Here we go! It’s another installment of the new story written by Matticus and I! So, without further doo doo…
“No!” Jake screamed in rage as he jumped out of his bed.
The only thing going through his mind was saving his mother from the ghostly hands that were following her. As soon as he leapt up, however, the hands disappeared. She turned at his shout to see him rushing at her with anger on his face. To her credit, she didn’t back up. She didn’t even flinch. Jake’s mom stopped him dead in his tracks with just a look.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked calmly.
Jake opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. He thought about what to say to her. In his mind, there was really nothing he could tell her at this point that would make anything better. The truth? She’d probably stop him midway through the story to tell him to stop making things up.
“Well?” she said, impatience creeping into her voice.
He looked into her eyes for a few moments before his gaze dropped to the floor. “It doesn’t matter,” he mumbled.
“It does to me,” she countered.
“No, it doesn’t. If I told you what was really happening, you wouldn’t believe me.”
Jake’s mom stepped beside him and put her arm across his shoulders. “Try me.”
Jake was tired. He sighed and leaned against his mom. He didn’t think she’d believe a single word he said but he didn’t think he could handle what was going on without some sort of support. So, he might as well tell her. He had nearly been killed twice in less than a day. Even the worst that could happen if she didn’t believe him wasn’t worth worrying about in comparison.
“I think I’m, we’re being haunted.” He flicked his eyes up to check her expression, saw only her stone poker face, and quickly looked away. “Some days ago, I watched some hands pull a book off the shelf. I thought I dreamed it. Then yesterday all sorts of crazy things happened. I was choked twice. The books on my bookshelf all changed. I saw a guy was standing in my room for a minute. I’ve heard the front door open and steps come up the stairs a whole bunch of times. And, just now, I watched as hands were following after you to attack you. That’s why I jumped out of bed.”
Jake hazarded another glance at his mother, she was looking at the bookcase though, so he couldn’t read her expression. The fact that she hadn’t removed her arm from his shoulders or told him to quit being silly was encouraging though.
“What do you think?” He asked.
His mother didn’t immediately answer with words. Instead, she stood up, walked over to the bookcase, and picked up the copy of Unprepared that was sitting on it. “Didn’t you throw this away a while ago?”
Jake was floored. His mother had known he threw the book away? He thought he’d done a good job of hiding it from her. “Yeah,” he managed to stammer after recovering some of his wits.
She turned the book over. Her brows burrowed in thought once she saw the picture on the back. Bringing the book closer to get a better look, she chewed on her bottom lip for a minute until she spoke again. “This guy looks familiar,” she said absentmindedly, trying to think. “I feel like I’ve seen him lately.”
“He’s been legally declared dead,” Jake informed her.
When she turned her head to look at him, he just pointed to his laptop before walking over and finding the article again. He watched her as she read. The confusion on her face didn’t inspire much confidence in him. Wasn’t she the parent? Wasn’t she supposed to know exactly what to do in every situation?
“The longer I look at his picture,” she said, “the more I’m convinced that I’ve seen him recently. I just can’t place where.”
“I don’t know,” Jake said, trying to stifle a yawn. “Sorry, I’m not going to be much help. I haven’t gotten much sleep. While you were at work something tried to strangle me.”
His mom looked up from the picture of the author to study her son. Jake squirmed under her gaze.
She crossed to him swiftly and silently and pulled his shirt collar down to look at his neck. The speed of her movement startled him more than the action itself. If he’d been more rested he would have anticipated her response to his statement.
She asked, “What do you mean something tried to strangle you?”
“I woke up and something was pressing against my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I thought…” He stammered, “I thought I was going to die. Started to black out and then I grabbed that book,” he pointed to Unprepared, “and waved it around and the pressure on my neck went away.”
She raised her eyebrows, “Waved it around?”
Jake mimicked what he had done in the middle of the night, and felt pretty foolish doing it. Why would waving around that book have any impact on what had been choking him? Remembering the brief encounter with the author, Jake added, “He said, ‘Everything you need is here,’ while pointing to the bookcase.”
His mother went back over to the bookcase and looked at each book. After spending a few minutes at the task, all she could do was shrug. “These are your normal books,” she said. “I don’t see how any of these would help in a supernatural situation.”
“Well, my books weren’t on the shelves when he said it. There were a bunch of dark colored books with weird writing in them.”
That’s when it hit him. He’d taken pictures of the words on his laptop. He quickly brought up his picture folder so he could show his mother. When he clicked on the image, however, it was now suddenly blurry. “Figures,” Jake scoffed in frustration. Looking at his mom, he added, “These images were clear when I took them. I don’t know why they look like that now.”
She leaned in closer to get a better look at the grainy pictures. While she was staring at them, Jake began to feel something. It was something strange. There was an electricity in the air. The hair on his arm started standing up. All of the sudden, the room grew darker. Not completely dark, but definitely a few shades dimmer.
As all of that was happening, the image on the screen was becoming clearer. Jake turned to see if his mother was noticing the weirdness going on only to discover she was part of it. Her gaze remained fixed on the screen and her eyes were no longer their normal green. They were completely white, like they were rolling back in her head.
He tentatively touched her hand, “Mom?”
There was no response. She was completely zoned out. Or completely zoned in on whatever the heck is going on.
Jake followed her gaze and was amazed to find that not only had the picture become perfectly clear again but he could understand the words.
Whispering, Jake began to read. “Portals can be opened between the living and the dead but only for short periods of time. If you find yourself being attacked the best thing you can do is move swiftly away. The dead attacking you will not be able to hold the portal open, follow you, and attack you.
“However, once you have become a target, it is unlikely the ghost will leave you be until they’ve gotten what they want. They don’t sleep. Time isn’t the same for them. They can attack again as soon as they’ve built up enough energy to open the portal.
“So, while running away is a good temporary solution, at some point you will need to face your attacker, find out what they want, why they want it, and then figure out how you can get it for them.”
Jake’s eyes started to ache and he realized he hadn’t blinked since he’d started reading. He scrunched his eyes together and shook his head and then opened his eyes back up to pick up reading where’s he left off but the picture had gone blurry again.