Authors: Karina Halle
My life has never been
easy,” I mumbled.
No one’s is, even the
lives we think are effortless. Some people take a longer time to
open their eyes to it though. But you’re open. And that’s
irresistible to some things…and some people. Like Dex.”
He sees it too.”
I nodded and felt my cheeks
growing hot. I wasn’t sure what to make of that.
So what do I do? Should I
leave? I mean, I don’t want to bring this stuff here to you
Will and Sarah are being
tormented by something terrible,” he answered gravely. “It would
happen whether you were here or not. But now that you are here,
these things are going to come after you and they are going to do
whatever they can to destroy you. The good news is, that in the
end, that very power they want is the very power you have to defeat
Uh, this is really
starting to sound like some epic superhero movie.”
He laughed. “It’s not. This
is just what happens. And it happens a lot here. The Navajo deal
with the spirits, or what you call the supernatural, very often.
It’s not supernatural to us, it’s just…natural.”
So you’ve dealt with stuff
like this before?”
Well, what are we dealing
He eyed the trees, not
quite worried but still with the barest hint of
I’d rather not discuss it
yet, not till I’m sure. This isn’t the time. We better get
I glanced around me at the
forest, feeling the shadows reaching out from the depths. This
whole conversation made my paranoia level amp up to
We continued walking, a bit
quicker now, as the ground became level and the trees thinned out.
Soon we were out of the forest and making our way across the craggy
desert, coming towards the house and barn from the far left. It was
closer to noon now and the sun was at its grandest. My shadow stuck
as close to me as possible, as if it was afraid to
In the distance I could see
the Jeep. Dex was back. Suddenly I didn’t want to go any
Sensing this, Bird stopped
and looked at me.
Want to rest your foot
He gave me a gentle smile.
“You’re worried what your husband’s going to think?”
I tried not to flinch at
He’s an interesting
fellow,” Bird said with no hint of irony. “I can see how you guys
found each other. You’re very similar.”
I tried to hide the
annoyance that must have splashed across my face but Bird caught it
and only smiled. “I can back you up in any way you need me
That came as such a sweet
relief to me. It was so nice to know Bird was on my side. Maximus
was right about that. I could trust him.
Thank you Bird,” I said
sincerely, hoping he really knew how thankful I was. “That means a
lot. But I mean, what can I say? I was an idiot. You saved me.
That’s kind of the story of my life.”
It’ll get better,” Bird
said and patted me affectionately on the shoulder. “Just remember
what I told you.”
That I was the target of
whatever the fuck was happening? How could I forget?
Let’s get you fixed
I was about fifty feet away
when the front door was flung open. Dex came out, followed by
Maximus and Will.
I half expected Dex to hang
in the background, but the moment he got a better look at me he
came running over. He looked livid.
What the fuck happened to
you?” he yelled at me, hands in the air. I looked at Bird.
Suddenly, I wanted Bird to explain everything.
She took a little tumble,
She’s not fine,” Dex spat
out angrily. He looked at my arm, then at my face. I couldn’t
really tell if he was just pissed off or extremely
I’ll go find the first aid
kit,” Bird said quickly and walked off to the house, leaving me
with Dex. Maximus and Will were still hanging out around the porch,
trying not to watch us.
I avoided Dex’s
I’m sorry,” I said
sheepishly. “It’s no big deal.”
He rubbed his chin
I went for a
God damn it, Perry!” he
I’m sorry, I just thought
I would go up to that ridge there.” I turned and pointed at the
ridge but he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him rather
roughly. My fists clenched in surprise.
Ow!” I cried. I opened up
my palm. The holes from the crow’s talons stung and looked nasty.
He loosened his grip on my wrist but didn’t let go and peered down
at my hands.
Ah, jeez. You’re a fucking
You can let go
He shook his head. “I’m
going to need to leash you to me from now on.”
My shoulders sank. There
went my freedom. Maybe I did need a babysitter. I always thought it
would be the other way around.
Look. Dex. I am sorry. But
this isn’t about you. It’s my problem. I took the tumble. That crow
Crow?” he repeated, his
tone perking up.
And here was the can of
Yes. Some crow attacked me
out of nowhere, that’s what these are from.” I pointed to my hands
And what the fuck is this?”
He picked a piece of bloody snakeskin off my shirt and held it
That…that was a snake. Bird
He sighed and rolled his
eyes. “Unbelievable. I leave you alone for two hours and you fall
off a cliff, get attacked by a crow and a snake explodes all over
He grimaced but seemed to
be calming down. “Well I hate to say I told you so but…I so fucking
told you so. You wanna listen to me next time?”
I glared at him. “It
depends, Dex. You’re not normally the voice of reason
Neither of us are,” he said
and finally let go of my wrist. “You better wash up.”
We walked to the house. I
smiled awkwardly at Will and Maximus as I went up the front
My Lord,” Maximus said,
shaking his head as he looked me over. Neither of them looked very
impressed. I tried to brush it off.
I shrugged. “I’m a klutz,
what can I say?”
I walked past them and
straight up the stairs before they could see how it was so much
more than that.
I entered my room and
quickly shut the door behind me and made a beeline for the
I looked in the mirror and
gasped. I had a huge gash across my left cheekbone, with trails of
blood and dirt streaking off of it. There were twigs and dust in my
hair and my tank top was absolutely ruined with snake guts, blood
and caked earth. No wonder everyone had been looking at me like
that, I looked far worse than I actually was. In fact, I looked
like I walked away from some sort of murder.
And it could have happened.
There was no way I could pass that crow and snake off as just mere
animals. They had to have been under the power of someone else.
Maybe that’s what Bird wasn’t saying – maybe what we were dealing
with here was witchcraft. Perhaps some evil shaman, or something to
that extent, was trying to get me and Dex away from the ranch. But
even if that was the case, why would they be harassing the
Lancasters to begin with? The stones, the dead sheep, the birds,
the fox, the snake…it was all so scattered and disjointed without a
real pattern. What if it really was all just a bunch of
But I knew in my heart they
weren’t. I just couldn’t figure it out yet. I hoped I would be able
to by the time the weekend was over.
As I pondered that, I
stripped out of my clothes, a pile of dirt collecting on the clean
floor, and ran the shower until it was abrasively hot. The steam
fogged up the window and I stepped in. The water was painful on my
scratches and I winced at the sting, but after a few moments it
faded into a happy numbness, as the murky water swirled down the
It was Saturday. We only
had two more days to capture everything we needed, but it no longer
felt like the show was the only goal of the weekend. Even if we did
get more strange happenings and scenarios on camera, even if we
compiled some interesting interviews with Bird, Maximus and
whoever, and walked away with a fairly solid body of work…I didn’t
want to walk away. I couldn’t. I felt as involved with the “case”
as the Lancasters were. We were just the eyes, sent here to film it
all, but we couldn’t do anything about it in the end. We weren’t
shamans. We weren’t exorcists. We weren’t even ghost hunters. We
were exploitive journalists (and that was pushing it) who would go
on our happy way and leave the Lancasters to deal with a problem
they might not ever solve. It suddenly felt so…pointless. Why did
Will want us there when we couldn’t do a thing to help?
My brain felt stuck on that
question as I reluctantly turned off the hot taps and wrung my hair
out in the tub. It felt warm at first in my sore hands but quickly
turned cold as the beads of water moved down my arms.
I stopped and froze. I had
that dreadful feeling that I was no longer alone in the
I couldn’t see anything
through the white shower curtain, though I was certain I’d see a Ma
Bates figure rushing towards me with a raised butcher knife. I
listened hard, trying to steady my breath as quietly as I
I can smell blood on you,”
Sarah’s voice echoed across the bathroom. It wasn’t particularly
sinister or accusing but it was creepy as hell. How did she get in
here without me hearing her? And what the hell, I was in the
shower, hadn’t she heard of a little privacy?
I didn’t know what to say,
so I pulled back part of the curtain and stuck my head out to get a
look at her.
There was no one there. The
door to the bathroom was closed.
I stepped out of the shower
and quickly wrapped a towel around me. It was a bit too small and
barely covered my rack but it would have to do. I looked around the
tub for her but I was alone in the room. The clothes on the floor
looked undisturbed. The window was open only a crack and a hot,
sweet-smelling breeze was blowing through in mild bursts. Did I
really hear Sarah? Or was I imagining things? I closed my eyes and
rubbed my temples, trying to get the clarity I had back on that
A knock at the
I yelped despite myself, my
wet hair flinging water droplets around the room.
It’s Dex,” I heard him
mumble from the other side. The handle jiggled.
Heart in my throat, I
cautiously opened it. Indeed, Dex was standing outside the door, a
first aid kit in his hand. He looked wary of me until his eyes
drifted onto my chest and legs, on display courtesy of the
Hello there,” he said, the
corner of his mouth twitching into a smile.
I didn’t give into the
embarrassment of him seeing me half-naked.
How long have you been
I just got here,” he said,
still staring at my chest.
I rolled my eyes and
reached over, pushing at his forehead until he was looking me in
Did you see just see Sarah
He shook his head.
I closed my eyes, feeling
I started to close the door
on him but he stuck his hand out and stopped it. “Nuh
He pushed his way into the
bathroom and closed the door behind him. “You need some
Oh yeah, you’d like that
wouldn’t you,” I sniped.
He sighed as he opened the
kit and spread it out on the standalone sink. “Actually I’d like it
if you were being the sexy nurse, not me.”
He opened a bottle of
rubbing alcohol and splashed it on sheets of gauze and held it
above my arm, warning me, “This is going to sting,
Can’t be worse than your
Ha,” he said and pressed
the gauze forcefully into my arm. I flinched. It burned like a
He took the pad and, more
gentle this time, pressed it further down my arm, dabbing it on
each cut. His brow was furrowed intensely as he worked. It was
vaguely charming to see him doting on me.
After he worked his way
down, he lightly stroked the tops of my forearms where the crow’s
talons had scratched away. The hair on my arms rose in response.
Only this time not in fear. His fingers felt nice.