“I’m sorry, but what the hell are you talking about?” As a doctor, Corey was used to people babbling nonsense, but this was going too far. “Justin and Shane asked you all what was going on and you harped on them about how ignorant men are. Now I’m asking: what the fuck is going on in this building? I’ve seen a dead woman, birds from hell and stuff that defies explanation. You seem to know the most.” He said, indicating Jo. “So you tell me.”
“I don’t see how that’s possible though.” Petunia said. “I mean, you don’t even live here Jo, how can you know what’s going on and I don’t?”
“I’d say it’s all that meditation.” Justin said.
Petunia huffed. “Meditation is very healthy for you.”
“Yeah, but it’s not healthy when you do it in the yard out back topless.” Justin replied. “There’s a limit.”
“Focus, people.” Corey had training with keeping the impatience out of his voice. “All I know is that I came here to help Moira and I end up trapped in this hell hole.”
“Hey!” Petunia said. “We live here!”
“Sorry, no disrespect meant. Now will you please tell us what’s going on? Because Petunia said that the men were clueless, but we are too. It’s not like we have a physic around.”
“We do.” Joanne said. “LaWanda is in danger but because of the game, she is beyond our reach. I will try to find her in the ether.”
“How do you know that?” Corey asked.
“I just do. I can see her in my head.”
“Maybe you’re the physic.” Corey asked his next question softly. “Can you see anything else?”
“Some. I feel more.”
“You’re scaring me Jo.” Petunia said. “Where did this come from?”
“Probably when she touched the black fire out there.” Shane said. “Her hand glows with it but doesn’t burn. Could it be a link to whomever is doing this?”
“It is a link to him. It’s a link to him.” Jo said and then her eyes turned inside her head so that only the whites showed.
“What’s happening to her?” Petunia screamed. “Oh god, Jo!”
“Move out the way, I’m a doctor.” Corey said.
Corey kneeled in front of Jo and tried to get her in a sitting position, but as he moved her, Jo’s eyes snapped back into place. They were not the same blue as before.
“What’s wrong with her eyes?” Shane asked.
“They’re black. That’s what. They’re black as tar.” Justin said.
“Oh, I’m sorry for frightening all of you, and for talking to you in this way.” Jo said, but it wasn’t Jo’s voice. The voice belonged to another woman. “But this seemed the quickest way to speak to you as this woman has been touched by Oliver’s blackness.”
“What the fuck?” Corey said. His medical training hadn’t prepared him for this. He could just stare open mouthed.
“Who’s blackness?” Justin asked. “Who’s doing this? Jo was talking about us being players on a chess board. We’re cut off from everyone else and have no idea what’s going on.”
“The others are more aware, they are helped by the physic in their midst. This woman who’s mouth I speak out of has a touch too. She will be your aid to find the others.”
“But they’re just downstairs!” Petunia said. “It should be easy to find them.”
“Oliver will change the building to his will. You won’t recognize it once he is through with it.”
“Oliver? So that’s the fuckwad’s name?” Shane asked. “Why is he doing this? Why us?”
“He does not need a reason. He kills because he can, but he is different now and has more power than he used to.” She closed her eyes and a tear slid out of the left one. It was black like liquid smoke. “I don’t know how he got so powerful, but I suspect it has to do with the deaths of my mother, brother and me.”
“Then how are you here?” Corey asked, finding his voice. “How can you be talking to us if you’re dead?”
“He brought me back. My father brought me back. I don’t know for what purpose, but I’ll help when I can. You should know though that once Oliver is invited in, he doesn’t need a reason to kill. It is what sustains him.”
Jo’s black eyes flicked to the left and back again, a panicked look making them large and haunted. “I must go! I will return when I can.”
“Wait, what do we call you?” Corey asked her.
“Lenore.” Then she was gone.
Jo slumped to the floor and Corey checked her pulse. “She’s asleep. We should let her rest.”
“What the fuck was that, doc?” Petunia asked. “Who was that speaking out of my Jo’s mouth?”
“I don’t know. But I can find out. Do you have internet hook up here?”
“Yes, my study is over there.”
“Good. We’ll need to know everything we can. There’s no time like the present.”
“But she was possessed! We have to cleanse her!” Petunia shrieked.
Corey gave her a small smile. “You have a supernatural killer on the lose who has brought his daughter back from the afterlife and he’s intent on killing all of you; and you’re worried about a little possession?” He chuckled. “Honestly, I think that’s the least of your worries. See, Jo’s coming around now.”
Jo looked up at all of them. “Sorry, I must have dozed off. What did I miss?”