The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 22

Melanie never gave her permission to use the library’s delivery bike after hours, but she never said she couldn’t! It wasn’t safe to walk through the alleyways at night during normal times, but with a vengeful ghost on the loose… She didn’t imagine that her boss would want her to throw herself to the mercy of the darkened city, but Lisa guessed that she would have gotten peeved that she took the work bicycle off the clock! She tried contacting her to enquire about borrowing it, but Melanie never responded, so she had to make a difficult choice at this juncture: ride to the party and pray that it didn’t get damaged en route or chance a long journey in the shadows! Even if nothing detrimental occurred during her lengthy trek, she couldn’t tire herself out prior to her arrival there! Not that she planned to engage in much frivolity, she simply needed to ensure that she was in the most optimal physical condition in the event that her supernatural adversary came to call! And she found that to be a highly probable outcome- why wouldn’t she strike at a function where nearly the whole town assembled?

It somewhat relieved her to behold a slew of bikes parked on a rack beneath the Half Moon Hollow sign! It could blend right in, so if Melanie happened to pass by this site, she wasn’t likely to pick it out amongst the others! She would make certain to leave either well before or much later than her employer to avoid getting seen on it, so everything should be fine, right? … It gave her some comfort to see it nestled in the middle of many of its peers because she ascertained that the other riders’ more favorable public opinion would keep their vehicles safe from ordinary attackers! Although, Rebecca was far from ordinary! If she chose to ambush this specific spot, Lisa would regret this decision! Of course, the majority of her intended victims were going to occupy a totally different locale, so it seemed less likely for the bicycles to get vandalized! This tiny iota of good news provided her very little cheer in the grand scheme of things though…

As she passed the parking area, she noticed a lot of guests were wearing Halloween costumes. She didn’t have one, and actually, she didn’t have much to wear at all with that pair of pants ripping yesterday! She had no other choice but to dig into the bag of clothes Ann declared too large for Abby and Marshal handed over to her as a subtle insult! She was sort of hoping the garments would prove themselves as too massive for her frame too so she could throw it in their faces, but alas, they all fit perfectly! She was grateful to have a new wardrobe when she needed it, but she had to cross her fingers that no one would recognize the apparel as Missus Farrington’s! She wore a pair of jeans with a red flannel shirt, so she definitely embodied the hoedown theme, but many of her young, female neighbors donned more alluring outfits than hers! She wasn’t overly concerned about dressing better than them, but her least favorite attendee was undoubtedly following in their footsteps…

An evil essence creating a hellscape, and a deadly one at that, wasn’t the only reason she was dreading this soiree! Since Abby helped fund this occasion, she assumed she had already come to the farm. She knew Abby would do her utmost to seduce Adam, and it tore Lisa up to picture him engaging with that temptress! Admittedly, she believed her own romantic interactions with him were part of a ploy to gain intelligence for her adversaries, but she couldn’t prevent her sense of longing for him didn’t cause a plethora of jealousy too! Sometimes he seemed like the perfect guy for her- smart, kind, and very brave, and his handsomeness was icing on the cake, but it was difficult to entertain amorous fantasies of him since Abby was probably more of his type with her gorgeous, model-like appearance and a regional popularity! She slowed her gait in order to delay what she presumed would be inevitable- the heartache of seeing her hang all over him!

When she finally entered onto the grounds of the agricultural property, she denoted that it looked like a totally different world compared to when she originally saw it on that delivery where she first met Adam! She couldn’t even see the quaint, yellow house! Surrounding the scattered social circles was a candy cornhole toss, Jack O’ Lantern bowling, a hay maze, and an enormous grill full of barbecued food and cooks wearing kooky getups! She was impressed with how quickly the decorations got established, and she could easily comprehend why everyone enjoyed attending this every year! The amusement from the crowd was almost palpable! A fun affair was getting had by the entire mass… Well, perhaps not the entire mass…

Delron stayed steadfastly fixed on the atmosphere above the pit of coals, which drove Lisa to approach him and learn what motivated this unfestive behavior. “What, are you on a diet?” Lisa joshed him.

“No, but if I was, this wouldn’t tempt my vegetarian palate much!” Delron cracked a smile at her quip, but his stare did not budge an inch. He directed Lisa, “Take a gander at the air above the grills.”

“It’s smoke from all the cooking,” Lisa assessed.

Delron differed, “Is it though? Doesn’t it seem thicker than it oughta be?” Lisa took another glimpse at the haze, but she didn’t distinguish any qualities about it that stood out to her. She didn’t know how to express this opinion to Delron without offending him, but apparently, her silence spoke volumes. “I may be alone in this judgment, but with… recent activities… I’m not taking any risks!”

Lisa nodded in understanding. “I get that! There are a lot of things that I’ll never view in the same light! Things like cranberry juice and baseballs will probably always cause me to panic as though something awful is about to unfold! But don’t spend every minute of the day obsessing over it! We gotta take a break every now and then too! Who knows how many opportunities we’ll get to enjoy ourselves! If we don’t pause to… Delron!”

“Sorry!” Delron took the cigarette out of his mouth and then shoved the rest of the pack into Lisa’s pocket. “Save me from myself!” Lisa playfully rolled her eyes, but her mirth evaporated when Delron reported, “Adam was trying to find you earlier.”

“He was?” Lisa’s stomach lurched at the recollection of her apprehension over that man! She inwardly puzzled if he sought her out to deliver welcomed tidings or unwelcomed revelations, and she wasn’t keen on fishing out the facts here! If he aimed to flaunt a newly blossoming relationship with another girl, she would have been mortified! She bristled at the concept of experiencing another emotional blowout in front of hundreds of spectators again! Then again, he could have been striving to initiate a conversation to gather info for her foes too! She dreaded their encounter, but she couldn’t exactly refuse to interact with the host! That would’ve been bad manners, and she still counted on him for his role in their mission regardless of why he joined in! So, with a heavy sigh, she posed to Delron, “Where is he?”

Delron relayed to her, “He’s in the barn.”

It didn’t occur to Lisa until that instance that the music she heard emanated from the stables! She observed many folks popping in and out of that building, and she beseeched the universe to have Adam pull her into more private quarters so she could avoid another widespread humiliation! She asked Delron, “Are you coming?”

Still ogling the fog, Delron answered, “No. I’ll keep an eye on everything out here. Let me know if anything happens in there!” Lisa didn’t relish going without a companion, but he displayed no hints of removing his obstinacy! He had a point about watching over that sector as well, and she resigned herself to facing a taxing drudgery no matter if it was paranormal or not!

Food tables lined the edge of the edifice as well as a couple more games, but in the center of this station, a dance floor commenced in some lively jigs! On the opposite end from her, Lisa espied Adam changing out CD’s. He caught sight of her and gave her a broad grin in addition to a wave, and despite her misgivings on him, she simpered as she returned his gesture! She may have relented to a smidgen of optimism if she hadn’t overheard Abby’s snide voice remark, “She has some nerve showing up!”

Lisa glanced over to her left where Abby was hovering with Ann and Beth in the near distance, and they weren’t hiding their disdain about Lisa’s presence in the slightest! Lisa had no appetite for a confrontation tonight, so she shifted over to the apple bobbing barrels with the hopes that the added distance between them would deter her from initiating any verbal sparring. Abby showed signs of pursuing her, and she considered making a mad dash for the exit to avoid this dramatic spectacle! She realized that would cast her in a cowardly hue, but she would much rather have taken that hit than invite chaos that would lure Rebecca in to instigate another assault that Lisa would get blamed for! A myriad of whispers erupted from the bystanders in her proximity, and it became more apparent that nothing but tension and tragedy would transpire! She wondered what benefit she would produce by remaining at this function any longer, and concluding that the answer was none, she turned towards the door…

Abby glanced over to the stage where Adam was taking the microphone, and while she appreciated Adam’s incidental intervention, she wished that something else could have distracted the throng so that her intended movement wouldn’t seem so overt! She felt stuck in this moment, and she somewhat vexedly switched her aspirations to Adam’s speech elapsing rapidly so she could succeed in slipping out! She extended one leg and readied herself to sprint… until…

“Everyone line up! We’re doing the Virginia Wheel!” Adam announced. The congregation clamored for this, but Lisa’s insides plummeted! As the participants took their places, Lisa decided to keep residing in her current post. If anyone inquired about it, she would feign an injury, but she estimated that most individuals would simply be alleviated that she didn’t partake! Just as she settled on watching their merry-making for a few minutes, Adam requested, “When I push play, don’t start yet! I wanna partner up with the prettiest lady in the joint!” The multitude cooed at this cute antic, but Lisa put the final nail in the coffin for her will to continue her span there! She swiveled back towards the entrance to the outside…

“I’m all yours!” Abby silkily offered herself to Adam.

Lisa briefly checked behind her due to her curiosity wanting to verify that her predictions were accurate. She prepared herself to receive substantial heartbreak, but to her shock, Adam pushed Abby’s grasp off of him! Furthermore, he kept going, and adrenaline filled her entire being as he strolled straight up to her! Her suddenly frenzied mind threw out tons of theories about how this had to be a mistake or that surely, he was setting her up for some kind of prank, but he particularly politely held out his palm and invited her, “Please!”

She could feel all of her skin flushing red at this proposal! The enthusiasm for Adam’s selection ebbed tremendously versus when they assumed he was picking Abby, but a few urged her to accept his petition to her! She was so flattered that she shoved her doubts out and clasped her hand with his! He beamed, and the movement to the music commenced. Lisa truly didn’t believe that she would find any joy from engaging in this action prior to this juncture, but as she swayed to the beat, she grew rapturous! In the midst of the ugliness that befell on Melas recently, a spark of beauty eked out! Lisa mused on whether or not Adam meant how he described her, but then the manner in which he peered at her convinced her uncertainty to vacate! She couldn’t fathom that he possessed enough acting skills to fake these intense sentiments! Additionally, if he had an ounce of affection for Abby, he would not allow her to become this furious! She couldn’t lie to herself and say that she didn’t savor the glare of pure acrimony that she was displaying as well! The irony of Abby wearing a witch costume wasn’t lost on her either! She didn’t know how long this moment would last, but she thrived in every second of it!

When the tune finished, the collective aired their enjoyment of that episode! Lisa landed that number pressed against Adam’s chest, and it surprised her when he didn’t pull away at the finale of this ditty! And it stunned her when he drew her in even closer! She could feel his heart beating as wildly as hers, and she thought it may have stemmed from the exercise they just did, but soon, his lips were heading directly towards hers! She didn’t harbor any desire to rebuff him and leaned into this kiss…

Before they could complete this tender motion, Abby emitted an ear-splitting shriek! The room fell silent as they changed their attention to her envious scowl, but in an instant, they found that she wasn’t the only one with cause toto scream…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 21

The bailiff called out, “Order! Order in the court! The case of Melas versus Bassett et All will now proceed! Please rise for the honorable Judge William Hale!”

Lisa, Delron, and Adam stood up as well as the two people in the audience, and Ezekiel roosted on the prosecution’s side. Lisa purposely avoided eye contact with Ezekiel, but Adam sharply glared at him! Lisa would have savored in this show of solidarity, but she was too worried about what fate they would endure as a result of this hearing! With everyone’s predisposition to castigate her for an untrue backstory she didn’t esteem that she would get a fair trial! The further damage to her reputation would have hurt, and she fretted that this misdeed would prompt Melanie to fire her, but neither of those possibilities were even the worst part of this! Her incarceration would free Rebecca to run amok wherever she pleased without interference, and she feared her capabilities without Lisa’s ability to fight back! The only souls who knew of Rebecca’s existence were likely due to get locked up, and she grew frightened by what would wait for them once they got released!

“You may be seated!” a cold voice told the courtroom. Lisa wasn’t sure if his long, black robes simply adorned him in a manner that gave him this appearance or not, but Lisa swore he swooped in like a bat on its hunt! He perched on his bench and studied the court with his small, beady eyes, and his wrinkles became more pronounced as he sneered at the entire lot! Lisa’s trepidation heightened- this did not bode well for their odds of winning! Judge Hale pored over the document that the bailiff handed him, and he banged the gavel to initiate the hearing. “On this twenty-ninth day of October at eleven thirteen p.m., we are here for the arraignments of Delron Faulkner, Adam Farrington, and Lisa Bassett for the charges of trespassing and attempt at burglary or destruction of property.” He put down his paper and addressed Lisa directly, “So, you’re the one everyone’s been talking about! We meet at last!”

“Yes, your honor! But I hope my public image does not bar me from receiving a fair trial!” Lisa expressed as politely as her early irritation with this event would allow her to.

Judge Hale briefly flustered, “Of course not! I only mentioned this as a point of interest. Only direct evidence shall be considered for my ruling.”

Ezekiel objected, “Your honor, the city intends to present character witnesses to testify on the defendant’s criminal intent.”

“Isn’t that highly unusual for misdemeanor charges?” Delron challenged that premise.

“It is unusual for a strict liability case  such as this. Unless the prosecution can prove the defendants committed more erroneous offenses, the court cannot permit character witnesses or heresay.” Judge Hale begrudgingly decreed. Lisa began to grow hopeful about their odds of success until Judge Hale stated, “Sheriff Marshal Hopkins saw first-hand that they entered illegally onto property whose owners gave them no permission to do so, so I’m inclined to let the trespassing charges stand.”

Adam protested, “That’s not fair! We didn’t get a chance to defend ourselves!”

Judge Hale inquired, “Did you enter onto Blackthorn Orchards without getting the owners’ permission before doing so?”

“Yes, but-!” Adam tried to fully reply.

“Then I have no choice!” Judge Hale didn’t show an ounce of regret to act upon this obligation.

Lisa detected Peanut barking in the distance, and with Delron’s proximity to the dog, she recalled a vivid detail from their expedition and brought up, “We didn’t want to break into anyone’s land, but we had to retrieve his pet! We couldn’t let him just roam around on someone else’s grounds!”

Judge Hale questioned, “Why didn’t you get the owners’ permission to retrieve the animal?”

Who is the owner?” Lisa shot back. “No one lives there, so how would we get the dog fast enough to prevent him from wreaking havoc in that territory?”

“Well…” Judge Hale fumbled through some files, and when he couldn’t present an immediate response, he shifted to a different tactic, “You should have contacted the police and let them take care of the matter!”

Lisa folded her arms definitely and probed, “What police officer would have been willing to go onto a haunted property?”

Judge Hale’s frown grew more pronounced, but he didn’t verbally react to the issue she raised. Ezekiel could obviously see his inner turmoil over his legal obligations, so he catechized, “Your honor, what about the scream Sheriff Hopkins put in his report?”

“What about it?” Judge Hale countered. Ezekiel looked as though he had slapped him in the face with that remark, so Judge Hale elucidated, “Do you have any video of that occurrence? Photos of their activities? Eyewitness accounts? Something that proves they were doing something unrelated to dog retrieval?”

“We have theories…” Ezekiel pouted prior to Judge Hale’s reaction to this assertion, and Lisa strove to not appear overly delighted by Ezekiel’s downward spiral in fear that Judge Hale would rescind his lean to reluctantly side with them!

With a heavy sigh, Judge Hale ruled, “The court finds that the prosecution has failed to provide sufficient evidence that a crime took place, therefore, I shall not schedule any further hearings on this matter. All charges are dismissed!”

Ezekiel stormed out without his gaze meeting anyone else’s. The bailiff directed, “Please rise and stay standing until-.” He glanced behind him, and it stunned him to espy that the judge’s bench was already empty! Lisa shook her head at the poor behavior in which her opponents conducted themselves after receiving their loss, but she relished in the relief that she and her allies avoided a disastrous fate! As the officers who escorted them in proceeded to prepare for their exit, Lisa twisted the emerald ring on her finger- she could not wait to take that thing off!

“Here are your belongings.” A female clerk plopped a giant bag onto the counter next to her cellphone and keys.

“That’s not mine,” Lisa informed her.

The clerk gave her a quizzical stare. “Sheriff Hopkins brought this in during your processing; why would he do that if it wasn’t yours?”

Not wanting to explain the insult that Ann pinned onto her or the fact that Marshal further exasperated that jibe with this gesture, Lisa changed her tune, “Oh, I forgot. It is mine!” The clerk still eyeballed her peculiarly, but since she no longer had to make excuses for herself, she snatched her stuff and marched out the door.

It irked Lisa that while the police transported her to the station, no one offered her a ride home! Adam got released faster than her, and he apparently caught a lift to his home from someone who was unwilling to stick around for her. She felt certain that Abby’s cronies had relayed what transpired to her, and she assumed that Abby hovered around the precinct anxiously anticipating the outcome of this judicial entanglement. A pang of jealousy rose up within her, and in that moment, all she desired was to punish Abby for her manipulative efforts to sway Adam’s affections! As she stewed over this concept, she noticed the streetlights darkened from dark clouds forming over her! She glimpsed up at them, and then she focused on that ring. She shook herself out of this vengeful stupor- as much as she disliked Abby, she could not bring herself to enact any sort of horrendous curse onto her! She kept it on to ensure its safe passage to her abode, but she steadfastly refused to let any negative emotions overpower her during her travel! Regardless of what injustice she underwent, she resolved to never let herself become Rebecca Rook!

Delron lived close to that site, and he offered to loan her his bicycle for the journey, but she had to say no because of the bag of clothes forced onto her. She would have loved to have abandoned it somewhere, but she could not risk any other infractions, not even something small like littering, right then! Her studio wasn’t terribly far from there, but it felt that way as she dragged her heavy load down the boulevard! She could still see shadows lingering behind her, and she had no appetite to entertain them! It became especially difficult as she lugged her burden up her staircase- her pants got caught onto part of the railing and created a large hole in the fabric! She gritted her teeth, but she did not relent to her rage!

As soon as Lisa got into her apartment, she immediately wanted to get the ring off! She pulled at the spooky piece of jewelry, but it didn’t want to budge! She absolutely refused to don that accursed object for the eternal period it probably wanted her to, and she yanked at it even harder! All of a sudden, it not only loosened off of her finger, it flew across the room! It landed on the floor with a loud ting, and then it bounced under her bed prior to her being able to stop it! She bent over and aimed to retrieve it, but she couldn’t feel it anywhere along the edge, so she resentfully got low onto the ground. She already felt sore enough from the arduous trek she just made, and it was a total pain to perform this feat now! She turned on her cellphone’s flashlight, and she grew alarmed to find more than merely the trinket beneath her sleeping post…

Lisa squinted her eyes to read what the markings on the wall denoted, but she couldn’t quite make it out, so she turned on her camera feature and zoomed in… She gasped when she saw that the word “witches” lurked next to a set of tallies! It disgusted her enough to tempt her to avert her eyes, but she lingered momentarily in order to take a picture for Delron and Adam. As soon as she snapped and sent the photo, she tore herself away from that visualization! It was hard for her to process that! Whoever originally occupied this space clearly enjoyed watching the bodies of the witch-trial victims getting moved down the river and into the graveyard!

This development stressed her out enough that she pulled up her job search app! She didn’t fancy the idea of giving up on an important goal, but at this juncture, it seemed imperative to her survival! The others could repair the damage done by her accidental contact with the Proctor Bible! She acknowledged that this error released that malevolent essence, and that malevolent essence would undoubtedly destroy many innocent lives in her absence, but if she stayed in Melas, she may not have been able to exist long enough to do much good for the community anyways! She nearly texted Lydia to tell her opinion of this creepy city had been correct all along, but then…

The familiar sensation o a creature brushing against her legs returned, and she ceased her current undertaking to focus on it. “Oh hello, Hester!” The cat’s form appeared in front of her, and initially, she was pleased to get such a supportive visitor, but soon, she recognized that Hester was staring at her with a hurtful mistrust! She couldn’t comprehend why until it finally dawned on her that she probably sensed her intention of departure! “Listen, it’s not my fault!” The feline persisted in its peering, so she amended her sentence, “Well, I suppose I did start this fiasco, but I can’t finish it! I’ve done all I can…” Hester’s stance didn’t bend, so Lisa admitted, “Okay, so I could give the witching bottles a shot, but how can I live somewhere where a vile human being amused themselves with people’s suffering? See what they were doing…?”

She pulled up the image for her, but in this instance, she observed more details beside the witch tallying. There was another count labeled as familiars, and her stomach lurched. “They killed innocent animals too?” She buried her visage into her palms, but she craned her neck back up when Hester emitted a pitiful mew. She gazed at her as though she were striving to convey a relevant message, so Lisa posed to her, “Did they execute you in the witch-trials too?” Hester meowed in a sad fashion and bowed like she was reliving an awful memory, and that was more than Lisa could bear! She could not be quiet with this revelation! Action had to get taken!

Lisa dove back under the bed and swiped the ring back out! She dashed over to the kitchen table where Adam’s witching bottle stood and plunked Rebecca’s possession straight into it! She poured in the cinnamon and salt that the instructions next to her described, and she swooshed it around for about ten seconds. She stuck the cork back into it and proudly displayed it for Hester, and she avidly declared, “You will not have died in vain! I’m gonna catch that she-devil, and once this nightmare is over, I’ll do everything I can to insure that all of the guilt-free souls lost in this atrocity are remembered and get the justice that they deserve!” It warmed the cockles of her heart to see Hester’s warm glow resurface, but as she gawked at the completed witching bottle in her grasp, she became apprehensive that this endeavor would prove easier said than done…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 19

One of the residents exclaimed, “Wow! That blizzard really picked up some steam!”

As Lisa and Delron watched the wind gain strength with knowing eyes, a young man peered out the window and opined, “It looks more like a hurricane!”

“Come off it!” another one of the other posh occupants dismissed his claim. “It’s October! Plus, how often do you get a snowy hurricane?”

“Get away from the-!” The receptionist ran to rescue the lad, but he was too late- a tree crashed through the glass and landed directly on top of him!

Abby shrieked, “This is all your fault!” She lunged towards Lisa’s throat, but Lisa dodged her attack. She couldn’t believe she had to fend off this aggression during a supernatural disaster!

The receptionist grabbed Abby’s arms and curtly ordered, “Miss Parris, get into the basement, now!”

Everybody flooded down a wooden staircase, and Lisa as well as Delron took the rearmost position in order to distance themselves from Abby. Before they could reach the bottom, the tempest’ force caused them to struggle! Delron attempted to close the door, but it wouldn’t shut! “We’re doomed!” a little girl wailed.

“We need to put something against the door!” Lisa asserted as she clung for dear life onto the railing.

“There’s no way we could lift anything up there in time!” an older guy objected.

From above them, they could hear a thunderous boom, and the volume of the storm increased! “Part of the building got ripped off!” an elderly lady howled.

Delron vociferated, “All we can do now is hold on and pray!”

“I’m slipping!” a small boy cried as the gale intensified.

“Do you have any rope?” Lisa asked the receptionist.

The receptionist pulled out a dusty, old box and answered, “I have these!”

He pulled out some antiquated shackles, and Lisa apprised, “That’ll work!”

As quickly as they could, each person grabbed a cuff and locked it onto a long guide rail that ran along the perimeter. The furor became more and more ravenous, and Lisa feared that her support may not reach her end before a fatal impact! Chains got passed in her direction, but she could barely hold on! When she finally grasped some, she could hardly maintain the fortitude to clasp it! She struggled to maneuver it towards the railing, and she moved in slow motion to attach it to her wrist! When it finally shut around her wrist, the door flew off its hinges! This was it…

And that was it! No sooner had the bluster come to its pinnacle, it disappeared! Everyone returned to the ground, and the atmosphere got quiet! Lisa’s brows furrowed; it was as though her connecting her constraints drove it off! She thought that concept was impossible… unless… No! What were the odds?

“Is it over?” a teen queried.

“Perhaps we should wait a minute in case this is simply the eye of the storm,” an elderly lady suggested.

Snowflakes surfaced on the stairs, and somebody puzzled, “It’s snowing again?”

The receptionist proclaimed, “I think it’s done! Here’s the key. Be careful as you head up there- you never know what that monster exposed!”

Lisa and Delron unlocked themselves first since they needed to shift and clear a path for everyone else. When they arrived back on the main floor, they gaped at the damage that had been done! The pristine lobby had vanished, and debris was strewed everywhere! They got a glimpse of the town beneath the hill of the edifice’s location, and nothing else suffered from this incident! “The hurricane didn’t get anyone else?” a young woman enquired.

“Our house!” a middle-aged fellow cried.

Now will you ban them from the premises?” Abby demanded to the receptionist.

The receptionist stated, “No one is coming back here until this infrastructure is examined and deemed safe!”

A weeping wife probed, “But… where will we go?”

No one had a response. Lisa and Delron began to walk away, but then the receptionist addressed them, “Please give back that historical artifact!” Lisa hesitated. If she could only keep it, she could end this nightmare forever! She couldn’t come up with a valid excuse other than the truth though, and that was not something she could share, so she very unwillingly handed the handcuffs back prior to their departure.

Lisa saw him standing under a hazy streetlight. Everything else was pitch black, which made her worry about their prospective endeavor this evening. When she got closer to Adam, he flashed her a grin, and she tried earnestly to reciprocate the gesture, but her nerves froze her facial muscles! Exploring a vengeful ghost’s former territory felt daunting enough, but in addition to that, she dreaded interacting with Adam after what happened with Abby. Oh sure, it didn’t sound like they were currently dating, but that didn’t mean he didn’t want to! She didn’t want to hang out with the man who would choose to pursue a girl who tried to strangle her, but his work towards their effort to eradicate this town from a terrible presence was valuable. She pushed herself to buy into the notion of a positive outcome from this undertaking, but her anxiety overruled her optimism!

Suddenly, Lisa detected movement in the darkness in front of her! She couldn’t discern what it was, so she could only assume it was some sort of spirit racing towards her! She looked to Adam for possible assistance, and it startled her to see him smiling! Did he send a wicked entity to her? She could hardly comprehend that, but she didn’t have a second to spare in analyzing anything! The obscure figure arrived in her proximity, and she braced herself for a paranormal battle…

“Oh, hello there!” Lisa merrily greeted the perpetrator of her panic- a mid-size, black dog with floppy ears and a sweet expression on its visage! “You scared me, little dude!”

“Peanut, down!” Adam commanded his pet as it put its front paws onto Lisa’s sweater.

Lisa laughed, “Oh, I don’t mind! Well,  I suppose I should since he could snag it and I don’t have very many clothes, but I’m just so relieved that he isn’t some ferocious creature coming to eat me!”

Adam chuckled, “That’d never happen! He chases the rabbits out of the pumpkin groves, but if he ever caught any, I’m certain he’d just play with them! He’s the gentlest animal I’ve ever met! But, having said that, I’m hoping that he’ll provide us with protection while we explore Blackthorn Orchards! I think if was in any true danger, he’d come to my rescue! Besides, Rebecca didn’t like that ghostly cat, so I was counting on him warding her off while we’re here. You never know when she might revisit her old place!”

“If this proves successful, then I’ll have to consider getting a doggy or kitty to take with us on deliveries! Maybe we could actually complete an order without almost dying!” Lisa joked. She instantly regretted making that quip though- it gave him an opening to pry into this morning’s incident!

“Yeah, I imagine that’s getting old!” Adam responded. They each guffawed at that, and then Adam smirked. “Abby told me about the freak hurricane. So, you attempted to murder her, huh?”

Lisa emphatically denied that allegation, “That’s a lie! She was the one who wanted to wring my neck in the middle of evacuating from the wind!”

Adam assured her, “I know! Well, I didn’t know that specific detail, but Abby’s claim didn’t make sense! Why would you do something like that when you allegedly sent the hurricane to do everyone in?”

“Thank you!” Lisa’s heart thumped with gratitude for his vouching of her character! “How much you wanna bet half of Melas will believe her b.s.?” 

“People believe a lot of dumb things! You’d be surprised how many idiots still think the world is flat!” Adam commented. They exchanged amusement in this tidbit, and then Adam got more serious. “Forget what they say! The important thing is you’re still here!”

He stroked her hair, and Lisa fought her instincts to inch closer to him! She didn’t want to fall victim to any tricks on his part to persuade her to let her guard down and provide her foes with invaluable insight, but he got right next to her body, and it became very hard to resist pulling her lips up to his…

Delron shouted, “Get back!” Lisa and Adam immediately jumped out of each other’s orbit and mentally prepared themselves to engage in a harrowing altercation, but they soon espied Peanut merrily greeting Delron! Delron cracked up, “Yes, yes! Nice to see you again, buddy!” Peanut scampered back to Adam, and Delron sheepishly regarded them, “Sorry! I didn’t wanna interrupt your, um, conversation…”

“The entrance to the estate is a few feet behind us,” Adam mentioned as if the bout of awkwardness had not transpired. “Shall we…?”

“Yes! The sooner we find an object belonging to Rebecca, the sooner we can evoke the magic of those witching bottles and finish this spooky shit!” Lisa ardently articulated. Adam led them on the route to their destination, and Delron as well as Lisa determinedly traversed behind him.

A battered-up old arch marked the onset to the property, and a padlock sealed up the slender, iron gates. Adam informed the other two, “They put this up later to discourage squatters, but no one is even tempted to trespass here!” Lisa couldn’t see anything beyond the obscurity, but she wasn’t about to let that discourage her! She used the gate’s setup as steps and began scaling the structure. Delron and Adam mimicked that move while Peanut squeezed through the gaps, and once they all reached the other side, they stood in silence for a moment to absorb the gravity of the occasion. Once they accepted the hallow oddity, they took a collective deep breath and went forth down the shadowy path.

Lisa, Adam, and Delron turned on the flashlight feature on their cellphones, and so far, all the trio could see was several deadened trees lining their trail. Delron wondered, “Do you imagine that this lot was ever nice?”

“Oh, look! There’s a house!” Adam indicated to a dilapidated dwelling ahead of them.

“It seems like it’s staring at us!” Lisa assessed as she viewed how the eaves resembled eyebrows, and the windows very much appeared like glaring eyes! Holes in its walls showed the inside of a fairly ordinary domicile, but the closer they got to it, the more it seemed like their existence in this area angered the current occupants of the land! “Remember why we’re here- don’t lose your cool!” Lisa advised the two men in addition to herself.

Delron reached the porch first, but when he attempted to open the door, it wouldn’t budge! Adam pointed to a sizable crack nearby, and he let the others know, “We can fit in there if we take out this board!” He yanked it from its position, and then he stared at the site guiltily. “Why does it feel like I pissed someone off by doing that?”

Lisa responded, “Because you’re overthinking it! Let’s go!”

She crouched low and shimmied into the shack, and Adam did the same. Delron almost followed suit, but then, unexpectedly, Peanut darted away and ran into an unclear detour to the rearmost section of the habitation! “I’ll go get him!” Delron volunteered.

“He shouldn’t go alone!” Lisa fretted.

“Aw, he’ll be fine!” Adam aired his vote of confidence. “Peanut doesn’t tear himself too far away from me. We should start searching for Rebecca’s possessions, who knows how long we have…” Lisa nodded in agreement, and they initiated a sweep of their surroundings.

Lisa peered at a pile of rubble, and she conveyed, “Man, it’s like one day, they just took everything out and never came back!”

Adam denoted, “No mice, no bugs, no birds- nothing touched this home in ages! What exactly were they trying to avoid?”

Prior to Lisa having the ability to reply, they heard a horrible scream from afar! They swiftly removed themselves from that locale and sped towards the origin of that anguished cry…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 18

“I already told you I’m sorry!” Lisa expressed to Delron as they trudged up the downtown boulevard in a light dusting of snow. Delron didn’t respond to her, so she made another bid for his forgiveness, “I know I acted recklessly, and I promised I wouldn’t do it again! What more do you want from me?”

“I’m not really mad,” Delron finally spoked up. “I’m simply afraid of what you might do if you get more information! Are you gonna act impulsively and behave in a way that might get you killed? You already almost died in the graveyard, and you got lucky at Derrick Tyburn’s Field! You can only cheat death so many times…”

Lisa took offense to that. “Are you saying I wanted all those things to happen to me?”

Delron probed, “Did you? You’re going through a rough patch, and it’s not uncommon for people in that situation to put themselves in harm’s path…”

“I’m not suicidal!” Lisa refuted that statement. “I messed up, but I only did it ‘cause I was trying to help! I’m trying to save innocent lives, not harm myself!”

“It worries me to involve you in any more of these efforts,” Delron spelled out to her. “Every new fact we learn seems to get you into trouble!”

Lisa got shocked by the audacity of his assertion. “So, you’re saying you don’t trust me? This whole rescue mission was my idea!”

Delron contended, “It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just don’t wanna lose you! Yes, we’ve only known each other for a few days, but I feel like I’ve made a new friend! I don’t have a lot of allies in this town, and it’d crush me to see you meet your demise like that!”

“If you really value our friendship, you have to have a little more faith in me than that!” Lisa argued. “You have to give me a chance to prove I’m trustworthy! Besides, Rebecca has a strong vendetta against me after what my ancestor did to her! I doubt she’d leave me alone if I stopped pursuing her! I’d fare better against her by being armed with more information…”

“You’re right!” Delron conceded as he halted his gait. “I guess I got a little overprotective! If I tell you what I learned, will you swear not to act on it alone?”

Lisa assured him, “Of course! What did you find out?”

Delron glanced around at his surroundings, and when he felt confident about their privacy, he inquired, “Do you know how we’re doing a book pick up at Bayside Estates?”

“Yeah,” Lisa replied.

“Well, I was doing some research on other places that may have held significance for the witchcraft trial victims, and…” Delron trailed off.

With her interest piqued, Lisa pressed him, “That building may have meant something to that menacing ghost?”

Delron explained, “Well, before it was luxury condos, it was actually an insane asylum, and before that, it was a jail notorious for its harsh conditions and mistreatment of prisoners…”

“So, Rebecca may have been held here prior to her hanging?” Lisa surmised.

“Precisely!” Delron confirmed. “And a lot of her madness probably stemmed from the abuse she went through there!”

As they resumed their travel, Lisa wondered, “Why would they create such fancy homes on a site with such an ugly history?”

Delron commented, “It happened more than you can imagine! Entrepreneurs buy the land for dirt cheap, and then after they turn it into something nice, they make a huge profit.”

“But wouldn’t this spot be haunted as hell?” Lisa queried.

“Most likely.” Delron shrugged.

Delron pushed a button by the front entrance’s intercom, and a snooty voice addressed them, “Yes?”

Lisa informed him, “We’re from Brigfell. We’re here at the request of Patrick Wheat.”

The man requested, “One moment.” After a considerable pause, the man returned, “You’ve been verified. Come in.”

Lisa beheld the ultra posh lobby, and other than the sour face that receptionist was making as he avoided eye contact, nothing regarding this space suggested that it once held anything sinister! As she followed Delron across they foyer, she glanced around at her surroundings to visually unearth some sort of memento honoring the background of this site, but it became very apparent that the designers of this edifice strove to bury that secret! She watched an arrogant bunch board an elevator, and she had to resist the urge to question them on whether or not their opulent pad ever got visited by the spirits of tortured prisoners!

“We’re taking the service lift,” Delron assured the condescending crew as they eyeballed the pair warily. They seemed really relieved to receive this tidbit, and Lisa shook her head as their doors closed. “Don’t take it personally,” Delron advised her. “They treat everyone like that!”

“I’m not particularly concerned about that,” Lisa remarked as she studied the residential hallway they trekked through. “I lived in a penthouse up until recently, and I had neighbors like that! It’s a shame that they isolate themselves from so many people! Then again, they’re hardly the first occupants of this establishment to live in total seclusion…”

Delron put a finger to his lips to signify the need to keep that morsel under wraps, and while Lisa didn’t see the problem of anyone here knowing the truth, she acquiesced to his wishes- she hardly wanted to get into another tiff with him! When they reached the barred entryway of this shaft, Lisa probed, “Is this the servants’ corridor?”

After pushing the summoning button, Delron expounded, “It’s designed for those with large loads to utilize for a more convenient experience, but I have rarely seen it get used by anybody who actually lived here! So… yeah!” Lisa shook her head at the ridiculousness of the residents.

Once they were in the solitude of the conveyer, Lisa observed, “I didn’t find any hint of anything that once belonged to the old jail!”

“It was kind of a long shot,” Delron responded. “We don’t even know what cell Rebecca was held in! But hey, it’s still worth it to keep an eye out for something!”

“Are you the book peeps?” a young woman with her gaze fixed firmly on her cellphone greeted them at the door of her condominium. 

Lisa authenticated this with a less than sincere thumbs up, but the girl didn’t catch a drift of her disdain. “Book peeps… yeah, that’s us.”

The youthful lady instructed them, “Daddy is in the study. Wait here, I’ll get them for you.”

She shut the door, and then Lisa whispered, “Wouldn’t it be ironic if Rebecca was once locked up in this apartment?”

Delron chuckled, and then Patrick’s daughter shoved a sack of publications into their arms. “Have a nice day!” She flashed them a disingenuous grin prior to shutting the door once more. “At least this one made eye contact with us!” Delron kidded. Lisa tittered, but she soon grew crestfallen, which prompted Delron to ask, “Is something wrong?”

“You mean aside from the usual?” Lisa answered with the slightest sign of jest in her melancholy. “Well, I was hoping to gather an important clue during our stay in this joint, but all we got was treated badly!”

“It could’ve been worse,” Delron consoled her. “At least we didn’t run into anything too scary!” In that instant, a door swung open, and Abby stood before them! “I stand corrected!”

Abby folded her arms and spoke directly to Lisa, “What business do you have with Adam?”

Lisa hesitated. Obviously, she couldn’t divulge the small part Adam played in their quest to rid Melas of an evil apparition, and she definitely didn’t want to confess to any romantic sentiments that surfaced within her! Still, she had to offer her some kind of rationale for their increasingly frequent activities together… Delron jumped in, “He comes to Brigfell to get literature and music for the Halloween Hoedown; as someone who helps pay the bills for that event, I would’ve expected you to feel pleased about stuff he can rent for free!”

“Don’t give me that crap!” Abby snarled. “You don’t keep a man’s attention that long for mere logistics!”

“Well, since you’re not gonna listen to our story, why don’t you tell us what Adam wants from the library?” Lisa challenged her.

Abby spat, “You! But I highly doubt that’s from his own free will!”

Lisaa put her hands on her hips and catechized, “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Don’t play games with me!” Abby hissed. “You know exactly what I’m talking about! You bewitched him to get him to fall for you! That’s the only reason a guy like him would go for you when he could have someone like me! I have the entire package- looks, personality, money, and you have none of that!”

“You’re forgetting something else that you have that I don’t- an unsound brain!” Lisa retorted. Abby’s jaw dropped upon hearing this insult, but preceding her ability to argue any further, Lisa directed Delron, “Let’s go!”

Delron tailed Lisa, who had taken brisk strides towards the elevator, and Abby struggled to keep up with them. “Wait! I’m not done with you yet!” Lisa closed the elevator door in her face and smirked as they descended back down below.

Lisa and Delron had nearly gotten to the exit when they lift behind them dinged, something they would have ignored if it didn’t come with Abby in it, who yelled, “Don’t you dare try and escape me!”

“Miss Parris, please remember that there’s no shouting in the lobby!” the receptionist gently reminded her.

“I want these two banned from the premises!” Abby demanded as if she hadn’t apprehended his guidance. “They’ve damaged my property!”

Lisa disputed that, “That’s a lie! She’s making up wild claims ‘cause she got the impression I’m stealing a boyfriend that she doesn’t have!”

Abby accused, “Ever since she got here, my home has been acting funny! My belongings keep getting moved, it gets cold out of nowhere, weird shadows dance across my floor… Do you really think this is a simple coincidence?”

“Uh…” the receptionist demurred. It pleased Lisa to watch his skepticism rise because she recognized although he probably didn’t want to side with Abby’s opponent, her assertion was too bonkers for him to entertain! “Ma’am, forgive me for asking, but what precisely are you accusing her of?”

“Dark magic!” Abby bellowed. Several passersby stopped to witness this scene, but Abby didn’t seem to care about their presence. “You can’t deny that something is very wrong here! Haven’t you noticed any unusual sightings?” 

The receptionist slowly articulated, “Miss Parris, this complex got built on very old grounds…”

Lisa’s ears perked up at this! She eagerly awaited him to provide more detail about its past, but her hopes of gleaning anything that might assist them in their mystery got dashed when a couple of audience members concurred with Abby! Abby picked up on this, and she avidly interrogated the crowd, “You’ve seen it too, haven’t you? The weird lights, the creepy sky…”

“Listen, if you want us out that bad, we’ll leave! Our boss can deliver your orders from now on!” Lisa turned to Delron, who nodded in agreement. They attempted to march out, but then…

“Hold on! No one is going anywhere!” the receptionist decreed as he stared out the window in fright…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 17

“No!” Delron cried out upon seeing Adam walk in with Lisa loosely hanging off of Adam’s shoulder! “That wasn’t supposed to be a dangerous mission! Oh, please tell me she’s okay!”

“I’m fine!” Lisa firmly stated. Given that her eyes weren’t fully open, Lisa could only assume that their pause stemmed from disbelief of her claim, so she corrected her statement, “I’m alive!”

Delron exhaled in alleviation. “Thank goodness! What happened out there?”

Adam opened his mouth to speak, but he refrained from doing so because the front door opened. Melanie greeted them, “Man, there’s a lot of traffic, and it’s not even the weekend yet! I wish I could ride a bike like you guys, but, you know, bad knees! If there’s another delivery, one of you will have to-.” Once she set her belongings down, she noticed the weakened stance Lisa was currently in, and she vociferated, “What is this? Ugh, I knew I shouldn’t have let you return to work so soon! I don’t know if workman’s comp will reimburse your medical bills since you went against doctors orders…”

“I don’t need medical attention!” Lisa assured her. “I just… I tried to do too much too soon! I’ll go slower from now on!” 

“You need to go home and rest!” Melanie decreed. Lisa started to object, but Melanie insisted, “No! You’re not killing yourself on the job! I don’t want that liability! Stay in your studio, and if you’re feeling stronger tomorrow, you can come back.”

Lisa could already feel her limbs regaining their stamina, but she could see that arguing with Melanie would yield a futile outcome for her, so she relented to her demand. Adam sensed her disappointment, so he attempted to buoy her up. “Relax while you can ‘cause on Saturday, you’ll have so much fun at the Halloween Hoedown, you won’t get a chance to sit down!”

Melanie barked at Adam, “What are you doing? You’re not employed here, so you’re not supposed to be doing any of the labor!”

“Well, she’s off-the-clock, right? So, we’re both free agents!” Adam countered. Lisa caught Melanie’s surprised expression prior to them heading up the fireplace stairs, and she got the impression that no one had ever talked back to her like that before! Having the most popular guy in town be the one to disagree with her like that must have been even more of a shock! They had always seemed to get along well, and she vaguely wondered how it would affect their power dynamic! She hoped that it wouldn’t jeopardize her occupation at Brigfell, but she would have to worry about that later! At that moment, she couldn’t help but savor the fact that someone in Melas actually stood up for her! That and a handsome man was leading her to her bedroom…

“Nice place!” Adam complimented as he entered into her abode. 

Lisa gave him a half grin. “Thanks! Well, I can’t really take credit for it! It came furnished…”

Adam chuckled, and then he noted, “You’re standing on your own! Do you still need my assistance to move around?”

“No!” Lisa had been thoroughly enjoying the support he offered, and it pained her not to have an excuse to remain nestled up against him! She walked over to her bed, and she realized that she hadn’t shown Adam appreciation for his service. “Thanks for your help!”

“Not a problem!” Adam graciously responded.

Lisa differed, “You almost got murdered by a vengeful ghost, so I woudln’t say that was exactly problem-free!”

Adam shrugged. “It was a problem, but now it’s just a bad memory! I’m glad I played a small part in your noble mission, and I wish I could do more, but I’m way behind on party prep! Plus, I need to take care of Mom before I see Abby…”

“You’re seeing Abby?” Lisa’s spirits fell. It seemed as though every time she thought she was getting closer to this hunky sweetheart, she was simply fooling herself! Furthermore, if he had to date any other girl, why her? Other than the evil essence she was currently battling, she was her greatest rival!

“She’s a major donor, and we have some bills to settle,” Adam let her know. That sounded like a denial, but Lisa observed that he didn’t outright reject that premise! He put a hand on her shoulder, and he requested, “Take care of yourself, ‘kay?”

Lisa obliged, “Sure.” He beamed at her, and Lisa could have melted! His hand felt so soothingly warm too! She ached to not feel like she could make a more flirtatious move, and as she watched him leave, she became doubtful that she ever would!

She woke up from a nap feeling quite refreshed! She knew she couldn’t overdo it, but Lisa definitely felt like she could shelve some books! It wasn’t as though she was eager to do any tedious tasks, but she was dying to learn more about their ghostly mystery! She eagerly desired to find a possession of Rebecca’s so they could end her evil curse, and it drove her crazy to not have the ability to progress in that realm! Certainly, they couldn’t discuss much in front of Melanie, but sooner or later, she was bound to go on another delivery! Or let them go on one! Any tidbit that they could unearth from a meaningful conversation would provide tremendous relief, but instead, she was stuck here doing nothing! Although…

Lisa stared at the window, and while she had covered it with curtains, she vividly recalled that it generated a frigid effect upon viewing it. Clearly, this body of water was significant! Delron described Rebecca’ husband taking her corpse to the graveyard, so without a doubt, the stream held some significance! Exploring Rebecca’s former home at the orchard could have yielded the results they needed, but she speculated that this brook may produce a positive output for them too! Delron and Adam were both busy, but solving this dilemma was too vital to wait until they weren’t, so she decided to explore the territory on her own. As she grabbed her jacket, she knew that the two others involved in this affair would’ve objected to her going out on her own, but she didn’t see the harm in a mere trek by the rivulet…

The frosty grass and the colorful Autumn trees made for such a tranquil setting! If she hadn’t been on the hunt for a trinket belonging to a savage spirit, she would have found the process very peaceful! Initially, she had passed the posterior of the businesses that bordered the library, but it veered to the left, and the nearest buildings were no longer very close! She beheld plenty of grasslands, but none of it gave off any sort of indication that this area once housed the hangings from one of Massachusetts’ darkest chapters! She ambled along and pondered how long she should travel preceding her circling back to her apartment when, all of a sudden, she heard screaming in the distance! 

As she raced towards the origin of the cacophony, she rapidly recognized that the hollering hadn’t been made in fear afterall! She approached a chain-link fence, and it dawned on her that this river ran alongside a park! The raised voices emanated from a baseball diamond, and parents were cheering on their tots as they merrily engaged in this sport. It was an entirely quaint picture to soak in, and she began planning to skip past it… until… 

Lisa gasped when she spotted the strange mist floating above the crowd! Her jaw dropped at this spectacle- surely, children were off limits to her cruelty! She couldn’t comprehend how Rebecca even knew to occupy this region! She recalled that Adam told her and Delron the apparitional cloud hovered around the orchard, which made sense since they could now confirm that it had a connection to Rebecca, and while she acknowledged it wasn’t totally impossible for this malevolent phantom to reside somewhere where Lisa didn’t visit, it seemed odd to do this at a super random site like this! … Unless it wasn’t so random… But that notion was impossible! They couldn’t have built a youthful recreation center over the former Gallow’s Hill, could they?

After watching the game for a couple of minutes, Lisa started to wonder if she misinterpreted the nefarious nebula. Everything seemed to be functioning like normal, and she wondered how long she should watch this game before calling it a loss and moving on. She despised the idea of wasting more time, but she wouldn’t have forgiven herself if she stepped away and an incident occurred! She inwardly went back and forth between staying and going, but then…

A kid hit a ball with such fervor that it flew beyond the boundaries of the outfield! It transpired so fast that Lisa didn’t realize that it was speeding towards her subsequent to it landing onto her outstretched palm! She hadn’t even meant to catch it- an automatic reflex compelled her to! The players involved got rather irate about this instance, and she fully intended to tell them that she didn’t enjoy this fluke because she seriously didn’t, especially due to the force of the impact’s pain and continued reverberation! However, it soon became evident that the baseball hadn’t caused the vibrations at all…

“Are you gonna give that back to my boy?” an angry dad demanded to know.

“Why are you interfering with their fun?” a vexed mom queried Lisa.

Another spectator remarked, “Look who we’re talking to! She won’t let anyone feel the slightest bit of happiness!”

Lisa stove to catechize, “Did you notice the ground-?”

“Why don’t you leave us alone?” another adult heatedly addressed her, which sparked a murmur of agreement amongst the throng.

“It’s getting worse!” Lisa ardently cautioned them. “You need to get out of here!’

Somebody else shouted back, “No, you do!”

The bystanders applauded that sentiment, and Lisa ogled at the masses with desperation in her eyes! Something very sinister was about to ensue, and she probably could have spared some agony if someone, anyone, heeded her warning and evacuated the property! She gazed at all of the innocent souls, particularly the juveniles, and it anguished her to foresee the terrible fate Rebecca had in store for them!

Finally, one individual spoke up about it, “Hey! I think we’re having an earthquake!”

One of their peers disputed, “That’s impossible! We don’t get earthquakes in this neck of the woods…”

The shaking strengthened, and it grew difficult for the people in this locale to stay upright! A few attempted to flee, but the convulsions only became worse! No one could maintain their footing, and Lisa bellowed, “Hold on to the fence!” Some of the besieged followed her guidance, but many stayed skeptical as they laid on the floor waiting for the event to conclude. Unfortunately for them, the dirt turned into the least safe sector to reside in…

Abruptly, the turf opened up, and slowly, the chasm’s width multiplied! Various minors plummeted into the abyss, and Lisa couldn’t stand to witness this demise! She had no clue how to thwart this demonic effort, and without a personal item of that wicked woman, she didn’t esteem that they could stop her! With a last ditch push to conquer this madness, Lisa yelled, “Just ‘cause your life got cut off here doesn’ mean you gotta do the same for them!”

To her astonishment, the trembling came to a halt! Nobody got up immediately, but once a bout of stillness elapsed, the affected party warily started to stand. Parents rushed to check on their babies, and Lisa instinctively ran over to aid them with the rescue, but a man blocked her path! “Don’t bother! You’ve done enough already!”

Lisa’s heart wrenched from this hostile attitude towards her! She yearned to learn how the kids fared, but with more and more glaring getting thrown in her direction, she opted to exit the scene. As she headed back to her dwelling, she despondently deliberated on the condition of the blameless victims…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 16

Lisa and Adam went closer to Delron and listened to him with wrapt attention! Lisa felt sort of scared of what he may have unearthed, but she sincerely hoped that he would divulge a tidbit that would aid them in solving this problem dilemma indefinitely! Delron took a deep breath, and then he narrated, “Rebecca was a young bride to an older man, and she soon found herself to be a widow. A few years later, she married a wealthy business owner, and after about five years of marriage, he died too. She inherited his land, and shortly following that, she was wed to a lumber mill worker. Melas erupted in gossip over her relationships, and the rumor was that she played a sinister role in how things ended…”

Folding her arms, Lisa pouted, “You’re not gonna get me to feel sorry for her just ‘cause our experiences are similar! She may not have been a witch then, but with how many people she’s hurt, she certainly qualifies as one now!”

“Certainly…” Evidently, Delron hadn’t made that connection, and this abrupt comparison threw him off a bit! He cleared his throat and then went on, “They used those scandalous reports against her at the trial. Apparently, her second husband was quite abusive, and they were often seen arguing together in public. This was very unusual for that era since wives were expected to have complete obedience to their husbands.”

“Nope! Still don’t feel sorry for her!” Lisa stubbornly insisted, though really, she needed to convince herself of this more than anything!

Delron continued, “Ruth Williams along with her two best friends, Susanna Booth and Betty Warren, accused Rebecca of using a love spell against Edmund Rook because they didn’t view her worthy of capturing his heart on her own.”

Adam observed, “It sounds like they were just jealous that she got the town squeeze and not them!”

“Most likely,” Delron concurred. “But, in addition to using a dark enchantment to get his affection, they also swore they spotted her flying through the air! They even claimed that she forced them to sign the devil’s book before they suddenly erupted into fits in the courtroom! They weren’t the only accusers though. Some construction workers said they found voodoo dolls in her barn, and then several witnesses alleged that they found their missing items in her home even though she hadn’t actually set foot onto their property. It was all petty stuff like eggs and candles- stuff that she might have had at her house anyways…”

“Gosh, it really does sound like she was completely innocent! I could see why she would harbor such a venomous rage over this!” Lisa didn’t like admitting it, but Rebecca’s backstory was truly tragic! She pitied her plight, but she felt guilty for doing so since she didn’t want to justify the monstrous actions she was taking as a ghost!

Adam responded to Delron’s revelation quizzically, “This is interesting and all, but how is this gonna help us stop her?”

Delron explained, “You never know! Besides, I haven’t finished yet! The article described her getting hung at Guardian’s Ledge, but no one is positive where that is exactly. We do have one clue, however! Edmund Rook was seen on a boat rowing her body to the graveyard. He wasn’t allowed to put her tombstone in the Blackthorn lot, so she’s likely mixed in with the other victims of the witchcraft era.”

“Did you say Blackthorn?” Adam reacted in surprise. “So, the land she inherited was Blackthorn Orchard?”

“No wonder everyone thinks it’s haunted- it probably is!” Lisa contemplated this statement, and then she furrowed her brows. “But if Rebecca’s spirit got trapped in the Proctor’s Bible, how could she haunt the orchard too?”

Delron shrugged. “Perhaps other inhabitants took residence there in the afterlife. George’s first wife died young too, so it could be her.”

Adam remarked, “Maybe we can find something of Rebecca’s at the orchard! It hasn’t been lived in for ages, so maybe some of her belongings are still there!”

“Maybe, but we’re literally right next door to that graveyard…” Delron indicated to the window behind him. “Any of her most precious possessions would presumably have been put in her casket, but it’s still worth a look! You two could take a quick peek while I do the book drop, but you’ll have to hurry ‘cause Melanie’s delivery probably won’t take long!”

“You wanna do it?” Adam inquired to Lisa.

Lisa was ready to tell him no until he articulated that! She did not want to spend any alone time with a person whom she suspected of only acting kindly towards her so he could gain intelligence on her activities for her rivals, but when he used that precise phrasing, she couldn’t resist replying, “Yes, of course!”

Adam grinned. “Alright! Let’s get moving!” Lisa found herself blushing as he opened the backdoor for her, and she prayed that he didn’t catch her reddened cheeks!

As the two of them walked over to the cemetery, she gazed at the rows of old graves, and she realized what an awful idea this had been! She would become totally isolated with someone who may have been working on behalf of bad actors, and she admonished herself for getting into such a potentially precarious situation! Right when she started thinking of excuses to turn back, her phone chimed. She assumed it was Lydia again trying to check on her, but her insides twisted when she saw who had contacted her! “Ugh, no!”

“What’s wrong?” Adam asked her.

“My stupid ex texted me!” Lisa answered. “He’s all like, ‘Hey, babe! What are you up to?’ He’s acting like nothing happened between us! I wouldn’t wanna talk to any guy who cheated on me a month after we split, but I especially don’t wanna talk to him after the lies he spread about me! That asshole thinks I’ll chat with him? Nuh-uh! Blocked!” She pushed the option to bar him from communicating with her.

Lisa traveled with steam in her step, and while she fumed, she predicted that Adam would offer some condolences before using this window she opened up to pry into more details regarding their relationship. It bewildered her completely when instead, Adam stated, “I never liked him!”

Blinking in confusion, Lisa puzzled, “Huh?”

“Tommy Dane,” Adam clarified. “His music is mediocre at best, and everyone acts like he’s the greatest thing to happen to rock since the Beatles! He’s hackey, and he puts on this big show of humility for his fans! He’s so fake! I could see it in his eyes- he’s really just an arrogant jerk! He doesn’t deserve the fame he’s earned!” As much as Lisa despised her previous flame now, some of her past instincts wanted to resurface! She shoved them back down the instant they arose though because she recognized the accuracy of his accusation! She couldn’t deny that his songs weren’t that great, and with how he treated her once she left, she couldn’t fight the notion of his ignoble character either! This recognition caused sadness to overwhelm her- how could she have wasted three solid years with that jerk? “What on earth did you see in him?” Adam probed.

“I thought I saw the real him,” Lisa told him. “When we first met, I was alone in a coffee shop trying to cheer myself up from a hard day, and this dude with a baseball cap and sunglasses sat by me and began a conversation. He seemed so nice and empathetic, so I agreed to go on a date with him. When he eventually revealed his true identity, I didn’t believe him at first! Soon, I decided what he did on stage was simply a persona he developed to sell tickets, and I stuck with him ‘cause I figured he needed someone normal to come home to. We always had to disguise ourselves when we went out, but when we were by ourselves, we were a typical couple! He went out of the city a lot, but I didn’t think too much of it since that’s the nature of the entertainment industry. If I had any inkling that his real self was at all terrible, I wouldn’t have stayed!”

Adam paused his gait, and he affirmed, “I’m glad you cut ties with that prick! You deserve better!” Lisa felt touched by his sentiments, and the intense stare he gave her drew her closer to him! His lips were so inviting, and although her doubts about his character wanted her to pull away, the desire to get even closer to him strengthened… “She’s gotta be around this area!”

His sentence addled her brain! For a moment, she feared he had come out to meet another girl! She definitely wanted for that to prove incorrect, so she petitioned him, “Who?”

“Rebecca Rook… Remember…?” Adam attempted to jog her memory. Lisa glanced around and got startled to observe that they had reached the innermost section of the graveyard! She got so wrapped up in her romantic drama that she hadn’t paid attention to where they went! She felt foolish for this bout of ineptitude, and Adam sympathetically chuckled, “It really was a long night for you, wasn’t it? Are you sure you’re up for this?”

“I’ll be fine!” Lisa reassured him as well as herself. She cast that topic out of her mind and catechized, “What makes you think that her tombstone is around here?”

Adam gestured towards the top of a grave as he filled her in, “Those are death heads! Puritans weren’t supposed to put religious symbols on their tombs, so they used these instead. They taught that in Melas High School- I’m shocked I still had that in my memories!”

Lisa kidded, “Delron and his husband would be so proud!” Adam cracked a grin, and Lisa tittered prior to shifting her mood back to serious. “Let’s see what her final resting place tells us!”

They slowly made their way down the aisle of witchcraft era graves, and she espied a few names that she vaguely recollected from academic courses, but none of them mattered for their mission. After a minute, an intuitive hint formed within her that they were getting nearer! She felt as though they were being watched, and goosebumps formed all over her exposed skin! She grew colder, and despair overwhelmed her! These sensations heightened more and more until, all of a sudden, her limbs froze! Without peering at which tombstone she halted at, Lisa firmly proclaimed, “She’s here!”

Adam swiveled his head to the sepulcher, and he confirmed, “Yeah, it’s her… her…”

He abruptly became tongue-tied, and he massaged his throat as if he endeavored to coax the words out! “Adam, are you-?”

Her utterance got interrupted when an eerie glow enveloped them! They floated above the grassy terrain, and then Rebecca appeared! “You shall interfere with my plans no longer!” Lisa wanted to scream for someone to race to their rescue, but she couldn’t move a muscle! Their entrapment began to warm up, and Lisa knew they were about to get killed in a tortuous manner! She shut her eyes to avoid beholding her own demise, but then she flicked them wide open! She wasn’t about to perish cowering in fear like that evil essence wanted- if she was hellbent on murdering them, she would have to take in her orbs of sight! The same ones of her ancestor that sent Rebecca to her doom…

Unanticipatedly, Hester’s form manifested between Rebecca and her victims! The force that propped them into their lofty position vanished, and Rebecca ogled at the feline fearfully preceding her disappearance! Lisa and Adam returned to the floor, and Lisa rather weakly expressed, “Hester! You saved us!”

Hester mewed at them cheerily, and Adam commented, “Huh! I thought witches liked familiars!” He laughed, but prior to Lisa having the ability to do the same, everything went dark and she plummeted to the ground!

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 15

The fumes instantly made Lisa grow short of breath! She dove into her purse and pulled out her inhaler, but she quickly realized that she couldn’t use it since she would have to inhale toxic air first! She pulled her shirt over her nose, but that didn’t help much! Her wheezing worsened, but she wasn’t the only one to experience that! The thrift shop patrons and employees were all losing their ability to breathe, and some emitted a horrible gagging sound as they desperately gasped for oxygen that didn’t exist in the building! As several people started collapsing, Lisa reached a definitive conclusion- they needed a way out of there!

She glanced around the room for an escape route. That malevolent spirit may have sealed the doors, but there had to be another manner in which they could vacate the premises! She didn’t spot any access to the roof, and there weren’t even any axes or sledgehammers to break down their barriers! She did see a large, storefront window closeby, but it didn’t have the ability to open! She felt herself weakening, and then she caught sight of the evil essence in a dark corner smiling malevolently at the destruction taking place around her! This infuriated Lisa- she couldn’t allow this fiend to delight in this demonic demise of innocent souls! She wouldn’t let her win this battle!

Without thinking about it, Lisa summoned strength out of nowhere, grabbed a chair from a display near her, and hurled it towards the glass! She prayed that her adversary hadn’t taken this possibility into consideration and did not seal the panes in any sort of fashion! To her relief, the window shattered! Lisa caught the horrified expression of that villainous spirit, but she could hardly relish in this small victory- she had to use this newly formed exit immediately!

Lisa took a minute to respirate the pureness of the outside atmosphere before turning her attention to the others. A few had mimicked her move and got out of there, but Lisa could tell not everyone had made it out! She slowly turned herself over, and she strove to gain the stamina to stand up, but she simply couldn’t! The cashier who rang her up croaked, “I wanted everyone to shut up, but not like this!”

Ezekiel weakly commented, “Be careful what you wish for! Especially around her!”

This should have incensed Lisa, but she felt her consciousness drifting away! She ardently tried to stay awake so as not to give that dastardly phantom an easy opportunity to assail her, but she recognized that she was losing that fight! She didn’t feel confident that these bystanders would take care of her, so she prayed that Delron would carry on her mission as she drifted off…

“Is she okay?” Lisa heard Adam’s voice say. All she could see was black, so her initial assumption was that she died and got to view the happenings of Earth from the afterlife!

“The doctors said she’ll be fine,” Delron told him. “They’re gonna keep her overnight for observation, but they expect her to get released in the morning.”

Adam exhaled in alleviation. “Thank goodness! She’s such a nice girl, I dreaded thinking that she endured such an awful fate!”

Delron agreed, “Yeah, she wouldn’t have deserved that! Despite what some people are saying…”

“They’re wrong!” Adam stoutly asserted. “Lisa didn’t cause this! Why would she put herself in danger just to hurt them? And she saved everyone! You’d think they’d be grateful!”

“She didn’t save everyone,” Delron dismally disagreed. “Missus Dursley didn’t make it, and they’re all saying that Lisa is to blame, which is ridiculous! She didn’t even know her, why would she do that?”

Adam clicked his tongue in disapproval. “They’re acting like she has supernatural powers or something! I can’t see Lisa going around and hexing everyone in her path! But I do think something is! There’s a lot of strange stuff happening around here, and I doubt it’s human!” He paused, and then he asked Delron, “You probably wanna commit me, but I don’t care! There’s something unnatural here, and I won’t rest ‘til I figure out what it is!”

Lisa’s lids were too heavy for her to lift, so all she could do was inwardly beseech Delron not to divulge any part of their plan! She felt certain that the townsfolk sent him in to spy on her, and not only did she believe that they wouldn’t accept the truth, but she predicted that they would use this information against them! That sinister specter would roam freely, and the city would become truly doomed! She sincerely hoped that she could awaken herself preceding Delron’s revelation, and she was disappointed when she missed her shot at preventing this! Delron confessed, “It’s a ghost out to get revenge against the descendents of the individuals involved with her murder! A cursed book accidentally got touched, and now everyone is a target!”

Silence filled the room, but after a few seconds, it got broken by the sound of Lisa groaning! The two men rushed to her side, and she was able to groggily raise her eyelids! “Oh, hallelujah! You’re awake!” Adam gratefully remarked. “Not that I was worried you wouldn’t! I had full confidence that you would-.”

“Witching bottles!” Lisa sputtered. Delron and Adam seemed startled by her abruptness, but she needed to get what she learned out there in case something else occurred! She didn’t really feel fond of Adam being privy to their research, but since the cat was already out of the bag, she begrudgingly relayed it to him as well. “They… ward… off… dark… spirits!”

“Possibly…” Delron obviously didn’t want to argue with someone in a hospital bed, but she could discern that he didn’t have much faith in her theory’s validity. “A lot of citizens of Melas put them up during the height of the witchcraft trials ‘cause they swore it worked, but since none of the accused were actually witches, it’s hard to prove they caused that effect! Which is why they went out of style ages ago…”

Lisa contended, “JT uses them! So does Ezekiel! Why would they have them if they were so useless?”

Delron disputed, “A lot of people collect them, they’re wonderful antiques!”

“But we don’t have any other ideas on how to capture her!” Lisa affirmed. “Isn’t it worth the chance of success to give it a try?”

“We have some of those at Half Moon Hollow, I can bring you some,” Adam offered. “The only hitch is that, in order for it to be effective, you need a piece of the person you’re trying to trap…”

Lisa lamented, “That’s gonna be impossible! We don’t even know who she is!”

Delron gingerly brought up, “We might be able to remedy that! I was gonna save this for when you were released though! Too much stress after a traumatic event may-!”

“I’m already stressed to the max!” Lisa exclaimed. “Whatever it is, show me!”

“Okay…” Delron obliged despite his hesitations. He pulled out his cellphone, and he instructed, “I found some artist renderings of what the condemned looked like. If you see anyone who resembles the form you saw, let me know!”

Lisa nodded, and Delron pulled up a picture. After she shook her head, he went on to the next one. This drawing didn’t seem familiar either, so he repeated this process. He did this again and again until… Suddenly, Lisa beheld an etching that made her heart stop- almost literally! The monitor on her bedside beeped like crazy! When several nurses came in to check on her, Lisa lied, “Everything’s fine! I… got a nasty message from my ex, and… well, he ticks me off!”

The nurses indicated that they understood, and after one of them reset the machine, the nurses left the room. As soon as they were out of earshot, Lisa inquired, “Who is she?”

“Rebecca Rook,” Delron replied. “Rebecca Rook, wife of Edmund Rook, got accused of witchcraft by Ruth Williams, Susanna Booth, and Betty Warren. That’s all this article says aside from the obvious- she was convicted and executed. I’ll look into that later and get more specific details.”

“Hmm… Rebecca Rook…” Adam voiced his contemplation out loud. “Why does that name seem so familiar?” He couldn’t identify his reason for this belief, so he shrugged, “It’ll come to me soon! Hopefully before I go to Brigfell tomorrow!” He grabbed his jacket and let them know, “I gotta get going! I left my sick mama home alone, but I had to make sure you’re alright!” He pat Lisa’s hand and requested, “You take care of yourself, ‘kay? Stay out of trouble while I’m gone!”

Lisa joked, “No promises!” Even though she resented Adam’s presence due to what she suspected was ulterior motives, she couldn’t help but grin as he beamed at her. The appearance of how he smiled at her made her feel all warm inside! She would’ve given in to the urge to tempt him to stay if he didn’t mention his ailing parent! After he went into the hall, she changed her tune about this premise- she heard Abby’s distinct tone interrogating him on what transpired with her! Her heart sank! Right when she considered liking him, he allied himself with one of her rivals! He brushed Abby off, but Lisa was positive he had only done so because he knew she could overhear them! She berated herself for, once again, acting like a complete fool around him!

She shifted her attention back to Delron, who gazed at her with a knowing smirk. He swiftly wiped it off of his face when he noticed that she could see him, and he conveyed to her, “I gotta use the restroom! I’ll return shortly!”

Lisa kidded, “You had better! I don’t think the region can handle another attack tonight!” As he went into the facility, Lisa espied the screen on Delron’s device. His search engine had the words “Rebecca Rook” all over it, and Lisa’s pulse began to race again! She took a deep breath to placate her nerves and keep the cardio contraption mute, and she pondered why the identity of their nemesis spooked her so much! She figured that it merely stemmed from making this nightmare much more real, but she had an inkling that she wasn’t going to enjoy the findings that they were destined to unearth!

The next day, Melanie ogled at the staircase behind Brigfell’s fireplace in aghast! When Lisa entered with Delron’s arm around her shoulders, Melanie exclaimed, “What the hell? Delron, I thought you were gay!”

“I’m still gay, I’m just assisting out little outpatient here,” Delron shot back as he led Lisa into the workplace.

“Oh yeah, duh!” She eyeballed Lisa discerningly, and then she catechized, “Were you cleared to work today?’

Lisa assured her, “The doctor limited my physical activity, but he didn’t say I had to be bedridden!”

Melanie irately tossed the book in her hand onto the counter, and she grumped, “So, I guess I’m doing all the deliveries again, huh?” Delron started to object, but she cut him off, “No, you stay here and make sure none of my employees die on my watch!” Prior to her storming out, Adam arrived, and she silkily greeted him, “Oh hello, Mister Farrington! I’m shocked to see you here with all of the planning you have to do for the Halloween Hoedown!”

“Gotta take a break sometimes!” Adam chuckled. He grinned at her, but his visage sobered up when she departed though!

“You’re just in time!” Delron regarded Adam. “I have some important info on Rebecca Rook!”

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 14

With one last thread of hope lingering in her voice, Lisa asked Delron, “Was he, like, a nice judge who tried to save the innocent victims and put a stop to that madness?” She clasped her hands together and prayed for this to be the scenario! She didn’t think she could have handled it if he condemned guiltless individuals to an unjust demise!

Shaking his head sadly, Delron answered her, “Melas didn’t have any judges like that! And unfortunately, Judge Basset was the most senior member of the court, so he made most of the rulings in those trials!”

“My ancestor sent dozens of people to their death, and none of them deserved it!” Lisa sunk into one of the chairs by her kitchen table. Her mind had trouble absorbing this fact, it just didn’t seem real! She had always believed that she came from a long line of honorable citizens, and until the present instance, she saw no evidence to contradict that! How could so many benevolent men and women have come from that vile monster?

“Twenty five to be precise. A hundred fifty more were awaiting trial for witchcraft, but they got saved when the governor intervened after someone accused his wife.” Delron espied the appalled expression on Lisa’s face, and he apologized, “Sorry! I know this can’t be easy for you, but don’t let this change anything! Humans have roamed this earth for thousands of years, so odds are we all have an ancestor who committed a heinous act!”

Lisa countered, “But how many folks have a relative who destroyed as many lives as mine?”

Delron argued, “Not a lot, but a few out there have descended from worse! Cruel dictators, mass murderers…”

“Tell that to the vengeful ghost! I’m sure she’ll lay off when she realizes that the man who sealed her fate isn’t the most evil person in the history of the globe!” Lisa caught a glimpse of herself in a spoon, and she recalled how the spirit revealed to her that she had the judge’s eyes, which prompted her to push her reflection out of her vision! She didn’t know how she would ever cope with viewing an image of herself ever again! She couldn’t blame the essence for harboring such acrimony over the matter! If she had gone through an unjust execution like that, she would have become beyond angry too! That point addressed another aspect of the issue too… “So, this ghost is getting revenge for the witchcraft trials?”

“It would seem so,” Delron confirmed. Lisa buried her face into her palms, so he tried to console her, “But the good news is we can narrow down who the ghost is from the twenty five victims of that period! If we can identify her , maybe we can find some clues to stop her from hurting anyone else!” Lisa appeared unmoved by his articulation, so he offered, “I can do some research on my own if you’d like! I’ll show you tomorrow, ‘kay?” Lisa shifted her hands, but she didn’t respond to him, so he pat her wrist as he exited her home.

Once she was alone, Lisa found herself wishing she had that he stayed- she felt as though she couldn’t trust herself! Did any of the judge’s inklings get passed on to his descendents? Her muscles grew numb, and she didn’t feel confident she could regain the strength to carry on! How could she knowing what she knew? How could she fight that apparition when she had a valid reason for her hostility? Her ex’s fans accused her of being a terrible person- maybe they were right! Maybe she wasn’t worthy of taking the lead on saving this town…

All of a sudden, she felt a familiar force brush by her ankles! “Hester?” The cat’s form manifested by her kitchen! “You forgave me? How could you? I’m awful!” Hester mewed sympathetically prior to her disappearance. She disliked that early departure, and she stared at the spot she stood in hoping that she would return! After a few seconds, she noticed the nearby trash can, which had her juice-soaked clothes sticking out of it. She remembered how many bystanders could have gotten seriously hurt from that incident, and she recognized the importance of collecting herself in that moment! She wasn’t like the judge, she wasn’t going to allow the blameless to suffer! She decided to get her thoughts back in line by grabbing her purse and heading out!

Underneath a sign that said, “Welcome to Shade’s Thrift Shop,” Lisa saw that the red tagged items were half off, and she took a mental note of this as she went into the women’s shirts. Every once in a while, Lisa glanced up to gauge what the others were wearing in order to finalize her choices. She could discern that several of them were gossiping about her, but she ignored it because this outing’s purpose was to relax her thoughts, and she had no desire to boggle her brain with whatever claptrap they might have been discussing! Besides, constant whispering had become background noise to her! She pondered whether or not this normalization boded well for her mental health, but she figured that when her outfits blended in and, more importantly, when she defeated the great evil that plagued this region, she would hear a lot less rumors about herself!

When she got to the women’s pants, she detected someone staring at her from the corner of her eye, which struck her as unusual since most of her neighbors would take a quick peek and move on. She couldn’t comprehend why anyone would fix their stare on her like that, so she turned herself in their direction to determine their motive. She expected somebody sinister, but to her surprise, he was rather handsome! Not as good-looking as Adam, but he was still someone that allured her! Well, for a minute anyways… She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but there was something off about him! He had smoldering eyes, but they ogled her in a fashion that one might use when zeroing in on their prey! He also seemed more well-dressed than the normal etiquette for a typical second-hand store shopper! She deemed it necessary to go get in line and dodge whatever advancement he intended for her!

While she waited in the queue, a deep, raspy man behind her spoke, “You’re Lisa, aren’t you?”

Lisa spun around and cringed to learn that the well-dressed man took a position close to her! She probed, “How’d you know my name?”

“You’re the one everyone is talking about,” the man pointed out. “Must be nice to have reached celebrity status, huh?”

“My ex is a celebrity, and his fame didn’ interest me whatsoever!” Lisa asserted. “I was actually kinda hoping he’d take more time off and we could get a cozy home in the country… just the two of us…”

The man conversed, “I was only joking! It’s gotta make you mad to constantly get treated like that!”

It stunned Lisa to receive this empathetic observation from him! Not a lot of citizens in Melas showed her any kindness, and it felt quite refreshing to get support! She began to consider that perhaps she had misjudged him. “Yeah, of course! It got old real fast!”

“What are you gonna do about it?” the man inquired.

“Uh…” She certainly couldn’t reveal her actual plan, so she hatched up another plausible explanation, “I’m just gonna do what I can to get ahead and show them that they didn’t get to me.”

The man pressed her, “What do you plan to do to get ahead?”

Something about his timbre altered, and Lisa got the vibe of a slick salesperson coming off of him! She privately urged the individual ahead of her to go faster so she could get out of this interaction! “I wanna continue improving at my job in the library, and then I’ll work on making a few friends.”

“That’s it?” the man puzzled.

“What more could there be?” Lisa shot back.

The man interrogated her, “Don’t you want to make them pay for what they’ve done to you?”

Lisa didn’t like where this conversation was heading! She had no clue what he meant for her to inflict upon her wrongdoers, and, quite frankly, she didn’t want to know! She wasn’t positive on how to reply to this man, but luckily for her, the cashier became free! She rapidly relayed to him, “I don’t wanna make them pay! All I wanna do is pay for my clothing! Excuse me!”

She assumed that she had successfully broken away from this freaky dude, but to her dread, the cashier posed to her, “Will you be paying together or separately?”

“Separately,” the man informed her. As she rang Lisa’s garments up, the man catechized, “So, you don’t have any desire to get vengeance of any sort?”

“No!” Lisa insisted. She hated confrontations, but she was more than willing to tell this jerk off! She built up the necessary steam to do so, but then she caught a glimpse of his pending purchase- an array of glass bottles like the ones that JT acted so protective over! Clearly, those bottles carried some kind of significance, and she now had the opportunity to discover exactly what that may have been! “What are those for?”

The man glanced down at them as though he forgot they were in his possession, and he hurriedly explained, “The witching bottles? They’re protection against dark spirits. They won’t help you get vindication against the rumor-mongers though!”

Lisa stamped her foot in frustration! “I don’t want to do that! Will you please-?”

“You’re lying!” the man accused. “I saw a strange haze hovering over this place before I came in, and my buddy, Marshal, said it was there this morning by JT’s home! You’re planning something, aren’t you?”

“Did you say that…?” Lisa’s veins coursed with fright! She visited this establishment to gain peace, and instead, she would have to fight a paranormal battle! The cashier handed her a couple of bags, but she couldn’t complete her transaction without verifying the accuracy of his claim! If he was giving her the truth, then she didn’t deem it prudent to evacuate the area! Most people wouldn’t fabricate a statement like that! But, then again, he was comrades with that conniving sheriff, so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for him to practice deception… “Marshal and you are close, huh?”

As the cashier rang him up, he substantiated that, “We’re best friends personally and professionally! Ezekiel Bibber, attorney at law, at your service!”

Ezekiel handed her a business card, and Lisa scoffed at that gesture. “I’ll pass!”

Lisa marched towards the exit, but Ezekiel shouted after her, “Start searching for a decent defense lawyer! I have a feeling you’ll need one soon!”

She chose not to react to that as she reached the entrance to the outside, and she crossed her fingers that he wouldn’t follow her so she could authenticate his account on the mist! To her shock, the door wouldn’t budge! She furrowed her brows, but she didn’t have a second to spare! If the malevolent phantom had honestly picked this building to haunt, she had to move urgently! She swiveled around in order to use another means of leaving, and Ezekiel leered, “You’re gonna attack us, aren’t you?”

Prior to her ability to deny that allegation, a woman from the other side of the facility yelled, “I can’t get out!”

“This door’s jammed too!” a second lady declared.

“What’s going on?” the cashier fretted.

Ezekiel virulently broadcasted to everyone, “She’s punishing us for all ‘cause I offended her!”

Lisa refuted, “That’s not true!” It didn’t seem like anybody believed her, but it was difficult to verify that since the entire space proceeded to fill with smoke…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 13

“He killed her, didn’t he?” Lisa guessed. Delron didn’t say anything, so Lisa assumed the worst! Her family had always made a considerable effort to show others kindness, and she couldn’t have imagined anyone she was was related to acting out of spite or maliciousness! She had an inkling that her premise would prove wrong, but she still relayed it to Delron anyways, “He must’ve done it out of self defense! Or protection! That ghost doesn’t act very innocent, so she couldn’t have been the victim! … Right?” She desperately hoped that Delron would confirm this theory, and she didn’t like the look on his face that suggested she mischaracterized her ancestor! A valid motive for this crime had to have existed! She refused to believe it didn’t!

Delron slowly admitted, “Well… he didn’t actually put his hands on her… He-.”

Prior to him getting the chance to finish his thought, Melanie walked through the door! “No!” Lisa wailed. She couldn’t help it! This interruption had come at such a pivotal juncture, and her spirits deflated knowing she would have to wait for an indeterminate span to hear the vital truth not only about her kin but the vengeful essence that threatened this region! Melanie gave her a peculiar stare, and she recognized that she didn’t want to get into hot water with her boss, so she lied, “This clown thinks Captain Shirkner is superior to Captain Stucard! He’s gotta be joking!” Lisa chuckled and inwardly prayed that she was convincing.

“Is this from a novel?” Melanie puzzled.

“Actually, Galaxy Trekkers was inspired by a novel! Not a lot of people know this, but the writers got the idea from reading Prohibited World…” Delron got onto a soapbox regarding this subject, and Lisa was grateful for this distraction from her clumsy faux pas! She also felt glad Melanie didn’t know anything about that show because she wouldn’t have possessed any real evidence for the argument she brought up! Her dad previously mentioned this spat amongst fans of the series, and since Delron talked about it earlier, it was the first thing that came to her mind other than her phantom problem! Now that this crisis got avoided, she was left with another- the perplexity of what her forefather did that made Delron become so tongue tied! If he didn’t lay a finger on her, could his offense have been that bad?

Later, Lisa and Delron shelved publications in a rather agitated manner. Lisa could tell that Delron wanted to discuss this issue as much as she did, and she reckoned that he also got miffed by the lack of delivery requests they got that afternoon! They needed an opportunity to chat about this development in their supernatural case urgently, and it just wasn’t happening! It drove Lisa crazy! What if this clue would cure their crisis, and another incident transpired by their lack ability to take action? She glanced at her watch, and she saw that it was almost time to empty the outdoor book drop off! She thought she could tag along with Delron and that they could use this break to discourse over this vital topic…

The phone rang, and Melanie picked up the receiver. “Brigfell Library! This is Melanie speaking, how can I be of service?” She listened to the caller, and then she responded to them, “Oh, hello! Hold on just a second…” She turned to Lisa and directed, “Take The Red A to the Jeffrey Draw House. Sorry, but you’re not ready to do the book drop by yourself!” Before Lisa could object, Melanie shifted her attention back to the telephone, “Sorry, Mister Commissioner! So, what’s going on?”

Lisa lamented her ill luck, and Delron gave her the title that was needed and instructed her, “Go past JT’s house and turn left on Stephens Street. It’s got a sign in front of it.” His expression clearly indicated he would speak to her further on in the day, and Lisa nodded in comprehension preceding her departure.

Passing JT’s house again jangled Lisa’s nerves! She could see that the crowd around it had dissipated, but she felt quite certain that, at any second, someone would pop out of the abode to confront her about the bloody incident! She wanted to avoid it completely, but the avenue she needed to take was right behind it! She thought perhaps that tiptoeing by the place could keep her concealed, but soon, it became apparent that she couldn’t totally hide from an interaction because somebody occupied the window space! She cringed, took a deep breath, and inched closer to the individual…

It was a crime scene investigator examining the antique bottles arranged on the ledge! She breathed a sigh of relief to have escaped from an ugly tift, but she wondered how long she could continue to dodge this type of occurrence! She noticed that the investigator haphazardly strewed the bottles when he finished with them, and she grew vaguely curious as to how they treated the rest of JT’s decor and furnishing, but she didn’t dare to try and peek further into the interior! She didn’t think that this crew had heard the Board of Tourism’s accusatory hypotheses of what caused the havoc, but she didn’t care to find out!

After she turned onto Stephens Street, she saw her destination at the end of the road. It was a three story, colonial brick house, and other than having the most advanced age of anything else on that block, it also stood out for incomprehensible reasons. Its hue had a brighter tone than its neighbors, and yet somehow, it appeared darker than the rest! It gave her the creeps, but simultaneously, it also gave off a familiar aura as though she had previously visited this spot! She didn’t know what to expect as she opened the white, rod-iron gate, but she knocked on wood that, for once, she would experience a more pleasant conversation!

Lisa tapped on the entryway, and soon, the large, oaken door slowly creaked open. With her visage pressed against the crack, a disheveled woman with her curly, red hair slipping out of a head scarf, warily greeted Lisa “What do you want?”

“Uh, I’m from Brigfell. I have your book.” Lisa held it up so that the woman could view it.

“I didn’t order anything from there!” The woman eyeballed her suspiciously.

Lisa was new at this job, but she hadn’t gotten the impression that their system would produce any inaccurate requisitions, so she insisted, “Someone at this address did!”

A pale, young boy handed the woman a cellphone, and following a glance at the screen, the woman changed her tune, “I guess my husband ordered it.” She snatched the fictional work from Lisa, and then she seemed to search for her words, “So… I… You…?” 

It baffled Lisa as to why the woman was trying to start a conversation with her! She considered that maybe she was simply shy and wanted to take a stab at establishing a connection, but something about the manner in which the boy ogled her indicated something different. His deadpan gawking put her on edge, so she decided to politely bow out. “Have a nice day, ma’am!”

“No, wait!” the woman called after her. Lisa’s instincts prompted her to hurry from the premises, and logically, she couldn’t fathom a favorable outcome from staying here. She felt a tad guilty about leaving her until…

“”Miss Bassett!” Sheriff Marshal genially approached her. Lisa grimaced and instantly understood why her intuition wanted to whisk her away from the vicinity! Lisa kept walking since he didn’t seem to be stopping her in an official capacity, but whatever his intentions were for this meeting, Lisa knew it couldn’t have been good! “You met my wife, Bridget, I see…”

It dawned on Lisa that Marshal probably requested that story for this exact purpose, so she put extra speed into her step. “Yup! I delivered the book to her. Enjoy!”

Panting slightly, Marshal tailed her. “Thank you! You know, my wife runs this group for-!”

Lisa interrupted him, “Not interested!” As she returned to the main boulevard, she could hear him giving up his conquest of her!

This interaction made her mad enough that she temporarily forgot the possible consequences of passing JT’s house until she heard him shout, “How dare you!” Lisa jumped from shock, but once she absorbed this abruptness, she mentally prepared herself to apologize and appease his anger. It bewildered her to see JT hadn’t directed his ire at her at all! As he rearranged the bottles he had on display, he scolded someone in back of him, “Don’t ever touch these!” Lisa cocked her head inquisitively since she couldn’t figure out his basis for going ballistic from the misplacement of these possessions, but she certainly didn’t want that ire shifted onto her, so she scurried out of his scope!

Lisa dismally swept the library floor as she waited for five o’clock to come. She glanced over to Delron, who was dusting the seldomly used lounge, and she observed that he had been gazing at the nearby graveyard. She pondered if this stemmed from his knowledge of her ancestor’s actions or if he merely desired to shield his emotions from Melanie, but regardless of his reasoning, Lisa sensed a great sadness building from within him. If it was unrelated to their apparition debacle, she would have liked to have assisted him in bolstering his mood, and it pained her to know that they wouldn’t get an opening to deliberate any of their quandaries privately! She sighed as she completed her task.

When the clock chimed due to it reaching the top of the hour, Delron immediately dropped his duster and announced, “Gotta run! See you tomorrow!”

It suddenly occurred to Lisa that she could see Delron pass her home from the outside staircase! Hoping to catch him before he removed himself from her proximity, Lisa mimicked his move and proclaimed, “Me too! Bye!” She rushed up the steps subsequent to the fireplace before Melanie got to voice her confusion at her employees’ behavior!

Lisa propelled herself as swiftly as her asthma would permit her to, and she beseeched the universe to not have let him travel too far from her location! As she exited her studio, she fretted that she was already too late! She did not want to endure a night of painful rumination on this business, but she readied herself to accept this disappointment when she emerged into the exterior. To her astonishment, Delron was already ascending to her level! “Thank goodness!” Lsia exhaled in alleviation!

“Don’t thank it too soon!” Delron warned her as he went inside of her property.

“So, who am I descended from and what did he do?” Lisa didn’t beat around the bush in this instance in order to prevent another distraction from interfering with her gathering of the facts!

Delron suggested, “You should probably sit down first.”

Lisa barked, “I don’t wanna sit! I’m way too tense for that! Just tell me now or I’ll go insane!”

“Alright!” Delron steeled himself up to deliver this news, and then he regretfully revealed, “Your ancestor in Melas was Judge John Basset, and he presided over the court from sixteen eighty six to seventeen o six.”

“Hold on, he was a judge in Melas in the late sixteen hundreds? So… he oversaw the witchcraft trials?” Lisa sincerely wanted to be incorrect on this, but her entire body flooded in horror as Delron nodded…

The Darkest Wishes of Melas, Chapter 12

“What is it?” Lisa eagerly asked him. She had no idea how he got a clue so quickly considering he was exposed to this ghostly dilemma not so long ago, but if he had any insight into the matter, she would have greatly appreciated it! Any tidbit that moved them forward even in the slightest iota would have given her a tremendous boost!

Before Delron could give her an answer, the front door opened! Lisa and Delron assumed that it was Melanie coming back for something she forgot, but to their shock, it was somebody much taller than her! “Woah! We have a customer?” Delron reacted in bewilderment.

A voice that carried a strong and soothing tone that Lisa instantly recognized responded to Delron, “Yeah… Why is that so weird?”

Lisa’s heart fluttered when Adam came into view! She felt relieved to know that the strange encounter at the Dennison fire hadn’t scared him off completely, but she also reveled in basking in the beauty that this man emanated! Delron filled him in, “Everyone’s afraid of setting foot into this place! Some people venture outside of it, but most won’t even go within a block of Brigfell!”

“Wow! I knew a lot of individuals were spooked by this library, but I didn’t realize they were that spooked by it!” Adam shook his head in dismay. “I guess I shouldn’t point out how close Blackthorn Orchard is to Harvest Moon Hollow- the Halloween Hoedown would probably be a ghost town if they ever found that out!” Adam laughed, but Delron and Lisa couldn’t bring themselves to do it. They each smiled at him when he looked in their direction though. “Well, anyways, I came to see if you had any rockabilly music to use for the party. I have some Halloween CD’s, but you can’t exactly square dance to that!”

“Sure! I’ll grab some for you!” Delron volunteered.

As Delron disappeared behind a shelf, Lisa found herself feeling awkward again as she stood alone with Adam! She met a few celebrities in the past, but this was the first time she truly felt starstruck! She wasn’t totally sure why either! His handsomeness definitely played a role in that, and his niceness helped, but there was something else that really drew her to him… “You’re welcome to come, just so you know!” Adam offered. 

Lisa hadn’t realized that she had fallen into a torpor until he said that! She felt embarrassed that she had acted so carelessly, and she hoped he hadn’t noticed how goofy she behaved! She also hoped that her cheeks weren’t reddening as she gave him a reply, “Welcome to what?”

“The Halloween Hoedown,” Adam clarified. “I sent invitations out weeks ago, but everyone in town is invited.”

“Oh, the whole town is coming?” Lisa strove to hide how crestfallen that made her become. She recalled how Melanie told her that Adam was the most popular guy in Melas, and with all of the gossip coming from her neighbors, she wasn’t certain she wanted to attend! She couldn’t imagine herself having very much fun if jerks like JT would be there, or worse, Abby and her two crones!

Adam commented, “Well, I dunno if the whole town will be there, but they’re certainly invited! No one is turned down at Harvest Moon Hollow!” He paused and added, “You should come! It’ll be fun!”

Lisa bit her lip. With the majority of the population turning against her like they had been, she wondered if they requested her presence there in order to pull some sort of vile prank! If nasty pieces of work like JT and Abby admired him, how could she trust him? She wasn’t sure what to tell him, but fortunately for her, she didn’t have to because Delron resurfaced and proclaimed, “Here! I found a couple of collections that should do the job!”

“This looks great! Thanks, guys!” He threw them a grin prior to turning around and heading towards the exit. Before he left, he halted in his tracks and circled back to them. He then gingerly brought up, “Have either of you seen anything odd going on around here?”

“It’s Melas at Halloween time, of course we’ve seen odd things!” Delron nervously chuckled.

Adam clarified, “Okay, odder than usual then.”

Lisa and Delron hesitated in their reply. Lisa hadn’t discussed this with Delron yet, but her judgment of this issue was to keep it secret so that they could continue their investigation unimpeded, but it may not have been so obvious to Delron. He seemed to have followed her cue at the Board of Tourism meeting, but would he relent to Adam before she could warn him not to do it? Adam was very charming, so Lisa esteemed that Delron would give in eventually, so she opted to speak up and hopefully head off any release of information that should have stayed secret! “I’m new in this city, so I don’t know what’s considered normal here, but the grocery store flooding and the random house-fire does seem a tad abnormal…”

“It’s abnormal even by our standards!” Adam relayed to her. “But speaking of the Dennison fire, you know that mist hanging over some of the houses that day? I saw it over Blackthorn Orchard!”

“Really? When did this happen?” Lisa’s muscles tightened up upon hearing this- she simply couldn’t handle another apparitional attack that day! She had dealt with two yesterday, but at last they were spread out to give her hours of a break! Never contending with more attacks again would have been preferable, but if she had to vie with more, she at least wanted a period of rest so she could plan things out! Actually, she really aspired to resolve this catastrophe prior to the next incident occurring at all, so she crossed her fingers that his revelation didn’t signify that anything else was imminent!

Adam reported, “It was yesterday afternoon. I was working in the yard when I saw it. I drove by the property to ensure everything was alright, and the area was just as quiet as it typically was. It left after dinner, and as far as I know, nothing went on over there. Maybe the mist was nothing and I’ve lost my mind!”

Lisa couldn’t in good conscious allow him to question his sanity when his instincts had drawn him so close to the truth! She reassured Adam, “I don’t think you’ve lost your mind!”

“Thanks!” Adam beamed at her, and she could have melted by this gesture! He appeared to have gotten bolstered by her vote of confidence, and it buoyed her spirits to have had that sort of effect on him! Plus, he seriously looked dreamy when he gazed at her like that! It was almost tempting to beckon him in for a kiss, and she swore in that instance she could have been successful in that endeavor… Adam abruptly cleared his throat, and then he reminded her, “Don’t forget to join us at the Halloween Hoedown!”

“Sounds like a blast!” Lisa lied. As he departed, she recalled that his relationship to some of her adversarial figures may put her in jeopardy, and she pondered if he aimed to toy with her emotions for a sinister purpose…

Lisa noticed some movement out of the corner of her eye, and she glimpsed over to it only to see Delron trying to light up a cigarette! “Delron!” she snapped.

Delron swiftly stashed it away, and he apologized, “Sorry! This whole day has been stressful though! I don’t like keeping secrets!”

“You won’t have to for long ‘cause we’re gonna nip this problem in the bud!’ Lisa avowed. “So, tell me what clue you found out! I’m dying to hear it!”

“Oh! Well, you were the one who shared it with me!” When Delron observed her startlement over that assertion, he explained, “You said she wanted to especially target you ‘cause you had family in Melas, so if we can trace your ancestors, we could learn her identity! It’s not much, but my history professor husband always says if you want to know what will happen in the future, you must study the past! If we can learn her story, then maybe we can learn her motivation for this violence and use that knowledge to put a stop to it!”

Lisa initially felt surprised by this notion since she expected him to divulge information about how to combat a dangerous entity, but his logic in learning what happened to this villainess while she was still alive made total sense! In any case, she had no other leads to go on, so she deemed it worth a shot! “I’m on board! Ooh, I’ve always wanted to do one of those ancestry sites!”

Delron asserted, “I’ve got more access to historical records than they do! Tell me the name of one of your grandfathers.”

“My dad’s dad was named Hawthorne,” Lisa stated.

“Hawthorne Bassett… His father was Matthew Bassett, and he lived in Botwulfshire most of his life. His father, Clifford, also Botwulfshire. Clifford’s father, Nathaniel…” Delron’s brows furrowed as he studied his phone’s screen.

Lisa’s interest piqued at this juncture! Did he discover something about her great-great-grandfather that pertained to their phantom predicament? He didn’t say anything else, and that was unacceptable to her! If he found anything that could help them defeat this supernatural enemy, he definitely had to spill the beans! “What is it?”

Delron disclosed, “It shows Nathaniel moving to Botwulfshire in eighteen fifty six, but it doesn’t have any other records besides that, not even a birth record! It’s like this guy came out of nowhere!”

“Woah!” Lisa expressed as she witnessed this irregularity for herself. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this ghost says I’m related to someone who played a part in her murder and one of my ancestors has no record! Something transpired that he wanted to hide from the world!”

“He must have changed his name,” Delron surmised. “Did you hear about any other names that your relatives went by?”

Lisa mulled it over for a minute, and then she notified Delron, “I can’t come up with anything! Maybe my cousin knows something…” Delron shrugged, and as Lisa pulled Lydia up in her contacts, she prayed that she was privy to that vital data! “Hey there, Lydia!”

With a children’s show blasting in the background and the sound of food cooking prominently protruding into her ear, Lydia greeted her, “Hi, Lisa! What’s the matter?”

“Nothing’s the matter!” Lisa fibbed. “What made you believe that?”

“You usually text me! You only call when a catastrophe is afoot,” Lydia pointed out.

Lisa put as much cheer into her speech as possible as she addressed her, “Everything’s great! My coworker and I… got bored, and since his husband’s a history professor, he can easily trace people’s lineages. He was doing our dads’ side, and we reached a dead end. Nathaniel Bassett has a record of arriving in Botwulfshire, but after that, it’s blank! We’re assuming he changed his name, so I was just curious to see if you knew about any other names that run in our family…” Lisa tried to convey complete casualness, but inwardly, her heart was pumping wildly at the possibilities of her response!

Lydia went silent for a few seconds, and then she apprised Lisa, “Actually, I remember seeing Granpda Hawthorne’s baby book, and someone wrote in it with his last name misspelled. His great grandpa scribbled it out and wrote, ‘Never forget the second t!’ in all caps. Try Bassett with one t.” A kid started crying, so Lydia briefed her, “I gotta go! ‘Kay, bye!”

With a flood of excitement coursing through her veins, Lisa turned to Delron to review this news. He appeared to have been ten steps ahead of her, and his face grew pale at what he gazed at! “What’d you find?” she inquired with burning intrigue.

“I’ve located your Melas ancestor…” Delron professed. “And I think I figured out what fate the ghost endured…”