|Note: This story is a part of a larger series of short stories and flash fiction. You can find these stories on the Oubliette home page.|
Griswold saw Chris hold up a familiar green bottle of Huntsman as he descended the stairs into the basement of the abandoned farmhouse. He noticed someone brought the folding table and his gear was sitting on it. After setting up the remote cameras throughout the house, he was ready for a drink. He walked over to Chris for the bottle.
“Hey, Griz! The spirits are here.”
Griswold took the bottle and had a drink, “Thanks. I needed that.”
As he searched for a place to sit, Griswold wondered why Chris joined the group. The obvious answer was to be with Grace as they were dating. Chris was a joker and liked to pull pranks. On one investigation, he said that he was researching why there were no blacks on ghost hunting shows.
Griswold saw Chris as the token skeptic because behind the jokes and antics, he was intelligent and questioned everything often debunking evidence that Grace found. Linda had been giving Chris more responsibilities such as interviewing and researching; his studies in pre-law made him a good fit.
It was obvious what Grace saw in Chris. He was tall, dark, and handsome and was a member of her school’s men’s basketball team which was how they met. Compared with him, Griswold knew he would never have a chance with her.
Linda called to Griswold, “Griz, what happened up there?”
Griswold turned to face Linda, “There was a really angry cat up there. It left but we might want to keep in mind that there might be animals in the house.”
“I see. Thanks for the update.”
Of all the members of Spartan Hills Independent Paranormal Squad (or as they called it “SHIPS”), Griswold considered Linda the most organized and detail oriented. When it came time for choosing a leader for the group, she was a natural choice. She was the case manager and took responsibility for running the group and assigning roles. After graduating, she attended classes at West Virginia University for a degree in business.
Griswold found a spot on the stairs and sat down. Between sips from the bottle, he watched everyone drinking and talking. Pete was recollecting some of the stories from investigations he did with other groups in high school and admitted that he did some investigations alone.
Pete was one of the group’s co-founders along with Linda and was the lead. Griswold knew him in high school and they even played role-playing games at the mortuary where he lived. Pete was one of those angst-filled loner types that wore black and had gauges in his earlobes. Griswold assumed that Pete went into his family’s business with his father as he now dressed more conservatively and has replaced his gauges with skin toned plugs.
One thing that Griswold never understood was why Linda and Pete never dated. They worked so well together and had a really strong friendship.
Griswold looked at Grace as she listened to Pete. He loved the way her dark curly hair flowed over her shoulders and how her smile would light up the room. He had a crush on her during high school and admired her from afar. He went to all the school’s women’s basketball games just to watch her play.
Grace had a basketball scholarship at a small religious private school not too far from West Virginia University. Griswold believed that she was studying to be an occupational therapist.
Her role in the group was evidence review. Normally, Linda did not allow her to participate in investigations. The rationale was that it would bias the review. Griswold thought the rule was dumb because biased or not, nobody will believe anything they found.
He suddenly realized that he was staring at her and made him realize that he still had that age-old crush.
As for himself, Griswold found himself drafted as the group’s equipment specialist. He was the only one in the group who had any technical training and he worked at a small office complex just outside of Spartan Hills where he installed and maintained the IT infrastructure of its tenants.
Griswold smiled as he thought about this interesting bunch. Apart from Chris, all the members of the group graduated together from high school. Even though each of them took separate paths, they managed to keep in contact and continued to do regular investigations.
Linda spoke to the group, “Okay, it’s time to get serious.”
She looked at Grace, “Can you explain how we are doing this?”