Rain pelted down on the roads, making driving hazardous. The Friday evening
sky held a setting sun. “Once that sun goes down, driving will be
treacherous.” Penelope looked over at her son. His pale face and sunken eyes
worried her. “Hang on, Drayton. I'll drive all night.” Her gaze fell to the
necklace. “Another one of those jewels has lit up. I wonder what it all
means. What have you gone and gotten yourself mixed up with, boy? You're
just like your father, always in trouble with someone. At least he never got
involved with ghosts and demons. You'll be the death of me yet, boy.”
Several times during the long drive, she stopped to fill up the car with
petrol, purchasing drinks and snacks. Drayton never moved.
At 4 A.M., her eyes filled with blurriness and weariness. She glanced in the
rearview mirror, happy to see nobody on the road behind her. Something
glowed, catching her attention. Suddenly a face appeared at the back window.
At first Penelope thought someone was on the car, but then she recognized it
as the man she saw attacking Drayton. She swerved the car from left to
right, trying to get it to fall off, but it stared at her, with gaping eyes
and an evil grin.
Lights from a petrol station lit up the road ahead. Penelope pulled in,
swerving to miss the pumps. She stopped the car and ran into the 24-Hour
shop, hoping the creature tormenting her would leave. Pretending to look at
sweeties, she glanced out the window. Nothing was on the back of her car.
She waited a few more minutes and not seeing anything, went out to pump the
petrol. Drayton stayed asleep. With pump in hand, she stood thinking about
the events of the past hours. Going back inside to pay, she turned to open
the door and heard a horrific noise. Dropping her money on the ground, she
swiveled to see white forms swirling around the car. “Drayton!”
The ghosts flowed through the car as though it wasn't there. They zipped in
and out, going straight through Drayton's exhausted body. He sat up
suddenly, trying to brush the evil spirits away with his hands.
Penelope ran to the car. She pulled on the doors and they wouldn't open.
“Open the door, Drayton. Let me in. Hurry.”
He looked at his mother, terror masking his face.
Just as suddenly as they'd appeared, the ghosts disappeared. Penelope
reached in her pocket and pulled out the keys. She unlocked the door and
climbed inside the car. Her hand turned the keys and she drove off, without
paying for her gas.
A man rushed outside screaming at her, realizing there was nothing he could
do to stop her. Kicking a nearby trash can, he scowled and went back inside,
trying to think of a way he could explain this to his boss.
* * *
“Drayton, I think it's time you explained to me what is happening with you.
First I come to your room and find creature torturing you. Then I am
attacked by the same creature and a bunch of ghosts. You're half dead and so
exhausted that you can't move. What is going on, Drayton?”
He sat in silence, ignoring her questions, unsure of how to explain the last
weeks and afraid that opening his mouth would bring the wrath of Phelan. So
he kept quiet.
“Drayton, don't ignore me. Not this time. I'm involved with this now and
whoever, or whatever is trying to harm you, or control you, is now after me
too. I've got the books (does she??? Did he take them down there?) I've seen
your necklace light up. I don't know what all this means, but I'm going to
find out, with or without your help. I've had enough of this. First with
your father, and now with you. It ends tonight. I want to know.”
Drayton looked at his mother. “You think it ends tonight? For you, it's just
begun tonight.” He turned his back towards her and fell asleep.
Penelope let out a long, pathetic sigh. “Have it your way, Drayton, at least
for now. Get some rest. I'll wake you when we get to Inveralba.”