The Benson:Experiment in Terror 2.5(8)

By: Karina Halle

I do as he says and stop. Dex sucks in his breath in one sharp motion.

“What is it?” I whisper uneasily. I wish I could see what he is seeing.

“Do you not see it?”

I turn around and see his silhouette against the light. “See what?” I feel the symptoms of a panic attack poking around my spine.

He doesn’t say anything but keeps the camera trained on me while reaching into his backpack. He pulls out what looks like the small infrared camera.

“Here, turn the switch on, it’s on the side,” he says and hands it to me. I fumble for it, feeling around for the button.

It comes on and then I can see again. Well, kind of. It’s aimed at the floor and I can see the shape of my feet and legs glowing a hot red against the blackness. I feel a lot like I’m in Predator.

“Now turn around and aim it straight in front of you.”

I hesitate for a second, afraid of what I’m going to witness. Then I turn on the spot so I’m facing the black room and look through the infrared camera.

I nearly drop it.

Right in front of me, to the side of the bed, is a tall, long shape of pale blue light. A hazy silhouette. The outline of a man who isn’t there.

“That’s unbelievable,” I hear Dex say from behind me. I can’t form the words to agree. The fear is overpowering my fascination. There is someone standing right in front of me. Parker Hayden.

“Talk to it.”

“What?” I whisper hoarsely, my eyes flitting from the screen to the blackness in front of me. If I walk forward, will my hands grab onto a desperate dead man? Or will they pass through them, like no one is there at all? Do I even want to know?

“Mr. Hayden,” Dex speaks in a gentle voice, void of any self-consciousness. “Mr. Hayden, we can see you. Would you like to talk to us? Would you like to tell us something?”

The shape on the camera shakes vigorously on the spot, like the picture on a television that’s being hit from the side. Then it stops and in a blink of an eye it bursts out of the screen, screaming past us in a blur of cold, miserable energy.

And just like that, all the lights in the room come on and it’s just Dex and I left staring at each other, cameras in hand, feeling cold and dumbfounded at what we just encountered.

I manage to shut my mouth so I don’t look like a drooling fool on camera and look back down at the infrared.

“We need to follow him.”

I look up at Dex with the most incredulous stinkeye I can muster.

“We need to follow him? We don’t even know what that was. Or who that was. Or where he went. Or if he wants us to follow him…”

Dex turns around and heads to the door.

“Dex!” I yell after him and grab onto his sleeve. I look up at his eyes but I can see he’s already gone, thinking in the mind of a ghost, plotting where Parker would have gone next.

“Perry, we can’t just leave it at that.”

“I don’t know, I think what we just captured is some pretty awesome stuff. Maybe that’s all we’ll get for tonight. Maybe it’s time to go home.”

The side of his mouth twitches and before I know it, he’s grinning at me. “Why Perry, I thought you’d turned into quite the little fearless ghost hunter back in Red Fox. Getting cold feet, are we?”

I wish I had a snappy rebuttal for that, but I don’t. The truth is, I’m scared. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen a ghost; it’s still scary. And considering how often these supernatural beings have tried to kill me in the past, I think I have every right to fear each one I encounter. Every chance I get to get out of the shoot alive is a chance I want to take. I mean, deep down inside, I’m just an ordinary, 22-year-old girl who likes to listen to metal and dreams about chocolate on a nightly basis. Just because I’m ghost bait, doesn’t mean I have to exploit it.

But I don’t say any of this to Dex. Even though he’s just my partner (and I’m usually the sane one), I can’t bear the thought of losing face with him. He took a risk by creating this show and by putting me in it. I took a risk by giving up my old job to make something of my life. I want to be the person that he thinks I am, that fearless, brave girl—woman, even—who laughs in the face of danger. Something more than ordinary.

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