Whispers from Another World
by Jason Paul Rice
Authors Note: Unattributed/unmarked dialog is always Whitney Powers.
As Whitney looked at the bookshelf, a glowing blue light magically developed around the entire frame.
“Get away from those spooky books and go look at the normal ones. There normal books for girls like you are over there,” Whitney’s mother said to her.
Ursula Powers grabbed the twelve-year-old’s hand and dragged her away from the corner of the Granny Larson Library. Whitney’s mother pulled her to an aisle with books by her favorite author, Agatha Christie. Her father, Robert, walked up and smiled at his daughter.
Ursula said, “Finally, there you are. Keep an eye on her. I found her over by the supernatural books again. Take her to find books that little girls should be reading, please.”
Her loving father started to lead his daughter through the endless shelves of books and stopped.
He looked her in the eyes. “Do you want to go look at the books that you like?”
Whitney eagerly nodded her head up and down and all it took was for her father to say, “OK.”
She smiled and darted for the corner that housed the paranormal literature and ghost stories. She stared ahead and tried to pick out a title. Suddenly, the shelf started to shake and several books fell to the floor. She stepped back and the wooden shelf separated from the wall. A forceful flash of light temporarily blinded Whitney.
She finally regained her vision and noticed the adumbration of a young boy through the crack in the wall. The boy was gesturing with his hand for her to follow him and the inquisitive Whitney walked right into the small opening. She entered a dark, tiny room with what looked like saw dust everywhere and blew some off a table.
A mesmerizing swirl of gold, silver, ruby and emerald dust danced in the stale air around the excited girl. She followed the ghost-like creature into a tunnel that got darker and hotter as they went farther along.
She walked up to a strange-looking object unlike any she had ever seen. It looked like an oval of swirling mass comprised of colors, letters and numbers that went in and out of focus and kept changing shades. The boy ghost held his see-through ivory hand out and Whitney placed hers into it.
To her surprise, he had substance and it felt like a human hand. He floated a few inches above the ground as they moved forward. He looked back with a big smile and pulled her into the vortex. She felt a strange sensation of pressure as she fell into complete darkness.
She could sense the boy ghost’s body pressing against her right side as they slid down a huge incline. Their speed increased substantially until they were plunged into deep sapphire waters. She swallowed some salty liquid and felt a little hand pulling her to the top. She emerged and gasped for air as she splashed around on top of the calm waters. The dark sky worried her until she noticed her new friend hovering on top of the water a few feet away.
The boy ghost helped her get over to a boat that appeared to have been crafted from metal and gilded with gold. The ghostly figure looked like a boy wrapped in flowing robes who appeared to be about her age or perhaps a bit younger. His face and body seemed to be composed mostly of flowing shades of gray, black and white.
However, he had brown hair, bright blue eyes and two red tattoos on the back of each hand in the shape of a seven-pointed-star. When he moved, his skin took on a silver gleam that was a perfect foil to the gold boat. He was unlike any ghost she had ever read about or seen in a movie or TV show.
He helped her get into the small vessel and pulled something from inside his robes. It was a rectangular box that opened on its own and formed into an outboard boat motor. The boy ghost attached it to the back of the boat and the tiny motor proved to be powerful as they moved along the still waters.
She peered through a rolling fog at the light coming from a full pumpkin-colored blood moon and wondered what had happened to the day. The boat powered along a channel of water with amazing houses along both sides. A small castle appeared in front of them and the boy ghost pulled the boat right up to the shore.
The boy ghost moved to the front of the vessel where he opened a security pad and entered a secret code. A harsh grinding sound filled her ears as the flat hill that led to the castle transformed into a staircase. They both got out and ascended the steps. Whitney didn’t know what to expect as a shower of glittery purple dust came down from the sky. The boy ghost looked back at Whitney and pushed open the huge front door.
She stepped into the foyer of a gorgeous castle. It was like the middle ages had a lovechild with the future. Huge ebony columns emitted a strange sparkle and lined both sides of the hallway ahead. Computer touch pads and call boxes adorned the walls with classic paintings from the Renaissance period. It was quite a majestic sight for a twelve-year-old.
The boy ghost led her to a scarlet-colored rectangular stand that appeared to be hovering above the gleaming marble floor. She stood on the object and the boy ghost joined her. He put his hand on Whitney’s back as the hover board took off and quickly achieved a fast pace.
They zoomed down the straight hallway for a few minutes until the board came to a stop. The boy ghost led her into a room in which a family appeared to be seated at a table. The other people had the same hollow look as the young boy and wore nice robes and dresses.
The family all had blue eyes and brown hair of various shades. They all had the red seven-pointed star tattoos as well. Whitney thought this looked like a mother, father, daughter and son at the dining table with twelve burning candles in the middle of the table.
The woman said, “Come, sit. We have many things to discuss.”
Whitney walked up to a chair and joined the rest of the people at the table.
The woman asked, “How are you, my dear?”
“OK. How are you?”
The woman smiled, “You have good manners. We like that over here. You will come to understand a great deal about your life but this visit might also raise more questions than it answers. You will probably leave here confused and wanting to know more. However, we can only tell you a small part of the story because that is all we know right now.”
The father said, “We know you believe in ghosts like us. Do we scare you?”
“No,” Whitney answered without hesitation. “I’ve read books with good ghosts in them but they never looked like you guys.”
The mother said, “Good. People like to think that all ghosts are bad, evil or possessed and want to cause them harm. We ghosts are just like the living. Some good, some bad, some awful. What you see here is what you can accomplish when you put wars aside and everyone works for a common goal. We are like an alien civilization that is so far ahead of the humans on earth, they couldn’t even comprehend some of these things. We know when people are going to commit crimes before they are going to do it, so no uprisings or wars can ever start.”
Whitney wanted to ask so many questions, but she listened as the mother continued, “And while things are much more serious down here, you still have spirits that love to joke and play tricks. We don’t have much time today, so we will be serious with you. This is going to take a big commitment on your part. This burden is unfair to ask of a young girl, but you have the opportunity to achieve incredible accomplishments with your life and possibly change the world for the better. The ghosts and our spiritual friends will help you, but you must believe.”
“Believe what?” Whitney asked.
“You must believe in yourself first and foremost. You are destined for greatness, Whitney Powers. Then you need to believe in the ghosts or spirits, if you prefer. Whatever you would like to categorize us as, the classification doesn’t really bother us. You must believe that we will help you realize your dreams,” the father said.
“How could I not believe when I can see you sitting right here?” she asked.
The ghost that appeared to be the daughter moved to the front of her throne-like chair and said, “Yes, well, you’d be surprised at how many people still refuse to believe. You must stay close to the Granny Larson Library until you are needed. You must remain patient. We can’t tell you when this opportunity will happen; we can only guarantee that it will definitely occur someday. That’s why it’s important to trust us and stay close to the Library. Do you understand?”
Whitney looked out the clear window and said, “I understand that, but how is the sun coming up already? I came here in the afternoon and then it was night and now the sun is coming up already.”
The mother said, “Time goes much faster over here. You see we are on a parallel planet that has the same conditions as your home but with a faster rotation than earth. It causes our days to go much faster.”
“Wow,” was the only word Whitney could manage to get out.
“All your questions will be answered on your next visit. Keep in mind, that might not come for many years, but when it does, everything you’ve ever wanted will fall into your hands. You will be tempted to leave this town you live in and many opportunities will tantalize you, but you must remain steadfast and strong,” the mother told her.
A floating circular tray with drinks floated into the room and stopped in front of each family member who took his or her beverage from the flying machine. She stared at the amazing sight as the metal tray disappeared out the door.
The boy walked over to Whitney and held out his hand again.
She said, “But there are so many questions I have for all of you.”
“Next time,” the mother said as the son pulled Whitney out the front door, down the steps, and back into the boat.
They went back over the enormous slide and Whitney wondered how they would get up the steep incline. A great gust of wind hit her back and pushed her and the boy up the slide. They got to the top platform and she saw the vortex again.
The boy stood and pointed as Whitney dove into the strange portal. She felt the gripping pressure again and became very dizzy. A refreshing wind helped her to refocus and when she opened her eyes, she stood on a mass of land in the middle of a huge public pond.
She looked down at a velvety purple dress that shimmered in the bright sunlight for what felt like forever, screaming for help. Finally, she saw the flashing lights of a police car. The officers called to get a small boat to get the girl off the tiny island. She waited as the townspeople kept showing up and crowding the banks of the pond. Everyone pointed and whispered and Whitney began to cry.
Finally, the little boat pulled up with her father, who grabbed his daughter and hugged her. She felt secure with him and buried her head in his chest.
Her father kept telling her how much he loved her and how scared he’d been when she had been missing, but she didn’t hear any of it. As they got closer to land, the only things she could hear were the whispers about how she ended up on the remote piece of land.
The word witch started to hit Whitney’s ear and she hoped everyone would leave. She got out of the boat and her mother ran up and hugged her. Ursula helped get Whitney into the car.
“I’ll meet you guys down at the station,” her father told the police as he got in the driver’s seat.
“What happened? Who took you?” her mother asked.
“Nobody took me. I went behind the bookshelf at the library and went to a magical world where I saw the nicest ghosts,” Whitney said.
“No, you didn’t. You stop that right there. I know whoever took you probably said that you shouldn’t tell us the truth, but you need to. This is serious business, young lady. The policemen are going to ask you a lot of questions and you need to tell them who took you,” her mom said.
“But nobody took me,” she replied.
“Just tell the truth, honey. But if someone did take you, you have to let them know. You’ve been gone for three days so they are going to ask you a lot of questions,” Robert said.
“I wasn’t gone for three days. I was only gone for less than an hour. Time moves faster over there,” Whitney said.
“You cannot say that,” her mother urged.
“She needs to tell the truth,” her dad argued.
Ursula immediately retorted, “Listen to me right now. I am trying to protect our daughter.” She turned around to face her daughter in the back seat. “Whitney, you have a decision to make. You can go in there and tell the police that you don’t remember anything that happened. They will push you for answers, but you can say you don’t remember. The other choice is to tell this story of ghosts and magic lands and face being made fun of for the rest of your life. You already have a bit of a reputation for your strange taste in books and all that scary and spooky nonsense. This is a small town, people won’t be very understanding of your story. So you have a choice to make. March in there and say I don’t remember or risk being the butt of all jokes. The choice is yours, my dear.”
If you are already sold, you can get the book here: WHISPERS
Chapter 1-18 Years Later
Whitney woke up in bed and peeked over at a familiar partner. The hardback version of The Shining had taken on the look of a disheveled lover. It had been caught in the blanket, folding some pages over and crimping the dust jacket.
“Sorry,” she apologized and massaged the imperfections until they were straightened out. She had a signed copy in her collection, but she always tried to be respectful to books. She showered and as she got ready for work, she looked at herself in the mirror.
Whitney Powers’ sharp blue eyes gazed at a reflection of beauty. Unfortunately, her humility never allowed her to truly appreciate her own great looks. She had soft brown hair that cascaded to the middle of her back, nice curves and ample breasts, although most of her outfits hid those features.
Whitney was about five and a half feet tall and looked to be in perfect shape although she hardly exercised. She carried a serious look most of the time, and her friends affectionately called it resting bitch face, but her warming smile could always melt her father’s heart.
A knock on the door startled her. She wasn’t expecting anyone and didn’t like people just stopping by. She thought about her gun in the closet as she peered through the spy hole.
What is my mother doing here?
Whitney looked around her messy apartment and threw a towel over her Ouija board. She opened the door to see a smiling Ursula Powers.
Her mother shared the same hair color, although her hair was cut much shorter and she dyed it black. She had gray eyes, big, rosy cheeks and a dark complexion. Her mother was a little taller than Whitney and carried more weight. Her developing wrinkles and welcoming face made her look like a young grandmother.
“What do you want, mom?” Whitney immediately asked before her mother could get in the door.
“I can’t stop by to see my daughter? I haven’t seen you since your birthday, that was weeks ago. I wanted to talk to you.”
Oh boy, she has some sort of agenda. I wonder what it will be this time.
“What do you want, mom?”
“Jeez, I just want to make sure you are OK. I remember I got pretty down after my thirtieth and I wanted to see how you are handling it,” her mom said.
“Feels the same as 29, mom. I know what you are driving at and I am fine being alone. You and I are different. I know the most miserable time in your life was when dad went away to college and you stayed back here. I realize you had your husband and children by the time you were thirty and you think I can’t be happy unless I have that too. Believe me when I tell you that great things are about to happen to me,” she explained.
“That stupid prophesy again. All that did was make you the laughing stock of our town. Not to mention the grief it caused me trying to explain it to everyone,” her mom said.
“You were caused grief? Luckily I don’t care what these imbeciles think, but I’m known as Weird Whitney and you think you’ve been mistreated?”
“But it’s your story. Whatever happened to you was because of that silly story you’ve been telling all these years. I did nothing and still I had to hear about it nonstop,” Ursula told her.
“Alright, mom, let’s not go through this again. Just tell me what you really want.”
“OK, you know my friend Gabby right?” her mother asked.
“Gabby Risnowski? Of course I know her.”
“Yes, that Gabby. Well her daughter, Angie, just got married to a guy she met on this dating service called Dating While Honoring Religion. Or at least I think that’s what it’s called. I know that’s not really your thing, but these are men who live in Pennsburgh. I think you need to get away from this town to meet a good man is all that I’m saying,” her mom opined.
“There it is.”
“Oh my God, there what is? Did you get a snake or something?” her mom asked as she grabbed her daughter’s arm.
“Mom, you know I hate snakes, why would you even ask that. No, I mean it took a little beating around the bush, but I should have known why you are here. You want me to marry a church going business executive, but I would never go to church.” Whitney continued to get ready as her mom followed her around.
“So you believe in ghosts and aliens, but you won’t believe in God?” Ursula wanted to know.
“I believe in facts and scientific research and it is mathematically impossible that there isn’t another species of living beings comparable to humans. God on the other hand, has very little evidence on his or her side.”
Whitney turned on her hair dryer to try to silence her mom.
Her mom shook her head and smirked. She screamed over the hair dryer, “Funny to hear that from someone who sticks to a story that’s never been verified. We can stop with our usual fights. All I want is for you to be happy. You’re thirty now, the clock is ticking. My biggest worry for you is that you realize you want children when it’s too late. Look at your sister. Twenty-five and she already has her husband and two kids and that huge house to live in. Now she can do whatever she wants.”
Whitney turned off the hair dryer and ran her fingers through her long hair. She smiled in the mirror to make sure she didn’t have anything stuck on her teeth.
“No she can’t. She has a husband and two kids to worry about constantly. Anything she wants to do, she has to take them into consideration. And furthermore, Victoria failed out of college. If it wasn’t for her huge boobs, she’d be serving milkshakes at Big Boy Burger.”
“I’m just saying that the greatest achievement in my life has been my children. You and I have had our problems over the years and still do, but everything I do is out of love. I know you don’t always agree with what I tell you and sometimes I might come across as a bully, but it’s all out of love. I want you to be happy and my ideas might not always be what you are looking for, but I’m never going to stop because I’m never going to stop loving you,” her mom said as she playfully poked her daughter.
“Mom, stop. You’re gonna make me cry. What will it take to convince you that I am happy?”
“Aaric is having a barbecue for the family at the castle in three weeks. I want you to bring a man. You got three weeks; that should be plenty of time to find someone. And just in case, here you go.” Her mom put a piece of paper on the table.
“What is that?”
“That’s the flyer for the dating service, just in case,” her mom said with a smile.
Whitney laughed as she put on her belt. “Oh mom, leave it to you to have a full page flyer for an online dating service. Look, I’m going to be late for work. I will have to continue this talk later, okay?”
“You got it honey,” her mom said.
Whitney gave her mom a kiss on the cheek, wiped her lipstick stain off and watched her walk out the door. She finished getting ready and arrived at the parking lot of the Granny Larson Library about ten minutes later.
The library looked like a spooky, old stone castle which only enhanced the rumors about the building being haunted. She got inside and her co-worker Tara was sitting with her feet up on the main desk in front of the library.
“Excuse me,” Whitney said.
“Well look who’s late for the first time in like, ever. This better be a good story,” Tara said and sat up in the chair. She laid the latest issue of Hollywood Insider on the table and looked at her fingernails.
Tara had thick black hair and a dark bronze complexion with green eyes and freckles all over her face, neck and shoulders. The freckles gave her tall friend an innocent look that Whitney knew not to trust. She wore her hair in thick braids today and used her long, perfectly manicured nails to push two of them away from her eyes.
“It’s not a good story. My mom ambushed me while I was getting ready and I lost track of time. The end. Sorry, no refunds.”
“Girl, you need to create some crazy adventures. Go into the city and cause some trouble. I’m sick of hearing these lame ass stories,” Tara encouraged her.
“Sorry to disappoint you. My mom did throw down the gauntlet and basically demand that I bring a boy to Aaric’s party in three weeks.”
“Is it at the castle?” Tara asked.
“Tell you what. If you can’t find a boy, I’ll dress up like one just to get in that house. That place is capital A, amazing,” Tara stressed the last word.
“Leave it to my sister to find a man who basically hit the lottery when his family firm was picked up for the government job. Don’t even get me started on how he got that contract either. Anyway, where was I?”
“Bitchin about your little sister,” Tara reminded her.
“Right, did they have to build the biggest house our town has ever seen? Do they really need that medieval fortress?”
“Well I think it’s bad to the bone, girl. Also, did you want some fries with that jealousy burger?” Tara asked.
“Shut up. I’m not jealous of my sister.”
Whitney couldn’t admit it even to herself, but she was living in the shadow of her sister.
“Oh hey, I’m trying to get out of here early today and since you came in all late, this should square out right?” Tara asked.
“I don’t care. What are you going to do?”
“My man is coming down after work and we don’t have much time, if you know what I’m saying.” Tara looked at Whitney with her tongue out until a serious expression came over her face. “Oh, sorry.”
“What, no. Just because I don’t brag about my sexual exploits to you, doesn’t mean they don’t happen.”
It had been two years since Whitney had sex. She had a few boyfriends over the years, but nobody that really excited her. She was almost ready to give up on finding somebody.
Tara left at about three o’clock and Whitney looked at the local papers, in what had become a daily ritual. The library was never really crowded and she had a lot of free time during her shift. She read the headline, ‘Captain shot outside Jelly’s.’
She considered herself a local historian and knew that was a high-ranking member of the Dante Crime Family. His name was Larry Laramie and the police had found him dead in the middle of a busy street with fourteen bullets in him. She kept reading near the front of the library.
Susan Foley walked through the glass door and said hello to Whitney. She had always liked the divorcee who was widely considered the most beautiful woman in Clearhaven, despite her advancing age. The ravishing woman had always been nice and understanding to Whitney, something she always remembered.
“Hello there, gorgeous,” Whitney greeted her.
Susan Foley was an extremely tall woman with short, spiked, blond hair and haunting brown eyes. Her left eye was tainted by a wide, dark bruise right below it. She was a regular at the library and her ravishing body had its own reputation around the small town.
“And you wonder why I love you. What’s cooking there, sister?” Susan answered with another question.
“Same old, I’m afraid. What happened to your eye?”
“This, oh this is nothing. I was mopping the kitchen floor and trying to watch TV at the same time. By the way, I don’t recommend trying it,” she laughed. “Anything new you would suggest?”
“Not really. We’re actually getting a new delivery tomorrow. Oh my goodness, I almost forgot, I am so sorry to hear about your son. That’s just horrible.”
Susan had a serious look on her face. “That’s what happens when you mix heavy drinking with frat boys and open windows. They say he’s going to be alright, but thank you for the well-wishes. If he loses that scholarship, I don’t know what I will do. Ever since the insurance company screwed me out of the settlement, it’s been tough, but nothing you need to worry about.” She smiled, exposing burgundy lip stick stains on her teeth and pain behind her brown eyes. “I guess it’s time to do a little free shopping. I’ll catch you on the way out.”
“Sounds good and again, I am so sorry about everything. I wish I was more successful and could help.”
Susan replied, “Don’t be silly, darling.” The woman disappeared into the aisle of books.
A few hours went by and Whitney was surprised that Susan was still in the library. Most people didn’t like to be there past three o’clock because of the stories. Several people had reported seeing strange occurrences, especially after dark.
Much to her dismay, Whitney had never seen any of these happenings even though she really wanted to. She had spent many late nights in the library, hoping something would happen. She wanted the ghosts to come back and explain how her life was going to be great. She didn’t know how much longer she could live like this and planned to move away when her lease was up.
Whitney started her daily routine of checking the murder reports of Pennsburgh and all the surrounding areas. She had been trying to find out who the family of ghosts were for the past eighteen years. All the research had never revealed a viable comparison that made sense to Whitney. She didn’t find anything today but she would check again tomorrow and every following day until she figured it out.
She started to walk around with the return cart and put the books back on the shelves. She heard the front door open and close, and assumed Susan had finally left. She kept emptying the cart and heard a car peel out in the gravel parking lot. She didn’t believe that Susan would do it and thought it must have been the high school kids messing around again. She picked up a book to put on the mystery shelf.
“BANG,” a gunshot rang out.
Whitney dropped the book and hit the floor. She started shaking and her heart felt like it was going to explode.
What the hell is going on? This must be a dream or something.
Whitney became even more terrified and looked down the aisle to see pinstriped dress pants and Corinthian leather shoes run by.
“BANG,” another shot sounded and the world went dark for Whitney Powers.
GET THE BOOK HERE: WHISPERS