2. The Last Supper
At the restaurant, Rebecca sat across from me. Her thin lips pursed, a classic sign of irritation. Her fingers pulled at the neck of her burnt-orange turtleneck. In contrast to the green gemlike color of her eyes, the thick line of black eyeliner gave me the impression they reached outside her face and across the table. They gave the odd perception she could enter my body, get answers, and my heart out in the process.
When she looked at me in that manner, so intently, I knew she wanted to back me into a corner. Frankly, I felt judged.
To her right, and my left sat Paul. His brown eyes gazed at me with sadness, plain and simple. His hand kept raising to his face to push at the overgrown, black bangs that fell over his forehead. A clear sign he needed a haircut. To her left, and my right sat Leon. His blue eyes held hope. Hope I would change my mind.
I’m not going, guys. Sorry, Leon. Read my text to them the night before.
I have a bad feeling. I couldn’t sleep all night and had nightmares
Yeah, what were these nightmares?
Ugh, guys! It was awful dark visions of nothingness and sounds. Whispers and grunts. It was awful :-/
Maybe it’s the stress at work??? You know, with, you know who...
Yeah, that asshole guy. Mr. Supervisor 🤢🤮
I hate that guy. I told you, you should quit, Liz.
Sorry guys just got home. What did I miss??
She doesn’t want to go :’(
She had nightmares. read through the texts!!
Later. Too long ... Sorry about the dreams, Liz. It’s probably the A-hole giving you nightmares
That’s what I said! You and me baby! Same vibe 😘
You know it, Baby!
Hey! I thought the same thing!
I said it but Leon beat me to it, LOL!
You should quilt, Liz
That’s what I said to her!
I’m not quitting guys. I get paid pretty damn well, so no.
Tell her, Leon. Tell her to quit!
Quit! That job is giving you an ulcer.
Quit Liz! LOL, Leon.
Anyway, gotta go. Imma start cooking but I better see you at dinner tomorrow. Love you!
Of course! I’ll be there tomorrow, just not on Friday.
Whatcha cooking, Paul?
Oh yum! I want some!!
You can’t not go, Elizabeth. I don’t accept it and it is my birthday wish.
See ya ALL tomorrow. Kisses. Love you both. Paul, I’m starting the grill!
Night, Liz! Night guys! Enjoy the ribs. damn—hungry now... I’m coming over, Paul!
Guys, I’m not going to be there Friday...
Three pairs of eyes—stared. As if I was a fish in an aquarium.
I threw my hands up. “Fine, I’ll go! I give up.” I couldn’t win that battle. I knew them well. They would’ve broken into my house, tied me up, and held me, hostage, if I’d insisted on not going.
“Fuck, yeah!!” came Leon’s shout.
And an “Aha!!” with pointing fingers from my other two embarrassing friends.
Everyone around us stared and I shrunk in my seat but ended laughing at them.
“You guys are crazy!” I rolled my eyes.
We ordered a few bottles of red and appetizers.
“To Leon,” I lifted a full glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. “May he have all his wishes come true.”
“Here, here!” They all chanted and sipped.
“To Leon,” Rebecca followed. “May he live to see his thirty-six birthday.
They all laugh. “Here, here!
“To Leon,” Paul was the last to toast. “May you never feel alone!”
“Here, here!” They sipped again.
“Know I will always love you. You are the best person I know,” Paul continued.
“Aww,” I said and puckered my lips.
We all got teary-eyed and fell silent.
“Thanks, guys! I hope to see my next birthday, haha! And my wishes have come true! I get to spend this day with my favorite people. The love of my life,” he reached to grab Paul’s hand. “And you said yes to Friday so ... I’m set.” His eyes twinkled.
“That’s it?” Becca said with a laugh.
“Nah! But if I tell you,” he winked and blew her a kiss. “It won’t come true.”
We all giggled. The waiter took our order and we sipped in silence succumbed to our thoughts.
“So,” I said unable to bear the quiet no longer. “What’s this obsession with spirits all of a sudden, Leon?” I asked with sincere curiosity.
“Not all of a sudden,” he quickly replied. “I was thinking about what we could do that would be cool and different. Then I read an article about the spookiest places in the United States and this one popped up. It is so close to us, I figured, why not?”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah. I ran it by Paul and he’d heard something about it too.”
“Yeah, and Paul loves this kinda stuff, like you, Liz,” Becca pointed a squared, French manicured finger at me.
“I know that’s right!” I winked at Paul and we fist-bumped.
“Coincidentally I met this guy—” Paul said.
“The ghost hunter,” Leon interjected.
“Yeah, Jonathan. He’s cousins with my friend Mindy from work, and so we were talking about this and about Leon’s birthday, and then somehow, it all came together. The guy ended up volunteering to be our guide. He’s been in there before.” Paul’s sunken eyes enlarged in his pale face.
“Has he had anything happen?” Curiosity was getting the best of me.
“He said so, yes.” Paul nodded. “Pretty serious stuff. He said he’s seen quite a few orbs and some stuff has moved while he’s there, heavy stuff like metal chairs and medical equipment. He’s also heard voices through his EVP recorder.”
“You’re gonna have to help me here, guys,” Becca interjected. “I know nothing about this kinda stuff.”
The waiter came with our entrees and we went dreadfully quiet. We murmured a few thanks yous after he asked if we needed anything else and we shook our heads eager for him to leave. We looked guilty as if we were planning a robbery.
“Orbs are globes consisting of light and what people believe might be manifestations of spirits. Some sort of energy connected to them and can be seen floating or moving by the naked eye.”
“Wow! Have any of you seen one?”
“I have,” I said with a shrug.
“Where?” Their eyes grew and pressed me to continue.
“Wow! Really?“Paul asked surprised. “I don’t think you ever mentioned it.”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Me too but in photos,” Leon declared. “Not someone else’s photo but my own where orbs came out.”
“I thought those were camera tricks or dust floating around.” Becca shifted in her seat looking a bit uncomfortable. She folded a slim leg under her bum.
“They can be,” I replied. “But you can tell when it’s something else.”
“The shape, the way it moves. It’s—different.”
Becca nodded. “And, EVP?”
“That stands for electronic voice phenomena and it records the voices of the dead if they care to speak.”
“They talk?! Fuck,” Becca made a face. “That sounds heavy. That guy’s serious about this stuff, huh?.”
“Well, he’s a ghost hunter, so yeah,” Paul said matter of factly.
I turned to look at Leon after taking a bite of the lemon peppered chicken and mashed potatoes on my plate. Excited, he smiled as if he were a small child.
“Yeah, I don’t know what you’re all smiles about. You’re gonna be shitting yourself when we are there.” I rolled my eyes at him and shook my head. “This is serious shit.”
“I know! I know!” He was fired-up but toned his voice down as to not alert anyone around us.
“I want to know how we are getting in. People are being stopped by police and some have gotten jail time for trespassing. I don’t want a delinquent record because Leon decided to become a criminal this year.”
They erupt in laughter.
“Okay, here’s the deal,” Paul moved closer urging us to come nearer too. “We need to park at least a block away. Then, when we are all there, we’ll meet Jonathan at around 8:15 p.m. He wants to give us the history of the place and talk about what we are expected to do and not do.” He took a few gulps of water, “There are rules you know.”
“I’m getting to that, Liz.” He placed a hand over mine. I hadn’t realized I’d been shredding the dinner roll into tiny pieces.
“There’s a part of the fence that is knocked down close to the small parking to the front left side, but—”
“Why don’t we park there?” Leon wondered the same thing we all did.
“We want to make sure our cars are nowhere near the place so cops don’t think to check or get suspicious—anyway, you can also go either over or under the fence on the right side where there’s a small area that looks woodsy, can’t miss it.”
We all nod. Three intense stares watched his every move.
“Jonathan doesn’t want us to wear any type of scent. Apparently spirits can leave their own and number one, we want to experience that and two, we want to make sure it’s coming from them and not us. He asks we don’t wear any jewelry either. Seemingly ghosts can cling to metal or stones and stuff ... He wants to avoid any of that. And three, it is imperative no one take anything from the site.”
“Eww, who wants to take some moldy, dirty piece of memento from an ancient asylum?!” Becca interrupted.
“Apparently plenty of people. I know none of us would but he asked that I let you know. He’ll likely repeat it the last bit when we meet.”
The more he spoke, the more real it became. My heart pounded at my temples and against my chest. I’d experienced plenty of paranormal activities in the past to be wary of this kind of experience. My encounters had never been negative and yet still scared the living daylights out of me. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if anything dark showed up.
What are those called? Shadows?
Out of breath, I ran a shaky hand over my face and sighed wondering why sweat dampened the back of my neck.