by TS Caladan
[Author’s note: What if the early Mod Squad did some Ghost-Busting? What happened in a secret ceremony atop Mullholland Drive when a ‘portal’ to an evil dimension was opened?].
‘Café/Caffeine’ was crowded at this particular time of day at one of LA’s “in” places on the Sunset Strip. Weather was beautiful with blue skies and warm temperatures throughout the week. College students were the main group that gathered inside the popular “retro” luncheon and dinner bistro. Waitresses dressed like beatniks from ten years earlier. The specials were out of this world. Meals were served as they were a decade ago, the only difference was the high prices. There was a microphone and small stage where various acts performed from singers, folk musicians with acoustic guitars, jazz trios, comedians and even poetry readings.
Julie Barnes finished her cup of java that had three sugars and no cream as she sat comfortably next to her good friend, Linc Hayes. His coffee had no sugar and extra cream. They waited for the third corner of a recent, triangular relationship that had formed: Pete Cochran.
Time marched forward. Where was Pete? What took him so long? Why was he late on what was an extremely important evening for Julie?
Julie never had a psychic reading before and heard that Madam Vida was the absolute best. Julie convinced both of her reluctant “guy-pals” and they were to accompany her to Mullholland Drive where a very creepy cottage stood atop the Hollywood Hills. Her new comrades were skeptical and very much against the idea, at first. She was a great believer in the occult and psychic mysticism. Julie had a higher degree of telepathic ability than the average person. She studied unconventional books on UFOs and ESP. When the blonde heard back from Madam Vida, she reacted as if she had a meeting with Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood or Elvis!
“She’s supposed to be a WITCH,” Julie told Linc with brilliant ‘fire’ in her eyes. She grabbed his strong hands for only a few seconds and shook them.
The tall, black man with an Afro laughed. He stated coolly, “Can’t believe you believe in hocus pocus, Jul. Ha. Ha.”
“It’s not hocus pocus, augh! What’s the matter with you and Pete?” Her colorful, mod attire was more than merely a “look” for the time period, it was sincerely meaningful to the girl. The clear crystal above her cleavage represented all that was the New Age or ‘Age of Aquarius,’ blowin’ in the wind. Julie was the future.
Everything the quartz represented was everything Pete and Linc found absurd and not credible.
Linc spied the quartz crystal around his friend’s pretty neck for the first time and understood a bit more. “Ah. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t cop an attitude.” Hayes turned to a serious tone. “Obviously, this is important to you…you meeting this…she’s a witch?”
“Look at her ad in the back of the LA Weekly.” Ms. Barnes showed him the square piece of paper she cut from the free magazine.
He read it. There was the word “witch.” “You’re telling me, tonight won’t be…ah, one of those psychic readings with a crystal ball, it will come from an honest to goodness witch? Yes?”
Julie laughed. She waved off the waitress. “Ha. Um. She’s supposed to have real powers. Many celebrities believe in the occult and in HER! I’m a, ha…I’m thrilled she agreed to see me. Big waiting list. Can’t believe it. Why me? I’m not famous, but she is…in underground circles, anyway. I called her number and the old gal said I could bring two guests…”
Linc answered and acted bored. “And I know just the lucky ones you thought of, huh?” He smiled.
Anxious Julie stared at the door again. “What’s keeping Pete? We gotta get it together and be on the road soon. Vida said: as soon as it gets dark.”
“Hell. So she’s a Night Witch? I know superstitious people, Juls.” Linc put on his thick glasses and looked into her blue eyes. “It IS going to be creepy tonight, isn’t it?”
She returned the freaked stare and shook her head up and down with big, curious eyes.
He was happy that she was happy. Linc said his catchphrase: “Solid.”
Julie Barnes, wild ‘flower child,’ ran away from a broken home, far from a prostitute mother in San Francisco. She was arrested on the streets of LA for vagrancy.
Peter Cochran, long-haired rebel, was tossed out of a cushy lifestyle in Beverly Hills and rejected by wealthy parents. He was arrested after he stole a car that he could have purchased.
Lincoln Hayes came from a poor family of 13 and was arrested during the Watts riots.
Presently, the young trio of recent friends had a slew of offenses and qualities in common. They all met in jail and were on tenuous probation. This was right before Captain Adam Greer coerced the three of them to (work off jail time and) become undercover agents for the police.
The Sun set. It was twilight.
Where was Pete?
During an unusually quiet period without stage acts or crowds in Café/Caffeine, Linc received an unexpected phone call. A heavy, black phone with a long, curly extension cord was handed to Linc.
It was Pete on the other end…
Pete Cochran was inside his cool apartment with a Day-Glo Jimi Hendrix poster, a Beatles ‘Revolver’ poster and a Jim Morrison/Doors poster on the walls. He was ‘supposed to call Julie at the cafe,’ but he called Linc instead. He lied and stated Julie didn’t show up at his apartment, which was the “new plan” rather than where the gang normally met at the café. Pete oddly acted as if Julie was the missing third component and hadn’t shown. Where was Julie? Pete went on as if, “Oh well. What should we do without her?” It was as if: The big meeting with Madam Vida was Julie’s deal and now the trip was off.
Mr. Hayes looked across the table at Ms. Barnes. He removed his glasses and then put them back on again. He casually informed his friend Pete that, “Julie’s right here. We’re waitin’ for ya, dude. She’s excited to go and doesn’t want to be late. Somebody’s wires got switched.”
Pete did not believe Linc, but in shock and in a complete ‘fog,’ he responded like an android: “Sure…I’ll…be…right…there…pal.” [click].
In back of Mr. Cochran, on the floor, laid the bloody body of Julie Barnes! There was a lot of broken glass pieces. She appeared dead. Blood finally stopped its flow from her head as her prone body was lifeless on the wooden floor.
Blood touched two of the ‘Oriental rugs’ and soaked into them somewhat by this time…
“I’ll clean up later,” he said to the posters as if in a surreal, Dali-inspired dream.
Pete met Julie exactly when and where they planned to get together: in his apartment. Later, they’d hook up with Linc at the coffee shop and then visit the famous night witch. The ‘plan’ did not happen…
Instead, when Julie bent down and smelled the fragrance from freshly picked flowers he had arranged on the glass coffee table…
Pete snuck up behind the innocent girl and struck her hard with one of his tennis trophies from the mantle! Flowers fit the occasion. Lovely Julie Barnes dropped straight down and smashed through the coffee table. Pieces of glass and bloody pieces of her were around the table.
Pete killed Julie with one blow!
It was night. Pete picked them up at the café. The three of them sped off in his red, convertible, Karmann Ghia two-seater to the apex of Mullholland.
It was a tight fit and thin Julie sat in Lincoln’s lap.
The weather changed. The evening was predicted to be a nice, clear night. Suddenly it was muggy; rain was sensed above them in the high atmosphere. Clouds gathered and ‘heat lightning’ flashed in the distance. Thunder was heard.
Pete pushed a button and the cute roof electronically formed over their heads and clicked into place.
On the way to the top of a curved and very notorious road, Pete never explained why he was late or where he and Julie were supposed to meet. It was forgotten. The excitement of the moment influenced each of them as the night got darker and spookier. They were nervous. They were on a ‘golden Road to Oz’ and to, as advertised, a very “powerful witch.” Pete hardly spoke.
Madam Vida expected them to be late. In truth, the last ‘special’ clients she honored with accurate Readings arrived precisely at a time when they were supposed to get to the strange, old cottage on the top of the hill: 9:30 PM.
Tonight would be tremendously different than other nights. No psychic reading would ever be like what they’d experience in the next two hours. Each of them felt they ventured nearer and nearer a huge, buried truth or secret to the mysterious Madam Vida and also themselves, whatever that was?
To understand properly what will occur in the next hours, background information of two ancient entities must be introduced: Two immortal enemies, made friends and then changed back to enemies were going to spiritually encounter each other again after many thousands of years…
Truth and its insane, diametric opposition had survived.
Spirits of Uruk would also be dramatically different than at other times the warriors met on numerous battlefields throughout the ages and even had fought side by side. Wars and weapons and faces changed, but not what was right and what was wrong.
Gilgamesh, mighty King of Uruk, once oppressed his subjects on Earth long ago. The gods created his perfect, negative counterpart: the mad wild-man, Enkidu. After their first battles, the powerful beings became close friends. Gilgamesh spurned the advances of the goddess Ishtar. As a result, she condemned his partner Enkidu to death.
Gilgamesh undertook a long and perilous journey to ‘discover the secret of eternal life’ to aid dead Enkidu. He eventually learned that: "Life, which you look for, you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and life withheld in their own hands.”
This evening inside “Hill House,” at the appointed time, the Universe will witness another battle between Gilgamesh, the King, and the mad beast, Enkidu. Only one infinite Spirit can survive after midnight. The other’s life force or eternal energy will be forever annihilated~
James, the elderly and neatly dressed butler, showed the curious triad into the main room. He fetched drinks.
As instructed, Julie, Pete and Linc sat around a small table in the dark, dusty setting of one majorly eccentric and very old human being. A crystal ball, a foot in diameter on a base, graced the center of her small table. Typical or stereotypical objects of occultists were nowhere on the bare, black walls or anywhere else. There was just the clear quartz sphere.
‘She,’ (Madam Vida) the host who appeared male, did not seem too vital or vivacious or that much alive when they got closer views of the “super psychic to the stars.” Madam Vida was supremely wrinkled as if she was over 100, but Julie understood her to be a mere 92 years old. Her first request, in a male voice, after a cordial greeting, was: “Please…hold hands.”
James entered the drab room and placed burgundy drinks in elaborate goblets on the table from a tray for each of them. They were told it was wine. He left and was never seen again.
The witch held Linc’s hand and Pete’s hand while Julie sat directly across the table from her. Their arms formed a perfect circle. What they called a “witch” quickly absorbed all the information about the people that sat in front of her. She also received a partial view of what was going to happen in the near future.
Time was 9:55.
She closed her eyes and told them in a slow, raspy, manly voice: “One of you is a ghost. One of you killed the other. The other one…was also a killer. Each of you have deep secrets, each of you are atomic bombs…waiting…waiting…waiting…to go off. Is that not right, children? Do you even know why you are here with me this evening?”
Pete broke his grip from the witch’s cold, thin, lifeless fingers. The spiritual chain of energy between them was severed. Pete yelled in frustration because what he’d done earlier in the day flashed for just a second in front of his eyes. [What was inside of him that only now surfaced?] “I don’t understand any of this! Julie! We’re here because we’re, ah, supporting Julie.” He answered the witch’s question with what the spoiled rich kid thought was the correct answer. Out popped: “What ghost? What killers and atomic bombs?”
“That’s not it. Julie is not the answer and she is the answer, the necessary future. She is the ghost. One of you killed her. Wonder which one? I really don’t know.” Her (his) face smiled broader and created more wrinkles. Vida’s soul, for the last 8000 years, under many names, had spoken the truth. She was unaware of Julie’s murderer; it was one of the Odd Squad boys!
She stared into psychic Julie’s eyes, a pair of eyes that did not doubt her words. Madam Witch said, “My old foe is here. The Beast is with us now. We were once best friends and fought alongside the other throughout many war campaigns. But he’s gone mad, joined my enemies.”
The boys watched the spectacle.
Julie, who subconsciously computed that she was dead and a ghost, asked Madam Vida, too casually, “What does he want?”
The aware witch of many worlds replied without a missed beat: “He came here to end me. He wants to destroy my soul-energy so the secret of eternal life is also destroyed. Mad Enkidu does not realize: If he destroys me, he does not return to immortality but is himself spiritually destroyed, forever.”
Julie stared ahead, through the walls and light-years out into space. Then she focused on the sculptured cup right in front of her. She picked up the elegant goblet and drank the wine.
Linc attempted a warning. “Maybe you shouldn’t…”
Beautiful, hippie-chick, often barefoot and always in blue jeans…
…Disappeared into thin air!
The Ghost was gone.
Time was 10:55.
The ultimate battle commenced between the mystic old gal (who was in reality the ancient King of Uruk) and his/her direct opposition, the insane Enkidu. The problem was the insane Enkidu resided either inside Lincoln Hayes or within the body of Peter Cochran. Which one?
In another dimension, a long war was drawn out that ebbed and flowed one way and then the other until eventually a final resolution and winner was proclaimed. The conclusion only happened after what was the equivalent to years of WAR on an incomprehensible level. But in the Earthly realm of a physical universe of one, linear, Forward Time and between beings or ‘shells’ that contained powerful, prehistoric Mortal Enemies of polar opposition…
There was only time for one shot. It had to be the perfect shot by one or the other as if two time-lines merged into one time-line [reality] at a singular moment. The sharpest or ‘quickest gunslinger’ will be successful. Negative or Positive would be victorious. Two Spirits, one black, one white, walked into the Arena of a much Higher Dimension and only one Spirit walked out…
In an incorporeal and supreme and ultra-extended Universe of Space/Time, a ‘Wall of Light’ blasted through ‘Curtains of Darkness’ and defeated negativity and evil. Good remained good and remained so in the positive future. Truth and reason won, while madness and chaos lost…
On the material level, the King defeated the Wild Man in a flash. Gilgamesh would have lost and so would Julie have come to a horrible fate she should not have had…if the King (Vida) would have believed earlier visions and chosen the demonic Beast was housed inside of Pete.
Vida or Gilgamesh turned to Linc who remained in the chair next to her small table.
Pete was unconscious on the floor.
Gilgamesh condemned the thing inside Linc’s body: “It was you. You killed Julie. You insanely believed it was a solid truth that the ‘Future had to die.’ You made Pete an unwilling and innocent candidate for murder, your murder, Enkidu. Pete was your puppet, your hand; you made him kill her. I only saw it now, a moment before I shot and I had to make the one good shot count: you or Pete? I shot you.”
Enkidu left the body of Lincoln Hayes and also left the entire physical universe forever because a Wall of Light smashed through Curtains of Darkness…or an old Warrior King made a good shot.
Julie Barnes did not die long before her time.
She was saved by a corrupted King, then a reformed King or male/female Spirit who once led legions of pan-dimensional troops in the name of Freedom along with his greatest enemy and greatest friend.
There was no more Enkidu, ever again.
There was no more Gilgamesh or Madam Vida.
Hill House completely vanished~
An ancient, good, positive Spirit who was not a witch, merged with sensitive Julie Barnes. They became one unified being. [“I took your beauty; you took my life.”] A decrepit but very powerful Spirit gave up her/his eternal soul and saved Julie’s life. He shielded her as her head was smashed by Pete’s hand and the will of what was inside Linc. Gilgamesh had saved her and protected her ethereal body after death with all the features and attributes of a real body.
It was morning on an incredible day, the ‘first day of the rest of their lives.’ The Odd Squad came to consciousness and believed they tripped on Orange Sunshine together last night. They had little memories of what really happened. Their recollections had been wiped fairly clean. Were they abducted by aliens? Maybe they drank themselves silly?
The three youths were in the Hollywood Hills, next to Pete’s red Karmann Ghia. They laughed. They embraced each other and got into the car. They headed toward home and knew there were plenty of exciting adventures in store for them...
The long horizon was a fantastic, colorful sight.
There was hope for the future now. Tomorrow looked bright and glorious and very, very groovy…
How to order novels by TS Caladan
- http://www.twbpress.com/authortraycaladan.html Promo-page from publisher: TWB Press in Colorado
- TWB Press in Colorado
or go to publisher’s site: TWBPRESS.COM
TWB Press, publishing, electronic, e-books, ebooks, short stories, novels, science fiction, supernatural, horror, thrillers, fiction
TS Caladan's 3-Book "Traylogy" can be purchased thru TWB Press.
9" x 6" books with cover art are less than $18.00. EBooks are $3.99.