"What the heck is that?" I sat up in my sleeping bag listening to a low humming sound coming from outside the tent. When I unzipped the corner of the flap and peeked out I thought I could see a very faint light coming from near the top of the mountain. I checked my watch and saw that it was a little after 2AM; it couldn't be dawn. The sound was definitely mechanical and that was out of place this far up in the mountains.
I pulled on my jeans and boots and grabbed the flashlight to investigate. When I got maybe a hundred yards up the hill there was a rustling of leaves off to my right and I thought I caught movement in my peripheral vision. Since I was alone and without any kind of protection, discretion won out over valor and I decided to come back in the morning and get a closer look. Just as I started down the mountain, the humming sound increased in pitch and the light grew brighter then very rapidly rose into the sky, disappearing into the clouds. With every hair on my body standing on end, I wasted no time retreating back to my tent. We've all heard the UFO stories but I didn't count myself among the believers. I might need to re-think that.
Coming from a long line of tree huggers, hiking and camping out is just about my favorite way to spend a weekend. My dad had taken me on two and three day outings for as long as I could remember. When I turned sixteen last year, he said he thought I was experienced enough that I could do solo hikes. This was my first. As I lay there in my sleeping bag trying to rationalize what I had seen ... no, what I THOUGHT I had seen, sleep was a long way off; but there were no more disturbances for the rest of the night and I finally drifted off.
By the time I woke up, the sun was high and it was starting to get warm. In the light of day, I began to think that whatever happened during the night probably wasn't as exotic as I first believed. One thing my dad taught me was to never fall victim to my own imagination so, determined to solve the mystery, I wolfed down a couple of handfuls of trail mix and hooked my canteen onto my belt for the trip back up the mountain. Near the top there was an open area about twenty-five or thirty yards across. At first it looked undisturbed but as I walked around I found five circles about three feet in diameter that had been pressed down by something very heavy. Ok, now my imagination was in high gear; I hadn't dreamed last night's events. I cussed myself for not bringing my digital camera and headed back down to get it before the wind and weather erased the depressions. Near the edge of the clearing, my eye caught sight of a small black object lying in the brush. I picked up something that looked a little like the electronic keys that come with the newer cars but I couldn't read any of the markings on it. There were three little circles printed on it and I pushed them one at a time but nothing happened. But when I held my thumb on one of them and pushed another with my finger I felt a weird sensation like a mild electrical charge going over me. "Whoa!" I jumped back a step and dropped it. It didn't really hurt, it just surprised me. I picked it up and put it in my pocket to show to my dad when I got back home.
When I did get home that afternoon I parked Dad's Jeep in the garaged and hauled my gear up to my room. Dad was at work so there was nobody home. He and my mom had split up a couple of years back and I don't have any sibs so I was often on my own. I emptied my pockets, stripped and tossed all my dirty clothes into the hamper. Still intrigued by the gadget I found, I sat on the bed and examined it again. I couldn't resist trying the thumb and finger thing again and felt the same slight 'energy' sensation. It didn't seem to do anything else. I laid it on the bed and stood up go take a shower. When I looked over at the full-length mirror to check out my developing seventeen year-old body that I was probably unjustifiably proud of, I think my heart stopped. I stared, rubbed my eyes and stared again, but I wasn't there. It was like I was looking right through myself! I could see the room behind me but I couldn't see me. I reached up and grabbed my head to make sure it was still there ... it was. I looked down and my body was still there as well. What the hell was going on? Then I thought of the little buzz I felt when I pushed the circles on the gadget. In a near panic, I grabbed it and pushed them again. Nothing! Maybe if I pushed a different combination ... I held my thumb where it was and pushed the center circle and felt the tingle again. When I looked up, there I was in the mirror where I belonged! OK, this is where I say HOLY SHIT!
If there were any lingering doubts about what I almost saw up on the mountain, they were gone now. I think that if this had been the nineteenth century, I would have been convinced that this thing in my hand was Satan's own tool. Now, I'm no Albert Einstein or Steven Hawking but I think I've read enough about theoretical physics to believe that what I was seeing was at least possible. I'm also crazy about science fiction books where anything and everything can happen. My best guess was that the "tingle" I felt was some kind of energy field that was causing light to bend around me. We've known since Einstein that light bends but it takes something as massive as a planet to make it even perceptible.
So here's the monologue that was going on in my brain:
"Jeez! This is so cool." I stood there in front of the mirror watching myself disappear and appear at least a dozen times.
"When this gets out I'm going to be about the most famous guy in the world! Just think what you could do with this!"
It was about this time that biological fantasy reared its devious little head.
"Yeah, just think! It's a pretty sure bet no one else has one of these things. Why do I need to turn it over to the authorities right now? I want to play with this for a while before I have to give it up."
What hormone-charged seventeen year-old could resist?
After I showered and dressed, I stuck the tiny field generator in my pocket and left the house walking around the neighborhood thinking about where I could go to try it out. Of course all the places that were forbidden to teenage boys began to crowd my brain; strip clubs, porno book stores, the girl's locker room at the pool. If I put my mind to it the possibilities were almost endless. Oops! There went my imagination getting in front of my thinking brain again. I needed to start small and work up to the really hot stuff.
Looking around to make sure no one was watching me, I stepped behind a tree and pushed the circles. As I walked toward the downtown area I was having a hard time convincing myself that I was really invisible. Then I saw my chance to try it out; a friend of mine was coming toward me on his bike. When he was almost even with me I yelled out, "Hey, Jeff!"
He skidded to a stop and looked around, his eyes moving right past me without seeing a thing. He kept looking around with a bewildered expression on his face, finally giving up and pedaling on down the street.
"Yes!" I shouted, pumping my hand.
Oops again! "Quiet you dumb ass. Don't blow it now." That followed by another panicky thought. "Do I have a shadow?" I looked around me ... nope, no shadow. "Of course not, idiot! If the light is bending around you, why would there be a shadow."
I continued walking toward downtown. My first real test was slipping into a strip club that had a pretty sleazy rep around town. I had to wait by the door until a guy came out, stepping inside before the door closed. It was dark inside and I stood off to the side for a couple of minutes while my eyes adjusted. There weren't more than a dozen customers but there were two bare-breasted women dancing on the bar. Neither of them were especially good looking but their bouncing boobs and the way they moved their hips was enough to stir me up a little. Careful not to bump into any chairs, I edged my way to the bar to get a closer look. The dancer with the biggest boobs squatted down in front of an old guy and waved her butt back and forth in front of his face. She had some bills tucked into her G-string so I guessed she was trolling for more. When she was facing away from me, I reached over and ran my finger up the crack of her butt.
"Hey, Asshole!" she said as she spun around looking at the old guy. "House rules say you don't touch!"
The old boy looked nonplussed. "What are you talking about? I didn't touch you."
"Right! So maybe we got ghosts? Do it again and you're outta here!"
"Damn, woman, you need help!" He picked up his money and headed for the door. Trying my best to stifle an audible laugh I followed him out.
I spent about an hour browsing in a porno bookstore but, being a computer-age kid with easy access to all the porn in the world, it wasn't that much of a turn-on. I went back home thinking to give my newly found super powers some more serious thought.
When Dad got home from work we talked about my two-day hike. I told him about what I had happened on the mountaintop and showed him the pix I took of the depressions. I wasn't ready to give up my most important discovery yet. As I expected, he was pretty sure there was some logical explanation but he wanted to go back up on the weekend to check it out. That would be my chance to conveniently 'find' the field generator again.
I lay in bed that night thinking of all the mischief I wanted to get in to. I thought about that stripper's sarcastic comment about a ghost touching her butt, then it hit me! I knew what I was going to do. It was perfect! I'd start setting it up in the morning.
There's this awesome-looking girl, Nickie in my class that is into really weird stuff. She tells people that she's a witch and puts hexes on anybody she doesn't like. She also says that she not only believes in ghosts but that she's seen several of them. I don't really know if the rumors about her are true but that's what I heard. My opinion is that it's her way of shouting "Look an me!" Anyhow, aside from this little peculiarity, she seems pretty nice and physically she's an eye turner. In fact, I'd had the hots for her since middle school. Word was that, if you played your cards right, sex was a real possibility but I also know that guys lie to each other about those things without a second thought. I know I found relief fantasizing about her during jerk-off sessions more than once. So, anyhow, she was the object of my plan.
Next morning, I looked in the student directory for her number and called her cell phone.
"Hi, Nickie, this is Mike."
"Mike? Mike who?"
"Mike Dawson. From school."
"Oh, yeah. Hi, Mike. What's up?"
"Well, um, I heard that you were interested in paranormal stuff like ghosts and spirits."
"Well, there's this old house out on Otis Road that's supposed to be haunted. I don't really believe in that stuff but I thought I'd like to have a look anyhow. Since you're up on those things, I was wondering if you'd like to go with me and check it out."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, I think it'd be fun. I'll spring for pizza after. Come on, Nickie. Go with me."
She was definitely suspicious. "Well, it might be interesting. OK, I'll go. But if this is some kind of practical joke, Mike, I'll kick your ass!"
"Great! I was planning to go out there around four or five. Is that OK with you?"
"Yeah, that'll work. You gonna pick me up?"
"Sure, see you at about four."
I took the Jeep and headed for Otis Road. The house sat on an acre lot completely surrounded by trees and heavy shrubs. It wasn't really abandoned, it just hadn't been used for a couple of years. I heard the owners lived somewhere in Europe. Some friends and I had walked around it peeking into windows and saw that all the furniture was covered with sheets. It did look creepy though, with weeds growing waist-high around the place. I went around to the back where the windows had old-fashioned screens that were hinged at the top and had a latch at the bottom. I cut a little slit in the bottom of the screen and flipped the latch with my finger. Then, standing on the tailgate of the Jeep, I was able to slip my knife blade up between the windows and slide the lock back. If my Dad ever learned about this I'd be grounded for a month. I raised the window and crawled inside.
The place wasn't all that bad. It was big with two floors and a basement. It didn't take me long to explore the place top to bottom and decide the master bedroom was where I'd do my thing. I left through the window and headed back to town.
I picked Nickie up at four sharp. She looked so hot in a tank top, short shorts and sandals. There was no denying she had a body worth lusting after.
"Hi, Nickie. You're looking pretty today."
"Why, thanks Mike. What a nice compliment. So tell me about this house. Since when have you been interested in ghosts and goblins?"
"Like I said, I don't really believe in them but I try to keep an open mind. I've just been reading about paranormal stuff recently and thought I'd like to, you know, look in to it. You never know what you'll find if you look hard enough. From what I hear around school, you're supposed to be the expert."
"I don't know about "expert" but I believe spirits hang around for different reasons. What makes you think this place is haunted?"
"Oh, just something I heard. Have you really seen ghosts?"
"No, that's just some stupid rumor that somebody started."
We turned up the curved drive to the house and I drove around to the back.
"How do we get in?" Nickie wondered.
"That window is unlocked. I found it when I was here with some friends but I didn't go inside and I didn't tell anybody about it because I didn't want people coming out here and stealing stuff."
I backed up to the window and dropped the tailgate. When the screen was off and the window raised up, I made a step with my hands to give her a boost.
"No way, smart guy. You first. I'm not letting you ogle my ass."
"Fine, fine. But it's such a very nice ass." We both laughed as I went through then offered my hand to help her.
"OK, Nickie, so how do we find a ghost?"
"Um, from what I've read, I think the ghost finds us, Mike. Let's just look around."
We covered the ground floor then started up the stairs.
"Why don't you look around up there while I check out the basement."