Just a short story I came up with to keep you going till I update the others…
The road seemed to stretch on forever. Gil Grissom had left the previous town about an hour before, but he had yet to see the next one. Granted, he didn't know the area or even the country he was in and even though the GPS system in the rented SUV didn't work, it wasn't rocket science to follow the road. The only turn-offs he could see were into farms, which wasn't surprising considering this was farm country. This part of South Africa reminded him a little of Montana.
Grissom heaved a sigh as he thought back to the reason he was driving on a road where there was no traffic whatsoever. Not even an animal could be seen around. The town he had just left, a quiet little town with the name Bethulie, had supposedly a few ghosts in residence. He had met a guy who had told him about an unbelievable experience at night in the cemetery. Grissom thought it would be fun to check it out, but it turned out that it was just a hoax. At least it was full moon, and even that gave an eerie look to the fields as he drove on. Suddenly, he saw something out of the corner of his eye, but when he glanced to the side, there was nothing. Apparently he was imagining things as well. In the silence, he remembered what his friend told him about the Anglo-Boer War (or the South African War as it was now called). He recalled that the majority of the war played out around these parts and a small shiver ran down his spine. Involuntarily he glanced again at the fields as they flew by, the moon casting odd shadows among the quiet plains.
Suddenly, the car veered dangerously as first the front then the back hit the same pothole. The front tire burst, but Grissom only had a short time to acknowledge the sound as he struggled to keep the car on the road.
After what felt like hours, he guided the car to the side of the road. He sat behind the wheel after the car had come to a stop and tried to remember how to breathe again. Grissom fumbled with his jacket and took out his wallet. He just needed to see his family, even if it was in a photo. Seeing Sara and the kids seemed to calm his rapidly beating heart down enough to climb out of the car to assess the damage. On shaky legs, Grissom walked around the car and almost screamed out loud when he saw the busted front wheel. Taking out his phone, he saw that there wasn't a signal either.
"Great!" Grissom thought. "This is just fucking great!"
Outside, the silence was almost overpowering. Glancing around the deserted fields, he didn't see a light anywhere. There was nothing but the open fields and weird, eerie shadows cast by the trees and the moon. He decided to lock the car and walk in the same direction he was travelling in.
After walking for a while, Grissom saw a black shape in front of him. Walking a little faster he saw it was a sign board, silently proclaiming in the moonlight that Smithfield was 30 kilometres away. Grissom sighed and started walking again. He glanced over his shoulder every once in a while, but couldn't shake the feeling that someone was following him. However, every time he looked over his shoulder, he couldn't see anything. So he just kept on walking, his scientific mind telling him that his imagination was working overtime. It wasn't very far from the sign that he spotted a small moving light in the distance. After a moment's hesitation, he struggled to get through the fence, ripping his clothes in the process and started in the direction of the light he could still see in the distance.
Grissom stopped and watched the light for a little while; it seemed to move farther away. A cold feeling settled in his stomach as he picked up speed and ran in the direction of the light. What the moonlight didn't show was the hole in the ground. Grissom's foot found it, however. He felt his ankle twist as his body made contact with the earth. Hard. With the wind knocked out of him and with the taste of earth in his mouth, Grissom just laid there, not moving except for his harsh breathing as he tried to get his breath back.
A few minutes passed before he stood up. Or tried to. He got up right, but the minute he put weight on his right ankle, he felt pain shooting up his leg. Grissom quickly sat down again and took his phone out of his pocket. 'Apparently, landing on your phone is not a good thing,' he thought as he took in the broken screen in the pale moonlight. Suddenly he remembered the light and looked up only to notice the light was now gone.
"Dammit!" he yelled, his voice echoing in the darkness around him.
All of a sudden a cold wind picked up and the sounds of horses' hooves filled the night air. Grissom felt a small feeling of hope spring into his chest, but was quickly crushed when he tried to find the horses. There was nothing. He could still hear them, but there wasn't any sign of horses. No lights indicating riders trying to see in the dark or dust clouds in the distance. Just nothing.
Grissom's instinct to run took over and he started running, as fast as his twisted ankle would allow, in the direction he thought the road was in, but he couldn't be sure.
The wind was picking up and more ominous sounds joined those of the horses' hooves. He could hear people talking and shouting. He could hear gunfire and other sounds associated with loading guns. The only problem was that, as far as he could see, there was no one. Not even an animal. Shivers ran up and down his back as even the hair on his neck raised. Grissom fell again as his foot gave in underneath him. He was lying on his stomach and could feel the air around him move. It felt like he was going to suffocate. He tried to move, but felt as if he was pinned down on the ground. Grissom lost track of time as he lay on the hard ground, fear keeping him immobilized. His scientific mind tried to find a reason, a logical explanation for what was happening, but nothing could explain the ghastly sounds and ghostly figures that were now running around him. He couldn't see any faces, just boots. Boots that did not belong in the 21st century.
A loud clap sounded. Like thunder in a cloudless sky and the sounds disappeared.
No horses' hooves.
No ghostly boots running from invisible bullets.
No ghastly screams.
No smoky smells of gunpowder.
Grissom pushed himself off of the ground and looked around. There was no evidence that anything had just happened. The biggest difference was that there were now other sounds. Sounds associated with night. Grissom could hear the field cricket or rather Gryllus bimacalatus chirping away, it sounded happy that whatever just happened was over. It was almost as if the fields, mountains and trees were expecting something horrible. Grissom stood for only a second and started hopping very fast towards where he hoped he left the car. The whole area was giving him goose bumps and he was scared as hell.
A few minutes after he started hopping, he heard something in the bushes and an unholy sound filled the night sky. A howling that produced the same fear in him as squaring off with a murderer or rapist. Grissom tried to remain calm and remind himself that there were no lions roaming these parts. No Cheetahs or leopards or hyenas. His mind however was quick to remind him that there were in fact Jackals, which have also been known to attack humans if they were hungry enough. The howling stopped him cold as it pierced through the air again. Grissom took off running, ignoring the stabbing pain in his ankle that had spread through part of his leg. He knew he could never outrun a Jackal, but he could sure as hell try.
Not ten steps later, he tripped over a rock and slammed down for the third time that night. He hit his head against a rock and, just before his consciousness faded to join the dark night, he thought that Jim Brass would never believe him.
It was voices that woke him up an undetermined amount of time later. Grissom could feel himself being lifted onto something and the bumpy ride that followed. He must have passed out again somewhere along the line, because the next time he woke up he found himself looking at a very white ceiling. His head felt like Tiger Woods was taking practise swings in his skull and his stomach was playing ring around the rosies. He slowly turned his head to the side to see his long-time friend sitting in an uncomfortable looking chair next to his bed.
"Alex?" Grissom tried, but his voice was very hoarse.
"Alex!" Grissom said again and this time his friend jerked awake.
"Ah, Sleeping Beauty awoke," Alex smiled as he moved closer to the bed and offered him a small cup with water.
"What happened?" Grissom asked, feeling very confused.
"A farmer found you passed out in one of his fields early this morning. You hit your head pretty hard and for your trouble you won a concussion. You've got a cracked rib, a broken ankle and more cuts and bruises that I can mention," Alex said.
"Wow," Was all that Grissom could say. He didn't feel this bad last night.
"Want to tell me what happened?" Alex asked.
"Uhm, I can't remember," Grissom said, not looking at his friend.
"Can't remember or wont?"
"More like can't understand,"
"So, you mean to tell me that something happened that the stick-in-the-mud scientist Gill Grissom can't figure out?" Alex laughed.
"Yeah," Grissom answered and yawned.
"Sleep, my friend. I'll haunt you about it later,"
"Oh, please don't say haunt," Grissom slurred and he could have sworn he heard Alex laugh.
Okay, I am not planning on going on with this story, but if I get enough feedback I might consider adding another chapter or two. Anyway, the idea for this story came when I went to visit family in the Free State and we got to telling ghost stories when the lights went out. The things that Grissom experiences are things that I myself or one of my family experienced. If ghost stories are not your thing, then see it as just a nice little piece of fiction.
Thanks go to my beta, C. Nicole who as always are a saint for putting up with me and my crazy times.
Now that classes are over as well as exams and my marks are done, I will be able to update slightly faster. Be on the lookout for The Exhibitioner chapter next as well Because I love You shortly after that.
Let me know what you think,
Till next time,