Agent Roc strode briskly up the white marble steps of the OtherWorld Bureau of Spectral Recovery building to join his partner, Asij. Earlier that morning, the agents received an urgent call from the bureau’s head Supervisor, Mr. Trent, who carped on about a demon trap that had been recently activated in some small mid-western burg in the living realm.
Asij gave Roc a brief handshake after he reached the top of the staircase. “You get the message about the demon trap?” he asked.
Roc nodded. “Yeah. Living Affairs said the signal came from a small community called Rupert Town.”
Asij frowned. “Isn’t Rupert Town near Morton Town? You know, where those kids with the detective agency for ghosts live?”
“Yeah, not too far from there. That entire area seems to be a hotspot of spectral activity,” Roc replied.
“What’s that agency called again? You remember?” Asij asked.
“The Fantastic Phantasmic Detectives, I think,” Roc answered, then glanced at his watch. “The boss expected us about fifteen minutes ago. He’s a stickler for promptness so we’d better hustle.”
With a shrug, Asij opened the door for Roc and followed him to Supervisor Trent’s office. His secretary, an attractive phantom called Greta, looked up from her nail-painting as the two agents entered the room. “You’re late,” she said. “Better hurry inside. The boss is pretty stirred up over this illicit demon trap.”
Giving Greta a curt nod, Roc crossed the room and rapped on the supervisor’s door. A muffled “Come in” immediately echoed out from inside.
“Roc. Asij,” Supervisor Marvin Trent greeted, rising from his desk as his two best Spectral Recovery agents stepped inside his office. “Glad you could make it here on such short notice.” Trent motioned for Asij to close the door behind him, then indicated for the two agents to take a seat in the two chairs across from his desk.
After they were all settled into their seats, Marvin opened a folder in front of him and put on his reading glasses. Then he pulled out a thick report, stamped with the word “Confidential” in red ink. “At 0-200 hours, the pulse from an activated demon trap was detected in a field behind a farmhouse on Cherry Lane in Rupert Town,” he read, then peered at Asij and Roc over the top of his glasses. “There is a Satanic cult reportedly in that area. I’m guessing they’re the culprits.”
“How’d they get their hands on a genuine demon trap? The UnderWorld stores all of those in their Bank of Relics, don’t they?” Asij asked.
Marvin leaned back in his chair with a squeak and sighed. “Unfortunately, the UnderWorld Bank has a few shady employees who are more than willing to help themselves to the wares. Demon traps command a high price in the UnderWorld black market. The common ghost folk in that realm like to have a few of the traps on hand in case one of the demons down there escapes Tartarus and runs amok,” he explained.
“Okay. But how’d one of the traps make it to the living realm?” Asij asked.
“The ferryman, Charon, probably. He’s the only spirit with easy access in and out of the UnderWorld,” Marvin answered. “Why don’t you two pay him a visit after you confiscate the illegal trap from the cult? He’s more than due for another warning about the consequences of smuggling items out of the UnderWorld.”
‘No problem,” Roc replied.
Marvin pulled a form from the folder in front of him and passed it to Asij. “Here is the search warrant for the farmhouse on Cherry Lane. I recommend you start your search in the barn. There’s reports of a Satanic circle there; they’re likely storing the trap inside the circle.”
“Is there anybody inside the trap?” Roc asked.
Marvin shrugged. “The UnderWorld performed a census after the trap was activated and they assert no demons are missing from their realm. However, a demon trap is just an innocuous metal orb with a lid unless a demon is nearby and the pulse of this particular trap activation was very strong. Either the UnderWorld is trying to cover up that they have an escaped demon on the loose or there was an undocumented one roaming around the living realm,” he replied.
“What do we do with the trap after we confiscate it?” Asij asked.
“Return it to the UnderWorld; let them deal with the occupant. Demons aren’t allowed in the living realm and we certainly have no place for one here in the OtherWorld,” Marvin responded.
The orders delivered, Asij tucked the search warrant into his coat pocket and the two Spectral Recovery Agents disappeared in a puff of blue smoke to begin their newest case.