Chance Meeting

The October air was heavy and cold as Delaware followed the creaking stairs down into dark and ominous basement. As he descended the stairs, he could hear a sound from the darkness below. He aimed his flashlight down and caught the end movement of someone or something moving across the floor. It scurried behind a covered work bench. It appeared to be a small child.

"Hello?" Delaware called out into the darkness. He took another step down. "Is anyone down here?" No answer. The last step creaked as he stepped down onto the concrete floor. A light breeze blew past him as he moved into the basement.

Suddenly, he heard a light clicking sound. It was coming from a door on the back wall of the basement. Delaware walked quietly to the door and put his head up near it. The clicking sound was now louder and more rapid. He moved his hand to the doorknob and just as he was about to open it, the door flung open, hitting him in his head. As Delaware fell backwards onto the floor, he heard a girl's scream. He put his hand to his head to check and injuries. No bleeding. He propped himself up on his elbow.

"Hey! You almost broke my EMF counter," an angry female voice sharply said without even looking up.

"I'm sorry," Delaware said as he lifted himself off the floor, "I guess I should be more careful when I slam my face into doors."

The girl looked up and saw Delaware for the first time. Immediately her attitude lightened. She was pleased with what she saw. "Who are you and what are you doing here?" she asked, shining her flashlight in his face as if she was interrogating him.

"Mind getting that outta my face?" he asked as he put his hand up to block the beam of light.

As she lowered the flashlight, Delaware could finally see whom he was talking to. She was a young woman about twenty, pretty, with long blonde hair pulled back into a very tight ponytail. She was wearing pair of small, frameless glasses.

"It's probably more interesting to know why you're here," Delaware snapped. "There's no cheerleader tryouts going on down here."

"My name is Kelly Bradford," she said, obviously offended by his remark, "And I don't cheer. I'm here looking for Michael, a spectral being."

Delaware immediately recognized the name; Michael. It was all coming to him. The visions, the voices. He distinctly remembered hearing a woman calling to a boy in one of his nightmares: Michael. "You mean you're looking for a ghost," said Delaware.

 

"Yes, that's what I said. A spectral being," she quickly responded.

"And what do you intend to do if you find one?" he asked.

Kelly was stunned for a second. "Well, I would document it and then try to communicate with it. Ghosts aren't the violent creatures they're depicted as in movies and I intend to prove it." she said.

As Kelly continued to explain, Delaware's eyes drifted to something next to Kelly. It was the apparition of a young boy. He was standing near a big pile of junk that was held together with rope. The boy smirked as his head turned to Kelly and his hand reached for the end of the rope.

Delaware immediately reached out for Kelly, grabbing hold of her sweater. He quickly yanked her arm and pulled her towards him just as the wall of junk broke free. The huge pile of junk collapsed into a heap where Kelly had been standing. It surely would have crushed her had she been still standing there.

"What theā€¦!?" Kelly screamed. "How did you know that was going to happen??"

"He's here" Delaware said, not looking at her, but looking around the room. "The boy, Michael. He's here."

"Wait a minute" Kelly said as she glared at him. "I know you. You're name's Delaware. You went to the same high school as me, right?"

Kelly put two and two together. When she had been a sophomore, there had been a senior at school she'd heard about. The kids teased him because of rumors that he could see the future, that he had psychic power. When Kelly had first heard about this, she aimed to get to know him, but was too late. Very soon after that, he had disappeared from school.

Delaware recoiled from her recognition.

"It's true then. You can see ghosts!" Kelly said excitedly. She was now intrigued by him. "How about now? What can you see now?"

Delaware grabbed Kelly by the arm and started to pull her up the stairs. "I can see we need to get you out of here, it's not safe," he said, practically dragging her.

Kelly yanked her arm from his grasp. "I am going nowhere! I came here to prove the existence of supernatural beings and this is the closest I've ever gotten! I'm not leaving until I have proof!" she quipped.

Just as Kelly finished her sentence, the device she had been holding began to tick rapidly. A deep growl came from the dark basement.

"And clearly this place is haunted. Okay, we can go now." Kelly calmly stated as she took her first step up the stairs. Her slow steps turned into quick sprints as the growl became louder. She was gone.

The growl didn't phase Delaware, he shined his flashlight on the pile of junk where the young boy once was. Behind where the junk lay, was a brick wall. He saw that a small section of the wall had noticeably newer bricks surrounded by older ones. He looked around the basement and discovered a metal toolbox. Delaware pulled it off the shelf and tools went tumbling to the floor, it was already open. He rummaged through the pile of tools until he found a hammer. He used this to start chipping away at the brick wall.

One of the newer bricks immediately cracked and began crumbling. He continued to pound on the wall, breaking through the brittle brick. Enough had broken away now that he had made a small hole in the wall. As he yanked on one of the looser bricks, an entire section of the wall fell outward, smashing to the floor.

A cloud of dust filled the air then slowly settled. Delaware looked into the large hole he had now created. He spotted what he feared he would see. He remembered it from a vision he had. In the crevice between the wall layers, was a small skeleton. A pair of overalls and a t-shirt were still intact and covered the skeleton. But it's remains were entirely decomposed.

Suddenly the air around him lightened. The dark, morbid feel of the basement lifted. All that was left now was an anonymous tip to the police.

As Delaware exited the dilapidated house, Kelly came running up to him. She had been trying to see in from a basement window on the side of the house.

"What happened?! What was down there?!" she yelled.

"Look, I think you need to get a new hobby. You could have been seriously hurt down there!" Delaware said annoyingly. He was perplexed by Kelly's excitement over the situation.

"You can see them," she said, panting. "You can see ghosts. How do you do it? What do they look like?!" Kelly was gushing like a little schoolgirl.

Delaware ignored her and walked off the house property onto the street.

"I've been hunting for, like, two years. I even took a picture of a full apparition in a mirror once," she gushed. 'But that's nothing compared to what you see, huh?"

"Look," Delaware said sternly. "Kelly, I realize this is fun for you, maybe a little too fun, but I'm not out here for kicks! I'm here because of the nightmares. I'm not talking 'Ooh, that was a scary dream' nightmares, I'm talking 'Waking up and what you fear is still in the room with you' kind of nightmares. I don't know who that boy was! I don't know what he wants! I didn't choose this. It's not fun for me. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it sucks, okay? So you can just take your little ghost fetish and have fun with it. But please leave me alone!"

Delaware turned from Kelly and headed for his truck. Kelly just stood there, absorbing what he had just said and then she rebutted.

"Michael Christian!" she yelled. "The boy you were looking for was Michael Christian! And you must have searched all over for him. But when I got here, I knew there was something in the basement!"

"So, what's the moral of this story?" Delaware asked, as he threw his coat into the passenger seat of his truck.

"My point is, I have clients, people who pay me to investigate haunted places," Kelly explained. "Okay, so I've never really had a solid case, but you can see things I can't. I know things that could help you out as well. I don't know, maybe we could kinda pair up and work together?"

"That's a great idea! And then we can buy a van together and purchase a lovable wacky pooch to provide us with comic relief while we investigate!" Delaware snapped back as he got into his truck and started the engine.

"You know, it's no wonder nobody liked you in school, Delaware! You're just plain rude!" Kelly yelled as she slammed his door and stormed off.

Delaware pulled his truck out and drove down the road, sarcastically waving goodbye as he passed her.

Kelly shook her head in disappointment and went over to her own car. She pulled out and began heading home, the same direction as Delaware.

About two miles down Kelly saw someone on the side of the road, next to a broken down truck. A big grin spread across her face when she realized it was Delaware. She pulled up behind his truck as he came walking over.

"I'm out of gas." Delaware said, embarrassingly.

"What a shame. And to happen to such a nice person," she said sarcastically.

"Okay, fine, I deserved that. But could you be a little sympathetic and give me a ride into town? I've got a gas can in the back of my truck," Delaware explained.

"I'll give you a ride on one condition: You hear me out about us joining forces," Kelly said as she smiled, knowing she had the upper hand.

"Fine, I'll listen.." Delaware said as Kelly popped out of her car and opened her trunk. She reached inside and pulled out a two gallon gas can filled with gas.

"You should always be prepared!" Kelly said as she handed him the can.

Delaware reached out and took the can from her and as he did, his fingers touched her hands. Immediately his mind flooded with images of Kelly; younger, older, hundreds of flashes.

"Today?" Kelly said as she still held the gas can out to Delaware.

Everything snapped back into focus as he quickly took the can and went to his truck to dispense the gas.

Kelly wasted no time with her pitch, but Delaware wasn't listening.

He didn't need to. In those few seconds of images, he saw events yet to happen. And she was along side him in each one.

To avoid being obvious, however, he did have some fun countering all her suggestions with the obvious downfalls. But ultimately he surprised her with an agreement to join forces.

She seemed willing to deal with his difficult nature and he knew it might be good for him to team up with someone who remembers to fill the gas tank once in a while.

 
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