Hey, ya’ll! Welcome back to Simply Paradise & Haven.
As promised, here is the final part of Haunted College Boys Arc. It is complete one year later.
Two Days Later:
The boys gathered in the dining room, armed with the census from 1988 as well as a list of owners of the homes in their area from 1988.
Ryan asked, “How do we want to go about this?”
Connor offered, “How about we go by the homeowners first? It seems to be the shortest.”
Justin lifted it and peered at it to find the closest house to this home 30 years ago.
“There wasn’t a lot of homes around here, then, was there?”
Squeaks on the board, ‘No. I actually owned much of the property this house and the three houses closest to us now are on. Still do, my sister chose to rent that property out and have homes built on to bring in income. She sold the property the apartment complex on the next street over is on as the city bought some of the property to put in a street.’
The four boys hummed in understanding and Justin read off the first name.
Using the system they’d come up with, Jason marked an X on the board, the name didn’t trigger anything.
It wasn’t until seven names down that a memory flashed back.
The papers dropped as Justin, Ben, Ryan and Connor all covered their heads from the wind that had suddenly started up.
Justin peered up and saw Jason stiff as a board in front of the white board, blue eyes glowing, mouth open wide as if he was voicelessly screaming, his scars glowing white.
“Jason? Jason! Jason!!”
But there was no response. Whatever was happening to Jason, he was trapped within.
And they were trapped in a maelstrom with nothing to do but duck down and dodge the loose items that were beginning to be picked up in the wind. Windows opened and slammed close, shutters slamming against the house, floorboards creaking, doors opening and slamming, the house was losing it along with its owner.
Ryan crawled under the table, pulling Justin under with him, Connor following his lead with Ben.
What felt like ages later, but was likely just a few minutes, the wind finally died down and the house calmed, leaving marks of the chaos.
When it felt safe, the boys crawled out from under the table, eyeing the mess that had been left behind, and realized Jason was nowhere to be seen.
Before they could stop him, Justin took off up the stairs, headed to the one place they could always find Jason.
He came to stop before Jason’s office and knocked harshly on the door.
“Jason? Are you in there? Are you okay??”
No verbal response, of course, but the door slipped open. Justin stepped in, followed closely by the other three. He saw Jason in the chair at his desk, turned to look at them. His eyes and scars were no longer glowing, but his scars looked raw, his eyes pained. He’d clearly remembered something, something horrible.
“What happened down there? Who is Mitchell Drake?”
Jason turned away, picking up his pen.
Shortly, he handed Justin the paper and Justin read it aloud, “He’s my murderer. Daisy Brown must be the reincarnation of his sister, Eryn Drake. In 1988, she was my stalker.”
“But wait, why’d he murder you?”
Jason took the paper back and scribbled one last sentence.
“I can show you, if you like.”
Before they answered, Ryan looked up from his phone where he’d googled Eryn Drake.
“Jason’s right. According to Google, Eryn Drake committed suicide at a sanatorium in 1989, just a week after the one-year anniversary of Jason McKay’s murder and Marshall Davidson’s disappearance.”
“Wow, bad month.”
“Apparently, she’d tried on the anniversary, but the doctors were worried she’d try something since Jason’s death was what tipped her over and sent her to the sanatorium in the first place, so they’d kept a close eye on her.”
Justin turned to Jason, “I want to see.”
Ben piped up, “Me too.”
Ryan and Connor agreed.
In a ripple of light, their surroundings changed.
They were still in Jason’s office, but the light was brighter, the wall clock was ticking away and there was a cup of cold coffee beside the couch. In front of them, sitting at his desk was Jason. But the difference, they saw as he turned at the knocks on the front door, was that this was an uninjured Jason.
“This must be right before the attack.”
Jason was confused as to who was visiting this late at night as a glance at the clock on the wall showed it to be 10 p.m.
He made his way downstairs, knowing it wasn’t Marshall as he was still at work. Marshall often worked late hours, being a nurse at the local emergency room.
He peered through the peephole, confused when he saw the figure of his neighbor.
He opened the door and opened his mouth to ask what he could help him with.
But he never got the words out. Mitchell Drake jumped Jason, knocking him to the ground and stabbing him the first of the multiple times. While Jason was disoriented and in pain, Mitchell dragged Jason upstairs, he couldn’t leave Jason here in front of the door. If Marshall came in and saw him, he’d run and that would ruin his plan.
Once they were upstairs, Mitchell paused to catch his breath.
“I bet you’re wondering why I’m doing this.”
Jason sniped, the first the living ever heard his deep slow drawl, “That’s what most people who are being attacked wonder.”
Justin snorted even as that clearly angered the deranged man.
Mitchell pummeled Jason with his fist, too angry to control where the punches hit and uncaring if it knocked Jason out. He’d simply wait for him to wake up.
Jason tried to defend himself, but the man’s anger and the slow blood loss and pain of his stab wounds proved to be too much.
Mitchell finally calmed and explained why he was there.
“You turned down my sister! She’s in love with you and instead of returning her affections, like a real man, you chose to dabble in sin with Davidson. You couldn’t even respect her enough to not kiss him in front of others, including her. You must pay!”
“News flash, Mitchell, you can’t return affections that don’t exist. I’m gay, I don’t like Eryn and that can’t be changed.”
“I’m defending Eryn’s honor.”
“How? By beating me up, that’s only going to land you in jail.”
“Shut up! No one will ever know I was the one that did it. You’ll both be dead when I’m done.”
“This is a foolish plan.”
“Shut up, shut up, shut up!”
Clearly, Eryn wasn’t the only Drake with mental problems.
Mitchell decided to silence Jason permanently and after stabbing him several more times to ensure he stayed still, he cut out Jason’s tongue, gouged the knife into his face in a mockery of the Joker’s smile.
Then he wrapped the barbwire around the barely conscious Jason’s face, shredding his lower face, and down around his neck.
Mitchell tightened the wire around Jason’s neck, watching blood pour out of Jason’s neck and the life leave Jason’s blue eyes. Once he was dead, he didn’t dare leave him out here where Marshall would find him and flee before he could finish the job. He pulled Jason’s body by the feet down to Jason’s office, the sound of barbwire scraping against the wooden floor a familiar sound to the four living witnessing this horror.
Mitchell went downstairs and waited. But unknown to him, Marshall had entered through the cracked door and seen him attacking Jason upstairs. He’d run back out the door with the intention of going for help only to run into Eryn upstairs. She’d chased him back into the woods and ensured he never came out. Her part in this as well as the loss of her ‘love’ was what tipped her over as she was a naïve person who guilt weighed on heavily.
After enough time that he worried about being caught here by someone other than Marshall had passed, he made his way out and headed home.
A flash of light surrounded them once more and they were back in Jason’s office.
But he wasn’t there. Worried about where he was, they all ran out into the hall just in time to see him step out of Justin’s room.
Justin stepped forward to hug him, needing the reassurance he was still there, before remembering that he was ghost and he would just pass right through him.
Ben asked, “You okay, Jason?”
Jason peered behind him into what had been his and Marshall’s room and was now Justin’s before nodding.
They looked behind him but didn’t see anything.
The lights in the hallway brightened before returning to normal and Jason pointed into the bedroom.
Ben, with the knowledge from his grandmother, gasped.
“Oh! You know what happened to you, you’ve gained the closure you needed. You see a light now, don’t you!”
Jason nodded, not smiling but eyes brighter than they’d seen them.
It was a bittersweet feeling. They’d become close to their ghostly housemate but were happy he’d finally gained his closure and would see Marshall once more.
They bid him farewell and Jason walked towards a light that became brighter and visible the closer he grew to it before he vanished into it.
About two weeks later- October 15:
Justin stretched his arms over his head, homework finally complete for the weekend. He nudged Ryan who was staring at his book catatonic.
“I think you need a break.”
Connor rubbed his face from where he’d been studying a medical book, “I think we all do.”
He looked up to see Justin staring at the whiteboard that had been untouched since Jason had left them two weeks before.
“Still miss him, huh?”
“Yeah. I don’t know, we grew so close in such a short amount of time. I know it’s silly but if he’d been alive, I think we’d worked out well.”
Ben commented, “I’d been thinking about that. I’ve wondered if maybe you are Marshall reborn.”
“We already know Daisy is Eryn reborn. There’s nothing that says you can’t be Marshall. You both died within a year of each other, deaths resolved.”
“Then it was fitting that we helped Jason get his closure then.”
“Speaking of Daisy, it’s been nice having a place she can’t get into.”
Even without Jason, the house still barred Daisy entrance as they’d realized when they’d had a small party for their living friends a week after Jason going into the light and she’d attempted to crash it.
“I’m just grateful there hasn’t been many questions about it.”
Before anyone could answer, there was three knocks on the front door.
“Uh, did anyone invite someone over?”
Justin headed to the door, the other three following close behind.
When they opened the door, they received the shock of their life.
Standing on the front stoop, suitcase to his side, stood a tall young man, about their age, dark brown hair to his shoulders and very familiar royal blue eyes.
“Hello, my name is Jason McKay. My sister Shirly said there’d be room here for me to stay?”
“Uh, sure. Come in.”
There was another room in the wing with Ben, Ryan and Connor but first…
Ben asked, “What brings you here?”
“I’m studying architecture at the local university, a junior and just transferred there with my mom’s approval. She didn’t really want me back in the town of my uncle’s murder, but I managed to convince her.”
Before they could ask any more questions, a clearly living Jason smiled, “Hello Justin, Ben, Ryan and Connor. Nice to see you all again.”
“So, it’s really you? You’re reborn…?!”
Jason nodded to Justin’s question, “I’m now my sister’s son, it was the easiest way to get my home back in my possession. Technically this is my home now that I’m over 21 but I told my niece/sister that I wasn’t about to boot out the college students she’d rented the place to. I’d just move in with them.”
Justin grabbed onto Jason tightly, finally able to hug him and before they knew it, it was a large group hug, crashing to the ground as Jason couldn’t support four young men on him.
All sitting up, Ben did have one last question to ask, “Your name’s still Jason?”
“Yes. It was decided that my sister had had a surprise son a few years after my death and she’d chosen to name me after me. It was easier than me adjusting to a new name since I was being reborn so soon after passing into the light.”
“Why so soon?”
“I died 30 years ago. It was time for me to have another chance and since I’d started a new life by accident here already, I simply returned to it after resituating myself into my ‘new’ family.”
Justin stated, as he helped Jason up and grabbed his suitcase, “Well, we’re more than happy to have you back with us where you belong.”
With that, the boys headed upstairs, not even questioning that Jason would be moving back into his room with Justin, just as Jason McKay and Marshall Davidson had originally 30 years prior.
Feel free to comment down below. I’d love to hear what ya’ll thought.
‘Til Next Time, Friends!