Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Kid in Town: Chapter 4

It did not move. As much as Sam and Adrian watched it, it did not move. Sam did not know if they were looking at it for seconds or minutes. Time became meaningless in the struggle for his mind to cope with what he was witnessing. For a brief moment he thought it was a trick. Perhaps some prank his teammates had planned for the two of them. He knew that it could not exist, but somewhere in his gut he knew.

It was a ghost.

It was as though it was made of dim, glowing gas given a shape. The shape was that of a woman. It was hard to tell her age, but she seemed elderly. She wore a dress that hid most of her body and would have drug on the floor had the vision before them not faded into nothing the lower it got. It stood there and just watched the boys. The expression on its face was stern, like an angry parent who had just found her children misbehaving.

Sam sat up in his sleeping bag and looked at Adrian who knelt next to him in the dim light. Adrian studied the apparition before them, and if he was panicked at all by it, Sam could not tell. Sam suddenly felt like an interloper in a scene playing out between the two of them.

Adrian stood up, not taking his gaze from the spirit. The spirit’s gaze seemed to follow Adrian. Sam could not make out the spirit’s eyes, so it was difficult to be certain who it was looking at. Sam sat frozen, unsure of what to do next.

“Ms. Krenshaw?” Adrian asked calmly. Sam’s eyes grew wide as he stared at his companion. He could not believe Adrian was talking to it.

The spirit seemed to nod, but was otherwise motionless. Adrian took a step forward. At that point Sam started to scramble, grabbing for his shoes. Adrian waved to him in a silent order to be still. Sam froze again.

“We’re sorry to intrude, ma’am. We didn’t know anyone was here.”

“And why shouldn’t anyone be here?” The spirit said suddenly, with voice that sounded too human to be coming from a ghost.

“Holy God, it talks!” Sam exclaimed.

“I will thank you not to take the Lord’s name in vain, young man.” The spirit turned its gaze directly to Sam. The temperature in the room started to drop and the house seemed to come to life with the creaking and groaning of wood.

“He didn’t mean it, ma’am! Honest!” Adrian said to it and then quickly turned to Sam. “Quick, say you’re sorry.” Even in the dim light, Sam could see the deadly seriousness in Adrian’s face.

“I’m sorry, ma’am! I didn’t mean it!” Sam said quickly. The spirit’s gaze stayed on Sam, but the noises ceased. The temperature warmed back up to normal. Sam labored to control his breathing, as he slowly pulled his shoes on and got to his feet.

“Now,” The apparition spoke curtly as if losing patience with the two youths, “the two of you will tell me what your are doing in my home.” Sam could not make out if the phantom’s lips were actually moving, but he heard the voice clearly enough. “I’ve been having trouble with hooligans coming into my home and I won’t stand for it.”

“We’re not hooligans, ma’am.” Adrian answered quickly.

“No ma’am, not us.” Sam backed is companion.

“Its just folks haven’t heard from you in quite a while. We just came up here to make sure you were all right.” Adrian’s statement earned him a look from Sam. Adrian glanced back at him. They both knew the lie was a feeble one at best. However, the temperature in the room was remaining constant and no noises emanated from the house.

“Hmph!” The phantom grunted indignantly. “And who are you two to come here out of the goodness of your hearts to visit upon an old woman?”

“My name is Adrian Reese, and this is my friend, Sam Deveroux.”

“Deveroux?” The ghost moved now heading straight for Sam. Before either young man could react it was inches away from him. Sam froze again, his voice caught in his throat. Adrian started to move, but stopped when the spirit did. Sam’s eyes were fixed upon the spirit, staring into the whirling void where its eyes should have been. “Are you kin to Davis Deveroux, the tailor?”

“Um.” Sam stammered as his mind rocketed for a proper answer. Davis Deveroux had been Sam’s great great grandfather. Sam did not know how to tell the spirit that.

“Yes, yes.” The ghost said, moving away from him. “I can see it. You favor him a bit. I did not know he had children. A good Christian man, as I recall. Yes. Kind of him to send you to check up on an old lady like myself.”

“Its… my pleasure, ma’am.” Sam responded. He could see Adrian smiling and nodding his approval. Sam determined that he would have a long talk about this with Adrian once it was over. He knew his friends would not begin to believe what was happening to him. He barely believed it himself.

“You however, young Master Reese,” The spirit turned to Adrian quickly and spoke very sternly. Sam felt the temperature begin to drop again. No noises accompanied the chill this time. “You, young man, have brought something into my home that you should not have.”

“No ma’am!” Adrian responded quickly.

“Adrian!” Sam said fighting back panic.

“Do not presume to lie to me in my own home, boy!” The voice snapped like a horsewhip and the temperature plummeted. The sound of wood creaking was faint, but growing louder. “I know what it is you have! They have told me!”

“Who?” Adrian demanded more than asked. “Who told you?”

“They want it back, Master Reese! They are very angry, and they want it back!”

“Who are they?” Adrian’s breath was visible in the air as he shouted his query.

“They curse you! They curse you as they did your father!”

“My father?” The words stabbed through Adrian and Sam could see it on his face. “Who are they?” He demanded again. Sam’s fear threatened to overwhelm him. He was ready to grab Adrian and flee the Krenshaw House.

“They have come for you, Adrian James Reese!” A chill cut through both the youths and not from the dropping temperature. For the first time Sam saw fear upon Adrian’s face. “They are here.”

With those final words the spirit faded slowly from sight. The noisy complaints from the old house ceased as well. The temperature began to rise slowly back towards normal. Sam’s breathing was still labored. Despite everything returning to normal his fright was not diminishing.

“Adrian, what was…” Sam began, but was quickly cut off.

“Get your things. We’re getting the hell out of here.” Adrian quickly gathered his belongings, and Sam snapped to as well. He did not need nor want an explanation until they were far away from the house. The boys hastily rolled up their sleeping bags and shoved they’re belonging back into their bags. Once packed, they hurried to the window they entered through. Adrian got there first and stopped in his tracks.

The glass in the window was warped greatly with age. The lights from town shown through in a distorted manner. Even in the darkness and through the twisted glass, Sam saw something moving. The sight of it was what brought Adrian to a halt. The young man who had been talking calmly to a ghost was utterly petrified with fear.

“Sam, I’m so sorry.” Adrian said softly as they heard from the other side of the house the front door being smashed in.

About the artist: This month's guest artist is the very talented Amy Lou Kirner.

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