The Greaze, The Lich, and The Face Monster

rating: +12+x

One Week Earlier

“Fanny, why don’t they care about what’s left?”

The water spirit sighed, looking towards Fanny; fully expecting her to know the answer. Fanny simply shook her head and pulled out a pair of binoculars, staring into the dense pine forest.

“I’ve got no clue, Carmen. They only show up near the edge of the forest.”

Fanny set the pair on a folding table, opened a large umbrella, and the water spirit Carmen inspected a rifle. While the rains hadn’t begun, the wind bellowed ominously, and the dark mass of storm clouds grew closer. A water spirit and a fully-skeletal lich would have no trouble with water, but the weapon certainly would.

“So is this an ‘advancing with the unholy forest’ type of thing?”

Fanny chuckled, and spoke again with a magically-provided voice.

“Nope! Carmen, this is actually hallowed land.”


“Yup. It’s both a farming land and a grave for me. Something about this place has to be holy if I crawled out of this dirt after judgement day.”

“Well, the forest might still be cursed. There’s a lot of that these days, now that the world’s no longer empty again.”

“Not really. When I was alive some time ago, the forest was always peaceful. A chunk of my land getting reclaimed by it isn’t a problem.”

Carmen sighed again, and slipped the scope onto the gun.

“Ghosts showing up when storms brew around a creepy forest practically screams ‘Hey look at me, I’m super-mega-steal-your-firstborn cursed’.”

Fanny pointed towards the white dots at the edge of the field, and spoke.

“Take a look with the scope. I saw it myself, those dots are something flesh that I’d rather not describe. That’s why I asked you to shoot them.”

“Fanny, you’re the odd-but-still-caring grandmother to me, and I trust you wholeheartedly. However, I’m going to state that I’m not getting myself involved with anything of this sort. I just need more context if I’m going to commit to the job.”

The lich nodded.

“I understand that water spirits need to be spiritually clean, but just promise me you’ll actually take a look now that you’re here.”

Carmen raised the scope to her eye, and panned towards the floating constellation of white. There was a pause, and her scaly, clawed fingers briefly strengthened their grip around the weapon in alarm.

“What the fuck.”

A few dozen faces were suspended in the air, pale, unblinking, and still. Vines connected to the back of the skin, as if the head had sprouted from a vegetable, and led back into the forest.

“Oh no. Nope-nopety-nope, I am not touching this.”

Carmen began to pack her equipment. Fanny, somewhat reluctantly, began to pack hers as well.

“Well, thanks for coming all the way out here on such short notice.”

“No problem, but I won’t be coming out here ever again. That shit’s nasty, and I’m not about to have my soul torn apart by negative energy.”

“What if I found someone to deal with it? I’ve been so lonely with no one visiting, and I need to stay so I can take care of the house.”

“Then I could probably visit again without putting my health at risk.”

The Present

The farmer sat, leaning back in the old rocking chair and reaching for the television remote in one smooth motion. Her bony fingers wrapped around it, and she brought the device onto the arm of the chair before speaking again.

Shutters are closed, doors are locked, and the truck’s in the garage.

Martin Greaze tossed a can of some miscellaneous alcohol into his mouth. He chewed, and the horrible sound of metal against teeth temporarily drowned out the whistling, aggressive wind battering the house. A fierce bubbling, and he swallowed.

Damn. This is some high-quality stuff. What is this and what year?

Fanny paused, and looked at the label of the remaining cans in the cooler.

“This is ‘Buck’s Own’, and I think the year’s 2090.”

That’s this year.


Never would have thought.

The wind picked up, the thunder rumbled, and the lights flickered. Fanny turned on the television, her sun-bleached skull reflecting clearly in the stormy gray and dark blue in an ice age documentary. Martin Greaze stood up, and began to float from the living room and down the hallway.

Thanks for letting me stay the night, by the way.

“No problem, bud. It’s the least I could do after you dealt with whatever that thing was.”

Oh yeah, that thing was fucked up, Jesus Christ.

“Sometimes I see them whenever a storm like this starts forming, but they’ve never come so close. I don’t like the feel of what happened, and I don’t really know what’s up with them either.”

Hmm. If I’m being honest, it sounds like one of those things where we go to bed and it shows up again trying to kill us at four-something in the morning.

They laughed, but stopped after a few seconds. In the brief absence of conversation, the lights flickered, the narrator of the documentary monologued, and a tree branch tapped against the window, again and again.

“Well, if it helps, I don’t sleep since…”

Fanny vaguely gestured to herself with skeletal hands.

Right, right. I kind of have to, so I’ll be off.

Thunder rumbled, the rains began, and Martin Greaze floated off in search of his reserved bed.

The pale face hovered outside the window, and stood out from the layered, bushy branches of the longleaf pine pressed against the glass. It was now dry outside, and the sun hadn't risen yet, but the face was clear in the flickering light of Mr. Shade, who turned on and off repeatedly.

“.-- .... --- / - .... . / ..-. ..- -.-. -.- / .- .-. . / -.-- --- ..- ..--..”

It remained motionless, and did not answer. Mr. Shade hopped off of the drawers next to the window, and scuttled into the hallway.

Martin Greaze suddenly jolted three feet above his bed, floating. The ceiling fan hummed, blades casting odd shadows in the light of Mr. Shade, who had just poked Martin with one of his pointy legs.

“- .... . .-. . .----. ... / .- / .--. .-. --- -... .-.. . -- / --- ..- - ... .. -.. . .-.-.- / --. --- / ..-. .. -..- / .. - .-.-.-”

What kind of problem?

Mr. Shade did not blink, and instead gestured vaguely for Martin to follow.

Ah, the old ‘so horrible it can’t be described’. I’ll take a look, I guess.

Martin turned upright and landed softly on the hardwood floor before venturing out into the dark hallway.

I swear, if this is the same thing I joked about last night, I won’t make predictions ever again.

Martin looked at the window where Mr. Shade had seen the apparition.

All right. Let’s take a look here.

The face had not moved, and remained hovering outside the first-story window. It stared silently at Martin.

We’ve got a friendly guest, a small tree, a very nice view, and we’ve got a nice prelude to a sunrise going on outside. Anything I’m missing?

Mr. Shade tapped the glass with a leg, and turned on his light. Martin waved at the creature, and turned towards Mr. Shade.

So what, am I supposed to be rude to our new guest? Poor fellow is probably sad after you called them a problem.

Martin slid open the window, and invited the entity inside.

Hello friend! I’m Martin Greaze, Lord of the Corporate Buzzwords, and here’s my friend Mr. Shade!

Mr. Shade did not move, and assumed a perfect desk lamp impression. The hovering face began to vibrate worryingly, and mumbled world salad in a very withdrawn voice.

You okay there, pal?

The face became a blur of vaguely-perceivable movement, and the nonsense recital grew loud enough to be heard.

Amplifier. Misdeeds. Cumbersome. Grave Robberies. Vegetables.

Wait a second. Hold on just one minute.

The cool wind no longer blew lazily through the branches of the nearby tree, and the crickets’ symphony came to a sudden silence.

You’re not one of the things that the old skeleton lady asked me to chuck rocks at, right?

The creature was, in fact, one of the things that the old skeleton lady asked him to chuck rocks at.

Telescope Hat. Kinetoglyph Roots. Raincoat. Clarkes. Harpoon. Epitaph. Hunting Trophy.

Well, if so, I’m sincerely sorry that I threw rocks at you. If it would help, there’s some nice drinks downstairs-

Several more faces ascended into view, and created an unholy barbershop quartet of chanting as the one vibrated.

Hey wait a minute, let’s discuss this quietly, we don’t want to wake the innumerable amount of insects that probably live in the walls. It would be awfully rude.

Greaze looked at the other faces nervously, and froze. As he made eye contact with one particular hovering face, the chanting, vibrating, and word salad also ceased.

Chester Greaze, voice of the Greazeburger advertisements, host of the Parawatch promotional events, and also the guy who ate the water bottles from my lunch for eighty years, is that actually you?

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