A Ghost Story, Part 13

Lucky number 13? Cursed number 13? Read on and find out as Revis and I bring you another segment of our little tale of family and demons. As always, we hope you enjoy.

….

Jake started chanting again but the demon rushed at them, even faster than it had when it still inhabited his mother’s body, and Jake felt himself yanked aside just before the creature could slash him with its clawed hands.  The demon roared and spun towards him again, slashing with its hands, trying to grab him and puncture him at the same time, and once again Jake felt himself moved aside just in time. 

It was a very weird sensation to be so detached from what his own body was doing.  He didn’t have much time to dwell on it though as the demon rushed at him again and again.  Each time it missed it snarled louder and eventually a layer of white foam began to form around its mouth, like a raging animal gone rabid.

“This will work better,” his father’s voice came to him, “if you could be in charge of moving yourself out of the way so I can focus on the magic.”

“That makes sense,” Jake replied glibly, and he immediately sensed his father smirking again.

Once more, he began to chant.  Jake didn’t want to wait for the demon to rush him so he began to move in a circle around it, always trying to keep it in front of him while forcing it to spin likewise if it wanted to charge him.  Then the chanting stopped and Jake’s armed raised and pointed towards the demon.  Flames, not black but white, shot from his outstretched hands towards the demon.

Screaming echoed throughout the entire area. Whatever magic he’d just unleashed must’ve hurt it. The demon, Mocregork it had called itself, jumped backwards to escape the flames. It  didn’t jump far enough. The white fire licked its flesh as it continued to roar in pain. 

Jake smiled, but his father reminded him that the fight was far from over. To prove that point, the demon reached down, tore a chunk out of the ground, and threw it at him. He’d seen the entire movement, so he had time to get out of the way. As he did, however, his hands dropped as he darted to the side. When they did, the white flames disappeared. Mocregork must have anticipated that because he was moving toward him the moment the magic blinked out.

It took all Jake had to get away from the attack. Even then, he didn’t fully dodge the attack. Two of the demon’s claws dug lines into his back. They weren’t deep, though they didn’t need to be. The wounds burned with Hellfire, a bit of information that could’ve only come from his father. Soon enough, that pain went away, just like the pain in his leg.

“That’s about the extent of my ability to block your pain,” his father said. “If you get hit again, you’ll feel every bit of it.”

“Let’s try not to let that happen then.”

His voice began chanting again.  Mocregork seemed to have no interest in getting hit by another spell because the demon rushed forward trying to disrupt the casting.  Jake, in control of his body, if not his mouth or his mind at the moment, rolled under another slashing attack.  The claws caught in the tatters of his shirt but missed his flesh.  That didn’t keep Jake from feeling the searing the heat radiating off them.

After continuing his roll, knowing he needed to buy his dad time to finish the spell, Jake then sprang to his feet and moved swiftly away from the demon.  He could hear Mocregork laughing and then all of sudden Jake had to jump away from another attack.  The demon had somehow gotten in front of him again.

“This is my plane, you mortal fool.  I can shape it how I desire.  You can’t run away from me.”

“Who said I was trying to run away?”  His dad had spoken through him, having just finished his chanting.  And then Jake once again felt his arms move of their own accord.  His pinkies and index fingers were pointed at Mocregork and then a blast of energy shot from his body, rocking him backward at the same time.

Jake scrambled to stay on his feet and then watched in awe as a wall of stone, twice his height, formed into the symbol of a cross and slammed into Mocregork. The large stone cross fell on top of the demon, pinning it to the ground. Smoke rose from every part of Mocregork touching the magic construct. An ear piercing shriek erupted from under the cross. Jake was forced to use his hands to cover his ears. He was afraid that if he didn’t, the demon’s cry would rupture his eardrum.

“Quickly,” his father urged. “We need to get over to him so I can cast another spell while he’s distracted.” 

Jake made his way over to where Mocregork lay under the cross. The demon’s wail became louder and more intense with each passing step. His legs began to shake as he moved. Determined to not give up, Jake pushed himself forward until he was standing next to the howling demon. He felt his hands start to move away from his ears and he did everything he could to lock his muscles in place.

“Don’t fight me,” came the plea into his mind. “I need your hands to complete the spell.”

“But I’ll probably lose my hearing if I move them,” Jake protested. 

“That’s better than losing your life,” his father countered, to which Jake had no argument.

Reluctantly, he let his father move his hands for the spell that would hopefully vanquish the demon. 

It was all Jake could do to relax enough to let his father take control.  The demon’s shrieks were so painfully loud that every instinct demanded he protect his ears.  The sound enveloped him and rattled his teeth.  His eyes watered.  He tried to force his mind and thoughts away from it but couldn’t.  It was too much.

In the few short seconds he was grappling with that internal struggle, his father had used his hands to draw symbols in the air and then chanted off another spell.  His arms reached forward and white flames shot from his fingertips again.  The fire spread over the stone cross and the demon, reaching from the tip of its horns down to its wickedly curved clawed feet, burning so brightly, so intensely, that Jake stumbled backwards a step so he didn’t get caught up in the flames.

“Hold steady,” admonished his father.

Jake was going to reply sarcastically but the demon suddenly disappeared and his father cursed.  The flames died away as his father ended the spell.

“Get ready to move,” his father warned, “the beast likely flipped the plane on us again so it could get out from the cross.  I’d hoped it wouldn’t be able to.”

Jake came up with another sarcastic reply but before he could give it voice, a snarl of pure hatred and pain rolled over him.  He whipped his head around looking for the source.  He couldn’t see Mocregork anywhere.

“Move.  Move randomly.  It doesn’t matter how or where. Just move so you aren’t a standing target for it!”  There was panic in his father’s voice and Jake didn’t need to be encouraged more than that.  He started zig-zagging, hoping it was at random, away from the cross.

“Left!”

Without thinking, he dove to his left. Jake always saw people in movies be able to roll back into a standing position when they do that move. It was at that moment when he realized that he was not an action movie star. He tried to roll with his dive and smacked his head against the ground as he did so. His vision went blank for a moment and if his head wasn’t momentarily spinning, Jake might have remembered how scary that was in his current situation. 

“Right!”

As his mind recovered from the bump to his cranium, he felt his body respond to his father’s command, rolling off to his right. It once again crossed his mind about how strange it was to have so little control over his body, especially when the one controlling it was someone he just met hours ago. Wait. Had it been hours ago? Or just a few minutes? With all that had happened that night, it was hard telling. Time was not flowing as it normally did.

“Focus on the problem at hand!”

There was a hint of irritation in his father’s voice on that call. Jake wanted to do what was asked of him, but he couldn’t. His thoughts were swimming and he wasn’t able to get them under control. Irritation turned to sadness during his father’s next words. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do this. I was hoping we’d get a little more time together. Before I go, I just need to tell you that, even though I wasn’t around, I have loved you since I found out your mother was pregnant.”

With that, Jake felt his father leave his body and watched as his spirit raced for the demon. 

A Ghost Story Part 11

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?”

“Hopefully nothing.”

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?

“Jake!” 

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.

“Back off!”

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.”

A Ghost Story, Part 7

And we’re back with the next segment in our story, Revis and I. We hope you enjoy. I know I enjoyed writing my half… And that’s not half bad? I shouldn’t be allowed to write these intros after a certain point.

…..

“He called them the ‘dark arts’ but,” Jake’s mother stated after a few moments, her voice no longer quivering, “that was more of a joke, a play on words, than actually being related to what most people think of when they hear that term.  He wasn’t summoning demons.  He wasn’t doing blood sacrifices or anything like that.  There was no dancing naked in the moonlight.  Well, I mean, not related to any of this.”

She added that last bit in a whisper and then looked away, a wistful smile on her lips and a faraway look in her eyes. 

“Mom!”

Without looking back to her son, she continued, “He called them the dark arts because it was dark when the spirits liked to come out and magic is definitely a kind of art.  It takes practice and patience and skill…”

She paused again.  Based on her expression, Jake guessed she was still reliving some memory of her time with his father. 

Jake had a million questions but he knew the pause would be brief.  His mom needed this mental break and then she would gather her thoughts and spill the rest of her tale.  He took the moment to settle on the floor next to her.  He was tired and had a feeling that it was going to be a long day ahead.  There was an undercurrent of excitement bubbling in his thoughts. I’m going to learn magic.

“Again, I only know a few things. I’ll show you what I can, but it’s not much. If your father was here…”

There was pain in her voice. It was the first time she’d displayed any emotion other than anger when she talked about his father. He’d had many questions about his father when he was growing up, but he rarely asked them because she’d react angrily when he did. Back then, he thought she did that because his father had done something horrible to her. Now he thought she reacted that way purposefully, so he’d stop asking questions. 

“I wish I could tell you what happened to your father, Jake,” she said as she tried to hold back tears. “I really do, but the truth is that I don’t know what happened to him. Right after he showed me the fire trick, he started acting strange, kind of paranoid. When I asked what was going on, he’d either brush it off or tell me that something big was coming, but he didn’t know what it was, only that he had a bad feeling about it. Finally, one day, he just never came home.”

“Did you go to the police?”

She smiled sadly. “And tell them that my magic man was missing because he had a bad feeling about something? No. They wouldn’t have believed me. I was tempted to go a few times anyway, but each time I was about to walk out the door, I’d get a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Eventually, I just gave up.”

Jake opened his mouth to retort his disbelief that she could just give up on looking for his dad, for her husband, but thought better of it.  He’d only been living with the idea that magic was real for a handful of minutes and he knew there was no way he’d take any of what had just happened to the police.  They wouldn’t understand.  They wouldn’t help.  If anything, it would make the situation worse because extra scrutiny would be put on him and his family.

His mom was studying him and seemed to be following along with his thoughts, because when he closed his mouth she nodded.  There was nothing more she could have done.

“Okay, you know I love fire, so let’s get started,” Jake said, trying to lighten the mood a bit while also getting back on track.  The spirit, or ghost, or whatever it was would be back soon and he wanted to be prepared to help fight it.

His mom laughed and shook her head, “Oh, you don’t get to start with that one.  You have to earn it.”

She pushed herself off the ground and moved next to the sink, setting the fire extinguisher on the counter nearby.  She ran two handfuls of water and splashed them into her face and then turned to look at her son.  “First, “ she said, “you have to learn the cadence of magic.”

Jake sighed. He hoped that he’d be able to jump right into it, especially given the circumstances, but it seemed like his mom was starting off with the boring stuff. It also sounded a lot like something she’d said to him many times before, “It’s not just what you say. It’s how you say it.” Throughout his life, he’d heard her say that to him a lot and, even though she was using different words, he was hearing it again. They didn’t have much time until the ghost, or spirit, or whatever, recovered from the fire. Shouldn’t she skip to the important parts instead of taking her time with the lessons? 

Despite his frustration, he paid attention to what his mother was saying. Or, at least he was until he felt a thump coming from underneath his feet. Jake wrote it off as his imagination until it happened a second time. He held up his hand to indicate his mother should stop talking. She looked annoyed when she saw him do it, but she followed his suggestion. Her expression changed at once when she felt the third thump.

“Oh no,” she breathed. Her volume increased exponentially when she then shouted, “Block the basement door!”

It was too late. An animated corpse, missing a hand, broke the door down, rage etched on his features.

Jake grabbed the fire extinguisher and prepared to throw it at the thing advancing towards them.  His mom screamed, “Don’t!  Not that!” and he shifted at the last moment and sent the extinguisher sailing out of the kitchen.  It crashed into something with a metallic clang but Jake had turned to his mom, eyebrows raised questioningly, a look of exasperation on his face, so he didn’t see what it had hit.

“The bottle,” his mom said, pointing towards the alcohol they had used earlier.

Jake followed her gesture and understanding hit him.  He raced to the far edge of the counter we’re he’d poured the cups earlier, grabbed it by its neck and threw it at the ghastly creature.  At the same time, his mom raced forward, the spray can and lighter once again in her hands.

The bottle crashed into the being, it grunted but didn’t slow its advance, and thumped to the floor at its feet where the alcohol began to slosh out the opening.  Jake’s heart fell.  He’d hoped the bottle would shatter and completely cover the thing in the flammable liquid.  His eyes cast about for some other weapon to attack with.

Then his mom was in striking distance and she once again created the black flames.  She pointed the jet at the pool of alcohol at the feet of the monster.  In a great whoosh, the whole thing became engulfed in flames.  A second later, the bottle exploded sending shards of glass flying in every direction.

Jake felt something like a needle prick in his cheek and a stinging sensation in his left arm, just above his elbow. Droplets of blood began appearing at the site, turning into a slow stream of his life fluid. Given the wet feeling on his cheek, he thought it safe to assume that he had a similar cut there. At a glance, he could see that his mother was also sporting a few blood spots, but none of them seemed to be too serious. 

She, however, was fixated on the walking corpse. It had just received the exact same treatment that destroyed the severed hand, yet it wasn’t affected at all. The corpse stood in the flames without being harmed by them. Decaying flesh turned upward as a devilish smile worked onto its face. A blast of icy air, one that Jake thought was colder than any winter breeze he’d ever felt, blew in from behind the corpse and extinguished the fire. Still, no damage appeared on the dead body.

“You were warned, boy,” it said without moving its lips. “I gave you a chance to save her. Had you told your mother earlier, she could have prepared a spell to save herself. Now, she must pay for her sins.”

“What sins?” Jake responded with a quaking voice.

“For starters,” it croaked, “she killed me in ritual sacrifice to make herself more powerful.”

A Ghost Story part 5

Here we are again. Another segment in the new story Revis and I are working on. We hope you are having a ghoully good time.

….

Jake’s mom snatched her hand back.  Jake, startled, hadn’t realized he had never moved his hand off hers when he’d tried to get her attention.  He was slightly embarrassed but pleased to see her eyes had returned to normal all the same.  Coughing, Jake looked back to the screen.

His mother asked, “Did you read any of that?”

“Yes.  I got a little bit of it before I blinked and it went back to being blurry.”

“This is so strange.”

“You’re telling me.”

Frowning, Jake’s mother looked at him.  “Is there anything else you haven’t told me?”

“Not that I can think of, no.  Why?”

She was taking all of this far more calmly than he ever could have imagined.  It wasn’t that he didn’t think she loved and trusted him, she was always just very strict and meticulous about how things were supposed to be done.  But, her behavior since he’d first told her about his encounters made it seem like she’d had experiences like this before.

“We’re missing something.”

Jake was confused.  “What?”

“Hauntings happen for a reason.  We need to figure out why you are being haunted.”  Jake thought about mentioning that she had very nearly been attacked too but kept his mouth shut.  His mom continued, “I need to remember where I’ve seen that man before.”

“I don’t know, Mom,” he replied. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. He doesn’t look familiar to me.”

“It’s going to annoy me until I figure it out,” she sighed. “Plus, I’ve worked all night. I’m tired and my brain isn’t functioning correctly right now. I need coffee if I’m going to figure this out.”

The two of them went down the stairs and into the kitchen. His mom poured water into the coffee maker, put new grounds into a new filter, and turned it on. They waited in silence, both lost in their thoughts. Jake was staring straight ahead at the wall until the sound of coffee dripping into the pot pulled him out of it. He turned his head from side to side in an attempt to pop his neck. It didn’t work, but he noticed something as he did it. 

“What’s that?” Jake asked as he pointed to the package sitting on the counter next to the fridge. 

“I don’t know. The guy dropped it off last night when I was trying to talk to you before I left,” she told him. Jake was about to ask a follow-up question, but his mother’s face suddenly changed. “That’s where I’ve seen him before,” she cried. “He was the delivery driver!”

“What?”  But even as he asked the question Jake knew it was no more absurd than the man showing up in his bedroom last night.

Without waiting for his mom to respond, Jake went over to the counter and began to unwrap the package.  Whatever it is, it must be important.  Hopefully it will at least give us a clue as to what in the world is going on.

He’d ripped the seal off the package but hadn’t yet pulled the contents out.  It felt like a book.  Why is everything circling back to books?

“Stop!” His mom screamed, her voice firm but unsteady.

He turned to her and saw a look of terror on her face.  He was going to ask what was wrong when he felt the room suddenly go cold.  His arms erupted in gooseflesh.  A shiver ran up his spine.  His next breath was visible as a puff of warm air in the freezing room.

“Run,” he said.  It was all he could think to say as a pair of hands emerged from the shadows next to the counter and reached for his mom.

She didn’t though.  She was frozen in place.  Her eyes were the only part of her moving as they flicked between the package delivered by a ghost and the phantom that had followed its hands into their kitchen and was gliding swiftly towards her.

Jake’s head was telling him to run away, as far away from this situation as he could possibly get. His heart was telling him to rush over and save his mother. While the two body parts fought with each other, another of his body parts began acting of its own accord. Mindlessly, his hand reached inside the box he’d just opened and pulled out the contents. Then, it positioned the object directly in his line of sight.

It was not a book as he originally thought it would be, though it was the same shape as one. Inside the box had been a clear hard plastic case containing a severed human hand. Wanting only to get it far away from him, Jake instinctively threw it as quickly as he could. Without taking the time to aim, it ended up flying straight at his mother. 

Seeing a severed hand coming at her snapped Jake’s mother out of her stupor. She ducked out of the way, causing the case to hit the cabinet behind her head. With a loud crack, the plastic shattered. While the pieces of the case went flying in every direction, the hand floated down gently, like a leaf, until it landed on her shoulder. 

Just as her son had, she grabbed the hand and flung it away from herself. The unattached appendage only made it a few feet before it stopped, caught in the air by the spectral hands.

“Run!” Jake yelled again but his mom still didn’t heed his advice.  His own feet refused to budge either.  For good or ill he wanted to see what happened next.

The decapitated hand seemed to shift of its own accord, moving from the hand that had caught it into becoming the hand that had caught it.  The sight was so disturbing that Jake wanted to look away but he couldn’t.  He was fascinated.

Once the decapitated hand had completely fused with the ghost there was a piercing shriek of laughter and the rest of the spirit seemed to swell forward.  Where there had only been a shadow beyond the arms there was not a full body.  And a face. 

Its eyes glowed with a malice that Jake could feel crawling on his skin and its lips were twisted into a snarl that made Jake immediately think of one thing and one thing only.  This thing hates us.

The ghost took a step forward, now reaching out with one spectral hand and one very real hand, and was nearly in reach of his mother.  Jake knew that shouting for her to run again would be useless.  He needed to do something though.  Another step and the thing would have his mother in its grasp.

Time stood still for Jake at that moment. For his whole life, whenever he was scared, or in trouble, it was his mother who was there to help him out of it. He had no siblings. His dad had long ago left the picture. He had friends, sure, but he knew that none of them would ever be there for him as much as his mother was. And now, now she needed him.

As much as he wanted to be there for her as she had been for him, he had no idea what to do. He didn’t have a Ghostbusters backpack. He didn’t have a Bible. The only clue he had about what this ghost wanted was a book about preparing for college, and, as a clue, it went right over his head. What did preparing for college have to do with hanging around in the afterlife? And what did the book’s author, someone neither he or his mother had ever met, have to do with any of this? 

Time snapped back into being when he remembered what he’d just read about running away from the ghost. Then something else came to mind. “Over here,” he yelled at the spectral hands. “It’s me you want, remember?”

Jake was sure of it. He was the one who was warned. He was the one who was choked. Whatever this was, it wasn’t until his mother started helping him that she was targeted. This ghost, for whatever reason, wanted him. 

The ghost turned slowly towards Jake.  It seemed like it was taking time for the message to get to it.  Maybe it takes time for sounds to cross through the barrier between worlds.  Or maybe he’s just not very smart.  Jake hoped it was the latter but felt certain it was the former.

The burning eyes locked onto his own and Jake felt panic grip his heart as he saw recognition behind the ghost’s eyes.  The spirit flew at him.  It moved faster than he’d seen it move up to that point.

Run! Jake screamed internally and this time he listened to himself.

Nearly tripping over his own feet, Jake turned, stumbled, and fled towards his room.  He wasn’t sure why but perhaps the answer was there, in his bookcase, or in the college prep book.  He could feel wisps of icy air brushing against the back of his neck.  The touch burned and a scream escaped his lip. 

The ghost was nearly on top of him.

He threw himself up the stairs two and three at a time.  His heart pounded.  He could hear his mom shrieking somewhere behind him.  Another brush of ice on his neck nearly made him stumble but he reached the landing and hurtled down the hallway to his room.  His eyes spotted the college prep book, Unprepared, he grabbed it and whirled around holding the book in front of him like a shield.

Without thinking, he closed his eyes and waited for whatever was coming next. Something hit the book hard, almost making him lose his grip. The sound the impact made reminded him of a baseball hitting a bat. He opened his eyes right after and saw the unattached hand go flying away from the book, also like a baseball. It flew out into the hallway, into the bathroom directly across from his room, and smacked against the wall.

Jake held the book out in front of him as he rushed out of his room. The hand had made a hole in the drywall when it hit and it appeared to be having difficulty extracting itself from the damage. He closed the door to the bathroom and ran back downstairs to the kitchen. When he arrived, his mother was shaking her head slowly from side to side. Her rhythm was interrupted when he grabbed her shoulders and got right in her face.

“Mom!” Jake shouted. “We’ve got to get out of here!”

Recognition came back to her eyes when she looked at him. “No,” she returned calmly. “We have to fight it.”

A ghost story part 3

Yep, Revis and I are back again on this story already. Sometimes the words come easily. Hopefully you continue to enjoy our little tale of fright and intrigue.

…..

The book, a dark purple with silver markings he didn’t recognize running up the spine, sparked as he touched it.  The tiny electric flare seemed to hang in the air far longer than any normal static-electricity and then it disappeared with a loud pop.  Jake flinched at the sound but didn’t stop what he was doing. He had nearly been killed now twice and he needed to know what was going on so he could keep whatever was attacking him from finishing the job. 

Pulling the book completely off the shelf, Jake began to flip through the pages.  There were all kinds of macabre pictures, from headless people riding horses, to unrecognizable horrors under beds, to barely scene phantoms in the shadowy recesses of closets.

A shiver ran up his spine as he flipped through the book.  At the same time, a sense of frustration began to build up.  The pictures were horrifying, yes, but they didn’t give him any information on their own.  Not that he immediately understood anyway.  He didn’t know what he was looking at or why.  And the markings that covered the pages that didn’t have pictures were in a language he didn’t know.

What am I supposed to do with this?

Jake started to put the book back on the shelf when movement from the corner of his eye caused him to stop.  He turned towards the open room but there was nothing there. A week ago he would’ve moved on without thinking any more about it. Today was a new day, however. Just because he didn’t see anything now didn’t mean there wasn’t anything there. After all, he didn’t see what was causing the pressure that cut off the air to his still sore throat. 

The last time he was in trouble he got out of it by waving a book around in front of him. While he wasn’t necessarily in trouble at the moment, the movement was more than enough to make him feel like trouble was coming. With that in mind, he shook the dark purple tome all around. Nothing happened. Not physically, at least. The foreboding feeling he was getting went away after continuing to move the book around for a few moments. He waited for a minute to see if it would come back, but it didn’t. 

Jake kept his hand on the book while his mind went back to trying to figure out a way to read it. Immediately, an idea struck him. He sat down at his desk and turned on his laptop. There were a number of programs online that were designed to translate things. He’d never used any of them on anything more than a word or phrase, and that was after typing the words into a text box on the screen. Using one to translate something written in a book was something new.

He took pictures of the first few pages of text with his webcam and loaded them into the first translation program he found.

The thinking icon spun for longer than it should have, even given the large amount of data he was trying to translate, and Jake began to frown.  He knew it hadn’t worked before the page refreshed with the red letters across the top saying no translation had been found.

I can’t give up though.  There has to be something here.

Setting aside the purple book, Jake picked up Unprepared and flipped through it again.  Nothing jumped out at him so he closed it and turned to the back cover.  The picture looked exactly like the man who had been standing in his room.  Then, for the first time, Jake noticed that under the author’s name were the dates, “June 1st, 1953 – June 7th, 2020.”

“Wait?  He’s dead?”

He felt foolish saying it.  He hadn’t really stopped to consider how the man had been in his room and then disappeared.  The how of what was going on had seemed less important than the what or the why.

Was that his ghost?

He didn’t want to voice that question.  Somehow saying the word “ghost” out loud seemed like a bad idea.  But, he hadn’t gotten a new idea.  Turning to his laptop again, he opened a search engine and typed in “Marten Revulus,” the author’s name.

He had a sense of trepidation that only grew as the search results popped up immediately with one missing person account after another. Jake looked through them until he found the newest link, dated almost a year ago. His trepidation faded as he read. It was replaced by interest. The story of Marten Revulus was not as boring as he first thought it would be. 

Ten years prior to the article’s publication, Marten had been reported missing by his wife, who had come home to find him gone and a pile of glass in his garage where his car should have been. One theory was that Marten had walked in on someone trying to steal his car and the carjacker took care of him in order to keep him quiet. Another was that his wife had paid someone to kill him while she was away. No evidence to support these claims ever surfaced and, by all accounts, Mr. and Mrs. Revulus had a loving and strong relationship. The rest of the theories got crazier from there.

Years passed with no new leads and the story was mostly forgotten until Marten’s wife petitioned to have him declared legally dead, a petition that the judge granted the day before the article. There was no specific reason given for the timing of the wife’s petition. All the article said was that she needed to do it for “legal reasons”. More than likely, Jake thought, it had more to do with finances than legalities. 

How did all of that fit in with what  happened to him? It didn’t, as far as he could tell. What would the ghost of Marten Revulus want with him? He was barely older than a toddler when Revulus disappeared. Plus, there was no way to be sure that the man was even dead. How could there be a ghost of someone who was still alive?

How could there be a ghost of someone who is still alive?  Now that’s a funny thought.  Like something out of one of those space wizard movies…

Jake shook his head, half smiling.  Nope.  Too ridiculous.

He went back to scanning articles, trying to make some sense of who the author was, why he had disappeared and what it all had to do with him here and now.  The sound of the front door opening, his mom getting home from work, startled him from his research and he realized how late it was.  He turned off the computer screen and jumped into bed.  He’d be in for it if she knew he’d spent the night online instead of sleeping.  

Eyes closed and doing his best to slow his breathing, he listened as she came up the stairs, stopped at his doorway for a moment, and then carried on to her room.  He opened his eyes again and stared at the ceiling.  It was useless to try and get to sleep now.  His alarm was going to go off in about an hour and if he dozed it would leave him groggier than if he just stayed up.  Plus, his throat was still sore.  He didn’t exactly feel like he could fall asleep again.

A moment later he was sitting upright in bed.  The front door had just opened again.  A new set of footsteps was coming up the stairs, coming down the hall, nearing his room. Before he could even start to contemplate what this second occurrence was, it happened a third time. Then, a fourth. It was followed quickly by a fifth.

His mind was racing. He wanted to get out of bed, rush to the doorway, and investigate the noises. At the same time, he also wanted to stay in bed. Not only were the sound of the footsteps confusing, but they were ratcheting up the fear he was feeling. Jake was already scared after the two times he almost suffocated in the last half a day, but adding these noises on top of that was beginning to fray his nerves. Each footstep made him wince just a little, especially when they didn’t stop at his doorway like they had been. Whatever was making them was coming into his room.

Jake closed his eyes. When the footsteps sounded like they were next to his bed, he peeked through his eyelids, hoping that whatever was there wouldn’t notice. It didn’t work. His mother stood over him and she didn’t look happy. “Have you been up all night?” she asked angrily. 

“No,” he answered honestly. “I slept.”

She looked him over, trying to decide if he was telling the truth. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, she instructed, “Go back to sleep.”

“But…”

“No buts. Go back to sleep.”

She didn’t give him a chance to argue before she turned around to walk out of the room. Jake had words that he wanted to get out, but they had nothing to do with arguing with her. The words he wanted to get out were a warning to her about the spectral hands that were trailing in her wake, closing in to grab her.