It’s that time, everyone! It’s time for the next installment of everybody’s favorite blog hopping story about ghosts and spirits…and stuff.
Jake looked at his mother, begging her to tell him that the spirit was lying, that she didn’t make a human sacrifice to gain some sort of power. She didn’t say a word. She did nothing to assuage his concerns. All she did was stare dumbly at the spirit. “Mom!” Jake yelled at her.
“The fire didn’t burn you,” she mumbled dumbfounded.
“Of course not,” the spirit replied. “I wrote that spell, remember? Did you really think I didn’t put in a safeguard to prevent it from being used on me…Vicki?”
Pure hatred replaced the dumbfounded expression on her face. “My name is Victoria,” she seethed.
“I know, Vicki.”
“The only good thing about all of this is that now I get to kill you again.”
It was Jake’s turn to be confused. “You’ve killed someone before?” he asked in shock.
“Only those that deserved it,” she spat back. Suddenly, she remembered who she was talking to and her demeanor, along with her voice, softened. “Don’t listen to him, honey. I only killed him in self defense.”
“Self defense?” the spirit laughed. “What danger did I pose tied to a table in your basement with my mouth taped shut?”
The corpse gestured to his face. Dangling from one of his cheeks was a dirty and worn piece of duct tape.
Jake wasn’t sure what to do next. The thought that his mom had killed someone, self-defense or not, unsettled him almost as much as the spirit that had come back to kill her out of claimed revenge. This brief stalemate wouldn’t last long though and it didn’t seem like his mom was up for the challenge. The fire spell not working on the spirit had clearly shattered her confidence.
But, thinking about that, Jake realized the spirit hadn’t been completely right. The fire spell had worked on it. His mom had destroyed its hand using the same spell. That meant the magic had worked against it to some degree. If it was wrong about that, perhaps it was trying to trick him about her motives for killing it in the first place. There was some hope anyway.
The only thing Jake could think to do next was get the same book that had worked before. It was on the counter nearby but he would have to turn his back to grab it. Anything could happen in that split second. The spirit was still advancing and he needed to do something. Glancing at his mom, he realized it was a risk he had to take. She was still staring at the ghost in disbelief. If he didn’t act, they were both doomed.
Jake turned and lunged for the book. Before he got to it, he stopped short. Sitting on top of it was another severed hand. He almost fell into the same trap as his mother did, but he shook his head when he caught himself simply staring. The words of his mother ran back through his mind. “How?” Jake stuttered. “We destroyed that hand and it’s too early for it to have come back yet.”
“You destroyed a hand,” the spirit corrected. “You didn’t destroy that one. The hand you destroyed belonged to my friend Marten Revulus. The hand that’s on the book is mine.”
His head began to spin. So much was happening and he had no clue what most of it was. To top it all off, his mother was still staring blankly at the spirit possessed body. “Mom,” he cried. “Do something!”
“She can’t hear you, you know.” Jake looked back at the spirit as it continued on. “She cast a spell. Right now, she’s locked against me in a contest of wills, trying to banish me.”
“If that were true, you’d be unable to move too, I’d bet.”
“If I didn’t possess magic before I was killed, or I was more recently deceased, you’d be correct. Because of those two things, I’ve had years to build my defense against her. At this moment, she’s hitting harmlessly against a wall of pure rage. Rage at her using me. Rage at her killing me.”
Jake desperately wished his mom had taught him anything that might have been useful in this moment. But, with no better knowledge, the book was still his best bet. He narrowed his eyes and stared at the hand resting on top of it.
It’s just a hand. It might be dead. It might be part of a ghost. But, it’s still just a hand.
He snapped his right hand forward and snatched up the severed hand. At the same time he grabbed for the book with his left hand. Immediately the severed hand tried to free itself from his grip. Its fingers twisting and digging into the flesh on his wrist.
Turning he attempted to throw the hand towards the spirit, but when he released it, the hand still clung to him. His momentum spun him around wildly for a moment, he could hear the spirit laughing in the background, and the hand began to race up his arm. He knew it would head for his neck. He’d already been choked twice and had no desire for a third time around.
Sweeping the book across his body and down his right arm, he connected with the hand and sent it flying down to the floor. The spirit’s laughter died abruptly but Jake didn’t waste time looking up. He switched his grip so he had the book in both hands and he slammed it down on top of the hand.
“That was uncalled for,” it said in a voice dripping with disappointment.
“Uncalled for?” Jake shook his head. “You and that hand have tried to kill me twice now.”
“I hate to keep correcting you, but once again you’ve got the wrong hand. Yes, a disembodied hand tried to kill you, Marten’s hand. Not mine. Marten wants to kill you to punish your mother. I, on the other hand, just want to go straight to the source and kill your mother. Sure, I’d feel bad for making you an orphan, but I’d only be responsible for half of that. She’s the one who killed your father.”
Something clicked in his head. “You’re saying that my mom killed my father and she killed you. Are you trying to tell me that you’re my father?”
“You’re not Luke Skywalker and this isn’t Star Wars. I’m no man’s father.”
Something else dawned on him. “What about this Marten guy? How does he fit into the picture? Mom said she didn’t know who he is. Why does he want her dead?”
“He was your father’s best friend in college. After your father died, Marten tried to summon a spirit to help figure out what happened to him. The spirit was too strong for Marten to handle. I’m sure you can guess the rest.”
Once again Jake saw a flaw in the ghost’s statement. “That can’t be. There’s no way he was my dad’s best friend in college. My mom would have recognized him.”
The ghost laughed. “Ah, to be young, and alive, and naïve. Adults are not the perfect creatures we assume them to be when we are children. They make mistakes. They have secrets. I don’t know why your mom didn’t recognize your father’s best friend from school but it doesn’t surprise me and it matters little to me.
“Maybe he never told her about his college days. Maybe he did but she didn’t pay close enough attention. As I said, it doesn’t concern me and very soon that history will be rendered unimportant with her death by my hands.”
A voice inside Jake’s head said, “Keep him talking, I think I’ve finally broken through his defenses against me.”
Frowning, Jake kept himself from looking towards his mom. It was her voice but it was under great strain. He didn’t want the ghost to know she has spoken to him, though, so as concerned as he was about her he couldn’t give any clues that the situation might be slipping from the spirits control.
“Fine, whatever,” Jake muttered. “So I’m not Luke Skywalker and you aren’t my father. Then who are you in all of this? And why did my mom kill you?”