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Thread: This thread for parallel stories not directly linked to "Disturbing News"

  1. #61

    Default He Thought He Saw by Dellani Oakes Part 8

    Finding a young man in Louisiana, who has reported experiences like his, Brian feels compelled to write him an e-mail asking Andre to call him. He does, and they make plans to meet.

    "What I want to know, is what's going on," Sweet said. "I mean, it was freaky enough when it was me—then Andre. After that, we found the girls and now you."

    "I saw a website for a girl in Washington state who had experienced similar things," Brian contributed. There were more, but when I saw Andre's site, I decided to contact him cause y'all are so close."

    "How much more?" Ginnifer asked, her green eyes wide and circled with kohl.

    "I don't know. But I brought my laptop with me." Brian unslung the bag he carried. He booted up his system and waited for the internet hookup. Tapping in the commands, he showed them the sites he'd seen. The list went on for 30 pages.

    "This is crazy! It's all over the country!" Sweet said.

    "There's one form Peru and another from Australia," Louisa pointed out. "This is world wide."

    "I'm freaking out here," Ginnifer said, hugging herself. "It's like the whole world is going crazy!"

    "But you notice, the people seeing and reporting this stuff are all between fifteen and nineteen? There's no one over twenty on any of these pages," Andre commented, opening one window after another. "And we all start out almost the exact same way, My name is.... and I'm X years old. Almost like a template. The things we describe, really similar and we use the same words—wraiths, ghost in the fog, swamp creatures.... It's freaky. How likely is it that we'd all write the same way?"

    "Not very," Brian admitted. "I was calling them wraiths in my head, and I barely know what that means."

    "We should contact more of these people," Ginnifer said in a matter of fact tone. "We need to find out everything we can."

    They went into the main part of the library and each of the others signed up for a computer. Andre set up a Yahoo e-mail account for them to use as a contact and they wrote out a basic e-mail and divided up the sites. Each of them cut and pasted the message to the site owners asking for them to reply via the e-mail address.

    It was nearly 6:00 when they finished. Brian had to get home to help his mother with dinner. Andre gave him a ride. On the way, they stopped and picked up his bike from the ditch where he'd dropped it.

    Before they left, the five of them exchanged phone numbers with the assurance that the next time something freaky happened, they would call as soon as possible.

    "Stay safe," Ginnifer said, hugging Brian. "You should ask around town and see if anyone you know has been having stuff happen."

    Brian shook his head adamantly. "Nope, not gonna happen. They'll think I'm stone cold crazy."
    She pouted prettily. "Just a suggestion."

    Louisa didn't hug Brian, but she did shake his hand, followed by a knuckle bump. "Cajones of pure steel," she said with a grin. "Be careful."

    They made plans to get together weekly to report on incidents and connect. Brian watched them drive away, feeling suddenly alone. He walked in the door, closing it quietly behind him.

    "That you?"

    "No, it's a perfect stranger."

    "Okay. Well, come introduce yourself and help me with this blasted jar."

    Laughing, Brian walked in the kitchen. His mother handed him a jar of spaghetti sauce and another of minced garlic. He opened both. She gave him a kiss.

    "Wash up. You're just in time to check the meat and drain it for me."

    "You got it, Chef!"

    "You missed your appointment with Father Ramsey."

    "Oh, crap!" He slapped his forehead. "I'm sorry. I forgot."

    "It's all right. I'm glad you were out with friends. You spend too much time with me," she commented quietly. "You need to be around young people."

    "I like being here, Mom. Most of the kids here aren't that interesting. I mean, we get along okay...."

    She stopped him, putting her hand on his cheek. "I know, honey. I understand that probably better than most parents. I was always the outsider, the loner. It's not easy. But at least you learn how to be strong and rely on yourself."

    Brian smiled and nodded. His mother patted his cheek.

    "Can't hear a smile, kiddo."

    "Yes, ma'am."

    ©2016 Dellani Oakes

  2. #62

    Default He Thought He Saw by Dellani Oakes Part 9

    Home once more, Brian helps his mother fix dinner. She reminds him that he missed his appointment with the parish priest, but is happy that he's out with friends. Brian doesn't dare tell her what is really going on.

    They had fun over dinner. Brian hadn't realized how subdued he'd been the last few weeks. He couldn't say he was exactly depressed, but he was certainly stressed by the recent events. Having someone else to talk to about it, who understood and didn't think he was crazy, had made a world of difference.

    Brian went to bed early that night, determined to get a better night's sleep than he had the night before. Fortunately, his rest wasn't interrupted by nightmares or bears. He woke the next day feeling rested and ready for whatever the world handed him.

    The sky was cloudy as he headed for the bus stop. It looked like it would rain again. The temperature had dropped during the night. He could see his breath in the early morning air. He was usually the only one at his bus stop, but today there was a new kid sitting on the bench under the awning.

    Brian walked up warily. He didn't know the person and wasn't sure if he could trust them or not. Being so far out of town, they got tramps and transients. Just because the person sat at a school bus stop didn't mean he or she was a student.

    The person didn't look up when Brian stepped under the awning. Instead the stranger fiddled with an iPod which apparently wasn't working right. A few muttered curse words confirmed that assumption. The person smacked the iPod with a flattened palm, cursed again and shoved the device into a pocket.

    A baggy, navy blue, hoodie concealed a short, slight frame. Straight, brown hair stuck out from under a multicolored beanie, concealing most of the face. Jeans and boots completed the anonymous outfit.

    "Trouble?" Brian asked quietly.

    The person gasped, looking up at him. "I think I managed to delete all my music," the gruff voice complained. "Either that, or something else is wrong with the wretched thing. It won't work."

    "Man, that sucks. Mind if I sit?"

    "Help yourself. Not my bench."

    "I'm Brian Casey."

    "Jordan Barrett." The name and voice did nothing to clarify the gender issue.

    "You must be new around here. I've never seen you before."

    "My folks wanted a quieter, simpler life. So, instead of living in the suburbs, they picked his tiny town in BFE. I can't even get cell service unless I'm standing in the center of town. So much for keeping up with my friends back home."

    "Guess you'll have to make some new ones," Brian said quietly. He wasn't sure what to think of the mouthy, disgruntled teen. He dearly wished that either the name or the clothing was different so he'd have a clue if he was speaking to a boy or girl. He still couldn't tell and he didn't think it was polite to ask.

    "Yeah. Not like I had so many, ya know? Not one to be popular."

    "Me either. Gotta work too hard to be popular. Besides, I prefer being anonymous."

    "Whatever works, right? Of course, my parents are upset that I'm a social pariah. They were head cheerleader and captain of the football team. They went Greek in college and belong to the alumni association of their high school and college. Mom was also Miss Teen Spirit when she was in high school. I told her I wasn't interested in being named after a deodorant—or a song. She so didn't get it."

    Brian chuckled, nodding. "I'm lucky. My mom couldn't care less if I'm popular. She wants good grades. Can do that standing on my head."

    "You any good at math?"

    "Yeah, pretty good. Why?"

    "Because I suck ten kinds of suckage at math. I need someone to help me. Dad said he would, but he's about as patient as a wet cat. Mom's blonde." Jordan said that as if it meant something special.

    Brian, who was also blond, looked confused.

    "Dumb blonde?" Jordan snickered. "I guess it's contagious."

    "I may be blond, but at least I'm good at math." He tried not to sound offended, but didn't conceal it well.

    "Oh, touchy! If you can help my math grade, I forgive you for being blond and promote you to honorary brunette."

    Brian chuckled. "Mighty kind of you."

    ©2016 Dellani Oakes

  3. #63

    Default He Thought He Saw by Dellani Oakes Parts 10 & 11

    Hello, Friends! Since I totally forgot to post anything on Wednesday, I decided to post 2 today. You're welcome

    The next morning, Brian meets a new student at his bus stop. The person's name is Jordan Barrett. Dressed in a hoodie, jeans and a bulky coat, Brian can't tell if Jordan is a boy or girl.

    The bus arrived a few minutes later. Brian let Jordan walk on ahead of him. He moved down the aisle and took his usual seat. Since no one else sat with him, Jordan joined him. They talked a little bit on the way to school, but the engine noise made conversation difficult, especially once the bus filled up.

    "What's your first class?" Brian asked Jordan as they got off the bus.

    "Chemistry. You?"

    "The same. Mr. Sullivan?"

    "Yeah. I didn't see you yesterday."

    "I was sick. Want to walk together? We social pariahs should always travel in pairs."

    Jordan laughed. "Yeah. Thank you. Hey, can you open these lockers? I couldn't get mine and had to carry all my books home. My shoulders are killing me."

    "Sure. There's a trick to it. I'll show you."

    He walked with Jordan to a nearby locker. Brian opened it with ease.

    "How did you do that? I tried forever!"

    "Gotta spin it twice all the way around to the right before doing the numbers. Also, you have to do the locker dance."

    "Locker dance?" A raised eyebrow showed Jordan's skepticism.

    "Yeah. You don't know the locker dance?" Brian winked and gave a little shake of his hips as he shuffled in a circle. He even gave it the Saturday Night Fever point.

    Jordan laughed loudly, head tossed back. "Oh, that's a good one. I have to remember that. Help me with these books, would you? I hurt my wrist. Had a fall. It's all bruised up."

    "No problem." He took the books and laid them neatly in the locker.

    "I hate to ask, but I need help with my jacket, too."

    "Sure thing."

    He held the end of one sleeve, pulling it over a wrist brace. He stood close to Jordan, helping to detach the Velcro straps that kept catching on the jacket sleeve. With a mighty tug, he lost his balance, toppling over and knocking Jordan back a step. It was then, face to face and mere inches separating them, that he realized Jordan was a girl.

    A snug, red sweater clung to her upper body and the bell bottom jeans fit closely to her thighs and hips. Brian was mortified. Hopping back a step, he lost his balance and would have fallen backward if Jordan hadn't steadied him. She laughed at his clumsiness as she removed her beanie.

    "And I thought I was a klutz!"

    "Dumb Velcro," he muttered, trying not to blush.

    "I know I've got nice boobs, Bri," she said quietly. "But they aren't that good." With a wink, she sashayed away from him, heading toward the chemistry room.

    "I wasn't looking at your boobs," he called after her. "I swear!"

    Horribly embarrassed, Brian stopped at his locker, a few down from Jordan's, and put his things away. He wandered to chemistry only to find Jordan sitting at his table. Groaning inwardly, he sat down.

    "Oh, is this your table?" she asked.

    "Yeah. My old lab partner moved to Michigan."

    "Bummer. I hope you know what you're doing. I've got a lot of catching up to do."

    "Pretty well."

    "Are you one of those boy geniuses?"

    "I do okay." He actually did very well, but he didn't want to sound like he was bragging.

    "Will you help me get caught up?"

    "Sure. Any subjects we've got in common, I'll help you with."

    "Thanks! You're wonderful!" She hugged him enthusiastically. "I'm so glad you go to my bus stop."

    "Uh, me too."

    During lab, when Jordan went to the supply cupboard for equipment, one of the popular girls in the class stopped by.

    "So, who's your girlfriend?"

    "Not my girlfriend, Marissa."

    "She seems very chummy."

    "Oh?" he wasn't sure what to say.

    "Yes, she's hanging on you and practically ravaging you in public." Not only was Marissa popular, she was highly religious and very judgmental.

    At school, Brian nearly does a face plant in Jordan's chest, and finds out irrefutably, that she's a girl. Embarrassed, and trying to get over it, he gets to class only to find out they are lab partners. When Jordan is getting supplies, another girl talks to him about her.

    "That's because we're lovers," Jordan said as she plunked a beaker on the desk. "Brian just rocks my world! Maybe you wouldn't be such so super, uptight if you found the right guy."

    Marissa turned red and hurried off. Jordan laughed, watching her rush off to her table. She huddled with her lab partner, pointing at Jordan.

    "And that was necessary, why?" Brian asked quietly.

    "Cause it's so much fun to see her look like she just sucked a lemon."

    "You know you've just ruined my reputation," Brian said, trying to sound hurt.

    "Oh, the carefully crafted one where you're a complete tool? Sorry. We'll see if we can work on that after class."

    Laughing, Brian set up the equipment while Jordan read through the experiment. Together, they measured ingredients and started mixing. Their teacher came by, hands clasped behind his back.

    "Good job, Jordan," the young science teacher complimented.

    "Thanks, Mr. Sullivan. Brian helped."

    The teacher, who was staring at her chest, smiled slightly as he passed by.

    "Speaking of tools," Jordan whispered. "Is he a perv or what? My boobs are very popular today."

    Brian shifted slightly. "He's just a guy, Jordan. We all stare at a woman's boobs. And I wasn't staring on purpose."

    Jordan giggled, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. "I forgive you. But I think it's precious how you try to defend the fact that you nearly had your face down my shirt."

    "Laugh too much, I won't help with math."

    She sobered immediately. "Fine. I'll behave."

    They finished their experiment, wrote down their notes and cleaned up before the bell. They had four out of seven classes together, the only differences were PE, which were separate, and their electives Brian had Spanish and shop. Jordan had theatre and chorus.

    They met up at their lockers at the end of the day and hurried to the bus stop. The weather had warmed, so Jordan carried her jacket. She hopped onto the bus and the driver didn't recognize her. It took some fast talk to convince him that she had given him her bus pass the day before. Once Brian vouched for her, he relented.

    "Tell you the truth, I thought you was a boy. Big, ol' coat and a boy's name. Kinda confusing."

    "Yeah. I get that a lot," Jordan said in a condescending tone that was totally lost on the driver.

    The ride home was just as uncomfortable as the ride that morning. The difference was, that Brian had someone to walk home with. Jordan's house was only a couple blocks from his, not quite as deep into the woods. He walked her home before heading to his own house.

    "If you want, I'll drop by in the morning and walk with you."

    "Would you? That would be so great! I hate that early morning walk in the dark. I—see things—in the woods. It creeps me out."

    "Yeah. I don't mind." He paused, wondering how much he should say. He decided to give it a try. If she thought he was crazy, fine. But if she was having the same experiences he'd had....

    "What—uh—what kind of things?" he tried to sound casual, but knew he'd failed when her eyes darted to his face.

    "You've seen stuff too?" she whispered harshly. "Tell me."

    "I asked first."

    They were at her house. Jordan invited him up to sit on the porch swing.

    "Yesterday morning, I was on the way to the bus stop and I swear I saw—things in the woods. Like ghosts, wraiths...."

    Brian gasped. "Me too. Did they chase you?"

    Jordan didn't say anything, she merely looked terrified.

    "At the risk of sounding completely insane, can I tell you something?" he asked quietly.

    "Sure."

    Brian told her about his experiences. He also told her about meeting the group from Louisiana. He left nothing out of his story, even including the bear incident. He still wasn't convinced that was a coincidence.

    "I would have been screaming," Jordan confessed.

    "You think I wasn't? Screaming like a baby. I thought I was gonna die."

    ©2016 Dellani Oakes

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