Zoinks! by Dale Culp

A WebFiction Published Thrice Weekly

The enthralling, true tale of a trans girl just trying to get by and make the most of her life.

Also, she hunts ghosts and occasionally solves mysteries.

New to Zoinks!? Start at the beginning.

Chapter 4 - Act 1 - "Could it be that easy?"

I won't lie -- I'm pretty shaken up by my encounter with that skull... ghost... thing. I was pretty damn skeptical before, but now I'm convinced; I'm a believer. Or, at least, I can't think of any rational explanation for what just happened to me. Did I really just have a supernatural experience? I'm not sure about anything, at this point...

After a short break and another one of Philip's "pep talks," I decide to stick it out and continue the investigation. Mostly, it's just because I won't get paid if I don't. Philip said he'd understand if I wanted to call it quits, but I can't back down, now.

After some discussion, Howard agrees to retrieve the camera from the room where the skull ghost attacked me. I refuse to ever go back in there. It's also decided that I'll go upstairs with Philip to try and locate Harlan. As crazy as it seems, I feel like Philip is the more reliable of the two Bumpus Bros, so I'd rather stay close to him. Well, not too close; he still hasn't discovered soap or deodorant, but he has a weapon he promises is even more effective than the EMP.

"So, this iodine, submarine... quacking wave... gun. What does it do, exactly?" I ask.

"Ionized, sub-atomic, quantum wave rifle," Philip corrects me.

"Yeah, that thing."

"Basically, it disrupts the molecular cohesion of psycho-kinetically bonded spectral mass."

"Uh, so like, it... huh?"

"Remember earlier, I said that ghosts are made-up of psycho-kinetic energy? Well that's not wholly accurate. When existing as P.K.E. alone, ghosts have no mass, so they use their P.K.E. to bundle up spectral mass and form a physical manifestation. This allows them to be seen, interact and manipulate their environment."

"So, more or less, this gun... It scatters ghost particles, and they can't maintain their form?"

Philip smiles, "You're catching on! Without molecular cohesion, they can't harm us. However, that doesn't quite get rid of them, altogether."

"Because of the Law of Conservation of Energy, right?"

"Check out the big brain on Lucy!"

"Energy can't be created or destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to another."

"Exactly. The beam simultaneously scatters spectral mass while converting psycho-kinetic energy into harmless background radiation -- which we perceive as heat and light. And that's it. No more ghost."

"Interesting. So, does it actually work?"

"Well, in theory..."

I roll my eyes. "Of course... You know, with all that technobabble, for a minute there, I thought you might actually know what you were talking about."

"Hey, isn't it enough that I built the thing? I just haven't had a chance to test it out."

"So, what if it doesn't work?"

"Well, we might have to solve the ghost's unfinished business."

"And how do we do that?"

"Right at the moment, I have no idea. When the apparition took on a physical manifestation, did it say anything? Maybe made some kind of demand?"

I mull it over for a moment, noting how utterly ridiculous it is that I'm walking around in an abandoned house, questioning the motivations of a ghost. This whole thing is so bizarre. And then I remember something.

"It just kept saying, 'FIND THE KEY.'"

Philip stares at me. "Find the key? That's all it said?" He pauses for a moment, pondering. "Aw, hell, who knows with these things? Ghosts say all kinds of junk. It could mean literally anything!"

"Yeah, sure. There's that. Or, it could mean... oh, I dunno... we have to FIND A KEY?"

Notes:

  • Yay, more technobabble! I'm totally just making this shit up as I go along!