The Denver Paranormal Society
Chapter Five—Breaking the News
The days following Christmas, I blissfully spent at home alone with Bella. After the big holiday dinner in our house, life should've been less stressful. However, Bella was anxious about the next afternoon. We were meeting up with the team to go over the footage and recordings of the Cry Baby Bridge case.
I understood completely; she thought that she might be at fault for whatever lay ahead. We debated that perhaps it would be best to tell each person one at a time. In the end, we decided to do it together with the group, so that maybe we could discuss it and help us understand.
We had very little to go on about what the future held, only that there was a cryptic message from a friend, indicating that she was about to lose a lot people she loved and cared about. We also knew that it would happen soon. Something told me that Jacob gave Bella his warning right when he was aware of my upcoming death. That gave us five months to figure out what was going to happen and when, and do what we could to prevent it.
Was it preventable? Could a future that had already been seen by another be changed? It was all very confusing and made telling the others that much harder. We had no answers, only questions. Another thing that concerned Bella was that they would be upset that we hadn't said something sooner.
I awoke the morning of the meeting to very loud music suddenly blasting through the walls. I groaned and knew that Bella was venting the only way she knew how. By painting or working on some of her other art projects. Music was a necessity for her, and while it was too loud, I would endure it since I knew she needed it.
However, I was going to get her a set of wireless headphones because I could barely hear myself think with all the noise.
Damn, I was getting old.
My hand drifted to her side of the bed to find it still warm, so she hadn't been up long, which meant she needed to eat. After a quick shower, I headed straight to the kitchen and smiled when I saw she had made a pot of coffee. I threw together a quick breakfast of toast, yogurt, and fruit, setting out to find her.
We already converted one of the linen closets into a dark room, but when I saw the door ajar, I knew she would be painting.
When I walked into the art studio, I couldn't help but groan at the sight of her. The woman hated to wear clothes when she was home and it was enough to drive me a little crazy. In all my life, I had never been as sexually active as I had been with her in the last few months. It was incredible to be wanted so much by her. I couldn't get enough of her, either. I hoped that would never change.
She was dressed in one of my undershirts that she practically swam in, a bright blue tube top underneath and underwear that displayed her long legs and most of her backside.
"What's wrong?" she asked, not turning around as she raised her brush to paint something on the top right hand corner of a massive painting that took up most of the wall. As she stroked downward, I could see the light play of the muscles in her arms and back. I loved watching her like this; so uninhibited, beautiful in graceful movements as she worked the brush across the canvas. Her hair was held up by two broken brush handles, curls teasing her cheeks, neck, and ears.
"Just admiring my fiancée," I said wistfully. "I see you decided to work on your unnamed project."
"It's a lot of space which drives me a little insane," she murmured, as she looked over her shoulder at me. "You brought me food." The smile on her face was bright. She turned to take care of the brush and music, coming to join me on the chaise across the room. "Thank you." She lifted to her toes to kiss me before we took our seats on a chaise nearby. "I'm sorry I woke you."
I shook my head. "No, you're not."
She grinned, shrugging and taking a bite of toast. "You're right," she said softly after a few moments. "I tried to wait as long as I could. You know I hate being in my head on a day like today."
"It'll be fine, Bella." I could see the tears start to form in her warm eyes.
"What if I'm the reason you all die?" Her gaze fell on her food, a tear plopping down on the back of her hand.
"You don't know that," I whispered. "Do you know how much this is worrying me, too?" Her head lifted, her dark gaze showed her confusion. "I'm worried about what's going to happen to you if Jacob's warning comes true. I'm also worried because he never actually confirmed or denied if you'll die, too. What if you're seeing them not only because of your gift?"
"I hadn't thought of that," she whispered, her brow furrowing. "But I'm pretty sure he said that I could see him because of my gift."
"But he's the first one you've ever seen right?" She nodded. "That doesn't make any sense. If you'd seen others before, you would've recognized what he was the moment he appeared to you again. What if he's wrong?"
"I don't know," she whispered, laying her head on my shoulder, grabbing a drink from her glass of orange juice.
I could lose her. There were so many variables, and too many possibilities. How could we stop something if we had so little to go on?
We ate our breakfast in silence, both contemplating. I couldn't imagine what was going through her head. If it was anything like the chaos and worry in mine, I wanted to gather her up and hold onto her forever. I hated feeling so useless.
"I should tell you that eggs are already making me gag," she said unexpectedly. I shook my head at the cute way her nose scrunched up in disgust. "I'm totally pregnant. I know I'm right." She did love her eggs.
She was a little upset because our parents were betting on whether she was right or not. We'd know in a few weeks, but my money was on her. It was rare when she was wrong about something like this.
"I heard you get up last night," I said, taking a curl of her hair and watching it bounce back. "I hope our daughter has your curls." She smiled at that, her earlier tears had dried though I had a feeling she could start again easily. Was it hormones or fear? "Care to talk about what had you waking up in the middle of the night?"
She sighed and I could tell it was a subject she'd rather drop. "You remember the ghost that haunted my old house?"
"Clarence? You said you thought he was a poltergeist, which was the reason you could never get him to cross over."
"I did think that," she said, shrugging. "But I think Clarence wanted me to think that's all he was so I'd stop trying. He was definitely a spirit or something along those lines."
I stilled, my eyebrows shooting up at her words as I asked, "He's here?"
"Can't come into the house because of the wards I think Jacob and Demetrius put up the other day." My curiosity grew with every word she said. "Wards are spells or symbols written on the windows and walls to keep certain supernatural creatures out."
I rubbed a hand over my face, hoping it would clear the cobwebs I still seemed to have from sleep. Did she really say that?
"Yes, I did."
"And angels have to use them?"
All the information about the supernatural world from Bella's perspective was new to me. I had investigated in length many areas of it, but had chosen not to delve deeper into occults, witchcraft, and the possibility that there are other things out there besides ghosts. To be honest, I didn't believe in those things had existed until after I met Bella. If there were wards or spells written on the walls, perhaps I could get a picture for research. Anything would help so that we could better understand how an Angel of Death's job worked.
"So because of these wards you haven't had a visitor here at the house?"
"Pretty much," she said. "I can still feel the ones who want to talk to me that are close by, which was why I woke up last night. Their presence is messing with my dreams. I didn't talk to Clarence, but I'll try later. I think that they had the wards in place for a while now, because it's only when I leave the house that I see a ghost. But I'm not sure I like the effect on my sleep."
"You need to find out how to keep them out," I said, hoping that it wouldn't anger her. "You have the right to take some time off." She nodded as she ran a hand over her abdomen and my hand rested over hers. If research proved fruitful, maybe she'd consider wearing one these wards in the form of a jewelry piece to keep spirits from bothering her when she went out or was having a bad day. It was worth looking into.
I kissed the top of her head just as Bella's cell phone alarm went off from a table across the room. She stood to turn it off and helped me clean up so we could get ready. It was time to tell the team what we've come to learn.
Bella sat beside me, across from the rest of the team who had become good friends in the past few months. She refused to meet anyone's eyes as I told them what we learned. There was little to say, since we didn't know enough to provide them some hope.
Shock and disbelief was evident in all their faces. We asked who had seen Jacob the day we started Rosalie's case.
Alice was the only one who hadn't seen Jacob the night of Rosalie's investigation with Bella. We had all come to the same conclusion. The reason why Jacob had chosen that day to appear to Bella was because we were all in the same place. It was to warn us that something big was going to happen to all of us and possibly at the same time. At least, we hoped that was the reason why.
"Well, that just means the day can't get any worse," Emmett said, clapping his hands together. "Now, is there some other news you need to tell us?"
Bella blushed as each team member, our friends, all zeroed in on the ring on her hand. Smiles were exchanged along with hugs and congratulations on our engagement.
I, myself, was shocked that they didn't feel the need to talk further about our pending demise. Bella and I exchanged a look, and she gave me a small smile. It wasn't the first time someone didn't believe her. That had to be what was going on. For the moment, I chose to wait until later to discuss it in more detail. Maybe they needed time to come to terms on what we told them.
After the engagement announcement, the team and I went over all video and audio footage of the Cry Baby Bridge case. It took about five hours for us to go through everything, thankfully everyone pitched in to help or it would've taken days.
Chuck, a false name, the owner of some footage of the ghostly horse and rider, decided that a phone call was good enough for him, the rest he'd check out on the website. Emmett had explained to him via speakerphone what they had witnessed that night, namely Bella's ability to talk to the dead and she helped guide mother and daughter to the light. It scared him enough not to come back to see us.
That was all right, because I didn't trust him anyway.
"Well, that Jacob guy…um, angel was right," Ben stated. It was the first time someone brought up Jacob since the news we'd given them hours earlier. "We did capture the drums. It took a little work to isolate them but I got them loud and clear." He played back the audio, and sure enough, the beating of drums filtered through the computer's speakers. It started as a fast, unrelenting rhythm until it turned into a slow, sad tune.
"The baby crying was also in the audio and we captured it on video, and our reactions to it." Emmett played back all that footage. In the end, there was about four full minutes of the baby crying.
"Anything else?" I asked, rubbing a hand over my face.
"Here's the video of the horse and rider," Emmett said with a broad smile. He was excited about this one. The handheld video was a little better quality than the original from Chuck. However, Jasper's camera caught the best footage. The horse and its rider were clear on the screen; there was no mistaking it. The way the horse moved seemed to blur for a few seconds before settling. What I loved was how Jasper had held out an EMF reader and was able to capture the readings as the apparition appeared. Smart man, he proved just as valuable as Ben.
"Put that on the website, Ben," I stated, patting him on the back. We'd already decided that we would not doctor any video, but we wouldn't disclose the location. To locals, they would easily recognize the area. Anyone else would have a harder time figuring out exactly where it was. As I stepped away, ready to leave for the afternoon, Bella held me back.
"There's something else, isn't there?" she asked Ben and then looked at Emmett. They nodded as I asked them to show me what else they got.
"We were able to catch something when Bella was doing her thing," Emmett indicated.
Bella's eyes widened in surprise, whispering, "I didn't know anyone could see that."
"Not the whole light show," Emmett said softly, watching Bella carefully. I hoped that they wouldn't treat her differently after seeing her in action, but after hearing about Jacob and the others, I saw that they might. "But we got something." He pulled up the footage he spoke of and on the screen was Bella, standing beside a blur that I assumed was Jacob. A hand lifted that held a handheld temperature reader to show the rapid change of degrees. The increase in temperature coincided several seconds before Jacob and mother and daughter disappeared. It had risen from minus four degrees to about twenty-three in only five seconds and it dropped just as rapidly after a full minute.
"Do you see that?" Bella indicated, asking Emmett to go back a few seconds, right before the temperature dropped. Emmett worked to clean up the image better and the group gasped or cursed as a single gray feather appeared seemingly out of nowhere and fluttered to the snowy white ground.
"Shit," Emmett hissed. "That's so fucking cool!"
"Oh my God," Lauren cried out, holding her husband tightly. "It's real…All that they said may happen." Eric did the best to console her, holding her tightly against his chest.
I sighed. "If you feel that you can no longer work with the team, I won't hold it against you."
Lauren shook her head. "No, walking away might be what causes the chain of events to happen. Staying might do the same." She ran a hand through her short blond hair. "I rather be where the action is, figuring this out together."
"She's right," Eric stated, while the others nodded. "It's best to stick together." Everyone agreed with what they'd said.
I was in awe of the team and wondered when they had become friends. Looking at Bella as she watched another section of footage, I realized she helped me open enough to take them into my heart, too.
They were the best group of people I knew besides my parents and Charlie and I wouldn't have it any other way.
As the others talked, I asked Alice to the side, knowing I couldn't touch her. Her brow furrowed as I whispered. "I need to you do research on the Potomac. There was a woman that died in a car accident, but her fiancé survived."
"Is there a problem?" she asked softly, looking over her shoulder toward Bella and Jasper, who were looking through his digital camera.
"She can't drive down that road because the ghost that haunts it is out to get her." I figured out that much from what Bella had told me. She believed it was the reason Jacob died in his accident that left Billy crippled and in a wheelchair. "Find out everything you can." Alice nodded and quickly moved away when Bella's dark eyes zeroed in on us.
I offered her a smile. "Are there any cases coming up soon?" I asked, sitting back down.
Alice spoke up first while Emmett also pulled out a file. Jasper had the means to get us inside an old abandoned storefront that once housed a speakeasy from the 1920's. It had a closed down bar, a basement where some of the activity occurred, and an apartment where a man was said to have committed suicide.
It should be interesting.
AN: Another case will be the next chapter. Do you have any ghost stories? Thanks!