The Lost Witch
A short story by Kimberly Collins
Riley leaned her head against the car door. The glass was cold on her forehead. Her eyes followed a raindrop as it hit the window and shimmied down the glass, joining up with other raindrops to create a small river dancing across the backseat window. The houses passed by in a rain-soaked blur, one-by-one. Her Aunt Mildred had not shut up since they got in the car. Mostly, she was speaking to her daughter Alison, who was riding shotgun in the front seat. Riley did her best to block out their voices, their thoughts, their hate. It had become increasingly difficult the past few weeks, but now she didn’t need to worry about them anymore. She was going to stay with her cousin Liz, who was the closest relative she had. Their mothers had married brothers, which made Riley and Liz double-first cousins. They had always been close, even though they were separated by eleven years.
Liz would be the fourth family member to take Riley in since her mom died of cancer three years ago. She lived with her grandmother for a year. Then she died of a heart attack. Then she was passed to her Uncle Mel and his new young wife Tiffany. Tiffany didn’t like Riley. She pretty much didn’t like any kids. She tolerated Riley because she came with a small trust fund, thanks to her mother’s life insurance and a great run on the stock market. However, when Tiffany found out the trust fund was ironclad, and she couldn’t touch it, she made Riley leave. Well, that and the other stuff. The stuff that followed Riley. The stuff that the others couldn’t see, but they knew.
Same reason Aunt Mildred was taking her to Liz’s now. The inability to tap into the trust fund. And the other stuff. Didn’t help that Alison was jealous of her. She and Alison were the same age. Riley kept to herself mostly. She had one friend at school, and that was all she needed. Alison was popular and had a boyfriend. The boyfriend liked Riley a little too much for Alison’s ego to handle.
The car pulled off the highway and turned down a side street. The rain stopped, as they entered the neighborhood. Riley felt a calming as they turned down the street marked “Historic Old North Knoxville” on a purple sign. She felt that she was coming home. Finally.
Riley hadn’t seen Liz in over a year. They had kept in contact through texting, social media, and an occasional phone call. Liz had finished grad school a year ago and was now working at the Knox County Medical Examiner’s office as a medicolegal death investigator. Riley was excited to see Liz. Riley figured working with dead people all the time that Liz would be more accepting of the other stuff that tagged along with her. They were dead, after all.
“I don’t know why that girl wants to live over here amongst these dilapidated old houses. Look at that one there. That thing looks like it ain’t been painted in a coon’s age. And all this trashy Halloween stuff makes ‘em look even more disgusting. They need one of those homeowners’ associations to keep stuff like this under control.” Aunt Mildred said.
"Liz has always been an odd duck, Mama. You two should get along just fine, Riley.” Alison said, never turning to look at Riley.
Riley loved the old houses. So much character, so much history, so many stories they each held within their walls. Everything was decorated for Halloween. Pumpkins, ghouls, skeletons, giant spiders, and all manner of decorations filled the yards.
Aunt Mildred navigated the car around the small traffic circle at the end of the street. And the house came into view. It sat on the corner and was the biggest house in the neighborhood, by far. Riley loved it. It was over one hundred years old and simply magnificent.
Aunt Mildred parked the car in front of the house. Liz was waiting on the front porch. Riley jumped out of the car as soon as it came to a stop, and ran up the brick walkway; stepping into Liz’s outstretched arms.
“Hey, Buttercup! How are you? Welcome to your new home,” Liz said.
“Liz, I’m so happy to be here. I’ll get my stuff out of the car.”
Aunt Mildred stepped up on the porch and sat in one of the three rockers, as Riley leapt from the porch and ran to the car to get her things. Alison was leaning against the car. “I hope she lets you stay. But don’t get your hopes up. Once she finds out what a freak you are, she’ll kick you to the curb too. You’re just too weird to have around for very long.”
Riley got her bags out of the trunk and closed the lid. “Goodbye, Alison. Oh, and by the way, tell that disgusting boyfriend of yours to stop thinking about me.” Riley returned to the porch. She slowed her pace when she heard Aunt Mildred speaking.
“Elizabeth, you need to keep your eye on that girl. She ain’t well. I think she needs hospitalized, but those damned attorneys her mother put in charge of her trust fought me at every turn.”
Liz sat down in one of the empty rockers facing Aunt Mildred. “Why do you think she isn’t well?”
“She talks to herself all the time. I think she hears voices. I heard her a few times at night talking to herself. She swears she was on that damned cell phone talking to her one and only friend—that should tell you something, that she has only one friend, and she’s just as weird as Riley.”
“Well, Aunt Mildred, Riley’s only fifteen. Certainly, you understand the angst of being a fifteen-year-old. Especially in today’s society. Why, social media alone contributes to so much teen anxiety. Shoot, I’m twenty-six and it makes me anxious.”
“No, Elizabeth. This is different. They’s something not right about that girl.”
(You crazy old bat, please leave now. I never did like my daddy’s side of the family.) Riley couldn’t believe Liz called Aunt Mildred a crazy old bat. Aunt Mildred wasn’t responding, but still talking. Maybe Liz had just thought it. She had to get better at distinguishing between thoughts and words spoken. That’s what got her into trouble with Aunt Mildred. She heard her thinking about getting her hands on the trust fund, but thought she heard her speaking, so she replied. Aunt Mildred freaked out, started screaming she was a witch. It was ugly to say the least.
“Well, anyway, she’s your trouble now. Good luck.” Aunt Mildred stood to leave. “By the way, Elizabeth, what on earth possessed you to move into this old house? Ain’t nobody lived here since your grandmother passed. What’s that been? Five years?”
“About that long. Granny left it to me, and now that I’m out of school and back in Knoxville, it was the only place I wanted to live. I love this old house. Always have. It needs a lot of work—painting, some plumbing, and electrical stuff. But it’s been in my mama’s family for five generations.”
(Five generations of witches, from what I understand. You and that freaky brat deserve each other.) “I’d think a young woman like you’d want to live in one of those new condos downtown. More nightlife. To each his own, I suppose,” Mildred said.
(Five generations? How about twelve? You have no clue, lady. With one breath, I could send your rotten ass scootin’ across the street.) “Well, come back next year, it’ll look like a brand new place.” Liz walked Aunt Mildred to her car.
Riley stood silent trying to process what she had just heard. Liz walked back up the walkway. Aunt Mildred and Alison pulled away and down the street.
“What? You look like you’ve seen a ghost? Is everything okay, Riley?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just … I’m confused.”
“Twelve generations of witches? Is that true?”
Liz wrapped her arms around Riley. “Ahhh … so you can hear?”
“What? You mean you didn’t say that out loud?” Riley silently kicked herself.
“No, I didn’t. Soooo much we have to talk about. Come on inside and I’ll show you your room.”
The front door was the biggest door Riley had ever seen on a house. It was solid wood and twice as wide as a normal door. The top of the door had slightly tinted glass with a Celtic love knot etched into it. The door handle had a lion’s head in the base. They entered the foyer. The floor was made of wide wood planks with a design in the center that looked like a mandala to Riley. She was certain that wasn’t what it was, but that was the best thing she could compare it to. The staircase was extra wide and sat at the far end of the foyer. The first few steps started as a circle and then meandered up the wall for a few more steps, where a stained-glass window lit up the foyer. The steps then continued up the back wall to the second floor circling again at the top.
Riley’s room was the biggest bedroom she’d ever had. “This is mine? All mine?” She asked Liz in disbelief.
“Yep, all yours. Well, you might have a cat trying to barge in from time to time. But, mostly it’s all yours, Buttercup.”
“Cat? You have a cat? Aunt Mildred had a no-pets rule. Alison is allergic to all of God’s creatures.”
“Cats! I have two cats. Luna and Jupiter—they run things around here. And there’s usually another five roaming around outside that just stop by for a visit from time to time.”
“Cats! Yes! I love this place already.”
“This was your mom’s room growing up. A lot of her things are still here, so feel free to take claim to any of it you want.”
“Really? She talked about this room a lot. Especially when she got sick. She would reminisce about living here and playing with your mom, and all the fun they had.”
“Get settled in and find your way back down to the kitchen. We need to plan our Halloween activities. We can also have some lunch and chat.”
Riley leaned against the bed and looked around. A sense of relief washed over her. Being in her mother’s room made her feel even more comforted and at home. She left her bags on the bed and went downstairs. As she left the room, a gentle blue mist spread under her mother’s old bed.
Liz went to the kitchen and checked the soup she had put on earlier that morning. She loved this kitchen. Always had. Some of her favorite childhood memories were right here in this kitchen with her mother and grandmother. She wouldn’t change anything that didn’t need fixed. The contractor she had hired for the renovations suggested replacing the floor. But that was her favorite part. The wood was old and worn in all the places her grandmother had stood and walked, while she cooked, and mixed potions, and made teas, and tinctures. No, she wouldn’t change anything.
The rain had returned and was pouring now. There was a definite autumn chill in the air. Liz put another log on the fire and pondered how much she should tell Riley. She had no idea how much Riley already knew. Liz was certain Riley knew she wasn’t a typical teenager. She may not know what to do about it, but she had to know by now. Liz had known of her special gift when she was ten.
“Ahhh … there you are.” Liz motioned for Riley to have a seat at the huge wooden table. “We can make sandwiches. I also made a pot of soup that is ready to dig into.”
“Liz, this house is incredible. I can barely remember being here. I was about four I think.” Riley said.
“I was about fifteen when you were last here. It was grandma’s birthday. Your dad moved your mom off to west Tennessee not long after that. He wanted your mom away from the family. He thought she would stop using magic if she was isolated. Little did he know, that loneliness created an even greater need for the magic. It was never the same after y’all moved. My mother was a sad little bird without your mom here. How was your mom after moving away from all of us?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Fine, I guess. Odd. Not like other moms.” Riley said.
“Mine wasn’t like other moms either.” Liz ladled soup into bowls.
“Liz, is that witch thing true? My mom never really talked about it, but … there were strange things that happened. A lot. She kept most of it to herself, but here were times she shared simple magic with me.”
“The story is that witches go back about twelve or thirteen generations.”
“What kind of witches? Good? Bad? I don’t’ even know what a witch is?”
“We're good witches. I think the term ‘witches’ might imply the wrong thing in most cases. For instance, our grandmother lived here in this house most of her life. She cooked up potions for love, healing, prosperity, abundance, all sorts of good things. She was a psychic, and people came to see her to have their cards read. That’s how she made a living. She never did anything evil or mean. She only helped people.”
“What else? What was my mother? What's your mother?”
“My mother is psychic and has a bit of what you have, but it’s not nearly as strong. And she can read minds. Like me.” Liz waited for a reaction from Riley.
“What do you mean, like you?” Riley put her spoon down.
“Well, I can read people’s thoughts. And I have dreams that are almost always psychic or intuitive in nature. For instance, I dreamed six months ago that Aunt Mildred was going to kick you out. That’s why I called your attorneys and told them to bring you to me.”
“Do you read Tarot cards?”
“No. Granny taught me to read cards, but then I started having dreams about the time I started having my menstrual cycle. And the dreams were so strong, my mama didn’t want me messing with the cards any more. It was too much. These gifts we have can drain your energy. So, you have to be careful.”
“What else have you dreamed about me?” Riley asked.
“I’m pretty certain, from what I’ve seen in my dreams that you have your own set of gifts. Gifts that are pretty unique. I think your mom had the same gift, and she tried to stuff it down and keep it hidden from sight after she got married. My mama says that’s what caused her cancer. That she spent the last ten years of her life running from the very essence of who she was.”
“She kinda said that right before she died. It didn’t make much sense at the time, but since then, it’s clearer. She told me to let my gifts express themselves and not to be afraid of who and what I am. She said that not letting it be, would eat me alive just like it did her.”
“So, how can I help you? How can I help you understand and use the gifts?” Liz asked.
“I’m not sure. It doesn’t scare me that I have it. It scares me that I don’t know what to do with it, Liz.”
“Tell me about it. Describe it.”
“Like you, I can hear people’s thoughts. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m hearing their thoughts or their words. And I respond because I think they’re speaking. That’s what happened with Aunt Mildred. But that’s not all. I see … I see people. I think they’re dead. They talk to me, Liz. They actually talk to me. Am I crazy? Everyone tries to make me think I’m crazy. I feel so lost, Liz. Like a lost witch.” Riley’s eyes filled with tears.
Liz placed her hand over Riley’s. “It’s okay. You’re not crazy. You’re not a lost witch. You’re here. With me. It will all be okay. You just need to learn how to navigate this new world. There are controls that you need to learn. I can teach you a lot. But my mom can teach you the most.”
“I won’t be any trouble, Liz. I promise. I won’t let them bother you. I won’t talk to them when you’re trying to sleep. I promise.” Riley said.
“Stop fretting about it, Riley. It’s fine. I’m used to this. The thing is that sometimes the spirits can be bad spirits. They’ve tried to hurt my mom and your mom many times over the years. You must be careful. If you see any of them, you must tell me immediately. This is a very old house and lots of crazy things have gone on here. So, don’t mess around with this stuff. You need to be trained on how to use your gifts and control the spirits that come to you.”
“I’ll let you know if I see any. I promise.” Riley said.
“Come on. We have plenty of time to show you the ropes. Right now, we need to decide what we're doing for Halloween. I have six pumpkins, so start carving.” Liz handed Riley a knife.
Luna and Jupiter perched in the kitchen window providing oversight, as Liz and Riley carved pumpkins at the kitchen table. The rain continued to fall. The faint sounds of thunder rumbled through the valley and lightning lit up the sky.
Riley carried the last pumpkin out to the front porch. She lit the candle and placed the top back on the pumpkin. She stepped back looking at the jack-o-lanterns, proud of their handiwork. She turned to go back in, and that was when she saw them. Two of them, standing at the bottom of the steps. At first, she thought it was early trick-or-treaters. Then she recognized the faint glow that surrounded them.
“What do you want?” She whispered.
“You know. You know what we want. Why won’t you help us?”
“I can’t. I don’t know how. Please leave. You don’t understand. This is my last chance. Please leave before Liz comes out here.” Riley ran inside and closed the door.
“Whoa there, speedy. Where’re you going so fast?” Liz asked.
“Sorry. It’s cold out there. That’s all. And this door is so big and heavy.”
“Let’s clean up the kitchen and we can call it a night.” Liz said.
Riley stood at the kitchen sink washing the last of the dishes. She looked out the kitchen window searching for the two spirits from the porch and any others who may have found her here. She didn’t understand how they kept finding her. They seemed to seek her out wherever she went. Riley went to her room and Luna followed her, just as Liz predicted.
Riley’s bags were on the floor and her clothes were neatly folded and placed on the bench under the window. She was certain she left them on the bed. In the bags. Perhaps Liz had moved them. But Liz had been with her the entire time. Maybe when she went outside with the pumpkins Liz had been up to her room.
She placed her things in the same dresser her mother had used as a young woman. She had an overwhelming longing for her mother at that moment. Fighting back the tears she returned to the window. She stood looking out at the lawn. The trees lined the walkway. She could see a faint light from the neighbor’s house. Some people walking a dog.
And them. There were more of them now. Maybe half a dozen more. They had to leave. If she just stayed inside and ignored them, maybe they would go away. She closed the curtains and got ready for bed. She crawled under the quilt, Luna followed and snuggled up next to her. She fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. The blue mist continued to spread out under the bed and across the floor.
The next day was Halloween. Riley and Liz hung purple and orange lights in the trees and along the walkway. They expected to have a lot of trick-or-treaters. Riley had never been more content since her mother passed away. She could still see them, but chose to ignore them. As long as they didn’t talk to her or touch her, she was fine. She debated on telling Liz, and decided not to. Even though Liz was used to this sort of thing, it was best not to let her think Riley had brought spirits into her home. Riley was certain she could handle it. There had been two at Aunt Mildred’s and one at Uncle Mel’s. She did fine with them. But there were so many here at Liz’s. Why so many and how did they find her so quickly?
Maybe they were more active, because it was Halloween. That had to be it. Riley just needed to get through the night and they would go back to wherever they came from. Hopefully.
Liz was right, there were more than one hundred trick-or-treaters that night. A few of Liz’s friends came over to help give out candy. Riley finally felt part of something. Of someone. She had felt so lost since her mother had died. Never fitting in with her father’s family members she had lived with. Never able to talk openly about her “gifts” as Liz called them. But here, she felt at peace. Sorta. She just needed to get them to move on.
Liz was having such a good time, Riley didn’t want to talk about it tonight. Tomorrow morning, she would tell Liz about them and ask how to get rid of them. Riley didn’t want to cause trouble. She didn’t want to mess up this opportunity for a real home. A real chance.
The trick-or-treaters faded away. It was late, and Riley had school the next day, so she said goodnight to Liz and her friends and went up to her room. Luna trailing behind her. Riley stepped into her room and couldn’t believe her eyes. The clothes she had placed in the dresser the night before were neatly folded and stacked underneath the window. Again.
“What the …? This is crazy. Luna, did you see anyone? Anything? I’ve got to tell Liz.” Luna jumped up on the bed and started grooming her face.
Riley turned to go back downstairs to get Liz and ran smack into the closed door. The door that she hadn’t closed. “Ouch! Okay, this is getting to be a little much. What do you want? Who are you? Show yourself.” Riley’s heart raced around the room waiting for something to appear or speak to her.
She could hear Liz and her friends in the kitchen laughing. They were leaving. Finally. Riley went for her cell phone to text Liz. No signal. How could she not have a signal? They were on wifi! Great. Now what?
Riley tossed her phone on the bed next to Luna. She dropped her head in her hands. She felt a movement in the room and looked up. The original two spirits from the night before were there and about ten others.
Riley went to the window and saw Liz’s friends pulling out of the driveway. Liz was at the end of the walkway saying goodbye to the last guest. Liz turned and was walking towards the house. Riley knew she had to get Liz’s attention. She tried opening the window, but it wouldn’t budge. She pounded on the window and screamed for Liz.
Riley turned back to the spirits. “What do you want? Why are you here?”
“You need to help us. You are the one. You must help us.” They said.
“Help you do what? What can I do to help you? You’re all dead!”
Riley watched as the blue mist spread under the bed and across the floor. It crawled up the walls. Riley was really scared now. “What is that?”
A new spirit stepped out from the shadows. He was a teenage boy, as best Riley could estimate. “That’s the mist from the portal. It opens on Halloween. Now that you’re here, it’ll remain open.”
“A portal? Like a portal to hell?”
“It’s nothing that sinister. It’s a portal for the spirits to come to you for help. It’s a clear channel for us to seek you out.”
“I can’t help you! How many times do I need to say it?”
“You will help us. Or else!”
“Or else what?” Riley didn’t like being bullied—especially by a boy. Even if it was a dead boy.
Riley’s phone flew across the room and smashed into the wall. Luna jumped off the bed and hid under the armoire.
Riley’s backpack came flying at her, hitting her in the face. “I can destroy this room and this entire house, if you want, Riley.” The boy threatened.
“STOP! No! You’re crazy. Stop it. STOP! How do you know my name?”
“We all know who and what you are, Riley. That’s why we’re here.”
“I’ll help. But I don’t know how I can help you or what to do. I’m new at this. I don’t even know who you are.”
“I’m Troy. I’m not sure who these others are. But you’ll help me first.”
Riley could feel something wet running down her face. Her eyes were watering. She wiped at her eye and it was blood. Her eyes were bleeding. “What're you doing to me? My eyes are bleeding!”
Troy laughed. “You really don’t know what you are, do you?”
“Stop it. I said I would help you.”
“I’m not causing the bleeding. You are.”
“What do you want … what do you want me to do?”
“You need to pass messages and help us move on.”
“How did you find me?”
Troy laughed. “We aren’t here because of you, we're here because of her. The other one. Liz.”
Hours later, the sun streaked the sky. Riley was exhausted. The dead just kept coming and coming. She wrote down messages for so many people. Her right eye had continued to bleed through the ordeal. Her face was bruised from the backpack. She opened her door and stumbled down the hallway to the other side of the house to Liz’s room. She opened Liz’s bedroom door, falling to the floor. “Liz. Liz, help me.”
Liz jumped out bed and ran to Riley. Luna sat close by. “Oh, my God. Riley! Riley, what happened?”
“Them. The spirits. They’re here.”
“You brought them with you? Why didn’t you tell me they followed you? Riley, I told you, you can’t play around with this stuff.”
“No. I didn’t bring them with me. They were here. Because of you … you brought them here.”
“What? What're you talking about?”
“They followed you home. From work. All the dead people you’ve helped. All the scenes you’ve been on. Almost all of them have followed you home.”
“They have messages for you, for the families, for their murderers. They all had something to tell me. I have two notebooks full of messages. I’ve been up all night with them.”
“Why didn’t you come get me or scream out?” Liz asked.
“I tried, but it was no use. My phone wouldn’t work, the window wouldn’t open. The door was locked from the outside. Then the one kid, Troy, he threw stuff around the room and threatened me. Liz, he was murdered. He told me who, how, when, why. All of it. You have to take this information to the police or he will come back until it’s settled.”
“This will be hard to do, Riley. I can’t just go to the police and tell them a dead boy showed up and told my cousin who murdered him.”
Riley grabbed Liz’s hand. “We have to figure out a way. This is too important.”
“Oh, Riley. Your eyes are bleeding. Mom’s did this as well. This is bad, Riley. It’s a bad sign. You must learn how to control this thing and NOW or it will kill you. I’m calling Mom. Come, get in my bed.”
Riley spent the next few days recovering from Halloween night.
“Riley, Mom's here,” Liz called out from the bottom of the stairs.
Riley ran down the stairs to greet her Aunt Rachelle. “Aunt Chelle!” They hugged and cried.
“My sweet girl. Look at you! You’re as long and lanky as a willow tree. Come! We have much to teach you.”
They sat at the long wooden kitchen table, and Riley’s training began.
“Riley, before we begin, tell me how you like it here? What you think, or better yet, what you feel about the house?”
“Aunt Chelle, I love this house. It’s the only place I’ve ever really felt at home. Other than the spirits the other night, and my stuff constantly being moved around, it’s very peaceful here.”
“What do you mean, your stuff is constantly being moved around?” Chelle asked.
“Every night, my clothes are folded and in a neat little pile by the window. And I don’t put them there. I typically just kinda fold them and cram them in a drawer.”
Chelle shot Liz a look. “Which room are you sleeping in?”
“My mom’s old room.”
“Liz, we spoke about this. She isn’t ready.” Chelle said.
“Mom, the other rooms are not habitable yet. The contractor is here working in those rooms for the next few months. It was the only room available.”
“You mean to tell me that in this six-bedroom, six-bath monstrosity of a house, that you couldn’t find another room for Riley?”
“Aunt Chelle, I love being in my mom’s old room. It’s perfect. I really don’t want to be in another room.”
“That’s not the issue, dear.” Chelle paused for the right words. “It’s … there’s something more about that room that I don’t think you’re quite ready for. A few things actually.”
“What are they?”
“Just tell her, Mom. After what she’s been through already I can’t imagine it will be any more traumatic.”
Riley looked from Chelle to Liz and back to Chelle. “Tell me what?”
“Well,” Chelle began. “As you now know, there is a portal in that room. Your mother would open it once or twice a year to help the poor souls who cried out to her. However, the portal is not used by only good souls. It’s also used by more sinister spirits. When this happens, the blue mist turns dark gray, almost black. That’s when you need to be prepared or get the hell out of there.”
“We can close the portal though, right? We’re doing this today, aren’t we?” Riley asked.
“Yes. And I'll make sure you know how to close and open the portal by yourself.”
“I only saw blue mist Halloween night. Nothing grey.” Riley assured them.
“Remember, even with the portal closed, the spirits will still find you. They'll still follow Liz home. They just won’t come inside the house. They'll be here waiting for you on the porch, in the yard, on the rooftop. Just not inside.”
“I can live with that.” Riley said.
“There’s more.” Chelle shifted nervously in her seat. “Before Liz moved in, I wanted to cleanse the house with sage and make sure there was no stagnant energy lurking about. I went through each room with my sage and my singing bowls. When I got to Maggie’s room—your room—I instantly felt something. Something familiar. Something hurting.”
Riley was puzzled. “What? What was it?”
“It was your mother. It was Maggie. She's there. And she said she isn’t leaving. I think she’s the one who's been folding your clothes. That’s so like her.” Chelle laughed as the tears fell down her cheeks.
“That all makes sense. When I pick up my folded clothes I have this deep longing for her. Why can’t I see her?” Riley wiped away the tears.
“She may think you aren’t ready yet. Or perhaps she isn’t ready yet.”
“As long as she doesn’t leave me again. I’ll take whatever she's ready to share.” Riley cried harder.
“Your mother’s gift was very strong. However, after she married your father he forbade her to use it. So, it sat there inside her, untapped. I think the power of her gift has found a home in you. Her gift was so strong that she attracted a lot of nefarious spirits, as well. They wanted to use her for their own evil intents. You must be careful of this, Riley. Your gift is so strong, they will come for you. We need to close the portal immediately. Your mother's there, and she'll help us from the other side. Are you ready?”
“I’m ready.” Riley said.
Riley, Liz, and Chelle started up the stairs, armed with the correct incantation, sage, and singing bowls. As they passed the stained-glass window on the second landing of the staircase, a dark grey mist started spreading on the floor, under Riley’s bed.