by Jeff Morris

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten



The basement floor was ice cold.

As his eyes flickered open, Winston wondered whether his cheek was frozen to the surface. He felt impossibly heavy, as though the slightest effort to move would take Herculean strength. His mind was fuzzy and disoriented, unwilling to leave the warm, comfortable haven of, their dream. But his will snapped out orders like a furious drill sergeant and forced the body into compliance. With a soft grunt, Winston forced himself up from the floor into a seated position.

As he moved, he realized that part of the problem was the proton pack on his back. A few sluggish movements freed him from that burden, and now he felt impossibly light, almost able to fly. But he resisted the impulse to try; it had taken the better part of five minutes just to get this far. Instead, he yawned and stretched, then glanced around the room.

Dust drifted lazily across the sunlight that streamed through the grimy basement windows; good, it was still daylight. With the power out and the backups not yet switched on, waking up in the middle of the night would have been a bit more hazardous to their health. Inhaling, Winston could just make out the thin odor of stale smoke hanging in the air. From personal history, he recognized it as coming from an electrical fire, and so he looked around the room until he spotted the source—the charred remains of the containment. Not good, he told himself. Not good at all.

The others were encountering similar problems as they awoke; Ray was on all fours, slowly shaking off his sleepiness with obvious reluctance. Janine had been fortunate enough to fall on her back when the Sandman’s spell had hit; she simply undid her proton pack’s straps and slid into a seated position. She looked utterly exhausted and unable to move.

Peter, never the best at waking up from deep slumber, hadn’t moved a muscle, but Winston could just make out his eyelids twitching in preparation for the inevitable. Egon was sitting up, frantically patting the ground around him. Winston abruptly realized that part of their dream was based in fact, and called out, “Egon, you’re probably sitting on ‘em, remember?”

“Oh.” With a resigned groan, Spengler hoisted himself up slightly and reached underneath; a second later the remains of his glasses emerged. “Janine...”

“Yeah, the spare set really is upstairs,” she sighed. “Gimme a minute and I’ll go get them for you.”

“Unfortunately,” Egon yawned, “we don’t have a minute to spare. The Sandman is going to know we’ve escaped his trap before too long; he may already be on his way to secure us again. We’ve got to get moving and formulate a plan to stop him.”

“And what to do with him if we do stop him,” Ray said tiredly. He squinted up at the blackened containment. “We sure can’t put him in there again. This baby’s going to need major repairs, and we sure don’t have enough time to make ‘em.”

“How long have we been asleep?” Janine asked, slowly rising to her feet. The question gave them all momentary pause as the implications sunk in.

Egon squinted at the ceiling and shook his head. “Difficult to ascertain. The electricity’s been shut off, so none of our clocks or electronic calendars are going to be of much use. Given a chance to view the night constellations, I might be able to determine an answer, but as for now ... I don’t know.”

”Well, it’s definitely daylight,” Winston said. ‘We’ll have to settle for that.” He grunted as he pushed himself off the floor onto his feet.

Egon was already heading for the staircase. “Hey, what about Peter?” Ray asked, standing over the inert body of their comrade.

“You want to try and wake him?” Winston asked.

Ray rolled his eyes and headed for the staircase.

The main floor of the firehouse was draped in darkness until Ray and Winston coaxed the emergency generator into life. A fine layer of dust lay over everything: Janine’s desk, the file cabinets, even ECTO‑1. Janine hurried over to the top right drawer of her desk and pulled out Egon’s spare spectacles; he accepted them gratefully, but stared down into her eyes for the longest time before turning away.

“It’s gonna take forever to clean this place,” Winston sighed, brushing cobwebs off ECTO.

“Assuming we get past the Sandman,” cautioned Ray. He headed to the doorway and opened them wide, letting some fresh air in to replace the dank, musty atmosphere inside. Egon glanced up from Janine’s desk, then marched resolutely to the doors and stepped outside. The others quickly followed him.

As they watched, Egon activated his PKE meter; the legs immediately spread out, and a high‑pitched keening could clearly be heard. Spengler’s shoulders seemed to instantly relax, and they could almost hear a sigh of relief escape his lips.

“Good,” he said softly.

“Hey, look over there.” They followed Ray’s pointed finger to where a car had crashed into an electrical pole. Energy hissed and crackled angrily from the severed line. “Well, that explains why we didn’t have any power.”

“That guy might need medical attention,” said Winston. “Let’s go.” The Ghostbusters hurried over to the wrecked car ... and gasped.

The driver was sitting behind the steering wheel, sound asleep. There was not even the faintest hint of any injuries on him. It was as though the man had fallen asleep while his car was parked in his driveway.

Egon turned the meter on the sleeping man. “Hmmm, as I suspected,” he nodded absently. “The Sandman’s dream dust puts its victims in a kind of stasis. Time stops for them the instant they fall asleep.”

“Never get hungry, never get hurt, won’t die...” Winston shuddered.

“Quite a price for immortality,” Ray agreed.

Janine cocked her head. “Listen.”

Winston and Ray strained their ears. “I don’t hear anything,” Ray said.

“Exactly. There’s no noise whatsoever.”

No cars, no horns. No alarms, no sirens, no roar of airplanes overhead. No telephones ringing, no children laughing, playing, fighting or screaming. No birds singing, no dogs barking or cats howling. Just a never‑ending, deathly stillness.

Janine shivered. Without conscious thought, Egon moved closer to her and wrapped a protective arm around her shoulder. Then they heard the noise: a soft moaning, drifting through the soft breeze that danced around them. It echoed hauntingly around them, gliding aimlessly through the sleeping city. An eerie keening of anguish, of undeniable longing and need all wrapped up in one word:


Ray shook his head and laughed. “Pete’s up, guys.”

* * * * *

Unfortunately, Ray had been putting off buying groceries, so the kitchen was pretty much empty. With food out of the question, the Ghostbusters settled for freshly‑brewed coffee (courtesy of Peter Venkman) as they sat around the dining table. Egon had sketched a hasty diagram of the neighborhood around the firehouse, and was rapidly marking out a battle plan. “The key to defeating the Sandman is keeping him off‑balance. When we first battled him, we fought on his territory, on his terms. We were unsure of his abilities, unaware of the magnitude of his power.”

“We still don’t know just haw powerful he is,” Winston pointed out. “After all, he did manage to break out of the containment.”

“Granted,” Egon said, “but he required the assistance of two equally powerful entities to do so.”

“Oh jeez, that’s right,” said Ray, frowning. “We forgot about Samhain.”

“Be just our luck for him and the Sandman to team up to trash us but good,” added Winston gloomily.

“I doubt that,” Egon said, shaking his head. “Samhain is more likely to retreat and observe for the present. His powers will not be at their peak again until Halloween. At any rate, the Sandman remains our first concern.”

“Yeah,” grumped Peter, “panic about one thing at a time.”

“As I was saying,” Egon continued, “we have one advantage to exploit—this time he’s coming here, battling us on our territory. We’re better informed about him, and can plan our attack to some extent. Although,” he glanced uneasily at the window, “we are operating under the variable factor of time—we don’t know when he’s going to show up.”

“So enough worrying and more planning,” Janine snapped.

Egon smiled softly at her, but to his surprise she abruptly looked away from him. Puzzled, he blinked owlishly, then returned his attention to the map. “First things first, then. I’ll need to modify the throwers so that they can render the Sandman susceptible to our streams again. In the meantime, you’ll all need to devise methods to distract him, shattering his concentration long enough so that we can gain an opportunity at trapping him again.” He tapped the diagram of the firehouse. “I don’t think that the emergency generators will be able to supply all of the power we’ll need, so Ray and I will have to modify our packs to serve as a substitute energy source.”

“They going to provide enough juice for what you’ve got in mind?” Peter asked, downing his third cup of coffee.

They should,” Ray nodded. “After all, think about how powerful our streams can be at full strength.”

“I try not to.”

“What sorts of distractions are we looking at?” asked Winston.

“Sound. Light—strobes, perhaps, anything with a variable frequency rate that his mind will be unable to cope with for very long.” Egon stood up and stretched. “And we have to maintain constant vigilance. The Sandman is going to know we’re up to something. He’ll be on his guard and ready to seize the first opening he can get. And if any of us falls, it’s going to be that much easier to trap the rest of us again.”

“All right, so what happens if the Sandman zaps us again?” Ray asked. “Can we try to control our dreams, like Janine did the first time we fought him?”

“Doubtful,” Egon said. “The Sandman has learned from that first confrontation as well. I would suspect that he would continue to maintain absolute control over our dreams, as he did when we were taken unawares.”

“So we’re going to have avoid getting dusted with his sand.” Winston tapped a pencil on the table, then looked up brightly. “How about containment suits?”

“We could try ‘em,” Ray shrugged, “but if the sand is supernatural in nature, I’d bet that it’d go right through the suits and hit us all the same.”

“Ray is unfortunately correct,” Egon said. “We’re going to have to try and avoid getting hit with the sleep dust.”

“Gosh, I just had another thought,” Ray gasped. “What if ... what if this is all just another dream? What if we’re still sound asleep in the real world, and this is another distraction to keep us from going further? What if we just keep fighting through dream after dream after…”

Winston placed an assuring hand on his partner’s shoulder. “Steady, homeboy. One crisis at a time, okay? Let’s assume that we’re back in reality and go from there.”

“Exactly,” agreed Egon. “Now then, here’s what I have in mind…”

Janine abruptly rose to her feet and hurried out of the room. Egon glanced helplessly at his partners, then hurried into the living room, where she sat crying quietly. He tried to take her into his arms and hold her close, but she angrily pushed him away. Egon drew back, confusion and pain in his expression.


She sniffed bitterly. “I was so happy ... we were so happy. Why does it have to end like this? Why can’t we just go back to the dream universe and let someone else deal with the Sandman? Why, Egon?”

He moved closer again, and this time she permitted him to put his arms around her shaking body. “Janine ... I wish we could go back, too. But we have to stop the Sandman. You know that. But I want you to know ... and remember ... that I love you very much.”

She looked up at him and smiled through her tears. “I love you too, Egon.” They kissed briefly, then with a sniffle she pulled away from him and headed for the door. “So what are we waiting for?” she demanded. “Let’s go save the world again!”

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten