“What I want to know, is what’s going on,” Sweet said. “I mean, it was freaky enough when it was me—then Andre. After that, we found the girls and now you.”
“I saw a website for a girl in Washington state who had experienced similar things,” Brian contributed. There were more, but when I saw Andre’s site, I decided to contact him cause y’all are so close.”
“How much more?” Ginnifer asked, her green eyes wide and circled with kohl.
“I don’t know. But I brought my laptop with me.” Brian unslung the bag he carried. He booted up his system and waited for the internet hookup. Tapping in the commands, he showed them the sites he’d seen. The list went on for 30 pages.
“This is crazy! It’s all over the country!” Sweet said.
“There’s one form Peru and another from Australia,” Louisa pointed out. “This is world wide.”
“I’m freaking out here,” Ginnifer said, hugging herself. “It’s like the whole world is going crazy!”
“But you notice, the people seeing and reporting this stuff are all between fifteen and nineteen? There’s no one over twenty on any of these pages,” Andre commented, opening one window after another. “And we all start out almost the exact same way, My name is…. and I’m X years old. Almost like a template. The things we describe, really similar and we use the same words—wraiths, ghost in the fog, swamp creatures…. It’s freaky. How likely is it that we’d all write the same way?”
“Not very,” Brian admitted. “I was calling them wraiths in my head, and I barely know what that means.”
“We should contact more of these people,” Ginnifer said in a matter of fact tone. “We need to find out everything we can.”
They went into the main part of the library and each of the others signed up for a computer. Andre set up a Yahoo e-mail account for them to use as a contact and they wrote out a basic e-mail and divided up the sites. Each of them cut and pasted the message to the site owners asking for them to reply via the e-mail address.
It was nearly 6:00 when they finished. Brian had to get home to help his mother with dinner. Andre gave him a ride. On the way, they stopped and picked up his bike from the ditch where he’d dropped it.
Before they left, the five of them exchanged phone numbers with the assurance that the next time something freaky happened, they would call as soon as possible.
“Stay safe,” Ginnifer said, hugging Brian. “You should ask around town and see if anyone you know has been having stuff happen.”
Brian shook his head adamantly. “Nope, not gonna happen. They’ll think I’m stone cold crazy.”
She pouted prettily. “Just a suggestion.”
Louisa didn’t hug Brian, but she did shake his hand, followed by a knuckle bump. “Cajones of pure steel,” she said with a grin. “Be careful.”
They made plans to get together weekly to report on incidents and connect. Brian watched them drive away, feeling suddenly alone. He walked in the door, closing it quietly behind him.
“No, it’s a perfect stranger.”
“Okay. Well, come introduce yourself and help me with this blasted jar.”
Laughing, Brian walked in the kitchen. His mother handed him a jar of spaghetti sauce and another of minced garlic. He opened both. She gave him a kiss.
“Wash up. You’re just in time to check the meat and drain it for me.”
“You got it, Chef!”
“You missed your appointment with Father Ramsey.”
“Oh, crap!” He slapped his forehead. “I’m sorry. I forgot.”
“It’s all right. I’m glad you were out with friends. You spend too much time with me,” she commented quietly. “You need to be around young people.”
“I like being here, Mom. Most of the kids here aren’t that interesting. I mean, we get along okay….”
She stopped him, putting her hand on his cheek. “I know, honey. I understand that probably better than most parents. I was always the outsider, the loner. It’s not easy. But at least you learn how to be strong and rely on yourself.”
Brian smiled and nodded. His mother patted his cheek.
“Can’t hear a smile, kiddo.”
© 2016 Dellani Oakes