in bed (or on the floor in Tom’s case) and look at the door as they heard it again TAP…TAP…TAP, ever so slowly they approached the door as the sound persisted TAP…TAP…TAP they positioned themselves one on each side of the door as the other one was ready to open the door, again as they heard the TAP…TAP…TAP once again they pulled the door open suddenly, they stood in surprise at the sight that greeted them

 

“Elsie what are you doing?”

 

“Knocking on the door.” The younger of the Sloane siblings stood in the doorway, trying to hide the fact that she was obviously a little spooked,

 

“Then why where you knocking so quietly?”

 

Elsie looked a little embarrassed, as she answered, “I didn’t want to wake any of you up.”  Despite the looks of disbelief she continued, “I know this is stupid but can I sleep in here with you guys?  I’m…a little scared on my own.”

 

“It’s your call ladies.”  Tom said stepping back to let his sister in as he put an arm around her shoulder and spoke in a slightly more emotional than needed voice “do we grant sanctuary to this poor frightened whelp by allowing her to rest with us…OR do we cast her out and send her back to her room and all its terrors?”

 

“Alright you don’t have to rub it in” Elsie snapped as she elbowed her brother in the side, as he doubled up she looked pleadingly at Daria and Jane “Please, I’ve always hated storms, and this wooden roof isn’t helping matters.”

 

Jane shrugged “I guess so, I was no different with Trent when I was young I suppose.”

 

Daria sighed “What the hell, come on in, I couldn’t live with the guilt of leaving someone on their own on a night with this…especially under the same roof as Upchuck.”

 

A short while later Tom and Elsie had moved their things and bedding into the room and the quartet where all laying on their mattresses staring at the ceiling, not one able to get to sleep.

 

“You two may not believe this” Elsie began to speak tiring of the silence, “But we saw that DeMartino teacher guy wandering up and down the hallways, at first we thought he was gonna chew us out for sneaking around but when he explained that we where moving into your room he seemed to be fine with it, then lightning struck outside and he mumbled something about it being ‘nasty weather for corpse herders’ and skulked off, you have weird teachers.”

 

There was general murmur of agreement followed by some more silence, after a while Jane asked out loud, “What the hell is a corpse herder?”

 

Surprisingly enough Tom was the one to answer “Apparently a corpse-herder is a Taoist priest whose job it is to transport Kyonshi to their home town for a proper burial and ceremony, they would use a talisman and a bell to move them, fascinating stuff really.”

 

“Tom what the hell are you talking about and what the hell is a Kyonshi?”  Daria asked, intrigued at the unusual turn of late-night conversations, she was grateful Quinn had stayed behind, seeing as there was something about the place that stopped cell-phones from working she would no doubt have to put up with the usual fashion babble.

 

“Ah the Kyonshi” Tom rubbed his hands together like a storyteller with a captive audience before continuing “Kyonshi, also known as the hopping corpse, and more commonly classed as the Chinese vampire, substantially different from our western idea of a vampire, not of the Bram Stoker or Anne Rice ideas of something dark and more than human, but more like a dead body who still bear their last breath, often caused by bad Feng Shui when buried or a violent death, or dying with feelings of great anger, if not given a proper burial or cremated they become restless and rise to hunt down and kill their descendants…and anyone else who gets in their way.”

 

Tom paused for a few seconds to think “they are called hopping ghosts or corpses because of the way they move, supposedly their bodies have begun to stiffen due to being dead and so they can only hop to move, they can’t see you but instead sense breath so if ones after you hope you can hold your breath for a while, instead of biting their victims their touch alone is said to cause death although really its supposed to be because they have very sharp and strong fingernails which they stab their victims with, of course they can use the old conventional bite as well if they choose, though the people they ‘turn’ are more like zombies and are more mobile but not as strong, but if not destroyed they turn into the ‘real deal’ so to speak, and if a Kyonshi is around long enough they will ‘evolve’ into some stronger form I don’t know much about.”

 

“OK now I’m freaked out” Daria stated, “How do you know so much about this stuff?”

 

“According to our father, my grand-uncle Abraham was really into studying eastern superstition and folklore, and rumour has it he mysteriously disappeared somewhere around this very village researching such a thing.”  Tom paused thoughtfully for a few seconds before carrying on “Albeit he did have a reputation as a cad and a womaniser so it wouldn’t surprise me if an irate husband finally caught up with him.  Remembering this I decided to ask a few of the locals who spoke English what they knew of him and they told me quite a bit about it all, its…interesting to say the least.”

 

Elsie looked around nervously before asking, “You don’t think one of those things got him do you?  I mean their not real right?”

 

“Eh,” Daria shrugged “I don’t really believe all this superstition, it was probably started by a bunch of opium smugglers dressing up as these ‘hopping vampires’ to scare superstitious village police.  I doubt there is anything really like that anywhere near here.”  And with that she lay down to try and get some sleep.  The others soon followed suit and eventually they all where drifting into deep yet for the moment dreamless sleep.

 

Elsewhere on the outskirts of the village Principal Li stood with a shovel alongside another figure and began to dig…

3.

…Dig, Deeper, Deeper Down…

As she dug further into the ground Angela Li found herself unable to get the old rhyme she used to hear children of the village sing whenever she visited, it was supposedly meant to be a warning about something or other.

…Where spirits and the monsters wait…

But her cohort Leonard Lamb and her where more interested in the next line, and the factual basis for the rhymes inspiration,

…You’ll find treasure upon a bejewelled plate…

Supposedly it was referring to the story of a stockpile of gold hidden at one point by bandits, although the bandits had all met grisly deaths shortly after which where blamed on supernatural causes, although Li reasoned that they had simply turned on one another not wanting to share the gold.  Due to the superstitious nature of the residents no one had tried to unearth the gold despite the location being common knowledge among the locals.

…Before the Corpse Lord in his golden gown…

She and Leonard had planned this trip as an excuse to search for the treasure, partially as she still owed Leonard a considerable sum for getting her out of hospital quite quickly.  Although it was that or be found out about his shady business deals so he had done it on the condition that he expected repaying.

…Dig, Deeper, Deeper, Down…

So Li had struck upon the idea of searching for the lost treasure under the guise of a school trip, she had managed to wrangle an excuse to get into the village and the two had begun digging under the cover of the storm to unearth the gold, once they found it they would each head off to parts unknown, and she could leave all her troublesome students and interfering staff out here to rot.

 

After digging for what seemed like ages the two hit what felt like wood, they hurriedly unearthed what they hoped to be the treasure chest, instead they unearthed a long round wooden object Li recognised as an old coffin, strangely enough it was covered in both vertical and horizontal lines of what looked like ink forming a grid pattern all along the casket, almost like the coffin was sealed in a net.

 

The two looked at this for a while before their curiosity (and greed) got the better of them, prying it open with their shovels they where stunned to find inside a dead body, despite wearing what looked like old Mandarin attire made of golden coloured cloth the corpse was amazingly preserved, surrounding the corpse was a variety of trinkets and old coins, but both their gazes where drawn towards the object in its hands.

 

“So this is the bejewelled plate.”  Li said as she lifted the object out “Its actually a very fancy…and expensive Taoist mirror” she continued as she turned it around glancing at it from different angles “you can tell by the pattern made by the various diamonds.”

 

“Yes fascinating indeed” Leonard said half-heartedly as he looked longingly at the mirror “I don’t know about the rest of the junk in the coffin but that little beauty should certainly fetch a pretty penny for me…I mean us.”

 

“Ohhhh yes indeed” Li said dreaming of what she could spend on her newfound fortune “I’m sure some fussy old antiques dealer would pay for it…but these diamonds alone would be able to fetch much better prices, tell you what, lets split it and do whatever we want with our share of the diamonds?  After that we need never see each other again, in fact we never met in the first place, deal?”

 

“Deal”

 

“Alllllright then, well I’d say I hate to break a fine piece of art but in all honesty I hated all that Taoist bullshit.”  With that Li smashed the mirror in half on the edge of the coffin, holding a piece in each hand she held one over the open lid to Leonard “here’s your payment, take it before I change my mind.”

 

Leonard reached over the coffin which if he was a superstitious man would have seemed like a gaping abyss into whatever netherworld inhabited these parts, but since he wasn’t it was merely a stiff-in-the-box, as he took hold of the broken mirror he hesitated and shivered, the wind had picked up and he could have sworn it almost sounded like it was saying something.

 

…Seven years bad luck…

 

As he looked back he began to pull his hand away, but much to his horror he stopped dead when the hands of the corpse shot up, grabbing both his arm and Li’s in a vice-like grip, the two uttered futile screams which where carried and amplified by the winds to be heard all across the darkened village.

 

In another part of the village at a small shrine Anthony DeMartino looked up from the prayer he was uttering, “I haven’t felt this since…” he growled before trailing off, his eyes widened with shock as a wave of realisation struck him “ Oh NO…the kids.”  With that he jumped to his feet and ran in the direction o f the inn as fast a possible.

 

Deep in the forest, many ‘something’s’ slept, now with a scream that could and would wake the dead, their slumber was broken…

4.

“Janet did you hear that?”

 

“It’s just the wind now can it skinny your ruining the moment.”

 

The unlikely (and unsettling) couple went back to doing what it is couples do late at night in derelict huts, however their conjugal activities where rather rudely interrupted when the door swung upon as if on its own accord, stood in the doorway was what looked like a local dressed in some formal outfit, oddly in gold coloured fabric, it just stood there as the two looked up, breathless from shock.

 

“Oh of course it would happen to be a man” Janet Barch got to her feet readjusting her clothes, as she spoke the figure held ups its arms and appeared to jump up and down excitedly, although to the trained eye it was actually ‘hopping’ but unable to make it over the 6 inch raised doorframe the hut had, of course Mrs Barch eye was only trained for one thing, ‘Seek & Destroy, target; Y-chromosomes’ so she misinterpreted this unusual action.

 

“Oh so you think you can join in do you?  Well I have news for you MAN” she walked up and prodded the figure who only gave a groan in response “If you think you’re getting any of this then you can just…” she stopped when she found she had a hand on each of her shoulders “Alright you testosterone fuelled zombie take your hands off of me or I will tear you apa…”

 

There was a sound not unlike a zipper being undone and Timothy O’Neill felt something warm splash across his face as Mrs Barch in an example of irony on a truly cosmic scale found herself undergoing a situation akin to her divorce only even messier, this time she had been ‘separated’ from herself, that is to say, her left side from her right side.

 

O’Neill watched as the grotesque remains collapsed to the floor, still connected by a few intestines, he felt he would have vomited but instead was able to only utter a simple “EEP” before collapsing into a almost breathless heap on the floor.

 

Daria suddenly found herself woken up by a sharp chill running down her spine, lighting the candle at her bedside she looked around the room nervously, the other three where all awake and in similar states, Jane looked mildly freaked, Tom was obviously shaken but trying to remain calm, Elsie looked to be the most scared of the group, she seemed practically petrified.

 

“Wh…What was that noise?”  Elsie asked nervously, “I heard a scream…least I keep telling myself it was a scream.” She began to shiver uncontrollably and wrapped her own arms around herself “Something isn’t right here…”

 

Tom sat next to his little sister and put his arm round her shoulder “Don’t worry Elsie, I’m sure it was nothing,” although he himself looked unsure about this.

 

“I don’t know about you guys but all this waking up has given me the real urge for a late night snack” Jane looked around hopefully “Anyone care to see what the pantry has here?”  After a few seconds of everyone else looking reluctant she continued pleasingly “Come on people, don’t make me have to admit I don’t want to go alone…oops”

 

This caused Daria and Tom to chuckle and agree to accompany their friend, although Tom was reluctant to leave Elsie she assure him she was fine and to not worry, this meant that a few minutes later the trio had found themselves in the small kitchen/pantry of the inn, Daria and Jane where rooting through the small barely working fridge, while Tom was eyeing a large jar of sticky rice he had developed a taste for.

 

“I wonder if we should have left Elsie on her own?”  Daria asked as she came out with a Chinese bun in her hand, “think she’ll be ok?”

 

“Come on Amiga she’ll be fine” Jane asked as she headed to the door, “After all what’s the worse that could…” She opened the door to find what appeared to be the innkeeper stood there looking at them with blank eyes“…happen.”

 

No one had a chance to say anything else as the wizened old man wrapped his hands around Jane’s neck with surprising speed, Jane stumbled back as she tried to break its grip and avoid being strangled.  The old man opened his mouth to show a pair of sharp fangs, which he leaned in obviously intending to take a bite out of Jane.

 

“LET GO OF MY FRIEND!”  Daria shouted as she ran at what used to be the innkeeper with a small bench held above her head, she brought it down upon the old mans skull where it smashed into a series of splinters, unfortunately the creature seemed mostly unaffected, it did relinquish its grip on Jane, but this was to swing wildly at Daria who was knocked back across the room.

 

Tom charged into it, tackling it to the ground, however it threw him off like he was nothing, rolling across the floor he pulled himself to his feet as the creature began to advance on him, he had a sudden look of realisation before shouting

 

“Both of you hold your breath!”  Before doing the same himself, the others followed suit.  Surprisingly the creature stopped and began to look around the room as if they had become invisible, obviously straining from holding in his breath Tom motioned to the others to follow him and began to head out the room, curiously stopping to pick up the sticky rice jar.

 

Jane followed quickly out the room and Daria was close behind, she paused as she passed the somewhat puzzled looking creature, sticking out of its pocket appeared to be a book, her curiosity piqued Daria carefully slipped it out and then ran out the room, her lungs feeling like they would burst.

 

Once they had all made it out Tom slammed the door and leaned against it, exhaling in relief, the relief soon changed to dread as the door shook, Tom braced himself against the door trying to hold it shut.

 

“I don’t believe this, a Damn Kyonshi is in there, Daria throw some of that rice on the floor, I think it makes a barrier.”

 

“What are you talking about?”  Daria replied, still shocked from what had happened and her brain not yet being able to process everything clearly “I don’t believe in Kyonshi…”

 

“START BELEIVING!”  Tom frantically screamed as he continued to hold the door shut.

 

Suddenly a growl like sound was heard followed by a voice “If I WAS you then I WOULD take the YOUNG mans ADVICE…” turning around they saw Mr DeMartino stood in the doorway of the inn, he had managed to get hold of a wooden Chinese sword and was holding it in one hand while a flaming torch was in the other.

 

“Mr DeMartino?”  Daria said stunned, “What’s going on here?”

 

“To PUT things bluntly Ms Morgendorffer, all HELL appears to have BROKEN loose.”  He advanced on the doorway Tom was holding shut “I suggest you THREE let the EXPERT handle this, its not SAFE here.  Your friend in there is not the only thing on the loose tonight…”

 

Tom suddenly looked shocked as he realised something “Oh No, Elsie!”  With that he ran up the stairs heading for the room he had left his little sister in, Daria and Jane quickly followed while DeMartino threw open the door and walked in

 

“THIS is ZUOYAUN all OVER again…”

 

Tom, Daria, and Jane reached the room door just as they heard a smash and a scream; they burst through the door to see a humanlike figure leaping out the window with a screaming Elsie slung over its shoulder.  As it leapt out Tom ran to the gaping hole that used to be the window, he collapsed to his knees and screamed at the top of his voice

 

“ELSIE!”

5.

DeMartino heard the screams from upstairs but was unable to help given that he was busy trying to fend off the attacks of the Kyonshi, he was grateful it was a lesser one and not the full deal.  But that didn’t detract from the fact he was still being attacked by an undead creature that wanted to take a bite out of him.  Although he would have appreciated it if any of the other students who had ran screaming out into the night had stopped to aid him…still they would no doubt all fall victim to the various horrors lurking in the night so on the plus side there would be a few less idiots to teach back in Lawndale, if he made it back alive that was.

 

Grabbing both the creatures’ hands and blocking its mouth his elbow he evaluated his surroundings, the flaming torch had landed in a wok while the sword was driven into the creatures stomach, sadly his aim was not as good as it used to be,

 

Kicking the thing back he pulled a strip of yellow paper from his pocket, he then bit his finger tip and winced as he drew blood, he quickly drew the required symbols onto the paper and as the Kyonshi charged again he quickly stuck the makeshift talisman onto the creatures head causing it to freeze on the spot.

 

Taking the sword out of the monster he readied himself to this time make a clear thrust through the heart, only to be stopped when Tom ran into the room looking distraught, he was unable to stop in time and knocked into the thing and sprang to his feet talking quickly despite being out of breath.

 

“Mr DeMartino” he said between breaths “…those things…they’ve got my sister…they’ve taken Elsie…what are you looking at me like that for?”

 

He looked over his shoulder to find a piece of yellow paper stuck to his shoulder and the innkeeper getting to its feet, he let out the requisite “AAAARRRRGH!”   Before diving for cover as the creature lunged at him, he was only a little too slow as the creature caught a glancing blow that knocked him into several large urns of rice.

 

Daria and Jane entered the kitchen to see Tom laying there stunned as the creature was prevented from snacking on him by DeMartino throwing a bottle of cooking oil onto the ground causing the creature to go sprawling, Tom shook himself out of his dazed state and was just able to roll to the side as the creature landed in the assorted rice.  Surprisingly several patches of rice began to smoke as the creature let out a sound like a groan of pain.

 

“USE the RICE and TRIP it UP!”  DeMartino yelled as he threw the jar of sticky rice from outside to Tom while he readied himself with the wooden sword.  Tom caught the rice and threw a handful in the face of the monster as it got to his feet.  Watching it recoil in horror as if it had been maced or forced to listen one of Mystic Spirals earlier songs Jane grabbed a wok and hit it’s legs out from under it, as it hit the ground DeMartino grabbed the talisman from the floor, and then driving the tip of the sword through it, jumped to land over the creature and plunged the wooden sword into its heart, where it let out an even loader groaning sound.

 

“We HAVE to BURN the INFERNAL thing!”  He yelled which prompted Daria to grab the still flaming torch from the wok and threw it over the creature, the four watched as it began to burn away.

 

“May your spirit be at peace.”  DeMartino whispered to the burning heap before turning to Tom who was busy picking rice from out his clothes “NOW what was IT that you WHERE trying to SAY before you INTERRUPTED me?”

 

“Someone or something has taken my sister, come on we’ve got to get her…” he was about to run out before Daria and Jane each grabbed his arms, “What are to you doing?  Let me go, I have to go save her…”

 

“Tom calm down, and be reasonable,” Jane said as she held him back despite his struggles, “What can you do against those things out there?”

 

“She’s right Tom…” Daria said trying to hide the sadness in her voice “you’ll have to accept that there is nothing you can do to save Elise…I’m sorry.”

 

Tom’s head sank as he looked at the ground; he was silent for a few moments before speaking in a quiet tone as what looked like tears hit the ground, “Jane if they had Trent would you be acting any different from me?  And Daria, if they had Quinn would you let anything or anyone stop you from trying to save her?”  After a few moments he felt the grips on his arms lighten, “Thank you” he said in what was almost a whisper.

 

DeMartino sighed after watching the display of what would be views as either noble and endearing…or sentimental and stupid depending on whose opinion was asked.

 

“If you THREE are INSISTING on such a FOOLHARDY venture then I suppose you’ll need all the help you can get…BESIDES I have a feeling our esteemed PRINCIPAL is somehow involved in all THIS, and want to see that she SUFFERS appropriately for this, “ then almost as if an afterthought he added “and if we find any other survivors then all well and good I SUPPOSE.”

 

“Thanks Mr DeMartino.”  Daria said sincerely, they would need all the help they could get here, she suddenly remembered the book sticking out from her jacket pocket, she opened it and her eyes widened as she read the inside cover;

 

Taoist magic and the Dangerous spirits of China

(And how to kill them)

By Abraham Sloane.

 

“FIRST thing’s FIRST” DeMartino barked ‘Fetch me…a CHICKEN!”

6.

“We will be moving THROUGH the town with STEALTH being the UPMOST priority here, HOWEVER if we find ourselves having to DEAL with any more of those THINGS then there are WEAPONS available to us.”  DeMartino had explained as he gathered up what appeared to be a variety of useless trinkets, although after watching him perform an unusual ritual involving mixing chicken blood, ink, and a single grain of rice set alight which was then put into a makeshift ink pot with thread strung throughout.

 

“Take THIS,” he said as he threw the inkpot to Jane, “the INK will repel the CREATURES” he wandered over and withdrew the slightly charred wooden sword from the pile of ashes “Hmm, Slightly BURNT but will DO I suppose.” He then threw a small bag to Daria “fill this up with EGGS, they work just as well as the RICE…make sure their chicken eggs THOUGH.”

 

As Daria began to fill the bag and slung it over her shoulder he approached the doorway to the cellar “YOU three STAY here, I’m going to make another check for any weapons I can find.”

 

Daria watched him leave and then went back to studying the book she had found on the innkeeper, she was still curious as to how it had wound up with him though

 

‘My name is Abraham Sloane, I seem to have wound up drawn into something beyond my control, I have been spending most of my life researching the superstitions and folklore of the eastern region of China, I have learned as well as seen many things, and now I fear I have gotten myself involved in something that I do not believe I will live through, I may not always have been the best of people but with all I have written in this book hopefully I will be able to help any other none Chinese people who find themselves in a situation like this.  Please let these words keep you alive, if only they could do the same for me…”

 

Daria looked up from the book to see Tom securing several various jars and bottles to his arms and legs as well as a large urn on his back and what looked like a tray that had been hammered into a rudimentary chest plate, he looked up from this when he noticed her looking at him, “Sticky rice, the more we can carry of this stuff the better,” he then began to slip various kitchen knives amongst the rope.

 

Daria walked up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder that he put his own hand over “You really do care about Elsie don’t you?”  Tom only nodded and before he could respond they where both stopped by a scary sound…

 

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”  The laugh was heard from the basement of the inn as DeMartino appeared with a Kwan Dao (Chinese broadsword spear) resting on his shoulder casually with a crazed grin across his face, “Christmas has come EARLY for us it seems.  Looks like I’ve been a VERY GOOD boy.”  He then threw a large duffle bag onto the floor from his other hand “Take a look here as well, I think we may be able to put these too some use as well.”

 

Daria looked into the bag and removed what was practically a bandolier of large firecrackers and some rockets, “hmm, looks like he was planning a party…the balloons prove that.”

 

Jane’s eyes lit up as she removed a chainsaw from the bag “I shall call him Maurice.”

 

“Jane I doubt you would be able to carry that along with you…”

 

“ALLRIGHT KIDS,” DeMartino barked, “Lets get MOVING”

 

Warily they stepped out of the inn and into the night and looked around cautiously, “where do you think they took Elsie?”  Jane asked.

 

“Oh I don’t know” Daria deadpanned, “That giant Chinese mansion building itself over on the other edge of town seems pretty likely…”

7.

As the unlikely quartet journeyed through the now desolate and empty village they where all struck by the overbearing silence and lack of anyone else, they reasoned that Elsie must not have been the only one carried off and something had caught the ones who had run, it was finally starting to sink in that they may very well have been the only people alive in the village.

 

The sound of screams from nearby slightly disproved this theory; they ran on to find Upchuck of all people being chased by what looked like several flying urns.

 

Daria flipped through Abraham’s book, scanning it until she found what sounded like the correct entry, “It says those things are funeral urns containing the spirits of the dead as well as their bones and ashes, it says if we smash them …” Daria turned the page “the spirit will rest in peace”

 

DeMartino begin to spin the large and very sharp Kwan Dao and grinned “LEAVE that to ME, I’ve been WANTING to use one of these AGAIN for years…” with that he charged the urns, leaping clear over a stunned Upchuck and with skill and deftness that belied his age and appearance he began to shatter urns left and right until the dust and bones fell to the ground like snow.

 

“Hang on…” Daria said hurriedly “I think I turned over two pages at once…yup I did, it actually says that if you smash them you unleash the spirit…oh dear.”

 

As various spirits began to rise from the ground the entire group began to run for the nearest house, DeMartino with Upchuck on one shoulder and the Kwan Dao on the other, which was a little unsettling for Upchuck given that the blade was bouncing up and down only a few inches from his face.

 

They all burst into the house and Daria flipped through the book until she found an appropriate blessing, which she uttered as quickly as possible.

 

“There, we should be safe from any spirits outside for at least a while.”

 

“That’s great Amigo…” Jane said nervously “But what about protecting us from the angry looking man whose house we’ve just run into?”

 

Indeed a man was stood there; he what looked like an old blunderbuss trained on the group and was now yelling in Chinese, surprisingly DeMartino began to yell back in equally good Chinese, this was able to partially defuse the situation leading to DeMartino to turn to the group and address them.

 

“WELL he seems to HAVE gotten LUCKY and not attracted the ATTENTION of anything SO FAR, apparently he thought we where more MONSTERS instead of a ‘bunch of stupid Gweilo’” he said the last part with some obvious contempt to his voice, “I’ll explain to him that we wont intrude on him and will be departing as soon as possible” and so he turned to the man again and began to speak.

 

Daria may not have understood more than a little bit of Chinese but she got the gist of what the mans outburst meant, and all things considered if the language was as colourful as it sounded it was probably for the best she didn’t understand.

 

It was Jane who during the ensuing shouting match first spotted something moving inside the mirror on the wall, she tried to get the attention of the man but all that did was put her at the receiving end of the shouting, by the time she had finally managed to say something full figure of a woman had appeared in the mirror, she appeared to be dressed in old clothing and her entire left half was disfigured and purple, suddenly an arm shout out the mirror, grabbing the mans shoulder and dragging him into the mirror where he was never heard from again.

 

Everyone stared in shock before DeMartino finally broke the silence, “Get the HELL away from that MIRROR” just as the hand shot out, everyone dived for cover but the hand managed to catch Tom’s leg, as it began to drag him towards itself Daria and Jane grabbed his waist and tried to pull him back.

 

“Upchuck don’t just stand there do something!”

 

Upchuck promptly did something…he collapsed.

 

Tom tried to kick at the arm but that didn’t seem to do much, as the girls tried harder to pull him back now joined by Mr DeMartino the things nails began to dig into his leg, he let out a yelp of pain as they began to draw blood, angrily he drew a meat cleaver from its place and was considering briefly hacking his own foot off…then he decided it would be a lot more effective and less painful to hack the monsters arm off at the wrist.

 

As the hand detached in a spray of ichor the group flew back, the hand letting go of Tom and was promptly stabbed by Daria,

 

“Keep your hand off my boyfriend…I cant believe I just said that.”

 

The sound of smashing glass caused them all to look up to see Upchuck with a chair in his hands and a shattered mirror trying to appear as heroic as possible.  He was mildly annoyed when they practically ignored him.

 

“You TOOK your TIME didn’t you CHARLES.  Next time DARIA please try to use a WARD that works against spirits INSIDE the house as well.”  He then looked at the remains of the mirror and whispered, “Wherever you are be at peace.”

 

Later on they had decided to rest for a short while to treat the wound on Tom’s leg and wait for the spiritual activity to have dissipated, she was heading to the room he was in with some warm water when Upchuck accosted her in the hallway.

 

“Tragic isn’t it Daria my sweet.”  He said while blocking her path, “its hard to believe this may be the end of the line for us both is it not?”  He continued, coming across as being even slimmer than anything outside “I’m guessing you are like me” he leaned in close and said with a leer “and have no intention of dying a virgin?”

 

The moment he put his hands on her a short sharp SLAP was heard as he staggered back, “Upchuck, you disgust me, people have died, and you try to put the moves on me, have you forgotten that I have a boyfriend?  One who is going through hell at the moment I might add.”

 

“Oh that Tom fellow?” Upchuck snorted “Daria in case you haven’t noticed that lunatic has taken you on a suicide mission to rescue someone who is probably already corpse food, face it the guys insane and obsessed, I’d rather take my chances with the monsters out there than with him, and…”

 

Upchuck did not even have to time to say, “…He’s right behind me isn’t he?”  Before a hand was put on his shoulder, spinning him round before a right hook from Tom floored him.  Upchuck looked up at the young man who appeared to be only just keeping his cool at the moment,

 

“Take your chance then.”

 

Upchuck quickly bolted and the sound of a door slamming was heard.  Tom shook his head in disgust as he walked back into the room he had been resting in.

 

“I feel kind of bad letting him leave like that.”  Daria said as she cleaned the wound on his leg, thankfully it had avoided being deep enough to do any damage and there was little if any chance of infection, but it still hurt like hell.

 

Tom sighed, “Me to, but with everything that’s happened, I don’t know, I guess I needed to just vent at something or someone, maybe he was right, maybe I am obsessed, I’m sorry for dragging you into this Daria.”

 

“Shush Tom” Daria said leaning against him “I came with you of my own free will, all this has proven is how much you are willing to do for the ones you love.”  She kissed him briefly before quietly saying “Besides, Upchuck was right about one thing…” and with that she kissed him again, and again…

 

A short while later the two came downstairs to find Jane sat at the table with a few bottles in front of her, DeMartino was stood at the doorway looking out the window.

 

“Hey you two, I’ve been looking through this book and found some interesting things, first of all, this Abraham dude seemed to have done his research about this thing, apparently the people those things…which happen to have been fox spirits by the way, take their victims to the ‘palace’ which I’m guessing is the mansion we’re heading to, and sacrifice them at sunrise which means…”

 

“That Elsie’s alive!”  Tom finished with a look of sheer joy.

 

“That and I found another anti-stuff thing, virgins urine is like holy water on these things so come on you two…” she threw a bottle at each of them “get them filled.”

 

Tom looked around nervously while Daria just put her face in her hands, thankfully they where spared having to explain by DeMartino barking orders.

 

“COME on Ladies and Gentlemen, WE have an OPENING, lets GEAR up and press on, we ONLY have 3 hours until SUNRISE and its best if we don’t leave anything to CHANCE.”

 

Less than a few minutes later the motley band left the house and began to move quickly towards the mansion, eventually a figure in a gold robe began to hop in their direction.

8.

“Mr DeMartino, can I ask you something?”  Daria asked as she tried to keep up alongside her history teacher turned Taoist Ghostbuster extraordinaire.

 

“Go ahead” he replied calmly, well as calm as a man with a large martial arts weapon on one shoulder and a burnt wooden sword in the other in ghost territory could be.

 

“I was wondering how you knew all about this sort of thing and learned how to do all that stuff?”

 

“It’s a long story, basically I was in VIETNAM, and wasn’t very fortunate, I wound up as a PRISONER of WAR, I found myself being ‘BORROWED OUT’ by a bunch of Chinese, I suppose I should be THANKFUL I didn’t wind up playing Russian roulette or spending 5 years with a WATCH up my ass, but it was still no picnic, I was used as basically SLAVE labour for a bunch of smugglers disguising themselves as CORPSE herders.  I assume know what that means?”

 

“I am familiar with the idea yes.”

 

“Well one thing about China is the still COMMON acceptance of superstition and such traditions as part of regular LIFE, meaning that a Taoist priest transporting a bunch of DEAD corpses to their final resting place will not be bothered by local security for superstitious reasons, especially in RURAL areas which is how the gang operated, they would use POWs to be the corpses with the drugs HIDDEN on us, this went on for SEVERAL months until…” he stopped almost like he was reluctant to go on.

 

“If you don’t want to continue then I understand.”

 

“No its ALLRIGHT, its just a PAINFUL memory, what happened was that one NIGHT those BASTARDS where doing the usual RUN when we ran AFOUL of the real thing.  As you can IMAGINE it was a MASSACRE, all my FELLOW POW’s where killed along with our CAPTORS, a BITTERSWEET situation really, I only escaped BECAUSE a TAOIST priest who had been HUNTING the creature turned up at the LAST minute and dispatched it, I was FORTEUNATE to be saved by a benevolent man with a good grasp of ENGLISH, unwilling to go back to the conflict and NOT having anywhere ELSE to GO I stated with him becoming his ASSISTANT for a while until sadly we one day went to deal with an INFESTATION in ZUOYAUN, some SWINDLER of a merchant sold us regular rice mixed into the STICKY rice, meaning that when the time came to use it…well I’m sure you can IMAGINE how it was not exactly a SUCCESS.”

 

After another pause which Daria didn’t say anything during because it made her feel like she was intruding, he continued “we managed to destroy all of them BUT the man was mortally WOUNDED, after he passed I gave him a PROPER burial and returned home to LAWNDALE, I made up a told my story of being used as a SLAVE to SMUGGLERS but omitted some of the more UNUSUAL details” a wry grin crossed his face “I may not be the most STABLE of people mentally but even I don’t WANT to be committed.”

 

After another pause he added as an afterthought “Although after working for LI and teaching KEVIN sometimes I think I SHOULD have stuck to hunting CORPSES.”

 

“I don’t think anyone would blame you for such decision.”  Daria said with a similar grin.

 

“Daria I’m SORRY about what’s HAPPENED, I was against this TRIP from the start, I KNEW Li had some scheme of some sort and was AFRAID it may disturb something, seems I was RIGHT, If I had made it to the INN quicker then maybe MORE of your classmates would still be ALIVE…”

 

“…But if you had been slower than at least 4 more students would definitely be dead, really it’s a stroke of luck we have you sir, if it wasn’t for you we would have been killed numerous times already.  Thanks Mr DeMartino.”

 

The smile on DeMartino’s face changed to a grimace as he looked at the imposing structure growing closer, “I Just HOPE I can be of FURTHER service.”

9.

Upchuck wandered through the deserted village muttering to himself, damn that Sloane kid, he was all that had gotten in the way of him having Daria for himself, he was sure that he would have been successfully with her finally giving in to the Ruttenheimer charm if only that rich bastard hadn’t got in the way.

 

How dare he lay a hand on Charles Ruttenheimer the IIIrd, all he was doing was innocently minding his own business trying to get Daria to have sex with him and the guy just smacked him right in the face, his jaw still ached, well that had been enough for him, Daria could keep her psychopath boyfriend and he would just find someone else to enjoy him.  Preferably a girl who didn’t get herself eaten by flying urns like the last two…now that had been an inconvenience, but oh well there loss.

 

He supposed he should feel sorry for all the people who had died during all this bizarreness, but really he figured that the men dying meant less competition and the girls…well there where plenty of fish in the sea.

 

It was another 10 minutes till Upchucks now slightly out of touch with reality mind finally realised that he was outside, with no protection…except for that bottle of what he had heard Jane refer to as ‘being like holy water’ which he had doused himself in…even if he did now smell funny, he began to panic and ran to the nearest house he could find.  Which happened to be a large mansion.

 

Slamming the door and locking it he turned to observe the place, it was in a strangely good condition considering the way the rest of the village looked.  There was also a strange sound of music playing; looking around he deduced that the music was coming from upstairs.

 

He ventured up the stairs, at first cautiously but as growing bolder as he ascended, the music had a calming effect on him…almost bewitching even.

 

Once he reached the top he approached the doorway that the music was emanating from, he threw open the door and was astounded at what he saw…

 

“Daria?”

 

Sat on a very lavish bed was Daria of all people, she the source of the music, playing a haunting yet intoxicating melody on an old Chinese lute, although what really had Upchucks’ attention was the fact that all she was covered by was a silk sheet…and only just at that.

 

“What are you doing here?”  Upchuck asked weakly, this reminded him very much of a dream come true…and he remembered what type of dream.

 

She just smiled seductively at him as she lay down the lute and approached him, they way she moved she practically floated across the floor, she ran a hand down the side of Upchucks face causing him to whimper, his heart beat madly as she moved forwards, this had been the moment he had been waiting for…

 

She stopped and sniffed him less than a centimetre from his face, she crinkled her nose in disgust and pointed to a door that Upchuck could have swore hadn’t been opened when he entered if he wasn’t so preoccupied.

 

Inside the room lay a large bath full of water and foam, Upchuck guessed what she wanted and nodded weakly, he made his way into the room as if no longer under his own will, yet even if he was then he wasn’t resisting.

 

She smiled as she moved after him; the sheet dropped to the floor and if Upchuck had been watching would have seen she really was floating above the ground.

 

Also if he had seen the expression her face as she entered the room then maybe he would have lived longer…

10.

“Almost there.”  Tom said as the group neared the large mansion, they only had a small run to make and they would be there, they just had to hope nothing stopped them.

 

As they began to approach they all turned as they heard the sound of something moving, they all turned to see a pile of debris from a hut that had collapsed shaking, as they approached cautiously they readied what weaponry they had, as something begin to burst out DeMartino swung his Kwan Dao down at the emerging figure.  Only to stop it at the last minute.

 

“Timothy?  What are YOU doing HERE?”

 

They looked at the blood soaked English teacher; he looked like someone had thrown a bucket full of blood over him, his eyes where glazed as they helped him to his feet, after a few goes he managed to speak,

 

“Janet…he got Janet…” His voice had a distant sound to it.

 

“WELL I can’t say I’m going to MISS her, but SORRY Timothy, what GOT her?”

 

O’Neill’s eyes glazed further as he raised a hand to point over DeMartino’s shoulder

 

“That.”

 

They group all turned round and where shocked to see O’Neill pointing what they all by now recognised as a Kyonshi in a gold robe, but it was Principal Li hovering behind it that shocked them all,

 

“Surprised to see me?”  The voice had a heavy echo to it and her eyes glowed green in the darkness.  “I must say I’m amazed you are alive at all, Mr DeMartino it appears there is much about I did not know.”

 

DeMartino was about to reply before Tom stepped in front of him and yelled “WHERE THE HELL IS MY SISTER YOU DEMONIC BITCH?”

 

“Your sister is alive for now, but in an hour or two that won’t be the case,” Li responded with an evil grin “Come sunrise she shall be sacrificed and her souls shall grant me a power” she turned and began to fade into the night “You on the other hand do not have such fortune…Leonard if you would…”

 

At that point the ground shook and a grey skinned figure burst out from under them, others soon followed and what appeared to be a zombified Leonard Lamb along with several zombies of the Fielding students stood before them as well as the remains of Mrs Barch carefully balancing on each leg despite being in two halves.

 

“Kids” DeMartino grimaced “We may have to MAKE a BREAK for it, as MUCH as I would just LOVE to destroy these MONSTERS…”

 

“Monsters?”  O’Neill interrupted with an expression showing he had completely lost the plot “Why they aren’t monsters, just misunderstood” he walked up the groaning mass and placed a hand on two’s shoulders “they simply need to be given a chance to prove they are just as human as…”

 

They had to give him credit; O’Neill managed to continue his little self-help seminar even while the zombies proceeded to tear him to pieces.

 

“I think that PROVES my POINT when I said RUN!”  DeMartino yelled as they as one began to leave the area at high speeds.  The zombies began to shamble after them while the Kyonshi also hopped after them.

 

“We can’t keep running like this” Tom shouted to the others “We need to get to the mansion as soon as possible.”

 

“Well what do you suggest?”  Jane yelled back.

 

“We cut right through the middle of them, Zombies aren’t known for their speed, and after all, we could always ‘clothesline’ them”

 

There was something about the way he had said the last part that Jane caught “ah I see” she removed the ink pot from her pocket and unwound the line, handing the other end to DeMartino who had caught on “You two give us some covering fire.”

 

Daria and Tom nodded, Daria removing handfuls of eggs from the bag while Tom opened the two jars of rice on his arms.

 

“GO!”  Jane yelled as they group all turned round and charged the zombies, as they approached them Jane and DeMartino parted, holding the line between themselves, Daria threw one handful of eggs at the closer ones, the eggs that hit had the effect of a strong blow, knocking the zombies back, the others where hit by the Line which had the same effect, as they ran over them Daria dropped the other eggs while Tom emptied a jar over them, he then emptied the other jar on the ground behind to by even more time.

 

They managed to make it to the mansion without further incident, which worried them, as there had been no sign of the Kyonshi, although they decided they had more pressing matters to deal with, mainly finding Elsie and getting the hell out of the village.

 

They cautiously moved further into the mansion but where stopped when they heard a female laugh and something thudded to the ground in front of them, upon further inspection it was a naked and very dead Upchuck, his body appeared shrivelled as if drained of all energy…which was made all the more disturbing by the massive grin on his face.

 

“Oh My God…” Looking in the book Daria carried “A fox spirit got him, they drain your life force by…well lets just say he would have died happily.”

 

“Which is more than can be said for you.”  The floating Li appeared above them at the top of the stairs, one side stood the golden-clothed Kyonshi and on the other floated a figure who was the spitting image of Daria…only with less clothes, a single sheet was all that was preventing whatever it was from exposing itself.

 

“I tire of you” Li held out a hand and from out a door flew a large wooden stake, tied to it was Elsie, thankfully she was till breathing but unconscious “If you want her back so much, then come and get her.”

 

“Very WELL Li,” DeMartino yelled readying both his weapons “I will AVENGE all of the innocent VICTIMS you’re greed has CLAIMED even if I have to CUT through both your lackeys and a HANDFULL of zombies.”

 

“Handful?”  Li threw back her head and laughed, “Who said it was just a handful?”

 

As the ground once more shook the floors cracked and the room began to fill with zombies as they poured out of the ground, leaving only a circle of a few meters around our heroes.

 

“Me and my BIG mouth” DeMartino sighed “it was NICE knowing you KIDS, no way can we FIGHT this MANY of the DAMN things.”

 

“Maybe not US” Daria said looking up from the book “But this book mentions a last resort, something called spiritual boxing, I think I’ve understood the ritual but I can only manage two spirits but its better than nothing…here goes nothing”

 

At that Daria closed the book and began to chant in some unknown language, she didn’t understand the words herself but let them flow through her, suddenly her hands shot out and touched DeMartino and Tom “Warrior of Legend, Master Exorcist” she spoke out loud “destroy this evil.  GRANT MY WISH!”  At the last part she stamped the ground hard and both Tom and DeMartino looked different,

 

“Lam Ching-Ying who would have thought we would be fighting alongside each other once more?”  Tom spoke now with a Chinese accent as he began to jump up and down in a familiar way making animal-like noises…

 

“Indeed Bruce” DeMartino spoke; somehow he had developed a single eyebrow.  He threw the wooden sword to the ground and readied the Kwan Dao like a true master.

 

“Jane…I think I just possessed my boyfriend and my teacher with the ghosts of dead Hong Kong film stars…this is really turning into one crappy field trip”

11.

Daria watched the two possessed figures attacking zombies left and right, they where holding their own, Tom/Bruce using the ‘Way of the Intercepting Fist’ AKA Jeet Kune Do to its full effect and DeMartino/Lam with the Kwan Dao, there where limbs and pieces flying everywhere,

 

Although when the Kyonshi decided to join the fray things got awkward, as it approached Daria and Jane DeMartino had to break off from the zombies to deal with it himself, they where surprised when the Kyonshi began to show knowledge of what could only be called ‘zombie style kung-fu’ which meant it was more than just a hopping corpse, thankfully he happened to be sharing a body with the spirit of the actor known as the ‘master vampire killer’ and was the ‘go to man’ whenever a movie needed a Taoist monk, he may not have been trained but knew all the moves, meaning the two where evenly matched.

 

This did prove a problem for Tom though, Bruce Lee may have been one of the greatest living martial artists but even he was not used to fighting zombies, he was only capable of holding them back without assistance.

 

Daria rooted through her bag hoping to find something that could help deal with the zombies, suddenly something knocked into her, sending her sprawling, she looked up to see her doppelganger who was no doubt the fox spirit that had carried Elsie off and killed Upchuck, she grabbed DeMartino’s wooden sword and charged her hoping the spirit would be harmed by it, she never got a chance to find out as it waved a hand and the sheet around it stretched out and wrapped itself around Daria, she winced as it began to squeeze the life out of her.

 

The spirit came close to her and smiled evilly “I like your skin, I think I shall take it when you are done with it, please would you scream for me?”

 

Daria spat in the creatures face rather than give it the pleasure of a complacent kill; it scowled at her and shouted, “I shall strip the flesh from your living bones!”  But was unable to do anything of the sort when a black line was wrapped around its neck, smoke begun to rise from the neck.

 

“How about you scream for me?”  Jane said from behind, she tightened the line harder as the creature let out a scream of pain “That’s better…” and with that Jane pulled the cord as tight as possible, it sliced through the creatures neck and the body fell to the floor as it dissipated, the head landed on the floor, it continued to scream until Daria drove the wooden sword into it and it burst into a cloud of smoke.

 

“Thanks.”  Daria began to say before shouting “Jane look out!”  As the zombie Leonard Lamb charged into her, Jane was able to turn in time to put her hands on its neck so it couldn’t bite into her, but she was still pushed back until she came to a candle laden wall, she continued to push back at the creature with her hands and feet but couldn’t break free, Jane shut her eyes as the creature lunged forward ready to chow down but the bite never came, she opened her eyes to see the Zombie looking confused with two large firecrackers in its mouth, 2 large LIT firecrackers.

 

“GET DOWN!”  Daria yelled as she cut off the creatures hands, the two friends dived for cover as the zombie let out a confuse “Guuuuh?”  Before its head exploded into a rain of brain.  The two looked up as the pieces rained down around them before turning to observe the spiritually possessed fighters,

 

DeMartino appeared to be holding his own against the single Kyonshi but neither where gaining the advantage, they where locked in Stalemate while Tom was being constantly pushed back by the zombie hoard.

 

Daria ran up behind him and began to use the chant again, as she touched him this time she called out “Greatest hero this land has known, come to our aid GRANT MY WISH!”  And again she stamped, suddenly Tom became less fluid and more dignified, in a matter of seconds he had kicked every zombie flying,

 

“The no shadow-kick from Fushan.”  He said in a very polite and austere voice before turning to grab Daria and jumped higher than should have been humanly possibly, landing, he set her down on her feet and took up the remains of the sword “I must take loan of your weapon.”

 

“Who are you?”  Daria asked stunned.

 

He put a hand behind his back and held his head high “My name is Wong Fei-Hong, and I shall guide your friends hand against this evil for truly it threatens all people.”  And with that he dived into the fray, zombies fell to the left and right to a skill that only a master who had transcended his limitations could achieve, in a matter of minutes the zombies had fallen and they could not get up.

 

“FOOLS!”  Li yelled as she began to retreat “I have no choice but the perform this sacrifice early, you have forced my hand”

 

DeMartino and Tom begun to battle the Kyonshin before Tom spoke in his won voice “save my sister, I’ll deal with this,” DeMartino nodded before running after the demonic Principal, Tom held the sword at the Kyonshin “Our spirits are in perfect synchronism, we shall beat you now.”  With that he drove the sword into the creatures heart…where the burned wood finally snapped as it hit the creatures hardened flesh.

 

“Tom we haven’t got any more weapons, we may have to run…” Daria began to shout but stopped when she heard a RRRRRRRRRRRR…

 

The sound of something revving turned Daria’s head to see Jane removing a chainsaw from the bag “You brought that thing with you!”

 

“His name is MAURICE!” She yelled back before throwing it to Tom “Here, its no boomstick but its works just as well on the undead.”

 

Tom caught the chainsaw and begun to handle it like any other martial arts weapon “Daria, help the spirits to guide my hand.”

 

Daria nodded and before she continued to chant she looked at the golden-garbed creature “This ends here and it ends now.”

12.

While Tom battled the undead creature downstairs DeMartino had made his way up on to the roof where he found Li stood calmly before him.

 

“What the HELL have you BECOME Angela.”  He shouted, trying to keep his balance while the wind blew his greying hair around.

 

“I don’t quite comprehend it myself Anthony,” she replied “but it seems some ancient spirit was sealed away and me and my now deceased associate unleashed it, it would have killed me just like Leonard, however in me it saw something, my drive and desire to earn the power I richly deserve.”  She held out her hands as she began to float off the ground “it has given me that, and if I offer a sacrifice, which this young girl has volunteered to be” she motioned to the stake now secured in the centre of the roof “Then I shall have even more…”

 

“You FOOL!”  DeMartino yelled “you are merely a PAWN for that creature, I have no doubt ONCE you are DONE with it shall DISPOSE of you like you have your servants, there was a REASON it had been SEALED.”

 

DeMartino readied the Kwan Dao; he felt the spirit of Lam Ching-Ying still within him, although it was not as strong as it was but he would still fight to the last breath if needed.

 

“ANGELA I’m giving you one LAST chance, end this MADNESS or I will be forced to KILL you.”  As she pointed a finger at him he managed to jump aside as a bolt of green energy shot from her fingertips, blasting the roof where he was stood “I’ll take that as a NO shall I?”  And with that he charged her…

 

Meanwhile downstairs Tom was trying to get a clear hit with the Chainsaw, all he had managed where a few glancing blows which are of no use when your opponent is already dead, Daria was trying to keep the chanting going to strengthen his spiritual aid, while Jane was ransacking their possessions trying to find everything they had left to use.

 

As Tom got knocked flying by a blow from the creature and landed near the two Daria broke the chant to check on him,

 

“Are you ok?”  She asked concerned as she lifted him to his feet as the three of them tried to keep out of the Kyonshi’s range, she then cursed herself for breaking the connection to Wong Fei Hong,

 

Tom removed the battered piece of metal he had left tied to his chest since leaving the inn, “I guess this came in useful after all, although I think I’m on my own, Fei-Hong did say that we should hit it with everything we’ve got and it should fall.”

 

Daria nodded before thinking “Tom give me all the rice you have left,” she held out the bag of eggs which Tom filled and turned to Jane “Jane I hate to ask you to do something so dangerous but can you tie it up in the cord without getting caught?”

 

“I guess Amiga, but why?”

 

“Tom be ready with ‘Maurice’ there and when you see the opening take it.”  Daria readied the bag, “believe me you’ll know it when you see it.  Jane just trust me on this and GO!”

 

As Jane ran at the creature she became eternally grateful for her constant running, meaning that she could run past the creature, hooking the cord round its neck as she passed it, as she ran circling it but keeping out of its reach the cord began to smoke and crackle as sparks flew from the creature.

 

This kept it preoccupied and unable to see Daria jamming the contents of the bag over its head, as a muffled scream-like groan was heard from the bag, the various purifying object burst into flame

 

Tom seeing this as the opening swung the chainsaw down with all the strength he had left, he felt the chainsaw judder as it penetrated the rigor mortis laden cranium of the creature, Jane and Daria added their strength as all 3 of them continued to force it down until it finished its journey through the centre of the hopping corpse, the trio stood watching the two halves hop like a decapitated chicken before the fire consumed it at last and it finally left this plane.

 

The three leaned against each other breathing heavily; well worn out from the battle, suddenly they all had a flash of realisation

 

“Mr DeMartino!”  They all said at once before scrambling up to the sounds of combat on the roof.

 

The emerged to find DeMartino was barely holding his own against the supernaturally empowered Principal Li, it would seem his link to the spirit had been severed and he was having to rely on his own skill, this seemed to extend to dodging everything he could and trying to stab the hovering figure who flew around him with ease.

 

“Shit, we only have 5 minutes until sunrise…this has taken much longer than we thought” Tom looked at his watch and then saw his sister on the stake “Elsie!”

 

The sound of her brother’s voice was enough to wake her from her stupor, looking around she screamed in fright at the sight before her, the trio ran to her and began cutting her ropes free with the various knives they had acquisitioned.

 

“NO!”  Li screamed before charging the kids, her hands outstretched and her nails growing to claw like lengths, she homed in on Elsie and would have run her through if DeMartino hadn’t gotten in front,

 

He winced as the claws dug into his side, but instead of screaming he grabbed Li’s shirt collar and drove his forehead into her face with all his force, she staggered back heavily dazed, “Daria ANY information that BOOK contains would be very much APPRECIATED” he shouted as he clutched at his side,

 

Daria frantically flipped through the pages, until she came to the end and balked, the last few pages of the book where written in blood;

 

‘As I lay here dying I commit my spirit to this book and shall pass it to the innkeeper who has aided me in my attempts to destroy this evil, I lacked the strength and knowledge and could only seal it away, should the seal be broken and you would come face to face with the corpse lord then use this last page and I hope I shall be of some final use…I only regret I will not be there to see Thornton’s child be born, I believe they planned to name him Angier…if only I could tell him the truth…’ it was there the writing trailed off as the writers life obviously slipped away.  Flipping to the last page she saw a talisman affixed, which she tore out and looked at the still, stunned Li.

 

“Jane, Tom try and hold her, all I need are a few seconds, DeMartino be ready to strike a killing blow, I think this will be our only chance.”

 

DeMartino nodded and put his fingers into his wound and withdrew them with his blood upon them; he traced an intricate series of symbols upon the blade, then removed his shirt which he used to bind his wound before using the remaining blood to paint symbols upon himself, he then readied himself to strike hoping that Daria knew what she was doing.

 

Jane and Tom both grabbed the arms of Li who groggily tried to shake them off, but they held on as if their lives depended upon it, which they did.  Daria dived on her and affixed the talisman to Li’s head,

 

Li screamed and threw them off, hovering before them she removed the talisman and tore it apart, “FOOLS that accomplished nothing“

 

“…It did all it needed to…”

 

Li stopped as she found herself being restrained by a ghostly figure, it was a man who appeared to be in his late 30’s and looked a lot like Tom would at that age dressed in old clothing,

 

“…Strike her down…NOW!”  The ghost of Abraham Sloane shouted in a spectral voice

 

“You cannot do this to me, he promised me immortality…”

 

“…He lied…”

 

Letting out a yell of primal fury DeMartino took the opening as soon as he saw it, he swung the Kwan Dao with all his might, landing a direct hit on the Principals neck, as the blade tore through her flesh like a hot knife through butter it exited with enough force to launch the head flying into the air.  Blood spurting like a geyser from the gaping neck wound.

 

DeMartino spun around and kneeled on the ground, holding out the Kwan Dao to his side, the severed head of the late principal of Lawndale High landed on the blade with a look of surprise.

 

“…Take the head far away from here and bury it…I shall deal with the body…” The spirit looked at them smiling “…I thank you for granting me rest…” then the building began to shake as he faded “…oh I forgot to mention…this place should collapse now…good luck…” and with that he passed on to a higher plane.

 

The 5 looked around as the building began to collapse around them then looked at each other with a unanimous look of ‘figures’

 

“Well THAT’S just GREAT, now what do we DO?”

 

“Only one thing we can do.”  Daria said resigned

 

“And that is?”

 

“JUMP!”

13.

“GAAAAAAH!”

 

Letting out a sigh Helen Morgendorffer turned to her husband “What is it this time Jake…oh God…” she gasped as she saw the newspaper headline on the front page Jake was holding,

 

“FREAK EARTHQUAKE SWALLOWS VILLAGE IN CHINA, LOCAL FIELD TRIP AMONGST THE FATALITIES, NO KNOWN SURVIVORS”

 

The lawyer half of her was already formulating a plan to sue Lawndale High for everything it had, while the mother half was grieving about her daughter.

 

“God what is with you two this time?”  Quinn asked, walking to the kitchen at the commotion,

 

Tearfully Helen took the paper from her catatonic husband and showed it to Quinn, “Read the front page dear…”

 

Quinn glanced at the paper and let out a shriek “Oh My God that’s Terrible…Clogs are coming back into fashion!”

 

“You’ve already lost one, don’t kill the other” She seethed to herself “No Sweetie, the article above it, Daria may be de…”

 

“RUMOURS of your DAUGHTERS demise have been greatly EXAGERATED”

 

They turned to see their daughter, her friend, the Sloane children and the school history teacher, all 5 of them had bandages in several places, and Daria had an arm in a cast, as did Tom with one of his legs.

 

Both Jake and Helen ran up and where in danger of smothering their daughter with hugs,

 

“OW…Arm.”  The two released her when she indicated her cast, “Hi Mom, Dad, sorry for not calling, we ran into some…complications, I assume you read the headline?”

 

They both nodded before DeMartino continued “Well there where a few COMPLICATIONS with the local GOVERNMENT officials due to BUREAUCRACY by the time they accepted our story that we where indeed ALIVE and had transportation for us arranged the PAPER had already been PUBLISHED…” he continued with his cover story neglecting to mention the truth that the officials had considered imprisoning them as part of their cover up until he mentioned a long list of politicians he knew had former contact with drug smugglers from his own experience, after that they had been more than happy to oblige getting them home.

 

“Would we be able to use your phone Mrs Morgendorrfer?”  Tom asked “I think it’s best if we let my parents know we’re not dead as well.”

 

“Of course, what about you Jane, if you need to let Trent know you can use my cell phone.”  She held out the aforementioned phone.

 

“Thanks…maybe I should let him know I left in the first place…”

 

“What about you Mr DeMartino?”

 

“Oh DON’T worry about ME” DeMartino shrugged “I just have the HAPPY task of informing ALL the parents of students who DIDN’T make it back, and a phone call is a little INPERSONAL…Actually I better get GOING.”  He headed out but was stopped by Jake’s voice

 

“Hey Anthony, what’s in that bag, a bowling ball or something?”

 

DeMartino briefly considered having the contents of the bag encased in a bowling ball but decided against it…for now

 

“No, JUST a SOUVENEIR.”  One that had been a nightmare to get through customs.

 

Later that night, Daria sat in bed thinking about the hell she had gone through, she had said her goodbyes to Jane and Tom who was keeping an eye on Elsie for a while to make sure she was ok, DeMartino had gone to bury Li’s head in the cement being laid for the new security housing for Lawndale High, she figured it was suitably ironic.

 

She re-read the last few pages of Abraham Sloane’s books, looking at his last words, especially the part about his brothers child and ‘the truth’ wondering what he meant about Angier, suddenly she thought about how similar Abraham’s ghost had looked to Tom…

 

“EEP”

 

The End

Author’s notes:

 

Well that was fun, for those of you not around both the PPMB and the SFMB between Tuesday the 25th to Friday the 29th of October this story was written between them often in sittings where I churned out 3-4 chapters at a time, I felt like I had been glued to a chair for most of it.  But then that’s what happens when you want to do a Halloween story and start so late, I’m just amazed I managed it…even if I may never regain the feeling in my left buttock.

 

The Kyonshi in this story are based partially from Chinese folklore and partially from the hopping corpses of HK films such as seen in both Mr. Vampire starring the late Lam Ching-Ying and Encounters of the Spooky Kind starring Sammo Hung which where the inspiration for this story.  Also they are both great films and I would recommend seeing them if you have a chance.

 

I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my use of both lam Ching-Ying and Bruce Lee in this story but I wanted to do a variation of the Spiritual Boxing seen in some Kung-Fu films, but could not remember much about the different gods used so chose to do a tribute to two great martial arts actors who are no longer with us.

 

Wong Fei Hong was a real Chinese folk hero although the spiritual version is based more off the Once Upon A Time In China version as played by Jet Li, this is mainly as there are so many stories of him in films and folklore it is difficult to separate fact from fiction so I took a few liberties.

 

The Kwan Dao DeMartino wields looks like this if you are curios

http://www.internationalshaolin.com/gallery/school/quandao_s.jpg

 

I also planted a little reference to Erin Mills ‘Daria Vs the Lawndale Zombies’ and a small one to Nemo Blanks ‘Ring Toss’

 

I think that about covers it, now I just have to hope I start earlier next year if I do a sequel send feedback to mechahead@hotmail.com .  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!