Authors: Sholly Fisch
Tags: #General, #Fiction, #suspense, #Mystery, #Science Fiction - Adventure, #Ghost stories, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Movie, #Mayors, #Terror, #Haunted places, #Demonology, #Movie novels - gsafd, #Ghost stories - gsafd, #Tv Tie-Ins, #Adventure, #Movie-TV Tie-In - General, #Media Tie-In - General, #Fiction - Science Fiction, #Political candidates, #Science fiction, #Movie or Television Tie-In, #General & Literary Fiction, #Media Tie-In
BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY DAN AYKROYD AND HAROLD RAMIS
DISTRIBUTED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC.
An Original Publication of ibooks, inc.
Ghostbusters copyright 2004
Columbia Pictures industries. Inc.
All rights reserved.
Based on the characters created
by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book
or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Distributed by Simon & Schuster, inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
24 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
The ibooks World Wide Web Site Address is:
First ibooks, inc. printing October 2004
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Edited by Steven A. Roman
Special thanks to Grace Ressler and Cindy Irwin
at Sony Pictures for their invaluable help.
Cover art by Gabriel Ippoliti
Printed in the U.S.A.
This one's in memory of Therese,
who wasn't 'braid of no ghosts...
and probably would have just invited them in for tea.
Suze, for help and research.
The fan group, for Ghostbusters lore.
Steve, for manning the trenches.
Jan Harold Brunvand, for inspiration.
The gibbering ghoul soared headfirst through the forty-foot-tall speaker tower, which exploded in a deafening roar. A shower of sparks rained down on the mosh pit below.
"Y'know, the kids call it music," Peter Venlman said. "But me, I call it noise."
Egon Spengler fumbled with a small, boxlike device, trying to take psychic readings while simultaneously covering his ears agamst the din. "Interesting," he said. "The phenomenon is reminiscent of the Chartellian 'spirit cantatas' that du Roche described in the thirteenth century...but with a more contemporary flavor, of course."
Up on the stage, a decaying corpse in a leather jacket was shrieking into a microphone. Its voice sounded like a bag filled with drowning kittens and broken glass. As it sang - if you could consider what it was doing "singing" - the corpse accompanied itself by thrashing away on an electric guitar that the human band abandoned when it fled the stage in terror. Fragments of the corpse's rotting fingers whipped through the air, sheared off by the metal strings of the guitar.
Meanwhile, further back on the stage, a skeleton was pounding on the drums. Occasionally, it smashed through the drumheads, largely because it was using its own shinbones as drumsticks.
Ray Stantz shrugged. "It's got a beat. You can dance to it. I give it a six."
"I don't know," said Winston Zeddemore. "I prefer the classics myself."
Mayor Arnold Lapinski stared at the four Ghostbusters in a mixture of aggravation and disbelief. Much like his predecessor, former mayor Lenny Clotch, Lapinski wasn't a calm person under the best of circumstances. In the face of the havoc mounting all around him, the short, balding man was a ball of nervous energy, constantly shifting his weight back and forth and wringing his hands. "If you guys are done being clever," he said, "would you mind stopping those things before they bring down Madison Square Garden?"
In truth, the Mayor's concern was understandable. Madison Square Garden had been a major New York City landmark for decades. Every year, millions of spectators flocked to the huge arena for countless sports matches, concerts, circuses, and events of every kind. Now, a trio of poltergeists was smashing through walls and balconies amidst fiery explosions and rains of debris. If they continued much longer, the structural damage would reduce the Garden to a smoking pile of rubble - not to mention what it would do to the hundreds of teenage concertgoers who hadn't evacuated the stadium with the rest of the crowd. Instead, they'd continued dancing and cheering long after the ghosts took the stage from the human opening act.
"Well?" demanded Lapinski. "Don't just stand there!
Venkman chewed his lip thoughtfully for a long moment before he answered. "Mmm...no," he said.
The Mayor turned to Venkman's partners.
"Nope," said Winston.
"Sorry," said Ray.
"I'm afraid not," said Egon.
The Ghostbusters could almost see Lapinski's blood pressure rising. He strained visibly to keep from bursting into a stream of profanities. He spat out his words through gritted teeth as he paced. "'No.'" he said to the aide who stood beside him. They're telling me 'no.'"
Suddenly. the Mayor could simmer no longer. He spun toward Venkman, shouting in his face. "What're you talking about, 'no'? You guys call yourselves 'Ghostbusters,' right? That's your job! You bust ghosts! Well, in case you haven't noticed, we got ghosts! They're right over there! So go bust 'em! What in the name of Fiorello LaGuardia are you waiting for?"
Calmly, Venkman turned to a short, mousy man in polyester who stood off to the side. "Louis?"
Louis Tully jumped at the sound of his name, and tripped over his feet as he quickly stumbled his way over to the Mayor. He clutched a thick sheaf of papers in one hand and alternately adjusted his tie and thick glasses with the other.
Lapinski sneered and eyed him suspiciously. "What's this?"
"Louis Tully, your mayorship," said Louis, extending a hand that the Mayor failed to shake. "I'm the Ghostbusters' accountant, business manager, and legal advisor. Well, originally, I started out just as a CPA, specializing in personal and business tax returns. But then I realized that in today's market, you really have to diversify. So I started taking law classes in night school and - "
Lapinski abruptly raised a hand to cut him off. "No," said the Mayor, driving his finger into the document in Louis' hand. "I mean, what's
"Oh!" Louis replied. "This is a contract for the Ghostbusters' services. You'll find it says so quite clearly in section four, sub-paragraph B-"
"A contract? It looks more like a phone book!" He turned to Venkman with an accusatory look. "You never made Klotch sign a contract."
Venkman draped a sympathetic arm around the Mayor. "I know, I know. It pains me deeply. You know me, Arnie. I'm a sealed-with-a-handshake-word-is-my-bond kind of guy. Call me old-fashioned, but it's just the way I like to do things."
"But the thing is," he continued, raising a finger, "You boys down at City Hall have stifled us every time we've done a job for you. Still, I tried to hold out. I said, 'Aw, we don't need all that legally binding mumbo jumbo. Arnie's my man! He's as trustworthy as the day is long. If Arnie makes a deal, you can bet that he'll stick to it.' "
Venkman drew the Mayor close and spoke in a quiet, confidential tone. "But you know, Louis here - he just kept insisting that we get everything in writing. I was helpless before his dogged persistence. I mean, you can see the guy's a tiger."
Louis raised his hand in a nervous half-wave, then fumbled with his tie.
Lapinski started to page quickly through the weighty document. "You expect the City of New York to cover 'any and all damages and other associated costs that arise in the course of the contracted supernatural containment activities'? What kind of rube do you think I am? You guys blew the top three floors off a skyscraper once! You trashed the grand ballroom at the Plaza! That's not even counting what it took to get the Statue of Liberty back into the harbor after you left it in the middle of East 89th Street!"
"Can't make an omelet without breaking a few laws of physics," said Ray.
The Mayor's jaw dropped as he turned the page. "You want me to pay for your
"Hey, this sunny smile doesn't come easy," Venkman said with a grin.
"You're out of your minds!" Lapinski shouted. "And you must think that I am, too! There's no way in a million years that I would ever even
of signing something like this!"
There was an ominous rumble, and then fountains of red-hot molten lava shot skyward from the mezzanine. The crowd cheered.
Venkman stroked his chin thoughtfully, as though something had just occurred to him. "Say, Ray," he said, "isn't this an election year?"
"Why, yes, Peter," Ray replied. "I believe it is."
"Whoooa!" exclaimed one of the nearby black-clad teens. "Those effects are
Lapinski stared, then looked away and shook his head in disgust. "Give me a pen," he grumbled.
"...Then sign here and here. Okay, now initial over here next to the municipal tax waiver. And that's it! We're done!" said Louis.
The Mayor's tone could have dripped icicles. "I'm so pleased."
"Um...could I have my pen back, please?"
But Lapinski's attention was already somewhere else entirely. "All right, all right, I signed your damn contract! Now do something!"
"That's okay," Louis said to no one in particular. "I have another pen at home..."
With pleasure," Venkman said with a pleasant smile. "Gentlemen, shall we?"
In the fifteen minutes or so that it had taken to sign the massive contract in triplicate, the Ghostbusters had strapped on proton packs, their black color providing a stark contrast to the beige jumpsuits they wore. At the flip of a switch, the gauges on the hightech devices lumped to life, and indicator lights flashed blue and red. The four comrades could feel the familiar vibration that hinted at the power locked inside the devices on their backs.
As one, the Ghostbusters reached over their shoulders and drew out the rifle-like nutrona wands that were connected to the proton packs. After several years of experience and hundreds of ghosts, they moved into action with practiced ease. Venkman, Winston, and Egon fanned out around the fringes of the crowd.
Ray took the middle, squeezing through the thrashing bodies of the teens in the mosh pit as he pushed toward the stage. "'Scuse me. 'Scuse me," he said to the dancers who slammed into him from all sides. "Nuclear accelerator coming through."
Finally, Ray reached the stage and hoisted himself up. Getting to his feet, he took the microphone from the startled rotting corpse. His voice boomed out over the sound system: "Attention, young people! You are in the presence of a class-three psychic manifestation. There is no need to panic. However, for your own safety, please proceed to the nearest exit in a calm, orderly fashion. Thank you."
All over the arena, the concertgoers stopped dancing and looked at each other, not sure what to do. On the one hand, the announcement sounded serious. But on the other hand, they weren't used to leaving a show while the band was still on the stage.
The rotting corpse stared at Ray and raised what was left of its eyebrow. It snatched the microphone back and howled incomprehensibly as the Music resumed at full volume as though it had never been interrupted.
That settled it. With an enthusiastic roar, the crowd was back on the floor, thrashing and writhing as though nothing had happened.
Venkman sighed. Capturing ghosts was always so much harder when you had to be careful not to fry the civilians. He threw the power switch on his nutrona wand and looked to Winston and Egon. "Let's rock!"
* * *
Up on the stage, Ray drew his own nutrona wand for a point-blank shot at the corpse. As he flipped on the power, the corpse lunged at him.
"Cower before the minions of Xanthador!"
Reflexively, Ray jumped back with a start. But standing where he was, so close to the front of the stage, the move sent him toppling backward over the edge. Without meaning to, Ray's hand gripped the nutrona wand. It fired a blinding, yellow-orange stream of energy that ripped through the ceiling as he fell.
Ray's blast stopped as quickly as it came, although not before a couple of overhead spotlights exploded. Even so, the stage was high enough for Ray, or someone below, to be seriously hurt by the fall - that is, if it wasn't for the crowd. Conditioned by countless sessions of stage diving, the kids in the mosh pit thrust their hands straight up, stopping Ray's fall a foot or two above their heads. With another wave of cheers, they passed him hand over hand around the densely packed area. To Ray, Iying on his back in the midst of it all. it was like riding a living, slow-moving conveyor belt - not altogether unpleasant, but not the most efficient way to travel either.
Ray called out, "Uh, could you put me down, please? Or move me over that way...?"
Meanwhile, near the side of the stage, Winston stood on one of the seats and took aim. "Show's over," he muttered as he squeezed the trigger.
Instantly, a fiery ion stream flashed over the heads of the crowd to wrap itself like a tentacle around the rotting corpse. It roared in fury as it struggled against the grip of the energy that bound it.
Egon took a two-foot-long electronic box, marked with yellow hazard tape, and dropped it on the stage. He stamped on a foot pedal at the side of the device, and the top sprang open. An inverted pyramid of light shot upward out of the box. "Trap's ready!" he called.
The skeleton stopped drumming, snapped its shinbones back in place, and ran. With a howl, it dove off the stage toward the crowd.
But it never touched the ground, or even the outstretched hands of the onlookers. A glowing beam of energy shot out to intercept it in mid-leap. At the other end of the ion stream, Venkman leaned back. The tendril of energy rose, lifting the squirming skeleton high up into the air.
Egon took aim at the ghoul that swooped over the crowd. He let fly with several rapid-fire blasts, but it was moving too fast, staying just ahead of his fire. The only effects of Egon's effort were a series of holes that he accidentally blew through the walls. Little by little, though, Egon was closing in...
...until he abruptly cut off his barrage. The ghoul was sailing past the ion stream that held the skeleton in the air. Egon knew, all too well, that if his ion stream crossed another one, the resulting reaction could mean the end of all life in the universe. Well...all right, there had been that moment ten years ago when they'd all intentionally crossed streams and the universe hadn't come to an end. But that had involved a trans-dimensional being called Gozer the Gozarian and a temple that stood outside the space/time continuum. The resulting explosion only destroyed an alternate reality, a female godling - and a good portion of a midtown Manhattan apartment building. Still, why take chances?
It took a moment for the ghoul to realize what was happening. Once it did, it stopped cold in mid-air and doubled back to keep the stream between Egon and itself. It waited, watching Egon warily to see whether he'd shoot. When he didn't, the ghoul giggled, bounced around in the air a few times, and blew a raspberry at Egon - all while making sure to stay on the far side of the stream.
At which point another ion stream shot straight up to wrap itself around it.
Directly below the ghoul, Ray was still on his back, supported by the crowd. "We got him! Keep me steady, folks!"
One at a time, the Ghostbusters moved their captives slowly across the arena. Winston was first, easing the corpse into the pyramid of light that flowed above the trap. It thrashed and writhed inside the light, but there was no escape.