Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ghost Hunters, Pt. 31

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

JD drove them home. They were all quiet during the ride, but no one fell asleep again.

Wendy passed out on the couch shortly after they arrived. She sat down and laid her head back on the soft, full sofa and before long JD heard her softly, rhythmically breathing. Dillon raided the refrigerator for a few minutes before saying goodnight. JD sat at the counter of the kitchen separating it from the dining nook and reflected. There was so much left to do, so many questions still unanswered.

Why didn't Jenkins blow the whistle?
Who is the shaded figure with no features? He felt Jenkins was the logical choice, but it could be anyone.
Why didn't anyone search for Robin Brown? Why didn't the state authorities get called in?
If Robin Brown had no family, was there NO one interested enough in his life to make the effort to find him?
Why didn't Jenkins leave a suicide note? It's very rarely done.

There were others, but his head was clouded with exhaustion and he wanted more than anything to just sleep and forget everything. But there was more to do later in the day. Another trip to the local library was going to be the first order of business. Well, the second. Getting Wendy back to her car would be the first.

Next would be another visit to the house. He hoped it wouldn't be as confusing, as puzzling and disjointed, as the last.

Finally, fatigue overtook him and he went to bed. He dreamed of dark holes and cold gravel and dirt. He dreamed of crushing boulders and not being able to breathe. He dreamed fitfully, tossing and tussling in his sleep, sweating and waking in a start with the burn of adrenaline in his palms before drifting back off to repeat the cycle.

He had no idea how long he slept, but when he awoke, the light scratched his retinas rudely, making him snap his eyes shut and turn his head.

And he could smell Wendy. Her soft fragrance touched him and soothed his tormented mind. He felt that flowery, peaceful sensation he got whenever he could just be still in her presence, close enough to feel her but not needing contact.

Then he felt something, warm and delicate, smooth and soft as he adjusted his position.

He opened his eyes.

She was lying there beside him, soundly sleeping.

He gently laid his arm over her shoulders and felt her warmth, and she stirred only long enough to press against him, wearing one of his shirts, her own clothes discarded on the bed by her feet. He wondered if she'd had a nightmare, as he had, and came here to lay beside him without waking him. She'd slipped under the blankets and was in a semi-fetal position, with her hands beneath her head, her eyes lightly closed. The sunlight from the window played on her hair, and it shone coppery and bright.

He smiled. He couldn't help it. Whenever she was this close -- whenever he could see her, in fact, or heard her -- he smiled. He rubbed her back softly, so gently, careful not to disturb her, and could feel her soft breath on his skin.

For a brief moment, the vision of them waking this way every morning pealed through his mind like thunder. It was only a flash, but it was so strong and clear an image, he had to open his eyes to re-acquire his reality.

He brushed a stray lock of her hair from her cheek and admired the shape of her face, the gentle curve of her jaw, the soft clearness of her skin. Her beauty overwhelmed him, and he nearly wept. He squeezed his eyes shut and commanded his mind to focus, to control the emotions welling inside him. When he was composed again, he twisted -- slowly, so he wouldn't wake her -- to see the clock. They'd arrived home after 3 a.m. It was nearly 11 a.m. now. He'd lost nearly half the day, and still wanted to get to the library. He inwardly cursed himself for not setting his alarm clock, but realized that Wendy would've been woken up too. He slowly, reluctantly, eased out of bed, leaving her beneath the covers, and slid onto the floor. He stretched, trying not to grunt with the delight, and then went about his business of getting ready to face his day.

A quick shower later, he threw his clothes on, and found Wendy still sleeping beneath the golden sunlight of autumn. He dressed quietly, but when he sat down to put on his shoes, she stirred.

"Mmm ... baby?"

"Yes, love?"

"Are you okay? Did you get enough sleep last night? I didn't wake you when I came up did I?"

"No," he said gently, reaching for her. She took his hand in hers. "Not at all. Go back to sleep, Wen."

"What time is it?"

"Just after 11. I have to go to the library today and see what I can find. I'll leave a note for Dillon to drive you to your car when he gets up."

"No, don't go," she protested, pulling him toward her. "I want to go with you. I need a shower, that's all."

"You need sleep," he insisted. "It's okay, I can do this by myself so you can rest."

"Baby, I want to go with you," she insisted. "Please? Just wait for me, okay?"

He smiled again. "Okay. I'll get you some breakfast."

"No," she said, rolling onto her back. "Let's grab some lunch later, but let's get to the library first. I don't know what time it closes."

"I don't either."

"Does Dilly want to come too?"

"Who cares?"

She giggled. "JD! Don't be mean. Dilly's your friend. Besides, he's gone through this much already. Shouldn't he see it through to the end if he wants?"

"I so should, dude."

JD jumped. Wendy giggled again, propping herself up on her elbow. "Hi, Dilly."

Dillon was already dressed and ready. His hair was wet but his chin still unshaven. "Dudes, I'm all set."

"When did you take a shower?"

"While you were. I wanted to see if we could both take one an' not run outta hot water."

"What if we had, you dork? One of us would've frozen."

"We didn't," he grinned. "An' I do wanna go. Maybe the library'll be better on Saturday."

"Better for what?" Wendy asked.

"For hotties ... what else?" Dillon snorted. "See ya downstairs, slowpokes."

"And stay out of my bedroom!" JD called after him.

"I guess I'm the hold up now," Wendy said, then she licked her lips mischievously. "Long as we're already in bed ..." she purred.

JD stood up quickly. "Oh ... oh my God. Don't ... I can't ..."

She cackled wildly, throwing her head back onto the pillows behind her and slapping the mattress in mirth.


"You should see your face, hon! It's PRICELESS!"

"I ... I mean, of course, you're ... I would love to ..."

She laughed again, from deep in her belly, and sat up and gestured for him. He sat down again and he draped herself on him, kissing him softly.

"Don't worry, lover," she said softly, sensually, licking his ear and raising goose-flesh all over his body. "I know you want it. You're just a 'save it for the wedding night' guy."

"How ... we've never discussed ..."

"I know you, JD," she cooed. "I'm fine with that. Just don't make me wait too long, or I might get ... impatient."

"Would you ... would find ...?"

"Don't be stupid," she spat, shaking her head and smiling askew. "If I get impatient, I'll take what I want. From you."

He smiled, blushing deeply, and stared at his shoes.

"I love you, JD," she said more seriously. "Don't you know what that means? It means you and me, babe. No one else. You're it."

He looked at her. "I've ... I've never loved anyone as much as I love you. Never."

She smiled. "Damn straight. Now, unless you want to see me naked -- and I know you do -- get out so I can shower. I'm going to wear one of your shirts, okay?"

"Okay," he grinned.

She was ready 25 minutes later, with one of his thermal undershirts beneath one of his T-shirts. She'd tied it off at the waist and it conformed to her deliciously. He admired her as she bounced down the stairs. Dillon was shoveling the last bit of cereal down his throat, and began to guzzle the milk noisily. He put the bowl in the sink and stood up.

"Are we all ready, then?" JD asked.


"Bring on the boring, dude. I'm ready as I'm gettin'."

JD shook his head. "All right ... here's the plan," he instructed as they filed through the front door. "We need any and all information about the other two characters in the ... story, I guess."

"The killers?" Wendy said.

"Yes," JD confirmed, "but we only have last names. Migo and Stanton. I heard Brown say 'Rick', I think, but I'm not sure. And we don't know who that was in reference to. But I'm thinking we can find them if we check the roster of the police force for that time. At least one of them."

"How do we do that, love?"

"Uh ... I don't know yet." He unlocked the doors and they piled into the car, Dillon sliding into the backseat and sprawling across its entirety.

"Dude, you don't know? What're we supposed t'do, ask a Magic 8 Ball?"

"Well ... Internet first, I guess, then we have to ... I don't know. We can look for newspaper articles on microfiche I guess, but that could take a long time."

"Dude. I thought you had a PLAN."

"Well, I sort of do. But ... I'm just not sure how to execute it. Let's just start with the Internet and see where that takes us."

"What 'bout all the tapes from yesterday, dude? Whatcha gonna do with them?"

"I guess I'll have to analyze them tonight or tomorrow, depending. We know the stuff at the house will begin around nine, if it starts. As long as we're at the house by then, we won't miss anything. If we don't get anywhere at the library, I guess we can come back here and look at those before going back."

"That's too long a trip, baby," Wendy said, twisting beneath her seatbelt to face him. "Let's just plan on doing that tomorrow."

He sighed. "You're probably right. I did leave them in the car, though, so we can at least view them while we're waiting at the house."

"Dude, we LIVED it; why ya wanna WATCH it?"

"We need to see if there's anything on the tapes we didn't see in the actual ... performance."

"You don't think it was a playback anymore?" Wendy knit her brows as she asked.

"Well ... yes and no. It's not the imprint type of event I thought it might be. But they're definitely 35-year-old events, so I'm not sure what to call it now."

"Haunted, dude. Real simple."

JD raised his eyebrows. "Maybe. At least until someone better at this than I am takes a look at those recordings and tells me otherwise."

"I thought the tapes were ... blank?" Wendy said, recalling what they'd seen earlier.

"I didn't take a thorough look, though. I'll be more careful this time through."



"Nothing, it's just that ... blank is blank. If you fast-forward blank it shows the same thing as if you just play it. And those tapes seemed blank to me."

He sighed. "You're probably right, but ... I guess my brain can't understand how we can have five hours of blank recorded. We have to check and make sure there isn't' something we can see on them."

"Okay," she said, and took his hand to press it to her lips.

"'Kay, here inna car, that crap's gotta go," Dillon said. "I can't even go someplace an' hurl."

"Oh, stop it," she said matronly. "You act like you've never seen a romance going on before."

JD blushed. They rode the rest of the way chatting about other things, and when JD went down the main street of that tiny, sleepy town, he was amazed that not much more life was evident. The Post Office was bustling, and the diner seemed more lively, but when he pulled up to the library and parked, it seemed as sleepy and lonely as it had the day before.

They parked, and went up the wide concrete stairs toward the tall, stark white pillars.

"How cute," Wendy said. "It's such a pretty little building."

"It's actually pretty sophisticated," JD said. "I don't what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised."

"Dude, they gonna have chicks this time?"

JD shrugged. They went to the heavy wooden doors and pulled them open, JD standing aside to let Wendy and Dillon through before following. His eyes adjusted quickly in the tiny foyer, and when he strode into the main lobby, he found the library was bustling with activity. Parents and children were murmuring about, trying to be quiet, but so many people stood in the building the buzz of their whispers was fairly loud. People of all ages, from university students to retirees to grade school children were moving in the aisles, sitting at desks, shuffling papers and opening and closing file index drawers.

"Wow," Dillon said, his head panning from one side of the building to the other. "Sure is busier 'n yesterday, dude."

"No kidding," JD said. "What the heck?"

"Must be test-time in school or something," Wendy added, lowering her jacket from her shoulders and leaving her arms in it.

JD stepped toward the desk, where there were two young women and one older lady. She was matriarchal and had a double-chin that wobbled when she walked. Her locomotion was more like a shuffle, shifting her considerable weight from one leg to the other and sort of rocking along. Her glasses hung from a chain around her pudgy neck, and the corners of her mouth vanished into her puffy cheeks when she smiled at them.

"May I help you?" she asked, and her voice was soft and melodic, like a woman who had been a life-long singer.

"Hi," JD said, smiling in return. "I'm looking for another librarian ... I don't see her today, but I spoke with her before. Her name was Bea. Is she in today? Or do you know how I could get in touch with her?"



"You sure it was Bea?"

"Yes, I read her name tag. She was very helpful and I was hoping to work with her again."

"Can you describe her?"

"Kind of a tall lady, wears her hair in a bun? Thin?"

"And you're sure the name was 'Bea'?"

JD raised his eyebrows. "Yes, I'm quite sure. Is -- is anything the matter?"

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but Bea passed away Thursday before last."

JD's jaw dropped and Wendy gasped.

"But ... but that's impossible! I ... I saw her just yesterday! My friend and I were working with her here!"

"Yesterday?" the librarian said slowly, her eyebrows raising. "I'm sorry, that's wrong. As I said, Bea passed away week before last, and this library was closed yesterday for Founder's Day. It was the anniversary date of the day our benefactor turned this building into a library and bought the first books for the town. We celebrate it every year and close on that date."

"I ... I ..." JD stammered.

"I'm sorry, you're mistaken. You must be."

Technorati Tags:

Ready to go on to Part 32?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hall of Fame QB Steve Young: Hypocrite

I just watched Steve Young, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, look straight into the camera and lie.

He said, on the air, on ESPN, that he thought the New England Patriots were hurting their reputations and the reputation of their owner by "running up the score" and celebrating touchdowns.

I'll grant him this much: he retained the requisite short memory that is so necessary for quarterbacks in the NFL to be successful.  He's already forgotten his own career, I guess, and the team for which he played.

Interesting that a man who won his only Super Bowl (never could match Montana's feat of 4, eh, Young?) by a HUGE margin speaks about running up the score.

I remember a game, either in 1986 or '87, wherein Montana left the game early because of a knee injury.  (Skeleton-by-Waterford was my nickname for ol'  Big Sky.  People hated me for saying it, but he was a bit fragile, I thought.)  Young came in against the highly (over-)rated Chicago Bears.  The final score was 41-7.

Hmm.  Sounds like a Patriots score, doesn't it?

Back to that Super Bowl, though.  What year was it?  It was after the 1994 season, in 1995.  The San Francisco 49ers were playing the San Diego Chargers.  It was a game that went down in history as the Super Bowl with the most touchdowns (10) scored and the highest combined point total (75).   The final score?  49-26, San Francisco.  The quarterback?  One Steve Young.

Let's roll back a little.  How about the Super Bowl following the 1989 NFL season?  While the quarterback wasn't Steve Young, he was on the roster as the second string, back-up, not-good-enough-to-take-the-starting-job-from-Montana quarterback.  And the final score?  Let's check.

Why, it was San Francisco 55, Denver 10.  A 45-point differential??  My God, that's ... that's absolutely classless!  Isn't it?

No one called George Seifert classless.  He'd taken the team from head coach  Bill Walsh who retired at the end of the 1988 season.  After winning his 3rd Super Bowl.

NO ONE said George Seifert was classless.  But clearly, the 49ers poured on a very Patriot-esque performance, and scored unceasingly.  They remain, in fact, the only team in NFL history to score at least two touchdowns in every quarter of the game.  Joe Montana surgically dismembered the Denver Broncos defense.  But no one said that Montana was classless for doing it, or that they were "running up the score."  Not a soul.  No one said anything negative about the San Francisco 49ers except those that were already detractors due to their superiority on the field that year.  They were a great team, and no one likes a great team.

And these are only a few examples.  Over the decade and a half of very good football teams in San Francisco, there were many, many more.

Why the spotlight on the 49ers?  Because that's the team for which Steve Young played the most well-known (if not the largest) portion of his career.  Catching splinters and warming the benches to be sure, but he was on the roster.  Now, he sits on ESPN and says he's "restless" about things around the league and tells a national viewing audience that the Patriots are hurting themselves by being a team that does so well what he could only wish the teams he played on could do.

The 49ers ran the score up plenty of times on weaker teams.  They did it repeatedly.  Now he's saying no one else should do it?  Where was he, and his large and stuttering mouth, when the Indianapolis Colts were doing it week in and week out during Peyton Manning's record-setting season?  49 touchdowns?  You don't accumulate 49 touchdowns without scoring any points.  They were running all over teams that year.  If they didn't have a defense capable of stopping anyone, maybe that helped it look less like what it was, but I guarantee (!), had the Indy defense been able to shut teams down and keep them off the boards, it wouldn't have stopped Manning from throwing his 49.  Anyone who says it would have is a liar, period.

Steve Young is a hypocritical jack-ass with more mouth than brains.  EVERY team does this from time to time, when the opportunity presents.  Anyone detracting the Patriots from doing it right now would be detractors of them regardless.  No one would even be thinking this way if not for the whole stupid "SpyGate" deal.  But you know what, everyone?  There is no cheating going on here this year.  The New England Patriots are simply kicking the shit out of every team they play, period.  It may not be true for the rest of the season, but it's true to week 8 of the 2007 season.


Technorati Tags: ,

Ghost Hunters, Pt. 30

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

He stood motionless for a few moments, staring into the dark. He fished into his pocket, but remembered he left the flashlight with Wendy. He realized then it was stupid to have done so. He'd be stumbling back through the dark with nothing to guide him. He had no idea how much time had elapsed, either. He could have been gone for a couple of hours. There was no sign of daylight in the blackness, though, so he knew it wasn't near dawn. With any luck, he hadn't been gone very long. Maybe things moved in real time for a change.

He wanted to go forward into the dark, to find that burial spot and mark it somehow. He had to figure out a way to tell the police what was there. He couldn't think of one.

Turning, he started toward the car again. The crunch of gravel beneath his shoes would have to suffice to steer him along the access road. If he wandered too far either direction, he'd run into trees. But somewhere nearby was a water-filled quarry hole. He did not want to discover its exact location by accident.

He started down the hill, hands at the ready to catch his fall. His eyes could somewhat see through the darkness -- he wasn't totally blind. But he took his time, working his way down the hill. He could feel the worn access road, now full of hassocks of dried grass and tree roots, as it rose near the edges. He tried to keep to the lower, less raised portion, and continued down the way he'd come.

They had the location of Robin Brown's body, and he had no idea how to tell anyone about it.

He considered this as he strode, plodding through what seemed a moonless night. He let gravity carry him along, his footfalls thudding on the ground. It felt as though they were loud as thunder to him, in the hush of the woods. The road wound to his left a bit more sharply than before, and he could see the car below him.

Wendy and Dillon were standing beside the car. He picked up his pace, carefully. He still couldn't see very clearly. When she heard his footsteps, she moved away from the car and came rapidly up the hill toward the gate. She waited there, and then turned the red flashlight on him. He could see the roadway at last, and he began to walk at a normal pace to the fence where she waited.

"Hi," she said quietly.

"Hi back," he smiled, and caressed her cheek.

"Was that it? Was it Robin Brown's body?"

"Did the dude's dead bod get up an' scare the crap outta ya?"

"Yes. I mean, no, Dillon. But yes, it was ... well ... it's the burial site, anyway. What remains of Robin Brown, I don't know."

"What ... what happened up there?"

"I ... I guess the two men that murdered him brought him here. They buried him in the quarry."

"In the lake?" Dillon stepped forward.

He shook his head. "In a crevice dug out during the mining, I think. I know the approximate location. I ... I should have brought a flashlight up to mark the exact spot, though."

"You sho' shoulda."

Wendy held the light out to him. "Here's this one."

He contemplated. Sighing, he took it from her. "I guess I should go back up."

"We'll wait here for ya, bro."

"We'll go back with him, you mean."

"You ... you're going to go too?" JD said confused.

"We are?"

"Yessir, mister. You're not going to leave me here worrying again. Uh-uh."

"What about me?"

"You can wait here if you want, Dilly."

"HELLZ no. Alone? What're you, on drugs?"

JD chuckled. "It's a bit of a hike, I'm afraid."

"If those two bozos could do it dragging a full-grown man behind them, we can do it with just a flashlight, baby."

She started over the fence with Dillon helping her to the top, and JD took her by the waist and lifted her down to the other side. She landed with her arms around his neck, her lips close to his.

"I missed you, lover."

He smiled. She kissed him long and warmly.

"A-HEM, dudes. Dillon, still here. Makin' out, not welcome."

They ignored him. When they parted he was flushed, flustered and breathless. "I ... I missed you too. More than I'd realized, apparently."

She giggled. "C'mon ... show us where this is."

"An' tell me why I wanna know."

JD and Wendy walked side by side, with Wendy tucking her hand into JD's back pocket. Dillon trailed along behind them.

"I guess the murder wasn't part of the plan," JD muttered, more to himself than to Wendy. "When they realized he'd been killed, they must have gone back to get him. This is the place they used to load the stolen items into a truck and carry them to wherever they stored or sold them."

"While you were gone," Wendy said slowly, "another vehicle pulled up. It looked bigger, like maybe a truck or something. Someone got out, but I couldn't see anyone. I heard them walking up the road. We were going to come find you when the fog vanished again."

"Dude, that's ... freaky. I hate fog now, man."

JD nodded. "I think ... I think it was Darren Jenkins."

"Why? Did you see him?"

JD shook his head. "No ... no, it was weird. It was like ... it was like the figure we saw in the yard. He didn't have any -- he didn't have any features, really. Just a shadow, a silhouette. Like the one we saw in the yard, and sneaking in through the window in the parlor. Nothing distinct, not even clothing. A black outline."

"Hmm. What made you think it was Jenkins then?"

"His brain, same as all th' other crap that comes out of 'im."

"Well ... for one thing, he was ... weeping."

"He was crying?"

"Dude's a pansy?"


JD nodded, guiding Wendy easily along the access way's winding route. "Yes, I think so. That he was crying, that is, not that he was a pansy. He was hiding, watching the other two bury the body. Before they finished, he disappeared back down the road through the trees, like he didn't want them to know he'd been there."

"Hidin' and cryin'? Yeah -- pansy."

"How did he get here?"

"He drove the truck here, is my guess."

"He was the delivery driver?"

JD shrugged. "I can't tell. The other two didn't know he was here, though. They were just working on burying Brown. When the other figure hid in the trees, the fog lifted. It was the end of the replay."

"Did ... did you interact with them?"

"Yeah -- are they ghosts too?"

"Oh ... I don't know." JD's face shrank and he shook his head. "No. I was too afraid. I guess ... I guess I got spooked. I know it's stupid, but I wasn't sure ... I wasn't sure if they could do more than talk to me."

She squeezed him closer, resting her head on his chest. "Oh, baby -- don't beat yourself up, lover. This is scary. It's not like anything we've seen before."

"No," JD agreed, chortling softly. "No, it certainly isn't."

"I think ya should beatcha self up. You wimped out, dude."

"Dilly! Baby -- strange lights and cold spots are one thing. Falling objects and disembodied voices are something again. But this? This is just flat strange."

"And how," he agreed, hugging her. "Still, I should be more rational and reasonable than that. I did try to stay close enough to hear their conversation, but it was mostly just about where and how they were going to dispose of his body. They decided against the lake. But this quarry lay outside the jurisdiction of their police force, and they knew that the State Police wouldn't want to conduct a search of the whole woods. As it turns out, it doesn't matter anyway, because Robin Brown's body was never sought."

"I can't believe that. That's just ... that makes no sense to me at all."

JD shook his head slowly, contemplatively. "I know. I can't quite figure that out, either. But if he had no family to protest, and the police here are telling state authorities that he absconded with all the stolen property, and all the burglaries stopped after he disappeared ... I guess it could be considered a closed case."

"But how? A man is missing, and he's a cop. Don't they usually want to band together? Aren't cop-killers hunted worst of all criminals?"

"They so are, dude."

"Maybe not if it's one of their own. And from what I learned at the library, Jenkins was considered for the crimes too. He named Brown in the robberies too, but that ... with what I just saw, with him crying over the burial site, I just don't see how that can be."

"Maybe ... well, maybe they threatened him?"

"Yeh! He is a pussy an' all."

JD nodded. "My thoughts exactly ... Wendy. He was forced into silence. Maybe they did threaten him, or any family he may have had."

"I'm not sure his actions make sense to me."

"They do when ya think of 'im as a wimp."

"They don't to me either, but if you consider it from a life-threatening standpoint, maybe it does. His career may be in jeopardy. His partner was viciously murdered. If he tries to come forward, they'd not only ruin his professional life, but perhaps kill him and any family members. It wouldn't surprise me, based on what we heard tonight, if he was told to name Brown or face the same consequences as the other person who went against their plan. If he had family at stake, he probably wouldn't be willing to put them in harm's way. And self-preservation is pretty strong."

"I guess. How can we prove any of this?"

"Feelin' ignored, here ..."

"Well, we can't. Not really. But we can go back to the library tomorrow -- sorry, later today -- and see if we can find anything more on Jenkins. There was very little there before, but the librarian, Bea, seemed to know him. Maybe she can direct us toward something that will turn up some information."

"Aww, duuuuuuude. More boring?"

"Sorry. Lots of legwork involved with an investigation."

Dillon exhaled, flapping his lips loudly. "Great. Can't wait."

"Hmm." Wendy and JD reached the point of the road where it ended near the quarry's main operations area. JD pointed to the trees to his right.

"That's where I was hiding when the third figure appeared. He moved over there ..." he pointed to the trees ahead of them, "then was ducking in and out of the rocks over there while they were burying Brown." He pointed to the huge chunks of hillside scattered around the weed-riddled clearing, the brown stalks and empty seed heads rattling like miniature skeletons with the least disturbance in wind. "Finally, I hid among the rocks in that area." He moved the flashlight toward the huge craggy outcropping just ahead of them and to their left.

"Good place to hide a body," Wendy said, scanning the location.

"You keepin' notes in case ya gotta whack JD, Wen?"

She giggled.

JD continued. "Far from the road, and not easy to search. 35 years ago, there would have been even less traffic here, and the quarry had already been long dead."

He led her by the hand around the big granite hillside, and panned the flashlight around the area. Dillon was on their heels a moment later.

There were three distinct possibilities. Each one was a dip between huge pieces of the hill that had been either knocked down or had crumbled into the clearing. JD looked around, and tried to relocate his position among the boulders, with Wendy following closely enough behind him to see in the illumination of the flashlight's red beam. Finally, he sat down on his haunches and shone the light into one of the crags.

"That one. That's where they buried him."

"You're sure?"

"95%, yes. I was seeing it as it was 35 years ago, so a lot has changed, but I seem to recall the position from where I was hiding here."

"Pff. 95%? Dude. I got test scores higher 'n that."

"No you didn't."

"How ... should we confirm that?" Wendy said, touching her finger to her lips in thought.

"I have no idea how, without digging him up."

She arched her eyebrows.

"No! No way! Absolutely not! That's a matter for the police, Wen!"

"Aw, dude! I am SO not diggin' up a body an' shit! Naw, man, naw way!"

"But, JD -- how're we going to get them to listen to us, love? We can't just tell them a ghost led us to a body! We have to have something they'll believe!"

"How would we even explain why we're up here? I'm certain this is private property. If it's not, it's state property, which is even worse. We'd be trespassing on government-owned resources. That's probably a felony!"

"Not good, y'all," Dillon muttered. "Felonies are bad. I don't do jail."

She cupped JD's face in her hands. "Come on, babe -- what do we do? We can't just leave him there, undisturbed. We have to tell this story. I'm sure that's what this is all about, love. We have to tell this story to someone and have the wrong righted."

"As soon as I can think of some way to do that, Wen, I will. I promise. But right now ... I just want to mark the spot and get some sleep. We're all exhausted, and I need to go back to the house again tomorrow night."

"Tomorrow night? Why? I mean, I know I need to pick up my car, but I thought we could do that during the day time."

"Dude, I so don't want no more ghost-night BS."

"This isn't the end, Wen. There's another part to all of this, and I need to see it. All of it."

Technorati Tags:

Ready to go on to Part 31?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ghost Hunters, Pt. 29

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

The two shadowy figures tucked and emerged from the fog as it rolled and played around them.  JD tracked them as closely as he could without getting too close.  He wasn't sure what it was he was seeing, but he didn't want to take for granted that the events he was seeing weren't live.  He doubted it.  There wasn't any way a human could've done what he saw with the car lights.  Not without a great deal of choreography, anyway.  Nevertheless, the interaction with Robin Brown -- or whomever it was -- at the house had him a bit skittish about getting too close.

He was able to follow through the dark.  There seemed to be some strange light that glowed from within the fog, and he couldn't decide where the light came from.  Or why it was there.  All he knew was that it was like the cold glow of the snow at night, scattering light so that there was no discernable source; it just ... lit everything slightly.  So the dark shapes of the two figures dragging that clearly heavy object between them was almost backlit against the eerily glowing fog, and JD could follow without tumbling down an embankment or tripping over exposed roots or rocks as he trudged on through the soft forest blanket of dead leaves and soft dirt and moss.

He'd been able to close the distance as well.  That wasn't difficult to do.  The other two were working feverishly to drag that amorphous form between them up the slight grade, toward what he could only imagine was the final resting place of Robin Brown.  He assumed it was his cadaver they dragged along, but couldn't make anything out except the forms, stark black shadows against the ghostly glow of the mist.

They switched sides every once in a while, so that they could drag with the opposite arm and still evenly distribute the load.  Each time they stopped, JD ventured closer, trying to get within ear shot of their conversation.  It was sparse at best, he could tell even at his distance.  The effort of dragging the heavy object required too much oxygen to allow for a flowing conversation.  He tried to stick to the tree line along the edge of the gravel access road that wound and picked its way through the dense tree canopy.  JD tried to think of some sort of industrial operation in the area that would require the access road, but had no knowledge of one.  So he was trying to hear whether the two figures ahead of him would give any indication of where they were and what they were doing.  He realized, however, that doing so would require a confession exchanged between them akin to what he might hear on a television show.  It was trite for script writing; what would be the odds of it having happened in reality?

Or happening now?

He shuddered and balked just a hair at the thought.  He really didn't know if this was live or Memorex, so to speak.  How was he going to ensure his own safety?  He hadn't even brought a flashlight along.

They dropped the load again, rubbing their tired arms in the gloom, and JD froze.  He was a lot closer than he thought.  He crouched slowly, to try and blend with the surroundings.

"Christ, this is heavy," one voice carried to him.  It was clear but not loud, and familiar.  One of the men from the scene they'd witnessed at the house.

"Yeah, well, it's your damned fault, jackass," the other answered, resting his hands on his knees as he bent over to catch his breath.  "Jesus, Stanton, why'd ya kill the bastard?  Ya didn't hafta do that."

"I couldn't just let 'im go, could I?  He was gonna rat us all out."

"You fuck!  Jenkins coulda talked some sense into 'im.  He wasn't gonna screw all of us."

"Bullshit!  He was gonna rat us out 'n you know it!  I did what had to be done."

"Yeah?  Well how ya gonna explain him bein' dead, asshole?  Huh?  Didja ever think o' that?"

"Fuck you, that's not my problem."

"You made it your problem, shit-head.  When they ask us, don't think I'm gonna stick up fer yer ass."

"You're a shit, Migo.  You gonna string me out on this?"

"Fuck yeah.  You deserve it, ya prick.  You coulda just knocked 'im out.  Better yet, ya shouldn'ta hit 'im, period.  Jenkins coulda talked some sense into 'im."

They puffed and panted for a few seconds.  JD listened.  He wasn't learning anything new, but he couldn't exactly go ask specific questions.

"Christ, I need a cigarette," Migo puffed.

"Let's get this shit over with."

They stood up again, and grasped the heavy object between them, one on each side.  With a grunting effort, they hefted it and dragged forward through the fog again.

JD kept pace, following a safe distance behind.  He tried to close the gap a bit more, to see if they were continuing to talk while they moved, but he could only hear their occasional grunts and cursing as they pulled and yanked to get their burden over the bumps and dips of the road.

They began to round a large, granite outcropping, that stuck through the forest like it had been dropped from the air.  And suddenly, JD realized where they were.

It was the granite quarry.

The operation had been shut down since before he was born, but the site was well known in the area.  A once bustling industry had closed up and blown away decades ago, and left a huge scar on the land nestled in the hills.  It was an obvious place to hide a body.  JD was actually wondering how many would be uncovered if the quarry were ever checked.

He watched as they tugged and yanked, getting the load they bore around that corner.  When they vanished from view, JD darted forward, hugging closely to the rocky face that forced the road to curve to his left out of sight, obscured by the huge lump of stone that projected from the hilly earth.

He saw both figures drop the load again, this time stepping away from it.

"This seems stupid," Stanton panted, trying to catch his breath.  "This is first damn place they're gonna look for his ass."

"Bullshit.  It's outta the jurisdiction, ain't been used in years, and the staties ain't gonna wanna invest the manpower to look all up here."

"If Jenkins gets all the crap outta the house, I guess this could work."

"It's gonna work, fuck-head, just don't do anything else stupid.  Like you can help it."

"Hey, screw you, asshole."

"No, you already did that, shit-head.  You killed Brown.  That could screw all of us.  Dick-head."

Stanton held his piece while Migo sparked a cigarette.  His face did not illuminate with the bright orange flames.  He remained shrouded as a shadow despite the shot of sudden light from the high flame that erupted out of his stainless steel Zippo.

"Go find some rocks," Migo commanded, blowing a blue plume from his mouth into the swirling fog.  "We gotta cover the body good.  Someone might find him in the water, we don't wanna put him there.  We'll have to ditch him in a crack somewhere and cover him with gravel an' shit."

"That's gonna take all fucking night!"

"That's your fault, asshole!  Now go get some goddamn rocks!"

Stanton was cursing under his breath as he stomped off to find enough material to cover what JD knew now was Brown's body.

JD watched Migo smoking casually, trying to shake feeling back into his arms.  There was only the stark stillness of the night behind them for sound.  JD wondered, just briefly, how long he'd been gone.  He wondered if he'd entered a time warp, as they did before, and had lost track of time.  He wanted to check his cell phone for a signal, but didn't want to alert Migo -- or whatever he was watching -- to his presence.

He heard the soft, stealthy crunch of gravel and dead leaves behind him.  He turned, expecting it to be Wendy and Dillon, coming to see where he'd gone and what he was doing.  He'd assumed Wendy would cooperate with his instructions for a short time, but it wouldn't be long before she came to find him.

Instead he saw another black shadow standing right over him.

He gasped and froze.

That figure stood there, silent and still, until JD heard the slightest of sounds from it.

A sniffle.

The figure was weeping softly.

JD nearly panicked as the figure drew closer, one step, then another, haltingly.  The hand wiped viciously across where a face would be if one had been visible, and then stepped forward again, past JD, giving him no acknowledgment of any kind.  Cursing and struggling, Stanton came back into view and stood beside Migo.

"Okay," Stanton panted, out of breath and clearly exerted.  "I got some damn rocks.  Let's do this shit."

Migo dragged hard on his cigarette again, and cast the butt away into the fog.  "We gotta find a spot first."

The two figures moved off, past the huge outcropping again, out of sight into the swirling fog.  The silhouette standing just in front of JD moved forward then, toward the object they'd dragged up the hill with them, and bent low.  Reverently, it laid its hand on the bag, and the head dropped sadly.  The kneeling figure shook, sobbing for just a moment, but the sounds of footfalls and gravel drove the shadow back, into the trees, out of sight.

Migo and Stanton reappeared.  "All right, let's get this shit over with," Migo spat.  "Jesus, this bastard's heavy."

They again hefted the bag with one arm each, and with greater effort than before they pulled it along the rocky surface, back away from the line of sight.  JD moved to follow, but froze when he saw that third figure poke its head from the tree trunks where it'd hidden.  In a moment, the figure moved away again, farther ahead of JD and again nestled into a stand of trees on the far side of where Migo and Stanton rested.

JD took a chance and moved around the rim of the huge rock, and tried to duck and hide behind the smattering of gargantuan boulders and cut or blasted sections of rock that tumbled haphazardly around the basin just before the main quarry opened.  He could barely see the dark, black water reflecting flatly against the strange glow of the fog, a huge maw in the ethereal mist.  JD waited then, watching as Migo and Stanton hefted their load forward, toward what looked like a deep black gash in one of the giant rocky hills that had been cut for the ore.

"All right," Migo said, "onna count o' three we toss 'im far as we can.  Ready?"

"Yeah," Stanton panted, his chest heaving with great gulps of air.

"One ... two ... three!"

They lifted and flung the object between them and it was a half-beat before JD heard a sickening thump and a crumpling tumble as the heavy thing they'd lugged so far up the little hill vanished into that carved niche in the rocks.

"Okay ... now ... get the ... rocks," Migo puffed.  He was again bent over with his hands on his knees.  JD caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and watched as the third figure emerged and moved among the rocks, hiding there for a few moments.  It watched as the other two caught their breath, and in another moment, moved away into the mist.

The other two finally stood, and grunted loudly and with tremendous effort as they began to roll large rocks into the hole where they'd thrown the thing they'd carried.  The thing JD now knew was Robin Brown's body.  Over and over they strained, the effort pulling primal sounds from them, as one rock after another rolled down into the hole, landing with a solid stony "thunk!"

JD watched as they ceased their efforts, and then sat among the rocks trying laboriously to breathe.

"Gimme ... gimme a few minutes, then we get the shovels and ... cover the rest with gravel an' ... shit like that.  By then ... Jenkins should ... be there with ... the truck."

Stanton nodded.  "All right.  I just want this ... to be ... over."  They both gasped and panted, huffing in gulps of air and trying to compose themselves.

And in that moment, that last instant, the fog washed away and into the trees and over the rocks like a sheet being pulled over JD's head and disappearing into the darkness.

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ghost Hunters, Part 28

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

The fog was so thick it was like a blanket had been thrown over the car. Wendy peered through the windows, trying to make out any shapes in the heavy mist. Only the swirling gray shroud stared back at her, and it was as muffling to the night as a layer of new fallen snow.

She could only hear Dillon rhythmically snoring softly in the back seat. And the sound of her own heart pounding in her throat.

She thought letting JD go into the dark following ghosts alone probably was a bad idea, but was certain that he'd be back soon. She didn't expect the fog to last another five hours, and it never even occurred to her that the time warp they'd been in at the house could continue. The sun would rise eventually, and some childhood superstition stopped her from believing that the supernatural events would continue through the daylight hours. Instead, she sat with her hands folded in her lap, tapping her foot impatiently, waiting for JD to come through the cloudy mist to tell her the apparitions vanished and he couldn't follow any farther.

But he didn't. And it was only when she checked the small duffle bag on the floor in front of the back seat that she realized he didn't even have a flashlight.

That's how her plan was formed. He couldn't be out there without a flashlight, right? He's in the woods; he's not exactly Paul Bunyan or Daniel Boone; he's going to need the light to find his way back. Without it, he could be hurt, possibly seriously. So she decided that, if he didn't return pretty quickly, she'd take the flashlight to him.

It now sat on the seat beside her thigh. She felt it gently touching her as she tap-tap-tapped her foot on the floor.

She kept watching the haze outside. JD wasn't returning. How long had he been gone? She wasn't sure. She checked her watch: 2:45 a.m. It was getting late, and she had no idea where they were. JD might have already fallen and twisted an ankle so badly he can't make the trip back to the car. Or maybe he can't find his way through the fog. After all, they couldn't find their way just a few yards in the pea soup cloud at the house, how was JD supposed to do that in the woods at night? She reached for the door handle.

She pulled back when she grasped it.

JD is a grown man, and she knew he could take care of himself. If he'd thought there'd be danger, he wouldn't have gone alone.

Would he?

She reached for the door handle again. Her fingers danced over the chrome lightly, then fell away again and she sighed. She snapped open her cell phone and checked her signal. She had one, albeit not very strong. But she did have one. That meant JD probably did too. If he was afraid or if he felt he were in trouble, he'd call.

Unless he's too stubborn, of course.

Dillon stirred slightly in the back seat, adjusting to a more comfortable position, and fell silent. Wendy listened, but his snoring didn't resume for a moment. In that complete stillness, she listened intently.

There was no sound she could detect.

Not that it mattered, but she was conflicted. She was torn between loving JD and respecting him. There was a reason he wanted her to stay in the car, and she wanted to respect his wishes. He was looking after his friends, even though they were both grown-ups too. On the other hand, she didn't want him to be alone out there, by himself surrounded by what could potentially be hostile ... what? Personas? Ghosts. And if they could interact with them, as they'd done at the house, why couldn't they hurt him if they chose? She wasn't certain what to do. On the other hand, Wendy'd never been one to just sit and do as she was told. It wasn't that she was trying to be difficult, it was just that she felt she had more to offer than moral support from the safety of the car. And she didn't want him to be by himself out there in the event he needed help.

He is completely capable, however. He knows what he's doing. He's been on a lot of these investigations. He's probably better at it than the other two combined.

She continued to remind herself of all the reasons she should just cooperate with him as her fingers tightened around the door handle.

Dillon snorted and coughed, making her jump viciously and yelp in start. She covered her mouth with her hand and giggled alone in the car, turning her head back to watch Dillon as he adjusted on the seat again, trying to get comfortable.

"Dilly, you scared me," she said quietly in the car, but the sound of her own voice seemed eerie and spooked her a bit. She wondered why her imagination had run away with her so, but not being able to see through the heavy vapor outside had her skittish. She told herself to calm down and just relax. He'd be back soon enough, and they'd be on their way home.

Dillon shifted again. She wondered if he'd wake up. If he did, that would be an excuse to go find JD. Dillon just drifted off again, though.

She noticed her fingers on the door handle. She allowed her hand to come slowly back to her lap, and she laced her fingers and shifted in her seat to get comfortable. She looked out the window casually, watching the shifting wafts of gray as they tumbled like frothy waves over one another, vanishing in the night.

She yelped again when a flat pair of illuminated disks pulled up behind the car suddenly, emerging without warning out of the fog. She slapped her hand over her mouth again and her eyes bulged as she heard the rattling diesel engine shut down. A door opened and she heard it slam again. There was the sound of a footfall crunching through the gravel which finally receded into the distance, away from the car toward the spot where JD had vanished into the night.

She sat perfectly still, wondering how the driver hadn't seen her, and had to forcefully bring to mind that she may not actually be seeing something extant. Her heart raced, though.

JD didn't know this was coming.

Dillon yawned in the back seat. "Dudes ... we home?"

"Dilly," Wendy whispered hurriedly, "Dilly, it's happening again!"

"Huh? Wen? What's goin' ...?"

"Shh, Dilly, listen to me," she said, still speaking in that sort of theater whisper. "JD is out there in the woods somewhere, Dilly. I don't know where he is, but suddenly this ... this other car came up and ..."

"Okay, slow down a minnit," Dillon said, rubbing his eyes and sitting up. "I ain't all awake yet. Now, what's goin' on?"

"I fell asleep on the ride, like you," Wendy said, still whispering. "When I woke up, we were stopped in the middle of the road. JD was behind ... he was behind another car, I think. But the fog. It was the fog again. It was happening again."

"It was?"

"Yes, and it still is," she continued. "So we followed the car. It was so weird, Dilly, so strange -- we sped up, and it sped up, and when we stopped, so did that car. It was so weird!"

"Wait ... didn'tcha just tell me we was followin' the car?"


"But it did the stuff we did? From behind?"

She nodded.

"Didja see more ghosts?"

She shook her head. "Not ... well, not until we got here. Then some of them -- two of them ... they got out of the car and ..."

"Don't tell me anymore. Whadda we do now?" He stretched in the car and grunted satisfied as he finished.

"I ... I don't know. JD's out there, Dilly. He's out there alone, following ghosts. And I think another one just came out of that truck ... or whatever it is."

Dillon looked over his shoulder. The headlights were severely dimmed and nearly obscured as the thick fog roiled over them and played away into the dark.

"So ... none o' this is real stuff? It's all ghost shit?"

She shrugged helplessly. "I ... I don't know. Dilly, I think we're going to find the body up this road somewhere. Robin Brown's body."

"Whoa," Dillon said. "Really? You sure?"

"Well ... no, not sure. But it sure seems like it, because the ghost took something up the road with them. They were dragging it, like it was ... like it was ..."

"Dead weight?" he finished, his voice dropping ominously.

She nodded, biting her lower lip nervously. "Dilly, I think someone got out of that truck and is headed up the road, wherever it goes. JD's out there and doesn't know he's coming."

"Well ... technically this already happened."


"Yeah. JD says this stuff already went down. Like, forever ago. So it's pro'ly no big deal that they're sneakin' up on 'im out there." Dillon yawned hugely again, never bothering to cover it. "JD's, like, so not afraid o' this kinda stuff anyway."

"I know but ... well, that cop ghost spoke to us. We were interacting with it. What if ... what if they can hurt us too? And JD's out there by himself."

"You wanna go out there and get 'im?"

She hesitated, then nodded vigorously. "I thought ... I thought we could at least take him his flashlight. He doesn't even have that.

"Hmm." Dillon looked out the window toward the new set of lights beside him, and rubbed one eye tiredly. "Well ... I guess ... if that's what he wanted you to do ..."

"No," she giggled. "He wanted me to stay here. Why do you think I'm in the car with you instead of out there with him?"

"'Cause I'm hot?"

"You so aren't."

"Ouch! Dang, Wen. Okay, let's go rescue lover-boy from the ghosts, then."

"You're not ... you're not scared?"

"O' what?"

"The ghosts, silly."

"Oh, I dunno. They don't seem as creepy as I thought they'd be. I figgered on all these bloody, rotten-ass yucky sorta ghosts. These seem nice, like they shower an' stuff."

She giggled again. "You're a nut."

"Well, in all the movies, they're ... y'know -- scary. But these? Not so much."

"They scare me. They scare me a lot."

"Didja have bad dreams?"

She looked away quickly. "I ... yes."

"Oh. You gonna tell JD?"

She shook her head. "He'd stop letting me come along if I did."

"He loves ya, y'know."

"I know," she beamed. "I love him too. Isn't that great?"

"Just frickin' peachy."

"I ... I think I'd better go out there, Dilly."

"You know which way he went? In this crap?" He gestured out the windows.

"Um ... not exactly. I ... I think I can find him, though."

The car was silent. The night around them more so. Dillon stared out the windows at the lights of the vehicle beside him, just off the left rear quarter panel of the car. He shook his head.

"Didja ... didja think 'bout whether he's out there wanderin' 'round like we did in the yard back at the house? What if he gets really lost? Like, inna woods lost? And we can't find 'im when the fog clears? Y'know?"

"I ... don't you think we should try and find him, then? Just in case?"

"Yeah. Just in case."

"You love him too, don't you, Dilly?"

"I only swing one way, baby. Strictly AC, y'know?"

"You really love him, don't you, Dilly?"

Dillon sighed. "JD's my oldest an' best friend. He's my ... he's my main dude, yeah. I don't wanna see 'im get hurt or nothin'."

"Let's go," she said eagerly and pulled open the door.

"I hope to hell I ain't sorry for this," Dillon muttered, opening his own door.

Technorati Tags:

Ready to go on to Part 29?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ghost Hunters, Pt. 27

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

They grabbed the recording materials as quickly as they could, and they left as quickly as well.

They hoped the fog wouldn't roll back in while they gathered the things they were taking with them. They hoped that the events they'd seen, and worse still the sounds they'd heard, wouldn't repeat themselves. In near silence the three worked to gather the items JD needed for the analysis, and they furtively glanced out the windows of the now-eerily dark parlor before they went for the front door ... and they looked through the sidelights one more time when they got to the foyer too.

They glanced about them as though a sniper may lay in the darkness, waiting for them ... then they moved down the porch stairs and waited anxiously while JD locked the large, looming and now somehow threatening house behind him. He rushed down the stairs to where they waited and wondered what it was they were afraid of.

Then the sound they'd heard on from that shadowy figure kneeling beside the image of Robin Brown's body echoed somewhere in his frazzled psyche and he shivered. That is what they were afraid of.

They walked quietly, trying literally not to wake the dead, to the gate, and JD's hand hesitated just briefly before he opened it. He allowed Wendy, then Dillon to pass through the gate before him, watching over their heads at the crouching black house, waiting for it to pour that mystic fog from around its corners and eaves to swallow them again.

For the first time since the investigation began, he hoped it wouldn't.

He was staring at the house as he backed through the gate and pulled it gently closed behind him, trying to make as little noise as possible in doing so.

They stood stiffly at the doors of the car, waiting for him, their nervous energy palpable to him. He hurried to unlock his door and trip the locks on theirs. Almost in unison they nearly leapt into the car, and pulled the doors shut behind them quickly. Strapping the seatbelts on, they shifted their weight to get comfortable, the other two looking out the windows at the black windows of the house, staring like soulless, baleful eyes at them. JD put the key in the ignition and silently prayed as he turned it over.

The car started without incident. They collectively -- and quietly, trying not to let the others hear -- breathed a sigh of relief.

JD pulled away from the curb, checking the empty streets behind them in the mirrors as they pulled away into the ethereal stillness of the cool night.

Before long JD was on the highway, heading back home. The exhaustion quickly overcame them, and quietly Wendy's head lolled against her shoulder and presently Dillon was snoring in the back seat. JD was far too wired internally to be sleepy, though he knew he should be tired. He threaded the car over the ribbon of blacktop winding through the dark forest around the road, his lights illuminating only a few yards before finding another wall of tree trunks. His mind wound through the events of the last two days as much as he could.

There was so much he still didn't understand, and not the least of these was that the events he'd seen were best explained, for the moment, by an actual apparition. That didn't sit well with him. He'd taken a theological, logical and fundamental position that there were no such things as ghosts, and everything he'd seen indicated that this was, in fact, a ghost. Even so, it didn't fit any conventional definitions of "ghosts" as he understood them. It was like a traditional apparition, but had more ability to interact than he'd ever heard of or read about prior. He was certain that this was either Stone- or Water-tape playback, but that idea had been dismissed quickly and easily. He wasn't sure he'd ever really believed it anyway. It wasn't an imprint type of manifestation, which would have been his second choice to explain the repetitive behavior of the things he saw. That left him with almost nothing except a traditional apparition, but it still didn't quite fit.

And then there was Dillon's statement that this particular apparition didn't realize it was deceased. He wondered about that too; could it be true? The statement Dillon made earlier about the fact that this apparition wasn't actually Robin Brown but Darren Jenkins was very interesting, too. As was Dillon's sudden surge of insight. Where'd that come from, he mused, and smiled to himself in the dark.

He chanced a quick glance at Wendy, her face turned toward him slightly and completely relaxed as she slept. The pale, soft light from the dashboard glowed on her and accentuated her clear, perfect features. His chest fluttered slightly, annoying him mildly, and he turned back to the road, the smile still imprinted on his face. He sighed as he refocused on the road ahead and tried to marshal his thoughts again.

That's when he drove right into the cloud of collapsing fog that swallowed the car whole.

He gasped audibly, and leaned forward. The road wasn't visible any more; the headlights were shining directly into a dense wall of mist.

He tapped the brakes, and pressed them gently, trying not to slide on what he assumed must have been wet, slick pavement. From the gloom ahead two red orbs pierced the haze.

He gasped again, and pumped the brakes, slowing the car so that the tail lights were only a few feet from him.

He tried to back away from the car, but the familiarity of the fog urged him to stay close. He wasn't sure why, but he felt he shouldn't lose sight of those dim islands of light in the sea of murkiness. As he continued to slow, the lights in front of him seemed to match his speed.

Furrowing his brow, he slowed more. He was barely moving now. The lights ahead of him were no more than two yards away.

JD stopped the car. The lights ahead of him stayed two yards away.

He sat there, straining to see the shape of the car beyond the lights. He leaned so far forward the steering wheel began to hurt his midsection. Leaning back, he shook his head.

A tiny sound beside him caught his attention.

"Babe? What's up? Are we home already?"

"No, Wen. Are you awake enough to look at this?"

She blinked her eyes opened slowly and yawned delicately. She sat up straight and tried to focus through the windows, but her breath caught in her throat when she finally caught the scene around her.

"Oh my God -- where ... where are we?"

"We're about half an hour up the highway. I was driving home when the fog closed in."

"Are we ... we're not moving."


"What's ... what's with that car? Is there an accident? Does someone need help?"

JD sighed. "I don't think so. I think ... I think there's more. And this is it."

Her hand leapt to her mouth to stifle her gasp. JD smiled. "That's what I said, too."

"What ... JD, what's going on?"

"I don't know. I slowed down because I thought this might actually be fog, but the lights you see ... they slowed down with us. When I stopped, they stopped. Not gradually, like a driver reacting to me. They stopped and moved exactly as I did."

"Oh my God. What ... ?"

"I don't know. I'm going to proceed and see what happens."

"If it's a car you'll hit it."

"Yeah ... yeah, I know. I guess ... well, I have insurance, right?"

She exhaled through her mouth. "Well."

JD nodded. "Well. You can go back to sleep if you want, hon. I just wanted to see if I was the only one that saw those lights."

"You're kidding, right?"

He chuckled. "Okay. Let's see what happens."

He let the brake off easily, and the car began to roll slowly ahead.

The lights stayed two yards ahead. JD's vehicle never closed an inch.

He shifted in his seat, and held the wheel more tightly. Then he accelerated.

And the lights ahead of him maintained that fixed distance between them as though they were attached to his car.

"Reflection?" Wendy said softly.

"No. Nothing red to reflect. The lights on the front of my car are either amber or white. I don't even think it's legal to have a red light anywhere on the front. And there is nothing to reflect from the woods, either."

"Trick of the light and fog? Making something reflecting look red?"

"Possibly. But unless it's coming from my car, why does it match my movements?"

She fell silent, and JD maintained a steady speed as he drove. The lights would swerve gently to the left or right as they went on, according to the direction of the road.

They proceeded for a few more minutes, and then suddenly, the lights brightened ahead of them.

The lead car was braking.

JD hit the brakes gently to slow down, and then the tail lights rounded a sharp corner to the right.

"It's turning," Wendy said, barely audible.

JD followed. There was a jolt as the car bounced over a junction between the asphalt and the shoulder, and then a gravelly crunch announced they'd hit a new surface.

"Access road," JD said flatly, to himself.

Wendy nodded as the car gently bounced on, keeping the fixed distance between them and the lights. The curves were steeper here as the vehicle led them into the gloom and night. They led around a tight curve that took them back toward the general direction of the highway, and then the lights before them brightened again.

"They're stopping," Wendy monotoned to no one in particular.

Then, the lights dimmed again, and a sudden flash of white briefly pierced their eyes.

"They're parking." JD was putting the car into park and shutting it off as well, watching the lights ahead carefully.

They winked out into the mist.

"They shut the car off," he breathed. "They've shut the car off in the middle of the woods."

"This is bad, isn't it?"

"Does your cell phone have a signal?"

She checked. "Sorta."

"Okay. Okay, stay here ... I'm ... I guess I'm going to see what goes on next."

"JD, you can't do this, this is stupid ..."

"I ... it's okay. If I don't come back in half an hour, call the cops and get out of here. Keep the doors locked."

"Locked? What are you talking about?"

"I think this is just another segment. But we should have a 'plan B'. Just in case."

"JD, please --"

"Shh, it's okay. Just ... just don't move, okay?"

She sat there staring at him wide-eyed. "It's okay," he reassured her. "Really. Even if it's not another segment, I'm sure this is nothing."

He opened the door, locked it behind him, and shut it soundly before she could object. Dillon snored undisturbed.

JD moved forward, hands outstretched, moving as carefully as possible in the depth of the fog and dark. He could hear his footsteps on the gravel surface, seemingly wet with the moisture of the cloud. He couldn't see as the swirling mist parted and re-swallowed him.

Suddenly he felt something stiffly resist against his chest. He felt through the dark and fog, and felt the remains of an ancient cyclone fence. He felt along the top, and the mist seemed to lighten, just for a moment.

He was standing in front of a gate ... and it was slightly ajar.

Just beyond it, he heard something. He stopped, and listened, trying to still his heart from pounding in his ears.

Voices. Faint, drifting in the melancholy night. And then, the fog lightened just a bit more, and he could see two forms then, dragging something large between them, trying to be quiet and hurry up the path beyond the rusted wreck of gate.

He fought for a moment with his instincts. His breath was ragged and burned his lungs a bit while his chest thumped with his heartbeat. He swallowed, looked over his shoulder, trying to gauge the distance he'd come, where the car was behind him. Turning back, he could see those figures disappearing into the murky dark wisps of fog, moving away from him.

He hopped over the gate to follow them.

Technorati Tags:

Ready to go on to Part 28?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ghost Hunters, Pt. 26

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

"Five hours?" Dillon repeated. "Dude ... what the heck? Did we fall asleep or somethin?"

JD and Wendy glanced at each other. "Uh ... I don't ... THINK so," JD stammered. "We ... we all saw the same thing -- right?"

"Yes," Wendy said firmly. "We all saw those two men murder Robin Brown and leave him there. We all saw the other man show up and make that ... that SOUND," she shuddered.

"Dudes -- what're you talkin' about? I didn't see none o' that."

They locked their eyes on him. "You didn't?"

"Heh! I'm just muckin' witcha. Yeah, I seen it."

"I know we wasted a bit of time wandering around ... but I would have sworn --"

"No, JD, no way. There is no humanly possible way we were out there for five hours."

Wendy pressed herself into his chest, nuzzling him gently. He put his arms around her and laid his head on hers, kissing her hair softly. "I don't know when I've ever been so scared."

"I know," JD murmured softly. "It WAS really scary. It's all so ... weird."

"Yeah, an' who's gonna cuddle me an' shit? Wen said SHE would, but did she? Nn-oooOOOOOOOoooo. Ol' Dillon gets ta deal all by his OWN bad self."

"Aww, poor Dilly," Wendy said, and she moved and hugged him.

"Oh, NOW you wanna make nice? Well ... okay." He hugged her and she could feel him trembling.

"You really ARE scared."

"Yeh. Heh. It's ... it's all good though. I'll be a'ight."

JD moved slowly toward the wall where the shadowy form had opened the door earlier. He studied it for a long time before he finally took the flashlight from his pocket and turned the red beam on the wall.


"What's up, baby?" Wendy said.

"Oh ... maybe nothing. But the -- apparition, I guess -- from earlier. He opened a door here. I don't know how many times the house has been remodeled -- or at least this room -- in the last 35 years, but there's no trace of a door here now. I can't even see the impression where the doorway and jamb might have been. Nothing."

"Y'know what I'm thinkin' dude?"

"Something that won't be there in three seconds?"

"Ha. Ha. Very. Frickin'. Funny."

"JD, be nice. What're you thinking, Dilly?"

"I'm thinkin' that there was somethin' else there before. Like, another room maybe. Or a stairway or somethin'. An' I think that we gotta do the same thing with THIS ghost that comes up in here as we did with th' dudes outside."

"Follow it?"

"Yeah, stuff like that."

"How? There's a wall here now."

"I dunno. How'd we wander 'round outside like a buncha morons? We were supposta be someplace an' ended up all kindsa other places an' shit. For five hours. Why NOT try it?"

"Well ..."

"No, he's right, JD. We should absolutely see if we can follow this ghost through the doorway. Maybe when the ... ghost things are happening, we can do things we couldn't usually."

"Like walk through walls?"

"It's not any more impossible than wandering around in the yard for five hours and ending up right back where we started, is it?"

JD thought for a moment.

"I g-uess not ... but ..."


"Yeah, butt-head, why you gotta be so negative with MY ideas?"

"Does that really bother you?"

"It would 'cept you're a butt-head. Then it doesn't."

"Really, JD, why is that so far-fetched? This is the next really big part of the story, isn't it? Shouldn't we be trying to figure out this portion of it now?"

"I still don't think we're going to be able to walk through very real walls. But if it makes you both happy, we'll try it next time we get the chance."

"What should we do until then?"

"Well ... I'm getting really tired. We have a long drive back home. I guess the next step is to get a good night's sleep -- what's left of it anyway -- and come back tomorrow, fresh and ready for ... well, not ANYTHING, but maybe some things."

"That sounds like a great idea."

"Dudes, maybe we should find a hotel in this dump somewheres," Dillon yawned. "I ain't gonna make it all th' way back home."

"You didn't make it all the way HERE, Dillon. Besides, I'm driving. But what about you, Wen? Are you okay to drive."

She was in the middle of a yawn when he asked, and she struggled to nod her ascent, but her gaping jaw wouldn't let her. He chuckled then and hugged her.

"Tell you what -- why don't you come with us and grab a few winks on the way home. I'll do the driving. We can pick up your car tomorrow."

She laid her head heavily on his chest and put her hand beside her face. "Okay."

"What 'bout me?"

"I was thinking you could stay here and monitor the equipment."


"I know, I know. I'm kidding. Let's go home and get some rest. We'll come back tomorrow."

"How y'know we ain't gonna miss somethin'?"

"I'm willing to risk that. It's just to late for us to be functional right now. We need to sleep."

"It just seems like ... such a waste to go all the way back home."

"We could spend the night here if you'd rather."

"Screw that, dude. I ain't stayin' in THIS haunted-ass place at night. Uh-uh."

"I thought as much. Come on, then, let's get in the car. Just help me shut all this stuff off."

Dillon went to the corner to power down the little wireless camera, and Wendy began to turn off the recorders stacked on the table. JD stopped her as she reached for one of them.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing, but there's not much tape left. I need to rewind this and see if there's anything on it worth keeping. If there is, I want to change the tape to be ready for tomorrow."

"Oh, okay." She stepped back as JD pushed the rewind button. The tape hummed and rattled in the machine, clicking away happily as the tape spooled back onto the spindle.

After a moment, he stopped and pressed the play button. The room, very much as it was now, shown in the monitor. He hit the rewind button and watched the feed while the spindle click-clacked backward, the familiar white lines showing the track of the recording moving over the screen.

Suddenly, the screen went to static and snow. The picture was gone.

"What the ..."

"What happened?"

"Uh ... I don't know."

"Dude, how d'ya turn this stupid thing off, man?"

JD ignorned Dillon, leaning on the table and staring intently at the screen. It was just like an empty television channel. Nothing came through but the visual snowy static. He pressed the play button quickly and the sound of white noise came through the speakers of the monitor.

"What in the hell?" JD muttered. "It didn't record anything for a while."

"How long?"

"I ... I don't know." He hit stop and then rewind and let the tape clatter and rattle more quickly backwards. He counted off seconds. When it was nearly a minute into rewind he hit stop, then play again.

Only the static and fuzz hissed back at him.

He glanced at the chronometer. Hitting the stop button again, he rewound the tape further, watching the meter roll backwards. When it was near the time they went outside, he stopped the tape again, then played it.

The room, just as they'd left it was there. He could hear them on the recording, as they rushed from the room to go outside.

He hit stop. Then rewind. Then stop again in a few moments, when he was certain they should have been filming the shadowy apparition, he pressed the play button.

And the snow and static greeted him.

"Oh, come on," he whispered in panic, "come ON. It HAS to be here!"

"Dude, I so can't find the off thingy."

"Forget it," he spat absently.

"JD, where's the recording?"

"I don't know."

He pressed the fast-forward button and let the machine click ahead for a few seconds, then stabbed the stop and play buttons. More static.

"Oh, this is NOT happening," he muttered. "This is NOT happening!"

"JD, what could cause this?"

"I don't know, Wendy. I have no idea."

He ran through more of the tape, but it was the same in each instance. From the moment they'd seen the ghost to the moment it vanished into an unseen door, was static. And from a few seconds after they'd left the house until just a few moments before they returned, more static.

There was nothing recorded in those times.

"That's impossible," JD pondered aloud. "That's simply not possible."

He stood up, shaking his head, not understanding the circumstances. The recording simply stopped before and after each apparition appearance, but the room snapped back into crisp focus after each event. The tape had been rolling.

There was no mistake.

And there was no evidence on the tape.

"Dillon," he said, "give me the voice recorder."

Dillon plodded to him and slapped the thin device into his palm. "Knock y'self out, bro. But we didn't turn it on 'til the end, 'member?"

"Yes, that's fine," JD said, and he pressed the playback button.

He heard himself whispering "Get low and try to blend in with the bushes. If we don’t interrupt this sequence, we may find something out here!" This was followed by a long stretch of silence.

He heard them speaking to each other. "God, I … I thought it would be less shocking this time somehow." It was his own voice.

"JD ... why is the fog still here?" Wendy's voice.

The conversation they had went on as it had occurred, and then suddenly, their hair stood on end as the silence of the night emptied through the tiny speaker. After a moment, that horrible, blood-chilling wail carried through, buzzing the speaker for a moment before going silent again.

He turned the recorder off.

"Only our voices. Only that sound." He shivered involuntarily as the chill twisted its way up his spine.

Wendy, Dillon and JD all stared in shock at that tiny recorder, and the snowy, static-filled screen of the monitor as it taunted them with the nothingness it offered.

And suddenly the fog washed away into the darkness again.

Technorati Tags:

Ready to go on to Part 27?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ghost Hunters, Pt. 25

(Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.)

"Holy ... holy smokes," Wendy said, and her voice seemed to ring in the dark of the stillness around them. "What ... what was that sound? I thought I was going to scream. I don't know if I've ever been so terrified."

"Me too," JD said, and another shiver raced down his back.

"That was a scream from the pits of hell, dudes."

They both looked at Dillon.

"No, seriously," he said earnestly. "That was the sound of a soul in torment, y'all. That dawg's sufferin'. Makes me think ..."

JD and Wendy watched him.

"What?" they said in unison.

"... Makes me think maybe this ain't 'bout Robbie. Never was."

"Not about Brown?" JD said stunned.

"Naw, man. I think ... I think maybe it's about Jenky-boy. He's all torn up over this shit."

"My God, JD, what if he's right?"

"Uh ... what ... what if?"

"That would mean it's not Robin Brown's ghost trying to clear himself, or show us the truth or whatever. It means that it's Darren Jenkins trying to clear HIS name."

"Clear it of what, Wen? No one accused him of stealing and being a dirty cop."

"Naw, man, they 'cused him of bein' involved in Robbie goin' bye-bye though."

"Oh!" JD said. "He's trying to ... well, if it's his ghost, he's trying to show us that he wasn't the one that did it. But ... why did he commit suicide?"

"Maybe he felt guilty for not being here when Brown was killed."

"Yeah, or maybe he couldn't handle bein' part o' all the crap that got Robbie-boy whacked. Somethin' like that."

"Yes," JD said slowly. "Or maybe, as we heard, he was supposed to be here and would've stopped the murder. But he did come. Why would he feel guilty about that?"

"I dunno. I'm just sayin' stuff so I ain't left out."

JD shook his head and snorted a sharp laugh. "Figures. You would."

"Yeh," Dillon chuckled.

"But that's true. Maybe Jenkins' being here would have made a difference and he knew that. Maybe Brown would have had more regard for his partner than he did for the two that killed him. Because Jenkins didn't get here when he was supposed to, he felt responsible for Brown's murder."

"I don't know, Wen. It didn't sound to me like Brown was going to listen to anyone. He was determined to put a stop to whatever was going on up here."

"It also sounded like a much larger operation than he expected," she added. "Maybe he was trying to protect Brown. It seemed from the conversation that he wasn't involved at all. And didn't know exactly who WAS."

"Yeah, what SHE said."

"There's something you don't hear often."

"Well, we have to wait for something new to happen now no matter what, so where should we go? Do we stay here?"

"I don't know, Wen. We're beyond any point we'd reached before. I think the next step is to find out what happened to Brown's body. Maybe if we figure that out, we'll ... I don't know. Solve it?"

"Dude, it ain't about him. It's 'bout Jenky."

"Well, do you have any suggestions?"

"Yeah, we need t'come back tomorrow and see what goes on in the house. That's the Jenky part."

"Huh?" JD was openly confused.

"Dude, think about it," Dillon said. "It's not 'bout Robbie. Robbie's all dead an' stuff. It's about JENKY. He's the one that's all tormented over this shit. He's the one that's showin' us what's up. He's the dude in the house, too."

"How do you know that?"

"Yeah, what makes you say that, Dilly?"

"Well, dude in the house was all a shadow an' whatnot. Dude out here cryin' over Robbie's all shadows an' stuff. I figger, it's the same guy."

"How could you tell through that thick fog?" JD said dubious.

"Just a hunch, I guess. I think Jenky was here the whole time, that's why he's all ripped up inside. He thinks he oughtta have saved ol' Robbie, but he was hidin' in the house an' all."

"Hiding? What makes you think he was hiding?"

"He didn't want Robbie t'know he was in on it all, dudes. Duh."

"Wait, Dilly, wait ... why would he care about that?"

"I dunno. Maybe he liked ol' Robbie. Maybe he wanted t'try an' look better to 'im and stuff. Or maybe he was changin' his mind 'bout bein' in it an' stuff. I dunno. But he was hidin' in the house when Robbie-boy bought it, an' he feels all kindsa bad 'bout that."

JD contemplated. Dillon seemed to have more insight than he and Wendy combined. "Dillon ... you're not a ghost, are you?"

"Dude, if I was a ghost, you'd SO be scared right now. I'd be makin' ya crap yer pants an' stuff."

"So you think the next thing to happen will happen in the house, Dilly? What about you, JD?"

JD shrugged. "Uh ... okay. We should monitor the events in the house completely. OH! Dillon, turn off the recorder."

"Oh yeah. Heh." He pressed the button and the recorder beeped softly in acknowledgment.

"All right," JD sighed. "This has been ... this has been a lot more exciting than I anticipated, that's for certain. I guess now we just wait for the next show."

The three of them yawned almost simultaneously. "Goodness," Wendy said. "I'm sleepy. I didn't realize how much I'd miss that nap."

"I'm scared o' what's gonna happen next," Dillon said. "That shit was CREEPY. I bet the rest is gonna be too."

"Don't worry, Dilly," Wendy said, rubbing his back vigorously with her hand. "I'll protect you."

"Yeah? Will you hold me when I'm scared? JD wouldn't."

"Yes, I will."

"And, will you do it while we're nekkid?"

She slapped his back hard and he lurched forward expelling air. "Sorry ... I gotta try, y'know?"


"Well, let's go inside. We can get set up to do all the recording and everything there. Boy, we're going to have some extraordinary evidence by the end of the night."

"No joke, Homey," Dillon said as they moved toward the front of the house. "Who ain't gonna believe in ghosts after this crap hits the 'Net, man?"

"Wow, are you going to put this on the Internet, JD?"

"I ... I don't know. I have to get the homeowners' permission first. After that, I can certainly see having other agencies look at what we've gathered. I'll even surrender the camera so they know I've not tampered with the video electronically."

They trudged toward the house and another wave of yawns struck them, making their eyes water, and JD shook his head to focus his thoughts.

"Wow, what's with the yawn-fest? And I'm gettin' hungry, too."

"What? We just ate!"

"I know, it's weird. But ... I'm getting the rumblies down in the tumblies, dude."

"Ghosts make you hungry, Dilly?"

"I guess so. And frickin' SLEEPY too."

"Yeah, I'm wiped out. That's strange. I guess the energy and the excitement is taking its toll on us. Hopefully we'll be alert enough to manage the events in the house. If there are any."

"Dude, what if we just leave?"

"What do you mean?"

"Just what I said, dingbat. What if we leave? Will all the crap keep goin' like we're here watchin'? Or does it only show 'cause we're here watchin'?"

"I don't know, Dill. There's no way TO know."

"Why not, dude?"

"Because, if we're not here to see it, how do we know if it's happening or not?"

"Uh ... huh. Ain't that whatcha set the cameras up for?"

"Yes ... yes!! Maybe the camera recorded something inside!! You're a GENIUS tonight, Dillon!"

JD sprinted for the door and Wendy trailed as quickly as she could behind. Dillon looked around the eerily quiet night and bolted for the door himself a half beat later.

They caught up with JD, who was staring at the monitor screen, hands on his hips and brows knit over his eyes.

"What?" Wendy puffed as she pulled up along side him. "What's wrong?"

"Dude, you look like you seen a ghost. HAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!! I slay me."

"Huh. I ... I don't know. This is ... this is weird."

"What is it?"

"The tapes ... all the tapes. There's ... something wrong with the time stamps."

"JD, you came bolting in here and now you're being cryptic? What's going on, please."

"Oh ... sorry, I'm not trying to be cryptic. I mean, the tapes seem to ... well, they look like they've been running for a long time. And the time stamps on them are off."

"I think somethin's screwy with the clock on that table, too, dude."


JD looked over at the tiny pewter clock. He tipped his head to the side inquisitively.

Wendy pulled her sleeve back and stared at the face of her watch.

They all exchanged a glance, and re-checked the time pieces.

"This ... JD, this can't be right."

"Yeah, dude ... what's not right?"

"No, it can't. That's ... that's impossible."

"What's impossible, dudes?"

"How can that be?"

"I don't ... I don't know. I don't know how ANY of this could be, though."

"JD, what happened tonight?"

"I have no idea."

"Me neither -- as in, WHAT THE HELL YOU GUYS TALKIN' 'BOUT?"

"Dillon, look at the clock!"

Dillon did look. "So?"

"Do you see the time??"

"Yeah ... so?"

"Don't you realize what's happening here?"

"Dilly, don't you remember what time we went outside?"

Dillon shrugged. "Uh ... let's ... let's pretend I don't. 'Cause I don't."

"It was about nine. Maybe a little after that. Not 9:30 yet."

"Okay. And?"

"And now, the clock on the table, the chronometers on the recorders, and Wendy's watch -- they all say it's just after 2 a.m."

"Uh ... so that means ..." He trailed off and shrugged helplessly.

JD rubbed his hand down his face in exasperation. "Dillon, that means we were outside for FIVE HOURS."

Technorati Tags:

Ready to go on to Part 26?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

6-0, Spank You Very Much

Wow.  What a game.  For a moment, it looked as if Dallas would actually make this interesting.

I have to confess, I worried about this game.  I love my Patriots, whether they cheated or not.  I love them, they are my team.  And they went down to Dallas to face a team that has shown itself to be very, very strong in the last half of games.  They have a HUGE offensive line and a quick-footed, agile quarterback that's as elusive as a greased eel.  They have an all-pro, perhaps all-world or Hall-of-Fame wide receiver as his primary target.  They have one of the best tight-ends in football today.  They have a bruising, punishing brute of a runner that can kill with his speed and nose for the goal line.  They have a kicker that last week hit not one but two 50+ yard field goals at the end of the game to win it for the Cowboys.  They have a monstrous and powerful offensive line that can only benefit from their elusive and quick quarterback.  They have a defense that allows their offense to shine and win games.  They are a very good football team and they are the force to be reckoned with in the NFC.

And today, they were facing my beloved New England Patriots.  I was a nervous wreck.

You have to understand, I have some residual animosity hold over for Dallas from a long time ago; a new life later, I still haven't fully gotten over that.  So, of all the games I don't want to see the Pats lose, this is one.

The other, of course, occurs on November 4th.

Nevertheless, this game had all the makings of a really exciting match up.  A nail-biter that would make me physically ill because of the tension.  (Hey, I like my football, what can I tell ya?)

In the third quarter, it looked like it was going to start swinging their way.  Dallas took the lead 24-21 early in the quarter and the Pats haven't trailed in the second half at all this year.  I thought that was a bad portend.  I thought for sure Dallas was going to start laying those big bodies on our guys and grind us down.  A narrow-margin loss is a loss as great as a blow-out, I say.  And I didn't want to see them lose.

Fortunately for me, I am not the quarterback for the Patriots.  Tom Brady is.  He has no emotions.  He has ice water in his veins.  He has the ability to sleep 20 minutes before the start of the Super Bowl.  If he's not the coolest quarterback I've ever seen on the field, if he's not the most collected, calm and stable field general I've ever seen, I don't know who is.  It might be Joe Montana.  Tom and Joe seem to be cut from the same mold, but Brady is made from more material.

Yes, he got taken down a couple of times.  Yes, I saw him make some really stinker throws (what was up with that, anyway?).  And in the end, I saw him be Tom Brady.  I saw the Patriots do what they have done week-in and week-out for the last six weeks this year.

They won the game.

They didn't eke one out either.  They won that game by 21 points.

At the end of that game, my heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty.  And Lord help me, I can't tell you why.  I saw them up by 14 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and I was nervous.  I've seen games won by similar margins with less time left.  I know that Dallas is a talented, high-powered team.

Then I saw Tony Romo do what young quarterbacks under pressure do: throw an interception.  Junior Seau had his third pick in the last two weeks (2 last week, one today), and a few plays later the Patriots, down to their 3rd running back after Sammy Morris left the game early, scored again.

With 13 seconds to go, Dallas erected a white flag.  It was fine; they weren't going to do much anyway, except maybe narrow the gap back to 14.  But there was no chance to win.  Romo took a knee.

Dallas played well enough to keep them in the game until the end.  Toward the end, the Patriots demonstrated what apparently everyone but me knew already:

The Dallas Cowboys are a good football team.  And they were not ready for the New England Patriots.

Final score: New England 41, Dallas 27.

Miami is next, and they always play the heck out of us.  Stay tuned, Massholes; this could be one of the proverbial "trap games".  If it's not -- November 4th is going to ROCK.

And I'll be worried about that game too.  Hell, maybe I'll beat the rush and start now.

Technorati Tags: ,