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Lightning flashed through the night sky, clouds billowing around, sending torrents of rain down upon the earth below. The wind blew through the land, blowing leaves off the trees, swirling in the darkness. The empty skeletons left standing in their wake. The old house on the hill was dark, foreboding. Except for one light in the basement. He worked, furiously bringing them back. The laboratory spewed forth a green mist, from the concoction brewing on the burners. Standing there, glasses covering his eyes, a white lab coat over his clothes, he brought them forth. One by one they evolved. Suddenly, a bright flash filled the room as he neared completion.
“YES! COME TO ME MY CHILDREN! COME AND RULE THE LAND!” He laughed menacingly, as they came one by one. “Go and multiply. You know what you have to do. Bring him to me!” The eerie sounds of his evil laughter filled the halls.
Johnny Gage woke, slowly stretching as he rose to face the day. Groaning, he sat on the edge of the bed. Knowing he would catch hell if he was late, he walked into the bathroom. Soon, the sounds of the shower filled the room. Standing under the spray, he washed, dreading this day. He knew they were coming back. Back to hunt him, like they had 5 years ago. He thought he rid the world of their menace then, but knew better. Standing in front of the mirror, he rubbed his head dry with the towel, which he kept draped over his head. Removing the towel, he rubbed the mist from the mirror. Jumping back in horror, he screamed, his whole body trembling with fright.
“It can’t be! But it is. Calm down, Gage, keep it under control. Wipe the mirror off and look back. See, it’s just you. Now get your razor and shave. Cap will surely skin you alive if you are late.”
Soon, Johnny was dressed. Grabbing his keys, he headed towards his truck, feeling something brush past his legs. Looking around, he saw nothing. Scanning the driveway, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Slowly, he walked to his car, driving to the station. Parking, he was relieved to see his partner, Roy DeSoto, had already arrived. He stepped from the car, just as a small hand reached out from beneath the seat, barely missing him. Unaware of the presence, Johnny walked into the locker room.
“Morning, Johnny” Roy greeted him. “Johnny? You ok? You look a little peeked to me.”
Pulling Roy aside, Johnny whispered harshly in his ear, “Do you know what day this is?”
“Yeah, Halloween! You should see the kids this year! Their costumes are great.”
“You mean you’re letting them out? Roy, you can’t!”
“What do you mean I can’t? You try to keep them in tonight. They will drive you nuts!”
“But, Roy, they’re back. I know they are.”
“Johnny, you’ve been working too hard, you’re beginning to worry me!” Roy patronized him, patting Johnny on the back.
“I can feel them. It’s only a matter of time. Roy, do you know what means? They’re out to get me! They want to make me one of them! You can’t let that happen!”
“Johnny, take a pill! Let’s go get some coffee.”
“You’ll see! Just watch, as soon as it gets dark, they will be all over us. And you know what that means!”
“Yeah” Roy said, waving his fingers in front of Johnny’s face, “We will become one of them! Destined to wander the earth forever caught in their form! Muuuhahahahaha!”
Johnny jumped back, looking paler than when he arrived, “Alright, Roy, be that way. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Stomping into the kitchen, he was met by Marco and Chet. Marco poured each of them a cup of coffee, handing one to Johnny. Sitting down, he glared over at Chet, who was busy preparing the ingredients for lunch. Not wanting to be seen, Johnny kept his eyes averted. Making eye contact with Chet was the last thing he wanted to do. Chet glared, a wicked smile turning up the corners of his mouth.
“Hey, Gage, got the willies today?” he teased.
“Chet, there’s nothing wrong with today. So leave me alone. By the way, what’s for lunch?”
“Irish stew.” Chet answered, holding out a ladle of the stuff.
Bolting from his chair, Johnny walked backwards, facing Chet the whole time. Advancing, Chet held out the ladle. “Want a taste, Johnny?” he leered.
Seeing his eyes turn red, the menacing look on his face, Johnny propelled himself backwards out of the room. Slamming into Roy, he fell to the ground, being caught under the shoulders at the last minute. As Roy pulled him back to his feet, he took in the sight on his partner’s face. Johnny just left the room, unwilling to be alone with Chet for a moment.
“What the hell was that all about?” Roy asked.
“Beats me” Chet replied, looking quite normal to Roy. “I just asked him if he wanted to taste test my stew, and he freaked out.”
“I can understand that. Your stew is enough to make anybody freak out” Marco answered, as he turned back to the paper.
“Hey, this stew is great. One day, I’ll rule the world, and all will be eating my famous Irish stew.”
“Chet, get over it. And leave Johnny alone today, he’s jumpy enough. Lord knows how spooked he gets on Halloween. And I have to work with him!”
“Roy, you have my word on it. No bashing Johnny. Got it.” Chet turned, grinning inwardly.
Johnny stayed by the squad, avoiding Chet as much as possible. Deciding to polish the vehicle, he went over to the broom closet to find the wax and some rags. Opening the door, Johnny screamed, falling back to the floor. A small furry figure flew out after him, bearing his teeth as his hands reached for Johnny’s face. Grabbing the creature, Johnny flung him aside, feeling his teeth sink into his hand. Yelping in pain, he ran for the fire extinguisher, turning to face the menace. Seeing it scurry into the corner, Johnny chased after it, but to no avail. The thing disappeared in a corner, out of sight.
Hearing the screams and commotion, all ran into the bay, finding Johnny standing with the extinguisher in one hand, while blood streamed out of the other. Roy ran over, taking his hand. Pulling Johnny towards the squad, he quickly cleaned the wound.
“What the hell happened?” Roy asked fearfully.
“I told you” Johnny hissed, not wanting the rest of the crew to hear. “They’re back! One was in the broom closet and attacked me when I opened the door. Now do you believe me?”
Roy grew pale as he examined the wound. “Come on, Junior, this looks like it needs stitching. Cap! I’m taking Johnny over to Rampart.”
“Sure thing, Roy, I’ll call you in as unavailable. What the hell happened?”
“Nothing, Cap, some stuff fell out of the closet and I caught my hand on the edge of something sharp. I’ll be alright.”
“Take it easy, Pal, I’ll see you soon.”
Watching them leave, Cap started to worry himself. Remembering the events of 5 years ago, he felt shivers run up his spine. He decided to keep a close eye on Kelly, knowing he was behind all that happened. Peering around the corner, he watched as Chet stirred the stew. “Hmmm, looks normal enough to me. But you never know. It isn’t dark yet. We’ll just have to keep an eye out. God, if they’re back, we are in for a hell of a night.”
They roamed the land 5 years ago. Halloween night. Searching for those like them. Multiplying, they started to take over the land. They wanted to make him theirs. Transform him into one of them for eternity. The small furry creatures stood about 6 to 10 inches tall. Stout bodies, with a human face and head. Curly black hair, and a small black mustache. Chetgremlins. They were back. They were ready to rule once again. And they wanted Johnny Gage.
All to soon it was growing dark. Johnny knew that if they were to survive, they had to make it till sunrise. If their mission wasn’t accomplished by then, they would disappear once again. There was no way to destroy them, you just had to run, run and not eat their offerings. They all came bearing Irish Stew. Hordes of them, running around with their small bowls of the stuff. Chasing you down, making you eat. Turning you into one of them. Once you had a taste, you were done for.
Johnny shuddered, passing up dinner. The stew was placed on the table, and all prepared to dig in. Johnny ran out of the room, sitting in the cab. Joining him, Roy took his place at his side. Before they could talk, the tones sounded, calling them out to a rural house on the edge of town. Driving along the dark, abandoned road, Johnny felt suddenly uneasy. Eyes were watching them. Surrounding them, sending chills throughout their bodies. Both men could feel their presence. They jumped, as the radio squawked to life, canceling their run. As they turned to leave, the engine cut out on the squad. No one saw the furry creature who hid under the hood, pulling the wires.
“Ahh, Roy, what’s going on” Johnny squeaked, his voice taking on a frightened pitch.
“I don’t know. Let me call this into the station.” Roy tried swallowing past the lump in his throat.
“LA, this is Squad 51.”
“Go ahead 51"
Both men visibly breathed as the radio came to life, “LA, we’re stuck out here on County Road 13, at the 23 mile marker. Our squad is dead. Please advise Engine 51 to come out and bring us back.”
“10-4, 51" came the reply.
“Roy, it will take them a while to get here, what do we do till then?”
“Just stay put, and lock your door” Roy whispered hoarsely.
Johnny sat back, leaning his head on the window behind him. He felt a hand on the back of his head, massaging his hair. “Roy, why are you rubbing my head?”
“Rubbing your head? What the hell are you talking about?” Roy asked, looking over.
Seeing nothing, he looked at Johnny, his face growing pale, his pupils dilating with fright. Sitting forward, both men looked around the cab of the squad, afraid to find anything. They thought they heard a soft rustling behind the seat.
“Roy!” Johnny hissed, leaning forward. “Look behind the seat.”
“I’m not looking behind the seat!” Roy insisted, “you look behind the seat.”
“I’m not looking behind the seat!”
“Well someone has to look behind the seat” Roy insisted, peering fearfully around the cab.
“Alright, why don’t we both look behind the seat!” Johnny shot back, turning to get up on his knees. Roy followed suit, both men looking at each other as they advanced, looking behind. As they leaned forward, they heard a screech, and felt something project himself on top of them. Screaming, Johnny fell back, holding the creature in his hand. Chet’s face glared down at him from the furry little body. Hissing, and waving a spoon around, the creature attacked.
“Roy! Get him off me!” Johnny screamed, falling back.
Opening his door, Roy fell backwards out of the cab of the squad. Regaining his balance, he reached in, grabbing the creature from Johnny’s hands. Flinging him, the creature flew through the air, screeching as he landed in the woods. Rising, he ran for cover on his stubby, stout legs. Roy grabbed Johnny by the arm, ripping out of the cab, as he saw four more pairs of hands reaching for him.
“Come on, Johnny! Let’s get the hell out of here!” Roy screamed, dragging Johnny behind him.
As they ran, they could feel the eyes of the creatures burning through their backs...could hear the tiny footsteps of the army as they advanced. Chet’s face appeared them in the mist, glaring...grinning.
“You’re mine, Gage! There’s no escape! Want some stew?”
“NOOOO! Get away from me!” Johnny screamed, fighting the menace off.
Roy ran on, pulling Johnny behind him. “Come on! The engine will be here soon, let’s get going!”
“Roy, they’re all around us! Don’t mind me, save yourself! It’s me they want! It’s been me all along. If you leave me, you will be saved. Run back to your family!”
“Junior, I’m not leaving you now!” Roy argued back, grabbing Johnny once more.
Soon, they were surrounded, hundreds of them. Little Chets, coming at them from all directions. Each bearing a bowl of the green Irish Stew. Each holding up a spoon, letting the gooey substance drip down. Grinning, leering, they advanced. Johnny and Roy took a few steps back, only to turn as they came up from behind. The circle was closing, they were nearing. Their red eyes flashing, Chet’s voice cutting through them.
“You’re mine, Gage! Give in, and it will all be over soon! For eternity you will belong to me! My slave! My victim! Come to me, Johnny! Eat of the stew and let yourself be transformed!”
The face grew larger, looming in front of them. The voice grew louder, screeching as it claimed them. Roy was brought down, hordes of the creatures advancing on him, climbing up his legs, tearing at his clothes. Johnny grabbed the monsters, flinging them off Roy, as they advanced on him, jumping on his back, pulling him down. They could see the lights of the engine cutting through the dark in the distance...but it was too late. They had already claimed them. Falling, Johnny and Roy gave in, as the Chetgremlins took over...
“Johnny! Johnny! Wake up! Come on now, time to get up! The morning tones just sounded.” Roy shook his partner, feeling his body tremble. “It’s only a dream!”
Opening his eyes, Johnny was relieved to find himself back at the station. Rising, his stomach still felt queasy from last night. Having spent most of the night vomiting in the bathroom, Johnny finally collapsed in bed, swearing revenge on Chet and his damned stew. He knew not to eat the stuff, not knowing what Chet put in it. Johnny swore Chet was out to poison them.
“It’s his fault” Johnny grumbled, pointing to Chet. “Him and that stuff he calls stew. I should know better than to eat that. It makes me sick every time. Chet, what the hell do you put in that anyway? And how come no one else gets sick from it?”
“Johnny, there’s nothing to worry about, just an old family recipe. Maybe it’s just to rich for your delicate system” Chet taunted, walking out of the room.
“I’ll delicate system him” Johnny moaned in pain, “My stomach is still killing me. And on top of that, I had one hell of a nightmare.”
“No wonder, you spent half the night sick in the bathroom” Roy sympathized, helping Johnny rise. “Come on, Junior, let’s get dressed and have some coffee. Soon C shift will be here and we can leave.”
“‘Kay” Johnny mumbled, letting Roy propel him out of the room.
Unknown to anyone, Chet came back into the dorm. Looking around to make sure he was alone, Chet pulled a small vile of green, smoky liquid out of his pocket. Grinning, he looked upwards.
“An old family recipe! Thanks, Grandad! I’ll make you proud! One day our tradition will be reborn, and we will take over the earth!” Whistling, Chet walked out to his car.
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