C.J. went about his business as usual, trying not to notice Jessica’s presence. He set the camcorders on their tripods, then placed the microphones so that any noise would be picked up and recorded easily. The thermometers were placed, one in each room on the lower level of the house, and one in the hallway leading upstairs. The Electro Magnetic Field detectors were set up in each room on the lower level, as well as one in the upstairs hallway. Finishing up, he pulled out the tape recorders, placing one on the dining room table, one on the living room fireplace. The micro recorder in his hand was for his own benefit in recording thoughts. Which, he had plenty of those to record at the moment.
“As I entered the property, I was greeted with the familiar sensation of paranormal activity.” He began, wandering through the house, making sure everything was set up properly. “I have no doubt there are multiple entities here. I have conflicting sensations, one of calmness and another of unease. But the strongest sensation I am feeling is that one of the occupants is not pleased with my presence.”
“Occupants.” Jessie snorted behind him.
“The voice you just heard was not that of a spirit, but Jessica Coltrane, though she does resemble the living dead.” He clicked the recorder off as he turned to her. The look she gave him was anything but pleasant. It was interesting, he thought, that even annoyed, she was pretty. Maybe it was the deep green doe eyes or the round innocent looking face that drew him in, but he was pretty sure she wouldn’t be impressed if he told her so.
“You’re a riot, Dowling. Look at all this crap. It always blows me away, the things you use to ‘prove’ life after death.” Shaking her head, she examined the cameras and microphones he had set up. “You pick up a mote of dust in the air on film, and whamo, it’s a spirit. What a joke.”
“Laugh if you like, but if you saw what I’ve seen, you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss that ‘mote of dust’.” Unaffected by her attitude, C.J. took a note pad and pen and began making notes.
“Whatever. So far, all I’ve seen is a house full of belongings left behind by chicken shit people too afraid to come back and get what belongs to them. But no spirits of the undead.” She said the last waving her hands in his face.
“The day is still early,” he responded lightly as he wrote in his pad.
“Right, I forgot. Spirits come out at night to scare people, not during the day.” Casting her eyes to the ceiling, she dropped down on the sofa, resting her feet on the coffee table.
“Not all spirits are evil, and not all come out at night. There are spirits all around us, Jessica; they just don’t always choose to make themselves known.”
“God, how moronic. You don’t honestly believe that crap?”
Lifting calm brown eyes, C.J. nodded. “Full heartedly.” And why wouldn’t he, when he could feel them as equally as he felt her presence.
“Then you’re a moron.”
He set his pen down carefully, then the pad, before pulling out a cigarette and lighting it up. After blowing the smoke from his lips, he spoke. “Do you believe in God, Jessica?”
“It’s Jessie, and what does God have to do with anything?”
He preferred Jessica. “People are so willing to believe in a God they’ve never seen simply because a book says so. Yet they scoff at spirits coming back from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead, did he not?”
Her mouth dropped open. “Are you for real? You can’t honestly be comparing ghosts to God?”
“Do you believe in God, Jessica?” he repeated calmly.
“Stop calling me that, damn it. And yes, I believe in God.”
“Why does your proper name bother you so much?”
“I prefer Jessie, that’s all.”
He shrugged in response and flicked his ashes into the ashtray he had scooped up off the coffee table. “How can you believe in God if you’ve never seen him or her?”
“He created the world we live in.”
“Did he, or was it created by—”
“No, no, I am not getting into how the world was created with you. Jesus, I should know better than to start a conversation with you.” She stood, giving her short shorts a tug. “I’m going to check out the contents of the fridge, see what I can make to eat. Do me a favor, stay away from me.”
He watched as she walked from the room, her hips swaying back and forth, those tight shorts she wore riding up nicely, molding a firm set of buns. The legs attached to those buns were incredibly long, tanned and damn sexy. He wondered what she would say if he told her how hot she looked. Shrugging it off, C.J. put his cigarette out and went back to his work. He couldn’t afford to be distracted by the beautiful spit fire known as Jessica Coltrane.
It was unnerving, having the video equipment and doodads monitoring her every move, but Jessie did her best to try to ignore it all. The refrigerator was surprisingly full, as were the contents of the cupboard; then again, the owners had only left a week ago. Stupid people, why hadn’t they hired someone to clean the place out before they put it on the market?
Sniffing the sandwich meat, she decided it smelt fresh enough and helped herself. And while she was helping herself, she might as well make a salad to go with the sandwich. With an arm full of supplies, Jessie turned just as C.J. entered the room.
“Quite the appetite you have there, Jessica.”
“Why do you insist on calling me that when you know I prefer Jessie?” Setting the contents on the table, she began making the salad first.
“Isn’t Jessica the name on your birth certificate?” He took the cucumber and began slicing it into bite sized pieces for the salad.
“Yes, and while we’re on the subject of names, what’s on your birth certificate, C.J.?” She emphasized, her eyes lifting to his.
“C.J., I had it officially changed several years ago.” He wiggled his eyebrows, giving her a cocky grin.
She rolled her eyes. “Fine, you had it changed. What was it before the change?” Dumping the lettuce into a bowl, she began shredding some cheese for the topping.
“You tell me.”
Her eyes lifted to his, her lips frowning. “You want me to guess your name?”
“Sure, might be good for a laugh.” Scooping up the cucumbers he had just chopped up, he set them in the bowl, then turned to grab two bowls and two plates.
Pursing her lips, thinking, she tried to figure out what his name might be. “Carl?”
“Nope.” Setting the plates and bowls on the table, he began making his own sandwich.
“Please, do I look like a
“Well, give me a hint, then.” Sitting down, she scooped up some salad and placed it into her bowl.
“Sure, I was named after my grandfather.” When she slanted her head and gave him a mildly annoyed look, he continued. “Who also happens to own one of the largest book stores world wide.”
“Oh yeah, that helps. Jesus, Dowling, there are dozens of book stores, how am I supposed to figure out your name with that sort of clue?” Jabbing her fork into the salad, she gave an undignified roll of her eyes.
Shrugging, he shoved the sandwich into his mouth and chewed.
Frustrated, she decided to give up on the name and change the subject. “So, I’ve been here for four hours now, and I have yet to see anything that will sway me from my earlier belief. This place is not haunted.” As if on cue, the lights flickered. “That was a power surge.”
“Hmm,” Lifting from his chair, he walked to the EMF to check the reading.
“All that’s going to tell you is that, yes, there was a surge in power.”
He shrugged, checked the instrument and marked it down, then took his seat at the table.
“Well what?” he stabbed a carrot and shoved it into his mouth.
“Am I right?”
She snarled. “The power surge.”
“This is a pretty good salad,” he replied, deliberately not answering her.
She growled. “Are you going to answer me?”
“No, because anything I say you’ll rationalize rather than try to think beyond your ‘box’.” Lifting the sandwich, he finished it off.
“Or you aren’t telling me because the only thing that device showed was a surge in power.”
“Have you ever made contact with an entity, Jessica?”
She hated that he continued to call her that and she knew he knew it. “No, C.J., can’t say I have, and maybe that’s because ghosts don’t exist.”
“Have you ever seen the wind?”
“Oh, Lord, spare me.”
“Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t make it unreal.”
“Okay, I’m up for an argument, I’ll bite. If spirits exists, why hasn’t anyone ever captured one on film?”
“Plenty have been documented, but people are still reluctant to believe.”
“They’re reluctant because what we see is so ludicrous it can’t be believed.”
Pulling out a cigarette, C.J. lit it casually before speaking. “Yet you believe that Jesus walked on water, or healed people. To some, that’s ludicrous. Or how about Moses, he parted the
Red Sea. You weren’t
there to witness it, yet you believe it because you’ve been taught it your
“And let me guess, you were taught about ghosts, growing up as a child?”
“No, I was taught to believe in God.” He blew a ring of smoke in the air. “But I believe in the paranormal because I’ve witnessed it first hand.”
She pushed her empty plate and bowl aside. “Oh, I’m sure you have. In that deluded little mind of yours. You’re a card, Dowling.” She stood, shaking her head as she left the room.
Lighting a cigarette, sitting at the table long after Jessica had left the room, C.J. went over the information he’d gathered, waiting. Jessica was partially right in saying the EMF could pick up energy spikes, but he’d learned a long time ago, the differences between spikes and a spiritual encounter.
This time had not been a spike and he felt the presence moments before it registered on the machine. Lifting his head, he saw the tiny figure standing across the room, and smiled as he spoke.
. “Hello there.”