The echoes of a Jackson Ross’ heartbeats overwhelmed all the other noises in the crampt van. The beeps, whines and tones from all the machinery and technology were trumped by the recording of his heartbeat.
Jackson sat in the center of the van in a whirlwind of agents, technicians and scientists. They were prepping him with multiple cameras, recording gadgets and monitor devices. Yet he was dimly aware of their presence and the chaos of the experiment preparations. He didn’t care what they were doing. Their efforts mattered only to them and “their groundbreaking steps for crime solving and justice”.
He, however, was swallowed up by the sounds of his heart beating. It snared his attention and captured his focus as he was getting closer to the answers. Closer than he had ever gotten. His pulse increased as his thoughts raced. His nerves were strained, the pressure to find her was intense.
Am I going to finally get a reason? Will this be enough to nail the bastard? Can they really resolve her murder? Or maybe find where he hid her?
“Jackson, I’m going to patch…” The voice faded. “Jackson? Jackson, are you okay?”
He slowly raised his head and met her gaze.
“You with us?” Dr. Laura Morrison asked him. She was a tall, white woman with silvery hair. She was also the Project Lead for the Glimpses Endeavor.
“Yes. Sorry. I’m–a bit overwhelmed, that’s all.” He tried to loosen up and rolled his shoulders.
“To be expected,” she nodded. “I’m going to patch you into the main feed then we’ll work on the other extension feeds, okay? Just need you to sit up straight.”
He gave her a thumbs up but stared down at himself. His face a mix of amusement and shock. He had a black, padded shirt with series of electronic sensors along his chest and down his sleeves that ended at the wrists and his mesh-gloved hands. Glowing blue light emitters were attached to his fingertips and small silver plates were sewn into the palms. A visor-like cap crowned his head. More monitor feed lines extended down the back from it and plugged into a battery backpack on his shoulders.
Laura secured sensitive headphones over his ears. She lifted the lapel of her ray lab oat and spoke into a microphone, testing the connection.
“You are nearly set to go.” Her voice piped into his ears.
“I kind of feel like I’m about to walk into space versus an old, rundown house.”
“I bet,” she chuckled. “However, all these sensors and such are going to be critical. Especially if you find damning evidence, the lawyers will need all the facts and reports they can in order to prove this science and use it to convict others like your father.”
He was three on the night of February 26th, 2020. That night seventeen drawn-out years ago she disappeared from his life forever. Leaving him seventeen years of doubt, accusations, false leads, rumor and cycles of foster home rotations.
Since then his mother’s disappearance had become fodder for every network and cable crime series.
Hardest of all for him to accept was the simple fact that Gerald “Jerry” Ross killed his mother, Marissa Ross, and somehow he hid her body and escaped prosecution. It was a pop culture fact. It was a tale of injustice. A story of tragedy everyone knew. He was haunted by her memory and fate.
So when the founders of the Glimpses Endeavor came to him and spelled out what they could do and what they wanted to accomplish, he clutched at it. A last desperate attempt to learn the truth and put her soul to rest.
Jerry Ross currently resided in Oaks General Hospital in a coma. He wasn’t expected to survive the month due to a complicated series of strokes.
Jerry maintained and insisted incessantly he was not a murderer and did not know what had happened to his wife. In the beginning, he would even say on the television interviews how much he loved and missed her. It all rang false and fell flat. Especially when all the hospital records came to light, records of her life of domestic abuse.
With a final tug on three cables by one of her tech assistants and a twist to a nob on the backpack, Laura said, “Okay champ. It’s time.”
The doctor then handed him a digital set of glasses. A pulsing hum came from the hardware on his back as the glassware lit up in front of his eyes. Information streamed along the bottom of the lenses while temperature stats and Electrical Magnetic Field voltage appeared in the corner of the left lens.
“We’re gonna lead you in, but the door has been unlocked and the house scouted. Once inside we’ll view everything you see with these glasses. The programs will feed anything picked up by the spectral or ethereal monitors as well as the ultraviolet thermals.”
He could already see her form in heat radiants of bright orange to deep red. If he blinked twice with the right eye it would switch to ethereal and once again it would switch to spectral colors. “Alright, I’m ready. Seventeen years waiting.”
Five minutes later, the tech intern, turned on the overhead light to the foyer and closed a rickety door behind him without a word.
He breathed in and out, getting his bearings and settling his nerves as best as he could. He went over the plan for the experiment one more time. First, go dark in order to allow the night vision camera feed to register and allow him to navigate in the darkness. Should any entity reside in the house, it would be easier for the system feeds to pick it out. Second, he would slowly explore the first level of the house before going upstairs to the master bedroom.
For eons it was theorized that “walls stored evil” or some places absorbed horrific events. The hope of the Glimpses Endeavor was to use a pulsing Electronic Magnetic Field generator to draw out the captured moments. The modified generator produced and distorted a constant stream of EMF waves and when they returned it would read them like a sonic call bouncing back to a bat.
Through the paranormal feeds and the silver ethereal nodes attached to his palms, it was hoped he would also be able to see and record any entities existing in the spectral fields or ethereal dimensions. The system on his back retrieved all these feeds and readings at once in order to provide a generated “glimpse” and display it in his lenses.
Of course he didn’t understand how any of it worked. He only wanted a view of history.
A glimpse of murder.
He leaned over and switched the foyer light off. In seconds, the room illuminated within his glasses. No true sources of heat were displayed as the house had been empty since Jerry’s hospital stay. Everything was outlined with an eerie blue aura.
Jackson knew the layout of the house which remained as familiar and intimate as touching the features of his own face. The pulsing hum from the backpack increased and snowy wave of green lit particles extended from him like a ripple in a pond.
He walked toward the kitchen, his father’s favorite place. When he entered a soft tone alerted him the Glimpse system picked something up. In seconds a figure stood kneeling by the kitchen stove. The figure was not entirely clear but by the size and posture he guessed it to be Jerry.
Dammit! That’s not clear enough to use in any court as evidence! Is this a waste of time after all?
After several waves of EMF, the figure grew more defined and detailed as the figure worked around the room. Jackson found he did eventually recognize his father. Clearly younger in appearance as he was in year 2020. The only time Jerry was at peace and ease with himself was when he cooked. Another tone made Jackson leap a little as another two forms came into view in the kitchen doorway. One small form broke off to go to the table and climbed onto a chair.
This is so surreal! As close to time travel we will probably ever get!
“I hope that beer can is just from flavoring the chicken, Jerry.” The voice was rich, smooth, feminine. It had been so long since he heard his mother’s voice that he wasn’t sure if he really knew it.
“Don’t start,” Jerry snapped back. Jackson immediately recognized the cigarette-strained timber of his father’s voice.
She started shouting.”I cannot–“
“Babe! I have good news!” he insisted. “My old pal Kendall is going to be released next week. He’s already got a tip on a job in Memphis. He’s promised to hook me up.”
The figures blurred and winked out.
“What? What happened there, Laura?” Jackson called out, hoping their system wasn’t glitching.
“Not all the glimpses will be complete or thorough.”
He frowned unsatisfied.
Nothing appeared or continued in the kitchen so he went back down the hall to the stairwell to the bedrooms on the second floor.
Halfway up, his mother appeared a foot before his face. “YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH! YOU PROMISED NO MORE CRIME–” Her wispy figure shot backwards onto the steps behind her. She sprawled, holding a hand to her left cheek and stared in fright at Jackson. It wasn’t him she was seeing but his father who had often “put you in your place” with his hands. Sometimes he had used belts. Jackson winced as he remembered the sting of those leather straps.
The repeated emergency room visits were often the reason that Jerry was so hated and crucified in the press. He was an ugly human being — Jackson couldn’t make him pay for her suffering but at least now he hoped the glimpse would lead him to her remains to put her at rest.
Her figure winked out once again. “Proceeding upstairs to the bedroom,” he muttered.
His stomach tightened and flipped with his anxiety. The bedroom was the murder scene. Every investigation pointed to it. There were traces of blood and a broken shard of tooth found in the initial investigation years ago. Pieces of furniture were marred with scratches and one wall was dented in. Clearly signs of some sort of physical struggle.
Jackson hesitated as he stepped into the doorway. He held his breath. It was now or never he assumed.
Pulses of EMF drew out and across the room.
Several minutes passed.
After all these years, you are going to go to your grave and get away with it, aren’t you, you sick fuck. Jackson gripped the sides of the doorframe, tears slipping down his cheeks. He just wanted to put her in a grave. Was this so much to ask?
“Mummy… Mummy?” A whimper and cry came from behind him.
Two alert beeps rang out in the pitch dark. His mother appeared running toward him at the door while her father’s form chased after her. He was shouting. “I’m sorry. SO SORRY, MARISSA! Please calm–“
His mother’s form bolted through Jackson. The dead cold was bitter and bit down through to the bone. Jackson spun around in time to spot a small toddler climbing the last of the steps just as his mother crashed and flipped over his little form with a shriek. His mother crumpled into an abnormal position at the base of the stairs.
Everyone popped away again, leaving him alone in the dark.
Laura gasped in his ear. Then she whispered, “Jackson….Jackson! Oh my god, you killed her! Dear lord, she died after all by accident.”
He lowered himself to the threadbare carpet and leaned against the wall in the hall.
It made sense now. His father and mother had a nasty argument and tumble in the bedroom which accounted for the crime scene evidence. Nothing about that night had ever come back to him. The psyches always said he had blocked the trauma after obviously seeing his father murder his mother. But it was her fall he blocked out. His part in her death.
And his father had known he’d face charges and prison time for the assault leading to the accident. The chain of events were enough for a good prosecutor to get manslaughter if not more. Jerry wouldn’t take the chance.
Then where? Where is her body?
He rubbed hard at his temples then wiped at the back of his neck. Goosebumps prickled his skin still as it was cold in the old house. His breath pluming out in an spooky green fog.
“Oh Jackson, does it so matter?” The voice was clear — rich and smooth. His head shot up to see Marissa standing before him. Her spectral form glowing a soft pale green.
Mom? The words failed to escape his lips.
“Don’t you see, Jackie? I’m at peace. It’s not important for me to be placed in a patch of ground to be in happiness. What I truly need is for your happiness.”
More tears escaped him and dripped to his chest. Laura’s own faint sobs were captured by the microphone.
“This was never your fault and it wasn’t what your father intended to happened either. It was a tragic accident. I want you to move on. LIVE! Stop dwelling in the past and on hate for your father. Go be happy and live for me!”
Three weeks after the Glimpse Endeavor, Jerry Ross died. In his will, he left instructions where her ashes were hidden. In the end, he remained completely selfish. There was no note of confession or even remorse, only a set of GPS coordinates.
Jerry never did right by his wife, but in the end, he wanted the same thing Jackson’s mother wanted…closure for their son.
Writing Prompt: Whatever building you enter, you can see all of the people who died there.
Provided by Written Word Media