The Terra-Belle Ghost, Chapter 13

A tall, thin young man walked away from three of his peers in a huff. “What? You’re crazy!”

            “No, I mean it!” the short, scraggly girl in the middle insisted as a shadowy trio followed him. “You’re so lucky you got to meet the undead!” Ellie, Fletcher, Ginger, Aleck, Phoebe, and I set our books down on the table in front of us and tuned in to this nearby conversation.

            “He tried to kill my girlfriend, I’d hardly call that lucky!” The young man picked a book up off of the shelf and feigned interest in perusing it with the hopes of convincing the odd bunch to retreat.

            The hefty boy who wore his black hood up argued, “No, he would have made her undead, which is way better! You could literally be together forever!”

            Shaking his head, the young man countered, “I’d rather live her, not die! Or undie! Whatever! Same thing!”

            “No, it’s not!” the lanky, pot-marked guy debated. “That’s gonna be life from now on! The sooner you embrace it, the happier you’ll be in the long run!”

            “Will you leave me alone?” The young man frowned as he gazed at the content of the literature he had chosen, tossed it on the table closest to him, and marched away from the darkly clothed threesome.

            After the young man passed our table, I stood up and blocked the ghoulish gang’s path, and then I addressed them, “How many different ways does he have to say no to you before you’ll get the hint?”

            The scraggly girl protested, “But Jeffrey needs to be saved!”

            I retorted, “Listen, I hate to break it to you… That’s not true, I thoroughly enjoy it… The world isn’t coming to an end anytime soon! And I’m not giving you an extension on your project, so none of the weird rituals you have set for tonight will excuse you from turning it in on time!” The shady set glared at me and walked away muttering words that would probably have landed them in detention if class was in session!

            Feeling rather proud of myself for successfully barring them from harassing Jeffrey, I rejoined the Ghost League and remarked, “That FAUK club is getting way too powerful!”

            “Indeed,” Aleck concurred. “I’ve seen a sudden spike in dropouts too! But we can talk about that later! Right now, Sir Pompous Dorkington is talking to your boy!”

            “No!” I bolted out of my chair to search for them.

            A couple of rows away, I found that Casper had pulled Jeffrey to a small clearing by a small, open window and very gallantly offered him advice, “Layer on the eyeliner! Don’t worry, no one can tell you’re wearing it, and it’ll help ward off the evil spirits who cross your path!”

            I cracked a smile as I casually leaned against a shelf and quipped, “Did you forget to wear it during your cotton ball attack?”

            “Well… You know, nothing is ever a hundred percent!” Casper stammered.

            “I don’t wanna ward off evil spirits or join them!” Jeffrey moaned. “Maybe I should just drop out and stay home ‘til this is all over!”

            This was absolutely unacceptable to me! I put a hand on his shoulder and affirmed, “Don’t do that! No evil spirit is gonna harm you! Not while I’m around!”

            Casper sniffed disapprovingly and scoffed, “You think you can take care of evil spirits?”

            Before I could make a snappy comeback implying how I already had done that in several instances, Jeffrey espied something out the window that made him gasp. I turned around and saw a pale man in a black cape floating in the air! Casper dug through his pockets and declared, “I have just the thing for this situation! Where is it?”

            I rolled my eyes, and as the vampire floated towards us, I took a tome off of a shelf and shoved it into the vampire’s mouth! He had sunk his teeth into it and couldn’t get his fangs out, so he began to suffocate! When he finally succumbed to his fate, he barreled out the window and plummeted to the earth! I folded my arms and smugly told Casper, “To answer your question, yes, I think I can take care of evil spirits!”

            “You choked him! That’s not proper vampire-fighting technique!” Casper whined while flailing some necklace with a hand and an eyeball on it.

            “Well, it worked, so…” I smirked at Casper’s irate expression and then faced Jeffrey again. “You’re only a few months from graduation, don’t give up! You can survive ‘til then! You already faced your greatest fear, so what’s the worst they can do to you now?”

            Jeffrey inquired, “So, I don’t have to wear eyeliner?”

            I chuckled, and then I replied, “Have to? No. But if you choose to, I can ask Ms. Caracy if she has an extra one!” He smiled gratefully to me and then took off. I beamed as the warm satisfaction of inspiring a kid to stay in school settled in.

            Momentarily, I had forgotten about Casper’s presence until he agitatedly stated, “You know, I invited Phoebe to go on a date with me prior to your arrival. She refused and said that staff members weren’t allowed to mingle like that!”

            It startled me to hear that he had taken that sort of interest in my girlfriend, but I got comforted by the fact that she had the foresight to say no to this blowhard! I responded to him, “What do you want me to tell you? Something other than she didn’t like you?”

            Casper fumed, “Yes!”

            He stomped away in the most tantrum-like manner possible, and I shook my head judgmentally. It was thrilling to have both defeated a fear monger and show him up simultaneously, but I didn’t want to have to deal with either again in the near future, so I decided to head back. As I headed in that direction, I spotted a book on alchemy. The spoon/key was silver, but I thought perhaps that it could have been merely silver plated. Perhaps this publication could have been helpful to our cause! But more importantly, it gave me an idea on how to shift from calling Phoebe my girlfriend to my fiancée! I took an index sheet by a card catalog computer with the intentions of proposing on the paper, hiding it in the manual, and letting Phoebe find it! I got as far as “Will you…” when something occurred to me… If I got adjacent to a fear monger, then that meant something else was around the corner…

            “We already tried that!” Ginger pointed out to Fletcher.

            “Um, excuse me, I think I would have remembered if we hurled the key into the belly of a whale!” Fletcher differed.

            Ginger corrected him, “No, I mean swallowing it. Connor gulped it down to keep Babelsama from getting it int the first place!” Ginger recognized my appearance reassured me, “Not that you’re anything like a whale…”

            My angst over my urgent message to them had been in the forefront of my mind, so I hadn’t jumped to that conclusion at all… Although, now that she mentioned it, I did grow a little self-conscious! Before I could take advantage of this reference to myself to break the news to them, Aleck piped up, “Well, they are both mammals! But not all whales have traditional teeth, so we couldn’t throw the key into just any whale! For instance, if we came across a blue-.”

            “We’re not using a whale!” Phoebe cut him off. “And we don’t even need to completely destroy it; if we ruin even a part of the key, it wouldn’t fit into the hole properly and the portal couldn’t reopen!”

            “How do we damage it though?” Ellie wondered. “None of the stuff we did to try and obliterate it even left a scratch on it! Fire didn’t work! Neither did bleach or that weird crap Aleck tried.”

            Aleck took exception to that, “It’s not weird! It’s a very common industrial-!”

            Finally losing my patience, I interrupted, “None of this matters right now!”

            “Yes, it does!” Aleck refuted. “We gotta use process of elimination in order to-.”

            “Listen!” I snapped. “I wasn’t talking to Jeffrey the whole time I was back there! I slayed another vampire, so-.”

            Ginger commented, “That’s not funny, Connor! Why are you making a joke like that? Trying to give us all horrible flashbacks?”

            I sarcastically remarked, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do! That’s totally my type of humor!”

            “I hadn’t considered that before!” Ginger admitted ponderously. “Your comedy is usually some lame dad jokes!”

            “Lame?” I repeated while feeling slightly stung. I was about to brush that slander off when some very familiar snickering sounded from a table behind us! Everyone’s eyes widened with horror, and I let them know, “That’s what I was trying to tell you! I guess after Lisa’s attack, vampires became Jeffrey’s greatest fear!”

            Everybody’s attention shifted from studying to unearthing what disguise Damon was currently using. After a long moment of not garnering any clues, Ellie griped, “How are we gonna figure out what’s new here? He’s probably some book, and how would we know if they got any fresh inventory?”

            As we all contemplated this dilemma, I caught sight of a hand stretching out from beneath the table where Jeffrey had thrown that book! “Hey guys!” I whispered and used my noggin to subtly gesture towards this activity. When everyone got on the same page (of the scenario, not any of the novels we had out), we all quietly stood up and tiptoed over to that area. The hand was still groping for that text when we shoed up, and not surprisingly, the culprit was revealed to be none other than Roxy! She didn’t seem to have any sort of awareness to the audience she now had, so I decided to announce our proximity to her by jesting, “Is this part of another spell?”

            Roxy immediately jerked her hand back towards her as if we hadn’t seen her pawing at the table seconds ago, and then she lied, “Uh, yeah! I’m on the floor to… curse the library… for some reason!”

            “That’s interesting! We came here to check out some books! Hey, this looks like a fantastic one!” I could see the apprehension overflowing on her visage as I picked up that hardcover, which confirmed our theory of its true nature. I went on with my ruse to gauge whether or not she would feed us anymore information, “Yeah, I’ve always wanted to read about… You’ve gotta be kidding me!” I assumed that Jeffrey had discarded this print due to his frustration over the FAUK-ers who were hassling him, but I realized that he may have had an alternate motive for doing that! “He did this just to piss me off!”

            “Oh, for heaven’s sake!” Phoebe read the title over my shoulder. “He misspelled Shakespeare again! Uh, I mean, the author…” Phoebe gazed to Roxy to verify that her fib had been accepted by her.

            Roxy had the demeanor of a deer in headlights, but otherwise, she hadn’t divulged any other tidbits, so I determined that I needed to step it up a notch. “Maybe we can fix some of the errors when we return it. We could replace the material with the accurate version. Like this page, it’s got all kinds of wrong!” I held the tome towards the ceiling and pretended as though I meant to rip it…

            A stern, rather bird-like woman snatched if from me and scolded, “Shame on you for disrespecting one of my books like that!”

            “He was gonna take it apart before he brought it back!” Roxy stood up and tattled. It irked me that she opted to use that juncture to use her wits for once!

            “He was joking!” Ginger defended me against that accusation. “He’s got a great sense of humor, we were all just saying that!” I pondered if Roxy overheard that conversation, but since she hadn’t redressed that claim, I concluded that she hadn’t and breathed a sigh of relief.

            Aleck requested, “Can we still check it out?”

            The librarian shrilly denied him, “Absolutely not! Not until your buffoonery is more respectful of the wonderful works in my-!” She glanced at the cover, and her expression contorted into disgust. “I don’t remember authorizing this publication!” She thumbed through it, and her scowl became even more pronounced. “Oh dear! This one will have to get incinerated!” As she darted in the direction of the front desk, Roxy trailed her and made vain attempts to persuade her to spare that novel. The six of us in the Ghost League inwardly laughed as we imagined Damon’s recoil as she unknowingly dragged him to an inopportune fate!

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