The Barrier: Case Three- Chapter Five

Riley woke up without the aid of her alarm and groaned when she looked at her clock. It was only 2 am. She knew she should get some more sleep and knew Ethan would want her to, but there was nothing for it. Her body had woken her up because it was done, and so was she. She stretched before quickly dressing and brushing her teeth and hair. It was the middle of the night, so she did not want to take a shower or put too much effort into it, but they tried to look always look presentable while on a case. You never knew when or what would happen after all.

When she walked into the base, she saw Gabrielle and Daniel both watching the monitors but also reading. She pulled out her own book and joined them.

“I was going to give you a few more hours,” Gabrielle said.

“I know, but I woke up naturally.”

“Makes sense. I understand why Ethan is making sure we are both well-rested, but there is only so much rest a body will allow at once.” When Riley nodded, Gabrielle added, “I think I will make us some tea.”

“Anything?” Riley asked Daniel.


“It wouldn’t be odd, first night and all, but everything about this case feels off.”

“Or rather nothing about it does.”

“That’s another way to put it,” Riley agreed.

Before Gabrielle had the chance to return, both lurched forward. The furniture in the sitting room started to shake and move a little bit.

“Well, that’s something,” Daniel said, standing.

Riley jumped up and grabbed their equipment before racing downstairs to the sitting room. As they approached the sitting room, Riley stopped outside and grabbed the wall to lean in first with the temperature gauge. Nothing. She tried again with the EMF reader, it was spiking a little as things were moving, but not as it should if there were a spirit.

Gabrielle had rushed over too hearing the commotion and was watching Riley.

“Nothing,” Riley said in confusion, only to have the chairs start to jump and shake more. Riley messed with the equipment and tried again, same results.

“I’ll get Ethan and Josh,” Gabrielle said, rushing away.

“What should we do?” Daniel asked.

Riley looked confused, watching the furniture and trying to see if she could sense anything without reaching or pushing. “I think I might try further in.”

“That might be dangerous, perhaps we should wait,” Daniel said, realizing she was unlikely to listen, but he felt he owed it to Ethan to try to stop her.

“I don’t want to risk missing it,” Riley insisted, slowly making her way into the sitting room. Everything around her calmed a little, but was still moving. Riley knew everything about this situation was unnatural, but she couldn’t feel anything, and it was bothering her a great deal. When she got to the center of the room, she reset the equipment and tried again, still the same. “What the hell is going on.”

Daniel had moved after Riley slowly, not wanting her to be alone and possibly surrounded by something. “This is rather odd,” he said slowly and watched as she kept trying.

Suddenly everything stilled around them, and the EMF reader started to go off even though there was no temperature change. Riley gave Daniel a confused look before he felt something. “Down!” he yelled as he pulled Riley to the ground with him, and all the windows, picture frames, and anything with glass exploded in the room.

Josh and Ethan arrived just in time to see the end. Josh was quick to put up a small shield around the two, but was grateful that most of the glass hadn’t reached the middle of the sitting room as it was not too much of a help. When things settled, Riley and Daniel looked at each other and let out a sigh of relief. Between the distance they were from most of the objects in the room and the small shield, it seemed most of the glass avoided them.

“Thank you,” Riley said, shaken.

Josh nodded his head, and he and Ethan moved quickly towards them. Riley looked down at the temperature gauge and held it up to everybody else. Nothing had changed the entire time.

“This is not a spirit,” Ethan said with a huff.

The others agreed but kept mostly quiet as they looked around the destruction. Even not being a spirit, this escalation did not make any sense. Activity had been fairly constant but small. This was big and happened so fast.

“What do we do?” Riley asked.

“We need to wake our host and help her clean this up and take some notes,” Ethan started, “Then I think it is time we shift focus. Emily and Riley, I want you to look into whether or not anybody in town has issues with Dorothy. Emily, I also need you to dig a bit deeper on Tracy, we need to find out if there is someone we can talk to about her. Whether they realize they are doing it or not, this is almost certainly a person.”

“They probably realize after this,” Daniel said, motioning around, “There is a strong chance that was the result of losing control of one’s powers.”

“You are likely correct, however it could also be an attempt to get our attention,” Ethan replied.

When Dorothy and Gabrielle walked into the room, the older woman instantly became concerned and a bit over the top about it. She started crying when she figured out that Daniel and Riley had been in the room when the glass exploded. Gabrielle brought her to the kitchen to make some tea and calm her while Josh and Daniel put a shield on the living room so no one would traipse in and hurt themselves.

The group huddled around the kitchen table while Dorothy calmed down, and then they started to talk to her.

“Does this mean I am haunted?” she asked with a shaking voice. “I mean, I know it seemed likely, but I was hoping there was something else to explain it.”

“There are still other possibilities,” Riley assured her then continued carefully. She didn’t want to suggest too much or upset the woman further. “Is there anybody in town that dislikes you?”

“Not really. I mean, I don’t get along with some of the older ladies, but nothing to the level of enemies or hating each other. We just prefer not to be around each other when at all possible. People try to force all elderly people together sometimes.”

“What about anybody in town who is known for being odd?” Daniel asked.

“Odd? Every town has odd people, don’t you think?” Dorothy replied, seeming confused.

The group turned towards Riley, and she had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. “Is there anybody in town that seems to know things that other people haven’t told them? Or people that seem to always have weird things happen around them?”

Dorothy thought for a moment. “You mean odd as in they might have powers, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Riley answered. “It’s important that you are truthful.”

Dorothy seemed to contemplate some more before shaking her head. “I am sure there is somebody, but no one who comes to mind.”

Both Daniel and Riley stiffened a little at the answer, but thankfully controlled it enough that their host didn’t seem to notice. Ethan and the rest of the team did, however, but knew well enough to wait.

“I think we should all try to get a little more rest, it’s late,” Gabrielle said. “Tomorrow, I will help you clean up the glass unless you know of professionals you can call.”

“I will call some people in. I will have to have the windows covered anyway,” Dorothy said sadly, “I can barely afford to have you here, and now this.”

“Do not worry about that,” Ethan said quickly. “Our concern is solving what is happening. Payment can be worked out later.”

The relief that Dorothy felt was palpable for the whole group. Riley was happy to see Ethan take it so seriously. The woman clearly needed help, not the burden of worrying about how to afford it. Dorothy left them to go back to bed, the group assumed she was rather tired. To be safe, though, they stayed in the kitchen for their discussion.

“She knows somebody?” Ethan asked when they were sure they were alone.

“I think so,” Riley replied. “I wasn’t intentionally trying to read her, so I am not willing to say I know for sure, but it was a pretty overwhelming feeling.”

“I can’t sense things like Riley can, but I am pretty good at reading people. My instincts agree, she was lying,” Daniel added.

“It has to be the granddaughter, right?” Gabrielle asked.

“Logically, yes, but we will check other leads just to be safe,” Ethan agreed.

“This is off-topic, but I do have connections with a group that helps pay for paranormal investigations when the people who need help can’t afford it. They like me to contact them before taking on a case, but I am sure I will be able to get them to help. I had not realized just how much she was struggling otherwise I would have already taken these steps.” Daniel said.

“I appreciate it, and may well take you up on it. But for now, as I said to her, my top priority is to solve this,” Ethan said, then slumped a little.

“You need more sleep,” Gabrielle said cautiously.

“I do,” Ethan admitted in defeat.

“I am wide awake, hell I woke up naturally,” Riley replied. “Go back to sleep, I’ll be fine while Gabrielle gets some more rest, and then someone can relieve me.”

This time Ethan didn’t fight them, and they all watched him worriedly as he left.

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