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Alone + Easy Target

Horrified, Dave looked away from the mirror at the actual Taylor. No ghost. When he put his eyes back on the mirror, the ghost was there again, arms sinking into Taylor's arms. Fear filled Dave's eyes. "Tee!"

In a few swift strides, he was at Taylor's side. He yanked the back of Taylor's chair away from the table with one hand - Taylor rolled away with it - and flipped the Ouija board with the other. The board and planchette tumbled off the table, landing on the hardwood floor with a clatter and a loud series of thumps.

Dave, panting with adrenaline and fear, knelt before his friend. "Taylor?" He patted Taylor's face. "Are you okay?"

Taylor seemed to come awake, blinking and looking around. He gazed at his hands and turned them over, looking at both sides, then examined his chest as if he couldn't believe he was still in his own body. "Huh?" Taylor met eyes with Dave. "Oh, yeah. I'm fine."

"I'm sorry. I think the ghost was trying to possess you." He sighed. "It's my fault. I should have read the prayer that came with the board." Dave lovingly stroked Taylor's cheek, not even thinking about how intimate an act it was. He couldn't help but worry about his friend after what he'd seen. Checking the mirror, Dave sighed with relief when he didn't see the ghost anymore.

Taylor stretched his shoulders and arms, smiling a little at how his body felt. His neck popped. "Mm, don't worry. I'm fine. You saved me."

Dave knew something was off, he just couldn't put his finger on it. "Are you sure you're okay?"

Taylor nodded. "I think he's gone. You scared the ghost away."

Blinking, Dave commented, "It can't be that easy."

"Well, I don't feel him here anymore. Do you?"

Dave looked around. "The statue's eyes are still black. That means the ghost is out here somewhere. Nicky! Where the fuck are you, you little shit?"

"If you're still here, bang on the wall like you did a minute ago," Taylor added.

No noise came in answer to his demand. He shrugged.

Suddenly remembering what he felt before, Dave reached over and touched Taylor's shoulder. It felt warm. He sighed, feeling a little better.

"Everything okay there?" Taylor asked, eyeing Dave's hand as he pulled it back.

"Yeah, I think so." He took out his phone.

Eyeing this too, Taylor started to say, "What's th - " but stopped himself, and instead said, "Whatcha doing?"

Dave looked Taylor over briefly. Something wasn't right. "Looking up exorcisms on the web. Can you think of a better way to get this asshole out of my house?"

"Hey, good idea. But are we qualified to do something like that? Don't you usually have to get a priest?"

Scoffing, Dave replied, "First I bring a Ouija board into my house, then a priest? I really want to see what 'TMZ' would do with that."

Taylor laughed a little too loudly at that one. "Hey, I want a refill." He picked up his wine glass. "Don't you want a refill?"

Despite everything that had happened, or maybe because of it, Dave did want one more glass of wine. But they'd finished off the previous bottle. Dave held it up to show him.

"You got some more in the kitchen?" Taylor asked, looking up the stairs to the first floor.

"Yeah, a really cheap bottle in the door of the fridge. Cheap, but it's cold." Dave tried to smile, to get past the fright they'd just had.

"I'll get it." Taylor hopped up with both wine glasses in his hand and headed up the stairs.

Watching until he was out of sight, Dave went to Google and typed in, "Signs of ghost possession." He became immersed in the links there, but was able to take the time to call, "It's a twist top. Easiest way to get to the libation."

With a laugh, Taylor called back, "I'll be a few minutes. I'm gonna drain the lizard."

"Okay." Dave kept an ear and eye toward the first floor as he read from one of the links.

1. A person possessed by a spirit may have been exposed to the possession through being in a place rumored to be haunted, and especially by using a tool designed for spirit communication, like a Ouija board or automatic writer, without any kind of spiritual protection.

Ouch. Dave winced. Number 1, check. If Taylor was possessed, it was his fault.

2. The possessed person may hear voices directing them to do things they've never considered doing.

3. The possessed person may often see or sense images of the ghost as they appeared in life.

Taylor, is anyone telling you to hurt yourself? Do you see some dude with brown hair carrying around a head? Dave shuddered at the thought. That's who they were dealing with, weren't they? The man Jordyn saw in the bathroom?

There was a head, a severed head in the bathtub, trailing blood down the drain.


Dave shuddered again.

4. The spirit possessed person may experience times of unconsciousness, called blackouts, where they do things they later don't remember doing. This is also referred to as missing time.

Like victims of alien abduction. Or drunks.

5. The spirit possessed person may act in ways that are strange for them. They may seem like a different person. Often, they will not remember family and friends who should be familiar to them, events of their own lives, or skills and careers they have learned.

That was it! This would be Dave's perfect litmus test to see if Taylor had been possessed by the ghost. What were the odds this dead guy could play the drums and sing?

6. The possessed person may begin to speak in tongues, commit lewd sexual acts, and scream when encountering religious symbols. If so, they are probably demon possessed instead of ghost possessed.

Uh, what if lewd sexual acts were the norm for the possessed person? The author of this website hadn't heard the story of Taylor and Alison chasing each other on the highway, flashing each other from their cars. Dave had certainly heard it enough (and seen enough of the aftermath).

Dave heard the hall bathroom toilet flush above his head, then the sound of Taylor's footfalls in the kitchen. The fridge opened, wine was poured, and the fridge closed again. There was a long, quiet pause.

Dave read the last number in the website list.

7. The worst case scenario besides demonic possession is that the ghost may find their return to life unsatisfying and seek adventure in amoral and/or illegal activities. They must use the body they are possessing to commit these acts, dragging their host down with them. In these cases, there is great risk of suicide.

Sighing, Dave changed the site he was supposed to be looking at to one about homegrown exorcisms and put his phone down on the table, pushing his hair behind his ears with both hands. He heard glasses clinking and Taylor finally coming down the stairs. "Here's yours," he said, handing Dave a glass of red wine.

"Thanks, Tee." Dave took a big gulp. Mm, frosty. "Um, hey... can I ask you something?"

Taylor's eyes darted about for a second before he answered, "What?"

"The ghost... I saw him trying to possess you. I'm afraid he got in there and you just don't realize it."

Sipping his wine, Taylor laughed a little. "Wouldn't I know it if there was some other person in my body?"

"A spirit who would possess a live person will try to hide." Not realizing he was doing it, Dave took a sip or gulp of wine whenever Taylor did; it was the power of suggestion. "Tell me, are you hearing any voices telling you do bad shit?"

With a snicker, Taylor imitated the high-pitched voice of Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. "'That's where I saw the leprechaun. He told me to burn things.'"

Dave gave him his skeptical eyebrows, scolding him. "I'm serious."

Laughing merrily, Taylor shook his head. "No, Dave, I am not hearing voices."

"What about hallucinations? Seeing anything weird? Any people you don't recognize?"


This was silly. Taylor seemed pretty much like himself. Grinning, Dave joked, "Feel like committing any lewd sexual acts?"

A slow, smirky smile came across Taylor's face. "Why, did you have something in mind?"

Dave didn't know if it was the alcohol or old feelings he'd been keeping bottled up coming to the surface, but that flirty look on Taylor's face sent a nice, thrilling shockwave up his back. He chuckled. "I think we've both had enough of this." Finishing off his glass of wine, Dave picked up his phone and attempted to read one of the sites he'd found through his search.

Taylor seemed very interested in what Dave had there, leaning over so he could see it better.

"Huh. We're going to need a bunch of supplies for this exorcism. I better call Petra in the morning." Blinking, then rubbing his eyes, Dave realized he was not only slurring his words, but his vision had become blurry. "Woo. I'm gonna have to call it a night, my friend. That cheap wine went straight to my head."

A little grin touching his lips, Taylor said, "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm just kinda drunk." He giggled, his phone slipping out of his hand and onto the table.

"You want some help?"

"Um, yeah!" The words came out too loud and boisterous. Dave was feeling pretty damn good, all warm inside, but also very dizzy. "Just be my pinball machine. Hover, you know, around me on my way to the bedroom and when I start hitting the walls, bounce me back in the right direction."

Taylor snickered hard in reaction. "Okay, can you get up?"

"Yeah." Standing up too fast, Dave wobbled in place, trying to decide if it would be a good idea to hold onto the table. The room spun and doubled itself around him. "Whoa. Whoa. Okay. Watch me go!" He took one step and collapsed to the floor.

"Whoa man, you alright?" Taylor crouched down beside him, a hand on his arm.

Lying on his side, Dave tried briefly to get up, but his body felt full of lead weights. He could only look up at Taylor feebily. "I can't do stairs right now. Will you help me to the couch?" Dave gestured to the couch against one wall behind him.

"Sure." Taylor drawled the word out, sweet and syrupy. "You are really drunk, huh? I guess I gotta get you to bed." He let out a small laugh and then did something very strange. While looking down at his friend with a predatory grin, Taylor ran a thumbtip over Dave's lips, as if he was curious how soft they were.

Dave was only partially conscious of this act; the world was rapidly swimming away from him. The last thing he remembered was the sensation of Taylor stroking his hair before he passed out. That and the light shining off Taylor's eyes.

His blue eyes.

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