It started with a dream.
In it, John Earl Stark solved the problem of a ghost he met. Or did he? It was a dream, after all.
The next day he meets two women who visit his cabin, arriving out of the blue, literally. (Well, one arrived with pitched black darkness which filled his cabin and made her cough.)
These two have an offer for Stark. All he really wanted was to enjoy the small cabin and solitude so he could write his detective stories.
These ladies had another offer - to help them solve the reasons ghosts don't move on. Plenty of new inspiration for stories, decent pay, won't interrupt his writing schedule.
Of course, he could die doing it...
When the shimmering cleared, we were in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Its Observatory parking lot. All was almost pitched black outside the street lights and architectural lighting for the buildings. The moon was high in the sky, and the L. A. streets twinkled through their own lights as they stretched off toward the ocean. Behind us, the mountains were dark and nearly invisible in their gloom.
While we could hear the sirens and street traffic, there was none around us, and the parking lot was bare of cars.
“This isn’t just early morning, is it?” I asked.
“No,” Sal said. “This is two weeks before we were in your cabin. That moon was a sliver on the horizon when we left your place and now it’s nearly full, high in the sky.”
Jude added, “Different place, a different time. Now, watch.”
An apparition shifted from a fog-like mist on the west side of the parking lot to take a near-solid form. It looked solid, real. Except there was something unreal about it. Maybe it was the staring eyes and the fact that its feet walked through the parking curbs instead of stepping over them.
The straight line it was walking didn’t deviate. And it was coming straight toward us.
“So this is one of your ghosts you need to deal with?” I asked,
“One of them. Not our worst.” Sal replied.
“Worst is what? This one is darned spooky. It would keep most people wondering for months of nightmares,"
“True enough. But there are ghosts who are far spookier, and more dangerous.”
The specter was a slight young girl, dressed in something out of the 50’s, it looked like. Sweater over a simple blouse. Full skirt below the knees, bobby-socks, and saddle-back black-and-white shoes. Her face was blank, her eyes focused on something beyond us.
She got closer and never saw us or slowed down. She kept going, walking right on through us. I flinched, but the girls didn’t.
I turned around to see her dissolve right through the front wall of the small tourist shop without slowing her pace.
Just then, Sal shouted, “Look out!”
I turned to look and there was some cosmic pinwheel-shaped rift in the sky. A few feet off the ground. Just where we had seen the girl appear. A red-orange fireball pushed out of it and shot right toward us.
Sal grabbed one of my hands at the same time Jude grabbed the other.
The view shimmered, just as the fireball was nearly on us...
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