They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
The lab tests and X-rays came back negative and I was released from the hospital within an hour. The doctor was dismayed that I nixed his suggestion of an overnight stay for observations, but signed the release forms nonetheless.
To Michelle at my side on the elevator ride to the main floor I said, "I think you'll agree that we will be keeping certain ... ah ... delicate facts to ourselves."
"Michael, that goes without saying," she responded. "I don't think I can ever tell anyone that I was ... raped by a ghost."
I nodded, "It's bad enough that Brock O'Day saw that video at the nursing home. He doesn't need to know that we've been in ... contact with them."
Ten minutes later we were seated at an outdoor table of a nearby cafe. Sipping her latte and watching the passersby, I could tell that her mind was occupied with her recent ordeal. It seemed that she was reluctant to allow her eyes to meet mine.
I placed my hand on hers and offered, "Michelle, you know it's possible, as real as it seemed, that none of it really happened, that they were somehow messing with our minds."
Facing me she countered, "You're not actually convinced of that, are you?"
"I wasn't at first," I said with a shrug, "but the more I've thought about it ..."
"Michael," she said cutting short my words, "consider what happened to me. One moment I was sitting on a bench at Northeastern and then the next thing I knew I was in a darkened room ... naked and strapped to a bed. Then you ... I mean Ben ... was mounting me ... taking me." She shuddered and rested her arms on the table, "... And then I was sitting in my car in the garage beneath our office building."
I nodded in reaction to her reasoning, "So, somehow you were rendered unconscious which allowed someone to take you to that room. Then afterward you were placed in your car. Of course, you don't remember driving your car into the garage."
"Don't patronize me," she said turning away to face the street.
"That's not my intention, darling," I said. "Your assessment appears to be all too logical."
She glanced over her shoulder, "The same thing happened to you ... And yet, you sound unconvinced."
I rested my chin on my fist and asked, "Tell me, did you notice or experience any pain or discomfort in your neck?"
She reached up and rubbed her neck, "Why, yes. I felt an itchy numbness here. I forgot all about it."
"Butterfly Nectar," I mumbled.
A quizzical look on her face, she muttered, "Butterfly Nectar? I'm not liking the sound of this."
"After I crashed, an Army colonel told a sergeant to fetch the stuff. He then drew some of the blue liquid into a syringe and injected it into my neck. The next thing I knew I was naked and strapped in a chair." I took in deep gulp of air and slowly exhaled. "I was watching you ... not you ... Susan."
Having experienced a similar event she grimaced, "Then you found yourself back in your car. They must have removed you from the car and then took you to that room. When they were finished ... they brought you back to the car."
I shook my head and waved my hands in front of her. "No."
"No?" she said. "But it explains what must have happened to both of us."
"I guess Brock didn't tell you that they had to use the jaws-of-life to get me out of the car." I remained quiet for a moment as her jaw dropped in surprise. "I know it all seemed real to you, and it felt real for me also. Let us assume for the time being that we were both injected with some kind of hallucinogen and possibly given post-hypnotic commands."
Though a skeptical frown was apparent she nodded and said, "Okay, but where does that leave us?"
"We are left with one common denominator," I responded. "He was at the Globe to meet with Stu Jankowski. He wanted you to meet him at the university. Then he was waiting at my car in the garage. He was in the car with me when the accident took place." I shrugged and added, "Then he disappeared."
"Professor Jordan!" Michelle exclaimed. "How does he figure into all of this?"
There was a sudden screech of braking tires to our left. The door of the police cruiser flung open and out stepped Sgt. Brock O'Day.
"Michael, I'm glad to see that you are okay," he quipped giving a terse nod in Michelle's direction. "You'll excuse me if I skip any further amenities, but we really need to talk. All hell is breaking loose."
"Have a seat, Brock," I said motioning to one of the chairs. "I'll get you a cup of coffee. Black, right?"
Returning from inside the cafe I sat the cup down in front of him and said, "Something tells me you are not the bearer of good news."
He took a long sip of the steaming liquid and shook his head. "Let's see," he began, "I have some bad news, some worse news and some worst of all news. Which would you like to hear first?"
Michelle said, "Since none of it is good, why don't you start at the top with the bad."
He cleared his throat, "Here goes ... You were right, Michael, the deceased nurse at the nursing home sure enough had one of those butterfly tattoos and I don't have to tell you where. The cause of death was not a blow to the back of her head ...at least not externally."
I sat up straight and leaned forward, "What do you mean not externally?"
He shifted in his seat and lowered his voice, "There was a massive hemorrhage at the base of her skull. The coroner said that the damage was so extensive that if he didn't know better, he would have thought that it was caused by an explosion!"
"My God!" Michelle cried. "There were sketchy pieces of evidence that General Gates was overseeing the development of a nano-explosive that could be detonated by a remote radio signal."
I shook my head in despair, "Okay, the tattoo was the bad news and the cause of the nurse's death was the worse news. Dare I ask what the worst of all is?"
He removed two pieces of laminated paper from his breast pocket. He held them aloft and said, "These were found lying on the grave markers of both Ben Bering and Susan Parsons." He tossed them onto the table before us.
"Blue butterflies," I muttered without looking at them. "Professor Jordan showed me an identical one." I breathed a heavy sigh, "The threat is out there ... where butterflies dare."
Michelle spoke with concern, "That isn't all, is it, Sergeant?"
He shook his head and took another long drink of coffee. His tired bloodshot eyes moved from her to me before he answered. "Ben's and Susan's graves have been disturbed. From the fresh earth, I'd say the graves had been recently opened and covered back up ..."
Of Mind and Body )