AN: New fic! I think this one is gonna be my most suspenseful yet…

Summary: When the newsies decide to have some fun and hold a séance in the lodging house, will it take a deadly turn when they unleash a poltergeist that has a score to settle and will stop at nothing to do so? And who is it really after?

                                                                                                                                               

Mush

            It was in the middle of the night, I'd had a lousy day of selling, and now I was lying in bed with my eyes wide open because I never could sleep when it stormed. Things couldn't possibly get any worse.

            "Hey Mush…you still awake?"

            I didn't even bother to look- I knew it was Blink. But at the same time, I was confused. He never had trouble sleeping during storms. He slept like a log.

            "Yeah, I's awake." I muttered.

            He sighed and I heard him roll over. I looked over at him as he propped himself up on his elbow and watched me, studying me carefully.

            "Dude, what's your problem?" I snapped, my nerves frayed as the thunder outside only intensified.

            "I can't sleep."

            "Yes you can."

            "Oh, really?" He laughed quietly and sat up. "And what makes you so sure?"

            "Because Specs had ta roll you out of bed this morning ta wake you up."

            Jack's voice suddenly interrupted before Blink could respond. "Would you two bums shut up? Some of us are actually trying to sleep, at least."

            Thud!

            I sighed at the loud sound that rang through the room, knowing what it was without even looking. Being a volatile, violent sleeper, Snitch had once again thrown himself out of bed, taking Itey with him to the hard floor.

            This, of course, woke up the lighter sleepers in the room- Dutchy, Swifty, and Racetrack. And in the usual lodging house chain reaction of people bitching and other people telling them to shut up, soon everyone was awake.

            Jack finally gave up and flipped on the lights- the only person still asleep was Skittery, but he sleeps through anything. And I mean anything. We've held a drunken rave in the bunkroom before, and he slept right through it. Even when Dutchy got thrown into the bunk with him, he just mumbled something about stupid drunk blondes and went right back to sleep.

            "I've got an idea!" Jack suddenly said, a bright smile on his face. I groaned and rolled my eyes, as did many of the other guys.

            "Your last idea left us all broke and got us on Spot's bad side." Snitch muttered, flopping back onto his bed.

            "Nah, dis one's harmless. I promise. We'll have a séance."

            Racetrack raised an eyebrow. "A say-what?"

            "A séance. Ya know, talk to the dead and all."

            Specs sighed deeply. "Dat ain't real, Jack, and you know it."

            "Then no harm done, right? Come on…let's try it. Just once."

            "Okay. I'm game." Jake said, jumping down off his bunk and stretching. "I ain't gettin' any sleep anyways."

            We really didn't know what we were getting into. Honestly. We were just a bunch of adolescent guys who couldn't sleep, and doing something as insane as trying to talk to the dead sounded like something that could keep us entertained. Keep us laughing, at least.

            In just under a couple of minutes, Jack's charisma had gotten all of us sitting in a circle on the floor, and we took a couple of candles out of the bathroom and lit them. What they were for, I wasn't sure, and Jack didn't know either. He said that was 'just the way it had to be'.

            I looked at Skittery's bunk, not able to see him but envying the fact that he could sleep through this and no one dared incur his wrath by waking him. He is not a pleasant person in the middle of the night. He's not usually a pleasant person in general.

            So now the lights were all out, there were two candles in the middle of the circle, and giggles of sheer exhaustion could be heard. A few of the guys looked a little scared in the dim light, but those were mostly the ones that were scared of storms, not ghosts.

            Cause Specs, being the avid bookworm, had made it absolutely clear that there's no such thing as ghosts.

            "Okay…everybody relax. And nobody talk." Jack ordered, though how he expected to shut everyone up, I wasn't sure. Whispers could still be heard around the circle. Jack continued, ignoring the obvious offenders. "Everyone hold hands."

            "Do we have to?" Snipeshooter asked, his whiny voice recognizable even in the dark.

            "Shut up and do it, Snipe."

            I grabbed Blink's hand on one side of me and Pie Eater's hand on the other, wondering how long this would take. It may have been storming, but I should've at least been trying to sleep. We had papers to sell in the morning.

            Yeah, I know. I'm supposed to be the optimistic, upbeat newsie. But not at midnight and running on empty as far as energy goes. And personally, I didn't care about whatever dead people might be hanging out in the lodging house. They didn't eat much anyway.

            Jack began to talk, and I wondered where in the world he got this stupid idea anyway.

            "Everyone concentrate on openin' your mind. Try ta make yourself aware of everything, and clear your mind."

            That would be harder for some than for others. Some people's minds were already empty.

            "I would like ta ask any spirits ta make themselves known at dis time. Is dere anyone who would like ta speak with us?"

            Complete silence. Nothing but a flash of lightening.

            Jack continued, unperturbed. "Is dere anyone here who wants ta communicate with us? Give us a sign."

            A clap of thunder, and then one of the candles went out in a breeze from the cracked-open window. I shivered, wondering what exactly was supposed to happen.

            "Give us a sign. Speak to us." Jack said once again, and quite suddenly, the window slipped and slammed down. That was pretty much normal. It did that when the rain slicked the window. Then the other candle went out, and the room was thrown into darkness.

            "I was betrayed.

            My head snapped up at the haunting voice, the strangled hiss that I almost didn't even understand. And then I realized that it was Skittery's voice. But it wasn't. The trademark New York accent was gone, completely wiped clean.

            "Someone turn on da lights!" Boots said, but Jack shouted in protest.

            Race snorted. "Come on, Jack. Dis ain't funny. You've got Skitts in on dis."

            Jack sounded like a kid in a penny store filled with candy. "No! No! Da spirit is channeling through him! We've gotta stick with it!"

            There were various protests, but Jack silenced them, and continued on his crusade in the pitch dark.

            "How was you betrayed? What's your name?"

            "He betrayed me. I won't take it."

            The voice had an accent, just not New York. I couldn't tell exactly what. It was Skittery's voice, sure, but he sounded…strange. I didn't know how to explain it.

            "I don't understand. Who betrayed ya?" Jack said, urging the 'spirit' on. Some of the younger kids were getting nervous now, but us older ones could see that this was all an elaborate joke that Skittery and Jack had planned. Sure, Skittery didn't like Jack that well, but that was the only reason this would happen.

            "Ik begrijp het niet. Het spijt me. Het spijt me!"

            "Oh my God. He's speakin' Dutch!" Dutchy suddenly said, and that's when I started getting nervous. See…Skittery doesn't know Dutch.

            "What did he say?" Jack asked, getting more excited by the second.

            Dutchy took a moment to respond. "He said something about 'not understanding'. And he kept saying he was sorry."

            "Jack, Skittery, this really isn't funny. Cut it out." Blink said, his voice strained and his hand still holding tightly to mine.

             "Alsjeblieff, nee! Alsjeblieff!" Skittery cried out, his voice rising in pitch. He sounded absolutely terrified. I could share that sentiment- I was now scared to death.

            "Guys, stop it!" Race yelled at Jack and Skittery.

            "I can't! We didn't plan dis!" Jack shouted back, and I let go of Blink and Pie's hands and ran for the light. Skittery was screaming again, and when I flipped on the light, Blink and I made a beeline for his bunk. I jumped up to his bunk, where he was shaking horribly and covered in sweat. Dutch words still spilled from his mouth in whispered pleas, and the other guys waited nervously while I tried to wake him up.

            "Skittery, come on. Snap out of it." I begged, grabbed him by the shoulders. No response, except a clear phrase finally came out of his mouth.

            "Het is te laat. Het…is te laat."

            Skittery suddenly feel limp, and I knew he was sleeping again. Just like normal. His breathing had already returned to an even, relaxed pattern.

            "Dutchy…what did he say?" I asked quietly as I slipped off his bunk.

            Dutchy was pale, even more than usual. And that's saying a lot.

            "He said…he said 'it's too late'."

                                                                                                                                               

AN: Yay. That was fun. But in the next chapter, it gets even better. Trust me…you'll see.