Not A Ghost of A Chance | By: Dallas Releford | | Category: Short Story - Horror Bookmark and Share

Not A Ghost of A Chance

NOT A GHOST OF A CHANCE By: Dallas G. Releford Penniless, exhausted and stranded in a foreign country, Brian Cummins wandered through the dirty, dark back streets of an ancient Mexican city. The cobblestones hurt his feet as he realized that he had been walking for more than four hours wondering what to do. His dream vacation had turned into a nightmare after only a few days below the border. His mind almost numb with fear, insecurity and confusion, he thought back to what had happened to him the previous night. It wasn’t all that clear to him but he could remember enough of it to make him sick at his stomach when he thought about it. He had been shopping for souvenirs to take back to the states to give to his few friends. It was getting late and he had unwisely chosen to cut through an alley that should have taken him to his hotel room on the next street over but it was too late when he realized that he was lost. Before he could go back the way he had come and get back on track again, he had been confronted by four dark figures that suddenly came from out of the shadows. Brian hadn’t understood Spanish but he had understood the word “peso” and he understood what the two gleaming knives meant. It was all coming back to him now and he just stood there in the shade of one of the buildings letting his mind wander back to the night before. It was as if it was all happening to him again. Before he could respond, strong, rough hands held his arms while the bandits tore his shopping bags from his own trembling hands. He wondered if he was going to die as one of the sharp blades was placed up against his throat. “Don’t move Joe,” a voice warned him in broken English. He wanted to tell them that his name wasn’t Joe but he was afraid that those words would be the last ones he would ever say. He stood there helpless as the four thieves took his wallet, watch, rings and even his new shoes. “Sleep well Joe,” the same voice said and the last thing he remembered was seeing a flash of light as his legs gave way under him. It was almost daylight when he slowly awakened. At first, he thought that he was back in his hotel room and had rolled out onto the hard floor but one look around him quickly dispelled that idea. The adobe buildings were just receiving the first rays of the morning sun when he finally had enough strength to struggle to his feet. A few people passed by him in the alley but when they saw him, they just hurried on by and ignored the poor drunken gringo. It took a long time for Brian to recall what had happened but ever so slowly, he put it all together. He felt in his hip pocket for his wallet and looked down at his finger for his ring but they were gone along with just about everything else that he owned. His head hurt and his eyes were still seeing double as he stood there swaying from side to side never sure if he was going to be able to stand or not. He slowly put the tips of his fingers to the spot on his head that hurt the most but quickly withdrew them when a stinging sensation shot through his head. A knot the size of an egg existed there where something had hit him on the back of the head. Another smaller knot was located just above his left eye near his hairline. There was so much pain that he was sure that they had attempted to kill him. He was quite sure that they had almost succeeded by the way that he felt and he realized that he was probably lucky just to be alive. He had probably wandered up and down the streets for several hours not knowing who he was or what he was doing there until he had finally stopped in the shade of the building to rest. As he stood there, things began to “come back” to him and he realized that he was not far from where he had been mugged. He knew that he had to get back to the hotel and get some help. Brian managed to find his way to the alley where he was mugged. The only reason he wanted to go there was that the alley would lead him back to the hotel and in his present frame of mind, it was the only way he could remember to get back to the hotel. He looked up the alley and remembered that he had come from that particular direction last night. The old chapel with the broken cross “told him so” but it looked so much different in the morning sun than it did in the moonlight. Turning his attention in the other direction, he wondered if someone would call the police for him or at least help him in some way. That hope faded as he made his way toward where he thought his hotel was located. He had only walked a few steps when he saw the street sign that told him he had been mugged within a few hundred yards of the hotel. The hotel clerk looked at him nervously as he entered the hotel lobby and headed slowly toward the front desk. The clerk started around the desk to confront him but as he approached him, he recognized the young American that had checked in two days ago. “Senor’, what happened to you?” He asked in perfect English seeming to be genuinely concerned. “Robbed,” Brian managed to say, “robbed and beaten senseless. I’ve been laying in the alley over there most of the night. I guess I wandered around most of the morning.” “That’s terrible, let me help you to your room and I’ll get you an ice pack for your head,” the clerk offered. “I’ll call a doctor for you too.” Brian was almost completely helpless as the desk clerk and another man helped him to his room and put him to bed. He was almost exhausted and the only thing on his mind was to go to sleep and forget all about everything that had happened to him. Brian wondered how he was going to pay the doctor but remembered his emergency money that he kept in his suitcase. The doctor was an older man with light gray hair, deep brown eyes and dark skin. Brian thought that he seemed intelligent and he noticed that he seemed to be sympathetic toward him. Still, Brian didn’t want to be a charity case because he wanted to pay his own way in the world. His father had at least taught him that much about life, in general. The doctor prescribed some pills, told him to get lots of rest until the swelling in his head went down, the pain subsided and then he just stood there looking at him. Brian knew he was waiting for his money and he dreaded the next question that he had to ask the doctor but he knew that too, was part of life, doing things that you didn’t want to do. “How much do I owe you?” Brian asked hoping that it wouldn’t be more than he had. After he paid the doctor, he had enough money to pay the hotel what he owed them and to pay for the room for another week. He would have a little left over for food but nothing for anything else. He wondered how he could have gotten into such a mess in just a few lousy hours. The week flew by quickly and the staff at the small hotel did everything they could to make him comfortable. The housekeeper brought him a tray of food and a basket of fresh fruit every day and even the hotel clerk was as helpful in everyway that he could be. By the middle of the week, Brian was able enough to begin worrying about his problems and wondered what he was going to do when his week was up at the hotel. After all, he was just a college student that had been kicked out of his home by his stepfather. His mother spent most of her time in the bars and nightclubs and didn’t have much time for a son that couldn’t hold a job or make good grades in school. She was tired of him embarrassing her in front of her friends. She would never admit that most of her friends had the same kind of life that she did. Brian had tears in his eyes as he thought back to the broken home that he had come from. He sadly recalled that his father had died, his mother had married a cab driver and both of them had wanted him out of the house even before he was able to graduate from High School. His father had left him some money in his will and they couldn’t touch it. Brian had used the money to go to college. He worked a part time job to help finance his education and for other things that he needed. After a year, he had decided to take a vacation during summer recess. Some of the few friends he had wanted him to go to Florida with them but he just wanted to get away from everything and everyone for a little while. A few days later, he was on his way to Mexico. Now sitting alone and broke in the lonely hotel room, he thought about his bleak future. He remembered the late night card games, the drinking binges that he and his friends had enjoyed and the many checks he had written to pay for it all. How could he have been so stupid? The worst flaw in his thinking process was that he had spent the rest of the money on his vacation and had “gone the limit” on his credit cards buying expensive gifts to impress his friends. Most of the entire twenty-five thousand dollars (his father had left him twenty and he had saved the rest) was gone in a flash and all he had left was the unpaid bills. He had taken the last of it to finance his vacation hoping to come up with some ideas about how to make more money when he went back to college. He was supposed to be out of his room by noon and after that, he didn’t know what he was going to do. There was a knock at the door and Brian opened it to face the stern faced manager with the bill in his hand. “Well, Mr. Cummins,” he said as he stepped into the room, “since you haven’t been feeling well and your time is up, I just came up to see if you are prepared to bring your account up to date or if you will be leaving us today.” Brian just stared at the man for a few moments not really knowing what to say. The manager’s name was John Winfield, a balding middle-aged American who had transferred down to Mexico in the 70’s while working for a large toy manufacturer. Although he had never said so, Brian had heard rumors that the toy company had replaced him with a Mexican manager for less money and he had just stayed in Mexico. “I don’t know what I’m going to do Mr. Winfield,” Brian admitted. “I’m all out of money and the only possessions I have are my laptop, guitar and an expensive watch.” Mr. Winfield studied him for a moment. They did have one thing in common and that was that they both were from Ohio. Mr. Winfield knew that his job was to make sure that the hotel turned a profit and he knew that he couldn’t do that by letting freeloaders live at the hotel without paying. Perhaps there was a compromise because he really didn’t want to throw the young American out, he thought as she stood there feeling sorry for him. He had been in similar situations himself and he knew just what kind of predicament the young man was in. “Well I’m very sorry about that Brian,” he said sadly, “but I can’t let you live here and not pay us.” “Yes, I understand that,” Brian told him. “What if I could get a job here? There must be something that I can do until I can get on my feet? I’m even willing to wait on tables or even wash dishes.” “I’m sorry Brian but there aren’t any jobs open here. Most of our people stay with us and we have a very small staff to begin with anyway. There might be a way out of this for you though.” “What do you mean?” Brian asked. “I have a friend who runs a small manufacturing plant just south of here and he can’t ever get enough help. I’ll call him and let you know what he says.” “Great,” Brian said all excited because it seemed that his luck was changing for the better. A few moments ago, everything was all dark and bleak and his future looked hopeless but now there was a slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. “Oh, can you please do that Mr. Winfield? I would appreciate that so much. You can even use my telephone over there on the stand. It still works.” Winfield picked up the phone, dialed a number and after a brief hesitation, began talking to someone on the other end of the line. After the conversation ended, he walked back to where Brian sat in the chair by the open window. “Good news,” he said. “My friend has a job for you and you are expected to report for work there Monday morning. It’s only about ninety miles south of here in the desert.” “Now I have the problem of getting there before Monday,” Brian said despondent. “Well you have three days and I have an old car, it isn’t much but it will get you down there. I’ll trade you the car, give you two hundred dollars cash and pay for the license and title transfer in exchange for the laptop. I can use it here in my business. I’ll also have to take the guitar and the ring. Maybe I can get some money for them.” “Done,” Brian said relieved that he would at least have transportation, money and a job. “Thank you Mr. Winfield,” he added, “and I’ll never forget your kindness.” “No problem,” Mr. Winfield said smiling for the first time since Brian had known him, “sometimes we just have to help each other out.” The next morning found Brian driving south toward his new hope and his new life. He would probably have to live in his car, he figured but that wouldn’t be the first time he had had to do that. He attempted to sit back and enjoy the desert atmosphere but his immediate future and concerns about it played heavily on his mind. He almost fell to sleep several times before noon while driving the old dirty Pontiac convertible. He was only five miles from the town when one of the old slick tires blew almost sending him into the desert. He managed to pull the old car off to the side of the unpaved, dirt road. The desert sun beat down on him and the hot southern wind blasted his already baked skin as he set about trying to fix the flat tire. He spent twenty minutes trying to get the rusty trunk open because the hinges were broken but he finally managed to get it open and found the tools he needed and an old spare tire. The spare wasn’t in much better shape than the ones on the rims. “Gringo,” a sullen male voice said from behind him as he bent over trying to jack up the rear of the vehicle. “Gringo --- could you use some help, Gringo?” “Of course,” Brian started to say as he began to turn around but he never had time to finish the sentence. He was out cold before he hit the ground. When he finally came to an hour later, his mouth was dry and something moist was running down his right cheek. The back of his head felt like some Chinese torturer had inserted a thousand wooden splinters there. He was lying on his back with the sun burning his unprotected body like a pig roasting over an open fire. He tried to sit up but there was too much pain and his body was just too weak for him to move. The next thing that he realized was that his boots were gone and there was something crawling on his foot. Whatever it was didn’t feel too friendly. Brian tried to raise his head without moving his foot but pretty soon found that effort to be nearly impossible. His next scheme seemed to be more plausible. He would simply roll over on his side and sling whatever it was on his foot off as he rolled over. He knew that the move would have to be both quick and well coordinated. If he moved before he could sling the creature from his foot, he might be stung or bitten and he wasn’t looking forward to either possibility. Brian was quickly learning that the entire world was just one big desert and what creatures didn’t sting was capable of biting. Some of them could be deadly and he knew that without giving the subject too much consideration. The world was a dangerous and hostile environment. He turned to the right and moved his right leg forward just as quickly as possible. He felt the prickly little legs attempt to cling to his naked skin for a second but then it was gone. Brian looked down to where his bare foot had landed and one of the largest, most ugly scorpions that he could ever imagine was sitting not more than a foot from his big toe. He didn’t know much about scorpions except that their sting was painful and sometimes deadly. The other thing he knew was that the thing had its eyes focused right at him. He wasn’t sure that he could move his leg before the scorpion could get to him so he devised a multipart plan. The plan depended on his ability to retrieve a huge stone next to his head, moving his foot to safety and crushing the scorpion, all in one single timely move. His eyes stayed focused on the scorpion as his right hand glided slowly across the sand inch by inch toward the stone. The scorpion took a few steps forward with the stinger displayed proudly high above its back. Brian stopped moving his hand, held his breath and prayed for a miracle. The scorpion froze as if pondering the next move. Brian inched his hand forward and finally, the hot stone was his. Deciding that it was now or never, he grasped the stone tightly and jerked his foot away from the scorpion. Just as the deadly creature rushed forward, he slammed the rock toward it. He heard a crunching sound as the stone bounced off the vicious creature crushing it into a mass of jelly. He sat there for a moment starring at the disgusting mass on the ground. What was once a living creature was now something that he couldn’t even look at without vomiting. He tried to vomit to get rid of that horrible feeling but he was denied even that relief. In his desperation to kill the scorpion, Brian had not noticed that he was actually sitting upright and he couldn’t actually believe it. After some effort on his part, he soon discovered that he could walk and his only real injuries were where he had been hit on the head. He was a little dizzy and he had bruises, cuts and a few bumps but otherwise he seemed to be able to function. He was really angry when he found out that he had been robbed again. All his cash, personal possessions and even his clothes were gone. At least they hadn’t completely stripped him of the clothes he was wearing. He checked the glove compartment to find that it was still locked. Using the flat edge of the tire tool, he was able to get that open with little effort. He had never looked in the compartment but he was hoping to find a first aid kit or something useful. What he did find was a Colt .45 automatic pistol with six loaded clips. He wondered why the hotel manager had a loaded gun in his car but couldn’t really come up with a decent answer to the question. He stuck the weapon in his belt and put the loaded clips in his pockets. He decided that he might need the gun if he met any more robbers or he could even defend himself against a wandering rattlesnake if necessary. The trunk was left open and he observed that discarded clothing was all over the place. He also noticed that all four tires were now flat. After a close inspection of the tires, he found bullet holes about the size of his thumb in each of them. He supposed that was their way of killing him, just leaving him stranded out in the desert without water or even shoes to wear. There he stood, broke and without any way of getting to the little village except to walk five miles through the sweltering desert heat, the rattlesnakes and other creatures that would love to have his body to chew on. He looked through the trunk trying to salvage as much as he could but there wasn’t much that he could use. He did take one of the long-sleeved shirts and wrapped it around his head to help protect his brain from the hot sun. He tore some of the heavy jeans into wide strips and wrapped them around his feet hoping that would help to protect him from sharp stones and other obstacles. There wasn’t much else that Brian Cummins could do but walk on toward the distant village that may as well be a thousand miles away from him. The afternoon sun beat down unmercifully on him as he struggled to stand up and keep going. The further he traveled, the stronger the urge became for him to just fall down and let the life flow from his suffering body. By the time he was within two miles of the town, he was completely exhausted. He had gradually become aware of a low humming sound and it felt like it was coming from his brain, just between his ears. To add to his misery, a high-pitched ringing sound was emanating from his ears. He tolerated the unpleasant interruptions, the sweat running down his scorched face and neck and the constant attacks of the tiny insects simply because he didn’t have any other choice. As his parched throat begged for water and his body pleaded for rest, he began to feel dizzy and heard little voices somewhere faraway in the distance. People, he thought and maybe if I can just find them, they will help me. He struggled onward as the voices grew louder in his head and then after another fifteen minutes, the voices were replaced by the constant throbbing in his head and he was more aware of the sweltering heat. Brian caught a sudden flash to his left as the sun reflected from something shiny. Maybe it was a windshield or a chrome bumper on some vehicle but whatever it was, it must mean that humans were nearby, he thought. He figured that where there was a reflection that people might also be there so he headed in that direction hoping that his troubles were over. It was at that point that he noticed tire tracks in the sand going from the road toward where the reflection had been. Brian stood there wondering if he was seeing a mirage or if his eyes were playing tricks on him. What he thought he saw was an overturned truck, some kind of van, he reckoned. His tired eyes told him one thing but his mind objected and insisted that what his eyes were seeing could not be true. Confused, he blinked his swollen eyes that now had more sand in them than the Sahara Desert and tried desperately to settle the argument. Gray van --- blue --- dark blue lettering with bars on the windows, he told himself. Where had he seen that type of vehicle before? Something to do with banking he remembered but couldn’t recall what banks had to do with it. Not seeing any people, he wandered closer to the van. Then it all started to come back to him like a Texas tornado rolling steadily down a canyon. Banks transferred money in those types of special vans and he had seen many of those back in the states. He couldn’t read the name of the armored car company because it was written in Spanish but the bars and the markings told him it had a particular purpose. The only words he could read were SANTA CRUZ and then there were some more words that didn’t mean anything to him. There was the word PESO written in bright yellow letters and he knew what that meant. The van was turned over on its side and Brian could smell gasoline but since he didn’t see any on the ground, he didn’t think there was the chance of an immediate explosion. He struggled through the sharp stones with each step a painful reminder that he didn’t have any shoes on his feet. All of his problems faded in importance as he discovered three uniformed bodies on the ground behind the vehicle. They didn’t answer his calls for help and his closer inspection revealed why they didn’t answer. Two tiny holes in the forehead of each of the men allowed a little telltale trickle of blood to flow from the wounds. Brian was brutally shocked back into reality as he gazed at where the bullets had exited out the rear of the men’s skulls. Huge pools of dark blood stained the desert sand sending chills of horror down his spine. Gray matter and dark blood was splattered over the nearby stones and on the ground all around the bodies. The more Brian looked at the gross scene, the sicker he became. He looked around him and wondered who could have done such a thing but he didn’t see anyone that he could blame it on. He heard a grunt or maybe a moaning sound coming from deep inside a human throat and decided to investigate. Not far from the van, he found another human propped up against a big boulder. The figure reminded him of a Mexican bandit. The man had the classic Sombrero on his head and the crossed ammo belts around his shoulders. He held a cocked .45 pistol in his right hand. As Brian approached him, he raised his hand but was too weak to point the weapon at Brian. Brian easily pulled the weapon from the man’s clinched fist but in the effort, the gun discharged. The bullet cut deep into Brian’s right arm sending a searing, burning pain through his trembling body. The pain was only present for a few seconds before he completely passed out. He fell to the ground clutching the forty-five in his right hand while his left hand wrapped around an old leather satchel. He was in so much agony and pain that he didn’t notice that the bag was filled with money just before he passed out. “Brian Cummins you have been caught red-handed holding a murder weapon and a bag of stolen money. There were three guards murdered last night and their deaths demand fast and swift justice. There was a well-known bandit present and we figure that you were part of the gang that robbed the van and killed the guards. I am the constable of Santa Cruz and it is my sworn duty to hold you until the end of the week when the judge arrives here. You will be able to enter a plea then and arrangements will be made for your trial and your defense.” Brian just stood there looking at the Mexican that had informed him about his future. Trying to remember what had happened after he was shot was difficult but he was able to recall bits and pieces. He slowly put the bits and pieces together pretty much like a jigsaw puzzle to form a complete image about what had happened. The first thing he remembered was the doctor that had treated the wound and then the long painful walk between the two deputies to the ancient jail where he was left for almost a day before anyone came to see him. He remembered that it was an ancient town with dirty, dusty unpaved streets and about a dozen dirty kids with lacking vocabularies following along behind them as they walked toward the jail. He didn’t know very many curse words in Spanish but he was sure they had used most of them. Obviously, the guards that had been killed were well known in the town. Now he was back in that filthy jail and the constable had just told him what to expect and then motioned for the deputies to lock him up. Brian had heard horror stories about men in Mexican jails. It seemed that the “wheels of justice” turned very slowly and once you were in, it could take years to get out, if you ever did get out. As the jail cell was opened, he knew that every word that he had ever heard was true as the guards shoved him inside and slammed the steel door behind him. It was dark inside but there was some light coming from a twenty-watt bulb hanging from the ceiling. It took some time for his eyes to adjust to the dim lights. He wasn’t surprised to see four other dirty, stinking prisoners in the cell with him. There was a dirty commode without a lid and no sign of a sink or a water faucet. He didn’t see any beds or chairs so he figured that the prisoners slept on the floor. It wasn’t too surprising that all the prisoners were Mexican and none of them spoke English. One of them, an old man with a long, gray beard and a moustache motioned for him to sit on the floor near him. That’s where he remained for the next five hours. Sometime during that period, he fell to sleep from the quietness, boredom and most of all, from the exhaustive experiences he had been through. He was extremely weak from the blood he had lost when he had been shot and the fact that he hadn’t eaten anything in several days contributed to his weakness. He was suddenly awakened by the sounds of gunshots, yelling and screaming. It seemed to be coming from the office outside the cells but he couldn’t see anything because of the steel doors that only had one small barred window in them. Brian couldn’t make out what they were saying but from the sounds that he heard he knew that several angry people were now in the jail. The yelling continued until someone stuck a key into the cell door and opened it. Brian stood there starring at more than forty dirty, grim Mexicans with rifles, shotguns, pistols and a hemp rope. “We come for the Gringo,” one of them said and looked directly at Brian. “Justice awaits you,” he added in almost perfect English. They wanted to make sure that Brian understood what awaited him. Before he could even protest, he was dragged by the mob of drunken angry men to the center of the once sleepy little village to a large tree that appeared to be as ancient as the village. Brian wanted to laugh because it was the only tree he had seen in the town but couldn’t do so. The rope was thrown over a sturdy limb and the noose was placed around his neck. Strong hands grabbed the other end of the rope and as his feet left the ground, his air circulation was cut off and he did something that he rarely had done before, he prayed. They hadn’t even given him a chance to say a few last words. He gasped for breath and finally relaxed as a huge, gulp of cool air entered his nostrils. His eyes opened to look upon millions of bright, twinkling stars overhead. He couldn’t remember much for a few minutes but then it all began to slowly come back to him. How had he escaped certain death at the hands of the dangerous and deadly mob? Had they thought that they had killed him and dumped his body in the desert for vultures to take care of? He was sure of that because it was the only rational, logical explanation. He was alive, wasn’t he? How could he be otherwise? He got up easily from the ground not feeling any pain anywhere. He felt his arms, legs, feet and finally felt his own face with his trembling hands. Everything seemed to be normal. There wasn’t any pain coming from the gunshot wound anymore and that had been giving him a lot of trouble. As he stood there with the cool night air washing his body with its welcome presence, he listened to the sounds of the night and the anger swelled up in him. The anger drove any rational thoughts that he might have had from his mind. He knew that he couldn’t kill all of them but his thirst for revenge promised him that given enough time, he could make most of them pay for what they had done to him. He would just have to work out all the details as he went along. His next problem was obvious; he didn’t know where the town was. He looked around and was pleased to deduce that the horizon to the south over the hill was much lighter than the rest of the sky. He felt that he had made a logical choice in the direction but he knew he didn’t have, “a ghost of a chance” of killing them all. No, he would have to take care of them all, one by one, if necessary. He knew that he wouldn’t quit until he had gotten even with all of the nasty bastards. As he walked effortlessly over the hill, he thought about all the things that had happened to him. He had his entire life destroyed by fate and circumstances. There was nothing else left but revenge, hate and death. He would spend the rest of his days making the population of the little village pay for what they had done to him. When they were all dead, then he would move on to some other town. He wouldn’t stop until all the bums were dead and he was the last one alive. It never occurred to him that they might eventually get him. Once they all were gone, he would have a “ghost of a chance” at what he wanted out of life. Brian wasn’t afraid as he crept down the hillside and made his way up the alley toward the main street. He knew where to find his first victim just as surely as a cat knows how to stalk a small animal. He knew who he wanted to have the honor of dying first. Brian had seen the constable go into an adobe house right up the street from the jail and since he had not used a key, he figured that he lived in the house. It must be well past midnight, he thought as he walked across the dimly lit deserted street. He found his way to the back of the house and wasn’t really surprised to find that the back door was unlocked. He crept slowly into the dark room that was lit only from the dim streetlights outside. He heard someone snoring in the next room. He headed toward the room where he had heard the sounds. Revenge burned in his mind but he didn’t see the coffee table in front of him until it was too late. His legs passed right through it and he was already several feet in front of it when he finally realized what he had done. Brian was puzzled and confused because he couldn’t comprehend what had happened. Was he really dead or had some angel intervened, saving him from tripping over the table and hurting himself? Pangs of cold fear shot through his mind and even colder chills went down his spine almost paralyzing him where he stood. He walked over to the table and attempted to walk through it but merely pushed it a little with his legs. He wondered how it was possible that he could walk through it one time and not at another time. He remembered the doorknob on the back door when he had entered the house and wondered how he had managed to open the door. What had been different about the two incidents? He tried to remember what he had done when he entered the house that was different than when he had walked through the table. He had walked up to the door and simply turned the knob. The fact was that he had wanted to open that door so his mind just reacted to what he was thinking. He figured that if he willed it with his mind that he could walk right through the table with very little effort. Did that mean that he was really dead and that if he wanted to do so that he could walk through a solid wall? Could he kill someone if he willed it? He had to prove his abilities one way or the other so he concentrated on the table as hard as he could telling himself all the time that it simply wasn’t there. When he was confident that he was ready, he walked right through it. He sighed and relaxed a little because he now knew that he was dead and that nobody could hurt him anymore. To the contrary, maybe revenge would be his after all. The loud snoring noise from the other room interrupted his thoughts. Encouraged and enlightened by the new revelations, he tried to turn the doorknob but it was locked. He next concentrated on passing through the door and when he was ready, he simply walked through it. Directly in front of him was the pig that had caused his grief and his death. Beside the sleeping bulk of a man was a woman but he didn’t think that she was his wife. Brian didn’t want to dwell on the method of execution because he was afraid that if he thought about it too much that he would lose his nerve or at least screw things up and he wanted everything to work perfectly. One voice told him to make the death slow and torturous but the other voice inside him told him that it didn’t really matter and to just do it as quickly as possible. As much as he would have liked to see the stern, cruel old man beg for his life, he knew that the important thing was that he pay for what he had done to him. He reached down and tested his ability to unplug the huge porcelain lamp. At first, his hands began to penetrate it but with a little practice, he found that he could pick it up and unplug it from the wall socket. He stood directly over the bed with the lamp raised above his head. He had tossed the shade to the floor so it wouldn’t get into his way. Brian tried to think of a way to get the constable to wake up just before he brought the heavy object down on his head. He lowered the lamp long enough for him to hold the big man’s nostrils closed therefore shutting off his air supply. The man snorted and struggled for air. Brian held the constable’s nose until his eyes were wide open and he could be sure that he had seen him. The stark terror in his eyes told Brian that the constable had recognized him. He let go of his nose and raised the lamp high above his head. The man let out a loud scream as Brian brought down the lamp just as the woman awakened. As if in an attempt to comfort the man, the woman turned over, put her head on his chest and pushed her right arm around him. Brian heard her mumble something in Spanish just as the lamp was dropping quickly down toward them. The timing was as wrong as could be and her head was the target that got smashed instead of the man. Broken pieces of the lamp went into every direction and blood squirted from the woman’s nose, eyes and mouth. Brian hesitated as he stood there with what was left of the lamp in his hands. That hesitation, although minute, was enough time for the constable to shove the dying woman from him and reach for a gun in his nightstand. Before he knew it, Brian was once again the target of someone else’s violence. The man that he had heard someone call Gabriel, shot at him six times but each bullet passed right through him. He could hear them hitting the hard walls behind him and ricocheting off the walls. He knew he had to act quickly before the big man could get away. He rushed toward him and locked his hands around the man’s throat. There was very little resistance as the man grabbed his chest, gasped and died of a heart attack. The sight of a dead man appearing in his bedroom had been too much for his weak heart. His diet wasn’t exactly the best thing for his cholesterol either. Brian stood there looking at the mess he had created wondering if his efforts were worth his time. What had he accomplished? He felt some justification because the man that had caused his death was now dead but deep down inside he knew that it wouldn’t end there. Nobody had ever given him “a ghost of a chance” and now his relentless pursuit of revenge and justice would give him a better chance than he had ever had before. It was ironic, he thought, that as a living human being, he didn’t even have a “ghost of a chance” but as a ghost he did have such a chance. He turned and walked through the wall into the cool starry night knowing that there would be many more such incidents in the years to come. In the moonlight, a long dark figure walked down the street seeking other warm bodies to turn into corpses. He shuddered to think that he now had something that he had never had before. He now had a future that he was certain of. The End
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