The Barrier: Case Four- Chapter Three

Miller watched Riley walk outside, and then got up and began to pace. This place was unsettling to her, and she feared whatever the ‘it’ that they sensed might be. If it had been human at one time, something happened after it became a spirit, and it shifted. She was grateful that both Josh and Gabrielle were there, but worried their powers would not be enough alone. After a little time had passed, she realized that Riley must have said something because she could tell the spirits were no longer hovering around Riley, but instead moving about the lodge.

“She isn’t safe here.” Miller finally stopped. “Something about this place screams against her presence.”

“What would you recommend?” Ethan asked, both concerned and confused.

“When she comes back inside, we have her leave. We can have her contact the spirits from a distance away from the lodge, but otherwise, we get her away from here.”

Ethan was about to argue, but then noticed how deeply concerned Caroline seemed to be. “Okay,” he relented. It was not something the team would normally do, but with empaths, normal seemed to go out the window.

Miller let out a relieved sigh and sunk into the couch. She let her mind wander and tried to talk to the spirits, although they seemed pretty uninterested in communicating with her. They were also restless and noisy, which made it hard for her to find a distinct one to talk to. Suddenly though, they seemed to come together in panic. “She’s in trouble.” Miller bolted up.

Miller, Josh, Gabrielle, and Ethan ran outside to see Riley holding on to her throat. When they walked out, Riley felt it tighten. Now it was trying to kill her. Josh and Gabrielle quickly began to chant, and then finally Riley dropped as she was released.

“We are getting her out of here now!” Ethan demanded, rushing over to her.

“Won’t help,” Riley whispered voice strained, “It connected with me, it will follow.” She began rubbing her throat as Ethan helped her stand.

“Did you get anything?” Miller asked.

“Not really. I know he’s been here a long time and is not from here. He called himself a lord, as in old British nobility, but nothing other than that.” She looked at Ethan, worried. “He’s so strong.”

“She’s right,” Josh agreed. “Directly attacking like that without being forced to show itself or weakening greatly is a sign of immense power. If he referred to himself as a lord, it means he was once human, but he did something either in life or after death to evolve beyond a normal spirit.”

“We should call Daniel,” Gabrielle said. “Whatever it is might not be able to be cleansed.”

Ethan hesitated but, looking at the red marks on Riley’s neck, made quick work of it. “Alright, do so. In the meantime, I want nobody to be alone, even briefly. Josh, go get Emily from her room, I know she is upset, but she will have to deal with it. Riley, you need to lie down.”

“I don’t want to be in the base, I won’t be able to relax.”

“You will come to my room, and I will stay in there with you.”

“They need you Ethan.”

“Once you are asleep if they need me badly enough, they can come talk to me. Besides, I could use a little rest myself.” He fought the urge to include a, please. He needed to have his eyes on her right now, and needed her to understand that and stop fighting. He wasn’t entirely sure if he hoped that she would be able to read it from him, but if it meant she would agree, he would take it.

Riley looked at him carefully and then nodded. She got the feeling he needed to be close to her so she would not fight him on it. The two walked through the house together. When they passed by the computers, Emily looked concerned and guilty but didn’t say anything.

When Riley got into Ethan’s room, she took off her boots and collapsed into the bed with a sigh. Ethan sat next to her, legs stretched out, and pulled out his laptop.

“I thought you wanted rest?”

“This is more restful than if I was in charge in the other room.”

“If you get too exhausted, you won’t be able to help in protecting me.”

Ethan let out a frustrated noise. “Cold, but effective. Do not overuse it,” he said, putting his laptop on the bedside table.

They lay by each other in silence for a while, Ethan on top of the blankets and slightly propped up to keep some amount of propriety.

“Are you and Miller dating?” Her quiet voice broke the silence.

“Why would you ask that?” Ethan was genuinely confused.

“You seemed close in the van, and you started to defend her more. Is that a yes?”

“No, it is not.” Ethan thought over how to answer for a moment. “You were right in New Mexico that I am part of the reason she is not truly a member of the team. I am attempting to correct that mistake. As for closeness in the van, I did not notice.”



“I am not sure what to say?”

“Certainly a rare moment,” Ethan chuckled, and Riley smirked back. He studied her and moved a few stray hairs from her face. “Caroline is more than what the team gives her credit for, but she is not for me.”

“I think he might kill me,” Riley finally admitted.

“I refuse to let him.”

“You can’t always prevent things from happening.”

“I thought you knew how stubborn I am. You have called me out on it.”

Riley smiled a little at that, but then it turned quickly into a yawn. “Please stay close,” she whispered as her eyes began to close.

“Of course,” Ethan said and watched her drift off. He had to fight the urge to say many things. He knew now was not the time, especially with the dark place she would likely be in emotionally. He also fought the urge to pull her close and hold her just to be extra sure that she was safe… and also to just feel what it might be like.

He sighed and attempted to slow his mind. She was bad for his professionalism. However, he found he did not mind as much as he thought he should.

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