Interlude 3 Full
Kiernan MacBaird returns to his room to find it ransacked but mostly intact. He picks through his broken stuff for a bit, but decides to push it into his closet and pass out on the bed instead. He actually sleeps the whole night and wakes up to the alarm buzzing at 6:30 AM. He slept well and felt rested when he woke up – no doubt he was quite drained when he fell asleep. He hops out of bed and goes about his normal morning duties, cleaning up a bit as he goes along. He straightens his bright blue tie around his ironed collar and heads off to work, making sure to lock the door behind him.
As he walks down the sidewalk, he notices a small boy chase a ball out into the middle of the street. An SUV comes racing down the road, and just as it’s feet away from the child, everything seems to stop.
“Pity, you could probably save him, you know,” a voice says from behind Kiernan. It sounds like Janet MacBaird.
Kiernan looks over his shoulder to see Janet MacBaird hovering nearby. “What the bloody hell is going on?!” He starts to move towards the kid, but finds that he can’t lift his feet. “Stop playin’ games. I don’t have time for your shenanigans!”
“Then save the child, or don’t, you have 30 seconds and then time will resume,” she says flatly.
Kiernan sees a flash of light and feels a burst of heat, and Janet is gone. He growls something profane and tries to frantically move his legs, though they do not budge. “Hey kid, move it!”
“Just focus on the child moving… You have twenty seconds,” her voice whispers in his head.
He struggles with his feet again and throws his newspaper at the boy, but the kid doesn’t budge.
“Fifteen seconds,” Janet’s disembodied voice reminds him.
“What do you mean, bloody think of that kid on the other side of the road? What GOOD is that?!” He protests weakly but gives in. He closes his eyes and pictures the boy standing on the other side of the road with his soccer ball under his arm. “There. THERE.” He grits his teeth.
He opens his eyes and looks around. Time has resumed and the car rushes by, but the boy is standing on the side of the road looking confused but unharmed. No one else seems to notice, but a woman grabs the boy’s hand and walks away with him.
“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Janet coos.
She’s playing games with me. The bitch. Janet was always a bitch. Kiernan twists his face in annoyance and wipes the sweat off his forehead. “I don’t need a ghost haunting me,” he shakes his head, muttering.
He hears laughter but it fades into nothingness.
Why can’t she haunt her husband? HE might like to see her. He mentally sasses the figment of his imagination and then continues to work.
At some point he checks his email and finds an email from Officer Daniels. It contains a very dry report of what has been discovered in the investigation around Janet’s death. The majority of the email is what you already know, but something about the email bothered him. Finally, Kiernan realizes that the last part of it is not in English, yet somehow he read it without even realizing it. It’s in the same script as the book Lisa gave him, and it simply says, “Awake?“
Kiernan replies with a terse “Thank you. No need to contact further.” Then he turns off the computer entirely and rubs his temples.
He gets up, takes a moment to collect himself, and walks up to Pam’s desk and asks for an application for their newly posted entry-level job. Pam helps him fill out the form and he ends up turning in a pretty smart application.
“Oh,” Pam hands him a note as she puts the application in the boss’ inbox. “I have a message for you too.”
Scrawled in Pam’s handwriting, it simple said:
Later, Kiernan goes to visit his family and arrives a bit before dinner, hoping for a traditional Scottish meal. With a loudly growling stomach and a pitifully hungry look on his face, his mother grabs him in a hug when she sees him and exclaims, “Look at ya! Far to skinny… get in here before the cold gets ya!”
“You look good, ma.” He hugs her and goes inside, ready to eat, and is happy enough to discover that his mom has cooked a childhood favorite: Hamburger Helper. A Gaelic classic. He snickers to himself and digs in.
His brother sits at the table looking like shit covered with powdered sugar, but he pretends everything is normal. That’s the way the MacBairds deal.
“Hey bro!” Brodie MacBaird smiles at Kiernan.
“Hey Brodie. Good ta see ya, boyo,” Kiernan claps his brother on the back in a hug. He doesn’t ask how he’s doing; he knows it’s too soon.
“How are things? Still flirting with that cute redhead at work?” Brodie asks.
“Oh yeah, went out for coffee the other day. We’ll see…” He leans back in his chair and raises his eyebrows in a grin.
Brodie smiles back at Kiernan pleasantly, but he can feel the palpable pain behind the smile… but maybe that was just in Kiernan’s head because it’s gone after a second. Kiernan pulls himself back up to the table, suddenly feeling like an ass for showing off.
“Let’s go eat, eh?” Brodie wraps an arm over Kiernan’s shoulder and they walk to the dining room. “You ARE too skinny, bro,” he says before he gives Kiernan a playful noogie.
“OY!!” Kiernan struggles playfully until their mom breaks it up and drags them to the table. Dinner was good and everything feels like it’s getting back to normal for the first time since Janet…
“Can you stay the night, Sweetie? I could give you a ride in the morning,” Kiernan’s mommy asks sweetly.
“Of course, mum,” He smiles and gives her a hug. Later that evening after his mother goes off to bed, Kiernan and Brodie sit down to watch a football game broadcast on TV from England. They’re shouting at the TV occasionally, but things are going well. Near the end of the game, the TV starts to fade to black. Kiernan gets up and hits the side of the TV suddenly to try to unblock the tubes in the crazy machine.
“OY! Whatcha doin to the TV?” Brodie leans forward on the couch, looking confused.
“TV went all wonky there,” Kiernan shrugs and sits back down. The screen was still black but Brodie keeps talking about it like it’s fine. After another 30 seconds, an unclear picture starts to appear on the screen. Kiernan’s eyes look around the room uncomfortably.
“No, no… please don’t!” Sobs a muffled voice from the TV. A brief image of one of the victims Kiernan remembers from the reports at the Brass Tap flashes on the screen. Suddenly the football game is back on.
Kiernan looks at Brodie then back at the TV. Brodie seems genuinely interested in the game, and as he focuses on his brother, he realizes he KNOWS that Brodie’s thinking about the game on TV.
”...Want a beer?” He jumps up and heads towards the kitchen without waiting for an answer. Kiernan leans against the kitchen table, taking a moment to catch his breath.
“Like my handiwork? I can show you more if you want,” he hears from somewhere in the room.
Kiernan looks around and then puts his hand on his forehead, pressing it in an attempt to hold in his headache.
“Oh honey, I’m real… not really HERE, of course. I’ve got very important places to be,” the voice snickers.
“Well go be important in someone else’s house,” he growls.
The girl with the black eyes steps out of the shadows… “But I’m having fun!”
He turns to her, holding a beer in his hand, and looks pissed. “Look, kid. Just tell me what the bloody hell you want.”
She looks thoughtful, “You just answered your own question!” She grins at Kiernan and vanishes.
“Coming back man?” He hears Brodie call from the living room.
“Yeah,” he walks back out and sits on the couch, and begins grumbling about… the game.
“Yeah, it’s not the best game… you feeling OK? You look paler than usual!” Brodie looks over with concern.
“Just feelin a lil sick. Might turn in early. In fact, I think I will. You doin’ ok?”
“Yeah… I’m good. Well it was good to see you, don’t be a stranger OK?”
“Yeah, and you know you can always stop by my place, it’s not much but… I’ve got a futon,” he pats his brother on the back.
Brodie smiles at Kiernan, “Night man.”
“Night,” he’ll go to the spare bedroom upstairs, and tries to pass out. He lies down on his bed and stares at the ceiling for a bit before relaxing enough to begin to doze off when he hears a voice speak.
“Maybe I should go after that redhead next… she looks like a screamer,” the disembodied voice whispers from the shadows.
“What’s your problem?” He sits up in his bed and whispers as loudly as possible. “Seriously, you want them to move? I’ll make them movie tomorrow. Just tell me what you want.”
“Want them to move? Why would I want that? I love my people, they’re fun to play with!” She exclaims gleefully.
“Are you a special kind of ghost? One that has no friends of your own? I’ll get a priest to exorcise your ass,” he threatens, hissing into the darkness.
“You think I’m a ghost! I am so much more!”
“How great for you. I’m getting a priest right now, freak,” He gets up and goes to fetch a phone book.
As the girl walks into you she changes into Janet, still with the black eyes and sits on the edge of the bed. “You do that… I wonder if they’ll be able to see me? I wonder how long before I can convince the priest to kill your mother? Hmm… You’ll find I can be very persusasive.”
“You need to get out of my mum’s house now,” he leans over and grabs her throat, but his hand passes right through her.
“I already told you I’m not here,” she giggles. “Maybe I’m just a figment of your overactive imagination… you look like you could use some sleep.”
“Fuck you…” he murmurs as his eyes get heavy.
And with that, Kiernan falls over, asleep. The last thing he saw were her black eyes staring into his.