I: The Party

James was never the one really to believe in these kinds of things. He was always the kind of man that just liked to play football, or hang around with his friends after school, messing up the already broken furniture in the abandoned houses around town, things of that sort. They'd normally start small fires and camp inside for what seemed like hours until they had their mothers calling them hundreds of times, yelling at us over the phone to go back home. Of course, getting in trouble was worth it after all. These were the type of shenanigans that excited him. It was always worth it. But on that very night, everything that he was about to discover would lead him down a path that James wish he had avoided at all cost.

It was around the end of summer when James was invited over to a party that a buddy of his, who went by the name of Fisher Smith, was having for the beginning of the school year. It was a tradition that his family had done with all of Fisher's siblings before they graduated college, and now it was Fisher's turn. Fisher's parents would go on their usual "End of Summer Vacation Extravaganza" and leave their son unattended at home for an unsupervised get-together. Though they were the thrill seekers at times, their get-togethers normally involved a lot of video games, chatting around Fisher's back yard, and drinking. Their plan tonight was to spend time around the fire and talk over a couple of beers. They planned to have a small barbecue and just enjoy ourselves. The guys didn't want anything too intense towards the end of the summer. It was more of a wind-down time for them before the "drastic ritualistic lectures of their senior year were to start".

James had driven out to Fisher's home in Evangelin Heights that night. It was one of those fancy parts of town that you normally wouldn't go to unless you had some sort of business to attend to. James went alone, and hoped to meet everyone else there. It must've been around seven o' clock P.M. when he arrived to Fisher's home and the place looked deserted, all for Fisher's mother's red Pontiac in the driveway.

James had shot Fisher text message to let him know that he was here. Minutes went by and no answer from Fisher. He didn't respond after his usual five, nor did he respond after ten. James began to get puzzled over this and decided to go knock on the door. Maybe Fisher was in the shower or attending the fire in the backyard as the tower of smoke rose over the back of Fisher's modern home. James took a deep breath and inhaled the sweet, smoky flavor of charring mesquite. Tonight was going to be a good night, James knew this for sure.

James undid his seat belt as he turned to find a large ragged torn up face. The eyes popped out of its skull like clay popped out from in between your fingers as your squeezed it in your fist. Its teeth grinned at him in a sharp vicious manner. James swore he felt his hairs stand on end when he saw that horrid thing. That was until he realized that it was just a mask. James…was staring at a rubber mask. James was startled almost bewildered by its realism. The top of his head had begun to throb. Come to find out later, thanks to the witty remarks of Fisher, James found that he had jumped and hit his head on the roof.

James signed in relief as he realized that Fisher was the one behind the mask. It was gruesome, to say the least, but thank God that it's fake, James thought to himself.

His fear was accompanied by the laughter of none other than Fisher Smith. You could hear the barking laughter through the glass of the window. That dude has the loudest laugh I've ever heard. "Jesus Christ, man, you nearly gave me a heart attack!" James shouted at Fisher as he stepped out of the car.

"I'm sorry, James, but you should've seen the look on your face. It was priceless!" Fisher pulled off the rubber mask as tossed it to James before saying. "Don't be such a sour-patch kiddie; you'll ruin the party."

James caught the mask out of the air and examined it. It's rubber, but it feels real… a little too real. James thought to himself. It was a rather convincing piece, James had to admit, but if there's one thing that he would never get over was those pitch black, deep eyes. They were so life like. The eyes were like an abyss that spiraled into infinity, like a black hole. "Yeah, yeah, I'll keep my cool next time," James promised sarcastically.

Fisher shook James' hand before they started walking up to his squared, modern home. It looked like a piece of modern art, if James was being completely honest, though he wasn't sure if that would be a good thing or not. Fisher knew that, too. Fisher was the kind of guy who would comb his light brown hair back and poke fun at his parent's riches.

"A fine piece of art, if I do say so myself, chaps," Fisher would go about in his best British Explorer impersonation. "I will now dub this fine establishment of an art statement, Mystery!" This joke would send them flying into a rage of laughter and tears.

It was amusing to say the least, because James knew that Fisher was poking fun at modern artists, and modern art collectors, by their overly-vague and lame concept of composition. James assumed that it had something to do with "contrarianism", a concept that he had learned during his time with the self-proclaimed philosopher of a teacher, Mr. Buttons, at Bleak Park High.

Why would you splash paint on the wall, and make up some deep "back story", claim that it represented the deep internal structures of the human mind, then assume the random splashes of color represented the catharsis of human emotion, James questioned as the stocky, balding art-appreciation teacher would go on as he quoted to the class his 100 page thesis, lamely titled: "Louez L'artiste (James would pronounce those words in the most nosily French accent he could make while clasping his nose): The Modern Interpretations of Classical Art and Literature". (James would pronounces these last words as some fancy higher class jack-off).

"There is revolutionary work in this!" Mr. Button would exclaimed, ecstatically, holding up the unpublished manuscript in his hand, as a preacher holds a bible.

If James were being completely honest, the assignments that Mr. Button would hand-out during class, filled with all of the works of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, and Joan Miro, always looked like splatters of paint on walls. He could honestly say that these modern "abstract" artists were full of shit. And don't even get me started on "Black Square" by Kazimir Malevich. It's just a fucking square! James sneered to himself.

Fisher and James had walked through the large doors and through the hallway before entering the backyard. "Well, where is she?" Fisher asked.

"Who," James questioned, almost taken aback by the question.

"Your lady, bro," Fisher placed his hand's on James' shoulder, shaking him a bit. "Don't you tell me that you've already got yourself another replacement?" Fisher grinned devilishly.

"Oh, Amanda," The realization hit James almost like a car. Amanda was James' girlfriend since high school. They've been through everything together. When the world got tough on James, Amanda was there for me through it all, making sure that he had the support he needed. She was a sweetheart, to say the least, quite the looker too, as James had bragged about to his classmates on the Monday's Anatomy 101, for non-science majors, class.

"Yeah, bro, was she down to come and hang with us?"

"Well, yeah, man. She said she was getting ready, and then she was going to pick up one of her friends or something." James responded, remembering Amanda's long silky black hair, and her dark, black eyes, so black they were almost purple, like a deep, red wine.

"Oh, nice," Fisher said picking up a couple of beers from the cooler. "Who's she bringing along?" Fisher handed James a cold beer from the ice-chest. Blue Silk this time, James noticed.

James couldn't be sure if he was being honest, but recently, Amanda had been hanging out with one of her school friends, Carry. Amanda had said that Carry was very distant girl for the most part. Something about the man she fell in love with went on some sort of horrific killing spree after the murder of his mother. James didn't blame the guy, and he didn't really blame Carry for being distant either. Leave it to my Amanda going about helping her, trying to make her feel welcome and loved, James made a mental note. He smiled at the thought. It was small smile of appreciation for Amanda.

James took a sip from his beer. "Not sure, bro'. Probably her new friend Carry. She's been down in the gutter for a while, and my best guess is that Amanda will probably bring her around." James sipped again.

"Oh, nice." That was the last Fisher said to me before his attention was drawn to the edge of the patio where William, and his girlfriend, Maria, were calling out to us.

"Hey, James, how ya doing!" Antonio Guzman called out.

"Hey, James," Maria called out too, taking a long sip of her beer after raising it over her head. Antonio held her tightly and went in for a full kiss. Figures; those two were inseparable.

James was watching Fisher greet William Peterson when suddenly his vision began to turn a deep black with stripes of light. That was when he realized that they were hands around my eyes. "Guess who?" a soft, smooth voice spoke.

"Uh…Oprah," James replied.

"No, it's me, you idiot," the voice laughed. James turned to find the voice's owner. It was none other than his Amanda. Her eyes met James, they were almost electrical.

"Oh, hey, you," James held her and went in for a big kiss. Their lips met, their stomachs immediately filled with the clenches of young love, almost as if someone had lit fireworks deep within my belly. "Yup, still fire," James joked.

"You sure you were thinking about me, and not Oprah," Amanda japed at him, holding on closely.

"Of course, of course," James responded. "Who could replace you?" That was when he noticed a small petite girl with long red straight hair behind her. She was a curious little thing, pale, really, like a ghost, her skin almost a thin silver. The bags under her eyes looked as if she hadn't been slept well in ages. "Oh, you must be Carry. Amanda's told me so much about you." James reached out and shook her hand.

"Pleasure," she responded softly, like a mouse. Hmmm, James thought. I hoped she'd be a little more cheerful, but oh well, this smile of mine can't win them over all the time.

"So where you from Carry?" James asked her.

She gripped her beer in her both hands, as if to keep it from fall out of her small frail hands. "Angel City."

"Wow! City girl, huh? How's Bleak Park treating you?"

"Well," she responded, almost empty. Her eyes looked right, left, and then down, and stayed down. A veil of shame drew itself over her face, Carry's eyes covered by the bangs of her auburn, red hair.

She is grieving, he realized. Not wanting to make her feel any more uncomfortable than she already did, James quickly changed the subject. "Well, if there's anything Amanda and I can do to help, feel free to let us know," he smiled warmly at her. Carry let a small, timid smile show before she walked off to sit herself by the park table.

Such an old thing, that park table was. Fisher and James had help Fisher's father one summer to build it. The whole process took us about a week, from designing to constructing "the damn miserable thing", as Fisher's father had said so famously.

"By the time we finish this, you'll be old men and I'd be dust in the wind," Carl began, as bent over in front of table to mark some sections to be cut on the long planks of wood. He was a big man with a thick beard with a jolly complexion to him and was always in reach of a bag of sunflower seeds. He had a thick black beard and striking blue eyes. If there was one thing that Carl Smith took fancy to, it was making random obscene references to songs and old pop culture that James and Fisher never seemed to understand.

"Dust in the wind," James asked as he finished sanding the table, the an orbital sander screeching to a halt.

"Yeah, and because of that, I closed my eyes only for a moment, and now the moment's gone," Carl Smith went on. It made no sense to James, and as he caught Fisher rolling his eyes, it was obviously Fisher wanted to bash his head in at the lame Kansas reference his father made.

Amanda sat herself on the opposite side of Carry. James walked up next to Fisher and waited for the rest of the people to start their routines. Fisher would start up the barbecue pit soon enough, with some of that famous mesquite tree from deep south Texas. "Forty bucks a pound, but worth every penny," Fisher would boast, as the flames would come up from the small cup of burning lighter fluid at the bottom of logs. William would take the liberty to start setting up a small bonfire in the hole that was dug towards the end of the property.

Tonight wouldn't be any different from any of their other, but there was a strange sensation about tonight. There was a strange sense of forbidding if James were to sit down and think about it. The small, winding wind whisped through the air, as the dead, auburn leaves of the premature autumn danced gracefully through along the floor. The sky above was a dull, gray as the pinks, reds, and oranges were sucked out by the rotation of the Earth. The clouds hung over, lingering, stalking Fisher and James as they made their way around the party area, then back to the barbecue pit. The modern homes that surrounded Fisher's own, were dark and empty, as if no one had been in there for years. James knew that that wasn't true, but as he arrived at the barbecue pit and glanced up into the dark, voids of windows, James couldn't help, but feel eyes peering down at him…those dark eyes…

II: The Drinking and Howling Shriek

The party had just began to pick up when the winds began to pick up. The music was blasting the latest hits on the radio and the dancing was just underway. James helped man the barbecue pit with Fisher as William and Maria entertained the rest of them. Carry and Amanda were off under the umbrella table chatting it up and Antonio was trying to see how far he can score a bull's eye at darts.

"I don't know, man," James responded to Fisher's question. "Life's good, and I really like the way every thing's coming along." Fisher had asked James why he, James, hadn't popped the question with Amanda yet. It was a simple thing, James had assumed, but James honestly wasn't sure why he hadn't done so. Everything was going well. James guessed he could say that he was waiting for the right moment, but he knew that that was a lie.

"Well, if every thing's coming along well, man, then you should totally pop the question," Fisher drank from his beer. "I'll totally help you set it up. It'll be awesome." Leave it to Fisher to want to make something totally big out of it. Then again, it was going to be the single biggest day of his life….and his wallet, if his inner cynic was allowed to have a say in the matter. James wasn't quite sure about marriage, if his honestly were to breath out of subconscious. Frankly, he always found himself paranoid about his wife going crazy over the course of several years, and either kill him for his life insurance, or call for a divorce and take have of his things and then stay on the Fisher's couch for the rest of his miserable life. Of course, some of that was just sheer fear of commitment, but, nevertheless, there was some truth it, James found, but truth be told, he could never see his beloved Amanda be so horrid.

Amanda was what every man could have asked for in a woman. She was a gorgeous individual with long, waving hair that flowed down right beneath her shoulder blades and shined its natural charcoal, black pigment, so black it was almost purple. Her pale skin was smooth and soft to the touch, like silk or water. Amanda had this electrifying stare that would simply paralyze you with her stunning bright, emerald green eyes. They were like actual stones, freshly carved, and polished, ready to be placed on the a ring of translucent silver. When you'd hear her speak, she was a poet without the need of rhyme…

"Hey, James," Fisher had interrupted his thoughts about his precious Amanda.

Dear Lord, what does this guy want, James pondered to himself. "Wha-what?"

"What type of seasoning do you want for the ribs?" Fisher asked as he undid the sticker off thick, white butcher paper and packaged ribs out. The mesquite had just began glowing its dim, orange, red flames, and smoked a soft white mist form the bottom red coals. It was the aroma that found its way over to James, massaging his nose with wonderful memories of childhood barbecues.

James couldn't help, but chuckle to himself a little. How could be possibly be annoyed with his best friend? His fantasizing can wait. "Just the basic dry rub, you don't need anything fancy for the ribs," James called back to Fisher.

Fisher smiled back at James. "Aye, like a true man of the south," Fisher responded in a thicker southern accent.

James laughed and walked towards his best friend from the table where he'd been prepping the night's chicken. "Boy, if I didn't know you better, I'd say, you were accusing me of not being from the south!" James' accent grew thicker as he approached Fisher. "Are you accusing me of being a yank!?"

"Well, now, good sir, I would never do as much as be disrespectful to a fellow, welcome guest here at the Smith Manor off in Evangelin Heights," Fisher held up the large, wood handled spatula up to his chest to show that he was sincere. "Why would I ever treat a single with such disgusting behavior, sir."

James could barely contain his laughter. He burst into a loud giggle, the couple of beers that he had had were working their charms, and slapped Fisher on the back. "God damn, man, you know how to give a person a good laugh!"

"Why, thank you kindly, good sir!" Fisher replied, his voice now taking the dialect of the bayous of Louisiana, the accent filled with the hospitality of a southern gentlemen awaiting a crocodile in the water. "I'm glad that I can provide with the gift of laughter, sir, but I must informing you that comedic principles have neva been my strong suite, sir."

"Well, you know how to treat a man from Texas with the proper courtesy and welcome he deserve, Master Smith." James' accent Texan accent was failing under the laughter that was trying to burst from his mind.

"What in tarnation are you handsome gentlemen going on about ova here!?" Amanda joined, walking in from the rest of the group, accompanied by Carry, the lonely, redhead from Angel City. "If I wasn't sure of it, I'd say you boys were actually enjoying yourselves!" Amanda's accent began thicker and thicker as each syllable pasted.

"Oh, no, well if it isn't my soon to be wife!? Quickly, Master Fisher, save yourself!" James announced to the sky. The back of his hand shot of and placed itself on his forehead. If one didn't know any better, they'd say that James was filled with the dramatization of a bad Shakespeare stage-play. "Run, dear friend of mind, before the mistress of the night snares you too, for she brought a friend of her own!" James looked quickly at Carry, and gave her a small wink.

Carry, unsure what to do in the situation, merely blushed and drew back a couple of steps with her beer in hand.

"Oh, woe is me, the man who must return to his fellow woman, the barbecue of Smith, a man that was once of great service to the land of Bleak Park High!" Fisher contained, the rest of the group watching with grins draw across their faces. "I will heed your warning, Master Ransom! To the depths, I go back, where the fiery flames of hell await me, and the love of a mistress ensnares me so!" Fisher made a small gun with his hand and moved it to the side of his temple. "Farewell, mistress of the night, and friend, for I will escape yee of thy temptations." And with that Fisher fell back unto the thick, green grass of his parents' lawn, the crackling of laughter filling the backyard

Amanda could barely container herself, and nearly spit out her beer. She reached up and grabbed James' shirt, and laughed into his shoulder. "Oh, god!"

James turned to Carry, who had a small timid smile across her, her eyebrows still sad, but better than earlier. James smiled to. 'Tonight was going to be a wonderful night,' is what James would of thought to himself if it wasn't for one thing that interrupted his thoughts…The scream that came from next door…

It was a blood, gurgling scream that pierced the night, like a knife puncturing its way through its victim's belly. A woman's high pitched scream that signals the distress of a fallen child, the cry for help, the shout for salvation. That was what kept James from thinking that this would be a good night.

The group of friends stood there in silence as the scream faded into obscurity. "What the fuck was that!?" Amanda managed to let out, her voice in its normal accent, the stutters becoming apparent now. She clung unto James.

The rest of the group joined them around the barbecue pit. Then that's when there was the breaking of glass and the sound of running footsteps fading into the distance.

"Mrs. Madison!" Fisher said to himself, he ran inside. "Call the police!"

And like that the group knew what had happened. Someone had been attacked!

William immediate pulled out his phone and began dialing. "Hello, 911? Yes, get me the police," he said.

And just like that, the night had been ruined, or so James had come to believe. As they stood out in the front of Fisher's home, watching as the lovely, Mrs. Madison was laid out on a stretcher, her curly, bouncing red curly, now a rust color with the stain of blood, and taken to Bleak Park Hospital, the cries of the siren echoing throughout the night, and the blue and red lights dancing on the faces of James' friend and the neighbors. How does something like this happen? James wondered to himself. Of all the places, I never thought that Evangelin Heights would experience such tragedies. I expected that from home, but not here…

Fisher had been talking to the police about what had happened, his 9mm pistol holstered on his left side. "Yes, detective, I'll pull the footage from the tapes to see if I find anything strange. Will you be needing a copy?"

"That would be helpful, Fisher," Detective Paragon responded. "That would be helpful. Anyway, we're done here for the mean time, you and you friend's stay inside and be careful. That sicko might still be around here somewhere." Detective Paragon's mustache ruffled. "I'll be in contact tomorrow."

When they all returned, they all sat around the small barbecue pit, you know, the one that people sit around that's surrounded by stone that suppose to bring good times? Yeah, that wasn't the case this night. James sat there watching the ribs char, and sizzle with Amanda leaning against his shoulder, Carry to his right, and Fisher in front, attending to the ribs. Maria and Antonio kept each other company watching the meat be cooked as well. William just sat there drinking his beer, muttering under his breath.

"The sick bastard," Fisher muttered under his breath.

"You said it," William drank. "I hope he gets what's coming to him."

"What exactly happened," Maria asked.

"From what I picked up," Fisher began. "Some scum broke into poor, Mrs. Madison's home to try and steal the car. When Mrs. Madison didn't comply, he attacked her with knife. Nearly missed her stomach from what the EMT's are saying, at least it didn't hit anything vital."

"That's so sickening," Amanda shivered. "How could people so cruel?"

"You'd be surprised how people can act under desperate situations," James informed her. "I just wish that it didn't have to come to things like that.

"You know, guys, I'm not going to lie to you," Antonio began. "That scream…freaked me out."

"Yeah, same here," Maria added.

"It reminded me of when I was a child and my mom would tell me the story of the Lady of Wight."

Amanda cocked her head up. "The what?"

"The Lady of Wight?" Antonio replied. He's eyebrows were frowning and his eye filled with worry. "She's a being like no other."

"You mean like ghost?" Carry finally spoke up, her voice a small timid squeak that only a mouse would be able to hear.

"Yes, doll, like a ghost, but worse," Antonio began his story.

You see, about two years ago, I had gotten accepted into South Texas College along the border, one of my assignments was to travel into Mexico to study the local culture and write a paper on the diversities of border. It was an assignment that our professor claimed that it was suppose to make us more opened-minded on the concept of race, but I found it hypocritical when he'd accuse every white person in the world of being racist bigots seeking out to enslave all of humanity, and when we'd retort his claims with logical reasoning, the man (or so I think it was a was a man) would claim that we were brainwashed by the system. Needless to say, I dropped his class and filed a complaint against him.

Anyway, enough side tracking, even though I dropped the class, that trip stuck with me. I remember crossing the US-Mexican border and heading deep into the small village like town. It was a small town that went by the name of Camargo, little run down place, but the people were nice and the food was good so it was a pleasant stay. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by the same damn scream that Ms. Madison let out just a few moments ago.

I was sitting the small cottage hotel room when it came to me in the night. I had been working on my notes of a local restaurant and observing how it had similar characteristics to standard Tex-Mex food when it made me jump out of my chair. I nearly fell to the floor.

I ran out into the hallway, shirtless and in my pajamas. "What the hell was that!?" I shouted to the people just down the hallway in Spanish.

"The hell if I know," Carlos responded. "Let's go check it out!"

We all ran down outside, all six of us, four of of classmates, and the other two locals, but what struck me odd was no one else was outside, just us, in the middle of the night. We all stood there surrounded in darkness, only to be veiled by the light of the white moon. Though the night was young and the clouds hovered overhead, not one person from the small village was there, all but one.

In the middle of the town shopping district, just 50 feet from where we all stood, was a dark lump on the floor. When I realized what it was, I felt my stomach churn and my blood ran cold down my spine.

"What is that?" a small girl named Christina asked, her voice a frightened mess.

"I, uh, d-don't know," Carlos replied. "Tony?"

I merely looked at the body, my eyes wide as doors. I did the only thing that a man could do in this situation…I walked towards the black mass. When I reached it, it was obvious by its posture what it was, a body. It was turned over facing away from us, its arms clenching its face, as if though it were trying to shield it's eyes from something.

When the others finally got around me, and saw the body, two people laughed, Christina cried, the rest were silent, then that's when I realized that Bible verse from attending the sermon the previous Sunday, Isaiah 25:8: "He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all the tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord…has spoken…" Only in this light, you get a darker sense behind that verse. "Dear god," I muttered to myself. "What the hell happened here?"

One of the locals came up closer to look, his eyes widened with revelation. "I know who did this…"

"Who," Christina responded. "Who the hell sucks a man dry like that!? Cartel?!"

"No, senorita," he responded. "Someone much worse."

"What do you mean far worse?" Carlos asked. He sounded frustrated and was fixing on getting angry.

"Senor, I have seen this work before. This is the work of no man. This is the work of the Lady of Wight. Since we have found one of her victims, for all we know she might still be around."

"What?!" William interrupted. "Tony, you can possibly believe that crap can you?"

"I can, Will," Antonio responded, his arms cross in front of his chest. "And I do. Please, let me finish."

III: The Lady of Wight

The man continued to tell us his tale. He informed us that if we found one of the victims of the Lady of Wight that she would come for us, if we do not leave the area immediately, we will be next on its list. Carlos kept on inciting that we should find the person responsible for this. Carlos didn't take it kindly to being told what to do by someone that he didn't know, but needless to say, we all gathered left the body there, and locked our doors.

Now, I'm not one to believe any of those sorts of things, and I honestly thought that someone was pulling a sick joke on us at first, but the smell, only if you can smell it would you understand that this was something much more serious.

The local man told us all to lock our doors and place salt along the edge of the windows and bottom of the doors to keep it from getting in. I didn't think it would work as much as the other person, but something in the way the Jesus, the local man, looked at me holding the small container of salt, that made me do it anyway. He was sincere from what I can tell.

We kept insisting for him to call the police and let them know what's going on, but he kept refusing. Carlos had gotten upset and slammed the door of his hotel room. Jesus looked us and said. "Alright, I'll give them a call, but I don't think it'll do any good, by morning, everything will be back to normal."

It must've been at least several hours later, at least 3 in the morning I had woken up to go to the bathroom and I heard it. I heard a small, reverbed humming. Those notes…only if you could hear those notes, how sad and lifeless they were. It was only 9 notes, but the way they kept repeating and repeating themselves, it would drive a man made. I ran into my room and opened the window, to tell whoever was making that noise to shut it down, and what I saw below there, made me change the way that I saw everything.

Antonio looked down, clinging unto his cross that slung around his neck. The Rosary beads gleamed in the dancing flames of the barbecue pit. Maria was stroking his back and looking at him sympathetically. The others just watched. They all watched and waited for Tony to continue his story. He continued.

What I saw that night was something unnatural, my friends. I thought that it must've been some sort of prank, or sick joke that someone had been playing, but I know what I saw. Down there was a small girl, her skin of pale white, and her dress of white. She danced in the town square, humming away those 9 notes that some how echoed throughout the night. How was it even possible to project such a small sound? That was what I wanted to know. And what was even more curious is that as she danced around, she was almost…hollow, I think is the best way to describe her, I don't know, but I know what I fucking saw. I saw the carts of fruit and the stones behind that girl, but her figure was as solid as rock!

I just stood there agape, totally dumbstruck by what I saw seeing. Then that's when I realized that she was dancing, over the dead body that we had just found. She was prancing away as if she had no knowledge of the dead body, or worse, she was…proudly dancing around it. Yes, those weren't movements of ignorance, but movements of pride!

When I realized this, was when she stopped dead in her tracks. Her long flowing black hair went from gently dancing in the wind to falling over her shoulders and covering her chest. My eyes widened when she looked up, and then to the left…right towards me. She…the girl…had no eyes. She had no fucking eyes! And the little bitch could do was smile at me, and wave, as if nothing was wrong. "Hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmmmmmmm," she hummed again, before it suddenly went complete silent. She just looked at me now, smiling.

What are you doing? I thought to myself, then I heard it…

Nothing, my friend, just learning your name. Do you want to play, Tony?

My blood ran cold and I fell backwards, the loud shrieking laughter penetrating my ears, as I tumbled over my suitcase and clothes. I quickly got up and ran towards the window, and looked out. There was nothing, the dead body was gone, and the little silver girl was gone too. The sound had returned.

"I didn't sleep much the rest of the night," Tony continued, after a drag on his cigarette. "I didn't see Carlos after that either. They would nothing but his suite case and cell phone in his room. Some say that she got him, and other say that he had gotten away and made it back to the US." Tony put his arm around Maria so she could rest her head on his chest.

She was quiet through the whole story, she didn't speak once. Does she know something? James thought to himself.

"And what do you think?" Amanda asked.

"I think that it's a load of bullshit," William said, he was obvious infuriated. "You can't tell me that you actually believe all of this crap, Tony?" William repeated.

"Yes, I do, unfortunately. That scream was not something that you hear everyday," Tony took another drag.

William just looked at him. "Fisher, James, you guys can't buy this crap, can you? Little girls with the ability to suck the blood out of men?"

Fisher had been quiet too, but finally spoke. "I believe him, Will. I was examining him all throughout his story. He's telling truth." Fisher was a trained profiler, and could easier spot a liar from ten miles away. James noticed that Fisher had his "exam" face on. It was a stern look where they eyes are focused and piercing. "Are you sure about what you saw?"

"Fisher, if I wasn't sure, I wouldn't be telling you all," Tony responded, after he had released his third drag on his cigarette. Sweat had been spotting on his forehead, and now it appeared to be flowing.

"Ok," and with that Fisher didn't question anymore. "I believe him."

"I believe him too, Will," James responded. "I don't doubt what he said at all." James was confident in his response. Now, he wasn't as close as he'd like to be with Tony, but if there was thing that James knew was that Tony takes time to properly think things through before speaking, and James had no reason to believe that Tony had been lying about something like. It was strange, James agreed, but not everyone just brings up something like that.

James felt Amanda shivered against his side. "That's some creepy stuff." Amanda pulled her hair back into a ponytail, tying off with one of the hair ties on her wrist. "Did you ever hear from Carlos?"

"No," Tony added. "Unfortunately, we couldn't find him, and we were running out of money to keep on searching. We searched around for 2 weeks, but there was nothing. We reported it to the local police and everything, but nothing came out."

"That's horrible," Carry replied, a little more emotion in her voice this time. This time, there was a sense of concern. She rubbed her wrist, her nervousness now apparent to James.

I wonder what she's thinking about. I hope that it isn't something too bad. James thought to himself, and how wrong he was about that assumption, how wrong he was, indeed.

Carry had had a very interesting past, but that isn't my place to discuss, dear reader, out of respect for Carry. Please understand that she's been through a lot, and has seen a lot. All I am entitled to say is that it has to deal with an old friend of hers, one that she held very dear.

As the group watched the flames of the fire dance across them, they all were silent for the next few minutes, pondering, recalling. Of course, they were supposed to be celebrating for another year well done, but there was something about the whole situation they were in. The cold, scream that Ms. Madison from next door let out was an absolutely frightening one, James concluded. What a way to ruin a night that was supposed to be filled with laughs.

"Well, I'm hungry," Fisher announced as he clapped his hands on his lap. "I'm gonna check on the ribs." He stood up, his holstered gun still by his side. That thing always made James feel uncomfortable, but there was a time or two that it came in handy and possibly saved James' and Fisher's life.

Hell, James remembered a time when he and Fisher were just young kids messing around in Dawson's Creek, and tossing stones into the water, making out with random girls that they'd pick up at the local dinner. Those were the days. James smiled to himself. He'd been finding himself thinking about the past for the last few weeks, not sure why. There were times that James and Amanda would just be sitting outside on his parents' home on the porch and talk about memories that they had at Bleak Park High and what their childhood shenanigans were. Yes, those were the good ol' days, as James would've put it, and what days they were.

They were having a good time when a couple of rough folks came out from the bushes towards their small campfire. It was Carl Dean, and his group of bandits, as they self-proclaimed themselves to be. James and Fisher had been with Amy Marquez, one of the local metal head girls, and Stephanie Salinas talking up a storm, laughing it up when they emerged.

"Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in," Carl Dean proclaimed, startling the small party. Him and his buddies, Butch, Chuck, and Gregory approached them slowly and carefully. "Oh, a party, mind if we join ya, gentlemen and ladies." Carl's voice was thick accent from what James could decipher as from northern New York, maybe even main. The tone was sarcastic and rough.

This was when Stephanie Salinas stood up and said. "Carl, what are you doing here?"

"Heard from your little friend's over at Martin Lane that you'd be here with these pieces of shit. What do you think you're doing with these two low lives?"

Low lives, huh? James cocky younger self thought.

Fisher stood up immediately. "Look, Carl, we ain't want no trouble here. We're all out here to have a good time, so please, I'd appreciate it if you and your friends head out back the way you came from."

"Now, I don't remember asking you to open your mouth, Smith. I'm here to pick up my girl and when I do get her to come home with me, then I'll be heading out and leaving you and your filth here in this swamp." Carl's tongue was sharp, but not sharp enough to dull Fisher's confidence.

"Carl, I don't want to go with you, and I'll never go home with you. This isn't some lame freshmen game anymore. We're adults now, and I don't want go home with you." Stephanie insisted, her long blond hair whipping in the wind.

Amy Marquez stayed silent the situation began to unfold itself. If James didn't know any better, he'd claim that she was apathetic towards the whole situation since Amy was always on some sort of narcotic. One time, according to rumors, it could be Xanax, others it could be something…harder, but James' assumption was further from the truth. The truth was that Amy was actually terrified. She shivered violently and as the sweat ran down her spine, gooseflesh burst in a wave of cold anxiety all over her body, so much so she could feel the freshly shaved hairs on her legs begin to poke through her leggings under her skirt. If the situation continued, it was only a matter of time before her bladder gave out completely.

Fisher stood straight and kept eye contact with Carl. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to please leave. You heard the lady, she doesn't want to go home with you."

This was when Carl pulled out a switch blade and held it to his side, the point aiming towards the ground. "I said that I ain't leaving until I have her heading home with me!" Carl's tone of voice was a mixture of hurt, and frustration, so much so that it cracked at the end.

James assumed that he didn't take rejection so well and took these sorts of situations very serious. Of course, he took them seriously. James thought to himself, his fingers clutching the sleeves of his jeans. The dude's got a fucking knife in his hand! James watched carefully, and that's when he noticed that was when James noticed a bump along Fisher's hip. What is that?

Carl began to draw closer. Honestly, one could compare him to a ravenous dog, with his mouth foam at the edges, and the glazed look in those steel grey eyes. The way his messy, greasy hair was dressed gave a very roughed up stray dog. Just when things couldn't get worse, Carl's friends began walking towards as well, Butch pulling out a broken bat form under his leather jacket and Chuck and Gregory, pulling out chains.

James jumped to his feet, grabbing whatever he could that was paying next to him. When he wished for the hot frying pan, he received a sad reality check, and received a small gardening shovel that they used to adjust the coals of the campfire. "Why does the universe mock me?" James whispered to himself.

Character Development, my dude.

As James was contemplating his destiny, Fisher had already adjusted his stance to a more sturdy one. He watched closely as Carl Dean and his gang of misfits head towards them menacingly. Stephanie was beginning to act frantic, almost begging for them to stop. Amy had been shivering so much, contemplating her death, and feeling the warmth of her urine sliding down her leg.

"ARE YOU READY TO DIE, FUCKER," Carl shouted as he burst into a run towards Fisher, but Fisher was ready.

Fisher immediately reached down towards his hip and produced a pistol, the very pistol that he still carries to this day. It was a black Colt 1911 chambered for 9mm. It's metallic gleam dancing with the rhythm of the crackling fire. Faster than lightning, Fisher had the gun up and read, the click of the safety, echoing beyond the tree and into the forest, and when that click's cry reached the ears of Carl and his gang was when they realized that they were the ones that weren't in control of the situation.

Carl immediately fell back over on his haunches, and stared, mouth agape, at Fisher. Fisher had taken the liberty of following Carl with the barrel of the 1911, his eyes fixed heavily on Carl. "WAIT, NO STOP!" Carl cried, a dark spot now visible around his crotch. His friends cussed and ran in the opposite direction.

"Carl, I gave you a fair warning, and you obviously had intentions of hurting me and my good friends," Fisher had a smile on his face, his eyes were devilishly sharp.

Is he really toying with him?! James thought to himself, and now it was James' mouth to drop, and so it was.

"No, wait, please don't shoot, I'll do anything!" Carl cried as he rushed to his knees, ready to beg.

"Now, now, if you're man enough to threaten, not just me and my best friend, but these two charming young ladies, with maiming and possibly death, I cannot simply let that go, my friend," Fisher pulled the hammer of the 1911 back, and aimed it right in between Carl's eyes.

Carl's lip was trembling and his voice was shaking. "Puh-puh-puh, d-don't kill me! I meant no harm. I only meant it as a way to scare you!"

"Oh, now, Mr. Carl Dean," Fisher responded, his smile now a beaming grin. "Now, why would I want to kill you. There are things far worse than death. LIKE A SHATTERED KNEE CAP!" Fisher pulled the trigger and loud bang slapped everyone in the forest.

Carl whimpered and jump up, running faster than a deer chased by a bear. Never in his life has James seen someone move so far, but then it hit him. Did Fisher shoot Carl!?

"Fisher, what the fuck!?" James cried out.

Fisher just burst out laughing.

All Stephanie, Amy and James did was stare, stare in confusion, Amy in her urine soaked skirt, Stephanie with her dumbfounded confuse stare, and James with both aggravation and, dare he say, fear. "What's so fucking funny!? You shot him!" James shouted at him.

"Blanks, my dude!" Fisher laughed. "He was never in any real danger!" Fisher's laugh almost sickened James, and if it wasn't for the fact that Fisher was James' best friend, James would consider Fisher to be insane, but if there was one thing that apparent was that Fisher was an insane prankster.

IV: Leaving the Party

"Hey, earth to James," a snap-snap-snap followed. "Are you alive?" snap-snap-snap.

James realized what was going on. He had faded into memory and was now just realizing it. "Y-yeah, what's up?" James vision blurred from memory to reality. He saw Fisher holding a plate of fresh, steaming ribs in his face.

"Well, come on, now, before they get cold," Fisher smiled, nudging the plate forward.

James had to admit, the smell was divine. The way the garlic powder and the mixture of herbs and paprika were the perfect blend for an amazing dry rub. "Oh, yeah, yeah," James got the plate, and smiled. "Thanks bro."

"Not a problem at all, my dude," Fisher responded proudly. "Cooked them just the way you like them! How's that rib treating you, Carry?" Fisher smiled as he watched Carry just devour the large rib.

She looked up from the rub, the sides of her cheeks smeared with both makeup, greasy and barbecue sauce. "It's absolutely divine, Fisher. I really love it!"

"Yeah, I can tell," Fisher chuckled. "Glad that I can be of service."

James couldn't help but smile. Carry had such a beautiful smile, and though her eyes were stricken with grief, and her face covered in the Tennessee styled barbecue sauce that Fisher's mother was so famous in Bleak Park for, she was gorgeous. There was a certain motherly composure to her. James just couldn't help, but feel bad for her. I wonder what could've gotten her to see the world in such a dull, gray.

Will had been during James' reminiscing. He had what he had said to Tony on his mind, and he couldn't help but feel a little guilt towards his rudeness. If we were being honest with you, reader, Will had had seen something similar to what Tony had describe; the little girl in a silver dress that dances and hums in the middle of night. He had obsessed for many nights trying to figure out what he had seen that one night, but it wasn't until tonight that he knew what he was dealing with. But a little girl? That goes against what the tales have said. There was supposed to be a woman that follows its victim.

"You OK, Will?" Fisher said, handing him his plate and sitting next to him. "You seem a little off after that ghost story."

"Yeah," Will admitted. "Just something you don't hear every day," Will try to chuckle that off, however, for Fisher, it was obvious that it was a forced chuckle.

Fisher frowned. "What's on your mind, bud?"

"Well, I don't know," Will responded.

"Maybe you just need someone to warm your bed tonight, huh?" Fisher gave a playful punch to Will's shoulder. Fisher forced a chuckle too, because he knew that something was deeply wrong. Will was never one to let anything to get him down, and to see him worked up about a ghost story. Tony was rather serious what he was saying though, but it really bothered Fisher to see his friend in such a state of mind.

James watched as Fisher joked with Will. What were they talking about? Is it about Tony? James was never one to poke his nose where it wasn't due, but that random outburst earlier; Will didn't act like that.

From the left of James Amanda sat chatting with Carry and Maria about the usual upcoming dates and appointments. Amanda was going about how she had to go to the doctor soon, and Maria had been talking about going down to visit her family down in Mexico.

"What about you Carry?" Maria asked looking up from her rib. "Do you have any family in town?"

"Oh, no," Carry said. "My family lives to the north in Angel City. I was thinking of going to visit a couple of friends of mine. Their baby just turned 3 and they invited me to the child's birthday party. I figured since school doesn't start for a while, I'd go give them a visit."

"Aw! Really!" Mari exclaimed. "That's so cute! I've been trying to convince Tony that we should have a baby," Maria continued. "So far give, the bastard – "that was rather passive aggressive "— but don't worry girls, once he gets a load of what I bought for him, I'll have him in the bags!" Maria joked. Maria and Amanda burst out laughing.

"Keep it down," Amanda chuckled. "The boys will hear you!"

"Fiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnneeeeee!" Maria chuckled, bring her hand to her mouth, her eyes squinted in joy. "What about you Carry? Do you want to have kids someday."

"Well, uh," Carry, looked down to the plate of food that she had just been just scarfing down just a few moments ago. Her tone became solemn, so much so that the girls noticed her change in mood. "Well, I've always wanted to have a little boy. I think that would be nice to have some day." Carry put on a wide smile, her eyes closed, with forced joy. However, they weren't closed because of the joy. She was in pain. Carry was holding back tears, because she didn't want to talk about the one secret that Adam had once given her so long ago. It was all his fault…Stupid dummy head!

Amanda and Maria looked at each other with concern. They read each other's emotions quiet well on each other's faces. "Well, some day is better than no day, sweetheart." Maria finally spoke up to break that heart-breaking silence. She reached out and placed her hand on Carry's shoulder. "You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to." Maria's smile was soft and gentle.

Carry smiled softly, holding back the tears that were ready to gush out. "Thanks, guys!"

James had been eavesdropping on the whole situation, but what had his attention the most was the way that Will kept looking around. James noticed that his kept running from Fisher to the top of the fence to the top of the roof, everywhere that wasn't in the backyard. Was it because of the bandit that got to Ms. Madison?

"Hey, hon' are you ok?" Amanda asked James, breaking his thoughts.

"Oh, yeah, I just spaced out," James replied.

"Well, stop spacing out," Amanda laughed. "Tony's gone into get some pie, so pay attention if you're going to want some."

PIE!? Now that was something that James could get behind. Memories of the warm nutty smell of pecans and the warm pecan filling inside of his mother's peas-in-a-can pie filled began tingling his nose.

"So what do you think of this, James?" Fisher came up to him and showed him his cell phone. "I'm thinking of getting myself one of these aBook Pro things. You're the tech-nerd, of course."

James looked at the cell phone and saw the aBook Pro on the screen. It was a thin black aluminum computer that was priced at about $1200. It wasn't James' preference, but for someone like Fisher, who probably just wants a decent computer to access the Internet and use a couple of programs here and there, James didn't see the problem for Fisher to get it if he's willing to pay the price premium. "I think it's pretty good. If you're just going to access the Internet and use word processing and all, then it should be more than enough for you."

"Awesome, dude," Fisher exclaimed. "I wasn't sure because of the price, but I wanted something a little more premium. We have some at work and I'm used to operating system, so it'll make life a whole lot easier on my part. So, how's that game coming along? You still working on that thing?"

"I would assume so," Amanda replied. "He's always on his damn computer, he barely has any time for me." Amanda chuckled and gave James a peck on the cheek.

"Naw, man, I just put that aside for now. I did mess around with the code the other day, but I just didn't get around to actually doing anything with it yet." James sighed.

"Ah, that ain't too bad, man," Fisher this time. "You just got to keep pushing and don't give up. Remember, the only one stopping you from achieving your dreams is yourself." Fisher slapped James back, leaving a red stinging pain just in between the shoulder blades. "And, of course, money, but we don't need that negativity in our lives now, do we?" Fisher's smile was slick and knew very well what he was doing.

"Way to go to crush my dreams, man," James' laughed.

"Hey, you know I love you," Fisher laughed.

"Yeah, thanks."

The night was coming to an end by the time Tony had gotten back with the pie. They all ate pie, and all enjoyed the last of their drinks. "I'd like to personally thank all of you all for showing up tonight." Fisher announced. "Now, I know that you all work in the morning, so I won't hold you guys back much longer."

"Woooooooooo, Fisher!" Tony called to him. That was followed by the small applauding of friends surrounding Fisher.

"Thank ye, thank ye," Fisher did a mock bow. "Now, I'm glad you all were able to make it. Now you all git!"

Everyone laughed joyously at the joke. Even Carry who had become a little solemn over the last hour, had joined in on the good laugh. It was pleasant.

They all migrated from the back of the house to the back and said their good buys. As James sent Amanda and Carry on their ways home, and as Fisher was saying goodbye to Tony and Maria, Will had been watching his friends, wondering if he had been a little too harsh at Tony's story. There were times that he did lose his temper, but not about a ghost story that may or may not be true. Will signed and look around to the road before he put his car into reverse.

Just as he was backing up, he saw something in the mirror, a silver blur. That immediately made Will gasp and hit the breaks immediately on small sedan, so hard so, that he jerked violently into head rest of his seat.

There was a small knock on the passenger window. It was Fisher. "Hey, bud, you ok?"

Will lowered the window. "Y-yeah," he responded, Will's voice a little shaky. "I thought a saw a kid run by the back of my car, so I stopped."

Fisher's grin that's always placed on his face slowly faded into a look of confusion. His eye brows knitted and as his smile evolved into a frown, he quickly shot his gazes around the neighborhood to see if any of the neighborhood kids were running around, however, on this Friday night, they weren't. "There aren't any kids, Will," Fisher looked back at William. "Are you sure you're ok? You've been out of it all night."

Williams eyes widened. It's happening…dear god, please, let it be my imagination! "Y-yeah," Will tried to maintain his composure, still in shock since there wasn't any kids playing outside. "I think I just saw a light or something hit my mirror."

"Well, that maybe. Have a good night, man, and drive safe." Fisher told William, giving the roof of the sedan a couple of taps.

"Yeah, I will," William drove off into the road followed by Amanda and Carry.

What is going on with him? It isn't like him to act like that. Fisher watched as the blue sedan of William (last name) drove down the road and turned off into Frontage Rd towards the highway. Maybe he's just having an off day. Hopefully he feels better.

Don't we all, dear reader, when someone is in tough event that it is a default social construct, a norm if you will, with the civilized folk to wish the people that you hold dear, or anyone at that, to make them feel better, and show them the correct sympathy? Has it not been established that honesty should be replaced for kindness, and solution with complaints? Unfortunately, these social constructs hinder the truth, and as depression and anxiety becomes to social norm, and as William drives down the road awaiting his fate, we realize that life is stranger than fiction, because fiction always must make sense. In this strict dichotomy between fiction and reality, as one of our freshly established character drives at approximately 70 miles an hour, away from the silver creature that he just saw in his rear-view mirror, these boundaries are about to reach equilibrium…

William raced down the road, his heart now pumping away, the cars around him becoming mere blurs as he sped up and swerved around the drivers. Dear Lord, she's not real! She's not real! Will kept thinking to himself. She can't possibly be reach. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the steering wheel harder and harder. SHE DOESN'T EXIST. SHE CAN'T POSSIBLY EXIST. THERE ARE NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS; THERE NO SUCH THING AS GH-

SCCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEECHHH! BBAAAAANNNGGG!

Shards of metal, fiber glass, glass, and rubber began to rain down off i14 and unto Frontage Rd below unto the passing cars. The fans grinding halt under the hood, chipping away at the plastic grill of the sedan. The sounds of screeching tires and screams of the breaking drivers behind the now crushed and flipped sedan echoed throughout against the large buildings of exit Dark Smith Rd.

"What happened?" A groggy William spoke. "Why can't I move?" William remembered that just as he was reassuring himself that ghosts didn't exist, his closed eyes opened back to the road and saw the pale little girl with long flowing black hair. William immediately swerved to the right, but was caught in a small puddle of water that had accumulated over the previous night's rain fall. He had skid directly into the wall, and flipped over, this car now facing towards traffic.

William didn't realize this, but he was pinned in between the drivers' seat and steering wheel, hanging upside down. His knees were shatters, and his femurs snapped in half. His right forearm laid twisted in an awkward, bloody fashion as the ulna poked out from his skin. As the blood ran down from Will's mouth and soaked his black hair, his eyes were suddenly shot open as he saw something very strange.

Standing out front of his car was a woman, with long silky black hair, her beauty was that of a goddess. She stood there in a silk white dress, the hem whipping in the wind, revealing her shapely legs. She wasn't the child that Will had saw on the road. This woman was probably in her early 20's. What was even more peculiar about this woman is that she stood in the glass that had shattered from the sedan's wind shield, her feet bleeding out.

"Ma'am!" Will tried to croak out. "H-help me!" He began having a coughing fit and as the coughs barked out of his throat, the soreness of the pain began to spread throughout the lining of his esophagus and jugular.

The woman in the white dressed just stared blankly at Will.

"Please, I'm hur-!" William winced in the pain.

The lady just stared, her eyes a watery fountain, readying to begin pouring down her cheeks.

"Woman, why don't you help me?" Then that's when William realized that he could see behind the woman, as if she was made of murky, silvery water. He could see the concrete slab that he crashed into, the integrity still intact all but a single crack. The grey ridges of the concrete slab were clearly visible through the woman's figure. "No…You can't be real!?"

The woman suddenly started to cry, her tears running down her face like rivers.

"No, this is impossible, they said that you didn't exist. They told me that you weren't real!"

The woman began to cry hysterically. She put her face in her hands. A dark aura began to surround the woman, like a black misty that was just hovering over the still waters of a lake on a calm foggy morning.

WHAT!? NO, NO, NO! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! William closed his eyes. I GOT INTO AN ACCIDENT AND I'M IN A COMA. YES, THAT'S IT! I'M IN A COMA! When he opens his eye, woman was now on her knees in front of him, looking straight into his eyes. The smell of cherry blossom filled Will's nose as she got closer to him. The woman's eyes teared as she approached.

"NO, get away from me!" William tried to struggle back, but only to be restrained by the seat belt. "You're not real!"

Then…she kissed his cheek. "But, I am real," the woman whispered, through sniffling sorrow.

Then William's went black…