"I am employed in a position that does not exist outside of my specific field," I said. That being because almost everyone believes that the things I deal with do not exist. Horrible and corny as it may sound, I am a paranormal detective. Vampires, werewolves, all the things that you have been told since childhood do not exist; they do. The world is a far stranger place than you might imagine, and the funniest thing about it is that this strangeness lies so close to the surface. It doesn't quite make sense, but then that's another part of what I do.
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"I work, primarily, for a man named James Gideon, who has devoted his life to finding the hidden meaning behind it all- the Secret City, he calls it. Gideon knows who you are, Sarah, and he knows that I will tell you these things. By morning, he will also know who you are, Mr. Parish. Much as Sarah likes to make fun of the whole thing, this is not spy nonsense. When you begin to deal with these matters, you attract the attention of a number of entities. My intention was to protect you from this eventuality for as long as I could, but I no longer have that luxury, as you can see.
"Sarah, it was my intention to eventually employ you as my assistant. Alex, I apologize for forcing this upon you, but Sarah refused to go by any other route. Both of you are in a great deal of danger, and I would advise that you stay with me for, at least, tonight. Also-" I stopped. "Sarah, the box on your belt is doing something."
She hurriedly unclipped it, then held it up. The screen embedded on its' surface showed the part of the library I remembered them having set up the camera in. I would later learn that the camera had been on a motion sensor, and had detected the first traces of Mr. Locke's remains long before the naked eye could have. I suppose there's something to be said for technology after all.
"I see something!" said Alex, excitedly, and we all craned our heads closer to look. Something was moving, at the very edge of the camera's range. This something was very nearly transparent, but had a definite size and shape, both of which were vaguely human-like. As it approached, via the far wall, the camera, it began to grow more distinct. Though wispy and somehow difficult to look at, it was definitely the ghost of Mr. Locke, on camera and in our view.
It is difficult to describe what looking at that particular spectre was like. It was something like a picture, superimposed upon another picture, with the viewer unable to focus on both at the same time. It was also a little bit like one of those cartoons, where a character runs at what he thinks is the road, only to discover that he has, in fact, run into a wall with a road painted on it. All in all, it was a very disorienting experience, but not my first, to be sure. The other two, those amateur would-be ghost hunters, were wide-eyed with awe, their mouths hanging stupidly open. For the first time ever, they were seeing the world on more than one level, and that is a shocking experience for anyone.
All of this, however, is eclipsed- and maybe encapsulated- by what happened next.
The spectre appeared to turn, as if seeing the camera for the first time, and we realized that we were being watched by a being from a completely different plane of reality, by a completely different sort of being.
And something came through. That is the only proper way to describe it. The ghost trembled, as if caught by a stray gust of wind, and then convulsed, ephemerous mouth opening in something like a scream. At that moment, another entity smashed through the spectre of Mr. Locke, and was very suddenly in the library, looking at the videocamera. This thing, this ghost, radiated malevolence like a heat sickness. It was more substantial than Locke, but wispy and ragged, as if torn by a wind from elsewhere. Its' face was a rictus of hate, and it bore such a grimace as cannot be achieved by a living person. Its' gaze turned to us, and I knew, absolutely KNEW, that it was looking all the way through at us.
It moved faster than anything I have ever seen before. One moment it was a good twenty-five feet from the camera, the next it was directly in front of it, its' horrible, malodrous face pressed to the screen. Sarah and Alex screamed in unison, and I think even I gasped. The thing appeared to be looking directly THROUGH the camera and into my mind.
I see you, It seemed to say. I see you.
There was a jolt, like a miniature thunderclap, and the box jumped out of Sarah's hands. It landed face-down on the concrete, spasmed once, and lay still.
They both looked at me, their eyes roughly the size of teacups.
"Grab the box and follow me," I said. "There may not be time to save the video unit, but I don't care to imagine our friendly security guard in the grip of that thing." I stood up, turned, and became acutely aware that they were not following me. Instead, they were staring at the box. Neither of them was willing to touch it.
"Oh, for fuck's sake..." I said, and snatched it up. "Come ON."
"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.