[Mysteriousheartland.com] Mike, Greg, Davin, and their anxious companion Emily stood on boulders overlooking Lake Michigan’s rolling, deep blue waves. Despite being early summer, an icy wind stung their cheeks. Mike and Greg seemed unaffected, but Davin and Emily shivered. Calvary Cemetery, in Evanston, Illinois, lay behind them beyond a low stone wall.
“Can you believe people swim in this lake?” Davin asked. It was more a statement than a question.
“If it isn’t August, forget it,” Mike grumbled. “And even then, I think I’d pass.”
Greg shook his head and tried to steer the conversation back to their mission. “So this ghost, Seaweed Charlie, emerges from the water, crawls across the road, and stops at the cemetery gate?” he asked.
“Yep,” Mike replied.
“Well, where is he?” Greg insisted. “I don’t have all day.”
“Yeah, and why doesn’t he just pass through the gate and go inside?” Davin added. “He’s a ghost. Solid objects can’t stop him.”
Mike’s cheeks turned an even darker shade of red. “I don’t know,” he hissed. “That’s why we’re here. To find out.”
“But it doesn’t make any sense―”
Emily, who had been standing quietly next to Davin while the group bickered, cleared her throat. “Maybe we should just go back to the cemetery,” she suggested sheepishly as a passing motorist honked his horn. “We’ll have better luck in there.”
“Good idea,” Mike said as he grabbed a handful of Greg’s shirt and pulled him down off the boulders. Greg protested, but his small stature prevented him from doing anything about it. “We have a new toy too,” Mike added. “Greg will show us when we’re all across the road.”
Greg finally tore free and straightened the collar of his tattered, olive green shirt. He wore that shirt no matter what the temperature, weather, or season.
The Fallen tried to cross the street, but a pack of cars whizzed past, followed by another. They sprang like boomerangs from both right and left.
“Any minute now,” Mike said as the gaps in traffic closed as soon as they opened. “…After the next car.” Before he could set foot off the sidewalk, a wall of SUVs shot around the curve. “No, wait.”
“This is ridiculous!” Davin shouted as he waded headlong into traffic. “I don’t care if a car hits me, this is taking forever.” The rest of the group sprinted after him and found sanctuary on the concrete island that divided the four lanes of traffic. Seeing another opportunity, they bolted toward the cemetery gate and made it safely inside moments before a large black van grazed Mike’s heels.
Mike bent over, wheezing. “I… need to… start… exercising… again…” he gasped between breaths.
The van slowly turned into the driveway and entered the cemetery. A coat of paint partially obscured letters on its side. The Fallen scattered as the driver honked his horn and pulled over to the curb just inside the iron gates.
“We haven’t seen these guys in a while,” Greg sneered. “I was beginning to miss them.”
Gene, a man in his early thirties, Jessie and Marta, two middle-aged women, and Sheri, a girl about the age of twelve, dismounted the van and busied themselves removing equipment from the back. They did not notice the Fallen until Mike cleared his throat.
“Do you have a problem?” Gene asked as he removed a large video camera from an expensive carrying case.
“What are you guys doing here?” Mike demanded. “We have some unfinished business, specifically your association with those psycho-zealots who got us thrown in jail last year.”
“Just so you know,” Marta, who wore a denim outfit, said, “we’re no longer affiliated with the Pan-Continental Paranormal Research Society. We split from them because they wanted to start charging money for their services. We formed the Greater-Midwestern Alliance for the Investigation, Inspection, and Research of Paraphysical Phenomenon, or G.M.A.I.I.R.P.P. for short. Can you imagine, charging people for our services?”
“Yeah I know, I think I’d feel ripped off for some reason,” Greg muttered under his breath.
“We have an appearance on the Travel Channel in a couple hours, so we have to work quickly. That is, if you kids don’t mind,” Gene added dismissively.
Mike looked like he was about to explode, but he restrained himself.
“The Travel Channel, really?” Emily exclaimed innocently. “Are you presenting new findings? MVPs?”
Gene grinned and put down his camera. “That’s EVP, sweetheart,” he said. “We got a good one yesterday.” He turned toward Jessie. “Get that EVP we recorded yesterday, will you?”
Mike closed his eyes and slowly massaged his temples.
“You can clearly hear someone say, ‘Larry,’” Gene continued as he snatched the tape recorder out of Jessie’s hands, turned up the volume, and pressed play. The tape recorder crackled and popped for a moment, then went silent. “Did you hear that?” he asked.
“No,” Greg replied.
“Listen.” This time a faint hiss came across the tiny speaker.
“I think it said, ‘Gary,’” Emily muttered.
“No,” Davin interrupted. “It said ‘Jerry.’ Play it again.”
“Crowley’s ass!” Mike yelled. “We don’t have time for this! It doesn’t matter if it said ‘Mrs. Butterworth.’ You guys have never even seen a ghost, and you wouldn’t know what to do if you did.”
Gene scoffed and handed the tape recorder to Marta.
Leaving the professional paranormal investigators, the Fallen walked a few yards away so they stood closer to the cemetery entrance. Greg dug deep into his pockets and produced a small, round mirror painted black on one side.
“Now, do you see this?” Mike asked, gesturing toward the mirror. “The only real way to contact the other side is with simple, old fashioned parlor tricks.
“We’re going to use this scrying mirror to try to see if we can find our friend Seaweed Charlie. If it works, it might help us finally find the astral portal.”
“Wait, you don’t know where it is?” Emily asked with confusion. “Monk’s Castle wasn’t the portal?”
Mike and Greg exchanged glances. “Don’t worry about it,” Greg snapped. “Even if we did know, we wouldn’t tell you.”
Emily looked surprised, but clamped her jaw shut and stared at the ground. Davin, who had been standing next to her, squeezed her hand.
Greg held up the mirror. He stared at it intently for a few moments while everyone held their breath. “How the hell does this work?” he asked.
“Give me that!” Mike exclaimed and tore it out of Greg’s hands. As he held it up, the group gathered into a tight circle and concentrated on the mirror’s glossy face. After a few tense minutes, a mist began to appear. Emily gasped as an image formed in the mist. The image looked like a plane streaking across the sky toward the murky lake. Davin instinctively looked up, but saw no plane in the sky above.
Greg broke the silence. “I don’t get it,” he said. “What’s going on? What are you seeing?”
“You don’t see that?” Mike asked.
“No,” Greg replied. “What am I not seeing?”
“It looks like a plane falling through the clouds,” Mike explained, but the conversation broke his concentration and the image dissolved.
“Point it at the cemetery gate,” Davin suggested. “Maybe we’ll see the ghost.”
Mike complied, but after staring at a reflection of cars whizzing back and forth for several minutes, it became clear the mirror had nothing further to reveal. Mike slipped the mirror into his pocket. “Well, I’d say that was a small success,” he said.
“I suppose,” Greg countered. “What does this prove? Do you think this will help us find the astral portal?”
“It’s worth a shot,” Mike replied.
[New episode every Friday…]
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