So here's the crazy bit. Everything up to this point has been inspired by a true story. The plush toy, the shadow figure, everything. I will get more into this at the end of the next (and last) chapter, but as of right now, everything moving forward isn't based on a real event (well, some of the ghost information is, but that's beside the point). Curious about what this story is? Well, give this story a follow and find out next week! (Seriously, It's traumatizing)
Pacifica silently slid the window shut behind them. Her parents were out tonight, but she didn't want to take any chances. Her house was closer than the Mystery Shack, and given what they had seen they didn't want to walk longer than they had to.
Dipper examined the room that they snuck in. Even though the Northwests lost a majority of their money during Weirdmageddon, they made enough from selling the mansion to buy a nice sized house on the outskirts of the town with a small pasture and pen for Pacifica's remaining pony and one of Preston's polo horses. As such, the house was very nice and filled with what riches the family managed to hold onto. The room that they were in seemed to be some sort of sitting room or parlor. A swanky, glittering chandelier hung from the ceiling. A large velvet sofa shared the floor with a red love seat, an old, solid oak rocking chair, and a grand leather chair that radiated as the power seat. Must've been Preston's. The floor was carpeted (though, it wasn't as nice as the white carpet in the mansion) and the walls were covered with an ornate wallpaper. Several mirrors hung around the walls, as well as a few shelves. A family portrait hung above the fireplace on the far wall, though this one was significantly smaller than the one that the lumberjack ghost almost burned. Though Pacifica probably thought of it as a downgrade, Dipper could get used to living like this. It was also more homey than the mansion. That fact only slightly took the edge off his anxiety, but not by much.
As Dipper stood, admiring his surroundings, he heard Jorge mutter something about changing his "soiled suit." Dipper didn't really know how far "soiled" meant, so he didn't ask. The man went to an adjacent hallway, carefully peeking around it and reaching for a lightswitch before he fully walked in, leaving Dipper and Pacifica alone.
"Nice place you got here," Dipper said, turning to Pacifica. "I actually like this better tha-"
"What the hell was that?" Pacifica snapped.
Dipper blinked, taken aback. "What was what?" Pacifica's face was red and contorted with anger, and tears were forming in the corners of her eyes.
"That- that THING! That weird dark shadow thing! That wasn't there before, and then suddenly the door is being banged down, the place is torn apart, and that-that THING was there! RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! I-I-I."
She was clearly freaking out, probably even having a panic attack. She seemed relatively unaffected when they left Jorge's residence besides being shaken up like the rest of them, but all that emotion just burst. So, Dipper put a hand on her shoulder, steadying her, and looked into her eyes. Then, without thinking, he hugged her. He didn't think much about it at the time. It just felt like the right thing to do. It was natural.
Pacifica seemed to calm at his embrace, before gently wrapping her arms around him. Her shaky breaths started to slow and he could feel her heartbeat decelerate. After a few more seconds, Dipper patted her back and pulled away, still keeping his hands on her shoulders.
"Better?" he asked.
She took a deep breath. "Better," she replied.
Dipper nodded. "Good." He then led her to the couch and they both sat down. They sat in silence for a while as Dipper stared at his hands. Eventually, he began the conversation again.
"Look, Pacifica, I'm sorry."
"For dragging you with us. For not knowing what I was getting into. For being a bad ghost hunter."
Pacifica turned to him, and they made eye contact. "Look, Dipper. Don't talk that way. I'm the one who put you up to this. If it wasn't for me, then you wouldn't be here."
Dipper looked at her quizzically. "What, did you sick the ghost on him?"
"No- no it's not that. I didn't cause the ghost," she said with a sigh.
"Then, what is it?" Dipper scooted closer to her in anticipation of the answer.
Pacifica's face seemed hesitant. She obviously didn't want to confess anything, but she was cornered now. "It's just that, I shouldn't care!" She blurted out.
"Shouldn't?" Dipper asked, perplexed.
"Yeah. Shouldn't. My whole life, our servants were just that: servants. They were there for one purpose, to serve us. My parents told me to not give them a second glance, and that if one messed up, to just get another one. But, though I can't admit it, I've come to care for some of them, Jorge in particular. He's always looked out for me and covered for me if I did something stupid." She looked at her hands as she said this, her voice weak. "And when all this started, I couldn't just ignore it and 'get a new one.' I had to do something. If I had just listened to my parents, we wouldn't be in this situation."
Dipper put his hand on her opposite shoulder. "Hey, I'm happy to be here if it means helping you." She looked up at him and smiled. "Besides, your parents' rule is dumb. This just shows that you're willing to care about other people. You're growing into your own person, and nothing about that is bad. You are doing what you feel in your heart is right."
Pacifica took a deep breath. "Thank you, Dipper. I needed that."
"You're welcome," he said, scooting away. They were suddenly so close to each other. It was after that moment that Jorge walked in wearing a clean suit.
"I suppose that I should tell you both what that was, then," Dipper said. He motioned for Jorge to sit in one of the other chairs, and the chauffeur obliged. "That was what is commonly called a shadow person."
"Fitting," Jorge said.
Dipper took a blue journal from his vest and opened it. He turned to a page and flipped the book, displaying the sketched image of a blackened silhouette. "A shadow person is a perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure. These are often seen in the peripherals of someone's vision. Because of this, many skeptics believe that shadow people are just hallucinations or tricks of the mind in an already creepy environment. Most of the time, this is the case, but not all the time.
"There are some off-the-wall theories about shadow people. Some believe that they are extra-dimensional beings. Others believe that they are reflections of souls lost in the underworld. But me and Ford have developed a different theory.
"The ten category scale that we used to use for ghosts is not accurate. Your ghost under the old system would only be a category two, but it is much, much worse than that. Shadow people are like parasites. They feed off of their hosts. This is similar to my earlier theory, but as opposed to a spirit attaching itself to you just to preserve itself, it has attached itself to you to make itself stronger. Why? I don't know, but by nature, the spirit is intelligent and benevolent. It will continue to feed off of your energy until there is nothing left, then it will move on. During this process, you will experience many things. A drain of your drive, many mood changes, perhaps even a split personality disorder. In the end, the victim would most likely commit suicide, and the spirit finds its next target."
Jorge and Pacifica were stunned into silence, both wide-eyed and full of fear. "Have you experienced any of those symptoms?" Dipper asked.
"W-well," Jorge began. "My wife has told me that I've been acting differently. A-and I haven't golfed in years, which I used to do a lot."
Dipper nodded. "Then the sooner we get rid of this thing, the better." He stood up. "That's all we can do tonight. I need to compile more information from Ford's notes and make a plan. In the meantime, I suggest that the two of you get some rest and that Jorge and his family not return to the house until we get rid of the spirit. Do you have lodging?"
Jorge nodded. "Pacifica offered a hotel room for us in the hotel on Edwards Road."
Dipper gave a soft, knowing smile to Pacifica. "Good," he said. "Now, get some sleep. I will do the same and will contact you in the next day or two. In the meantime, I suggest collecting items that you have a strong connection to. Family photos, religious iconography, anything."
Jorge nodded a confirmation. "I will." He then made eye contact with the teen. "And thank you, Mr. Dipper."
Dipper motioned to head out, but then stopped suddenly. "Uh, hey Pacifica, should I leave through the window again, or…"
She rolled her eyes. "There's no one else here. I'll walk you to the door."
As they meandered through the hallway, Dipper could feel the tension and conflict going through Pacifica. "You know," he said. "Jorge is going to need all the support that he can get. You'll need to be there for him, and only after that will he be safe."
"I know," Pacifica said, though she didn't really sound that convincing. "I just… need some time to process all of this." They approached the door, and Pacifica opened it.
Dipper turned to her. "I understand," he said. "And I believe that you'll do the right thing."
Pacifica smiled at him and opened the door. "You're getting too sappy. Stop it, you dork."
Dipper smirked. "Of course, M'lady." He gave a mocking bow, turned around, and left. Pacifica closed the door behind him. The then put her back to the door and slowly allowed herself to slide down into a sitting position. There, she sat in silence.