"Ghostly Things." A Samuel Light Junior Story By John Pirillo. Their intent was to eat the girl. His intent was to save her and them!
A Samuel Light Junior Story
By John Pirillo
"Sammie." Jimbo's voice hollered.
The underground tunnel opened up, allowing him to move more safely through the stinking corridor of waste and disposal that ran beneath Vegas. It was low now. Winter was the slower month through the seepage, but if it had been summer, they would have been to their knees in the stinking sludge.
He found Jimbo eyeing a side corridor. The walls went straight up for about ten feet, where they met a semi-lit ceiling with deeply recessed fluorescents every hundred yards, leaving deep pools of shadow between them. The walls were coated with a softly glowing green light. The floor was free of flow; it was higher than the one they currently stood on. Stacks of crates lined the walls on the right and seemed to go endlessly up the corridor towards some distant loading platform.
"What do you think it is?" Jimbo asked, his thick eyebrows surged together in a storm of perplexity.
Jimbo was his huge Texan friend. They had grown up together. He lived mostly in Vegas and Texas. His parents were ranchers. They spent half their time in Vegas. Half at their ranch. Mostly, they let Jimbo stay in a boarding school. A private school where he terrorized the teachers and chased the girls. He also went to Samuel's high school, where he was on the football team. Not many wanted to go up against him. They usually got stomped.
To look at him you'd think he was death on wheels, but he had a heart of gold and no better friend was possible for Samuel. Likewise Jimbo saw his gangly, think friend the same. They were batter buddies. Veterans of the occult and the paranormal and even the occasional gang war as well. What they couldn't finesse with their brains, they sometimes resorted to other things...like Samuel's ability to raise powers that could drive an opponent into their own past to see why they had become such jerks.
"You think they took her this way?" He eyed Jimbo.
"Look there, Mister Detective Man." Jimbo sneered.
Samuel spotted what he had overlooked at first because of the floor being so clean. Footprints. Next to the right side. Not that so much caught his attention as the occasional mark on the wall, which was like a "Hello, I went this way."
"I guess they must not be paying much attention." Jimbo commented.
"Let's hope not. Remember the last time you said that we almost got our asses kicked."
Jimbo smiled. "Yeah. Those were the good times."
Samuel shook his head. "Not really."
"Okay, partner. Let's agree to disagree and go kick some ghostly butt."
"Agreed." Samuel grinned.
They rushed along the new corridor, their flashlights scoring the walls and floor for clues as they ran. It felt good to Samuel to be moving again. It had been a long year at school. One final after another. Late nights up. Early mornings up. He was tired, but not hurting when they found a twist in the corridor that branched into four different directions.
"Holy crap." Jimbo cursed.
"Nothing holy about it." Samuel said.
Samuel looked at Jimbo. "You still have her scarf?"
"Never leave home without it." He said, plucking it from his thick cotton shirt pocket. He handed it over.
Samuel touched it and...
Eyes. Big eyes. Much bigger than they should be. The eyes were hungry. Very hungry. So hungry she could feel them savoring the thought of ripping into her soul and tearing her apart. She looked around. It was a very dark room, but the door to it showed a very, very bright light and there was one word on it...Superintendent."
Samuel staggered and dropped the hanky. Jimbo deftly caught it and stuck it back into his shirt pocket. "Well?"
"Wait a second while I come back into my body." Samuel urged.
Feeling stable again, he eyed the four different corridors. He pointed to the middle one. "That way!"
"What did you see?"
"How we're going to catch them." Samuel said in a grim tone.
Samuel swept his blonde hair out of his eyes and smiled at Candace, the cheerleader he was friends with from 7th grade. They lived on the same street and used to walk to the same elementary school together. She was a fun girl to be with. He remembered when she used to weight quite a bit more, but then she read up on some diets and found one that was healthy and applied it. She never put a stray pound on again. She usually scalded Samuel when he ate sweets or drank a Coke, but he ignored her friendly jibes. He knew what his body needed.
Somehow, it was like an inner voice was talking to him all the time. It wasn't scary like those ones you hear in the movies, or get when you're about to do something really dumb. No, it was warm and friendly, like you were holding hands with yourself kind of. That voice always pointed him at what he needed at any exact moment. It might be asparagus. It might be an apple. It might be a hamburger, which he didn't really like. But when the voice pointed, he complied.
And each year he grew stronger, taller and brighter. Least that's what his Mom always told him. The only reason why he believed the first two parts was because he and Candace had been the same height in 7th grade, but by the time they reached 9th, he was a foot taller and he could lift her without any effort, when she wanted to practice some of her cheerleader work.
They hung out together after school, using the after school activities to have some fun and wait for their respective parents to come home. Her Mom and Dad both worked for the Water Company and his Mom...well, she worked wherever she could now that Dad was gone. That thought always brought a twinge of unhappiness in his heart, so he would quickly dart in another direction so he didn't dwell on the past.
"I hear a new Indiana Jones movie is coming out next week." She gossiped.
He nodded, eyes on the book in front of him. He was studying for lit. She put a hand over its pages. He looked across at her. The library was quiet, except for the sound of keyboards by computers where kids were surfing the Net, or doing homework of their own. One printer was singing its humming song as it nicely printed out sheet after sheet of homework.
"I need to do this."
"You need to talk to me, Samuel. You haven't been yourself all week!"
He sighed, and then shut the book. "Okay. Jimbo's moving."
"Holy, Mother Mary, Son of God and Lord of Heaven, that just can't be!"
He laughed. "Candace, Mary was not the Son of God."
"You get it."
He sighed again. She was agnostic. And didn't care what she blurted out. But he loved her anyway. Not in a boyfriend girlfriend kind of way, but as you might a sister or brother. "It's killing me."
"Don't worry, Sammie, it'll be fine. It always is."
And that's the last thing he heard from her mouth as she got up to leave. "See you at Nina's?"
She smiled, gave a circular wave, and then exited the library.
School flew by and he wandered over to the B section where Jimbo was unloading books into his locker as a loudspeaker urged everyone they only had two minutes until the buses left.
"Hey!" He said.
"Right back at you, little buddy." Jimbo shot back.
Samuel actually was taller than Jimbo, but he didn't argue with it. They were pals. Pals could and do stupid things like that.
Jimbo eyed Samuel. "Sure. Best fries in town. When?"
Jimbo looked worried a moment, then nodded. "Sure anything for my little pal." He put an arm around Samuel's shoulder, then let go.
Samuel snapped back into the present. Ahead, he could see the lights brightening. "We have to slow down here. We don't want them hearing us?"
"Do they do such things?"
Samuel nodded. "They might be dead, but they still have ears."
"Sammie, I still find it hard to believe that dead people could hold Candace hostage."
"They're not. They plan on eating her."
"By shoving her out of her own body."
"That's not very sporting of them."
"You'd rather they actually ate her?"
Jimbo squirmed under Samuel's gaze. "Uh. It would make more sense. You know how hard it is for me to believe in all this ghost stuff."
"Even after all these years?"
"Especially after all these years." Jimbo admitted.
Samuel shook his head, put a finger to his lips, and then moved forward.
They sneaked to the side of a huge shack built in the corridor. Above the shack was a huge opening with the scoop of a mechanical digger hanging in plain view. "That's the Superintendent's Office." Samuel pointed out. "She's in there."
"Where's the construction crew?"
"Hey, it's Sunday, remember?"
"Oh yeah. Right."
They flattened against the shack and Jimbo looked to Samuel. "Now what?"
"Now you're going to close your eyes and when I say run. Run!"
"Run, but we're supposed to be rescuing her!"
"Just trust me."
Jimbo shrugged, made a sigh of disapproval, and then shut his eyes. "The things I do for God and my country."
Samuel kicked him.
"That's not playing fair."
Samuel pressed his hand against the wall of the shack and shut his own eyes.
Inside the shack Candace sat up suddenly, her eyes alert. The four figures that were hard to focus on gave her a sharp look. "Man, you guys are in one helluva lot of trouble now!" She shut her eyes.
The interior of the shack lit up brighter than the sun a moment.
Unearthly screams of dismay.
Candace jumped to her feet, flung open the shack door. Samuel was there. He grabbed her into his arms. "You okay?"
"Now." She said.
Then the four figures inside stopped screaming. They rushed the doorway.
Samuel nodded and pulled Candace aside and from view along with him. Jimbo burst into view and ran like the football hero he was for the ladder which stretched upwards into the fresh air above.
The ghostly figures burst outside and chased after him. They suddenly stopped. They turned around. Samuel shut the door they had come through and put a hand on it. It glowed for a moment, then the building.
The ghostly figures rushed towards him, howling like demons.
Candace, behind Samuel, screamed in terror.
The ghostly figures were within inches of Samuel when they bounced back as if striking an invisible barrier. They looked confused a moment, then rushed him again. The same thing happened once more.
They realized they couldn't touch him and turned around. Jimbo stood there with a huge work light, which he switched on. The ghostly figures screamed again.
Samuel stepped into their midst and hugged them to him. They struggled to break free, crying out over and over, as if in the worst of pains, then suddenly they relaxed and went limp. Samuel stepped back. Jimbo stepped back. Candace stepped back.
A huge tunnel of white light opened up before the four ghostly figures. They turned to look into it. What looked like a small group of normal folk stood in the light, smiling and waving. The four ghostly figures rushed into the light and it vanished with them.
Jimbo shook his head. "How in the world do you fake those illusions, Sammie?"
Samuel didn't answer. Jimbo just didn't want to believe his own eyes. He turned to Candace. "Ready to go home?"
She wiped tears of relief from her eyes and nodded. Jimbo stepped up and took her right hand. "Then let's get you home, you sweet bundle of joy."
She giggled, gave Samuel a grateful look, and then leaned into Jimbo as the two of them went to the ladder and the way back up to the surface.
Samuel smiled, if a bit sadly. His friend always got the girls. Always. But you know what, he thought to himself. I get something much better. He didn't know what it was just yet. But that voice inside him told him it was what most people would have gladly given their lives to have. Peace of mind. With that thought floating in his mind, he went to the ladder, grabbed the middle rung and began hauling himself back up to the open air, knowing that four souls were no longer lost in the darkness.