6When that abominable meeting about Kate was over, Jake returned to his bedroom. He wanted to sleep early as he was anxious about his alleged encounter with the girl the next day. His plans were dashed when a tall blonde with short hair knocked on his door. “That sucks! Can’t I just stay quiet at bedtime? This can only be karma,” he muttered softly. Lana entered the room, crestfallen. Noting how the Guardian was sad, he arched an eyebrow at her and said, “Shouldn’t you be on the path of one portal?” He checked the time on the clock and added, “Lana, it’s been almost half an hour that some demon made the crossing, so there must be a little party there. This week, you’re on duty.” He crossed his arms. “Did you forget I’m also a Guardian and can foresee when a portal is generated?” She did not answer and did not look at him. She just sat on his bed with a dignified expression of pity. Jake was worried. He liked her and thought of her as a younger sister. “What it is, dear? What happened? Did somebody fight with you?” he asked suspiciously. “Was it Olivia?”
She replied, “There is no one, and there is nothing wrong.”
“Lana, you’re a terrible liar! If nothing happened, you would not be here in my room at this hour, making a face like a crybaby!” he replied.
She sighed and said looking down at his hands, “Jake, sometimes I think Mark is right.”
“What do you mean?” he replied.
“I think not all of us were born to be Guardians. I know that we were created for that purpose only, but possibly not all of us possess this ability.” She lifted her face and looked at him. “Do you want a better example of what I mean?”
Jake analyzed the silence and concluded that his night would be long. Women! His mind screamed desperately as he tried to maintain his sanity. He took a deep breath and said, “I do not understand where you’re going with this conversation. You’re a great Guardian! Never have there been complaints about your performance. Of course, sometimes you show a bit of panic but this is considered normal because you are still young.” He stood and said smiling, “Don’t tell me you’re having an identity crisis?”
“I’m serious!” She gave him a sad look. “To be honest, I never wanted to come to Earth and be a protective guardian. My goal was just to be an underling to assist in the maintenance of the Kingdom and help new Guardians prepare for their journey here on Earth.
“Why didn’t you try to stay in Orpheus and live as an underling? Why did you come to Earth?” Jake said.
She looked at Jake with a visible disgust on her face. “I tried to argue with the regent who led the Kingdom. However, at the time of the revolt, the warriors became scarce. They needed to send young people to Earth as Guardians for protection and precaution. I had no choice.
“I’m sorry. They sent me to this planet well before the uprising in Orpheus,” he said, holding her hand.
“Jake, this wasn’t the only reason I came to talk to you. There’s something else. I wanted to ask you a favor,” she said.
Unbelievable! A favor? He tried to guess the reason for the visit of the blonde. Sitting beside her, he ran his hands through her hair and said wearily, “You deserve an Oscar. You almost convinced me. However, I’ve already heard this sad story. Enough with the drama and tell me what this favor is.”
“I did not lie about what I’m feeling!” she complained, mad.
“I believe in you! I’m not scolding you. I know how hard it is when you cannot identify with what we do. You must understand that we’re here and we need to meet our obligations!” He got up and did a grumpy walk, anticipating what was coming next. “Hurry up and spit!”
“I need your help tonight. I’m not feeling very well, and from what I have envisioned, more than a demon made the crossing.”
He closed his eyes and grunted in despair, followed by an apprehensive expression. Jake had imagined that, but hearing it out loud and confirming his suspicion was far worse. Worried, he walked across the room. “I have a date tomorrow! I cannot run the risk of appearing in the girl’s home mutilated or covered in bruises! You know how painful it was to convince her to go out with me. Just imagine me banging on her door all wounded!”
“It will not be so bad! The process of healing, remember? If something bad happens to you, your body regenerates!” Lana replied.
“What about my dark circles and my sleepless night? Not to mention the fact that the healing process applies only in severe cases. If I take a hit in the face and get a black eye, it will remain until the next day!” He ran a hand through his hair and vented, “Damn, Lana! You could have asked to borrow a book or a pair of socks! Then yes, it would be a favor. I can’t go out to hunt for demons on the eve of my meeting! This is not a favor, it is a punishment!”
Lana, who was wearing jeans and a green shirt, stood up and said sorry to him. “Alright, I’ll do it alone!”
He took her hand and pulled her into a hug. “Sorry! I’m being a jerk and acting egocentric. Kate is driving me crazy and killing my peace of mind!” Smiling at her, he said, “Of course, I’ll go with you. After all, we are a family! I will never cease to help you, even more when I see that charming pout!”
“You’ll have to promise me you will not tell the others. Are we clear?” She reached out for a handshake in order to consummate the deal.
“You won!” he said, reaching out and nurturing the promise. After all that sentimental bullshit, the boy went to the dresser and opened a drawer to find a map.
Lana looked surprised and asked him, “Why do you need it?”
He replied, “My dear, the way you are with your luck, I’d better check it out before going to the territory where the demons walk.” He narrowed his eyes at her, opened the map, and put it on the bed. “Not to mention that when the crossing is made by more than one creature, they usually do not come on the field, but in ...”
“Okay! I get it. That sucks, huh? When I told Mark that demons possessed a calendar in hell and that the worst and most hideous creatures crossed the portals during my shift, he did not believe me!” she said irritably.
After hearing pities from the Guardian, he looked at the map and pointed to a specific location. “It was here, wasn’t it? Still with his mouth open, he added, “Wow! If the place is the one I’m thinking of, you really need a blessing! I know a great priest!”
Lana ignored his comment and approached the map. She looked at it carefully and after a while, she confirmed, “Yes, this is the place. What’s wrong with it?”
“You do not know?” He laughed sarcastically. “Are you kidding?”
“No, I don’t know where this fucking place is,” she replied angrily.
He went to his bag and pulled out a laptop. He began a search on the Web. After confirming his suspicions, he said in a dramatic tone, “My God, look at it!” Jake turned the laptop screen towards her. “The site where the demons created the portal was right here in this Alcantes psychiatric hospital which was closed in the mid- fifties. This site says that their activities were terminated for medical negligence and the mistreatment of patients, including reports of people stating the use of lobotomy in many cases.”
The Guardian gave a mufﬂed yelp as Jake fell out laughing. “Lana, it’s official. I believe in everything you say especially when you said how unlucky you were. Everything is conspiring against you, my dear!” Rubbing his own hands, he said still laughing, “For an unhappy and scared Guardian like you, this will be pretty much a horror thriller!”
Lana was terrified. “Do you want to bet that in this week, there will be no case of possession? Some bastard entity will make sure to cross and possess a little body just on my watch.” Lana definitely abhorred performing exorcism rituals.
“Stop being pessimistic, girl!” Jake could not stop laughing.
“Will you stop it? Do you think it’s cute to laugh at the misfortune of others?” she said indignantly.
“Okay, let’s get on with the preparations,” Jake said and walked to the closet, opened it, and took out a shovel and a crowbar. He then opened the dresser drawer and took a beret, a pair of leather gloves, and a ﬂashlight. Lana watched his and asked, “Jake, why do you have a shovel and a crowbar inside your closet?”
“Pay attention. These are what you call “occupational hazards.“” he said, full of pride. “Now you know why most of the Guardians lose on their missions.” He indicated the tools. “I feel that they can always be used with supernatural powers to combat the creatures and not just prevent them nor have the surprise factor, such as in our case.”
“How is that so?” She asked, scared. When we’re using our powers, the situation is already difficult and frightening. Imagine if we are not using them.”
“Lana, I do not want to disappoint you or kill the joy of your evening, but the asylum and its surroundings are filled with drug users at night.” His combat clothing was nothing more than a pair of dark pants and a black leather jacket. He clarified, “You know we cannot express our powers before humans.”
“But the guys should be so stoned that they won’t notice our presence or feel anything!” Lana said.
The Guardian shook his head and said, “It doesn’t matter. We must act in a professional manner.” He was losing patience. “Do you want my help or not?”
“Yes, of course!” Lana quickly answered.
“That’s what I thought,” Jake said. Quietly, he took the gloves and put them on, then picked up his cap and ﬂashlight, tucking them into his jacket pocket. He then picked up the tools, put them over his shoulder, and walked towards the door. Jake turned and asked her, “What are you waiting for?”
Lana remained standing in the same place and looking at the boy with great anticipation. “Hey, why are you taking along a beret and a pair of leather gloves besides a shovel and crowbar?”
He sighed impatiently and said, “My lady, you are boring! I’m taking the beret to hide and camouﬂage the smell of my hair. You, more than any other Guardian in this world, should know. Those damn ghosts love screwing with us. I’d rather not risk it. I do not want what happened to you to happen to me. Remember the last time? Shall I refresh your memory?”
Lana replied, “Okay! I get it.”
How could she forget that disgusting episode? The authority decided to screw the damn Guardian, covering his head with a bag full of excrement. He went home, washed his hair, and left it to soak in a bowl with cleanser for a few hours. However, it was not enough to combat the stench. Inevitably, he had to shear his hair.
“Satisfied? Can we go now?” Jake asked irritably.
Before leaving, Lana looked at him with the question, “And the gloves? Do I need to bring something, too? Frankly, you look like the rural version of the Terminator. You’re just missing sunglasses and a machine gun.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “That’s enough of the funny stuff. Let’s get on with it! What the hell? I need to come back soon so I can sleep early.” After the scolding, he explained, “I wear gloves so I won’t get calloused hands. What if I decide to go hand in hand with Kate during our meeting? Imagine what she’ll think of me. She’ll think I am a bricklayer or a construction worker!” With a sarcastic smile on his face, he suggested, “Or, if you prefer, you can volunteer to dig a pit. That way, I can leave them at home.”
The two Guardians of the Congregation came downstairs quickly so the others would not see them. At that time of night, most were already asleep. Before getting the car, Jake asked Lana to follow him to the basement. The girl was surprised when he dragged a huge, round, dusty coffin towards the garage.
“Are you kidding me? What are you going to do with it? Will you put a demon inside?” Lana asked, laughing. Noting that Jake was serious, she covered her mouth with her hands and exclaimed in horror, “Oh, no! We’ll even have a wake!”
“So to speak ...” Jake answered.
“Jake, you are definitely a bad inﬂuence!” Lana said.
“Well, my reputation precedes me ...” he explained.
She looked adversely towards the Guardian, unable to believe that he would hold a dazzling feat like that. She said, “Your plan is very inspiring.”
“Listen, Lana. We’re still not sure what kinds of creatures made the crossing. I just know that there is more than one. Due to the location that the website indicated, I believe it is some kind of evil spirit.” He pointed to the working tools. “I prefer to be cautious and act with caution.”
“Like bringing a coffin?” she said unhappily.
“Where do you expect me to put them, in your jewelry box?” Jake motioned for her to help. “Besides, I cannot put a spirit into any crate. They must be trapped within some artifact that has been in contact with holy ground.
“Oh, my God! You mean to tell me that blessed coffin had already been buried in some graveyard with a dead person inside?” she said while quickly letting go of it.
“Hey! Hang on. Don’t be grossed out by it. This is the one I have left!” Jake gave the largest scolding to her while she stared at him with an open mouth, totally surprised.
“There were others?” She asked incredulously. “Just do not tell me that in your spare time you walk through cemeteries digging up coffins and practicing vandalism? Where did you get this, anyway?”
“Really? Is that what you think of me?” It did hurt. “Do you think I’ve been wandering the cemeteries, choosing coffins as if in a thrift store or some antique shop? Instead of thanking me for the help, have the nerve to criticize me!” Jake said.
“Forgive my rudeness. I did not think we were going with a coffin in the car!” she complained indignantly.
“Okay, I understand your disappointment. This is the only way to trap an entity that has not owned a human body without a formal ritual,” Jake explained.
“That was exactly what I had in mind. I thought you would do some ritual expulsion, something ...” Lana told him, totally discouraged.
“What? No way!” He said dryly. “I will not waste my time let alone my life energy with those nasty demons. The maximum that I will give them is a simple burial.” He spoke as he looked at an old mirror that was hanging on the wall.” I need to be rested and looking good tomorrow, or did you forget that I have a date?”
“Okay, enough about that! I get it. You want to impress the girl!” She pointed to the roof of the car where Jake had placed the coffin. “I will not even ask how you are going to do this!”
“Great! I no longer need to waste my precious time!” Jake said.
Lana watched him as he carried the other paraphernalia to the car. In addition to the tools, Jake grabbed a bag containing some objects that would be necessary for the consummation of the work. “You know what? I think that you should have taken a course on demonology from the Internet because frankly, every idea that comes out of your head ...” Lana said. “As I recall, we did not get these kinds of information or learned about something like this in Orpheus.”
“Of course, not. You only learn these techniques through years of being on the road, girl,” he said.
During the ride to the haunted building, Lana bit the nails of both her hands while Jake had the car stereo on. The Guardian thought that everything was not fair. The miserable thing was he had to help Lana in that occurrence and the next day, he would have his encounter with his long-awaited mysterious girl.
He parked the car a few meters away from the hospice to avoid suspicion. Lana swore all the way why they had to drag the heavy coffin. She did not feel the height of his physical vigor. “Seriously, you had to be so dumb to steal the coffin of an obese person and giant? With a huge and heavy box like this, the deceased must have been about two meters tall and weighed two hundred pounds!” She paused to wipe the sweat from his face. “Next time, be smarter and steal a newborn!” Lana said.
“Do you want to stop muttering now? You’re like a grumpy old woman!” Jake replied. “I told you I did not steal anything! How many times do I have to repeat that?”
“A grumpy old woman, me? How about you? Why are you all happy with that stupid grin on your face? Because the meeting is tomorrow?” She let out a wicked laugh. “From what I know, you’re supposed to just investigate ...”
“Shut up, Lana! I have lost almost two hours of sleep and my life because of you,”
Just like what Jake had mentioned, the courtyard of the amazing place was completely full of junkies who used illegal drugs. Luckily, they did not have to break the gate as it would attract attention. There was a huge hole between the screens. Probably the humans made this to be able to move freely throughout the site. After the girl went through the hole, Jake lit a lantern, gave her the tools, the bag, the coffin, and went in. As they walked towards the door of the hospice, the Guardians noted that the druggies were totally stoned. They did not notice when the two dragged in a huge coffin as if they were walking a pet.
“I was right! They’re even out of orbit! They’re not suspecting anything!” she said while panting from exhaustion.
“Oh, yeah? How much do you want to bet that at the time the hauntings begin their show, they will get out of here real quick?” Jake said.
“Maybe I will join them ...” she said, frowning.
“Stop being melodramatic and get on with it,” he said as he pulled her by the arm and pointed the way to the entrance.
Lana found it odd that the door of the asylum remained sealed. Several huge padlocks were trapped between thick chains, making it virtually impossible to break into using physical force or the way in which Jake was about to do. After placing the coffin on the ground, he used the ﬂashlight to illuminate the location Lana indicated. Jake threw the shovel by the door. Wearing gloves that made him look like a Hollywood star, Jake took the crowbar he was carrying on his shoulder and began to break the locks without any major difficulty.
He said, “See? This is how we work when we cannot use our powers.” He pointed to the guys gathered in the courtyard who now seemed to be curious about the vandalism of the two. With the padlocks smashed and the front door wide open, Jake threw the crowbar on the ﬂoor and bent to get the coffin. “What you waiting for? Come and help me!” He caught the attention of Lana, who was motionless, peering with a ﬂashlight into the hospice.
“I’m going ...” she said as she watched the Guardian take his beret and held it firmly on his head. “Good point!” She put hers on quickly. Lana had also brought one. This time, she would be more cautious to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
With protected heads, the two entered the door, dragging the coffin. The receiving area of the hospice was immense. It had been abandoned many decades ago. It all seemed very daunting. Cobwebs hung across the ceiling, the ﬂoor and walls were covered with dirty and old tiles of which had huge cracks. Dust and mold covered all the furniture. The wheelchairs and stretchers were rusted and scattered all around. At the service desk was an antique telephone, binders, files, and various items. It was as if someone had made a mess on purpose.
“Pssst!” Jake stopped suddenly as he heard some noises coming from the highest part of the building, the fifth ﬂoor.
Lana asked, “What have you heard? Are they here?”
“No, they’re up there,” he said firmly.
“What? Upstairs?” she said loudly with a panicked expression. “Are you kidding? It is on the fifth ﬂoor. We’ll have to drag that damn coffin there. Obviously you must have noticed that the elevator does not work!”
“If you are not willing to drag this box and know of another way to kill these demons without using an exorcism ritual, I’m open to suggestions,” Jake said.
“You know that I don’t know! I hate it when you do that,” she replied.
“That’s what I figured. Now shut up and keep moving!” Jake ordered.
“All right!” she said, despite knowing it was not pleasant to carry that huge, heavy crate five ﬂoors up even if they had a superior force. Every ﬂoor that the Guardians climbed brought them closer to the demons. The deafening cries, the shrill laughter, and the sound of objects being broken up and thrown against the wall caused echoes inside the building that protruded out of the dawn. When he stopped to take a peek at the hospital yard through a window with cracked and fogged glass, Jake noted the drug addicts were running everywhere while shouting. They were terrified and looking for the nearest exit. Even if they were on drugs, the guys would be so stupid to remain. But worst of all, it was hard to endure Lana’s sarcasm.
“I do not understand. A ritual of expulsion should be a piece of cake for a strong Guardian like you. This act of bravery could make all the difference. Instead, we are here carrying practically an old refrigerator!” Lana pointed to the coffin and said, “This is far from a coffin! We could have carried a Bible, and with only one hand! You know, it’s very practical and does not weigh much!”
Jake said, “Are you finished?” He looked at her from the corner of his eye. “Do not be a beast! You remember very well what happened to me in the last ritual I performed. I will not risk it today. I cannot fail to meet Kate tomorrow! Your cries are already making me nauseous!”
When they finally reached the top ﬂoor, the two were completely drenched in sweat. While Lana was panting with her tongue out, Jake ripped off his leather jacket and the shirt he wore underneath. The damn coffin made of mahogany was like pure lead.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!” Lana said, as she lay on a stretcher that was leaning against a corner wall. “Did you bring water in this amazing bag?”
Jake, who was sweating heavily and sitting in a rusty wheelchair said, “What the hell! Why do I have to remember everything?” he protested, salivating and dreaming of a bottle of ice cold water.
“What blunder, huh? I knew you were too smart in thinking of playing Constantine!” Lana said.
“Oh, yeah? I’m ﬂattered by the comparison, but what about you?What did you do besides complain all night and make jokes about my clothes and work tools?” he growled angrily. “Moreover, you accused me of theft!”
At that moment, the second round of laughter and bloodcurdling screams came back to haunt the madhouse, interrupting the discussions of the two.
“Now, what do we do?” she asked, looking at the site with the ﬂashlight.
“Well, I’ll be sitting in this comfortable chair. As for you, Miss ...” He took out a packet of chips from the bag, opened it, and began to eat. “These demons will soon be lurking. Try to lure them here so I can finish my work and go home and sleep!” He checked the time and swore. “Yikes! Have you seen the time?” With his ﬂashlight in hand, he picked up a metal bedpan from the ﬂoor and looked at his reﬂection. “Do I already have dark circles under my eyes?”
Lana rolled her eyes and complained, “But Jake, it is very dark. With this ﬂashlight, I can’t find anything!”
The Guardian took off his gloves and threw up his hands. Through them, he issued a powerful mystical energy that lit all over the ﬂoor. Okay, he thought. At least the girl did not come home with dirty pants.
Lana looked around and said, “You said you could not use your powers!”
“Stop being silly! I said I would not use it in front of humans.”
He threw a chips at her head. “Even if the junkies were out there, does it seem that they would be able to hear or sense something up here?” Frowning, he added, “How did you think I would capture an entity? I’ll snare it with that packet of chips and after put it in the coffin?”
Still frowning, the Guardian went in search of the bodies while Jake waited in the chair. Lana walked the entire ﬂoor. The demons were laughing and screwing with her. They hid and made mischief like children. These were not the most disgusting kind that existed because in fact, they were not considered demons nor did much harm to humans. They only made fools out of the Guardians. These troubled spirits, if they were not crossing through the portals of Zebheus, belonged to Calistun, a timeless world. It was where secular souls were tortured and had the exceptions that a spirit could create a portal and escape from there.
An hour and a half later, having hunted for spirits around the fifth and even the fourth ﬂoor, Lana was not very successful. They frightened her several times. They threw objects at her just like in a horror movie. Even the Guardian did not how to capture them since a spirit could only be touched using some ritual expulsion or being trapped in that blessed coffin. When Lana returned to the place where he was waiting, the bastard was sleeping in the wheelchair.
“Wake up, creature of God!” She gave the greatest ﬂick in his ear.
“Haa? First, I want to see the arrest warrant!” He awoke jumping in the chair and dropping the packet of chips.
“Jake, you moron! What do you think you’re doing?” she said.
“Damn! I dreamt I was being arrested. The blame is all yours!” He glared at her as he panted and wiped the sweat from his brow. “You stayed up all night complaining of my coffin and moreover accused me of theft and vandalism!”
“Stop being dramatic and whiny!” she said, amused.
“Where are they?” Jake asked, looking at all sides. “I do not believe that you took that long and woke me up!” he complained while wearing his shirt and jacket.
“You will not believe this. They are not entities. They are tortured spirits who ﬂed Calistun!” she said.
“Are you sure?” Jake asked. He knew it was virtually impossible to create a portal on Calistun. This world was considered a prison, a living hell where the damned were sinful souls who paid their sentences.
“Yes, I saw them up close. They were not demons. They had a human appearance,” Lana said.
“The only explanation is they managed to find a loophole and came to Earth,” he concluded lamely.
Lana could feel her pulse beneath her skin. She was not really enjoying this story of fugitive souls. “All right! If they ﬂed Calistun, why did they come to this hospice?” Lana asked, frowning and showing concern.
Jake replied, “Well, what I know is that when a tortured soul escapes, it returns to the place where its death happened.” He looked around. “This indicates that they probably died in this hospital.”
“What do you have in mind?” She pointed to the casket that was closed, next to the wheelchair where Jake had an overnight stay before. “Will your foolproof plan work with them? I have never purged a soul like this before.”
The Guardian smirked at her. “Of course, it will! Stop underestimating me. Have I ever failed a mission?” He bent down and opened the coffin.
“I wonder how we will lure them here,” she said.
Jake said, “We will use logical reasoning. As you may know, most of Calistun consists of fire. I will create a stiﬂing atmosphere where they can hide and use that setback to attract them.”
“Will we set the building on fire?” she asked.
“Of course not, you beast! I’ll just drown out the place, creating a warm thermal sensation.” He glanced around the site where they were. “Where did you see them? We’ll follow them and prepare a trap.” He pointed to the coffin.
“Not a chance! I’ve had enough of playing the funeral mule! I will not be dragging that damn crate again!” Lana complained.
Jake explained, “This is what we’ll do. I’ll go to them and change the heat in the environment they are hiding in to a living hell. Meanwhile, you can stay here and provide a milder climate causing the temperature to plummet several degrees. This is the perfect bait for these souls abhor hot climates due to the extreme temperatures that are in Calistun. They prefer to take refuge in cold places.”
“Cool!” she agreed, satisfied. “You have to be nimble and quick to get here to execute such a plan.”
The Guardian nodded and waved to her. He headed for the place where the shouts and uproar came from. Lana waited to use her power in minimizing the temperature. He saw the place where the souls were. It was a medical room filled with old and useless paraphernalia. He evoked his power causing a drastic change in the environment, virtually turning it into an inferno. While the spirits were frightened off in a corner, he looked at the appearances they possessed. Despite the difficulties of identification due to the immaterial instability, Jake found that they were like ordinary human beings. However, they were pale with a ghastly shade of white. They were fitted with a scary face and wearing nightgowns from the hospital. The Guardian also realized that they were a couple. According to what he had planned, everything happened as expected. The troubled souls migrated straight to the place where Lana had created a cold climate. He ran quickly to set the trap and capture them. When facing the hallway where Lana froze the environment, he realized that the souls were no longer afraid and felt quite at ease, laughing and throwing a lot of objects in the direction of the Guardian.
“Quick!” screamed Lana as she dodged a huge prehistoric toilet.
“What is that thing?” He looked surprised, indicating with his finger a primitive object. “I am much older than this place. However, I have never used a portion of these to ...”
“Jake!” she looked at him furiously. “What you waiting for?”
He ran to the coffin that was already open, lifted it, and leaned it on a wall. He asked Lana to get out of the way and keep quiet. Gathering mystical energy with his hands, Jake blocked all exits from the huge hall and returned to warm the atmosphere, causing a real greenhouse. Soon, the spirits began to panic, climbing the walls and ceilings like lizards. As a result of the heat generated, Jake weakened the ambient light and the place fell into utter darkness. All they could see were the eyes of the souls like fireﬂies that glowed in the dark. He asked Lana to use her power to re-light the place.
Using his hand, Jake emitted an extra dose of warmth. With the other, he generated a portal inside the coffin. In fact, the portal created by the Guardian was not real; it was just a trick of optical and sensory illusions using mystical magic to draw souls into it. Jake was smart. He used a peaceful and wonderful landscape of the planet Orpheus which conveyed an incredible sense of peace. It provided great credibility to the portal. It did not take more than ten seconds for the spirits to ﬂee the scorching temperature. They advanced straight to the false projection inside the coffin. That was when Lana felt a strong jolt and she was halted in providing the light. Jake shouted at her. However, since he did not want to risk things, he made a light breeze for the souls to get into his trap and immediately closed the coffin. Soon after the uproar, she regained power and returned to brighten the environment.
“I told you it would be a cinch! This trap is always fatal. Exorcism is nothing. It was even easier than catching a mouse!” he boasted while he tied the coffin with a stole that was taken from inside the bag.” What about you and your hesitations, huh, Lana?” Even boasting, he concluded, “Thankfully, my reﬂexes are super powerful and I was fast and efficient with great performance and caution. I closed the coffin on time, because you know ...”
“Shut up, Jake!” she said, widening her eyes and pointing towards the stretcher.
“What the hell?” He could not believe to see that something was huddled underneath the stretcher, and this thing had eyes that glowed like fireﬂies.
“Stupid! If you had not acted like a fool, this would not have happened!” He pointed to the lost soul and then to Lana. “You are their karma!”
“Really? What about your powerful reﬂections?” She gave a mocking laugh. “Was it not you who was there boasting a few minutes ago? Why did you not see there was another spirit? You closed that damn coffin way too early!”
“My dear, I cannot see in the dark!” He objected angrily while Lana, totally stressed out, paced the ﬂoor. Jake was totally unhappy with that surreal situation. He picked up the metal bedpan again and when he looked exhausted in his reﬂection, he shouted furiously at her. “You see this here?” He pointed to the dark circles under his eyes. “You will take care of it tomorrow! I hope at least you are good in the art of makeup!”
Lana walked over to him, grabbed the bedpan from his hand and ﬂung it away. “Okay, I’m done! I’ve had enough of this story. If I knew you would torture me all night because of this damn meeting, I would have gone alone! If not for your idiotic antics, I would have solved the problem and at this point, I would be home sleeping like a baby!” Lana screamed.
“Wow! Much confidence ... I was all shook up! Besides this bravery, you are very funny, you know that?” Jake sat in the chair with rusty wheels. He widened his eyes and began to laugh uncontrollably, resembling a former member of the hospice. The troubled spirit remained silent under the bed and looked up, startled.
Lana stared sullenly at the Guardian and said, “Can you not simply open this fucking coffin and put that spirit in there along with the other?”
“I can’t do that! The charm has been made!” He looked towards the sealed coffin and groaned. “Have you heard the expression that refers to opening Pandora’s Box? Yeah, this is our case!” Jake said.
“What should we do?” Lana asked.
“Let’s look for another,” Jake answered.
“Another? Another what?” she asked, afraid.
“Another coffin!” Jake replied.