by Mr. E.
“Turn that crap off!” A woman yells. More specifically, my mother.
The Ghostbusters soundtrack plays on an old radio I found while rummaging through a dumpster out back. Who still uses CDs anyway?
♩♩… I said, Your love keeps on lifting me higher and higher! Keeeeep on ♩♩
“Kay!” I replied back, followed by an exasperated sign.
[Reggie walks over and hits the stop button on the CD player. Can’t you even listen to music on a Saturday? He throws himself down on his bed and looks around at the clutter that is taped and stapled to the walls. Original Ghostbuster movie poster, various album artworks, a calendar from last year, and most importantly, art. Reggie loves to draw, and not just doodles. He draws detailed images of made-up monsters and specters. Spooks and goblins You know, those strange things trouble you in the middle of the night. Ever since the divorce, things haven’t been the same. Moving from New York City to the other side of the country Washington. It’s great if you love trees. Ever since Reggie was a kid, he followed everything his heroes did. Their firehouse headquarters was only two blocks down the road. [He lies there, remembering the sound of the siren on that Ecto-mobile as it rushed off to save the world.]
Knock Knock Knock
“Sweetie I made you breakfast.” Mom said I just barged into the room.
She’s lucky; I could have been in here.
“No thanks, I’m not hungry.” I said. I was lying, though. I’m starving.
[Reggie turned toward the wall, crossing his arms.]
Mom lets out a sign. Like she’s starting to give up. “Honey, look, I know…”
“I’m not hungry, mom, okay?”
[She pauses for a moment, then walks out. Reggie lies back flat on his bed and stares at the ceiling.]
There has got to be something in this town worth doing. I remember thinking
[He rolls to the edge of the bed and sits up. He stares with intensity at a particular artwork that he’s done. It has long, thin arms. Those feet with hooves Maybe he drew the ears a bit too big. If ghosts are the spirits of those that once lived, what the heck was that?]
I remember that painting I made. I think I even still have it somewhere. I’ve seen that creature before. When I was young, I would see it in my dreams. They always felt so real. I could never explain it. He would show me things that didn’t make sense to me at the time. That was the summer of 2007. Back before… Well… Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t even think I’ve properly introduced myself. My name is Reginald Blackwater, and this is my story—well, it’s more than just a story. A story implies make-believe. This is far from make-believe. This is an account of the things that happened that summer and how they changed my life forever.
Chapter 1 – Breaking the Halo
“Go up that ramp right there! Okay, look to your left. You see it? Okay, good. Grab it and reload your gun. You’re gonna need it up here…”
“Who’s he talking to?” I asked Spencer.
“There is no telling,” he replied.
“Probably another loser like him!” he smiled as he threw his dirty shit at the back of his little brother’s head.
“Stop!” Matthew shouted. “No, not you!” He continued on talking to whomever it was on that new game he got. Halo is for the Xbox 360, I think.
Matt was like that. A young kid sitting too close to the television, yelling at other kids online. I heard he is pretty good, though. Won some kind of competition a few years back. Spencer wasn’t a jerk. He loved his little brother. He was always trying to get him to go outside and show him how fun life can be when you’re not just staring at a screen.
Anyways. Spencer was my only friend. He talked to me on my first day at school here. Spencer didn’t have, uh, any other friends either. He is… different. Nerdy. There, I said it. First place at the science fair four years in a row Straight A student with just no social skills Sure, he can be annoying at times, but who isn’t?
Reggie and Spencer were hanging out in Spencer’s living room. They only lived two streets over in his small little neighborhood. [An easy ten- or fifteen-minute ride on your bike]
“Dude, come on! Let’s go already.” I impatiently said to Spencer:
“Not until my dad gets home. Mom said he should be in by eight. She had to go back in to work for something, and she told me to watch Matthew.”
“Eight!?, Ah. I’m supposed to be back home before nine. That’s not enough time. I really want to see it.”
Sorry, Reggie, it probably won’t be today. I’ll show you where it is later.”
“Can you at least tell me where it is?” I remember asking.
“You can’t go up there by yourself, Reggie. I told you!” Spence said.
I couldn’t help myself. I smiled really big and said, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”
Spencer told Reggie about an abandoned “ghost town” back in the woods, in a good way. He said they must have all gotten smallpox and died—those that didn’t move away. Some say it’s haunted. Reggie doesn’t think so, but he always says, “There’s only one way to find out.”
“Or,” I started.
“Reggie, come on. You know”
“Or, just hear me out.”
Spencer just rolled his eyes.
“What if he goes with us?”
“Matt!” I yelled. “Matt!”
No answer other than, “Right there, right here. Get him, get him! Ahh, reloading. He’s up there! He’s up there!”
“Hey Matthew!” Spence yelled.
“What, can’t you see I’m, ah, you stink!” He went that way, left, left, left.
“See. “He just sits there,” Spence said.
I got up and walked over to the TV and hit the power button.
“Hey asshole, we were about to win! Matthew yelled while he jumped up, removing his headset.
“Come ride bikes with us.” I said it in my friendliest tone.
“No way!” I’m not going anywhere with you losers.”
“Come on! I begged. ” Let’s go up to Elmwood for…
“Heck no! No, no, no. I’m not going back there. Place gives me the heebeejeebees.”
“Don’t be such a wimp.” Spence was added in
There was a pause.
“What’s in it for me?” Matt asked.
I dug around in my pocket and fished out my grandpa’s Swiss army knife. I raised my hand and raised my brows.
“I’ll let you hang on to this.”
“For how long?” Matt asked as he walked over, turned his Xbox off, and carefully placed his headset atop the console.
“Mmm. All day.” That was too long, in my opinion. I loved that knife. When Grandpa died, it was the only thing he left me. It came in a tiny silver box. With a note that read, ‘If you ever find yourself in a pickle, do two things. 1. Ask yourself how the hell you wound up in a pickle that big. 2. Cut your way out of there with this.’
“All day!?” Matt shrieked in a voice that was overly enthusiastic.
“Pssh. Forget it.” He turned the TV back on and started for his controller.
“Fine, a week!” I suggested.
“A month.” Matt rebuttaled.
I remembered Grandpa telling me in one of his war stories how all he had was this knife and a couple of sticks. Killed 10 men that way. “I slept in the bushes for 23 days,” he would say.
“You hear me, Reg-gi?” I said, “Matthew loved breaking the sounds up when he said my name.”
“Fine. A month. “Matt, I swear if anything happens to this knife.”
“Don’t worry.” He said, laughing, as he swiped it from my hand. “It’ll be fine.”
I glanced at my watch. Four-eighteen.
We grabbed our bikes and set off. Left onto Maple, right at the fork. All the way down the dirt road Was about five miles away. I glanced at my watch again—five-twelve. There is plenty of time before Spece’s parents come home.
“Just put your bikes behind this bush over here, guys.” Spencer announced.
The dirt road just kind of dead-ends back here. Not much other than a place to turn around and a few piles of trash someone threw out. We hid our bikes the best we could and started out into the woods. The air always smelled so much like dirt. Just trees and dirt. Not the same as the dirt from New York, somehow.
We walked for what seemed like forever.
I could see the clearing ahead. There was this old, probably hand-hewn, wooden fence that was still partially intact.
“We made it!” Spencer said, “Welcome to Elmwood.”
Chapter 2 – Elmwood
[The boys see a small settlement that consists of about eight buildings. The buildings belonged to earlier settlers in the area. Mostly consisting of the same family and extended families. They were all once houses, with two of them being completely ruined. Nature slowly consumes what was once hers. A feeling of excitement and wonder filled Reggie’s head as he explored in awe of the sheer history of the place. Mathew and Spencer had both been here before. Almost two summers ago now. After getting briefly lost in the woods, they stumbled upon this place. They were peeking in through one of the doors when a bird flew out of hiding right at Matthew’s face. He cried.]
Matthew was walking slowly towards the others, pulling each of the tools out one at a time from the Swiss army knife. He glanced up and said, “Guys, wait up!”
Matt and I were deep in conversation about how a ghost could be physically detected if it were real. I mean, I knew they were real because the Ghostbusters back in New York made a living off the dead, but I’ve just never personally seen one.
“Put that knife away before you cut yourself!” Spence told his little brother.
“No way, man! I’ve got a month with this bad boy, and I’m going to use it as much as I can.” Mathew said.
I opened the wooden door to the first place we came to. It took a little force, but I got it to open mostly. Looking around, the first thing I noticed was the old wood-burning stove that was covered in spider webs and dead bugs. I had only seen those things in textbooks and online. The walls and floor were made of cedar planks. There was a dining table that still had a candle in a candle holder. It was about two inches tall. It had been used a lot, but not for a long time. Two bedrooms, each with beds still in them. I thought it was weird that the beds were still made. It looked like a tattered old quilt.
We rummaged around, opening all the pantry doors and looking under things. Not much here.
“See, what I tell ya? Freaky, right?” Spencer spoke quietly.
“Yeah, this is great.” “Let’s check out another one.”
“Okay, but then we gotta get out of here.” “If I’m not home by the..”
“Relax. We’ll be fine.” I assured him.
They walk to another building. This is the one the bird flew out of and nearly gave Matthew a heart attack. The window was broken, and the porch is rotting. As Reginald stepped on the first plank, it gave an eerie creak. He turned to look at Spencer, who was playing everything down. [He was scared, but to this day won’t admit it.]
“Reg-gi, watch out when you open the door.” Matthew said in a worried voice.
“What, don’t tell me you’re still scared of birds now?” His brother laughed as he picked on little Matt.
“Shut up, Matt!” He snapped back.
[Reginald opened the door slowly, waiting for something to happen. He could see a bird’s nest on the top of a falling-apart bookshelf. The house layout seemed to be closely matched to the other. He stepped inside.]
“See? There is nothing to be afraid of.” He said as he turned his head towards the others.
The floor let out a loud creak. The boards gave way, breaking under the weight of Reggie. He tries to catch himself but falls into a basement below. As he hits the ground, dust fills the void, and several boards land on his leg.
“Reggie!” Spencer shouts. He raced to the edge of the hole in the floor and looked for his friend.
“Reggie, talk to me.”
[Sounds of life can be heard below as Reggie coughs, trying to catch his breath. Getting the wind knocked out of you is never a great feeling. [The dust settles, and Reggie starts to pull himself out of the debris.]
“Shit.” Still gasping, “I’m okay.”
“Holy crap, man, I thought you were a goner.”
Spencer quickly scans the basement for stairs leading down. There, he follows the stairs with his eyes, and there is a small door underneath the table on the other side of the room.
“Hang on! I’m coming!”
Spencer keeps an eye out for the studs that support the flooring and pays attention to only step there as he slowly makes his way towards the table.
“Spence,” his brother said in a very worried voice.
“Stay there, Matthew.” Spencer demanded.
“Here? Alone? No way! “I’m coming with you.”
“Here? Alone? No way! “I’m coming with you.”
“Fine, just walk where I walk and wait for me to get the door open over here.”
I hurt my leg, but it wasn’t too bad. I remember being covered in bruises the next day. Spence moved the table and found the hidden door underneath.
Looking around at the surroundings, there were several shelves with jars and glass bottles. I broke several during the crash.
Reggie, are you okay, man?”
“I’m fine,” I replied.
“Let’s get out of here.” Matt suggested.
“Good idea,” I replied as I headed towards the stairs.
“Hey, what’s that?” Mathew asked.
He walked towards the basement wall.
“What’s what?” Spencer asked.
“This, right here.”
Matthew was pointing at a spot on the wall where the bricks look different. He looked like someone had done a patch job on him. A silence fell over the boys as they started where he was pointing.
“If video games have taught me anything, it’s that there is something behind this wall.” Matt added.
He looked around and picked up one of the boards that lay on the ground.
Matthew, just leave it alone.” His brother said as he stepped closer.
Matt used the board like a battering ram and smacked the bricks a few times, each time knocking more dust down from the floors above.
Looking up, Spence said, “Matthew, stop!”
“Hold on, I’ve just about got it.”
Just then, the bricks gave way to a small area of darkness just behind the wall.
“What the..” I said.
I reached into the void and felt a small wooden object, which I proceeded to pull out. It was a wooden box. There was something carved into the lid, but I couldn’t read it.
Of course, we had to open it. Inside the box were a couple of bird feathers, a sack, and… a dreamcatcher?
“Guys, it’s seven thirty! We’ve got to get back.” I announced as soon as I remembered to check the time.
“Dibs!” Matthew announced as he pulled the dreamcatcher out. We climbed out, made our way across the broken floor, and headed back towards our bikes with our loot in hand.
Chapter 3 – Matthew
We didn’t make it in time, and we got into trouble. I mean, we were on our street riding bikes when Spencer’s dad got home. His parents’ rules say he is supposed to stay inside with the doors locked when they are not at home. But here we are, just pedaling around the neighborhood in the dark. Spencer was grounded for three days after that. But I’m sure you would rather hear about the loot we found instead.
That night, when I got home, I went straight to my room for a closer examination of what we found. Well, everything except the dreamcatcher Matt decided was his. Whatever. Dreamcatchers are stupid, and they don’t even work. Just some weird stuff they sell at local markets. It’s literally just bits of leather and some beads! This one had a pattern weaved into the “web” that kind of looked like an eye. Lame. Matt can keep it. What I found was way cooler than some dream catchers.
So, once in my room, I studied the outside of it a bit. Looking at it from all angles, I’m trying to better see these old carvings on it. Some of them looked like the letter P, while others just looked like someone just scribbled some symbols on them. It smelled old. Like a dusty library. I remember picking up a couple of the feathers that were in the box and trying to imagine what type of bird they must have come from. Chicken maybe? A duck? Still not sure. They were mostly brown in color with white stripes that alternated with the dark brown stripes. The sack was like an old burlap sack. I picked up the bottom corner and emptied the contents out into the bottom of the box. A four- or five-inch glass ball? Odd. I reached in and grabbed a hold of it…
I felt shocked. My breath quickened, and it became hard to breathe. I could see something. Maybe a different place. It’s hard to explain. It was like being in a tunnel made of bright light, and at the end of the tunnel was a dark sphere. I could see inside a room that seemed familiar in a way. But I could only see a very small part of it, so it’s hard to say for sure. I heard something.. it was saying my name but was kind of echoed and distorted.
“REGINALD! What are you doing!? My mom was standing at my doorway, looking pissed.
“Nothing, I, I,” I snatched my hand away from the box. I was just sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bedroom floor with my hand in this box. I’m sure I looked very suspicious.
What have you got there?” She asked, just knowing she caught me doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing.
“Just some old junk Spencer found.”
She walked over to take a look at it herself. Probably just making sure it wasn’t full of pornographic magazines.
She raised her brow and said, “Okay… Well, Spencer’s mom called and told me you guys were out riding bikes down the road? Reggie, we’ve talked about this.”
“I know, mom.”
“Your going to keep on messing around and getting that boy in trouble until his parents won’t let you two hang out anymore.”
“We were just…”
“Reggie, baby, I get it. But just make sure you’re careful, and try harder to keep your friends out of trouble.”
Alright,” I replied.
“Having tacos for dinner. Come eat.” she said as she walked away.
“Be right there.”
I continued to sit there for a few more minutes, just looking at the glass ball. I thought about touching it again. I instead just closed the lid to the box and went to eat dinner.
That night, I just lied in bed trying to go to sleep, but I could not stop thinking about what it all meant. Like, where was that place I saw? What do those carvings mean? What’s up with the feathers? An eye? The dreamcatcher had an eye on it. I wonder if that has something.
I woke up to the sunlight hitting me in the face. I glanced at my alarm clock.
I went and took a shower, and yes, I brushed my teeth. I got changed and went to see the smartest person I knew. Spencer. He has to know about this.
I grabbed my bike and headed over. Mom was at work. Once I got over to Spence’s, I just threw my bike down in my usual place.
“Hey Reginald, now is not a good time.” Spencer’s dad said when he opened the door.
“Is everything okay?” I asked curiously. I remember hearing crying in the background. Sounded like Matthew.
“It’s been a long night; can you come back in a few hours? Spencer is still sleeping. I’ll tell him you stopped by when he wakes up.”
“Okay, thank you, Mr. Stevens.” I walked back over to my bike, picked it up, and walked it down the street a little bit before I pushed off and hopped on it.
Reggie peddled around the block for a bit. He figured he would just kill some time while he waited for whatever was happening at Spencer’s to calm down. As he made his way onto another street, he heard something coming up behind him. Startled, he quickly looked back and again forward. It was Stacy Meadows. He lived a few houses back. She was two grades ahead of Reggie and Spence, too. [Black fingernails, dark eye makeup, and kind of weird.]
“Hey loser, wait up!” She called out.
“What do YOU want?” Uh, Stacy? I wonder what she wants.
She went fast to try and catch up.
“Whatcha up to?” She asked.
“What’s it to you?” I snapped back. It’s not that I didn’t like her; I mean, she was kind of cute back then. I passed by her all the time on the way to my seat on the bus. Usually, she just looked out the window while listing to her CD player. She liked to doodle in her notebook. Mostly odd shapes and patterns that she drew on with a permanent marker. Last week of school, the bus driver must have thought they were in an off-road derby. Everyone was getting jostled around. Stuff went flying. Her notebook fell to the floor and hit my feet.
“Hey, easy man. I just saw you out and about and wanted to say thanks for grabbing my notebook.” She said it in between breaths of air. She doesn’t ride a bike often.
“Yeah, no problem.”
We continued with the small chat for a bit while we went from one street to the next.
I turned to go back down the street that Spence lived on, and he was standing outside. As he saw us, he grabbed his bike and met us on the street as he hopped on.
“Hey Reggie.” He said it in a somewhat depressed tone.
“Ugh, you hang out with Spencer Stevens? Hahaha. Maybe you’re a bigger loser than I thought.” Stacy said with a chuckle.
“Leave him alone.” I answered. “Spence, what was up earlier? Everything, alright?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s just Matthew; he’s been up all night crying and going on about monsters in the closet. I must have watched a scary movie or something last night. He’s kept us up most of the night.” Spence said.
Stacy laughed. “Monsters in the closet?! What is he, five?” She laughed more.
“Shut up, Stacy!” Spence yelled. “What are you doing here anyway?”
“What are these roads, private?” She said it in a sarcastic voice.
I looked over at Spence. “Hey, you know that box we found in Gho?” I looked over at Stacy, who was all ears. “..Grandmas attic?”
“Grandma’s attic?” Spence sounded puzzled.
“Yeah, you know, the wooden box with the junk in it?”
“Right! Duh, that box that box.” He tried to be convincing. “Yeah, what about it?”
“There’s something you should see.”
He nodded at Stacy. She saw the nod and rolled her eyes.
“I get it.” She started. “What, is it a box of pornographic magazines or something? I’ve seen them before. But, gross.” She turned to head to her house. “You boys have fun playing in Grandma’s box!” She shouted from afar.
Chapter 4 – Chicken Feathers?
Reggie and Spencer are sitting in Reggie’s room, each taking turns examining the strange box. For a moment, Reggie felt like Ray Stanz was opening some sort of dimension to the other side. He reached in and picked up the small satchel that contained the glass ball, pausing to marvel at the age of the bag. Must have been a couple hundred years old. As they both lay on the floor, Reggie empties the bag onto the carpet. The ball rolls. Spencer reaches down to pick it up.
“Don’t!” I told him.
“What, why?” Spence asked curiously.
“It’s magic or something.”
“Magic? Reggie, magic is not”
“I know! But when I touched it, I could see something. Somewhere…” I sounded crazy, I’m sure. Spencer wasn’t buying it either. He just sat there with one eyebrow raised.
“Magic?” He said it again, but slowly. Like in disbelief. Reggie was a science whiz; he had already taken advanced physics classes and was still making straight A’s.
“Well, what are you going to do with it?” He asked.
“I’m not sure yet. I don’t fully trust it either. Like, what if it suckers your soul out or something?”
The look on Spencer’s face said it all. His eyebrows lowered, and his face became less emotional.
“Well, I don’t know how it works.” I said.
“What did you see then?” Spence asked. “You said you saw something; what was it?”
I leaned over the glass ball to get a close look at it. It’s so… clear. No imperfections. No bubbles.
“Dude, I dare you to touch it.” Spencer said in his devious little tone.
“But, what if…”
“You’ll be fine. I mean, scientifically, it can’t hurt you. Beside, if something happens…” Spencer paused while you gazed around the room. “I’ll kick it! Yeah. I’ll just kick it out of your hand. No big deal.”
I must have stared at that thing for what felt like an eternity. I’ve seen Lord of the Rings; what if some evil wizard guy is on the other side? Watching. Waiting. Or, what if some fortune teller put a curse on it and hid it away?
My hand slowly crept to the glass sphere and hovered over it for a moment. I looked at my friend Spence, and he gave me a reassuring look. I knew he had my back. I remember that time in school, shortly after I moved here. Didn’t really know the body. Thomas and Brian, these two asses in PE, were laughing at him and calling him Dr. Dork for not being able to do twenty push-ups. He would putter out around 12 or so. I remember saying to them, “I bet you can’t even do fifty.” Of course they would take me up on that. They wanted to appear like total badasses. As soon as they were both coming up on their third rep, I kicked each one right in the face. They beat my ass for that. Probably not the best decision I’ve made, but they left ol’ Reggie alone. My principle told my mom I was probably just “lashing out” because of the move and the situation. Maybe I was.
I closed my eyes and grabbed that cold glass sphere in my hand, and everything flashed. I felt like I was in that tunnel again.
“I’m in a tunnel.” I said it out loud.
“A tunnel?” Spence again. He said I was just being dumb and making this all up.
“It’s dark on both sides. There is a light? No, an image? I don’t know.”
“You see a light at the end of the tunnel? Really? Come on, Reggie, quit messing around.”
“Wait! There’s a bookshelf, I sit and something is moving. Something alive… Ah!” I let go of the ball and snatched my hand back.
“What! What was it?” Spence was on edge.
“I saw chicken feathers.” I knew it didn’t make sense the second I said it.
“Chicken feathers? Why would you see chicken feathers?” He looked puzzled. He could see the wheels turning in his head.
“Yeah, it was like they were right in my face.” I added.
Spencer stood up. “You know, I have an idea.” He paced around a bit in my room. “What if we could see if this thing is putting off any sort of energy?”
“Energy? Like paranormal or strictly scientific?” I didn’t want to say it, but I was really hoping for the paranormal.
“Well,” he started, “based on paranormal theories, some unexplained phenomena can actually be caused by electromagnetic energy. Well, sometimes visions can be caused by noxious gasses that escape the Earth’s crust and are perceived to be real. So, from a scientific standpoint, anything that has power has energy. So if it is emitting some kind of kinetic energy, we should try and measure that.”
“Like a PKE meter?” I asked.
“A psychokinetic energy meter, like in Ghostbusters!” I informed him with a smile on my face.
“I’m not sure what a Ghostbuster is, but I think you’re on the right track.” He said.
I stood up. “So we have chicken feathers, a magic ball, and…”
“Reg” Spence interrupted. “Matthew broke it.”
“What!? Why? How?”
“He found some scissors and cut the strands that hold the beads in place. He said he wanted to make a necklace or something. I dunno. Kids man.”
“Wait, didn’t you say he had been having nightmares?”
“Reggie, dreamcatchers aren’t real.” He informed me.
“But, what if they are? What if he released something? Could your PKE thing pick something like that up? Assuming that it is.” I added
“I’m not sure what we should find out. Give me a couple of days to try and put something together.”
That night, after Spence left, I sat at my desk in my room. I grabbed my medium charcoal pencil and started drawing. I started with the eyes, and it had many—more than twelve. Its body had no arms or legs but looked more like tentacles. The body resembled a pile of rope, with the eyes in all sorts of various places. I still have no idea what that thing was, but it was creepy-looking. Like something you would find in a creepy attic.
Once I got done with my art project for the night, I hung it on my board among the others. I flopped on my bed, and the thoughts of the day filled my head. Were the dreamcatcher and Matt’s nightmares connected? Why did that little ass have to destroy stuff? That place in the crystal ball… it seems so familiar, like I’ve been there before. I know I’ve seen that bookshelf. But where? The old library over on 53rd St.? Nah, that can’t be it. Aunt Doris’s house? She had an old book case. Yeah, but that doesn’t make sense. Why would I be able to see there? It’s almost like you would have to get another one for it to work. The only place I know that would have one is
“Holy shit!” I said it out loud and sat up in my bed. I know where Ive seen that, and I’ve been there before. Ray’s Occult Bookstore…
Chapter 5 – Without a trace
Three years earlier
“Hey there, sport, what can I help you with today?” Ray Stanz asked me, and as I walked in the door of his shop over on St. Mark’s Place, A bell rang as the door closed behind me. I just stood there in awe. Looking around at the shelves filled to the brim with books and oddities. The store smelled of sage, and I happened to notice some incense burning on the counter where the heart of the Ghostbuster team stood as he looked up from the book that he was reading.
“I’m just looking around, thank you.” Is all I could come up with. I went to the left side of the store and just kind of pretended to read all the titles listed on the books that were on the shelf. Most of them looked What’s New in ESP?, ESP for Everyone, and How to Make ESP Work for You ESP? I wondered. Isn’t that like mind power? Mind power would be cool. Could use them to make mom and dad stop fighting.
“Ah, I saw you have an interest in the subject of ESP, huh?” Ray asked as he walked around the counter to walk towards me.
“Those books can be rather sophisticated for someone your age, kiddo. Here.” He grabs a book from a shelf on the way over to me. “123 Witches Like Me, always a good one to start with. Wait, where are your parents? Last thing I need is another lawsuit on my hands.”
“Lawsuit? No, no, I was just on my way home from school and heard this place was pretty spooky. Wanted to come see for myself.” I said.
“Spooky?! Ha! Sometimes this place gets downright haunted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pick up books that have been thrown to the ground. That’s why I try to always have some white sage burning; it drives them nuts. But, you wanna see something spooky, check this out.”
Ray walks behind the counter and reaches for the shelf. He pulls down a small wooden carving of a man in a red jacket whose hands are bound.]
“This belonged to my father. It’s been in our family for more than fifty years. I’ve been studying it for a while now. It puts off psychokinetic energy. It was given to my father, who was a prison warden, by one of the inmates. handcrafted from the leg on his bed. Strange occurrences happen when this baby pops off. Yeah, I tell ya, that’s why you can never be too careful when it comes to supernatural energy. My pops told me about all sorts of stuff that would happen down at the prison at night. Unexplainable things. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting ready to close. Your welcome back anytime.” Ray said as he placed the wooden figure back on the shelf. He walks over and grabs a feather duster and starts casually dusting off the collection of items on the shelf behind the counter.
I couldn’t sleep a wink that night. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I mean, we found this old box with a crystal ball in it that lets me see Ray’s store. Man, wait till I tell Spencer.
I must have dozed off at some point. I sat up and looked over to make sure that wooden box was still on the floor where I left it, and it was. I peed and brushed my teeth, not at the same time, and yes, I washed my hands first. As I went downstairs, I heard the phone ring. The phone was on the wall in the kitchen, so I headed that way. Mom got to it first. I heard her say “Hello?” when I walked into the kitchen from the opposite end.
“Hey Susan…. How are you? Uh huh…. What?! Matthew? I don’t think so, so hold on. Reginald, have you seen Matthew?” Mom asked.
“Matt? No, I just woke up.” I knew something was wrong with the tone in her voice.
She continues, “He said no. Is everything okay? Uh huh…. Well, alright then. Gosh, I’m sorry, Susan. I will let you know if I see him. You too. Bye-bye,” she ended, and she hung up the phone back on the holder.
I was still just standing there, waiting for an explanation. My mom looked at me.
“Matthew is missing. Said he has been having nightmares? But this morning, when Susan went to check on him, he was gone. The police are on their way over. Do you know where he might have gone?” She asked me as she crossed her arms.
“N, No. “I’ll head over and help me look though, if that’s okay.”
She agreed, so I went and changed clothes, grabbed my bike, and headed over. I’ve never pedaled so fast in my life. By the time I got there, the police were already there. Spence was outside talking to one of the officers. He glanced over at me, and I just kind of pedaled my bike around, waiting. After a few more moments, the officer went inside. I slowly made my way toward him. Spence met me at the curb.
“What’s going on?” I asked him. “My mom said Matt was missing.”
“Yeah! We don’t know what’s going on. He had been telling me that his nightmares have been getting worse.” He looked over his shoulder to make sure no one else was around. “Reggie, he told me something came out of his closet and attacked him. This is from his dreams. It doesn’t make sense; there is nothing in his closet but all of his shoes and clothes. All the doors were still locked from the inside of the house! No open windows, no nothing.”
I paused as I took it all in. Then, “Did you ever make that PKE meter?”
“What? Reggie, ghosts aren’t real. Even if they were, they couldn’t kidnap people.”
I didn’t say a word, but just gave him a look.
Spencer sighed and looked around once more. “Okay, look. It’s started. I still need a few more parts to make it work.”
I replied, “What do you need to finish it?”
Chapter 6 Coming Soon!
This story is still a WIP. Check back often for updates.