“Allen,” Shelly was calling him through his door. “Please talk to me?”
“Why? You only want to get rid of me. I already said I’ll do whatever it takes to help you do that so let’s get started. Did you ever think I might want to be free of you too?”
“It has nothing to do with that. Dr. Lasker has a job for us.”
“I knew it! I told you he was a sneaky rat! I can’t believe the balls on this guy!”
“Wait a minute! Just stop and listen for a change?” Shelly couldn’t believe a ghost could carry on like this. “He’s not a rat! He wants to help people who--”
“He wants to help himself you mean. I told you and I told you. This guy only wants us for what we can do for him. He’s a snake in sheep’s clothing. He’s a terminal rat.”
Shelly was losing her temper. “Shut up and look at this picture.” She threw the picture down on his table.
“What is it? What has that con artist conned you into now?” Suddenly Allen became quiet. “What is this place,” he asked. “I felt a chill race through my body. I didn’t know ghosts could feel chills. Hell, I don’t even have a body!”
“I felt it too,” Shelly said. “It has the same effect on everyone.”
“Even Loco?” Allen’s eyes were drawn to the top of the large house in the photograph. It was like being drawn by a magnet. “The funny thing is, Shelly, I think I’ve seen this house before.”
“You remember something?” At least he had stopped carrying on.
“I don’t know, but there is something about this house that is drawing me to it. Is that how you feel about it too?”
“Yes, but I’ve never seen it before. You think you have?”
Allen studied the house closer. “The porch looks new…like it has been expanded…the gingerbread shingles on the side…I’ve seen this house before. I know I have.” He tried to lift the photo with his fingers, but no matter how he tried, he couldn’t do it.
“I’m going with Dr. Lasker to this house today,” Shelly said.
“Oh no, you’re not,” Allen shouted. “It’s too dangerous. Something wants you there and that’s not good. You’ve already had three close calls and--”
“Come with me? Help me help these poor people who live in this house?” Shelly held the picture up so he could see it again. “That’s all Dr. Lasker wants us to do. He wants us to help these people get rid of their pain and suffering.”
“I told you! You are so damn naïve! Well, I’m not falling for his tricks. I’m not going. If he wants my help, first he has to help me.”
“You’re so damn stubborn! I’m going with you or without you,” Shelly stormed. “I know what it’s like to be haunted and I am going to do whatever I can to help them.”
“It’s too dangerous for you. Please let’s think about this? Why do we have to do this right now?” Allen still felt that awful chill as he stared at the house in the photograph.
“This family is going through hell and someone will be hurt or killed if we don’t do something now,” Shelly said.
“Oh, you’re so stubborn! You remind me of someone, but I have no idea who.”
“You see. Maybe the more you try and help me the more you will remember? Isn’t that worth a try?”
“I hate seeing that Loco Lasker get his own way. I don’t trust him. There’s something he’s not telling us.”
“With you to take care of me, I know I’ll be fine.”
“Flattery will not get you anywhere with me,” Allen said, but he realized that wasn’t true. He actually was surprised and flattered that she finally seemed to realize he had been protecting her. That was an improvement. “Okay. I don’t like it, but this house gives me the willies so I’m going to go with you this time, but I’m not letting your mad scientist take advantage of me.”
“Thank you, Allen,” she said. “I knew you wouldn’t let me down.”
“You did, did you?” He kind of liked that at last she seemed to be showing trust in him…at least a little. “Just don’t take me for granted.”
Shelly picked up the picture again and suddenly an electric-like charge shot through her brain. She dropped the photograph and was afraid to pick it up. It was as if she had dropped a lit match. There were tears of pain in her eyes.
Allen could not help but notice. “If the photo of this house can do that to you, Shelly, just imagine what the real house must be like,” he said, searching his memory to try and remember where he had seen this house before.
“I know you’re right,” Shelly said, “But Allen, I really want to help if we can?” “We,” Allen asked.
“We,” Shelly replied and gave him a warm smile.