Jack and Stan~ Paranormal Cleaners chapter 23

     In all the years the Goodbody family had lived in this place, the only time the main Goodbody house had been attacked was once when Jack’s grandfather still led the family. A migration of werewolves across the country had led them directly into the path of the Goodbody family, old hands at killing their kind. It hadn’t gone well for them. He could hardly believe someone else was trying it now. The smaller kitchen connected directly with the main kitchen. From the main kitchen, Sam took the lead again and they moved into the dining room. The dining room led into the downstairs foyer opposite the door and beside the stairs. From the dining room, Jack could see the shadows moving up the stairs. The smell of mothballs was briefly punctuated by the smell of stale sweat and whiskey. Their uninvited guests weren’t just fools, they were patient and drunk fools as well. That and they were headed up the stairs with confidence which made Jack feel like they knew where his father could be found.

     Racing through the dining room, Jack found himself thinking about his father upstairs alone in his room with his thoughts and his relics of a bygone age. Jack wasn’t entirely sure if it was fondness that injected a desperation into his steps. Even though he hated him, and he was sure he hated him, Jack had known no life but a life that contained his father. Madeline stood at the bottom of the steps, gently swaying back and forth. She held a cake server in her left had, which glistened red in the light along the side. One crimson droplet glistened on the edge of her cake server and hung suspended for a small eternity before it hit the ground. Her hair frayed out around the edges under her maids cap.

     “Master Jack, I’m so glad to see you and your sister unharmed.”

     Jack ground to a halt and looked up the stairs. He was shocked to realize he could now see the shadows moving, whereas before they would have been out of sight, “Madeline, how exactly did they get past you?”

     Madeline turned to look up the stairs, “I was in the kitchen when we were attacked. I just got here myself when I realize you might have been their target. It seems I was worried about nothing.” A shadowy attacker raced down the stairs and made a running leap for Madeline, blade outstretched, Madeline raised her cake server and parried the blog, raising her free hand and sending her attacker head over heels into the air, landing directly on Jack’s stolen knife. He left that knife embedded in his chest and snatched up the new blade before checking him for identifying marks. Again, the bade was the only note-worthy feature.

     Looking, Jack noticed the other shadows on the stairs, around for, had begun to descend the stairs towards Madeline, a little slower this time and more methodical. Now the real fight began. A fight against opponents that weren’t taking you seriously is no real fight at all. Jack paused considering the odds before stepping slowly to the left, Sam stalking out behind him to watch his back. Neither one of them had time to move very far before things got out of hand. Madeline stepped out onto the floor and turned to face her opponents. One of the attackers paced down the stairs, confident in his backup. The wall to the fight side of her attacker burst open and an enormous hand reached out and grabbed the man around the neck and smashed him back into the wall three or four times until he went motionless. Somehow, despite the confusion, the mysterious assailant managed to stab Stan’s arm a few times before he had been put down. Stan’s arm vanished through the hole it had made, wavering slightly before it vanished.

     Madeline sagged against the wall next to the stairwell and pulled out a handkerchief to dab at the blood slowly seeping out from a wound in her shoulder which Jack hadn’t noticed before. He dashed to her side, catching her before she could hit the ground and holding her upright.

    “Master Jack, so good to see…you’re alright. They…must have drugged the food…” Madeline trailed off and closed her eyes, sagging against Jack’s supporting arms.

     Jack handed her off to Sam and looked up the stairs, “Father’s still up there. I’m going to find out what the hell is going on here.”

     Sam nodded and gently pulled Madeline’s dress aside to reveal a small, but terribly deep, knife would. The remaining three invaders watched them intently. It seemed that their purpose was not to attack, but merely to keep them from reaching the upper floors.

     Jack slowly marched up the stairs, to watch judgement he did not know. That left three opponents on the stairs. Three road blocks between him and his father. Jack held no weapons except the knife that he had taken. Fair odds to them. The first opponent dove down the stairs. Jack swayed to the left side and rammed the blade into the side of his head. He had no time to celebrate his victory, because it quickly became apparent why he had jumped forward so eagerly. He was playing the sacrifice for his mates.

     The second attacker already had a blade aimed for Jack’s neck. His movements down the stairs were calm and sure. Jack swayed back to the right and swung the first assailant into his compatriot’s path. The blade aimed at Jack hit his former friend in the back with a hollow thud. Reaching around his makeshift shield, Jack snatched his collar and held him still and grabbed the knife from his first attacker, using it to calmly finish the second attacker as well. The third opponent, seeing his friends taken out so easily, turned and ran up the stairs with Jack following, stepping around the fallen. Two flights left, the stale air grew staler and the smell of whiskey grew stronger. At the top of the third flight of stairs, Jack looked down the hall and found his last attacker standing with another man, likely the one in charge of this suicide mission. They stood before the door that had so often been a major part of Jack’s nightmares. He turned his head when he heard Jack’s footsteps on the stairs.

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