Creature Seers

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Chapter Two, Part Two

“So, she did not say anything else and you did not ask her anything else?” Elsa was prodding me with questions about what happened since I ran, speaking faster than a battle rapper with a stutter I huffed, trying to get my breath back from running here from school. If I kept it up though, I wouldn’t have to go to the gym.

“No…but I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to give away me being a Creature Seer,” I shrugged, as she stood resting her forearms on the shop counter with a frown.

“Hmm…you will learn to find out more without doing that soon, but you did a good thing by offering her help. You should have asked me first if I can do exorcisms before you say I can,” She scolded, pointing her finger before she gestured to me to move to the side as a customer me entered the shop.

“Ms Lenek, you got these please?” He asked as Elsa took the list with a warm smile.

“Yes, we do follow me,” She then began walking around to get a few DIY things she had in a little section. “But yes, Ryder I can do that if your friend and her family are ok with it,” She continued putting a scraper for wallpaper and some kind of filler in a tub. “If you need any more Mr Spencer, you go to the supermarket, I won’t be getting any more until next week,” she said tilling up the items as he got his wallet out saying it will be plenty.

“I won’t…but how you know how to do that?” I asked.

“I know someone who taught me,” The customer chuckled looking up at Elsa through his thick circled shaped glasses.

“That’s about right, speaking of which if I need you to make sense of these fancy words they put in the instructions, can I call you?” He asked.

“Of course. Five ninety-nine please Mr Spencer,” She said then handed her a ten-dollar bill. She counted the change in Polish before she handed it to the customer. “Four dollars and one cent change, have a good rest of you day,” She said waving the short man out.

“So…who was the person who taught you about exorcisms?” I asked after the door shut.

“That man’s uncle,” She replied, pointing a finger towards him out the window as he hurried over the road. I laughed once at his perfect timing since we were talking about the something he indirectly was involved in when he appeared.

“Huh, good timing from him. Is he a priest?” I asked and she nodded.

“His church is on the edge of town, and he knew my teacher,” She explained.

“Wow, this is a smaller town than I thought,” I replied as she rotated the stock on the DIY shelf.

“Hmm. Ryder, can I just ask, this friend of yours, does she or her family have any mental problems, or are they going through emotional times right now?” She asked.

“She doesn’t have any, but I don’t know about her family,” I replied. “Why?”

“Well, first thing you do before performing an exorcism is determine if there needs to be one or if there are more, scientific problems,” She explained.

“Are you saying we should be logical? I know what I saw Elsa,” I said firmly.

“I do not doubt your ability, Ryder. Young Seers actually can pick up on some things better than Master Seers, they have fresh eyes,” She reassured.

“So, my ability doesn’t need glasses?” I asked sarcastically as she put her reading glasses on to look at the small writing on the back of one of the tins.

“No, but trained eyes with experience know what to look for,” She told me. “The ghost haunting them, if there is one, may not be doing anything to them. It may just be the ghost is there, not doing any harm, and there are other more logical things that making them think they are haunted,”

“Huh, that complicates things,” I added, dropping my shoulders with a heavy sigh.

“It does, but no one said being Creature Seers would be easy like pie,” Elsa told me putting down the tin. “Go to see her and see what she says as soon as you can.”

“W-wait…you mean go to her house?” I asked. I haven’t met her parents before, and that was making get stressed just thinking about it.

“Yes, if you know where she lives and it is ok for you to go, you should,” She told me.

“Err…I do but…I don’t know if I can,” I told her, I couldn’t even bring myself to tell her about my crush.

“Why? You are going to their home to help them; they will welcome you and be kind. You are her friend too,” Elsa pointed out confused as to why I was so afraid of doing that. I gave her a look of hesitation and struggle, and it made realisation dawn on her face. “Oh, she is more than a friend to you?” I felt palms begin to sweat as I nodded bashfully.

“She doesn’t know, please don’t tell her!” I begged clasping my hands together.

“Not even if my life depended on it. I know what that embarrassment is believe me,” She placed a hand over her heart.

“Thank you, and that sucks,” I replied and she shrugged.

“You do need to be brave though, if you really want to help her,” She told me.

“Oh yeah, I will. Somehow. Besides, it’s what we do right?” I replied and she sucked air through her teeth cringing.

“Well, usually we don’t jump to rush things or take sides. Remember rules four and six?” She reminded.

“Yeah, I do, but I know I saw something, spirit-like around her. And she told me she thought she had a ghost in her house, it isn’t like I went up to her and said ’Hey Eleanor do you think your house is haunted?” I made my voice a little higher when I spoke as if I were to that…amazing girl. “Also, you look really pretty every day and I like you,” Elsa awed at my stuttering speedy words but I just cringed. My mind let those words slip out, but it went to complete mush when it came to talking to her in person!

“I tell you what. You say her and her parents that I am able to come investigate their home if they want me to,” She told me.

“Really? Great!” I sighed in relief with a smile.

“Remember though if they don’t want our help there is nothing we can do,” She added.

“Really? What if it attacks one of them in front of us?” I frowned.

“That is different. If the spirit is not aggressive or violent, we will not need to do something so drastic and revealing. If they don’t believe in exorcisms then we can’t do one. They may choose to do something else,” She explained.

“I hope it isn’t hurting her,” that made me stressed.

“I too. Go now,” She told me nodding her head towards the door. I waved goodbye before I left the shop heading in the direction of Eleanor’s house. With each step, I worked like hell to build up the courage needed to talk to them with confidence. I muttered to myself what I’d say over and over. When I got to the drive, I saw a cream medium-sized 4x4 family car was parked and a couple of lights on in the house. I did see a few little white circles of energy floating in and out of the house. They must be ghost orbs, so some kind of spirit had to be there, if every paranormal and/or horror movie and show I ever watched was right about them. I hope it wouldn’t do anything bad to Eleanor or her family now I was here. My presence as a Creature Seer might freak it out or something.

“C’mon Ryder. You can do this, they’re only human. Hopefully…” I told myself shaking my hands slightly in an attempt to get the air to dry them off. Taking a deep breath, I strode up the door and knocked on it enthusiastically. I stepped back then stood waiting for an answer while I tapped my feet against the wooden porch floor and rubbed my palms down my thighs. After a moment or two, the door was opened. I saw a middle-aged woman who looked much like Eleanor if she were older and very tired in an apron over what looked like a nurse’s uniform.

“Can I help you?” She asked, her voice a little wary of me.

“Hi, err, is Eleanor here? I-I’m Ryder her friend from school,” I stuttered.

“ELLIE! THERE’S AN ASIAN BOY HERE CALLED RYDER AT THE DOOR FOR YOU!” She shouted back at the house. I wasn’t the only Ryder in our year, but I didn’t know if he came over to her house much. Was she friends with Ryder Jones?! Was she dating him?!

“COMING!” I heard Eleanor shout as she ran down the stairs. “Hey, you okay?” I smiled and nodded when she asked.

“I err, spoke to my friend who can help you, and she’s okay with it,” I said.

“What friend? What is he talking about Ellie?” The woman frowned.

“Err, Ma we better let him in,” Eleanor said then ushered me inside. Her Ma closed the door still frowning at me as I took off my shoes.

“You want a drink?” She asked me.

“Ellie, I am cooking you need to stay out of the kitchen,” Her Ma interjected walking back down the thin and long hallway through a door that had 80s rock playing from it, as well as the smell of beef stew.

“I’m fine, don’t worry, Ellie,” I told her quietly and she rolled her eyes then poked me playfully. I could have died the happiest man in history right then and there.

“Ma, Ryder has a friend,” She began as we stood in the kitchen doorway. It was a cramped brown, beige and cream coloured space that looked kind of old and a little messy, but it had the smell of nice food coming from it so it had to still be working ok.

“You don’t say? Why should I care?” Her Ma sarcastically asked getting out some bowls.

“I know about your, G-H-O-S-T, problem, Mrs McBurnett,” I said in a quieter voice. When I finished speaking, I heard some footsteps from upstairs followed by an icy breeze that began to creep up the hall. Either Eleanor’s father opened the door again and should give lessons on creeping down the stairs, or that was the ghost. I couldn’t turn around, and I felt my breath get caught in my throat.

“I thought you were keeping it to yourself,” Her Ma said turning to Eleanor.

“Ma I couldn’t anymore, we can’t keep up this act and pretend we are all okay,” Eleanor replied.

“And how do we know he’s not scamming us?” I heard a deep voice grumble from behind me. I looked to see a tall bear-like man that could easily work for a wrestling company as their star attraction. He had huge hands grime-coated that had a pack of cigarettes and a lighter probably from the pocket of his overalls. I think Eleanor once mentioned that he was a chief engineer for a big electrical company that powered pretty much the whole town.

“I-I-” I stuttered under his gaze that felt like a sword slice in the dick.

“I wouldn’t have told Ryder if I didn’t trust him Da,” Eleanor added. He scoffed lighting up his cigarette.

“Your young judgement is not something I’m willing to bet cash on kid,” He replied taking a long drag as he sat down at the kitchen table.

“I-I’m not expecting money. And neither is my friend,” I told him.

“Even more suspicious if you ask me. If it goes wrong-”

“We should at least try it, Frank. We can’t live like this!” Eleanor’s Ma cut off making him look away bitter about the fact she was right. I didn’t know properly what was going on, but from the bits I saw and was told, I could tell this Ghost was really making things tough for them as a family. Heck, they were on the points of breaking.

“Da please, we have to try,” pleaded Eleanor.

“You don’t have to accept her help, but you could talk to her about it sir,” I added and he took another drag in thought.

“What’s her name?” He asked me.

“Elsa Lenek,” I said.

“Hmm, one of the guys at work knows her,” Was his uncle a priest? I wondered. “Talking to her won’t hurt, you can bring her over in a couple of hours. But I want it made clear that we’re not a house of crazies!” He declared pointing a finger at me. I didn’t know what to say there remembering what Elsa told me about figuring out if there is a logical explanation first. Elsa will probably be able to do that without offending.

“O-okay…” I stuttered. Eleanor said she’d see me out. I thanked them, said goodbye and that I’d see them soon.

“Thanks again for Ryder. I know my Dad was a little bit of a jerk but he means well. He also doesn’t like asking for help or charity. He’s been like that since I was a baby,” She told me resting up against the door with her arms crossed.

“It’s okay. My uncle in California is worse,” I joked and she laughed weakly.

“He’s right though about our family’s sanity. We aren’t crazy. None of us have any mental health problems or are on any meds,” She was very serious.

“Hey, I don’t doubt that. You don’t need a note from the doctor Eleanor. But I can really see this is stressing you all out,” I then put a hand on her shoulder, it was shaking a little but I managed to keep it under control and it didn’t feel like a fish flapping about on her. “Just hang in there a little longer,” She gripped by hand lightly and smiled back at me with a nod.

“You better get going,” She replied and I nodded then left walking back towards my house first. My parents were a little worried but when I explained the whole thing they understood. While Eomma quickly made my part of dinner, a lasagne, I called Elsa to update her on the plan, then I ate my food quickly not having the time to savour the taste of the fresh tomatoes, beautiful beef or creamy sauce. It was really difficult though because of the simple scientific fact that homemade lasagne is the best. Appa even offered to give me and Elsa a ride to Eleanor’s house, which I accepted and so did Elsa. She also told me to remind her to bring the Tupperware box so she could return it. When we arrived in front of the shop, we saw her in a thick black buttoned-up winter coat that stopped below her knees and a brown leather bag over her shoulder just as she was locking the door and putting the shutter down.

“Hello!” Appa called loudly with a wave to her. It was a little embarrassing, but no one was around so it wasn’t too bad. Why he thought she may have missed us I don’t know.

“Hello Mr Park, Ryder,” She greeted approaching the backseat car door.

“Hi, did you remember the box?” I replied texting Eleanor that we were setting off to her house. I spent way too much time debating if I should put an emoji or maybe even a kiss at the end. I went with a classic smiley face. Not inappropriate and not creepy. She replied with: Okay, I’ll be at the doorx’. I felt my throat choke up stopping me from breathing in excitement. That was until she sent another text saying: ‘*door’ with a facepalm emoji. I let out a heavy sigh of disappointment and pouted. Oh well, at least she sent an emoji back.

“I did Ryder, thank so much Mr Park. Did Ryder tell I am going to make Pierogi?” She asked.

“Shoot,” I muttered under my breath.

“No, he did not,” Appa sighed at me as he took the box from her. “What is Pie-rolli?” I scoffed once at him getting the word for it.

“Pierogi. It is also dumplings,” She explained.

“Ah very nice, we should get going. Don’t want to keep Ryder’s girlfriend waiting!”

“APPA!” I shouted. Now I was so embarrassed I wanted the car seat to swallow me and make me disappear forever. Elsa had a smile on her face showing sympathy, and some amusement while Appa just laughed like a hyena. “Why’d you have to do that typical Dad thing and make fun of me having a crush?”

“Hmm, maybe because I am your father?” His sarcasm made me roll my eyes.

“Ugh you make me wanna leave the galaxy,” I groaned and Elsa laughed again then we set off. As soon as we pulled up, I saw Eleanor rush out onto the porch.

“Is that her?” Elsa asked and I nodded smiling at the way the low sunlight made her look like a model in a fall time all American photoshoot. If a career in computer science didn’t work out for her a career in modelling could be a second option for her. “Ryder, we need to go,” Elsa nudged me out of staring at Eleanor, then I nodded and got out of the car after I begged Appa to please not embarrass me. He nodded with a grin as I closed the door but he made me even more nervous. Just relax Ryder, you’ve done your bit, for now, I thought to myself taking a deep breath in and out.

“Hey, she’s here, she’s real,” I said strolling up to Eleanor whilst pointing to else with my thumb over my shoulder.

“Yeah,” Eleanor laughed seeming a little tense herself. “Mrs Lenek is it?”

“Miss, but please call me Elsa dear,” Elsa introduced as she walked up to the porch with a warm smile. Just then, Eleanor’s Dad appeared with a root beer in one of his hands.

“Da, they are here,” Eleanor introduced stepping to one side so Elsa could walk up the porch steps.

“Elsa Lenek,” She introduced holding out a hand. He shook it firmly.

“Frank McBurnett. My wife is Rose. Show them in Eleanor,” He then stepped back to let his daughter and Elsa go inside. I was about to follow and take my shoes off again but he stopped me by holding up a hand. “You don’t need to take them off son, you won’t get them back if this goes wrong, you’ll be too busy running for your life,” He threatened. Anxiety flooded me and all I could do was awkwardly laugh. I still wiped my feet on the mat and began praying that this wouldn’t blow up in my face. They were already sat down and talking; Eleanor and her Mom explaining what had happened. It was a lot of ghost things, doors slamming and opening, cold spots, strange footsteps, things getting moved around, and they would be disturbed at night keeping them awake. That could be why they were so tense; they hadn’t had a good night’s sleep.

Her father once again firmly told Elsa that they weren’t crazy, and I couldn’t help but think that he was compensating for something. I could be wrong though, maybe he had problems with mental health in his family and he was ashamed of it or he was afraid about having problems himself with his mental health.

“Okay, I do need to assess the home properly so I can learn where this spirit is,” Just as Elsa said that, a family picture flew off the wall and nearly hit her. Eleanor, her mother, and I all screamed but Elsa calmly caught it like a badass! Was she a Jedi, or a wizard or one of those super-cool martial arts masters in action films?! Or was this a cool Creature Seer ability?! “You should probably take all valuables out while we do this, and any sharp or dangerous weapons please,” She replied handing Eleanor’s mom the picture. She thanked her then told Eleanor and her husband to help her move the few pictures and ornaments they had there in the living room. Elsa, however, was fixated on one corner in the room. I couldn’t see anything in that particular area, but there were a few more orbs floating around the room. “We will let you know when the spirit has gone,” Elsa added seeing them out the room. Keeping my eyes on where Elsa was looking before, I sidestepped around to where she was sat. I just caught a glimpse of a short shadowy figure disappearing into thin air.

“Did…did you see that Elsa?” I asked then turned around to face her. She had opened her bag and had got out a Bible and a cross.

“I’m not sure, but I think a blessing of the house may be good place to start,” She explained. She then put her bag back over her shoulder and took in a deep breath. “This is to calm things in the home, and the spirit may come back,” She then handed me the cross.

“Okay, got it. Err, why are we using the bible and cross? Why are you using something Jewish?” I asked.

“I know from Mr Spencer that they are Christian. I ask him on the phone. And I saw a cross on the wall when I came in,” My eyes widened at her Sherlock-like observation skills.

“Ah, cool…can God make the spirit not-” I was cut off by the spirit suddenly appearing right in front of us. I screamed then jumped back nearly falling over on to the couch.

“Ryder! Be careful!” Elsa hissed helping me up.

“Fuck…why do they have to jump outta nowhere?!” I exclaimed, rubbing my left elbow that I landed on.

“Watch your language, and they may not have meant it,” Elsa scolded. The spirit vanished again. I gripped at the cross and took some deep breaths. Elsa then began to read from the Bible and while she did my eyes were darting around the room ready to smack that spirit into next week with the cross. I followed Elsa around the house as she spoke the same verse, ‘And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity, peace be to you, peace be to your house, and peace be to all you have’ blessing each room, and in each one of them, there was some kind of paranormal thing that happened. Not that being in my crush’s room without her wasn’t bad enough, I had the paranormal activity experience to deal with too. There wasn’t anything too dangerous, and Elsa said that she didn’t think the spirit was evil. She said going off it throwing pillows and opening doors or windows, it actually wanted us out. It still didn’t show itself.

“Could we try talking to it directly?” I suggested as we went downstairs.

“I was going to suggest that,” She then walked into the living room returning the bible to her bag. “It is good to clean the air with spirits.”

“You mean clear the air, right?” she tutted at getting the saying wrong, then nodded at me. I just smiled and handed her the cross back. “So, err, how does this work?”

“Is like talking to a normal person. Do not be frightened, but do not let your guard down,” She told me patting my shoulder then turned to scan the room again. “We know there is a spirit in this home. We are not here to harm you, but you have been causing harm to the people who live here now whether you wanted to or not. We are able to see you because we have the ability to do so. You may have heard of us being called Seers. My name is Elsa, and this Ryder,” She then looked at me and nodded expectantly.

“Oh, hi. I’m Ryder, I’m new to this, and I’m not a big fan of ghosts but I wanna help my friend and you if you need it,” I stuttered but I was still scared out of my mind.

“…I’ve heard about you people,” A soft voice that sounded like a really old yet slightly grouchy woman. “But I thought you were just some strange explanation for psychics and mediums and crazy people,” A short woman with white hair stood hunched over with a stick in her hand wearing clothing typical of grandmas. The thing that stood out was the tartan cardigan and large circle-shaped glasses. She wasn’t very shadowy or grey and see-through like I expected.

“Well, we are very real, and would prefer if you keep that to yourself please,” Elsa politely asked as the woman stepped closer to us then sat back into the green armchair in the corner.

“Oh, they don’t pay any proper attention to me, they just get scared and think I’m the devil so don’t worry,” She chuckled getting herself comfy like she had done a million times before. “Sit, sit, both of you. I need to introduce myself,” She told us. Elsa thanked her then took a seat and I slowly did so still paranoid about something else happening to me. “I am Ruth McBurnett. Frank is my son and Ellie is my oldest granddaughter,” She introduced smiling fondly as she spoke about her family.

“Ruth, why are you here?” Elsa asked.

“This was my home, and I wanted them out,” She replied with a shrug.

“But, they’re your family. Why would you want them out?” I asked.

“My son moved his family up here years ago to deal with my house and belongings after I died years ago, he’s not moved them back because he’s reluctant to sell the house. It was the home he grew up in, but the rest of our family is in Colorado now,” She explained. That is sad, I know my Eomma felt like that when she had to deal with my Grandpa’s house and stuff. Maybe he was struggling to find them a new house to live in here in the town too.

“That is sad. And you realise that doing what you have done and do is not helping yes?” Elsa questioned.

“I do, I do,” Ruth huffed. “But I tried talking to them and giving them little messages but they wouldn’t listen to me,”

“I see. It is hard for some to believe and listen to spirits. Some never do. We can tell your family that it is you in their home and why you are here if you want,” Elsa told her sympathetically.

“I can leave my house if I want to, and I’d prefer to leave quietly on my own when I’m ready. I don’t think my Frank would be able to part with the house if he knew I was here,” Ruth replied and Elsa nodded.

“Sometimes it is best to leave things alone,” Elsa agreed, Ruth now nodding then she looked at me.

“You looked puzzled son,” She stated.

“Oh err, sorry eh, like I said before. I’m new, and a little confused, but I’m sure you had the best intentions for your family so, p-please don’t do any scary ghost stuff to me,” I stuttered rubbing the back of my neck.

“I won’t hurt kid, but from the bits I’ve heard about you Seers you’ll have worse than me to deal with,” she warned. I was pleasantly surprised and thanked her with a tone that showed that.

“What would you like us to tell your family Ruth? We need to give some explanation,” Elsa asked her lacing her fingers together.

“Tell them you got the ghost to leave, eventually, and that they can move on with their lives. I’m sure we’ll all talk about this one day in heaven,” She replied with a warm smile. I wondered if they would do that, as well as what that conversation would be like.

“Sure, take it then the afterlife really is a thing?” I asked Elsa and she nodded.

“Hopefully, if it ain’t then where am I going?” Ruth asked and we all laughed.

“That is one of life’s biggest questions. But yes, you will go to heaven or the afterlife if you choose Ruth,” Elsa told her.

“That is good to know. Well, I think I will be going now,” She then glanced around the living room one last time. “I hope one day someone else will be happy living in this house,” She then turned to us. “Thank you kindly for your help.” She then began to glow a pure white before she vanished into thin air. I looked around feeling the atmosphere of the house change to a homier one and not a haunted one.

“You feel that change? She has passed on,” Elsa stated and I nodded.

“So, you can choose if you want to go to the other side?” I asked her.

“Sometimes. Depends on what those on the other side think, what you did in your life, if you believe in the other side, or if you are finished here on Earth and are ready to go,” She explained.

“Huh, cool,” I muttered thinking it over. It weirdly made sense to me.

“We should clean up,” Elsa then stood up with me following, and together we cleared up the things that had been knocked over by Ruth.

“Y’know I’m really surprised at how easy getting rid of Ruth was,” I said as we strolled back downstairs.

“We did not get rid of her dear, we helped her move on,” Elsa corrected then she went into the living room. “Tell your friend they can come back,” I then took out my phone and texted Eleanor followed by my Appa. They came back with some snacks from a gas station, and Appa appeared not long after.

“Hey, got you a hot chocolate,” Eleanor said walking up with a sweet smile and two cups of even sweeter smelling hot chocolate in her hands.

“Thanks,” I grinned then took one from her and she handed the other to Elsa.

“How kind, thank you,” Elsa said gratefully taking a sip.

“How did it go?” Her Ma asked.

“There was a spirit in your home. But we move it on peacefully. And now you can move peacefully with your lives,” Elsa explained, and to my surprise, Eleanor and her parents all smiled and let out a sigh of pure relief.

“Thank you for your help, and thank you for bringing that help to us son,” Her father said to Elsa then me, and he shook my hand firmly. My jaw nearly fell off in that moment and I just about stuttered a thank you in Korean and then English in return.

“You are very welcome,” Elsa replied shaking his hand. They along with Eleanor’s Mom then began to talk about what happened while Eleanor and I hung back with our drinks.

“So…did anything spooky happen?” She asked me.

“Err, yeah. A lot of stuff got moved about, and we spoke to the spirit, but it moved on soon after we talked to them,” I replied taking a sip. “I hope things can get better for you and your family now,”

“Yeah. We talked too at the coffee shop that opens late and we’ve figured out what we wanna do. Sell the house and move,” At that moment I grinned because I remembered there was a house up for sale right across the street from my house.

“Cool so, do you guys know whereabouts in town you’re gonna move to?” I asked her with a grin.

“Actually, we’re thinking of moving back to Colorado,” My grin fell off my face instantly.

“What?” I stuttered.

“We were only to stay here for like a year. Da was struggling with selling the house and dealing with all the stuff. His siblings and their families still live back in Colorado and they’re constantly busy which meant that a year turned into longer,” She replied with a sigh then smiled. “But moving back to Colorado is what we all want. I really miss all my friends and family, and I’ve been looking at going to college in Denver. It has what I’m looking for,” She added, her smile growing the more she spoke about it, and the more heartbroken I felt. “You’ve no idea how grateful I am for you doing this Ryder, I don’t even think I could put it into words. You’re a brilliant friend,” She then gave me a hug that made me feel like my soul had been knocked out of my body. My arms were stuck out awkwardly for a few seconds and I nearly dropped my cup, but eventually, I wrapped my arms loosely around her.

“No problem,” I muttered before she pulled away. Elsa then said goodbye to her parents and Eleanor and began walking towards my Appa’s car. I waved goodbye her parents then looked at her again. I thought about telling her how I felt, but if I did it would probably make things awkward between us. I didn’t want her to think that she owed me something because of what happened. I didn’t want to just leave it here though. “Hey, Eleanor?” I began and she nodded. “…thanks again for the hot chocolate. You should try them with flavoured syrup sometimes like uh, mint or vanilla,” I told her and she smiled.

“Thanks, and you’re welcome. See you tomorrow,” She then waved and went back into her home. I sighed then got into the car and slumped into my seat after putting on my belt around me.

“Are you okay Ryder?” Elsa asked as Appa set off driving. I shook my head no.

“What happened with Eleanor son?” Appa questioned glancing at me through the rear-view mirror.

“They’re moving away to Colorado, and I’ve been friend-zoned,” I told them. Appa awed sympathetically and Elsa pursed her lips.

“I am sorry dear. But you did the right thing as a Creature Seer. You didn’t think you would get her to like you through doing what we did?” She asked me frowning.

“I thought about telling her how I felt afterwards at school or something, but I didn’t think she should like me back because I helped to get a spirit leave her house. That’s wrong, and something one of those guys who say they are nice but are actually jerks do,” I replied.

“Good. They will always be grateful for what you did Ryder. Don’t forget that,” Elsa told me.

“I won’t forget. I feel proud and happy that I was able to help and face my fear,” I added smiling a little.

“You were very chivalrous son. And always remember there are plenty of fish in the sea,” Appa told me pointing his index finger at me with a smile and wink.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of trash though so finding someone as good as her may take a while,” I sighed.

“You are young, don’t worry,” Appa added. I murmured back a “yeah” then sat in silence looking out the window and bouncing my knee until we got back to the shop.

“I have a book for you to start reading in the study. You can come in to get it if you like,” Elsa told me taking off her seat belt.

“Is there room for one more or parents not allowed in the study?” Appa joked smiling back over his shoulder at us.

“Of course, you can Mr Park,” we all then got out of the car and walked to the shop. Elsa unlocked and entered the house, but when we saw the huge mess that had been made, we all stopped and gasped. Glass jars and bottles, items on sale, and papers were thrown everywhere, there was cutlery from the kitchen thrown against the doors and walls, the vegetable crates were scattered around and vegetables were now mash on the floor. The door towards the study had been left wide open, but none of the bigger ornaments or shelves had been moved.

“What happened in here?!” I asked picking up a box of candy.

“Were you robbed, Elsa?” Appa asked as Elsa check the till.

“No, the money is still here,” She then strode around and over debris towards the open door. “Kappa? Are you alright? Where are you?” She called out in Japanese. I looked around for Hanz but couldn’t see him as Appa picked up some things that had been knocked off shelves. We then heard his webbed feet rush down the hall as well as some water swishing about, probably from his head.

“I’m NOT! Hanz went absolutely loony! He trashed the place! There was a huge burst of spirit energy, and next thing you know he is running around causing all this! I cleaned up the study as best I could but there is still a lot to do!” Kappa exclaimed, his voice was higher pitched and sounded more like a duck, while he flailed his arms holding some books.

“Where is he now?” Elsa asked glancing around frantically.

“I don’t know,” Then we all heard a rustling coming from the kitchen.

“Ryder, what was that?” Appa asked me taking a step back towards the door out of the shop and away from the kitchen. Elsa picked up a plank of wood from one of the crates that broke then she slowly crept towards the kitchen and in one swift grab she pulled back the curtain with the plank raised but she soon sighed and lowered it after she saw Hanz. She then started speaking to him in a language that I didn’t understand, it sounded like it was European. She did sound like my Eomma when she told off me or Zack right before she gave us a big hug and would tell us she loves us or we had her so worried or please don’t do it again.

“What happened?” I asked her when she came back in after Hanz vanished.

“He say he felt a lot of energy from around town, and it was like it cause something to shift,” She explained frowning in thought over it.

“Which means, something is gonna happen?” I asked taking a guess as that is how these things go on the silver and small screen.

“Possibly. It could have just been caused by that spirit passing on, but it was so peaceful there was no need for so much energy to be used in going screaming and kicking unless that energy built up with them being there for so long even in life that it could have built up over that time,” Elsa spoke her thoughts out loud with her arms crossed.

“He said all over town, what if it was from more than one spirit?” I suggested.

“We cannot know for sure unless we go around to all the haunted spots in town and see if the nicer spirits are still or if they felt the same energy. But most probably, yes,” Elsa sighed then Kappa tugged at her coat then he pointed one of his webbed fingers to the ceiling. “Oh, yes,” She gasped then she started to swiftly get back to cleaning the shop. “I am sorry but I must get this shop tidy again or we will have problems from the Domovoi. You can head home, we can manage here,”

“The Domo-what?” Appa questioned.

“Domovoi, a Russian house spirit that keeps watch over homes, but only if the home is kept clean and tidy. If not, he can do much worse than Hanz,” she told us quickly getting a dustpan and brush. “You won’t see him either Ryder, I only saw him once very briefly,” She added as I glanced up at where Kappa pointed.

“Oh, great, another spirit,” I murmured. “Should I come by for the book tomorrow after school?”

“You can’t Ryder, we have your appointment with the GP tomorrow about your mental health son,” Appa told me. That was great news, but I was a little down about having missed out on reading one of those Creature Seer books. I was excited about reading for once, but I knew getting answers about what was going on upstairs was more important.

“Okay, awesome. I guess I’ll come round the day after tomorrow?” I asked her and she nodded.

“Of course, thank you again for driving Mr Park,” Elsa said to Appa and he smiled telling her it was fine. We then said goodbye to each other and left the shop with a lot to think about.

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