The First Church: Moving In Series Book 4
The First Church: Moving In Series Book 4
The First Church: Moving In Series Book 4

The First Church: Moving In Series Book 4

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A dreadful clash between the living and the undead...

Brian Roy is a ghost hunter extraordinaire. His latest adventure involves headless Japanese soldiers wreaking havoc in a New Hampshire church. The stats are grisly. Two boys blinded. Another boy shot. Cops killed. The bodies keep piling up and the ghosts’ thirst for vengeance is as insatiable as their thirst for saké!

The phantom soldiers cut a swath of murder through the congregation until all that’s left of Brian’s local allies are Jim Bogue and his grandfather, Luke Allen, who is a blind Marine vet. They are all that stand between the dreadful ghosts and the helpless locals. Even as a second threat lurks in the shadows, just as deadly as the gruesome specters, the ghostbusters race against time to save the town.

While trying to protect the living, Brian and his crew are thrust into the unforgiving world of the undead. When the last battle finally begins, Brian wonders if he’s met his own personal Hiroshima...

218 pages

Chapter 1: Doubting Thomases

“Are you sure you heard him say ‘ghost’?” Matt asked.

Carlton nodded. “I know I heard him say ghost.”

They stood in the alley to the left of Sam’s Smoke Shop. The two boys, in spite of only being fourteen, had managed to get Matt’s sister to sell them a six pack of Budweiser, but the plan to drink it had been put on hold.

Reverend Joe, it turned out, had to leave the office earlier than usual.

Mrs. Staples, who was supposed to clean the Church, had gotten an emergency call from her pet sitter. One of her cats was stuck in a wall again.

The Church would be empty.

“How did you hear him?” Matt asked, keeping an eye on the Church office. The Reverend’s car idled in its parking spot. Their religious leader would leave at any moment.

“It was last night,” Carlton said. “I was helping my mom clean up after youth group. She was pretty upset about something and was talking to Dan’s mom. When I passed by the Rev’s office, I heard him on the phone.”

“What did he say exactly?” Matt asked, looking away from the Church, for a moment, and at his friend.

Carlton brushed a stray lock of blonde hair out of his eyes and said, “The Rev said, ‘I’ve got a headless ghost running around the Church.’”

“Who was he talking to?” Matt said, glancing back at the car. It remained where it was. Exhaust slipped out steadily from the tailpipe and into the cold afternoon March air.

“Don’t know,” Carlton answered. “He said ‘thank you’ and I had to make like I was texting when he came out. He went right over to talk to my mom and Dave’s mom. It was weird. All of them were acting strange.”

“Hell,” Matt said, “if I’d seen a headless ghost, I’d be pumped up.”

“Right,” Carlton said with a grin.

“Reminds me of the movie Sleepy Hollow, you know, the one with Johnny Depp,” Matt said. He smiled. “Maybe he’s looking for his head.”

Carlton laughed. “Think he’ll try to take ours?”

Matt scoffed and shook his head. “Nah, ghosts can’t hurt anybody.”

“True,” Carlton said.

“Oh snap, the Rev’s leaving,” Matt said. He and Carlton turned their attention to the man’s little black Prius. They watched it back out of the parking space, go in reverse, and head down Main Street.

“So,” Carlton said, looking at his friend. “You still have the key?”

Matt grinned. “Yes, I do. Mrs. Staples still thinks Jim lost it after he fixed the broken window in the kitchen for her.”

Carlton rolled his eyes. “Kid annoys me.”

“Kid annoys everyone,” Matt replied. He slapped his friend’s thick shoulder. “Come on, we’ll cut around behind the Hurlington House.”

The two teenage boys moved quickly out of the alley. Matt broke out the beer from his back pack, took a pair and passed one to Carlton. As soon as they crossed the street and made it to the safety of the old, run down Hurlington building, they paused so they could open them.

Each of them winced at the first few gulps, but then, excited smiles all over their faces, they made their way to the back of the Church.

With quick steps, they slipped into the Old Burial Ground, settled down behind the Hanover monument and carefully watched the Church’s back door. They waited until they were finished, quickly drank another pair and then left the empty cans in the dirt.

No one came out of the office. The lights remained off.

Matt fished the key out of his pocket and nodded to Carlton.

Together, they stood and walked leisurely to the exit. One last glance around showed they were unobserved. Matt unlocked the door. They slipped inside and locked out the rest of Rye, New Hampshire.

The air smelled heavily of the Rev’s spiced tea, and the cleaning supplies Mrs. Staples constantly scoured the whole Church with. There was enough light from the afternoon sun to fill the office.

Matt looked around. “So, do you think we’ll be able to see a ghost, even though it’s daytime?”

“Don’t know,” Carlton said, shrugging. “Maybe we’ll have to wait?”

“Maybe,” Matt said. He went and sat in the Rev’s seat and put his feet up on the desk. “Carlton, we should totally drink the last ones in here.”

Carlton laughed and shook his head. “Nah. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Staples would figure it out, she’d smell the beer and then she’d hang us from the rafters.”

“True,” Matt said, grinning. “Anyway, did the Rev say where he saw the ghost?”

“No,” Carlton answered. “I mean, maybe he did, but it would have been before I heard him.”

“It’s just weird,” Matt said after a minute. “No one’s ever talked about seeing any ghosts before.”

“I thought the same thing,” Carlton said, leaning up against a filing cabinet. “You figure someone would have talked about it.”

“Yeah, exactly,” Matt said.

A creak sounded outside the door which led into the hallway.

Carlton and Matt looked at one another, their eyes wide.

The doorknob twisted to the left and then to the right.

Carlton glanced at the back door, wondered briefly if they had enough time to make it, and then froze in place as the noise stopped.

He risked a glance back and saw he and Carlton were still safe.

A form slipped through the wall and stood on the old rug in front of the desk.

It was short, even without its head. A man’s body clad in a uniform of some sort. The hands opened and closed, and a question was asked in a language neither of the boys understood.

Both Carlton and Matt, however, took their phones out, pressed the camcorder icon, and recorded the ghost.

Another question was asked, again the words completely foreign, but louder.

“Dude,” Matt said, laughing, “this is crazy!”

“I know!” Carlton said. His own laughter joined his friend’s, and he stepped back as the ghost advanced towards him. “Man, this is just like Call of Duty! Only, he’s headless, and not a zombie!”

“Right,” Matt said with a laugh. “This is like the best special effects ever!”

“I am so putting this up on YouTube when we’re done,” Carlton said. “This thing is definitely going to go viral. We’ll be famous! Maybe we can even get our own show on the Travel Channel.”

“Careful,” Matt said, grinning, “I think he likes you.”

Carlton couldn’t answer. He tried not to laugh too hard so he could keep the camera focused.

The ghost lunged at him, and its hands found Carlton’s head. He dropped the phone as the dead thing’s thumbs found his eyes and plunged into his sockets.

Carlton screamed and collapsed to his knees.

Matt realized he wasn’t able to run. His legs wouldn’t respond, even though he wanted them to move, to get him away. But he remained where he was, watching, as he kept the hideous image of his friend being blinded centered in the lens.

The headless ghost let go of Carlton, and then turned toward Matt and raced at him.

Matt’s screams soon joined his friend’s.

Chapter 2: A Meeting with the Reverend

Brian Roy sat in the Riverwalk Coffee Shop in Rye, New Hampshire while he waited for Reverend Joseph Malleus. He was on his second cup, because the coffee was actually pretty good. The man had called the night before and been adamant about the arrival of a ghost in his church.

A headless ghost.

Even as a ghost hunter, Brian might have scoffed at the story, if he hadn’t recently survived the destruction of Middlebury Sanitarium.

Brian discovered he was now a lot more open-minded.

“How’s the coffee?”

He looked up and saw a young woman standing beside his table. She wasn’t the waitress who had served him.

“It’s really good,” Brian answered, smiling.

“Glad to hear it,” she said. “My name’s Lisa. I’m taking over for Sarah, her shift’s done. Let me know if you need anything.”

“Will do, Lisa,” he said. “Thanks.”

Brian watched her walk back to the counter. She was tall, with short black hair and of Asian ancestry. Her white shirt and khaki pants fit nicely on her lithe figure. He caught sight of a dragon tattoo showing out of the collar of her shirt, and in the light of the shop, he could make out the faint outlines of more ink beneath her sleeves.

Brian smiled, took another drink and turned to the door as the bell above it chimed.

A pale skinned, thickset man walked into the cafe. His blonde hair was cropped close to his head as was his slightly darker beard. The man’s eyes, which were a strikingly bright blue, darted around the shop.

Reverend Joseph Malleus, Brian thought. The newcomer wore an all-black suit with the religious white collar.

Brian lifted his mug up and caught the man’s attention.

The Reverend smiled nervously and hurried over to him.

Brian stood as he offered his hand.

“Brian Roy?” The man asked, his grip strong.

“I am. And you’re Reverend Malleus?” Brian said, sitting back down.

“Yes, but you can either call me Reverend Joe, or the Rev,” he said. “The kids call me the Rev, and well, I like it.”

“Fair enough,” Brian said.

Reverend Joe turned slightly in his chair, motioned to Lisa, and the young woman hurried over.

“Afternoon, Rev,” she said with a grin. “You want your tea?”

“Yes please, Lisa,” he answered. “How’s your father?”

“About the same,” she said, her smile faltering. “But, thanks for asking. He still won’t see anyone but family, though.”

Reverend Joe nodded. “Understood. Please have him call me as soon as he feels like he can tolerate my presence.”

“I will,” she said, and her grin returned. “Be right back with your tea.”

“Thank you.”

The Reverend turned his attention back to Brian. “Sorry. We’re a pretty small community. I try to keep track of everyone.”

“Sounds good to me,” Brian said. He looked at the man and realized the Reverend would probably avoid the issue for as long as possible. “Why don’t you tell me what happened at your church?”

Reverend Joe fidgeted with his wedding ring nervously for a minute. He was about to speak when Lisa returned with his tea and set it down on the table.

A strong, spice smell floated up with the steam from the cup.

“Well,” he said, looking down, “the first occurrence was last weekend. Mrs. Staples, who cleans for us, ran into him. Or, it. I’m not sure. The ghost is headless.”

Brian smiled. “Let’s say ‘he’ for now, just to make it easier, okay?”

Reverend Joe nodded. “He. Yes. So, I was working at my desk while Mrs. Staples was cleaning the office, and when she looked up, she saw it … him, standing in the doorway. He was filthy, and headless, of course, and her first reaction was to snap at him.”

“What?” Brian asked, laughing in spite of himself.

The Rev blushed slightly and nodded. “She’s rather a bit of a spitfire. She told him that she’d just finished cleaning and he was going to make a mess of the hall.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I just sort of sat there, shocked. The ghost though, he left,” the Reverend said.

Brian shook his head and finished his drink. “I’ll need to meet this Mrs. Staples.”

“Good,” the Rev said. “She’s already insisted on speaking with you.”

“Okay,” Brian said, smiling. “So, she reprimanded the ghost, and he left. Has anyone else seen him?”

“Yes. I did again, last night, with Mrs. Williamson,” the Reverend said. “We didn’t challenge him, though. We left as quickly as possible.”

“And you called me,” Brian added.

“And I called you,” the Rev agreed.

A police cruiser, with an ambulance directly behind it, raced past the front of the shop. The sirens blared, and lights flashed maniacally.

A phone started to ring, and the Reverend took a cellphone out of an inner pocket. “Could you excuse me?”

“Sure,” Brian said, sitting back a little in his chair.

“Hello?” The Rev said.

He listened for a minute before all of the color drained from his face as he looked at Brian in horror.

“Yes,” the Reverend said hoarsely. “Yes. I’ll be right there.”

With a shaking hand, he ended the call and put the phone back in his pocket.

“Reverend?” Brian asked.

“I’m sorry,” Reverend Joe said. “I … well, you see, Mrs. Staples just called. She went into the Church, she’d forgotten her scarf, and she found two boys. Two of our youth group members. They’d gotten into the office … and …”

“Reverend?” Brian asked gently.

The Rev looked at Brian and said, “Someone ripped their eyes out.”

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