serialized 2 of 9

Uncle Randy was reluctant to get involved at first. I remember having my ear pressed to the floor with Cherie and Ted while we listened to our Dads talking about it downstairs. Uncle Randy’s wife, my Aunt Lola, she never wanted them to do it. She ended up lasting the first four years but left after that. Sometimes Cherie and Ted go and visit her on the weekends.

When they first got started up, Dad and Uncle Randy went online to shop for equipment. They can only afford the things they really need. Uncle Randy still works at the hardware store so sometimes he gets good deals on parts, him and Dad try to make their own detection devices. They both seem to believe there are faults in the equipment they’re using.

The equipment picks up all different things, mostly sounds and temperature changes. They have a camera that’s supposed to read heat in the atmosphere and take photographs to reflect what it feels, but it never seems to work. One time Cherie swore there was a figure in one of the pictures she took at an old mental institution we visited. Ted and I didn’t agree though.

I remember that place more clear than some of the others for some reason. I thought it was weird that even though the hospital had been technically empty for four years, the whole place reeked like bleach. I remember we all had chattering teeth from the icy gusts sweeping up and down the hallways while it was the middle of summer outside. And the building wasn’t air conditioned.

I wonder if Cherie really did pick something up with the camera that day. Some days I think I can understand what Dad and Uncle Randy do, most days I tend to think they’re crazy. Cherie and Ted both love everything about ghost hunting. So once again I’m the outcast. At least I’m used to it by now.

Tonight we’re all going to a University where Dad and Uncle Randy are going to speak. Every year they do a two month tour. We travel around and they go in and talk to small groups of people that have actually heard of them.

Most of the people in the crowd have heard of them through newspaper stories or because they personally know someone they’ve helped. I think the whole thing is corny. Dad hooks up his laptop and then him and Uncle Randy talk about places they’ve been. It’s pretty boring if you ask me.

When we get to the University where the talk is, I remember why I’m not going to college. It’s so dingy in here. The walls are dirty and the carpets look disgusting. They’re a squished down brown that’s starting to fade to a grey from being so filthy. Not to mention the green stains everywhere.

‘I dare you to lick the carpet,’ says Ted to Cherie. It must be a sibling thing. I don’t know if he just does it to antagonize her or what. I’ve known Cherie basically my entire life. She started wearing miniature high heels when she was ten. There is no way she would ever lick this nasty carpet.

‘Shut up,’ she says and gives her big brother a half push away. It’s surprising to me Cherie is so into ghost hunting. She started cheerleading at High School and even does it still it now in college. She doesn’t come on all of the ghost hunts anymore, but she tags along at most. If you saw her in the street, you’d think she’s one of those girls worried about breaking a nail. She doesn’t act like that at all though; I never understood why she wants to look all high maintenance.

Cherie’s five years older than me but the fact that she’s in college makes her seem much older than that.

Ted didn’t go to college, and I totally don’t blame him. Instead he did a mechanic’s apprenticeship and now works at a local garage. I’d like to learn a trade but I’m too clumsy. Dad says he’s surprised I figured out how to use a fork. Sometimes I’ll forget I’m holding my fork and suddenly drop it. Food goes everywhere. It’s really embarrassing.

‘You lick the carpet you scumbag,’ says Cherie adjusting the shoulder bag she’s carrying with extra speaker leads for the microphones.

Aunt Lola hasn’t come to a single talk Dad and Uncle Randy have done. And they’ve been doing them for three years. I realize they aren’t married anymore but, I don’t know. I mean both her kids are pretty into it. You’d think she’d just want to come and see what they’re up to.

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