Well guess who forgot to post on Tuesday because they thought the T stood for Thursday! This gal!
Yeah, I suck.
And then I thought I’d already posted which was bull.
Anyway, here’s the story for oops, last Tuesday.
There are many things people should know about paranormal investigations, but they don’t. There are a million and one things people should know, but they do not.
For the Dennison brothers, paranormal investigation not only runs in their veins, it’s their whole life.
They have a long history of people being haunted, and hunting. They are not renowned like others but they get by. After all, ghost hunting is not about who knows you but who’s willing to allow completely strangers into their home.
In a way, ghost hunting is a lot like being a door to door seller. Not everyone is interested in what you’ve got to sell, not everyone needs it, but you keep doing it in the hopes that someone will. And because it pays. Barely.
Steven, Allan and Monique do it because it’s encoded in their DNA to do this kind of work. Because they don’t know a life that can be led in another way. Because this job gives me a thrill.
They do it because they love it.
“You sure you got everything there, Mo?” Allan asks for what feels like the twelfth time in the last five minutes.
“Absolutely positive, boss,” Monique drones. “I’d check with Chris over there if I were you.”
The words feel mocking even through Monique’s no nonsense tone, and they make Chris’ ears burn.
“I-I’m sure I got it all,” Chris stammers, blurring the last three words into an unintelligible mumble. His hands slip on the ropes he’s using to secure the tarp over the back of Steven’s truck.
Chris winces as his cousin makes a noise of annoyed fondness. Steven slaps a hand to Chris’ shoulder as he announces in his loud, deep voice, “I think we’re all set over here, little bro. It’s you and Mo who’re holding us back.”
Monique glares at her two brothers. She flicks her long ponytail over her shoulder and walks to the front of the car without another word.
“Don’t rile her up Steven,” Allan admonishes him.
“Wasn’t.” Steven smirks. “Was just defending Chris’ honor. Couldn’t have ‘cous here thinkin’ everyone’s against him, right?”
Allan makes a sound of disgust in the back of his throat, and goes to join the youngest of the Dennison.
“You don’t have to keep doin’ that.” Steven frowns.
“Doing what?” Chris is aware of how petulant he sounds. But it’s not his fault that out of everyone in the newest batch of Dennisons he was the only one to be born with ‘the gift’.
“Taking shit from them. You do that and Monique’ll wear you like a scarf come next week.”
“I can take her,”
Steven snorts. “Nah, kid, you can’t.”
“Whatever,” Chris mumbles, knowing better than to engage the eldest of the Dennison brothers in an argument.
They drive away from the small nameless town they’d stopped at to rest and eat, in silence. Steven is the kind of driver who accepts no interruptions or distractions in his driving. He never listens to radio and he hardly ever accepts someone’s opinion.
Chris is not bothered by his cousins way. In fact, he much prefers him to the rest of the Dennison kids. Being a Hansen himself he does not posses the obsession and predisposition shared by the rest of his dad’s family.
Chris often wishes both his fathers had not been so interested in the whimsical and paranormal, then maybe he would’ve been able to do as the rest of his cousins did: get away from this paraphernalia.
But no, he was saddled with his task. He has to drive around the country in two extremely obvious cars trying to find proof of the paranormal.
There had been talks about trapping and maybe expelling spirits at the beginning of the journey, a couple of months ago. But that thought had been laid to rest when Allan had managed to anger a very docile and peaceful spirit in Spokane.
That was another thing Chris had learnt about his cousins. They were clueless about the things they were attempting to do. Often guiding their practices by movies and secondhand stories that were merely the product of sketchy memories and exaggerations.
They had all the equipment that forums and TV shows said they’d need, but lacked any tact and the instincts needed to perform well in the business.
“Where do you reckon we should go?” Steven asks. A phrase that has turned into their catchphrase.
Chris shrugs but still points somewhere to their left where the road twists and winds and bends out of shape. Steve frowns. “You sure ‘bout that?”
Chris gives him a flat stare and leans his body against the rattling door. Maybe if he puts all his weight into it, it will open and spare him the misery of grimacing at people as the Dennison announce, too loudly, that they are “the great Dennison. Next in a line of prominent ghost hunters here to meet all your needs! Oh, and this is our cousin Chris, he’s just tagging along.”
A wiser person would’ve pleaded with his parents not to be allowed to be taken to this journey. But if he were that, Allan and Monique would’ve not been able to claim the experience would help him build character.
As they drive toward where Chris’ lungs are telling him there’s something waiting for them, he considers changing the route, leading them away from another poor spirit. He doesn’t, of course, he still needs to build that character.
“Turn the AC off,” he asks.
Steven laughs, loud and obnoxious. “It’s off, kid.”
Chris turns to him with a frown just in time to see long blue hair and a mischievous smile through the windshield.
“Oh,” he says, dumbly.
“Oh?’ Whoever is sitting on the back repeats with a giggle. “I think we can do better than that. It’s a long drive into town pretty boy.”
“Umh.” He hesitates. “Okay?”
Steven laughs at him, assuming it’s teenage stupidity. He sets his eyes back on the broad, but his shoulders look stiff.
“Maybe we should listen to the radio,” The specter says, jiggling what sounds like a million copper bracelets or tiny bells.
Chris makes a noncommittal noise.
“It’s a long drive.” Chris hears iterated twice. Steven doesn’t look affected by the fact that has just said something innocuous, so unlike himself. The spirit seems to be smiling in the reflection.
“It is?” Chris can’t help but turn the phrase into a question, both at the spirit and his cousin.
“Yeah, ‘bout six or seven hours to the next town.” Again, the words come from two sources.
“Unless you’re going further away,” This time only the spirit talks, their voice is thick like honey on a humid day. “Then it’s ten hours. And that’s giving this piece of crap the benefit of doubt because no don’t think you’ll make it further away.”
“You don’t look like the kind of boy that goes around harassing the dead,” The ghost points out.
The spirit falls quiet for a while. Long enough for Chris to feel comfortable looking away. He catches sight of a sign, something that regular people don’t see, probably because it has two little girls playing catch around it.
“A lot of people die on these kinds of roads,” He offers, apropos to nothing.
Steven doesn’t even turn to look at him. He supposed his cousin has heard stranger things.
“They do.” The spirit nods.
“Did you see somthin’?” Steven asks, eyes never leaving the road.
“No,” he lies, even as his eyes are pulled in different directions. There are children and women and men running and dancing well into the night.
“Smart or stupid?” The spirit asks.
“Definitely stupid,” He feels tempted to say, but he keeps his lips pressed tight.
The next couple of minutes are spent in absolute silence until The Phone rings.
Steven makes it a point to stop in the middle of the road to pick it up, since Chris is not allowed to even look at the thing. His cousin even goes as far as leaving the car to talk in private.
“Ohhh,” The spirit taunts.
Their myriad of metallic objects clang and shake as they move to the front of the car.
“What is a young boy like you doing in a place like this?” The specter, which now that they’re sitting right next to him, Chris can see looks like a young woman.
Chris ignores her, as he’s used to do. Instead he looks at the man sitting on the ground just a couple of feet away from them.. He has coppery hair and light eyes that can barely be appreciated in the twilight.
“Oh, I see.” The woman taunts him. “Little mouse is not allowed to talk to strangers. It’s okay though.” She laughs. The sound is like the accidental pulling of an out of tune violin chord.
“Mo says we have to go back.” Steven leans half his body into the car, effectively going through the woman who has now started to mockingly pull faces as if in pain.
“Somethin’ about the car not workin’.”
“Ah.” The woman laughs delightedly. “Ask him if it’s the exhaust. I know a couple of guys that like that hang out back there. They probably saw this as taken and had fun with your friends.”
“They’re not my friends,” He grumbles, because it is second nature to make the correction now.
They’re not friends but family, annoyingly unavoidable.
“What?” Steve asks at the same time Chris tells him, “She says it’s the exhaust. That some guys like to mess with it.”
Steven jumps away from the car and looks in all directions. Like his brothers, he is painfully unprepared to deal with, well, actual ghosts.
“Lots of people die on these roads,” Chris repeats with a shrug.
“The fuck. They’re here. One’s here.” The rushed words lack any kind of inflection to be considered a question.
“She was sitting right there.” He points to the seat.
“She left when you jumped.”
At least he doesn’t pretend to be fearless or unshakeable like the others.
The phone rings again. This time Steven takes the call right where he stands.
“…oh… Yeah, right… We’re going.”
“We go back?” Chris asks.
“No.” He frowns. “The car works just fine. Looks like your friend told ‘em to knock it off.”
“She’s not–” he sighs and trails off. “Whatever let’s just go.”
Steven looks like he wants to say something, but he ends up just shrugging and getting into the car to drive away.
They’re just leaving the stretch of road that seems to be perpetually inhabited by spirits when Chris feels the hair on the back of his neck rising, as something that felt like a fingernail traces a pattern into his skin.
“Be careful out there, little mouse.” The woman from before says. “You never know what you’ll find out there.”
Chris looks back over his shoulders, but there’s nothing there.
When he turns to look at his cousin he’s got his eyes firmly on the road.