Four: A talk In The Forest
CHAPTER FOUR: A TALK IN THE FOREST
Kelley went back into the house to retrieve the small, age worn book, and explained to Jacob that she had found it only moments after talking to him on the phone, and the little girl she had seen twice now. Then she went on to try and explain that she had a lapse in time, four hours and thirty five minutes to be exact. It was during the explanation that she realized just how crazy this really sounded, she didn't even really know what she believed anymore. Something was clearly happening to her and she couldn't prove or even provide the slightest explanation for any of it. “So what are you trying to tell me exactly?” Jacob started, “that a ghost is stalking you and trying to lead you to something, only you can't remember what it is?” Both she and Jacob started to walk towards the pathway into the forest. He didn't seem to freak out or run to the hills in the opposite direction, which was a good sign Kelley supposed.
“I don't know what I’m saying, it sounds insane, I am aware of that, but I am saying what is happening” Kelley replied, there was a hint of aggravation in her voice. She wanted Jacob to be okay with this, to believe her like always had in the past, but she really didn't know if he could this time.
“This little girl, the one you keep seeing, any idea who she is or was and what she wants with you?” they started to climb the small hill behind the house that leads up into the forest.
“No, don't think she means me any harm though, wait, I do remember something, something about opening a door and somebody wanting me, it was so long ago that it's hard to remember exactly, but I have no idea what it means.” Kelley then paused for several minutes before she said anything else, “there was also some kind of symbol, drawn on the locker doors, a triangle with a figure eight inside.”
“What makes you say that? If what you say is true and it turns out to be exactly what you think she is, then she's dead, and if a dead person were talking to me, then the last thing I would be thinking is harmless. The dead aren't supposed to contact the living, it isn't supposed to be possible, and if it is happening then nothing good can come from it. The little bit of good news I have is that the symbol you said you saw doesn't sound like anything, or at least any omen or warning that I can think of.” She knew he was trying to be helpful to her, but that really didn't make her feel much better.
“A year ago, days before I moved here, actually the day before Karen got the call saying that this place had been left to her, the little girl appeared and told me I might open a door, and if I do there is someone who would want to hurt me, not for what I did but for what I am, what do you think that means?”
“You already said that, and I haven't the slightest idea Kelley” he pushed away a few branches that were in his way, they had travelled a bit off the beaten trail they were used to taking. “So a presence of a little girl appears to you while you're sitting alone on a bench in your old high school and warns you not to open a door. A door in a house you didn't even know you were moving into, and you think what? That this door that leads to certain death was the door to your attic?” She couldn't tell if he was trying to figure something out in his head or if he was being a sarcastic ass.
“I don't know, maybe.” She really didn't have a better answer for him, and if he was just mocking her then the last thing that she wanted to do was fuel the fire with anything else.
“Do you think she literally meant a door?”
“I think so, I don't know what else she could have meant, what are you getting at?”
“Well, we are talking about a dead person, a dead child, a dead child who appears to you and talks to you, so I am just trying to think a little outside the box here. What if the door is there, but it is something we can't see or feel. Something in a little more of the realm of the X- Files?”
“Like a door to another world?”
“In a way, have you ever heard of a witch board or an Ouija board?”
“Yes, who hasn't?” The mist had gotten slightly thicker as it now covered they're ankles. She didn't even know there was any mist there, this was the first time Kelley had noticed it all, which was unlike her. She normally was the first person to point out a random and unexpected change in the weather, she looked around but couldn't seem to find its source. It was so close to the ground that there had to be a pond or a bog nearby that they either passed or was just out of eyeshot, mist couldn't just form over land.
“Do you know what it does?”
“It's used for talking with spirits isn't it?”
“That is the end result, yes, but how it works, if you believe such things is it opens and channels a doorway into the world behind this one, contacts spirits or demons trapped on earth for some reason, it could be unfinished business with someone or something, extreme love or anger, there could be any number of reasons why they could be stuck here. When you are done with the board it normally closes the connection as well, but sometimes things go wrong, you could get a ghost who is compelled to be in this world. Once you've opened that door for them and they have gotten back into the realm of the living they won't let go again, and depending on who or what it is that comes through, they aren't always pleasant. You hear stories about it all the time.”
“For someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife you sure do know a lot about it.”
“It's just things I pick up, things you hear. It's not that I don't believe in it, I do, but I don't understand it, so I don't fuck with it. You start fucking with things you don't understand Kelley, and there is no telling what could happen.”
“If that's true, then what would compel a ghost, or spirit to stay here beyond death? Wouldn't you want to know what was beyond the world of this one?”
“Honestly, any number of reasons, it could be unfinished business like I said, it could be that something is keeping them here, like part of their remains, they could be lost, or they could be unable to let go of this world for whatever reason. Your guess is as good as any on this one, but in my opinion, if you had a reason to stay that was so strong that it defied death itself, I don't think that you would need anything to tie yourself to this world. I think, that you would be able to will yourself to stay. Why are you asking? You're not thinking of doing anything stupid are you?”
“To learn the truth, wouldn't you be willing to take a few risks?”
“Truth? What truth Kelley? A ghost shows up and tells you that something wants to hurt you because you opened a door, if this is that door she was talking about then stay the hell away from it. If someone is coming back from the dead to warn you about something then listen to it. Okay, okay. Think of it like this, what if this spirit, this entity, wasn't such a good person in life, so bad that when they died, they knew that there was only one place for them to go. Just ask yourself one question, if you were in that situation, what would you do to keep from burning?”
Kelley was about to say something when both she and Jacob stopped dead in their tracks due to a noise they heard, neither of them could tell where it had come from, but it was loud, and really close by. A cracking of a stick that had fallen off a tree, probably last winter and had time to dry out and rot over time, waiting for its own time to be broken or to decay. They both started to slowly search around them to see who or what had made the cracking of the branch. “Hello!” Kelley yelled out to the empty forest when, from right under feet a giant raven began squawking as loud as it could as if it were screaming and violently flapping its wings and scratching it's sharp, untamed claws at Kelley, like it was attacking her. Jacob tried to bash the bird away by punching at it, but he kept hitting nothing but air. It was too fast. Kelley was screaming, he finally threw a punch and hit the raven in midair, still squawking as though it were screaming, it flew away.
Kelley threw her arms around Jacob, to give him a hug for his efforts in protecting her, then, not more than ten or so inches away. A woman, in a dirty white dress, stood there, breathing heavy, her hair was in front of her face, covered in dry mud, around her eyes were dark. like there was nothing there at all, her eyes themselves were bloodshot, like someone who had been awake for days. What little Kelley could see of her skin was almost a pale blue. Kelley's eyes grew wide with terror, her heart was pounding from so hard and so fast it felt as though it would rip from her chest. She wanted to scream, to yell, to run, but only a quiet choking sound escaped her mouth. The woman made a step towards Kelley and her whole body started to shake and her own breathing became heavy, she was about to have a heart attack! Jacob felt her tense up and he turned his head to see what she saw, nothing, there was nothing there. Kelley's grip loosened and she almost dropped to the ground with tears running down her face, she was white, very pale compared to what she had looked like less than a minute ago “Kelley?” Jacob looked at her face “Kelley what is it?” After a minute or so she stopped crying but was shaking, and her face was still a pale white. “Kelley what happened?” he asked again.
She looked at him with the terror still fresh in her eyes and replied “not here...” Her voice was trembling as she spoke to him, trying to wrap her head around what she had just seen, was it real or in her head? Jacob helped her to her feet and walked her out of the forest and back to her home, the sun was not to be seen in the sky, a storm was on its way he figured. Kelley opened the front door and they walked inside and she went to the living room and sat on the couch in front of the fire place. Before he took a seat, Jacob turned on a nearby lamp as he followed her in and sat beside her. She then explained what happened to her in the forest, she felt like she was going insane as she did. A little girl appearing and disappearing, footsteps made by no one, a random diary, a lapse in time and now this. She felt like she was striving to fit the events of completely different occurrences together, whether they were actually connected or not, trying to make sense of something she didn't understand.
“Kelley, there is no doubt in my mind that you have lost every shred of sanity that you once had, but I think that this might be one of those things that you only thought you saw. You did only see her for a split second and that raven scared the shit out of me too.”
“It was real, I know it was real.” Kelley hadn't even started to stop shaking, Jacob didn't know what was going on in her head but it was clear that it wasn't good.
“I'm not saying that it didn't seem real...”
“Jacob! I could feel her breath against my skin.” She said to stop him from finishing his sentence, “I could smell the rot that was coming off of her!” Tears started rolling down her face again and she quickly wiped them away.
“See, now how is that possible? You said yourself that she was standing a few inches away from you, in an open forest, and there are also the facts that I didn't see her and that her skin was blue.”
“I don't know how it's possible, or how it happened, just that it did.”
“Well, did you recognize her at all?”
“What? Why?” She was surprised by this question, it wasn't what she expected to hear.
“If this really did happen, and wasn't in your head, then I’d like to know, so did you or did you not recognize the girl in the woods?”
“No, I couldn't see her face, it was mostly covered by her hair.”
“A trick that could be easily played by the mind when it is overcome by fear. 'Oh, don't you dare go there with all of that psycho – babble bullshit on me, I know what I saw', Kelley thought to herself. The more that she thought about it, the more she was convinced that what she saw, and everything that has been happening, was actually happening. It wasn't due to being stressed, or from a lack of sleep or by any guilt that she carried with her from her past. This was real, and Jacob didn't believe her, not that she could blame him, this sounded heavy duty crazy even to her, and she was the one seeing and hearing things.
“But it was so real,” she was getting it now, there was nothing she could say that could convince him she saw what she saw. He was only humouring her at best.
“Dreams can be too Kell, but that doesn't make them real. Look, if you are that sure you saw someone out there in the forest today I can check a few of the old local newspapers and see if anything matches, now what did she look like?” he picked up a piece of scrap paper from the coffee table and a pen. 'Like a pissed off dead person, what the fuck do you think she looked like?' Her thoughts raged out.
Kelley thought for a second, “pale skin, a light blue, like the bodies that are kept in a freezer that you see in the movies, dark hair, covered in mud, it was brown i think, couldn't see the colour in her eyes though. Thin, about my height, white dress and maybe a few bruises or cuts on her arms, I can't be sure though.”
“That's all you can remember?”
“That's all I saw.”
“Well, I will look into it, but even if this is what you think it is, there is no evidence to suggest that she is an angry spirit or a violent one, she could just be lost.” Her mind had the remark of, 'oh yeah she looked lost alright, looked like she lost her humanity maybe.'
“Wait, so you believe me?”
“I'm not sure, honestly, I'm sceptical about anyone saying that they saw a ghost, sceptical, but not stupid. I see no harm in looking into it just to be certain.”
They both stood up and they gave each other a quick hug, as they did, she felt Jacob's hand gently wrap around the back of her head, she pulled away and then Kelley walked him to the door. That hug was awkward for her, mainly because it seemed like he wanted more and she wanted to kick his teeth in for not trusting her. “Thank you again,” she said he nodded his head and walked out to his car. The clouds in the sky were almost twice as dark as when she last saw them. She heard the Firebird's engine start up and she closed the large door. Kelley sat on the floor and thought for a moment, “have to be sure,” she said to herself.” She then pulled out her cell phone and scrolled her contacts until she found Darren's number and called him.
“Hello?” he answered, he sounded slightly out of it.
“Hey, it's Kelley.”
“Oh Kelley, what can I do you for?”
“I was wondering if you could come over tonight.”
“I think I can manage that, any reason why, is everything okay?”
“I not entirely sure to be fully honest with you... if I ask you something, do you promise not to judge me?”
“I shall do my best, what is it?”
“Have you ever heard of a Ouija board?”.
“Yeah, sure, I have one.” She knew that he had one, that's why she called, Darren also didn't know what was going on. If he should happen to ask, unlike with Jacob, she would just leave a few of the crazier bits out.
“Could you bring it?”
“Yeah, not a problem.”
“How fast can you be here?”
“About an hour, Kelley, what is this about?”
“I'll tell you when you get here, hurry, there's a storm coming” and she hung up the phone. One thing she was positive of, that she didn't tell anybody, was that she did recognize that girl she saw in the forest. Not by name, but by appearance, not someone she had seen on the street, but someone she had seen in a dream, it was the same girl she had had the nightmare about the day she saw the little girl in the school hallway. It was something that she could not forget. And no matter what it took, or how far she had to go, she had to know why this happening, why now? And why to her? If there was another or better way to do this, then she hoped that she found that out before Darren got there, because once he did, there was no going back.