Jordan dashed from the ballroom, dragging a mewling Morgan behind him.
“Madness!” he cried, “How did I not see it? How did I not sense it? A Demon with a pull that strong!”
Morgan offered no reply, Jordan wasn’t expecting one.
Thoughts tumbled through Jordan’s mind, everything happened so fast, Tet members, friends for years gone in an instant. He had to do something, all this Dark power and his first reaction was to flee.
He grabbed Morgan tighter, eyed what looked like a utility room and hit it shoulder first mid stride. It flew open scattering bottles and containers to the corners of the small room.
Morgan was still useless, he focused on her mind and seized it. Shouting at her in the mind speak that they had become accustomed to. “MORGAN, I need you."
The effect was instantaneous. Her head whipped around, her eyes narrowed.
“Jordan! What the hell happened to everybody? Did you see all the crazy shiit that was happening? People swinging on chandeliers, AK-47’s, jiving into bottomless pits, bodies and chaos everywhere." Her voice wavered, “And look what he’s done to King!”
Jordan eased his grip on Morgan’s shoulder, “We need a plan and we need it quick.” he whispered. “That thing wearing a writer’s skin will be looking for us.”
Willington stood in the middle of the ballroom, eyes closed, chin up, basking in what remained of the last King Con.
The Ring of Maleficarum worked better than he could have imagined, the old text attributed the mass hysteria in Salem to the power of the ring, he was skeptical but the proof was all around him.
He was old, but had no intention of seeing what awaited him on the other side of life. This was what he needed, years he had stoked the fires of fanaticism to create this situation. Now all he had to do was draw the souls from the surrounding carnage to rejuvenate his life force. He’d clean up here then find that Vampire, his soul was worth 100 others.
He scanned the large ballroom for survivors and began to hunt.
After the explosion Tery and Flake had retreated to a dark corner of the ballroom. Hid behind an overturned table they cautiously took in the scene. Bodies were strewn across the floor, Tet mates gone before they ever got to know them. They could hear sobs, moans and groans all around them.
“Poor DJ,” Tery said with a whimper, "did you see what happened when Stephen put on that ring?” She reached into her pocket and took out the gift that she had received, a smooth Jasper stone.
Flake rummaged for her gift too. “We never should have trusted that cheap Nikki Sixx rip-off.” she said as she flipped the old silver coin in her hand. “If these have similar powers maybe we can use them to our advantage.”
Flake saw some movement out of the corner of her eye. Further down the long room she noticed a small group of people huddled behind a large curtain. It was Scott, Gazman and Kingricefan with that cop.
Tery’s hand shot across her vision pointing at something, it was Willington, he seemed to be three feet taller than he was before, Stephen skulked behind him. Willington had noticed the curtain moving and was stalking towards it. Without thinking they both let out a scream, “SCOTT, WATCH OUT!”
Scott looked directly at Tery and Flake and peeked around the curtain. He motioned to Ghost to move to the other end of the curtain. They both picked up a chair and seemed poised to make a move.
They burst from behind the curtain and went straight for Willington. Ghost raised the chair and smashed it directly into the demon’s face. He barely flinched.
Scott reached him a second later, Willington whipped out his right leg at an unnatural speed and kicked Scott in the chest, he flew twenty feet and crashed into a pile of tables. Willington grabbed Ghost by the neck, lifted and squeezed, his eyes blazed blue as Ghost slumped in his grip.
Flake and Tery both gasped as Willington seemed to change again. He dropped Ghost to the floor and surveyed the room.
“This is your fate,” his voice boomed, “come to me now or you will all suffer.”
Slowly, Tet members began to slink from their hiding places and make their way to the front of the room.
Tery offered Flake her hand and she took it. She wished she could be out of this god forsaken ballroom. Suddenly, the jasper stone heated up in her palm, the room pulsed and her vision went black.
When it returned she and Flake were in the corridor outside the ballroom. Tery looked at the jasper stone in her palm and saw a fine crack right through the middle. Finally,
she thought, something going our way.
“I’m judging by the way you appeared out of thin air that you have the stone.” Tery and Flake jumped at Marsha’s voice. She was standing in the middle of the corridor, flanked by Jordan and Morgan.
“Do you also have the coin?” Flake nodded and hesitantly handed the coin to Marsha.
Marsha turned to Jordan, “The coin and the stone will help but Bev was gone too long, there were only loose threads of his soul’s essence remaining, I hope the coin and stone will be enough.”
Marsha sounded confident but Jordan had known her a long time, she was worried, that damn demon had made him take Bev’s life too soon, his sacrifice may have been for nothing.
He placed his hand on her shoulder, “We have to make it work.”
She lifted her chin and straightened her back, “We need to end this Jordan, you know what to do?”
He nodded and headed for the door of the ballroom with Morgan in tow.
Even though he was a vampire, Jordan had seen it all now -- Marsha, a witch!
When he and Morgan had bumped into her, she knew exactly what had to be done.
Jordan paused outside the ballroom, looked at Morgan then threw open the doors.
Willington looked up at the intrusion, “Jordan, how nice of you to join us." He was in the middle of the ballroom, the remaining Tet members kneeling in a long line spread out in front of him.
He had already drained a number of them. Jordan could see he was out of time. He reached for the darkness inside him and embraced it.
Large fangs protruded from his mouth, his fingernails grew long and pointed.
“Leave them be.” he growled.
“Make me.” Willington mocked.
Jordan drew on every fibre in his supernatural being and pounced.
Willington didn’t even move. Jordan’s right arm punched through Willington’s chest, bursting out his back. Willington looked down, grabbed Jordan’s arm and twisted.
Jordan let out a guttural howl as Willington ripped his arm from its socket. Willington leaned in close meeting Jordan’s eyes, “That’s all you’ve got? Pathetic."
Jordan smiled, “I was just the distraction."
The room pulsed again and the last remaining lights flickered, instantly Marsha was behind Willington, she slammed the silver coin into the base of his neck whispering an ancient Greek curse. The coin slid into his skin and disappeared.
Willington’s eyes glazed as he dropped to his knees.
Morgan rushed over to help Jordan up, “What will happen to him now?” Morgan asked.
“The coin will keep him trapped in his own mind; he won’t be bothering us anymore.” Marsha replied.
The remaining Tet members came to their senses helping each other up and gathered around Marsha, Jordan and Morgan. Someone helped a disorientated Stephen King into the group.
“What now?” Someone in the back asked.
Jordan, holding his bloody stump spoke up so they all could hear, “Well, my plan, before everything kicked off was to offer all of you a chance to become like me so the Tet could live on through the ages."
“I don’t see why that has to change, anyone interested?”
Jordan saw the glint in the Tet’s eyes and thought that maybe this wouldn’t be the last
Con after all.
Marsha read the last line. A smile crept across her face as she turned the page.
She looked up from the loosely bound collection of pages she had been studying for the last 30 minutes.
“What do you think?” he asked. The smile continued to creep as she looked at the man for whom she had worked for so long.
“Stephen, this is great, wait till I tell everyone on the board about this. They’ll go crazy." She turned the manuscript over and looked at the first page. There it was, half way down the sheet, the title of Stephen's newest short story: “The Biggest Con."
She looked at the dedication on the second page again and read it aloud.
“To all of my most constant readers on the SK message board, I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it, thank you for your support and entertainment over the years. (I logged in once a week, mainly for Hot Topics.)
I fled across the literary desert and like the gunslinger, you all followed.
The board's Ka-Tet will always live on....S.K.”
“Too brief?” he asked.
“Just perfect.” she replied, “I’ll try to get some copies printed before the Kon.”
“Great idea," he said pushing himself out of his chair, “don’t forget to book me a flight too, I think I’ll come along, that’ll shake things up a bit.”
He was out of Marsha’s office before she could even reply. She couldn’t believe it; wait till she dropped that bomb in the Cantina. She spun round in her chair and powered up her computer.
She was about to log in when Stephen stuck his head back in through the doorway, “Might as well book them in for a kitchen tour while you’re at it, I’m feeling generous.” he said with a grin.
Laughing out loud she thought, Better get onto Jordan, this could break the message board.