And now that I've started up three WIP's again, I think my sanity has made that left turn at Albuquerque. Oh well. If anyone sees her, can you point her in the right direction?
Anyways, this is the follow up to: You Made a Believer Out of Me, as requested by a few fellow reviewers.
I own nothing.
The Afterlife- Chapter One: Among the Dead
Ever since Vince left the haunted castle tour, he had been having particularly frightening nightmares. The sandy blonde cop was a horror movie buff for sure, but it was different when you were the one that was living in the horror movie. He often times woke up in a cold sweat, not really sure if it was safe to open his eyes in his own bedroom. The fear that he had felt that afternoon came back again and again in his dreams. He could hear Jamie's shrieks when Conrad would come up to reenact her death. These nightmares never ceased to scare the living daylights out of Vince and anyone who came in contact with the police officer knew that he wasn't getting a healthy night's sleep. The purple hues and bags under his eyes were proof of that.
One night, he just gave up on sleeping after waking up from a haunting dream. It hadn't been his usual nightmare; Jamie had started appearing in his apartment in this dream. She still managed to scream and keep him up all night, which was the eerie part. Little things in his apartment started to go missing; either that or they were moved to the other side of the room. It. Was. Creepy.
Vince sat up in bed, looking around the room to make sure that it had been a dream. Feeling no presence, he scooted out of the covers and rubbed his face groggily. He knew that there was only one way to get these dreams to stop. It hadn't even been more than a week since he'd been to the castle tour, but his subconscious was telling him that he'd never get a decent night's sleep until he rescued his ghost princess. The twenty-three-year-old wanted to go back there and help her, but he just had no idea of how to start. Not to mention that those nightmares didn't help him think straight…
Now that he was finally going to do something, what would that something be? He could always do what his baby sis did and start researching. If he was going to be dealing with setting a ghost free, he needed to learn what that all entailed. Vince plopped down in the computer chair he had set up in the corner of his bedroom next to his bed and began to boot his ancient tower up.
After smacking himself a few times to stay awake, the police officer decided to brew a small pot of coffee. His computer would take forever to boot up, unfortunately. (Vince was a mama's boy; when he got her old tower from when she upgraded to a newer one, he couldn't turn her down.) A few minutes later, he plopped back down in the chair as he waited for his coffee to finish brewing. Of course, the computer was still loading at the time. Now what? Vince mused to himself.
Well, the twenty-three-year-old was sure that he would need a pencil and some paper to jot some of this stuff down on. 'Cause there was no way in hell that he would remember most of these exorcism terms. He grabbed a notepad from on top of his printer and stole a pencil from in between the "F" keys and the number keys on the keyboard. Finally, he thought to himself as he stole a glance back at the monitor, which showed his desktop picture. The cop let out a sigh; his sister must have had something to do with this. Last time Vince checked, his desktop was of his favorite superhero the Cape. Now it was of some weird symbol. Leslie was… an odd duck; that was for sure. They shared an apartment to save money and he noticed that she picked up some strange habits. Like, for instance, she always wore pentagrams, and she cleansed their apartment on a daily basis, claiming that it was to get all of the day's bad energy out. And, despite his family's devout Christian beliefs, she was starting to get more into the Wiccan belief.
Maybe she could help him out with the ghost research, who knew?
But, until then, the police officer was on his own. Vince poured himself a mug of coffee and clicked on the Internet Explorer icon. He groaned as he waited for the webpage to load. Not only did he have an outdated Windows, but he also had an outdated internet connection.
Once his homepage loaded, he went onto the Google search engine and typed in "Exorcism". The blonde snorted to himself as he saw all of the movies that were related to the subject on the results page. The movies were good, of course, but he was looking for the real thing, as much as that thought scared him.
The first thing that he clicked on was a Catholic encyclopedia's link to Exorcism. Vince tilted his head back as he slugged the first bit of his scalding hot coffee. Most of this was gibberish to him, so he went onto another site. This one basically was the simplified version of the page he went to previously. Apparently he would need a priest to do a "simple exorcism" to cleanse the castle. Okay. But how the hell would he go about asking a Catholic priest to do an exorcism for him. One, he wasn't Catholic, and two; he didn't know anybody that was.
Vince groaned in annoyance and began to jot down what he felt he needed. Not even the coffee was helping at this point. After about a week of restless sleeping patterns, the only thing that your body could really take was rest. Within the next few minutes, his gave into the temptation and he passed out from pure exhaustion. Not even his nose dipping into the remaining coffee he had left woke him up. The only dreams that he could remember were of Jamie, but they weren't haunting nightmares. Those dreams painted a picture of what it would have been like if the ghost bride was alive today. Warm flesh, warm lips, soft hair, firm waist against his…
"Vince!" he heard someone call in his sleep. What was originally Jamie's voice as he slid in and out of her rhythmically, kissing her hungrily, turned into the annoying whine of his kid sister, shaking him awake.
"Vince, wake up!" Leslie tried again, growing rather aggravated at her older brother.
The cop finally jolted awake, trying to cover up his bulging pants. He didn't even know where that dream came from! Sure, Jamie was a pretty girl… ghost… whatever, but he never thought of her that way before. Or, at least, his conscious mind never had. When he finally looked up at his sister, he immediately caught on to the fact that he fell asleep at his desk last night.
Leslie Faraday was a short, skinny type with eyes that mirrored her brother's. She flipped her blonde tendrils off of her shoulders and stared down at him. "What were you doing last night? There's cold coffee in the pot, and I find you sleeping at the computer desk."
"Sorry," Vince groaned, rubbing at his eyes sleepily. "I was looking up something when I fell asleep." For a minute, he could have sworn that the tables were reversed. Now she was acting like the older sibling.
"Vince," the petite Faraday spared her brother a smile as she sat down on the corner of his bed, "we both know that you haven't been sleeping well. Were you looking up something that had to do with that fact?" she asked, nudging towards the notebook and pencil by the keyboard.
"Sorta," the older blonde mumbled. "Would you call me crazy if I said that I believe in ghosts?"
Leslie gave him her famous "duh" look. "No. You see all the shit I've done before. Would you really think I would be a skeptic?"
Vince chuckled weakly, smiling back at his sister's expression. "Okay, well would you call me crazy if I said that I knew a ghost that needed my help getting out of a loop?"
"Like on Ghost Whisperer?" the younger blonde beamed exuberantly. "That's so cool!"
"Sorta like on Ghost Whisperer, but sorta different. Remember when mom, dad, and me went to the castle tour last week?" the older sibling asked, happy to get his mind off of that dream.
Leslie bobbed her head. "But I was busy with work. What about it?" Then her eyes lit up as the light bulb clicked on in her mind. "Oh! Did you see Jamie Fleming's ghost?"
Vince nodded before continuing, "And Conrad's too. Jamie's spirit… it's so much different than his. His is violent and angry, and hers is timid and tormented. She even told me that Conrad is what's keeping her here."
"That's kinda creepy, Vince. She actually talked to you?" the younger one asked, her blue eyes wide with curiosity.
"Yeah. And then I was beaten up by Conrad. Never saw him, but I knew he was there. Unless Jamie had telekinesis or some crap like that," the curly blonde cop responded, wincing at the thought of the bruises and scratches that had taken forever to heal.
"Wow. So Conrad's back with a vengeance. But why?" Leslie replied, even more curious than before.
"To make his dead bride's afterlife a living hell? Beats me, baby sis," Vince leaned back in his seat, propping up his legs next to his sister on the corner of his bed. "All I know is that, he torments her every day by reenacting her death. She's lonely and frightened up there. I just… I can't let her stay like that."
His little sister's eyes sparkled, just like they always did when she was about to tease him for something. "Oh really?"
The police officer groaned, not even having to hear what she had to say about it. "Les, it's not like that. She's a ghost!"
"Stranger things have happened, Vince," Leslie winked at her brother before dodging a shoe he threw at her head. "Hey! You should be nicer to me! Your baby sis can help you get your little girlfriend free…"
Vince stared at the petite girl. "I'm listening."
Jamie never expected Vince to come back for her. Everything had been the way it was before, only now Conrad seemed to be more vengeful. He would put in an extra beating or two before he would kill her. And she just had to take it, even though she really didn't know why she was getting beat up for something that was out of her control.
Which was why, when she heard two distinct human voices come into the castle later on that night, she was surprised. Touring hours were over, which meant that no one was allowed in, not even the nice property caretakers. Who could possibly be breaking protocol to come into the castle at night, where Conrad Chandler was always at his meanest?
The twenty-three-year-old and his twenty-year-old sister had come prepared. Leslie had cleansed many places before. While not a lot of these places were as haunted as this castle, she still felt like she could take on the world. Unfortunately, that was where her downfall was.
The dead bride padded over to the stair railing on the upper floor and gawked down at her guests. Her eyes grew wide as she saw Vince and his little sister. Why he had to choose a dangerous time was beyond her. Okay, so he did introduce himself as the world's most stubborn man, but still. Did he not learn from the first time?
Vince looked up and saw the silhouette of the brunette ghost, feeling the same eerie chill that he had felt before. "There she is, Les. She's… shy, just remember that."
"Vince, I'm not going to hurt her," the twenty-year-old replied as she pulled a book out from where it had been tucked under her arm.
Jamie saw the book in Leslie's hands and slowly began to back away. If Conrad knew what her plans were…
"Wifey, I thought I told you no more visitors," came from behind her in a raspy, angry voice.
The brunette turned around to face her dead groom. "Please Conrad, just leave them alone."
"This is our play box, not theirs," Conrad growled, moving so quickly to the stairwell that it looked like he was gliding there.
Leslie handed over one of her herbs to her brother. This one, when lit, was said to ward off any evil spirits. "You got that lighter in your pocket, right?" she asked him quietly.
The cop nodded absent mindedly as he dug into his jeans pocket for the lighter. "So, once I light this, I just have to wave it around, like you do at home?"
"Mhm," his sister agreed. "But do it in fluid movements. If you wave it around vigorously, the spirit will come right to you."
Vince sighed. "Remind me not to ask you how you know all of this, Les."
Just as he lit the herb, she began a long chant. This chant was in a foreign language to the curly blonde cop. And he didn't even know that Leslie knew it, either. He remembered to keep his motions fluid as they both made their rounds through the castle.
Jamie couldn't believe what they were doing. While she appreciated the male human's honesty, she seriously wished that he would have left her alone. That would never work.
Vince marched up on the stairwell, scared for his life. Apparently the chant would keep the spirits from hurting either of them, but that thought was still unnerving. When he stepped up on the second floor, he was practically nose-to-nose with the dead bride. "Hi Jamie," he smiled at her.
"You really shouldn't be here. Conrad's planning something, but I don't know what it is," the brunette ghost replied, scared for her human's well-being.
"He can't hurt us as long as my sister's chanting right?" the police officer gave her a much gentler smile as he passed around her. "I'll keep you safe."
By the time that Leslie finished her chant, Jamie was proven right. The petite blonde was sent flying across the room, just as Vince had been that week prior.
"I can't believe that you would think that a stupid little chant like that would stop me," Conrad said in his raspy voice. Neither human could see him, but Jamie stood close by, staring ahead at the space in front of Vince. Before he could move, he was sent flying just like his sister.
"Conrad!" the dead bride cried out. He looked back at her, as she knew he would. "Please just let them go. I summoned them," she lied. "They came without a single protest."
The police officer looked up at Jamie, who was just as scared as he was, only even more so. She had to live with this bastard. God knew what all he did to her besides reenact her death…
"You sent them?" the dead groom fumed, floating over her as his eyes bored into hers.
"Could you blame me? I hate you! You murdered me on the day that was supposed to be the happiest day of my life!" the brunette spat back, despite how truly afraid she was. She just hoped that those two would take the hint and leave already.
As Conrad began throwing his dead bride around like a lifeless ragdoll, Vince got up and helped his sister to her feet. And just as before, he had to leave Jamie Fleming to defend herself, fighting himself the entire way. There was nothing that he could have done in that moment. It was now time for drastic measures, as much as he hated to admit it.
So, fairly lengthy chapter to start off a story. Huh. Oh well. Let me know what you thought.