How are we up to this many posts already? Feels like we just started this tale, Revis and I. So it goes, I guess. Hopefully you are still enjoying reading it as much as we are enjoying writing it.
“I’m bored of this conversation,” the ghost stated flatly. It turned away from Jake and started drifting towards his mother again. “My time here is growing short again, I’m going to finish what I came for once and for all.”
Jake thought he heard the ghost say, “And then I’ll finally be free,” under its breath. It definitely said something but he hadn’t heard it clearly enough to be sure.
His mom needed more time. He had to do something to buy her that time. He still held the book in his hand. He wasn’t sure what good it would do but it was the only weapon he had.
Jumping between the ghost and his mom, Jake brandished the book like a club, raised over his shoulder and ready to swing, and said, “You didn’t answer my question. Why did my mom kill you?”
The spirit narrowed its eyes. The nearly translucent orbs became slits of anger as it stared down at Jake. “Remember the wall of rage I mentioned before?” It spit venomously. “Get out of my way or I’ll turn it against you first, as Marten tried to do, and then I’ll kill your mom as well. There would actually be something poetic about destroying your family’s legacy in one fell swoop. I’m starting to think that Marten had the right idea all along.”
Behind him, Jake heard a low voice. It was too deep to be his mother’s. She was the only one in the house with him. Well, the only one in the house that was still alive, at any rate. Had another ghost come in and attacked her while he wasn’t looking? Deciding to risk it, he glanced back over his shoulder.
His mother was standing where he’d last seen her, but she was different now. Her face was contorted in a psychotic grin. A black fog, almost like smoke but more translucent, floated around her. Most of it moved back and forth in waves, although a tendril of it circled above her head before shooting down into her eyes. They blinked rapidly for a few seconds as if she was trying to get the fog out of them. When they opened up again, they glowed red.
“You tired old ghost,” the deep voice said, coming out of his mother’s mouth. “Did you really think I’d let you take my favorite plaything away from me?”
The spirit possessed body flared in a firelike light. “Let me? I’d like to see you try and stop me!” The hand that Jake smashed on the ground shot up and attached itself to the stump. It could’ve been Jake’s imagination, but it looked like the body grew larger. “Now I’m whole! You can’t defeat me anymore!”
The book nearly slipped from his fingers. His fingers, along with the rest of him, had suddenly gone numb as a blast of air pushed away from the spirit. He managed to hang on but wasn’t sure it mattered anymore, if the book had ever really mattered. This crazy situation was rapidly spiraling completely out of control.
Jake shifted his gaze from his mom to the ghost and back again and then decided he needed to move. Stepping back towards the kitchen counter he freed the space between them.
His mom, in the same unnaturally deep voice, said, “I don’t need to defeat you. Not on this plane, anyway.”
Jake had no idea what that meant but the ghost stopped its forward progress with a sharp intake of breath. “It’s not possible.”
His mom, or rather whatever had taken over his mom’s body, smiled in response. It was an evil, twisted smile that made Jake cringe away another step. He tried to look away. He didn’t want to see his mom that way. But, he couldn’t. Whatever happened next, he knew he needed to see it.
“It is possible, of course. I can smell the stench of fear rolling off you.” At this, his mom’s nose crinkled as she appeared to sniff at air in front of her. “It will be a simple thing to pull you down with me.”
Then, surprising Jake so thoroughly that he called out in alarm, his mom lunged towards the ghost with her arms outstretched. The instinct of fight or flight took over Jake’s body. Flight won. Gripping the book tightly in his hand, he ran through the kitchen, cut down the hallway, and toward the front door. Just as his hand touched the knob, the door exploded inward. It hit his hand, sent the book flying, continued until it smacked between his eyes, and knocked him backward onto his butt.
Dazed, he looked up and saw another animated corpse. This one he recognized, though. It was the decaying body of Marten Revulus. Standing over top of him, Marten reached down and grabbed the front of Jake’s shirt. “Where’s my hand?” Revulus demanded. Jake was still slightly out of it from taking the door to the forehead and just stared blankly at the undead being. Marten slapped him across the face to knock some sense back into him. “Where’s my hand?”
Snapping out of it, Jake wanted to ask how Marten appeared as a normal human when he dropped the package off to his mother. Instead, he tried to back away, but Revulus held him tight. “I don’t know,” he stuttered out. “It exploded.”
Marten picked him up off the ground as if he weighed no more than a bouquet of flowers. “You’re lucky that you may prove useful in the future.”
With that, Revulus dropped him and started for the kitchen to join the battle.
Jake scrambled to his feet and raced outside. A jagged edge of the busted door scratched his arm in his haste to get out of the house. He felt the stab of pain but didn’t stop to survey the damage. His need to get out, to get away, to escape the madness within his house was too strong for anything else to get in the way of that solitary goal.
He made it as far as the sidewalk where, suddenly winded, he stopped to catch his breath by the mailbox. He wondered if he was going into shock. It didn’t make sense that such a short run would leave him gasping for air. But the stitch in his side and the searing pain in his lungs told him that, like everything else from the past twelve hours or so, logic need not apply.
Something wet landed with a loud splash on the sidewalk at his feet. Looking down it took him far longer than it should have to realize the steady drip falling into the growing puddle was blood pouring off his face. He touched his forehead with a hand and it came away slick with blood.
It was his mom’s voice, ringing clearly in his mind.
Suddenly unsteady on his feet, Jake swayed and would have fallen over if the mailbox hadn’t been there to hold him up. When the dizziness cleared, he found he was looking back towards the house, the broken door gaping like the mouth of some insane demon. He didn’t think he could ever set foot in there again.
“Help!” The cry came again.
Jake took a step back towards the house, but stopped before taking another. Not only was he still a little bit dizzy from the blow to the head, he was also wondering whether he should go back or not. First of all, he wasn’t sure how useful he would be in his current state. Second, even if he was completely healthy, he couldn’t think of a way he would be helpful to his mother. He was just a normal human teenager. There were at least two corpses inside that were possessed by spirits, plus whatever had taken over his mom’s body. Without any knowledge of how to fight those things, if he continued into the house, he’d probably wind up dead.
But, his mom was in there, possibly in trouble. Jake had to admit that what the spirit had revealed about her had shaken him. She had confirmed some of it, however that didn’t mean that all of the accusations were true. And, she was still his mom. Despite all of the things going on around him, he believed in his heart that, deep down, she was a good person.
“I believed that too, at one point.”
Jake turned around quickly, too quickly. His dizziness overcame him and he fell to the ground. Fighting through his swirling vision, he saw a man standing there. No, not a man. It was another ghost, a ghost who could read his thoughts. Suddenly the ghost reached out his hand to touch Jake and, no matter how much he tried to move, Jake found himself locked in place.