Ghoul Hunters

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"You guys suck," someone exclaimed while Tyler's van turned a corner.

Not exactly a revelation, at least not for the loyal and dedicated fans of other shows. For them, the Ghoul Hunters were just another copycat show that gave other paranormal shows a bad name.

Even their name lacked originality or oomph. Seeing as every good name had already been copyrighted, they had to settle. How much more could the market take when Beowulf's Bayou Babes got a regular slot on prime time television?

The Ghoul Hunters were relegated to webcasts, podcasts and an o-dark-stupid timeslot on community cable. An insult considering a bunch of bikini-top wearing rednecks with a penchant for Ye Olde English poetry drew in the crowds.

"Here we are," Kyle said as they pulled into his parent's driveway.

Given their budget, lack of patrons and popularity, this locale served as a base of operations. Kyle's parents were corporate lawyers who gave him a wide berth. As long as he stayed out of the six-o'clock news they did not care what he did.

From his parent's point of view, this was healthier than a career as a coked out musician. It was also better than emulating popular television by starting his own criminal empire.

Once Tyler arrived at the basement, he flicked on the light switch, illuminating their equipment, electronics, and sensors. Kyle referred to this place as their command centre.

While it normally served as their makeshift studio, today this was a place to lick their wounds. Their group had been out for a week investigating rumours surrounding an old farm house. Local lore was supported by historical records. There had been several gruesome murders over the home's one-hundred-and-fifty-year history. Alas, after thousands of hours of footage, they came back with a big fat goose egg.

Die-hard fans of this genre were patient, though they were limits. Bealzabook fans were by far the most fickle and would be sure to dump them soon unless their luck improved. Other shows were known to make mountains out of mole-hills; such as turning a chair moving an inch by itself into incontrovertible proof that humanity was not alone. Somehow being a me-too show meant they had to be better.

Throughout the ages, people sought reassurance that their life choices would lead to some sort of paradise while damning those who strayed. Unfortunately, as a soldier, he had seen things that made him question such beliefs.

* * * *

Tyler had just arrived in the theatre when his platoon got orders to take over a Forward Operating Base (FOB). Orders came from up high and were followed without question, but the LT seemed uneasy about it. Word was that this particular FOB was used as a staging area by special ops. Not hard to believe when the base did not show up on any map.

What Tyler found most peculiar was the absence of sentries when they reached the site. Who knew what to expect from special ops? So the platoon did advance to contact manoeuvres and secured the location. There was not a soul left behind, it was like they just bugged out. So why had they left all their gear behind including heavy weapons and a munitions cache?

For two weeks they held the position without incident. The secret squirrels in the region had nothing to report, which meant there were either alone or insurgents were maintaining strict radio silence.

One night, a patrol failed to return. The next morning, the platoon found their bodies and equipment just outside the gate. What was the most unsettling aspect of this discovery? The men were within earshot of the FOB and no one heard or saw a thing.

The LT made a request for immediate reinforcements but was denied. Meanwhile, a detail was dispatched to bring back the bodies before nightfall. Given the time for pictures and cataloguing the scene, the men barely had the time to finish before sunset. Not surprisingly, that is when they struck.

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