“Why didn’t you tell Dr. Loco what happened to you today,” Allen asked sitting on Shelly’s bed. She had invited him into her room so they could talk without being overheard.
“I don’t know if I can trust him.” Shelly was searching the closet for a few things to pack in an overnight bag. Tonight was the night Dr. Loco had said they would visit the house he called Case 242. There was a good chance they would need to spend the night, he had explained. She wanted to be ready. No more delays. No more excuses.
“I’ve never trusted him,” Allen said, wishing he could see through doors like some television ghosts and superheroes could do as Shelly walked past him into the bathroom to change her clothes. I shouldn’t be thinking like this, he scolded himself, surprised as he always was when he thought ghosts should not have what seemed an obvious attraction for a living being. He tried to distract himself, but found himself staring at her open drawer, a pair of black lacy underpants hanging over the edge. He walked toward the drawer and reached for the silky black panties, but was unable to feel them. “Being a ghost rots,” he said aloud.
“Being haunted isn’t much better,” Shelly replied, wondering suddenly if he could see through the bathroom door. The sight of his bare back as he’d struggled with Dodd…at least she thought it had been his…who else could it have been…his muscular physique had surprised her.
His voice, usually soft and kind of mellow, had made her expect a much thinner man, a less well- developed man. This is so damn frustrating, she thought as she tucked her blouse into the last
pair of fresh jeans she had in the closet. And then she realized it must be far worse for him. “I just thought of something. What did you remember about your previous life the last time you saved me?”
“You mean from that maniac, Dodd?”
“Yes. Was that time four or five?” She pulled her jeans on and wondered how long it would be before they were covered in grass, dirt or worst of all, blood. The way things were going it seemed inevitable.
“Who’s counting,” he said. “Actually, when Dodd was standing over you with a knife, I did get a flashback…but I can’t remember exactly what it was.” He didn’t want to tell her he had seen his hand holding a knife over a naked female body. If that vision had frightened him, he could imagine how she would react. She’d probably never talk to him again. He wished he could have seen the knife clearer. He was afraid to see the body again…it was young and there was blond hair spread across what looked like a table or bed. He remembered that, but nothing else.
“You can’t remember what it was,” Shelly asked, stepping out of the bathroom fully dressed. “The other times you seemed to learn things about yourself that might help us solve your mystery?”
“Yeah, but they weren’t that important. So I liked running? Millions of people like that.
Not much of a clue. So I wasn’t a bus driver? Big surprise.”
“But what about the fire? You said you saw a car burst into flame. That’s not exactly unimportant.”
Allen sighed. “It’s a piece of the puzzle, but only a small piece. A car fire like that happens every day. I don’t see how it can help me find out who I was if I have no idea where the fire was or who was in the vehicle.”
Shelly heard the frustration in his voice. “I promise after we finish this first case I will get Dr. Lasker to sit down with us and help you.” She heard Allen sigh. “I know this must be very upsetting for you. I feel it too.”
“You really do?” It was strange how each time Shelly faced danger, she seemed to become more attune to his feelings. Each close call with death seemed to be changing him and her, making the link between them even stronger.
“Yes. I don’t understand it, but I really do feel at least a little of what you’re feeling.” She straightened up. “Let’s go, we’ve got a job to do.”
“Shelly, that house we’re going to…it gives me the willies. Are you sure you want to do this? It’s not too late to back out. Don’t do this just for me. I can be fine the way I am.”
The picture of the house flashed back and she felt that icy chill race down her spine again. “Stop trying to talk me out of it. I’ve made up my mind.”
“And once you’ve made up your mind, nothing can change it.”
“You know me pretty well by now,” Shelly said and stepped out of the room.
Allen watched her lock the door behind her. Totally useless, he mused. Did she really believe that crazy doctor would give her a lock that would keep him out? Him and that crazy Dodd could probably enter her room any time they wanted. He hurried to catch up before she got herself into more mischief.
“Good afternoon, Shelly. How are you Allen?” Dr. Lasker was wheeling an unusual looking black metallic suitcase behind him. It made a thin squealing noise as he walked toward them. “Are you ready for an adventure?”
Allen shivered, suddenly very afraid for Shelly who was following Dr. Loco like an obedient puppy. He thought of Dodd, the shell of a human being abandoned after Dr. Loco had no more use for him, and wondered if she realized just what kind of a hell the ‘good doctor’ was leading her to.