Shelly was still pounding at the door. “Allen, you’re going to have to do this. The basement is locked and nobody is coming.” She sank to the floor.
“Shelly, even if I can get through the door, I can’t tell that crazy doctor. He can’t hear
Shelly realized Allen was right. The doctor had not shown one sign that he was a sensitive too. But, what about Chan? He had to be somewhat capable? Why else would Loco keep him on? “No, but maybe Chan can hear you,” Shelly said, her body wracked by pain, still smelling the horrible sulphur odors permeating her hair and torn clothing.
“The Chinese kid? He’s not going to help you. He thinks you’re after his job. He’d like you to fall flat on your cute, little, ass.” Allen was immediately sorry he said that. It had slipped through before he could stop it.
Shelly decided to ignore his remark, but pulled her blouse over her breasts. “I don’t think he’s like that. I think he’ll want to help the family. You’ve got to try. That little girl is in danger.”
“Okay, so you want me to go upstairs and get that Chinese kid to let you out? Is that the
“There isn’t enough time for that. That demon knows we’re onto him. We may have forced his hand.” She shivered at the remembered sight of the creature. “Is that what all ghosts come to look like,” she asked Allen, wondering if he was doomed to become a demonic creature someday too.
“I hope not. That’s why I’ve got to find out who I am. I don’t ever want to be like that thing, my soul so lost I could hurt a child.”
Shelly gasped, “The child! That’s it! Allen, he’s going to go after her first. Get up there and tell Chan to get that little girl away from here. And keep her away from her father!”
“Shelly, are you sure you want me to leave you down here in the dark?”
“That monster isn’t here anymore. I know he’s going after that girl. Go! Go now! I’ll be fine. If you fail to stop that thing, then no matter where I am in this damn place, it won’t matter.”
“I’ll be back for you as soon as we rescue the girl and her parents,” Allen said.
There was a slight whooshing sound as Allen forced his body to pass through the door.
Shelly regretted sending him away, feeling alone and exhausted. “Please Chan. Please hear him?”
Upstairs, in the living room, Chan was getting bored. The camera was on a tripod and recording the conversation between Dr. Lasker and Mrs. Ross while he stood behind it. They don’t need me here, he thought, feeling resentful that Shelly seemed to be getting the choice assignment. This was not what he had counted on when the doctor had recruited him with promises of adventure and the kind of new knowledge that would help him someday resolve his own personal haunting. It was these lures, and the release from a mental institution to which he
had been sentenced for the murder of his mother, that had convinced Chan to accept the mad doctor’s offer of a one year trial internship in the department. “With the proper training, my dear Chan, you will become as fine an Ectoplasmic Researcher as any in the world,” Dr. Lasker had promised. It hadn’t happened. He guessed it was because he just wasn’t Ecto material, but he had to keep trying.
Chan’s real dream was that with more experience, he would one day be able to talk to his mother and find out what had driven her to place that sword under her stomach. Only then did he believe his nightmares would end and he would once again be free.
This is not getting me anywhere, he thought, as the conversation droned on. And where is that new girl, Chan wondered, having all the fun. Maybe not, but Dr. Lasker was making it very clear there was a new star in the parapsychology department, and it wasn’t him. It was a slender, dumb-blond, model-type, who should be on a runway instead of running after ghosts. And yet, Chan mused, she seems nice, not at all the way Dodd had described her while trying to enlist his help in frightening her off. I wish I could tell what is in her soul, Chan thought, not used to having such conflicting emotions in his very logical mind. Am I judging her by her looks, he asked himself, well aware that her body and face were arousing something inside him that he had never experienced before since most of his life had been spent in the institutions for the insane in China.
“I’m going to the john,” Chan said, not caring if he interrupted, but embarrassed when he realized his statement was recorded by the whirring camcorder.
“Go,” the professor said, waving him on impatiently. “Be sure the camera is on. You’ll edit it later.” He shot Chan a dirty look.
He really doesn’t care if I come or go, Chan thought, wondering if it was time to follow Swan’s lead and set up shop somewhere else, but knowing in his case it was very risky. “I wonder if I can get sponsorship at another university? Maybe Indiana? They have a good parapsych program. Damn! I can’t go back yet!” The thought of being sent back to China and facing charges for killing his mother terrified him. He had already spent years in a youth prison for the insane for the crime. Without witnesses, and evidence, Chan’s story of the ghostly rapist had fallen on the judge’s deaf ears. His sentence had been tempered by his being considered a child at the time. He knew if he returned as an adult now, he would be institutionalized with other criminally insane men, murderers, rapists, serial killers…he’d never let that happen. “I’ll die first,” he had sworn to Dodd when he had first been warned of how dangerous the new girl would be.
Chan stepped into the bathroom, half expecting a ghost to come jumping out at him and yelling for him to shut the damn bathroom door! This is a strange business, he thought, as he remembered how Dodd and he had run out of this very same house a year ago. The crazy professor had reamed Chan good for the broken camcorder and had not believed him when he said something had knocked it over and then chopped it to pieces. “I should have left when Swan left,” Chan said, as he settled own on the toilet seat, relieved to see the roll of toilet paper had not been eliminated in Ross’s attempt to recreate the 1800s in this crazy house. He wondered what they used in the 1890s for toilet paper. “What do I care,” he laughed, as for the first time all night he felt a little relaxed. “I do my best thinking here,” he mused, as he tried to use an exercise he had learned in the Chinese prison to erase all his thoughts and tension, make his mind go blank.
The locked bathroom gave him a feeling of security in a house that he knew had suffered terrible pain. A year earlier, he had felt almost nothing, but watched as Dodd and Swan had reacted to unseen forces in the house. He had learned from them and now he did feel something strange, but could not define it. He thought it felt like the heavy air before a storm. Not being a true sensitive like Dodd, Swan or apparently this new girl, he realized he was only capable of picking up the slightest hints of the sensations they felt. “This place gives me the willies,” he
said. “Let the new girl deal with the ghosts this house hides. Let her be the next Dodd.” He shivered. The last thing I want is to end up like that poor sonofabitch. “Let the girl have her fun,” he said. “It won’t last long.”
He smiled at the image of pretty, little Shelly being chased from this house by its ghostly inhabitants. He could see her running, her perky breasts bouncing as she fled through the door. Now that would be something to film, he thought, suddenly feeling better. The image of breasts, even imagined, always makes me feel better. Chan sighed. He knew he was fooling himself. He had realized in the car, gazing at the girl’s trusting eyes, that he could never hurt her. If Dodd wanted to scare her off, he couldn’t stop him, but he wouldn’t help him either.
“Five more minutes,” he told himself, savoring the silence of the john, but that silence was about to be broken in ways Chan had never expected.