Sandy was much younger in the photo, thinner too. It’s how I remembered her when I was a kid.
The photographer caught Sandy in mid-smile as she spoke with someone. She didn’t know the picture was being taken. I looked for more pictures of Sandy but could find any. I closed the trunk, kept the photograph with me and continued to look around the attic. I lifted sheets from the various pieces of furniture.
Against the far wall was china cabinet. It was slightly taller than me, but I saw something atop of it glistening in the light, something round. On my tip toes, I reached up and took the object off the top of the china cabinet. It was a small, carved, skull which looked to be made from crystal or glass, two inches in height, and inch and a half in width.
I looked around the rest of the attic and found nothing of further interest. I put the dusty sheets back on the old furniture and went back downstairs locking the attic door behind me.
While in the study I put the small, crystal skull and photo of Sandy and Elise in my book bag. My cell rang. It was Karl confirming our meeting for later that night. We agreed to meet me at Tony’s Steakhouse at 8:00. I obliged and met with him there that night.
Over a steak and potatoes, I told Karl about the current events surrounding the house and my search for Sandy. I mentioned the spirits of the women who showed themselves to me, the etched word “DOOR” on the upper chest of the bust in the sanctuary, the trunk full of photos in the attic, the appearance of the groundskeeper right before the electrical line snapped, and the strange note on my windshield.
I wanted to tell him about the gruesome find in the basement but not just yet. I barely met the guy and thought that if I’d tell him about three dead bodies under the house, he might be inclined to tell the cops. I needed more time.
We planned to do a thorough paranormal investigation of the house. Karl would bring Beverly to examine the place along with various types of high-tech equipment to document any findings. He just needed my permission to conduct everything on my property.
“Will any of this documentation help me find Sandy?” I asked.
“Honestly, Cole, I don’t know. It may, but it’s also possible we find nothing that will lead us in that direction. We’ll have to see.”
“It’s worth a shot. When all this is said and done, whether I find Sandy or not, is it possible to clean the house and get rid of all that spiritual mess? Can we help the women cross over, get to the other side, or whatever.” I said.
“It’s possible, depending on what’s exactly is in the house will determine the method. I mean, if there are any negative entities there, that might be a task.”
“So how does one go about getting rid of the negative things?” I asked.
“Well every culture has its rituals and methods, but in my thirty years of experience the only thing that can get rid of that for good is the right kind of exorcism. I know people that can help, but we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.”
I agreed and we planned to set up the investigation within a week. So far away I thought, but I understood I wasn’t his only case. After scarfing down the rest of the grub, Karl and I left the steakhouse and went our separate ways.
Back to the house I went for the night. When I got home, I realized I forgot to mention the small crystal skull. I’d tell him about that later.
In the sanctuary the white bust with the word “DOOR” on its chest was where I left it.
As nightfall approached, I left to make my “appointment” with the person who left the note on my car. I brought my side arm with the accompanying shoulder holster underneath my jacket. I have a license to carry and I wasn’t taking any chances, I had no idea what to expect.
The note said 10:00 p.m. I had no idea why so late or how to recognize the person. The drive down the dark, winding roads that led back to town was quiet. Once there, I drove past all the shops and businesses on Main until I reached a large cluster of dark trees on my left which was Ravensgate Park. I parked on Main Street right in front of it.
A bald man who happily walked a golden retriever said hello as I entered the open recreational space of the park. The grass was soft and leaves from the trees rustled nosily in the wind above. A comfortable breeze from off the water crossed my face as I walked to the other end the park toward the river.
The temperature began to lower the closer I got to the water and the strength of the wind increased. I clearly saw the river walk after I passed the play areas and another cluster of trees to the left.
Finally, I reached the waterfront, there were benches placed all along the walkway facing the river. A long wooden railing at the very edge of the park separated the land and water. If someone really wanted to jump in, it wouldn’t be a problem, the railing was only about five feet high.
I leaned against the wooden railing, watching the soft waves of the water move and could see a very small island off ahead in the distance. Nothing but dark trees could be seen surrounding the whole island against a dark gray sky. The sound of a motorboat was heard as it came into view and speedily went by.
I turned around then sat alone on the nearest bench facing the water and the Island. I waited a moment then looked over my right shoulder to see if anyone was walking up, but no one was there. My watch said 9:55 p.m.
“You’re very punctual,” said a woman’s voice to my left. She wore a black three-quarter length jacket and her long, dark brown hair was tied up into a bun. Standing there was Sister Victoria from St. Mary’s Orphanage.