|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.|
The melody of Brain Damage woke Griswold; it was the song he chose when someone in Spartan Hills Investigative Paranormal Squad called him. The light from his phone on the equipment table briefly illuminated the basement of the abandoned farmhouse. When the tune finished, darkness returned and Griswold continued to lie on the floor. He tried to remember what just happened. There were eyes staring at him in the darkness, he fell to the floor, and he was alone. There was something in the room with him as he remembered it grabbing him. The only certainty was that he was alive.
Griswold rolled and crawled to equipment table. He felt around, found his phone, and turned on the flashlight app. He searched the basement for anything but there was nothing unexpected to find.
-They left you.-
Griswold felt his anger ignite as if his mind was tissue paper and someone put a match to it. His friends left him; there was no excuse. When he needed help, they abandoned him. He pulled himself up using the table. The notifications on his phone told him that Linda called twice and left a voice message.
He clenched his fists and took several deep breaths. A phone call? Did they think that a phone call would help him? The rule was that nobody was to be alone. Here he was; all alone. They allowed him set up the cameras by himself! Obviously, the rules were not for his safety! Oh, Griswold, he is just some guy who helps but does not matter!
Griswold yelled and his foot contacted the table. He heard the table topple over and the equipment hit the floor. He knew he should have cared but did not; it was not his.
Griswold spun around and looked towards the center of the room. There was a pentagram hidden in the darkness on the floor where Pete’s SpiritMic sat in the center. The flashing red lights told him that a spirit was nearby. As he illuminated the area around the box, his eye caught the glimpse of something. He had a difficult time telling that something was there. It was gray, nearly invisible, and direct light washed it away.
He saw her shoes on the floor. As he followed her legs up from the shoes, he found her dress. He continued to upwards from there and saw her face. Her facial features were even more difficult to see. Her face was gaunt and her eyes sunken. She had a sad expression. She turned her head and looked towards the electronic box.
“… Priest… Help…”
When his eyes met hers again, her face changed from sadness to terror. She screamed but there was no sound and he lost sight of her when she ran. A jolt of electricity shot through his body when he realized that there was something behind him. He slowly turned around but there was nothing, just darkness and video equipment on the floor.
-Go home now.-
Griswold realized that is was not safe in the house and he was not alone. He rushed up the stairs, through the kitchen, and out into the night. It was cold outside and snow crunched under his feet. He saw the footprints of his friends and a spot where one of them fell. The signs of panic were evident on the drive to the main road.
Griswold opened the door to his car, climbed in, and started the engine. He carefully navigated the snow covered drive to the main road and turned towards town. Several minutes passed and suddenly he noticed in his rear-view mirror that someone was sitting in his back seat. He only saw the dark outline of a figure wearing a wide brimmed hat. Griswold jumped in his seat and tried to turn to see who it was. The car responded by swerving into the oncoming lane. He regained control, slammed on his brakes, and pulled off the side of the road.
After stopping, he twisted his body to see into his back seat. There was nothing there. He needed to calm his nerves before continuing home. He saw another oncoming car approach and slow down. When it got close, it sped up and continued its way. Once he felt calm enough to drive, he shifted the car into gear and continued his journey.
After the events of the night, Griswold decided that he really needed to stop at the liquor store first.