Chapter thirty-two

Orange, red, blue, and white lights flashed around the forest as I stood by my Jeep. It was awful. Kayla had stabbed Angela. It had been tragic. It all happened so fast.

Hayden's mother and I had both been stunned before a feeling in my chest hit me. It was pain. Crippling pain that had me curling up into a ball almost. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I could feel Hayden's mother trying to comfort me strangely, but everything felt surreal.

As soon as the pain stopped, I uncurled myself. Tears had damped my cheeks because they were wet. And it wasn't from the rain because water still hadn't touched me. I must have been crying. But I wasn't sure if it was from the pain or sadness or both.

Just before any of us could do anything, I watched confused and frightened as a black oily cloud slithered and then swirled through the trees until it stopped directly at Kayla. I tried reaching out with my empathy to get a sense of what it was, but all could feel was a strange sense of static.

I wanted to call out, but it was like I was paralyzed. All I could do was stare as the black smoke coiled around Kayla.

Suddenly, Thomas ran towards Kayla. "No! Don't!" he shouted and touched the black smoke only to get thrown back.

The black smoke continued to coil around Kayla until it engulfed her. She started coughing which made me empathize with her even if I could feel anything.

Before my very eyes, she slowly started to turn to stone. The stone carving of her glowed white before breaking into a dozen or more pieces and then turning to dust.

The black oily smoke gathered before vanishing leaving Christina standing there with glowing red eyes. She glared at me before vanishing.

Hayden's mother gripped my shoulders tightly and forcefully turned me towards her until I was staring directly into her furious turquoise eyes.

"Did you do that?"

I shook my head.

Before I could open my mouth, Mel jumped into my lap. "Leave the boy alone, Kyra!"

Hayden's mother, Kyla, sneered. "Meddlesome cat." She got to her feet and then went to her son's side.

It was after all that, that I was now leaning against my Jeep with confusion swirling around my head. Before I could ask though, the little girl, who I assumed was Maggie, came up to me. I knelt at her level as she looked up and smiled.

"Papa said I should thank you," she said.

"Thank me?" I asked.

She nodded. "I know Mama is gone. But you tried to stop her and that girl. Mama wasn't always a bad person. She just sadly did bad things. Papa says everyone does bad things sometimes."

"Your papa is a very smart man."

"The smartest." She licked her lollipop before she smiled again. "Could you do me a favor?"


"Could you tell the lady over there thank you for helping Mama as well?" she asked, pointing to Hayden's mother who was helping the ambulance people. "Now that Mama won't be able to hurt anyone."

"Of course."

Maggie grinned and hugged me. "Thank you. You are so kind, mister." She let me go before I could respond and waved and then ran off to Thomas.

"That is one sweet little girl," a male voice said beside me.

The man was in his mid to twenties or early thirties maybe. He was wearing overalls and was smiling.

"Yes, she is," I said, watching as Thomas hugged Maggie before I turned back to the man. "You must be..."

"Jerry Johnson. Mickey's former employee, yes. I know we didn't get to meet properly. But I was bound and could only get a few words out. Now that Angela and Kayla are brought to justice, we can move and talk better. Thanks to you."

I shrugged. "I didn't do all that much."

Jerry chuckled. "You did more than you think." He then looked at Norman, who was in what looked like a heated discussion with his dad. "Tell Norman that Mickey will be fine. It isn't his time. It was just a horrible case of pneumonia. He'll be right as rain soon. And soon someone will be replacing me. She's going to be an important asset to you all."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I'm not allowed to say anything further. Just tell him what I told you."

"I will."

Jerry nodded and then walked over to Thomas and the little girl.

"Weston," another male voice called me.

I nearly jumped, but the soft emotion of worry had me shaking my head. "You didn't." I then looked at him properly. "You're Harley, right? You're friends with Mr. Newman."

Harvey smiled. "That is correct. Though, his real name is Joseph. I am sure he has told you that, Weston."

I sighed. "Do all ghosts know my name?"

Harley smiled. "You would be surprised. Truth be told, I needed to speak with you."

"Speak with me?"

"Yes. I needed to warn you."

"Warn me? About what?"

Harley looked at me. "Ghosts have become well aware of your presence. Now that they aren't bound like before, they will be coming to you."

"I'm sorry, but how were they bound? And what do you mean coming for me?"

"When your powers were dimmed, the ghosts were only bound to one place. The place in which they died. However, now that you've been interacting with us more and more, it allows us to move and communicate better."

"I'm not sure I fully understand," I said. "Can you tell me what happened to Kayla?"

Mel suddenly jumped up on the hood and sighed. "It's complicated."

Harley glared. "Tell the boy the truth, Mel."

Mel licked her paw. "Why should I? He wouldn't understand."

Harley crossed his arms. "Give the boy a chance. He needs to know."

Mel growled. "You tell him then. That is your purpose, right? Go on." She jumped down and ran off.

A wave of sadness washed over me as I leaned further against my vehicle. I was exhausted but was fighting it.

"I wish she wouldn't feel too much right now," I said to myself.

Harley looked at me confused. "What fo you mean?"

I sighed and crossed my arms. "I'm an empath. I can feel your emotions even if you are a ghost. And I can feel Mel's even though she is a cat."

"Can you feel other animals?"

I shook my head. "Nope. Only Mel's. I don't know why."

Harley had a thoughtful look. "Maybe you will find out one day."

I shrugged. "Maybe. But why did Mel say you had to tell me?"

"You see, some ghosts like me will have some unfinished business that needs to be resolved before we fully can crossover. However, ghosts like Thomas, Maggie, and Jerry who were killed by Kayla and Angela's hand will move on now that they are both formerly gone."

"Wait. What about Barry and Jessica? Why aren't they here?"

"Barry and Jessica were killed by Angela and Kayla, but their purpose isn't done yet. They just need your help at a later date. Hence, why they aren't here with us now."

"Oh. What about the other woman? Christina? And what about that black oily smoke? That wasn't Joseph, was it?"

Harley sighed. "I honestly wish it had been. That black oily smoke was Christina."

"Excuse me?"

"Just listen," he demanded. "I am sure Joseph tried to warn you, but he can be vague. Sometimes ghosts can turn vengeful. When that happens they lose their humanity and become a black, oily, shadowy smoke bent on destroying whatever solo purpose they want or have."

"But Christina... I saw her. But she was different. Her eyes were glowing red."

"It means she has changed. And if you aren't careful, she and others that have turned vengeful will come after you. They require power. And once they get a hold of yours, there is no telling what would happen."

"What do you mean?"

"Vengeful spirits use the energy from witches or wizards to fuel themselves," he said.

"Fuel themselves how?"

"Yes. Vengeful spirits need energy whether it be from something small like electricity or to something bigger. But magical energies like yours are a fuel booster." He then touched my shoulder. "You must be strong, Weston. You now have a responsibility to stop them when the time comes."

"How am I to stop them?"

"You will know in due time." He then touched my shoulder. "For now, you must be strong, Weston. You have a responsibility to stop them when the time comes. But as of right now, do what you can for the more peaceful spirits."

"I will do my best."

His hands dropped to his side. "It's time for us to move on.”

He walked over to Jerry, Thomas, and Maggie. Maggie waved at me before she held her father's hand and smiled. A white light shone down on them and they disappeared, leaving behind starry sparkles.

I was glad they finally found peace.

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