Chapter 3: Not Again.

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Watchers

Reads: 252


As I trekked my way through the parking lot toward Stillwater High that weird feeling continued to annoy me. My whole psyche felt like it was being pulled in every direction. And to make matters worse, I was trying to deal with the delicate act of balancing a ginormous cappuccino in one hand, while the other one held my treasured rhombus, and the pickings of one’s tortured teenaged soul and holding on to these priceless artifacts was bordering a fruitless endeavor.

I must be more careful. I thought.

There had been so much rain over the last twenty-four hours, that it had engulfed the entire area of the school’s grounds, soaking it to a mess. I waited through the water-logged parking lot watching the sun’s peek-a-boo reflection as it continued its dance through the water puddles. My eyes continued to sting and burn from the sun’s bright glare. I truly needed my shades and at this point, I could visualize were I left them, by my computer in my room, and my backup pair, well, I think Jackson had them.

So far today is not going well for me. I thought.

As I continued to walk, I noticed a nearby bench which at that second had been vacated by a bunch of nerdy freshmen. Walking over to the area, I put my stuff down and slung my backpack to the bench. I reached down to pick up my mobile phone to check my messages, there were none, I then turned it off and gingerly slipped it into the side pocket of my backpack. The main department of my backpack held more than just a few books and research for my papers, not to mention the two pieces of peanut butter toast mom had slipped me on the way out the door. In it, contained a few other things as well, stuff I would use when I’m chasing the dead. I had an extra EMF detector, a flashlight, a small recording device, two small bottles of Holy water and a crucifix. I didn’t know why I carried these items around in my backpack all of the time; I just felt an overwhelming feeling that I would be needing them someday. I slightly slapped my face to wake up and it seemed to help a little, zipped up, strapped my backpack back on, stuck my journal back under my arm, grabbed my coffee and baggie of peanut butter toast and took off toward the gates of hell. I chuckled to myself.

I walked a little distance chomping down peanut butter toast, hoping that something in my stomach would make me feel better as I felt a slight headache coming on. Lack of sleep? This day was turning out to be a complete bore and it hadn’t even started yet. I thought. I was going to take my sweet ass time getting to class.

I just began to walk a few more paces when out of nowhere, a painful wave of uneasiness washed over me and slammed me hard in the gut. I dropped my toast, and everything else I had a grip on, and grabbed my stomach. I doubled over in pain, convulsing in horror as my coffee and most importantly, my afflicted teenaged soul plummeted to the ground. I stood, hunched over in a grimace, as both hands held my stomach trying to catch my breath as I helplessly watched the ochre colored liquid began its journey across the pages of my journal. Still holding my gut, I reached out and grabbed it just as the liquid began to soak the pages and change them to a light amber color. I took a deep breath. And then as fast as it came on, the pain in my gut was gone. In an instant.

Damn, what was that? I thought as I took a deep breath and casually rolled myself up to a straight standing position, brushing away the beads of sweat that appeared on my forehead with the sleeve of my unbuttoned oxford shirt. I looked down at the amber colored liquid spilling out from my insulated cup.

So much for trying to stay wide awake? What am I going to do now? I thought to myself. I was completely peeved for not keeping a better grip on my morning sludge.

I looked down at my watch . . . eight twenty-two; the first bell was about to ring. This made me groan in agony.

Damn! It was already too late to run to the store for a refill, I thought. A very bad start to the day.

I looked around and breathed a sigh of relief that no one had witnessed my little moira. I collected myself, and swung the backpack from my back and opened it up, scrambling around inside until I found my Stillwater High Devils gym t-shirt stuffed all the way at the bottom of my backpack. Over the course of the year, this thing had only been worn twice. I wasn’t much of a gym class person; no one in our school cared much about physical education, with the exception of the jocks. But I was one of the lucky ones because I received my gym class credit by helping Coach Morrison keep stats during regular season. This made me not care what happened to my dress out clothes. I just needed something to wipe the coffee from my weathered and tortured soul and the gym shirt was the only thing I had at the moment. I finished and again, zipped up, strapped on, grabbed my cup and trudged on, still maneuvering around the puddles.

As I continued my slow and arduous stride toward the ancient hallowed halls of Stillwater High. I thought about our school and its mascot, The Devils. Can’t be a coincidence. I thought. Stillwater High, was old, very old and musty, not just the building, but the whole demeanor of the school. It was one of the oldest continuing schools in the United States, established in 1795, beginning first as a one room school house with thirteen students of varying ages that eventually enveloped into what stands today, in the very same acreage as where it began. The school and grounds held its own secrets. Jackson, Jonathan and I have talked about doing an investigation there. Mental note: Talk to Principal Metcalf about an investigation at Stillwater. Check.

I set my brain to autopilot as I continued to walk toward class, walking through the maze of puddles. The school custodians really need to do some maintenance work. This is ridiculous. I thought. While I had to occasionally jump from one clearing to the next, not knowing their depth, I tried to be careful where I stepped at times, other times not so much, watching as the muddy puddle water splashed my already stained and worn out docs and my favorite Levi jeans. I thought about how many times I had saved my favorite holey jeans from the trash heap. My Mom, Penny always tried to toss them or sneak them into some church destination bin, I always found them because they were all I wanted to wear. This was a little game we played, my mother and I, back and forth. Once, I had found them hidden deep among the recyclables; another time, they were rolled up and hidden beneath the trash bag, under the trash, a hiding place Penny evidently forgot about as it was my turn to take the trash out.

Penny was getting creative, I thought.

My mind snapped back to the present, I was tired and all I could think about were my nights of restless sleep. My body ached for a complete uninterrupted eight hours and the comforts of my nice cozy bed. I did feel cheated, and of course blamed my lack of sleep on my late night spirit chasing, but what I was about to learn was the real reason. I continued to walk through the student parking lot completely absorbed by my own thoughts as the other students continued to blow their horns at me for getting in their way. I pretended not to hear them.

Just then, I saw her waving frantically from way across the other side of the quad. She must have been waiting for me to come out of my van. I noticed how her unfurled auburn hair glinted in the spring sun of the morning. I was taken aback by how fiery it appeared. She looked at me with these piercing blue eyes as a slight dimpled smile appeared on her face.

Was today going to be that day? I wondered.

My pulse began to race a little as I continued to look her way, and as our eyes met, that slight dimpled smile spread across her lips into a full-on grin. I thought about the moment she told me she was harboring a dark and foreboding family secret. She told me that this secret was a truth that was more dangerous than anything I would ever come across in my life and she was completely petrified. This truth was a fear like no other and it was something that could very well cost her everything, if anyone ever found out, and at the top of that list was her sanity. My little mob of spirit chasing friends called it “Tori’s little family secret,” always using air quotes to get their point across. They thought it was funny, but I knew differently—I knew by the terrified look on her face that it was so not funny. I could see what affect it had on her and she hadn’t even told me everything yet. We would talk about little things that were happening, stuff disappearing, strange writings on the mirror in her bathroom, the strange coin she found under the loose floor board, and how cold it was in her room at different times, so cold she could see her breath. She would begin to tell me the very bad stuff and then would abruptly stop, like something was keeping her from saying anything, an invisible force slapping an invisible hand over her mouth. I would then spend the next hour or two trying to calm her down, trying to bring her back to reality. Of course, it was something that I had never experienced before and trying to calm her down afterward was extremely hard. This all had been transpiring over a six-month period and it was exhausting, but lately, it had been getting better, there had been marked improvement in how she was dealing with it, albeit not as much as I wanted, but improvement nevertheless.

At least now, we could half-ass talk about what was happening to her, just not it. I thought to myself.

But I still wouldn’t bring anything up until she did for fear I would set her off into an uncontrollable cry, so I would just sit and listen, never offering any advice until she asked. I never wanted to push, because I always felt like she would run at any minute . . . she would get scared and be gone. But after six months of this back and forth, I didn’t feel that way anymore, I felt like she was finally beginning to trust me. This secret was something that she held in far too long. She had not shared much with me but, I could tell by the way she spoke about it, that something terrible was on the horizon and it would involve everyone she loved. I understood it, I understood it by fear . . . by her fear. When she started to speak about it, one could feel that fear bubble up to the surface, it was so thick, that one could almost cut it with a knife.

I snapped back into the present and waved back, got out my phone and shot her a quick message. As I trudged along to 1st hour, I continued to think about the paranormal and what we had to do.

I had a decent amount of experience dealing with the paranormal. But only a handful of people knew exactly what I was in to, only my little cadre of ghosting chasing friends knew and of course their parents, they were all in on it too. It was fun. But then again, it was a lot of work, and what sucks is the work was unpaid, but no one ever did it for the money anyway, we did it for the research and the proof of life after death. It could also be very scary, the kind of scary when ones heart beats so fast one fears it will pop out of ones chest scary. But, some of the time, it could be very exciting. Most investigations consisted of nothing more than us stomping through structures, while reading several different instruments and waiting for fluctuations in the readings. My favorite was trying to debunk those fluctuations, and if we couldn’t debunk them, then there was a pretty good chance that it was paranormal. Other times, one might find me sitting behind a monitor looking for that elusive five second unexplainable that would prove existence. Oh, I spent many an hour in that chair. This was the extent of it. Also, it used to consist of us working about four to five times a week, five to six hours a night. Now, it was getting to be more like seven times a week, lasting well into the early morning hours and it was beginning to affect me, as well as my grades. Call it an obsession because thats what it was becoming, an obession.

One of the alleged indicators of spirit energy are goosebumps. Yes, goosebumps. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Now, it’s not all the time when one has goosebumps that one is in the presence of a spirit, but it happens a lot. And according to some researchers and paranormal experts in the biz, it probably happens more than we even realize. It had happened to me on more than one occasion. For example, we were hunting in a hundred year old horse barn over in Hopstown and I walked to this one area where some of us had been picking up flunctuations on our gear and felt spirit energy and in a split second right after I announced to the others that I felt weird, goosebumps appeared on my skin. I don’t really know if there is a correlation, between goosebumps and spirit energy, but I would like to believe there is one. I was a believer and I believed in everything the paranormal was comprised of, from the old standby of ghosts, poltergeists, psychics, and apparitions to the newly listed aliens, bigfoot and the Jersey Devil, among others. I had never had the pleasure of witnessing any of the latter additions, I guess because I never looked for them, I had spent all my time hunting the dead. Yes, I debunked everything, but only to be as scientific as we all coud be. It was important to try and debunk everything we caught. 

I did know that I had witnessed my share of spirit sightings, and some of them were Class-A. I had even captured a few Class-A EVPS on my digital recorder, but it wasn't easy. It took hundreds of hours and many investigations to gather just the small amount of evidence we had captured and only after we debunked all of it could Jonathan and I announce it to the others that we were 95% sure that it was of the paranormal variety. It was never 100%. I mean who really wants their good name ruined by some flash of light that can be explained as bad photography? We always laughed at the so-called orbs that people find in their pictures.

It’s dust people . . . just dust. I laughed to myself as I started to round the corner to the hallway that was first hour.

Just then I heard my best friend Jonathan shout at me from a few steps back.

“Move it, Eli, we are going to be late for first period.” I continued looking straight ahead, ignoring any shouts to get my butt moving.

 "Hey! what’s wrong with you?”  He shouted, as we both entered the hallway toward homeroom, along with about a dozen others. I continued to walk on.

As we made our way to first period, I was becoming a paranoid mess, worried about that exam I had coming up in a few hours and of course it had to be a by-product of my experience with insomnia for the nineteenth thousandth time.

 I really needed to get some sleep. I thought.

I walked into class and in my mind, everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to look at me.

“What, do I have something on my face?” I said to everyone sarcastically.

They all just shrugged and looked away, “what’s his problem?” I heard Joey Wintergarten say to Amelia Benner, his girlfriend. She just shrugged and went back to filing her nails.

I soon realized, it was only because I had just entered the room, nothing more.

Paranoia is one sneaky little turd. I thought to myself,

Submitted: December 27, 2015

© Copyright 2022 TJ Taylor. All rights reserved.


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