Seeker of Lost Souls: The House Next Door

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Just another night for some thieves...

There wasn't much to say about Miss Foley's house. It was low and plain, and next to my family's three-story mansion it just looked kind of pitiful. It looked horribly out of place in this neighborhood in general, since Prince Heights was an exclusively upper class residence, and Miss Foley was definitely not upper class. But the house had been there longer than Prince Heights was even an idea, so there it stood.

It was Frederica who had originally proposed that we go into Miss Foley's house. The woman, we had observed, was single, and she owned a green sedan and a black unmarked hybrid car, maybe a Prius. We also noted her tendency to drive her green car during the day, and her black car during the night. (And she went out at night as often as she did by day.)

“You think maybe she has a night life?” Frederica asked me.

“It would certainly seem so… at first glance,” I speculated. “Maybe she just goes to a night club.”

“Ohh, you’re no fun,” Frederica chided. “What nightclubber have you seen that leaves at exactly midnight and returns at, like, three in the morning? Consistently?”

“She’s probably a designated driver,” I shrugged.

“Still trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, huh,” Frederica said. “Well, I’ve never seen her make any stops at any of the houses here. And Leah, remember? She never uses her headlights!

“Hey, you’re right,” I realized. “Odd behavior for someone who’s not drunk.”

“Even drunk people have headlights on,” Frederica stated. “The new models are automatic, you know.”

“Hybrid cars are way quieter than normal cars, too,” I added. “Do you think that-” I stopped, now hesitant to complete this new thought.

“Oh, yeah, now we’re on the same page,” Frederica grinned.

“I see…” I was definitely pensive about this, but I knew what we had to do to put these doubts to rest, and so did Frederica.

“So you wanna hit it tonight, or later?” I asked.

“I never put off investigations,” Frederica declared, “especially one as monumental as this one.”

“I agree. So we have a consensus?”

“Indeed.”

 

“This is awesome,” Frederica laughed as we equipped our night mission gear. “Who’d have thought Miss Foley would be hiding something? Hey, I bet she’s a spy.”

“Ridiculous,” I told her, but I couldn’t suppress the gears that were spinning in my head. Miss Foley couldn’t have been more than thirty, and she certainly had the proper physique. The clothes she wore were always neutral colors, either black or gray (and sometimes white). And we sometimes watched her exercise on the roof of her house.

Over the years, we had ‘investigated’ almost our entire community, and in that timespan we were only caught on two occasions. But we had never even considered looking at Miss Foley’s abode, simply because it was so small.

But that would all change, of course…

“Watch out, Foley,” I intoned. “Here come the Shadow Sisters!” (We weren’t really sisters, but with our inseparability we might as well have been.)

Midnight fell, and we silently watched as Miss Foley drove away in her unmarked black car. I suddenly got a thought.

“Hey,” I whispered as we descended from my second-story window. “If she’s a spy, wouldn’t she have some kind of defense system set up?”

People living alone (especially rich ones) were always unpredictable, and I was reminded of what had happened the first time we were caught. “You remember Missy Trigun down the street, right?”

“Yeah, I thought about that,” Frederica replied. We dropped onto the lush greenery of my family’s lawn, and she continued: “Remember that scientific lab we found in the Wildes’ basement?”

“Yeah, some of that stuff was mind-blowingly high-tech,” I nodded.

“Well…” Frederica pulled out a scanner. “I didn’t think they would care if one of their precious trinkets was gone.”

“Haha! Man, I should’ve grabbed something.”

As we approached the house, Frederica said, “Weird… I’m not picking up anything.”

“Really? You sure it isn’t broken?”

“We’ll know soon enough…”

We got to the front door, and I tried the window next to it. It slid open with a quiet whhhsh. There was no screen behind it.

We climbed in and clicked on our flashlights.

“Nothing out of the ordinary, at least electrically speaking,” Frederica said.

“There’s a bunch of briefcases here, though,” I noted as we entered another room. This one, along with the last two bedrooms and closet, was full of nondescript briefcases.

“Dollars to dollars she won’t know if we nabbed one,” Frederica dared me.

I shrugged and picked one up. Then we made our way back outside.

We tiptoed back to our home base and climbed up the rope we left. The entire heist had taken a maximum of ten minutes, tops.

Soon we were back inside of my second-story room, with results concerning Miss Foley’s nightlife pending.

“Maybe she is just working a night shift,” Frederica said.

“We’ll know once we open this thing,” I decided.

It had no lock, so it was just a matter of popping the latch to reveal its contents: two pointed stakes made of wood and two more made of silver, a small but heavy mallet, a cross thing, a necklace of what looked like prayer beads, a gun, a small book with a cross on it, and three vials of clear liquid.

We were speechless. What kind of night shift did this lady work?

“I… that book, I think it’s a Bible,” Frederica said slowly.

“So, if this is a Bible, then this…” I held up the cross- “is a crucifix.”

“Those vials are holy water, then,” Frederica concluded. “This stuff… Leah, this stuff is for killing vampires.”

“So why does Miss Foley have so many of them?”

“My guess is, this stuff doesn’t grow on trees,” Frederica figured. “So maybe she’s hoarding them, or she’s a dealer of some kind.”

“A dealer for vampire killers.” I was dubious. “Freddie, we only grabbed ONE briefcase. This could be a set of props, for all we know!”

Frederica picked up the gun. “Feels real to me.”

“Give me that.” I snatched the weapon from her hand and investigated it. Its safety was on. I turned it off, and it made a rather convincing CH-CHK sound. Frederica glared at me.

“You’re not gonna fire it, are you?” She asked warily.

“Umm…” All I had to do to prove that it was really a prop was to pull the trigger. But then, I reflected, there was that one time in the Huffley manor when we had made noise firing a gun, and a neighbor had thought it was an armed robbery and called their personal special ops team to sweep the area. (We weren’t caught, but it put us off of touching weapons for a while afterwards.)

I clicked the safety back on. “Heck, most props don’t have safeties,” I said mostly to myself. “So if this is real…”

“Then VAMPIRES are real,” Frederica whispered in amazement.

I sat back. Then I stood back up. “Impossible,” I decided. “We can’t draw a definite conclusion without solid proof.”

“Oh, so now you want to be a detective?” Frederica huffed. “Want to just go back and look through ALL of the briefcases, then?”

I shrugged. “We have the time.”

“Oh, come on! Solid evidence, right here! What more do you need?”

I gave her a Look, and Frederica got one of those dumbfounded looks on her face where she could no longer tell what I was thinking.

“Look, I just want to SEE a vampire for myself,” I explained.

“But it’ll kill you,” Frederica replied. “Especially if you’re holding weapons specifically designed to kill them.”

“Look, we can just tail Miss Foley, or something.”

“We don’t even know if all of her other briefcases hold the same stuff,” Frederica protested. “Maybe she kills more than just vampires.”

“Hah. Five bucks says she only kills vampires. Look, all we need to do to settle this is-”

“Obtain another briefcase. Okay. We’re on the same page again,” she sighed. “It’s, what, one o clock? Yeah, let’s do it.”

“Right on, Freddie!” I slammed her back.

“Ow! This had better be the last time we go in there. Those rooms with all those briefcases, they give me chills.”

The second run took all of three minutes- get in, grab something, and get out. We made off with two briefcases this time.

“Ooo-kay,” I breathed. “Let’s see what we’ve got. Oh? Hey, Freddie, this one has a lock on it.”

“Mine doesn’t.” She opened hers. “Uuuiii! Leah, look!”

“What?” I glanced over. “Those are… cooking utensils.”

Golden cooking utensils! Judging from their weight, I’d say they have a stainless steel core. But the gold plating, that’s definitely real. Forks, spoons, knives, the full family set.”

“Hey, gimme a hammer. I need to get this thing open,” I told her.

After a few whacks, the lock gave out, and I popped my briefcase open. “Ugh, it’s empty.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” I dropped the hammer. “Any of this making sense to you?”

“Eh… not really,” she shrugged. “Maybe she just sells this junk. Like, a mystery box vendor.”

“I’m tired,” I yawned. “I’m calling it a night.”

“See ya tomorrow.”

 

 Mmmm. Hmmmm. Yes, very nice. She is quite the nuisance.

Who? Ah, well, I dare to think.

Never mind that. Mind the mixes of others.

It was not the optimum introduction to lie on.

Don’t you need to rest with?

My eyes popped open. “Huh. Weird dream,” I mumbled. I almost never dreamed.

Getting out of bed, I checked the time. 11:11?

OH, CRAP! How in the world did no one notice I was still asleep?? I quickly ran to the bathroom to wash up, then rushed to gather up my coat and backpack. I was never this late getting up. And I had actually planned on attending school today!

No one noticed. No one…

“Leah?” My dad looked at me as I dashed past his office. “I thought you were at school!”

Huh!?

“I, ahh, forgot something,” I hastily improvised. “It’s fine, I’m leaving now.”

“Alright. Have a nice day.”

As I biked to the school, I tried to figure out what had just happened.

By the time I arrived, it was lunchtime.

“Oh, hey Leah. Glad to see you finally ditched those golden utensils,” Frederica said as I sat next to her.

“Quit pulling my leg; you know I woke up late today,” I replied.

“Uh, no, you were on time,” Frederica told me. “And you wouldn’t let go of the spoon and knife you were holding.”

“I’m not following,” I muttered.

I’m glad you slept well.

Notwithstanding the perfection, I took care of it for you.

Erstwhile, but then I stopped.

The voice from my dream! I thought it was a dream! What was going on??

“Uhh, Leah? You okay?” Frederica asked.

“We’re going back to Miss Foley’s house, Freddie,” I growled. “Something strange is afoot, and I don’t like it.”

“Okay, you’ve been acting weird all day,” Frederica began.

“I haven’t BEEN here all day,” I corrected. “I distinctly remember waking up at eleven today. I got to school just a little while ago!”

“So who…”

“I bet it has to do with those briefcases,” I ascertained. “We need more of them!”

“Okay, but we’ve gotta be careful about this. If we keep moseying in every night, she’s gonna notice. I say give it a week.”

“There you are,” a new voice said.

Turning to its source, we both blinked in surprise at the sight.

“Miss Foley. Ah, hello.” Frederica looked kind of nervous. “You, uhh, didn’t hear our conversation, did you?”

“What are you doing at our school?” I demanded.

“I tracked the dragon here,” she stated.

“Dragon? What dragon?”

Ugh, this blows. It must be the wind.

You did not see me. I was asleep. I was still asleep even then.

It was a solid solid you did me. You deserved it.

“There it goes again,” Miss Foley muttered, tapping her device.

“Oh, CR-!” I quick covered my mouth.

A couple of students glanced over. One of them catcalled at Miss Foley.

“Ah. I should be going,” Miss Foley muttered, turning to leave.

“Hehe. She was embarrassed,” Frederica giggled. “You saw it, right? Her face totally turned all red. Hey, I don’t think she knows that we jacked stuff from her place. That’s good right?”

I remained silent.

“What do you think she meant, tracking a dragon here? You think it’s code? Because what she was holding looked more like a ghost sensor.”

I tried to think, then found that my train of thought had stalled.

“Leah? It’s time for class.”

 

Since the Aaron Academy of Altruism was in the middle of Prince Heights, it was stocked to the brim with pretentious rich brats of all shapes and sizes, adding an extra layer of irony to the whole setting. Today, I was extremely eager to be out of that place and in my relatively modest home once again…

Reptiles are not in fact an I. A material, or whatever.

Wings. A cosmic gem. Gemmmmmmm. Hmmmmmm.

Was that it? I wonder.

Ah! I am me. A dimension roaming astral paragon.

“Freddie, listen to this,” I told her while we were walking to her house that weekend. “Dragons are really extraplanar creatures from beyond the sky.”

“I’ve just about had it with your nonsense,” Frederica grumbled.

“It’s not nonsense,” I insisted. “It’s the voice in my head. It belongs to a dragon. And Miss Foley knows about it! So we have to go!”

“She’s on to us,” Frederica reminded me. “How bad would it be if-”

“In and out! One more briefcase, then we’ll be done, I swear.”

“This is starting to sound like obsession,” Frederica mused. “Fine. Tonight, then.”

 

The black sedan rolled out at midnight once again, and we began our night mission.

Going, going, giggles and vorpals. Yum.

There. Where? Here. Wherefore didst thou leave me alone, dear?

“Leah? Why are you going through them like that?” Frederica’s voice sounded distant.

Warmer. Colder. This way. Still this way. Hmmmm.

Beautiful to the touching silence. Ah. So loving of words.

I lifted up a briefcase from the back of the pile. “Is this it? This could be it,” I muttered.

“Leah, stop acting weird. Let’s go.”

“Beautiful,” I sighed.

Back at our base, I pulled the shining cosmic gem out of the briefcase.

“Leah.” Frederica sounded impatient. “Why won’t you listen to me?”

“Good questioning serendipity,” I replied. “Yes, indeed. The entity is satisfied. I am me. Yes, a good job was blown to the winds of indeed.”

“Does that mean we’re done here?”

“Hah!” I suddenly felt like I had been slapped awake.

“Leah. Are you okay?”

“Uh…” I looked around. “Yeah. I think. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

“Where’s that gem you were holding?”

“What gem?” I squinted at the floor. “Wait… what are we doing here? This is Miss Foley’s house, isn’t it?”

“Umm… I’ll tell you later,” Frederica replied.

As we headed back, I tried to collect my thoughts. “I feel so strange,” I groaned. “All I remember is that empty briefcase.”

“It probably had some kind of virus in it,” Frederica muttered. “Miss Foley’s place is so creepy.”

I looked my best friend in the eye. “Be straight with me, Freddie. How was I last week?”

“You were acting really weird, for starters; and wouldn’t shut up about dragons and gems and the cosmos and stuff. I mean, I doubt you were even thinking about anything else.”

“But why? What was it?” I glared at our current briefcase hoard in frustration.

“Don’t ask me,” she shrugged. “I just wanna sell the golden tableware.”

 

We netted a hundred thousand bucks for our loot from Mr. Mains, the obsessive collector down the street.

“Research,” I immediately proposed.

“Research? On what?”  Frederica stroked her half of the profits. “Ah, who cares; do what you want with it. Me, I’m going to Valles with this loot. Remember when we toured that place in seventh grade?”

“You’ll be getting a scholarship, right? You could totally afford to attend Riverwake.”

“Oh, you mean the school everyone in Prince Heights graduates from? I don’t want to spend any more time with those jokers than I need to, thank you very much.”

“Hmhm, a valid point. I don’t want to go to college, personally,” I said. “My mom has more than enough connections to net me a job wherever I want.”

“But what if the job requires a degree? You know, you should at least get an associate’s.”

“I’ll… think about it. But anyway, research. I was thinking I should look more into the paranatural side of things. You know how we got that anti-vampire stuff from Miss Foley? I’m certain now that it’s because they’re real.”

“Yeah, as real as dragons, I’m sure.” Frederica finished re-counting her money and closed her briefcase. “I mean, I won’t rule out the possibility, but you really shouldn’t put your life in danger like this.”

“That’s it!” I stood up. “I’ll find a college that offers supernatural studies as a minor. Once we get out of here… wait, Freddie, are you graduating early?”

“No. I need the extra math credits to enter the honors program,” she replied.

“Ah, that’s fine, I guess. Do you know if Valles has a supernatural studies minor?”

“Why don’t you apply there and find out,” she retorted, “miss I don’t want to go to college.”

“Ah.” I had just said that, hadn’t I. “W-well, you know, times change. I’ll get to the bottom of this mystery, just you wait.”

“Sure, sure.” Frederica stood. “Well, I’m heading home. Good luck with… whatever it is you’re planning.”

“See ya.”


Submitted: April 21, 2021

© Copyright 2021 jraed6. All rights reserved.

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