The Paranormal Investigator Book 8

by Christopher Carrolli

The terrifying reign of the shadows has ended. But in their exit, they awakened something unseen, something sinister, something malevolent. The malevolent spirit, hell bent on revenge, seeks to possess and live in the human flesh. One name recurs through its consciousness—Susan. In addition, Susan is unaware that her doppelganger has penetrated the walls of her home. The other Susan lingers, unseen, contemplating the right moment to reveal herself.

Meanwhile, Tahoe has foreseen a face to face confrontation between the two Susans. Worried about Susan, the team faces other dilemmas. Tahoe has undergone a silent but obvious change since channeling the great chief’s spirit and battling the shadows. Dylan, haunted by dreams of the night on Eagle Rock Mountain, begins to remember. Yet all of it must wait.

Tahoe’s prediction comes to pass. As two identical beings meet, the malevolent force intercedes, and a showdown begins, leaving Susan’s life hanging in the balance, and the investigators embroiled in a battle between life and death.


Chapter One


High above the ground, the spirit hovered like a dark cloud. Disembodied and detached from the world it had once been a part of, the spirit continued to linger within it as a separate, unseen presence. Conscious thought was fleeting. Bits of random information presented themselves like abstract puzzle pieces. Some things the spirit recognized; some things it did not. Cohesive thought became temporary. As the bits of information strung together to form a meaning, suddenly the string of thought became broken by any number of interruptions: voices, faces, sounds, past memories. Bound by the chains of death, the spirit lacked a physical host to bring it to full, thriving life.

Like the countless beings whose heads it hovered high above, it had once existed as they had in the hustle and bustle of what it once knew as life. A single memory recurred over and over, each time bringing the spirit closer to a knowledge it faintly understood. Some time ago, an explosion had ripped through its once human and conscious mind, forever shattering memories and the knowledge it collected throughout its existence. A sulfuric taste, a tinge of gunpowder lingered on its ghostly pallet forever. The memory kept showing a hand raising a pistol, a finger pulling a trigger, and then the spirit saw the explosion again.

Fire, blood, and then life faded to black.

Then, the world had come back into view. The spirit’s new existence had hovered above the ground, bodiless, lost, and unaware. It recognized emotions it once knew: regret, confusion, and unending pain. Yet its attention to such things soon evaporated, erased by the happenings of a world that continued on without it. Then the suicide memory would play out again, through the boundless hell of repetition.

After its violent release from the world, the spirit recognized the faces of loved ones left behind. Tears streaming down their faces, they’d called out the given name the spirit once adhered to in this world.

“Dean, Dean, Dean.”

But memories of Dean’s existence played out in random images: Mother, walking him to school every day; Father, pitching him practice softballs in the yard. Lauren, walking down the aisle in her wedding dress, and Lydia, taking her first steps and clasping onto his legs—her first finish line. The spirit felt a connection to all of them, but none so like Lydia. Lydia: blood of its blood, flesh of its flesh. Lydia, its one mark, its single legacy left in this world.

The spirit of Dean Collier watched Lydia grow into a smart, successful, and beautiful young woman. When Lydia married, the spirit felt a strange sense of contentment, as if its job had been done, as if it could rest—at least for the time being. Rest it had, though rest was sporadic. The images of its own human demise continued, yet the spirit became accustomed to the knowledge that the images would consume its existence forever. It knew what it had done.

The spirit continued to linger in the strangest form of respite until dark, shadowy figures awakened its existence. Unlike humans, the shadows were not constrained to the ground beneath them. The shadows took to the air, as well as the ground. They corralled the spirit’s floating form and danced around it in a flurry. The shadows had dragged the spirit down to the earthly floor and forced it to accompany them on a frightening whirlwind.

Through it all, the familiar shadows seemed to be sending messages the spirit could not understand. The spirit saw its earthly name written in blood. Four bloody letters dripped down a wooden door. It saw a woman’s face, a blonde woman it knew but couldn’t pinpoint. Her identity was an answer that existed within its memory, but her name was a word that failed to form on ghostly lips, a name that drifted away in a sea of past memories.

A shadow whispered to its consciousness.



A wave of shadowy hands produced glimpses of the past. In life, the spirit once sat across from Susan. She had worn a white coat, the keeper of Dean’s innermost thoughts and feelings. The spirit remembered Susan trying to help. She believed in Dean. The spirit recalled feelings of gratitude toward her but with a hidden sense of skepticism. It remembered a dormant thought from long ago, one that questioned why Susan believed in him when others had not.

The shadows incited the spirit to remember, and remember it had. It remembered the shadows. They had haunted its life. They watched when its earthly hand pulled the trigger. Now, they had awakened it, stirring its dormant anger into a seething, malevolent wrath.


Dean had warned Susan about the shadows. She failed to listen. Now, the shadows sought to contain Dean’s spirit as a prisoner. The spirit would not let that happen. Fear was no longer a factor; life had already ended.

The spirit had mustered all of its preternatural energy and lunged at the shadows, but the shadows were quick, lashing back like a collective crack from a ringmaster’s whip. The spirit felt itself aiming, and then striking out like a cobra, but the dark dancing forms remained impervious to its presence. The shadows were the masters. They would shape its boundless soul into the malevolent force they had conjured.

The shadows became as relentless as time was unending. The spirit saw Lydia’s face and the slight trace of its own earthly existence in her green eyes and rich red hair. The shadows were warning the spirit, invoking its closest earthly connection as a hostage. The spirit failed to fully comprehend. It would follow the shadows. It would adhere to them and watch helplessly in an agonizing effort to understand.

Evoking a powerful energy, the shadows attracted the spirit like a magnet and dragged it through a misty, clouded whirlwind. As wisps of thin mist evaporated, the image of a white stately mansion became clearer and more solid. Large white columns upheld vast terraces above. Below, stone walkways spiraled through flower gardens leading to the front entrance. At the front door, Susan and two others stood waiting to enter the house.

The spirit knew the house, by instinct as well as by sight. It had seen it before in some small space of time, but time seemed to be an everlasting duration where the past and the present coexisted together. Lydia, this was Lydia’s house. The spirit, unseen, watched as the connection between Lydia and Susan was revealed.

On the tennis court, Lydia shook Susan’s hand. The spirit listened to their words.

“...a friend of my father. Is that true?”

Lydia mentioned her father. The spirit remembered being her father.

“A friend in one way. I was his psychiatrist,” Susan replied.

Psychiatrist. The spirit knew the word. Suddenly, a past memory played out alongside the present. Susan sat across from him—him—Dean. She’d clasped his hands in hers.

“You can overcome this, Dean,” she said. “You can put your life back together.”

Abruptly, the memory vanished. The present had moved slightly forward.

The spirit watched as Lydia, Susan, and her friends adjourned to the small study. Lydia spoke of how her father had ultimately been a good man. The spirit heard something in her voice: yearning, constant grief, overwhelming love. A fleeting notion of heartbreak consumed the spirit. Then, the feeling faded as Susan’s words diverted its attention.

“I saw the good in Dean, but I’m afraid I failed to fully recognize his illness because I believed in him...I wish I could have saved him.”

Saved him. There would have been no saving him from the shadows. There would be no absolution for his self-murder. The spirit remained damned to its own repetitive hell, where the shadows could now haunt it throughout eternity. Waking the spirit from its only perception of rest, the shadows had forced it to behold the world in its current state and listen to the words of its heartbroken offspring.

“Something had been turning my Dad into a different man. During those fights with my Mom, something would change him. He would turn almost—malevolent.”

The word reverberated through the spirit’s consciousness—malevolent.

Susan was a liar. The spirit sensed it, recognizing some secret, secondary agenda. Her main concern was not the life the spirit had once been. The spirit recognized feelings of guilt emanating from Susan, but there was something more, something it failed to understand.

The spirit noticed Susan’s friend, the young woman with long blonde hair. A strange glow radiated from her forehead, just between her eyes. The spirit moved within the slight shimmering, trying to attract the young woman’s attention which remained fixed on Lydia. The spirit could make its presence known, but the young woman sat rapt in Lydia’s words. A plump young man sat alongside her, listening with ears that heard beyond the sounds of the physical world. Susan’s friends were able to communicate with the world beyond, a fact the spirit knew automatically.

“Well, during one of our sessions, he kept referring to ‘shadows.’”

Susan spoke again. She knew about the shadows. Now, she believed. The spirit watched as Lydia handed Susan an object. It recognized the object, but it failed to grasp the word. The everyday item from the stream of life now lingered in the passage of eternity as a vaguely remembered memento. A fleeting word caught the spirit’s attention—video.

A flash of memory: moving pictures, video, watching Lydia dance through the camera lens, Lauren shielding her face from the camera, Mom and Dad glancing at each other, then at the camera, bashfully scrambling for words. The spirit saw its life, its body, its face. It remembered speaking to the camera. It remembered watching those precious moments over and over.

The present moment sped fast into the future. Lydia bid Susan and the others goodbye at the doorstep. A sensation swept the spirit, a strong energy, a feeling of mistrust. Susan was the cause of the suspicion. The shadows had revealed it.

The spirit knew how to muster its energy and then direct it toward a physical source. It focused on the feelings it now felt about Susan. It projected the inkling of distrust onto Lydia. She would sense its energy, its message. Blood of its blood, flesh of its flesh.

Wrinkles of doubt formed on Lydia’s face. Her green eyes narrowed in wonder. Back in her small study, Lydia searched on her computer until she found words and pictures of Susan. The spirit’s projection had worked. Lydia received its message, its warning—Susan had an ulterior motive.

Hovering above Lydia’s head, the spirit witnessed her disappointment, confusion, and frustration. Susan had not been completely forthcoming. Now, Lydia knew what the spirit had sensed about Susan. It watched as Lydia rose from her desk chair and walked to the living room’s wooden staircase.

Suddenly, the room darkened as if a thousand shadows eclipsed all visible light. The house was plunged into a darkness Lydia could not see. The spirit felt their presences. It heard the strange popping, plucking noises they made. The shadows had returned. They’d come back for the spirit. They would force it to accompany them on another whirlwind, or so it assumed.

A shadow shot past Lydia at the top of the stairs. Light flickered intermittently through the shadowy darkness as the spirit soared up the stairs. Lydia teetered backwards. The spirit emitted its energy toward Lydia and projected it around her, attempting to create an invisible bond. Lydia clasped the railing and balanced herself on the staircase. Undeterred, she reached the top step and walked into the family room. The spirit followed.

Lydia screamed as another shadow jumped out in front of her. Then, the shadows multiplied, baring blazing red eyes as they invoked her fear. They chased her, edging her into a fit of hysteria before she ran out onto the balcony. The spirit struggled to intervene, mustering its energy, but projecting nothing more than a sudden wind that swept the room unnoticed. Cornered by the shadows, Lydia backed up against the balcony railing. The spirit watched helplessly as Lydia lost her balance and tumbled backwards over the edge.

From above, it saw Lydia’s broken body strewn on the stone platform below. Myriad emotions besieged the spirit. It felt the sudden rape of pain, defeat, and loss, but worst of all—rage. The spirit raged against the shadows, a futile attempt to affect their dark, ghostly presences. The shadows simply watched, goading the spirit’s anger and fury, taunting it with their untouchable superiority. Then, the shadows vanished. The eclipsing darkness withdrew and departed.

The spirit hovered above Lydia’s body, watching as energy rose from her. Lydia’s soul lifted high above, where the restless spirit could not reach it. Gone was the spirit’s only physical connection to this world. The spirit once known as Dean lingered invisibly, unacknowledged, and darkly remembered.

Rage consumed it. Sudden evil overwhelmed the one hint of love it had clearly understood. A feeling of malevolence besieged the spirit. It would avenge. The shadows did this. Susan had brought them here. It would make her pay. It would consume her with its ghostly venom. It would steal her body long enough to fully awaken and understand. She would be its host. Then, it would destroy her.

The spirit projected its wrath. Windows shattered. Curtains wafted. Doors slammed. It would perfect the force it now wielded with a gathering strength. What had once lingered as a simple, benign energy now strengthened into something more, something malignant, something malevolent.

"Malevolent" - Christopher Carrolli


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