"What's wrong?" asked Lisa, looking at the hovering Wraith. "Why did you stop? We're almost there."
Thousands of voice spoke to her, all of them gentle and pleading and desiring.
"I told you, I don't want to join with you," stated Lisa, firmly.
The voices reassured her that her desire was nearly complete, that they had brought him over, that they were so very close to achieving her revenge.
"Then let's finish this," said Lisa.
The voices dissuaded her, insisting that they first seek their revenge on Andy, and then on her uncle.
"I…I don't know about that," broached Lisa, her voice faltering. "I know you explained how it was his fault. His and the others. But I'm not sure that we should have done that to them."
The voices rose up in anger, berating the cowering Lisa for her hesitation, for her doubt in their wisdom. They were victims, just as she had been, and they knew that there were always more than one person that was guilty of the injustices done against them.
"I don't know," sobbed Lisa, her faith in the Wraith wavering.
Everything had been so clear, so certain when she had first found herself wandering in 'The Other'; in that desolate, crumbling version of the real world.
The Wraith had found her; had counseled her; had listened to Lisa's own tale and had convinced her of what needed to be done.
Now, after witnessing so much death, especially of those that she truly thought to be innocent, Lisa was beginning to question just how righteous the Wraith actually was.
The voices told Lisa of Adam Christopher, and how he had killed himself after being humiliated in front of his entire class by Tammy Pullman, and her 'elite' friends. It had been the last in a long line of cruel, petty tricks pulled on him, and Adam had dealt with it the only way that he could think of.
For a brief moment, Lisa saw the face of the pretty nurse, and how the Wraith had killed her as she had helped Andy and Jeremy escape.
Adam's face asserted it self as the voices told his story, and Lisa knew that he would not move on until the other three girls that had participated in the final prank had passed through 'The Other', allowing him to have his revenge.
For the first time since she had met the Wraith, and touched upon the hundreds of thousands of souls that compromised it, Lisa felt more sorry for those that they sought revenge against than for those that sought it.
With that realization came another, more frightening one; just how lustful she had become in her revenge.
She had been weak when she had first found herself stumbling through 'The Other', and the Wraith, then appearing in her angelic form, had comforted her, had spoken to her with those thousands of voices of understanding, and had managed to make her believe that she was doing the right thing. The just thing. The only thing that she could do.
"I want to wake up now," whispered Lisa, her eyes downcast, unwilling to look at the Wraith. "I want to wake up and tell the police what happened."
The single word was spoken softly, but with the power of the thousands of voices of the souls that compromised the Wraith, and it washed over Lisa with a power all of its own.
"I want to wake up!" screamed Lisa, turning and standing before the Wraith defiantly, her eyes looking deep into the hooded, darkness filled face.
The Wraith screamed as it unleashed its flame.
Jeremy and Andy had just reached the porch stairs when the front door flew open, ripping from its weathered hinges in the process, the man that had thrown it open looking as startled as the two boys.
"Frost!" shouted Robinson, at Andy. "What in the hell are you doing here? Are we at war? What in the hell happened to everything?"
"This isn't hell," said Jeremy, his anger rising as realized that they were standing before the man that was ultimately responsible for everything that had happened; for all of the deaths. "This is just a rest stop on the way there."
"Who the hell are you?" demanded Robinson, storming down the steps.
"You son of a bitch," swore Andy charging at Robinson. "You did that to her!"
Robinson easily deflected Andy's attack, and countered with a series of strikes that dropped the boy to ground.
Jeremy moved to help Andy and was rewarded with a powerful backhanded blow that sent him crashing to the sidewalk, the wind knocked out of him, and he could feel the side of his face already swelling.
Ignoring the dazed Jeremy, Robinson knelt down beside Andy and grabbed a hold of him by his hair, raising him slightly off the ground. Andy yelled out in pain, his hands latching onto Robinson's as he tried to ease the pressure of the maniacal man's grip, but it was to little avail.
"What in the hell's happened, Frost?" demanded Robinson, sneering at Andy.
"You sick fuck," snarled Andy, still struggling. "You did that to your own niece, and now they're all dead because of it."
"I told you to mind your own business, you stupid punk-assed kid," spat the coach, his voice filled with rage. "I told you stay away from her, that she wasn't right in the head."
"You coach baseball, too?" asked Jeremy.
"What?" snapped the coach, turning his head in time to see Jeremy swinging a 2x4 at his head.
The weathered and ancient board broke in two as it smashed across Robinson's face but it had still been solid enough to send the coach wheeling backwards, stars swimming across his vision as he rolled on the ground, groaning.
Jeremy stood over the coach and brought down the remaining section of board onto the man's head again, knocking him out.
Casting the piece of wood aside, Jeremy turned and helped Andy up.
"Yeah," replied Andy. "I think so."
"Come on, we have to find something to tie him up with, before he wakes up."
Huddled down and cringing, Lisa couldn't believe that she was still alive. She thought that she had angered the Wraith to the point where it was going to turn on her, but the creature had instead vented its anger and frustration on the street before her, the asphalt a bubbling puddle just inches from where she cowered.
Slowing looking up, Lisa saw the Wraith still floating close by, looking at her with dark eyes that reflected the intellect of thousands, and they appeared remorseful.
The voices spoke, telling her that they were sorry, that they were only frustrated by being denied the justice that they sought to deliver.
"I understand," whispered Lisa. "You've all been through such horrible things, just like me, but you've…. But we have killed people that didn't deserve it. I let you talk me into it, just like I let my uncle do those things to me."
The form of the Wraith shimmered as its blackness began to fade.
"I let it happen. I wasn't strong enough to stand up to his threats. I was…afraid."
The dark and vile form of the Wraith was gone, replaced with that of the beautiful, golden-glowing Angel.
"I'm not afraid any more. Not of him, and not of you."
"There is so much hurt and anger to us," spoke the thousands of voices, "that we sometimes forget what it was like before our torment."
"It was wrong," said Lisa. "All of those people that you killed, it was wrong."
"Perhaps," conceded the Angel. "But it is done."
"And I let it happen."
"Come with us. Await your time naturally."
"Will I die?" wondered Lisa, tears beginning to stream down her face.
"Only in the first world," said the Angel, taking Lisa into its arms and comforting her. "When he eventually comes over, you can avenge yourself on him, and then move on."
"I think I'd like that," sobbed Lisa, her form merging with that of the Angel.
Lisa Morgan became one with the thousands.
Coach Robinson groaned as he opened his eyes, his head pounding and his vision blurred, and he realized that his hands and feet were bound.
"What the…. Untie me, damn it!" he demanded, struggling against the belts that secured him.
Jeremy and Andy looked about their surroundings, at their world, which had snapped back into being just a few seconds ago, then turned their attention back to the Coach.
"Why don't we leave that up to the police," suggested Andy.
"You gonna be okay, Jerr?" asked Andy, genuinely concerned.
"Yeah, I think so," answered Jeremy, finally turning from his mother's grave and shuffling back towards his car.
"Lisa's funeral's tomorrow. I was wondering if you might, uh, go to it with me."
"Yeah, no problem," agreed Jeremy. "Thanks for being here today."
"It's okay, man. I figure I've given you enough shit in your life."
"Not to mention the shit we went through," countered Jeremy, stopping next to his car and leaning against it.
There was a pause, a silence that was not uncomfortable for either of them, and they both knew that they were on the road to becoming friends.
"I still don't understand it," Andy finally broached. "Not that I'm complaining or anything, but what the hell happened? Why did it just stop?"
"I don't know."
"Do you think…do you think we'll ever see that place again?" wondered Andy, his voice tinge with fear.
"Ask me on August 21st," said Jeremy.
"Cause on the 20th…." and Jeremy told him everything.