I looked online for a better name to call what I am now than skeleton monster. The only thing I found that’s kind of close is gashadokuro which is Japanese so I can’t use that because of cultural appropriation. Western cultures must not be as into skeleton creatures as eastern culture are. Grim reaper doesn’t sound right. That’s a job not a type of thing.
With my new skeleton powers I put my wrestling “career” on hold. Maybe I’ll go back to it some day. Maybe not. Now that I’ve died and come back to life as a skeleton monster it seems kind of silly to go pretend fight. I don’t need money anymore so why do it?
Many times I’ve heard comic book people debate if Superman is a jerk for having an alter ego instead of Superman-ing all the time. I’ve never heard a conclusion, like most debates there isn’t an answer. I’ll have to decide that one for myself. When I became a super cool wizard in my first life I never thought, well this is all I should do now all the time now, but I felt a level of responsibility. Turning into a supernatural being is another level.
You know what’s funny? I miss performing. I thought I only wrestled for the paltry money and for a reason to be on the road. Turns out that I liked it. Ain’t that a kick in the britches?
I can see the bugs inside people, and I can exterminate them, but I sadly have not developed any supernatural skeleton way to track them back to the source. An infestation begins with a bug-wizard making a deal, and then they infect others. And the wizards stay hidden away so all you ever see out and about are the drones doing their bidding.
I went back to Galesburg and started circling out from there checking other call centers. Which is what I should have done back when this all started in the first place. I think I didn’t then because I was upset about Christie Lane killing himself. I felt responsible. Things like that bothered me when I was alive the first time. It still bothers me a little this time around, but not as much.
Dying puts things in perspective.
The anxieties and stress that I had the first time I was alive are still there, they’re not gone entirely. It’s like they’re under several feet of mud. They can come to the surface once in a while but it takes so much effort for them to make it up to bother me that by the time they do instead of filling me with self-recrimination they just go “eh” and wave it off. They’re too tired to mess with me.
The head bug in charge didn’t run too far. Camdenton is only five hours from Galesburg. There’s no footage of that one. I fritzed all the camera and phones in the entire building before I went in. I can do that now. Being a scary skeleton monster has supercharged my magic reserves. Aside from being a crazy skeleton monster it’s a pretty good thing I have going on.
Plenty of people who worked at that call center talked about it afterwards, but there’s no footage. How could they not talk about it? What would you do if you were at work one day and then a fiery skeleton came in and started yanking insectile horrors out of everyone?
I had only ever seen 5 or 6 of them in a nest before. This place had dozens of them. It took me hours to stalk through the entire building and get them all. That active shooter training they make people take works because it was hard to find them all. They were hiding very well. People get really inventive when their lives are on the line.
It made me wonder for the 11 millionth time how these things haven’t already taken over the world and enslaved the human race. There must be something that limits them. Maybe there’s some other worse monster out there that eats them.
I used to think that it was impossible to get the bug-spirit out of someone and keep them alive. Now it’s easy. I just yank them out and the person is fine. Well, not fine, they’re traumatized as fuck because they were being puppeteered by a inhumane force , but they’re alive is the point. That means when I find bug patient zero, the asshole who made the deal to destroy the world unwittingly, I can debug them and they can tell me who all they infested.
It was a long list from call center manager guy. But I got them all.
The good news is that I haven’t met a ground zero asshole who’s so much of an asshole that they won’t help me after I fumigate their soul. Not yet anyway. Being possessed by an alien entity like this is so bad that no one wants it to happen once they know. No one. Not yet anyway. Somewhere out there there’s probably someone who’s such a nihilistic sadistic asshole that even after they know what it’s like they’ll want it to continue and wash over the entire world. I just hope they don’t have the magic gene too.
After Galesburg I went back to Needles and every other place I had encountered the bugs so far to do the same thing. Once that was done I just started wandering the land like Jules from Pulp Fiction. I learned out that they avoid the big-big-big cities but they need to be where there are people too. Like a second-tier comedian or an elite independent wrestler they thrive in places like Ithaca, Bethlehem, Hattiesburg, Des Moines, and Evansville.
I was dead but things were going great. I really felt like I was doing something. Like I was saving the world, no joking this time.
Then the Devil showed up.