(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."
"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?"
"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.
"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 ..."
"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."
"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.