“I’m the witch!” the man claimed. Lisa got confused by that assertion, so, with overt irritation, the man clarified, “The one who greeted you at the bus station!”
Lisa could have kicked herself for not coming up with that explanation herself! With the threat of a ghostly attack imminent, it hadn’t occurred to her that ordinary instances were possible! She sheepishly regarded him, “Oh! I didn’t recognize you without the costume!”
The man indignantly reacted to that claim, “It’s not a costume! It’s a persona! When I wear street clothes, I’m JT Ernice, but when I don the witchly uniform, I’m Fredwina the Welcomer!”
“JT! What are you doing out there?” a man cried out from within the dwelling.
“It’s not my fault this is taking so long!” JT quarreled. “I can’t force the delivery people to gain an iota of competency for us!”
Lisa bristled at that slant! They neglected their load due to their concern for the safety of the malevolent essence’s target, but if she knew what a nasty piece of work JT was, perhaps she wouldn’t have rushed so much! Perhaps he sort of deserved whatever she had in store for him… Lisa shook that concept out of her thoughts! Even if JT wasn’t so pleasant, he hadn’t merited whatever physical or psychological torture this villain planned on executing! She felt somewhat guilty for partly causing this spat by not assisting Delron with retrieve the books, but she wanted to stay behind and observe this newly haunted abode in case somebody got assailed, but now that she knew how discourteous their patron was, she wished she let Delron wait here while she got the publications! She recognized that Delron likely did have this knowledge, and she made a mental note to chew him out about it later!
Delron finally arrived, and he asked JT, “Where do you want them?”
“On the shelf behind the round table.” JT stepped aside in order for them to enter, and both Lisa and Delron grabbed an armful of tomes. As they lugged it inside, Lisa’s imagination went wild wondering the different possibilities of what they may encounter in this visit!
“You may as well have let them take their time!” a portly man with bushy, red mutton chops grumbled from a wooden table with grin trim on the countertop. He was wedged between a giant woman wearing fluffy, pink frills and a robust old man leaning back in his chair twiddling his thumbs. A guy with a short stature and round spectacles, which made him resemble an owl, smoked a pipe between two empty seats, and the billowy haze he emitted filled up the room! Lisa didn’t feel confident she could spot signs of the unusual from this strange lot! The portly man went on, “Almira is using the restroom again!”
His colleagues groaned, and the pink woman complained, “Almira always takes ten years to use the facility!”
The others concurred with her sentiments, and Lisa was glad they had to go outside since they could escape from that awkwardness! She had hoped that Almira would have emerged from the latrine and confronted her jerky coworkers, but unfortunately, she did not! The owlish guy opined, “If she knew that we were on such an important deadline, she should have avoided her digestive triggers!”
“Here, here!” the robust man agreed. “This is quite irresponsible! Why must we keep her employed?”
“Blair, you know she’s the best at what she does! She’s a marketing genius! We’ll have to settle and make peace with this delay!” JT sat down and pouted about this inevitability.
Delron and Lisa retrieved one more set of titles, and when they returned, the pink woman declared, “I’m not waiting for the end of our project to open this wine up!” She grabbed a bottle of merlot, and as she uncorked it, she justified herself, “She can force me to wait, but she can’t force me to do so with jangled nerves!”
As she poured a glass for each of the members present, Lisa and Delron finished their delivery. Delron pulled Lisa to the side and asked, “Should we stay and watch out for… whatever that was?”
“We can’t just stay in their house,” Lisa hushedly answered. “We could hang around the outside and-.”
“You two can go now!” JT gestured towards the exit. “Your services are no longer needed.”
The owlish guy not so quietly whispered, “What? Are they expecting a tip?” The bizarre bunch chortled at his jab, and neither Lisa nor Delron knew what to do other than vacate the premises. They both felt uneasy about leaving them alone with that venomous apparition, but it didn’t seem like they had a choice. Lisa wondered how long it would occupy this building, and she was trying to gauge how long she and Delron could hover around the perimeter when suddenly…
Lisa and Delron froze in their tracks when they heard the five individuals behind them all do a collective spit-take! They turned around and were shocked to see blood had splattered all over the counter! None of the people in this party appeared to have gotten hurt, but they all appeared ill! The owlish guy braced himself against the stand, the pink woman was retching into a nearby houseplant, JT cradled himself by wrapping his arms around his knees, and Blair was writhing on the ground! The owlish guy groaned, “We were poisoned!”
“That wasn’t poison! That was blood!” JT weakly examined the glass, and Lisa could see that the liquid inside was, indeed, bodily fluid!
“It was merlot when I poured it!” the pink woman asserted before vomiting once more.
A middle-aged woman with long, frizzy hair and a black dress that reached the tips of her shoes came down the stairs and gasped, “How did I do that?”
Delron enquired, “What did you do?” Almira pursed her lips, and with wide eyes and a pale visage, she refused to say another word.
“We need to call nine one one!” Lisa decreed as she denoted that Blair had become more still and showed no suggestions of getting back up again.
“But they wouldn’t do much good against the-.” Delron cut himself off when he caught sight of Almira’s interest in their dialogue heightening. He bit his tongue as Lisa got on the phone.
The paramedics wheeled Blair out of the room as they examined the other subjects, and as Blair’s aides espied somebody at the entrance, one of them reported, “It appears to be four cases of haemochromatosis- they drank a toxic amount of blood!”
A familiar voice puzzled, “Why would anyone do that?”
“Oh no!” Lisa cringed. Next to her ex, he was the last person she wanted to deal with at a juncture like this!
“What is it?” Delron catechized.
Prior to Lisa having the ability to reply to him, Sheriff Marshal Hopkins strolled in! He began to survey the scene, and Lisa lowered her posture as though she could hide herself with this movement. Thankfully, JT got his attention preceding his viewing of her! JT groggily snapped, “We didn’t want to! It was like someone was holding the glass and forcing it down our throats!”
Marshal probed, “Who would do something like that?” He swiveled his head and caught a glimpse of Lisa by the stairwell! “You!”
“You can’t accuse me of having anything to do with this!” Lisa defended against the allegations that were clearly forming in his brainwaves. “We didn’t go anywhere close to their drinks!”
“It’s true,” JT begrudgingly admitted, “I wouldn’t let those two touch me!”
The pink woman advised him, “Don’t insult them! We’ll get attacked again!”
Marshal gave Lisa a reproachful look, so she reminded him, “We just established that we didn’t touch them! Don’t you think that they would’ve told you if we made them guzzle down a ton of blood?”
“Hmm…” Marshal concurred with her argument, but he obviously didn’t want to do that, so he glanced over to the eccentric lot as if they could help him out.
“It simply seemed odd that we endured this cruelty in their presence…” the owlish guy remarked.
Lisa folded her arms and posed to them, “What exactly are you accusing us of?”
No one had a logical justification for their theory, so they resorted to eying them suspiciously. Delron bravely spoke up, “They were the ones who brought us in here with their library request, and we’ve fulfilled that. Now, we’d like to return to Brigfell… unless you want to ask us any questions…”
“Do you know anything about what took place here?” Marshal pressed them with a stare that thoroughly scanned their behavior as though he aimed to uproot the slightest tinges of deception that they harbored.
“No!” Lisa and Delron chimed in unison. Lisa wasn’t about to tell this snobby sheriff that she accidentally released the spirit of a vengeful psychopath- she couldn’t picture a beneficial consequence of that! Whether he locked her in a loony bin or in the slammer, she doubted that anyone else would take on this phantom burden! She adamantly rejected the idea of putting the region in peril over this officer’s tunnel-visioned prejudice!
Marshal scowled, and then he unwillingly ordained, “Leave! But remember, if you cause any other funny business, I’ll come find you!” Lisa had a million smart-alecky retorts to his comments swirling through her skull, but as much as she would’ve enjoyed telling off this bombastic brute, she restrained herself in order to prevent this uncomfortable interaction from getting prolonged. She and Delron remained mute as they dashed out of the vicinity. A small crowd had gathered outside of the residence, and they erupted in a flurry of murmurs at their appearance. Delron and Lisa avoided meeting anyone’s gaze as they marched down the street.
As Lisa and Delron shelved the non-fiction section, they heard Melanie vexedly mumbling. Delron checked in with her, “Is everything alright?”
Melanie ranted, “No! Everything is most certainly not alright! I finally got fully staffed, and I have to do the bulk of the work! I can’t believe I have to go all the way across the city to bring someone a single book!”
“We can do it!” Lisa pointed out as Melanie stomped over to the children’s stories.
“No, you can’t!” Melanie barked. “Not ‘til things cool down! Nobody else is gonna accuse our library of misconduct ‘cause the assistants happened to be in the wrong spot at the right time!”
Melanie slammed the door as she departed, and Lisa as well as Delron waited until they heard her car drive off to talk. Delron dropped what was in his hands and frightfully stated, “That was real! A ghost really got the power to really do damage to humans! This is real! It can’t be real!”
Lisa countered, “Yes, it’s real, but it doesn’t have to stay in our reality! How do we get rid of that fiend?”
“I dunno! I don’t even understand how she manifested into our lives at all! Frankly, I just accepted that the Proctor Bible was cursed and never gave any consideration as to how it happened! Maybe I should have- I could’ve stopped this disaster from unfolding!” Delron lamented.
“Don’t beat yourself up over this!” Lisa consoled him. “Sooner or later, somebody was bound to touch it! And it’s probably best it landed on us ‘cause we’re willing to fight this! Not everyone would!”
Delron seemed slightly buoyed by her fortitude and nodded as he strove to build his confidence back up again. With a tinge of trembling in his tone, Delron quizzed her, “What do you know about her so far?”
Lisa lamented, “Sadly, not much! I’ve tried studying information on the supernatural, but I haven’t discovered anything useful! Sorry! I know it’s asking a lot to solve a mystery when we have zero clues!”
“That’s not true!” Delron disagreed. “We do know one thing…”