Revis and I are back and things are getting explosive. That might be a bit of foreshadowing… Read on to see what I mean.
“Dad? Shouldn’t we stay?”
It felt weird using the word “dad.” It wasn’t something he was used to saying. Jake’s mom hadn’t talked about him much and growing up without him, not having a father was what he knew, so Jake never felt the need to ask a lot of questions.
“You should run,” his father replied.
Jake studied the ghost next to him. In their very short time together he had seen a lot of different emotions displayed on his dad’s face. In that moment there was a look of determination. But, the ghost wasn’t looking at Jake. It was looking at the house.
The ghost began to slide forward and Jake asked, “Where are you going?”
“You should run,” his father repeated.
“That didn’t answer my question. If I run, what are you going to do?”
Jake was getting angry now. He was tired of the half answers. He was tired of not understanding what was happening around him. He was just plain tired, too. He knew it had only been one night but it felt like he hadn’t slept in a week.
“I need to know what you are going to do! I need to know what is happening inside!”
“You need to run,” his father stated just before the roof from the front half of the house exploded upwards in a blaze of black flames. Timbers and shingles began to rain down on the lawn and street.
Jake dove onto his stomach, hoping for cover, but there was none to be had. Debris pelted him all over. He did his best to not cry out in agony. It was too much, however. A chunk of wood the size of a closed fist landed on his left thigh and he let out a shriek of pain.
“I know that last one hurt you,” his father began, “but can you please move? Now.”
He turned over to see his father standing protectively above him with his hand reached to the sky. Just above the outstretched hand was a much larger piece of the roof. This one was about the size of a small car. Jake almost peed in his pants at the sight of such a large object almost crushing him.
“I can’t hold it much longer!”
As his father said it, the light that made up his ghostly form dimmed once again. That was all the motivation Jake needed to snap out of it. He crawled as quickly as he could until he was no longer under the large piece of his house. His thigh protested with his every movement, but he didn’t care at that moment. All he cared about was that he’d made it to safety.
“Well, well,” came a deep voice from the direction of the house. “Look who I found.”
Out of the wreckage came his mother, holding the head of Marten Revulus in her right hand and the head of the other animated corpse in her left.
“Jake, it’s going to hurt, and I’m sorry about that, but you really should get out of here.”
Jake was too stunned by what he was seeing to even acknowledge his father. How do you behead a ghost? What kind of madness was his mom into? Was his mom even there anymore or was it all this demon she had summoned?
His father’s voice was urgent and startled Jake out of his thoughts. Focusing again on his surroundings, he immediately saw that his mom had continued to get closer. He scrambled back to his feet, pain shooting from his injured leg up his spine, causing everything in the lower half of his body to tremble and nearly sending him back to the ground. He managed to keep his feet and began to shuffle away.
“Where are you going, son?”
Jake glanced over his shoulder. The grin his mom was wearing wasn’t human. He pushed through the pain and started to jog.
“Don’t you want to thank me for saving you from the big, bad ghosts?”
Her question was full of mirth and then she laughed. Jake picked up his pace further, turning his stumbling jog into a stunted sprint.
It was like ice shattering. The laughter. The pain in his leg. He’d only made it 4 doors down when he fell to the pavement. Jake looked over his shoulder to see her stalking toward him. He crawled forward, the only thing he could do to try to get away. When he looked back a second time, he knew it wasn’t enough. His mom, or whatever was inside her, would be on top of him soon.
His injured leg erupted again, but it was a new pain this time. Jake’s ankle burned as his mother grabbed onto it and pulled him closer. He twisted around, ending up on his back. She dragged him closer while his mind tried to not only think of a way out of the situation, but also wondered how a person’s touch could burn him like this.
His mother’s face jerked to the side and she took a few unsteady steps backwards. It looked like she had been punched in the cheek, but he didn’t see it. At that point, Jake didn’t care. Whatever it was, it broke him out of her grip. He scuttled away from her as quickly as his injured leg would allow.
“You dare strike me?” she roared at the space in front of him.
“You’re not taking my son,” his father’s voice proclaimed. For a moment, Jake wondered where he was, but then he saw him right where she was looking. His glow had faded so much that he was barely visible.
“You can’t possibly stop me,” his mother laughed.
“No, but we can.”
With that, his father’s spirit came right at him and entered his body, connecting the two of them together.
Jake felt like screaming. Every fiber of his body and mind tingled as the ghost entered him. Before he could voice this discomfort and growing terror, his father’s voice filled his mind, “She can’t hear me so don’t worry about that. And remember to breathe.”
Jake released the air he had been holding and the feeling of escalating anxiety he had been feeling started to ebb. He filled his lungs again and felt even better.
His dad’s voice continued, “Good. Keep doing that and to set you at ease further, I am not a demon. When I’m done helping you I will leave without a trace. You don’t have to worry about me corrupting you like the demon that’s still controlling your mom has done to her.”
Jake thought, with a small spark of hope, “Is there a way to save her?”
“No. She is beyond our reach.”
The hope ebbed just as his terror had a moment before. He felt deflated and weak. But then his father started talking again and that helped stabilize him.
“Your life, your potential, is more than who she has become. Don’t let her destroy you in her downfall because her choices have already been made. She is doomed. There is still hope and time for you. Let’s fight her together. Let’s make that choice and then see what comes of it.”
His eyes focused once more. Before him, his mother still stood there laughing. “You have no more strength to give him,” her demonic voice cackled. “What you just did won’t even be enough to delay the inevitable, you sad, pathetic spirit. I’ll destroy the boy just as easily as I would if you weren’t in him.”
After seeing the diminished form of his father’s spirit, Jake was afraid that the demon was right. “Don’t worry,” his father’s voice soothed. “It’s not strength that I plan on giving you. You have enough of that on your own. You don’t need mine. What I’m going to give you is all you need to defeat this bastard: knowledge.”
The tingling in his body started all over again. Words recited over and over again in his mind. Jake mumbled them aloud even though he didn’t know what they meant. When he was done, he did his own laughing. The demon inside his mother stopped its mirth immediately upon hearing it. Before it could ask what Jake found so funny, he smiled wickedly and said, “Do your worst.”