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Hunted in the Dark

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Ghost hunting on a Friday night wasn’t exactly Robin’s first idea of a good time. Then again, it wasn’t his first idea for a job either. Yet, he was sitting in the back of a container truck with Shulk, Pit, and Min Min, as his sister drove them to this old abandoned school at the edge of town. He was reclined back against the rumbling wall, as he looked over his journal of the most common hauntings found in town.

“... a natural hunter, and will attack anything …” Robin muttered to himself.

“Are we even sure these things are real?” Min Min asked, to break the silence. “We spent a lot of money on this equipment.”

Pit stopped idly flicking a lighter, as he haphazardly tossed it onto the shelve near him. “I mean, isn’t that what we’re trying to find out? Ooh, maybe we’ll finally find a partner for you, Shulk!”

“Oi!” Shulk spat back. “Just because I was declared dead once doesn’t mean I’m a ghost!”

“Are you sure? Big talk for a zombie.”

“I’d like to see you survive a car crash and wake up in a mortician’s office!”

Min Min groaned as she stood up. “Can you two stop arguing!?” She pauses a moment, as the truck slows to a stop. “Are you two even friends, or are you just here because Robin invited you?”

The three of them continued to argue a little, as Robin stood up to inspect the whiteboard behind Min Min now that the truck had stopped moving. In the unmistakable handwriting of one exceedingly skittish Italian man were some notes to take into consideration with the ghost.

“I did some-a investigating for you. The ghost’s name is-a Trevor Belmont. This ghost also seems to-a respond only to people who are alone-a. You should-a be able to use its name to anger it, and get some-a paranormal activity. Make sure to-a write down any evidence you find, okay?”

Robin sighed as he turned to the other three. “Are we ready to get going? We don’t have all evening.”

“Oh. Sorry Robin.” Shulk said, as he picked up a flashlight and one of the various other trinkets lying about. “Did you have a chance to peruse the whiteboard?”

“Indeed. Ghost seems to be named one ‘Trevor Belmont’, and responds better if we’re alone.”

“Alone?” Min Min whimpered. “In a giant school? Ghost is asking us to die at the doorstep!”

“Well, why don’t we just stick together then?” Pit suggested. “Won’t be as tempted then, right?”

“Nuh-uh! I will stay in the truck!”

“Come on, seriously?!”

Shulk scratched his head a little. “Well, that could work. Min Min can watch the monitors for us and let us know if something’s up, while the rest of us stay together inside.”

Robin rolled his eyes, as he picked up a blank journal and a blacklight. Pit had contented himself with the lighter once more, along with some smudging sticks, and Shulk had the EMF reader, which was already flickering between levels one and two at his side.

“Shulk, grab the camera,” Robin said as he picked up the key they were provided. “Just in case we catch something on there.”

Min Min tilted her head. “You certain? The school has…” She started flicking through the camera feeds provided. “Fifteen cameras?”

“They don’t cover all our bases.”

Pit huffed as he folded his arms. Robin was always really meticulous about setups. He pushed the button to open the back of the truck, as Shulk fiddled around with the camera to make sure it was on. Once he and Robin were situated, they caught up quickly before Pit reached the door.

“Remember boys. We were told Ghost may attack as soon as the door is open,” Min Min warned, her voice crackling through everyone’s portable radios.

All three nodded in acknowledgement, as Robin put the key into the lock and slowly opened the door. His flashlight was the first to barely illuminate the lobby. They slowly filed in, and started investigating any and all of the rooms on the bottom floor.

“You know,” Pit pondered aloud, “Why would a ghost even want to haunt a school. These places aren’t that great.”

Shulk glanced down as the EMF reader flickered to three briefly, before going down again. “Hard to say. Maybe something happened to it here?”

Robin stopped to open a door to a classroom. “Ghosts are also known to wander. Perhaps this one just found its way here.”

They continued to wander in silence for a while, scouring the bottom floor of the school to no avail. Every so often, the EMF reader would flicker just slightly higher, but not consistently enough to warrant as evidence. Robin constantly checked for any signs of movement, but found none, even as they wandered into the abandoned gymnasium.

“You know…” Pit mumbled, “Gym was always the worst class when I was in school. So much running…”

Shulk waved the EMF reader around for a moment before responding. “I never minded the running, or that rope climbing technique we learned, that was fun.”

“Can you two focus?” Robin chastised, as he turned to stare at both of them with his flashlight. “We’re looking for a ghost, not memories of school.”

Shulk opened his mouth to respond, but was stopped as a low growl echoed in his ear. He whipped around and pointed his flashlight in the direction the noise came from. Instead of a spirit, he ended up blinding Pit for a moment.

“Watch where you’re shining that!” He complained, rubbing his eyes. “I can barely see in here anyway to the point my eyes are watering.”

“Oh. Sorry.” Shulk mumbled. “Thought I heard something was all.”

“Wait,” Robin added, “Pit, do you not have a flashlight?”

“No? I have this thing though.” He responded, holding up a small radio.

“Oh for the love of…”

With a sigh of exasperation, Robin motioned for Pit to stick close to him. They continued their trek to the other side of the gymnasium, towards the front entrance once more. Shulk lagged behind briefly as he flicked the EMF reader, as it kept switching between readings of two to four, before he just turned it off in annoyance. He turned to start catching up with the other two before freezing in complete terror.

Through the faint beam produced by his flashlight, a hulking figure loomed between him and the others as they exited the room. Just barely was it visible between the puffs of frosted air that rose in front of Shulk, as he began to breath heavily. It was slowly making its way towards Shulk as he started backing away, his shoes squeaking against the floor. In its hand he could barely make out the form of a whip, resting loosely in its fingers.

“Shulk,” Min Min’s voice crackled, “Where are you? Pit and Robin have left.”

Involuntarily, Shulk screamed as he turned tailed and ran out the way he had come. His flashlight began to flicker incessantly as he sprinted down the hallway. Broken up syllables of the others echoed out of his radio as he attempted to find somewhere to hide, or escape. Behind him, as he briefly ran backwards, the figure was chasing after him, keeping pace all the same. Lights began to flicker throughout the building, disorienting him as his vision was like that of a flip book in slow motion. He sharply turned right as he neared the end of the hall, and nearly fell as his foot twisted awkwardly, sending a surge of pain through his ankle.

He reached the door at the end of the smaller hallway, and began pushing and tugging as hard as he could against it. It wouldn’t budge at all, as if it were locked. The banging of the metal against the old frame pounded in his ears, as he tried to figure out how to escape. That ghost was right behind him, and there was nowhere to go. His head turned either way rapidly before he caught sight of a door next to him. Quickly, he ran into the room and closed the door behind him. His radio continued to crackle with the other’s voices, but he shut it off just as he felt the air around him chill exceedingly quickly.

Shulk crouched down behind one of the lab tables, as he heard the door squeak open, and the lights flickered around him. Barely, from above the table he was behind, he could see the ghost nearing him. His hands flew to his mouth as he tried to keep himself quiet.

Soon enough, as sudden as it had all begun, the ghost dissipated, and the lights ceased their flickering. Shulk waited briefly to make sure the ghost wasn’t going to immediately return, before he went towards the door and barreled out into the backlot. He slammed the door shut behind him, and turned on his radio again as he attempted to catch his breath.

“Shulk, where the hell are you!?” Robin immediately said once the radio was brought back.

“Backlot… saw the ghost… it was angry,” Shulk breathed out slowly.

Pit chimed in as well. “You saw the ghost? Where was it? As soon as Robin and I walked out of the gym, the doors slammed shut and we couldn’t get out.”

Shulk took a moment to make sure he remembered how to breathe. “It was in the gym. Between me and you two. I only noticed it because of my flashlight, otherwise I would have probably died.”

“If I go in with Pit, do you think you can get out to the truck again?” Min Min asked.

“Probably. I think there’s a door on the side of the building that leads to the hallway I’m at.”

He was met with silence for a moment, before Pit confirmed he and Min Min would head in to retrieve him, that was once Robin had a moment to go over everything. It didn’t take long for the other two to get to him, and he was thankful they made a direct beeline back to the truck. A heavy sigh of relief washed over him, as he saw Robin scribbling down some notes.

“So, did you manage to get anything?” He asked calmly.

Shulk scratched at the back of his head. “I mean, uh… Other than being attacked as soon as you and Pit left?”

“Yeah, any sort of features, easy to see evidence, something to help us identify this thing and get out of here?”

“Well there was…”

“Repent demon!” Pit shouted as he lightly bonked Shulk on the head with a crucifix.

“Ow! What the hell!?”

He just laughed in response.

Shulk sighed, before he thought about his encounter. “I think I was starting to see my breath once the ghost appeared in front of me. Other than that, I couldn’t make much out of what it looked like,” He paused. “Just some tall, lumbering figure with a whip? Oh! And when I was trying to hide, I felt the temperature of the room drop really quickly.”

Robin nodded as he scribbled down in his journal. “So it was able to manipulate the ambient air around it. Interesting, that reduces our possibilities down to six. Out of twelve, mind you, but it’s a start.”

“Oh, does that mean we have to go back in?” Min Min shuddered. “What if Ghost tries to attack again? Shulk is quick, but the rest of us may not be so lucky.”

“Well… it did only get aggressive once Pit and Robin had left the room without me…” Shulk admitted. “If we stick together, we might be able to keep it docile.”

Pit gave a thumbs up to the idea, as Min Min begrudgingly agreed to go with them. They confirmed their equipment with each other, making sure Pit had a flashlight this time, and made their way back towards the school’s entrance. They huddled together and made their way to the upstairs section of the school, attempting to find anything of use. Min Min scoured the doors for signs of prints, and Shulk was waving the EMF reader all around him again. Much like before, the EMF levels constantly flickered, but were still low.

“Hey, if I call this ghost a bitch, do you think it’ll get angry again?” Pit asked as he flicked on the spirit box.

“Are you trying to get us killed?!” Min Min griped, swinging around to shine her flashlight into his face, “Ghost has proven to be quite agitated, do not make it worse!”

Shulk shook his head as he pressed on a little more, and found a door to one of the classrooms that was already swung open. He motioned for the other two to catch up, and they began investigating inside. Not much seemed out of the ordinary, at least for a decrepit, old schoolhouse, but it was worth taking a look.

“Look, fingerprints!” Min Min said, as she went over to a stray history book laying haphazardly on the teacher’s desk.

Shulk went over to her, and confirmed she was seeing a faint glow on the pages of the book, as well as the cover. It seemed the ghost had thrown it at some point. He picked up his radio to tell Robin of the discovery.

“Fingerprints, and cold temperatures?” He confirmed. “Based on the journal that leaves… oh.”

“Come on Robin, tell us so we can get out of this scary place!” Min Min cried.

“You’re either dealing with a Banshee or a Wraith. Neither of which I’d say are desirable outcomes.”

Shulk fumbled around in his pockets for a moment, and pulled out his own journal to go over the evidence. He gulped as he saw that the Wraith is able to float through the walls, and was known to be exceedingly dangerous. The Banshee was also concerning, as it would relentlessly hunt its target until it was dead.

“Are we done getting scared by words on a paper?” Pit asked, impatiently. “I’m ready to text something real fast here.”

“And what is that?” Min Min questioned.

“Well, if you two get outside this room, I’m going to see if our ghost will talk to us,” He answered, waving the spirit box at the other two.

Shulk looked concerned at the prospect, as leaving someone alone was almost a guarantee to get attacked in this environment. Yet, he and Min Min put up no fight, as they backed out of the room to let Pit do his thing.

They watched from outside the door frame, as Pit flicked on the little radio and watched it for a moment.

“Alright, Trevor Belmont ,” He started, causing Shulk and Min Min’s blood to freeze instantaneously in their veins. “Are you nearby, or faraway like a scared little bitch?”

“Pit for the love of, what did you do!?” Robin called out on the radio. “Activity levels went from one to ten instantly!”

He turned around to look at the other two with a confident smirk as he went to reply to Robin, but stopped dead in his tracks.

In front of them both, the lumbering figure of Trevor manifested, and the lights flickered briefly. The ringing of an EMF reader reaching max level pierced through the darkness. His clothes were torn, and crusted with blood that was centuries old. His face decayed, and what remained of his flesh was sullen and dried. Both of the ones outside the door shrieked as they took off in different directions. In a second, the lights flickered again, and he had taken off, chasing after Shulk with the ferocity of a starved beast.

Pit joined the chase as he threw the spirit box away to pick up the stray smudge sticks Min Min had dropped. He had thankfully held onto the lighter, and flicked it to life. He heard Shulk scream in terror as a echoing thud resounded down the otherwise empty hallway. It seemed that he had tripped. Pit had to act fast as he lit the smudge sticks, and threw them as hard as he could. The deafening pound of his own blood in his ears was almost enough to drown out the wail, as the cleansing smoke reached the ghost.

Shulk was huddled at the far end of the hallway with his hands at his throat as the ghost dissipated. He looked as if he struggled to breathe for a moment, before choking out a cough as Pit reached him. They exchanged no words, rather they dipped into the classroom nearby and hoped that Trevor would not find them.

The wait was quiet and tense, but eventually the lights ceased their flickering, and the two boys could muster the energy to breathe once again. Their radios flared to life again as Robin screamed at them, mostly Pit, for getting themselves into such trouble.

“We’re on our way back to the truck,” Shulk whispered out, stopping briefly to cough. “I think we have the rest of our evidence.”

“I will meet you at the stairs!” Min Min cried. “I am in the science lab, please do not leave me behind!”

Pit and Shulk nodded briefly as they collected themselves, and made their way back towards the stairs. Min Min caught up quickly, and as a group they made their way back to the truck.

Robin was relieved no one had died, but still felt the need to smack Pit for agitating the ghost to the degree he did.

“So, what’s the evidence?” Robin asked, pulling up his journal.

Shulk rubbed at his neck for a moment before speaking, “After Pit angered the ghost, the EMF reader bounced up to five immediately.”

“And I found fingerprints on an old history book!” Min Min added.

Robin nodded. “I remember the fingerprints, so we just add the EMF and… that was a Banshee.”

Shulk shuddered. “The journal said Banshees only targeted one person. What did I do?”

Pit opened his mouth to crack a joke, but the evil eye he got out of Robin shut him up. They all agreed to mark this down so they could get out of the backwater area they were in, and back into town. Robin signaled for his sister to start up the truck, and they took off.

The ride was quiet the entire way back, but it was probably for the best. Shulk had to contemplate his near death experience, and Pit reconsidered his life choices that made him call a ghost a bitch.

Not that they’d willingly go ghost hunting again. As it was, Shulk’s breathing never did return to normal…