Shelly’s eyes blinked open. “What the hell kind of dream was that”, she asked aloud, realizing she was sweating. She was surprised she remembered so much of it, but could not
remember the man’s face. It was like he had been invisible…invisible…like a ghost? Was that a dream too? No wonder I had a nightmare like that. “What the heck happened to me today?” Her mind wouldn’t let her shut off thinking about the crazy things she had experienced. Was it a real ghost or was it a hallucination from the shock of almost being attacked? Had she been attacked? Was the attacker so close to killing her that only a freak accident saved her? Was Allen her way of explaining what happened? Her mind kept working the puzzles over and over, not letting her sleep again. Not that she wanted to after that erotic, yet horrifying nightmare. Imagine being so turned on by a dream and then having it end like that? What a night!
Another thought track to drive her nuts: At the back of her mind was the gnawing realization she never called the police. “I was going to. But how could I call the cops? They never would have believed me.” Shelly wondered what kind of trouble could she get into if they found the corpse and connected her to it? Isn’t it a crime not to call the cops if you find a body? “Holy crap! What a mess! And a ghost too?” She closed her eyes again, overwhelmed by all the problems that had dropped on her like giant boulders just because she went for a jog in the park. “It almost makes you want to burn your jogging shoes up,” she said, knowing she could never do that, but also swearing she would never go to that park again. “I don’t need no damn males,
ghosts or real, to complicate my life,” she thought, staring up at the ceiling and wishing she could fall asleep and wake up with all of this gone.
I wonder what Allen looks like, she abruptly mused, and then scolded herself for even
thinking about that ghost or whatever he was. “He isn’t even Allen. I gave him that name.” She found herself wondering if the reason the man in her dream, a dream still vivid in her mind, could not be seen by her was because it was a ghost, Allen. She couldn’t believe that dreaming about him could make her almost climax, but then morph into a nightmare that made her scream with fear. “I’m going crazy,” Shelly whispered, suddenly feeling very alone in the cluttered dorm room. “Where the hell is Lisa?”
Shelly thought of telling Lisa, but guessed her boy-crazy roomie would think she was either insane or pulling her leg. Anyway, she rarely saw Lisa without some boy in bed with her. It was like the girl, unlike Shelly, was eager to try every hook-up she could find. Shelly had woken up many nights to hear the sound of Lisa and some guy or another making the bed springs rock. No, Lisa would be no help at all.
So who could help?
She could hear her mother saying, “I told you so. I told you to stay home where you’re safe.” And her father would laugh it off as some dumb-ass kid stunt, trying to get attention away from his bimbo and her new baby boy. “I hate him,” she said, feeling the familiar anger well up inside her. She closed her eyes again. Who would ever believe I talked to a ghost? “I don’t even believe it.”
She felt one of her headaches rising from behind her right eye. “I need a doctor,” she groaned, “a head doctor.”
She jumped up. “That’s it! Why didn’t I think of that before?”
Shelly leapt out of bed and ran to her laptop on her cluttered desk, waiting impatiently as the internet slowly sprang to life. She typed quickly, opening the home page for the university, named after the short stone walls that were built to protect the American rebels during the Revolutionary war, a few sections still standing around the perimeter of the sprawling campus. Few students knew that a tiny, but bloody battle had been fought here hundreds of years earlier. The university did not publicize this battle for some very good reasons. The bodies of the fifteen rebels that had died here had never been recovered.
Shelly hesitated at the computer. “What am I doing?” She answered her own question. “If there is a ghost, and I’m not saying there is one, then I’ve got to get help to get rid of it.” She continued typing. It was a long-shot, but worth a try. She searched the left margin of the home university’s home page and clicked on the long list of departments.
Scrolling down the list, she finally landed on what she was seeking, the Department of Psychology. “I’ll just find a professor to talk to.” She pressed the button on the mouse to stop the scroll, but it kept going.
“I passed it,” she thought and tried to scroll backwards with the mouse. The scroll moved up, stopped and then back down again as if on its own.
“Damn,” she cursed about to clear the screen when it began to scroll out of her control again. Course after course scrolled down quickly until a heading read, “Graduate Courses” and the scrolling slowed. “What the heck is going on,” Shelly said, staring as the grad courses slid slowly by.
Near the bottom of the list the scrolling stopped, leaving Shelly staring in disbelief at the last course on the list: Parapsychology 666, Clinical Research Seminar. “I’ve never heard of that one before,” she thought as she clicked on the course description. It was blank. Only the professor’s name was listed and the building in which the course was supposed to be presented. A notation read, “By appointment only.”
“That does me a lot of good,” Shelly muttered. She flicked the previous page icon and the screen returned to the university home page. Suddenly it began to scroll quickly downward again by itself, stopping at the same course number, Parapsychology 666.
Shelly read the notation again. What kind of department offers only one course and by appointment only, she wondered. “That’s not very hopeful,” she mused, but jotted down the name Dr. Joel Lasker, Ph.D., Psych Building B, Room B101. “I have no idea why I need this, but what the heck.” She started to scroll back to find someone in the Psychology Department who might be able to help her, but was startled when the screen suddenly went blank. The battery icon revealed the laptop was still half charged so why had it gone off?
Shelly stared at the blank screen and then at the scrap paper on her desk. Why had she even bothered? It probably was a waste of effort, but then why had she written it down?
Shelly heard a noise at the door. She closed the cover of the laptop and jumped into bed.
For some unknown reason she had no desire to explain to Lisa where she had been tonight or what she had decided to do…not yet. Closing her eyes, she waited anxiously for the door to open, hoping it really was her roommate. Even if Lisa was drunk and dragging in one of her playmates, even if she had to listen to the bed moving with thrashing bodies, the moaning and giggling, she hoped it really was her. Please let it be her?