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The Horror at Skull Rock

by John Michael Osborne

Brianna Basra and Lonny Clark returned to the home of Briannas 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 uncles Atlanta mansion to use her own psychic power to see if her uncles spirit could tell them where Black Andrew fled.

Brianna and Lonny went to the basement.

Brianna thought, Uncle Nathan, if you can hear me, I need your help. Its an emergency.

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 uncles 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.

Ill find him, Nathan said. Next time do not take the book from here.

His spirit disappeared.

Do you think hes really mad? Lonny asked.

I know he is. I just dont know if hes mad at me as well as Andrew.

Within minutes Nathan returned. Its much worse than I feared.

Whats wrong? Lonny asked.

Black Andrew has surrounded himself with some very dangerous and evil spirits.

Lonny nodded. Hes aligned himself with Doctor Abacus, Echo Blackburn, and some other spirit named Baltar.

Brianna exclaimed, How do you know that?

When we were at Veras home, I saw the spirit of Dr. Abacus out there. He told me those spirits had joined him.

Its 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 wont be that easy, Nathan said. This other worldly spirit, Baltar, is very powerful. He

has helped Black Andrews astral spirit slip back into time to the 1950s.

The 1950s? Lonny shouted.

How? Brianna said. Surely couldnt 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 1950s?

Probably hiding where he thinks he wont be found to summon powerful spirits, Nathan said.

But how do we go back in time? Brianna asked. We dont 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 didnt recognize the street or the homes. They also didnt recognize the bedroom. It didnt look like Nathans 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 mustve made a mistake. Theres no way that thing existed in the 1950s.

Briannas uncle slipped out of the vortex. She was stunned. He looked solid, not like a spirit.

Youre 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. Shes letting you borrow it in this time?

Thats right. She travels often. She is away on business right now.

Whats that stereo doing in here then? Lonny asked.

Nathan said, Ive 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.

Its Mepistahl, Nathan said. Because you havent practiced the magic in my journal, your astral spirits can only handle so much power. You wont be able to stay here long.

Lonny said, So even if its just our astral spirits, can we get our hands on the book and bring it back to our time?

Thats 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 dont know, Nathan said. I picked up Andrews 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?

Youre in Tallahassee, Nathan said. Its a community just off Thomasville Road.

Its 1955. Its the late spring.

Brianna chuckled. Oh, Lonny, if were going out were definitely going to have to remain invisible. We cant go out in the streets in the 1950s with your dreadlocks.

Lonny looked disgusted. Im not doing anything to his hair.

But youll have to find Andrew, Nathan said. You may have to question people.

Cant 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 youre in your astral form and youre 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 dont imagine youll recognize this Tallahassee, Nathan said.

Lonny chuckled. I doubt it.

Brianna wasnt sure where to begin. Can you help us look for Andrew, Uncle Nathan?

No, not yet. There are others I must help now. Ill see you kids again soon. Good luck.

Her uncle disappeared back into the vortex.

You want to go to exploring? Brianna asked.

You bet.

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 wasnt built yet. They floated down Tennessee Street to the Florida State campus. They stepped right up to a young couple. The guys hair was short and slicked back. He wore a dark red sweater and slacks. The girls 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! Theyre so primitive.

Brianna chuckled. She was glad she didnt live at this time. She hated the clothes and the hairstyles. Im looking, Lonny.

Theyre practically barbarians.

Brianna sighed. Come on, Lonny. We dont have much time.

They wandered down Monroe Street. Cars rumbled freely down the road. Traffic wasnt as bad back then. Exhaust filled the air.

Recognize anything? Brianna asked.

Lonny said, The Duval Hotel is still there. So is St. Johns Episcopal Church. But the Florida Theatre, Woolworths and JC Penny are all gone in our time. Almost nothing looks the same.

Brianna let people walk right through her. She giggled. I dont doubt it. She couldnt feel Black Andrew or Doctor Abacus or the other spirits they looked for. This wasnt getting them anywhere.

Got any feeling where Andrew is hiding?

Brianna shook her head helplessly. I think my uncle was right. Were going to have to start asking people questions. Lets 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 50s bobby socksers we saw meandering aimlessly on the streets. Honestly, honey, with girls dressed like that, Im surprised society survived.

Brianna frowned. I dont 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 couldnt 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.

Im going to see what I can find out, Brianna said. Wish me luck.

Luck, and dont pick up any stray, hideous greasers, okay?

Okay, snotty.

While youre gone, Im going to look up the past of Abacus and see if he has any link to Tallahassee. Maybe thats 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 Nathans 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 gasped.

Someones screaming! a little brown haired girl, with pigtails wearing a long blue and white checkered dress, said.

Is that some kind of music? a scruffy old man asked. His voice sounded like he swallowed a walrus.

Like no music Ive ever heard, the police officer said.

Brianna feared what might happen if she didnt get to Lonny. She quickly floated back to the

house. Lonny, turn that off! Youre terrifying all of those 50s 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 dont know the names of the primitive 50s rockers.

I suppose theyre out there crapping their pants.

Brianna chuckled. You aint 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. Howd 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, Ill have to go out there again.

This time Im going with you.

Lonny! You cant—”

Ill stay invisible, dont 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 couldnt stand 50s rock.

Hey, boys, she said seductively.

The guys looked stunned.

Hello, there, the blond one said.

Whats 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 hed probably never know, stood up and said, Why dont you join us?

I havent 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, Whats your name, doll?

She couldnt 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 Chassy.

Hi, boys. I was just wondering if you know about the Abacus house. Hes supposed to have built it about a year ago.

The Abacus house? Vinny sounded surprised. Sure we know about it. Its 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. Its our senior dare. Our last day of school is in two weeks.

Vinny finished his burgers. Most people aint got the guts to go there. House is supposed to be haunted. Were 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. Well take you there. Its on the way to Panama Beach.

Brianna nodded to Lonny. They could be there in mere moments.

Come with us, Chassy said. And youll find out real fast. A wild look overcame Chassys eyes. Suddenly Brianna felt a strange psychic energy emanating from him. She felt the presence of a spirit.

Echo Blackburn.

The dead mistress of Dr. Abacus possessed Chassy. Brianna knew they must be getting close to finding Black Andrew. Echo is scared. Shes taken action.

Chassy grabbed Brianna. Come on, honey. You like a good scare?

Brianna couldnt break free of Chassys grasp. She felt pain in her arm. Her uncle warned them other strong spirits can harm them on the astral plane.

Brianna, whats going on? Lonny asked. How is he able to grab hold of you?

Brianna gasped. Lonny, its Echo!

Lonny? Vinny looked around. Whos Lonny?

Whos 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 Blackburns spirit left Chassys 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 rats.

Vinny looked at Lonny in disbelief. He blinked. He gazed at Lonny from head to toe. What are you? Some kinda…degenerate?

Im you worst nightmare, redneck. Come on, Brianna. Lets blow.

They ran out of the restaurant, but Lonny and Brianna disappeared.

Where the hell did they go? Vinny said. Its like they just vanished.

Gunner said, I dont know where they went, but the dame was asking about Skull Rock.

Lets 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 for air.

Echo grinned. Our sacrifices have arrived.

Vinny, Chassy, and Gunner drove up in Vinnys 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.

Lets get the hell out of here, Chassy gasped.

Gunner nervously glanced behind him. Yeah, like right now.

Wait a minute, Vinny said. You guys arent going to chicken out, are you? Its just some strange noises. We should check it out. Come on.

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. Lets 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 dont 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 50s 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. Its 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.

Youre 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.

And 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 Briannas 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.

Youve done enough damage here already, Nathan said.

Doctor Abacus cowered and floated back. You havent 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 wouldnt faint. Were from your future.

What the hells going on here? Vinny shouted.

Brianna wished there was something they could do about Vinnys dead friends, but they didnt have the time. Mepistahl said they had to come back to their time and return to their bodies.

Its a long story, Lonny said. And we dont have time to explain. We must go.

But dont 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.

They vanished.

Copyright  John Michael Osborne 2012

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