Demons! They were a horde if there ever was one - a hundred deep, each more despicable than the last. Writhing tentacles, magically-large bladders, hundreds upon hundreds of teeth in every gaping maw, every orifice... ["We get the point..."] Yeah. And the breath! Methane pouring out of everything! I think trenchcoaters must have to run around with big fire extinguishers filled with mouthwash, to deal with the things. I guess that's what the smell of evil is... ["Maybe holy water is just a euphemism for mouthwash, then."] Can I just tell the story already? Where was I? Oh. Right. You see, I was right there, in the middle of it all! Weaponless, I was forced to do battle with the creatures. I hit and I kicked with all my strength, narrowly avoiding the poisoned claws and bile-drenched fangs. They kept attacking, but so did I. The foul horde wouldn't get past ME... ["I seem to recall you screaming a lot."] That was...a war cry. A war cry. Frighten the foes and inspire the allies... ["Gosh, I was an ally and everything?"] Emiiiiiiiily. I, uh, was fighting with all my strength, like I said... ["You spent most of the 'battle' bawling because someone ripped your trenchcoat."] I did NOT! And trenchcoats are very important, they have many natural properties that are extremely important in the rituals used to banish a demonic horde of that size. Anyway, the festering army of demons was filling the entire corridor, so we decided we had to do something about the situation fast! ["Don't listen to him. There were three demons, Luke was bawling his eyes out in the corner when one of them ripped his precious coat, and I just said 'Boo,' and scared them witless. They banished themselves, in the end."] I was telling the story, Emily... ["Oh, hush up and eat your cheesecake."] =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Blue Light Productions Presents, TEENS IN TRENCHCOATS the third episode, "I'm not calling myself a Teen Trenchcoater," -or- "Adolescence is a scary time for trenchcoating," By Ben Rawluk. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= >From the 'Trevor Blount School of Trenchcoating and Shoe Repair' Pamphlet: "Fifty percent of all ravens are currently employed in the creepy omens business right now. Experts claim the number will begin to drop, as trenchcoating activity begins to decline. Be a trenchcoater, keep ravens working!" =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= "Fab-u-lous." The lightbulb hanging from the ceiling flickered briefly, plunging the room in and out of darkness. If you could call it a room. It was, more accurately, a broom closet. The buckets and mops and cleaning utensils had been pushed to the back, with three metal chairs added as an afterthought. Ravencroft sat on a chair leaning against the door, her legs pulled up into a lotus position. A set of shadowy eyes looked out of an apparently teenaged face, her skin almost glowing whenever the light flickered on. To illuminate the distasteful turn of her lips. "There are, in fact, no disturbing echoes of future catastrophe, no howling demonic forces, nothing. The 'other guardians of the mortal realm' or whatever don't need to be alerted about anything. BUT, we still had to be dragged into a broom closet. This is the sort of thing that should be done in a shady tavern..." "Some of us are underage," scowled Emily, sitting across from Ravencroft, in a blue shirt and some jeans. Her trenchcoat was in a heap beside her. "Anyway, I don't see why we have to gather in the first place. Luke," she turned to the third occupant, a pasty-faced gothboy in a black trenchcoat; same colour scheme as Ravencroft, less appealing. "If you have to say something to us, couldn't we just do it in one of our rooms? Or the cafeteria, someplace with, oh, space?" "We gotta meet in a secret meeting place," said Luke, "An' I kind of pissed off Ultimate Ninja, so he wouldn't let us use one of the meeting rooms." "Pissed. Off." Emily exhaled deeply. "You pissed off someone who walks around with a rather large katana, not to mention any other ninja weapons he has...?" "Probably trod on his bagel," smirked Ravencroft, darkly. "...he was kind of upset, see, because I asked if we could call ourselves the Legion of Occult Heroes. I think that's a bit of a sore subject around here." "Mmph," giggled Ravencroft. "Wonderful. Right. Well, why do you need to talk to us, anyway?" "Oh. Um." Luke cleared his throat. "We need to have, like, meetings. And stuff. So, I call this meeting of the Teen Trenchcoaters to order." "Teen. Trenchcoaters." Ravencroft barely contained her chuckles. "Spent all night thinking of that one, did you?" "You're kidding, right?" Emily scowled again. "I'm not calling myself a Teen Trenchcoater. Ever." "...Well. Um. The name. Right. We could always be the LNH Trenchcoat Squad?" "But I don't have a trenchcoat," said Ravencroft. "We can get you one." Emily sighed, brushing her auburn hair away from her face. "That's getting a little superheroish, if you ask me...and I don't want to wear a trenchcoat, anyway. It's the middle of the summer! I don't want to look like Columbo all the time, and I'd overheat in this weather." Ravencroft leaned forward, hiding her face with her hands. "You've got to be kidding me. Luke, have you ever actually met a trenchcoater?" "...um." Luke looked down. The light flickered on, and then off. "We know Occultism Kid. He's a trenchcoater." "Doesn't count," said Ravencroft, "They threw him out." "They did?" "Oh, ages ago." Huge, toothy grin. Very sharp teeth... "Maybe we should steer clear of him, then," said Luke, "If he's an outcast, what'll that do for our reputations?" Ravencroft shrugged. "How do you know so much?" Emily leaned forward, "You've been here, what? Two seconds, and you act like you know everything about trench...demon hunting?" "I've been around for a significantly long time, dear." Ravencroft leaned back. "And it's extremely well-known that everyone in the mystical community is extremely well connected." "But we're in the mys..." Luke stood quickly. "No, you are not." Ravencroft pulled herself to her feet. "But I suppose it's up to me to get the ball rolling." The door flung open, and Ravencroft marched out into the light. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= And Emily moved down the hall in slight irritation, hands jammed down into her pockets. The scowl was definitely there, mouth scrunched up to show much displeasure. Of course, the corridor was badly lit, which didn't help. No one ever changed lightbulbs around there. "Stupid witch," grimaced Emily. "Stupid brother." "Bad mood?" A form appeared slowly, slinking out of the wall. It was transparent, a tie-dyed form of ectoplasm that looked far too skeletal for its own good. "Oh." Emily's face lost the scowl. "DeadHeadMan, hi." She exhaled, vaguely. "No. Just a 'meeting' with Luke and Ravencroft. Now I have to go see Occultism Kid." "Ahhh." The ghost nodded. "So, what did you tell them, anyway?" "I told them I banished you. Just do me a favour, don't go near Ravencroft. Or," she added, thoughtfully, "Occultism Kid either." "N'problem. He's annoying, and she...she gives me the willies." "Me too," uttered Emily. "So I guess you're my invisible friend for a while?" "Sounds good to me. Someone to talk to...wow." "I still wanna know why I couldn't make you go poof." "Seems to be kind of a common problem." "Well, at least you're half-way decent to talk to. Mostly crazies running around here." "They're not _all_ bad," the ghost grinned. "Yeah well. But just stop doing that!" "What? What?" "Sounding like Jerry Garcia. My dad would probably start worshiping you. They were deadheads, my parents. Way back in the day. Then they moved to New Jersey." "Ah." DeadHeadMan hovered for a few moments. "I suppose I should let you go to Occultism Kid's, soon. Any plans for tonight?" "Yeah." Emily breathed out. "Demon hunting. I'm leaving the two idiots back here, and I'm going to explore the city. Banish some demons. You can come, if you want." "Groovy," said DeadHeadMan, flowing back through a wall. "Just bring something to protect you from the _real_ people, okay?" "Deal," grinned Emily. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= A raven had dropped out of the sky, and landed on the roof of LNHQ. It was not big; a baby, perhaps, but that may have been a trick of the light. And it fluttered down and sat with the murder of crows that often landed there, trying to be a bad omen but failing miserably. After all, the LNH usually got omens from a crazy woman who knew everything, or a trenchcoated stranger with a perchance for odd soliquoies. Nobody much payed attention to the birds that flocked to the roof, often. Well, except the kiwis. But most people just thought that was for a miniseries, so they ignored them and hoped someone would clean up afterwards... The raven perched on the roof's edge, and hoped inside it's corvid brain that someone had seen it and understood that yes, the raven was an omen. It couldn't handle the thought that maybe it would go unseen, and be drummed out of the business of bad news. The magpies would have a field day. And it could already here the crows, waddling around behind it, laughing in their corvid way. Bastards, the little raven thought. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= "So, what's with all the books?" Emily was pivoting her head back and forth, taking in the sight of what could have been thousands of books, all lined up carefully on a series of ornate bookshelves. This was, after all, her first chance at seeing Occultism Kid's quarters in broad daylight. No dankness, no bad lighting from a series of magical candles, no imposing shadows. It was actually quite spartan, beyond the bookshelves; a futon and some old candles. Emily sniffed. It still smelled like sheep's blood. The trenchcoated figure, Occultism Kid looked up from where he was kneeling, looking at a volume shelved near the bottom. "What do you mean?" "I mean," she answered, "I've been poking around; there's a library a couple of corridors away. Got to have every book imaginable. Why do you get a special collection? Why do you even need one? Not on speaking terms with that creepy woman who runs the library?" Occultism Kid smirked, "Somehow, I don't think Librarian Lady would like you to call her 'creepy.' And, obviously, these are my occult references. Kept here, away from prying eyes. Books of magic tend to bustle with power, so I have to keep them out of public use. And this way I don't have to go ALL the way to the library if I'm working on a case." Emily nodded, vaguely. "If you say so. I don't think you really need on this, just to banish demons. It's not that hard, actually." "For you," muttered Occultism Kid. "What I can cull from what you have explained, is that you really just confuse demons into thinking you've done what's required, so they pop away regardless of the fact that you haven't." "You said that before." Emily stooped to regard a particular volume, kept away from the collection; it was on a pedestal, in a bell jar. "What's this, then? A first edition?" "Something like that." And then Occultism Kid was beside Emily, moving his arm to keep her from touching the glass. "It's the Net.crominicon. A powerful book, if you'll excuse the understatement. Technical manual for the Other Side, you see." "Mmph." "So. You're completely against all this ritual and research?" "I - no." Emily brushed auburn hair away from her face, and looked up at Occultism Kid. "I guess I just want to do it my way, right? I'm not my brother. I want to carve out my own niche, if I have to hunt demons, send them back to God knows where..." "That'd be Hell," answered Occultism Kid. "Nasty place." "Never been," muttered Emily, "Assuming it even exists." "Most mythologies do." Emily gave him an odd look. "Well, either way, you've got a knack. And I guess it's my job to make sure your talent doesn't get channeled in the wrong directions." "Is that why you wanted to talk to me?" "Yes. I figured I should talk to you away from your brother, he's a bit..." "Insane?" Occultism Kid smirked, "Something like that. Reminds me of Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story for some reason." Emily started. "Kid What?" "Nevermind. Not important. Ravencroft is the issue." "What about her?" "Well," said Occultism Kid, "I'm not sure what to make of her. She reeks of something evil. I think she may be one of those sorts of people...they kind of show up a lot, usually carrying around a bag of old names. Disenfranchised pagan goddesses looking for some new followers." Emily raised her eyebrow again. A moment passed. "She said, uh, they threw you out." "They?" "Y'know. The trenchcoaters, or whatever." "Oh." Occultism Kid looked up at the ceiling. "Them. Yes. We had our differences." "But you think they'll let you train a new demon hunter?" Emily smirked, "I mean, what if they find out you're still operating without a, er, license?" "Mystics don't do licenses. Regardless of what your brother says." Occultism Kid laughed. "Just because I don't hang around with a group of misanthropic, drunken, foulmouthed mystics doesn't mean I don't know a thing or two. I have ways of stopping attacks by any of my... not collegues, more like competion. And anyway, I thought you prefer to go with more radical directions than the 'mainstream.' In trenchcoating, the drunken misanthropy IS the mainstream." Emily stared. "Well, if you put it that way..." =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= There's a lounge. Yes, of course there is. Because LNHQ is the home to people who are so caught up in epic struggles and battles and culinary disasters that occasionally, yes, they need to unwind. In their infinite wisdom, the administration had designated a small area near the holding cells as the lounge, so that should anything happen, any resting net.heroes can jump up and stop a tide of escaping villains. Heroes never actually relax for very long. Of coure, occasionally the building moves things... And Luke was sitting on a beanbag chair, a blob of beans that held him up as he stared rather prosaically at a large book he'd pulled out of the LNH's private library earlier. He finally looked up at Ravencroft, who wasn't so much lounging on the big, leather couch, so much as she was lying in opulance. Except no real opulance was visible. It was more of a state of mind. "What are you reading, anyway?" Ravencroft peered down at him. He held the book up, "The LNH's Roster Addendum edition." He smiled. "I was reading through it, and I've seen the girl of my _dreams_. Right here in this very building. Gosh, I wonder if I'll ever meet her..." "You just said 'Gosh'. I can't believe that. I thought you were all hard-edged?" Luke sighed. Silently, almost like magic, Ravencroft moved around behind him to look in the book. "So who is the unfortunate soul?" "Perdition," breathed Luke. "Doesn't that name just roll off the tongue? She's beautiful." He gestured toward the picture of Perdition. "Her real name's Paytan. I've _never_ met anyone with a name like that. And look at those horns! All that green flame, she's radiant!" Ravencroft laughed. "Oh. This'll be cute." "_And_ she's into demons, so we'll have something to talk about. Maybe she'll join the Teen Trenchcoaters..." "We're not the Teen Trenchcoaters. And it says, Lukey, she already has a clique. The Misfits or some such. Poor boy. You'll never win her heart." "I will too!" "You're a trenchcoater, dahling. Misanthropic to a fault." He stared at her; Ravencroft merely smiled, ever so delightfully. "So?" "So...Forget that dame and go brood." =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Author's notes: Buggering email. The first time this was posted, the indentations went away, so I had to refix things to put in the blank lines. I'm starting to wonder what I did to someone in a former life. Luke, Emily, Ravencroft and DeadHeadMan are mine, Occultism Kid's Josh Geurink's creation. Blah.Back to the Index.