Chapter 9

Happy to finally be getting home, I drove faster than usual. It was nearly nine P.M and the sky was getting darker. I didn't want it to be too dark when I had to take Jerry to his mother. I knew for sure Ashley would be complaining.

Finally arriving home, I quickly rang the doorbell. When Allyson answered the door, she had a sad expression on her face. I quickly walked in.

"Wow… For the first time ever I am not happy that you're home." Allyson said.

"Jerry… Steve came to take you." She called.

"Finally!" Ashley said, sprinting out from the kitchen with Jerry on her side. She walked towards me angrily and poked my chest with her index. "You!"

"Sorry… Brad was out today so I had to fill in for him and it took longer than I expected and I got off from work late..." I said quickly.

"It's so dark outside! You expect me to go to a graveyard where it's hard to see ghosts? They're going to eat me alive!"

"Firstly, ghosts don't eat… Second, they glow… So it'll be easier to see them in the dark, right?"

"Whatever, let's go before it's even later." She said, grabbing a flashlight off of the table and stuffing it into her purse.

"Bye Jerry… forever," Allyson said, sounding sad. She gave him a hug, her eyes teary.

"Bye Allyson."

"Tell your mom I said, 'hi.'" Allyson said, getting herself to smile. I chuckled as she ran her fingers through his hair.

"Steve and Ashley." She said, getting up. "Be safe."

"You sound like Kristine." I said, laughing.

"Ha-ha. Well, I mean it. Be careful okay? Obviously this is a dangerous mission."

"I'm going to a graveyard not to a war! Don't worry about me. It's not even that bad, everyone's just exaggerating." I said, referring to Ashley. I gave her a quick kiss before she could argue. "See you soon."

I walked towards Jerry. "Okay, Jerry. Remember the tricks I taught you? About how to teleport?"

"Yes."

"You need to take us to this address in Pennsylvania. Robert told me that this is where you and your mother's graves are." I said, handing him a paper that had the address on it. He was a smart child, and I was sure he could read it.

"Wait—Pennsylvania?" Ashley asked.

"Go!" I told Jerry, ignoring Ashley. Jerry grabbed mine and Ashley's arm and within a few seconds we were in a totally new place. We were now located in front of a gateway to a Cemetery.

"Good, you took us to the right place." I said. "Although people could've seen us appear out of nowhere, but luckily, no one is around. But I'm impressed you took us all the way to Pennsylvania so quickly."

"Steve." Ashley said through gritted teeth. "We're in Pennsylvania?"

"Yes, did I forget to tell you?"

"I'm going to kill you… Again!" She said angrily looking as if she was going to strangle me.

"Let's just do this, okay? No complaining."

"How are we supposed to get back to Florida?"

"Don't worry. I've got a plan."

"Fine." She said. She then walked up towards the gate and rattled it.

"it's locked. Oh no! I guess we'll just have to go home until maybe next time—"

"That's okay. Jerry can takes us in." I said, smiling. Ashley groaned as Jerry grabbed our arms and took us to the inside of the cemetery. Ashley looked around, searching for a ghost. "There are no ghosts around… how nice."

"Right…" I said, not wanting to point out the group of ghosts behind her in the distance.

"So, do you know where exactly Nora's grave is?"

I shook my head, sadly.

"I can teleport you!" Jerry said.

"No, you can't… if we knew the way and location of the grave, you could... But sadly, we'll just have to search on our own."

"Oh, that's okay! We'll just look at EVERY SINGLE GRAVE in here!" Ashley said, looking at me with her angry eyes.

"There has to be a shorter way…" Jerry said, probably feeling guilty about having us do so much for him, since Ashley was unhappy.

"Let's just look at those big, fancy tombstones. I'm pretty sure your father paid a lot for your tombstones… Knowing him." I said.

"But you never met my father…"

"Oh." I said. "Right.. I mean, Allyson told me a lot about him." I said. It was true, I had never met his father, but when I was a ghost, I was around him a few times.

"Alright, we'll look." Ashley said. "I still hate how large this place is… So many graveyards… So many dead people." She said, shivering.

"Since when are you afraid of dead people?"

"Since always! It still freaks me out…"

"There's a big rock over there!" Jerry said, pointing at a large tombstone.

"Yeah, let's check that out… Also, Jerry, keep an eye out for your mother—she might be walking around here somewhere."

"Got it." He said, walking with me towards the tombstone he had pointed at.

Once we arrived at the tombstone, it was almost impossible for me to read the writing on it. It was too dark outside for me to see.

"Oh! I got a flashlight!" Ashley said, reaching into her purse. She quickly took it out an lit it as I read the name out loud. "No…This isn't her."

"There's another big one over there." Ashley said.

"Right, let's look there."

"Aren't we searching for my mom's ghost? None of these rocks have my mom standing in front of them or coming out from them." Jerry said.

"Yeah, but it will be easier to call her and search for her once we know where her grave is." I said.

Jerry nodded as he followed me and Ashley.

"Give me the flashlight, Ashley." I said, grabbing it from her. She loosened her grip on it and let me have it as I studied each of the tombstones we went to. I was almost sure it was nearly an hour and yet we hadn't found anything.

"We seriously need to hurry up! It's getting late… and darker… and creepier… and oh, God, my mom is going to kill me!" Ashley said, slapping her forehead.

"I'm sorry that you have to go through all of this for me." Jerry said.

I glared at Ashley for making a dead kid feel sad.

"Oh, honey, it's not your fault. It's all Steve's fault, okay? Blame him... I'm not mad at you." She said, making Jerry laugh.

"Ashley, you're wasting time, let's just hurry up and check these tombstones." I said, speed-walking towards the next one. I took out my cell phone to check the time as we walked.

"It's 10:35 P.M… We need to hurry." I said, unsure of how long getting back to the house would take us.

"Wow." Allyson said, looking at her cell phone screen. "Allyson left me like six text messages."

"She left me twelve..." I said, replying to one of them. I could see Ashley glare at me through the darkness.

"If I was a boy and hot, she'd leave me twelve text messages too." She said, snatching the flashlight from me so she could read the tombstone.

"Not it."

Jerry groaned. "Where is mommy…?"

"Don't worry, we'll find her today.'

"Yeah, right." Ashley said. "You've been saying that for the past two hours! I say we stop looking at these tombstones and go around where the ghosts are… She might be there."

I stared at Ashley in disbelief. "Wait… You are making a suggestion that we go near the ghosts?"

"What—ever! I just want to get home. Besides, I can kick some ghost butt."

"Sure, you can." I said, walking the opposite way we had been walking all along.

"Jerry, you recognize your mom the best, so once you see her, let us know, alright?"

"Don't worry; I'll keep an eye out." Jerry said, flashing a smile.

After walking back to where we had first started, we spotted a few tombstones with ghosts hanging over it.

"Is that your mom?" Ashley asked Jerry. Jerry shook his head, looking sad.

"Okay, let's just walk through, fast, then." Ashley said, speed walking by the ghost, I too, speed walked, hoping the ghost wouldn't notice us as mediums.

"Mmm.. What's that smell?" The ghost said, sniffing behind us.

"Quick—teleport us." Ashley whispered to Jerry, grabbing his arm.

"Where?!"

"Anywhere around here."

Jerry acted fast and quickly teleported, forgetting to grab my arm to take me along. I stood there staring into blank space where he used to be and groaned, unable to believe that they had left me behind.

"You! You're alive… Why are you here so late…? They're usually closed at this time and—wait, you can't hear me." The ghost said, her voice trailing off. Stupidly, I turned around, allowing her to smell my medium scent.

"You... You can hear me! You're a medium!"

"Yeah… err... I am, actually."

"Ohmigosh!" the ghost exclaimed. "That's excellent! You can help me!"

I groaned. "I'd love to… really, I would… But I can't help you."

"And why not?! You're a medium! God, what is it up with you mediums not helping!"

"Us 'mediums'? I would really help you, but you see, I'm trying to help another ghost and now I kind of have to find my friend first and—"

"Oh, I should've just accepted that other mediums help!" She said, whining. "All you mediums are the same… You smell the same… you talk the same… you all got the same qualities."

"Oh… Really? Well, I'm sorry that you feel that way, but really I have to go."

"No, wait!" The ghost said, running towards me. She squinted her eyes.

"You seem so familiar! Have we met before?"

"I don't know, I've met over one hundred ghosts, I don't always really pay attention to them…"

"It's so dark; I can't even see your face."

"That's the problem! It's nighttime and I need to be home and so does Ashley, I really have to go… Now if you'll excuse me…" I said, turning on my flashlight. "I have to go find my friend."

"Wait! I know who you are!" The ghost said, snatching my flashlight and shining it on my face. I blocked the light from going into my eye and took it back.

"You're that medium I met!" She said.

I shined the light in her face, paying more attention. She did seem familiar indeed, and I could recognize her. Realizing that she was the ghost who wouldn't give me her help a few days ago, I crossed my arms over my chest. "Oh…. Hi."

"….Umm.. Hello… I kind of need your help."

"I thought you didn't need my help!"

"But I do!"

"I would've helped you a few days ago, but now I don't have any time at all… Sorry." I said, walking away. She teleported in front of me. Wishing I had never told her ghosts could teleport I sighed.

"Leave me alone." I said, feeling like Ashley considering I was talking in the tone of how she always talked to ghosts.

"Kind of harsh, don't you think? I'm a dead person. I was sick for such a long time… I suffered almost all of my life… Have some sympathy!"

"Okay." I said, shining the flash light on her face again. "Make it quick… please."

"Well, I've looked everywhere, and I can't find my grave anywhere around here!"

"Isn't your grave back in Florida?"

"Well yeah… And you said teleport to the nearest grave yard and I did… I can't find my tombstone."

"Yeah, I don't know if you realized but this is Pennsylvania, not Florida. Of course your grave isn't here!"

"Oh… Well…I'm not that good with teleporting…"

"How hard is it to think of a place to go to? That's all you have to do!"

"It's not as easy as it seems! You've never done it, so you don't know!"

"Oh, right." I said, rolling my eyes.

"You seem to know so much about ghosts… Do you know how exactly to teleport? I know what to do, I just get distracted and... confused."

"Well, I guess I can teach you." I said. I had taught Jerry, maybe I could teach her.

"Thanks, you're great!" She said standing by me.

"Okay, I'm going to just explain this really fast because I really need to find Ashley before she goes crazy…"

"Can you please just help me?"

"Fine, I will…Okay, first of all… Before you think of a place to teleport to, you have to be really specific or you'll end up in the middle of nowhere."

"Okay…"

"Now, you can't say, 'Take me to the nearest graveyard!' you have to name specific locations. Something like, 'Take me to the nearest graveyard that is closest to where I am right now and is in Florida.' It may seem like something long, but you'll be thinking it, and it will get easier."

"Okay…"

"Oh, and make sure that you're not distracted. You can't be thinking about bunnies or whatever. When you teleport. It has to be all about you, and where you're going to."

"Okay…that's it?"

"No. You also have to have a purpose. You can't just want to teleport for no reason… There has to be a reason, even if it's a stupid reason like, 'I don't feel like walking.' You have to want to teleport with reasons."

"Well, you could've told me that."

"But you didn't need my help."

"Okay…. Is that it?"

"The rest should come naturally…Now, once you get to the graveyard…."

"I'll look for my grave… Once I get there, what do I do?"

"Read the grave so you get full-proof that you're dead. Then a portal should appear somewhere around your grave… It should suck you in…"

"Suck me in…? Would it hurt?"

"I don't know." I said, not exactly lying. I had been forced into a portal before, and it had felt like death hitting me over and over again, it had felt horrible—but that was a force portal. Maybe she wouldn't feel any pain at all.

"Okay… Well, thank you."

"You're welcome…" I said, walking away quickly, rushing myself.

I quickly took out my phone to text Ashley; she had already sent me a few text-messages while I was busy wasting time tutoring a ghost.

I quickly called her up. She answered on the first ring, panicking.

"Steve?! Where are you?"

"Where you guys left me!"

"We've been looking for you for hours! Jerry can't teleport us because he doesn't know the absolute location of anywhere in this graveyard."

"Relax…You're the one that left me all alone, I should be panicking, not you."

"Oh, ha-ha. I'm just a helpless little girl walking around with a ghost in a graveyard in the dad of night—I should be SO relieved!"

"It's really not my fault you guys left me."

"Look around, what do you see? Maybe I can find you."

"Umm…" is aid into the phone, looking around. I shined my flashlight everywhere and narrowed my eyes. "I see tombstones."

"No, really?" She said sarcastically and impatiently.

"There's nothing else around here! Just tombstones, you can't find me like that."

"Steve, I really hate you, you got me into this!"

I ignored her negativity. "What tombstone are you by…? What does it say on it?"

"I don't know, because you have the flashlight, and I can't see…. Anything!"

"On second thought, that's okay, because I still wouldn't be able to find you."

"I'm afraid of the dark." She whined.

"Oh, come on, Ashley! You're much tougher than that."

"Steve, you better come and get me before my mom flips out and grounds me."

I checked my watch. It was 11:36 pm. "Yeah, I think you're already grounded." I said.

"BEYOND grounded. You know, you're the worst best friend ever."

"Thanks, I feel the same way about you." I said. Realizing that bickering over the phone wasn't going to solve anything, I shined my flashlight around, looking for a place we could meet up. Noticing the road, I walked towards it.

"Ashley, do you see a road anywhere?"

"No…"

"Well, keep walking until you see a road, it goes all the way around…"

"….Alright. If I could see……. Ow!—Dammit!"

"What happened?"

"I tripped over a tombstone."

"Stop stepping on people's graves."

"I can't see anything, okay? I'm trying my hardest." She yelled.

"Shh! Not so loud, you don't want to attracts ghosts."

"Whatever…..Oh, yes! I see the road. Well, I think that's a road…"

"Good, walk towards it."

"Alright………Yes! I'm pretty sure it's a road now."

"Excellent! Now just keep walking around, I'll walk too, we might find each other."

After walking the same direction for over a half an hour, I hung up my phone due to low batteries. I didn't want the batteries to die out so soon, I still needed to call Allyson in case she worried. I tried my best not to get caught by any of the ghosts walking around, there were so much more out… Perhaps they came out more often because it was midnight.

"Steve! Steve! Steve!" I heard someone scream my name, I quickly turned around to see Jerry running towards me. I shined my flashlight to his direction and saw Ashley, running towards me.

"Oh My God! Finally!" She said, catching her breath. She sat on the side of the road.

"I've been running—looking for you—it's so creepy here!"

"Alright, just make sure you guys take me with you if you ever decide to teleport away, alright?" I said.

"I'm sorry… I'll be more careful." Jerry said.

"I noticed a lot of ghosts came out." I said.

Ashley groaned.

"No, that's a good thing. We'll be able to find Jerry's mom, it's easier to classify ghosts, then the tombstones."

"Okay… Let's just go look for her, then." Ashley said. I helped her up off the ground and she stayed close to me as we walked, clutching my arm. I stared at her and raised my eyebrows. She loosened her tight grip on my arm.

"Sorry… It's just, I kind of got chased by ghosts here… They still scare me.. sometimes… And I really hate the dark. I trust you, though, even though you're an idiot sometimes."

"I've never seen you so scared." I said, laughing. "You've been dealing with ghosts for about 18 years and you still can't get over them?"

"Shut up and look for Nora." She said.

"Jerry, you know your mom best, so you need to look out for her too."

"Don't worry… I'm looking."

As we walked and peaked at every single ghost we saw, I grew tired and yawned. Ashley quickly slapped my arm.

"Do not fall asleep, Steve! You need to—" She took a moment to yawn. "Stay… awake…"

"Psh… You need to stay awake. I was awake for over 100 years; I can stay awake for another few hours…"

"Huh?" Jerry said.

"Oh… Nothing… It's figurative speech." I said, feeling guilty about all the lies I had to tell.

"Is that Nora?" Ashley asked, pointing at a ghost that was sitting on her grave, weeping. Her wails and cries were so loud that it seemed to drive all the other ghosts away.

"No." Jerry said, sadly.

"Ugh. Well, since there are barely any ghosts near that area, we should pass by there instead of the other way." Ashley said.

"Good plan." I said, speed walking with her past the ghost. We hoped that the weeping ghost wouldn't smell us. Unfortunately, the moment we passed by, she lifted her head up and took a whiff.

"I smell medium!" She said, catching up to us. We began to run, but it was no use, she teleported in front of us. We quickly jumped back, making it obvious that we could see her.

"You're mediums!" She exclaimed.

"Shh! Don't say it so loud!" I said.

"Ooh.. I'm sorry.. I'm so loud… and annoying… maybe that's why people don't like me." She said, bursting into tears. She walked through us towards her grave.

We decided not to follow her, but that angered her.

"I'm so sad, and you don't even care!" She screamed, crying harder than ever.

"Oh, umm… hello… I'm Steve…" I said, not knowing what to do.

"I'm Ashley." Ashley said, yawning again.

"Jerry." Jerry said. "Why is that woman crying?" He asked me.

"I don't know…" I replied. "Why are you crying?" I asked the lady.

She began to wail even louder and dramatically dropped onto the floor and cried over her tombstone.

"Umm… you okay?" I asked, with wide eyes. The woman was going crazy, crying. I couldn't help but feel bad for her.

"All of my years—of—being dead… NOBODY VISITS ME!" She said, crying.

"Oh… Umm… I'm sorry."

"NOBODY PRAYS FOR ME. I ONLY GOT THREE FLOWERS! NONE OF THEM WERE ROSES!" She yelped, crying obnoxiously.

"ROSES ARE MY FAVORITE FLOWERS!"

"Oh.. I'm sorry."

"I NEED A RED ROSE! I NEED ONE… URGENTLY… I NEED ONE!"

"Alright, here then." Ashley said, handing the ghost a rose.

"Oh!" The ghost said, her facial expression lighting up with happiness.

"Thank you ever so much! Can you… um, can you please put it by my grave and pray?"

"Uh… sure…?" We said, putting the rose next to her grave. We got on our knees and began to pray.

"Oh, thank you so much!" She said, when the portal appeared.

"You're… umm… Welcome." We said, as she stepped into the portal.

"That was a good waste of time! We're never going to find Nora, we should just get home!" Ashley whined. I felt a cold hand tap my shoulder.

"Excuse me." Someone was saying. I turned around to look into the face of a ghost. I could hardly see her face, but her voice sounded angry.

"Did you just steal my red rose? That was meant for me…And you took it!"

I quickly glared at Ashley. "You took it form another grave?!"

"What?! It was just sitting there, and—"

The ghost clutched my shoulder and walked closer, shaking me. "I'm going through so much stress right now, and you guys are taking my roses! How disrespectful!"

"Mom?" Jerry asked, stepping out from behind me. The ghost released her grip on my shoulder and threw her arms around Jerry.

"That's Nora?" Ashley asked.

"Yes!" I said, getting happier.

"Good thing I stole that rose… huh?" Ashley said.

"Yes, good thing!" I said, flashing her a smile. I was finally happy that we had found Nora.

"Oh, thank you so much!" Nora said.

"Thank you." Jerry said, hugging me and Ashley. They smiled as they walked away to their own graves, to find their portal to the other world.

"So, what's your plan?" Ashley asked.

"What plan?"

"Your plan to get us home..?"

"Oh!" I said. I then sighed. "Umm… First, I was thinking we go find a ghost who is willing to help take us home."

I watched Ashley as her face turned red—then purple—then blue—then red again. She curled her fingers around her hair and looked as if she were to rip her hair out.

"STEVE!" She screamed in anger.

"YOU LIED TO ME!"

"No… I didn't lie… Now stop speaking so loud you're attracting the—"

"YOU FREAKING DIRTBAG!" She screamed.

"I'm sorry…. But stop yelling.. You're attracting ghosts!" I said, noticing the group of ghosts come at us from the distance.

"I DON'T CARE! I'M GOING TO TURN YOU INTO A GHOST RIGHT NOW!" She said, running towards me. She began to chase me, and soon enough we were both being chased by a group of ghosts yelling, "Mediums! Get them!"

"Help me!" One of the ghosts screamed.

"STOP RUNNING!"

"Wait, let's teleport!" the ghosts yelled. Soon enough, they were all in a circle, leaving us stranded in the middle.

"I told you not to yell." I told Ashley through my gritted teeth.

"Don't blame me; this is all your fault."

"Why are these ghosts surrounding us? They're acting like they're going to kill us…" I muttered.

"They probably are!"

"Hey, we're not going to kill you, we just need your help." One ghost said.

"No... I think it's better if we kill him." A lady ghosts said, stepping out, she walked towards me. She was quite young, perhaps in her 20's and had long, curly, blonde hair. Her smile was brighter than ever as she approached me.

"Don't worry, honey… Dying is not so bad… Besides, spending the rest of eternity with me will be fun."

"Andrea, shut up. He's not here for your… weird, romancy amusement." One of the ghosts said.

"Don't tell me to shut up! What do you plan on doing with them?"

"Maybe we should just let them go, jeez…"

"Yes, let us go—the seems like a good idea!" Ashley said.

"No!" The crowd said.

"We need your help!" Some yelled.

"We really can't help all of you… We're just two people.. It's late we need to get home." I said, trying to squeeze my way out of the crowd. I held Ashley's arm, not wanting to lose her again.

"What, so are you guys going out?" Andrea, the ghost with the blonde hair asked.

"No.. We're just really close friends." I replied.

"Oh, right, 'really close friends.' I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you ditched her and came with me."

"I'd rather ditch you." I said, not liking Andrea's glare towards Ashley.

"Ohhh!" The crowd of ghosts said. "Your first rejection! Do ya feel the burn?!" One of them said, rubbing it in her face.

"That's it, I want you dead." She said, walking towards me. I quickly held Ashley's arm and ran with her as the ghosts chased us. However, it was no use, each and every one of those ghosts could teleport and they could all easily kill us… There was so many of them.

"Oh my God! We're gonna die! I told you, I told you, I told you!" Ashley said, shutting her eyes, as the ghosts came nearer. She screamed a piercing scream when one of the ghosts touched her.

"We're not going to die…" I said, only half-confidentially.

"Says you! You're not always right, you know!" She said. I noticed a familiar ghost in the crowd, smiling at me.

"No, this time, I'm right." I said smiling. Nora and Jerry made their way through the crowd and quickly held both of us, teleporting us all the way back to Florida, right in front of our home.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Ashley said, wiping the tears from her eyes. She wrapped her arms around Nora, and then around Jerry.

"Thank you, so much…" I said, letting out a sigh of relief.

"Oh, it's oaky… You guys went through so much trouble trying to help us." Nora said.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go in through our portal. I saw the crowd of ghosts and wanted to see what the fuss was about… Good thing we came."

"Yeah…" I said. "Good thing."

"Well, tell Kristine I said, 'hi.' We're going to go." They said, engaging hands and disappearing.

"Well, you better get home." I told Ashley. She glared at me. "Don't talk to me. I'll yell at you tomorrow when I have the energy." She said, walking off.

"Are you alright with getting home by yourself?" I yelled after her.

"Yeah, yeah, just get home to Allyson before she goes crazy." She said.

I decided to take Ashley's advice as I quickly got my keys out to open the door to the house. Oddly enough, the lights were on and everybody was awake. I checked my watch. It was 2 a.m.

"Steve! You're alright!" Kristine said, getting up. Allyson quickly threw her arms around me, hugging me tightly. "You didn't answer any of my texts!" She said, not letting go of me.

"Yeah… Um… I was kind of in the middle of something."

"Are you alright?" Kristine asked.

"Yeah—I'm fine… We just had a hard time find the tombstone… That's all." I said, leaving out the fact that we were chased by a group of ghosts.

"Well, Steve." Robert said, walking near me. "You had me worried there."

Allyson finally let go of me.

"I never thought I'd stay up until 2 A.M worrying about you...I guess you're not as worthless to me as I thought you were." Robert said. He then smiled. "That's umm… a compliment."

"Oh!" I said, smiling as well. "Thank you."

Robert held out a hand for me to shake and once I took it, he put his other arm around me giving me a semi-family hug.

"Aw! Finally, Robert and Steve's first family hug!" Kristine said.

"Yeah it's time that we each go to sleep now." Robert said, going up the stairs to his room.

Allyson sneaked off at night to sleep next to me as usual, but this time, she was already half-asleep so we didn't talk much.

"Did you get any ghosts to help us with your mom?" She asked.

"Oh. I actually forgot all about that…"

"So, no?"

"No…"

"But it's only about a week away…"

"I know Allyson… Don't worry about it. You've worried enough for the night." I said, closing my eyes as I drifted off to sleep at last.