|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. 🙂|
Several police cars lined the quiet neighborhood street around Grace and Chris’ house. Red and blue lights flickered on the windows of the houses. In the middle of this disorienting display of flashing lights, an ambulance sat directly in front of their home. Its back doors were open but the occupants did not seem to be in a rush. A pair of medical technicians navigated a stretcher on which a large black bag rested out of the front door and onto the snow-covered sidewalk. Upon reaching the open doors, they lifted the stretcher and pushed it in. They followed it into the vehicle and closed the door behind them.
From inside a police car close to this scene, Grace watched them as she held her cell phone to her ear. As she spoke with the person on the other end, tears streamed down her cheeks. She paused her conversation long enough to watch the ambulance pull away and disappear down the dark street in the snowy night. Mara stood across the street as she watched these events progress. When she could no longer see the ambulance, she walked over to the SUV with the West Virginia State Trooper emblem in which Owen sat.
She entered the vehicle and took the seat behind the steering wheel next to him. She looked at his face but she was not able to read what he could be thinking. She knew that this was most likely his first encounter with a supernatural creature such as this. Most of the time, there was one of two reactions. The first reaction is what they called the “freak out.” That reaction usually meant that the agent would not last long. The other reaction was called the “deep thinker.” Those agents tend to be the ones that stick with it. Unfortunately, sometimes what looks like a deep thinker is really a silent freak out. She decided to interrupt him to find out.
“You seem to have a lot on your mind.”
“It’s a lot to take in and I don’t know what to think at this point.”
“That is understandable and normal for what you just experienced.” She breathed a mental sigh of relief, he was a deep thinker.
“I suppose that I didn’t pass your test.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I was overly skeptical and dismissed the evidence.”
Mara answered his concern, “Believe it or not, that is the kind of thinking that an Oubliette field agent needs. Thinking critically like that is necessary to know what reports are real and which ones aren’t. The truth is that you don’t know the whole truth and as you will find out, that is by design.”
“It does seem that way.”
Owen’s attention shifted from the house to the police car in which Grace was sitting. “What happens next?”
“A suppression team should be here in a few hours. They will perform a cleansing on the house to make sure that it is not hiding in there. There will most likely be a team sent to the Wellington house to help the child spirit to cross over. We do that because child spirits attract malevolent entities.”
“What about that group of kids?”
“Standard procedure is to put them under observation for at least a few months. I am going to recommend additional observation for Grace because it was after her. We’ll probably gas light Mr. Greaves to make him think that everything he saw was due to the drugs.”
Mara sighed, “It’s not going to be easy for them. When you see what’s behind the shroud, it becomes easier to notice other signs of supernatural activity.”
“I assume that would be true of myself?”
Owen looked at her and then back at the police car. She continued, “Thankfully, Grace agreed to work with us to keep it this of the public eye.”
Owen did not respond.
“Out of curiosity, did you have any training as a demonologist?”
“No, can’t say that I have. I was an altar boy when I was younger.”
“That must have been one hell of a congregation.”
“I do have a question. Can those things erase memories?”
“I don’t know. There is a lot about those entities that we still don’t know. If you like, we can wait for the suppression team and you can ask the demonologist.”
“I would like that if it isn’t too much of an inconvenience. Thanks.”
“So… have you decided to stay with Oubliette after all of that?”
“I haven’t made up my mind. Was today a typical day in the office?”
Mara chuckled at that. “Thank God, no. Most of the time we investigate reports and most of those are false. You’re starting basic field agent training on Monday?”
“Yes, what does that entail?”
“Basic training introduces you to the agency and gives you basics of our jurisdiction, how to investigate threats, and how to handle them.”
Mara added, “The intermediate training field agent training is the one that is confusing because it will make you doubt everything you learned in basic. It concentrates on how to determine if a threat report is valid.”
Owen nodded, “Interesting.”
As some of the police vehicles started leaving, Owen continued to watch in silence while his mind turned back to sorting through the events of the night.
The Fiddle Griddle was a family owned restaurant in Spartan Hills and was located just down the road from Wakefield and Son Funeral Home making it a good place for people to gather after a viewing or memorial service. This night was no different except it was Grace, Chris, Pete, and Linda dressed in black sitting around one of the old-fashioned wood tables surrounded by various antiques that the restaurant featured. Everybody sitting at the table was quiet and somber unlike many of the other patrons. Nobody was having dinner and they just sat in awkward silence while nursing a drink. Grace and Chris shared a chocolate cream pie.
Linda broke the silence by uncomfortably addressing Pete, “Your dad did good job… preparing… him.”
Pete nodded, “Yes, he does. That is the part of the job that he takes very seriously. He believes that is his way to give his respects towards the deceased.”
Chris added, “Still, it must have been awkward to have him like that in your home.”
Pete answered, “I can’t lie, it was. I thought having Ms. Schmidt being prepared by my dad was disturbing. With Griz, that was a whole new level of weirdness. My dad told me was an inevitable part of the job but he was very understanding. He offered to let me stay at the Super Late.”
Chris responded with surprise, “That was very generous of him.”
Pete smiled slightly, “Yeah, it was.”
After another moment of silence, Linda continued with some small talk, “I still can’t believe that he did that. What would drive him to hang himself like that?”
Pete glanced around cautiously, “It had to be whatever that thing was in the basement.”
He looked at Grace, “I am sorry that you had to find that.”
Grace just smiled softly and remained quiet.
After a pause to give her a chance to respond, Pete looked at Linda, “Are we going to continue the Spooksters?”
Linda glanced at everybody in the group, “That is not my decision to make.”
Pete added, “My dad is demanding that I stop hunting. After those two visits by police, he is afraid that it could damage our reputation which means that I am going to have to lay low for a while.”
Chris said, “I’m going to be honest. If we’re going to continue, I’m going to stop investigating. I’ll be more than happy to continue researching and interviewing. I would like to add that I can see why there are no black people on those ghost hunting shows. We’re not crazy enough to go looking for spooky shit like that.”
The remark got a light chuckle from the group. Grace summarized, “That means that we’re going to be short. We’ll need another investigator and someone to handle the equipment.”
The rest of the group nodded in agreement.
Linda thoughtfully asked, “How about we think about it for three months and decide then?”
Chris responded, “I think that would be a good idea.”
Pete nodded, “I agree. This way it won’t be a knee jerk decision.”
Grace paused a little, “Yes, I could use some time to concentrate on my classes.”
As Grace finished talking, Pete noticed Grease, dressed in black, walking by the table. Grease glanced in his general direction and with a surprised look on his face, he interrupted Linda who was about to speak.
“Dude, it’s you.”
Pete reluctantly acknowledged him, “Yes, it’s me.”
While the others watched, Grease pulled up a chair and took a seat with them. He faced Pete, “I’m sorry, I forgot your name. I wasn’t thinking clearly the last time.”
“Ah… then you must be Chris.” He said turning towards Chris. Pointing one finger at Grace, “You’re Grace?” Pointing the other finger at Linda, “Linda?” As Grace and Linda delayed their answers, he started switching his pointing fingers between the two.
Finally, Linda answered, “Yes. Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Patrick. Griz probably called me Grease.” Grease offered his hand to Linda and she shook it. Pete noticed something different about Grease from the last time they met. The lack of blood shot eyes was the most obvious difference. His voice was not as gruff and he seemed a more focused.
“I wanted to speak with you guys… and gals.”
Pete responded, “About what?”
“I’ve been trying to figure out why Griz did what he did. I know he was looking for spooks with you guys. Did anything unusual happen to him when he was with you?”
Grace quickly answered him, “No, there was nothing unusual.”
The rest of the group were perplexed as they glanced at each other. Chris was about to add something but Grace interrupted him with a sharp elbow in his side resulting in him grunting softly. Grease noticed and continued.
“Really? What was his mood when you last saw him? He got back early and he was really angry about something his ‘shitty ass’ friends did and he wasn’t taking any of your calls.”
Grace continued talking, “I don’t know. We weren’t his only friends maybe he was talking about someone else?”
Grease stared a Grace and said, “Did you know he had a special ringtone for ‘Spooksters?’”
“The story doesn’t make sense. For one thing, I don’t see Griz being a person who would kill himself.”
“I found him hanging in my home and the police did say he had marijuana in his system. Drugs do make you see and do things that you wouldn’t normally do.” Grace looked at Grease in a way to emphasize her last sentence.
She asked, “What more of an explanation do you need?”
The others at the table continued to watch the discussion in slight shock as the discussion between Grace and Grease has taken a turn towards the worse. Chris wondered to himself if he should do something to break it up but realized that his ribs were right in line with her elbow.
Grease accusingly said, “That’s a real convenient story…”
Grace snapped, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t think Griz killed himself, there was someone else…”
Pete interrupted him, “Grease, Griz’s wind pipe was crushed. There was no way that Grace could have done it and Chris was on a bus when he was found.”
Grease countered, “She might have not done it. That detective dude would have been more than capable.”
Grace interjected, “What?”
Grease continued, “I did some digging on the police officers that were looking for him when he was ‘missing.’ For being on the force for over three years, that Trooper Martinez has a very thin service record. I can’t even find anything about an Owen Wood with any police force in West Virginia. Not only that, the car she was driving is not even a vehicle owned by the state of West Virginia.”
Grace stammered, “How? How do you know that?”
Grease mockingly spoke to her, “I have my sources. I don’t just sit around smoking stogies all the time. I have bills to pay also.”
Linda asked, “Who do you think they were?”
Grease flatly answered, “Men in black.”
The whole group turned and stared at Grease in shock as if he had tentacles growing from his head. Grease just shrugged, “It’s a working theory.”
Grace threw up her hands and said exasperatedly, “I’ve had enough of this and we need to get back.”
Linda added, “That means I need to go as well since they’re my ride.”
Everybody except Grease stood up and gathered at one end of the table. Grace and Linda hugged Pete and Chris shook his hand. As he walked by Grease, Chris offered his hand to him and they shook. Once the others exited from the restaurant, Pete looked at Grease. After a hesitation, he sat next to him.
“Okay, don’t make me regret this. I’ll tell you what I know if you tell me what you know.”
Grease grinned, “Deal.”
Just then a waitress walked up to the table and asked, “May I get you anything sir?”
Grease said, “Can you get me a coffee?”
She smiled and thanked him for his order. Just as she started to walk away, he added, “Oh, can you bring me a brownie too?”