New Josh of the Damned – Josh Vs The Fairies of Doom, Part 1

Funnily enough, Halloween was usually a quiet time for the Quik-Mart. Most of the monsters didn’t know about it, save for a few vampires and others, who took the time to go out among humans and get a quick bite. As far as Josh knew, no one went crazy and actually killed anyone, for fear of risking Medusa’s wrath, but who knew? Maybe some monsters gave it a shot.

But tonight, it was humans who were bugging him. Namely, three lightly toasted frat guys who were apparently dressed as some of the Stranger Things kids, which Josh didn’t recognize until the guy in the too small dress bought a box of waffles. They were hanging around the microwave, pretending not to be stoned, and failing. Finally, Josh just had to ask, “Why are you guys here?”

“You guys have the best customer costumes,” the one in the baseball cap said. “Even when it ain’t Halloween.”

Josh sighed, wondering if he should bother to make up some excuse. They didn’t live near any TV studios, but would these guys know that? There weren’t any colleges within thirty miles of here, so maybe not.

Before he could make his excuse, the bell above the door sounded, and a zombie came in. It was a particularly gnarly one, with half rotted clothes and most of their hair and scalp torn off, dragging their right leg behind them, because their foot as mostly missing on that side. “Ooh, dude, awesome,” the guy with the dress said. “How’d you do that with your foot?”

“Okay, get on out,” Josh sighed.

“What? Man -”

“This isn’t a restaurant,” Josh told the way too manly Eleven. “You don’t hafta go home, but you can’t stay in here. Vamanos.” Josh pointed at the door, in case there were missing his subtle message.

There was grumbling and protesting, but they gathered their waffles, cheap beer, and burritos, and headed out, probably to loiter in the parking lot if he didn’t miss his guess. Well, if the werewolves didn’t scare them away, they’d probably get bored soon enough.

As for the zombie, it didn’t acknowledge a single bit of this. Most of the time, zombies acted as if they were unaware of everything going on around them. They were devoted solely to getting their burritos, paying for them, and leaving. It did make him wonder which zombies these were. Because they looked like your standard pop culture shambling corpses, but they generally behaved like proper voodoo zombies, the kind controlled by a necromancer or shaman or whatever. He did have a horde of them sicced on him by a bad guy, and that was the only time they ever acted aggressively. Maybe they split the difference? They were the shambling Romeros who could also be controlled by a powerful person. He really needed to ask Mr. Kwon about that, since he was the only necromancer he knew. But since he was so bad at it, he didn’t like to talk about it. Josh needed to catch him when he was in a good mood.

The zombie got its burrito, paid for it with really grimy money, and left, leaving Josh to wonder where they got their cash. Were they buried with it? This money looked like it had been buried under something for a while. He retrieved some of the paper towels and hand sanitizer he kept under the counter, and did his best to sterilize his hands. He was sure the zombies weren’t germy or anything, but one whiff of them, and you wanted to get any of that grave dirt off you.

There was a lizard guy – person; gender was always unknown with the lizards – and another zombie, before Colin came running in, almost breathless. Which was odd, because, as a vampire, he really didn’t need to breathe.

“Uh, hey Josh,” Colin said, attempting and failing a smile. “We may have a situation here.”

“A situation? Is that why you’re smoking?”

Colin looked down at himself. “I’m smoking? Where?”

“Left shoulder,” Josh said, and Colin quickly patted out the source of the smoke.

“Okay, so, there are some angry, really high reverse tooth fairies on their way. I don’t want to say they’re on a rampage … but they’re kind of on a rampage.”

“Wait, what? Is this a Halloween prank or something?”

“I wish. No. See, Medusa asked me to go after a recalcitrant band of reverse tooth fairies who’ve decided they wanted to stay here, because they have an endless supply of laundry detergent. So I-“

“Hold on a second. Laundry detergent?”

“Yeah. For reverse tooth fairies, it’s a drug.”

Josh stared at his boyfriend, wondering if this was indeed an elaborate joke. Colin wasn’t humorless, although he could be a little stuffy in that “I’m a hundred odd years older than you and I’m undead” kind of way. This kind of seemed like it could be his sense of humor, and yet, Josh was pretty sure he was being truthful. “Reverse tooth fairies smoke laundry detergent?”

“No, mostly they snort it.”

Josh rubbed his eyes, imagining those little winged bastards attacking a box of soap with tiny stirrer straws jammed in their noses. It was a funny image, sure, but it was also kind of disturbing, sort of like an ’80’s family sitcom starring a now known sex offender. It all ends up seeming more sinister than was ever intended. “Okay, so, does it work on them like cocaine?”

“Um … probably closer to crack.”

Josh wanted to laugh, but couldn’t quite manage it. “Fantastic. So how many are we talking about?”

“Six. And they may have some experimental weaponry.”

“What do you mean may have? And what do you mean by experimental?” Josh asked. Colin didn’t even have time to answer before the top part of the door shattered.

To Be Continued …


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