The Terra-Belle Ghost, Chapter 22

Gazing down at his long, blonde wig and vibrant getup, Fletcher griped, “I’m gonna have nightmares for weeks ‘cause of this! These colors hurt my eyes! And what does this ‘I am the Walrus’ thing even mean? Is it a comment on my weight?”

            Trying to keep my lengthy ‘do out of my face, I assured him, “It’s a Beatles song. I’m pretty sure they meant that as some sort of outsider/anti-society statement. They sang about a lot of issues, but body image wasn’t one of them!” Although, truthfully, with the elongated mustache he now bore, he more or less did bear resemblance to that animal!

            “Personally, I kinda like my hair like this!” Aleck commented as he studied his reflection in an ornate hand mirror that probably belonged to Ginger. “Do you think I should grow it out for real?”

            “You need to be asking the missus that!” Ellie recommended to him. “Do we look like your wife to you?”

            Aleck eyeballed her afro and non, multi-patterned dress, and then he slowly responded, “Uh… No!”

            Ginger took back her mirror (I knew it was it hers!), and as she readjusted her flower headband, she opined, “I don’t mind the outfits, but I do mind the whole ‘free hug’ prospect! Touching all of those strangers seems so unsanitary!”

            “Eh, it’s not that bad!” the lady with the rainbow strands disputed. “My husband is a dentist, and if he can go near all of those mouths every single day, you should be fine giving a few kids a hug!”

            “Oh, that’s funny! One of my students’ father is a dentist too!” I conversed. “I ran into in her at the mall yesterday, and she mentioned it.”

            Rainbow Strands told me, “You must be talking about my Roxy! Her dad’s office is in the mall!”

            My jaw nearly dropped upon that revelation! “You’re Roxy’s mom?” I caught on to how rude I came across, so I amended my sentence, “Sorry! I just assumed you were her sister!” I didn’t see my colleagues’ reaction to that quip, but I could feel their eyes rolling behind me!

            “That’s alright!” she waved off my clumsy reaction. “Most people are surprised to see someone who went through medical school with a free-spirited artist like me!” She must have sensed my curiosity on how their couple-hood ever came about because she swiftly filled me in, “You see, in the bedroom…”

            “Okay, I don’t need to know more!” I interrupted her in an attempt to rid myself of whatever unpleasant image she intended to paint for me!

            A man in a tie-dye shirt came over to our group and spoke to Roxy’s mom, “They’re starting in a minute, Sage!”

            Sage posed to us, “Are you guys ready?”

            “The only thing I’m ready to do is vomit!” Fletcher half kidded while glimpsing at his ensemble in disgust.

            “Oh, please help us out!” Sage pled to him. “My daughter has gone down a very dark road, and I’m afraid she’s taken a lot of other souls with her! I don’t’ wanna lose her, and I don’t want any other parents to suffer either! Don’t give up on them now!”

            Fletcher’s heart softened at her emotional appeal, and his care for the well-being of the children he taught overtook him, so he shifted his posture and proudly declared, “I am the walrus!”

            Sage smiled in appreciation and then scampered off to another position on the quad. As we stood in our stances, Aleck joked, “Well, we have some sage here, so we should be protected from our resident ghost, right?”

            “I doubt Damon would strike here!” Phoebe put in as she showed up by our sides. “This rally is for his people, so why would he interrupt it? If anything, he would target the prom committee! I’d love to see some scary beast face Hazel! All she would have to do is glare once and it would totally keel over!” The other four laughed at her jest, but I couldn’t stop staring at how irresistible she was in her floral dress! It perfectly sculpted her curves, and maybe because Sage recently broached the subject of her sexuality, but I found her boho costume strangely provocative! A funeral march boomed from some nearby speakers, but I paid them no attention as I savored the becoming sight before me- something that Phoebe took notice of! She snapped her fingers in my face and directed me, “Connor! Focus!”

            “Sorry!” I forced myself out of my reverie and gave proper concentration to the teens in shadowy garments slowly making their way to the center of campus. They all held candles, but none of them were lit. There weren’t any sprinklers outside, but I assumed that Manuel didn’t wanna take any risks after the blaze from that mummy caused the system to soak the entire school! All of the FAUK club participants kept their heads bowed, so they couldn’t even see the sizeable crowd who had gathered to view the proceedings! Our cue to act required us to wait until they began speaking, but their introduction was so slow and the music was sort of sleep-provoking, so it took a lot of willpower to resist the temptation to crash their party sooner!

            Finally, my impatience could rest! Ismeray picked up a microphone and addressed the attendees, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have gathered here today to-.”

            From all different sides of the vicinity, the Free Huggers swooped in and chanted, “Free hugs! Free hugs!”

            “We are gathered here to mourn the lost ones…” Ismeray tried to talk over us.

            “Free hugs! Free hugs!” we chanted even louder.

            Ismeray shouted into her receiver, “But they will not be gone from our lives forever! The-.” She took on a surly expression as she watched us hug various members of the spectators. No one really objected to our gesture- I got the impression that they were too confused to emit a strong reaction!

            Sage grabbed Ismeray’s microphone and orated, “Kids, listen! Life isn’t so doom and gloom! There’s so many beautiful-!”

            “The revolution is coming!” Ismeray took back the mic and quickly spouted out as much as she could prior to Sage snatching her instrument again. “We-.”

            “The world can be so wonderful if you just embrace the-!” Sage leaned in and spoke into the resonator in Ismeray’s grip.

            Ismeray plowed on in the same instance, “The dead will be among us shortly!”

            Sage persisted on her point as well, “Love makes life worth living, not worshipping the dead!”

            “The undead will inherit the earth!” Ismeray roared.

            “The future belongs to those who dare to dream!” Sage bellowed.

            One of the youths who witnessed this spectacle pondered, “I don’t get it! Are the dead people dreaming?”

            Aleck commented, “Well, it doesn’t look like anyone’s getting brainwashed at least!”

            “True, but this whole charade is so…” Ginger searched for the right words to describe her opinion. “… Well, it can’t get any weirder than this!”

            “Don’t say that!” Ellie chided her. “You’ll tempt fate!”

            Ginger dismissed that claim, “Oh, please! Nothing is gonna happen!” All of a sudden, a whooshing sound boomed over our heads! Ellie glared at Ginger, who denounced her non-verbal accusation, “Whatever that is, it’s not my fault!”

            With all of the preposterous phobias we had to deal with previous to this juncture, I expected to behold a giant bird or something to that degree- but no! I never would have guessed that something actually scary would show up! A giant, gray-scaled dragon hovered over the school! It lunged towards the ground, and everyone ran towards the closest hallway for cover. As we all cowered in fear, one normally dressed child exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! The prophecy has begun! The undead have come to collect us!”

            “This isn’t the prophecy!” Ismeray refuted as the dragon perched itself in the quad and searched for stragglers who didn’t make it inside. “The prophecy says the dead will rise up, and this thing is very much alive!”

            “Ahh! I always knew this would happen!” another normally dressed girl whimpered. “Ever since the castle town burned down in the last season, I knew one day it would come for me as well!”

            I squelched that proclamation, “Um, you’re not a character on a TV show! Why are so many people so deathly afraid of fictional work? They’re dramas, not documentaries!”

            Phoebe kindly but nervously reminded me, “Uh, babe, can we maybe discuss this later?”

            The dragon found our safe haven, and it kept trying to squeeze its top half under the awning outside of the building. It had yet to find a successful path to do so, but its menacing stare and frequent snapping was pretty intimidating, and no one could guarantee how long this stronghold could offer us security! Aleck inquired, “What do we do?”

            He swiveled his gaze between the six of us in the Ghost League, and Fletcher replied, “Don’t ask me! I have no clue! What do we do, flip through the Yellow Pages and hire a dragon slayer?”

            “What are the Yellow Pages?” one kid probed, which somewhat punched us in the gut as of the adults in the room were forced to sharply recall our old age!

            “They’re like a search engine on paper!” I let that teen know, and then I posed to the entire lot, “How do dragons get killed on that show?”

            One individual recollected, “Oh, one of them got struck with a bolt of lightning!”

            I hated to show that person rudeness, but time was of the essence here, so I couldn’t entertain that notion whatsoever! “Anyone else?”

            “So, this is where it all ends, huh?” Ellie remarked. “Wow, I never thought it would happen like this! Seriously, I couldn’t have predicted by cause of death as eaten by a dragon while dressed like a flower child hiding on the science department floor!”

            “Hey, we are in the science department!” Phoebe unexpectedly got hit with inspiration from that commentary. “Aleck, don’t you have some kind of strange chemical we could feed it to make it croak?”

            Slightly affronted, Aleck informed her, “I don’t know about strange! They’re fairly common elements found throughout the planet! But yes, some of them are poisonous, however, it would take more than what’s in my inventory to make it fatal for a creature that size!”

            I petitioned him, “What about ones that would cause an explosion?” Aleck mulled that concept over for a moment…

            “What’s going on out here?” Manuel poked his torso out of a door on the other side of us, and the dragon turned its trajectory over to him. “Ay Bendito!” Manuel hollered before promptly ducking back into his quarters. The dragon managed to stick one of its claws close to Manuel’s entrance, and it scratched the glass on the door’s pane! We all watched in horror as the integrity of the edifice showed signs of buckling!

            “We’ve gotta help them!” Ginger shrieked. “Why aren’t Aleck and Phoebe back yet?”

            I peeked at my watch and then reassured Ginger, “They should be here any minute! Gimme your mirror!”

            Ginger puzzled, “My mirror? Why would you worry about your appearance during an emergency like this?”

            “Psh! Do these duds give you any indication that I give a damn about my appearance right now?” I indicated to my hippie garments, and she no longer objected to my request. She didn’t seem to fathom why I made that proposition, but she dug into her purse and handed it over anyhow. I stuck my arm out of one of the doors and found the precise angle that made the surface’s reflection radiate the sun’s rays…

            “What are you doing?” a student cried out. “Now it’s gonna come back to us!”

             I asserted, “Yeah, it’s supposed to!” Everyone grew alarmed by that projected predicament, and as the dragon inched nearer and nearer to our direction, the huddled teens became more and more hysterical. “Relax! They’ll arrive in a few seconds! You’ll see!” Nobody relaxed, and a few seconds elapsed with neither of them returning, so I started to grow anxious myself! I didn’t dare admit that to the kids though! “Any second now…!” I stated less confidently.

            Exactly when the dragon resumed snapping at us, Phoebe commanded, “Open the doors!” Fletcher and I heeded her command, and Aleck threw the bust that resembled Timothy Chalamet straight into the dragon’s mouth! Fletcher and I shut the door and took cover right as the dragon bit down on the projectile. An explosion rang out, and once the phenomenon ceased its effect, we craned our necks up and espied that the dragon laid motionless on the pavement!

            “Cool!” one of the youthful boys celebrated.

            “That is not cool! That’s disgusting!” Ismeray disagreed with him. “Ew! They’re collecting pieces of its corpse!”

            As more of these teenagers flocked over to grab bits of its remains, Fletcher asked the Ghost League, “There’s nothing we can do to prevent this, is there?” We all shook our heads. The kids’ mirth came to an abrupt halt as the pieces suddenly left their hands, and they all yelped profusely as those parts came together in the shape of a deceased fear monger! Ordinarily, we would have tried to prevent anyone from witnessing that transformation, but they just saw a freaking a freaking dragon, so why not allow them to watch another supernatural occurrence?

            As we went back outside, Aleck brought up, “You know what I should’ve said when I threw Isaac Newton’s sculpture? ‘Hey dragon! Eat this!’”

            “I still think he looked more like Billy Squier!” I opined. Ismeray’s fixation darted between us and the newly disappeared fear monger, and seemed a bit cross, so I affirmed, “The Free Hug thing was us, that monster was not!”

            “What in the blazes is going on here?” Manuel re-emerged and addressed us all.

            None of us knew what to reveal to him, and not as single person wanted to be the one to have to try and explain any of today’s ordeal! We all silently tried to delegate the task to one another, but then Roxy piped up, “What’s going on here is that they just destroyed my science project!” Manuel gazed at us in utter befuddlement, and we simply shrugged, offering no other explanation for this transpiration!

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