“Good Evening!” The young woman greeted me as she opened the door. She spoke with a very strange and vaguely Eastern European accent. Her face stood out starkly against the dark hallway behind her. I hesitated for a moment. Am I really going to do this?
“Hi. My name is Jane Webster. I called yesterday.” My voice cracked a bit as I tried to hide my hesitance. A wide smile spread across her face knowingly. She nodded and opened the door wider to let me in.
“We’ve been waiting for you, Mrs. Webster. I am Daneila.”
“Oh no. Webster is actually my father’s name. My ex-husband and I separated ten years ago,” I explained as she closed the door behind us.
“I do apologize.”
She led me through the hallway into a dimly-lit room, where an elderly man was sitting at a small round table with an expectant look on his wrinkled face. His long snow-white beard swept across the glass surface as he nodded his head to acknowledge my presence. There were three slender candles positioned to form a triangle in the middle of the table, which gave out this strong odor that was making me feel nauseous as I approached.
“My grandfather does not speak English much. So I’ll be here to accompany you for our session tonight, if you don’t mind.” she said as she pulled out one of the tall wooden chairs for me across from the old man who was eyeing us in silence.
“Would you like me to get you anything to drink?” she offered.
“No. Thank You. I would like to start now.”
She exhaled and nodded and then proceeded to occupy the chair right next to me. And then she said something in a language that I did not understand to him. They spoke back and forth for a few minutes while throwing glances at my direction occasionally. I waited nervously until he nodded and motioned for her to light the candle.
“Now, I need to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind.”
“Who are we trying to contact here?”
“It’s my son, Peter.”
“What happened to him?”
“He went missing.”
“When did it happen?”
“Fourteen years ago. He was only 12.”
“So there was no body?”
I didn’t answer her. But I knew she could tell from the look on my face that I had been living in hell for far too long.
“Is this your first séance?”
“Yes,” I lied.
“What changed your mind about … us?”
“I am desperate. I’ve been living with so much pain these past fourteen years.”
“Miss Webster, it’s very important that you do as I say. You have to promise me that under no condition will you interrupt with the procession. You will only speak, when I tell you to speak. If I tell you to close your eyes, you do it. If I tell you to open them, you do it. If I tell you to stay where you are, you do it. If I tell you to run, you do it. Understand? It’s for your own safety. You have to promise me!” She put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed it a bit.
“Good. Some spirits don’t like to be summoned at all and they can be really dangerous to try to communicate with as they would try to possess the living … or worse,” she paused, looking in her grandfather’s direction across the table “they would try to feed on your spirit. And there’s no guarantee that your son is not one of these malevolent spirits.” Her words sent a chill down my spine. Not because I was worried my son could harm me, but the thought of some evil spirits lurking out there looking for innocent souls to prey upon.
“One more thing. Sometimes, the dead would ask you to stay a little bit longer with them. Don’t do it! If I tell you to let go, you do it. The portal to the realm of the dead can only be opened for as long as my grandfather can hold it. So, use your time wisely.”
She nodded again and then stood up from her chair to turn off the only source of light in the room, leaving us in complete darkness. As she lit the candles, she said something in their language to her grandfather, who was already murmuring something under his breath with his eyes closed. The light from the candles were making weird elongated shadows around him.
“Did you bring the things I had asked you to?” She went back to her seat next to me.
I rummaged through my purse and pulled out a polaroid picture of my son, one of the old T-Shirts he wore before he was gone, and a small glass jar of banana muffins, his favorite snack. Daneila took the photo from me and gave it to her grandfather and then she put the neatly-folded T-Shirt in the middle of the table near the candles, and took the lid off the jar and put it right in front of me.
The old man said something as he brought the photo closer towards the candles to take a better look at it.
“Your son?” he asked, staring at me intently.
I nodded my head.
“He is beautiful. May the soul rest in peace.” A sympathetic smile spread across Daneila’s face.
“We are ready to get started,” he whispered, his dark eyes twinkling wildly in spite of his calm demeanor. Then he reached out a hand to me, and the other one to Daneila. We sat around the table holding hands in silence for a few moments before she told me to close my eyes.
Then he began to chant strange and weird words in a sorrowful almost guttural low voice and it was nothing like I had ever heard before. He repeated this three times and his voice got louder and hoarser each time. At first nothing happened. We sat in silence for a few minutes and it took a power of will to not open my eyes to see what was happening around us. And then I heard it. It started so vaguely that I had to strain my ears to make sure it was really there, a murmur of hissing whispers that began to surround us from every direction and made every hair on my body stand on end. Voices overlapping with one another. It was very subtle and clear at the same time though I could not make out any intelligible words. I could no longer hear the world around us. The walls seemed to be closing in on us closer and closer. It was like being locked in a sound-proof room full of people. I kept my eyes closed and squeezed Daneila’s hand tighter as the temperature began to drop gradually.
“Keep your eyes closed …” Her voice was barely audible, engulfed by the whispering spirits. I was shaking all over and I was sure it was not so much because of the cold as it was because of the fear. And then I felt something soft and icy cold brush against my nape. I gasped in horror and almost fell out of my chair, but Daneila did not let go of my hand.
And then the whispering stopped abruptly, replaced by a deafening silence so intense I felt like I was no longer in the realm of human existence. And from the corner, I heard a tiny voice calling me.
I hesitated, but then I felt Daneila gently put a reassuring hand on mine.
“Mommy? Is that you?”
“Pete … Oh God … Pete … I miss you so much.” I began to sob. It had been so long since the last time I had heard his voice. But I knew I could not ruin this opportunity.
My thoughts went to that day. The most horrible day in my life as a parent. Peter Anderson, my son, was only twelve years old when he went missing over ten years ago. His best friend Ron said that he and Peter had been waiting at the bus stop as usual when Peter told him that he needed to go get something in his locker. That was the last time he was ever seen alive. The police combed the whole school and even the forest behind it and found nothing suspicious. There were no signs of foul play or abduction. They checked the recordings from the school’s security footage that day but Peter was not in them. He never went back into the school building. Of course, there were questions about the probability that he might have run away somewhere but I told them Peter would never do such a thing. Why would he? What would have been his reason to leave me alone and cause me so much pain? I had raised him well and I had loved him so much. He was such a sweet boy. Not some street punk who ran away from home because of his family’s disapproval of his drug abuse. He was only ten years old!
Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and finally years. But still there were no signs of Peter’s whereabouts. I spiraled into depression and started drinking. My husband had finally given up trying to find our son after only a few years and that made me despise him. I channeled my frustration and pain into anger directed at him. I blamed him for everything. If only he had allowed me to take that driving lesson, I would have driven Peter to and picked him up from school every day myself. But no. He insisted that our son needed to learn to depend on himself and not act like a spoiled little brat.
We separated three years after Peter’s sudden disappearance. And ever since then I have never stopped trying to find my son. I criticized the police harshly because I thought they didn’t take this case seriously. I knew I would never find peace until the day I find out what happened to my Peter.
Two years ago, the bitter truth came to me. I found out that Peter had died. It was the first séance I had ever been to. A friend recommended it to me because she could not bear to see me destroying myself slowly every day. At that point, I was so desperate that I would do just anything to get any clue as to what might have happened to Peter.
“It’s ok. Don’t be afraid. Mommy’s here, baby,” I answered him, trying to regain control of myself.
“You can open your eyes now if you want to.” I heard Daneila’s voice. It sounded so clear yet distant at the same time. “Be quick. We don’t have much time.”
I opened my eyes and found myself in the same room, sitting in front of the small round table, but there was something different about it. Daneila and her grandparents were nowhere to be found, and everything looked dark as if gilded with the blackness of death itself. The deafening silence still persisted and it was pressing on me even stronger than before. The only source of light was coming from one of the candles that was fluttering as if being disturbed by a gush of non-existent wind. I looked around and behind me I saw a small blurry figure standing in the dark corner opposite me.
“Pete?” I hesitated.
The figure did not move. It just stood there watching me tentatively as if trying to decide whether or not to step into the light which seemed to only illuminate as far as the edge of the table, and beyond that was only darkness.
“Pete,” I called out again, a bit louder.
“Mommy. Why am I here?” His voice sounded distorted and almost unrecognizable, but there was no doubt, he was my son.
“Baby, I am so sorry. I am so very sorry. You know how much I love you. But we don’t have much time. I called you here tonight because I wanted to ask you some questions. I love you so much, you know that, don’t you?”
“I love you too, Mommy!”
“Yes, Pete. And Mommy loves you too. You told me that the day you went ‘blank’, you cannot remember having seen anything strange or unusual at all before it all went dark?”
“Have you heard or smelt anything then?”
“Pete? You’re still there, baby?”
“A whistle … somebody was whistling.”
I started to feel the sensation of rapid fluttering in my chest.
“Wh-wwho was it? Could you tell who it was?”
“Was it another kid?”
“It was a man.”
A sudden wave of nausea washed over me. Who could be so heartless to hurt a little kid like Peter?
“You can’t remember who it was? Maybe a teacher or one of the parents?”
“It’s okay, Pete. It’s ok. So that was the last thing you heard before everything went dark? A whistle?”
“Mommy, I’m scared!”
“Why, sweety? Why are you afraid?”
“I see … people …”
“What? What do you mean people?”
“I can’t see their faces. But they’re sad. They don’t know where to go. They’re making me scared, Mommy. Please don’t go. I’m scared.”
“Pete, sweety? Are you okay?”
“Pete? Answer me, please?”
“Miss Webster, it’s time to let go!”
“No please! My son needs my help!”
“Let go! Now!”
I stood up from my chair and reached out towards my son whose silhouette was already dissolving into the darkness behind him. And then from the spot where my son had stood only a few seconds ago, another silhouette appeared. Darker than the night. Tall and terrible. It opened its mouth wide to reveal the blackest and the deepest trench of horror within as it hovered closer to me. I reached out a hand and I felt a cold burning sensation on the tip of my fingers as soon as we touched. But then I felt a strong hand pulling me back onto my chair and I found myself back in the dimly-lit room with Daneila and her grandfather staring at me intensely, both looking really pale. Daneila was squeezing my shoulder so hard it hurt.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she yelled wide eyed, looking as if she was about to slap me. “Have you lost your mind? Didn’t I tell you to do what I tell you to do? You could have got my grandfather killed because of your stupidity. He’s 87 years old, you selfish woman!”.
I found myself holding Pete’s T-Shirt tight with one hand. Cold sweat was running down my back.
“I’m … I’m so sorry …”
She helped her grandfather stand up and then took the still shaking poor guy into the next room, leaving me alone with my own thoughts. She returned a few minutes later, glaring at me.
“Listen, I am really sorry!” I told her. “But I need to ask my son some more questions.”
“Pull yourself together! He’s no longer with us now.” Daneila shook her head, still looking shocked, angry and relieved at the same time. “That wasn’t the first time you ever communicated with his spirit, was it?” An accusing look on her face.
I struggled to find the right words to say. I did not want to upset her. I might need her help again one day.
“You put my grandfather’s life in danger. You broke your promise.”
“My son was kidnapped and murdered,” I told her, wiping tears away with both hands. “His body hasn’t been found. Nobody believes me. They all, including my husband, think that he just ran away because he hated his life. Apparently kids do such things when they get bored with their own lives.”
Her lips twitched for a moment, as if she was struggling to find the words to say.
“I am so sorry, Miss Webster. I can’t imagine the horror you’ve been through. I have a son too.”
“You have no idea …”
“But you have to understand, there are dark beings who dwell in the In-Between. They neither belong to our world, nor the afterlife. Ancient ones. Nameless. They are attracted to human spirits to feed on. Sometimes they would find a crack among these realms, and try to break in. When you summon a spirit, you basically create some sort of a shortcut, like a wormhole, that temporarily connects the realm of the living to theirs, thus enabling us to communicate with them. My grandfather here acts as a medium. And he will end the connection if things don’t go as planned …,” she said as she put the candles out and turned the light back on. “… which is why it is so important for you to listen to everything I tell you. One slip is all it takes, to unleash those dark beings into this world.”
“But my son …”
“They can’t reach him now.”
“He told me he sees people.”
“Lost souls. The Restless. Spirits with unfinished business. Earthbound. Your son is still stuck in a limbo. Halfway between tje living and dead. When somebody dies violently, sometimes their spirit hangs around waiting.”
“Waiting for what?”
“A closure. Justice. Whatever it is.”
“I’ll do everything it takes to find that fucker. And he’ll regret ever being born.” I balled my left hand into a fist.
“Miss Webster, have you ever considered that maybe the only closure your son has ever needed was from you?”
“What do you mean?”
“What if all these years, he’s been waiting for you?”
“Yes. To find the asshole who murdered him and bring them to justice!”
“No. To let him go. To make peace with his death. Maybe, you’re the one who’s been keeping him attuned to this plane. Sometimes, it is the only way to have them cross over to the other side where they belong. Let him rest in peace.”
I looked at her in disbelief, refusing to hear what she had just suggested.
“You don’t get it, do you? He was murdered. My son was murdered. And I will never rest until his murdered is brought to justice.” Anger was rising in my chest, causing me to breathe harder.
“I just want to help.”
“Thank You. I think I should get going now. It’s getting late.”
I put the photo, T-Shirt and jar back into my purse and stood up. She walked me to the door and before she closed it she squeezed my shoulder again.
“Sometimes, it’s better to let the dead rest in peace.”
I didn’t say anything and proceeded to walk quietly to my car. But in my head, I was thinking very hard.
Everyone thinks years of grieving and being in so much pain has finally taken its toll on me, that I’ve lost my mind. I mean, how many people in grief out there resort to the paranormal to find some kind of closure? Though I have to say there is some truth to that. Like I said before, I will do just about anything to make peace with the loss of my son. These days I am barely holding on to the edge of sanity. The only thing that keeps me going is my obsession with finding the actual truth about my son’s disappearance.
The first séance I went to did not go too well. I started sobbing uncontrollably for minutes as soon as I heard Peter’s voice that I could barely speak. They had to end it soon and asked me to go home. The others weren’t so genuine. I have lost a significant amount of money to some tricksters. So I did some research online to find the most reliable spiritualists out there and after asking around a bit, I managed to gather some information regarding people who seem to actually have this ability to communicate with the dead and it led me to Daneila and her grandfather.
People disappear every day. Some just want to run away from their past and start all over again. Some are taken without their consent. Kidnapped. Or worse. My son is one of them. I know for sure I will never rest until his murderer is caught. I know I am getting very close to solving this mystery that has been torturing me for more than a decade.
That night when I was about to fall asleep in bed, I heard a low growling sound in the darkness of my bedroom. I opened my eyes and saw a dark figure standing at the foot of my bed, watching me in silence. It was very hungry. I could feel it. But it could not touch me. Not yet. I had set it free and it was bound to do my bidding.
All I needed was strong determination (or desperation in my case), some elaborate spells, and someone who genuinely has the ability to communicate with spirits. All those months I spent looking up information on the internet and asking around have finally paid off.
“You can feed on as many souls as you can later.” I clutched the cross around my neck tight. “But now, I’d like you to find one soul. One soul only. Find him. Don’t stop until you find him!”
There was a sudden gust of cold wind surrounding me as it floated out my room and disappeared in the dark hallway. It knew what to do. Like I said before, I’ll do whatever it takes to find whoever is responsible for my son’s demise. Even if it would cost me my own soul.
It’s been a week since I set that thing free and it hasn’t returned yet. I am getting close. I can feel it.
Credit: Eoghan Ferguson
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