Copyright (c) 2017 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
A truck with Jack’s Towing printed on the side skidded to a stop in front of the sisters as they ran across the road in front of the old Walker house. The driver’s door banged open. For a moment Cheryl was startled when Jack Summers smiled broadly as he climbed from his vehicle. Why did he look so happy? This was all his fault; if he had repaired the car properly her car wouldn’t have broken down. Cheryl noticed the passenger as he climbed out the other door. The man was older than Jack and wore a perpetual leer on his face. “Why did the two chickens cross the road?” He laughed at his stupid joke.
Cheryl ignored him and spoke to Jack as she tried to catch her breath. Her little sister Beth was panting beside her. “Don’t worry about towing my car right now,” Cheryl told him. “Just give us a ride home and you can come back for it later … I’ll pay you for the extra charge.”
“Can you hear her Jack? She wants to pay us!” The older man was giggling then suddenly his voice thickened and his eyes went cold. “Honey, you ain’t got enough money in the world to get you out of the trouble you’re in!”
“Who the hell is that?” Beth said pointing to the leering man.
“Ed Harker is my partner,” Jack said looking up and down the highway.
“I thought you worked at your shop alone.” Cheryl was starting to get a bad feeling.
“I do,” Jack said. “But repairing cars is not my only vocation.”
“Are you going to give us a ride or not?” Beth was getting angry.
“Who called you?” Cheryl hadn’t noticed any other car lights since she had picked her sister up at the cheese factory at midnight.
“I’m afraid no one did,” Jack said. “We don’t really give a damn about your car … what we’re after is inside this house.”
“Our dead sister is in that upstairs room with the light coming from the window,” Beth threatened the men as she pointed. “I wouldn’t go in there if I was you … or you’re apt to meet up with a real ghost!”
“Oh I’m counting on it,” Jack said as he produced a large caliber revolver from under his grease-stained jacket. ‘And you two are going in there with us!”
“Run!” Cheryl screamed as she tried to kick Jack. Harker was quick for an old man. He grabbed Beth by her long hair and held a knife to her throat.
“Just do everything you’re told and you won’t get hurt,” Jack promised as he pulled a large travel bag from the truck’s back. Then after he’d retrieved several objects from between the interior seats and placed them into the bag, the two men dragged the girls toward the old house.
The old phonograph playing Broken Hearted Melody stopped abruptly when the four entered the darkened parlor. The lights flickered on. Jack laid the bag carefully in a corner. “Where did you see your dead sister?” He didn’t wait for an answer as he twisted Cheryl’s arm behind her back. Her scream brought a rustling sound from the room above. “In the bedroom upstairs,” Cheryl moaned. “But she’s not really there … it’s only her spirit.”
“Was she alone?” Jack twisted her arm some more. For the first time Cheryl detected a note of fear in his voice.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Cheryl cried. “When we saw her spirit … we ran.”
“We’ll do whatever you say … but don’t hurt us!” Beth begged. Ed Harker shoved her to the floor. “You said you were going to capture one ghost.” He pointed at Jack’s bag. “Will that bottle you paid a fortune for hold more than one?”
“The ancient Egyptians crafted this bottle as a gift to Osiris.” Jack took the wrapped glass container from the bag and opened it carefully. He held the stoppered jar up to the light admiring its beauty. “It is designed to hold a single soul for eternity.” He carefully replaced the bottle in the bag and then tossed Harker a roll of duct tape and a package of nylon-ties. “Bind their hands and make sure they don’t make a sound until we’re ready,” he told Harker. “This Hecka must be performed with the utmost caution.”
“For one-hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars you’d think the bottle would be bigger,” Harker growled as he taped both girls’ mouths, bound their hands and pushed them up the stairs.
“I don’t see any ghosts,” Harker complained as he led the girls into the bedroom. He shoved them into the corner farthest from the door and then peered under the bed. “Come out come out wherever you are!” From somewhere in the house a door slammed … and then another.
Heavy footsteps sounded as someone paced the floor in the attic.
“Perfect!” Jack saw a round table in one corner of the bedroom. He dragged the table to the center of the room, then took a bottle from the bag and several yellowed towels and began cleaning.
“Why don’t you make these bitches do that?” Harker licked his lips. “That would make two things they’re good for!”
“These ancient Egyptian ceremonies must be done in a precise manner of which you know nothing about,” Jack told him. “This water comes from a sacred well in Abydos and the towels I’m using are from the holy temple of Seti.”
“Be quick about whatever the hell you’re doing,” Harker said flicking open a switch blade knife. “I want to hear these girls beg to let them pleasure me.” Jack had just finished the cleaning ritual. He removed a faded roll of linen from the bag.
“Is that more rotten cloth you got from some mummy?” Harker sneered.
Jack positioned the cloth carefully over the glistening table. His voice betrayed a hint of growing annoyance. “This is the burial shroud of Nespeqashuty. Two of the men that I hired died stealing it from a private collector in Germany!”
“You’ve spent a fortune collecting a lot of Egyptian junk,” Harker grumbled. “Yet you run a crummy repair shop in a dinky town like Cloverdale. If I had your loot, I’d be living it up in Las Vegas.”
“Some things are more important than money,” Jack told him. “I’ve studied every aspect of this ceremony for years. Having what you most desired in life to gaze upon for eternity takes patience and planning.”
Harker was running his knife blade across Beth’s neck causing her to make moaning sounds behind the duct tape. From outside the wind rose and a shutter began to bang against the window frame then all the shutters.
“I need a tiny bit of blood from someone,” Jack carefully un-wrapped a knife with an elaborately jeweled handle. “This is one of the ceremonial daggers used by the ancient priests of Dagos when they drew blood as an offering to Horus, the God of Vengeance.” He laid the knife on the table. “Having killed those other women these past months I’ve learned it isn’t really necessary … any blood will do … obtained in any way!” The pistol he’d threatened Cheryl and Beth with earlier appeared in his hand. “I shouldn’t have involved you in this at all Harker. You’re a disgusting pig and a would-be-rapist. You’re not worthy to stand in the same room as Janna Stone, even if she is no longer living.” The blast from the Magnum 44 slammed Harker into the wall and he slumped to a pile on the floor. “Sorry about the mess,” Jack said conversationally.
The lights in the room dimmed … and then brightened.
Jack dragged both girls to the center of the room and sat them a few feet apart. He dipped a cloth in Harker’s blood and drew a circle around both girls. Then he placed the strange Osiris bottle on the burial shroud of Nespeqashuty and also outlined it with blood. “You don’t know how many sacred and very expensive burial cloths I’ve ruined perfecting this ritual,” Jack said as he removed the duct-tape gags from both sisters. “These women in Cloverdale weren’t the only ones I’ve killed … It took more than a dozen killings in California just to get the diameters of the blood circles right.”
The sound of an invisible fire consuming wood filled the room along with heat … but quickly dissipated along with a black cloud of smoke.
Both girls were coughing. Jack produced a bottle of Coke, ripped the duct tape from the sister’s mouths and forced each girl to take a drink.
“You’re nothing but a cold blooded murderer! My sister wouldn’t have anything to do with you when she was alive and she sure as hell won’t after she’s dead!” Beth gagged as the fizzy liquid ran down her chin.
“Don’t waste your breath … he’s a psychopath,” Cheryl said after she swallowed.
The sound of cats fighting in the kitchen below, ended in a crash as multiple dishes fell to the floor.
Jack ignored her. “It’s true Janna never loved me … but I’m counting on her love for her sisters to cross a blood circle.”
The red painted walls in the room turned to liquid and began to drip.
Beth laughed him to scorn. “My older sister was no fool. She’s right inside this room listening to everything you say. You think she’s just going to let you take her soul?”
“In time your sister will appear,” Jack told them.
“You’re going to be waiting forever,” Cheryl vowed.
“Not really,” Jack said glancing at his wrist-watch. “That Coke a Cola you both gulped down so easily contains poison used by the priests of Luxor to end their lives quickly should the sacred city ever be taken by enemies.” Jack produced another bottle from his coat pocket. “I have the only know antidote in my hand for the Real Thing. Unless your dearly departed sister enters one of my blood circles in less than one minute both of you will join her for eternity.”
The music downstairs boomed with ear shattering volume … then began to play at high speed in reverse.
“Janna will never do what you want,” Beth shouted.
“Love is the most powerful thing in this world and hopefully in the next.” Jack said as he removed the wooden stopper from the bottle. “I know … the love of your sister has shaped every waking moment of my life for almost two decades. The first lingering soul to cross a circle of blood will be trapped inside this bottle for eternity.”
“Don’t do it, Janna!” Cheryl yelled as she looked around the room blindly. “We all have to go sometime … at least we’ll be together!”
“At least you won’t be alone,” Beth agreed.
“What do we do now?” Cheryl’s voice was beginning to sound far away.
“We wait,” Jack said. “Either way … it won’t be long!” He looked at his watch again and began to giggle. “Less than twenty seconds!”
With a tremendous explosion all the glass blew out of the upstairs windows and a translucent Janna appeared floating in the air moving toward her sisters.
“No!” Cheryl and Beth both moaned.
“There’s only one person I love more than you two … and he’s already on this side,” Janna’s voice was like soft rain. “This is your only chance!”
A tremendous pounding and howling came from below the kitchen … something large was trying to break down the basement door. Beth and Cheryl closed their eyes and fell silent. Only Janna witnessed what happened next.
Jack’s triumphant laughter turned to a scream as he toppled forward, falling on Cheryl. A bloodied Ed Harker had staggered to his feet and managed to shove his switch blade knife deep into his former friend’s back. “I may be all that you say,” Harker mumbled as he swayed over the newly made corpse … but I ain’t going to die alone!” Then he pitched forward.
The room filled with burst upon burst of colored light and then suddenly turned black. Hundreds of birds could be heard beating their wings through every room in the house before the lights came on. Harker lay slumped across his former friend inside the blood circle. An ethereal vapor glowing with green and orange twists swirled upward from the dead men and moved across the room and entered the bottle with a loud sucking sound. “It is over,” Janna said as she picked up Jack’s antidote and at the same time placed the wooden stopper on the bottle.
Light was coming through unbroken windows the next morning when Cheryl and Beth woke-up on the floor. Birds were singing in the trees outside. An inch of dust covered everything including the round table in the corner. Only two sets of footprints showed anyone had entered the room. “I know this sounds weird.” Beth looked around. “I had the strangest dream … about Janna!”
“I think she will always haunt our thoughts,” Cheryl told her. “All I know for sure is that our car broke down and we came in here to find a phone.”
“We better get a move on,” Cheryl told her sister. “We probably have a long walk back to Cloverdale.”
The old Walker House felt strangely quiet, almost peaceful, as they walked through the dusty rooms and closed the front door behind them. “I don’t understand why people say this house is haunted,” Beth laughed.
“It’s a miracle!” Cheryl shouted for joy when her car started. It was running better than it ever had.
“In my dream our dead sister Janna was trying to tell us something,” Beth mused as she closed her eyes and smiled.
“Love never dies,” Cheryl said. “I could feel her presence in that house too when I woke up … as if she’d been watching over us all night.”
“It’s a good thing she did,” Beth said. “Having a murderer loose in this part of Montana gives me the creeps.”
The automobile was just a speck and a rumble in the distance when a grinding noise followed by a clunk came from the parlor of the old Walker house. A dusty 45rpm record dropped onto a spinning turntable and began to softly play Broken Hearted Melody by Sarah Vaughan. Upstairs ghostly footsteps sounded … as if someone was dancing. Across the room, on a dusty shelf next to a framed photograph of the Pyramid of Khafre a strange bottle began to vibrate ever so slightly. It would have taken a living person with a magnifying glass to see the ghostly figures of two men inside arguing as they beat on the sides of the unbreakable glass … trapped for eternity.
THE END ?