|Note: This is part of an experimental creative writing exercise. If you want to read more or start from beginning. You go to the Oubliette page. Please note the earlier stories are crude. 🙂|
Pete wore a black formal suit and peered through the window in his father’s office. He was surprised when his father pulled him from the viewing room and escorted into the office and was greeted with a State Trooper and a detective. This was not a good day to have been questioned by the police. Ms. Schmidt, his second-grade teacher, was being shown and his father needed him to greet the downturned faces of her friends and family members as they came to give their last respects.
He watched as the Trooper in the dark green uniform and wide brimmed hat walked across the parking lot into her State Police issued SUV. The detective with the shaved head and dressed in a black suit followed her and climbed into the passenger side.
His father walked into the room and silently stood by Pete. He watched the as the trooper and detective discussed something in the vehicle. Pete knew his father was likely to be upset as there were guests who saw them.
“What did they want?” Pete grimaced as he knew he was going to have to tell him everything.
Pete started ghost hunting shortly after he started high school. At first, he went out with a bunch of seniors in the high school as they visited supposedly haunted graveyards. Once he came to the realization that they were just going out to drink, he turned his attention to finding other groups. Being so young made the task difficult but he did find a group and that is when he discovered the world of technology. He saved up his allowance for a couple months and bought his SpiritMic.
In all the years, he investigated ghosts, he was never afraid even when he would foolishly hunt alone. The worse thing that happened to him was a skinned knee when he tripped over a rock in some woods. That night in the farmhouse was different. He ran terrified up the staircase as if his life depended on it. He bumped into some of the other members of the crew who were concealed in the darkness. He thought that he bumped into Griswold which caused him to fall. He knew that he should have helped but his instincts drove him up the stairs.
It was those eyes. Those eyes in that dark basement room glowed like a pair of embers staring at him. They were not the eyes of anything of this world and he knew he was in the presence of something evil and possibly demonic. Finally, the stairs made way to the kitchen and it was a short sprint out the back door and into the ankle-deep snow.
His legs struggled and feet slipped as he tried to sprint on the icy ground towards the cars that were parked on the side of the house. He heard the other members of the crew as they endured the same trial and he thought that either Grace or Linda slipped and fell. Shortly before reaching his car, he reached in his pocket and fumbled with his keys. The others were just behind him fearfully begging him to unlock its doors.
Finally, there was a click from the doors and a flash from the headlights. Nobody hesitated to jump into the car. In the panic, Pete did not wait for anybody as he turned the key in the ignition and shifted into gear. The car hesitated and slid to the side as Pete tried driving down the snowy gravel drive faster than what was safe. When the vehicle reached the old country road, he turned and drove as fast as he could back towards Spartan Hills.
During this time, Chris was shouting “What was that! Oh, my god, what was it!”
When Pete had enough of Chris, he glared at him, “I don’t know and I am not going back!”
Chris became silent and he reached his hand towards Grace. She took it and held on. The silence lasted a couple of minutes before Linda broke the silence. “Did Griz make it out?”
Pete heard someone cursing under his or her breath and Linda reaching into her coat for her cell phone. He could see the glow of the phone on the windshield as she held it to her ear. A minute later, she cursed. “Griz, this is Linda. When you get this, please give me a call. It is urgent.”
The light in the backseat went out and Linda continued to hold the phone in her hand. Pete did not turn around nor did anybody urged him. The rest of the trip consisted of awkward silent prayer and the occasional checking of the phone by Linda.
After what seemed like a very long trip, Pete pulled up to the Super Late Motel where the out of town members were staying for the night. As the car sat there, nobody moved to get out of the car as if they were trying to figure out what to say next. Linda give Griswold’s number another call but there was still no answer.
Finally, seeing no other alternative, Pete offered, “I’ll go check on him.”
Linda responded, “Are you sure about that Pete? Take one of us in case he needs help.”
Chris spoke up, “I’ll volunteer.”
“Okay, I’ll take Chris and see if he is still there. We’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Once he saw Grace and Linda enter their rooms, Pete put the car in gear and turned around heading back towards the house…
Pete was thankful that it was not necessary to pull all the way into the drive to see that Griswold’s car was no longer sitting at the side of the house. He sat in the car and continued to examine the house. Part of him was hoping to see the eyes again. It was not because he truly wanted to see them but if they were still in the house, it would mean that it did not follow any of them home.
Chris nervously noted, “His car’s not here. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
Pete agreed with Chris. Staying any longer than they had was inviting trouble if it was still in the house. He put the car in gear and backed out of the drive and onto the dark country road. Chris looked at his phone for text messages from Grace. There was still no answer from Griswold.
Pete dropped Chris off at the hotel and as Chris let himself into the room, Pete decided to see if Griswold was at his apartment…
Just as Pete had hoped; Griswold’s car was parked in the driveway of the house where he lived. There was a small apartment in the back of the house that Griswold and his roommate, Grease, rented. Pete was going to wait until morning to check on him because it was so late. However, the light reflecting off the garage in the back suggested that someone was still awake.
Pete parked his car in front of the house and climbed out. He stood there for a few moments stretching his legs and started walking towards the back of the house. As he walked along the poorly shoveled drive, he thought he heard a scratching noise. He turned to see nothing behind him. He was not sure from where the sound came. After visually searching the shadows standing next to the cars, he concluded there was nothing hiding in them. He continued walking until he came to the back door.
He climbed up the concrete porch and rapped on the aluminum screen door. There was cursing, the sounds of bottle falling over, and more cursing. Finally, the back door opened and two red eyes stared at him and a gravelly voice spoke.
“Yeah, what you want dude?”
It was Grease. Pete had only met him once and did not even know his real name. From what he gathered from Griswold was that he had a certain smoking problem.
“Is Griz here?”
Pete waited for more but Grease just stared at him with his blood shot eyes. After a moment of awkward silence, Pete broke the silence as he noticed a distinct skunky smell coming from the apartment.
“Is he awake?”
“Is who awake?
“No, he’s sleeping”
“Did he seem okay to you?”
“No… He’s pissed but… he should be sailing smooth about now.”
“Umm… Okay. Can you tell him to call Pete in the morning?”
“Sure, hey, can you do me a favor and run down the road and get some snacks?”
“It’s three o’clock in the morning.”
“They’re 24-hour dude.” Grease rolled his eyes.
“It’s late and I need to get going.”
“Dude, it’s three o’clock what the hell you want?”
“Uh… Nothing, I’ll be going.”
As the door closed, Pete thought he heard “asshole” under Grease’s breath. As Pete walked back to his car, he smelled the scent of rotten eggs. It was not the same smell as what came from the apartment. He looked around and saw a pair of trash cans and decided they were the source of the smell. He heard the scratching noise again but this time it was closer. He spun around as he jumped from his skin. As before, there was nothing behind him.
His mind raced to explain the noise, he heard a low growling as if there was a wild animal nearby. His mind flashed with warnings of danger. He started slowly walking backwards down the drive and towards his car. He about jumped when he bumped into Griswold’s car. Under his breath, he started to recite the prayer to the Archangel Michael.
When he reached his car, he quickly sat behind the driver seat and left was fast as he could safely travel. His night ended when he arrived at the Westfield and Son Funeral Home where he worked and lived…
When he got a chance on Sunday, Pete tried to contact Griswold with no success. Ms. Schmidt arrived late in the day but he did not know it until he saw her lying on the preparation table as he was cleaning the room. She was partially covered with a white sheet which allowed him to see her face. His father had started the process of getting her mortal remains ready for its final trip.
As he stood over the body, he could not help but to remember her when she was his teacher. As those memories came flooding back, a tear streaked down his cheek. He pulled the blanket over her face and resumed his sweeping.
As he was in the corner of the room finishing the sweeping of the floor, he was hit with the scent of chemicals and heard something metallic hit the floor. He quickly turned around and saw Ms. Schmidt standing naked next to the table. She had a blank expression on her face and she was having a hard time keeping balance. When she noticed him, she shrieked an unholy sound that Pete hoped to never hear again.
Pete panicked as she started shuffling towards him. He raced out of the room and barricaded the door with a casket on a cart. He rushed up the flight of stairs and through a viewing room into his father’s office. His sudden arrival startled his father. In the heat of the moment, he inadvertently gave his father the impression that Ms. Schmidt was still alive.
Pete and his father went back down into the basement and into the preparation room. They found Ms. Schmidt laying peacefully on the table; where she was supposed to be. His father looked at him and Pete looked back with shock on his face.
“I know how you must be feeling seeing her like that. I know how I felt the first time I saw someone I knew being prepared. Why don’t you go back upstairs and finish in the morning?”
“I think you’re right.”
Pete turned around and left the room. He went up to the second floor and went into his room. He did not know why he did it but he walked over to the window of his room. On the lighted corner of the parking lot, he saw the silhouette of an overweight person. It looked like Griswold from where he was standing. He walked quickly down and went outside. When he entered the parking lot, there was nobody there.
Owen slid into the SUV with a scowl. He reached over his head, grabbed the seatbelt, and slid it across his chest. Leaning forward, he took another look at the funeral home and sat back. He looked towards Mara as she turned the key.
“What are you thinking agent?”
“I think that kid has an overactive imagination. Do you really believe what he said?”
Mara thought for a moment, “Most of the time, when they are elusive and tell you that you wouldn’t believe them like he did, they usually tell the truth once you convince them to talk. He’s questioning his sanity.”
“I would be too. If he’s telling the truth. That’s the kind of story I would tell if I planted that stuff. Still, that was bold of him to risk arrest like that. What do you think is going on then?”
Mara looked at Owen as if she was going to say one thing and changed her mind. “The sanguine chalk, candles, and incense suggest they did a simple summoning circle and they got more than they expected.”
“This Griswold kid seems to be our person of interest.”
Mara shifted the car into gear and the vehicle moved forward. “I believe so. I want to get a better idea what we might be dealing with before talking to him.”