He stared into my eyes. I searched for my voice but found nothing. He waited for an answer. I glanced out the window and stared into the sunset. A daze fell over me. The sun sank faster and faster as I watched. Jaycee. I heard my name but it seemed faint.
"Jaycee are you okay?" Luke was shaking my shoulder.
"What time is it?" I asked, never taking my eyes off the window. He said it was about noon. A thud came from down stairs. "Did you hear that?" It was barely a whisper but he heard me.
"It's probably just your brother." I stood up to go check. Luke caught my arm, in a effort to stop me. "I'll come with you." His hand slid down my arm till it reached my hand, our fingers intertwining. A smile lit up his face. Then for a moment he noticed it was dark outside and glanced at the clock hanging on the wall. We both jumped when another thud came from the basement. I grasped his hand tighter. Slowly I began down the stairs, Luke following. The lights flicker a few times as I reached the bottom. they steadied then went out. I stretched my hand out along the wall, trying to find the emergency flashlight. As my hand closed around the flashlight, Luke let go.
"Luke?" I swung my hand in a circle behind me...he wasn't there.
There was a little girl's giggle. "Sorry little girl" She chimed. "Lucas can't come out and play right now." She giggled some more. Icy fingers ran along my arms. Shivers spread over my body as I whipped the flashlight around. No one was there.
"Daniel" My voice shook badly. "This isn't funny." The little girl laughed even more. "What did you do to them?!" I yelled.
"They were in my way." The little girl was sad. " You needed to see the truth."
"What truth?" I asked. Another shiver crawled over my skin. "About what?"
"Can you keep a secret?" Her figure shimmered before me. I nodded as my body went numb. "Good." The wall next to us began to spin, forming a portal. "Please step through." I moved towards the wall, then stopped when I saw people on the other side. "Don't worry they can't see or hear you. An up side to hanging with a ghost." I nodded and stepped through the portal.
The room was like any teenage boys' room. Posters of sports and bands hung on the walls. Family photos were set up on a vanity dresser with a mirror. I walked over to it and pick up one of the picture frames...at least I tried. My hand passed right through it. I leaned down to look at it. It was the Braveheart Family. This was Luke's room.
"What are we doing in Luke's room?" I asked. She pointed to a photo stuck between the mirror and the frame it was held in. It was a picture of me and my brother in shorts and cut-offs, covered in mud, with his arm draped over my shoulders. I remembered the exact day that was taken too. We were laughing because we were covered in mud. We took a hike through the woods that day and fell into a mud puddle. Of course we had to wrestle a little too. That was the day I first met Luke. We ran into him on the way back from the woods. I was embarrassed that I was being "one of the guys" and was covered in mud. The smile dropped from my face as I replayed the day in my head. Daniel and I arrived back at the house at about dinner time. There was police tape everywhere. It all seemed like an echo.
My family was standing on the outside of the tape. Mom was balling her eyes out. Toby's girlfriend was sitting on the ground, face flooded with tears. I asked what was going on, but no one answered me. My dad pulled us aside.
"Toby was killed. They think it was someone that he put in jail." Dad said.
"NO!" I screamed. "You're lieing." I refused to believe he was dead. Running, I broke the police tape and headed toward the house. Some men caught me before I could reach the house. I could see his body laying on the front steps. His eyes were vacant, lips slightly parted in a gasp. A knife handle stuck out of his chest. My body went limp and I leaned on the guys restraining me for support. He couldn't be dead. The men handed me off to my brother. We both dropped to the ground. "He said he would never leave us Danny." I cried throwing my arms around his neck and soaking his shirt with my tears.
"I know Jay" He said pulling me onto my lap. "It is going to be okay. I'm going to make sure everything is okay. Toby will always be with us okay? He is always going to be watching over you making sure that you are safe just like he promised. You know that don't you?" I nodded my head. "Everything is going to be okay." He repeated the last line all night as I cried my eyes out. I knew he was just as an emotional wreck as I was, but he wouldn't show it. I had never seen him cry before.
I couldn't remember much of being outside after that. We were finally allowed to go in the house. Tossing and turning in bed I decided I wasn't going to be able to sleep. Toby's bedroom door was cracked open with the light on. I pushed the door, only to find Danny sitting at the desk, tears dripping down the sides of his face. We both knew why we were in Toby's room, it was our last connection to him. I curled up in his bed sheets and blankets. They still smelt like him. Danny sat on the edge of the bed next to me till I fell asleep.
"Toby was my oldest brother." I told the littler girl.
"He still does care for you." She told me quietly. I gave her a questioning look. "I can sense his ghost around you. That's why I had a hard time reaching you. He wouldn't let me till I showed him why. I hope that tells you that I'm not leading you to your death."
"So after all this time...he never crossed over or whatever you call it. He stayed to protect me from other ghosts?"
"Yes, his spirit refuses to leave the earth." I took a moment to stop myself from crying.
"So" I said "What is your name?"
"Kathleen, I was Dakota's daughter."
"Dakota as in Toby's girlfriend?" She nodded. "So what does that mean?"
"You are Aunt Jaycee."
"That means you're Toby's daughter?" She nodded again. "What happened to you?Why are you dead?"
"That's a story for another time. We do have a reason for being here remember."
"Right" I followed her in to the hallway. We made our was down an old staircase to the living room where all the Bravehearts were seated.