Running through the field with a lantern, Drina led the way for three of men from the seance to follow behind her. She was no fighter and who knew what they would face once they got to the building. The small flickering light grew the closer they got to the distillery. Over her shoulder, she yelled back to the men.
“How long ago was this distillery abandoned?”
A gruff voice spoke up “Not more than 3 to 4 years ago.”
“Why was it abandoned?”
Another man answered her from the side. “A fire. ”
His voice was weak from the running, signaling to Drina to slow down to allow them to catch their breath. Still keeping her eye on the light of Marcus’s life, she asked another question.
“What happened to the owners?”
There was a silent exchange between the men before the third man spoke. “They died in the fire.”
Drina’s attention turned to the poor men, the anguish on their faces sad it all. For the boy to be held in a place that was a source of pain made it all the harder for them. How long have they been dealing with these kinds of deaths? The urgency in the spirit voice now all made sense. She had long been ignoring them while they tried to get her attention. Was this why so many ghosts had been around? With a hardened look of determination, Drina was sure they were going to stop the cycle. There will be no murder tonight. Nodding to the men, they prepared to run once more. Drina pushed forward harder than before, straining her eye on the single clue she had.
In the distance, a large shadow appeared, growing as they grew closer. It must have been the building Drina had thought as the light from Marcus dimmed. She slowed down to lift her lantern. Light bounced off the building several feet in front of her, confirming the distillery’s existence. With a holler, she called out to the building.
“Marcus? Answer me! Let us know if you are here!”
Holding her breath, she looked about desperately. The sounds of the men’s breath stopped as they too clenched the air tightly in their lungs to hear for anything. Looking back at the men, she waved for one to follow.
“Go around the building, in case someone runs out the back. You come with me.” No waiting for anyone, she rushed towards the building looking for an entrance. Half the building had collapsed, making it hard to peer inside. How was she going to find him in this heap? Spotting a broken window high on the wall, she dropped the lantern to the ground.
“Quick, give me a boost.”
The man didn’t hesitate to grab unto her foot, lifting her with ease while she reached for the window sill. Practically launched up into the hole, Drina barely held steady balance from face planting on the ground within. Landing with a tumble, she made it into the darkness. Crouching low to the ground, she caught her breath, desperately trying to see anything. It was hard to hear anything outside as to where the men had gone, leaving her alone to search for Marcus. If there was another entrance, they would find it. For now all she could do was focus her ether back into her eyes. Maybe if she brought forth more of the spirit realm, it would help her see. Already weakened from the hellhound’s help, she struggled to connect it properly. The saliva must have hindered her from doing a proper job. The small bit still lingering in her left eye was all she had to work with, deciding to focus all her strength into that side.
It took everything she had to finally see the grey colorless world. It brightened the room just enough for her to get a better picture of what was in store. The place had been scorched heavily, broken logs, crates, and barrels all toppled over each other. It made for a jungle gym to traverse. Avoiding sharp glass and edges, Drina called out to the empty building. Her voice was less confident from the dampened volume.
“Marcus? Please, answer me. I know you’re alive. We are here to save you.”
Nothing could be heard, not even the men if they had been still outside of the building. It was terrifyingly tranquil. Circling to look around, Drina couldn’t see anything but destruction. Her Spirit sight showed her flicking images of how the building had looked before the fire, the haunting glow of working machinery, and a clean beautiful building. The loss of such a place must have been heart-wrecking as the age of wear and tear showed how often the place had been trampled, the scuffs and marks of years along the floor and against the frames of the barrels full of brew. She took in the scale of how wide the building had been, losing focus of why she had been brought here in the first place. Later she would need to figure out how she was able to see the past, for now, Marcus was still missing.
Drina exhaled slowly, turning back towards the path onwards. The shapes of two spirits stood in front of her, startling her as she jumped with a yelp. Covering her mouth with wide eyes, the spirits grimly stood in front of her waiting. It had been the two owners of the building that died in the fire, the charred burns across their faces and bodies overlaying their regular form. It took everything in Drina to hold back the tears in her eyes at the sight of their painful expressions. With no sign of aggression from them, Drina dropped her hands from her mouth. Did they mean to help? Swallowing hard she commanded them weakly.
“Show me where Marcus is.”
They stood unresponsive before turning around unhurried. Pointing, they aimed both towards the wall, then to the floor. The wall had several toppled pillars from the second floor and roof leaning against it. Drina decided to take apprehensive steps towards it, looking to the floor with careful steps. Even with her spirit eye, she could see nothing along the floor. The doubt ate at her until the solid thumbs of the wooden floor alerted her. Dropping to her knees quickly, she felt at the ground, the wooden board covering the floor under the dirt. Brushing the loose soil away, she began to dig out the edges of the false door. Releasing the board, she cried out with a successful cheer. Several shouts could finally be heard just outside of the building as she pulled the wood away from the hole in the ground.
Turning to call to the men, her voice hardly left her mouth then a cold dead hand grabbed her around the mouth. Her body was dragged back around the pillar and pressed hard against the wall. The spirits of the ghosts stood in front of her protectively, keeping her from speaking. The sound of gravel crunching froze her entire body. Afraid to breathe, Drina listened as the slow evenly paced steps walked forward to where she had just been standing. They stopped, standing in place for several seconds before the clear sound of a slam shuttered the entire building. It sounded like a wall had been broken just on the other side of the room, the voices of the men calling out for her following shortly.
“Madam! Marcus? Where are you!”
The ghosts held her still, warning her not to speak with a shake of their head as they waited. Finally, the footprints bolted towards the window Drina had come from, a small glint of the light from the moon outlining the person fleeing before they hopped out the window. The cold clammy clasp around her mouth disappeared with the ghosts, leaving her free to breathe on her own as the room began to fade to black. The last of her soul well had run dry, leaving her void of any further power. It didn’t take long for the room to light up from the source of the lantern, the voice of the men callings out clearing from around the corner.
“Madam! Shit.. did she..”
“H-here. I am here.”
Pushing out from the wall, she stood on shaky legs to reveal her hiding place. The men waited for her to come out, allowing her to point at the floor to the exposed hole.
“I think he’s down there, but we need to be careful. The killer is still about.”