Some teenagers, boys and girls, are celebrating at a birthday party. They are all inside a local, with loud music and psychedelic lights everywhere. They sing and dance, they jump and yell. They're having a good time, some of them are drinking at a bar, some are already too drunk. Some others are taking selfies and others are too busy making out. The birthday girl is having fun with her friends, they dance in the middle of the crowd, with the lights over them and the DJ playing music on stage. Then, the lights start flickering. Firstly just a bit, then they turn off and the whole room is in the dark and the music turns off. Everyone complains, a loud murmur rises from the crowd and the birthday girl looks around, trying to understand, though they're still in the darkness. Some of them turns on lighters to see while some others use phones' screens. Someone shouts there must have been an electric breadown. A girl uses her phone's infrared camera to look around and stares at the screen, shocked and terrified for what she has seen. Then, the loud music starts playing again, on its own and after few instants the lights come back. The DJ takes back the commands of the music and everyone starts dancing again. They resume the celebrations, easily forgetting the little inconvenient. Everyone except the girl with the infrared camera. Though scared and unsure, she slowly goes toward the toilets. She cautiously opens the door and stares shocked at the horrible sight in front of her. She yells with terror and disgust. Everyone starts reaching her, collecting around her and stares shocked: on the floor of the toilets, in front of the sinks, there's a dead girl, dressed in an elegant way, she must have been at the party. She's in a puddle of blood, her wrists with deep cuts.
Jamie is driving his black, big and comfortable car down to Ohio. Marya is sitting next to him in the front. It's been few weeks after Jamie's inconvenient with the Sasabonsam. They came back home for a while and now he tells his rib is fine and he's ready to come back hunting. He's happily humming a song and Marya looks at him, puzzled and a bit bothered. He glances at her.
"What? I still have to fix the radio" he explains.
"I don't like how you treated my car" she complains. He looks at her, frowning.
"Why? I left it on the garage! No one will touch it, dad will take care of it"
"My car is not a jalopy" she remarks.
"Oh, come on, you got offended for that?". She turns around in protest. "Well, you have to admit mine is better. It's larger, more comfy and has air conditioning. The radio will come too"
"But she doesn't deserve that". He chuckles a bit.
"Yeah alright. In any case, it's always there, you can take it when you need it. Better, what is this case about?"
"Dead girl at a birthday party. One of the attendees said she saw a ghost"
"Mm, good. So it's just a ghosty thing. Easy way to start again". She looks at him.
Jamie, dressed up as FBI agent, goes at the party's attendees' houses, asking for information. Some of them give useful details, some others can't help much.
"I was drunk, man, I don't remember anything" tells one boy. Jamie listens to them, resigned and bothered too.
"Oh my God, you're a real FBI agent?" asks a girl. Jamie smiles, knowing that's not true.
"Yes, sure, and I need to know everything you can remember about that night"
"Oh, I don't remember much, I didn't notice anything. I was gossiping with my friends, then lights went off. They came back and then I saw everyone running to the toilets. They've been so rude, they left us there without telling anything!" she complains. Jamie is starting to get irritated by her attitude, but he can't show that.
"Agent, you will find the responsible, right?" she asks, with a fake tone of her voice.
"Yes, sure. Did you know the victim?"
"No! But as long as this killer is around, no one will come to my parties either!" she tells, offended. Jamie takes a deep breath, trying to resist.
"Ok, thank you" he says, turning around. She grabs his arm and holds him. He turns around surprised.
"Agent, wait. I took some pictures that night, do you wanna see them?". Jamie thinks for a while and then accepts, because she could have taken something useful in them. She pulls out an expensive phone, covered with glitters and paillettes. She starts showing him all her selfies with her friends, she shows them happily. Jamie pretends to be interested, actually searching for something else in those pictures, but he quickly gets she just photographed herself.
"Thank you, thank you very much" he tells, trying to get rid of her and going away. She comes back to her friends, all happy and excited.
"He said 'thank you very much'!" she tells them. Jamie overhears her and takes another deep, very deep, breath. He goes talking to the birthday girl, maybe she can give some more useful information.
"Yes, we chose that place for the party because the rent was affordable. But don't tell that to anyone" she says.
"Yeah, right. So, can you repeat me what happened?"
"Yes, well, we were partying when suddenly lights went off, and the music too. We thought of an electric breakdown. I was looking around, searching for someone who could fix that or simply for the exit. We were in complete darkness in there. I was thinking of getting out to call my dad and fix that, when the music restarted. Then the light came back"
"Wait, the music started again when there wasn't any current?" he asks, perplexed. She's perplexed too.
"I don't know if there was any current. It started again before lights went on"
"Ok, ok, carry on"
"Well, nothing, few seconds later I saw everyone going to the toilets and I couldn't understand why. So I went there too and saw her"
"Don't call her like that, she was my friend!" she protests. Jamie is a bit surprised.
"Ok, excuse me. The victim..."
"Yes, she was there, lying on the floor, with blood everywhere"
"You didn't hear anything from the toilets while everything was dark?"
"The music was loud?"
"Very loud. Haven't you ever been to a birthday party? Or you're too old for that?" she asks, puzzled. Jamie smiles a bit.
"Yeah, I guess I'm too old... And what about the girl? How was she?"
"She was a good girl. It's not like we were best friends, but we were classmates. We went along pretty well"
"Can you tell me if she had any enemies?" he tries.
"She was 18, what kind of enemies could have had? At school there are factions, the rich ones, the poor ones, but no one would ever do such a thing. Maybe some joke or prank, but this goes beyond"
"Yeah... And she had any kind of self-harming problem?"
"No! I would have noticed that! She was a kind and joyful person, always happy to help others and she couldn't wait to prepare the final school play. She wouldn't have ever done such a thing". After her tale, Jamie goes inquiring the girl who discovered the body. She stays sitting on the couch, still shaken, and Jamie sits in front of her.
"Ahm, I know this can be hard, but I need to ask you some questions" he tells, softly.
"I already told what I saw, no one listened to me"
"Well, I'm going to listen" he tells, smiling. "You've been the one who found Amy..."
"Yes. When I got in, she was already dead, with her wrists cut"
"Why did you go to the toilets? I mean, there has been something that attracted your attention? Noises, screams..."
"No. I didn't hear anything, I saw it". Jamie pretends to be surprised.
"What did you see?"
"I have an infrared camera on my phone. I took it out when lights turned off. I looked around with it and I saw someone, or better something, going to the toilets. It wasn't a person because they shine of white and red in the camera. But it was blue"
"And... Can you describe it?"
"It wasn't a precise shape, but it resembled a human. It walked in a strange way, kind of floating, but dragging something heavy"
"Ok... So you went there. And did you see anything there?"
"No, except the girl"
"Did you notice anything strange there? Cold spots, smells..."
"I remember it was cold, but I thought it was just my impression, because of the terrifying sight"
"Yeah... There have been other previous problems with the lights?"
"No, they started flickering, then they turned off. And then came back on their own"
"Ok, thank you, you've been very helpful" he says, getting up.
"Agent, I know what I saw and I know what it was. But as soon as I say it was a ghost, everyone starts telling I'm crazy and they don't listen to me anymore. Do you believe me?"
"Ahm..." he tells, a bit unsure. But he feels he should be honest with her. "Yeah, I believe you. I've seen this kind of things before. I'm... you can say, specialised in these things. I'll take care of it. Obviously, don't tell anyone or they'll call me crazy too" he jokes.
"Yeah, sure" she replies, smiling.
"Look, I'll give you my card" he tells, handing her his card. "In case you remember anything, or if you need some kind of assistance on the matter" he tells.
Later, Jamie is back at the motel room, and back to his tartan shirts. He's cooking some würstel on the pan and has two opened sandwiches next to him. Marya is on her bed, carefully observing what he's doing.
"So, what did you find out?" she asks. He glances back at her.
"The girl who found the body helped us a lot. She's sure of having seen a ghost, and I am too. She saw it in an infrared camera, she told there was cold, flickering lights.... Everything ghosty"
"Yeah, I guess so... And the others?"
"The birthday girl assured me the victim was a good girl. She wouldn't have killed herself. She was the typical good girl, studious and all excited about school projects. A bit like you" he jokes. She smiles.
"Ok, the perfect victim. Loved by everyone but still..."
"And anything else?". He glances back.
"No. The others have been a waste of time. Just drunk boys and spoiled girls. You are just three years older but I don't remember of you being so superficial or childish"
"Well, those girls have repressed self-esteem problems" she says reaching him.
"Yeah, you've always been more serious and conscientious. Always had too much weight on your shoulders for your age". She glances at what he's doing. He's rolling the würstels on the pan and putting ketchup and mayonnaise on the bread.
"What? Do you wanna learn how to make the 'Nordheim Hotdog'?" he asks, looking at her. She smiles.
"I'm curious to see what you put in it. And you're cute while cooking". He smiles and starts cutting tomatoes.
"You see? The advantages of travelling with me: you can eat my special lunch" he comments. "And you? What did you discover about the place?". He takes the würstels out of the pan and cuts them longitudinally. He puts the tomatoes and salade in the sandwiches.
"There have been previous cases in that place. Every kind of incident: electrified people, bad falls, and with bad I mean really bad, suicides,... It seems that place is really haunted. I can't say by who, though"
"Ah, we'll find it out" he puts the würstels on the bread. She observes him.
"Yeah. It goes on since a lot of time though". He puts some chips inside too, then closes the sandwiches and gives her one, all smiling. She smiles too and takes it, observing it carefully.
"Beware, you can get dirty" he tells.
"It's huge!" she comments. He laughs.
"Well, you know my tastes" he tells.
"And your hunger" she comments, going to sit on her bed. Jamie sits at the table.
"Mmm, also" he starts, after biting his sandwich "it seems the music started again before the lights turned on, that means when there was no current. I suppose therefore that was an intervention from the ghost, maybe to cover the girl's screams". She listens to him, eating and nodding.
"Yeah, it can be. This sandwich is really awesome!". He smiles proud.
"Thank you, mademoiselle". She laughs.
"Yes, French elegance and street food-style: there's something wrong" she comments. He chuckles a bit. She glances around and notices Jamie's bag half open on his bed. From there she can see something inside, something that looks like a casebook or an agenda with a rigid cover and some posts on it.
"What's that?" she asks.
"What?" he asks, too busy with his lunch. She gets up and goes to his bed.
"This" she tells, pulling it out. Jamie is suddenly alarmed.
"No, no, leave it there!" he says. Marya looks surprised and perplexed at him.
"Why? What is it?"
"It's my journal..." he says, getting up and putting it inside his bag again. She looks at him, even more surprised.
"You have a journal?"
"Yes, every hunter has."
"Since when you write it? You never talked about it"
"Well, it's supposed to be personal... And I have it since I started hunting. I write everything that I hunt, all the new monsters that we meet and so on... You know, the usual stuff" he tells, biting his sandwich.
"And why didn't you want me to take it then?"
"Because there are some pages that are unglued, I don't want them to get lost"
"Ha..." she thinks for a while. "Did you write about me too?" she asks, smiling.
"No, why should I have done that?" he replies, though he knows that's not true. Marya is a bit disappointed.
"Well, nothing" she says. Jamie laughs a bit and silently at her. "So, what is our next move?"
"Going to the local, I'd say". She nods.
The evening, they go to the local where the party has been held. Jamie introduced himself as an FBI agent to the owner, that is not here at the moment and therefore Marya can go with him. They walk around the wide room with their EMF, electromagnetic fields detectors. They start ringing if they detect something, that means a ghost presence. They walk back and forth. Marya doesn't detect anything, she wanders around among chairs and tables. Everything remained as it was that night because the police sequestered the place. There are even the glitters and air-ballons, even the plastic glasses. She gets on stage but nothing. She looks around, starting to think there's something wrong. Jamie goes to the toilets, he enters the women's ones.
"Ha, so sad to get in here just because of some killing" he comments on his own. As soon as he gets in, the EMF starts ringing loud and the lights turn on at the maximum.
"Ha, here it is" he says, looking around. On the ground there are still the bloodstains near the sinks. He looks at them, a bit sad. He takes a look at the mirrors but there's nothing, just his reflection. He turns off the detector.
"Mary! Come here" he says. He waits for her there, looking around. She quickly reaches him.
"Yeah?" she says, when her detector starts ringing. She looks down at it surprised. "Oh. Now it goes. I was starting to think it was broken"
"We have it. A ghost passed here"
"Yeah. Is there anything here?"
"No, nothing. In any case, we arrived late here, maybe police cleaned everything"
"Anyway, we have to identify this ghost and then finish it"
"Yeah, I didn't finish my research. Maybe I can find something else about this place"
"Ok, good. Let's come back then".
"In fact, I was right" she says, leaning back to the chair, in front of her laptop. She glances at him, he's sitting on his bed with folded legs, writing his journal on his knees. She makes a whistle to attract his attention. He looks up.
"Yeah?". She looks at him frowning. "Ah... I was uptading the Sasabonsam thing... I had forgotten the journal at home in the last weeks... What were you saying?" he asks getting up and putting his journal in the bag.
"I have a trace about the ghost" she says. "As I said, in that place many disgraceful things happened. The series goes on since almost twenty years and it involves the whole building. There have been strange accidents in the other floors too and sometimes people openly talked about ghosts. Once even a medium came here to end the story. The first tragic event was the suicide of a girl at the second floor" she reads on the screen while Jamie stays next to her. "This girl, named Emily Jenkins, cut her wrists in the bathroom of her apartment - she lived with her parents - because her boyfriend had cheated on her. She felt so betrayed and couldn't forgive him, therefore she killed herself to show him what he had lost"
"Tragic..." comments Jamie.
"I don't think she was completely sane to do such a thing"
"Well, anyway, she obviously died and few months later the accidents began. They went ahead for few years and the story of Emily's ghost started spreading. That is when the medium came here and then apparently the killings stopped"
"To restart now. Maybe whatever the medium did, just managed to keep her calm for a few years and now she's free again"
"It can be an explanation"
"Do we know where this girl is buried?"
"Yes, at the Ohio State Cemetery, here in Elyrie."
"Ok, awesome, we got a date tonight" says Jamie, smiling.
The night, Jamie and Marya go to the cemetery. They climb over the gate with their bags on the shoulders and start walking around the graves. Jamie has a flashlight in his hand and is enlightening all the gravestones on the ground, searching for the right one. It's a dark and covered night, so they don't risk much getting in there. Marya has a shovel in her hand, like Jamie.
"You know, this is a very sad story at the end" she says. He looks at her.
"Most of the stories we discover are sad"
"Yeah but this one is more. The poor girl thought that her boyfriend loved her and when she found out it wasn't true, she couldn't deal with it. She preferred dying". Jamie looks at her, with a sad expression.
"Well, it's a pleasure to work with you, you know how to cheer me up". She laughs a bit and gives him a little push. Then he stops and poses the bag.
"We're arrived" he tells. She poses down the bag and waits, while Jamie starts digging the grave. He looks up to her, interrogative.
"What are you waiting, sweetheart? Come here and help me" he tells. She looks at him a bit bothered.
"But you're the man here, you should do the heavy job"
"Ah, no no, don't use this excuse with me. I know what you're capable of. Come here and dig" he tells, as she holds her shovel and starts digging. After a few minutes, they excavated a big rectangular dig. They got in there to work better and they keep digging, all sweated even if in the middle of a cold March night. Then Jamie hits something hard with his shovel.
"Yeah, ok, it's here" he says, looking around. "It's strange that is so calm here..." he comments. Marya looks around and it actually is strange. Usually when they're about to kill a ghost, it appears and tries to stop them. But not this time.
"Ok, Mary, you can get out now, I'll do this" he says, as she climbs out of the tomb. She prepares the gasoline and the salt from the bag, while he hits the coffin to open it. He breaks the wooden axes and then pushes them aside. What he finds inside surprises him a lot: he finds nothing. He stares at it, searches, looks around but nothing, there are just ashes.
"Mary..." he calls.
"Yeah" she replies, all busy. He looks out.
"You can put back the salt and gasoline"
"Why?" she asks, confused and turning around to look at him. As she looks inside the grave she sees it's empty, or better there is just what remains of Emily's body: the ashes.
"Someone has already burnt her" tells Jamie.
"I don't understand, why is she still around then?" asks Marya, as they get back to the motel.
"Maybe she's bound to some object or there are some parts of her still around..." says Jamie, posing his bag. "Still, the hunters who came before us had already burned her. Maybe they were with the medium."
"When the killings stopped"
"Yeah. Probably they thought they finished her because she didn't come back. But still I find it strange because I know by experience that ghosts aren't happy when you burn their bones"
"I don't know, I have to think about it, to sleep on it..." he tells, lying on the bed, without even pulling out the blankets. Marya smiles and leaves him in peace.
The next morning, Jamie is sleeping on his bed with his belly down, like his usual, wearing a t-shirt and boxers, with a leg outside the blankets. Marya is wandering around the room, preparing the coffee and listening to the police radio. They start talking about some incident at the cinema, a guy has been found hanging from the ceiling of the projector room. The news quickly gets Marya's attention that goes to wake up Jamie. She tickles him in the back of his thigh and he quickly wakes up, muttering something and blinking.
"Marya!" he yells, kind of.
"Yes, sure, who else?" she replies.
"No, I was scolding you" he tells, scratching his leg. She laughs.
"Oh! So cute. Come on, I didn't do anything, just tickled your leg"
"Yeah, while I was asleep... You know I can't stand tickling" he tells, sitting up. "What was that for?" he asks, still a bit sleepy.
"News from the police radio. There has been a killing at the cinema. I don't know if it's linked, the cinema is a bit far, but we don't have any other trail at the moment. And there's the law of strange incidents..."
"Yeah, 'no two incidents occur casually that are not linked' " he says. "Yeah, I'll take a look"
"Awesome, I'll come with you" she says, he looks at her annoyed. "I'll wait in the car..." she adds.
"Perfect" he tells, all smiling, getting up and messing up her hair. She stares at him, pretending to be offended.
He goes to the cinema dressed in suit, as FBI agent. He finds a lot of police there and tapes all around. He shows his fake badge and trespasses them. He goes to the first policeman he finds and asks for information.
"The man has been found hanging from the ceiling" the policeman tells. "He's been hung with an electric wire. We're still trying to figure out if it's been a suicide or homicide"
"I see... Where is this room?"
"Go straight then turn to the right. You have to go up the stairs and then on the left"
"Thank you. Can I ask you one more thing?"
"Do you have the list of people who were in that projection room at the hour of the death?"
"Yes, the cinema just gave us" he says, handing him a copy.
"People told anything of what happened? They heard something, or saw something...?"
"Mmm, some of them remembered of a little problem with the tape, it went black and then started again. But nothing more"
"Ok, that's enough for now, thanks" tells Jamie, smiling and going to the projector room. He gets in, hoping no one is there. In fact, he's alone. He gets in and turns on his EMF detector. It goes crazy pretty quickly, with lights all on and ringing like crazy. Jamie turns it off again.
"Yeah, I would have guessed that..." he comments, looking around. But there's nothing there that attracts his attention or that suggests him of a ghost presence. So, he sits on the chair, enjoying a bit the view and then taking the paper with the list of names. He reads it with his eyes and then finds something definitely strange and peculiar in it, a familiar name.
He comes back to the car, where Marya is waiting for him, bored and leaning on the window. He gets in, still thoughtful and with the paper in his hand. She looks at him.
"So? Was I right?" she asks.
"Yes, the EMF went crazy. Unless this town is full of ghosts, I suppose it's our case"
"And something more interesting?" she asks, smiling. He looks at her.
"Well, I have this" he tells, giving her the sheet. "It's the list of people who was watching the movie during the time of his death" he tells, waiting for her to notice something. But she doesn't notice anything, she looks at him interrogative.
"Look at this name" he says, pointing it out "that's the girl who found the body of the girl at the party, the one I talked to"
"And she was there?" she asks, surprised.
"Yes. She was present in both cases. I think we have something to ask her" he tells, starting the engine.
Jamie parks his car in front of the house of the girl's family. He opens the door and is almost getting out, when he looks at Marya. She's still sitting there, waiting.
"So? You wanna stay here or you're coming with me?" he asks. She looks surprised at him.
"I already kind of told her the truth behind the FBI thing, you can come too. You're almost the same age"
"Oh, ok then!" she says enthusiastically and getting out with him. Jamie rings the door bell and the girl, whose name is Grace, goes to open. She's surprised in finding him there, as she smiles at her.
"Hi Grace. Can we talk for two minutes?" he asks. She's a bit surprised.
"Yes, sure. Come in" she says, though confused.
"Thank you. This is Marya, my colleague" he tells, while she smiles a bit.
"Hi. Is it about the girl at the party? Did you find something new?" asks Grace.
"Mm, actually it's about what happened yesterday night" says Jamie. They sit in the sitting room and Jamie explains all that happened. She's concerned and surprised.
"No, I didn't know that..." she tells.
"Did you notice anything while there?" asks Jamie.
"No, actually... I noticed the screen went black for a second, but nothing more"
"Grace, I guess you got now where we're going. There is a ghost here that kills people. When a ghost appears, there are some particular things that happen, the same kind of things you experienced that night. Can you remember if some of them occurred again yesterday?"
"I remember it was particularly cold inside"
"Where were you sit?" asks Marya.
"I was in one of the upper seats, almost in the last row. I was with a friend and we decided at the last time"
"You've been the only person who was present in both cases" tells Jamie. She looks at him frowning.
"What do you mean? I don't have anything to do with it"
"Hey, we're not accusing you of anything, but probably you are involved in it, it can't be just a case". She looks down, worried. "Do you know of strange events, especially tragic, that could have happened in your family, or to someone who was bound to you?". She looks at him, annoyed.
"No!" she tells, with an obvious tone.
"We're still working on it but I wanted to tell you to be careful. And obviously you have my number, if you need it" tells Jamie, getting up. Marya follows him. Grace looks up, a bit thoughtful.
"Yeah, ok". They get out and Marya stares at Jamie, as they walk toward the car.
"You gave her your number?" she asks, puzzled. He looks at her, offended.
"In the case she needs help! Come on Mary, I'm not a pedophile, she's even younger than you"
"Yeah, well, ok. So, you're thinking she can be some kind of vessel for the ghost?"
"It can be. Everywhere she goes, someone dies. Or she has some power of killing people - and I exclude that - or there's some ghost at her heels. We have to find it out".
The night, Grace is in her bedroom. She's turning off her laptop to go to bed when she suddenly feels cold. She turns around scared and glances in the darkness of her room, but she doesn't see anything. She searches for her phone but it's not on the desk. She remembers she left it there but now it's not there. Afraid and alerted, having recognized the omen, she gets out of her room, looking all around on the furnishings in the corridor, searching for her phone. She doesn't find it and she goes as far as to the kitchen to find it. Once there, she sees it on the table and goes there to take it. When she turns around, she sees a quick and imperceptible figure floating in the air and quickly disappearing inside a room. She firstly stays there, frozen and scared. Then, always looking around, she starts typing Jamie's number on the phone, that she reads from his card. She's trembling with fear and always glances up in front of her. She calls him and waits for him to answer. She looks around when the ghost appears behind her. She turns around and sees it, then she starts running terrified. She runs confusedly, screaming even if no one will hear her. Meanwhile, Jamie's phone is on the bed table and ringing with a rock song. Jamie slowly wakes up and looks around, sleepy, stretching his arm to catch it. Marya wakes up too and looks at him, waiting for him to explain something. He takes a look at the screen and then replies.
"Hello?" he asks, with a sleepy tone.
"Agent? Please, there's something here!" she says, nervous and scared. Jamie sits on the bed.
"Yes! Please, help me!"
"Ok, ok, we're coming." he tells, getting up and grabbing his jeans. Marya gets up too, trying to understand. "Where are you?"
"I... I'm in the living room..."
"Ok, can you reach the kitchen?" he asks, putting on the jacket and making gestures to Marya."I can try..."
"Ok, go there, take rock salt and then go to your bedroom. Are you with your parents?"
"No, I'm alone at home"
"Ok, go there, put the salt at door and windows. We're coming" he says, as they get out of the room. Grace looks around disoriented and then hurries to the kitchen. As she runs toward there she finds the ghost in front of her, a pale woman with shoulder length brown hair, dressed in funeral clothes. She stays standing there, staring at her and tilting her head.
"That's mine..." she whispers. Grace screams terrified and starts running to the other side, completely forgetting about the salt. She runs up the stairs and comes back to her room. She locks the door and keeps it closed with her back, even if this won't work against ghosts. In fact, the ghost reappears inside her bedroom, still whispering "That's mine...".
Jamie and Marya are on car, driving fast toward her house. They arrive there in a few minutes, thanks to the little traffic at that hour of the night. They get down, with bags and rifles at hand and hurry to the door. Marya quickly forces the lock and opens it. They both hurry in, holding their rifles and looking around.
"Grace!" yells Jamie. They can't hear her answer, and probably she can't hear his call. They don't know the house, therefore they divide to find her bedroom. They go upstairs and there they divide: Marya searches in the few rooms near the stairs and Jamie goes farther. They push the doors open and look inside, finding nothing. Jamie tries to open the right door but he can't manage. Inside there's Grace, who jumps back with fear and screams as she hears him. He hears her scream too.
"Grace! Are you there? It's me, open the door!" shouts Jamie. Then he hears the noise of keys and Grace opens the door, scared and trembling. She instinctively hugs him while he stays there surprised.
"She was here! She was chasing me!" tells Grace. Jamie moves her back.
"Don't worry, we're here now. Mary!" he calls, then pushes Grace inside her room. He poses his bag and takes a box with rock salt. Grace looks confused at him.
"Ok, you have to stay inside the circle, alright?" he tells, starting to spill salt around, when Marya arrives and stands in the frame of the door. Grace looks up to her and Marya looks behind her: the ghost is standing there.
"Stay down!" she yells, pointing her rifle and shooting. The ghost disappears with some sparks and the bullet hits the glass of the window. Grace looks up, even more shaken and Jamie glances back, smiling at his cousin.
"You're not agents, right?" asks Grace to Jamie. He smiles and shakes his head.
"No... But we'll fix this" he tells. She's even more worried. Jamie finished his circle and stands up, Grace stands up too, while Marya gets closer to them, ready with her rifle.
"Ok, stay here, don't move for whatever reason" tells Jamie, when the ghost reappears again behind Marya. Grace points it out and both Jamie and Marya turn around to it.
"That's mine..." she whispers again, staring at Grace. Jamie and Marya observe her for some instants and then both shoot at her. Jamie turns to Grace.
"What did she say?" he asks.
"She keeps saying that" tells Grace "'That's mine...' she says". Marya looks at her perplexed when Jamie takes a better look at her. He finally notices her necklace, that it's now visible because of the neckline of her shirt. In the charm of the necklace, there's engraved a sign, a hoodoo symbol.
"Where did you take it?" he asks surprised, pointing at it. She's perplexed at first.
"I... Bought it at the town's market" she replies.
"Few weeks ago... Why?"
"Give it to me" tells Jamie, while Marya follows the whole scene.
"What?" asks Grace, confused.
"Give me the necklace, I think she's after it". Grace, though unsure, takes it off and hands it to him. He kneels down to his bag.
"That's mine..." they hear, as the ghost appears another time. Jamie quickly puts the necklace inside a small cloth bag with a symbol on it and the ghost disappears. Grace observes confused and Jamie and Marya exchange a meaningful look.
The next morning, that means few hours later, Marya is holding the necklace in her hands, carefully keeping the bag with the other hand, and observing it. Jamie is making some researches on the laptop. He glances at her and keeps typing.
"Put it back" he tells. She looks up to him, interrogative. "Put it back. It's better if it stays there" he repeats. A bit upset, she puts it inside the bag and leaves it on the table.
"So, what does the ghost have to do with the necklace?" she asks, sitting back on her bed.
"Mmm, it's a thing that I heard of during an old case. Some years ago, I went to Louisiana with dad, for a hunt. We talked with a local woman, a kind of shaman, and she told us she was able to trap souls inside objects." he tells, while she listens thoughtful. "She could do that even with living people, but obviously that's not a good thing. She used it to fight ghosts. She used to trap them inside some objects and buried those with the body. In this way, the ghosts won't have 'disturbed' anymore. To do this, she had to engrave this symbol on the object. Doing this with dead people meant some more work than with living ones" he keeps telling, while typing.
"And... How did hoodoo arrive in Ohio?" she asks, confused. He thinks for a while.
"Well, I don't know, maybe some hunters brought the tradition here, but that doesn't matter. It's pretty clear this is the case" he says.
"Ok... So, we have to find the grave and put it inside?"
"Maybe it can work, but if we have to dig a grave I'd burn the bones too"
"Alright. How do we find it?". He looks at her.
"That's what I'm trying to do. These things must be kept into the coffin, therefore someone must have dug out one to take it. Never take anything from a grave" he says, focusing again on the screen.
"Modern tomb raiders?"
"Yeah, maybe. Someone who did that just for fun, as a brave trial, or maybe someone who was really searching for jewels and treasures, who knows"
"And then this someone sold again the necklace to earn something?"
"Yeah, maybe. I'm searching for any kind of news about graves dug out. I'm not finding anything at the moment" he tells discouraged, holding his cheeks and staring at the screen. She smiles a bit.
"How far back are you searching?" she asks.
"Mmm, few months. Almost one year. I don't know how long the necklace has been around, enough to be sold but not much because we have records of deaths just now". She thinks for a while.
"And if you try enlarging the area?". He turns his eyes to her. "Try it. Maybe it's not from here". Without saying anything, he types something on the keyboard and waits, reads something.
"Cousin, you're a genius" he tells, without stopping reading. She smiles and reaches him.
"Yeah? Found anything?"
"Indiana, three months ago. There are reports of some raids on the graves of the local cemetery in Muncie. The list is long, unluckily..."
"About ten. The last one three months ago. After that one, nothing more. The responsibles have never been found"
"It can be that the last one is our case? Maybe the ghost got free and started killing or harassing those who had the necklace. To get rid of it, they sold it"
"Yeah, a bit hypothetical, but it can be"
"We don't have anything else"
"No... Except reconstructing the case" he tells, after a sudden idea.
"Again? But we solved it, almost..." she says, confused.
"No, no, not ours. The one that led some hunter or shaman to use this method to fight the ghost"
"Aaah..." she says. He looks up to her, smiling.
"You're not the only genius, little cousin" he says.
Few time later, Jamie happily slams his hand on the table, waking up Marya who used that little time to recover the little sleep of the previous night. She rubs her eyes and looks sleepy and askance at him. He smiles widely.
"I got it" he tells proud.
"Yep. And yes, she is the last grave dug up. Rebecca Wilkinson, a woman who drowned herself in Indiana, something like ten years ago. Little time after her death, her ghost started wandering around and killing people she thought could do harm to her. Obviously she didn't consider she was the ghost..." he comments. "Anyway, I'm pretty sure this series of events attracted some hunter that for some reason decided to use this method. I'd hardly suggest that... All the rest, is known history". She's still a bit sleepy and he smiles happily. "We're going to Indiana, sweetie!" he says, getting up, seeing her confused expression. He goes making his bags and she follows him with her eyes, tired.
They get on the road and drive toward Muncie. Marya still sleeps a bit on her seat, leaning to the window, while Jamie drives, a bit carefully, not to wake her up. They arrive there just at night, exactly when they have to go to the cemetery. They don't even book a room, they directly go there, after a quick dinner. When it's dark, they get to the graveyard, they climb over the fence and get in. They keep their bags on shoulders and shovels at hand, enlightening the gravestones with their flashlights. They wander around, the cemetery is an old one and full of old statues and ancient mausoleums, whose shadows can produce strange appearances, especially while hunting. Jamie and Marya look around when Marya finds the grave they're searching. They put down their bags and start digging.
"Come on Mary, after this one we'll take few days off" says Jamie, knowing she doesn't like digging graves. She smiles a bit and shakes her head. They get to work and dig a pretty deep pit. Marya sits on the border of it, while Jamie keeps digging the few remaining centimeters. Then, he reaches the coffin. He hits it and then stands up, tired, sweated and wiping off his sweat from his forehead with his arm. Marya looks at him and smiles.
"You're so cute when you're sweated" she jokes. He smiles a bit and looks down.
"Yeah, very cute" he comments "anyway, we're there. Come on, jump out". Marya gets up while Jamie opens the coffin, expecting a quiet end of the story. Marya searches in the bag for the necklace and the products for the burning, when Jamie looks out to her and sees the ghost of the woman standing behind her.
"Mary!" he yells, surprised and worried. She looks up and behind her, when the ghost grabs her and drags her back, on the ground.
"Damn it!" tells Jamie, while getting out too. Marya tries to get rid of the ghost, but she sits on top of her, keeping her hands on her throat. Marya looks incredulous at it, she can't understand how it got free if the necklace is still inside the bag. She tries to scream, but she can't even breathe. She kicks with her feet and tries to push back the ghost, but Rebecca is stronger than her. Jamie quickly searches for the rifle but he can't find it. So, he starts searching for the salt and gasoline in his bag, glancing back at Marya and the ghost. He searches for the necklace too.
"Jamie!! Hurry up!" yells Marya with a thin voice. Jamie throws the necklace inside the grave, then spills gasoline all over it. He throws a great bunch of rock salt inside, then strikes a match and throws it inside too. The bones and clothes start burning, a huge flame raises up, he steps back from the edge of the grave. He glances back at Marya, when the ghost yells terribly and starts burning. She disappears, wrapped by the flames. Marya turns her face and Jamie quickly goes next to her.
"Mary! Hey, are you ok?" he asks, helping her sitting. She catches her breath and finally breathes. She nods, holding her throat.
"Yeah, yeah... You took a lot"
"Well, excuse me..." he says, taking her up. He goes to the bags and kneels down to put back everything when, moving the bag, he finds his rifle there. He takes it up and looks at it, disappointed and resigned. If only he found it before... He puts it back into the bag then reaches Marya, who is standing, looking down at the flames. He rubs her back and smiles, she smiles back at him.
The next morning, Marya is sitting inside the car, eating some cookies as breakfast. Jamie is out of the car, leaning on the closed door and talking at the phone.
"Yes, I assure you, it's all over now. Don't worry" he tells, smiling. He listens to what she's saying. "Well, it's our job" he adds. Marya gets out and reaches him, still with her sack of cookies. She listens for a while, when Jamie finishes the call and puts away the phone.
"You called Grace?" she asks.
"Yeah. I had to calm her a bit but at the end, it's over. She doesn't need to worry about it anymore"
"So kind of you" she says, sitting on the trunk of his car. He smiles and observes what she's doing.
"Hey, hey! Don't put your dirty shoes on my baby!" he tells her, taking down her feet. She looks frowning at him and he looks at her offended.
"But there's one thing I don't understand" she starts again. He looks at her.
"What?" he says and steals her one cookie.
"Why did Rebecca kill those two people instead of Grace, who had her necklace?". Jamie thinks for a while.
"I guess she just killed random people. The two deaths occurred in a public place, full of people. Maybe she got disoriented and couldn't find who had her necklace, while when Grace was alone, she clearly attacked her. Or maybe she just got crazy and killed whoever was at her reach. You know, ghosts get crazy when they stay in those conditions for much time"
"Yeah..." she says, thoughtful. "Nothing is what it seems". He looks at her, confused. "This case, looked like an easy job at first but we took three days to deal with it" she adds.
"Oh, yeah" he says, looking up and around at the country where he parked his car. "Anyway, we'll take a day off now, ok?"
"I dug out too many graves in two days" he says, getting back to the car.
"Where are we going?" she asks, surprised, looking back to him.
"Have you ever been to the racetrack? In Indianapolis?". She shakes her head.
"Perfect! We're going there then!" he tells.
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