Previously in this blog serial...
Now the HAUNTING continues...
I am waiting for Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse to say something. She is just staring, her brown eyes looking right through me. Maybe she’s thinking about how to respond or maybe I triggered an unwanted memory. Perhaps she’s just ignoring me. Growing uncomfortable, I take a bite of the candy stick.
She blinks at the sound and locks unwavering eyes with me, “I don’t know who you are or how you found me, but that book is ancient history.”
Feeling desperation under my skin, I completely forget about taking it slow, “I just want to know if the ending is true.”
“It doesn’t matter, kid. What’s done is done.” She casually crunches on the candy.
“Please, I need to understand.”
“There’s nothing to understand, kid. The town was destroyed and rebuilt. The boogeyman was vanquished and everyone moved on. You should do the same.” She emphasizes her point with another cracking bite.
“But when did Straker…”
“Just leave it alone, kid,” she interrupts, her even tone turning sympathetic. “Forget the past and go live your life. Take up a hobby or find a warm body to hold onto when the world doesn’t make sense. That’s what I did. Hell, that’s what he did.”
Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse takes a final loud bite of her candy stick and moves past me. Stunned into silence, I turn to watch the scientist walk away, the white lab coat billowing behind her. She was someone who was there, who saw what happened to the entire town, but I let her slip through my fingers. I go through what I could have said to elicit a different response. Maybe I should’ve explained about Tommy. Maybe I should’ve told her about my parents. Maybe it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference.
I toss the remaining candy stick down with the rest of the litter and slowly walk back towards my car, feeling deflated and uncertain. Somewhere behind me is the enormity of Stickler Hill, what it represents clutching at my soul. It’s only a matter of time before I climb that wretched landmark, but her advice keeps ringing in my ears. How can I fully let the past go after everything that’s happened?
The weight of this moment makes me want to go back to the Teeter-Totter and curl up in bed until dawn. Hide away from myself, from everything until it’s time. It’s a tempting notion, but I’d rather do something else instead. As I reach for the necessary evil, it suddenly vibrates in my pocket. I pull out my phone to a text from Eddie.
Off work. Gordon’s? An hour?
Meeting at Gordon’s Bar is exactly what I had in mind, even though I know there are other factors to consider. The pain that brought me here. The need to understand. The expectation placed on my shoulders. Hesitating for only a moment, I respond with a resounding yes. Eddie Newcastle is one of the reasons I came back and I don’t want to spend my last night in Sturgeons alone.
The HAUNTING continues in…
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words!
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