Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ghost Story VIII

This is part 8 of a Ghost Story. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 here. Part 3 is about lesbians. Part 4 is here. Part 5. 666 Part 7. Part 9.

Sure enough, it was the Google Map of Madison, Wisconsin.

The center was just some sort of forest, or arboretum. Everyone peered into it, trying to translate geometry to some kind of meaning. Finally Emma broke the silence. "What the hell is it? It's just a bunch of trees and stuff."

Beatrice looked at Ehud, who nodded wisely. "First of all you will notice the distance between the school that Emma goes to, and this 'bunch of trees and stuff'". Everybody nodded, noticing the distance. Ehud smiled proudly. This -- this was real progress. He was getting somewhere, with this. "Now you will notice the distance between the field where Harry met Bobby, and this 'arboretum'". A chill settled into the room as this new knowledge sunk in. Ehud turned around to check if Peter was playing around with his miniature fan again, but the man was just standing there like the rest of them, transfixed. This further convinced Ehud. It would be just like Peter to try and cheapen his wisdom with stupid tricks like that, but this time -- this time the dope was real. Both the field, and the school were 'equidistant'.

"This is where Emma first met the child," said Ehud, pointing at the school. He then took his compass and, lightly (he didn't want to tear the Google Map apart), drew it down to the Center. "And this," said Ehud, now drawing the compass in an entirely different direction, "is where Harry saw the ghost child. While he was, ahem, trying to be a concerned parent. Ahem." His compass ended up on the field.

"The lesbian make-out zone," said Peter.

Emma slapped him hard in the rib. "No, you fool! The soccer field!"

"The soccer field," said Peter, correcting himself.

Beatrice was uneasy about this theory. "But that doesn't explain everything," she said, coming closer to Ehud. "How does that explain all the furniture flying around the house? And the milk turning sour everytime Harry tries to drink it? And, and, and all my pussies dying away? I've been through almost five-hundred," she said. The poor woman was literally shaking with anger.

Ehud patted her gently upon the back, and smiled wisely. "Ah, well I haven't shown you the last part yet."

It got even colder in the room. Harry began to look like he had some nervous ticks or something. "Show us the part," said Harry, growling. Emma, in a rare moment, walked sideways to her father, and hugged him.

"Yes," said Emma. "Show us the last part."

Ehud, positively maniacal with pride at this point, drew his compass back to the Center of Madison, Wisconsin. "Le coeur," he said softly.

"What?" said everyone, in unison.

Ehud got out of his funk. "Ok, so this is the last relationship." He began drawing a straight line from the Arboretum, down to a bunch of streets.

"Hey, I know that street," said Emma, as Ehud's compass glided across the map slowly.

"Of course you do," said Ehud, continuing his path across the Map. Then he stopped, and everyone in the room became frigid.

Finally, Harry managed to break the ice. "Th-that's my house!"

Beatrice also moved away from Ehud, and came closer to her husband. "He's right! Th-that's our house!"

Ehud nodded somberly at them, then looked at Peter, who looked like he did not know where he was supposed to stand. "Peter, you can come and stand next to me."

When Peter made it, Ehud looked at everybody and said, "Now I'm going to show you what is really there." His tongue sneaked out a little, and then he clicked his mouse button. This caused the whole Google Map to zoom in.

Emma rolled her eyes. "So what? I still don't see anything. Where's Bobby?" Her parents agreed with her. Peter asked whether he could go and be with the family. Ehud began sweating. He clicked the button again. The map zoomed in to a greater extent. Still no good. Ehud clicked the button again. "It was here, somewhere," he said. They were now totally inside the Center. He clicked the button again, holding his compass to keep track of the actual pinpoint that the locations were equidistant from. "No?" said Ehud, getting even more frustrated. They all watched him, wondering when he would stop. "No? No? NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo?"

Peter had to finally take the mouse away from him. He took his friend by the side, patting him on the shoulder. "Ok, man. Ok. I think we're at the last level from which satellites can decipher and match cartography."

"The zoom lens is not powerful enough," cried Ehud.


It took Ehud several minutes to cool down. When he came out of the restroom, he was smiling again. "I'm, uh. I'm sorry about that outburst," he said. He smiled yet again. Emma decided to get things moving along, again. "Ehud," she said. "Just tell us what is so important about these depressions?"

Ripe with regained vigour, Ehud jumped into it. "I see you have noticed these depressions in the land. But you have not figured out what they are."

"It's just ... land," said Peter.

"No Peter. This is where they used to have pagan rituals, in Madison, Wisconsin."

"Pagan rituals in Madison, Wisconsin?" said everybody.

"Notice the topography," said Ehud, turning the satellite imagery into a bunch of monochrome blobs.

"I can't see anything," said Beatrice.

"Look a little harder."

It was then that all of them, one by one, staring, saw what Ehud had been talking about all this time.

"Oh my God!" said Emma.

"Oh my God!" screamed Beatrice.

"Well, I'll be damned," said Harry.

"Nadine!" screamed Peter, and he rushed to the monitor where Nadine's eyes used to live.

"That's right," said Ehud. He looked like one of those school teachers whose whole class has failed the pop quiz. "This is where they killed little children. As part of their ... pagan ... rituals." He said this with a coat of disgust. "This is where they killed Bobby.

While you guys were fighting like idiots, I checked up on a whole load of things. I called the police, and asked them about the spot. They said that they had never heard of anything over there. Not a peep. Okay, I said to myself, so then I went on the Internet. I tried to look up the longitude and latitude of the place, but still, there were no results. So I ran down to the Public Library, and I sifted through the records. The history of Madison, Wisconsin."

"What did you find?" asked Emma, impatient. "Who killed little Bobby?"

"Strangely there is only one record remaining in the annals of this particular area."

"How can there be annals if there is just one record?" said Peter.

Beatrice moved decisively to Ehud. "Whatever does it say? Who killed the poor child? Was it a group? A whole group of people ... sacrificed the poor little baby?"

"The record was written by one Helena Berkeley. She was not only a prescient, and an old parapsychologist, and a medium, but also a psychic. And a pagan, in her own right. In her piece, she describes how she and her 'group' took Bobby to the jungle and 'sacrificed him to the gods'."

Harry became even more nervous. "But I SAW that kid. That kid was just ... he was lost. He didn't know where he was going. You don't have to go and 'sacrifice him to the gods' just because he doesn't know where the hell he is."

Emma stepped closer to her father. "We have to set him free!" she said, aloud.

Ehud took Beatrice's hand. "Do you really want to do this?" he asked.

Beatrice looked back at her poor little daughter, and then squeezed Ehud's palm. "I am sick and tired of my child being tormented by a ghost," she said. "And what they did in that jungle isn't up to par, either. We have to do this, Ehud," said Beatrice.

"We'd have to go into the forest, Beatrice," said Ehud. "We'd have to actually go to the spot where Helena and her group killed Bobby."

"Look, this is my child we're talking about," shouted Beatrice.

Ehud nodded. Then he nodded five more times. Then his eyes rose, somewhat fearful of the next answer. "Peter?" he said.

Peter blinked. Then he said, "Hey man, I hate child sacrifices as much as the next guy. I'm in."

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