The continuing adventures of Lizzie Bell, semi-retired ghost hunter and reluctant reality TV star. When last seen, Lizzie and Devon were trapped in an abandoned movie theater with a hostile ghost…(part 12) (from the beginning)
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?”
I knew that voice. It didn’t mater that the last time I’d heard it it had been wearing the vocal cords of a nine-year-old girl.
“You just can’t leave me alone, can you?” I asked, forcing myself to sound nonchalant. “I’d be flattered, but, well…I’m not.”
“I didn’t like the way we parted,” the spirit said petulantly. “I didn’t like how you cast me out from my body. That wasn’t nice of you.” In a moment, its tone changed from childish to angry. “I underestimated you.”
I whimpered as coldness snaked around my collarbone, like a spectral arm wrapping around my neck. The voice breathed in my ear. “I won’t do that again, Elizabeth.”
Then it was gone.
Devon explained to his camera crew that he’d been working with the other producers on some new special effects, but that the lights had shorted out by accident. As they packed up and cleared out, he assured me that they wouldn’t be a problem.
“Trust me, Lizzie. I deliberately pick these guys to be as closed off as possible.”
He meant that the crew was minimally spirit-sensitive. Hex-eyes like us, who can see the spirit world consistently, are rare; most people just have what they call a ‘sixth sense’. According to Devon, his crew wouldn’t have been able to hear the ghost at all. As far as they were concerned, I had a conversation with thin air, and Devon was going to add some spooky noises in post.
I shrugged. “Okay, if you say so.”
“Elizabeth! Are you all right?” Henry came flying into the room, his distress so palpable that I felt the goosebumps rising on my arms again.
“I’m fine, Henry. Just shaken.”
“I couldn’t get back into the room. That thing – its presence was so strong, it kept forcing me back.”
“I’ve never heard of a ghost interfering with another ghost’s manifestation,” Devon said dubiously.
But I trusted Henry more than I trusted him, to be honest. “Obviously we’re not dealing with a normal ghost,” I said tartly. I gave him an abbreviated explanation of what had happened at the Lawlor apartment, and why Henry and I had been interested in the theater. I was pretty sure now that the two were connected.
“It gets worse,” Henry added. “Tony is definitely gone…and his anchor is missing.”
“What?” I exclaimed.
Henry nodded. “He told me what it was, once. His wedding ring melted in the fire and ended up fused to a pipe in the basement. When I couldn’t find him, I went down there to check. Someone dug it up and cut out the section of pipe with the ring attached.”
Damn. That was bad news. Ghosts kept their anchors very secret — a person who controlled an anchor had a lot of power over the associated spirit. Somebody — a well-equipped somebody — had found out about Tony’s anchor and stolen it.
“I think we have to start considering that the missing ghosts may have been kidnapped,” I said. Though for what purpose I didn’t know.
Devon frowned. “Lizzie, I know you said this was just one last little job, but…I think it might be time to call in the big guns.”
“No, I–” I began reflexively, then stopped. He was right, as much as I hated to admit it. “Yeah.”
It was time to call my parents.