Chapter 8 Page 60
Posted April 26, 2024 at 02:50 am

We've briefly glimpsed Doctor Zarei's secret project before. Thanks for reading! Also, please consider supporting Paranatural on Patreon! I would love to keep being able to keep this up full time!



        The grand ballroom’s grand bathrooms were as opulent and lifeless as a pharaoh’s tomb, and filled with just as much pure gold and carved symbology. Phone numbers and song lyrics were scratched into the fine mahogany of its stalls. Crude hearts proposed bizarre romance equations, insisting that “G + YC” combined into “FOREVER”, despite the letters’ absence in their sum. Another etching simply read “BIG DOG” beside a drawing of a very little dog, an art piece that was swarmed with countless scribbled rave reviews.

        Hijack’s right half gulped. The writing was on the wall, it seemed, for this next phase of their conspiracy.

        “We have to get backstage,” whispered Cody, skulking past one stall after another. The first fifteen or so were locked and labeled with plaques, exclusively reserved for the alumni that had paid for their construction. “They’re hiding something up there.”

        “D-d-don’t you think we’ve done enough...?” Right Hijack asked, emerging from the goldfish. “I m-mean I’ve seen a LOT of stuff the Doc should kn-kn-know about...”

        He trailed off with a shudder. RB couldn’t get that Witch out of his head. Her countless hands, her teeth, her patchwork voice...

        “Indeed. Doctor Zarei must be informed at once,” LB said sternly. He, too, had left his host, which went right back to swimming unperturbed. “That Fauxbia’s HER enemy, and far too great a foe for us to face alone. We can’t repeat the same mistake we made back at the middle school—indeed, to do so would be the VERY DEFINITION of INSANI—”

        “And th-that OTHER spirit!” RB interrupted, eager to make an emotional argument. “The one breathing blue flames, the one with the... the XBOX!” He wailed in cosmic console horror. “It might not have SOUNDED scary, but trust me, Cody, you d-didn’t see that spirit’s—”

        “I did see her,” Cody cut in. “I can see Razor Rex just fine. The Witch, too. They’re not spirits. I can handle them.”

        “W-well you didn’t pay enough attention to her GIANT SCARY SCYTHE, then, if you think that! Or her weird white spectral energy!”

        The latter, Cody couldn’t see, nor could he see why such a detail should deter him. It seemed to worry Hijack plenty, though. Hijack had seen that colorless shade of spectral energy only once before... eerily wafting from the secret project that the Doc kept in her lab. That strange specimen was ALREADY too unsettling for his taste, and it was fast asleep and safely locked inside a Mewtwo tube!

        “Left me is right,” RB asserted, and LB was flattered enough not to nitpick his statement’s contradictory logic. “We need backup! My mom, your mom, the Activity Club! W-we’re too weak to save the day ourselves...!”

        “There won’t be a day to save,” Cody replied, “unless we sabotage the PTA’s plans now. You heard what they said. Endless night. My dad’s probably trying to make some kind of... awful vampire paradise.” His eyes shone with a resolute ferocity; he’d used his ears to aim them towards the spirit floating unseen at his side. “Don’t you dare think of forgetting: you made more than one mistake back at the middle school, Hijack. You’re not running from this until you make up for each and every one of them.”

        The Hijacks shared a guilty, cross-eyed glance.

        “Get back into your goldfish,” Cody suggested with a smile.

        Not far away, having completed his performance, Davy Jones was weaving through the party.

        “Officer Marshall. Officer Grunt,” he crooned into the cellphone he’d impaled upon his hook. “My fine Faveys. How’s my boy?”

        Davy thought he’d noticed Cody’s heartbeat quicken back when he was up on stage... but it was brief—a pang of adolescent angst, perhaps. Still, though, “better safe than sorry” was the linchpin of his parenting philosophy. A little check-in wouldn’t hurt.

        “I’m *KSSHZZK* good, sir! Th—anks for asking!” Static masked the Favey who’d responded.

        “He don’t friggin’ mean y—ou, numbskull,” the other snorted. “He obvi—sly meant *KZZSHT* me. I’m good too, chief. N-not becau—se you *KSSHT* c-called or anyth—in’...”

        “No, no,” Davy sighed, waving his phone about to find a signal. “My son. Is my son there?”

        “No sun *KSSHZZT* yet, sir! Pl—enty of time ’til dawn, don’t *FZZSSH* worry!”

        “Numbsk... that ain’t—what... *KSSHZZT*” Officer Grunt’s voice crackled in and out. “—in eternal night, remem—ber?”

        Davy dismissed a crowd of gathering flatterers with a polite wave and a debonair flash of his fangs.

        “Cody!” he shouted over the ballroom’s din. Reception was always so awful inside evil lairs. He’d head to the bathroom—there, at least, he’d find some peace and quiet. “Cody, I say! Is my Cody alright?!”

        Inside the bathroom, Cody’s ears perked up.

        “Did you hear that?” he asked the Hijacks.

        “Hear w-what?”

        Cody had thought he’d heard his name. He listened closer. Footsteps clicked to a stop at the door; the bathroom’s golden doorknob creaked.

        “Quick!” he hissed at Hijack, diving for the nearest stall. “Hide!”

        “...Oh, um, *KSSSHZZZT* r—ight. Abou... th—at,, did you, by chance, want Cody to... the PTA meeti—”

        The call dropped with a static pop.

        “Hello? Hello?! I swear, this century’s technology...” Davy stopped, scanning his new surroundings; his heightened senses had instantly snapped to sudden movement at his side. “Oho! What’s this?” He sheathed his cell phone in his breast pocket, freeing up his hook for its next task. “I see you hiding there, you know. How many times have I told you that it’s rude to bother daddy while he’s working...?”