Gretchen enjoyed the dinner very much. The stuffing here was much better than the cafeteria’s. It had been enjoyable except that David’s brothers were just like the normal people from high school. They had the same “anything different must be bad” mindset. It was their condensation that she detested the most. They spoke with her as if they assumed they were superior and that she accepted that as fact. The idea that she could possibly think them to be idiots never crossed their minds.
His father hadn’t been much better.
Still, she’d take idiots over evil cultists for family any day. And the food was infinitely better. It wasn’t just fish and boiled potatoes.
After the Thanksgiving feast (she hadn’t asked what they were giving thanks for) David’s family went to the living room to watch football. David and she stayed in the rear of the room for a while and eventually snuck out.
He took her outside to their backyard which was filled with trees and piles of dead leaves. It wasn’t a large backyard and was surrounded by a tall fence. Her house back in Innsmouth had no fence, but then again, no one would dare trespass on Marsh property. Her yard also didn’t have any trees, just cold swamp.
After seeing the yard David played in as a child he took her up to the study. There was a glass case where his father kept some guns. Most of them were old hunting rifles but there was also one David called an “FAL.”
They eventually settled in the library and remained there for most of the day. They talked about the books they found there and a lot about history, mostly Virginian history.
David was very proud of his state. Back in Innsmouth she had only been barely aware that Innsmouth was a part of the state of Massachusetts. Anything outside simply hadn’t mattered.
“The humans and their petty kingdoms they think are so important will one day be swept into the sea. A day not too distant,” her father used to say all the time.
She had only heard about the Iraq war because the morning news in high school.
She spent that last night curled in David’s arms.
The next morning they began their ten hour drive back to Arkham and Miskatonic University.
She borrowed David’s phone and texted Beth.
“I hope you had a good Thanksgiving,” she wrote.
A few minutes later she got a reply.
“That U G? U only 1 to use proper English in txt,” Beth wrote.
“See you back at school,” Gretchen replied.
“What did you think of Richmond?” He asked.
“I liked it. Parts of it were run down and broken, like my hometown, but other parts were very nice. I liked Williamsburg and the actors dress as historical people. Especially Thomas Jefferson.”
“Good old TJ.”
She had bought a tricorn hat to remember Williamsburg. She also thought they looked nice. She reached in the backseat, grabbed the tricorn hat and put it on. Why not? No one was watching and David probably thought it was cool as well.
They talked and talked until they got back to Miskatonic University and David pulled up to her dorms. It was around dinner time and she didn’t want to part company.
“Would you like to come up to my room, order pizza and make out?”
“That’s really hard to say no to.”
“So don’t. Besides, maybe we can get to fourth base.”
“There is no fourth base.”
“Home run. The only thing left is the home run.”
“Is that what I believe it to be?”
“Oh. Okay, no home run then.”
She definitely wasn’t ready for that. She knew how it was done, she’d seen it plenty of times during the Order’s rituals, but there was more to it that she had learned from Health class. She didn’t want and STD or a pregnancy. The chances of ruining her life were too great.
They watched “Geisha Assassin” on Netflix while they ate pizza.
Then she heard a noise and she quickly paused the movie on her laptop.
“What’s up?” He asked.
“Did you hear something?”
They both stayed silent for a while. She was thinking about resuming the movie when she heard it again. It sounded like a scraping sound, like fingernails on the door. She looked over to David and he nodded that he had heard it as well. She pulled out her Beretta Px4 and he pulled out his broomhandled Mauser from his shoulder rig. He had claimed that it was far from the most practical gun and holster in the world, but it was “too sylish” to not do it.
They got off the bed and followed the sound of the scratching. It was coming from her bathroom door. The door was closed and the light was on. She always kept the lights off when not in a room.
She didn’t want David to know that she was worried so she prepared a spell in silence.
David went to the side of the door and put his hand on the knob. He counted to three and then quickly opened it.
She expected to find nothing there.
Instead she saw a girl there. All she saw was long, black hair and a white dress covered in blood.
“Mother Hubbard!” Gretchen blurted out.
The figure struggled to get up and slowly rose to its feet. Her and David backed away with their guns trained on the strange creature.
The bloody figure looked up and for a second Gretchen was confused because the thing looked familiar.
“Sayako?” Gretchen asked.
The pale face with the dark rings around the eyes nodded.
“I found you. It took long time,” Sayako said in a voice that sounded as if each breath was the death rattle, the final exhale as the lungs gave out.
Sayako walked with a jerky, halting motion into Gretchen’s living room and looked around on a neck that moved as if broken.
She was glad to see Sayako again but was still annoyed because her timing had been horrible. Still, it was good to see a friend again.
“Nice place,” Sayako said. “I no interrupt love making, yes?”
“None of your business,” David said as he holstered his gun.
“You no look like fish,” Sayako said to Gretchen.
“What are you doing here?” David asked.
“Where else I go?” Sayako said with wild, angry eyes.
The type of ghost Sayako was, was a vengeful spirit and prone to anger and violence. She did not want an avenging ghost hanging around her apartment killing anyone that annoys it.
“You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like,” Gretchen said.
She hoped Sayako wouldn’t want to stay long. She wanted to be alone with David. She didn’t think she could ‘make out’ while having an audience.
Gretchen remembered reading something about Japanese ghosts. They tended to be a bit more solid than their western counterparts. Sayako did look solid.
“Wanna go over to Beth’s place? She’s not there but you can watch all the movies you missed in the past three decades,” David said.
“Yes! You’ll love those movies,” Gretchen quickly said.
“Movies….yes. Movies,” Sayako said.
They ushered Sayako into David’s car. She felt solid but cold. David had Beth’s spare key, something she didn’t quite agree with but had no concrete reasons to object to. He opened the door and sat Sayako on the couch.
“This long way from Japan,” Sayako said. “Take long time to get here.”
“How you even find us?” David asked.
“Have connection. Share dream so I follow you dream.”
She’d never heard of something following a dreamer back into the real world. She dreamed of many things that she didn’t want to see in the real world. But then Sayako existed in the real world so perhaps that made it possible. She’d have to do some research.
After David showed her how to work the Blue-ray player, and put in “Princess Mononoke” for her, they backed out of Beth’s apartment and hurried back to her room.
As soon as the door was closed he picked her up and carried her to the bed. She liked it when he carried her. He threw her on the bed and jumped on top. There was nothing sweet and gentle in their making out. It was more like two wild animals.
The next morning they went to Beth’s room and found Sayako still watching movies.
She borrowed David’s phone again and texted Beth.
“Beth, Sayako has appeared and is your apartment watching movies.”
“WTF??!!” Beth responded.
He had survived Thanksgiving with his family; only slightly less difficult than facing Elder gods. Now he just had to deal with a cockblocking ghost. He was glad to see Sayako though. She had kept her word and helped them. Perhaps she had just been eager to see her own kind. Sort of. They were all a little weird, but at least they were living.
Gretchan, Sayako and he sat in his room playing X-box. The video game seemed mesmerizing for Sayako and she stayed glued to the TV.
“What do we do with her?” He whispered to Gretchen.
“Nothing. She won’t harm us unless we make her angry.”
“Oh, that’s all? What makes her angry?”
“If she thinks we’re trying to hurt or betray her.”
So, they had a potentially psychotic ghost staying with them for who knows how long.
Beth came back later that day. She walked into David’s apartment without knocking.
“So it is Sayako,” Beth said.
“Konichiwa,” Sayako said without taking her eyes from the video game.
“I assume she’s staying with you,” Beth said.
“I don’t think that would be appropriate,” He said.
He hated that word, “appropriate.” It sounded dishonest and weak.
But right now he had to use every weapon in his arsenal. There was no way this ghost was staying with him. He doubted Gretchen would approve: even if Sayako was dead.
“She can stay with me,” Gretchen said.
“You sure, Gretch?” Beth asked.
“I’m more accustomed to such things,” Gretchen said.
“But you no have video game,” Sayako said.
“I have a laptop,” Gretchen said.
Sayako sighed and continued playing.
David was glad when classes started back up. It was nice to get some normalcy again. He had had a very strange semester so far and hoped things would calm down.
The play practice was getting more stressful than fun the closer the deadline came. Just one more week of rehearsals to go and it was show time. A one time showing in front of the professor, the class and any student who wanted to come. They were keeping with contemporary clothing so at least he wouldn’t have to dress in silly hats and pantaloons.
The next morning David walked across the commons to class when he heard someone calling his name. He turned to see Dan Tillman jogging up to him.
“Hey, Dan. How’s it going?”
“Not bad, not bad.”
“Any luck on your project?”
“More than I thought possible.”
“That sounds promising.”
“I’ve been able to detect certain energies I didn’t know about. It’s…wonderful.”
“Wonderful? What is it?”
“I can’t tell you. At least not yet. As soon as I get more evidence I’ll show you. More experiments first.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Dan hurried off, holding an armful of books. David had no idea what he was talking about.