by John Michael Osborne
Brianna Basra’s hand trembled as she slowly pushed the key
into the lock. Her Uncle Nathan’s Atlanta mansion scared her. The old white house, with its four columns, alone in the
midst of acres of open land, looked like a large mausoleum in the back of a graveyard where no one wanted to bury their dead,
like it housed some awful abomination. The setting spring sun stretched long, claw-like shadows across the lawn. Crows squawked
frantically like they warned her not to enter.
She couldn’t understand why her late uncle willed her this
creepy old house. She had little contact with him. Her uncle’s will instructed her to find a book inside. She didn’t
want to come, but her friend, Lonny Clark, a fellow creative writing student at Georgia State, talked her into going. He promised
to come along. He said the book could be important. She couldn’t imagine how important a single book could be. It wouldn’t
help her with college, wouldn’t help her with the ghost hunting Website she and Lonny created to help people if they
believe their homes were haunted, and it wouldn’t magically change her life.
Lonny shoved his golden brown dreadlocks away from his face so he
could eat the last of his pizza slice and gulp his Coke before they entered. “You really don’t want to go inside,
A warm breeze blew Brianna’s waist-length black hair into her
face as she put the key away
in her purse. “No way. I was only here once for a family reunion.
I was six. I saw and felt and saw something that scared the hell out of me.”
“What was it?”
“I’m not sure. I didn’t realize I was psychic then.
I saw it in the basement. I opened a closet door and screamed. It was an old man with a pasty white face in an old suit. I
sensed evil. I ran back upstairs. My mother always said my uncle was messing around with black sorcery.”
“You said she also believed people who had psychic power were
possessed by the devil.”
Brianna scowled as she opened the door. It squealed and hissed like
a cat being tortured. A rush of warm air blew by her like the house sighed. The fading sun gave way to dusk. A powerful odor,
like the smell of a large old library, smacked in her in the face. “Yeah, so?”
“Maybe the reason why your mother said that was because he
was psychic. I’ve heard psychic powers can run in the family.”
Brianna’s heart raced. “Do you think my uncle could’ve
Lonny shrugged. “Maybe that’s why he willed this house
to you. Maybe he knew you were psychic. Maybe that’s why he wants you to have this book. Maybe it will help you understand
The living room stood to their right. The kitchen was straight ahead.
A flight of stairs was to their left. Italian Renaissance paintings hung on the walls above the stairs.
Brianna’s head jerked up. Footsteps crept around upstairs.
“Is there someone supposed to be here?” Lonny asked.
Brianna’s heart leaped to her throat. “No.”
They rushed upstairs and looked around but found no one. Chills shot
down Brianna’s spine.
She didn’t believe anyone living was there with them, but she
did feel the presence of a spirit
lurking somewhere in the house. She couldn’t get a name yet.
To block her power like that meant
it was a powerful spirit.
Lonny scratched his dreadlocks. “I know we heard footsteps.
You don’t suppose your uncle now haunts the place, do you?”
Brianna hoped not. “I don’t know. Although better him
than that ghoul I saw as a kid.” She opened a door at the end of the hall and found the master bedroom. A large canopy
bed stood next to a window. Bookshelves crammed full of books stood on either side of the bed. “Maybe the book is in
“This book your uncle wants you to have, why didn’t he
tell you where it was? Could it be valuable?”
“I wish I knew. I just want to find it and get out of here.”
They each took a bookshelf and searched.
“What’s the name of this book?” Lonny asked.
That’s one thing Brianna didn’t like about this. Her
uncle’s will never mentioned a name. “There is no title. It’s just supposed to be a big black book.”
“No title?” Lonny chuckled. “What sort of book
is that? Could it be a journal?”
Brianna gasped. “I hadn’t thought of that. I hope so.
I feared it would be a book of black magic.”
They heard footsteps again. This time they sprinted to the bedroom.
“Brianna, there is someone in here!”
An icy wind threw the door aside.
“Lonny! It’s—!” A cold blast of energy cut
right through her. It felt like icicle shards shot into her. Her uncle’s spirit passed through her body. For a moment
it remained inside her and she linked minds with him. She passed out. She came to and found Lonny kneeling above her.
“Brianna! What happened?”
“I’m okay. You were right. My uncle haunts this home.
That was my uncle’s spirit. You keep looking for the book. Let me rest here for awhile.”
“Don’t argue. Just do it. There’s something going
on with my psychic powers. Let me lie here for a few minutes and catch my breath. I’ll be all right in a moment.”
Reluctantly Lonny gave in.
Brianna closed her eyes and she saw spots of colors appear. The reds,
blues, greens, and purples turned brighter. Black jagged lines separated the colors. The colors broke apart like a jigsaw
puzzle. The black lines turned to white and the bright white light overtook all the other colors. Brianna rose and broke free
from her body. She floated to the astral plane. She couldn’t believe this. She heard about astral projection but she
never possessed such a power before. It was fantastic.
“Brianna, the book you seek is downstairs in the basement.”
She recognized the voice that called to her.
“Yes, dear. Hurry. There isn’t much time.”
The basement. Where she saw that old ghoul. She glanced back at Lonny.
He returned to looking for the book. She couldn’t believe she saw her body lying on the floor.
She floated down the stairs. It was night now. The living room was
eerily bathed in the light of a single street light. She passed right through the basement door. Her astral spirit had no
problem seeing in the dark. Being outside of her body was scary but it was also exhilarating. She needed to tell Lonny about
this. If she could control this, she believed she could use it to help people with problems of the paranormal and troublesome
spirits in clients’ homes. She slipped through a wall of a room her uncle kept locked. She was stunned.
The room looked like a museum. Marble statues of Greek gods stood
like columns to their
left and right. Bookshelves crammed full of books lined the walls.
French impressionist paintings of Monet hung above the shelves. A painted zodiacal chart covered the ceiling. Persian rugs
lay beneath their feet. A small gold statue of Buddha set on a podium on the back of the room. A recliner sat next to that.
It looked like this room Brianna’s uncle used to relax, read, and meditate. Despite being outside her body, she could
still smell. The odor of incense permeated the room. She also felt immense power in the corner of the room behind a door.
She recognized the power as a spiritual vortex.
She was startled to see her uncle. She could see right through him.
He looked as he did when he was a young man, tall, slender with short, light brown hair. He smiled warmly.
“Look to your right.”
Brianna found the black book with no title on its spine. She tried
to grab the book but her hand passed right through it. “Why did you want me to have this? And what did you mean we don’t
have much time?”
“I had been teaching an acolyte of mine but I stopped guiding
him. His name is Andrew Dorian. I don’t know what happened to him, but his heart turned black. I called that evil side
of him Black Andrew. He wanted to gain stronger psychic power by any means.”
“So it’s true. You were psychic.”
“Yes. Although I didn’t know it at the time, he tried
to use my home to conjure an evil spirit. You saw that spirit when you a little girl. I rid my home of that abominable spirit.
But Andrew will return. There’s a spiritual vortex here in my basement. He wants to use it.”
“Is that why you willed the house to me? To protect it?”
“Yes. I knew you are psychic. I opened a door inside your mind
and transferred some of my power to you. Your psychic power will get stronger. But it’s like mastering anything. You
to practice. My book will help. It’s my journal.”
“Is this Andrew Dorian dangerous?”
“Very. He will kill you to get that book. It contains many
secrets I learned by using my psychic power. He wants to again conjure that evil spirit to gain demonic power. You read my
journal. Now go back to your friend, Lonny. Hurry. I sense Andrew will come tonight.” Her uncle vanished.
His sudden disappearance startled her. She wished he didn’t
go. She wanted to speak to him more. She floated back up the stairs. She stopped. She heard a noise, like pottery breaking,
come from the living room. She gasped. Someone broke through a window and accidentally tipped over a lamp when he climbed
into the house. His long, thick, curly hair was tied back. He wore an electric blue shirt that fit tightly over his tall,
muscular frame. It looked like a gladiator just stepped into the home. His appearance gave Brianna the chills. His cold, brutal
eyes scanned the room.
Lonny rushed downstairs. “Now what the hell?” he grumbled.
“Lonny, stay away from him!” Brianna exclaimed but he
couldn’t hear her while she was still in the astral plane.
“Who the hell are you?” Lonny barked as he passed right
“That’s what I was going to ask you,” the intruder
Brianna flew to her body and reentered it. She sprinted back down
the stairs to see Black Andrew punch Lonny in the gut. Lonny crumpled and Andrew clubbed him over the back of the head. Lonny
didn’t get up.
“Lonny!” Brianna screamed.
Black Andrew looked up. He smirked. “I saw your astral spirit.
You must be that niece
Nathan used to talk about. Your psychic power is no match for mine.”
He grabbed her by the arm
and jerked her forward. “I bet you I know where Nathan’s
Brianna squealed. His grip was like a searing vice. Heat rolled off
his body like a pot
of boiling blood. His eyes, black, deep, and soulless, felt like
they gored into her. It was like they
probed into her mind and he could read her thoughts.
“The basement?” Andrew growled. “So that’s
where he’s been hiding that from me.”
Andrew dragged Brianna down to the basement. He jerked her around
some more. “Where is it?”
Brianna was terrified. She understood why her uncle stopped teaching
and guiding him. He was nuts. She tried not to think of where the book was but as she couldn’t help it. Andrew suddenly
tossed her aside.
“The back room? No wonder he always kept that room locked.”
He kicked the door in and flicked on a light. He paused for a moment. Once he got over the splendor of the room, he plucked
the book from the shelf. He immediately dropped it and screamed.
Lonny ran downstairs and decked Andrew from behind. Andrew slammed
into a bookshelf and collapsed to his knees. Books toppled onto him and to the floor. Lonny stood over him. “I don’t
know what made you think I was your personal punching bag, but I assure I’m not, you oversized meat wagon!” He
kicked Andrew in the head, and grabbed his long locks, pulled Andrew’s head back, and punched him in the throat. Spasms
rocked Andrew’s body as he fought mightily to keep from vomiting. “Stupid ass!” Lonny shouted.
Lonny rushed to Brianna. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she gasped as she got to her knees. “Lonny,
Black Andrew kicked Lonny in the head. Lonny was dazed. Andrew coughed
and gasped for air as he still held his throat. Brianna couldn’t believe it. Andrew possessed the stamina of a rhino.
Lonny hit Andrew with everything he had and Andrew merely shrugged it off.
“You know, I’m really getting sick of you, punk,”
Andrew growled between coughs. He picked up Lonny, kicked him in the gut, and threw him into the wall. Lonny lost consciousness.
Black Andrew turned his attention to Brianna. He grinned.
“Brianna,” Nathan called, “go into your astral
form. You have more power that way,
and he can’t hurt you.”
Andrew froze. He looked around. “Nathan? Is your spirit here?
Are you here with us, Nathan? I can hear you. I can feel you. I know it’s you! Where are you?”
Brianna left her body. It was easier this time. She erupted into
“That’s good, Brianna. Now concentrate on the vortex
in the closet. You can open it wide.”
“Vortex?” Andrew mumbled.
“Open it?” Brianna said. “I don’t know how
to do that! Only you know what you’re talking about. Why don’t you do it?”
“I’m still weak from giving you a lot of my power. Fear
not. Just concentrate. You can do it. See it in your mind and open it.”
The closet door flew open and the spinning grayish white vortex grew
“No, wait!” Andrew shouted.
“Good. Now I want you to think of the good souls beyond the
Gateway. They will come.”
Brianna pictured those souls in her mind. They exploded from the
vortex. Some wore hooded robes. Others carried large canes. The looked like monks and old mystics. The mob of gray specters
floated to Andrew.
Andrew extended his hands. “No! Stay away from me!”
Brianna felt Andrew’s strong psychic power. He created a shield
of dark light around him. The souls couldn’t penetrate it. He inched back to Nathan’s journal. He kept one hand
as he reached to pick the book up from the floor.
Brianna opened the vortex wider and more souls spewed forth.
Lonny came to. From the look on his face, he saw the spirits around
Andrew. He glanced
back at Brianna’s body. Then his head snapped back to see Andrew
reaching for the journal. He
leaped to the book and snatched it away from Andrew’s reaching
fingers. Andrew grabbed Lonny’s dreadlocks and head butted him. Lonny screamed and collapsed. He dropped the book.
“Lonny!” Brianna shrieked. She lost her concentration
on the vortex. It shriveled.
The grey souls broke through Andrew’s psychic shield. Andrew
wailed as they enveloped him. Brianna felt them closing the door to his psychic mind.
“Brianna, the vortex,” Nathan called.
She turned to it to see some souls racing back for fear they wouldn’t
be able to return to their dimension. Brianna reopened the vortex wider but it was too late. Black Andrew abandoned the book,
broke free of the remaining souls, and sprinted up the basement stairs. A couple specters chased after him but Andrew fled
the house. All of the souls returned to vortex and disappeared.
“You can close the vortex now, Brianna.”
Lonny recovered just in time to see Black Andrew run off. Brianna
shut the vortex down and the closet door closed.
Her uncle smiled. “Very good. I know now the secrets of this
house are safe.”
Brianna sat on the black leather couch in her uncle’s living
room. She read a few pages of her uncle’s journal.
Lonny found a couple of Cokes in the fridge. He handed her one and
sat down beside her. “You used to fear this house and now you want to live here?”
Brianna grinned. She could barely believe it herself. “Yeah.
I’m no longer afraid of it. I no longer fear my uncle. My mother turned me against him. I now realize my mother feared
simply because he was a psychic. I think I should live here. I want
to take care of it and keep my
uncle’s secrets and protect the Gateway.”
“I wonder what’s in that book.”
She gulped her soda. It really quenched her dry throat. “That’s
what I intend to find out. I think it’s about how my uncle studied and practiced to make his psychic power stronger.”
Lonny stood up, parted the gold curtains and gazed out the window.
“Do you think we saw the last of what’s-his-name? Black Andrew?”
Brianna abruptly closed the book. “I hope so. But I’m
not too sure about that. He was a powerful psychic. I don’t know if those spirits walled off all of his psychic power
in his mind. He may even be more dangerous now than he was before.”
Lonny turned back to her. “What have we gotten ourselves into?”
Brianna smiled. “We?”
“Yeah, of course. We’re a team, right? We’re working
cases to help others with problems of the paranormal.” Lonny gazed around. “And what I witnessed in this house
is as paranormal as you get.”
Brianna’s smile faded. “I think we should read this book
and see what lies ahead.”
Lonny sipped his soda. “I hope what lies ahead isn’t
any worse than Black Andrew.”
Brianna shuddered, but she didn’t say anything. She hoped Black
Andrew was the only danger her uncle’s death forced her to face. But was that true? She believed the journal would tell
Creaks and groans erupted from the second floor. The house was settling…or
was it? She opened the journal and started her journey.
Copyright © John
Michael Osborne 2011
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