A Ghost, A Wolf and a Deadly Past
William M. O'Brien, Jr.
Becca Miles was released from Juvenal Hall sooner than she thought into the care of an uncle she had not seen since she was a little girl. He was a kindly widower whose children were grown and gone.
Raymond Klein, her uncle, put her into an exclusive finishing school to prepare for college. He also set her up in her own room with the run of the house.
Becca was only glad to be away from Juvenal Hall and the life that she had been living, but she couldn’t help but remember, constantly, what had happened back in the woods. If she told the story the way it was, no one would believe her.
As a nonresident of the school, Becca made many friends in the school as well as in the neighborhood.
Things went very well with the girl even though the authorities often checked up on her. She made top grades and even developed a talent as an artist.
Many an evening found her drawing or painting in front of a TV on the screened in porch. She painted a beautiful portrait of her uncle which a friend of his, the president of a local bank, hung in the entrance hall to the bank. She was indeed, at the top of her talent, at sixteen.
One morning, a school holiday to which she had been looking forward, she found on a nearby aisle, a picture of a she-wolf with her babies.
“Did I paint this?” she asked herself quietly. She picked the picture up and placed it on a nearby table on top of another stack of canvasses. She was straining to remember when she had painted that when she heard a familiar quiet knock on her workroom door.
“Hi, Uncle Ray. I was just trying to put a few things in order here.” She turned toward the door.
“Oh sorry to interrupt.” The man stepped through the door. “Pastor Kels called to tell me that that picture you did of Martin Luther posting the theses has been shipped to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.”
“Oh great. A lot of people will see it there.”
Ray crossed the room to the table under the window. “This is nice,” he said over his shoulder. He pointed to the picture of the she wolf.
“Oh, I did that a while back,” she recalled, hesitatingly. “It depicts an animal I encountered when I was lost in the wilderness.”
“She sure looks ready to defend her pups.”
“Oh, yes, she was.” Becca’s memory flashed a pic of what really happened the last time she had seen she wolf.
She suddenly dropped the subject. “Oh, Uncle Ray. I’m doing a picture of Katharina von Bora, Martin Luther’s wife.”
“That sounds great. I’ll pass that on to Pastor Kels, too.”
Uncle Ray returned downstairs leaving Becca wondering about the picture she didn’t remember painting.
And there was the question of why she had wanted to paint something that had been a part of a bad memory.
She had killed one person and seen two others killed, one brutally by something she even now refused to believe existed. This was the stuff of nightmares, but so far she had not been disturbed by it. Until now.
Using an old pic out of a book, she quickly sketched out the outlines for the portrait of Katharina von Bora and then lay down on her bed, closed her eyes, and tried to remember painting she wolf.
Soon, she realized that she had work to do. She rose from the bed, prepared a palette, and went to work on Katharina von Bora. She worked far into the night, but finally finished after one.
Tired she prepared for bed and then lay down. Very quickly she fell asleep. Then she began to dream.
In a dream, half-sister Sandra stood in the door of her room, wearing the uniform of her school.
“You shot my friend Jillian,” she said. She began to advance into the room. “You shot me, too. You remember, bitch.” She advanced again, this time toward her bed. At the foot of the bed, she lifted the rear of her skirt and produced a large knife. Then she smiled. “I’m going to cut you to pieces.”
With the horror of nightmare growing rapidly in her, she awoke, breathless, looking around at her empty room. She turned on her nightstand lamp and, after looking all around again, rose from the bed.
The clock showed four o’clock, still the middle of the night. Quickly she undressed and lay back in bed, wide awake. Should she go to sleep again?
She tried to remember in detail the scuffling in which Sandra was shot. And she remembers Big Wally had his hands on both of her arms, one hand of which held the fatal gun. The gun discharged accidentally; Sandra’s death was an accident.
The next morning she was puzzled to find the painting of the she wolf missing. Did it even exist in the first place? But Uncle Ray even saw it.
A time in her life she had hoped she could forget soon after was now coming back. The painting and the fearful dream certainly were gruesome reminders of her recent misfortunes. But she did not know where to turn. Like it or not, her past was trying to catch up with her.
That day she finished up the painting of Katharina von Bora and presented it to her uncle after dinner.
“That’s beautiful,” Uncle Ray commented over a nightcap. “Pastor Kels is going to go nuts.”
“Thank you, Uncle Ray,” Becca settled back in a nearby easy chair. “I still have two drawings to do for school and a whole lot of algebra.”
“Your work is looking better and better all the time.” Uncle Ray settled in another chair. “How about a little sherry or wine as a nightcap? It will help you sleep.”
“I would like that, thanks.” Becca smiled at him.
Uncle Ray got up to fix the drink but after she noted his leaving the room, her eyes fell on a figure at a backyard window.
Although very dark, she could make out a female figure standing in the window. But the window was a good ten feet above the ground.
Becca got up from her chair and walked toward the window, but when she did, the figure vanished.
“What in the name of God,” she whispered, staring out the window and then noting the distance to the ground. “Is this a trick of light,” she muttered to herself. Or is someone out there.”
The neighborhood was full of playful kids and it wouldn’t be impossible for some of them to play a trick on anyone. But that couldn’t have been a kid that she saw.
She still stood at the window when Uncle Ray returned with her drink.
“I just saw someone at this window,” Becca declared.
“It must have been a tall someone,” Uncle Ray replied and laughed. “That window is a good ten feet off the ground.”
“I think they were standing on something.”
“You know, that could be that little turd Eddie Sense, from next door. He’s always into something and he loves messing with people.” Uncle Ray settled in a chair with a drink of his own. “You know, he let the air out of the tires on my Ford truck a month ago and I caught him doing it.”
“It didn’t look like a boy, though.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t put anything past him.”
“I don’t know,” Becca replied. “It might have been just a reflection or something.”
Thinking that she had seen something that just wasn’t there, Becca retired to bed after finishing two homework assignments. Tired, she fell asleep immediately.
In a dream, she stood in a clearing of the woods she had been lost in. She started to walk toward what looked like a path, but immediately on the path appeared she wolf, her pups in tow. Without stopping she walked up to Becca and sat before her.
The she looked straight at the girl and stated. “Beware. Your life is in danger.”
Becca, shocked, backed up a step and, stuttering, replied. “What…What do you mean. Those things…”
“No. No.” the creature answered. “My friends are gone. But your enemy lives and has found you.” Then the animal turned and headed up the path.
Becca started to follow but the effort woke
her. She sat up in total darkness and looked around her room.
“Enemy,” Becca whispered. “What did she mean “enemy.?” She looked at her watch. Two o’clock.”
In the darkness, in her bed, Becca had never felt so alone. She had been warned through a dream to beware. Beware of what?”
Then she remembered the hideous dream of Sandra, her half-sister. But Sandra was dead. And so was Big Wally.”
The creature that had just warned her in a dream still lived, somewhere in the wilderness she had left.
Afraid to return to sleep, Becca lay back in her bed and tried to keep her eyes open. Her effort taxed her too much and she was sound asleep soon after.
The next morning, Becca wanted to tell her Uncle Ray about her dream but something told her not to.
Would he believe her, or not? She didn’t really want to know so she remained silent.
After breakfast, Uncle Ray announced he had some errands to attend to at the bank and did Becca want to go along and do some shopping downtown.
Of course, she jumped at the offer. This was something to get her out of the house and away from her recent problems. Shopping was, after all, a panacea for her.
Later, Uncle Ray parked the car in the bank parking lot, and Becca hopped out, waved goodbye to her Uncle and headed across the street to the stores.
She was purchasing a scarf in a department store when the clerk checking her out informed her that there was a sale down the block at Nordstrom, her favorite store. Immediately she left with her purchases and headed down the block to find a line waiting for Nordstrom to open its doors.
She looked around for the end of the line and, finding it, headed in that direction. But she had taken but a few steps when she stopped, and stood, in utter horror.
Standing in line and staring straight at her, was Sandra. She turned away and immediately emptied the contents of her stomach.
A man coming up behind her stopped and asked her if he could help her. A policeman managing the line walked up as well.
He asked her if he wanted him to call an ambulance.
“No…No…” Becca choked. “I…I’m just upset from breakfast.”
Daring to look back in the direction of the vision she had seen, she noticed that her half-sister was gone, and in her place, stood a tall woman wearing a dress similar in color and design her half-sister had worn.
Still sick at her stomach, she headed back to the bank to meet her uncle.
Uncle Ray was ignorant of her recent problems. Becca thought he might not believe her if she told him about the recent visions. But she knew she would have to sooner or later. After all, she was being tormented by a dead woman. She decided to tell Uncle Ray the entire story from her shooting of Jilly to her coming to live with him. What could she say about the monstrous figures she had seen. After all one of them had saved her from Big Wally.
She met Uncle Ray at the bank and told him she had suddenly become ill. The two of them returned home where Becca took to her bed, determined to stay awake.
Uncle Ray offered her a sedative, but when he left the room, she put the pill beneath her mattress. Later, after her uncle was in bed, she could get up and walk around or settle in the huge den and watch TV.
Becca did not make it to bedtime however, as she slipped into sleep shortly after sundown.
In a dream she found herself in some darkened room she didn’t recognize. Apparently, it was day, as daylight entered the room through cracks in boarded up windows and closed and locked doors.
She could see to walk around so she made her way to a large crack separating the window frame from the wall. After gingerly watching her step as she could not see the floor clearly, she put her eye close to the crack.
What she could see outside seemed familiar. There was a wall of growth, trees, large bushes, tall grass, across a cleared off area in front of the building. Immediately, she recognized the landscape as the area around the abandoned ranger station where she had confronted half-sister Sandra and Big Wally. Also, it was the area where she had last seen she wolf, which she knew now figured into her final escape from this situation.
She walked, carefully around the darkened room, gazing through cracks in boarded up windows and split wall boards. Apparently no one had been in the room in a long time as a heavy coat of dust lay on everything, window sills, a broken table that lay against the wall, an old shelf, everything.
Becca found a door and began to pull on it. And when that didn’t work, she threw her weight against it.
As there were no boards across it that she could see inside, she figured it was only locked.
She was right as she kept on hitting it, it budged. Finally, she flung her full weight against it and it moved open, oddly enough, all the way. Becca started through the door but she immediately confronted her step sister.
She woke up screaming, bringing a sleepy Uncle Ray to her door.
“Becca…Becca…” he stammered. “Are you all right?”
“Yes…Yes…I just had a bad dream.” Still breathing heavily, she pulled the covers up to her chest.
“I’ll be all right,” she mumbled.
“Would you like a drink of water? Or milk?”
“A drink of water sounds nice.” Now Becca sat up in bed. “Could you put some ice in it?”
“You bet. Be right back.”
Becca looked about her darkened room. Was Sandra somewhere around here? Was she outside waiting to come in? Why was she around in the first place; she is supposed to be dead.
Uncle Ray returned with a tall glass of ice water. “This should hit the spot,” he announced.
She took the glass and immediately drank. Then she took a deep breath and turned to her uncle.
“Uncle Ray, could I talk to you for few minutes?” she asked.
“Sure,” he replied, in a quiet and reassuring voice.
In a slow and quiet way, Becca explained to him the details of her immediate background beginning with the shooting of Jilly Beacham and ending with the confrontation at the closed-up ranger station.
When she finished, Uncle Ray had a question.
“You say one of those things you saw in the forest killed this Wally character who was struggling with you.”
“Yes sir, and in the struggle I shot Sandra.”
What…What, How does the she wolf figure into all this?
“I think the she wolf was protecting me and those things were protecting the she wolf.”
“The she wolf was protecting you?”
“Yes, sir. I didn’t shoot her in the forest before she led me to those things. There she had a shelter for her and her babies.”
Uncle Ray turned on the end of the bed. “Becca, this is the most amazing story I’ve ever heard.”
“It’s all true.” Becca sniffed back a tear. “I’d swear to God on it.”
“And then you say there is a…a ghost?”
“Yes, she has come back and…and the she wolf has appeared in a painting.” Becca sat up and threw her legs over the side of the bed. “And the dreams, like the one I just had, are horrible.”
There was a deafening silence for a few minutes. Then Uncle Ray spoke.
“My sister, your mother, saw ghosts. She said she saw the ghost of the previous owner of this house two weeks after he died.”
“Uncle Ray, Sandra’s here and I think she means me harm.”
“And she wolf.”
“I think she means to help me. How, I don’t know.”
Becca did not return to sleep but kept a vigil
until dawn. Since Uncle Ray was still sleeping, Becca decided to watch the
news in the large parlor at the back of the house. Here she could feel some
protection as a large dog bed had a large dog in it. Uncle Ray’s dog
Stefano was a cross between a Great Dane and something else equally as huge.
A good loud bark and a frightening appearance protected the house, but the
dog was very friendly to his master and Becca. In fact, Becca tried to play
with him daily
The national news led to the local news and the droning on and on put Becca into a sleep sitting up in an easy chair across the room. She awoke with Ray’s large Grandfather Clock chiming noon in the adjacent front room.
She looked around to find Stefano still sleeping in his bed.
“That’s odd,” she whispered to herself. The large dog was always up early; in fact, she had always tried to play with him in the morning.
Anxious, she rose and walked to the door to the hall.
“Uncle Ray,” she called to no answer.
She turned and walked up the stairs to the top, where again she called “Uncle Ray,” to no answer.
Now she walked to his room, to find him sound asleep.
She returned to her own room to find the picture of the She Wolf on the main aisle across from her bed.
She stiffened in fear. She had thought the pic of the She Wolf had been a figment of a tired imagination.
Now, here it was, just as real as any of her other pictures lying against the wall. And now she wasn’t dreaming.
She turned and hurried to Uncle Ray’s room to awaken him and tell him what was going on. Uncle Ray was up, standing in his bathroom shaving.
“No beard for this dude!” Uncle Ray chuckled, noticing Becca in the mirror.
“Oh, Uncle Ray, that picture of the wolf is back.”
“I think everyone wanted to sleep this morning.” Ray turned and started toward Becca wiping his face with a towel. “Even my little guide dog was nowhere to be found early this morning.
“I woke up this morning and the wolf picture was back.”
“Oh…the wolf picture was back.” Uncle Ray turned toward the hall. “Let’s go see if it’s there now.”
They arrived at Becca’s room but the wolf picture was nowhere to be seen. On the aisle where it had been sat a picture that Becca was doing of a classmate.
“I swear to God, Uncle Ray, that picture was sitting on the aisle over there.” Becca pointed across the room and started for the pictures leaning against the wall.
But a scrutiny of these pictures did not turn up a picture of the wolf.
“I’m not losing my mind, Uncle Ray. Something is happening here.” A tear rolled down her cheek.
“Something is aiming at me.”
Uncle Ray crossed his arms over his chest. “It was there last night? Maybe you moved it then.”
“No. No. It was there this morning when I woke up.”
“Well, the only thing I can recommend is let’s go have some breakfast and then come back and see what we find.”
Becca and Uncle Ray headed toward the kitchen and arrived in time for Nelly, Uncle Ray’s cook, to dish up scrambled eggs and bacon. She was also cooking sausage and hash browns.
“There should be enough of this stuff for us as well as the rest of the staff.” Uncle Ray’s cheerful voice echoed in the large kitchen.
He turned in his chair. “Nelly, you got some coffee for us?” Then he turned back to Becca. “Becca, you’ve been through a hell of a strain. What do you think is the cause of these things you’ve been seeing and dreaming. Your dreams to me seem to be very vivid.”
“I know, Uncle Ray. But that picture was there. I know it was.”
“Well, after breakfast, let’s go back up and look all through your things. If it’s there we’ll find it.”
Later, they searched the room from top to bottom, but there was no painting of a she wolf.
‘This defies all reason, Becca,” Uncle Ray remarked, hands on hips, standing next to the large aisle.
“I know, Uncle Ray.” Becca stood up from going through fresh canvasses stacked against the wall. “But everything that’s happened to me, just about, defies reason.”
Ray offered to take Becca away from the house for the day and she jumped at the offer. Together they visited an art gallery, ate lunch at a restaurant downtown, walked around and visited stores. And, for a while, Becca forgot her troubles.
But when they arrived home, Butch Nowlin, a former policeman now an instructor in self-defense and martial arts, was waiting for them. He had come to give Ray, a close friend, some back copies of the “Wall Street Journal,” he had asked for.
“How are you doin’ Butch,” Ray greeted the man and then turned to Becca. “This is my niece Becca.
My sister’s child. She’s staying with me now.”
“Oh, ok.” Butch extended his hand. “How ya’ doin’, Becca. This explains a visitor earlier. A woman asked me if a young woman named Becca was living here.”
“A woman was looking for me?”
“Yes. I told her she had the wrong house. Ray didn’t have any woman living with him now that I knew of.”
“Butch, what did this woman look like?” Becca began shaking.
“Well, had black hair. I’d say she was in her twenties.” Butch took his baseball cap off and scratched his head. “She was pretty tall. I’d say close to six feet.”
Becca let out a breath in relief. This was not her stepsister. But, if it wasn’t Sandra, who was it? And why was she looking for her?”
She turned to her uncle. “I have no idea who that is?” she professed.
“I didn’t think that was your stepsister, from what you’ve said of her.” Ray turned to his friend. “We don’t know who that is, Butch.”
“Not a bad looking woman, Ray. I was surprised she wasn’t looking for you.” Butch looked at Becca and winked.
Becca smiled back at him. “I was thinking it was my stepsister, but she is a blond and about my height.” She turned to her uncle and then back to Butch. “She’s a ghost.”
“A ghost,” Butch’s eyes widened. “Are you shitin’ me..” he muttered under his breath.
“She is,” Ray added. “She’s seen her.”
Later, toward bedtime, Becca, apprehensive as usual, lay on her bed, wondering who the woman was that Butch had described. It certainly wasn’t Sandra. But she knew Becca’s name and her address. Was she tied up with Sandra? But how could that be? Sandra was a ghost, who in life had never been anywhere near her present location.
Becca was almost asleep when she heard the rattle at the window. She rose from the bed to see a shadow at the window. It was a woman, shaking the window, as if trying to get in.
She remembered that particular window was ten or twelve feet off the ground. Without thinking, she hopped up from the bed and headed across the room to the window.
But the shadow disappeared. Putting her hands on her hips she moved close to the window to try to see anything out there that had been at the window.
However, as she scanned the area out the window, an arm reached through the window and grabbed her lower leg, pulling it violently toward the window.
Becca screamed and reached for the arm, but a face appeared in the window, a face she knew only too well. A smiling face came toward her through the window.
Uncle Ray, attracted by the scream, appeared at the door.
Becca saw him and screamed again. “Uncle Ray! My God! Uncle Ray!”
The arm and face suddenly disappeared, as if they had never existed at all.
Ray hurried to Becca and picked her up off
In his arms, the girl turned to him. “Uncle…Uncle Ray, it was Sandra. I know it was Sandra. She’s here…” Becca kneeled down at the window and gazed at the pane as well as the area out of it.
“She grabbed me,” she cried. “I think…I think she was trying to pull me through the window.”
“Becca, do you want to sleep in that room next to me?” Ray reached down and put his hand on Becca’s shoulder.
“Yes. Yes. I need to get out of here.” Becca stood up and turned to the stacks of canvasses and paintings leaning against the wall. “For all I know, she’s here now.”
“Okay,” Ray replied. “Raynelle has left but we can fix that bed in there pretty quick.”
Becca gathered up a few things and followed Ray out of the room and down the hall to his room. The room next to his was locked at the hall door, so Ray decided to keep that door locked, so the only door available to Becca besides a bathroom was a door into his room.
Dead tired, Becca finally got to sleep that night and slept soundly until morning. When she awoke, she realized that somewhere close by was the hateful ghost of her stepsister.
Uncle Ray was still asleep when she dressed and checked around the room for anything that might indicate a malign presence. Like in her room, there was a bank of windows in Uncle Ray’s room and two side by side windows in the little room where she slept. These bothered her as they offered an entranceway for the hateful appearance of Sandra. She checked the two windows and found both locked, soundly, but this would not stop Sandra.
When Becca stepped into the hall, she was confronted with a strong, foul smell that she had never encountered before. She retreated into her room where she checked around her room as well as that of her sleeping uncle. There was no smell in either room.
She immediately associated the foul smell with the malign presence of her stepsister.
After waiting for an hour, she decided to return to her regular room to see if anything could be found there. She remembered the pictures of the shewolf and wondered if these were phenomena favorable to her. After all, the she wolf had been on her side.
The smell was gone, along with the feeling that her stepsister was very near.
Apprehensively, Becca made her way down the hall to her own room. There, she began looking through her canvases and drawings for any evidence of the she wolf. However, none was to be found. The pic she had seen had been a wraith. Another phantom antagonized her. Why did she ever doubt that?
She sat on her bed and tried to think of what to do next. Her musing, however, was interrupted by the sound of footsteps in the hall. Quiet footsteps were heading toward her door.
Suddenly, the footsteps stopped, just outside her door.
Becca, in a panic, dived for the other side of her bed. There, she waited for whatever was in the hall to make an appearance.
Then, very quietly, laughter began. At first Becca thought it was coming from the hall, but soon it became louder. The noise was not coming from the hall but from inside Becca’s room; from behind a pile of books she had stacked in a corner.
Now terrified, she moved toward the door, keeping an eye on the hall as she went. When she reached the hall door, there was no one there. She turned back to her room to find silence.
Very slowly and carefully, she made her way to the stack of books to find that nothing had been there.
Even the dust on the stack and on the floor was undisturbed.
“Becca” A voice echoed in the hall. Uncle Ray was up. “How about some breakfast?”
He appeared at the door, still in his pajamas.
“Oh, Uncle Ray, I’ve just had another terrible experience.” Almost in tears, she turned toward her room. “There were noises, noises of things that were not here. In my room over there.” She pointed to the corner with the books,” and in the hall.”
“Well, there’s no one here except Nelly, the cook, and she’s in the kitchen.”
“I know, Uncle Ray. There wasn’t anything here or in the hall. Nothing.” She threw up her hands in frustration. “I’m being targeted by something…something…I can’t even explain.”
“Your dead sister in law.”
“Yes. Somehow, she’s…she’s doing all of this.” She backed up and plopped down in a chair by the door. “Maybe I should have died back in that wilderness, with all the rest of them.”
“But you didn’t,” Uncle Ray offered her his hand. “let’s go to breakfast. Then we’ll move some of your things to my room where you were last night. I think that whatever is going on is not going to be bothering you in my room, as long as I’m there.”
“I guess you’re right, Uncle Ray.” She sighed. “That’s the only thing I can do at this point.”
After breakfast, they moved Becca’s bedding, chest of drawers, and even her clothes hamper into the little room off the master bedroom. They would consider her old room a studio. It would give her more room as well as more light for her work.
Becca even admitted that in the little room next to her uncle, she did feel a bit safer. She was no longer alone. Still, there was the knowledge that there was a presence in the house; one that was certainly malign.
Five nights followed in which nothing out of the ordinary occurred and Becca began to think that the extraordinary occurrences were gone. However, she knew that this wasn’t the case. These hateful things, centering on her dead stepsister were just biding their time, waiting for the best time and place to strike.
And this was what Becca was waiting for.
Back in her former bedroom, now her studio, she worked away on a canvass in which she recorded her experiences in the woods. The wolves, Wally and Sandra, and even the huge metal monstrosities she depicted as truthfully as she could, although most people would not believe in these items.
And she waited, for the next occurrence. She did not have long to wait as she found, just before the end of the week, the canvas she had been working on in her studio had been ripped to shreds by what looked like a knife.
“Only Sandra,” she said to herself. Using her foot, she pulled the canvas to pieces and then placed the ripped-up material into the trash can. In her mind she knew the torn-up canvas wasn’t going to stay in the trash can, nor the dismembered canvas frame stay in pieces. “And when I find it the next stop will be the fireplace,” she mumbled to herself. She even began to think the woman Butch had met had been Sandra in some sort of disguise.
Now she could feel her. She was closer than she never had been before, but Becca was ready for her.
She put aside the fear factor and began to plan what she would do to deter anything her dead stepsister tried to do.
That night, there was a banging noise on the outside of the house. It woke Becca who started to wake her uncle but, instead, found him standing up by his bed. He had his phone in his hand and was saying that he was going to call the police.
Becca was glad that he heard the noise, too, as that was one step, she believed, in getting rid of the manifestations.
The police came but found nothing. One officer looked about the property but found nothing out of the ordinary. Becca, of course, knew the source of the noise could not be found, because it was part of the paranormal manifestations that were plaguing her.
She did think she would be able to get back to sleep so close to morning, but she fell asleep anyway just before dawn. Immediately she began to dream.
Again, she wolf appeared in her dream. This time she appeared at the sight of the ruined ranger station where Becca had been taken into custody. She said nothing until just before she disappeared, she seemed to say “come to me, come to me.” Instantly Becca knew that she must return to the ruined ranger station where, she knew, she would meet she wolf again.
Later, that morning, she discussed the idea with her uncle.
Raymond asked her if she knew the way and she answered that she thought she knew. But she also knew that the place in question was far away in a wilderness where they could possibly confront anything. But even though she feared the place, Becca knew she had to go. It seemed to her the only way to end the manifestations.
Becca and Uncle Ray packed sleeping bags and camping gear and included three guns in the preparations. Although they knew what they should find out there, they were not taking any chances.
They would be ready for anything.
The next problem would be finding the place. The authorities had transported Becca out of there, but she did not pay much attention to how they had left the old station and transported her back into the city.
Their map depicted the vast area for which they were headed but there was no reference on it for a ranger station. Only a small town appeared near the supposed location of Big Wally’s cabin, where Becca’s troubles had begun.
Uncle Ray suggested they head for the town as they could find someone there who could give them the location of the old station.
Becca found the little town, called Simmon’s Crossroads, somewhat familiar as she figured that she had stopped here on the way to Big Wally’s cabin. She wondered how many people here knew Big Wally or even her stepsister Sandra. Since they had arrived late in the day, they found an old motel at the edge of town and checked in.
After eating in a nearby restaurant, Becca fell asleep easily but was awakened at three A.M. by a need to visit the bathroom. On her way back to bed, though, she came face to face with Sandra, the hole in her chest glaringly apparent.
She started to scream, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t make a sound to awaken her sleeping uncle.
Sandra stepped forward and Becca started backward but found she couldn’t move either. And the smell in the room was hideous, the smell of the unburied corpse.
Her stepsister grabbed her arm and then her hand and moved it up to her wounded chest. Then she moved her head within inches of Becca’s.
“See what you did to me,” the hideous apparition hissed. “Now you’re down to your last days of life. I will be waiting for you at the old station.”
The wraith backed away and then began to dissolve.
“I’ll be waiting for you,” Becca declared, loud enough to wake her uncle.
“What…” a sleepy voice from the bed said. “Becca, what’s going on?”
“Oh, nothing, Uncle Ray. Just a visit from a bitch.” Becca headed into the restroom, while her uncle drifted back to sleep.
The next morning, they visited a nearby café for breakfast. They inquired about the location of the old ranger station, but no one seemed to have any information. They did, however, receive a tip to visit the county tax office in the next block.
There, they received directions to the office from a Sheriff’s Deputy who was busy paying his tax on his land at a nearby lake. He also told the two visitors that there were many incidents of a questionable kind at the old ranger station.
They found an old land business map and made two copies to take with them. While scanning the area covered by the map, they did find that where they were was around fifty miles away, and there was nothing in the general area of the old station except for one notation which Becca figured was Big Wally’s cabin. They visited a nearby market where they bought some edibles and then took off for the old station.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Becca informed her uncle as he drove down a road through absolutely nothing but trees, shrubs, and thick bushes that hid anything from the road. “But whatever it is, I’m going to do it”
“How do you kill a ghost, Becca?” Uncle ray asked, to break the silence that followed Becca’s revelation.
“The only thing I know is to face it head on, Uncle Ray.”
“Well, I’ll be there to help you.” The old man behind the wheel said. “You might say that I’m a silly old man but all my life I’ve wanted to take part in an honest to god adventure.” He turned his head toward Becca. “All my life I’ve looked forward to this.”
Becca turned to her uncle. “Uncle Ray, I don’t find that silly at all. I am so… so damned thankful for everything you have done for me; for your shelter, for your comfort, for your companionship for me who had no one. Sitting in a police station with no one to call.” Becca sniffed back a tear.
They reached the old station sooner than they had thought. The entire scene weighed heavily on Becca as she knew what was waiting for her there.
They forced open a door in the back of the building and entered, two flashlights lighting the area they entered.
Becca had not entered the building when she had been there before, but she marveled at the interior of the building was exactly the same as that she had seen in nightmares she had.
“It looks harmless enough,” Ray remarked, pushing an old chair aside.
“I’ve never been inside, Uncle Ray,” Becca ran her flashlight over the ceiling. “But I could swear that I’ve been in here before. In a dream.”
Becca knew that they wouldn’t have to wait long. There was a terrific rush of wind outside. Then boarded up windows and a closed shut door blew open.
Becca and Uncle Ray stood, facing the door they had come in on. Immediately there appeared in that door the image of Sandra, Becca’s stepsister, who was supposedly to be dead.
Slowly the wreath began to advance on the two intruders, who backed away toward the other side of the room.
Becca, now more aggravated than frightened, picked up the chair Uncle Ray had shoved aside and pointed its three remaining legs at Sandra.
The ghost laughed, though no sound emanated from its mouth. Suddenly it sprang forward and knocked the chair out of Becca’s hand. Then it rushed at Becca.
But its movement was impeded by another vision, a large wolf-like creature enveloped Sandra and dragged her out of the door into the open sunlight. There she vanished into thin air, as did the wolf.
“Oh, my God, “ Becca uttered, “the She-wolf.”
Now all was quiet in the old ranger station. The two ghosts had vanished, leaving no trace. It seemed, that Becca’s life had been saved once again.
She rushed out into the open space by the old station. But there was nothing to be found there.
Looking around the surrounding brush, she did find the remains of the trail she had used to find the station to begin with. It was almost completely obscured by the undergrowth.
She started up the trail, but soon ran into an animal, a small wolf cub.
Without even thinking, Becca blurted, “Where’s your momma?”
The animal turned and headed up the trail, Becca following, shoving branches and undergrowth away as she went.
Finally, they came to a clearing, one which was vaguely familiar to Becca.
The little animal stopped and turned.
The girl stopped as well and began to look about the area which seemed more perfectly cleared than anything around, including the old ranger station.
It took a second look before Becca saw it. Dangling high from a large tree, the largest in the clearing, was a completely intact skeleton of a wolf, hanging by its tail. The bones had been completely cleaned and neatly bound together as they should be anatomically.
“Oh, my God,” Becca croaked, tears coming to her eyes. She fell to her knees and began sobbing loudly.
Immediately she had realized that the things that had saved her that day had done away with the she-wolf, probably as food for the group. All the more horrible was the supposition of how these mechanical monsters could eat organic food, a woodland animal, and clean its bones completely.
The animal’s ghost had followed her home and back to here, as had that of Sandra. It had manifested itself as one of her paintings.
Sandra had wanted to kill her. That was obvious.
But the she wolf had saved her, as she had earlier in the bush. Now both visions were gone. Hopefully for good.
But Becca knew she would never forget the animal whose visions had appeared in her studio, now, it seemed, as a warning.
When a worried Uncle Ray had appeared in the clearing, Becca, tears still running down her face, hugged him, then told him what she had seen and then pointed out the skeleton of the hapless animal. In the meantime, the wolf cub had disappeared into the bush, as if it had never existed.