|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.|
Pete investigated the paranormal for years. In all that time, he was never afraid even when he would foolishly investigate alone. Until tonight, the worse to happen was a skinned knee when he tripped over a rock in the middle of a dark wood. What he saw in the basement of that abandoned farmhouse was different. Those eyes did not belong to something of this world. At first, he thought the Sulphur smell was from a fuse blowing but he was no longer sure. All he knew was that he was in the presence of something evil and possibly demonic.
Driven by instinct, Pete rushed from the house through ankle deep snow to his car. The other members of the group followed him and took refuge with him. After an unsafe departure by racing down the icy driveway, Pete drove as fast as he safely could back to Spartan Hills. The passengers in the car were quiet. Chris reached over the back of his seat and held Grace’s hand.
It was an uneasy silence. Pete wanted to say something but he was at a loss for words. Even Chris was quiet which was not like him. When they were half of the way back to Spartan Hills, Linda softly broke the silence.
“Does anyone know if Griz made it out?”
There was a collective look of shock on everyone’s face. Pete realized that he did not see Griswold leaving the house. His thoughts raced like lightning through his brain. He remembered bumping into him but nothing after that. He tried to remember if Griswold fell. If he did, there was no way that he would have escaped. Without thinking, Pete cursed under his breath.
Just as he was about to say something, Pete saw the glow of a cell phone reflecting off the windshield. He glanced back using the rear-view mirror and saw Linda with her phone next to her ear. After what seemed like a very long minute, Linda cursed and spoke.
“Griz, this is Linda. When you get this, please give me a call. It is urgent.”
The light from the phone extinguished. Pete was unsure what he should do next and kept driving towards Spartan Hills by default. He heard Linda praying under her breath. Chris remained quiet and continued to hold Grace’s hand while she had a worried look in her eyes. Pete could not remain quiet any longer.
“Do I go back?”
Almost as soon as he asked, Grace responded, “NO!”
Pete saw a look of surprise on Chris’ face as he turned to face her, “Bae?”
“It’s too dangerous. That… we don’t know what that thing was.”
Pete responded back, “We can’t just leave him there. What if he needs our help?”
“We can’t Pete. It’s too risky. We don’t know…”
Chris calmly said to her, “In adversity, we all pull and rise together.”
Pete did not understand what Chris said to Grace but she clearly knew what it meant. She released Chris’ hand and leaned back in her seat. Pete could tell she was scared and worried. Pete thought he should say something.
“Don’t worry, Griz is going to be okay.”
Grace did not seem to respond to his words. Pete realized that Linda has not said anything.
“Yes, we should check on him.”
Pete knew that it was going to be a few more minutes before arriving at the Super Late. He thought that it would not make sense for all of them to go back.
“Okay, we’re almost there. I’ll drop you off at the Super Late and I’ll go back.”
“No, Pete.” Linda said in a stern voice.
“You’re not going alone. It’s the rules.”
“It’s not as if I haven’t…”
“No, you agreed to the rules, Pete. Nobody goes out alone.”
Chris volunteered, “I’ll go with him.”
Knowing that he was going to lose this argument, Pete agreed, “Okay, Chris and I will go.”
Linda said, “Thank you, Chris.”
Pete parked the car in front of the Super Late. Before leaving the car, Grace removed a spirit bag she had around her neck and gave it to Chris. Years ago, Pete made one that was similar. He was not aware that she knew about them. He made a mental note to ask her about it later. Linda walked to the front of the car and opened his door. She leaned down and hugged him and he hugged her back.
Linda warned him, “You be careful.”