SEARCHING FOR LUCY
When we arrive at the Wallace’s estate, darkness is setting in, big black dusty clouds surround the property as we drive down the long winding driveway with conifer trees standing sentinel on either side. When finally the house makes its appearance, I am astonished at the size of the sprawling mansion. We are here to conduct a paranormal investigation, searching for Lucy Wallace who practically vanished into thin air. The Mother had reached out to us yesterday.
I park in front of the mansion, and we sit there in awe for a while taking in its opulence. The stonework looks ancient, almost giving it the impression of a castle – it must be very old. Hundreds of windows stare down upon us, little ones and large ones, and some round ones that look like eyes. The structure is three stories high.
“You didn’t tell me we were coming here!” Matt our camera man exclaims in exasperation.
“Well I didn’t want to spook you; I know how much you hate the guy, but we have to help his family. It is what we do Matt, you know it,” I simply say.
“But he is a monumental pain in the butt, a billionaire with a chip on his shoulders. The last time I ran into him, he was screaming at a waitress in a café calling her all sorts of derogatory names. Just because she didn’t bring his Latte to him fast enough,” Matt huffs in the passenger seat beside me, crossing his arms over his chest.
“No matter what you think about this man, remember he just lost his daughter,” I seethe at Matt’s insensitivity.
“Matt,” Ian breathes out a sigh of frustration. “You always have something to complain about. They need our help. We never turn people away, no matter who it is. You know that!”
“So, what happened to the little girl? I saw something pop up on my news feed, but I didn’t have time to read it,” Ian asks.
“From what the Mother, Bella, told me, her and three-year-old Lucy, were playing outside in the garden. She says she popped inside for a minute to get some water, but when she went back outside, Lucy was gone. She seems to be a nice lady, but obviously on the brink of a breakdown.”
“Well did they find her, Julia?” Ian asks.
“No. Obviously or we wouldn’t be here! They have no idea where she is. The police have searched everywhere, as well as hundreds of volunteers. They brought in a helicopter and a K9 unit – two dogs for search and rescue and two cadaver dogs – they took them through the house too, but nothing eventuated. It’s been nearly a month, and the parents are frantically desperate to find her. So that is why we are here. Hopefully we can find her through our methods. The police have officially called off the search.”
A shiver courses through me as we unpack the cases holding our equipment, from the boot of the car. I feel someone watching us. Suddenly, the front door opens, and Mr. and Mrs. Wallace come down the steps to greet us.
“Matt, what's the difference between Michael Jackson and Casper?” Ian whispers.
“Hell Ian, I don’t know.”
“One is white and scares young children, and the other is a ghost,” Ian tries to hide his giggle, but it escapes the edges.
“Shut up you two!” I mutter under my breath.
After brief introductions and handshakes, we are directed to enter the house. We follow them into a spacious room filled to the brim with antiquities. Long velvet drapes close us in, and Tiffany lamps spread a soft amber glow around the room.
“Thank you for coming at such short notice,” Bella sniffs back her pain. “I have asked a friend of ours, Mary Clay a clairvoyant, to assist you tonight. I hope you don’t mind?”
She begins to cry, and her husband pats her back, slowly moving her into the chair around a beautifully crafted table. Sitting at the end is Mary Clay. Over the years, we have bumped into each other at festivals and fairs, but have never been formally introduced. She acknowledges us with a glance, then closes her eyes; I think she is praying.
We begin to unpack our equipment. The main instrument we are going to use tonight is my one-hundred-year-old Ouija board; it has been passed down the family. My Grandmother, Aunty Ollie and my Mother were all Wiccan. Me, not so much. I prefer to communicate with spirits using tools and instruments, and sometimes, but not usually, we use my Ouija board.
“Matt, did you hear about the ghost who got put in prison?”
“Ian, shut up,” I hiss.
“He was charged with possession.”
I gently kick him in the shin, it shuts him up immediately. I know he does it to lighten the mood, but it can be very annoying! He also knows it wears thin after a while and I am forever trying to keep him focused on the job.
“What are those things you have there?” Mr. Able Wallace asks, with a petulant tone in his voice.
As I remove each item from their cases, I explain their functions, placing them upon an exquisite side table nearest to me.
“This is a Ouija board; we use it to communicate with spiritual entities. This is a K2 meter, it senses energy, and it flashes from green to red, if there is a spirit nearby. We also have this, it is a REM pod device, it senses energy and gages temperature changes. If an entity touches the aerial on top, it will flash to green and it will set off an alarm.”
I start to unload the trigger case. When I pull out the teddy bear, I hear Bella exhale a long-anguished breath.
“What is that for? Why do you have a teddy bear?” she asks, clearly unsettled.
“Well, these are called trigger toys. The teddy bear asks questions to any spirit who touches it. It tends to attract children; they are very curious about it, and because some haven’t seen a toy in years, it comforts them – making it easier to communicate. But I am not saying Lucy is in spirit, it is just another tool we use. Much like these ones,” I bring out a handful of cat ball toys, to deflect the conversation from Lucy. “These light up when a spirit touches them.” I turn them on and they light up in my hand.
I stop talking when I notice Able Wallace’s eyes glaze over with boredom.
“Anyway, this is our best bet at investigations,” Ian takes over. “It is an Ovilus device, a spirit box, it picks out words that are already registered into the device and speaks them. Usually we get clear responses.”
“Bella…” I say, but I am rudely interrupted by Able Wallace.
“Excuse me miss, whatever your name is, I would prefer you use our titles please, we do not know you or your team of ghostbusters. I find it completely disrespectful that you use our given names.”
“Okay…sorry. Ummm…Mrs. Wallace, usually we will get a much better response if we can use some of Lucy’s items as trigger objects. Do you think that will be okay?” I ask, red faced, the heat making my skin irritable – much like my mood.
She looks at me with a grimace on her face and diamond tears in her eyes.
“Yes of course, if it will help. What do you suggest?”
“Well, does she have a favourite toy? A special blanket, or item of clothing? A piece of jewellery, perhaps? Anything to connect with her guardian Angels,” I say.
I am very careful to use present tense, as past tense could infer she is dead. I am hoping we can find her alive, that she has merely wandered off.
“Just give me a minute,” she says, pushing away from the table and leaving the room.
The silence is deafening. If a pin dropped it would have sounded like an explosion. Mr. Wallace’s face is like thunder as he stares daggers at us. Mary Clay has her head in her hands. Ian and Matt are setting up the devices, and positioning two static cameras around the table.
“Matt, who do ghosts worship? Boo, DUH…”
“For the love of God, be quiet,” right then I could have strangled him to death.
Bella returns holding an armful of items. She sits back at the table and spreads each of them out in front of us.
“This is her favourite doll, Isabella – she named it after me. It was last year’s Christmas present,” she pats its head absentmindedly. “Her fairy dress, she loves this, especially the wings,” she sniffs in the scent left over from her missing child. “Boo Bear, her Grandparents brought this into the hospital the day she was born. She has slept with it every night ever since,” she sucks in a deep breath. “When Lucy went missing, she was playing with Boo Bear in the garden, I found it in the mud,” her tears splatter onto its tiny furry body.
Bella hugs it into her, and bawls giant sobs that practically engulf her. The entire time, Mary Clay keeps her eyes closed. When we are all seated at the table, excluding Matt who is operating the cameras, she suddenly speaks, startling me.
“Spirit, all mighty Father, heavenly guides and Angels, may you please protect us all as we conduct this session. We are gathered here to find Lucy May Wallace. There are devices here that you can use to communicate with us. We are not here to hurt anyone, we just need to know what happened to Lucy, and where we can find her,” she folds her hands into the prayer position.
Bella is softly weeping as Mary Clay talks about her missing daughter, and Able Wallace doesn’t comfort her, he is distant, staring mesmerized at the Ouija board laid out on the table.
“What I want everyone to do is place two fingers of each hand tentatively on the planchette in the middle of the board. Now there are rules here,” I say, pointedly. “This can be very dangerous if it is done incorrectly. Never let your fingers leave the planchette at any time, no matter what happens, no matter how scared you are by the responses. We cannot finish the session without moving it to the goodbye point on the board. Essentially, we are opening a portal to communicate with spirit. If this ends without spirit allowing us to say goodbye, there will be dire consequences. Does everyone understand?”
They all agree, and we each place our fingers upon the old wooden planchette. It is smooth to the touch. Instantly, I feel a vibration of energy tingling through my fingers, and the room is charged with tension. Our devices are switched on, and the cameras rolling.
“Is there anyone here with us who would like to communicate? Please come through and speak into one of the devices, or use our fingers on this board to answer,” I say confidently.
Something bumps hard against the table. Mary Clay’s eyes fly open, and in the ambient lamp light, her eyes look like they are glowing – she pierces me with them, somewhat scaring me. When finally she speaks again, her voice is deep and gravelly.
“Come closer, I can sense you. Who is here with us?” she implores.
Through the Ovilus device, a voice replies, “I am here!” startling everyone, and the planchette starts to move slowly across the Ouija board.
“What is your name?” I demand, my skin crawling, the sensation always feels like cobwebs covering my head.
Suddenly, whom ever it is with us begins to spell out letters on the board. D. E. V. I. L. A gasp escapes my mouth; skin prickling. The others make their own astonished noises, thankfully no one lets go of the planchette.
“Oh my God,” screams Bella.
“This is preposterous,” Able Wallace yells across the table.
“Able, please. Let one of us ask the questions, we know what we are doing,” Mary Clay cuts him down quick. “Spirit, you are not the devil. Who are you? I command you tell us.”
The planchette begins a steady crawl across the board, when suddenly the REM pods spread around the room, scream their alarms. I look over at it and the lights are going spastic.
“D. E. V. I. L.”
Something in the room crashes to the ground.
“Oh my God, that’s our wedding portrait,” Bella shrieks in fright.
Glass and frame shatter upon the floor, and in horror we watch as the edges of the photo start to burn, setting a small fire, but there is nothing we can do. Desperately, Mary Clay tries to end the session, but it is mine, and only I can close it down – I should have pointed that out earlier. Mary Clay screams out as her head flies back like she has been punched. She sits back in the proper position, but there is something wrong with her eyes – they are now pitch black.
“Lucy was taken because of you Able Fredrick Wallace Junior. This is your punishment!” her head flops to the table and she slides to the floor.
Fear grips us all, but we dare not help her. Although Mary Clay’s fingers are no longer on the board, the planchette continues to move in rapid succession, spelling out “devil” over and over, until the planchette flings off the board, crashing hard against the wall – denting it. The Ovilus spits out words, unclear but very much frightening. A giggle, a scream, and growls bellow out from the device. The room starts to shake and more items crash around us.
“Who is here with us?” I scream.
Someone is running around the table, footsteps so small and fast, it has to be that of a small child. The K2 meters are spiking to red; the maximum indicator. The room is in utter chaos. The session ends so abruptly, I know there will certainly be a price to pay. In shocked disbelief, Bella is lifted off her feet and thrown hard against the wall. Matt and I rush to her knowing full well we are in trouble having broken the rules of the session, and have more than likely brought peril down upon us. Bella’s arm is broken, but she is sitting up crying, alive at least. Mary Clay has slipped under the table. Her pale greying face is lined with thick black veins – the sight is horrendous. Then the room violently shakes, so we take cover in the doorway. Able Wallace is sitting at the table, frozen in terror.
Then the most diabolical scene plays out in front of us. The floor opens up, cracks apart – the noise it makes is horrifying! Inside is a gash of red, it looks like blood, it smells like rotten eggs. I gag, but hold it in. Out of the gaping hole in the floor comes a swirling black mass. It morphs and shifts, and for a split second it reveals itself. It is the Prince of the Underworld himself, Lucifer. I am petrified, as it swirls back into the black morphing mass of darkness.
“I am sorry!” Able screams at the beast. “I swear, I was going to do your work, but I got busy!”
The black mass speaks, momentarily revealing the Angel of Darkness within.
“You sold me your soul for your wealth, and the privileges you have, you owe me! I stole your daughter as a consequence of what happens when you disobey me.”
It swirls around the room, reaching out towards Able, who can no longer move. A giant arm, with talons spread, grabs the terrified man and takes him back through the crack, down into the bowels of Hell.
“Mummy!” a childish voice shouts from somewhere above us.
The room returns to normal in the blink of an eye. The crack in the floor has gone, and the room has stopped shaking.
“Mummy, help me!”
Switching on all the lights as we run through the house, up the staircase, following close behind Bella, who’s arm is hanging slack down the side of her body. We rush into Lucy’s bedroom, and are stopped dead in our tracks, when we see Lucy sitting on her bed sobbing and shivering, but well and truly alive. We leave the room as Bella fusses over Lucy, checking her and smothering her in kisses only a Mother can give.
Later that night, we watch and wait as the ambulance takes away the body of Mary Clay, and not long after we are ordered to check into the police station as soon as possible, or else. Together we stand by the car, looking up at the intimidating structure. Bella is holding Lucy on her lap at another ambulance who are tending to her broken arm. Sometimes it isn’t the house, nor the ghosts that haunt people, sometimes it is the deeds they do that secure their fate.
It starts to drizzle as we drive back down the driveway. In the rear-view mirror, the mansion slowly fades from view. Of course we are never going to tell anyone what happened, not even the police. I suspect they will never believe us anyway. No doubt Bella will have to come up with a plausible reason as to why her husband is now missing, and how Lucy made it home, unharmed. As for Mary Clay, it is believed she died from a heart attack, whilst conducting a séance at the home of the Wallace family.
“Hey, I found out my girlfriend is a ghost. I knew the minute she walked through the door.”
“Shut up Ian!” Matt and I laugh.
Copyright (c) Gibson, Del 2021