It was difficult enough for Shelly to concentrate on classes at eight in the morning without having so many other things to think about. First and foremost was the possibility of being acquainted with a real, live…okay, dead…ghost. The second was her involvement with a violent death, the mugger, although she wasn’t exactly sure what her involvement was. Had the police found the body? Was there a body? I’ll have to check the news to see if the crime -- accident? -- had been reported. This was all too confusing. And then of course there was the erotic dream of a man she could not see, a man without a face…a man without a face? Was she dreaming of Allen?
Shelly was usually a good student, earning substantial scholarships for academics which allowed her to go to college, but she’d never had a ghost to contend with before. It was almost
impossible to concentrate, and her notes on the lecture were, at best, chaotic. She still didn’t believe she had really seen and talked with a ghost, but then what else could the young man -- he sounded young -- what else could he be?
“I’m getting nowhere,” she groaned, realizing until this was somehow settled, she would never be able to concentrate on her classes. She had been ready to forget all about the ghost who she never intended to see again, until Lasker’s name had shown up in her shower stall. Why
would it be there? Why was she the only one who could see it? The whole thing was driving her crazy.
As soon as the first period ended, Shelly headed for the bus stop at the corner of the sprawling, brick faced education building. She had no idea how long it would take for the bus to travel the circuitous route from this portion of the expansive State campus all the way to the other side where the map showed the Parapsychology office was situated. It was like they deliberately separated the building from the rest of the campus, as if trying to protect the “normal” students from the psychos in the department, Shelly mused. Everyone knows it takes a psycho to become a psychologist, she thought, as the bus seemed to take longer to arrive than usual, so what does it take to become a parapsychologist?
That question amused her, but it also made her a little afraid of what she might be getting into. All she knew about parapsychology was what she had seen in the movies and on T.V. and
that was always weird and bogus to her. “Check your brains in at the door when you see one of those,” she told her friends, but now she wasn’t sure of anything.
“It must be traffic,” a young man unexpectedly commented as Shelly was peering in the distance for the Blue Bird bus. “They really have to do something with the roads here. It’s
getting worse all the time.”
Shelly nodded, taking in the long, dark brown hair and wire-framed sun glasses that hid the boy’s eyes. Quite cute, she thought, and then scolded herself for being so easily distracted. I sound like Lisa or that damn Ronnie, she laughed, wondering if she’d ever have the balls to run around with her boobs hanging out like that.
“Where are you headed?” the young man asked, putting down his backpack, a perennial feature of student attire.
Shelly wondered why he wanted to know, but quickly decided he was just making conversation, harmless talk. “Over to the other side of the campus…the Psychology buildings.”
He looked surprised. “Hey, that’s where I’m headed too. You a major?”
Shelly shook her head. “Graduate Education. I want to be a reading specialist like my
“My mom’s a teacher. Coincidence, huh?”
Shelly was hardly listening. Where was that darn bus? I’ll be late for my afternoon class.
The young man brushed back his hair, which was over-long and wild with brown curls that danced inches from his shoulders. “So are you new here?”
Shelly sighed. She was in no mood for hooking up with anyone even if they were good- looking. “I don’t understand why the bus is taking so long.”
“It was fine first period when I came over here.” He looked down the road and she saw the sharpness of his facial features. There seemed to be a slight twitch of his cheek.” He removed his sunglasses, and his eyes were dark blue, very intense. She’d seen eyes like his somewhere before, but where? “Don’t worry, you’ll make your afternoon sessions,” he said. “It will be fine.”
“Well it’s not fine now,” Shelly said with a sigh. “I’ll have to try this later.” She began to walk away and suddenly realized he had said something about her missing her afternoon classes. How did he know? She turned back about to speak, but he beat her to it.
“You didn’t tell me your name,” the young man said.
Shelly hesitated. Her eyes focused on his face...dimpled chin… thin lips. His eyes were dark blue, which was interesting considering his hair was dark brown, making his eyes stand out more. What am I doing? No more Jeffrey, she sighed. “Shelly,” she said, and started to cross the road, giving up on the bus. “See ya,” she called back, only half-hoping she would see this interesting looking man again.
The man looked surprised, his eyes darting toward the road and then back to her.
“Shelly? Did you say Shelly? Shelly what?” He walked up to her, his backpack forgotten at the bus stop enclosure. “Shelly what?” He slipped his sunglasses back on, as if he knew the intensity of his eyes was disturbing her.
Shelly suddenly felt uneasy. “What do you want?” She backed away from him.
His mouth was tight, his sunglasses a mirror hiding his eyes. “Please, what’s your last name? I really have to know.”
“Why? Why is that so important? I’m not interested ....” Shelly was backing toward the curb. He looked harmless enough, but his eyes were like a mirror.
He must have sensed her discomfort because he pulled off his glasses again. “Please don’t be afraid,” the young man said, “My name is Dodd. I came here to find someone named Shelly.”
“Oh bull.” Shelly laughed, strangely relieved. “That is the worst pick-up routine I’ve ever heard. Just give it up already. I’m not biting.” She backed away faster, intending to cross the road.
“Wait a minute! Just look at this!” Dodd reached into his pocket and extracted a folded sheet of yellow lined paper. “Explain this to me!” He unfolded the paper and held it in front of Shelly’s eyes, his dark blue eyes probing hers.
On the paper in what looked like red ink Shelly saw her name, first and last, scrawled in
Why was she shivering? “How did you do that,” she asked, reaching for the paper and taking it from his hand. “It’s some kind of trick, isn’t it?” She thought of the word in the shower. Was the handwriting the same?
Dodd looked all around and then aimed his eyes directly into her face. “Is this you? Are you Shelly Adams?”
“I asked you how you got this?” Shelly kept feeling chilled, as if she had a fever, but worse. “You knew who I am. Why?”
Dodd was staring down the road. “I had no idea who you were until you told me. It was in my text book when I opened it this morning.”
“You didn’t write it? Someone didn’t give you my name, and you didn’t write it for some kind of sick joke?”
He shook his head, his eyes probing her. How much did she know? What is she capable
Shelly was trying to maintain contact with his eyes. Where have I seen those eyes before, she asked again, finding herself unable to tear away from his intense gaze.
Dodd shook his head. “Someone wants me to find you. I don’t know who, how or why.”
“Maybe to warn me about something,” Shelly mumbled, remembering the lettering in the shower again. What the hell is happening?
Dodd nodded slowly, his eyes still studying her carefully. She didn’t look like he had expected, much softer, innocent looking. He felt confused, finally stammering, “You shouldn’t go anywhere today. You should stay here until we can figure this out.” What am I doing?
We? Shelly studied his face again. He looked like he was telling the truth, but what if he wasn’t? What if this is all some kind of weird trick? “So you came here to find me? From where?”
Dodd looked around the corner and then back into her eyes. It was time to drop the bombshell. “I’m an assistant to Dr. Lasker of the Parapsychology Department.”
“What did you say?” Shelly looked as if she’d seen a ghost again. “Say that again?”
Dodd heard the sound of a large vehicle approaching. It might be the bus? “Hey, calm down.” He could see her face had gone white. He almost felt sorry for her. “Do you need something to drink, a place to sit down?” He was sure now this was the right girl, but she was nothing like what he had expected, what he had feared. And yet, his visions had never been wrong before…well, that’s not quite true, but what should he do? Should he trust a girl he hardly knew, or the visions that had been with him all his life?
Shelly gasped, still wondering if this was some kind of weird trick. “I was on my way to see Dr. Lasker. You work for him?”
“Now, you’re kidding me? Right?” He looked at the road. It was not too late, but he’d never gotten it wrong before. This time he couldn’t make a mistake. Too much was at stake.
Shelly was confused. This was too much of a coincidence. It had to be a setup, but who could do something like this? Why were his eyes studying her so intently. Why did he look so dark and distracted? She had found him handsome, his hair wild and his mouth sensuous, but now she thought she saw something else, a darkness that frightened her. She backed further from the curb into the road. “I don’t know what’s going on, but it isn’t funny. I’m leaving.”
Dodd saw the bus out of the corner of his eye. It was finally almost here. He heard the voices inside him arguing, screaming that he had to make his decision. He only had a few seconds. He reached for Shelly with both hands.
Shelly heard screams, but it was too late. The bus was heading right for her.