The Benson:Experiment in Terror 2.5(2)By: Karina Halle
But here, tonight, they are clouded. No, that’s not quite it. Not clouded but subdued. The sparkle and zest that roam in them, no matter what his mood, are gone. They are handsome, beguiling eyes but not his.
I think back to Red Fox and how he had gone so long without his anti-psychotic medication that he began to actually feel again. It was scary for him, no doubt (and for me, let’s not kid ourselves) but in the end…he was free. Or so I thought. Now it seems that sparkle and life, the manic highs and lows, are gone. As destructive as they were, they are an important part of him.
“Sorry,” I mutter to myself, dropping my eyes quickly to the table just as the waitress comes by and puts down his drink.
“What would you like, Perry?” he asks me. I look up at him and the waitress. Her name tag states her as Prudence. She has white hair and a friendly smile but a stance that says I better be quick with an answer.
I don’t drink normally, especially not on the job – which is what I am doing here tonight with Dex – but I say, “A glass of the house red, thanks.”
It’s the cheapest and will relax my nerves. Prudence leaves with my order after Dex gives her a quick wink. He then turns to me as we sit down.
“So how are you, kiddo?” he asks, peering at my face, trying to read me before I say anything. “Is it nice having me in your neck of the woods again?”
“It’s just nice to see you again,” I say honestly. With Dex living in Seattle and me in Portland, I only ever see him when we film. And in the between time, I miss him.
A blush starts to creep up my neck. I can feel it.
He gives me a smile that reaches his eyes and shows perfect teeth that are quite white for a smoker. “Well, it’s nice to see you. Too bad you’re not bunking with me tonight at my motel.”
I give him a sharp look, not sure if he’s kidding or not.
He smiles again, almost leering. “I’ll probably be shaking in my boots after tonight with only my pillow to hug.”
The waitress comes back and gives me my wine. He gives her the same kind of smirk. This is how I know he’s messing with me.
I roll my eyes. “So what is our plan for tonight anyway? Are we just going to sit here and drink and wait for the ghosts to show up?”
“Patience, Perry,” he says and takes another gulp of his drink. He gestures to the wine and nods at it. “Have some of that and relax.”
I take a sip of the acidic merlot and look around me. As gorgeous and old-fashioned as the hotel is, there are so many people about, and I can’t imagine how on earth the place could be haunted. But apparently it is. In fact, Portland has a few ghost tours that come around and poke their heads in the hotel a few times a week. I doubt anybody ever sees anything, though.
“Are we the first ghost hunting show to come inside here?” I ask Dex.
He coughs on his drink and shakes his head. “Fuck no. We’re a bit behind on this one. I think just about every ghost hunter has been in this hotel at some point or another.”
“Do they ever find anything?”
He gives me a wry look. “What do you think? Of course not.”
“What makes you think we will?”
He smiles again and reaches over with his hand to pat me softly on the head. “Because I’ve got you, kiddo. You’re my little ghost bait.”
I think back to Red Fox, to a moment when Dex said I might be offered up as bait to the skinwalkers. The idea bothered me then and it bothers me now. I take a longer sip of the wine this time.
He’s watching my face closely, as usual, and he still keeps his hand there. I’m not sure if he’s trying to comfort me or what. I shoot him a deadly look from the side of my eyes.
“I’m joking you know,” he finally says, his voice less rough, less gravely. “I just mean, well, you know there’s something about you, something that attracts these things. You’re like a secret weapon.”
“Some weapon,” I scoff and look down into the glass, my vision becoming a blur of deep reds. “What’s the point of just attracting these…things? These people? If I could use this…power…whatever it is, for good…that would be a different story.”