Characters Environments 
Author Marian Parisher-Nichols
Poems and short stories, free to read.
"When I write, I shoot from the hip!"
 

Chapter Two; the Psychic

Weeks have pass since Myra’s incidence at the deserted mansion; it is now the second week of August.  The local sheriff questioned Myra extensively about the corpse discovered there; she passes on everything she knows except the knowledge of Mariah.  Reluctantly she gave them the Bible and they promised to return it to her.  Myra safe returned relieves her parents and they think it is unwise for her to travel alone.

Although Myra is gratified to be home, she is at odds with herself, tense nerves, sleeping restlessly with horrific nightmares, little or no appetite and hallucinations!  She is seeing fleeting, bizarre shadows in her peripheral vision, and transient, blurred faces in mirrors.  She readily lays this on her paranormal experience with Mariah, and the stormy night spent in Worthington Manor.  The county provided a funeral for Mariah at the cemetery in Spring Hope and she visits the grave almost daily in anticipation of contact with the spirit.

Since then, Myra has been uneasy whenever alone.  At times, when alone in her bedroom with Bandit, a blue-eyed Siamese, the cat will react to an imperceptible foe with hunched back, bushed tail, bared claws, hissing, and then taking refuge under the bed or a chair.  She feels continuously under surveillance, and feels she is losing touch with reality for there seems to be no reason for her apprehension.  She conceals this terror from her parents; for she feels she cannot confide in them just now, for definitely they will bring in a psychiatrist.  She has no resources to aid her in solving this mystical dilemma; she needs an expert; she needs a psychic.

           

 

Meanwhile, Mariah’s existence has settled back into the same monotonous routine.  The authorities investigated the interior and exterior of Worthington Manor using strange yellow tape to block off portions of the house.  The most traumatic episode is when men in white coats came and remove her body, but now at least she will have a Christian burial and a final resting-place.  Oddly, Mariah is able to attend her own funeral by forces yet unknown.  Since then she has met Myra at the gravesite consistently although, she has not materialized.

With summer vacation nearing an end, Myra is very aware, that time is fast running out for her to bring this crisis to a resolution, for she returns to collage in the fall.  She tackles the Internet and performs detail searches until she identifies and locates the one person who could possibly assist.

Dr.  Adrian Grey is a well-known psychic, Myra sends multiple e-mails yet he does not reply.  She finally confides completely to him before he responds:

“Hello Myra,

I am intrigue by your problem and will be in your area this weekend.  Send me your phone number and I will call you when I arrive.

Dr. Adrian Grey.”

           

His call comes through at two thirty Friday afternoon and they agree to meet that evening at five on the front steps of the public library.  Myra drives alone to meet Dr. Grey.

After arriving at his motel, Dr. Grey contemplates the vague information that this young woman has given him.  Anything concerning the paranormal is magnetism to his psyche and he cannot ignore it, especially an actual sighting of a “spirit,” must less a verbal encounter with one.  He must prove to himself that this encounter is not a hoax and there is only one-way to do that; he should investigate it for himself.

He calls Myra later that afternoon, arranging to meet her that evening at the public library on Falls Road.

Adrian stands a little over six feet tall with a lean muscular frame and distinguishing good looks.  After a mid-day meal at the motel's restaurant, he calls a cab and leaves for his appointment with Myra.

           

While stopped at a traffic signal, Myra checks the rear view mirror but instead of the expected traffic, she sees an horrific creature taking up most of the rear seat.  It is a hideous, malformed ghoul with enormous, blazing, eerie red eyes; a large, flaring snout that breathe flame; its mouth has drool dribbling; it has yellow, jagged teeth with two elongated fangs which are twisting over the enlarged bottom lip.  The skin of this demon is rubbery gray and scaly like a snake.  Myra quickly turns away, hoping this is just another hallucination.  Gathering her nerve, she looks again but the creature remains. The ghoul suddenly grabs her with grotesque claws, and the vile odor of its searing breath nauseates her.  Myra attempts to scream, but it grasps her by the throat depriving her of air.  She suffers the heat of its flesh as it burns her delicate skin and she feels herself slipping into unconsciousness, then it vanishes!  Thankfully, the signal light is still red, the other commuters have not noticed anything out of the ordinary and all seems normal, even to her.

This attack happens at the intersection near the library and quickly she pulls her car into the parking lot and hits the brakes hard causing the tires to squeal.  Hastily she climbs out of her car, her entire body is trembling barely able to speak, she pleads for help.  Observing her distress, a stranger, of about thirty, comes to her aid.  He can tell she is near shock so he gently guides her by the arm to a bench in the library parking lot.

“Are you all right, Miss.  What happened?  Are you injured?” he asks with great concern.  Myra gazes vaguely into his face; he has serene, bluish gray eyes, a slight Roman nose, a deep tan and a kind smile.  His muscular arms are still supporting her and before she can answer, he speaks again, “How did you get these burns?”

This stranger looks trustworthy enough, “I am so sorry but I glance in my mirror and there was this… thing… sitting in my back seat.  I guess I over reacted, but it looked so real, and it grabs my throat, trying to strangle me.  I know there was something there, why else would I have these marks on my neck,” Myra touches the burns and they are very tender.

Taking her by the upper arms, this stranger assisted her in standing then stares directly into her tearful eyes and said, “I bet you're Myra.”  She nods her head; “I am Dr. Adrian Grey” he pauses, “I knew we had an appointment for this afternoon, just didn’t think it would be this dramatic,” he chuckles.  Lifting up her hair, he inspects the burn marks, “These seem to be superficial, no scaring I think, but you should be seen by your doctor.  Would you like me to call someone for you?”

“No, my parents have gone out, and I don't want to ruin their evening, I’ll be fine,” Myra’s voice quivers.  “I’ll go home and put on an ointment… but my car.”  Her voice trails to a whisper.

The doctor interrupts her, “Not to worry, I would find it a privilege to drive you; only I came here by cab.  We'll need to take your car.  Think you can make it?” he looks questionably into her violet eyes.

“I’m not too sure, it might happen again!” she is genuinely frightened.

“Wouldn’t dare with me at the wheel!” he proclaims with a confident smile, meant to calm her fears.  Again, she nods and allows him to guide her to the passenger side of her car.  After fastening her seat belt he remarks, “Ordinarily I would not advise a young lady to go with a stranger, so to make you feel at ease with me, here are my credentials.”  He pulls out his wallet and shows her his driver’s license, next a business card stating he is a medical doctor with John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland.

“I am a medical doctor but paranormal activities are sort of a side line with me, but I do have a PHD in parapsychology.”

“Dr. Grey,” she pauses,” your reputation precedes you and I feel quite safe, thank you,” this said with the up most sincerity.

“Please, I'm Adrian to my friends, Dr. Grey was my father,” he gives her a modest smile and a perceptive wink, and then climbs into the driver’s seat.  They talk seriously about Mariah and the demon that attacked her, while she gives directions to her home.

“This case, I sense, involves a spirit that's trapped on the Earthly plane, also known as the Quantum plane, due to a disaster beyond its control.  And until it is rectified the spirit will linger here until The Judgment,” Dr. Grey glances at Myra briefly to see her reaction.  “It has been, what, well over century now, and the one who killed her has long ago died without his crime discovered or punished.  So essentially, he has gotten away with murder, at least in this world, but the next.  That spirit too is trapped in the Quantum plane the same as Mariah.  Neither of them can move on until he is confronted with his crime, when this occurs Mariah will be free to go to a higher plane.  I think what attacked you is probably a demon; spirits do not have the ability to touch mortals.  Some how these two entities are working together, a demon and a spirit.  I have heard of this before.  It is rare, but in some way each will profit from keeping this spirit earthbound.  What that is I can’t say just now.”  The doctor pauses and takes a deep breath then glances at Myra for a response.

She also takes a long breath and replies, “So what this incubus wants, is to prevent us from exposing it?”  Myra looks to the doctor and he nods deliberately.

“I see!”  She finishes.

“To it, eternity free here on Earth is better than the alternative which is Perdition.”  This time Myra nods her head.

“We're here, this path goes up to the house,” Myra indicates a long drive that leads to her home.  The one level, modern, brick residence sets fifty feet or so back off the main drive, so the doctor turns the vehicle onto this path and steers it down the unpaved gravel entrance.  Approaching the house, you see a well-kept lawn, with low shrubs growing close to the front and sides.  A magnolia tree is on the west corner of the lot and a very old, gnarled oak that is older than the house, grows on the east lawn.  Behind the house in the very back, grow five or six tall, thin pines, standing at attention, slightly swaying in the warm summer breeze.  Magnificence roses are growing in the side garden, with day lilies and tall sunflowers placed at the back.  Situated near its center is a goldfish pond with a fountain spurting an umbrella spray, around it are arranged smooth stones with cattails and water lilies floating on the glassy surface.  Adrian maneuvers the car with ease and stops it at the front steps of her home; he leaps out, swings around to her side and assists her from the car.

“Well this is it” she sighs.  “I see Mom and Dad aren't home yet.”  She looks about then asks, “Care to come in?”

“Tell you what, I will but just long enough to call a cab,” he replies.

“I am so sorry for this, having to bring me home and then call a cab to go back to your motel,” she apologizes earnestly.  With that, she leads him to her front door, he unlocks it for her with her set of keys then hands them to her.

“If you would, call a cab for me and I'll wait out here.”

Myra starts to argue, but he stops her with, “No argument now, your folks aren't home so this is best for now.”  His smile lights up his steel gray eyes, so with a tiny smile of her own she goes and does as she is bided, returning a few moments later.

“The cab is on the way.  Let's sit in the garden while we wait,” she suggested.  There are concrete benches scattered about, and they choose one close to the goldfish pond.  The water is clear with sparkling bits of white light dancing across its surface.  Waves are slightly lapping at the sides of the pool, and you can easily see the little orange fishes lazily swimming.  The  butterflies, bees and an occasional dragonfly which are darting here and there, gives this warm, summer evening a feeling of tranquilly.  Along with the gurgling song of the fountain, the chirping of birds, crocking of frogs and the clicking of unseen crickets, creates one of nature’s melodies.

“You know you really should have those burns tended to,” he takes a closer look at them.

“I did, I smeared a bit of ointment there while inside, really I am feeling much better,” she assured him.

“Well, that's good, so what do you do with your time, Myra?” he asks.

Myra enlightens him of her future plans, she goes to the University of North Carolina, she starts her third year this fall although she is only eighteen.  She explains how she graduated from high school two years early for she is an advanced student with an IQ of 145.  However, her parents objected to her placement too far ahead feeling she would be deprived of her childhood.  She is an English Major working on a bachelor degree, while also studying economics.  She is also taking courses in business management and accounting, wanting a well-rounded education.

“You really have a lot on your plate.  Ever feel overwhelmed?” he inquires.

“No, not really, though I don't get to do everything I would like.  I don't seem to have the same interests as the other girls.  They are more concerned with partying and boys than with getting an education and the boys are so juvenile,” here she wrinkles up her nose, “I don't have a lot in common with most of them, so I pretty much keep to myself.”

Adrian throws back his head in a hearty laugh.  “Well, I must say, you do speak your mind.  But tell me, your hair,” he touches it lightly, “Is this natural?”

Smiling passively, Myra glimpses his way and heaves a sigh, she is ask this question numerous times.  She explains that a gene in her mother's family line causes a few of the females to have hair without the necessary pigments, the hair is not white; it just lacks color.  This gene is also associated with the higher IQ and the violet eyes; it skips every other generation, both male and female carry the gene but only the females have the trait.  A woman with the gene and the trait will pass it on to both son and daughter though neither will show the trait.  They in turn will also pass it to son and daughter, but the daughter will most likely, but not always, actually shows the trait.  Myra is the first one in two generations to have the hair color, eye color and high IQ!

“We have been told that it is a form of Albinism, although instead of pale blue eyes, I have purple or violet color eyes.”  Myra pauses for a moment waiting for a response when none is forthcoming she continues, “You know, A---Adrian,” she stumbles over his given name, “I'm sorry, Adrian, I hadn't told you this yet but the ghost, Mariah and I, are indistinguishable from each other.”

“You need to fill me in with the particulars,” his instinct tells him there is a great deal more than currently has been told, so Myra relates the missing bits.

“I know we must be related somehow, this form of Albinism is too rare for us two not to be relatives,” Myra concludes.

“I think you are probably correct which, in all probability, explains why you were on that stretch of road that night,” he examines her face.  “I don't believe it was just by coincidence, an infinite force guided you there.  Myra, because you do look precisely like Mariah, this has me believing that you will play a large part in saving her,” he states this emphatically.  “You contend that the heavy rains caused your car to hydroplane and swerve, then hit the ditch, which I'm sure is the case, but the rest was out of your control, you were uninjured, am I accurate so far?”  Myra nods in the affirmative.  “This confirms more than we first suspected.”  Adrian pauses for a brief breath then presses on.  “This manor house is set back off the main road, it is impossible to be seen by anyone on a clear day, must less someone on a dark and stormy night.”  Again, he studies her.

“But I did see it quite clearly, and it was only a few feet from the road on that particular night,” she insisted.  “It took me just minutes to reach it, and strangely enough after entering the old house I felt quite safe, protected even, I fell to sleep and slept the whole night even though the storm was furious.  I had no worries or concerns the next morning when I went exploring, I felt like a child playing hide-and-seek, a game,” this said in wonderment.  “In the bedroom where Mariah's portrait hangs, it felt so familiar, you know that feeling of deja-vu,” she states emphatically.  “But when I do leave it takes nearly an hour to make it back to my car,” she pauses briefly, digesting this revelation.  “Mariah is my ancestor, I don't know how but I am sure of it.  I am committed to proving it too with some major research,” she states frankly, “but haven't had the opportunity as yet.”

“But we will!” replies Adrian with emphasis on “we.”  Suddenly, chillingly swift Adrian stands, seizes Myra by her upper left arm, pulls her to her feet and drags her unceremoniously in the direction of the house.  In astonishment, she starts struggling, thinking him mad.  “Run Myra!  Your life depends on it,” hearing this, and the obvious warning in his voice, frantically, she starts running!

Unseen and unfelt to Myra, Adrian senses the Darkness, a pulsating blackish gray mist giving off electrical sparks and hissing as a snake, is advancing on them, but Adrian with his inner sense is forewarn!  Together they rush into the open front door, where Adrian quickly shuts it, breathing fast he looks at Myra; “I can't leave you here alone.”

“What was it?” he could hear the fear in her voice, see the terror in her eyes and feel the trembles of her entire body.

“I'm not positive, but most likely it's the beast that attacked you while you were driving.”  He explains.  “It is determined to get you, and it will unless you are protected.  And it looks like I'm the one chosen for the job.  You are not aware of it when it is invisible, only when it materializes do you know it is near-by and by then it could be too late.  I sense that it is getting stronger, with each attempt that it makes, but now I am also one of its targets.”  Adrian speaks rapidly as though this information needs revealing quickly or it might be too late.

“What can we do?” inquires Myra.

“We need to talk with a minister or a priest and have your home blessed, so you will have a place of safety, where you cannot be molested.”  He looks around the room.

They are standing in the foyer, to the left is the living room and to the right is a long hall.  The first door, along the hall, leads to a small study.  He chooses the living room, and leads her in that direction.

Myra sits down on the edge of the sofa and clenches her hands so tightly together that the knuckles turn white, she turns a questioning face up to Adrian who is standing a little above her, silently asking him what to do.  As if reading her mind and he was, he smiles and sits beside her, taking her hands in his, he speaks in soft tones;

“Things are going to be just fine.  I'm asking a nice lady I know to come in and be your companion until this is over.  She also has psychic powers; she’s my mother.  She's in upper New York State; I might be able to get her here by Sunday.  Is that okay with you?”  Again, Myra nods with a blank stare.  He cups his hand under her chin and lifts up her face, she raises downcast eyes up to meet his, “Myra, are you all right?”  Again, she nods, “I think you need a drink.”  He heads for the liquor cabinet and locates a bottle of brandy.  Pouring her a small glass, he carries it back to her.  “Drink this slowly,” he places it in her hand and guides it to her mouth.  She sips it; looks at him and a faint smile forms on her lips.  “There now, that's better.”  Looking at his watch, he sees it is nearly nine, and the sun is almost set beyond the horizon, “Your folks will be home soon and my cab has come and gone, so we'll just wait for them.”

Thirty minutes later Myra parents arrive home and in a few minutes enter the house.  On entering the living room, their daughter and a stranger greets them.  Myra's father, Jonathan O'Keefe, a man of forty-nine with graying temples is a lawyer.  Her mother, Frances, forty-four; a petite auburn-hair beauty, is a high school history teacher.

Myra makes the introductions and the explanations begin.  Myra is grateful for Adrian’s presence, for without his calm demeanor and intelligent input on this unearthly subject her parents, practical and steadfast people, would never have believed this story.  When all explanations are completed, her folks look at each other in bewilderment.  What to say, what can they say; this is too preposterous for words.  They embrace their daughter tenderly, demanding to know why she has not come to them before now.

Adrian continues with the outline of what plans they have hastily drawn up:

 

First: They would not leave Myra alone.

Second:  He would fly in his mother to act as Myra’s companion.

Third:  Arrangements would be made for the minister to bless the house.

Fourth:  Adrian would move into the guestroom.

Fifth:  Serious research would begin to learn Myra's family history.

Six:  Back to Worthington Manor.

Seventh:  Would take care of itself.

           

Mariah is concerned for Myra's well being, knowing she is in immense danger from the Dark Spirit, who pursued her from Worthington Manor.  This incubus will do its up most to stop this mission now begun.  An ally has rallied to assist in this venture for Mariah's liberation, a psychic with immense powers even he does not know he possesses.  He recruits his mother to be Myra's companion, for she is most vulnerable to attacks when left alone.  A blessing on Myra as well as her home will give a measure of protection against this incubus.  Mariah seeks to give aid and booster Myra's spirit, for bleakness has taken over her personality, she carries a heavy burden in her heart, the same one Mariah carries.  Mariah visits Myra in her dreams and the two have developed a closeness shared only by mothers and daughters.  Mariah helps her increase her strength so she can endure the unendurable, for the worst is yet to come.

A stage is being set at Worthington Manor; Mariah knows that Myra and Adrian must make a return visit to the manor.  The wraith has taken up residence once more on the third floor, reserving its energy and growing stronger to do battle with this atypical army.  Having lost one skirmish of this war, the Dark Spirit is biding its time until the battle returns to Worthington Manor.

           

Mr. O’Keefe invites Cyrus McGregor, the family minister from the First Baptist Church across town to Monday night dinner, which he graciously accepts.  Reverend McGregor is in his early seventies, a gray hair portly gentleman whom most people love right from the start.  He has an infectious smile and a benevolent way of speaking that makes you yearn to hear him.

Dr.  Grey's mother, Carol, by now has flown down from upper New York and has settled in with Myra, both share the queen size bed.  She is in her early fifties with dark hair peppered with white, worn mid-length and parted on one side.  She is rather tall for a woman; about five foot ten, with wire-frame glasses, a slender build and is stern face with a no non-sense attitude.

A little before seven on Monday evening, Reverend McGregor arrives for this dinner invitation.  The entire family greets him warmly, but with the perception of wisdom, he quickly sees the uneasiness of the whole household.

Family and company make their way to the dinning area at the back of the house.  This is a long narrow room running the length of the house with the exterior wall constructed mainly of several large one pane windows, which allowed for viewing the beautiful garden.  They are seated, and Adrian and Myra end up next to each other.

The family cook serves a real southern meal with the traditional favorites: for which she receives high praise   Gerti has been with the O'Keefe family since before the birth of Myra.

“Aha, y'all ain’t taste nothin' yit, wait 'till yous gits a load of my chocla' cake.  I am puts extra pecans on these top.  Shore is somthin', I's tellin yous, yea sir, shore is.”  With that, she waddles out of the dining room, back in the direction of the kitchen.

Asked to give grace, the reverend does so graciously, ending with a personal blessing on the family.  “Tis a fine day for sure, but it's gloomy faces I see, there a problem I take it, care to tell me about it?” he loafs along with the Irish accent not lost in thirty odd years since leaving Ireland.  The wise eyes of the kindly minister glance about the dinner table.

Myra's father makes the first move, explaining the circumstances to his old friend, who listens with furrows across his forehead, indicating the seriousness of this predicament.  After the meal, the family and guests retreat to the living room where Gerti's daughter, Melinda, serves coffee and brandy.  The conversation is grave, and plans discussed centers on how best to handle the exorcism of the Dark Spirit from Worthington Manor.

The blessing of the O’Keefe’s occurs tonight, before the reverend leaves.  He requests two, identical, amber colored glasses, and a bottle of olive oil brought before him.

Melinda retrieves to a bottle of holy water from the Reverend’s car.  Gerti brings in the two glasses and an unopened bottle of olive oil.  Mrs. O'Keefe brings in several candles and two Incense Burners and places them in front of the pastor.

Everyone stand and join hands with bowed heads as the Blessings take place.  First, each glass is half filled, one with water, the other with olive oil, and then each glass is individually blessed.  With this done each candle is also blessed individually, and then the two Incense Burners.  They light the candles and place one in each room of the house, with instructions that as they burn down another is to take its place.  They fire up the incense Burners and place one at the front door and the other at the back; they must keep these burning at all times.  They carry one each of blessed glasses of oil and water to each room and sprinkle some of the liquid at doors and windows.  Each person in the house is also sprinkled and blessed.

A ceremony now takes place on the front lawn to bless the house itself.

Reverend McGregor faces the house, dashes what is left of the oil and water around the door and steps, then bows his head briefly.  He then spreads his arms and in an authoritative voice, invokes the resident demon to vacate the O'Keefe's home:

 

“I exorcise this creature of old, all power of the adversary; all diabolical armies; all hostile attack; eliminating every satanic apparition, and all who use this would have health of mind and body!  All those who are sick would be free of all weakness, languor, listlessness, all sickness and freed of any snares of the enemy and all the opposing powers that separate your creature from you.  Be gone I demand you.  Inhabit these dwellings no longer.  In the name of Christ I caste thee out.”

Dropping his arms in weariness, the mild minister continues to pray while gazing at the O'Keefe's home.  It is now well past midnight, the Blessings are completed, and at the last spoken prayer, a low rumble begins beneath their feet as a terrifying earthquake shakes the home and grounds.  There are cries of surprise and reaching out to each other for support, not comprehending just what is taking place.  An unearthly shriek erupts from the house as a yellowish green, iridescent fog ¾imaging the hideous face of the demon in agonizing pain¾ rises skyward and disperses.

The little assembly is hypnotized by what they see and for a minute are rooted where they stand.  Myra reacts first with sobs while covering her face with both hands.  Adrian puts his arms about her shoulders and talking softly reassures her that for now things are safe.  The family and company together, go back into the house, for none will be able to sleep this night.  Myra's parents, with the scene they have just witnessed, are now confirmed believers in the evils in this world that most people choose not to see.

During this long disturbing night, the little congregation have open discussions on the episode they have all witnessed, more prayers are said, this time with more sincerely and intenseness than before.  Everyone is tired, and the events have exhausted Myra for she finally dozes off with her head resting on Adrian shoulder.  Myra's mother and Mrs. Grey help her to her room and put her to bed, where she sleeps to the late afternoon.  At dawn the rest of the family also takes to their beds with Adrian opting for the sofa so his mother may have his room, this so that Myra can sleep without being disturbed.  They sleep until noon, when Gerti comes in for her job as cook; this awakes the family, all but Myra, who sleeps exhaustedly.