Do You Believe in Ghosts?

This week’s Continue the Story Prompt is ““Do you believe in ghosts?” he asked her. He made it sound like a statement, not a question. She stayed quiet, hoping he’d continue on his own, and after a few moments, he said, …” Where do you image the story going?

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“Do you believe in ghosts?” he asked her. He made it sound like a statement, not a question. She stayed quiet, hoping he’d continue on his own, and after a few moments, he said, “They’re real, just like the burger sitting on your plate is real. I’ve felt them pulling energy from me. I’ve seen them fling old shit across the room if I said the wrong thing. Hell, I’ve seen them stand before me dressed in whatever they were in when they died. Sometimes, it looked like they had old wounds. I remember this one trip my crew and I went on to a haunted hotel. There were dozens of murders that happened there in the late eighteen-hundreds. An old lady had killed so many men and children, they still walked the halls of hotel. Some of the men had blood covered trousers and stab wounds like you wouldn’t believe covering their chest…”

Samantha started to tune Zach out with a strange sense of deja vu as he went on and on about the horrors he claimed to have seen on his travels. She had been excited when they matched on the dating app. He was handsome, his bio said he had gone to nursing school, and that he loved to travel. She couldn’t have messaged him sooner about going on a date. Her dream guy, she liked to imagine, was someone who loved traveling as much as she did. But soon after asking him about school, then his travels she got the impression that he never finished school. He told her that he took an extra-long summer break starting in his second year so he could start traveling with his buddies.

He talked animatedly when she asked where he went and what he did during his adventures. He told her about how him and his buddies created a YouTube account, and started recording their paranormal trips. They were hoping to make it big and get their own TV show. The more she heard him talk about the things that went bump in the night, the less she wanted to stay on this date with him. She’d never seen a ghost, or anything weird that she couldn’t explain with science or logical thinking, so she was rather skeptical about the paranormal that Zach talked about. When the waiter dropped off their check, she took it before he got the chance, and paid their bill. He leaned over the counter at the register, watching Samantha.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a date that lasted this long,” he said, a smug smile creeping into his lips. “Does this mean we’ll be seeing each other again?” his hand caressed her arm as she handed the receipt back to the cashier.

Samantha thanked the cashier before looking at Zach. She couldn’t hide her look of disgust at his hand on her arm and his sly smile. “No, we will not, Zach,” she said, turning to walk out of the restaurant. She nodded to the man who had opened the door for her but was rudely cut off by who she assumed was the man’s wife. She walked straight for Samantha like she wasn’t even there. Shaking her head at the rude woman, she anticipated a shiver as the cold air hit her outside, but she felt nothing. She didn’t feel the wind that was blowing through the bare trees in the parking lot. She didn’t see her breath crystalizing when she exhaled. What was wrong? Why couldn’t she feel anything?

“I bet you’re confused, Samantha,” Zach said. He approached her from the left, his hair looking tousled, and a few scratches on his face and neck.

“What’s going on?” she asked, starting to panic the closer Zach got to her. Dark stains were splattered over Zach’s shirt and jeans. His hands looked slick with a dark liquid, but she couldn’t tell what it was in the dark. He stopped inches from her, and her mind spun as she realized she couldn’t feel her heart racing like it should be. Her chest felt still.

“It was very rude to decline another date with me, Samantha. I had to teach you a lesson,” he said. His lips curled in a cruel smile as he looked back to his car. “You were stubborn at first, and put up a good fight, but I think you learned not to do anything like that ever again.”

Everything seemed to spin around her as she realized what he did to her, and why everything felt so strange. Her last memories were flooding her mind. The fear he dragged her to his car and flung her into the back seat. The pure desperation that consumed her as she tried to fight against him before he plunged the hunting knife into her chest over and over. He murdered her, and she relived their date, her last few moments alive. Rage washed over her, and she flung herself at Zach only to have herself go through him.

 “I hope you enjoy haunting this pathetic restaurant for the rest of eternity,” he waved his hand at her as he walked back to his care. She watched him while he started the car and drove out of the parking lot. Her rage consumed her. She longed for revenge against him. He took everything away from her because she didn’t want to go on another date with him. He had no right to do anything to her, much less to murder her. So, she willed herself to be in the passenger seat of his car. She wasn’t sure if it would work, but she had to try.

Eventually, she found herself sitting in the seat next to Zach. He was listening to a song much too loudly. His head was bobbing to the beat, then she caught his eye. She marveled in the panic that overwhelmed him as he turned to look her in the eye. With a fiery anger that overwhelmed her morals, she willed herself to feel the steering wheel under her hands. She used every ounce of rage she had, and, to her surprise, felt the steering wheel gripped in her hands. She smiled at Zach, a gruesome smile she was sure it was, and yanked the wheel from his hands so that he drove off the road and crashed into a thick tree. The world spun in her eyes, and when everything righted itself, she was pleased to see Zach hanging limply on the hood of the car. He busted through the windshield leaving a spiderweb of cracks behind. She moved to see if he was breathing at all and smiled to herself when she didn’t see his chest move an inch.

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