Four high school students encounter an evil spirit. Thoroughly cliched and hopelessly derivative.
Mikhail stopped at the ballpark on his way home. Natalie hadn’t been in school since she was being held by the medical authorities, so any future plans to go back to the mall were on hold. He climbed up on the rusty bleachers and rested his head on his knees. Afternoon sunbeams carried childhood memories of the ballpark through his consciousness. Baseball had been just one more thing his father wanted him to do that he sucked at, just like other sports, and good grades, and junior army training. Ah, yes, the junior army training. That was a shit show if ever there was one.
For so many years, he only defined himself by what he was not, and what he was not was the thing his father wanted. It was never about those activities. There had always been a void; he was not defined by a positive, but a negative. No wonder he didn’t believe in anything. Natalie had insisted once that that couldn’t be true.
He had to find that mouse—he had no idea if she was able to look for him while she was in the hospital. But he himself had to keep trying to find him. It was impossible to define why..
Vanessa had interrupted him during these thoughts, although his mood improved considerably after he threw her shoe and left her hobbling across the dusty field after it. He even locked the gate behind him. She was probably going to curse him even more that night anyway, so who cared? No doubt some guy would come along and release her. That would make her day.
It was dusk when he pushed through the back door into the kitchen where his mother was cleaning the sink. He snuck up behind her and kissed her hello.
“Mikhail!” She pretended to tickle him. “You surprised me!”
As he passed the living room on the way to his bedroom, he saw his father. He nearly kept walking, but he pulled back, and in a moment he was able to ask, “How are you?” His father looked up from the paper but didn’t reply.
Before he shut the door, he heard his father say to his mother, “He thinks that’s going to make up for how he disrespects me?”
A dish clanked on the counter. “Frank, he’s trying. Give him a break.”
“You always side with him. He’s selfish and has no respect for anyone. He’s just fooling you today for some reason.”
“He isn’t selfish. He’s just shy and unsure of himself.”
“You’re wrong on both points.”
Mikhail shut the door and leaned his forehead against it. Once upon a time, he would have spent an evening like this lying on the floor contemplating his plan to bring an end to the misery. The other world that Vanessa had, for some unknown reason, hurled them into afforded him opportunities to practice it. Natalie had warned him that one time, it might work for real.
At some point, it would be time for him to shit or get off the pot. He had joked to Natalie about her wanting him to wait until the mouse was found. She didn’t play along with the joke. What would his father say? He’d say to take the mouse with him. But the time wasn’t yet. Unlike before, things were unfinished—regardless of what came later, he had to find that mouse.