Scene 10

It didn’t take long to locate the information of Madeline D’amarite and her husband on the Oregonian archives website. However, since their research extravaganza, life had gotten in the way, which is to say there was some procrastination involved. It was only on the night of the woman in white’s next appearance that the Jackson family finally got to the task at hand.

Simply put, these were the only entries they found.

1932, April 27

The body of inventor, Jacob D’amarite was found mangled in the backyard of his Portland home. The coroner, Dr. Donald Emery, could not determine the true cause of death, only that it was most likely due to the apparent physical abnormalities.

“His body, on every level down even to his bones, appear to have been twisted by some unknown means. Further trauma, as indicated by extreme bruising on the underside of the body, indicates that Mr. D’amarite was then dropped from a great height.”

When asked for a possible cause, the coroner only had this to say. “That’s something you’ll need to take up with Mr. Charles Fort.”

Jacob is survived by his wife, Madeline who declined comment. Police, who have ruled the case as suspicious and probable homicide, say she is not a suspect at this time.

1933, April 27 -- short blurb

Fire consumes former home of Jacob D’amarite, a Portland man who passed away due to mysterious circumstances one year ago today.

His wife, Madeline D’amarite is missing and presumed dead.

“Brrr,” said Melody.

“Charles Fort?” Bernie smiled.

“He was a perverter of oddities and anomalies,” Melody began to explain, but her father stopped her before she could finish.

“I know who he was,” he said. “I just enjoyed the reference. Although, I would call him more of a reporter of spookiness, rather than an oddities pervert.”

Melody rolled her eyes. “If you say so,” she said.

“Although there didn’t seem to be any mention of the creature.”

“The creature?” Melody looked at her father as though the hairs in his nostrils had just turned to bat wings. Suddenly his eyes grew wide and then became distant.

Yes, it was probably the creature that killed Jacob D'amarite -- the thing that had come upon the woman in white and grabbed her back into the house. The faceless thing of unknowable horror. Why had that thought occurred to her father before it did her?

She turned to her family who were currently staring at her.

“Was I saying that out loud?” she asked.

“About the ‘faceless thing of unknowable horror’?” her father said. “No. Not at all.”

Melody raised an eyebrow. Somehow she would have to get a handle on her narrating the thoughts in her head.

“For a minute I thought we might have been listening to Cthulhu radio. But then I thought, wait, there IS no Cthulhu radio. But we DO have a daughter who says weird things that rattle around in her head.”

Melody blushed. “Sorry,” she said.

“Yes,” Bernie reiterated. “The creature. I hadn’t thought that that would be something the Oregonian would have reported. I’m sure monster stories would have been frowned upon, then as well as now.”

Melody shrugged. “We have backup support coming tonight, though, right?”

Lonnie nodded. “Yep. Chazz and Malika from my end. Bern?”

Chazz Mahoney was a former police officer who left the force to open up a yarn and tea shop. She did so with her girlfriend Malika almost immediately after a shootout left her without a partner and a bullet in her rib cage.

“Can you imagine anything less stressful than yarn?” Chazz had explained to Lonnie at a local crafting conference -- Lonnie at the time was going through her knitting phase. “It has no sharp edges. It has no evil intent. It’s only desire in life is to be soft and fluffy.”

Chazz, who Lonnie called the queen of persuasion, had talked her into taking a few classes at her new shop, “Distant Early Yarning,” as well as about twenty skeins of yarn. They had been friends ever since.

“I understand Chazz,” Bernie said, “but what help is Malika going to be?”

“They’re a couple, dear,” Lonnie said. “They do things together. Also, Malika’s very spiritual. She might have some insight into the situation that we haven’t considered.”

Bernie raised one of his eyebrows. “How’s religion going to help?”

“I didn’t say she was religious, just that she has some experience with this kind of thing.” Lonnie seemed dodgy about this part, and Bernie wasn’t sure if she was just relating something that perhaps Chazz had told her, or was deliberately being evasive for some reason.

“Chazz was a powerfully built woman. Six feet tall if she were a yard. Arms as sturdy as a battleships...”

Bernie placed a hand on his daughter’s shoulder. “You just can’t stop, can you? We all know who Chazz is, and she’s definitely not a cowgirl of the high seas.“

Melody shrugged. “Yes,” she said. “But my viewers don’t know who she is yet. And I’m trying to stay with a theme.”

Bernie looked crestfallen as though his daughter’s mental report card had just come back stamped ‘Insane’. “Your viewers...?”

“Never mind, Bernie,” Lonnie told him. “She’s going through her director’s phase. We talked about this. Did you manage to get some of the tough boys from your work site to come over tonight?”

“I mean, I just don’t see a camera in her hands...”

“Stop changing the subject.”

Bernie began to fiddle nervously with his fingers. “No...sorry,” he said, and then elaborated slightly when the daggers began to appear out of Melody and Lonnie’s eyes. “Well, it’s not something that’s easy to bring up to those guys. They’re not a really open bunch when it comes to the supernatural.”

Lonnie shook her head, in disgust. “Fine,” she said, resolutely. “Chazz should be able to handle any trouble that pops up.”

“Besides,” Bernie said. “She does have arms built like battleships, after all.” He winked at Melody who told him to stop being creepy.

The trio had a quick and quiet dinner, and afterwards gathered their gear together. Melody once again shared her fear -- not only of the faceless creature who grabbed at the woman in white, but also the very real cowboy and his companion. These were fears her father also agreed with. However, her mother seemed to be almost obsessive in her excitement of the night’s upcoming festivities.

It was nearly dark by the time that Chazz and her girlfriend arrived, though it was still hours from the main event.

There was a loud, almost obnoxious banging upon the door, and Lonnie rushed to open it. She found, beyond the screen door, an imposing woman who stood a full head above hers. Chazz Mahoney was practically dancing with excitement.

“Welcome,” Lonnie said. “Welcome to our home.”

Chazz bent down slightly as she walked through the door frame. She wasn’t in any danger of bumping her head. Rather, it just seemed this was something she did out of habit rather than necessity.

“Wow,” she said. “Nice place.’ She wore a pea coat, and carried a duffel bag, and Melody wondered nervously if she had somehow remotely heard her battleship reference. The woman had short, straight black hair which terminated in points at the sides and also at seemingly random sections of her forehead.

She stepped in all of the way and allowed for a diminutive woman to enter the house. “You remember my girlfriend, Malika.”

“Hi,” the dark-skinned woman said, timidly, waving her hand quickly about.

Malika was tiny compared to Chazz. She was at least two feet shorter, and was as skinny as a cotton swab. Her dark skin only seemed to augment her large, white, fearful eyes.

Chazz laughed softly. “She’s a little shy around new people. But get some wine in her...and Hoo boy!”

Malika tossed Chazz a dagger-laden glance, which seemed to remind her never to make such jokes again in her presence. Chazz caught the hint right way, and smiled.

“Say,” she said. “There were some boys riding their bikes down the street kinda of giving us the evil eye earlier. Do we have to worry about our car or anything?”

“No,” Melody said, chuckling. “That’s just the neighborhood watch. Lafayette Street’s own little army.”

Lonnie laughed and then made the proper introductions between her family and her friends, and then they all sat and got down to business. Specifically, the business being: the weather station, the cowboy and Hairy Mike, and just what they might be in for this night. Melody even broke out the video and narrated the scenes.

“I don’t see the faceless one in the video,” Malika said, softly.

Melody took charge of the question and answer period. “We believe the episode hadn’t yet progressed that far.”

“Interesting. So the story only advances a few seconds per sighting.”

“That seems to have been the case. However, once we introduced ourselves into the equation, things certainly stepped up quite a bit.” She stuck in a small, square card into a device sitting next to the television, and said, “Watch this.” The video that was displayed on the screen was the one which her mother had captured the previous week. The two guests watched with rapt interest.

“Interactive ghosts?” Both Malika and Chazz leaned forward in their chairs. “She looks so real,” she said. “Are you sure this is a spirit haunting, and not someone putting on a play or pulling a fast one?”

Lonnie said, “To tell you the truth, we’re really not sure what’s going on. We haven’t ruled anything out. We were hoping that you might be able to shed some light on the subject.”

Malika looked more disturbed by this comment than she did when she first walked through the door.

Chazz hadn’t said much for a while, and when prompted by Lonnie simply shook her head. “I gotta tell you,” she said. “This isn’t what we expected.” She then went on to explain some of the adventures she’s had with her ghost hunting group. “I mean, we’ve had a few spooky moments: a couple of EVPs, glasses flying off the shelves, some disembodied growls in a basement or two -- nothing, though, that I could systematically point to and say ‘this is definitely proof of existence from the other side.’ But this...” She shook her head. “Mali?”

Malika simply stared at the screen, her eyes wide. She seemed to be in shock. She tried to say something, but her mouth wouldn’t completely open and nothing seemed able to emerge.

“You’re not having second thoughts, are you?” Bernie suddenly asked. There was a slight quiver in his voice as though he himself were not very confident about pressing forward.

Melody nodded. She thought the woman in white and his faceless cohort had been a chilling sight to be sure, but she had no idea it was out of the norm when it came to ghostly sightings. Rare, certainly, but this phenomenon was now sounding completely different than anything anyone else had experienced.

“No, no no no, of course not,” Chazz said, emphatically, completely contradicting the expression on her girlfriend Malika's face. “Thanks to you all for inviting us. I haven’t been this intrigued by a ghost hunt in a long time.”

Bernie and Melody weren't sure if this reaction put them at ease, or simply heightened their uncertainty. Melody had been monitoring Malika’s emotions for the last few moments and was surprised that the woman's skin hadn't yet turned green.

“Now the cowboy and his friend add an interesting wrinkle. I am going to take point in the shadows and see if I can get a bead on them. Although, I also do NOT want to miss the woman in white, and a big especially NOT to her faceless demon friend....”

Melody suddenly stood up. “DEMON! Huh! I said, No thank you, ma’am.”

Chazz chuckled to herself. “Relax,” she said. “I just a term I use for any unexplained anomalies. Ask Malika. I do that all the time.”

“It’s true,” Malika confirmed. Her voice was soft and diminutive. “We had a demon in our sink just yesterday before Chazz plunged it out.”

“Okay,” Bernie said, as if quickly to change the subject, slapping his hands together. “Let’s go get our equipment set up before I start to loose my nerve.”

“Good idea,” Chazz said. “Ours is in the trunk.”

“Ours? You keep your nerve in your trunk?”

Lonnie chimed in. “Chazz has a lot of ‘ghosting’ equipment from her group.”

“If this pans out in a predictable way, I’ll get the entire team over here next week. I wanted to scope it out first. We’ve had a run of dry locations recently.”

“Well, if there’s one thing about this location,” Bernie said, half smiling. “It’s definitely not dry.” He turned to Malika, who seemed to shrink at his gaze. “If you know what I mean.”

The Jacksons followed Chazz and Malika to their car which was parked down the street a ways. The trunk was filled almost completely with odd gadgetry.

“After reviewing your tape, there’s a bunch of this stuff we won’t need. EVP recorders, ghost boxes -- anything to try to communicate with the spirit indirectly.” She had upon her face a strange, wry smile. She rooted through all of the equipment and pulled out her lights and cameras and handed them to Bernie. She then pulled out various electromagnetic tools, mumbling under her breath something akin to “...measuring fluctuations … temperature … ...magnetic fields.” She then loaded these bulky items into the apprehensive arms of Melody and Malika and then softly closed the trunk behind her.

“Well,” she said, excitedly. “Let’s get at it, shall we.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Woman in White

by BMB Johnson

Scene 10

Please support our efforts

Support the author -- buy him a coffee to keep him awake and writing

Read Bark, the first of the Bill Swagger stories, free on our site.

Tales of Fastlegreive

Our new ongoing series of stories in the Fastlegrieve realm.

Read the "Tales of Fastlegrieve" for free on our site.