at Skull Rock
by John Michael
Brianna Basra and Lonny Clark
returned to the home of Brianna’s late uncle after their enemy, Andrew Dorian, stole the magical journal
her uncle gave to her. “Black Andrew,” as her late Uncle Nathan called him, wanted to use the secrets in that journal to obtain metaphysical power. Brianna
returned to her uncle’s Atlanta mansion to use her own psychic power to
see if her uncle’s spirit could tell them where Black Andrew fled.
Brianna and Lonny went to
thought, Uncle Nathan, if you can hear me, I need your help. It’s an
“Can you feel him?” Lonny asked.
Brianna opened the closet
door. “Yes. Can you?”
Lonny, also psychic, although
not as powerful as Brianna, nodded. “Think so.”
She smelled a pipe, a sure
sign her uncle’s presence. Her uncle
always smoked a pipe when she was a child. His spirit spun through the spiritual vortex. He appeared as she remembered him
as a little girl, thin with a thick head.
Brianna was relieved to see
him. “Uncle Nathan, Andrew has stolen your journal. Do you know where he is?”
“How did Andrew get it?” Nathan asked
angrily. “Did you take it out of the house?”
Brianna looked down. “Yes.”
“I’ll find him,” Nathan said. “Next time do not take the book from here.”
His spirit disappeared.
“Do you think he’s really mad?” Lonny asked.
“I know he is. I just don’t know
if he’s mad at me as well as Andrew.”
Within minutes Nathan returned.
“It’s much worse than I feared.”
“What’s wrong?” Lonny asked.
“Black Andrew has surrounded himself with some very dangerous and evil spirits.”
Lonny nodded. “He’s aligned himself with Doctor Abacus, Echo Blackburn, and some
other spirit named Baltar.”
Brianna exclaimed, “How do you know that?”
“When we were at Vera’s home, I saw
the spirit of Dr. Abacus out there. He told me those spirits had joined him.”
“It’s true, Brianna. The spirit world
demands that you retrieve it since you lost it. There are so many secrets that should be kept from the likes of Black Andrew
and his ilk.”
“I will do it, Uncle Nathan,” Brianna said.
“We will do it,” Lonny said. “Just tell us how.”
“It won’t be that easy,” Nathan said. “This other worldly spirit,
Baltar, is very powerful. He
has helped Black Andrew’s astral spirit slip back into time to the 1950’s.”
“The 1950’s?” Lonny shouted.
“How?” Brianna said. “Surely couldn’t take your journal
with him then—”
“Yes, he could,” Nathan said. “Baltar has shown him how.”
Lonny scratched his long golden
brown dreadlocks. “What is Andrew doing in the 1950’s?”
“Probably hiding where he thinks he won’t
be found to summon powerful spirits,” Nathan said.
“But how do we go back in time?”
Brianna asked. “We don’t
know how to do that.”
“Fear not,” Nathan said. “Mepistahl is the guardian of this vortex. Normally she is a spirit that slowly guides
you through psychic power to do so on your own, but because she knows me well, she will take you now. Prepare yourselves.”
Brianna and Lonny lied down
on the floor beside the gold statue of Buddha. A figure of blue light spun out of the vortex and enveloped them. She saw bright
colors until a pure white light outshined them. Their astral spirits rose from their bodies. They floated into the vortex.
Lonny and Brianna materialized
out of a closet in a bedroom. It was morning. They peered out the window to a sunny and warm world. They didn’t recognize the street or the homes. They also didn’t recognize
the bedroom. It didn’t look like Nathan’s mansion. Six fluffy
burgundy pillows sat upon the huge bed underneath the enormous dark oak headrest. One large painting of the beach stood over
the dresser. A large stereo system stood in the corner.
“Where the hell are we?” Lonny pointed
to the stereo. “Mepistahl must’ve made a mistake. There’s no way that thing existed in the 1950’s.”
Brianna’s uncle slipped out of
the vortex. She was stunned. He looked solid, not like a spirit.
“You’re in the right place,” he assured them. “You are in my
vacation home in Tallahassee.” He smiled. “Actually this is my home before it was my home. I have a woman friend from this time who is also a psychic.”
In that room Brianna smelled
the aroma of brandy and a pipe, probably a place where her uncle liked to relax, smoke, drink, and write. “She’s letting you borrow it in this time?”
“That’s right. She travels often.
She is away on business right now.”
“What’s that stereo doing in here
then?” Lonny asked.
Nathan said, “I’ve gathered things from other times and brought them here for
my comfort. I like to come here to get away from it all.”
Brianna said, “But Uncle Nathan, you look alive.”
“I know I do, child. You can, too. Just imagine it.”
They looked in the mirror
atop of the dresser. They appeared solid, not ghostly.
“Wow,” Lonny said excitedly.
“How can that be?” Brianna asked.
“It’s Mepistahl,” Nathan said. “Because you haven’t practiced the magic in my journal, your astral spirits can only handle so much power. You won’t be able to stay here long.”
Lonny said, “So even if it’s just our astral spirits, can we get our hands on
the book and bring it back to our time?”
“That’s right,” Nathan said.
“Can we still travel like astral spirits?” Brianna asked.
“Yes,” Nathan said. “Your spirits cannot be harmed by the people here. You can be unseen
or seen as you chose. But
none of that is true of Black Andrew or his other evil brood.”
“They can attack us?” Brianna asked.
“They can,” Nathan said. “And they can always see you.”
“Where are they?” Lonny asked.
“I don’t know,” Nathan said. “I picked up Andrew’s psychic imprint to here. But this spirit, Baltar, is shielding him.”
Brianna gazed back out the
window of another huge mansion. The vision before her amazed her. A tall white brick wall encompassed the home. Children laughed
and talked as they walked down the sidewalk. A long driveway led to the street. “So where are we?”
“You’re in Tallahassee,” Nathan said. “It’s a community just off
It’s 1955. It’s the late spring.”
Brianna chuckled. “Oh, Lonny, if we’re going out we’re definitely going to have to remain invisible. We can’t go out
in the streets in the 1950’s with your dreadlocks.”
Lonny looked disgusted. “I’m not doing anything to his hair.”
“But you’ll have to find Andrew,” Nathan said. “You may have to question
“Can’t we be seen as we want people
to see us, Uncle Nathan?” Brianna asked.
“That would be true of other astral spirits,” Nathan said. “But you’re in your astral form and you’re back in time. Here you
will look as you are now. You can return to your bodies and change your clothes and your appearance. Astral spirits are like
a battery. They need to be slowly charged to do everything they have the capacity to do.”
Brianna asked, “So Mepistahl has charged our spirits for a time?”
“Yes,” Nathan said. “After you practice with your powers and you gain some astral strength
then can you change your astral
appearance while traveling in time.”
Lonny peeked out the window.
“Before my parents moved to Atlanta, they lived here.”
“You never told me that,” Brianna said.
A warm breeze blew through
the window. The air was thick with humidity. The scent of blooming flowers rode on the wind.
“I only lived here the first seven years of my life,” Lonny said.
“I don’t imagine you’ll recognize this Tallahassee,” Nathan said.
Lonny chuckled. “I doubt it.”
Brianna wasn’t sure where to begin. “Can you help us look for Andrew, Uncle
“No, not yet. There are others I must help now. I’ll see you kids again soon. Good luck.”
Her uncle disappeared back
into the vortex.
“You want to go to exploring?” Brianna asked.
They floated around the city.
They saw the Old State Capitol on Monroe Street. Lonny said it looked the same except the New Tower behind it wasn’t built yet. They floated down Tennessee Street to the Florida State campus. They stepped right up to a young couple.
The guy’s hair was short and slicked back. He wore a dark red sweater and
slacks. The girl’s hair wore pig tails, a light blue sweater, and a white skirt
with a blue poodle sewn on the front of it.
“My God,” Lonny groaned. “Look at these people, Brianna! They’re
Brianna chuckled. She was
glad she didn’t live at this time. She hated the clothes and the hairstyles. “I’m looking, Lonny.”
“They’re practically barbarians.”
Brianna sighed. “Come on, Lonny. We don’t have much time.”
They wandered down Monroe
Street. Cars rumbled freely down the road. Traffic wasn’t as bad back then. Exhaust filled the air.
“Recognize anything?” Brianna asked.
Lonny said, “The Duval Hotel is still there. So is St. John’s Episcopal Church.
But the Florida Theatre, Woolworth’s and JC Penny are all gone in our time.
Almost nothing looks the same.”
Brianna let people walk right
through her. She giggled. “I don’t doubt it.” She couldn’t feel Black Andrew
or Doctor Abacus or the other spirits they looked for. This wasn’t getting them anywhere.
“Got any feeling where Andrew is hiding?”
Brianna shook her head helplessly.
“I think my uncle was right. We’re
going to have to start asking people questions. Let’s go back to the mansion.
I have an idea.”
They traveled back through
the vortex and returned to their bodies. Brianna changed her clothes. Lonny downloaded some information on his computer and
printed what pages he wanted. Then he grabbed some CDs, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple.
Brianna came out of the bathroom.
“So how do I look?”
Lonny nearly dropped the stack
of pages he snatched from his printer. He laughed. “Like one of those 50’s bobby socksers we saw meandering aimlessly on the streets. Honestly, honey, with
girls dressed like that, I’m surprised society survived.”
Brianna frowned. “I don’t look that bad. It was the fashion of the times.”
Lonny grunted. “Fashion? It looks goofy.”
Brianna picked at her skirt.
It felt too bulky.
Lonny lied down on the floor.
“Are you ready to go, Laura Lu? Wally and Beaver are waiting on the other side.”
Brianna couldn’t help but laugh. “Anything you say, Lumpy.”
They closed their eyes and
concentrated. Their astral forms stepped out of their bodies. They floated through the vortex and back to Tallahassee.
“I’m going to see what I can find
out,” Brianna said. “Wish
“Luck, and don’t pick up any stray,
hideous greasers, okay?”
“While you’re gone, I’m going to look up the past of Abacus and see if he has any link to Tallahassee. Maybe
that’s why Andrew came here.”
Brianna floated out of the
building and noticed kids coming home from school. She talked to many people. She struck out. No one noticed any new odd looking
strangers in town. She got the surprise of her life when she returned to her Uncle Nathan’s home. A police car parked outside the front gate. Kids stood behind the car with dread in their eyes. Frozen looks
of terror hung on the faces of the adults. By the time Brianna got there, “Child
in Time” by Deep Purple roared from an open window of the home.
“What is that?” an old overweight woman in a floppy purple hat and purple dress
“Someone’s screaming!” a little brown haired girl, with pigtails wearing a long blue and white checkered dress,
“Is that some kind of music?” a scruffy old man asked.
His voice sounded like he swallowed a walrus.
“Like no music I’ve ever heard,” the police officer said.
Brianna feared what might
happen if she didn’t get to Lonny. She quickly
floated back to the
house. “Lonny, turn that off! You’re terrifying all of those 50’s folks. They think your music is the devil possessing the house!”
Lonny peeked out the window.
He laughed heartily. “Oh, yeah, I forgot. They only know people like Elvis and Bill Haley and
I don’t know the names of the primitive 50’s rockers.
I suppose they’re out there crapping their pants.”
Brianna chuckled. “You ain’t kidding. You should see the looks on their faces. I think
they want to call in a priest to do an exorcism.”
Lonny shut off the stereo.
“What did you find out?”
“Nothing. No one has seen Black Andrew. How’d you do?”
“Only a little better. I found out Dr. Abacus built a home in Tallahassee. He bought
it for Echo Blackburn. But it makes no mention of where that house is.”
Brianna sighed. “Okay, I’ll have to go out there again.”
“This time I’m going with you.”
“Lonny! You can’t—”
“I’ll stay invisible, don’t worry.”
They left the home and the
people gawking outside. As the sun set they went to the local sock-hop on Monroe Street. People waited outside to be served
to their cars. Waitresses in roller skates rolled out to them to take their orders. The aroma of greasy fries and burgers
filled the air. At a back booth, Brianna found three teenage boys, with slick-black hair, eating cheeseburgers. One kid had
a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his shirt sleeve. “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets played over the juke box. Brianna couldn’t stand 50’s rock.
“Hey, boys,” she said seductively.
The guys looked stunned.
“Hello, there,” the blond one said.
“What’s going on, sugar?” another one asked. His slicked back hair and an unlit cigarette
barely perched on his bottom
lip made Brianna wonder how anyone could procreate with guys like this.
The tallest, biggest one,
hair so thick and saturated with goo, she wondered if bugs could be living in there and he’d probably never know, stood up and said, “Why don’t you join us?”
“I haven’t got much time to chat.” Brianna glanced at Lonny. He remained invisible standing a few feet away.
“No, stick around,” the blond greaser said.
The one with the oil spill
for a hairstyle said, “What’s your name, doll?”
She couldn’t believe the audacity of these teenage lard buckets. “Brianna.”
“Brianna?” the tall dark one said.
He sounded like an Elvis wannabee. “Hey, I like that. My name is Vinny.” He pointed to the one who looked like he may have had the cigarette surgically attached
to his lip. “This here is Gunner.” He pointed to the small blonde kid and said, “And that one is
“Hi, boys. I was just wondering if you know about the Abacus house. He’s supposed to have built it about a year ago.”
“The Abacus house?” Vinny sounded
surprised. “Sure we know about it. It’s a creepy old home out on Skull Rock. Just outside of town.”
“Skull Rock,” Lonny muttered. “Never heard of it.”
Vinny said, “We were actually planning on going there tonight.”
“You were?” Brianna asked.
“Yeah,” Gunner said. “It’s our senior dare. Our last day
of school is in two weeks.”
Vinny finished his burgers.
“Most people ain’t got the guts to
go there. House is supposed to be haunted. We’re not afraid.”
Lonny scoffed. “Wait till he gets up there and meets the likes Black Andrew and the spirits of Dr. Abacus and Echo Blackburn. See
how brave he is then.”
“Where is this house?” Brianna asked.
Vinny wiped his hands on a
napkin. “We’ll take you there.
It’s on the way to Panama Beach.”
Brianna nodded to Lonny. They
could be there in mere moments.
“Come with us,” Chassy said. “And you’ll find out real fast.” A wild look overcame Chassy’s eyes. Suddenly Brianna
felt a strange psychic energy emanating from him. She felt the presence of a spirit.
The dead mistress of Dr. Abacus
possessed Chassy. Brianna knew they must be getting close to finding Black Andrew. Echo is scared. She’s taken action.
Chassy grabbed Brianna. “Come on, honey. You like a good scare?”
Brianna couldn’t break free of Chassy’s grasp. She felt pain in her arm. Her uncle warned them other
strong spirits can harm them on the astral plane.
“Brianna, what’s going on?” Lonny asked. “How is he able to
grab hold of you?”
Brianna gasped. “Lonny, it’s Echo!”
“Lonny?” Vinny looked around. “Who’s Lonny?”
“Who’s Echo?” Gunner asked.
Lonny suddenly appeared and
clubbed Chassy in the arm. Chassy screamed and let go.
Vinny fell against the counter
when he saw Lonny. He tipped over an empty glass, a bottle of ketchup, and salt and pepper shakers. “Jesus Christ, what the hell are you?”
Echo Blackburn’s spirit left Chassy’s body and disappeared.
The other guys climbed up
the back of the booth. The music stopped. People gasped.
“What the hell?” Gunner said.
“Jesus, man, Chassy shouted.
The people pointed and whispered
to each other. Others bolted from their seats and clamored
to the front door like frightened
Vinny looked at Lonny in disbelief.
He blinked. He gazed at Lonny from head to toe. “What are you? Some kinda…degenerate?”
“I’m you worst nightmare, redneck.
Come on, Brianna. Let’s blow.”
They ran out of the restaurant,
but Lonny and Brianna disappeared.
“Where the hell did they go?” Vinny
said. “It’s like they
Gunner said, “I don’t know where they went, but the dame was asking about Skull
“Let’s go,” Vinny said.
Brianna and Lonny found Skull
Rock. The four story red brick house with Corinthian columns and terra cotta moldings stood upon a limestone formation that
resembled the top half of a skull. Lonny and Brianna floated into the old house.
Before they could float inside,
the wretched, sinister Echo Blackburn appeared before them.
She had no hair. Her skin
blackened and burnt, she looked like the night she burned to death.
She slugged Lonny over the
head and kicked Brianna in the stomach. Lonny hit the grass.
Brianna coughed and gasped
Echo grinned. “Our sacrifices have arrived.”
Vinny, Chassy, and Gunner
drove up in Vinny’s 1951 black Mercury
with orange and yellow flames on the hood and front end. Vinny parked in the driveway. Unable to see the astral fight in the
front lawn, they broke a first floor window and crawled inside. They crept through the kitchen. They heard a bell and whispering
coming from downstairs.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Chassy gasped.
Gunner nervously glanced behind
him. “Yeah, like right now.”
“Wait a minute,” Vinny said. “You guys aren’t going to chicken
out, are you? It’s just some strange noises. We should check it out. Come
They crept down the stairs
to the basement. A dull yellow light shone from the center of the
basement. It was too dark
to see what caused the light.
“We should get out of here,” Gunner whispered.
“Shut up,” Vinny grumbled. “Let’s go.”
A shadow appeared at the foot
of the stairs. They froze. The emaciated, ghastly spirit of
Doctor Abacus crept forward.
His skin looked whitish-yellow, his wide eyes full of rage. “You punks don’t belong here.”
Before they could scream and
run, someone clubbed Chassy over the head and he toppled over the other guys and they fell down the stairs. None of them moved.
“Stupid 50’s rednecks,” Black Andrew growled.
Echo beat Brianna as Brianna
lay on the ground. Loony tackled her and punched her in the face. Echo shoved him off her and kicked Lonny below the belt.
She ran back to Brianna and beat her senseless. Echo laughed hysterically. “It’s time for you to fulfill our destiny.”
Black Andrew tied up the kids,
spread eagle, to spikes on the floor in the basement. They laid in a three way pattern over a large hexagram on the floor.
Gunner and Chassy still remained knocked out. Vinny struggled to free himself.
Black and red candles all
over the basement lit the room. Black Andrew rang a large bell near the head of Chassy.
“Do it, Andrew,” Abacus commanded.
Andrew stabbed Chassy and
Gunner to death. He stepped around the hexagram to Vinny.
“No!” Vinny screamed.
Abacus and Black Andrew laughed.
Lonny recovered and beat Echo
off Brianna. He sat on her and continued to beat her over the head. Baltar appeared before them as a hulking black figure
with brutally cold, dark blue eyes.
“You’re no match for us, boy,” he hissed.
Mepistahl appeared before
them as a strikingly white woman with emerald eyes. She wore a
blue-green robe and a headband
of the same color with a purple gem that covered her third eye.
all of you combined are no match for me.” She uncovered her third eye and a
bright, pure blue light expanded to them.
Echo squealed before she floated
away vanished. Baltar disappeared in a shot.
Lonny rushed to Brianna’s side. She came to.
Lonny and Brianna floated
into the house and down to the basement. Before Andrew could plunge the knife into Vinny, Lonny shouted, “Leave him alone!”
Doctor Abacus started to float
to them but Nathan appeared in front of him.
“No!” Andrew shouted. “Damn it! Not now!” He disappeared.
Brianna grabbed the journal
on the table.
“You’ve done enough damage here already,” Nathan said.
Doctor Abacus cowered and
floated back. “You haven’t seen the
last of us.” He faded away.
Brianna and Lonny untied Vinny.
He still looked at Lonny like leprosy covered him.
Brianna hoped he wouldn’t faint. “We’re
from your future.”
“What the hell’s going on here?” Vinny shouted.
Brianna wished there was something
they could do about Vinny’s dead friends, but they didn’t have the time. Mepistahl
said they had to come back to their time and return to their bodies.
“It’s a long story,” Lonny said. “And we don’t have time to explain.
We must go.
But don’t be surprised if we come back.”
Mepistahl appeared before
them in front of a vortex.
“Farewell, Vinny,” Brianna said. She hoped
one day she could return to explain.
“No, wait!” Vinny shouted.
Copyright © John
Michael Osborne 2012
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