The swirling lightshow dimmed as the music quake quickly ceased, signaling that the illegal rave was about to shut down for the night and everyone needed to exit the warehouse as soon as possible before any authorities arrived.
Trish Carson quickly stepped in between Penny and Hannah Anders, twin sisters and her best friends in the whole wide world. She intertwined her arms around theirs and gently guided them through the exiting crowd, out into the street and the sweet smell of the late summer night.
Trish possessed the most common sense amongst the three. A self-designated Earth mama, she was well liked by her friend's parents and trusted to watch over them. So much so, that Trish was always being asked by Pen and/or Han to lie and say she would be attending some party that she really wasn't, so their parents would let them go. Tonight however, Trish was going to make sure both her friends got home safely and soundly.
"Where we jacking to next?" Hannah slurred, having smoked one too many sticks earlier.
"We ain't jackin anywhere except for home," Trish impatiently replied. As the designated driver for the evening, she kept herself from indulging in any of the refreshments offered at the rave, despite any contact high she might have had from just breathing in the weed filled air.
"Hey! You wanna fuck?!" Penny teasingly called out to some stoned stud puppy, who was weaving unsteadily down the street just ahead of them.
"Hell yeah!" the dude replied in horny anticipation, until some stick skinny Emo bunny quickly came up behind and grabbed his arm.
"Where you been, Cameron?" she drunkenly asked, "Megan and me been looking for ya all night! Let's split!"
Cameron glanced back and shrugged, as the trio disappeared into the crowd.
"It's your loss!" Penny called after, as Trish noted several other not so studley pups were now watching them intently.
"Shut up, Pen!" Trish whispered, "we're drawing way too much attention."
"That's what I live for, Babe!" she softly replied; just before she shouted, ATTENTION!"
Trish just rolled her eyes, as her friends both giggled a round of plastered laughter. She finally managed to find her car and load both girls into the back seat, whereupon the twins proceeded to hoot and holler gibberish at anyone who happened by. Trish fired up the car and carefully exited the lot, driving out onto the main street to head for the twin's home. By the time she had pulled up to the curb, the two were sound asleep; their heads resting on each others shoulders.
How sickeningly cute, Trish smiled, if I had the time, I'd take a picture for embarrassment purposes later.
Instead, she shook them awake.
"C'mon ladies. Bus stops here."
She took a hold of both and proceeded to pull them out of the backseat.
Hannah just slipped out of her grasp and fell back onto the seat, stone cold out. Penny woke up long enough to yank her arm out of Trish's grip.
"Let go. I'm trying to sleep!" she barked out, then steadied herself uneasily against the car's open rear door.
"Oh no you don't!" Trish happily scolded, "you're home and you're going in. So you and Han better get up off your asses or I'll tell your parents all that you did tonight!"
"Better not, Bitch!" Penny teasingly warned, as she groggily turned to try and awaken her sleeping sibling.
"Wake up, Slut! We're home."
"Huh?" Hannah mumbled, as Trish and Penny managed to pull her up and out.
Hannah stumbled uneasily, just as her sister grabbed a hold of her. Trish thought they both were going to trip and crack their heads open on the sidewalk, ruining her reputation for always getting them home in one piece. She stood directly behind and took their arms and helped them climb the steps up to the front entrance, where Penny fumbled in her purse for her house keys until accidentally spilling everything onto the porch. Everything except the keys.
Trish sat Hannah down on the porch swing, then placed Penny up against a pillar as she scooped up the junk, poured it back into Penny's purse, then took the key and opened the door. Being as quiet as two hammered girls could be, the twins managed to make it to the couch without breaking anything. Trish decided her job there was done and from here on out the girls were on their own.
"See you guys later," she whispered, aware that their parents were probably already awake upstairs, waiting for her to leave so they could come down and take over.
Hannah mumbled something indecipherable that Trish took as a goodbye reply, but Penny stood unwarily up, took a hold of Trish's arms and pulled her in close.
"I ever tell you how much I love you?" she managed to slurringley ask.
"All the time," Trish smiled, "so much so that people are beginning to talk."
"Let 'em!" Penny smiled, "at best they'd think we're Bi. Since I got Taylor and you got Mor…."
Penny suddenly shushed.
"I'm so sorry, Trish," she quickly added, "I'm so fuckin stupid!"
Trish nodded understandingly.
"Its alright, Pen," she softly replied, "I catch myself thinking why hasn't he texted or called. Look, you better get yourself and your sister to bed. I'll call you later, okay?"
"'Kay," Penny replied, then gave Trish a tight hug. Trish sadly smiled, then turned to let herself out. Tears were beginning to form. It had been two months since her boyfriend Morgan had promised to pick her up from her job at Spencer's in the mall.
She had waited for over an hour that night and had text him asking: Wear R U?
He had text back: Los trak. On way. 3 :)
Wot evah! :(, she had replied.
She figured he had lost track of time alright, probably while playing another round of HALO 2. However, a half hour later Morgan was still a no show. A co-worker leaving late offered Trish a ride home. She accepted and was furious with her boyfriend during the whole ride home.
Trish had gone to bed angry that night and by morning, when Morgan had still failed to call or reply, she worried what was up. She had received the bad news after she had called his home.
On the way to pick her up, Morgan was sideswiped by a semi-truck that had run a red light. He died instantly.
After the funeral and the flood of tears, Trish found herself in a daze. She felt emotionally and totally numbed out. That last text she had sent him, likely the last one he had read before he died, filled her very essence with enough guilt and regret to cover every waking hour of what remained of her young life.
Wot Evah! ?
Why couldn't she have told him she loved him that one last time?
Trish had wanted to retreat within her mind, had even considered harming herself and would of if it hadn't of been for Hannah and Penny. They had always been there for her. Mentally, even physically holding her up. Keeping her from going over the edge. Literally, they had saved her life. For that, Trish would always be grateful to those two crazy party girls and would love them forever.
However, tonight she was glad they were home safe and though the night was growing old, Trish had one more place to go. A place that neither twin was aware of. A place that just a month ago, Trish herself didn't know even existed.
She drove back down main street to the outskirts of town, then made a left and passed some abandoned warehouses, much like the one she and the twins had attended earlier at the rave. She parked amongst a dozen or so cars scattered along a darkened alleyway, then made her way across a cracked sidewalk that led to an uncelebrated entrance of a delapitated building.
She subtly knocked on a steel door, which slowly creaked opened. She smiled at a short, balding man dressed in a black suit, who recognized her and waved her on in. She paid the hundred dollar cover charge to a muscled tattooed love boy, then was escorted by a skunk haired girl, whose face was pierced with silver studs.
The girl brought Trish through another door which led into a cavernous room, where about a dozen or so other people were standing around a large sunken cylindrical dance floor. It was dark with the only light dimly coming from emergency lights subtly placed around the edges of the floor. Directly overhead, large electrical cables snaked along the ceiling forming a spider like web of large electro-magnetic coils. Several signs were strategically placed along the decaying walls.
In addition to professionally printed high voltage warning signs, there were other hand made signs with another set of rules and warnings.
ATTENDEES WILL ONLY BE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE DANCE FLOOR WHEN INSTRUCTED.
ATTENDEES WILL ONLY BE ALLOWED TO BE WITHIN THE FIELD FOR TWENTY MINUTES.
THIS CLUB IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PHYSICAL AND/OR MENTAL INJURY AT ANYTIME. ALL ATTENDEES PARTICIPATE AT THEIR OWN RISK AND ARE REQUIRED TO SIGN A WAIVER STATING SUCH BEFORE ADMITTANCE.
THE MANAGEMENT IS ALLOWED TO TERMINATE ANY SESSION AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON WITHOUT EXPECTATION OF A REFUND BY ANY ATTENDEES.
Trish then noted a sign hanging by an impromptu bar set up over in a corner.
WELCOME TO CLUB GHOSTIES
She glanced over to a large old school digital clock that hung over the back wall.
She knew the first session was about to begin and hoped that tonight would be the night. The crowd nervously strolled around the perimeter of the sunken dance floor. Trish glanced once more up at the clock.
She knew it would start any second. An announcement would precede the power up. She glanced around. She noted some new faces here tonight. Some she recognized only by appearance, not by name. She didn't know any of their names. Nor they hers. No one introduced themselves in a place like this. It was considered rude and intrusive.
Also, you didn't ask questions. Especially who they were there for because everyone here tonight was not here to meet the living. They were here to meet the dead.
Suddenly, an announcement.
"YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!"
The raspy voice echoed out of the two World War Two era loudspeakers bolted on two wooden pillars over in the corner.
"THE POWER UP IS ABOUT TO BEGIN. PLEASE REMEMBER NO ONE WILL BE PERMITTED ONTO THE DANCE FLOOR UNTIL FULL POWER IS ACHIEVED. ONCE POWER IS ACQUIRED, THE CLOCK WILL START. YOU HAVE TWENTY MINUTES WITHIN THE FIELD. NO MORE. YOU WILL THEN ROTATE OUT OF THE FIELD AND MAKE WAY FOR THE NEXT GROUP. PLEASE HAVE YOUR NUMBERS READY. THANK YOU FOR COMING TO CLUB GHOSTIES."
The announcement quickly reminded Trish to get her number. She immediately moved over to one of several booths located around the club. There she stood in a short line for a short time.
The guy in the booth she knew only as Alan. At least that was the name on his tag he wore on his ripped denim shirt. Alan's hair was sloppily greased back and a cigarette hung precariously from his puffy mouth.
"Her ya go, babe," he indifferently replied, as he handed Trish her ticket and glanced up with hollowed eyes that registered the faintest look of recognition.
"Good luck," he nodded.
"Thanks," Trish mumbled, as she stepped away and quickly glanced at her ticket.
One. Five. It read. She restrained from laughing with glee, for that meant tonight Trish was going to be in the first group that would enter the field and she would be the fifth in line to do so.
She had learned early on that it was better if you were in the first three or four groups, because the fact that the generators required so much power that black outs were not uncommon and if one occurred that would be it for the night. No refunds. No rain checks.
It was like that old saying, You'se pays your money and you'se takes your chances.
"Group one over here," a club manager ordered, as he gathered the first group to go in. Once the power hit its peak, as the announcement reminded, they would enter the field and have only twenty minutes to do whatever they were there for.
Some came for the thrill, others for curiosity. Most, like Trish, for personal reasons. They were there to contact someone. Someone close. Someone who was important in their lives. Someone gone.
Suddenly, Trish felt a rumbling that began to vibrate the entire room. She knew the generators were beginning to power up. Soon the sunken cylindrical dance floor would be bathed in an electro-magnetic field. Then she would get in line at the fifth position and group one would be allowed to enter for their twenty minutes. Any longer and their brains could be fried. Of course any length of time exposed under the high Gauss generators could be detrimental to your long or even short time health, that was why everyone signed a waiver.
THE CLUB IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PHYSICAL OR MENTAL INJURY….as the signs all around the club reminded.
But high doses of electro-magnetic energy was the only way. The only thing that seemed to attract them, that seemed to open up a gateway between the living and the dead. For those desperate for one more communication with a deceased loved one, or friend, or even an acquaintance, it was worth the risk.
This was Trish's second time. She was hoping this time would be the charm.
The first time was a flop. Nothing. She tried. She called out his name, over and over, within the field but Morgan never answered. Was nowhere to be found.
Don't be discouraged, she had been told by an older distinguished gentleman, whom she had seen in the second group the first time she had come. Outside the club, after the final power up for the night, many people felt free to talk.
It just takes time, he had comforted Trish, it took me a half dozen entries until I made contact with my late wife. Remember, there are a lot of spirits over there trying to get in contact with someone over here, so things sometimes get complicated.
That had encouraged her to keep trying. So she was back, awaiting her turn.
"Remember…" the manager instructed, "twenty minutes. Once you hear the one minute warning, you are to proceed back up the steps and out of the field. Understand?"
Everyone in Trish's group nodded, as they took up their positions. Trish noted hers were a diverse group. There was an older gentleman, who wore a golf cap and limped along with a wooden cane. A middle aged, nervous looking woman, who carried a scrapbook, possibly to go over some memories with someone dearly departed. There was also a young man, maybe Trish's age, who was cocky acting with a definite attitude.
Trish figured him for an Ecto player. Someone who came in to just meet a spirit. Maybe one of the opposite sex. Maybe not. Many claimed to get off on some type of sexual high while interacting with a ghost. Some claimed being in the magnetic fields gave them a better high than any type of drug. Either way, they paid their cover and they were there.
The vibrations intensified along with the noise. The manager glanced towards two men who stood in a balcony overlooking the entire room. They controlled the generators and would signal when it hit peak.
Trish glanced up just in time to see one of those men give a thumbs up. The field was now at its peak. The manager yelled out the final instructions, as he struggled to be heard over the decibels.
"OKAY. ONE AT A TIME. SINGLE FILE. DOWN THE STAIRS. YOU HAVE TWENTY MINUTES FROM….NOW!"
Trish slowly followed her group down the stairs and out onto the floor. As she stepped off the last step, she quickly found herself immersed within a bluish, electro-magnetic fog. The rest of her group scattered. She could hear some had already begun to call out the names of those they sought.
She slowly wandered around. The fog quickly thickened but the vibrations seemed to subside.
Suddenly, something caught her attention from the corner of her eye. She quickly turned to see a ghostly figure in the fog turn away from her and disappear. She couldn't be sure if it indeed was a ghost or one of her group mates just wandering around, lost like she was, in the fog. She decided to call out his name.
"MORGAN! MORGAN! ITS TRISH!"
But there was no answer. No feeling. No sense that he was near. She walked on. She heard someone in conversation. The fog slightly lifted long enough for her to see it was the old man with the cane, engaged in an intense conversation with someone not apparent to Trish.
"I miss you so much, Elaine," Trish heard him sadly say before he became engulfed back into the re-thickened fog.
"MORGAN!" she called once more before she felt it. That slight sensation that involuntarily made her skin crawl. She knew something was there with her.
"Morgan?" she softly asked, but there was no reply. Subtly, she caught another glance off to her side. She turned and saw a ghostly figure taking shape before her.
The fog spun like a vortex as the shape became sharper. It was a man but was it her man? Was it Morgan?
"Hello?" she tried once more, "Morgan?"
The figure approached. His clothes were filthy and his face seemingly covered in soot. On top of his head sat an old style helmet with a dim cracked light. Trish recognized it as a miner's helmet. Obviously, it wasn't her dead boyfriend.
"I ain't Morgan," the voice whispered everywhere yet nowhere, "but that don't mean we can't play."
Trish turned to quickly move away but suddenly she felt her head jerk back. The miner had grabbed a hold of her hair.
"Where ya goin, Bitch?" she heard him threateningly ask, "I ain't done with you, yet!"
"But I'm done with you, asshole!" she loudly replied, as she tired to break free of the spirit's grasp by swinging her arms around spastically but her fists just passed right through the nebulous figure that stood before her. However, it did release its grip on her hair long enough for her to turn and hastily head through the fog in a desperate search for the steps leading up and out of the dance floor.
However, Trish only managed to take a couple steps before she felt herself grabbed around the waist and this time jerked back off her feet. She fell, crashing hard onto the floor with a loud thump. Momentarily stunned, she glanced up to see the specter straddled over her with a wicked grin on its ghostly face.
"Now you just relax, darling," it said, in an eerie voice that seemed to echo off the walls, "this won't take long."
She then felt the buttons of her blouse begin to break off one at a time, guided by the invisible hands of her afterlife attacker.
"NO!" she screamed, as she now felt something grab at her jeans. She tried to flip herself over in a futile effort to get back up on her feet, only to be pushed back down by a presence that felt as if it weighed a ton.
"Let me go!" she pleaded, but she inherently knew she was in trouble. Big trouble.
"Help me!" she screamed out, hoping to God someone alive amongst the fog would hear her.
"Please someone…help me!" she yelled again, but the sounds of the electro generators drowned out her pleas.
"Hold still, Bitch!" she heard the vapor whisper in her ear, just as she felt phantom hands violently grab her legs.
"Please don't!" she begged, then heard herself call out one last time to the only person she prayed could help her. She cried out his name.
Just as she suddenly felt another presence near by, the vaporous shape of the evil miner was suddenly torn off her and tossed away. It immediately dissipated back into the bluish fog, only to be replaced by another shape that quickly materialized before her. This one stood over her and smiled a boyish smile causing Trish to smile back. For this shape was familiar and friendly. It was Morgan.
He faded in and out of focus but Trish could clearly see his handsome face. She quickly broke down in tears.
"Oh my God!" she managed to say between the sobs, "You're here! You're really here! Listen babe, I don't have much time. I've got to tell you. I'm so sorry for what I text you that night. What I should've said was that I loved you!"
"I loved you, too" he replied. Trish could hear his words but his lips did not move.
"There's so much more I have to tell you…I need to tell you!" she desperately replied.
"Sweetie, you can't tell me anything that I don't already know," Morgan noted, "but this place is too dangerous, as you've just found out. There are good spirits here but too many are evil, so promise me you won't ever come back here again. You have to learn to move on with your life."
"I..I can't," Trish sadly replied.
"Yes, you can and you must," Morgan sternly said, "what happened to me was just meant to be."
"Why did it have to happen at all?" Trish sadly wondered.
"I don't know," Morgan answered, "no one does. It just was. Maybe the answers will become clear to us one day but not now."
"But I need you," Trish softly said, "I need your love."
She got up off the floor and reached out in an attempt to take him into her arms and hug him for dear life, only to find herself grasping at air.
"You have my love," Morgan replied, "you always did. You always will. As long as you remember what we had together, we will always be together."
Trish could only stand there, as the tears continued to cascade down her cheeks. Suddenly, a loud alarm pierced the air followed by another announcement.
"YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE UNTIL SHUTDOWN! REPEAT! ONE MINUTE TO SHUTDOWN!"
The twenty minutes was about up. Trish began to feel the vibrational hum of the electro-magnetic generators begin to power down.
"I ask you again, babe," Morgan uttered, "please don't return."
The bluish electric fog had begun to lift, just as Trish noted Morgan had also begun to fade.
"But I have to see you again," she cried.
"And you will….. someday" Morgan's voice trailed off , "but not in this lifetime. Goodbye, Trish. Live a good and happy life and always remember that I loved you."
Trish quickly stepped forward in one last attempt to have some form of physical contact but it was too late. Morgan was gone. Vanished, as the fog lifted and the club's lights flashed on.
"PLEASE EXIT THE FLOOR TO MAKE WAY FOR THE NEXT GROUP. CLUB GHOSTIES THANKS YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE."
Trish glanced around to see the other people slowly make their way up the stairs. Some had ecstatic looks upon their faces. Some appeared sad. Some, like herself, still had tears in their eyes. Each had apparently found, for good or for bad, what they had come for. She slowly followed the group up the steps and was the last one out of the dance pit.
She was still dazed. It would take some time for her to process all that had happened tonight. She still had regrets. Regrets about how she had acted that night when Morgan had died, but she had no regrets for coming here. She was relieved that Morgan had understood. He knew she was sorry and did love him and would always be with her in memory and in spirit.
As she wiped away the tears, she headed for the club exit. Along the way, she passed the ticket booth. Alan was still in there smoking a cigarette. He nodded to her as she passed by.
"See you next week?" he asked.
"No," she answered, as she forced a friendly smile, "I won't be back."
Alan looked surprised, "why not?"
Trish didn't reply however, as she exited into the sweet, summer smell of the late, late night.