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'The Echo' (Chapter 6)

Seeing ghosts?

The Echo—Chapter 5

“She just didn’t remember,” Kimberly said into the telephone. She was curled up on the couch, a blanket over her, staring out the window as the rain continued its relentless onslaught.

As soon as she and Lynn had gotten home, Kimberly had gotten her daughter into some dry clothes and had told her to lie down for a bit.

She’d thrown the new clothes into the closet, still in the bags. She could put them away later.

“That’s very strange, Kim,” Cheryl replied. “She didn’t remember what the girl looked like or anything?”

“She doesn’t even remember how she got outside!” Kimberly cried in frustration. “I don’t know what’s going on with her. She’s never been like this before. Nightmares, drawings she can’t remember doing, and now this?”

“I agree with you. If Danielle acted like this, I would be frightened too.”

“I meant to ask you about that,” Kimberly said, pulling the blanket tighter around her. “Did Danielle remember seeing Lynn draw that picture?”

“I asked her and she said Lynn was really quiet and just drawing by herself. But she didn’t see the picture, no.”

Kimberly blew out a breath.

“What did Gary say about this?” Cheryl asked. “Have you told him about the other incident? This seems to have similarities.”

Cheryl was right. Both times, Lynn had seemed to be in some kind of trance and had screamed as though being attacked. Kimberly was grateful the inhuman voice of several nights ago hadn’t made a reappearance, not in public. If she couldn’t figure it out herself, how could she possibly make excuses to strangers?

“Gary was on his way out when we came in,” Kimberly explained. “But when he saw the state of us, he sat down and waited while I got Lynn into bed.”

“I told him about what happened today and also about the other night. I just sort of blurted everything out. I was shaking so badly, he had to hold me to calm me down.”

“What did he say?”

“He reiterated it was just stress,” Kimberly explained, “He can’t make heads or tails of it, either.”

Gary had left immediately afterward to handle an emergency at the site. On his way out, he promised he’d be back in time for dinner.

Before he'd closed the door all the way, he had poked his head back in.

"Maybe Lynn just needs some extra attention," he'd suggested.

“Extra attention?” Cheryl questioned.

“I don’t know, Cheryl!” Kimberly snapped. “He’s not a psychologist. What do you make of all of this?”

Cheryl sighed. “To be honest, I don’t know. Lynn is a well-rounded, mentally stable little girl. If she was living in an abusive home or had recently suffered a trauma, I’d have an answer for you, but as it stands now, I don’t.”

“You mean Lynn’s acting as though she’s being abused?” Kimberly asked. She sat up straighter.

“Those are some of the signs, yes. Nightmares, sleeplessness, disassociation or fugue states.”

“Fugue states?”

“It’s when somebody has all the appearance of being awake and aware of what’s going on when, in fact, they wouldn't be able to tell you anything about what the said or did once they come out of it.”

Kimberly shook her head in disbelief. “Well, Lynn hasn’t been abused and she hasn’t suffered any recent trauma.”

“I know,” Cheryl said. “That’s why I don’t have an answer for you.”

The two sat in silence for a moment.

“I’m just so frustrated! She was fine all day when we were shopping. All smiles. Typical, cheerful Lynn.”

“Do you have any idea what might have triggered it?” Cheryl asked. “I mean, who was this girl she was following? Could she maybe have scared Lynn?”

“Cheryl,” Kimberly's tone was grave. “I don’t think there was another girl. I didn’t see any little girls in the store and there was nobody outside with her.”

“So, you think she made it up?”

“I think she saw something,” Kimberly said. “I was just talking to Paul the other day about the drawing, and you now how intuitive Lynn is. She picks up on things most people don’t.”

“Well, I don’t usually believe in that whole psychic thing. You know how I feel about that but…”

“Why do you think having psychic abilities is such a terrible thing?” Kimberly snapped.

“It’s not that I think it’s terrible,” Cheryl said, her tone calm and even. “It’s just that I don’t like ‘psychics’ per se, you know the ones with crystal balls and one-eight-hundred numbers. I think they’re, well, not...Christian."

Kimberly rolled her eyes but said nothing. She made it a point to try and respect her sister-in-law’s beliefs even though she didn’t always understand them.

As long as the words, ‘trafficking with the devil’ never passed Cheryl’s lips, Kimberly would be able to deal with her strict religious ideals.

“Could Lynn have seen a ghost?” The question was out of Kimberly's mouth before she realized it was in her head.

 

“Is that what Paul thinks?” Cheryl asked.

“No, I haven’t had a chance to tell Paul the latest,” Kimberly said. Cheryl had a difficult time with Paul, as well. Although she liked him as a person, the fact that his hobby included ghosts and UFOs had never sat well with her.

“Well, I do believe troubled spirits might remain behind if they have unfinished business here on earth. It's a possibility. Is that what you think she saw?”

“I don’t know,” Kimberly said. “Not a clue. I’m as stumped as you. It just sort of popped out, that’s all.”

“Well, go with it then,” Cheryl encouraged. “I’ll say a prayer for her, too.”

Kimberly suddenly heard the shrill cry of a baby in the background on Cheryl's end.

“I have to get going for now, sweetie. Aidyn needs a diaper change. Call me if anything else comes up, okay?”

“I will,” Kimberly promised. “Thanks for listening.”

‘Go with it?’ Kimberly thought as she ended the call. Was Lynn really seeing ghosts?

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