Actions

Work Header

Ghost(face)hunters' Academy

Work Text:

It had been a year since he thought about him. A year since he crawled back to his father with his tail between his legs. A year since he gave a single thought about the supernatural. And ever since that day, he threw himself head first into the corporate lifestyle he never knew he wanted. He worked because the alternative was to remember-- remember what was and what never could be again. But today, he had some time to slow down and he decided to use that time to do some spring cleaning on his personal computer.

He narrowed his eyes to slits as he deleted his They Might Be Giants mp3s. He wrinkled his nose as he purged his computer of TNG fan theories. He actually let out a grunt of disgust as he deleted his D&D character sheets. But he hesitated as his mouse hovered over a folder labeled Thinman. His mouth formed each syllable of the word, but no sound escaped his lips. He forced himself to take a deep breath as he dragged the ugly reminder of his past to the trash. The final remnants of his former life were now erased.

He felt a tightness begin to grow in his chest. He realized he was still holding his breath. He let it out slowly, and a wave a nostalgia washed over him. He opened up his internet browser and ran a search for Streetfighter II. Just one round for old time’s sake. He clicked the first link and waited for the site to load and that’s when Harry Spangler noticed the ad on the sidebar . . . 


It had been a year since Harry left him. And not a single day had gone by where he didn’t feel the pangs of regret. But Ed Zeddmore kept himself busy. He sought out the supernatural. He blogged about his (mis)adventures across the country. At one point, he had gained some online notoriety for potential documentation of an actual Puppet Master ala Ghost in the Shell. However, it was soon discovered that the information was doctored and that was when Ed lost all credibility. Thus began his downward spiral.

That’s when he started to delve into the realm of tin hat conspiracy theories about reptilians and the Illuminati. One day, when the backlash of his speculations became too much to bare, he decided that winning a few matches of his favorite game would put him in a better mood. He was waiting for the online emulator to load when an advertisement caught his eye . . .


 

GHOST HUNTERS ACADEMY

Get schooled . . . in the paranormal.

Accepting applications through April 1st! 


 

Unbeknownst to each other, the two former Ghostfacers filled out applications to the reality TV show. Neither could explain why they felt compelled to do so, only that they just knew they had to.

Well-versed in the art of fine print, Harry carefully avoided references to his past as a “professional” ghost hunter in order to avoid being disqualified. He listed his skills and qualifications and wrote a short essay on his interest in the show.

Disillusioned and somewhat disgusted with himself for stooping so low, Ed wrote a 29 page essay explaining everything wrong with the methodology used by the Ghosthunters and how he, an expert supernaturalist, would have done it.

Needless to say, only Harry was called in for an interview.

Needless to say, Ed showed up anyway. 


 

Harry arrived at the Ghosthunters’ headquarters an hour early as was specified on his invitation. As he walked into the building, someone was being escorted out. That someone (who in Harry’s personal opinion was in desperate need of a shower and a shave) must have recognized him because he started to shout his name.

“Harry? Harry!” he cried trying to break free from of the hold of the security guards flanking him. “HARRY SPENGLER! Is that really you?”

Harry looked toward the crazed man. It couldn’t be. He stopped dead in his tracks. His jaw went slack while every other muscle in his body tensed, ready to turn tail and leave. This was a bad idea.

“Hey, Harry!” Ed repeated. He locked eyes with Harry and silently begged him to play along,. “It’s my friend, Harry.” Ed continued although he lowered his gaze as he spoke the word ‘friend.’ Harry just continued to silently stare.“So if you wouldn’t mind getting your grimy, ogre-hands off of me, I would very much so like to talk with my friend.”

“Do you know this man?” Asked one of the guards.

“Ed?!” Harry whispered incredulously.

The guards shared a knowing look and simultaneously, albeit tentatively released their grip on Ed. Ed took less than a second to compose himself. He glared at each guard in turn and then walked confidently over to Harry wrapping both arms around the dumbfounded man.

“Dude, I missed you man.” 

Harry just stood, stiff as a board, in Ed’s arms.

“Hey, uh . . . listen, I know this is a bit of a surprise and that well . . . we didn’t exactly part on the best of terms, but um, I gotta ask you a favor. You gotta get me back in there. I promise you won’t regret it.”

Harry didn’t answer. Ed wasn’t even sure if he was listening.

“Please. You’re my only friend.” He begged.

Harry definitely was listening. Ed could feel his body grow tense. He could feel his breath becoming more shallow and rapid.

“Why would I?!” Harry hissed.

“Just . . . you gotta trust me.” Ed answered.

“Last time I trusted you . . .”

“Trust me.” Ed repeated with every ounce of urgency and sincerity he could muster.

Every nerve in Harry’s brain shouted ‘No!’ but every fiber in his heart screamed ‘Yes.’ And while Harry’s brain and heart waged war against each other, his head, of it’s own accord, began to slowly bob up and down. 


 

Somehow, Ed talked Harry into escorting him back into the building.

Somehow Ed convinced Harry to take full responsibility for any and all of his actions.

Somehow Ed weaseled his way into Harry’s interview. 

Harry and Ed walked into the room where there Steve and Tango sat behind a plastic, grey, folding table.

“We only called one candidate.” Steve asserted.

Tango checked a clipboard. He ran a finger down it and stopped about halfway. “A Spangler. Harold Spangler.”

Steve raised an eyebrow at Tango. “Spangler?” he whispered so only his partner could hear. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“That’s me.” Harry replied sheepishly raising his hand.

“Sir, sorry, but if you don’t mind, you’ll have to wait outside until your name is called Mr. uh  . . .” Tango waited for a response.

“Zeddmore.” Harry provided. “If it’s not too much of a hassle, he can stay. He’s my uh . . . well . . . he’s my friend.”

Tango tried to put on a smile while Steve rolled his eyes so loudly the other interviewees could probably hear it out in the waiting area. Meanwhile, Ed was so happy, he couldn’t find the words to thank his old friend. Instead, he turned and kissed him square on the lips.

Friend, right.” Tango repeated.

“Spangler and Zeddmore? Really?” Steve snorted.

Harry laughed nervously. “I know. Haha. We get that all the time. Who ya gonna call?”

“Ghostfac--” Ed was interrupted by Harry coughing loudly and pointedly. “Ghostbusters!”


 Harry said surprisingly little during the interview, but it didn’t matter. Steve and Tango decided almost immediately that these two freaks would be a great addition for the show. Spangler and Zeddmore: the gay lovers. Their casting director agreed. Pre-show training would commence in two weeks. 


 

Ed and Harry had little contact over the next couple of weeks. Harry unceremoniously took a leave of absence from his job. His dad tried to reason with him. He reminded him of what happened the last time he went out looking for ghosts. As if Harry needed a reminder of those physical and emotional stab wounds from his last venture as a supernaturalist. But Ed made him sign the damn contract before they left the Ghosthunters’ office and so there really was no other alternative. 

Pre-show training was less training about ghost hunting and more training for how to present yourself on camera. It turned out that the competitors actually came from pretty diverse set of backgrounds: mediums, skeptics, and amateur ghost hunters were all in the running. But everyone was also fairly well-versed in supernatural lore and basic ghost hunting techniques. Sure, most of them wouldn’t know a real ghost if it smacked them in the face, but at least they weren’t complete fools.

Then finally, their two months of training were complete. It was time to head to their first site. And it was a big one. It wasn’t a room, or a house, or even a mental institution. It was an entire friggin’ town. One of the most haunted towns in the United States: Jerome, Arizona. Home of the Ghost City Inn. According to Harry and Ed’s sources, the bed and breakfast was more of a tourist trap than anything else, but there were some pretty traumatic deaths in the city’s past involving mining accidents and even . . . murder. And there certainly were some very real hot spots of supernatural activity.


 

Ed and Harry were tasked with reading up on the history of the site for their first haunt. The pair traded notes on their trip to Jerome. It felt just like old times. Well, at least until it was time to present their information to the rest of their competitors and to the camera. They struggled through several takes as they mbled over each other’s sentences .

“It turns out that there are some really hot spots in this town, right Spengler?”

“That’s right, Winston.” Harry growled through his teeth.

“Screw you, Egon.”

“”Screw me? Screw this!” he said shoving his notes off the desk.

“Oh, c’mon it’s not so bad.” Ed said in an attempt to console his friend.

“Really? Really? Not so bad? As if it’s not bad enough that we have to call each other Spengler and Zeddmore on camera at all times . . . but the whole ‘Who ya gonna call? Ghosthunters!’ line? That’s just too far, man.”

CUT!” someone shouted and the other competitors let out a defeated groan.

The cast and crew reset and they started their spiel again.

“The most active sites seem to be the church, the graveyard, and the infamous “Husband Alley” where the strangling of prostitute Sammie Dean remains unsolved to this very day.” Harry deadpanned. Sammie Dean. Could that really be just a coincidence? The crew waited for the next line. Harry’s nostrils flared subtly before before he added, “If there’s something strange in your neighborhood . . .”

“Who ya gonna call?” Ed asked.

“GHOST HUNTERS!” cheered the remaining competitors.


After they arrived on site, it quickly became apparent to Ed and Harry, if not the rest of their competitors that Steve and Tango were less ghost hunters and more crappy special effects artists. They went around “checking equipment” or in less vague terms, setting up cheesy effects with mini-speakers and invisible wires. 

Night came quickly and the competitors settled into their positions. Tonight they would be  investigating the English Kitchen, a small, supposedly haunted restaurant across the street from the infamous Husband Alley. Ed and Harry were stationed in a small, dry-goods supply closet in the basement. They were armed with nothing more than a night-vision camera. The space was too cramped for a cameraman to squeeze in with them, so that was their only recording device besides one poorly angled camera mounted in the upper left corner. It was almost as if Steve and Tango didn’t want to record any activity going on in that room. 


“Ugh, it smells like a barn down here.” Ed kvetched.

“It does . . .” Harry agreed.

“So, do you like, sense anything, Parkman?”

“Heroes? Really? I thought you had better taste than that.”

“Shut up.”

“No, you shut up.” Harry said as he invaded Ed’s personal space, threatening to get physical.

“Why don’t you tell me how you really feel, Egon.”

“Why don’t you just go f--”

“SHUT UP!” Ed snapped.

“God, please don’t start this again.”

“No. Shh! Stop talking! Did you hear that?” he whispered.

“Hear what?” Harry moaned.

“Shhhh . . .” Ed quieted. He flipped on the handheld camera and panned the space.

Harry and Ed froze and strained their ears, but heard nothing.

“What did it sound like?” Harry asked without any evidence of their quarrel left in his voice.

“Footsteps, but . . . . not . . . footsteps?”

“Watch out, competitors. We got a real wordsmith on our hands here.” Harry snarked.

“What I mean is, that it was footsteps, but something sounded, I dunno. Off. Like they were limping or something? No, that’s not it either.”

Clop-clop! Clop-clop! Neigh!

“Did you just . . .” Ed and Harry asked at the same time.

They turned toward each other and nodded slowly. Ed began to nervously scratch at his neck. They waited in silence for another minute before Ed turned the handycam toward himself and whispered, “We just heard what sounded like a horse. Hopefully the audio recorders caught that.”

Clop-clop! Clop-clop! Neigh!

The duo look around the closet again and that was when Harry spotted a dull red glow inside an otherwise innocuous looking sack of rice. He carefully maneuvered over to the bag and pulled out a small speaker. As he did, the device played again.

Clop-clop! Clop-clop! Neigh!

Ed removed his hand from his neck and waved it in front of the device.

Clop-clop! Clop-clop! Neigh!

This was going to be a long night.


 

As the evening wore on, the small dry-goods storage closet grew warmer rather than cooler. And despite the lack of light, it was clear that Ed was beginning to break out in hives. 

“They must’ve have sprinkled horse hair in here in addition to the speaker.” Ed complained.

“Talk about a health code violation.” Harry added.

“Help.”

“Hello?” Harry ventured.

“Hello to you too.” Ed answered in his sultriest voice.

“Not you. Did you just hear that?”

“Hear what? It’s probably just another speaker.”

“No. Steve and Tango didn’t set us up with EVP equipment. Why would they put a disembodied voice down here without a means to record it?”

“I don’t know. Why would they spread horsehair all over a food pantry?”

“Point taken.”

“Ooo.” Ed shivered.

“You okay?” Harry asked. “How are the hives?”

“I’ll live. It was just a chill.” Ed’s eyes widened. Despite the dim light, he could see his breath condense in front of him. He moved closer to Harry . . . for safety.

“Cold spot.” Harry took a deep breath. “Okay. This could be a ghost. A real one. We need a plan.” He continued doling out instructions and taking control of the situation. “Um. Salt. This is the dry-goods closet, there’s gotta be some salt around here somewhere. Ed, help me look.”

Ed was still frozen with fright. Harry grabbed both his shoulders, looked him straight in the eye, and said, “We’ve got this Ed. Salt. We have to find some salt.”

Ed nodded and the pair ransacked the shelves looking for salt. Sweat poured down both their faces. Maybe it was the stress, but it really did feel warm in this closet.

Ed felt Harry’s hands on his shoulders again. “What is it this time? I’m looking for your damn salt, okay?”

“Ed, you say something?” Harry inquired.

Harry’s voice wasn’t coming from where he expected it. Ed turned slowly and found himself face to face with an honest-to-goodness woman in white.

“Harry?”

“Yeah, Ed.”

“I uh-- I found it.”

“Good. Go pour it under the door. This way we’ll be safe until we can think of a plan.”

“No. I uh-- uh-- I found . . . it.” he clarified.

“Help me.” The woman in white pleaded.

Harry turned, sack of salt in his hands. He made eye contact with the woman in white and struggled to open the bag of salt without success. In a panic, he tossed the whole thing at the spirit. It dissolved as the sack hit Ed in the chest, knocking the air out of his lungs. They shared a smile before remembering that they had to protect the room. They struggled to tear open the sack of salt, but it was sealed tightly.

Just then a different spirit walked through the closed door.

“Such a shame,” it drawled.

This ghost looked like a genuine cowboy. Not the kind from the movies, but the kind you’d find out west back in the late 1800s. The kind you wouldn’t want to cross.

“What’s a shame?” Harry asked as innocently as possible.

The ghost looked up as if it had just noticed the two humans clinging to each other in the corner of the pantry.

“What did you say, boy?” The ghost asked glaring at the two boys. He wore a slouch hat, suspenders, and flannel shirt with a polka-dotted bandana tied around his neck.In his belt there was a holster where a bowie knife should be, but was thankfully missing.

“He said, ‘What’s a shame?’” Ed swallowed, then added, “Um . . . sir.”

“Well, seems you boys have sent my Sammie Dean away. So I find that I’m in need of someone new to occupy my time.” His smiled the greasiest smile that either man had ever seen.

“How’d you know Sammie?” Harry asked hoping to buy them some time.

“Sammie’s my whore. Has been since ‘31.”

“Oh. Well, we’re not the whoring type, but if you want, I could always point you in the right direction.” Ed offered in earnest.

“Oh, I think you’ll do just fine, boy.” He replied licking his lips. “Now, who’s first?”

Neither ghostfacer answered that question.

“Blushing beauties, I see. I suppose I’ll just have to take a closer look at you myself.”

The ghost reached out grabbed each man by their shirt collar. Then he started glow. No. He started to burn. Ed and Harry’s clothes caught fire and they wailed as they tried to beat down the flames.

“Is anybody down here?” Someone bellowed outside the closet door.

“YES!” The ghostfacers screamed.

“Stand back!” Another, deeper voice demanded.

Someone kicked the door in and there stood Sam and Dean Winchester.

“Did you know these fools were back together, Sammy?” Dean growled.

“Dean, why would I know that?” Sam bitched.

“That was a rhetorical question.”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Are you okay?” he asked.

Ed waited a beat before flinging himself at Sam. “THANK YOU!” he wailed.

Sam stood with both arms in the air looking genuinely confused about whether or not he should return the embrace. “You’re uh . . . welcome?” he said.

Harry offered Sam a sympathetic look before making eye contact with Dean.

“You’re welcome.” Dean said before Harry or Ed has the opportunity to initiate a hug.

‘Thank you,’ Harry nodded.

“But if you don’t mind me asking, what the hell are you guys doing here?” Dean gruffed. 

Both ghostfacers attempted to talk at once while Sam and Dean exchanged confused looks.

“Actually, nevermind.” Dean shook his head. “You kids be safe now.”

And with that Sam and Dean left.


The next few days, the competitors were tasked with reviewing the footage from the previous night. But of course, the night vision cam was destroyed in the fire and the corner mounted lens managed to miss everything of import.