“Go home, Tommy!” Lisa gently advised him. “Don’t listen to the gossip on social media either! It’s not always correct, so let those select few who spout it doubt you! You have plenty of fans who adore you, and you need to be there for them! Write them some songs, go sign some autographs, and share some teasers about your wedding- pay more attention to them than anything else! Then, the rumors will disappear, or at least it’ll feel like that ‘cause you’ll be having too much fun living your best life! You’ll be fine, just don’t let the lies destroy you!”
“What are you doing?” Ezekiel asked incredulously. He went up to the post she was tied to and stared at her in disbelief. “What game are you playing here?”
Lisa very calmly answered him, “No games! I genuinely wish him well!”
Ezekiel contended, “No, no, no! That’s not possible! This guy broke your heart, lied about you to the entire world, and gloated about your execution! You can’t possibly wish him well!”
“Oh, yes I can!” Lisa differed. “I wish him well! I wish for his good health and abundant happiness! I wish for him to do so well that he leaves me alone and lives out his future quite nicely without me in it!” Lisa glanced up at the sky, and she could see the shadowy clouds start to dissipate! She smirked knowing that her plan was already starting to work!
“You are lying!” Ezekiel’s tone reached a nearly hysterical level. “It’s impossible for you to have meant that! You hate his guts!”
Lisa acknowledged, “It’s true, I don’t like him at all anymore! But a lot of people do, so if I wished ill on him, I’d hurt a lot of decent folks out there. Besides, his fair fortune doesn’t have to impede mine! Him achieving success doesn’t mean I’ll fail, so why not spread some love whenever I can?”
Tommy’s blank face indicated that he still felt stunned by her remarks, but his demeanor appeared to have softened pretty extensively as he drank in her words. He eventually threw up his hands and humbly regarded her, “I hate to say it, but you’re right! I’ve had vicious comments about me before, and I will again in the days to come! I guess I was just worried that this time it’d stick and ruin my career, but it won’t as long as I keep honing my craft! Gosh, an apology really won’t suffice in this situation, will it?”
“Not really,” Lisa admitted with a slight grin. “I think time is the only thing that’ll mend these wounds! Of course, I don’t have a lot of time left…”
“Hey, I can’t do much to make up for my mistakes, but I can get you out of your bind!” Tommy walked over to her and began untying her restraints.
Ezekiel bellowed, “Oh, no you can’t!” He pushed Tommy out of Lisa’s range, and he yelled, “These fiends will die tonight!”
Abby pointed out, “How are you gonna call them fiends? They’re over there wishing well to individuals they don’t like, and you’re trying to kill them!”
“They’re tricking you!” Ezekiel shrieked. “They wanna make themselves appear so innocent so we’ll let them go, and then once they’re out, all hell will break loose! If you even consider their release, you’ll be falling for their trap!”
“Maybe they’re telling the truth,” Ann piped up. “Lisa apparently wasn’t lying about dating Tommy Dane, so maybe she’s not lying about the ghost too!”
As Ezekiel howled in frustration, Lisa noticed that Tommy had loosened her knots up a little. She shimmied her wrists around, and she could sense the ties relenting, so she kept repeating this process while Ezekiel addressed the crowd, “She has him under a spell too!”
Beth brought up, “If she had that kind of power over him, then she probably wouldn’t have let Tommy Dane say that awful stuff about her in the first place!”
“Shut up!” Ezekiel barked.
“No! Speak up!” Delron vociferated. “This malicious spirit feeds on our bitter anger, so express some kindness to your enemies so that we can get rid of her and save our city from certain doom!”
The masses seemed reluctant at the notion, so Adam articulated, “You don’t have to like the person in order to wish them well! Like, I’m not real fond of my rival pumpkin farmers, but at the end of the day, I know they’re simply trying to make a living like everybody else, and I’d hate to picture how many families and communities would suffer if all of my competition suffered!”
After contemplating this concept briefly, the stocker from the grocery store Lisa previously visited remarked, “I never cared for our competing chains either, but I’m glad they were around when Dullahan’s was forced to close so our shoppers could still get food!”
“I found my neighbor’s kid to be super annoying, but I visited him in the hospital to make sure he’s doing alright,” John related. “You know, that combustion actually made him wanna become a firefighter? Imagine losing a rescuer over my silly dislike!”
“I don’t enjoy every single resident of Bayside Estates, but if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have employment!” the receptionist observed. “I appreciate their company, and I hope they will all return when we rebuild!”
Soon, nearly the entire congregation erupted in kind tidings towards their neighbors, and it was a beautiful enough spectacle to practically bring Lisa to tears! She could almost see their vitriol vanishing from their thoughts! As moving as this scene felt, she didn’t lose sight of her other goal. She tossed and turned her hands around, and her ropes buckled significantly! She grew close to freedom, but then…
Suddenly, everyone present sensed a dramatic shift in the energy above them! The atmosphere got colder and darker, and while this confused the spectators, the triad on the scaffold knew exactly what was occurring! Lisa anticipated this transpiration from the top of her plot, but a part of her hoped that this newfound aura of benevolence alone would have defeated this adversary! Since it had not, she braced herself for this battle…
“You wretches!” Rebecca shrieked as her virtually translucent form hovered above the platform. The collective gasped in fright, but she ignored them as she rebuked the trio, “How dare you interfere with my foreordination! Do you realize what it took for me to have these abilities? Do you have any idea how much I sacrificed to have a presence here? No, you don’t care! You are no different than your despicable ancestors! You’re perfectly content with me spending an eternity in torment! They didn’t give any regard to my fate either!”
“Listen, no one forced you to make a corrupt bargain in order to return to Earth!” Lisa shot back. “Maybe generations ago, our citizens reached some terrible conclusions, but none of them had the capability to require you to do this- you did this on your own! Any grim fate you endure going forward stemmed from your own choices!”
Rebecca asserted, “I had to find a method of reemerging onto this soil! I could not let that grave evil go unpunished!”
Lisa exclaimed, “We are not our ancestors!”
“Oh, please! Times may have changed, but people haven’t!” Rebecca disputed. “Humans will always operate with the same, self-serving modus operandi! They will do whatever it takes to appease their sinful desires, and if they have to step on their fellow man to gain victory, then so be it! The degenerates of yore passed their blood onto their next of kin, and so defeating your concourse will eliminate their wickedness from this planet once and for all! You may have the delusion that you’ve won, but so did your ancient grandmother! Her book didn’t trap me forever, and neither will your novel alliances! I shall get my revenge at last, and there is nothing any of you can do to stop me!”
“Gee, you’re right! There’s not a damn thing we can do other than surrender! Gosh, what rotten luck!” Lisa conveyed with heavy sarcasm.
Rebecca’s eyes flashed with white-hot rage, and she lowered herself down to Lisa’s line of vision with an intimidating stance. She snarled at her, “Do you think I’m a fool?”
Lisa clapped back, “No, but you’ve been fooled!” She held out her arm, and Adam tossed her the witching bottle! Rebecca attempted to escape, but Lisa uncorked the vessel faster than she could move! Lisa felt a tremendous push against her as Rebecca’s soul got sucked in, but she compelled herself to remain upright during this phenomenon! Within seconds, the blusterous wave vanished, and the area grew still! Light prevailed onto the terrain, and the only bout of frigidness was in the icy vial! It took everyone a minute to register this development in their brain, but once it sunk in, their hearts burst in jubilee- it was over!
Before Lisa or the others coil do anything else, dozens of well-wishers rushed the stage! Lisa found it odd to have so many doting people surrounding her, especially after all of the recent revile they doled out to her and her two closest allies recently, but she had to admit it was refreshing! Amidst this celebration, Ezekiel made another bid for a win on his claims, “This was all a sham! They’re trying to coerce you into believing they’re heroes so they can go back out and cause more mayhem!”
“Get that man out of here!” JT’s voice echoed over the din of boos that emanated from the populous. He approached the stage as a few people ran Ezekiel away, but since he was dressed as a witch, they recognized that Fredwina was present. Fredwina very solemnly discoursed, “On behalf of the Harlow County Board of Government, I’d like to formally apologize for the mistreatment you underwent! If you decide to forgive us, we’ll do what we can to make it up to you!”
“You can start by honoring the victims of both tragedies!” Lisa threw out there. “Both the human beings and the animals! They were casualties of hate, and they deserve to get remembered!”
Fredwina glanced down at her getup rather guiltily, and then she obliged, “I’ve got a draft proposal for a memorial monument written in my head already!”
Everyone murmured in agreement of that intention, and Lisa beamed with pride. Following a lengthy stretch of admiration for this feat, the gathered group grew saddened upon the reflection of all of the losses from the current and the past upheaval, and the three protectors were unsure of how to proceed from there. They survived, but so many others did not! Lisa was clueless as to how to comfort them, and Adam seemed at a loss for verbage over the weight of it all. Delron, however, glimpsed at his watch and then announced, “Um, we still have a few hours of Halloween left! Let’s go have some fun!”
The entire flock concurred with that sentiment, and they merrily dispersed themselves. Abby curtly told Lisa, “I’ll see you around!”
“See you around!” Lisa reverberated to her. Abby gave her a half smile, and Lisa could tell that while neither of them would probably ever befriend each other, cordiality would befall upon them from that point on.
“Denis, hi! No, everything’s fine! Why do you ask?” Delron’s visage contorted in a way that implied he couldn’t fathom how to explain any of this to his husband before he vacated the vicinity.
Adam and Lisa giggled, but then Lisa’s expression grew more serious. She didn’t know how to account for her behavior towards him, but since they got a second chance, she had to at least try to make amends for her actions! “I’m so sorry, Adam! I didn’t mean to hurt you! I care for you so deeply, but I got so guarded against falling for anyone else ‘cause of my ex! I was trying to shield myself from pain, but I ended up with more than could stand by pushing you away! I’ll regret it for the rest of my life!”
Lisa craned her neck downwards due to the magnitude of her emotions. She couldn’t bear to watch him leave, so she kept her focus low and anticipated the heartbreak of hearing him part from the perimeter! To her astonishment, Adam used his finger to raise her chin up, and he consoled her, “You didn’t push me away! And I’m sorry I pushed you into a relationship so soon after a major breakup! Whenever you’re ready, I’m all yours!” Lisa’s heart fluttered rapturously, and she instinctively pulled his lips towards her and kissed him passionately! Their embrace felt lighter than air, and she never wanted to let him go! When they took a breath, Adam queried, “Does this mean you’re ready?” Lisa vigorously nodded, and they smooched each other once more!
The next day, Lisa and Delron guided the delivery bicycle on the main boulevard, and Delron griped, “I’m not saying our customers have poor taste! I’m simply questioning their judgment when they only wanna watch the Captain Stucard episodes of Galaxy Trekkers! I mean, clearly, Captain Shirkner’s version is far superior!”
Lisa playfully rolled her eyes, but prior to her getting to respond, her cellphone rang. “It’s my cousin!” she briefed Delron. “Hey, Lydia! Is everything okay? You usually text…”
“O-M-G!” Lydia squealed. “My husband got a research grant! He gets to spend at least a year on this project, and he’s hiring for a bunch of positions for it! He says he can take you on as an assistant, and when slash if it’s successful, you can stay on permanently! You don’t have to stay in that haunted hovel anymore! Come live with us in California!”
“I appreciate the offer, but I’m going to stay where I’m at!” Lisa politely declined. Lydia uttered a noise of disbelief, so Lisa elaborated, “I’ve made a few good friends here…” She looked at Delron, and then Hester manifested next to him. “Some of them are a bit unusual, but I love them anyway! Not everyone here is my buddy, but everyone here is nice! Even the people who don’t like each other much!” Abby gave her a terse nod from across the street, and then Lisa saw that she got a text from Adam. “I met a wonderful man here too! It’s not a perfect paradise, but it’s pretty darn close now!”
Lydia wondered, “Yeah, but what about all of the ghosts?”
Lisa assured her, “They’re not so terrible! Well, one of them was, but she’s gone now! Will she be the last phantom to cause trouble here? Probably not! But I’ll be ready for the next one when it comes!” They went by JT’s window where Rebecca’s bottle roosted, and a sharp wind blew by them. Lisa shrugged it off- coincidence or not, she knew she would be fine!
Wait, … Ch. 28?
Nope, it ends there 😊
Congratulations! Congratulations 🎉