“I think she might have left the room, if the cold air was her,” Edie said. “It felt like she went… right through me.” She shuddered again. It wasn’t a pleasant thing to think about, much less to feel.
“Let’s try the hallway, then,” Corrie said, getting to her feet. “That is where Roe’s vision took place, after all.”
“I just hope she hasn’t gone downstairs to harass Annie some more,” Dawn said.
Edie led the way back out into the hall. She looked up and down it, but of course she didn’t see anything.
“Ghost, are you here?” Corrie called.
There was a knock at the end of the hall. It gave Edie shivers down her spine. It was strange how she seemed to be getting more frightened the longer they interacted with the ghost. Usually it was the other way around—she grew more used to new situations as they went on, and she became less frightened.
And it did seem clear that the ghost couldn’t hurt them badly, just as the professors had said in the protection class. Or did she just not want to hurt them? She hadn’t directly hurt Annie so far, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Corrie, as seemingly fearless as always, marched toward the knock. Dawn and Edie followed her a little bit behind. Corrie stopped a couple feet away from the end of the hall, her hands spread wide as though to show that she didn’t have a weapon.
“Ghost, we want to help you,” Corrie said. “We want to talk to you. To understand you. Please, won’t you give it a try? We don’t know anything about you. We want to learn who you are.”
“Can you see anything now?” Edie asked. Dawn shook her head.
“Dawn, have you done telepathy yet in Psionics?” Corrie asked.
“Yes,” Dawn said. “I’m not great at it, but I can try talking to the ghost that way, sure.” She closed her eyes again.
Edie didn’t think it would help. The ghost obviously didn’t want to talk to them. She’d been able to do that knocking and move the tarot cards; unless she had only thrown the cards at Corrie due to a lack of control, it seemed pretty clear that she was upset about their attempts at communication and was choosing not to talk to them.
She tried to think. What could they do to convince the ghost their intentions were sincere? Or did she not care about their intentions? If the ghost had once been a human being, why couldn’t they talk to her as a human being? Maybe if they knew her name, they could start to open a real conversation…
Her eyes had drifted downward as she thought. At first she thought her eyes were tearing up and distorting her vision. Then she gasped and grabbed Corrie’s arm. “Get back!”
“What—“ Corrie stumbled a step back, nearly falling into Edie and Dawn.
She’d seen it, too. The curve in the carpet at the end of the hall. The way the boards were buckling.
“I’m not getting anything,” Dawn said, frowning, seeming to have missed part of the conversation.
“Ghost!” Corrie squawked. “Is that you?”
There was a pause of dead, complete silence. Then the boards creaked as they bent even further downward, and their sound was punctuated by two loud, deliberate knocks on the wall.
“Let’s get out of here,” Edie said.
The other two didn’t need telling twice. They all turned around, ran for the other end of the hall, and didn’t stop until they’d reached the door of Roe’s room, where they flung the door open and all collapsed inside.
Roe spun around at her desk from where she had been working at her computer, and Annie dropped the book she had been holding. “What happened?” Annie asked.
Edie was breathing so hard she couldn’t catch her breath. She found a wall and slid down to sit on the floor. Dawn did the same.
Corrie, predictably, was the first to get her breath back, though she was looking around at the ceiling. “What’s directly below the end of the hall down here?”
“The wall of Jackson’s room, I guess,” Roe said, frowning. “Why? What happened up there?”
“If there’s a wall there, it’s probably okay,” Dawn said. “In fact, now I’m wondering if that was an illusion.”
Annie sat up, raising her eyebrows. “Can you guys start from the beginning?”