Cedric awoke and saw a nurse standing by his bedside, making notes on a clipboard. The nurse wore a blue uniform and had a long brown ponytail. There was a vase filled with carnations on his bedside.
“The meteor? Who are you?” Cedric murmured.
“I am Rebecca, welcome back to the land of the living, Mr Bay.” Cedric looked bewildered at Rebecca.
“What happened after the meteor struck?”
“A meteor, sir? You were in a car accident, don’t you remember?” Rebecca asked.
“No,” Cedric shook his head, “there was a meteor, I definitely remember it. I remember burning.” Cedric paused, and stared at Rebecca. “My daughter is missing, I must find her.”
Rebecca stared at Cedric for a moment, then shook her head.
“Please be patient, I’m going to call the doctor.” Rebecca said, then ran out of the room.
Cedric heard a knock on the window, and saw the little girl hovering just outside the window. Again she had an eerie expression and was slowly waving at him. Her entire body seemed to be giving off a faint glow, because it was very dark outside no indication of any light source.
Cedric watched as the little girl open the window and hover inside. She left wet footprints as she walked towards his bed. There was a rusty cuff with a broken off chain attached to her left ankle.
Cedric knew little about ghosts and spirits, mostly because he didn’t believe in them, but surmised that the appearance of the little girl probably hinted at the way she died.
Who was she and did she want from him?
“You? Who are you? What do you want from me?” Cedric asked. The little girl said nothing and looked at the door, and watched as the doctor, nurse and two orderlies come in.
“How are we feeling Mr Bay?” the doctor asked. They entered, completely unhindered by the strange looking girl in the room. Cedric could only guess that they were unable to see her. He also guessed if he would start talking about the little girl in the room they would probably put him in an asylum, or something
“Where’s my daughter? I demand you tell me where my daughter is!” Cedric tried to move his body, but it was like trying to lift a ton of weights. A quick glance revealed that the little girl had her hand on his wrist. Whether her hand was behind his sudden lack of movement he didn’t know, but what he did know was that this was no ordinary ghost. Not friendly, nor overly malicious like those poltergeists you always see throwing around furniture in those paranormal TV shows. Whatever she was, Cedric knew he was dealing with something unprecedented.
“You want to know what I am, huh?” the little girl said, without moving her lips. “You can describe me as your worst nightmare.”
Cedric’s only reaction was complete shock. Was she reading his mind? The doctor noticed how Cedric was staring at an empty part of the room.
“I think you may have experienced some head trauma, Mr Bay. Or maybe you inhaled too much smoke.”
“I have no business with them, Cedric, therefore they cannot see me.” the little girl said calmly, then disappeared.
“Nurse Rebecca is going to give you something so you can rest, Mr Bay.” the doctor said. Cedric saw how Rebecca was pulling a syringe, and knocked it from her hand.
“I don’t need to rest! I just need to see Rosetta. Where is my daughter, bring her to me!” The two orderlies grabbed and held Cedric down until the nurse injected the catheter with sedative medicine. Then, soon after Cedric calmed down and fell asleep.
Later, Cedric came through in a bedroom of an abandoned house, it seemed familiar, but he could not figure out where he had seen it before. He stood up and examined himself. He was unscathed, no burn marks on him, and no hospital gown, and back in his security guard uniform.
Riddled around the room were various dolls and teddy bears, all with their heads missing. It looked like the bedroom once belonged to a little girl, as it was predominantly pink. As he walked out he saw a name-board nailed to the door.
Cedric cautiously walked around the house, the walls were dirty and garbage and leaves laid scattered throughout the house. It looked like the house had been abandoned for years. When he got to the kitchen he found three plates of food, each plate had a piece of chicken in it and maggots were all over the meat.
Outside, Cedric noticed an old car standing in the backyard, it didn’t look like it was in working order any more, rust had taken over the entire bodywork, and the tires were flat. There was also a lake not far from the house, and Cedric walked over to the dock.
The lake was not very big, and the shore was littered with garbage. Cedric approached the dock, and noticed a concrete block that had a rusted chain embedded inside. He walked closer and examined it, to him it looked eerily similar to a Mafia style drowning contraption, designed to drown someone by tying the person to the concrete block then throwing the victim into deep water. It guarantees a slow and excruciating death for any unfortunate soul. But what was such a contraption doing out here on the dock.
Cedric examined the chain. The way the chain had broken off made it look like it had been bitten off clean. Even through the chain was old and rusty, you could clearly see the teeth indents as the teeth sliced through the steel. Cedric tried picking up the block, but it was too heavy for him alone to pick up.
“Do you see now?” said a voice from behind. It was the same little girl from before. When Cedric saw her he tried to lunge at her, but she disappeared just before he got hold of her.
“You little...” Cedric stood up and dusted the leaves and dirt from himself.
“You are still unable to see,” said the little girl, when she appeared again.
“I’m tired of this nonsense. What is going on here?”
“You are not fit. I judged you wrong.” the little girl looked to her right. Cedric waveringly looked as well, and became horrified when he saw a pack of wolves barking, howling and running straight at him. He looked back at the little girl, but she had disappeared again.
Cedric had to think fast. The idea crossed his mind to run back to the house and lock himself inside, but the house was too far off, and the wolves were approaching fast.
Knowing that he would never be able to outrun the wolves, he jumped into the lake in an attempt to deter the wolves from him. He suspected wolves could swim, so he swam as fast as he could to the center of the lake.
However everything around him became silent, the wolves stopped barking and howling. He looked around he saw that the wolves had disappeared as well. There was dead silence for a few moments, all he could hear was his own anxious breathing, and the blood flowing through his ears.
Then an arm reached out from the water, grabbed him by the skull and tried to submerge him underwater. The arm was long, and consisted of nothing but putrefying dark purple flesh. Cedric immediately started thrashing around as he tried to fight off the hand that was trying to drown him. Then, more arms appeared from beneath the water, and tried to submerge him as well.
He felt himself lose energy, as the hands kept on trying to submerge him. Standing at the end of the dock, he saw the little girl watching on, she had a decapitated teddy bear in her hand.
“Melina!” Cedric shouted out in sheer desperation. “Please, don’t do this!”
The arms loosened their grip on him, released him, then slowly receded back into the water.
Again, silence filled the atmosphere. Cedric, looked at the dock, and saw the little girl had disappeared. Exhausted and weak, Cedric swam back to the shore, relieved to be released from the death grips of the dismembered arms. Cedric crawled onto the shore, exhausted, he laid on his back, staring at the strange sky. The sky was filled with yellow puffy clouds, but the clouds were vertically arranged in many, many layers. It seemed like it went on forever, like a tunnel comprised entirely of clouds.
“You remember me?” Melina asked, when she appeared before Cedric. Laying on his back, Cedric saw Melina standing near his head. Melina hovered backwards slightly as Cedric got his feet. Cedric reluctantly shook his head. He figured he needed to be less hostile if he were to know what she really wanted from him.
“I saw the name-board on the bedroom door inside that house, I figured that the bedroom once belonged to you.” Cedric said, he became anxious, because he was unsure what Melina’s reaction would be. Melina nodded.
“You figured it out besides your lack of recall of the house. You have the skills,” Melina said.
“Skills for what?”
“You were once a policeman, a detective,” Melina said.
“Yes, but that was almost ten years ago, how could you know such a thing?” Melina looked at the house, then back at Cedric.
“Detect!” Melina said, in an ominous voice, then disappeared.
Cedric reluctantly walked up to the house. Inside the kitchen he found blood on the walls and kitchen cabinets. The three plates with maggot ridden meat were gone, but there laid a bloodied knife on the table. As he observed the sudden gore around him Cedric noticed a an open door, which was closed before. He suspected Melina must have left it open for him. So Cedric headed through the door and discovered that it led down to the basement. It was dark down there, but some light came through the door. Cautiously, Cedric went down, wooden stairs creaking as he walked down.
Suddenly, the door slammed shut behind him. Cedric ran back up and tried to open the door, but it was sealed shut. He tried kicking the door open, but it would not budge.
Realising that Melina wanted him to see something down in the basement, Cedric scraped the little courage he had together, took a deep breath and slowly headed down the stairs again. It was dark down there, with barely enough light for him to see his hand in front of his face, but suddenly a light came on.
“Thanks!” Cedric yelled out.
He then noticed an unpleasant stench in the air. It was the smell of rotting flesh.
Then it clicked. Cedric remembered why the house seemed so familiar to him. The smell of decomposing corpses was something which he often came across during his years as a police detective. Over his thirteen years in the police force much of the memories of the hundreds of crime scenes he encountered were mashed up into one big blur. This particular house was the location of the last murder scene he had ever investigated. All the memories of the investigation and the mysteries that surrounded the murders flooded back to him.
Cedric noticed two large black trash bags in the corner. There seemed to be something inside, he remembered seeing the bodies of a boy and a woman in the bags when he first arrived on the scene ten years prior.
It’s weird, Cedric thought, how an ordinary day could turn so gruesome. He remembered the day he received the call to a far off farm next to a lake. Being a homicide detective he knew farm murders were often times brutal in rural South-Africa, but the actual scene turned out to be far more sinister than he ever could have imagined. When he and Rocco arrived on the scene they were met by sombre looking forensics. And when they reached the basement they soon learned why.
“My mother and brother’s body parts are in those two bags.” Melina said. “And they didn’t even place one body in each bag. Their limbs were scattered between those two bags.”
Cedric’s heart softened when he realised who the girl was. The police knew that four people lived in the secluded farmhouse next to the lake, but only ever found three bodies. Two in bags and a severed head belonging to the father - the body was never found - looking at the direction of the bags. At the time they speculated that the girl had been taken to settle whatever debts the family had. Most thought that the girl was sold to human traffickers, or forced into prostitution.
“It was one of the most gruesome and unfortunate crime scenes I’ve ever seen.” Cedric didn’t exactly know how to convey sympathy to someone who has already died. He didn’t even know if ghosts and spirits had emotions and such.
All he could say was, “I’m sorry, we never found the killer... is that the reason why you wanted me to come down here?”
There was a bit of a silence, then Melina slowly started shaking her head.
“Yes, now that you know, there’s something else I want to show you,” Melina said. The basement door swung open. “Come upstairs.” Melina said, then disappeared.
When he turned to head back up Cedric got a fright when he saw the severed head of Malina’s father behind him.
No wonder he felt that someone was watching him the entire time, he thought.
When he got upstairs, he saw Melina pointing to the kitchen table. There was a little black notebook on the table. Cedric immediately recognised it. The little blue dragon on the cover spitting out a fiery letter ‘R’ was something that Rocco designed himself. Rocco had an infatuation with the mythical dragons from Chinese legends.
“You know who this belonged to, Cedric.” Melina asked, pointing at the little black book. The way Melina said it made it sound like it was more of a statement than a question.
“I do, but what is it doing here?”
“It belonged to one of the murderers,” Melina said.
“I recognise this book, it belonged to my partner, Rocco, he is one of the most stand up guys I know, there is no way he is connected to these murders!” Cedric said.
Melina pointed to his legs, Cedric felt his legs go numb, then fell to his knees. He anchored his hands to the ground in an attempt to raise himself, but it was useless with his legs were completely paralysed.
“What the hell did you do to my legs?!” Cedric yelled.
“Relax, Cedric. By now you should have learned that I mean you no harm. I want to show you the truth.”
“The truth about what?” Cedric asked, having given up on getting up.
Melina then laid two fingers on Cedric’s left temple. Cedric’s pupils ascended into his skull, while the rest of his body ascended from the ground. Although Cedric’s body was freely floating in the air Melina’s fingers remained connected to his temple.
In another reality, where time was the only dimension Cedric’s spiritual self watched in awe as the house started to renew itself and become clean and restored. Cracks in the walls closed up, broken light bulbs restored and began to light up, and furniture restored themselves. Cedric stared at Melina in shock, completely unaware that he was not standing with his physical body, because of how comfortable he was in his current state.