The final chapter in the tale of two sisters:
The Sisters Van Helsing
Which honestly, did not make me any less afraid, I had already seen what non-physical beings had done to Mitch and if I didn't want to be jumping right behind him, I figured I had best not let my guard down for a second.
The white cloud from my breath was practically blocking my view as I strode carefully down the hall. My brain was telling me to run but I thought avoiding both Richie and the woman would be the best plan of action for me to retain my sanity. Or what was left of it anyway.
Richard was running but it was more like a slow motion movie sequence to me. He brought down the machete as I easily slipped by him and although that machete wasn't real exactly, I could have sworn I heard the swoosh of the metal as it passed by my ear.
Luckily I was slightly faster than he was. The Van Gogh look was not something I was going for.
In three long strides I reached the door to my room and grabbed the knob to go in.
Unfortunately, the door I had left slightly ajar was now shut and locked. And the key was on the other side.
Yes, I cursed again.
Ramirez and the woman laughed behind me.
While I was pretty sure the Very Odd Couple couldn't hurt me physically, 'pretty sure' wasn't something I was willing to bet on at the moment. Forgetting all hotel manners and propriety, I began to scream and bang on the door to our room praying that my sister hadn't stuck in a pair of earplugs while I was gone on my quest to silence the music.
"What the hell, Dee?"
"I forgot the key."
"Why would you leave the room without the key? It's a hotel for heaven's sake."
I thought perhaps the hallway with a deranged satan worshiping serial killer ghost coming after me wasn't the best place for this conversation so I pushed her back into the room, slammed the door, and locked all four locks.
I don't know what I thought that was going to do against someone that could clearly walk through the door, locked or not, but I wasn't thinking clearly.
"Put some clothes on. I need your help."
Lori took one look at my face and didn't argue for a change.
She pulled her jeans and shoes on and asked me what was going on. I gave her the Reader's Digest version.
"Okay. I am not too worried about the couple in the hallway. They sound resourceful but they would have hurt me when they locked the door if they could have. "
"And the Black Dahlia?"
"Her, I am a little more worried about. She has gotten inside his head and Lord knows if I can turn that around in time."
She grabbed her purse and the velvet pouch that she was never without, tucked the room key into her pocket and took my hand as we stepped back out into the hallway.
Richard Ramirez and company were gone for the moment and we hurried down the frigid hall.
The door to Mitch's room was now completely frosted over as if a winter storm had just dropped by for a visit and when I knocked, it burned my hand.
"Do you think he already jumped?"
"No, I think we would have heard sirens if he had. Step back."
Lori and our brother Abe both have a multitude of natural abilities that for some reason I do not. They were born with them, I was born with a love for reading and black and white horror movies, along a tendency to get myself into trouble.
Lori pulled a tiny vial from the pouch, whispered what I guessed was a prayer of some sort, then sprinkled the door with the contents of the vial.
The frost immediately disappeared and when I knocked again, Mitch opened the door.
He looked worse than before, pale had faded to nearly transparent and haunted had become gaunt and dead like, however he was still standing and was still in this physical realm which was preferable to the alternative.
Lori didn't even flinch when she saw the figure on the bed. "Your music is too loud," was all she said to her.
I bolted past all of them, keeping one eye on the ghost and the other on the guy I was currently attracted to and slammed the window shut. I figured that would give us all a couple of minutes anyway to sort this all out.
Now, I would have gone for the nasty ghoul on the bed first but apparently Lori had had enough of Nat King Cole for one evening. She walked over to the still playing Victrola ghost, spritz some holy water on the thing and it disappeared mid-chorus.
Like I said before, Lori knew her stuff.
The moment the music shut off, Mitch collapsed onto the floor and the room began to warm.
I might have expected some screaming or tantrum throwing from the spirit but there was nothing. I watched her face as I brought Mitch around and noticed she took on the pallor of melancholy where I had seen only anger and hostility before. Lori walked over to her and whispered something I couldn't hear. The girl smiled a bit, shook her head and faded into the bedspread she was lying on as if she had never been there at all.
"Remind me never to lie on the bedspread here again."
"Remind me never to let you make the reservations again."
I laughed at that. As always, my sister was right.
It took Mitch several minutes to warm up completely and come around to what I suspected was his normal self. I told the small fib that we were with the hotel and someone passing by had heard him pass out and fall inside his room. He didn't remember any of it and it was just as well.
I'll tell him the truth later. Much, much later.
He introduced himself to me as Mitch Ryder, but not that Mitch Ryder, and we both laughed at his comic genius.
I think he will fit in just fine with this family.