The Woman and the Ghost

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Narshalla
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Narshalla » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:56 am

Wow. Okay, moar please!

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:05 pm

Damn......I'm REALLY upset about that. But where is Romeo Four??? Tune in next time to find out! :lol:

I really am curious as to why heretic is on there. After all, in an undead world, heresy seems to be a very trivial matter if such a matter even exists.
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Caenus » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:26 pm

Wrecking Ball wrote:Damn......I'm REALLY upset about that. But where is Romeo Four??? Tune in next time to find out! :lol:

I really am curious as to why heretic is on there. After all, in an undead world, heresy seems to be a very trivial matter if such a matter even exists.
yeah, but imagine the trauma the average civvie would experience. The PTSD alone could cause a break with reality leading survivors to lean on a distorted belief system. Was there an asylum in town? Mental prison? That kind of structure would be reasonably well protected. Sturdy fences, room to grow crops inside the fences, etc. Perhaps the loonies got out.
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:52 pm

Caenus wrote:
Wrecking Ball wrote:Damn......I'm REALLY upset about that. But where is Romeo Four??? Tune in next time to find out! :lol:

I really am curious as to why heretic is on there. After all, in an undead world, heresy seems to be a very trivial matter if such a matter even exists.
yeah, but imagine the trauma the average civvie would experience. The PTSD alone could cause a break with reality leading survivors to lean on a distorted belief system. Was there an asylum in town? Mental prison? That kind of structure would be reasonably well protected. Sturdy fences, room to grow crops inside the fences, etc. Perhaps the loonies got out.
I doubt that in a mental hospital that if someone was locked in there that there would be enough food/water to last them for a year and half....but you make a good point. I mean, as far as we know, it was no one from Duke City save for another member of Romeo Four. But the other colony could have had some crazies get out. For some reason, I believe it to be Arlen Bradford!!! dun dun dun!!! Beyond the grave murder perhaps? :P :P :P
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by tenhigh » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:10 pm

I just finished reading this, and all I can ask is "MOAR?"

Really great story.
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Swoop411 » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:28 pm

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:06 am

It was as though Krista Showalter had shut down. Her mind went blank and her knees could barely hold her up as she stared at the burned corpse of Raymond Fuller, unable to comprehend the reality of what her own eyes were showing her. She couldn’t think, speak, or even move. She was frozen in a horror that went beyond anything she had experienced in the whole of her life. The man she was learning to care about was now a charred chunk of flesh nailed to a heavy wooden cross, the agony of a terrible death still frozen on his face.

Krista was unable to do anything but finally turn around and run in between the vehicles, throwing up and sobbing without regards to control.

She was too wounded to even cry.

Darius was still the leader of her team and he promised them all that they were a family, and those in a family look after each other. He turned and grabbed Krista, yelling at Boba to help him.

“Boba, get your ass over here! Help me get her in the bus, now!” Boba hurried and the two almost dragged her into the bus, leaving a steam of tears on the highway as they moved. Once they got her seated, Rosa sat with her while Darius, Allen, and Boba went back outside, wanting to know exactly what Lietuenant Takagi intended to do now. No one had any real idea what would be waiting for them on this operation to bring Romeo Four home, but no one could have imagined a scene of utter horror like this.

Lieutenant Takagi was as mesmerized as anyone by the almost Gothic scene before him, but finally snapped back to reality and reminded everyone that he was in command and they had a job to do.

“Everyone, get back in your rides! Avert your fucking eyes! We don’t need to be seeing this now! When we leave this place, we’ll take him home…we’ll bury him right…we won’t leave him behind! But the rest of them might still be alive and we’re going to get them back! Now saddle up and let’s move! I said fucking move it people!”

Takagi’s commands snapped everyone else back to reality as well and hurried to get back in and deal with whatever twisted animals had tortured and murdered Constable Raymond Fuller in a way that delved deeper than the worst pits of human nature. Some couldn’t shake the horror. Others couldn’t even fathom what they had seen, let alone react to it. Others understood it fully and resolved that when they found whoever did this, they would pay and pay without mercy or pity. Ray’s blood was not the only that would be spilled in this insane tale.

Everyone heard over their radios, “This is Takagi. Start up and follow us in. You’ll receive your specific team orders when we get further into town. Stay sharp.” The convoy rumbled forward again and Darius was forced to do the driving, as Krista was still sobbing as Rosa held her, unable to do much else. But whatever everyone was feeling about the almost medieval state of Ray Fuller, they all knew that four other officers were missing, and they were all coming home. Dead or alive, everyone was coming home.

Entering the town proper, the convoy slowed and began to fan out. There was still no sign of anything, not Four’s bus, Ray’s missing teammates, no blood on the street or bullet casings, nothing at all. But this time, there was no mistaking that someone was out there, someone who could have been watching. Someone who may have already killed what remained of Romeo Four. Someone who would do the same to their would-be rescuers if given the chance.

Someone who would die for what they had done.

Takagi’s voice belted out from the radios again.

“Spread out. ALERT Four is heading to the town center, Recon One will back us up. Everyone else, move along the adjacent streets and flank our advance. Keep your eyes open. Any civilian survivors will receive a warning before firing. Any survivors who attempt to engage us will be terminated with extreme prejudice. Once we determine what happened to the rest of Romeo Four, we’re burning this town to the ground. To hell with the outpost. Get our people and waste everyone else who resists. No exceptions.”

The other vehicles began to move down the other streets while ALERT Four followed by Romeo One headed directly towards the town center. They moved slowly, everyone watching out as best they could. Krista, though, barely noticed any of it. Images of Raymond Fuller in agony, burning alive as he was being nailed to a cross after someone determined that he was a heretic was seared into her mind and she could barely force her thinking past it. Rosa still held her while Allen looked away, having nothing to say that would be of any help and Boba kept a respectable distance, knowing that there was nothing he could do that would make a damn bit of difference.

Takagi’s voice then commanded, “Romeo One, stop on present position. Everyone else, continue advance. Team radiomen, keep your receivers on. We may be moving on foot for a bit. Call out anything of note.”

After a couple of seconds, Takagi said, “Romeo One, off the bus and on your feet.”

After stopping the bus, Darius, though confused by the order, did not say a word to challenge it. He got up and took up his M16 before turning to the others. “You heard him. Outside, now. Krista, looks like you had better stay here. Keep your hand on your weapon in case anything comes along while we’re out. But for now…”

“I can do my job Darius.” She said flatly.

“Bullshit. Don’t do this. I wouldn’t if I were you. Stay here. Shake it off. Don’t put yourself in a bad situation in this frame of mind.” Darius hoped that would be enough. It wasn’t.

“I’m going, Darius. I can deal with it. I’ll cry for him when I have the time. Let’s fucking go. Let’s find out who did that sick shit to him.” Krista didn’t quite realize that whether she had the time or not, she already had tears running down her cheeks.

“Krista,” Boba hoped also to talk her out of it.

“Shove it. Let’s fucking do this. I’m still wearing the goddamned badge, aren’t I? Come the hell on.” No one did much to contest her after that. Darius and the rest of the team jumped out and readied their rifles. The rear hatch of ALERT Four’s Stryker opened up and Takagi and Ghost came out, no one else.

“Why did we stop, Sir?” Darius asked.

Lieutenant Takagi looked over his shoulder and pointed. “That’s why, Corporal.”

Takagi was pointing at the double doors to a church that sat opposite the town center from where they stood. Darius and his team had seen this building before but that day, there had been nothing about it to catch the eye. This time there was, and it was certainly catching their eyes now.

Painted on the door was a bright red cross, and much like the “heretic” sign that formed the only epitaph of Ray Fuller, it looked as though it had been painted in blood. That had certainly not been there before, and it was almost a signpost, an arrow telling Special Teams that someone with a dark, twisted mind was inside.

Now with their engines turned off, they could hear something else, something far more terrifying than a cross of blood on the doors to a church.

It was chanting.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by nateted4 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:22 am

scweet :shock:
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Caenus » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:26 am

They were chanting: MOAR! MOAR! MOAR!
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:43 am

“What the fuck is that?” Allen Stack wondered aloud, as chanting filled the air with a sound so terrible to hear that it made Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen sound more like an Afternoon Special about drugs.

What it did not take long to figure out was that there were a lot of people in the church chanting, a whole lot of them.

“That sounds like a shitload of psychos chanting like a motherfucker, Constable,” Lieutenant Takagi said. “Okay, you, Fetterman, right?”

“Yes Sir.” Boba replied quickly.

“Good. Give me that damned radio.” Takagi grabbed the receiver and said, “Everyone maintain patrol, but when you reach the other side of town, turn around and start converging on the center of town. You will see our vehicles. Prepare to provide fire support. ALERT teams, man your remote 50-cals.” He then turned to everyone else. “We need to make sure nothing out there is looking to jump us, but we still can’t wait for the others. We need to get to that church and see what the fuck is going on in there. We bash in the doors, but don’t pop off. If anyone moves an inch closer to us, waste them. But fire when you have to or when you are ordered to. Our people might be in there.”

On orders, Romeo One’s bus was left where it was as ALERT Four’s Stryker moved along with Takagi, Ghost, who were quickly joined by two more from ALERT Four leaving the driver and gunner inside, and Romeo One. They advanced with weapons ready on the door, but stopped and motioned for everyone else to do the same. “Corporal Hurst, take two of your people and flank to the left. There’s a pathway leading around that way and it probably comes to a door. Go.” Darius took Rosa and Allen with him, while Krista wrung her hands, wanting to get inside and kill everyone she found who wasn’t wearing gray. Ray’s teammates could still be alive inside and every second they didn’t enter the church was another second off the lives of those they had come to rescue.

Darius and his people came back within seconds. “Sir, there’s a door, looks like the side door to the chapel.”

Takagi almost allowed himself a vengeful smile. “Cool. You, Stack, and Martinez will lead off. Kick that fucking door open and toss in a flashbang. Wait, you do have one, don’t you?”

“Yes Sir. They were part of our required equipment for this…” Darius tried to answer.

“Fucking good. Toss it in and once it goes off, we go in through the front. If we can see our people, we get them out while everyone else is floored. No one shoot unless you have to. Once we can get our people out of there, waste everyone. I don’t give a shit about their age or gender. Fucking kill them all. We won’t leave a single one of these pricks out here to prey on anyone else. Go. Fucking move.” Takagi used hand signals to get the others to stack up on the front door. The chanting, fortunately, was loud to the point that even a Stryker was able to get to within thirty yards of the front doors without anyone inside hearing it. Takagi and the others could see the remote-operated 50-cal traversing here and there, waiting for the chance to start spitting out rounds.

They could also hear the sound of approaching engines. The rest of Special Teams was on their way.

They waited a few terrible, tense second until they heard it. They heard the side door get kicked in and then the loud pop of a flashbang grenade. The chanting stopped as though someone had pulled the plug, replaced by the utter confusion of whoever was inside. Takagi gave the signal and he and Ghost kicked in the doors, with Boba and Krista at the ready. All five entered, prepared to waste anyone who gave them the slightest trouble, and thinking already about wasting those who didn’t when it was more convenient to do so.

But it was just for a second that the four at the front, the two ALERT guys backing them up, and the three at the side door stood in stunned silence at what awaited them, temporarily disabled by the flashbang though they had been. The pews were filled to capacity. Their occupants looked like a cross section of everyday America from before the rise of the dead. Some of the men wore suits while others had appeared to have made some attempt to dress appropriately. There were people of all ages, the youngest were no more then nine or ten and the oldest were much older than Chief Deihl. They all struggled to get onto their feet, but their eyes and ears were still failing them. It was a scene that, as far as anyone was concerned, could not actually have existed. Who were these people? How had they survived for years after the world fell apart? Why had they been hiding when the town was scouted? Why had they come out against Romeo Four when they came to scout the town themselves?

In other words, what the hell was going on here?

Takagi, Ghost, and the others could see Darius, Allen, and Rosa move into the chapel from the left and Darius immediately shouted, “Sir! I see one of our people! Just one! She’s strapped to the altar!”

“Get her the fuck on her feet before these bastards stand up!”

They could see the three of them move quickly, aiming their M16s here and there, ready to pop anyone who stood up to challenge them. Allen had drawn his field knife and within seconds, the female teammate of Raymond Fuller was almost dragged to her feet, crying and scared out of her mind.

“Hurst! Send her around the side and have her meet up with us! Find the others! Do it fast!” Darius almost threw the woman out through the side door after Takagi saw her frantically pointing towards the back of the building. Within a couple of seconds, the poor woman ran around and joined Takagi and the others, almost falling into Ghost’s arms as Darius and his people ran to the back of the building, where she had pointed.

“Sergeant! Get her in the Stryker now! Then get your ass back here! This is going to get ugly!”

Ghost, as always didn’t indicate that he was under the least amount of stress. He simply said, “Yes Sir.”

He almost carried the crying female constable back to the Stryker. He came back just as a lot of these surreal churchgoers were struggling to their feet.

“Uh-oh…” Boba said. There were a lot of them inside, and they had begun shaking off the cobwebs. What was worse, many of them had rifles and shotguns slung and pistol belts on. It was one hell of a heavily-armed group. Takagi was right. This was going to get ugly.

From the front of the church behind a podium at the altar, a strange figure rose in almost messianic fashion. He wore a flowing white robe trimmed with red, his gray hair hung almost to his shoulders, and in his hands was a sword, at least it was a sword that probably could have been had for no more than fifty dollars in a novelty catalog before the dead rose, but the altar from which the female constable had been narrowly rescued was near the man who had clearly been playing the role of the man of God to these murderous animals. What he was about to do with that sword just before that flashbang flew through the door was easy to imagine.

Slowly, dramatically, the man stood fully erect and pointed his sword right at Takagi, Krista, and everyone else gathered at the front door, ready to lay waste to this insane congregation.

“It is as I said! More have come! I have said that they would fail to heed the warning left for them, and so they have! We, we who have taken this earth and made it a place of God are now under mortal threat from the armies of the devil himself! Children, rise…rise! Rise and take these heretics! Take them so that they might lie upon the altar of the lord and purify the earth with their blood! Take them! The lord commands his children to stand to their work! Rise! Only by their blood can we cleanse ourselves and the domain of our lord!”

Everyone slowly rose, as methodically as Ghost had ever moved or spoken. They rose and turned, reaching for their pistols and unslinging rifles and shotguns. Even the youngest of the children were reaching for weapons. At that second, the last Special Teams vehicles had converged, and Boba’s radio cracked with the voices of various team leaders, demanding orders.

Everything happened at once.

“Sergeant! Waste the fucker!” Takagi screamed. Ghost, lightning quick, raised his M4 Carbine, rested the red dot sight on the twisted priest or whatever he was, and fired a short burst. Several rounds struck the man in the face and chest and he flew backwards, his sword clanking against a simple statue of an angel near the altar. He was dead before his back slapped against the ground. Some old woman in the ‘congregation’ screamed…

“The beast! The beast has come! They have taken from us our shepherd! The hand of the devil has reached forth to our destruction! The time has come! Strike the heretics down! It is commanded by the lord! Do his work!”

As far as what else was happening at this time, they were able to spot Darius in the back, running with Allen, Rosa, and three constables, accounting for all of Romeo Four. They were almost shoved out the side when someone turned and saw them.

“They are here! They have come to take from us the blood that our lord demands! Send the heretics to the realm of their master! Send…” it was seemingly the voice of a middle-aged man screaming, but it was cut short.

Darius shot the man in the face at a range of no more than seven feet. His blood sprayed all over some teenage girl behind him who screamed, quite literally, bloody murder. The church became a fury of activity as Darius rushed to get his people the hell out of there.

Darius, good leader that he was, was the last to exit the side, immediately followed by a crazed survivor, but Takagi could see the man fly backwards missing the top half of his head after hearing Darius’s M16 crack a shot.

They came running around the side a couple of seconds later. Takagi now had his chance.

“Let them have it! Waste the motherfuckers! Take them all down! Fucking do it!”

Krista screamed like a banshee that just lost her best friend as she aimed her M16 and fired into the crowd, which was not unlike what everyone else started doing. Almost the entire back row seemed to melt back into their pews as bullets tore them apart.

“Okay, fall back! Fall the fuck back!” Takagi yelled, and he and Ghost, Krista and Boba, began to move back towards their vehicles while firing into the doors of the church. Takagi grabbed the receiver from Boba’s radio and ordered, “ALERT! Get on those .50s and tear the damned place apart! Bring it right down on the fuckers! Recon! Get off your asses and on your feet! Spread out and give me a perimeter! Half circle, move! Nothing gets out of there, you hear me? Nothing! You want rules of engagement? Kill everything! Fucking move!”

Once Takagi and his makeshift team had gotten clear of the doors, the 50-cals of four Stryker fighting vehicles belched as they pumped heavy lead right into the church, shattering windows and blowing doors off hinges. The screams and wails of the self-righteous inside filled the air with a terrible, almost Dark Age cacophony of death and agony. Some were filing out of the side door and some had managed to get through the hail of gunfire, firing wildly at Takagi and the others as they fell back. Darius came running up quickly at that moment.

“Sir! I put all of Four’s survivors in our bus! What are your orders?”

“Where are Stack and Martinez, Corporal?”

“Sir! I ordered them to remain with the bus and guard the survivors!”

“Then get your ass back on that bus and get them the fuck out of here! Get them back to Duke City! Do it now!”

“Lieutenant, what about Showalter and Fetterman?”

“I’ll take them back with us! Get going!” Takagi went back to firing short bursts at the congregation of the mad, still pouring out of the church. The grass in front and to the left of the building were increasingly wet with blood and covered in the corpses of whatever the hell these people had been.

Krista, though barely registering that Romeo One was leaving without her, was nonetheless happy to know that she wasn’t done with this yet. She smirked as she changed magazines and cut down the screaming psychopaths, not caring that some of those she was killing or wounding were not more than children. They were all guilty. They were all mad. They would all pay. They would all die.

She still screamed at those she was wiping off the earth, doing what she wished the dead had done as they had done to almost everyone else. She didn’t bother contemplating that the living were still a terrible threat in a world that mostly belonged to the dead.

“Die you mother fuckers! Fucking die! Fucking die! Die!”

The 50-cals were shredding the church so badly that it seemed almost on the verge of collapsing. Takagi then ordered his people to leave the rest of the part to the gunners. “Okay, let’s get back inside and button up!” He got back on the radio. “Team leaders! Keep firing! Waste them until they’re all in pieces! Kill them all! No fucking prisoners! You hear me! Kill every one of those psycho fucks!” He then turned to Ghost, Krista, and Boba. “Let’s go. You two are coming back with us. In the Stryker, now!”

They kept firing as they fell back as bullets kicked the pavement around them. They fired and kept firing, slaughtering the psychopaths who had taken from them the young, promising life of Raymond Fuller. They would all die today. Everyone. Not even the young would be spared.

Krista was able to focus enough to wonder if she had pissed herself in the excitement, as her left leg felt wet. She looked down after reloading her M16 and saw that it was wet, but not with urine. A neat hole in the leg of her gray coverall showed that a round had found her. She had been shot. Upon realizing that she had been wounded, she fell where she was and grabbed her leg.

“Fuck me! I’m hit! I’m fucking hit!”

Takagi yelled, “Medic! Get her on the Stryker, now!”

ALERT Four’s medic ran back and Ghost stepped right in his path. “Constable Brightman, get back to the Stryker. I will handle this.”

“But Sergeant…” the medic protested.

“That’s an order, Brightman.”

Brightman huffed but headed back as he was ordered. He climbed into the back, desperately hoping to see Ghost carrying Krista around the corner. Ghost on the other hand, casually reached down and picked up a screaming Krista, and threw her over his shoulder as she now concentrated her screaming at Ghost instead of her agony.

“Ghost, what the fuck are you doing? Put me down! Let the medic take me back! Put me the hell down you masked freak of nature!”

Ghost drew his .44 revolver and maintained an even tone. “Silence yourself, Constable. I am saving your life at the moment.” His revolver boomed like an old Civil War cannon. “Be calm, Krista. I am getting you out of here. You are going home. You will not die in this place.”

Krista, though bleeding all over Ghost’s khaki-colored coverall, realized that it was the first time he had ever used her first name.

His revolver boomed again. She could barely see a pretty, red-haired thirty-something woman fall to the ground in a pool of her own blood with a new, huge hole in her chest. Ghost fired again and this time, it was a brawny teenage boy. He flew backwards and landed several feet behind where he had been standing. All the while, Ghost carried Krista to the rear of the Stryker with the casual air of someone who simply didn’t register the concept of mortal danger. The 50-cals fired above Ghost’s head, ripping apart anyone not already being shredded by Ghost’s revolver or the withering gunfire of Recon’s rifles.

Krista looked down at the pavement just in time to see a spray of blood erupt all of the ground. She wondered in terror if she had gotten hit again but she saw that it hadn’t been her. Ghost was still standing, even with a bleeding wound in his hip. He didn’t even act like he knew he had gotten shot.

“Ghost! You’re hit! Fucking shit, you’re hit!”

“If you say so, Krista.” That was all he said. His revolver delivered another person to their death, his body hitting the ground with a soapy smack as the two who had been flanking him were almost vaporized by 50-cal fire. They were paying for Ray Fuller. They were paying dearly.

Whatever had hit Ghost’s hip, it had created a wound that was almost gushing blood, but Ghost still did nothing that acknowledged the wound. He carried Krista backwards as he fired his revolver, until she fell hard on the pavement. She tried to right herself, but she saw Ghost lying next to her. He had a new wound, one on the right side of his chest. He was flat on his back. He wasn’t moving a muscle and she couldn’t tell if he was even breathing.

“Ghost! Fuck!”

Boba and Takagi got out of the Stryker and gave covering fire, helping the 50-cals take down the remaining church-goers, and the two of them and Krista could not believe what happened next. Ghost got up under his own power, not caring to notice the bullet wound in his chest and again picked up Krista, using both arms to carry her to the rear of the Stryker. He gingerly placed her in one of the seats while Boba screamed at Constable Brightman to do what he could for her. Krista, through the agony in her leg, watched as Ghost walked casually back outside and came back with Takagi, whom he politely helped inside. The 50-cals kept firing as Ghost climbed back in and the rear hatch closed.

Ghost sat down and asked almost matter-of-factly, “Krista, are you okay?”

Then Ghost slumped to the floor of the vehicle. He wasn’t moving as a screaming Krista tore away from the medic and almost jumped on Ghost, slapping him across his masked face and screaming at him.

“Ghost! Wake up! Wake the hell up! Come on, wake up! You’re all right! You’re fucking all right! Come on, get up!”

Ghost did not move in the slightest.

Krista, from loss of blood, was barely able to utter the name of Ray Fuller before she passed out on top of Sergeant Ghost.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:19 am

Krista woke up as though she were slapped in the face, and she immediately struggled to force the world into focus, as though she were still in the Stryker, screaming at the motionless body of Sergeant Ghost, who had still not revealed even a twinge of emotion as he carried her to safety while bleeding from two severe bullet wounds one of which would have probably killed most people in a matter of minutes. The world was a haze and Krista couldn’t determine where she was, no matter how hard she tried to force concentration on herself. It was not unlike being under nitrous oxide during dental work. The patient is conscious but the world is a foggy chamber that cannot be made to seem real, and that is what Krista experienced for the first two minutes of her slow return to the waking realm.

But the world did come back to her as she came back to it herself. The room was poorly lit but windows revealed a hallway outside the door. She was lying in a bed with her leg in a cast and a needle ran from her arm to a hanging bottle filled with a colorless solution. She finally recognized her location. She was in the clinic, the surroundings being familiar from the times she had come here for her annual physical after joining the Constabulary.

Krista tried to move, but a heavy pain, like that of being struck with a sledgehammer, exploded in her leg, forcing her to whimper and stop her attempts to move. She felt helpless, totally immobile, and she reacted in the same way that such fiercely independent people such as herself often did when their physical freedoms were taken from them.

She rebelled against her situation. Krista screamed, “Doctor? Nurse? Anyone? How about the guys who clean the bedpans? Is anyone out there? Get your asses in here! Any time now!”

About thirty seconds later, a man walked in whom she instantly recognized as Doctor Lawrence Sadler, the clinic’s Chief of Medicine and superintendent of the fledgling medical school that had opened up the year before to begin the long process of passing on the valuable knowledge possessed only by the handful of doctors and nurses who had survived to reach the colony. Doctor Sadler had been the one who sometimes administered the physicals for the Constabulary, as well as coming out of his offices quite often to treat injuries that sometimes happened during the officers’ training. Yes, Krista and Doctor Sadler had met.

“Doctor Sadler?”

“Oh, Miss Showalter, you’re awake. So…” Doctor Sadler pulled a chair up to her bed and sat down, pushing his glasses up to his eyes and picking her chart up from the table beside her. He was a fit forty-seven years old and a brilliant vascular surgeon from the University of New Mexico Hospital back in Albuquerque who had been among the first refugees from the original Duke City to reach the new colony during the first days of its construction, and he had been busy ever since looking after the residents as they sometimes needed a visit with him or his staff as there was no way to continue building the fortifications, industry, and infrastructure of the Duke City Colony without someone getting hurt. He was also best friends with Doctor Ness.

“…how are we feeling this evening?”

“Let me guess, Doc. I have a big fucking hole in my leg, don’t I? I seem to remember that much.”

“Yes, Miss Showalter. You received a wound in the leg from what appears to be a large caliber rifle bullet. It passed clean through but only caused significant tissue damage. Nothing vital was struck. You’re lucky, but the fact that you’re alive at all should tell you that. From what I hear, it was a hell of a time out there in Lordsburg.”

“What do you know about that, Doctor?”

“Oh, you’re not the only one who’s passed through this place because of what happened there. One of your colleagues, a Mark Bullworth, was released two days ago after he was brought in with a grazing wound to his cheek. He’s fine, but he’ll have a scar on his face for the rest of his life. Also, a woman was under observation for forty-eight hours after she was admitted, another police officer like you. Amanda Dubois was pretty shaken up and had taken a real beating, but she didn’t have any serious injuries. I was informed that she was rescued before something rather unthinkable happened to her. She’s okay, but she’s staying home for the next couple of weeks until your bosses can clear her for duty again. You guys appear to have saved her in the nick of time.”

“Forty-eight hours? Bullworth as sent home two days ago? How long have I been stuck in this damned room?”

“Hmm…you were brought in here with the others…five days ago. That’s how long you’ve been asleep. But I’d like to give you a sedative. I don’t think you should have much reason to be awake for the next couple of days until…”

“Doctor,” Krista was getting impatient, as it seemed like he was cleverly avoiding the most important question before she even asked it. “where is Sergeant Ghost? He was also wounded in action. Where is he? Is he okay?”

“Miss Showalter, you should really get some sleep. Any questions you have can be…”

“Damnit, Doctor, where is he? He got hit pretty badly, and when it happened, he was trying to carry me back to safety. What happened to him? Tell me. I’m not taking any funny pills until you answer me.”

“You really shouldn’t be burdening yourself. You need to focus on rest and recovery. This can all wait Miss Showalter.”

“No it can’t. Tell me. Damnit, I have to know.”

“Have it your way. The man you all call ‘Ghost’ lost a lot of blood. He was lucky that someone put that helicopter in the air after you all left. It’s the only reason he’s still alive. That chopper brought all the wounded in together, including you. But Ghost was severely wounded and the time he was in the air worked against him. Our paramedics did what they could, but he came in after losing too much blood. He’s alive, but…are you sure you want to do this now?”

“Doctor…”

“Fine. He’s been unconscious the entire time he’s been back. We’ve done everything medically possible, but we don’t think it’s likely that he’ll recover. We expect him to live maybe another couple of days. We’ve done what we can. The rest has to come from him.”

Krista looked away, on the verge of crying. It seemed that every man who ever did a thing for her paid for it with their lives.

“Is that what you wanted to know, Miss Showalter? You don’t need this right now. Focus on getting some rest.”

“Doctor, is there any chance? Any chance at all that Ghost will come out of this?”

“As I said, he lost a lot of blood. He might survive, he might even make a full recovery, but his chances are not good. I don’t think he’ll wake up again. Now then, I will say nothing more on this. You really didn’t need to deal with this right now. Right now, worry about yourself. You’ll be all right, but you’re going to be off that leg for a while and we’ll have to put you through physical therapy for a time, but you’ll recover and be walking as well as you were before, but just get some rest. A nurse is down the hall if you need anything.”

Doctor Sadler left in a hurry, not amused that his patient who didn’t know what was good for her forced such answers from him, but he got out of that room and sent a nurse in. She pestered Krista until she agreed to swallow the two blue pills that had been given to her.

Although she didn’t want to sleep, her world began to fade. She was dead asleep twenty minutes after Doctor Sadler left the room.

In her dreams, Raymond Fuller was about to pay her a visit, and before her dreams were over, Brad made a cameo appearance.

It was not a good dream.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by FrANkNstEin » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:31 am

Moar!

:D

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:29 pm

SO DAMN GOOD!! I need MOAR!!!! :D
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Kathy in FL » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:24 pm

Don't leave us hanging at this point ... you can't be that cruel. :cry:

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by cusm » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:03 pm

Kathy in FL wrote:Don't leave us hanging at this point ... you can't be that cruel. :cry:
Talk about irony.

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:23 pm

Krista had slept for more than twenty-four hours after taking her sedative, giving her a full day when she wasn’t wincing in pain from the hole in her leg. She woke again but the world came into focus clearly this time. She was in the same room and it was still late at night, but this time, she wasn’t alone. The rest of Recon One were in the room with her, having pulled up chairs to wait, hoping to be there when she woke up. They were all asleep, Darius, Boba, Allen, and Rosa hunched up in their chairs, going through an uneasy slumber. The three men looked like they hadn’t shaved since before the madhouse of Lordsburg, largely because they hadn’t.

Krista shook off the grogginess and said, “Hey guys.”

All four shot awake and smiled. Boba spoke first. “Krista, we’re so glad to see you awake. How’s the leg?”

“It hurts, but Doctor Sadler says that it’ll be fine. I just won’t be back in uniform for a while. I don’t know how long I’ll be here or in physical therapy after that. What the hell happened out there? What happened after I got hit?”

Boba was able to answer that, since her other three teammates had already been hauling ass out of Lordsburg to get the four survivors of Recon Four back home, as Takagi had promised.

“It was…damn, I don’t know how to say it. It was hell on earth. Those bastards, whoever they were…we just wasted them like dogs. We didn’t care how young they were…women, children…didn’t matter. We just cut them apart. It was…Jesus Tap Dancing Christ…it was a massacre. We didn’t stop. We didn’t stop until we nailed them all. I still can’t believe what happened. There was so much blood…I had never killed a living person before. I still can’t believe I did what I did.”

“What about the town? Did Takagi burn the place? Did he do what he said he was going to do?”

Darius answered, “Yeah. After we were pretty sure we got them all, he had us toss a Molotov into the church. Place went up like a flare. It started spreading to the whole town. At least that’s what they told me. We were already gone, at least Allen, Rosa, and I were. But from what they say, there isn’t anything left standing in that place. Lordsburg is gone…wiped off the map.”

Krista tried to choke down her tears. “What about…what about Ray? Did anyone…”

Boba replied, “Lieutenant Takagi did what he promised. After they airlifted you and Ghost out of there…Takagi had us stop on the way out of town. He brought Ray home. Like he said…everyone came home. Takagi…tough as nails, that guy. Everyone came back.”

Allen spoke up. “Ray…we buried him with full honors. Everyone from Special Teams who could go was there. Hell, the whole Force was there, so were a lot of civilians. He was a popular guy. Everyone had learned to like him quickly.”

Krista started to cry. She couldn’t formulate a word, and didn’t have to. Everyone knew what she was feeling. She was among those who had quickly learned to care about Ray. He had been nothing but kind during their short time together at the Detention Facility, and when he joined Special Teams, it helped bring them even closer until it was clear that they were going places, but now that story was over. Ray’s story was over. There would be no more days with Krista for him. Now, all that was left was to hate herself all over again, hate herself because it seemed that anytime a man did the slightest favor for her, he died, and died badly. Arlen Bradford was planted in that cemetery after being the best man she had ever known. Now, Ray was probably buried right next to him for all she knew, a twin monument to the dark cloud that seemed to hover over her every second of her life.

And then there was Ghost.

“What about Ghost?” Krista said after regaining some semblance of composure. “What’s happened to him?”

“He’s still unconscious, or at least that’s what the doctors told us. He’s not expected to live through the night. I can’t believe what Boba says he did for you. I really can’t. From what it always looked like to me, I would have sworn that he would have left you there to die. I can’t imagine why he did what he did.” Rosa said.

“I…I can’t believe it either. He just didn’t even seem to care that he got hit. I screamed when it happened to me and he acted like it wasn’t anything more than a damned bee sting. I can’t believe he saved my life. Why would he do that? We hate each other. I’m not even certain that I would have gone back for him.”

“Ghost was a professional, Krista. That’s the way he was. I doubt he saw you as anything but a wounded officer who needed help.” Darius said.

Krista thought about that for a moment. “But when ALERT Four’s medic, that guy Brightman, tried to pick me up, Ghost stopped him, sent him back. He insisted on doing it himself. He’s probably going to die because of me. Another man dead because of me.”

Boba said, “ No, not because of you. He made his decision. Don’t do this to yourself, not again. It wasn’t your fault, none of it was. Not Ray, not Ghost…” Boba choked a word or two back before saying something he had never thought to say before, because only now did he believe it. “…and not Brad.”

Krista started crying again. Now she had three men to cry over. Two were dead, one horribly, and another would be soon.

“Krista, you should know something,” Rosa tried to get her mind off her anguish for at least a second. “All of Special Teams has been grounded for now. We’re licking our wounds, but in another couple of months, we’re going back out there. We’re going back to find another place to build an outpost. This time, everyone’s going. No one’s going to let what happened to Four happen to anyone else. They’ve called a halt to it for a while, But the town council says that we can’t just sit here and hide behind our walls. We can’t let this whole thing keep us from trying to move forward.”

Krista was still sobbing as she spoke. “That’s what I would have decided, too. If we don’t keep trying to build it all back, we might as well be those fucking dead things out there, but…what does everyone else say? What happened when the news spread?”

Allen decided to get involved in the conversation again. “You should know this before you have a chance to talk to anyone else about it. Some of the details are being hushed up. Everyone on Special Teams has been ordered to not disclose a few things…so far, Ray’s death has been passed off as being killed in action while trying to escape, that’s all. No details, none whatsoever. The people can’t know what happened to him. I agree, hell, everyone in gray and brown agrees that we can’t let that one out. People will lose hope, start thinking that we’ll never get outside these walls. They’ve also told people that the town burned down because that cult, or whoever the hell they were, threw that Molotov. But Krista, please don’t start blabbing. Don’t tell anyone what really happened to Ray. Even the survivors on Four are keeping it quiet. We can’t tell anyone how bad it really was out there. We have to keep moving forward. We can’t give up on everything because of this.”

Krista just looked away and said, “I understand.”

They all got up to leave, but Darius kissed her on the forehead. “You just get better, okay? You just get back to us. Captain Heyward has agreed to keep your spot vacant until you’re fit for duty again, so take what time you need. But just come back to your friends, okay?”

“I will, Darius. I will.”

They all walked out of the room, with Boba and Rosa not realizing that they had left behind some hurt for Krista as she saw them holding hands as they exited.

Krista would probably never hold a man’s hand again.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:15 pm

Krista spent another two days off her feet, but the day after her visit from her team, Rosa came back with a couple of books, careful to avoid anything of the Stephen King or Clive Barker variety, and wisely thinking that any romance novels wouldn’t do her much good, either. Instead, she brought a couple of classics, specifically Wuthering Heights and Catcher in the Rye. For lack of anything else to do short of beating herself up over Raymond Fuller and Ghost, she read continuously, but after those two days, she was informed by a nurse that Ghost was still alive, but still wasn’t expected to make it. She had always thought, as everyone had, that Ghost had such an otherworldly presence to him that he was simply too tough to die, even too tough to be hurt, but hurt he was, and die he might. Beneath it all, he was still human. He was a strange man, but he was still human, and the toughest human being can still be killed by a single bullet, but now two bullets had brought Ghost to the brink of death, and even though he might finally cross that line and not come back, he was still, at the moment, too tough to die.

But that probably wouldn’t last.

That same night that was supposed to be her last until her physical therapy began, Krista couldn’t take it anymore. She was more or less a cripple, stuck in a hospital bed unable to do anything without someone there to help her, and her individualistic nature, which even Ghost couldn’t fully train out of her, screamed at her to get up and start taking her life back into her own hands, whatever that meant.

The IV was no longer jabbing her arm and she had been put on actual food that day, taking away a major obstacle to getting up and taking care of herself. She forced herself out of bed and grabbed a chair, and even though her leg chided her for attempting to put any weight on it, Krista struggled to her feet and tried to use the chair as a walker, but every time she took a step, pain shot right up her leg, but she forced it from her mind. It was the least she could do, as Ghost had fought through far worse for the sake of saving her life.

But Krista heard the footsteps of the nurse on the night shift coming down the hall, forcing her to abandon her attempts at mobility and her leg yelped at her as she almost flew back into bed. She pretended to be asleep but squinted enough to see the nurse look into her room and then keep walking. Krista realized that this was not going to be as simple as she thought, and stayed the rest of the night in bed, trying to time the nurse as she made her rounds. It seemed that she walked around about once every hour or so, but Krista decided that she would wait until the next night to get out and see some things for herself.

Krista played along with the medical staff the next day, and toughed it out through her first day of physical therapy, trying to get her leg working while enduring the agony of the wound as it healed. Her orderlies tried to keep her going with their dry, rehearsed words of encouragement, but in the end she forced herself to work that leg, not wanting to remain a cripple for long. She was told that a couple of more weeks at the least were to follow, and she certainly wasn’t looking forward to that.

But this night, she would give her leg a private workout.

She stayed in bed, feigning sleep until the nurse made her first round of the clinic, and a couple of minutes later, Krista again forced herself up on the chair that now doubled as a walker. She did her best to soften the impact of the chair’s feet against the floor as she slowly exited her room and down the hall. She kept looking back but the nurse had returned to her desk somewhere, and Krista didn’t stop until she was at the end of the hall, where the last room was (the clinic was only a single story). The paper tag by the door indicated who was inside. It was Ghost.

But the door itself was blocked by tape, similar to the kind that sectioned off crime scenes in earlier times. Krista stood (or hunched, actually) in silent amazement. Someone didn’t want Ghost to have any visitors, not that he would have any in his condition.

Now, Krista didn’t care if she was caught. She quietly pried the tape off the door and found it unlocked. The clock on the wall showed fifty minutes before the next round if the nurse kept her usual timetable. Time was against Krista, but she forced herself into the room. The lights were off and her night vision was forced to kick in before she was willing to take another step. As her eyes adjusted, she slowly made her way to Ghost’s bed. She could barely see him, but the heart monitor showed that his heart rate was steady and, as far as she could tell, normal. She took his chart and held it up to the limited light that came in from the moon and looked for his name, but it only read, “Ghost.”

Nothing on his chart answered a single question, not even his current prognosis, as she was no doctor and couldn’t really tell what she was looking at.

“Fuck it, I’m tired of never having any answers. I’m going to find this shit out once and for fucking all.” She told herself. She hobbled to the bed and saw that his mask was even still on. He was not on a breathing tube or anything of that sort, so she steeled herself for whatever lay beneath. She used a single hand and took hold of the bottom of his mask and tried to force it upwards. It took a couple of minutes, but she got his mask off. It was still dark, so she couldn’t see anything of his face. Krista then hobbled to the blinds and opened them further. She then turned, ready to answer for herself the most hotly debated question in the whole colony.

Who was this man?

She dragged and limped over to the bed, getting closer and closer until the moonlight shone brightly enough on the answer to the great riddle.

The answer made her fall flat on her back, her chair/walker clacking loudly against the ground as it toppled over. She fainted within seconds of falling down.

It had been a long time since she had seen the face of Arlen Bradford.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:45 pm

Krista woke up screaming with someone shaking her. She still screamed even as she took in her surroundings. She was in her own room, on the floor. The chairs were neatly placed against the wall where they were supposed to be. It was daytime and Doctor Sadler and a nurse she didn’t know were frantically trying her get her conscious.

“Brad! Brad! He’s alive!” was all she was able to scream.

She kept right on screaming it as Doctor Sadler and the nurse picked her up with the help of two orderlies who had just come in and got her back into bed. She struggled and screamed more, her words becoming increasingly indecipherable. The orderlies held her down against her thrashing and the nurse jabbed a needle in her arm. Krista was unconscious again in less than a minute.

She woke up again, and either it was still daylight or another full day had passed. Within seconds of her waking up, now whimpering Brad’s name rather than screaming it, Doctor Sadler walked in, his face showing the concern he felt for his patient.

“Miss Showalter, how are you feeling? You had quite a day yesterday.”

“Brad…he’s alive doctor. He’s alive.”

“Brad? We don’t have a patient by that name.”

“Arlen Bradford, Doctor. He’s alive. He’s in this hospital. He’s alive. He’s fucking alive.”

That was a name Doctor Sadler recognized. “I’m sorry, Miss Showalter, but it seems you had a particularly vivid nightmare. That is a possible side effect of the sedatives we’ve had you on. Arlen Bradford is not in this hospital. I’m sure you remember that he died a year and a half ago. I’m sorry, but that was a dream.”

“No Doctor, he’s alive. I saw him. I saw him with my own eyes. He’s alive.”

“Okay Miss Showalter. Where did you see him?”

“He’s Ghost. Brad is Ghost. Tell me…why? How is this possible?”

“Miss Showalter, I’m sorry, but you are mistaken. You had a dream. That is all. I’m sorry, but that is all it was.”

“Don’t bullshit me! Brad is alive and he’s in this hospital!”

“No, he is not. I’m sorry to tell you this, but he is dead and has been for a long time. Arlen Bradford is not Ghost. Why do you think he is?”

“I saw him. I saw him in his room. I took off his mask. It was Brad! That’s why he saved me! That’s why he hated me! Brad is Ghost!”

“Please tell me what you remember.” Doctor Sadler looked over her chart and removed a pen from his pocket. “Go slowly and tell me what you think happened.”

“I left my room last night or whenever. I went down the hall to the last room and went in. I took off his mask and I saw Brad. I saw his face…I know he’s alive! I know it!”

“I’m sorry? Which room did you say?”

“The last one down the hall, Doctor!” Krista was shouting, but her decibel level seemed to have no effect on Doctor Sadler.

“Uh…Ghost is two rooms up, closer to the entrance. Ghost has never been in the room you just described. That room is vacant at the moment. Ghost is not in there.”

“I took the tape off! I know I did! You tried to keep me out but…”

“Tape? What tape?”

“The tape you used to keep people from seeing who Ghost really is! He’s Arlen Bradford…just admit it! Admit it Doctor!”

Doctor Sadler was exasperated with this already. “Miss Showalter, uh…we never taped off Ghost’s room. We simply locked the door. We don’t want anyone in there who isn’t part of the staff in his condition. There was no tape, and he’s not in the room you described.”

“Bullshit! That’s bullshit Doctor!”

“No, I’m afraid it isn’t. What was the last thing you remember?”

“I think I passed out. I passed out because I saw that Brad is alive!”

“Where did you pass out?”

“In Ghost’s room! In Brad’s room! I saw it! I saw him!”

“I’m sorry…but we didn’t find you or anyone else in there. We found you on the floor of your own room. The door to Ghost’s room was still locked. You never left this room. If you had, the nurse would have seen or heard you. Her desk is right down the hall and she could see all the way down. You were never in Ghost’s room, there was no tape, and his mask was still covering his face. I’m sorry your nightmare was so detailed, but that sometimes happens. I’m going to put you on a different sedative, now these ones…”

“Doctor, you found me in here?”

“Yes. It looks like you tried to get out of bed but just collapsed where you were. I think you might have been sleepwalking during your dream. But nothing you have described is real, I’m afraid. You never left your room, no one has been in Ghost’s room, and he is not even in the room you said he was in. I’m sorry, Miss Showalter, I’m sorry, but you had a dream. Ghost is not Arlen Bradford.”

Krista rolled over and cried while Doctor Sadler went to get the nurse. She cursed herself, cursed herself as she had done so many times…cursed herself for being a fool. She knew Brad was dead. Everyone knew that. Everything she thought she experienced was in her mind…her mind that still could not let go…could not let go because Ghost was only two rooms in the other direction on death’s door for the sake of saving her life, a life that had gone on long enough to lose another man she cared about, a man who was buried while she was still unconscious.

Even though Ray was on her mind, Krista now missed Brad more than ever.

She cried even as the nurse came in and gave her another injection that put her back to sleep in one minute.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:20 pm

HAHAH. Poor Krista, when will she learn? She's a rascal, that one. :lol:

MOAR pl0x. 8)
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Kathy in FL » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:47 pm

I wonder if the super bowl is going to keep us from finding out the mystery tonight?

My guess: Since Pony has already said that Ghost isn't Brad ... and assuming he wasn't lying through his teeth when he said it ... Ghost is some kin to Brad and resembles him so closely - remember that Ghost loved Brad as well - that it fooled Krista.

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:15 pm

Well, considering in Ponyboy's last few stories he has had not talked about the story in the topic that maybe, just maybe, he didn't want us all coming to the conclusion that Ghost is Brad because it would ruin the story for us? I don't know, I just want MOAR. :D
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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Narshalla » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:13 pm

I don't think that Ghost is Brad, I think that Ghost feels guilty because he was in charge of Brad's training when the accident happened, and blaming Krista is the only way he can keep from blaming himself

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Cascade Failure » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:54 pm

Game's over...........MOAR?

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Re: The Woman and the Ghost

Post by Samurai Penguin » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:59 pm

Kathy in FL wrote: My guess: Since Pony has already said that Ghost isn't Brad ... and assuming he wasn't lying through his teeth when he said it ... Ghost is some kin to Brad and resembles him so closely - remember that Ghost loved Brad as well - that it fooled Krista.

Ooh, good thought. :!:

I guess we'll find out soon enough, though. MOAR!
"Some folks just need to tuck their e-penis back in before it gets cold and we all laugh." --Brash
"Here's something every ZS'er can agree upon; no matter the situation, the individual who KEEPS THEIR WITS during a panic always comes out ahead." --prebans

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