“So” sighed the Sheriff, “let me get this straight. You and your friend here were unpacking in your room. The one you share together…..and you saw someone climb in the window across the way….”
“Yes, that’s right” replies Ethan
“Let me finish, son” said the Sheriff admonishing Ethan
“You…Brian, that is… brandished your weapon with the intent of confronting the intruder. You knocked on the door, identifying yourself as police, which we’ll get to that later…. and when you heard suspicious noises you forcibly entered the room.”
Sheriff Bostwick paused collecting his thoughts. The older officer had seen many strange cases in his time but this one took the cake.
“Upon entering the room” Sheriff Bostwick continued, “you witnessed a bloodied up figure, possibly female, attacking the victim. You ordered the perp to get down on the floor but he or she rushed you and you shot him or her at point blank range and they escaped out the window. Is that it?”
“Yes, Sheriff” replied Brian “in a nutshell.”
“And you ah…Ethan is it?” asked the Sheriff
“Yes, Ethan Knox” replied Ethan
“What were you doing during this time?”
“Well Brian told me to stay in the room and call 911, which is what I did.”
“Until you heard the shots fired?”
“Yes, Sheriff, after I heard the shots fired I got worried and ran to check on Brian.”
“Mr. Knox, do you make a habit of running into danger like that?”
“Well when someone I care about might be in trouble.” Ethan replied putting his hand on Brian’s shoulder.
“I see” observed the Sheriff noncommittally
“Sir!” an officer called approaching the men “His story checks out. Up until two weeks ago he was a detective with the Shadow Falls Police down in
.” South Carolina
“Yeah, they say he resigned to take a job out of state” Officer Hinton continued “just like Mr. Lewis said.”
“Well Mr. Lewis” the Sheriff began “it looks like your story, at least part of it, checks out. We’ll be keeping your piece for the time being but I’m gonna have to ask you two not to leave town.”
“I understand, Sheriff” Brian offers taking Ethan by the arm to return back to their room.
“Um, Sheriff” Ethan asks breaking away from Brian “what about the couple? Are they all right?”
“Well I don’t suppose it would hurt to tell you now.” replies the Sheriff “Small town like this, you can’t keep any secrets. The couple were Brad and Janet O’Brien….they owned the
Inn. Brad is dead, his wife will live.”
“Oh” Ethan muttered “What about Kaleb, their son? He checked us in earlier.”
“Slept through the whole thing” replied the Sheriff “he’s been taken to the hospital with his mother. We’ll take care of him. We take care of our own around here. Now go on back to your room, Mrs. Curry will be here in the morning to take care of the
Inn while Mrs. O’Brian is recovering.
“Mrs. Curry?” asks Brian figuring Ethan had asked enough questions
“Yes” explains the Sheriff “She oversees the housekeeping staff.”
“Thanks again, Sheriff” Brian says walking away with Ethan.
Sheriff Bostwick and Officer Hinton watched as the two men walked back into the
“You think they got something to do with this, Sheriff?” asked Officer Hinton
“My gut says no,” replies the Sheriff “but something about their story don’t add up.”
“Yeah, um, I think they’re gay sir.” Officer Hinton observed.
“You don’t say.” replied Sheriff Bostwick giving the young officer a knowing look “That’s obvious enough. I mean if he shot this intruder where is the blood? We looked that room over and there’s no blood?”
Wisely the officer, embarrassed about his earlier comment, chooses not to reply but rather shrugs his shoulders.
Back in their room again, Brian begins securing the door and windows while Ethan takes his Book of Shadows out of his suitcase and sits on the bed as he flips through the pages.
“Ok” Brian says checking the locks again “Whatever that was, it wasn’t human, so what was it?”
“I don’t know” Ethan offers “From what I observed I’m thinking a Succubus, a Hag, some form of Vampire...can’t be sure until I know how Mr. O’Brian died…”
“Are the police gone?” asks Ethan as he spies Brian looking out the window.”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Good” he replies closing the book “Stay here, you’ll be safe.”
“What do you mean?”
“I conjured the room when you weren’t looking” Ethan explains “you’ll be safe as long as you stay in the room.”
“You’re not going anywhere.” Brian commands blocking Ethan’s way.
“Like you can stop me.”
Brian stands his ground.
“I have to go after that thing, whatever it is.”
“That’s just it” Brian explains “you don’t know what it is, you don’t know how to fight it…”
“But I have to try.”
“Ethan, you are not leaving this room to go after that thing. Not tonight. Not if you love me.”
“Fine” Ethan acquiesced figuring that Brian was right and that he didn’t know how to fight the thing.
“Good, now let’s go to bed.”
“I want to take a hot bath first,” explains Ethan
“There’s no window in there” Brian observes “you can’t slip out.”
“I just want to unwind. You go on to bed.”
“I’ll go to bed” Brian says “but I won’t go to sleep until you’re in here with me…in my arms….where you can’t get away….”
“Yeah, yeah,” Ethan offers entering the bathroom and turning on the faucet.
When his bath is drawn, Ethan removes his clothes and slips into the hot water. He lies back submerging his head for a second and then relaxes into perfect calm taking several deep, cleansing breathes. When his mind and body are completely relaxed he begins to chant:
“Unshackle the soul held within,
the bonds of mortal frame;
that it be free to ascend,
and move about the astral plane.”
In an instant Ethan finds himself standing over the bathtub looking down on his own naked form still soaking in the hot water. He turns towards the bathroom door and walks through it and over to Brian who is sitting up in bed with his arms crossed. Ethan stands before Brian waving his hands in front of Brian’s face to confirm that Brian can’t see him. He then walks over to the window.
“Here goes nothing.” Ethan says to himself as his spirit form leaps out the window and flies into the night.