Chapter 15: Escape From Town
Roderick was walking down a deserted dirt road, the wind howling through the sandy hills. He caught a glimpse of a rather faded sign that read “Sun Lane”, which he followed down to see a line of dilapidated abandoned houses. He found himself walking up to one that had a rusted bird windchime that had never been taken down, and up the broken steps and through the open door.
Once he was inside, the door slammed shut and a dark figure loomed over him.
A little girl screamed.
Roderick woke with a start, feeling a cold sweat drenching his night shirt.
Ian snored softly in the bed next to him, unaware of the frighteningly real nightmare his younger brother had just experienced.
Shakily, Roderick climbed out of bed and threw on a jacket.
Maybe he’d feel better after he walked it off. So silently, he left Ian alone in the room and ventured outside.
The orange lamp posts cast odd shadows on everything as Roderick’s lone footsteps echoed through the night air.
The dream had seemed so real… He couldn’t help but think that it had something to do with the ghosts. He suddenly stopped as he thought he heard someone else’s footsteps behind him, but when he turned around, he saw nothing. A little concerned, he continued walking and thinking.
There it was again.
He whirled around.
This time, he was just in time to see a little girl hide behind a mailbox covered in bushes. Roderick blinked.
He knew this little girl.
She was the ghost who had come for her teddy bear.
Roderick knew that he probably should be running for it after all he had seen the ghost girls do, but he couldn’t help but feel that this was a little different. He thought back to the information Joey had given them about the spirit parasite. She had said that usually they could only latch onto one person at a time… Maybe even though this spirit was strong, it wasn’t able to fully control the ghosts all the time…
Maybe this ghost girl was finding every chance she could to ask for help.
“It-it’s ok.” Roderick said out loud, feeling a little silly.
After all, he was trying to talk to a ghost.
“You can come out-I won’t hurt you.”
How would he hurt a ghost anyway?
Roderick squatted down so that he was on the same level as she was.
“I’m Roderick. What’s your name?” he asked kindly, knowing that Ian would freak if he saw him doing this.
Slowly, the little ghost girl came out from behind the mailbox and ventured forward.
“I’m-I’m Carolyn…” she said shyly.
“Well it’s nice to officially meet you Carolyn.”
The little girl stood there for a moment swaying.
“You went to see my Daddy.” she said quietly. This took Roderick off guard.
“You should go into his basement.”
Roderick blinked, trying to think about who her father could possibly be.
“What’s your Daddy’s name?” he asked curiously.
Roderick’s eyes grew wide.
“His basement?” he asked, astounded. She nodded.
“And don’t wait. Go now.”
Roderick stared at the little girl as she looked at him solemnly and then disappeared. For a moment, he stood up and stood very still, thinking over what had just happened. Then, he took no time in running back to his motel room so he could grab the keys to Ian’s car.
Guess he was going to sneak into Douglas Smalls’ house.
The wind howled through the sandy hills as Roderick crept up to the dark house. He had no idea why the ghost wanted him to come here, but here he was. Silently, he came up to one of the windows and tried it to see if it was open. Luckily, it slid open with a breeze. Looking around, seeing if there was anyone there, he swung one leg in and snuck into the house.
He was in.
He stood there, very still for a moment, the house completely silent.
Ian would definitely kill him if he knew what he was doing right now.
Roderick started to look around for the basement, when something caught his eye. Tilting his head, he approached the fireplace mantel piece. There was a picture there of a little girl who was very familiar.
And it was an older picture.
Carolyn was very much alive in the picture, standing in front of a wooded area, with her dark pigtails and teddy bear, smiling wide.
Roderick picked up the frameless photograph and turned it over to look at the date. He was surprised to find that it was dated thirty years ago.
Ten years before the oldest disappearance.
This changed things.
Now their murderer had to be ten years older than they originally thought.
He jumped when he heard a sound. He stood there tensely for a moment, the darkness of someone else’s house, but no one came out suddenly to wonder why he was there.
He ventured into the kitchen, where a door hung open, revealing a light from a basement down below. Hesitantly, he stood at the top of the stairs. Should he really be going into someone’s basement? That’s how people always got murdered in the movies… This could all be some elaborate trap.
He froze as he heard something again… coming from the basement. Taking a deep breath, he ventured down. A lone lightbulb flickered above him, and he looked around the dark dingy basement. Suddenly, his eyes grew wide.
A man lay on the floor, spread over some fallen boxes, groaning and clutching his chest in pain. It was Douglas Smalls.
Roderick sprang into action, checking his vitals and asking if he knew where he was to check his comprehension. Had he suddenly had a heart attack or something?” Gritting his teeth, he flipped open his phone and called his brother. It take a few rings, but finally his brother’s grumpy voice came on.
“Roderick?” Ian’s groggy voice asked. “Where the heck are you? It’s three o’clock in the morning…”
“Ian-the closest hospital is in Ridgecrest right? There’s no hospital here in Pinnacle Gulch?”
“What? No-I mean-yeah that’s right… What are you-.”
“No time to explain. I’ve got to get someone there. I’m borrowing your car.”
Roderick grabbed the man under the arms and started to drag him up the stairs. After a few minutes, he finally got him out of the house and into the car.
It didn’t occur to him as he started to speed off, that the ghost girls did not like people in town to leave.
This became a very real thing as he got closer and closer to the city limits.
He jumped when there was a high pitched scream. He glanced in his rearview mirror to see some elongated ghost faces were there. Breathing in sharply, he stepped on the gas, the ghosts chasing after them.
In fact, he was so focused on what was behind him chasing them, that he almost didn’t see the black puddle in the middle of the road before it was too late. Luckily, he saw it just in time, and swerved around it, the man groaning beside him in the passenger’s seat.
Up ahead, he suddenly saw the dark figure of the spirit parasite blocking the way.
If it was a spirit, that meant it was intangible right?
Roderick kept his course, keeping his foot on the gas.
The car simply sped right through it.
Roderick let out a breath of relief, surprised that actually worked. He started to forget his luck as soon as a ghost girl’s head came out of his radio, the eyes white, black goop dripping all over the front seat. In response, Roderick plunged his hand through the ghost girl’s face and slammed his hand on the radio, bringing up the Chopin waltz.
Luckily, this surprised the ghost long enough for him to speed over the town limit.
He sat there panting heavily, his hand covered in disgusting black goop, as he heard the echoing rages of the ghost girls he was leaving behind.
He had made it.