Challenge #01176-C081: Free Spirits

Double day once again. Today's theme is This Old Haunted Mansion

1) The sceptic

2) The scaredycat -- Gallifreya


"Now I have about twenty-five years of experience with practical special effects and building haunted houses for fun parks... this place claims to have real phenomena. Let's take a good look and see what we can copy."

Lots of the phenomena in the house could, indeed, be copied with practical special effects. Where he fell over, though, was searching for the plane of glass or Perspex where the projections could have been cast.

That, and when Lewis appeared.

"And here we have the guy in a suit. Nice disguise for the flying harness, by the way." The sceptic smiled for the camera. "As you can see, the upper body is way out of proportion with the lower body. That's because the real human is... in..." He made to tear open the suit jacket and fumbled when his hand went clear through it.

"Sorry," said Lewis, placing his feet on the floor. "I still have to concentrate in order to be touched. Try that again."

He did so, this time pulling open the jacket to reveal little more than its inside and a faintly glowing spine. Lewis put his hands on his fiery head. Something a guy in a suit couldn't do.

"Er..." said the sceptic.


Lewis had put his Day Face on, and the sunglasses to hide his distinctive eyes. This was not that sort of guest. This was a therapy visit. As such, the usual creaks, groans, and things that go bump in the night were replaced with cake, cookies, and small treats. The usual spooky gloom was replaced with tasteful and calming lighting. And there was a big, fluffy teddy-bear. Just in case.

Their guest today was Carol, a Sensitive who had spent most of her life plagued by malevolent spirits, and was just now learning how to control her powers. She tucked herself into as little space as possible and held tightly to a charm that guaranteed to protect her from evil.

"I know there's a spirit here," she murmured. "I'm too used to them being... bad... to try sensing anything else."

Lewis, carefully distant from her, said, "That's me. I'm back from the dead and working on being corporeal again. Something about unfinished time and a love-lock. I promise I won't move until you ask me to."

"Oh..." She startled. Staring guardedly at him. "You-you look... normal?"

"I can't disguise my eyes. They look... really weird. Do you want to see?"

"...n-no. Not yet."

"You're protected," said Georgia, Carol's therapist. "And surrounded by friends who are going to help you. Lewis is going to stay right where he is. Everything here is controlled by your word."

"...okay," murmured Carol. "Let's start with the Deadbeat."

"All right. Look at the circle carpet in the hallway. It's going to manifest right on the dot in the middle. And -ah- I might float, but I'll try not to," said Lewis.

Carol rigidly controlled her breathing as a Deadbeat faded into view. She began to relax a little as both phantoms insisted on doing absolutely nothing.

"Good," cooed Georgia. "Now think about pushing it away..."

The deadbeat yelped as it vanished up the hallway.

"Ow," said Lewis. He was embedded in the corner of the room. Stuck halfway. "You're stronger than you know."

Carol laughed breathlessly, surprised at herself. "I didn't know I could do that.

"Lesson two - aim," cheered Vivi.

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