Authors: Rose Pressey
James shrugged his slender shoulders. “I know what I saw.”
“Do you know anything about this dark shadow?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Oh no, I wouldn’t want anything to do with it.”
That was understandable. I didn’t want to be involved with it either. What would I do you with another ghost? It was hard keeping up when it got to over two.
“I don’t know about this,” Roger said as he eyed James up and down.
“What is the problem, young man?” James used a stern voice.
Roger stormed away without answering.
“He’s moody,” I said.
James nodded. “I can see that.”
I got the feeling Roger didn’t like another ghost coming around.
“Can you take me back to the place where you found me last night?” I asked.
“Is that a good idea, Larue?” Marilyn asked.
“It’ll be okay.” I waved my hand.
“I suppose I could take you to the house. When would you like to go?” he asked.
“Right after I close the shop this evening,” I said.
He nodded. “Okay, it’s a date.”
I’d never seen this cemetery before and I had no idea where this house was. I thought I knew about all the places like that around here. I couldn’t wait to get a look at it. I hoped we could make it before it was dark.
The bell above the door announced that someone had entered. When I turned around, I saw Callahan walking toward me. His tan cargo pants and navy blue t-shirt hugged his muscular body in all the right places. His lips slipped into a charming grin.
“Talking to someone?” he asked.
I glanced at James. I didn’t think it was a good idea to tell Callahan about this ghost just yet.
“Not right now,” I said.
James stared at Callahan. I couldn’t gauge his thoughts.
“Oh, this guy again,” Roger said.
Callahan leaned in and kissed me. He searched my eyes and I knew he was suspicious that something was going on. What would I tell him when he asked me the question?
He took my hands into his. “Have you been avoiding me?”
I tried to act innocent, like I had no idea what he meant. “Avoiding you? Why would I do that?” I asked.
“You missed lunch and then I didn’t talk to you last night. I feel like something is going on.” He touched my cheek.
I hated this part. I couldn’t keep this up. I would have to tell him the truth.
“Oh, look at his sad eyes. You can’t keep a secret from him any longer,” Marilyn said.
I didn’t need to be reminded of his sad eyes because I was looking into them right now.
“I guess I have been working too hard,” I offered.
That wasn’t a lie. Callahan was ready to say something when the dark shadow appeared out of nowhere and rushed him, just like in the coffee shop. He fell to the ground. Marilyn screamed. The shadow had attacked and then disappeared.
“Where did it come from?” Roger asked.
I ran over to my boyfriend. “Callahan, are you okay?”
He was completely out of it when I gazed into his eyes. He had that same blank stare. I shook him and he finally saw me.
“Oh, thank goodness he’s awake,” Marilyn said.
Callahan sat up.
I hoped the thing had gone. It seemed to swoop through quickly and back out the door. It was as if it simply wanted to let me know it was still around. I had never doubted that much. For several seconds in its wake, I’d smelled the stench of rotten leaves and musky earth.
Callahan rubbed his head. “What was that?”
I guess I had to tell him now.
I sighed and then said, “It was a dark shadow spirit.”
“What is that?” Callahan asked.
“It’s a not-so-nice spirit,” I said.
Callahan pushed to his feet. It was tough to see a big, strong guy like him be attacked by this thing. “What was it doing here?”
His guess was as good as mine.
Out of frustration, I huffed a long breath, which moved the bangs on my forehead. “I really don’t know.”
“Does that happen often?” Callahan asked.
I shook my head. “No, not really.”
His eyebrows furrowed. “I’m worried about you, Larue. How can you get rid of this thing?”
“That is what I have to find out.” I tried to hide the concern on my face, but I knew it wasn’t working.
He touched my arm. “I don’t want to leave you here if it is coming back.”
“You have to,” I said. “I’ll be fine. I think it only wants to attack people who are around me.”
Callahan studied my face. “What does that mean?”
I shrugged. “It’s playing games.”
He watched me for a moment longer.
I forced a smile on my face. “I will be fine, I promise.”
The concern in Callahan’s eyes deepened. “I really don’t think I should leave.”
“You have to,” I said in a more stern voice this time.
He finally nodded. “Okay, but be ready tonight. We are going out. You need some time to relax.”
I nodded. “That sounds lovely.”
Even though I’d agreed, it would have to be after James took me to the cemetery. Callahan reluctantly left and I finished up working for the day.
I closed up and then asked James. “Are you ready?”
He headed toward the door. “Yes, are you driving?”
“Well, I certainly don’t want any of you all to drive,” I said as I grabbed my bag.
After locking the door, I climbed into my car. If I picked up any more ghosts wanting to tag along I would need a minivan. Marilyn sat up front and James sat in the back with Roger. Of course, Roger wasn’t happy with this arrangement. My car, my rules.
I pulled out onto the street. “Where am I going?”
“Turn left at the light and head out of town,” James said as he pointed.
“How far is this?” I asked.
Suddenly, I started to worry a little. Was James really who he said he was? It was odd he had just shown up like that. There was only one way to find out.
I inched the car down the gravel road. I had no idea this area was even back here. We had driven about ten miles outside of town and now we were out in the country. Tall oak trees lined the lane and an old graveyard was set to the right. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and shoved it into park. I doubted I had to worry about any other cars coming along. I bet no one hardly ever came out here. That was a scary thought… being so isolated. I turned off the ignition and glanced in the rear-view mirror.
The ghosts had already gotten out of the car. So much for waiting for me. I climbed out and walked over to the graveyard’s entrance. I was careful when I went to cemeteries because I knew how easily I could pick up a spirit. That was why I knew I wasn’t voluntarily at this place last night. Not to mention I would have remembered coming here. I still couldn’t explain what had happened though and that was troubling.
“This place is hauntingly beautiful,” Marilyn said.
The stones dated back to the eighteen hundreds. Oak, magnolia, and weeping willow trees shaded the area. Birds chirping high above in the branches was the only noise, except for the occasional tree branch rustling in the wind. I looked around to see if there were remnants of an old church or if this was a family cemetery.
James should be able to tell me this information. I stepped into the burial ground. The last rays of sunshine streaked through the trees. I had to hurry because it would be dark soon. When darkness fell, it opened the veil to the other side and made it easier for things to reach me.
“James, is this a family graveyard?” I asked.
He motioned across the way. “There used to be a church there. It burned down many years ago. All that’s left now are the graves.” He peered around as if lost in thought.
“Can we get out of here now?” Roger asked.
“Why don’t you wait in the car,” I offered.
He scoffed, but remained by my side.
I walked through the plots until I came to the other side of the yard. That was when I spotted the old house in the distance. It was the one from my dream.
“There it is,” James said. “That’s the house where you were last night.”
“It appears to be abandoned,” Marilyn said.
Pushing my nerves to the back of my mind, I started toward the old house. I didn’t know what I would find once I got there, but I had to check it out. I reached the building and craned my neck up at it towering over me. The place had a porch that wrapped all the way around the front.
“Are you going inside?” Roger asked.
“Well, I have to if I want to look for any answers,” I said.
I inched up onto the porch, careful of my step. It seemed as if some of the boards could give way at any time. I pushed on the old front door just as I had in my dream. This was like Déjà vu. I hoped I didn’t have the shadow attacking me again. Of course, my nerves were on edge just thinking about it. Roger and Marilyn followed me into the house.
James paced across the front yard. “I’ll stay out here.”
What was he afraid of? If the shadow was in this place last night then there had to be a connection. But, what was it? Did the shadow want me in this house? Maybe that was why he had sent James to me? Now, I was beginning to have my suspicions about James. Demons could take on other forms. Maybe it had taken on the form of a sweet, little old man to fool me. Plus, there was the fedora. I stepped further into the house and spotted the room I had entered last night. At least it was still light out.
I didn’t think I was brave enough to come in here in the dark. I would have to find out what James knew about this house. What was the reason he didn’t want to come inside? If he was the demon then he wouldn’t have any problem coming inside. In fact, it would give him the perfect chance to attack me again. I thought it was more likely that the demon had recruited James to bring me here. Maybe James didn’t even realize what was happening.
“There’s nothing here, how much longer are you going to stay?” Roger’s voice was full of anxiety.
“Stop being so impatient,” I said.
Just then, I spotted something move out of the corner of my eye.
“Did you see that?” Marilyn asked.
Her awareness was highly sensitive. She usually saw things long before I did.
“I did see it,” I said as I moved over toward the other side of the room.
It looked as if it had disappeared right out the wall. It seemed a little different than the shadow that had been attacking me, though. It had taken on a different shape. Almost as if it was in the form of a person, but different from the male with the hat. The other was more of a misty form. I walked over to the window to see if I spotted the shadow. When I looked out by the tree line, I caught sight of not only that shadow, but several others.
I gasped. “There are a bunch of them.”
This was making me very nervous. I didn’t want to be so outnumbered by them. I wouldn’t be able to fight them off. They would also try to take my energy and I didn’t have that much to spare.
“I think it’s time for me to get out of here,” I said.
“Well, it’s about time. I thought you’d never say that,” Roger motioned for us to leave.
As I was ready to turn to leave, the shadows disappeared. It was as if they had never been there.
“Where did they go to?” Marilyn asked.
“I’m not sure, but I think I should get out of here before they come back.” I turned and rushed toward the door.
I wanted to check out the rest of the house, but it was too risky. Flashbacks of last night came rushing to my mind. I couldn’t shake the image of that shadow attacking me and having me pined to the floor. Noise sounded from behind me, but I was too afraid to turn around and look. Thank goodness I got out of there without anything attacking me.
The sun had set while I was inside. Shades of navy blue streaked across the pink sky. The car came into sight as I rushed away from the old house. I had to hurry before dark completely consumed my view. Halfway through was when the ghosts appeared around us. I didn’t know who they were. There were women and men. The spirits of the people buried there? For a moment I was frozen. There were so many of them. I felt overwhelmed and I knew if I didn’t get out of there soon, they would take every ounce of my energy. I wasn’t sure I could recover from that. I rushed forward and didn’t look at them. When I looked back, they had disappeared.
I made it through the graveyard again without seeing the spirits again. I was also glad that no other ghosts had attached to me on this trip. Once back in the car, I turned around and headed for home.
“What happened back there?” James asked as we drove home.
Maybe this was my chance to find out just how much he knew about this spirit.
“I saw other shadows in the house,” I said.
“Really,” James said, sounding surprised. “There was more than one?”
I focused my attention on the curves of the road. “Yes, several. They didn’t attack me like the other one, though.”
“That’s good news,” he said.
“Exactly how much do you know about this spirit?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” James asked.
I glanced in the mirror. “I was hoping you could shed some light on this for me. Since you saw the shadow and all.”
“I saw it, but I don’t know anything about it,” he said defensively.
When I pulled up to my house, I saw Callahan’s car in the driveway. I would have to question James more later. What would I say to Callahan? He was standing on my front porch waiting for me.
I stepped out from behind the wheel.
Callahan smiled and held up a bag. “I brought dinner.”
“I don’t think he’s going to let you get away so easily,” Marilyn said.
Well, I didn’t want to get away. I merely wanted to keep the dark spirit away from him. There was a big difference.
I stepped up onto the porch. “You shouldn’t have.”
“She really means that,” Roger said.
Callahan leaned down and kissed me. His soft lips made my body tingle. “You need to eat.”
“What did you bring?” I asked as I opened the door.
“Chinese. I hope that’s okay.” He held up the bags.
Callahan walked ahead of me toward the dining room table. “You take a seat and I will do everything.”
“How great is Callahan?” Marilyn asked.
“He’s a peach,” Roger said sarcastically under his breath.
It was always hard to be romantic with ghosts hanging around. I hoped they would take a hint and give us some privacy. I sat at the table and watched Callahan gather plates and utensils from the kitchen. He smiled as he set the table and took the food out of the bags.
“Now for something to drink. I brought your favorite.” He pulled the soda out of the bag.
I laughed. “You thought of everything.”
He took a candle out from another bag and then matches. “Yes, I did,” he said with a wink.
After setting the table and pouring the drink, Callahan sat next to me. I’d missed having this time with him. Callahan and I had a lot in common. The main thing was that we had both left nine-to-five jobs to pursue our dreams. It was as if fate had brought us together. Maybe that was just me romanticizing things though. How else could I explain my good fortune of having Callahan open his coffee shop right next to my place?
“You didn’t have to do all this.” I picked up my glass.
“I wanted to,” Callahan said.
I glanced over my shoulder and spotted Marilyn motioning for James and Roger to follow her. They walked like zombies behind her as she sashayed out of the room. She knew we needed alone time. How easily she could get the men to follow her.
Somehow, I managed to avoid the topic of ghosts and evil spirits through dinner. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get around the subject forever, though. We’d had a relaxing dinner and chatted about the future and things we’d planned. I hoped these things would come true, but since I’d been on guard for the dark shadow’s next appearance, I knew our future was in jeopardy.
After dinner, Callahan and I snuggled up together on the sofa. Callahan turned to me with desire in his eyes. He leaned closer and pressed his lips against mine. My eyelids fluttered shut and I gave in to the pleasure of Callahan’s kiss. His mouth was firm and strong, but the kiss was gentle and passionate. Callahan made his way to my neck. His lips glided over my skin, and then he moved up to my ear. He nipped lightly at my earlobe, making me shudder. I was savoring the subtle variations of his passion when my pleasure was interrupted by the sensation that we were being watched. This time it didn’t feel as if the dark shadow was there. I glanced over my shoulder and spotted Roger watching us.
He grinned and chuckled. “Making out, I see.”
“Get out of here,” I demanded.
Roger chuckled and then walked away. What a way to kill the vibe.
“Sorry about that. The ghost was watching.”
Callahan grimaced. “I guess he was curious.”
I lay in Callahan’s arms, trying to tell myself everything would be okay. The next thing I knew, darkness surrounded me. It was another dream. I was still on the sofa, but when I looked over, the dark shadow was attacking Callahan. I screamed at the thing, but it didn’t stop. I reached over and tried to grab the thing, but I was unsuccessful.
“Get off him,” I yelled.
Callahan pushed and shoved until the shadow broke away. The thing flew out the window, but I knew it would be back. I woke up with a gasp. When I glanced at Callahan, he was still sleeping.
I shook him. “Are you okay?”
He turned to me, dazed at first. “I’m fine.” He rubbed his head. “What’s wrong?”
I peered around for the dark shadow. “I guess I was dreaming.”
At least he hadn’t
been attacked. It had been a dream. I couldn’t tell what was real or a dream. This thing was playing serious mind games with me and it had gone on long enough. There had to be a way to stop it.
Callahan stretched and yawned. “We must have fallen asleep.”
Marilyn, Roger, and James were nowhere in sight. It was unusually quiet in the house without the ghost chatter. What were they up to?
Sunlight flooded the room and I realized we’d slept clear through to the morning. I massaged my neck to try to get the crick out.
Callahan jumped up. “I’m going to be late to open the shop.”
I’d totally forgotten about the time.
He shoved his feet into his shoes and then kissed me on the lips. “I’ll see you later, okay?”
I was still in a bit of a daze from the dream as Callahan raced toward the door. Something made me uneasy about him leaving, but I wrote it off as the after effects of my dream. It had seemed so real and I figured I was only worried because of that.
Callahan kissed me again and then raced out the door. I watched him drive off down the street, but the anxiety remained. While the ghosts weren’t around, I decided to check the drawer for the hat that I’d hidden from Mindy. James still wore his hat, so was the one I found the evil entity’s? I pulled open the drawer. The fedora was gone.