Entry 37: “Help Me”: Friday Aug. 12
It rained hard last night. I had to let Penny in, but I always enjoy her company anyway. I had tossed and turned, but with her at the foot of the bed I felt a little safer and protected. I wanted to sleep in a little this morning. Still, I found myself waking early with thoughts of Mischa and what she wants me to see. Once again I turned on the TV to watch the morning game shows, still believing there was something there she wanted me to take notice of. But like the day before, I saw nothing to give me great revelations about the ghost of Resurrection Church. I was just going to have to go see Tommy Blaine again and get the answers there.
I turned off the television and was getting ready to go back to the bedroom to get dressed when it happened. I had let Penny outside and usually she would bark if there were an intruder. So when I heard her yapping, I went to the front door. The dog was out in the yard barking at the house. Not in a menacing way, but the way a puppy would if she were excited. But the porch was empty; no one was in the yard with Penny. Maybe she was wanting me to come out and play, I thought.
Then I felt something brush past me in the doorway. It wasn’t a physical brush, as one feels if someone bumps into them, but I felt something different in the air. A change in the temperature. A warmth that one would feel standing close to another person. But there was no one there. I looked around the room and I noticed something moving down the hallway away from me. The only way I can describe what I saw was that it was like heat rising off the pavement in high summer; a haze in the air that blurs everything else around it.
It passed from the hallway into the bathroom, and I heard the water come on. Whatever it was, it had just turned on the bathroom faucet. I walked cautiously down the hall. I didn’t have anything to defend myself with, and though part of me felt fear, another part of me was simply curious. I imagined as I rounded the corner, I would see someone there in the bathroom, staring into the mirror, water overflowing onto the floor. But when I looked in all I found was an empty restroom.
The water was on and running fast. Hot steam had risen from it and nearly fogged up the whole room. I stepped carefully to the sink. The heat coming off the running water met my hand as I reached for the chrome faucet, but I managed to turn it off without burning myself. The steam started to dissipate, and again I felt something move past me and out of the room. I turned to follow, but the bathroom door closed behind it, preventing me from following the hazy apparition. I tried the knob and it wouldn’t turn. It was as if I were locked in.
“Hey!” I yelled. I turned around, looking about to see if there was anything I could pry the door open with, and that’s when I saw the message in the mirror. Steam still lingered on the glass surface, and traced in the humidity were six letters. H…E…L…P…M…E…
“Help Me,” I muttered. “I’m trying to help,” I called out. “Just tell me what to do!”
Other letters began to form on the moisture-laden mirror. A…G…A…N…
I read them all together. “Help Meagan”. Meagan? Who the hell is Meagan? I was puzzled, what did it mean? “Help Meagan,” I repeated, hoping that saying it aloud would help me make sense of the message. I turned back to the door. It was now open.
I heard the television come on in the living room. I could hear the music and credits of the last game show going off. I walked into the living room and picked up the TV remote.
“I don’t want to watch TV,” I said to the haunted room. “I want you to tell me what is going on.” I put my finger on the ‘off’ button, ready to shut it off. Suddenly I froze. On the TV, the news had come on and a face that looked familiar was staring right back at me. A blonde haired teenager, innocent smile, yellow dress. A thought came to me, Tommy’s note: ‘She wants you to watch something other than game shows’. This is what she wanted me to see.
“Oh Mischa,” I whispered, and then the announcer came on.
“Still no word in the disappearance of local teenager Meagan Mitchell,” he said. “For the third month since her disappearance the police say they have no leads in the case. Miss Mitchell was last seen on her way home from a friend’s house. She was wearing a dress similar to the one pictured here.”
And again that face looked out at me from the television. It was not Mischa. It was Meagan. It always had been. The dress Penny dug up from the playground, the anklet with ‘MM’ on it, the “help me” message on the chalkboard. It was all about this missing girl, Meagan.
After the initial shock, this new revelation, I grabbed a phone book, hurriedly flipping through the M’s. I found the Mitchell’s phone and address. It wasn’t far from here, only five blocks away. Oh my god, I thought, this girl had disappeared shortly before Donna and I got here.
And the dog Penny. Maybe this stray wasn’t a stray at all, but belonged to the Mitchell’s. Maybe it was Meagan’s and she was just following her mistress the best she could.
I ran outside looking for the dog, but she was gone. “Penny!” I called out. She didn’t come around the corner or out of the nearby woods. It was as if now that I’d made the connection, there was no need for her to be there anymore.
I went back inside, got dressed and found the anklet that was Meagan Mitchell’s. I put it in my pocket. I had to let her parents know. I had to tell them I’d seen her. Her ghost haunts the church. I thought it was Mischa, but it had been someone else all this time. How could I have been so wrong?
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.