Derek sat in the hard backed wood chair trying not to yawn and was failing. He was exhausted because for the past three hours, the council had been debriefing him on the explosion and questioning his actions. He directed his attention to the balding man named, Jason who sat in front of him. “Derek, I believe that you believe you had no choice. But did you even think of the consequences? If the explosion hadn’t sealed the portal, and instead opened it fully, then what?“
“But the portal was sealed. And as I said in my report, the portal was already open. It was a risk I had to take.” Derek said to them shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
“You were almost killed!” Allison, the young, blond precept said to the Dutchman.
Running his fingers through his graying hair, Derek replied, “I knew the risks, but I didn’t endanger anyone else. I knew that the others would be safe where I told them to go. I put my throat to the proverbial sword, knowing that I probably die.” He then added, “But I didn’t die…no harm done.”
“How did you manage to escape harm?” Jason asked suspiciously.
“Right before the C4 detonated, I turned and ran into an adjoining room and closed the steal door. That protected me from the initial blast. Afterwards, I hurried out to make certain that the others were ok.” Derek yawned and added, “I’m tired. If you don’t mind too much, we’ll pick this up tomorrow morning, ok?” The others nodded, and he left the room. He turned the corner at the end of the hall and bumped into Alex. She glared at him and then pushed past him silently. “Sorry.” He muttered. More than anything else, Alex’s silence saddened him. He knew that his words and actions right after the explosion were harsh, but he had figured, he had only been saying goodbye…just in case. He told himself that he would talk to her the next day. “But first, I need some sleep.” He thought to himself.
A few hours later, the San Francisco house members and the London house members sat eating dinner in the elegant dining room. Kat and Morgan, the teenage niece of Allison, exclusively did the conversation. Their cheerful chatter about the recent boy band’s concert tour seemed so absurd in light of recent events that Derek laughed.
Everyone looked at him surprised. Laughing was something that the precept rarely did. Nick asked him, “Did I miss something?”
Derek, still smiling said,” Sometimes, I’ve wondered if all our fighting accomplishes anything. But then I see something so pure and innocent, and it really puts it back in prospective.” Nick and Rachel both smiled slightly, while Alex was oblivious to everything other than her dinner plate. The London house members exchanged knowing glances.
Later that evening:
Nick couldn’t sleep and decided to go the kitchen for a little snack. When he got there, Allison was at the table looking over files. “Can’t sleep either?” He asked her smiling.
She looked up and said, “Hi, Nick. I have a lot of paper work to do, and I can’t sleep when I know that I have things to do.” Allison took a sip of coffee.
Nick went to the cabinets and couldn’t find what he was looking for. “Hey Allison, got any cookies around here…all I see is healthy stuff.” She got up from the chair and went over to the cabinet over the refrigerator and took out a bag of cookies. “Morgan has a sweet tooth, and I’m trying to get her into healthy eating habits.” Nick and Allison sat down and almost ate the whole bag of cookies.
The next morning, Derek was awoken by the sound of laughter. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and swung his feet to the floor. He pulled them up fast and looked down to find a small pan of water with ice cubes in it. He heard barely contained laughter coming from the closet. Limping slightly from the cold, Derek walked over to the closet and threw open the door, but there was no one there. He looked around the room and saw that the pan of was gone except for a quickly drying pool on the floor. “What on earth?” He muttered and went to tell the others.
Derek walked into the kitchen and spotted Kat eating a bowl of cereal. “Hi, Derek.” She said with her mouth full of cereal. She looked at the disheveled and slightly confused precept and asked, “What’s the matter?”
He shook his head to clear it. “Nothing much. Where’s your mom?”
“Upstairs in the library. She’s helping with some reports.”
“Thank you, Kat.” He said and went upstairs to find Rachel. When he opened the library doors, the conversation between Rachel and several members of London house stopped. Derek felt awkward and judging by their looks he figured they must have been discussing him. “I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?”
“No.” Rachel said hurriedly. “We were just talking.” She turned to the London house members and said, “If you will excuse me…” They nodded. Rachel and Derek left, Rachel closing the door behind her.
“We need to talk…all of us. Where are Alex and Nick?” He asked shortly.
“They’re getting ready to take Kat sight seeing. She has been bugging them about being bored, so they decided to take her.” Rachel said as she moved her hands. She felt very uneasy around him.
“I just talked to Kat in the kitchen, and she didn’t say anything about it.” Derek said to her. He had a feeling that she was lying to him about something.
“It’s a surprise.” She said annoyed at having to speak the obvious.
“Well, it can wait. I need to talk to you all together.” Derek said, annoyance causing his usually soft Dutch accent to get harsh.
“Whatever it is you can tell me about it.” Rachel said looking more serious now. Derek thought a moment then spoke.
“Last night there was some one in my room. In my closet to be exact…it sounded like a child laughing, but when I went to investigate there was no one there. There was also a pool of water on the floor and then it disappeared.”
“What do you mean disappeared?” Rachel asked incredulously.
“As in not there…poof! Gone!” He said.
“So let me see if I have this right…” She said. ”You heard laughter, stepped in a pool of cold water, went over to where the laughter was coming from, and there was nothing there. Then the water was gone. Derek, excuse me if that seems a little unbelievable. But considering what has happened lately, are you sure you didn’t just imagine it? We’ve all been under a lot of stress lately…you the most.” Rachel looked at his face, which she noticed was haggard.
“I…did…not…imagine…it.” Derek said through clenched teeth. “Just because we sealed the portal, it doesn’t mean that evil stops. It keeps coming!”
“Calm down, Derek.” She said. “I have to visit a friend of mine, but I’ll have Nick go talk to Allison and see if the cameras caught anything. In the meantime, why don’t you take Kat sight seeing? She really wanted to get out and see the sites. It might also do you some good to get out of the house.”
Derek nodded, and they both went their separate ways. Rachel went in search of Nick, and Derek in search of Kat.
A short while later, Nick and Allison sat in the control room. Nick played the video taken from the surveillance camera in Derek’s room as Rachel requested. He slowed it down to ¼ speed and watched Derek’s foot slowly descend to the floor. Pausing it, he zoomed in to where Derek’s foot touched, but there was nothing there. “Nothing! There’s nothing there. No abnormal heat readings in the room, no magnetic abnormalities…nothing out of place!” Nick slammed his fist onto the computer terminal. Allison began to massage his neck.
“Relax. Maybe it’s something our sensors couldn’t pick up. Something tells me that this won’t be an isolated occurrence. All we have to do is make sure we get something on it next time.” She was leaning close to him, and
the smell of her herbal shampoo wafted in Nick’s nose. He looked at her gently.
“I guess.” He sighed and looked into her blue eyes. “You have the most beautiful eyes.” He whispered, and she took it as an invitation and pressed her lips deeply against his for it was such a long time since she had found someone attractive. Nick felt uncomfortable by the fact that the London House precept had kissed him.
“Whoa, we shouldn’t be doing this.” He said as he wiped his lips dry.
“Did I miss something? I thought this is what you wanted.” She said feeling a little hurt and rejected. “The way you’ve been coming on to me, I thought…”
“Time out, Allison.” He said looking her directly in the eyes. “I did not come onto you.” He got up and was ready to leave the room.
Allison glared at him. ”What’s up with that comment…you have the most beautiful eyes?” She folded her hands against her chest.
“I was paying you a compliment…you do have pretty eyes.” He said to her and left the control room. She felt foolish for taking the compliment as something more and for throwing herself at Nick. She stood up and left the room and headed for her office.
London later that afternoon:
Kat ran up ahead of Derek, who smiled at the girl’s enthusiasm. Getting out and seeing the city had dispelled the lingering anger he had been feeling, and for once he could just relax and enjoy himself. They had seen the Tower of London, Winchester Abby, and have course, London Bridge. They were walking back to the house when Kat stopped and look fearfully at him. “What is it?” Derek asked her.
“We have to get back to the house.” was all she said and began running the last few blocks to the towering spires of the London house. Derek followed confused.
Alex was sitting in the library staring out at the city below. Rachel walked in and sat down next to Alex. “Hey. What’s going on?”
“Nothing…just thinking.” Alex said sadly. Rachel looked at her doubtfully, and Alex said, “I’m just a little down.”
“That’s understandable. You’ve been under stress, all of us have. But it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Rachel said to her friend as she touched her hand. “Well,” Rachel hesitated, “have you noticed that Derek has been acting odd for the last few weeks, even before the explosion?” Alex nodded and Rachel continued, “I was talking with Jason and several members of this house, and they think there might be something wrong with him. The erratic behavior, rapid mood swings, sleeplessness, hallucinations…” Alex nodded. “They asked me to tell you and Nick to be careful and keep an eye on him.”
“Do you think he might be…dangerous?” Alex asked frightened.
“No, not to others. If I had, I wouldn’t have let Kat go with him. But he might be to himself. There’s a camera in his room, and it’s being monitored, so that if anything happens we can help.”
Kat ran through the corridors, Derek trailing on her heels. She ran into the library. Alex and Rachel stood up alarmed. “What is it?” Rachel asked panicked.
“I saw Derek in trouble. The little boy hurt him!” She said hurriedly. Alex glanced at Derek with a concerned look on her face.
“Calm down.” She said to Kat. “What exactly did you see?”
Kat thought for a moment. “A little boy, like 11 or 12. I’m not sure. He had brown hair, and he seemed scared at first then angry. He hit Derek with something sharp. I think a knife.” Kat began to cry, and Rachel hugged her reassuringly.
While Rachel tried to comfort the young girl, Derek stared off into space. “If Kat’s vision is true,” He thought to himself, “then I’m in extreme danger. I must be alert, must not let the vision come true.” Derek repeated this several times in his mind growing more determined each time.
That evening, Alex was sitting in one of the sitting rooms reading a book, which Rachel had recommended on mental disorders when Derek came in. He sat down by her, and she hurriedly stashed the book under the cream colored pillow next to her.
“Hi, Alex. What are you reading?” He asked, and Alex shrank away from him.
“I need to go.” She said shortly to him, stood up and stormed out of the room. Derek sat back frustrated and feeling betrayed. Derek knew why Alex had been acting cold towards him, but he decided to let Alex come to him when she was ready. He didn’t want to push the issue and alienate her further. He reached under the pillow and looked at the book she had been reading. “Mental disorders!” He thought, “Now, why would she be reading a book on mental disorders? Unless…?”
Derek and Kat were sitting in the media room watching TV when Rachel came in. “Kat,” She said, “I need to talk with Derek for a while. In private.” Kat nodded and left. Rachel sat down next to him but seemed edgy.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Derek asked, “What did you want to talk about?”
“How are you feeling?” She asked nervously.
“Fine. You?” Derek said knowing that wasn’t really what she wanted.
“Ok. Derek, I was talking with Alex and some of the others, and well, we’re concerned about you.” Rachel admitted.
“Concerned?” He queried.
“Well…you’ve been acting odd lately. You’ve hardly slept; you’ve been irritable one minute, then laughing the next. It’s not normal, even for you!” She said as she moved her hands. Rachel then flicked a stray blond lock behind her ear.
“Rachel, I know. Look, I appreciate your concern, but I’m ok. We have a much bigger problem at hand. The spirit in my room might be the same one as in Kat’s vision, and if it is…” Derek trailed off looking behind Rachel at a young girl, who just smiled at him.
“What?” She asked and turned but didn’t see anything.
He shook his head. “Nothing. Just thinking.” He lied, but his mind was spinning. Rachel looked at him suspiciously and said, “Well, a friend of mine is coming over tomorrow. I would appreciate it if you would talk to him.”
“Why?” He queried.
“He’s a psychiatrist too, and I thought that you might need someone outside of our group to talk to.” She told him.
He looked at her in askance. “Rachel, how many times to I have to tell you, I’m fine?” He shouted and Rachel cowered back.
“That’s exactly it, Derek. You are acting way beyond weird and if you don’t get back to acting like yourself…” She trailed off.
“What?” He asked.
“They’re going to relieve you of your precept duties.” She said in a soft voice.
He ran his fingers through his graying hair as he said, “I’m not crazy, Rachel. I’ve been a good precept, haven’t I?” Derek leaned back stunned by what she had told him.
She played with her gold pendent necklace. “Yes, you are a good precept, Derek. You are having mood swings and your judgment isn’t what it used to be. You could put our lives in jeopardy with out realizing it.” Rachel said as she got up from the Victorian couch. “Derek, it’s not a foregone conclusion. They want you to talk to an independent psychiatrist, one who won’t be biased. Just talk to him. That’s it.” She told the stunned precept.
“Alright.” He said. “Do you think I’m crazy?”
She pushed the errant piece of hair back again before saying, “There are so many factors, but I do know something abnormal is going on in your head. It might be stress or something more serious. Whatever it is, we’ve got to get it taken care of.” He nodded. Rachel put her hand on his back reassuringly and then left the room. She went upstairs to make sure that Kat did her homework packet.
Derek sat on the couch thinking. ”They are going to relieve me as precept. I have given my life to the Legacy. My relationships haven’t lasted that long cause of the secrecy.” He got up from the couch and headed for his room. He was fatigued by the day’s events.
Derek’s Room early the next morning:
He heard laughter again, but this time it was louder than before. “What the hell is going on here?” He thought to himself as he swung his feet to the side of the poster bed. This time was a pan of hot water. “Aw…www!” He screamed clutching his foot in pain. Derek heard the laughter again, and it sounded like it was coming from the closet like the day before. He opened the brown door and saw nothing. Derek walked over to the bed and found that the pan containing the hot water was gone as well. He decided it was best to go back to sleep after what Rachel had told him about being stripped of his precept duties.
The control room later that morning:
Jason was showing Rachel the tape from the camera in Derek’s room from earlier. “He looks dazed and confused. I think he needs to be committed. Mike Roberts, a friend of mine, is coming by the house this afternoon, and I would like to show him this tape…if you wouldn’t mind.” she said to the balding man.
“By all means show your friend the tape, Rachel.” He said as he was leaving the room. Nick entered the room.
“Hi, Rach. What are you up to?” He asked looking at the screen.
“Hi, Nick. I’m looking over what the camera picked up in Derek’s room.”
“Why is the camera turned on in his room? I can’t believe you think he is a danger to himself.” Nick said to the blond.
She showed Nick the tape. “Does that seem like normal behavior to you?” Rachel asked moving her hands to get her point across to the young man.
“Maybe his foot fell asleep…could be why he screamed. So he looked in the closet and closed the door, big deal.” He smiled.
“But he checked the floor several times before he got back into bed.” She stated.
“That doesn’t make him crazy, Rach.” Nick said to his friend. “Maybe he saw a bug on the floor.”
“Well, you and Allison checked the video tape yesterday and found nothing unusual in his room. You have to face the fact that Derek isn’t dealing with a full deck these days, Nick. He could be delusional or suffering from hallucinations.” Rachel stated as she was leaving the control room to go find Kat. Nick followed her he wasn’t ready to end the discussion.
“Just because we didn’t find something yesterday, doesn’t mean that there isn’t any spirit hanging around this place, Rachel.” He said still defending Derek.
“well, lets hope you find something fast because whatever it is; it’s getting to Derek. I’m afraid that it’ll send him over the edge.” Rachel said as she climbed up the grand staircase to see her daughter.
The Parlor later in the day:
Alex was sitting on the Victorian couch reading a novel when she felt something touch her shoulder, she turned around, but nothing was there. Alex then heard laughter coming from behind the sofa. She quickly stood up and saw nothing there. She ran her fingers through her black curly locks in bafflement. “I must be loosing my mind as well.” She thought to herself. Nick walked in the room and noticed the peculiar look on Alex’s face.
“Hey, Alex. You ok?” He asked concerned.
“Hi, Nick. Something touched my shoulder…turned around nothing was there. Then I heard laughter coming from behind the couch again nothing was there.” She replied. Alex had a far away look on her face, which Nick noticed.
“What do you see, Alex?”
“I see a little girl with long brown hair wearing a pink party dress…must be seven or eight. she’s running around the room like someone was chasing her. Alex said. A shiver went through her body. “I now see a boy about twelve with brown hair in a blue suit. In his hand, is a long knife… he stabs the little girl.” Rachel then entered the sun lit room.
“Hey guys. What’s up?” She asked looking at her friends. Rachel noticed that Alex wasn’t looking right. “You feeling ok, Alex?” She asked moving towards the younger woman.
“I’m fine, Rachel. I just saw something that’s all.”
“What did you see?”
She twirled a piece of her long curly hair around her finger. “I saw a little girl seven or eight with long brown hair wearing a pink ruffled party dress. Then I saw a boy about twelve with brown hair as well, dressed up. He had a long knife in his hand, and he stabbed the little girl.”
“Well, that proves that Derek isn’t crazy after all, huh, Rachel?” Nick stated.
“Dr. Roberts is talking to Derek as we speak, Nick.” She said to her young colleagues as she looked out the stain glass window. Rachel turned and faced them again. “The fact that Alex saw something is a good sign…that Derek isn’t hallucinating.”
Alex looked at Rachel then Nick. “What I don’t understand is why the surveillance tapes didn’t pick up any abnormalities with the heat sensors or magnetic field of energy.”
“Well, the first tape didn’t show anything in Derek’s room, but Rachel didn’t check the second one from his room for any unusual readings.” Nick stated to Alex.
“Then let’s have a look at the second one…maybe something showed up.” Alex said as she was heading for the control room. Rachel and Nick followed right behind her. Allison was in the room when they got there. When Allison saw Nick walk in, she quickly stood to leave. She couldn’t face him after she had made a fool of herself earlier.
“Hey Allison, we’re not interrupting anything important I hope.” Alex said as she walked up and sat in a chair beside Allison.
“Oh no. I was reading over the weekly report, and this is the only place I can do it in peace.” Allison smiled. She nervously slide her hair behind her ears, trying hard to avoid Nick’s gaze. Nick could sense the tension in her and knew what was causing it.
“So a precept’s life isn’t as glamorous as it seems. You guys actually do work.” Nick said smiling at Allison hoping to smooth things between them. Allison smiled back glad that he had seemed to have forgotten her earlier act.
“Yes, we do. Although sometimes, I can’t make head or tails out of it.”
“What do you do when that happens?” Alex added with a chuckle.
“I read then re-read until it makes sense to me.” Allison said. “Being that I’m the youngest precept within the foundation, and a woman to boot. I have to work twice as hard to get the respect from the other precepts…all of them except for Derek that is. He’s the only one who never looked down on me and always acknowledged and respected my opinions on things.”
“Speaking of Derek, we should get back to the task at hand.” Alex said starting to pull up the video archives. Rachel and Nick both moved behind her looking over her shoulders.
“What are you guys looking for?” Allison inquired as she looked on.
“For evidence to attest to Derek’s sanity. Alex had a vision, which supports what Derek has been saying about seeing a little girl.” Rachel said.
“That’s what the whole investigation is really about and not about the explosion? I don’t understand.” Allison said.
“You mean to say that you haven’t found Derek’s behavior, of late, to be a little unusual?” Rachel asked.
“No. I mean I heard the other precepts talking about Derek seeing and hearing a ghost of a little girl, but I just assumed it was from being in this house again.” Allison said, then seeing the confused looks from the others, went on explaining. “Didn’t you guys know that Derek grew up in this house as a child? For a time, his father, Winston was a precept here. That is until Derek’s little sister, Danielle, was killed.”
“His baby sister?” Alex said shocked. “I thought that Ingrid was his only sibling.”
“No, Winston and Barbara had another child after Ingrid and Derek. It’s all in our records. Derek never told any of you about it?” She asked.
“No, not a word.” Rachel said. Then she looked at Nick and Alex.
“He never said anything to me.” Alex said.
“Me either.” Nick added.
“Now, that, I find odd.” Allison said as she walked towards the exit. She disappeared through the wall, leaving Nick, Alex, and Rachel to start a new search, but this time in the house records.
Alex started to type away, and the information that she was looking for appeared on the screen. “Danielle was two years younger than Derek…five years younger than Ingrid.” She stated to Nick and Rachel.
“Why wouldn’t he tell us he had a younger sister?” Nick said shaking his head in disbelief.
“I’m sure he had his reasons for not telling us about Danielle.” Rachel replied. “Is there any mention in the reports on how she died, Alex?”
“Yes, there was a birthday party for Todd Walters, son of Joshua Walters, who was a good friend of Winston’s. Todd for his twelfth birthday received a knife with the symbol of a Phoenix on it. He was playing with it after his parents and Derek’s father told him not to. Derek chased his sister into the playroom and tickled her. Danielle ran away from him and ran straight into the knife. She died two days later on Derek’s tenth birthday.” Alex said as the tears welled up in her eyes.
Nick asked, “Do you think she blames Derek for her death?”
Rachel paced back and forth. “She could blame him. Derek could also blame himself…could be why he never mentioned having another sibling.”
Derek’s room later that afternoon:
After meeting with Dr. Roberts, he decided to go back to his room and take a nap. Derek had a dream about a little girl in a pink party dress running into a knife. He saw a little boy, who looked like himself watching the whole thing in horror. Derek woke up from his dream screaming, “Danielle” over and over. He heard laughter coming from the closet this time it didn’t sound innocent or like a little girls; it sounded menacing. Derek got off of the poster bed and went over to the closet and opened the door. He saw a little boy about twelve years old holding a knife in his hands laughing in an evil manner. Derek remembered seeing that boy with the same knife a long time ago…the day his little sister was injured. He also remembered Todd teasing him and Danielle with knives countless times. Derek told his father about it, but Winston didn’t pay any attention to what he was saying…figured that Derek was getting back at him for the teasing that occurred.
Todd Walters leapt out of the closet and grabbed Derek by the throat. “It was you that I wanted dead; not your sister. Yes, I enjoyed scaring her with the knives, but I did not want her dead. It was you that I wanted, and now I may have the chance to kill you, Derek Rayne. You thought you were better than me cause you had the sight.” He said as he let go off Derek’s neck. He raised the knife and was about to slam it into Derek’s chest. He kicked Todd in the groin, and the two struggled for the knife. Derek got the knife and put it into the little boy’s chest. A red light surrounded the boy, he and the knife were gone. Derek jumped to his feet and hurried out of the room. He headed to the control room. He knew that the others were in bed and he would be alone. Once inside the control room, Derek sat at the terminal and typed in Todd’s name. A news article came up about a young boy falling into a well and dying. The boy was Todd Walters, and the well he fell in was the one behind the Legacy house. Suddenly, Derek remembered the events that happened the day his little sister was injured and knew why Todd had come back. Derek also knew what he had to do to stop him, but he’d need the others’ help.
The next morning:
Derek called Nick, Rachel, and Alex to the control room wanting to tell them about what he had discovered. Once everyone arrived, he started.
“I know where the voices and visions are coming from.” Derek started as Rachel cut in.
“Does it have to do with your baby sister, and the way she died?” Derek looked at her surprised.
“You know, but how?” Derek asked.
“Allison mentioned it last night, and we went through the house records and filled in the rest.” Rachel explained. “What we don’t understand is why you didn’t tell us.”
“To be honest, I had no memory of it. I must have blocked it out…that is until last night.”
“What happened last night?” Nick asked.
“I got a visit from a boy I knew as a child. His name is Todd Walters. He’s the cause of what I’ve been hearing and seeing, I know that now.”
“Wait, why does that name sound familiar?” Alex said.
“He was holding the knife when my sister ran into it. He told me last night that it was an accident. That he was coming into the room to kill me. He never meant to harm Danielle.”
“To kill you, but why?” Alex asked.
“He hated me because I had the sight. I can remember when he and his father came over; his father was always comparing us. Always telling Todd that he wished he was more like me.”
“Wait a minute, you said that he spoke to you last night. How did he break into the house?” Nick asked thinking that the house’s defense system was a little old and needed a good tune-up.
“No, his spirit came to me. Todd died the same day my sister was injured. He ran away afterwards. Partly because I threatened to kill him… but mostly because he feared what his father would do to him. He ran into the woods behind this very house and fell into an abandoned well. His neck was broken before he hit the bottom of the well.” Derek said glumly.
“And now his spirit blames you for everything?” Alex added. Derek nodded his head.
“So how do we stop him?” Nick asked folding his arms across his chest.
“We have to find the knife and destroy it. The knife has an image of a Phoenix on it.” Derek answered. “And my guess is that it is kept somewhere here in this house, which is why I need your help.”
“So you want us to sweep the house. Well, I’ll start in the basement.” Nick volunteered.
“And I’ll get the attic.” Alex said. Derek smiled at the fact that no matter what happens, his friends are always there to help him…especially Alex, who he had been brushing off lately.
“That leaves the rest of the house for you and I, Rachel.” They all nodded and headed out on their quest. After hours of unsuccessfully, Derek and the others met back in the control room.
“There was nothing…the house is absolutely clean. I found several daggers, but none with a Phoenix on it.” Nick said.
“Rachel and I came up with nothing also. How about you, Alex?” Derek asked as they all looked at her. She just shook her head.
“Nothing.” She said then after a moments thought, she said, “Is it possible that Todd had the knife on him when he fell into the well?” Suddenly a smile came across Derek’s face.
“Of course, I don’t know how I over looked that.” After Nick went to get the climbing gear, they all went outside. With Derek leading the way, they headed for the well. Nick volunteered to venture down into the well in search of the knife.
“Can you see anything, Nick?” Derek called down to him.
“Not yet, but I’m almost to the bottom.” Nick called back. Then the flashlight, which Nick was aiming down the well, reflected off of something. “Wait, I think I found something.” Nick had reached the bottom of the well and lying there was a knife. It looked brand new, and Nick picked it up. “I’ve got it, and I’m coming back up.” After Nick had made his way back up and out of the well, he handed Derek the knife.
“That’s mine. Give it back, Derek.” The voice of a boy came from behind them. They all turned and found a young boy standing there. Rachel and Alex were surprised and relieved to finally see what Derek had claimed to be seeing all along. They now knew that their precept and friend was of sound mind.
“Todd, the only way for you to find peace, is to let me destroy the knife.”
“I’ll rest in peace after I kill you. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Danielle shouldn’t have gotten hurt. It was supposed to be you!” Todd yelled angrily. He reached out his hand, and the knife shot out of Derek’s hands into his. Todd smiled devilishly, raised the knife above his head. “Now, I’ll set things right.” He moved to Derek but then a blinding light came between them. The spirit of a little girl stood there.
“Come play with me, Todd. Come play.” The girl said reaching out her hand to him.
“You want me to play with you?” Todd asked dropping the knife. The girl nodded. “So, you’re not mad at me for killing you?” The girl shook her head no.
“It was an accident.” She said to Todd then turned to Derek. “It was no one’s fault…but an accident.” Derek fell to his knees crying as he looked at his sister. He knew that he didn’t need his sister’s forgiveness, because she never blamed him for her death. That all these years he had blocked the memories of her because he blamed himself for her death. He felt that he should have done a better job as a big brother and protected her better. It became apparent to him that she was there to help him and Todd to both forgive themselves. “Come on, Todd. I want to play hide and go seek.” Todd took the girl’s hand then turned to Derek and gave him an angelic smile and then the both of them disappeared. The smile was to say that he was sorry and that everything was OK now. Derek knew that Todd had found his peace, and that he, himself had found some peace of mind.