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Long Road to Ruin

Everything happened so fast.

They all took a minute to process what had just taken place. It was Chris who spoke first. "Okay... what the fuck is going on? When Alison said you were acting strange, she wasn't kidding."

Dave rolled his eyes. "So that's why you're here? Alison asked you to check on us?"

"Technically, it was Cara, but Alison asked her to call me."

Dave imagined all their wives chatting out by the hotel pool, trying to figure out what was going on here from all those miles away. This was the only way they had of finding out. Getting on a plane and coming home would be complicated with the huge brood of children and grandparents they had out there in Hawaii. Besides, they had no idea just how serious things were here, how much danger everyone was in. "I knew it." He looked at Nicky. "Your screwup on the phone brought him here."

Nicky shrugged.

"That's all you've got to say?"

Now he grinned. "It's okay. I can handle this."

"Oh really? Now you've got two grown men to control."

Chris cut in again. "Guys? What... the hell... is going... ON?!"

Dave felt sorry for him. Chris really had no idea what he'd walked into. "You remember me telling you I had a ghost in my house? How it came in with the statue?" He nodded to the painted mannequin against the wall near Chris's head.

"Uh huh?"

"Meet the ghost," Dave finished, and gestured with his eyes to Taylor.

Nicky looked at Chris and wiggled his eyebrows.


Sighing, Dave tried to explain better. "Chris, we contacted the ghost with a Ouija board and it possessed Taylor. Taylor's been sedated somehow; the ghost is in control of his body."

Chris laughed. "That's not possible."

"I didn't think so either, but would Taylor attack you and throw you down the stairs? Look at his eyes."

Peeking from under the shirt still held to his forehead, Chris looked; Nicky opened his eyes wide for him. "Oh hell. Taylor's eyes aren't blue, are they?"

Dave shook his head.

Trying to take it all in, Chris eventually said, "Well fuck. No wonder he seemed weird on the phone."

"Nicky, look at me," Dave commanded. Nicky did, a mischievous grin on his face. "You can't hurt him." When Nicky said nothing in reply, Dave began to plead for Chris's life. "Please don't hurt my friend."

"I don't want to hurt him yet," Nicky replied, looking at the wound on Chris's head. "If you screw up again, and I have to blow Taylor's head off.." He patted Chris's chest with his free hand. "...I have a spare." And he snickered like this was incredibly funny to him.

Chris wasn't sure he understood all that, but he still looked horrified, with wide, trapped eyes, in reaction to the part about blowing Taylor's head off.

Laying his head back on the chaise, Dave sighed again. "You are an evil little fuckhead, you know that?"

Nicky smiled so big, he showed most of Taylor's teeth. "I know." He checked Chris's head one last time. "I don't think this will need stitches. You got any butterfly bandages?"

Closing his eyes, Dave shrugged.

"I'll check. Don't you two go anywhere." Nicky chuckled his way up the stairs.

Frustrated and worried, Dave raised his head and said, "Oh God, Shiflett, I wish you hadn't come over here. I wish you weren't involved in this at all."

"Dave... who is this ghost?"

He had to laugh. "Like this doesn't sound crazy enough already. Does the name Austin Nicholas Kelly mean anything to you?"

Chris thought about it. "Wasn't he a mass murderer or something? Some guy killed him in prison and they think he was paid to do it by the father of one of Kelly's victims, but they couldn't prove it?"

"You're on the right track, but he was a serial killer."

"Oh, right." An extreme look of panic and horror came to Chris's face; he was all eyes. "That's who is possessing Taylor? A serial killer?!"

Dave nodded. "I'm so sorry, Chris. I'm sorry you walked into this. I never should have let him talk to Alison. I should have known he would slip up."

Chris didn't seem to be so concerned with how he got there. Looking out for the welfare of Dave and Taylor was just part of his life, his friendship with them. Instead, he asked a question that to him seemed obvious. "How did the ghost of a serial killer get in that statue?"

For his own part, Dave hadn't even considered that. "That's a good question."

As if on cue, Nicky came back downstairs with a box of butterfly bandages. "Found some. I guess when you have kids, you gotta have a medicine cabinet stocked with all kinds of Band-Aids."

When Nicky came at him with the first bandage, Chris shrunk into the couch, trying to get away from the serial killer. "Oh come on," Nicky said. "If I was trying to hurt you, would I be putting these bandages on your head? Relax."

Chris tried to, but he mumbled, "You just brained me with a beer bottle and threw me down the stairs."

A ripple of anger passed over Nicky's face. "Just shut up and lie still."

Dave watched him use the bandages to close Chris's wound with the care of someone who had medical training. It was ironic, that a person who had spent all that time in medical school would wind up taking lives. "Nicky, how did your soul get in the statue?"

Nicky stopped moving for a few seconds, as if the question had literally stopped the working of his brain. Then he shrugged and opened another bandage. "I dunno. I spent a lot of years in Hell, and then one day, I was just looking out of the statue's eyes."

Dave had spent enough time around children and drug addicts to know what the body language of lying looked like. "I don't think you're telling me the truth. I think you know more."

"I don't care what you think," Nicky said quite clearly, and looked Dave in the eye. Dave couldn't help but shudder. He kept trying to exert dominance in this... relationship?... and Nicky kept pushing him back down. "If I did know more, do you think I'd tell you?" His tone became condescending and sarcastic. "Here's all the information you need to know about how I got here. Please put me back in. Yeah, right."

So there was a way to put him back in the statue? Dave became very quiet, attempting to figure this whole thing out.

"Okay, that looks good." Nicky considered his handiwork on Chris's head with pride. "Should heal with minimal scarring. Now, apparently, you're Chris, as that what Dave called you... you can just call me Nicky. You're in the Foo Fighters too..." He snapped a few times as if trying to remember something. "You play... guitar? No, Pat plays guitar."

"I also play guitar."

Nicky looked confused. "But doesn't Dave also play...? This band has three guitarists?"

Both Chris and Dave nodded.

"Isn't that a bit excessive?"

Chris and Dave both shrugged. "I like the sound it creates," Dave added.

Nicky smiled knowingly to himself. The band didn't need all those guitarists, he thought. Dave just liked these people too much to fire anybody. These guys were his closest friends. They were special to him, and because of that, they all made good bargaining chips for Nicky to keep Dave compliant. "Well... I better go clean up the mess in the kitchen."

Once Nicky had made his way upstairs, Dave remarked, "You ever want to get rid of that guy, just make a mess somewhere."

"Dave, what does he know about the band? Didn't he die a really long time ago?"

"Earlier today, he found the pictures on my phone, and I told him who everyone was."

"But, is he conscious of who you are?" Chris asked.

"Well, yeah. When he was alive, he was a really big fan of Nirvana," Dave replied.

"The fuck?" Chris exclaimed. "First, he's not a regular person, he's a serial killer. Then he's a fan of Nirvana, and he winds up in your house. Isn't that a strange coincidence?"

Shrugging, Dave said, "It is, but fuck all if I can make sense of it. Taylor made the same point, by the way. During the séance. Nicky recognized me and Tee said it was a weird coincidence. But how can it be anything but a coincidence?"

Chris sighed. "So what do we do now? Cara is expecting me to call her back."

"Shiflett... I've been trying to get away for hours now, but Nicky keeps threatening to shoot Taylor in the head if I act up. That's what he meant, when he said you'd be his spare. If I screw up and he shoots Taylor, he'll possess you next."

Chris recoiled deeper into the couch. "But I don't want to be possessed!"

"I'm going to do every last thing I can to keep that from happening. If Taylor dies because of me..." He stopped as a wave of emotion choked him for a moment. "But you have to do what he says too. You have to let him help you call Cara and tell her everything's okay, that Taylor's sick and that's why he was acting weird, and he's taking a nap now. If they think something is really wrong and send another person over here, someone else is going to be hurt. Maybe killed. It could be Taylor. It could be one of us. Even if the police are sent, Nicky is not going down easily. I mean, the guy has nothing to lose. He's already dead."

"But, if we're not going to try to get help, how are we going to get out of this?" Chris asked.

Dave lowered his voice to a whisper. "Either one of us has got to overpower him when we have a chance, without Taylor getting hurt, or we have to figure out how to wake up Taylor."

Dave jumped, his face alarmed, as he heard Nicky coming down the stairs. "Pss pss pss, so much whispering," he said, a beer in his hand. He had put on a new shirt. "Your wife sent you over here, right? So we need to call her?"

Dave quickly laid out his plan to get the wives to calm down.

"Sounds good. Let's do it." He turned to Chris. "Where's your phone?"

Chris squirmed a bit as Nicky dug around under him, looking for the back pocket where he'd said his phone would be. He especially squirmed because Nicky insisted on looking for the phone by putting both arms around his waist and rooting around with shameless hands. "Ah, here it is." Nicky pulled out the phone, but still hovered near Chris's body. This was fun, making the guy uncomfortable. He looked into Chris's face. "You have very pretty eyes."

Chris's eyes darted about as if this whole exchange felt awkward to him. "Uh, thanks," he mumbled.

There was something in this reaction that spoke volumes. Nicky could feel it. Being groped for his phone hadn't freaked him out nearly as much as one would think; in fact, the guy had started to tremble a little, as if maybe he liked it. The expression on Chris's face certainly didn't look scared, not right now, anyway. Nicky couldn't wait to get to the bottom of this one. Perhaps there was something there he could use to make Dave jealous. Maybe that's what he needed to get over his reservations.

Nicky looked over at Dave. Dave had been watching them, but now he looked away, trying to seem casual. Ahhhh... no matter who was in control of this body, they still saw Taylor, felt Taylor, thought of Taylor... and wanted Taylor? It was only when they were reminded who was in charge that they remembered. That was okay. Dave would learn soon enough how this arrangement was going to work.

In the meantime, Nicky could have him some fun.

They made the call to Cara, which went smoothly enough that all the wives said to tell Taylor to feel better and get some rest. When it was done, Nicky confiscated the phone with a grin. "Well... looks like we've got ourselves a party here. Should I be expecting anymore people today? You got a gardener or a nanny coming over?"

"Not that I know of," Dave replied. "Everybody else is in Hawaii. I wouldn't go by Taylor's house, though. He's got somebody coming in every day to feed his dogs."

"Alright, then. I wanna have a good time tonight," Nicky declared, and clapped his hands loudly. "We need movies. There have been two movies made about me. I want to see them again." He turned to Dave. "You have a Blockbuster Video card, don't you?"

Dave explained to him about the demise of Blockbuster Video, the existence of Red Box, and other ways to see movies besides renting them. Nicky seemed to want to do what he was used to, and prepared to go out to a Red Box to get the movies. Chris had already begun to squirm again, seeming uncomfortable.

"Just how long are you going to keep us chained up like this?" he finally asked.

Dave swallowed hard. It was better not to press Nicky, to remind him that the clock was ticking. What would he do when time ran out?

With a dangerous grin, Nicky sat on the very edge of the couch and wiggled a finger in Chris's face to annoy him. "As long as I feel like. That okay with you?"

Chris tried to laugh it off. "Uh, sure. Sure." There was nothing else he could do.

"Good. Anybody gotta pee before I go?"

They both did, and was that ever an awkward bit of business for Dave and Chris and a fun bit for Nicky. If they didn't like that, they were going to hate the next part. "While I'm gone, I'm going to give you both half a Morphecil. It'll put you to sleep for a couple hours. I can't have you talking too much while I'm gone. Planning things."

Shaking his head, Dave protested, "Nicky, you can't keep drugging people. You're not a doctor. You're gonna overdose us."

"No, I'm a nurse, the actual person who administers the medicine in the hospital. I know what I'm doing." Nicky took the bottle out of his pocket and went to open the beer he had brought.

Chris tried not to panic. "What's Morphecil?"

"It's the tranquilizer the doctor gave me when I couldn't sleep," Dave explained.

"You're going to have to be more specific. You never sleep."

"Haha, Shiflett. It was about a year ago."

"Oh, then those pills are expired." Chris eyed the bottle in Nicky's hand. "I don't want to take someone else's expired medicine."

"Trust me, they still work," Nicky assured.

Dave cringed.

"But, they'll knock me out." Chris pulled at the handcuffs, wriggling on the couch. "I don't want to be knocked out."

Here's where they stopped seeing him as Taylor and easily remembered he was Nicky. "I don't care what you want." Nicky took a little contraption he'd picked up at the drug store out of his pocket and used it to cut the pill in half. "You'll only be out for a short time."

Dave almost said, "He's only going to suck your dick while you're asleep," to be sarcastic, but decided against it. Chris didn't know about all the sexual stuff they'd done.

Why did he think Chris didn't know about that yet?

When Nicky came at him with the pill, Chris struggled, pushing himself up the couch. "No, no, I don't want that."

"Chris, don't fight! It's okay, just take it," Dave said. It was no use, Nicky was going to get what he wanted one way or another, and Chris could get hurt if he protested.

Chris was panicking too much to stop. Nicky climbed on the couch and straddled Chris's waist, sitting on him. He was chuckling. Chris struggled to get out from under him, but there was nowhere to go. Nicky rode the bucking bronco for a short time, enjoying it, before leaning down and taking hold of Chris's face. "Take the damn pill, or I'll get Dave's gun and blow Taylor's head off. Do you want to be responsible for that? Do you want to explain that to his kids? 'I'm sorry, I was afraid to take a pill.' Huh?"

"Okay, don't hurt anyone, okay? I'll take the pill," Chris agreed, his face alarmed. He allowed Nicky to put the half pill in his mouth and give him a swig of beer to wash it down. Nicky insisted he take a few more swallows.

"There we go. That wasn't so hard." Out of nowhere, he leaned in and whispered in Chris's ear. "You like Taylor, don't you? You gotta little thing for him? Hm?" And he kissed the ear, making Chris quiver.

Chris willed himself not to moan out loud at the shockwave that moved through him in reaction. "No," he replied.

"Liar." Nicky grinned from ear to ear as he got up and off of Chris.

Dave was staring at them, unsure what had just happened. This was fun, Nicky thought. Not wanting to leave him out, Nicky swung a leg over Dave and straddled him too, offering him the pill. Dave squirmed under him, one eye on Chris. What would he think?

"Here's yours," Nicky said, and placed the pill on Dave's waiting tongue.

"Alcohol intensifies the effect, right?" Dave said after swallowing down the pill with a few extra swigs of beer.

Nicky nodded. "That's my boy."

He got up and prepared to leave, causing Dave to suddenly call after him with alarm. "Wait, you can't go!"

"Why not?"

"Because... because you might encounter someone. You might... I can't see what you're doing when you're not here, and..." He couldn't keep his composure anymore. "Please, please don't hurt anyone."

"What? Why are you even saying that to me?"

"Because... you... you killed people."

Nicky scoffed. "You think I'm an idiot or something? I just kill anyone I can get my hands on? I may be a 'serial killer,'" He accentuated the words by making air quotes with his fingers. "...but that doesn't mean I'm not discerning. I have a type. I only do it when it's necessary. Anyway, I'm not dumb enough to kill any guy I come upon. You think I want to go back to prison?" Clearly, Dave's concerns made him quite angry. Nicky continued, "If I wanted to kill someone, there isn't a goddamn thing you could do to stop me, so stop acting like you're in control here. I call the shots, not you, not..." Looking at Chris, he snapped his fingers a few times.

He eventually said, "...Chris."

Nicky gave a nod and finished his thought, "...not Chris, and definitely not Taylor. You get that through your thick skull." With that, Nicky went up the stairs and left the house.

Dave was just beginning to feel the effects of the drug. He giggled. "He forgot your name," he said to Chris.

Chris looked over at him. "I'm starting to feel really warm," he said. "Like, good warm. Is that normal?"

"Yeah." This was definitely happening much slower than the last time. Nicky must've given him at least two pills before. "It feels good, huh?"

"It does." They were quiet for a short time. Then Chris asked, "Dave, what's going to happen to us?"

"We're gonna get out of this somehow. You, me, and Taylor." But did he even believe it himself? "Chris, what if... what if he hurts someone while he's out? Taylor would be the one who would get in trouble."

Chris brought up a possibility that only he had considered. "What if... well, what if he's not possessed? Did you ever think maybe Taylor just... you know, kind of flipped his lid? Maybe he's sick, man."

Shaking his head, Dave replied, "No, dude. You saw his eyes. Sometimes they switch between blue and brown, rapidly. That's not normal. That's not mental illness." He sighed. "That's supernatural."

"When do they switch like that? I want to see it."

Dave had no idea what to say. "I don't know how to explain it," he finally said. His voice broke as he voiced more of his fears. "What if the girls get really worried about us and come home? What would Nicky do to my wife if she walked in here?"

"Dave, don't do that," Chris scolded. "Don't start worrying about shit that most likely will not happen. Okay? I need you to keep your head about you. We have to keep our heads and stick together."

Since this whole thing started, Dave hadn't had someone to pour out all of his fears to, except maybe Kurt. Now he had trouble stopping. "Nobody's ever going to believe this, man. If Nicky kills someone, Taylor will be blamed and his life will be ruined. No one will believe a ghost did it."

"Dave? Stop it. You heard him. This guy doesn't want to go back to prison. He just wants to have a good time."

"He wants his life back," Dave added. Laying his head back on the chaise lounge, he sighed and closed his eyes. "Nicky wants to return to life. To use Taylor's body to do whatever he wants. And take whatever he wants."

Biting his bottom lip, Chris thought this would be a good time to voice his own concerns, since Dave had mentioned Nicky taking what he wanted. "Dave, I think he kinda... kinda wants to take... uh... I think he wants to fuck us."

Dave had to laugh. "Yeah. I don't know about you, but he's already... um, expressed his intention to fuck his favorite member of Nirvana, yeah."

"Oh, God... before he left, he asked me if I had a thing for Taylor, and kissed my ear. Dave, what are we gonna do?"

Dave said nothing for several long moments. Finally, he answered, "I don't know, Chris. I think it could get really awkward in here before the night is over. But we just gotta do what we have to to survive."

They both fell silent, each wondering what they would do, how they would handle it, when Nicky inevitably climbed on top of them again. And they fell asleep.

Kurt met them in the mindscape.

Notes: I recently found a picture of Dave on vacation... in Hawaii... with his family... on Spring Break. :O It's a few years old, but it has actually happened. I just picked Hawaii because it's so damn beautiful.

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