Zach and Erin slipped in quietly after the soucouyant. The stench of rotting flesh hit them hard, long before they’d crossed the threshold and Erin raised a hand to her face, grimacing in disgust. The contacts they wore adjusted their vision to this new darkness and they looked around, attune to any foreign sound or movement.
Erin removed the first hex bag from her jacket pocket and placed it in a corner of the room, whispering a spell that would disallow anyone else but her to touch the bag again. A few yards in she did the same, crouchingto place another, as Zach made sure that they were not ambushed from behind or above.
Slowly they moved deeper into the building, keeping close to the walls and masking their footsteps as much as possible. As Erin placed her hex bags, it was quickly becoming obvious to her that the soucouyant leader was the only one still in the building. While this might have given them some advantage were they out in the open, they were in her house now and even though Zach had pored over the existing building plans, this was of little help when it came to these creatures. After years of constantly plastering their skins into the walls, they’d changed the layout of the building, and doorways or passages that were once there, were no more. The outside remained unchanged, but inside had been reduced to a building less than five times its size.
Erin looked back at Zach, inclining her head towards a small hole in the smooth, concrete wall. It was not big enough for either of them to squeeze through, but for the pliable body of a soucouyant, this would not be difficult.
“It must lead to the centre of their lair,” Erin said barely above a whisper. This would be the best place for her to perform the binding spell, which would put all the hex bags to work and trap any soucouyant that entered the building until containment arrived. Zach nodded and pulled red, rectangular charges from his inside jacket pocket. They were his creations and were designed to act as explosives with limited aftershock.
Erin stepped back and let him work. He attached three in a triangular shape around the hole and pressed the little white button found on each of them. He nodded to Erin and the two retreated a few yards back waiting for the charges to go off. When they did, it was with a small explosion that rocked the building for a few moments, before everything was quiet once again.
“Let’s go.” Erin moved forward, quicker this time, stepping over rubble and ignoring the settling dust as it swirled around them. Zach was close behind, his gun ready and moving just as deftly as Erin as they searched for the soucouyant leader. The stink as they went further in was even more revolting and Erin was glad for years of exposure to this kind of unpleasant fare, otherwise she was pretty sure she’d be already bringing up her lunch from two days before. If there were ever windows in the building, the soucouyants had long since covered them up and this inner lair seemed even darker than when they’d first entered.
Suddenly their steps slowed and Erin looked down to see a murky grey, congealing goo under their boots. It was like walking through thick sludge and Erin looked back at Zach with an expression that asked, ‘what the hell is this?’ Zach shrugged. They hadn’t gone on for more than half a minute when Erin paused. She raised her hand to stop Zach, then pointed ahead. Standing in a far corner of the room was the soucouyant leader.
Zach raised his gun and fired. This had no effect, as the soucouyant had already scurried up the wall nearest to her. She was now even further from the beauty they had seen back at the motel and had become a bald old woman, liver spots scattered over her almost grey skin. They ducked as she made a pass above them and Zach fired two more shots, missing her each time. At first Erin thought the soucouyant would try to escape through the hole, but soon saw that she had other plans.
Letting out one of those ear-wrenching screeches, she leapt at Zach, shocking him into stumbling back, and into Erin. They both fell, landing in the same sticky goo that had latched onto their boots. On closer inspection, Erin noted a mixture of skin, blood and other organic and inorganic materials, she was sure she didn’t want to know about.
The soucouyant had attached herself to the ceiling again and was watching them from above. Erin braved the muck seeping under her and dug her hands in to push herself up. However, they sunk in and refused to move.
“Zach don’t!” she warned, seeing her partner about to do the same. The soucouyant’s thin, cracking lips stretched across a mouth full of missing teeth, into something that resembled a grin. Zach swore and trained his gun on her. He tried to propel himself up, digging his feet into the floor, but the goo acted in much the same way as it had when they’d been walking through it, grabbing hold at any opportunity. He was beginning to understand how the substance worked. It stuck to skin absorbing it over time, but had more difficulty breaking down other materials, which was why they could still move in it, even if not very easily.
The soucouyant leader came closer, ready to take advantage of their handicap, but she was wary of Zach’s gun. He refused to lower his aim and watched her every move intently. She let out a new sound, one that was like a low bellow, that seemed to bounce off the close walls and above this, Zach heard something else. He looked over at Erin and saw that she too was aware. Some of the soucouyants were returning from their hunt and judging from the shrieking that was going on in the other room, it was only a matter of time before they swooped in to save their leader.
Zach didn’t wait any longer, he pulled the trigger.
Hurry over to the final showdown of this episode, Chapter 10 . . .