I flashed to our room. It felt so strange thinking of it as “our” room, as if we were college buddies. Etta emptied the box she’d been carrying earlier. Inside were nine thick books. Etta carefully removed each one and placed them on the white wicker vanity that the previous girl had picked out for her sweet sixteen. Ugh—there’d been nothing sweet about that girl. More guys snuck through her window than people served at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Etta would be a welcome change from the walking STD that was the previous occupant. After carefully resting her guitar against the side of the desk, Etta plopped down on her twin size white wicker bed and stared off into space.
I walked over to the desk to see just what a damaged girl would read. I half expected to find a copy of Thorin’s Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing. She could be a goth girl, like the last few emotionally damaged kids that lived here. I didn’t find Thorin’s work or any other emo-oriented items on her desk. But I had seen her books before. A lot of the psychics I’d met through the years used them for their babble. Demonology for Dummies, Spiritual Cleansing, Exorcising Demons, the Holy Bible, Dante’s Inferno, The Complete Book of Devils and Demons, Angels and Demons, Dispelling Poltergeists, and my personal favorite, So Your House is Haunted. None of those books ever worked against me. Hell, I’ve even used the books against the tarts who believed in their false practices. What are the chances that a girl who reads this garbage moves into a house with an actual Demon?
“Here you go baby.” Mr. Divad’s voice cracked as he handed Etta two yellow pills and a Pepsi. Etta’s episode seemed to have shaken him up. Surprising, considering he seemed to be a hardcore Marine who had probably seen and done as many horrible things as I have. Maybe I didn’t do a good enough walkthrough on him. I’d have to dig deeper into him.
“Dad? Can I ask you something?”
“Fire away, baby,” Mr. Divad said.
“You remember what I said about happy thoughts?” Etta’s voice was low and sheepish. Whatever she was talking about, she appeared embarrassed mentioning it.
“Yes?” Mr. Divad looked puzzled. I became intrigued by their awkward body language. Maybe this conversation would give a little bit of dirt that I could use later.
“Can we do that here, too? Just for a little bit until we settle down?”
“Sure thing baby, but we really need to work past all of that. Why don’t you get some rest? I’ll bring the rest of the stuff in.” Mr. Divad kissed Etta on her forehead and exited the room.
Happy thoughts! She wanted to block me from gathering more information. I thought I felt a hint of anger, but I wasn’t going to lose the upper hand in my own house. I couldn’t give her a chance to block me out. With any luck, her father wouldn’t honor Etta’s request.
“Don’t you dare,” Etta said, but before she could get up I had already caught up to her dad. Flashes of Etta screaming, blood, hospital rooms, and pain filled Mr. Divad. Of everything a forty-something-year-old Marine could have possibly gone through, all he saw was his daughter’s pain? Oh, there must have been something else going on. Viewing the flashes, I stopped at one that I had seen before. I watched the scene play out.