Chapter 6: The First Clue
The people trapped in the grocery store all stood there stiffly, unsure of what to do.
“Wait! Isn’t salt supposed to deter ghosts or something? I heard that supposed to work.” Brian whispered suddenly.
“I guess it’s worth a shot.” Roderick whispered back as another ghost girl appeared at the end of another aisle.
Trying to be inconspicuous, the private investigator slid over to a shopping basket that just so happened to have salt in it.
Brian also slid over to where a few frying pans were being held up on display.
“I also heard that iron works. I’ve never tried it, but that’s what they always do on tv anyway.”
Several more ghosts had appeared by this point, and they had gotten ever so closer.
“So… do you just want to rush one of them?” Brian asked.
“LET’S DO IT!!”
The two men yelled and ran towards the nearest ghost-a taller African American girl who could have been fifteen, much to the bewilderment to the rest of the people in the grocery store.
“Take that little ghost girl!!” Brian exclaimed, swinging his frying pan as Roderick sprayed her with salt.
The girl continued to stare at them with blank white eyes that dripped with black goop.
“Uh...Brian? Was that supposed to work?”
The girl then let out a bloodcurdling scream that caused the two of them to drop their useless ghost weapons and flee back to the group of people.
“What do we do now?!?” Brian yelled as the other girls started to scream.
“Plan B!! Do you have a smartphone?!”
The two of them slid behind one of the registers, wincing as the screams became shriller.
“Ian said they stopped and went away when they heard classical music!!” he exclaimed, snatching Brian’s phone out of his hands and pulling up YouTube. Then he held up the phone and closed his eyes as Mozart’s ninth symphony started to play.
The girls continued to scream.
“What the freak?! I thought Ian said-.” Roderick exasperated as wind started to pick up and rip through the aisles of the grocery store, papers and bags going everywhere.
“Maybe they don’t like that song!” Brian cried, covering his ears.
Roderick grit his teeth and started to call his brother.
“IAN!! WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THAT STUPID SONG?”
“What? What are you-.”
“THE SONG IAN!! THE SONG!!”
“Chopin’s waltz in A minor.”
“CHOPIN’S WALTZ IN A MINOR!! GOT IT!!”
Then as the ghosts started to circle the group in a whirlwind, Roderick brought up the song and held the phone up high.
All of a sudden, the screaming stopped.
The wind stopped.
The only sound to be heard now as they all huddled there in fear was the sound of the waltz echoing slightly through the store. Roderick and Brian peeked their heads over the counter to see the girls all hovering there, as if they didn’t like that song. Then, they all disappeared like a cloud evaporating except for one.
The older girl that they had tried to attack before came forward almost a little hesitantly. She blinked, and suddenly, they were looking at what could have been a normal girl, if it weren’t for the transparency.
“Help us… Please…” she whispered.
Then she too, vanished.
The group of people sat there in disbelief as the lights flickered back on and the blinds lifted to allow the sunlight in again. Roderick glanced around-where it looked like no one had actually been taken. Then, in a bit of a panic, they all started to flee the store.
“Uh… Roderick?” Brian asked, still a bit shaken by their experience as they started to get up off of the floor. “I don’t think those ghosts hate classical music. I think they dislike that specific song.”
Roderick blinked. “Good. Because I think that’s now our first real clue…”
“Duuuude!! I thought we were dead!!” Brian exclaimed as he paced the motel room excitedly, waving his arms around wildly. “They were all like-Ahhhh!! And we were all like-oh crap!! And then-.”
“Yeah! And then it was all red, and dark, and freaking creepy, and it was all whooosh! And ahhhh!!” Roderick exclaimed with him.
Ian simply sat on the bed, watching the two of them pace around the room.
“So I take it the trip to the grocery store was eventful?” he said with folded arms, leaning against the wall.
“Yeah!! And that song-”
“Yeah! The song!!”
“What about the song?”
Roderick took a time to compose himself as he sat down on the opposite bed.
“The ghost girls don’t like classical music. They just don’t like that song.”
“You mean Chopin’s waltz in A minor?” Ian asked, intrigued.
“Yeah. I tried playing that ninth symphony thing, cause I mean-everyone knows that, but it didn’t do anything.”
“Well that’s interesting. Brian-did it seem like something that someone could create?” Ian commented.
Brian stopped for a moment to think.
“Well, the theatrics were all there… And I guess something like that could be projected, but then that wouldn’t explain why the glass didn’t break when that guy threw a cart at it, or why it would all stop just with that specific song… or why they would even ask for help. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Welcome aboard to the Pinnacle Gulch ghost mystery!” Roderick said with much enthusiasm. “Where nothing makes sense and I guess ghosts are real!”
“Woah woah woah. We’re not actually thinking these are real ghosts now are we?” Ian asked. Roderick and Brian looked at each other and then shrugged.
“I don’t know bro. Especially after that whole thing with the teddy bear…” Roderick began.
“You can’t be serious…”
“Well what do you think?”
Ian stood up and picked up the files.
“I think we need more information.”
With that, the three of them leaned over the files as Ian laid them out.
“It looks like some of the investigators had labeled some of the people in town as suspects…” Ian noticed, tracing his finger down a list. “Oh, and lookie here who’s on the list… A certain Jordyn Hastings.”
“Wait. Why would that other detective be a suspect? I thought she was also trying to figure out all of this?” Brian asked, confused.
“Well, she has been here quite a while as far as we know. The logical thing would be to ask the question: ‘Why hasn’t she been killed or taken’?” Roderick explained. “Even though I don’t really think she’s anything to worry about. I mean-after all-we know she was still here at the motel when the whole thing at the convenience store happened.”
Knock Knock Knock.
The three men stopped conversing as Roderick went to answer door.
“Why hello. How can we help you?” he asked cheerfully to a sullen woman with dark straight hair and dark circles under her chocolate brown eyes.
“Are you the private investigators that the mayor hired?” she asked hesitantly.
“Why yes we are!”
The woman looked around nervously.
“Have you heard about the church activity that is going on in the park at 4:00 today?”
“Um… no… Why-.”
“I’m pretty sure the ghosts will be there.” she said bluntly. Then as Roderick blinked, trying to process this odd information, the woman turned on her heel and hurried back to her car.
“Wait!” he exclaimed after a moment, trying to stop her. “Miss! Wait! How do you-.”
“Please don’t ask me more questions.” she pleaded.
“But what’s your name?”
The woman bit her lip.
“And are you sure you couldn’t tell us anything else?”
“Fine. But not here. And not today. This is my card. Call me tomorrow. And don’t forget-today at 4:00, Porter Park.”
And with that, she hopped into her car and screeched out of the motel parking lot.
Ian’s watch read 3:52, and he couldn’t help but feel anxious. In just about seven minutes, the ghost girls were supposedly going to appear. He glanced around at the people setting up tables and chairs and laughing over pots of chili. Several children ran around in the grass, engaged in a battle with nerf guns.
Despite the lightheartedness however, Ian couldn’t help but notice how on edge they all seemed to be. They looked around more than usual. Families stuck closer together. The laughs may have been a little forced.
“Mr. Vendeleer!” a voice exclaimed. Ian turned around to see the mayor walking up to him. “Have you had any luck with the case at all?”
Ian sighed. “We’re working on it. We’ve had a few run ins with your… ghosts already. They are quite… interesting.”
“Well, try to stay safe out there. Are you here to try some of the Reverend’s white bean chicken chili? Or…?”
“Actually, we think something might happen. That’s why we’re here.”
The mayor nodded in understanding.
“I’ll keep a look out then. You should go talk to Reverend Passey. Introduce yourself.” Ian nodded and watched as the mayor did his best to put on a brave face as some of the kids ran up to him and handed him a nerf gun.
Ian glanced at his watch again. 3:59. Crap. One minute.
He looked over at Brian’s van, a few feet away. Brian seemed ready to blast the speakers with that song. It had worked before, but Ian had a feeling that they were soon going to have to find something else. Over across the way, Roderick mingled with the people with Jordyn, who they decided to let in on their information.
As much as he hated to admit it, the detective seemed an unlikely suspect, and she had proven useful so far. He glanced down at his watch again.
The ghost girls would be arriving any minute.