Joel felt like he was falling. Every breath was painful. Every thought weighed on his mind.
“You’re weak. What can you do?”
“Shut up,” Joel said.
“You’re ordinary. Nothing special.”
“I said shut up. You don’t know. I am more than ordinary. I’m not weak! Screw you!”
“Nothing special. You’re a waste of time. Boring.”
“I’ve been told that my entire life. I am anything but ordinary. You’ve never heard my music. I’m amazing. It shows what you know. I’m still alive.”
“Who’s that?” Joel asked. He could see the light. “Lori? Hold on; I’m coming!”
Joel sprung up from the floor. “Lorelei!” He shouted, sticking his arm out like he was reaching for something.
“You idiot! You scared me!” Connor hugged him.
“Con? What…what happened?”
“I don’t know, but that was awesome! You punched a spirit. As crazy as that sounds.” Connor said, smiling. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Heh, you act like I died or something. It will take more than that.”
“Seriously, Joel, that was crazy!” Lori looked at Thomas. “Not so ordinary anymore, is he? Also, don’t ever tell me what to do. Remember you came to me for help. Don’t ever forget I am choosing to help you. No amount of insults will make me work faster. I’ll ask you when I need your input. Leave. Now.” Lori said. Thomas lowered his head and disappeared.
“Yeah, you better run! He’s gone, right? I can’t tell.” Joel asked.
“He’s gone.” Lori laughed. “So, you can interact with spirits too. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but that is so cool.”
“Heh, yeah, that was pretty cool, right? I can make a song out of this. Soul Puncher is going to be the best song ever!” Joel laughed. “Maybe I’ll workshop it.”
“I guess I have no choice but to let you help. I can’t have you going around punching spirits,” Lori said.
“Especially if they come back here. They won’t be the only thing you’ll have to worry about.” Connor said, helping Joel off the floor. “Let’s move this party downstairs.”
“Sounds good. I want those tacos now.” Lori said, stepping over the shattered door.
“Mom’s going to kill me,” Joel said as they walked through the doorframe.
“We could tell her the truth. You punched a ghost through the door for insulting you. I’d believe it.” Connor snickered. “Maybe she’ll laugh so hard she won’t kick your ass.”
“I’ll just say I was moving something.”
“Yeah, let’s go with that.” Connor sat Joel on the couch. Lori saw the plate of tacos and grabbed a few, and joined them in the living room.
“So, let’s recap. Joel can see and touch spirits. We have a possible spirit killing people for attention. Four people have died. Anything else?” Lori asks.
“Yeah, how are we going to stop it?” Connor asked. “All we have to go on is a black cloud that looks like a guy.”
“You guys said earlier that you didn’t know if it was a spirit or not? We know I can interact with spirits now. Is it possible that it is just someone that has similar powers?” Joel asked, grabbing a taco. He noticed them staring at him. “What?”
“We didn’t think about that,” Lori said. “That would make sense. It didn’t feel like a spirit. It was more focused. I hope you’re wrong, though. How could someone be okay with murdering?”
“There’s a lot of ****** up things out there. Serial killers are very much a thing. Why one gets powers feels unfair. I’m just saying it’s a possibility. I’d say we should stay with the “It’s a spirit” idea for now. Did it look like a man or woman?”
“Definitely a guy. He was about as tall as you guys. I couldn’t tell much about his features. Even his voice was obscured. It could be anyone.” Lori reached for the TV remote.
“Aren’t we having a meeting?” Connor asked.
“I want to see something. Shh!” Lori said, turning the tv on. She turned onto the local news.
“The investigation is still ongoing. If you are just tuning in, 12-year-old Michael and his sister, 15-year-old Sarah Reynolds, were enjoying a trip to the mall with their mother when the two went off on their own while they waited for their mother to finish shopping. The two siblings were later found mutilated in various parts of the mall. Out of respect for the family, the police have not released any more information about the state of their bodies. This is one in the string of mysterious murders that have happened today. Earlier, Heather Kim and Mike Williams were found dead outside of the student union of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Both bodies were in a similar state. We’ll have more information as the investigations develop,” The reporter said.
“Well, ****. I guess we can go to the mall?” Connor asked. “See if Lori can pick up anything.”
“I’m not a bloodhound, you know.”
“I know. It’s like Professor Blake taught us. Police always miss something. We might be able to find something. Maybe their spirits are still there? It’s worth a shot.”
“We should go in the morning. They probably blocked off the area. No way we’re getting anywhere close to it today. Agreed?” Joel asked.
“Good idea,” Lori said.
“Fine. We have time to prepare.” Connor said. “We’re going ghost hunting.”
“Can I say something?” Thomas said.
“Oh great, you’re back,” Joel said.
“We’re listening,” Lori said.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I was just frustrated. You were right, I did ask for your help. You didn’t have to say yes. I made it hard for you not to. That was uncalled for. I’m sorry.” Thomas turned to Joel. “I’m sorry for calling you all those names. That was childish.”
“As long as you don’t do that again. I think I can forgive you. I did punch you in the face though.”
“Speaking of which, I didn’t know that was possible. I know spirits can touch stuff if we focus hard enough. The spiritual power you have is impressive.”
“Ha, talk about a 180. Make sure you don’t forget who’s running the show.” Joel looked at Connor’s confused expression. “He apologized for being a ****.”
“Cool,” Connor said.
“I accept your apology, Thomas. Thank you.” Lori said.
Thomas nodded and disappeared again.
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