Chapter 8 Page 37
Posted September 8, 2023 at 01:23 am

Get hype for ape fight. Thanks for reading you kooky kids.



        “Whoops! You give up the ghost there, little man?” Crush let Ed plop down upon the porch.

        Ed checked their feet to see if they were gas. “Oh, uh. Nope. Still kickin’.”

        “Still? If you had kicked at all before we mighta had a real dang match. HA!” Crush laughed hugely to himself. “You were like a wet fish the whole time, little man! Ha ha!”

        “That’s good for fish to be,” Ed said, but their opponent had stopped listening.

        Ed noticed now that almost everyone else had left or was just leaving. They glimpsed the tip of Master Guerra’s trail as it phased through the wall, and all the other students that were halfway round the house. Crush, though, was floating in place, staring off into the darkness of the woods.

        “Hey,” he said, still smirking, though his eyes shone like a cat’s. “Little man. You see something out there? Past the bush, behind those branches.”

        Ed blinked up at him, then out towards the murk at the treeline. The air was alive with nocturnal things, the porch lights blinding... but sure enough, there was a shape there. Something large and humanoid, and blacker than all of the black surrounding it. Except for its face. Yes, its face... only that was white as scoured bone.

        “Thought so,” Crush said, taking Ed’s expression as an answer. He cracked his neck and then his knuckles, floating forward down and off the deck.

        Ed’s hair stood on end. They were used to ghouls and spirits, but the figure watching from the woods... it wasn’t supernatural enough. Something about its spooky aura seemed more slasher film than ghost story. “Hey—! Crush! Where are you going?!” Ed hissed in a whisper. “Don’t you think you might need backup...?”

        “Nah, you stay put. Master Guerra had it right. You kids should leave all the junk that goes bump in the night to us.” Crush flexed, glancing back over his bicep. “It’s what we’ve all been training for, y’know?”

        Ed gulped. They’d meant that they’d fetch Master Guerra or some other adult, not follow Crush into the woods. Either way, they still had to warn somebody—Crush was a meathead, and he’d already gotten himself killed fighting a spirit solo once before. Ed rose shakily back to their feet.

        A sudden sharp guffaw from Crush set their nerves sparking

        “HA! You can stop sweatin’, little man!” he called back. “It’s just a training dummy someone left out. Trick of the dark!”

        Ed’s shoulders sagged. “...O-oh. Really?”

        “Yep!” lied Crush, meeting with his gleaming gaze the vacant, pitch-black eyes a foot away. “So run along now, little man! Go get some sleep!” Crush’s grin widened to mirror the unmoving skeletal grimace staring down at him. “...I’ll clean up here.”

        “...Okay,” said Ed, and scurried back inside.