Bones (Part Four)
As Lorraine opened her eyes – before she could spare a thought to wonder where she was or what had happened – Ed’s concerned face swam into view. He was the first thing she saw and somehow, even with him looking at her the way he was, she felt safer than she had, less alone. She was reaching for him before the action even made itself known in her brain, automatic and almost desperate as he leaned down in compliance so that she could wrap her arms around him from her position on her back on the couch. She didn’t know how she had gotten there and she didn’t really care the moment. All that mattered was that Ed was there with her and she clung to him as if for dear life.
“What happened?” His voice was worried as they shifted so she could sit up with him next to her, enabling her to bury her head in his chest as she breathed in the smell that was distinctly him while listening to his heartbeat beneath her ear. “Lorraine?” He never pushed, but this was different. He was worried, afraid for her, and he wanted to know what was going on and how he could help. He wanted to know if they needed to leave right now and never look back. He would hate that because there was definitely something here that this family needed help with, but he would do it for her.
“I don’t know.” Her own voice was muffled and hesitant because she wasn’t sure how to put any of what had happened into words or what any of it really meant. She wasn’t sure she wanted to tell him and give him more to worry about than he already was. But, she also knew that not talking or telling him what had happened, what she had seen, would leave things up to his imagination and that could be a thousand times worse for his anxious wonderings.
She knew he was unhappy with her answer, even without having to look at his face. She could feel it both in how he physically tensed slightly and simply because she knew him so well. “I saw…” How did she explain? She hadn’t told him about her dream in the first place, firmly insisting that that was all it was, despite signs to the contrary. He hadn’t been happy then either, but he had let it go because he had no other choice. She could be quite stubborn about such things when she felt the need to be. She didn’t think he would let it go this time.
“Did you get anything useful from the family?” She asked, knowing as she said it that he wasn’t going to allow the subject switch, even if it wasn’t necessarily the switch it seemed to be. She wanted to know because she needed to figure out what was going on. But, they also needed to communicate and be together on this. There was a reason they tackled things like this from different angles and then came together. They each had their own strengths, but they were stronger as a unit. They both knew that. She wasn’t surprised by his reply. “What did you see?”
She was quiet for a long moment, trying to find some coherent way to tell him and when she couldn’t figure out how to do that, she just started talking. She described the room, the lightbulb, the handprints, the bones, the screams…those awful screams that still partially rang in her head even now, pulling back enough to watch his expression as she talked. It was obvious he really hadn’t experienced any of the things she had. He hadn’t known anything was happening right above his head. And he felt guilty for it because he thought he should have known that something was happening to her and he should have been able to help her.
“Don’t.” She wanted to stroke his face, but reached for his hand instead. “Don’t do the guilt thing. I don’t know what this is, but…we’ll figure it out.” She tried to offer a rather unsuccessful smile before giving up entirely on that. “I saw the bones and heard the screams before.” She admitted softly, her gaze on their entwined hands as he stroked her knuckles gently, a soothing method that neither realized he was using. “In a dream.” She kept her gaze lowered because she knew he would instantly know what ‘dream’ she was talking about. “The one you wouldn’t tell me about.” His tone was hard to read, even for her and she slowly looked up at him again.
“Don’t do the guilt thing.” He replied as soon as he met her eyes. Was he happy about it? Hell no. But, he was even less happy with whatever was happening to his wife and that was where his focus had to lie because he wasn’t going to let this go on indefinitely. He loved her too much for that and her suffering was his. His own attempt at a smirk was as unsuccessful as hers had been, but there was a hint of understanding in it. He wasn’t mad that she hadn’t told him before. Sad, maybe. Wanting to make everything better for her, but not mad.
“We can’t keep this up forever.” He murmured after a moment, more to himself than to her. Each time they faced something like this, each time they accepted a legitimate case…the things she saw and felt and experienced took a part of Lorraine and he was afraid of what would happen when she didn’t have any left to give. The look she gave him told him she knew exactly what he was thinking and she understood. He didn’t have to say any of it. It also said that she wasn’t going to agree. Just as she hadn’t agreed the last time he wanted her to step back. Just like he hadn’t agreed when she had wanted the same of him.
She had let go of him completely by this point, all except his hand. She needed to feel him there, even though he was right beside her, but she had moved past allowing herself to seem so desperate and terrified of everything that had happened. “What did you find out from the family?” She cocked her head slightly as she waited for his answer, knowing he would answer because they were in this whether they wanted to be or not and walking away wasn’t really an option. No matter how much he might want it to be.
He sighed a little before he began to speak. “It sounds like things started before Janet and her friend used the Ouija board.” He finally replied. “Undoubtedly that made things worse as it tends to do, but I don’t think it started it.” He paused for a moment. “It was small things that could be easily explained away. Open doors, open windows. Things moving from one place to the other, but only when no one was there to see them move. Lights going off or water coming on. Strange sounds. Nothing really visible and obvious that would make anyone think anything out of the ordinary was happening. Especially with several people usually in the house at the time. Things that are easy to brush off as someone else being responsible for.”
Lorraine nodded a little as she listened to him speak. “So, you’re thinking the Ouija board just opened the portal more and gave whatever this is more strength?” That made sense. It was after the girls used it that this entity made itself known. That was when the more physical things began to happen that drove the girl to seek them out. “Their acknowledgment and fear was what it needed to manifest…” She sighed and reached up to absently rub her temple with her free hand. She had a headache, but she also knew they needed to figure this out.
“I don’t think it’s just one entity.” She finally admitted softly. “I’m almost certain it’s more than one and…I’m not sure it’s evil.” She hesitated slightly because she didn’t know how to explain what she meant, what she felt. “It’s angry.” She could concede that and angry spirits were nothing to joke about. They both had way too much experience with such things to take them lightly. “But, it also wants something…they want something.” ‘They’ sounded more accurate than ‘it,’ though she couldn’t say just why. “They want something from me, from us, but I don’t know what it is.”
As if the last words had summoned it, there was a familiar sound behind them; the sound of hands slapping glass just as she had heard upstairs before the bloody handprints had appeared. Lorraine winced as they both jumped up from the couch to face the window. This time the message was more clear. This time it wasn’t just a handprint, but the shadow of what looked like an actual hand resting on the window. Above it in bright, dripping blood red was a single word.
We can't keep this up forever...