It was hard for Shelly to stop thinking about all that had happened to her in the last few days. Even in the hospital she kept expecting to hear Allen, or worse yet, see the unpredictable, perhaps evil, creature who had called himself Dodd. Allen, she had finally come to accept as being a ghost, but what was Dodd? Is he a ghost too? Can you fall in love with a ghost, she asked herself, remembering how she had wanted to feel his body in her bed, see his hair bouncing over his shoulders as he gazed down at her while they made love.
Shelly had first thought Dodd was kind of strange-looking, dark, thin and mysterious, and soon found herself responding to him, feeling her body wanting him, despite her efforts to be cautious. She thought he looked unique, like a mischievous boy, but in wild-looking sort of way. He was mysterious, and she loved that even while she sensed he was dangerous…and then he had tried to kill her…had he? It had to be him…first poison gas…and then standing in the
middle of a deserted street and making himself a target for Dr. Loco’s van. Yes, she now was convinced it had been Dodd who was standing in the middle of the road deliberately trying to force the van to brake hard and hurl her down the steep slope to a fiery explosion. And she was now positive it was Dodd who she had seen standing and watching as the gasoline had leaked into a deadly puddle just before she was finally freed from the safety belts. How could he watch
so impassively, so coldly, as she was about to die? I thought he liked me? It makes no sense! Why does he hate me?
None of it made sense, but what did these days? Did believing in a ghost make sense?
How about believing a ghost could be good, caring…loving? She thought of Allen and wondered where he was…and where is Dodd?
Dodd made no sense at all. Maybe Dodd wasn’t real? Maybe he was a ghost too, a malevolent ghost with an advanced degree in materialization? Very confusing. Very scary. All these disturbing thoughts were constantly racing around in her brain as she recuperated in the hospital.
The bandages had all been removed and Shelly was relieved that at least about her face Dr. Loco had not lied. As she examined herself in the mirror, she realized how close she had come to not only losing that irreplaceable part of her, but her life. And it had all started with Allen. Was it somehow his fault? Was he the real reason why someone was trying to kill her…why Dodd was trying to kill her?
Shelly found all these thoughts whirring around in her head were driving her crazy. When Dr. Lasker returned in the afternoon, she had made up her mind about a lot of things and was ready for him.
“You look better,” Lasker said. “I told you your face would be as lovely as ever. A few more days and you can go home and get some much needed rest. I will take care of everything.” He gave her a reassuring smile. “We’ll call it a recuperative--”
Shelly didn’t smile back. “I’m not going home. I’ve made up my mind. I am going to do whatever it takes to be on your team and help myself get back to normal. I am going to hold you to your promise to help Allen, and in return I’ll work with you on your cases. I’ll become an Ecto for you.”
“No. No. No. I simply can’t allow you to take such risks,” Dr. Lasker said, a worried look on his face. “I was wrong to even ask you. I can find another assistant. I have many names on a waiting list…people who are not being threatened with murder at every turn.”
“But none with their own ghost to help you.” Shelly gave him a knowing smile.
Dr. Lasker felt anxious. She was definitely not as dumb as he had once assumed. Beauty and brains and a ghost is not a good combination, he thought. “That may have been true—“ He began.
Shelly cut him off. “You don’t have to hide it. I know exactly what you want from me.
I’m willing to give it to you, but you are going to do what you can to help Allen. That’s the deal. Take it or all those poor people you showed me will keep on suffering, and you will miss out on the greatest research project of your career.” She could almost taste his drool as he hungered for what having a ghost and her on his team would mean to his department and to him.
Dr. Lasker got out of his chair and walked to the window. From the twelfth floor where the private rooms were, he could not make out faces on the sidewalk below. All the tiny creatures moving about in their ‘ordinary’ lives far below were barely distinguishable from each other to the doctor who wished he could see who was standing next to his car and gazing up at this room. It could be Dodd, but how can I be sure? Damn that crazy lunatic, he thought, but hid
his anger from Shelly. He wanted the girl on his team so badly, but realized it would be like signing her death warrant. “Shelly, I am afraid you are not safe here.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
The doctor turned away from the window. He gazed into her eyes and felt strangely protective, not a usual characteristic. It’s just that she’s young, he rationalized, but he knew it was more than that. He rested his hand on her bed, hoping she would place her hand on top of his. It didn’t happen, but he hadn’t expected it to. Not really. He gazed into her eyes and for once told her the truth, “I now believe there is someone who may want to do you harm.”
“So now you believe me?”
“I never disbelieved you. But now with this latest incident…yes, I believe you, and have come to the conclusion that you working with me, as much as I would desire it, (Desire? Did I really use that word?) At any rate, your further involvement in this department would place you in intolerable danger.” He couldn’t understand why he was doing this. Why was he feeling compelled to protect her? “I’m truly sorry.”
Shelly sat up, her eyes stormy. “I don’t care. As I see it, if I leave, Allen will go with me and that is what has put me in this danger. At least with you and him covering my back, I have a fighting chance of finding out exactly what the heck is going on here and why I’m suddenly a
target. I’m safer working with you than I am on my own.” She did not tell him that she suspected he knew more about what was happening to her than he was letting on. “Doctor Lasker, with all due respect, nothing you or Allen say is going to change my mind. I’m here until I am free of both of you.”
Dr. Lasker was about to protest when Shelly surprised him by flipping off the covers and revealing she was fully dressed underneath. “I’m ready. No more delays and no more surprises. Well, maybe one, I need to stop at my dorm and pick up a few things. I’ve decided I need a good bath and a good night’s sleep, so at least for tonight I’m moving in with you.” She slid out of the bed and sat on the edge.
“Get up slowly or you may feel dizzy,” Dr. Lasker warned, wondering if she realized exactly what she had said. Little beads of sweat were lining his forehead at the idea that she might have meant exactly what she said, that she was moving in with him just for the night. Old idiot, he scolded himself, you know that’s not what she meant. But it was exciting anyway.
“Let’s blow this joint,” Shelly said in her best gangster imitation. “We have work to do.”
Dr. Lasker followed her out of the room hoping she did not see the hopeful smile on his
“And by the way, Doc, when we get some time, you are going to tell me all about Dodd.
No more bullshit!”
That took care of the smile.