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The Ghosts of New Orleans

A Paranormal Research and Containment Division (PRCD) Case File


Terri Reid


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Terri Reid on Kindle



A Paranormal Research and Containment Division (PRCD) Case File

Copyright © 2010 by Terri Reid


All rights reserved. Without limiting the
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the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously.  The author acknowledges the trademarked
status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of
fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks
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Chapter One

Only five years old, he must be terrified
, Eloise thought as she
pulled her SUV to a stop in front of a downed power line. The streets were
deserted and the air smelled of sea water, mold, and rotting flesh.  On the
houses that remained, the doors hung open and screens dangled haphazardly from
the windows they used to protect. Refuse littered the beach and all the
vegetation was dead.  A lone seagull flew across the horizon – its poignant cry
echoing against the silence of the land.  It was, in effect, a ghost town.

Eloise Parker hurried down the street reading the numbers from her
handheld 3-axis Gauss meter. She knew that it was, in reality, a ghost town.
The readings on the meter were well above 1000 mG, something that Eloise had
only seen once before in her work for the government agency’s Paranormal
Research and Containment Division or PRCD.  But now was no time now to think
about the past.

She looked down. 1200 mG on the meter.  Quickly glancing up and down the
beach, she saw nothing but remnants of ships and piles of debris that had been
left when the storm surge waters receded.  Narrowing her gaze she looked
again.  There he was, playing near the large pile of storm-tossed tree limbs. Pressing
the button on the walkie-talkie that was clipped to her shoulder strap, she
reported: “Sighting at Long Beach. Male, Caucasian, five years old. EP out.”

Eloise pressed the mute button on the meter and slipped it into the
carrier on her belt. She clicked on the miniaturized audio and video recorder
and slowly walked down the beach toward the little boy playing in the sand.

As she moved closer, he stopped playing and watched her advance.  He was
wearing dark blue shorts and a yellow t-shirt.  His hair was blond and he was
barefoot.  He had sand halfway up his calves and looked like he was no stranger
to the craft of making sandcastles. 

He didn’t smile. He didn’t run.  He just watched her – waiting for

She looked directly at him and spoke.

“Hello, young man.”

He smiled in response and then his features turned thoughtful.

“I ain’t s’posed to be on the beach,” he stated.

She was close enough now to see the scattering of freckles across the
bridge of his nose.  Sighing, she squatted down in the sand – staying several
feet away from him.

“Why aren’t you supposed to be here?” she asked.

            “Cause there’s a storm comin, a hurry-cane,” he explained, “I’m
s’posed to be in my room.”

“Doesn’t look like any storms coming to me,” Eloise commented, glancing
around at the blue sky.

He looked at her and then looked at the sky.

“S’pose you’re right.”

He thought for a moment and then said, “My name’s Andy Dahm.”

“Mine’s Eloise.”

“What’cha doing on the beach?”

“I’m here to help people – lost people.  I’m here to help them find their
way back home.”

Andy brightened and scooted towards her on the sand.

“Can you really do that?  Can you really help me?”

Eloise smiled tenderly.  “Sure I can.”

“I don’t know,” Andy offered seriously, his eyes suddenly sad, “Mom’s
been out here on this beach lots of times, calling fer me like crazy and I run
up to her and pull on her shirt, but it’s like she don’t see me at all.”

Eloise sighed and forced herself to concentrate on the little boy, not
the gnawing grief inside her heart.

“That must make you very sad,” said Eloise.

A small tear ran down Andy’s cheek. “It makes me sad and it makes me

“Andy, do you remember the night of the storm?”

“I don’t want never to think about it again!”

Eloise leaned forward and stared into the little boy’s eyes.

“Andy, in order for me to help you, you have to be brave.”

Andy sighed and another tear rolled down his cheek.

“I don’t want to be brave.”

“Andy, can you try and trust me just a little bit?”

He  nodded.

“Andy, I need you to remember the storm.”


Eloise shifted and sat, cross-legged, on the beach next to the boy.  She
leaned back and looked up at the blue sky.

“So, Andy, you were out here on the beach – playing, just like you’re
doing now.”

“Yeah, I was just finishing my fort.”

Eloise turned and looked at the sandcastle that was also filled with bits
of stone and twigs.

“That’s a great fort.”

Andy smiled.

“The sky during the night of the storm – it was pretty dark.”

He nodded. “It was real dark and the rain was coming down pretty hard.”

“So, what did you do?”

“I climbed up the tree and hid in my secret place.”

“Then what happened?”

Andy thought about it for a moment and then stared into Eloise’s face.

“Then I saw the big wave coming. It were so big, it were bigger than the

She watched Andy’s eyes fill with tears and course down his cheeks.        

“I tried to get down, I tried to run, I tried to be good,” he sobbed.

Eloise found her own eyes filling with tears.

“Oh, Andy, you were good. Just, sometimes, bad things can happen – even
to good boys.”

Andy rubbed his eyes with his little sand-crusted hands and then stared
at Eloise.

“Did I die?”

Eloise felt the tears slip down her cheek.  She nodded sadly.

“Yes, Andy, you did.”

“Don’t God want me?” Andy asked.

Eloise smiled tenderly. “Course he wants you,” she said, “You just weren’t
ready to go to heaven yet.  Is there something you still need to do, Andy?”

“I don’t know,” he paused for a moment and then looked up at Eloise, “Can
I see my mom?”

Eloise nodded. “Sure, you just wait here for me – I’ll go get your mom.”

Eloise drove her silver SUV to the house that bore the address that was
filed with the Missing Children report.  The paint on the door was old and
chipped and the front porch had seen better days.  But there were several pots
of bright flowers arranged on the stairs and on a faded rattan table next to
the door. For some reason this neighborhood had been spared the ravages of the
storm, at least the physical ravages.

Eloise walked up the path and saw a tricycle leaning on its side in the
front yard.

Andy’s bike
, she thought immediately, and then had to take a deep
cleansing breath to calm her emotions.

I won’t do her any good if I let my emotions overwhelm me,
silently chided herself.

Walking past the bike, she deliberately looked away from the flowers to
the peep hole in the door.

She knocked three times - brusquely.

A dog barked. She could hear the clack of paws against the floor as he
rushed to the door.  She heard the voice of a woman, hushing the dog.  Then the
door opened.

Damn, she had his eyes

Eloise took a quick deep breath. “Mrs. Dahm, Mrs. Nancy Dahm?”

The woman nodded.  She was dressed in faded denim capris and an
over-sized t-shirt. Her blonde hair was thin and pulled back in a ponytail. She
wore no make-up on her face, just a scattering of freckles across her nose.  Her
eyes were tired.

“Hello, I’m Eloise Parker from the PRCD,” she said.

At first Nancy looked confused – not an unusual response when the
initials of the governmental agency were mentioned. But then her eyes widened
with fear.


Nancy looked out beyond Eloise and searched the porch and walkway with
her eyes.  Then she turned back to Eloise.

“Is this about Andy?”

“If I could come in for a moment?” Eloise asked softly.

Realization appeared in her face as her eyes filled with tears and she crumpled
against the door frame.  She slowly slid down the side of the door until she
was on her knees in the doorway sobbing.  Eloise knelt down next to her and
clasped her hands.

Nancy lifted her face – tears still streaming from reddened eyes.

“Did you find his body?”

Eloise shook her head.  “No, it was swept out to sea.”

Sadness turned to hope which turned to anger. She pulled her hands out of
Eloise’s grasp.

“Who the hell do you think you are, coming to me like this?” she swatted
at Eloise’s hands, “Coming to my house, telling me my baby is dead and you
ain’t got no proof.  What is this?  Who are you?  What the hell kind of person
are you?”

Eloise took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. “Andy, your son,
hasn’t gone over to the other side,” Eloise explained, tears burning behind her
eyes, “He’s still at the beach.  He wants to see you before he leaves.”

Nancy shook her head, not wanting to believe. Tears silently streaming
down her cheeks. “No,” she whispered, “I don’t believe you.”

“He saw you,” Eloise said, “He saw you going to the beach and calling his
name over and over again.  He said he tried to pull on your shirt …”

Eloise’s voice cracked slightly and the tears gathered in her eyes.  She
took a deep breath. “But he said you couldn’t see him.”

Nancy sobbed aloud, reaching down to fondle the corner of her faded
cotton shirt.

“I felt him.  I felt his touch,” she whispered through her tears.

Eloise nodded and smiled weakly.  “I’m glad you could feel him.”

Nancy looked up at Eloise once again; confusion and trust warred in her
eyes. “Who are you?”

“My name is Eloise Parker and I work for a government agency called the
Paranormal Research and Containment
or PRCD,” she explained, in her government trained voice, “When
there are large disasters we are called in to locate paranormal entities and
help them transfer to another dimension.”

Nancy nodded.

“You help dead people find heaven.”

Eloise smiled and this time it touched her heart.

“Yes. Yes I do.”

Nancy smiled sadly, her breath caught for a moment and then she asked,
“Can you tell me about Andy?”

“Andy was playing on the beach.  When the storm came he climbed his
favorite tree, hoping to ride it out, but the flood surge overcame him and he
was drowned.”

Tears filled her eyes once again and Eloise took her hands.

“He was playing in the sand when I found him,” she said with a smile,
“Making a sandcastle.  He was so bright and full of joy.

“When I asked him to recall the experience – all he could remember was
seeing the wave,” she said, “He died so quickly, he didn’t even realize that he
was dead.”

Nancy shook slightly and quietly sobbed.

“He was making a sandcastle at the bend of the beach, just north of High
Street,” she said, “He’s waiting for you there.”

Nancy stood immediately, gratitude shining from her eyes.

“Come on,” Eloise said, “I can drive.”

The beach was only minutes away from the house.  Nancy and Eloise walked
through the debris to where the solitary sandcastle stood.  Eloise saw Andy
jump up and run to them as they got closer.  He wrapped his arms around his
mother’s waist and held tight.

“Andy?” Nancy asked.

“He’s here,” Eloise said, “His arms are around your waist.”

Nancy nodded and wiped away a few stray tears. “I can feel him.”

“Mom, I’m sorry I didn’t come home when I should have.”

“Andy’s sorry that he didn’t come home,” Eloise said.

Nancy looked down and smiled. “You were always the best boy in the whole
wide world,” she whispered, “Why should you have anything to be sorry about? 
The storm wasn’t your fault.”

Andy smiled and hugged her tighter.

“Andy,” Eloise asked, “Do you have any family who already live in Heaven?”

“Yeah, my Grannie and Grandpa – they went to live with God last year.”

“Well, then living with God won’t be so bad – you get to see your Grannie
and Grandpa again.”

Andy shook his head. “But I’m gonna miss my mom.”

Eloise turned to Nancy.  “Andy’s about ready to go, but he says that he’s
going to miss you.”

Nancy took a deep breath and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “You won’t
miss me Andy, because I’ll always be with you and you will always be with me. 
We’ll be in each other’s hearts.”

Andy nodded, but his grip tightened.

“Andy, I can feel you holding on to me,” Nancy whispered, “But you need
to listen to this nice lady.  You need to move on and someday, I promise, I’ll
be there with you.”

Slowly Andy loosened his grip and stepped away from his mother.

“Okay, Andy, here’s what I need you to do,” Eloise explained, “I need you
to look around you and you’ll see a really bright light.”

Andy turned around in a slow circle.  Then he stopped and smiled.

“Do you see it?” Eloise asked.

Andy nodded happily.

“What else do you see?”

“I see Grannie and Grandpa waving at me,” he laughed, “They can see me!”

Eloise wiped away a few of her tears.

“Yes. Yes they can. And they want you to come to them.  Can you do that
Andy?” she asked.

Andy turned to her, suddenly serious, “What about my mom?”

“I’ll talk to her and let her know that you’ll be with your Grannie and

Andy smiled. “Okay, then she won’t be worried.”

“That’s right, she’ll know you are safe and loved and where you are
supposed to be.”

“Tell her I love her,” he said, “Promise.”

Eloise held her right hand up and made a cross over her heart. “Cross my
heart promise.”

Andy smiled. “Bye, Eloise.”

            Eloise watched him walk along the beach until his body faded
from her sight.

“Bye Andy.”  

“He ran to his grandparents, into their arms, they were waiting for him”
Eloise explained, “But first he made me promise that I would tell you that he
loved you.  I had to cross my heart promise.”

Nancy released a chuckle between her tears. “I can just hear him saying

She looked up at Eloise and wiped at her tears. “Thank you for helping
him.  I know he’s safe now.”

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