“Every time I turn my back you go walking right into more trouble,” Allen said. “Let go of her, you asshole.”
Dodd dropped Shelly’s body and was searching wildly for the source of the voice he had just heard. “This is impossible,” he screeched. “Nobody’s here! Nobody!”
“Now that’s interesting,” Allen said. He had been trying to materialize, but Dodd’s reaction to his voice had disrupted his concentration.
Dodd stiffened and backed away from Shelly who he had killed, his eyes still searching wildly for someone who had just called him an asshole. Had he finally gone completely insane? As the doctor’s assistant for eight years, he had experienced terrifying things, phenomena that had sapped his sanity, suffering severe mental trauma like a soldier who had been in battle too long. Eventually, all the nightmares he had suffered, all the pain he had accepted from others in his effort to help them, had worn away at his mental stability. He was now the one haunted, tormented mercilessly by the memories of the many horror stories he had lived, the pain of too many victims, internalized, and now driving him mad, that all he had left was the delusion that he could still do his job, still work with the professor as the departmental link to the spiritual world he had always been, would always be. Shelly could not take that away from him. Nobody could.
Allen bent over Shelly. “Dodd, you idiot! What have you done? She loved you.”
Dodd’s eyes raced wildly toward Shelly’s body where the voice had come from. But there was no one there? “Who are you? What do you want from me?” As much as he had searched for it all his life, he had never heard a ghost talk directly to him before, his abilities limited only to sensing their presence, the cold chill that raced through his body as a
‘sensitive’… no matter how much he had sought them out, pleaded with them to trust him, to speak to him…to make him their link to the department, the world, the ghosts had never connected with him until now. “So why is this whore more worthy than me,” he screamed to Allen. “I’m the one you should have chosen. I gave up everything for my gift…my curse.”
Allen was gazing at the fallen Shelly. “How could you hurt her? Don’t you know she would have done anything to help you? She…liked you…she loved you.” Allen wondered why it hurt him so much to say that.
“No,” Dodd screamed, thinking this was his conscience he was confronting. “She didn’t’ love me. She stole my life.” He was crying, his tears uncontrollable. “He threw me away like garbage.” Dodd cried. “It’s all I have left. She was taking it from me. I stopped her. Now he’ll need me again.”
“You idiot, Shelly didn’t do it. She didn’t even know you worked for Dr. Loco. He never told her anything about you. He lied and told her he had never heard of you.”
“No. You’re lying.” Dodd looked confused. “He…He was like a father to me. He’d never hurt me like that. You’re both liars.”
Allen almost felt sorry for Dodd. “Dodd, he used you like he wants to use Shelly…and me,” Allen said. “You let him. You let him drain you dry. That’s all Lasker wants from any of us. He drains us dry and then throws the corpses away when he’s done. He did that to you.”
An animal growl rose from Dodd’s throat. “No. That’s not true. It was her!” Dodd had Shelly’s knife in his hand. “I’m going to kill you,” he shrieked and lunged toward where he thought Allen was standing. Over and over he slashed in the air with the knife, crying hysterically when all he felt was air.
“You can’t hurt me,” Allen said to the pathetic insane former assistant still flailing the knife at him. Maybe you can, Allen thought, as he stared at Shelly’s lifeless body.
Dodd, finally exhausted, panting hard, turned his eyes to the inert body of the girl. “Did you think you could kill a ghost,” Allen asked.
Dodd eyes and his soul were riveted on the girl’s body. Was her chest moving? Did her fingers look like they were moving ever so slightly? “Why doesn’t she die,” he murmured.
Allen saw the look on Dodd’s face and the meat knife in his hand. “Don’t even think it,” he warned.
Dodd walked slowly toward Shelly.
“No, Dodd. Dodd, no more. It isn’t her fault.” Allen saw the knife pointed at the center of Shelly’s chest. In a second, it would be too late.