The continuing adventures of Lizzie Bell, semi-retired ghost hunter and…reality TV star?? When last seen, Lizzie’s brother Devon was filming his show at the movie theater she was planning to investigate…(part 11) (from the beginning)
“Hello, everyone, and welcome to a very special episode of Spirit Search.” Devon spoke in a perfect stage whisper, lending his words an air of secret and mystery while still being intelligible to the viewers at home. “We’re coming to you from the lobby of the abandoned Metro Theater in upper Manhattan. I’ve been getting reports of sightings, so I’m here with a very special guest to check it out.”
The cameraman turned slightly, putting me into the frame. This time I constrained myself to a little wave. I’d already ruined four takes pulling faces and – once- showing my middle finger.
I heard Devon’s tiny sigh of relief before he went on. “My sister Lizzie is here to help me out! Even though I’m the older brother, she’s the real expert, so we’re very lucky to have her.”
A compliment? From Devon? I wasn’t sure if he was genuine or just playing for the cameras.
“Happy to be here,” I lied.
Devon gave some more background on the movie theater, emphasizing the 1920s fire and the potential for such a traumatic event to leave psychic scars. I was still in-frame, so I did my best to look interested –okay, neutral — while I swept the room for signs of Tony’s ghost.
Nothing. I couldn’t sense any cold patches — but that could just have been the heat of the floodlights confusing my perception. I could feel a slight coldness up near the crumbling mezzanine, but that was probably just Henry. Devon couldn’t rope him into this stupid circus, so he got to look for Tony or any clues that might explain his disappearance, while I was stuck holding the —
“EMF detector? Seriously?” I hissed, as Devon and I moved farther into the empty building. My brother offered his hand to help me over a pile of debris.
“Just roll with it, Lizzie,” he whispered in my ear as I passed by. He glanced back toward the cameramen and the boom operator. “It looks good on camera, and the audience eats it up. Just wave it around a little and look intensely at the readout.”
I rolled my eyes.
“We’re moving further into the theater now,” Devon said, pitching his voice louder for the benefit of the cameras. “In 1920, this would have been the location of the projection room. It’s suspected that the fire started here, when a film reel got stuck and the projector mechanism caught fire.” The cameramen had caught up to us, and Devon leaned toward their lenses conspiratorially. “If there is a ghost here, we should see unusual electromagnetic signatures.”
That was my cue. I raised the EMF detector and pointed it toward the far corner of the room. The needle twitched, then returned to zero. I swept it in a big arc, watching the needle bounce as the handset reacted to power lines in the walls and under the floorboards. The cameramen tracked my movements, and sideways glance at Devon showed him gesturing encouragingly.
“Hmm,” I said, furrowing my brow in mock concentration.
“It seems Lizzie may have found traces of electromagnetic radiation. Now, this doesn’t mean the spirit is present right now — the EMF detector could be picking up its “footprints”, if you will. To really be sure–”
“What the hell?” I exclaimed involuntarily.
I turned the EMF handset to face him, so that he could see the needle oscillating rapidly. “Did you rig this thing?”
“What? No! I’ve –” he stepped closer. “I’ve never seen it do that before.” He looked up to meet my skeptical gaze. “I swear.”
Damn it, I believed him.
Devon glanced at the cameras again. For the first time that day he looked…uncertain. “Uh, if there’s a spirit here, we request you identify yourself!”
Everything changed. It was as if someone had dumped a bucket of ice water over my head; the chill traveled rapidly down my spine, raising the hairs all over my body. I could tell Devon felt it too; he was shivering.
A very powerful spirit was in the room with us.
Something crackled in the air, and the floodlights by the theater shorted out in a cascade of sparks. I think I screamed. I couldn’t see in the darkness, but I could hear faint pounding noises and shouts — the front door was shut.
We waited. I could hear the ragged breaths of the cameramen. I jumped as someone — Devon — grasped my hand.
When it came, the whisper seemed to come from everywhere at once.
“Why is it,” it hissed, “that Bell children always want to know my name?”