Chapter 11: Mystery & Rage
I awoke to the sound of knocking. It jolted me awake from my spot on the couch. I found myself wrapped up in a blanket, to which I briefly smiled. I knew who had covered me up during the night. I could almost picture it, the blanket floating eerily down the hall carried by the ghost that used to be my living-breathing wife. The knocking came again. I sighed, got up and went to the front door. I stumbled slightly over the front entrance mat and pulled open the door. It was still dark outside. No one was there. I flipped the switch by the door and the outside light came on, illuminating the porch. Still no movement. I closed the door, but left the porch light on, just in case whoever had been knocking came back.
I headed back to the living room with all intentions of returning to my spot on the couch. I was interrupted by the knocking again, like a steady pounding of hand against wood. I turned to the door. It didn’t come from there though. It was emanating from somewhere else in the house.
“Lacey,” I called out, thinking maybe she was banging something around. I remember when she first came back she rearranged all my furniture to her liking. I changed it back the first couple of times until I finally just gave up and let her have it her way. Even in death she won every argument.
Knock..knock..knock. It was coming from the kitchen. I headed that way, calling out as I entered. “Lacey, what are you doing now?”
She had what looked like a board game spread out on the table. She stood there staring down at it, directing my gaze there. It wasn’t just any old board game. It was a ouija board. The one she bought me for Christmas that first year so I could talk to my dad. She had meant well, but in anger and disgust I had thrown it in the closet never to use it. Now she had found the thing and pulled it out.
“Lacey, you woke me up for this? To play with this damned board. What makes you think…?”
I stopped. The board’s plastic pointer, what is commonly known as the planchette, was bouncing up and down on the board. Knock…knock..knock. It would rise from the table to come back down on the board making the sound that had roused me from sleep. I looked to Lacey for answers.
“I think she wants to talk to you”, she said.
Knock! The planchette came down on the board again and began to move around in circles. I walked up to the table and sat down.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Who are you?”
I went to put my fingers on the planchette but it moved away from me and begun jumping among the letters that made up most of the boards face. It moved of its own accord, stopping over some of the letters briefly, spelling out its name. C..A..R..L..A..
I looked at Lacey. This was definitely different. Usually, spirits just came to me, walked right through the door and said hello. Never before had one tried to communicate in such an old fashioned way, but maybe she just didn’t have the energy.
“Are you Carla Deacon?” I asked.
The planchette moved and rested in one corner of the board, right over the word “Yes”.
“Where are you?”
“Where is here?”
I DONT KNOW
I decided to try a different question. One she would know.
“Do you know Summer Dennings?”
“Who is she?”
“Were you lovers?”
DONT LIKE THAT WORD
“Okay, me neither. What happened to Summer?”
“How did she die?”
“Jumped? From where?”
I knew the place. Quarter Mile Bridge was on the outskirts of town spanning the river. As a kid I used to think it got its name from its height, but in truth it was named so by the locals because of its length.
“Why did she jump?”
SO HE WOULDNT GET HER
“Him who?” I persisted.
This was getting nowhere. If this was true and Summer jumped to her death from Quarter Mile Bridge, why did she do it? So this mysterious Him wouldn’t get her? Who was he?
“Carla, how did you die?”
There was no answer.
“It’s okay you can tell me.”
“Did you hang yourself?”
“Did someone else hang you?”
This was really not making sense. I saw her hanging from a chain; somebody had to have put her there.
I WAS DEAD BEFORE
I stopped. Suddenly it seemed a little clearer. Could it be she’d been killed earlier and then hung to make it look like a suicide?
HE WANTED MY BODY
THE COLORED MAN
“Who’s the colored man?”
“What’s his name?”
SAID HE WOULD MAKE ME FAMOUS
“Who? Who said that?” I was getting a bit agitated. I seemed so close to figuring it all out and yet it was still out of reach. Maybe Lacey could reach her better than I could. I looked around the room for my ex-wife but she was gone. That was just great. When I need her the most, she flies the coop.
HE HAS PLANS FOR YOU TOO
That got my attention. “Who?”
HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT YOU
I thought for a moment. Who would be after me? Yes, I’ve managed to make a few enemies and piss people off on occasion, but enough to want someone to harm me?
HE THINKS SHE IS GONE
“Thinks who is gone?”
THE OTHER ONE IN THE HOUSE
“You mean Lacey?”
SHE IS DEAD TOO.
“Yes she is,” I replied. Could it be she sensed Lacey’s presence somehow? How else would she know she was here? Or was Summer hiding out somewhere here and Carla could feel her?
“Did your dad kill you?” I suddenly blurted out. He sounded like the only one it could be. He knew all about me. He would know about Lacey. And to my knowledge he doesn’t know she still exists on this plane as a ghost. When she said he thinks she’s gone, maybe she meant he didn’t know she’d come back as a spirit. But she didn’t answer my question.
“Who’s the colored man?”
CANT TELL YOU
HE CAN STILL HURT SUMMER
“How is that possible? She’s dead.”
HE HAS HER BODY
I looked at the words she had formed out on the board. What could this mean? Some form of voodoo? Was her body stolen to enact some kind of control over her spirit? In my experience with crime, a mystery is not solved until a body is found. The only resolution comes at that moment. Maybe now it’s the same with ghosts. As long as this “colored man” has her body, Summer will not know peace.
“What does he want to do with her body?”
“Carla, please tell me. You have to tell me now. What does he plan to do with Summer’s body?”
LIVE IN IT
“Live in it? What do you mean?”
Suddenly the planchette flew across the board and off the table. It fell to the floor, and the board folded up as if whomever I had been communicating with had just said, ‘game over’. I bent down to pick up the planchette and the kitchen window behind me exploded. I dove for the floor, and reached for my gun. I didn’t have it. It was gone. The holster was still there, it was just empty.
Something had come through the window. It was a rock. Tied to it was a note. I scooped it up and scrambled over to the window, my back against the cabinets, so if anyone was out there with a gun I wouldn’t be in view and they wouldn’t have a shot. I heard a car door slam and the screech of tires. It sounded like whoever was out there was now leaving.
I slowly got up and peered over the windowsill through the broken glass. I couldn’t see anyone out there, no one moving in the shadows. I looked at the rock in my hand and unraveled the note from it. It read in big bold letters: I’M GLAD SHE’S DEAD.
“Son of a bitch”, I snarled in rage and hurled the rock against the kitchen wall so hard it stuck in it. That Deacon. We were going to have a gunfight real soon.
I stormed into the living room looking for my gun. I didn’t care about the glass all over the kitchen floor, all I could think of was Sheriff Deacon and his earlier words: “one day Winter, one day.” Looks like one day had come.
I found my gun on the coffee table. I must have laid it there sometime in the night. Or more likely, Lacey had taken it out of the holster and put it there. She always hated it when I tried to bring my gun to bed. I picked it up and put it back in its holster.
I grabbed my jacket and headed for the front door. She was blocking the way. Lacey. She stood in the path of the door. To go out I would have to go through her. And she knew damn well I didn’t want to do that. If I passed through her spectral form I would experience all the things I didn’t want to experience again. Her pain, her suffering. The night she died.
“Get out of the way, Lacey. This is between him and me.”
“No Cole,” she said.
“Damn it, out of my way…now!”
She stood her ground. And why shouldn’t she? She didn’t have anything to be afraid of. It’s not like I could hurt her or anything.
“Lacey,” I implored, nearly in tears. “Please move, baby.”
She shook her head. “You know I can’t. Not with you like this. Someone is going to get hurt.”
I shifted from foot to foot, indecision and anger warring inside of me. Part of me wanted to rip Sheriff Deacon’s head clean off. Not just for the rock through my window, but for everything. For taking Lacey. For not protecting her. For not loving her. But this other part of me wanted to forgive him, for seeing that it was not his fault. That all the blame lay with me. I chased Lacey from me, forced her into choosing another. I failed to protect her. I was the one who didn’t love her as I should have.
I broke down. I collapsed there in the hallway floor, a man no longer tough and ready for a duel with his rival, but a weak man, broken and in misery over his own choices in life. I lay there in the hallway curled up in a ball, crying like I had never cried before. How could I help my client Summer find peace if I myself was still tortured by the deaths I myself had caused?
I didn’t see Lacey leave her post from the door, but I felt her presence as she knelt down before me. She took me to her ghostly bosom and though I could not feel the warmth of her flesh I could still hear the ghostly beating of her heart, soothing me and telling me to rest.
“Advocate For The Dead ” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.