“Are you real?“, she asked again.
“Princess you don’t really get out much, do you?“,he asked.
“Why do you call me princess?“, she asked as the drinks arrived.
“Because you are one.“, he said.
“I certainly am not one, though you and my uncle might be on the same wavelength.“,she said.
“Sounds like a good man.“, Nikolaus said with a smile.
“He is. Well, for the most part, I guess.“,she said with a smile. “He is really the one who ever cared about me.”
“I doubt that, sweetheart.“, Nikolaus stated.
“Out of my real family, there isn’t any doubt of that.“, she said.
“Real family?“, he asked.
“My parents, brothers, and sisters. My uncle is my adopted uncle I should say. My dad worked for him and well he adopted me when I was eight so to speak.“, she replied.
“That sounds rather fun.“, Nikolaus said.
“It was different.“, she said. “Those crates you delivered last night. That was a present from him.”
“So you found the origin of those two extra crates?“, he asked.
“No, I didn’t. I meant the whole exhibit. My uncle bid on it and got the exhibit for me to work on because it was what I wanted to do.“, she replied.
“Wow.“, Nikolaus said. “That is some uncle.”
“You have no idea.“,she said with a smile as she took another sip of her drink. “You come here a lot?”
“Not really anymore. It is just a place that is out of the way. It isn’t all that far from my place. When I need a drink I normally just drink at home.“, he said. Her smile grew, and he had no idea why. He looked at her and just shook his head at how absolutely gorgeous she was. He had wanted to ask her out every time he saw her. He thought she would turn him down flat, women like her didn’t look at guys like him. Last night something prompted him like he was listening to something on the wind that made him outright ask her. Tonight was no different. He was shocked when she accepted. He would have helped her regardless of any payment. Helping her out was enough of a win for him.
“That’s what I do.“, she said with a smile. “I grew up not far from here.”
“You grew up here?“, he asked.
“Town over.“, she replied with a laugh. He looked her over again. He thought he had her pegged as a rich kid from somewhere else. She however just let on she was from this area. Everyone here was working class. He smiled. “Looking for the designer label still?”
“Was it showing?“, Nikolaus asked.
“The surprised look you flashed there was enough.“, she said with a grin. “My dad was a wireman and a linemen. My brothers all do some sort of work. My sisters are well; we won’t get into them.”
“So you got away?“,he asked.
“Got away but came back? That really isn’t getting away.“, she said. ” I guess I will have to start looking for another job.”
“You should start your own museum or something.“, he said.
“I don’t think I could.“, she said with a soft smile, “but you are right. I should start something on my own.”
“Can you do that?“, he asked.
“I know just the guy.“, she said as she tipped the drink and swallowed in a gulp. This was proving to be a good evening. She opted for a rain check on the second drink and instead drank soda the rest of the night. When she got in her car, she was clear-headed and almost completely sober. Since Nikolas had put the idea in her head, she couldn’t let it go. He was following her now to her house. She pulled into the driveway and hit the garage button so he could place the crates in there. He put four of the five. Crates there but she asked him to place the fifth inside. She lowered the garage door, and he followed her up to the front door and then into the walkway when she opened the door and pushed it wide.
“Nice place. Again you are full of surprises, Princess.“,he said as he looked around.
“How is that Nikolas?“, she asked.
“I don’t really know what I expected, but an open plan with hardly anything here wasn’t it.“, he said as she laughed.
“Thank you again for all your help tonight.“, she said. He stepped closer and bent his head. He kissed her slightly off center on her mouth in that one spot that drove her insane. He lifted his head and peered down into her eyes.
“The pleasure was all mine, sweetheart.“, he said softly. He walked over to the door, and she followed. “Give me your phone.” She handed it over, and he typed something into it and then sent a message to his phone which she heard in his truck when it went off. “I will call you in the morning.”
She nodded, and he tried his luck once again and kissed her softly and then touched her face and started walking down the pathway to the driveway. She was surprised that he left as he did. He really was a throwback, and with that thought, she smiled, waved, and shut the door. She turned the deadbolt and looked at the crate.
She opened the top of it and smiled at the skull. “Well, what do you think?“, she asked. She waited for an answer, but nothing happened. She knew that she must have read into whatever was going on in the museum as it being haunted. It couldn’t possibly be haunted. “I’m talking to a skull. I have really lost it.”
She waited and watched for anything weird to happen as maybe the change in scenery was something that could affect the skull. She looked at her phone and decided to call Lou again and ask him for a favor.
“Twice in a week?“, he answered the phone.
“I need some money.“, she said.
“Well you’re in luck, I have quite a bit of that.“, Lou said. “How much and what for?”
“I want to start my own research company.“, she stated.
“You want to do what now?“, he asked.
“Lou just hear me out.“, she said.
“I am listening darling.“, Lou said.
“Lou I want to open a research center to work on identification of the mass graves and such.“, she stated.
“Don’t you have a day job?“, he asked.
“Not for much longer.“,she said.
“What the hell happened?“, he growled out.
“Things.“, she said.
“What kind of things?“, he asked.
“I don’t want to get into that.“, she said.
“Well, I do.“, Lou said. She sat down and started at the beginning. She told him everything. Minus of course the part about the crate stopping when she asked it too. She let all the words come tumbling out, and for once her uncle was silent. He was deathly silent.
“Lou?” She asked when she was done.
" Make a list.“, he said. His tone was unlike anything she had hear from him.
“A list?“, she asked.
“Of everything you could possibly need.“, he said. ” we will go search for buildings on Monday.”
“You will do it?“, she asked with hope.
“Of course I will. However I will deal with the museum as well.“, he stated.
“How?“, she asked,
“Don’t worry about that.“, he said. “Focus on what you need.”
“Lou?“, she asked.
“Everything you need, kiddo.“, he stated and then hung up.
She wanted to scream it from the mountain tops, but she didn’t have anyone to tell. She looked at the skull. “Well, you already know. I can’t tell you.”
The air changed around her again.
“You really are here, then?“, she asked as she went closer to it on the table. “Well, then you heard. Big things are going to happen from now on out.”
The air swooped around her. It was almost like a hug of sorts. ” Are you happy about that?“, she asked, and she felt it again. “I wish I had a name for you. Do you think you could tell me?”
The air grew warmer around her then nothing.
“I guess not.“, she smiled at the skull. “Well if you’re still listening please behave while you are here.”
She got up and walked to her bedroom. She flopped down on the bed and heard her phone go off.
She walked back and saw a text message. It was from Nikolas.
Sorry to bother you so late. Just wanted to say goodnight again
It’s not that late. I just got some good news.
She went to her bedroom and started to change. She looked around to make sure she was alone first and then laughed to herself.
What is the good news?
I am going to start a new company! It was all your idea too!
A new company?
Yes. You gave me the idea tonight while we were out.
Something about starting my own museum.
Princess, I was joking.
It is not a museum. It is a research company.
Well good for you. Congrats!
We should celebrate sometime.
I would like that.
I would Nikolas.
Then tonight is a great night!
I’ll text you in the morning.
Goodnight Princess, sweet dreams
Good night Nikolaus
She smiled as she got into bed. There was something so familiar about the man, but she still could not place the man. She wasn’t feeling to upset at the prospect of new things popping up in her life. It was the first time that the idea of not being alone seemed like a good thing. She smiled as her head snuggled into the pillow and her eyes drifted to sleep.
Two unearthly forms appeared at the end of her bed as she slept. They were both opiate and translucent. They looked at each other for what seemed the first time in years. “She is mine.“, one said.
“Why?“, the other replied.
“Look at her.“, the first said. “It is her.”
“How can you be so sure?“, the second asked.
“Look at her.“, the first replied again.
“She talks to you like she knows you are there.“, the second said with a laugh.
“She does know.“, the first said. “Just as she knows the man as well.”
“You planned all of this?“, the second asked.
“No, but it is a part in a much bigger plan.“, the first said.
“What is she had left them at the building?“, the second asked.
“She wouldn’t do that.“, the first said with a smile as he looked down at the sleeping form of the woman.
“She is not the same as she was last time.“, the second said.
“No, did you expect her to be the same?“, the first asked.
“I never expect anything when you are concerned.“, the second commented. “We should tell the others.”
“Let us give this some time.“, the first replied. “She does have free will and cannot be useful to us this lifetime.”
“Time, time, time. Four lifetimes is enough don’t you think?“, the second pushed.
“She is different each time. I did not control her then, what makes you think I could now?“, the first asked as he looked at himself. “I am not even a man any longer, neither are you.”
“We can still do things.“, the second said.
“Yes and the crate in the warehouse was a nice touch, but it hurt her in the end.“, the first said.
“That man deserved a sword through the gut for what he said about her.“, the second said. “She isn’t even mine, and I felt that. She has been kind so far, and she doesn’t even know.”
“No, she doesn’t.“, the first replied.
“Will you tell her soon?“, the second asked.
“I do not know with this one. She is different.“, the first said.
“You were plan on telling her soon enough right?“, the second asked again.
“I will see.“, the first said as he noticed the woman moving around in her sleep. It seemed a nightmare was taking hold. He moved closer to the bed as he stood over her and placed what was his hand at one point on her head. Though he could not feel the surface, the air around it swirled as he tried to calm her before she would bolt awake. She settled back into sleep, and the smile on her face reappeared.
The two apparitions stayed there for a while then went to explore their new haunting ground in peace. It was working all to his plan. This woman was different. She held the key.