UNHOLY AWAKENING – THE RAVENSGATE CHRONICLES
Sandy was much younger in the photo, thinner too. It was how I remembered her from when I was a kid.
The photographer caught Sandy in mid-smile as she spoke with someone. She didn’t know the picture was being taken. I looked for more pictures of Sandy but couldn’t find any. I closed the trunk, kept the photograph with me, and continued to look around the attic. I lifted sheets from the various pieces of furniture.
Against the far wall was china cabinet. It was slightly taller than me, but I saw something atop it glistening in the light, something round. On my tiptoes, I reached up and took the object off the cabinet. It was a small carved skull, which looked to be made from crystal or glass, two inches in height and an inch and a half in width.
I looked around the rest of the attic and found nothing further of interest. I put the dusty sheets back on the old furniture and went back downstairs, locking the attic door behind me.
In the study I put the small crystal skull and photo of Sandy and Elise in my book bag. My cell rang. It was Karl confirming our meeting for later. We’d agreed to meet at Tony’s Steakhouse at eight. I obliged and met with him there that night.
Over a steak and potatoes, I told Karl about the current events surrounding the house and my search for Sandy. I mentioned the spirits of the women who showed themselves to me, the etched word DOOR on the chest of the bust in the sanctuary, the trunk full of photos in the attic, the appearance of the groundskeeper right before the electrical line snapped, and the strange note on my windshield.
I wanted to tell him about the gruesome find in the basement, but not just yet. I’d barely met the guy and figured that if I told him about three dead bodies under the house, he might be inclined to tell the cops. I needed more time.
We planned to do a thorough paranormal investigation of the house. Karl would bring Beverly to examine the place, along with various types of high-tech equipment to document any findings. He just needed my permission to conduct everything on my property.
“Will any of this documentation help me find Sandy?” I asked.
“Honestly, Cole, I don’t know. It may, but it’s also possible we find nothing that will lead us in that direction. We’ll have to see.”
“It’s worth a shot,” I said. “When all this is said and done, whether I find Sandy or not, is it possible to clean the house and get rid of all that spiritual mess? Can we help the women cross over, get to the other side, or whatever?”
“It’s possible. What exactly is in the house will determine the method. I mean, if there are any negative entities there, that might be a task.”
“So how does one go about getting rid of the negative things?” I asked.
“Well, every culture has its rituals and methods, but in my thirty years of experience, the only thing that can get rid of that for good is the right kind of exorcism. I know people that can help, but we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.”
I agreed, and we planned to set up the investigation within a week. So far away, I thought, but I understood I wasn’t his only case. After scarfing down the rest of the meal, Karl and I left the steakhouse and went our separate ways.
Back to the house I went for the night. When I got home, I realized I forgot to mention the crystal skull. I’d tell him about that later. In the sanctuary, the bust with the word DOOR on its chest was where I left it.
As nightfall approached, I left to make my “appointment” with the person who left the note on my car. I brought my sidearm with the accompanying shoulder holster underneath my jacket. I had a license to carry, and I wasn’t taking any chances. I had no idea what to expect.
The note said 10:00 p.m. I had no idea why so late or how to recognize the person. The drive down the dark winding roads that led back to town was quiet. Once there, I drove past all the shops and businesses on Main until I reached a large cluster of dark trees on my left, which was Ravensgate Park. I parked on Main Street right in front of it.
A bald man who happily walked a golden retriever said hello as I entered the park’s open recreational space. The grass was soft, and leaves from the trees rustled nosily in the wind. A comfortable breeze off the water crossed my face as I walked to the other end of the park toward the river.
The temperature lowered the closer I got to the water, and the strength of the wind increased. I saw the river walk clearly after I passed the play areas and another cluster of trees to the left.
Finally, I reached the waterfront, where benches were placed along the walkway facing the river. A long wooden railing at the very edge of the park separated the land and water. If someone really wanted to jump in, it wouldn’t be a problem—the railing was only about five feet high.
I leaned against the wooden railing, watching the soft dark waves of the water move, and could see a tiny island ahead in the distance. Nothing but dark trees surrounded the island against a dark gray sky. The sound of a motorboat echoed as it came into view and sped by.
I turned around, then sat alone on the nearest bench facing the water and the island. After a moment, I looked over my right shoulder to see if anyone was walking up, but no one was there. My watch read 9:55 p.m.
“You’re very punctual,” said a woman’s soft voice to my left. She wore a black three-quarter-length jacket, and her long, dark brown hair was tied up into a bun. Standing there was Sister Victoria from St. Mary’s orphanage.