One must understand the need for exploration and this is why Eljiah Jacobs packed up his car to visit a ghost. It was a dare and his girlfriend wanted to go as well. It would be a drive of close to seven hours depending on his speed from Atlanta to Louisville. The Georgia sun was steamy for May and the girl-that-was-a-friend-but-not-a-girlfriend had to tag along because she felt he needed emotional support.
Elijah first saw the ghost that towered at 6 feet 4 inches tall fifteen years ago when he was seven. He knew it was sometime in winter but not an exact month or day. Elijah definitely remembered it was close to midnight and for some reason his Mama let him stay up longer than usual and even made sugar cookies to go with his warm milk. The cookies were devoured quickly and he ran to his bed to hear the wind as more snow fell outside his window. Elijah wasn’t prepared for a ghost to loom out of the darkness in his bedroom. The figure said a lot of words that passed in the air and made no sense as he hid under his sheets.
He cried for his Mama but instead he just heard the figure shouting bad words at him. Ghosts are not suppose to haunt little children. Yet, Elijah’s Mama didn’t come soon enough. The ghost poked at him from outside his sheets. He kicked and the figure slapped his thigh. The over 6 feet tall apparition then disappeared back into the shadows. The yelling of his Mama caused the ghost to return to its lair.
In fifteen years there had been no new sightings. The girl that was a friend, Nia, kept Elijah up at night with her new theories. Elijah’s Mama tried to explain the absence of the apparition while Elijah cursed both of them privately. Yet, secretly he too wanted answers. He was determined now since graduation was over. It was all very intentional – wait until the day after college graduation and then ride the trail to find the elusive phantom from years ago.
Elijah was a calm ball. He could curl up his 5 foot 9 inch frame and lay there with his knees tucked under his chin for hours. It was a reflex and a way to relax in the times of the “calm before the storm”. He was a baby still in his mother’s womb – comfortable, content, and cautious.
Nia was going to be the devil for him. If she could do so she would drag him kicking and screaming through a storm. “We are doing this!” she slaps him on the back. Elijah walked into the warm air and squinted at the sun.
“I really don’t want you to go. This is my assignment.” He speaks just loud enough for Nia’s ears only. Nia looks at him and shakes her head. There are no words between them. He opens the door to his blue 2010 Ford Fusion just as his cell phone starts to ring. The name and number is of his best friend, Tre. Tre tells him he is driving and will be at his apartment in twenty seconds flat. Elijah starts laughing.
Nia stares through Elijah like he isn’t there. She is sad and confused. Nia wants to form her words carefully so she thinks a moment, but then hears a car stereo. Tre is driving up blasting a Jay-Z song she doesn’t know.
“Man. . . . where the hell did you come from?” Elijah shouts. He sees Tre trying to catch his breath.
“I had to be here to see this transition in your life. The spirit told me to get here before the devil takes you out. ” Tre laughs.
“Yeah. No disrespect to you and your family and all. I just don’t know about God anymore. I do know Pastor Holloway was always good to me. Please tell your dad I said goodbye and thanks.” Elijah can’t release his hand from the car door. He is ready to go. He doesn’t want a speech from Tre and he doesn’t want to talk to Nia.
Nia forced herself onto this trip. Tre invited himself as well. Elijah was not going to go it alone as he planned in his head. Tre had his Bible with him in the backseat. Nia was quiet but in her peripheral vision saw the stern look on Elijah’s face as he drove. Neither of you needed to be here, he thought.