Chapter 3: The Detective
“Don’t. Move.” the woman said under her breath.
“But-why-?” Roderick protested. Ian clamped his hand over his brother’s mouth.
“Shhhh!!” he told him furiously.
The little girl continued to stare at them, the black goop dripping from her eyes, making little sticky pools on the windowsill. She flickered again, and without knowing how, she was soon standing before them in the lobby, her head cocking slightly and her black pigtails drooping.
“Ok… This is really starting to creep me out…” Roderick muttered, taking a step backwards into the lobby desk.
“You… need to leeeeave…” the girl said quietly, dragging a teddy bear on the ground, the black goop coming out of her mouth and spilling onto the floor. “It’s not ssssssafe…”
Her body contorted unnaturally, and she started to choke on the black liquid bubbling out of her mouth. Ian and Roderick stared in horror, having seen nothing like this before in all of the cases and adventures they had found themselves on.
Then, without warning, the girl let out an earsplitting scream, causing the three of them to put their hands over their ears as the large surrounding glass windows shattered.
“Why is she screaming?!” Roderick yelled. Then, as if one screaming ghost girl wasn’t enough, the elongated warped forms of eight others swirled into the room and began circling around in the air.
The brothers stood there completely enthralled by the scene in front of them, so it was quite a surprise when the ponytail woman grabbed them by their collars and pulled them behind the motel lobby desk.
“MOOOOORE.” the girls screamed. “WE NEEEED MOOORE…”
The three adults behind the desk pressed their backs against the cabinets, trying to take cover from the glass and debris flying everywhere.
“What the freak is this??” Roderick yelled over the noise, wincing as another screech reached the top of a crescendo.
“What do we do?” Ian asked, pressing his hands as hard as he could against his ears.
The brothers were in for even more of a surprise when the woman sitting next to them pulled out a gun.
“Woah woah woah what the-why-.” Ian stuttered.
“Why do you have a gun?!” Roderick exclaimed.
The woman peered over the desk, and then ducked back down as a lamp came her direction with a gust of wind and smashed against the wall in front of them.
“What is a gun supposed to do against something like this?!” Ian yelled, covering his face as a little coffee table splintered against the wall in front of him.
“Well there’s got to be someone doing this right?” the woman retorted, scanning the room to see if there was anyone else there. The gun did not deter the girls at all as they swirled into an even tighter whirlwind. Then, with a growl of frustration, she ducked back behind the desk.
Then, as soon as the chaos had started, it stopped. The three of them continued to sit there in silence for a moment, the woman clutching her gun and tightly.
“Are they… gone?” Roderick asked cautiously.
The woman peered over again, gun at the ready.
The two brothers shakily stood up, and the woman jumped over and started pointing her gun in every corner, scanning the whole room. Roderick was quick to follow suit, looking around and avoiding the glass covered floor with his bare feet, while Ian stayed behind the desk.
“Why do you have a gun?” he asked, standing there rigidly.
The woman rolled her eyes and reached into her back pocket, putting her gun back into a holster that they had failed to see before.
“I’m Jordyn Hastings. I’m a… detective.” she told them, flashing a badge. Ian narrowed his eyes, not trusting how quickly she had flashed that badge.
“Hold on-let me see that badge again.” He told her suspiciously. Jordyn rolled her eyes and walked over to him, slowly taking out the badge for him to see again. Ian put it under tight scrutiny, but it looked official. However, he couldn’t recall ever hearing about the PDU, which is what it said on the badge.
“What does PDU mean?”
“I’m sorry, but that information is classified right now. We’re kind of… new.” She said shortly, causing Ian to feel another twinge of annoyance. “You two are the private investigators the mayor hired on- right?”
“How did you-.”
“I overheard you talking when you were checking into this motel. I’m just going to tell you right now-you have quite the case on your hands.”
Ian cautiously made his way over the desk, avoiding the broken glass as best he could.
“So... are you also assigned to this case?” Roderick asked.
“Let’s just say that when they need a special kind of detective, they call in people like me.”
“Wait-so are you FBI?!” Roderick asked with a bit of enthusiasm, avoiding the broken glass with his bare feet. The woman rolled her eyes again with the attitude that she was dealing with complete imbeciles, causing Ian to deepen his frown.
“No. The FBI are complete idiots.” She muttered.
Ian slowly started to meander around broken pieces of glass.
“So... does the mayor know what you’re here to do?”
“Then why are you telling us all of this?”
Jordyn Hastings gave a casual shrug.
“All the detectives before you two have all died or disappeared anyway, so I figure I best get what I can out of you while there’s still time.”
The brothers exchanged glances.
“Oh great. That sounds absolutely lovely.” Ian said sarcastically. The woman shrugged again.
“Hey-I’m just telling you straight up. Do you want to figure this thing out or not? Cause if you couldn’t tell from the escapade we just had, this case is a real doozy.”
At the sound of a new teammate, Roderick smiled and leaned forward to shake her hand.
“Well I’m Roderick! Nice to meet ya!”
Ian crunched on glass with his nice black shoes and regarded her with as much politeness as he could bear.
“Ian.” he said with a nod. She gave a curt nod back and then started to look around.
“How much do you two know? First encounter with them right?” she asked.
“Hold that thought!” Roderick exclaimed. “Too much glass in here! Let me go get my shoes!” Then, to Ian’s dismay, his brother left him alone with the gun-wielding detective. He hated to be left alone with strangers. Especially ones that annoyed him right from the start. So instead of trying to make small talk, he turned his attention to his surroundings.
The mist that had set such a creepy feeling before had vanished as quickly as it had appeared. Were it not for the leftover carnage, it would have been easy to believe that nothing peculiar had even happened in the first place.
Ian bent down and stared at the black goopy droplets left on the floor. He wanted to know what it was, but he had an aversion to touching unknown goopy things that came from creepy little ghost girls. Instead, he picked up a ballpoint pen lying amidst the glass and poked it apprehensively.
“What is this stuff?” he asked, scrunching up his nose in disgust as the black goop jiggled and stuck to the pen like tar.
“Some people are saying it’s ectoplasm. You know-ghost crap? I’m not buying it.”
There was a bit of awkward silence for a moment as Ian continued to poke and prod the goop, and the woman shuffled around the glass, observing the broken windows.
“I’m back!!” Roderick exclaimed a moment later, much to Ian’s relief. “What you got there bro?”
“Ms. Hastings here says-.”
“Don’t call me Ms. Hastings. That just sounds gross.”
Ian took in breath, trying not to lose it.
“Well, Jordyn here says some people think it’s- DON’T TOUCH IT!!”
Roderick ignored him and plunged his fingers into the thick liquid, much to the disgust of his brother.
“Interesting…” he said softly, sniffing it and rubbing it in-between his fingers. “It almost feels like oil, but it doesn’t smell like it… And it’s thicker...”
“Whatever. Just please don’t lick it.”
Roderick’s tongue was already halfway out of his mouth when he said it. A little reluctantly, the younger brother merely shrugged and wiped the stuff on his jeans.
Ian rolled his eyes.
“Is there anything else you guys found? Speakers? Projectors? Bad guys in masks?”
“What is this? An episode of Scooby Doo?” Ian smirked as he lifted the edge of an armchair to look underneath it.
Roderick shrugged again, a grin spreading ear to ear.
“Just trying to keep the mood light. We do have missing people here after all.”
“That’s generally not something you want a light mood for…” Ian muttered.
“Guys. Look at this.” Jordyn called, interrupting their banter. The two of them hurried over to see what she had found.
Torn, dusty, and surrounded by shattered glass, was a worn gray teddy bear, one of the arms hanging on by mere threads.
“Where did this come from?” Ian wondered out loud, gingerly picking it up and turning it over in his hands. He cringed when he felt something sticky on it and realized it was some of the black goop. He quickly dropped it and rubbed it off on one of the arm chairs. Roderick was quick to pick the bear back up again.
“Do you think it belongs to one of the ghost girls?” he asked. Jordyn laughed.
“They aren’t really girls Roderick. Whoever is doing this just wants you to think they are.” Ian scoffed.
He held onto the teddy bear all the same.
“Where do you think the motel receptionist went?” Ian thought out loud, looking back towards the empty desk beaten with shards of glass.
“My guess would be that she’s now one of the missing persons.” Jordyn told him grimly. “Otherwise, we probably would have heard at least something or other.”
“Hmm. Well, we need to find out more about these girls. I’m going back to the room to look at that folder again…” he said, mostly to himself.
“You should come with us!” Roderick said cheerfully, causing his older brother to twinge. He did not want this woman to come to their room. Jordyn barely seemed to contemplate it.
“No thanks. I’ve got my own stuff to do. I’ll catch you two later.”
And with that, she turned on her heel and disappeared around the corner. The two brothers stood there silently for a moment until they heard a door slam somewhere nearby. Ian assumed it was Jordyn, going back to her motel room.
“Well she’s a pleasant person.” he scoffed.
“You are too bro. I’m sure she’ll lighten up a bit once we get to know her.”
His older brother rolled his eyes.
“Whatever. Let’s just go take a look at those papers.”
“K. Sounds good.”
Usually Roderick would be the one conked out dead to the world and Ian would be wide awake. However, for some reason, sleep fled the younger brother as he stared up at a dark ceiling. He listened to the sound of Ian breathing softly in the other bed, tired from being pulled out of his comfort zone once again. He couldn’t get some of the facts from the case out of his head.
The ghost girls ranged in age from five to sixteen, mostly white, with a few exceptions. Four of the seven private investigators had been killed while on the case, and the missing persons seemed to be at random, not to mention the other six people that had been mysteriously murdered.
Suddenly, he felt his blood go cold as he glanced at the window. The curtain was drawn, but it had moved slightly to show a sliver of the yellow light lighting up the walkway.
It looked like someone was there.
A very small someone.
Silently, Roderick pulled the covers off of himself and stalked towards the large window. Slowly, he reached out his hand, and then peered around the curtain.
Nothing was there.
He would have simply gone back to bed after that, had he not seen the little girl hiding behind their car.
Was she lost? Scared?
However, she looked strangely familiar…
Roderick froze again as he realized that it was the ‘ghost girl’ from earlier. Except, this time, her eyes were normal, and there was no black goop coming from her eyes or anything. She seemed like a little girl. A little girl who wanted something.
Roderick’s eyebrows furrowed forward as he tried to think of what she could possibly want, when he remembered a souvenir he brought back into their room from earlier.
As quietly as he could, he tiptoed around the bed and pulled the worn teddy bear out of the drawer and crept back to the door.
Taking care not to jiggle the chain too much, he finally succeeded in opening the door and stepping out on the cold cement in his bare feet.
“Hello.” he ventured, the girl shrinking back behind the car again. “It’s ok. Is this yours?” he asked, holding up the bear. She slowly nodded. His heart starting to beat a little faster, he held out the stuffed animal. The girl’s head poked up a little higher, and then to his surprise, she fazed through the car so that she was standing in front of him.
Roderick didn’t know what to make of it. For a moment, he forgot to breathe as the air around him seemed to drop in temperature. Hesitantly, the little girl reached out, and the bear lifted out of his open hand.
So… holograms are out? He thought to himself as she hugged the worn teddy bear. She looked up at him and gave him a little nod, like she was saying thank you, and then fazed back through their car, fogging up the windows.
Roderick stood there blinking. Was there any way that there could be hallucinogens that was making people see and feel these things? He blinked again when there was the sound of a finger on glass as a message started to write itself on the car window.
Well there was one way to figure out if he was really hallucinating.
He quickly hurried inside, not caring as much about being quiet this time, and grabbed Ian’s phone, knowing it had a video option. Then he rushed out and pressed record as the message continued to write itself.
Please help us.
Roderick continued to stare at the message, waiting to see if anything else was going to reveal itself.
This was even more confusing.
If these ‘ghost girls’ were really the ones doing all of the damage…
...Then why were they suddenly asking for help?