For what seems like the millionth time since we left the hotel, I glance in the rearview mirror. For a second, I think the beat-up blue Honda Accord has finally stopped following us, but then I see it come around the corner. I sigh in resignation. Guess I’ll have to take care of this.
“Maria,” I shout over the blasting music. “Pull into the next parking lot you see!” She looks at me funny, but as soon as she sees a McDonalds parking lot, she pulls into a spot and kills the engine.
“What’s going on?” Hazel asks. I wait until the other car pulls in and parks a few spaces away.
“Are you all seriously that oblivious?” I snap. “That car has been following us since we left the hotel, and none of you idiots noticed.”
Toby looks over at the car and rolls his eyes. “Not again…”
I throw open the back of the van and stalk over to the car. The two guys inside look terrified. As they should. The pretend not to see me at first, so I pound my fist against the passenger window. They both jump, and the passenger slowly rolls his window down, just barely. It’s enough for me to reach my arm inside and unlock the door. I have the door open and the passenger dragged out within seconds.
“How many times do we have to tell you to fuck off?” The passenger, who I have had the extreme misfortune of meeting several times before, is named Theo. He thinks he’s a ghost hunter.
Theo pushes his black-rimmed glasses back up his nose with a shaking hand. “We weren’t following you!” Then he winces like I’m about to hit him or something. I definitely want to, but I don’t. I shove him away from me in disgust.
“Bullshit. I saw you the whole time. You really think I’m that stupid?” Hazel comes up next to me and grabs my arm.
“Calm down, Jude. Violence solves nothing,” she says. Theo’s eyes widen when she uses the word violence. She glances inside the car at the driver. “Chris, can you please get out?” The driver’s door opens and another version of Theo steps out. He looks nearly identical, except he is taller, doesn’t wear glasses, and his dark brown hair is longer than Theo’s buzzcut. Also, he looks like he had his face pounded in recently. Kind of like Toby.
“What the hell happened to you?” I say, unsuccessfully suppressing a grin.
Theo smirks and I clench my fist. “Guess you didn’t see us the whole time, did you?” I take a threatening step toward him and his smirk vanishes.
“We snuck into the house after you guys left,” Chris answers. “It… didn’t go so well…” He wrings his hands nervously.
“If that didn’t teach you, you’re even dumber than I thought.”
“We just followed you to give you something,” Chris said. He rummaged through his pocket. “You left it at the house.” I raise my eyebrow and reach out my hand for whatever it is. Before he can drop it in my hand, Toby is suddenly next to me. He reaches his hand over mine and catches whatever it is in his own hand.
“Toby, what…” I start. Toby opens his hand to show me what it is. The missing gem for the locket. If I had touched it, I would have gone through watching Olivia being beheaded again.
“Don’t just take things from weirdos, Jude. You know better than that,” he says with a grin. I roll my eyes, then turn on Chris.
“Where and how did you find this?” I demanded. He looks disappointed that I’m not the one who grabbed it. I know he just wants to see how my ability works, but he could try asking instead of tricking me. I wouldn’t show him, but he could still ask. Then I notice something off about his eyes.
When a ghost possesses a human, it can take on a few different forms. Usually, the ghost is only powerful enough to control the human’s thought process. They can give them false memories and emotions. Other times, the ghost is powerful enough to completely take over the human and access their memories. They can then use both the human’s memories as well as their own and control the human completely. The last form is when the ghost is powerful enough to completely control the human as well as change the humans looks to match their own. This doesn’t mean that the human looks like a completely different person, but instead certain features will temporarily change, until the ghost either loses power, or is expelled from the human.
Chris’s eyes are the wrong color.
Being twins, Theo and Chris both have the same eye color, but right now, Chris’s eyes are Brown and Theo’s are blue. I glance at Theo, who looks at me with terrified eyes, and I suddenly wonder if he’s terrified of me, or his brother. When I look back at Chris, he also looks terrified. Great. I take a step back and look at them back and forth. Maybe it’s Theo’s eyes that are the wrong color? I’m usually more observant than this, but for some reason, I can’t remember which one is their normal eye color.
Toby is looking at me like I’m crazy then turns to Chris. “Fine, don’t tell us. We don’t need to know anyways. Come on.” He turns to leave, but I don’t follow.
“Jude, come one,” Hazel says. She grabs my arm and tries to pull me away, but I don’t budge.
“Which one of you…” I wonder aloud. Chris’s eyes jump to Theo and back to me. “Yeah, you’re right. We don’t need to know.” I stick my hand out to Chris. If he shakes my hand I might get a glimpse into his mind. “Thank you for bringing this to us.” Chris looks relieved and shakes my hand.
For a second, I am back in a dreamlike version of the Colton house. I see Theo reaching for something inside the closet. His eyes are brown, like mine. No, not like mine. Like Chris’s. I turn away for a second because I hear a noise. When I look back, Theo is running at me, fist swinging toward my face.
I let go of Chris’s hand and smile before turning away. Toby is looking at me and I shift my eyes toward Theo and mouth, “Possessed.” He rolls his eyes, annoyed. When we get back to the van, I jump in the back and started searching for the supplies I need.
“How did he get possessed? And how did you know?” Hazel asks. “Nothing feels different about him.”
“His eyes are the wrong color. He was possessed when he picked up the gem. What I want to know is how he is still possessed. The ghost should have left his body when he either left the house, or let go of the gem. What is the ghost attached to if it’s neither of those two things?” I pull out a bottle of holy water and some salt. One of them should get the ghost out of Theo. “Also, Olivia has green eyes, so it’s not her spirit. If that’s her necklace, she should be the one attached to it, not someone else.”
Toby holds up his hands. “Hold on, like demon possessed? Because I thought you said you would die if you touched someone who was possessed.”
“Oh, no not by a demon. Just a spirit. A mean spirit, but still just a spirit. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of you. You guys stay put.”
When I turn around to get out of the van, Theo is standing on the ground staring up at me with a wicked grin. Holy crap. “Uh……” I fumble with the bottle of water to try to throw it on him, but by the time I get it open, he is already in the van, hand around my throat. The bottle of water falls to the floor of the van and runs harmlessly around his shoes.
Normally, I wouldn’t be afraid of a wimp like Theo. Unfortunately, whoever is possessing him is much stronger. In fact, they are much stronger than any spirit I have ever encountered. He drags me out the back of the van. When the others try to get out to help me, he somehow forces all the van doors shut and locks them. Without even touching them. I’m fucked.
I kick at him, but he slams my head against the pavement and my vision goes black.
“I normally plan for my victims better, but you four are getting in my way. I’ll save the cute redhead for last,” Theo-not-Theo growls. He’s talking about Hazel. I feel something cold and thin wrap around my neck, and then it slides one across my neck, biting into it sharply. I can feel warm blood trickling down my skin. And then something else falling onto my face. It feels like sand. After a few seconds that feel like years, the wire loosens and Theo gasps, letting me go.
I lay there gasping for air, until my vision returns. When it finally does, I realize that Chris had picked up the salt that I had dropped and poured it over Theo while he was preoccupied with trying to murder me. Maria and Hazel are worrying over me while Toby is digging the first aid kit out of the back of the van. Chris is both hugging and lightly punching his brother.
Toby rushes over and bandages up my neck. “Maria, let me see your hands.” I open my eyes and see that Maria is standing next to Hazel. Her hands are both bleeding and swollen.
“What happened?” I ask. I stand up, holding onto the van so that I don’t fall back down. Everything is spinning.
“I had my hands between the door when that asshole slammed them shut with his mind powers,” Maria says, gritting her teeth. Toby gently pokes and prods them, and she cries out in pain.
“Jude, maybe you should sit down,” Hazel says.
I shake my head. “No, I’m fine.” It’s true. Everything is spinning much less now. “Maria?”
“I think one of her hands may be broken,” Toby says. “We should probably get her to the hospital.”
Maria protests. “No, I’m fine. I don’t think its broken. We can keep going.”
Toby slams his fist against the side of the van, and we all jump. “We are going to the hospital. For both of you. Jude may need stitches, and might even have a concussion, and your hand is definitely broken! Now get in the van!”
We all quietly obey and climb into the van. Toby gets into the driver’s seat and takes off a bit too quickly. Chris and Theo are getting into their own car as we pull out of the parking lot.