This is a story that used to be on an old geocities site that became defunct several years ago – I rediscovered it, did some minimal editing, and decided to re-post it onto .
This is a Poltergeist: The Legacy story. The characters of Nick Boyle, Derek Rayne, Alex Moreau, and Rachel Corrigan do not belong to me but to the people who created them and brought them to life. Patrick Grey and Singh Kim (and the "demonology" used) as well as the concept of this story do belong to me so please do not borrow them without my permission. Song lyrics [ ] are from the song "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum. The concept of the demon is completely a figment of my own decidedly odd imagination. No copyright infringement is intended. I hope you enjoy the story.Full Circle
Copyright (c) 1998 MavenAlysse
The boy woke early that morning. 'Today's the day. Better make sure I'm ready.'
Save for a notebook and pencil, he emptied his backpack, picked up the school books and carefully hid them in a box in the back of his closet. He shoved a couple pair of jeans into the bag. A few t-shirts, socks, and underwear quickly followed. On impulse, he grabbed a small photo of himself with his mom, dad, and older sister and tucked it into his wallet, along with a scrap of paper with a name, number, and address on it.
Hearing footsteps coming down the hall, he zipped the pack closed and placed it at the foot of the bed. A quick knock and the door opened. His mother looked in. "My, you're up early. Excited about the trip this weekend?"
"You're all packed?" She picked up a small duffel bag and started sorting through it. "Toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, clothes for Saturday and Sunday, underwear and socks. Let's see... do you need to bring any paper? Your science teacher might have you take notes while you're at the museum."
"I've got it in my backpack, mom."
"Okay." She handed him some money. "Don't tell your father. That should be enough for your meals this weekend and for you to buy something from the gift shop. Maybe a t-shirt or something." She smiled at the boy and ruffled his dark brown hair. "Come on down for breakfast." She turned and left.
He counted the money. 'Thirty dollars. Gives me a total of one fifty.' He put it in his wallet, grabbed his two bags and headed downstairs.
During breakfast, his sister teased him a bit. "Can't believe dad's letting you go out of town in order to go to a Natural Science Museum, even if it is for school. I never got to do stuff like that."
Their mother replied, "That's because you never said you were interested in going. Now, leave your brother alone and eat your breakfast. The bus will be here soon."
Their father came down the stairs. He was a large, burly man in his mid thirties with dark brown hair and dark eyes. He stared at his son for a moment before seating himself at the table. "Got all your gear?"
"Now you mind your teacher, young man. I had better not hear about any misbehavior on your part, understood?"
The man dug into his wallet and pulled out two twenties and handed them to his son. "That should cover this weekend. I expect the change."
"Thank you, sir." 'One ninety.' The boy shoved it into his pocket. He finished his breakfast, grabbed his bags and headed for the door. "Gotta go. Bus'll be here any minute." His mom gave him a hug, and for a moment, his resolve weakened. Then his father laid a heavy hand on his shoulder. "Any trouble at all, and you'll be hearing from me. Understand?"
The implication was clear. "Yes, sir." He left the house just shy of running. His sister raced after him. "Hey. Hey, wait up!" He slowed only marginally, letting her draw abreast to him.
They walked in silence for a while, then, without warning, his sister smacked him upside the head. "Ow! What was that for?"
"Oh, ha, ha. Very funny. How much did it cost you to almost ruin my date with Thomas last night?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Don't give me that innocent look. You know what I'm talking about. Some girl came up to me while we were at the fair. Kept asking me all these questions. Wouldn't leave us alone. Thomas looked like he was ready to ditch me. So how much did that little 'diversion' cost you?"
The boy walked a bit faster, shaking his head. "You're crazy. Why would I want to ruin your date with Thomas, anyway? 'Sides. I thought you were dating Mike."
"No," she said, absently. "That was last week." She fell silent for a moment, then pulled her brother to a halt. "You're not joking? You really have no idea what I'm talking about?"
The boy sighed. "No, I really have no idea." He shrugged his pack higher onto his shoulder, his eyes sweeping the road, looking for the school bus. "Why?"
She frowned. "She asked me if I had a younger brother. When I finally said yes, she gave me this. Said I had to give it to you." She pulled out a small pouch on a leather thong and handed it to him.
"What's this for?" He started walking again as he examined it. The pouch itself was made of a dark brown cloth; intricately embroidered with a yellow oriental dragon clutching a flaming fireball in its claws, with a few Chinese characters on the back. Though stitched closed, he could feel that the pouch contained several small items.
"She said for protection." They made it to the bus stop and stood waiting. "She also said that it'd be needed more than once."
"Weird." With a shrug he put the necklace on, tucking the pouch into his shirt, hiding it from casual view.
A bus could be seen coming down the road. His sister dug in her purse and handed him a pair of sunglasses. "Here. The sun outside of San Francisco can be brutal." There was a sadness in her eyes and she gave him a quick hug. "Have a good time this weekend. Okay? Don't take any wooden nickels."
He hugged her back. "I won't." The bus pulled to a stop and he put on the shades as she stepped aboard. The doors closed and gave him an excellent view of himself. A twelve year old boy, short for his age, with unruly dark hair, wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and sunglasses that just covered the shiner on his left eye. The bus left, taking his sister to the local high school. He sighed and sat against the pole, waiting for the middle school bus.
'Simplicity itself,' he thought as he snuck onto the bus that would take him, and thirty other students, out of San Francisco and into Oakland, 'Where they will all have to visit both the museum and the zoo. While I, on the other hand, will meet up with Sara.' He pulled out the piece of paper with her number and address on it. 'I hope she'll be able to help me. Please, God, let her be able to help me.'
The boy slipped away from the group as the bus stopped on the outskirts of Oakland to refuel. He edged out the back door of the convenience store, confident that his absence wouldn't be noticed. 'After all, I wasn't supposed to be on the bus to begin with.'
He walked the rest of the way into the city, glad for the time to think. It was late, nearing midnight. 'I need to find a phone. Gotta get directions to Sara's house.' He kept hold of that thought like it was a lifeline. He'd met the twenty year old a few years ago during a Christmas party that his dad's boss had thrown. In the short amount of time he'd spoken to her, he had gotten the feeling that she understood him in ways that no one else did. She knew, without him having to say a word, how his home-life was. She had given him her number and address and told him that if he ever needed to talk, or a place to crash for the night, to give her a call. He had spoken to her a few months later, after his dad had gone on one of his rampages. She had given him some tips of dealing with the situation, and had again offered a place to stay if he needed it. 'Well, I need it now.' He hadn't heard from her in over a year, but hoped her offer was still open.
[Call you up in the middle of the night like a firefly without a light.]
[You were there like a blowtorch burning, I was a key that could use a little turning.]
After some searching, he found a working phone. With shaky fingers, he dialed the number. Three high-pitched tones assaulted his ear. "We're sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel this recording to be in error, please hang up and try again."
He cursed, dug out another quarter, and dialed again. He received the same response. "Aw, man!" He stood in thought for a moment, not aware of malignant eyes upon him, then sighed. 'No use for it. Gonna have to find a map. And a way to get to her house that won't cost a lot, or draw a lot of attention to myself.' He glanced at his watch. 'Not likely.' He hitched his pack on his shoulder, grabbed his knapsack, and hiked a couple of blocks. Luck was with him, a Greyhound bus station was in sight. 'With luck, I can get some help, without revealing I'm a runaway.' He made his way up to the station just as a bus was getting in. He read the name on the bus. 'Berkeley.'
The youngster entered the bus terminal and looked around as if he was expecting to see someone he knew there. He sat on the bench and "waited" for about half an hour before getting up and making a phone call. After hanging up, he made his way uncertainly to the bench. A large map was up on the wall, and he spent a few minutes studying it. After a moment, he pulled out his notebook and copied down a set of directions to Sara's house.
After a total wait of two hours, and trying to look significantly upset and tearful, he stood and made his way to the information desk. "Excuse me, Miss?"
The lady at the desk looked down, a tired expression on her face. "Yes? What can I do for you?"
"Well, my sister was supposed to meet me here. But I don't see her anywhere. I tried calling, but the phone is out of order. Could you tell me how I could get to her house?"
"What's your name, young man?"
"Patrick Ferrel, ma'am."
"Where are you coming from, Patrick?"
"Berkeley, ma'am. I'm visiting my sister for awhile, till my mom gets better."
She looked concerned. "Why don't you give me your sister's number and I'll see if I can get a hold of her."
He gave her the number. "What's her name?"
"Sara." He waited patiently until the woman confirmed that the phone was indeed out of order. "Humn... Well. We have a couple of cabs that run this late. Is she expecting you?"
"She should be. But she's awfully absent-minded at times."
"Do you have any money for a cab?"
Patrick shook his head slowly. "No, ma'am. I wasn't expecting to have to use one."
With a sigh, the woman nodded. "Follow me." She lead him out to where the cabs sat. "What's your sister's address?" He told her. She spoke with the driver and handed him a couple of bills. "That should do it. Get in. He'll take you to her house."
"Thank you, ma'am. Can I have your address so I can pay you back?"
She waved him off. "No. Just tell your sister she should be a bit more careful in the future."
"Oh, I will. Thanks again." He got into the cab and waved to the woman as the driver pulled out of the terminal. They drove in silence the entire way, Patrick watched the buildings go by to keep from initiating any possibly awkward conversations. He felt slightly guilty about deceiving that lady, but if it got him to Sara's and help, then it was worth it. 'Like you always said, dad,' he thought sardonically, 'Always have a plan, and failing that, be adaptable.'
The cab arrived at the address. "Hey, kid. We're here." Patrick climbed out of the cab. "House is dark. Want me to wait to make sure she's here?"
"No, thank you. I'm sure she is." He closed the cab door made his way confidently up the front steps. He waited until the cab had left, then knocked on the door. Receiving no answer, he frowned and tried the door-bell. He could hear it echo strangely. A shiver ran up his spine. He tried the door, but it was locked. Peering into a nearby window didn't help any. The room was too dark to make out any details. He walked around the back of the house and tried the back door. It was locked as well, but a small basement window opened to his prying. Looking around for nosy neighbors, Patrick climbed through the window, for once glad of his small frame.
Once inside, he noticed how empty the basement seemed. He would have expected more boxes and such, knowing how big on ancient art and artifacts Sara was. He found the stairs leading upstairs and he opened the door, glad it wasn't locked as well. The uneasy feeling he had felt increased. "Sara?" He peered around the door. He was in the main hallway. It was completely empty. "Sara? Are you home?" 'Please be home.' As he made a circuit of the rooms, he found that, other than some trash and neglected items, the entire house was cleared out. "What is going on here?" he murmured.
Within one of the smaller rooms, either a guest room or a study, the walls looked charred from an intense fire that had engulfed the room. A whimper caught at the back of his throat and he closed the door firmly on his way out, not wanting to contemplate the reason for the burned room and empty house.
[So tired that I couldn't even sleep. So many secrets I couldn't keep.]
[Promised myself I wouldn't weep. One more promise I couldn't keep.]
Patrick leaned up against the wall and slid down to the floor, arms wrapped around his knees, chin on arms. He didn't know what to do. All his plans had included being able to go to Sara for help. Without her... 'She was the only one who seemed even remotely interested in me. The only one who didn't take my dad's explanations of my appearance at face value.' His eyes started tearing up and he angrily dashed the tears away. 'Crying isn't going to help matters any. Gotta think. Maybe her neighbors know where she went. I could ask them in the morning.'
He sighed as his stomach growled. He sternly told it to be quiet. He'd get something to eat in the morning. He tried to get some sleep, but ended up watching the sky, waiting for it to lighten and starting at each noise he heard in house.
[It seems no one can help me now I'm in too deep, there's no way out.]
[This time I have really led myself astray.]
Patrick stumbled down the street in shock. He had waited until about ten in the morning before venturing out of Sara's house to ask her neighbors if they knew where she had gone. One woman looked at him sympathetically when he mentioned he was a friend of hers. "I don't quite know how to tell you this, dearie."
"Tell me what?"
"Sara Ferrel died several months ago in a fire. It appears that she had fallen asleep with one of her candles lit. A breeze from the window caused the curtains to catch on fire. The room was engulfed in a matter of minutes." She tried to comfort the boy. "The doctors said that she didn't even have time to wake up before the smoke killed her. She didn't feel any pain."
Patrick had given a half-hearted thank you to the woman and had left the house in a daze. He had traveled for several hours before coming to his senses. By then he was thoroughly lost. 'Now what do I do? I... I can't go home. I don't think I could stand it anymore.' He absently rubbed his arms, chilled. 'Sara...' he leaned up against the corner of a building, tears streaking his cheeks. 'Oh, God.'
He started at a hand on his shoulder. "Are you all right, son?"
He turned to see a tall oriental man standing beside him. Dark eyes looked down on him with compassion and concern. Patrick quickly wiped his cheeks. "Yeah. I'm fine."
The man smiled. "Sorry to contradict you, young man. But you certainly don't look all right." The man's English held no trace of an accent. 'In fact, he sounds almost British.'
"No. I'm okay." His stomach chose that time rumble its displeasure and he grimaced in annoyance.
The Oriental smiled. "Since you are 'okay', how about we find you something to eat." At the boy's wary look the man laughed, a warm sound. "Trust me. We'll go around the corner to that restaurant and get you something to eat. How's that sound?"
'Well, nothing can happen in a public place.' He shrugged. "Okay."
"My name is Singh Kim." He looked politely down at the boy.
The youngster studied the man briefly. "Patrick."
The two entered the establishment and Singh Kim ordered two of the house specials. Patrick ate with enthusiasm, his last meal had been almost twenty four hours ago. Nearing the end of the meal, Patrick felt himself grow dizzy. He placed one hand on the table in an effort to steady himself. "Patrick?" Singh Kim's voice sounded concerned. "Are you all right?"
"Dizzy," he mumbled. His vision blurred and he began to feel sick to his stomach. "Think I'm gonna be sick."
A strange quality came into Singh Kim's voice. "No. I don't think that you will."
Before he could question such a weird remark, Patrick fell over onto the seat, unable to support himself any longer. He cursed himself for trusting a stranger before darkness closed in around him and he passed out.
[Seems like I should be getting somewhere. Somehow I'm neither here nor there.]
Patrick felt himself drift in and out of consciousness. A beeping noise could be heard in the background, accompanied by a hissing and faint sounds of conversation. 'What...?' he thought to himself. 'Last think I remember was... was...' he drew a blank for a moment, then... 'Being at the Gray Hound bus station looking at a map.' He reached for the memory but it was elusive. 'I was going to visit Sara. But... what happened afterward?' He didn't remember and a chill went down his spine knowing whatever had happened had been pretty bad. 'Breathe. Relax. You'll figure it out. Right now, let's find out where we are now, shall we?'
'I'm in a hospital.' He'd been in enough of them throughout his life to recognize the smell and feel of a hospital room. 'Why am I in a hospital? Was I sick?' He couldn't remember. He glanced around the room. An I.V. was attached to his right arm and several other wires connected him to some interesting looking machines. His hands and wrists were bandaged. Flexing them sent sharp shards of pain through them. His chest ached as well. The thing that alarmed him the most was the tube that ran from his nose to a bag that pumped up and down. That was the source of the hissing sound. His lungs felt like they were on fire and a cough worked its way up. Harsh, choking sounds emitted from his chest and his eyes teared up at the pain.
The door opened and an older man in a doctor's uniform looked in at him. "Ah, glad to see you are awake, young man. You gave all of us quite a scare."
"Where... am I?" He managed between shallow breaths to combat the urge to cough. "I mean. ... What... city?"
"You're at Angels of Mercy Hospital in San Francisco."
The doctor put his hands in his pockets and looked searchingly at the young boy. "We were kind of hoping you could tell us." He sighed. "From what the police can tell me, you and seven others were found in an abandoned building somewhere on the outskirts of Oakland. There had been a fire, which is the only reason the police had been called. You inhaled some smoke and damaged your lungs a bit. You also had a few lacerations on your hands, wrists, and chest. As well as dealing with a slight case of dehydration and malnutrition. We're keeping you here for observation, but you should be fine in a day or two. Your parents are in the waiting room. I'll let them know you're awake." He turned to leave.
Patrick felt his face pale. "O... thers? What... about... others?"
The doctor hesitated for a moment, a brief flash of sadness crossed his face. He shook his head and continued out the door. Patrick fell back on the pillow. Somehow, he knew that the others, whoever they were, were dead. 'What the hell had happened?'
Over the next few days, he learned that he had been missing for over a week. The building he had been found in had several rooms that had bars rather than doors on them. In each room, a body had been found. Autopsies concluded that six of the bodies had died of similar means. The bodies were of both males and females ranging from the age of nine to sixteen. Each had lacerations on hands, wrists, and chest before they had been burned almost beyond recognition.
The last body, which had been found in the same cell as Patrick had been held in, was so badly decomposed that no one could even credibly establish what race it had been, only that it had been male. The police had investigated after some passer-bys had thought they saw smoke coming from the building. Patrick, himself, had been found with his hands tied above his head. Both palms of his hands had been sliced with a sharp knife, and his shirt had been half cut off him, the skin beneath had been cut as well. His wrists were raw from the restraints, but otherwise unharmed. The police had tried to get information out of him, trying to find out what had happened, but he couldn't remember any of the events that had occurred after having breakfast on that Saturday. A medical scan had concluded that he had been drugged at one point, which might have explained the amnesia.
A child psychologist had also been called in and she thought that maybe the event had been so traumatic, the only way he could cope was by burying the memory. In which case, only time would bring it to the surface. "That could be days, weeks, months, or even years down the road from now. Forcing the memory to the surface would only scar the boy even further."
His parents had agreed not to push it. After he was fit to travel, they took him home and life was bearable for a while, but it didn't take long for his father to revert back to "normal." After a month, the boy had managed to forget the entire incident completely. The only good thing that had occurred from his little "adventure" was that somehow no one discovered that he had run away from home, they all believed that he had been kidnapped from the school group. He wasn't about to argue, even though the chaperoning adults had been yelled at for neglecting to keep account of all the children.
On an impulse, Patrick had wrapped the necklace in some newspaper and put it in a box. He had then hid the box in the roof beams of the attic. He had a feeling he would want it again some day.
continued in chapter 2...