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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 20


DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.


A dumbstruck Laurel looked back and forth between the spot on the wall where Friday disappeared and Garrison, her hands gesturing aimlessly.

"She went through the gate," Garrison said with a resigned shrug. "We can't see it. Evidently, Friday can."

Laurel shook her head and found her voice. "There's no way. The chick just disappeared into thin air. She did not go through some gate."

Garrison waited patiently for Laurel to accept what she'd just seen. Laurel started walking to the spot where Friday vanished. Garrison trailed behind her and remained quiet. Laurel reached the bricked over section of the wall. She reached out and touched it.

"It's cold. Even the air right here feels cold. Did you notice the cold before?"

Garrison shook his head. "I never got over here this soon after Friday passed through."

Laurel felt the wall again. "The bricks are warmer now." She touched the older part of the wall. "Almost as warm as the rest. Why were they cold? How did Friday go through a solid brick wall?"

Laurel began searching the ground in front of the wall.

"What are you looking for?" Garrison asked.

"A trapdoor or something," Laurel informed him. "Maybe she knows about a secret entrance underground."

Garrison put his hand on Laurel's arm. "There's no underground passage. Dig down three feet anywhere around here, and you're going to hit water."

Laurel's befuddlement

An exasperated Laurel pulled away from Garrison and said, while still looking at the ground, "If there's no gate and no underground passage then - "

Garrison waited for Laurel to reach the same conclusion he had.

" - then, no, she can't be," Laurel insisted. "There's no such thing."

She turned a pleading look on Garrison. "Ghosts aren't real, right. We didn't just have an argument with a ghost, did we?"

Garrison grasped Laurel's hands in his. "I don't want to believe it either, but until we find a better explanation, I'm going with the ghost theory."

Laurel moved into Garrison's arms and pressed her head against his chest. "Shouldn't we call somebody?"

Garrison wrapped his arms around her. "I'm meeting with Officer Langstrom tomorrow after I get done with my classes. I need to let him know what happened today. Hopefully, I'll hear from my father soon, too. He has a lot of questions to answer."

Laurel tightened her arms around Garrison and then released him.

"Calvin and Mariah are waiting for us at Fort Fisher," she reminded Garrison. "We should get going."

Garrison and Laurel were about to back out of the garage in the Miata when Garrison's phone buzzed.

[Calvin] Hey, G, if you're on your way, might as well turn back. Storming here big time. Me and M are heading your way. See you at your house?

Garrison shifted the Miata into neutral and set the parking brake.

[Garrison] Sure thing. We'll be here when you get here.

Garrison shifted the Miata into first gear and released the parking brake before moving the car back into the garage.

"Aren't we doing to meet Calvin and Maria?" a puzzled Laurel asked.

Garrison showed her the message from Calvin. "They are going to meet us here instead."

"Will you tell them about Friday?" Laurel asked. Her tone made it clear she believed telling their friends would be a bad idea.

"No, I don't think so," Garrison replied. He hit the garage door switch on the window visor, and the door rolled down into place behind him. "There's no reason to freak them out. I think the two of us are freaked out enough for the four of us."

Where do ghosts hang out?

Laurel rubbed her face with both hands. "What if Friday shows up again? What if she comes inside the house?"

"Every time I've seen her," Garrison related as he got out of the car and went around to open Laurel's door, "she's been in the pool, or she swam down to the same spot at the deep end to climb out. Her sundress is always in the same place on the same table. And, she always follows the same path from the table to the wall where she vanishes."

Laurel chuckled. "So, you're saying our ghost is compulsive."

"Maybe," Garrison agreed. "I also think she can't go anywhere but from the pool to the table to the wall. If we accept the premise of Friday being a ghost, we can also theorize that she couldn't leave the pool except to leave the yard and go wherever it is ghosts go to hang out."

He opened the door into the house. Laurel went in and led the way to the kitchen.

Laurel rolled her eyes and asked, "Where do you suppose ghosts go to hang out?"

"Maybe she goes up to the park at the north end of the island," Garrison suggested.

Laurel turned her head and gave Garrison a sideways look. "Why would she go up there?"

"You haven't heard about the haunted picnic area up in the park?" Garrison asked. "I thought everyone knew about it."

"Are you making this up, Garrison? Whoever heard of a haunted picnic area?"

Garrison drew an X on his chest with his finger. "I promise you; I am not making this up. Back about twenty years ago, this guy from the island - his dad owned the Trident back then - planned a picnic dinner for his girlfriend up at the park. She wasn't from the island. According to the story, he proposed, she accepted, and then his mother shot them both dead before killing herself. Local legend says the kids' spirits still haunt the park."

Laurel shivered. "I know there are lots of ghost stories from the coast, but the one you just told me hits a little close to home."

A distant rumble of thunder punctuated Laurel's observation. The two of them looked out the window and noticed the sky growing darker. A second thunderclap, much closer than the first, shook the windows. Then, the skies let loose. The rain came down with such volume and force that they couldn't even see the pool.

© 2021 DW Davis

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