Cutting Edge - Part 2
By Barbara Lynn Terry
Chapter 1 - Catherine learns about the 21st century.
As the night wore on, and Carl and Dan were fast asleep, the spirit of Catherine Stevens explored the body of Daniel Baker. The boys never heard the evil sounding laughter as Catherine continued her exploration.
The night went fast and the boys were awakened by the sunlight streaming through the windows of the bedroom. Carl Spencer was the first one to open his eyes.
“Hey, Dan, are you getting up?”
Dan opened his eyes, and said in a decidedly feminine voice.
“Yes, Carl, I’m up. It feels so good to see the sun, instead of clouds.”
“Clouds?” Inquired Carl. “Dude, it was clear all day yesterday.”
Then Carl remembered what had happened when they first came in to the mansion.
“Catherine?” Carl asked Dan’s body. “Is that you?”
“Yes, Carl. I will be here some of the time and Danielle will be here some of the time.”
“Catherine, as long as you are in my friend’s body, your name is Daniel, a fourteen year old boy. When we leave this mansion, you cannot call yourself Danielle. If other people hear you say that, they will make fun of you, call you nasty names, and beat you up, or worse. So, while you are in that body, your name is Daniel.”
“Yes, I understand. But, it is hard for me, because spirits do not always get names and dates right. Your friend is safe and he wants to talk to you. So I will go in the background.”
About five minutes went by, and as the two boys were walking back to Carl’s house, Dan spoke to Carl.
“Hey, dude, this is wierd. I mean, who would believe me, if I said I was sharing my body with one of the town’s founding fathers? Who would believe me, if I said Ezekiel Stevens was actually a girl named Catherine? Boy dude, when I can come out and talk, you had better remind me not to say that she is actually a part if me, now.”
“I will. I didn’t think that the spirit would actually do it. Anyway, dude, you had better not say that your name is Catherine, when she is dominant. Because then your folks would make you see one of those head shrinkers.”
“I know, dude, I will have to remind Catherine to answer only to Daniel, when ‘we’ are around my folks. Even our friends, too, might not understand.”
“I know, dude, you are going to have to be extra careful.”
“How would you like to go and hang at Leon’s*”
“That sounds good to me, Dan. Here’s your house. Make sure Catherine knows where your room is.”
“Alright, Carl. Thanks for the walk home. OMG why did I just say that? Like I was a girl being walked home by her beau.”
“That’s freaky, dude.”
Dan went in his house, as Carl watched to make sure he got in. Carl Spencer and Damiel Baker had been friends since they were in pre-school. Now, Carl was afraid that his long time friend will need some help around others, like his parents and their friends. Carl thought, too, that, Daniel/Catherine, might attach himself/herself to Carl, since he was the only other person Catherine actually knew, besides Dan.
As Carl walked home, Daniel was in his room. He said out loud.
“Did you see how to get to my room, Catherine?”
“Yes, Danielle. Right up the stairs and second door on the left.”
Just then, Adam Baker, Dan’s father, opened Dan’s bedroom door.
“Son if you’re going to have a girl in here, you need to keep the door op …” Adam looked around the room, but didn’t see any girl. Yet, he had heard a girl’s voice. “Excuse me, son, but you were talking to a girl. Weren’t you?”
“Dad, please sit down, I have something to tell you. I don’t want you to freak out or anything, but, I have to tell you, so you know what is going on.”
“Alright, Dan, I’m listening. Is this going to be one of your science fiction stories, or a spooky one?”
“I will let you decide, dad. Yesterday, Carl and I were challenged to spend the night in the old abandoned Stevens mansion. We took the challenge, and we spent the night there. When we first got in there, we heard sounds like someone was crying.
“We looked around, but we didn’t see anyone. Then we went in the living room, and when Carl flipped the light switch, the lights came on. Then we heard a voice that was pleading for help. Carl and I asked what could we do to help. Well, Dad, the girl’s voice you heard, was a girl named Catherine.” Dan thought that he had better not say that it was the spirit of Ezekiel Stevens whose real name is Catherine.
“Anyway, dad, this spirit said we could help if one of us would let her inhabit one of our bodies. Carl and I flipped a coin. Catherine called heads and it landed on heads. So, dad, don’t freak out now, but Catherine is in my body. That was the girl’s voice you heard.”
“Well, son, you have told some whoppers in your time, but this one, I think, tops them all.”
“Mr. Baker,” Catherine said, coming to the front of Dan’s mind. “Dan has told you the truth. I died in that mansion, and I was to spend all eternity there. Daniel freed me from that eternal prison by letting me inhabit his body. I have spoken to the guardians, and as long as I remain in this body, I will never have to go back to that mansion.”
“Who are the ‘guardians’, son?”
“I see that you don’t believe me. Tonight, I will show you who I am. I may leave this body temporarily. So, Mr. Baker, tonight you will see me as I had lived before coming to Cutting Edge.”
“Alright, I will play your game, son. How did you live after you came to Cutting Edge?”
“Because I am in the body of a young boy, I cannot tell you. That is only because I do not wish to have Daniel get in any trouble. Just so you know, Mr. Baker, tonight, I will show you that he has told you the truth. I will go in to the back now, so Daniel may speak to you.”
“This story gets weirder and weirder, son. You should be a … uh … horror story writer, like Stephen King. How are you going to do that trick of showing us Catherine?”
“No, dad, there will be no trickery. You may search for anything a … uh … fortune teller might use, or a magician. Tonight, dad, you will have a real life disembodied spirit in our house. If you really think there is going to be a trick, tell Catherine that she may inhabit your body. But, remember, dad, when you tell her that, she will live in your body forever.
“Not that I don’t like Catherine, but, since you don’t believe me, I think it only fitting that she live inside of you. Of Course, she will have to ask the guardians of the spirit world, but I think they will say she can live in your body. So, dad, I hope that you are ready to share your body with Catherine Stevens, who was known as Ezekiel Stevens, one of the founding fathers of Cutting Edge.
“This possession, will be the only way that you will believe me. This way, I can talk to Catherine, now and again. So you see, dad, there will be no trick.”
“So, after I am possessed, I will start wearing your mother’s clothes?”
“Funny, dad, really funny. So, dad, there is one final formality. Will you allow Catherine Stevens to live in your body.”
Still thinking that his son was playing a game, he gave his consent.
“Then tonight, dad, while we are watching television, Catherine will go in to your body and explore your mind. She will explore all the parts that make us sit, eat, talk, walk. Oh! By the way, dad, you will have a noticeable wiggle to your walk.”
“Is that the end of your story, Daniel?”
“No, dad. The end will come tonight when Catherine enters your body.”
“Oh, I see, this is an open ended story. You know, son, I actually like those stories the best.”
“Right, dad, right.”
Adam Baker left Dan’s bedroom. He thought to himself that his son had a talent for telling good stories. Adam Baker also thought that his son should be a horror story writer. After His dad had left, he and Catherine had a conversation.
“Danielle, I spoke with the guardians, and they said that I could live in your father’s body. They said this will teach him to stop thinking everything is a ‘trick’.”
“He does need a lesson, that’s for sure. I love him like a son loves his father, but he is like a heckler at a stand up comedy show,”
“Yes, I heard him have that tone of voice, like he was mocking me. That is when I said I would let you talk to him. Then, when you said that I would come and go in to his body, I went to speak with the guardians. They told me I could live in Adam Baker’s body.”
”Also, Catherine, we can talk from time to time. I mean, I have school Monday through Friday, unless one of those days of the week is a holiday.”
“When I was a little girl, and I went to school, we just lived for holidays. Especially Christmas and St. Valentine’s Day. On Halloween, we would decorate the classroom with paper witches, ghosts, spiders, pumpkins. Every holiday, we would decorate our classroom.”
“It sounds like you had a lot of fun.”
“We did, Danielle, uhm, Daniel.
“Carl and I are going to hang out with our friends later. Would you like to come and see how we do things in the twenty first century?”
“Yes, I would like to see just how the young people of the twenty first century do things. I noticed on the way to our house, that there were strange carriages on the roadways. What are those carriages called?”
“They are called automobiles. They run on an oil derivative called gasoline. Did you have oil street lamps when you were growing up?”
“Well, now we have what are called automatic electric street lights. Remember when we came to those three corners, and we stopped because that one light was red? That is what is kown as a traffic signal. The red light tells the person driving and walking to stop. When the light turns green, then we can go. The yellow light means to slow down.”
“What kind of stoves do you have now?”
“We have natural gas stoves. Some people even have electric stoves. As you live in my father’s body, you will see how to drive an automobile. We just call them cars. He has a driver’s license, so when he is driving the car, make sure you pay attention. When he does get in the car, let him do the driving. Driving a car is a lot more complicated than driving a team of horses.”
“Alright, Daniel, I will try to remember.”
“Please, don’t try to remember, actually remember. If you get in an accident, and the police can see it was your fault, they will give you what is called a citation. Then you have to go to court and tell the judge your side of things. So, let my dad do all of the driving.”
“I will watch him as he drives down the road. Remember, like in your body, I could see what you were doing, and what you were saying and thinking. So, we will see how much I can learn from Adam Baker.”
“We usually watch television around seven o’clock. There is a movie coming on tonight that would probably still be fresh to you. It is a story based on the book written by Margaret Mitchell called Gone With The Wind. It is a movie about the war between the states. What we call the American civil war.”
“What is a movie?”
“It is a lot of stills put on a special kind of paper called film. When the person aims the camera, the scene he is taking the movie of, goes on to the film. The film is then developed, and the roll with the movie on it, looks like negatives from a developed film from a camera that used plates in your time.”
“I guess I will learn. In just what you have told me, I can see that the twenty first century is not like when I lived.”
“No, Catherine, it isn’t,” Dan said, shaking his head. “But, as you continue to live in my dad’s body, remember that he does have a job. A lot of what we do, today, is a carry over from the twentieth century which went from nineteen hundred to nineteen hundred and ninety nine. The year two thousand was kind of like a buffer year. The twenty first century didn’t start until the year two thousand and one.”
“As I said, Danielle, uhm, Daniel, I have a lot to learn.”
“Catherine, let me ask you this. When my dad gets ready to go to a function, either at his work, or to a friend’s house, are you going to influence the way he dresses?”
“I am not sure what you mean, Danielle, uhm, Daniel.”
“Never mind. Anyway, I am going to call Carl on the telephone and have him meet us, I mean, me, at Leon’s.”
“What is Leon’s?”
“It is what we call a custard stand. Some people still say ice cream, but frozen custard is different, and tastes different, too. Carl can’t drive yet, because he is only fourteen. You have to be sixteen to get a driver’s license. He knows a friend with a car, that can drive us there. Leon’s does not have an inside restaurant where you can sit down. It is what we call a drive-in custard stand.”
“I guess I will see. So much to learn.”
“Catherine, when we get in the car, and we are on the way to Leon’s, we will be on the road with other cars. There will be nothing to be afraid of, because the car has brakes. Just like the hand brake on a wagon. However, these brakes are made of metal, and the driver puts his or her foot on a pedal to operate the brakes. The brakes engage, and the vehicle slows down and stops.”
Chapter 2 - Dinner, a movie and a possession.
“It is almost dinner time. I think we will skip going to Leon’s tonight. I will call Carl and tell him I can’t make it, but he should come to my house. I want to tell him what will happen while we are watching the movie. My dad actually falls asleep when he watches a lengthy movie.”
“That will be even better, Danielle, uhm, Daniel. It is easier to enter a host’s body, while the host is asleep. This way, while he sleeps I can explore his mind, without conscious interference.”
“So, if a person is awake, all the thoughts he or she has while they are awake, can interfere with your, uhm, ‘exploration’?”
“Yes, it is as you say.”
“Alright, I have to wash my hands, and go down to dinner.”
Dan washed his hands and dried them, then he went down to the dining room for dinner. Catherine watched as Adam Baker said grace, and then everybody sat down. The way everyone was asking to pass this part of the meal, and then that part, she thought she was in a proper home where manners are an everyday thing. She will have to ask Daniel about this later.
When the meal was over, Catherine saw an all to familiar routine, with only one difference. She saw that after they were done rinsing the dishes, she saw Dan place the dishes in this machine. Dan put some powder in a little compartment, and turned it on.
“Daniel, why did you only rinse off the dishes and put them in that machine?”
“This is called a dishwasher. I rinsed off the dishes, and then put them in here to get clean and disinfected. The heat of the machine will actually destroy any germs hiding on the dish surface.”
“What was that white powder you put in the nachine?”
“That is called detergent, or soap as you would call it.”
“In my day, we used lye soap for everything. We even washed walls with it.”
“Today, most soaps have what is called lanolin. That is an oil that is secreted in most sheep to keep the wool from getting soaked when is gets wet. It is like the the birds have an oil that protects their feathers. Anyway, lanolin is also used in most body and hand lotions. But, we use a powder or liquid in our dishwashers and washing machines.”
“What is a washing machine?”
“It is what we use to wash our clothing with.”
“Things sure have come a long way, since my day. When we washed our clothes, it was done by boiling hot wayer, then putting the clothes in and stirring them, until the water was getting cool. Then we had a wringer we put them through after we rinsed them.”
“My grandmother had am old wood washing machine with a wringer on top.”
“No. In my day, the wringers were not attached to any machine. They were bolted to a wood platform. When we were finished rinsing our clothes, we would put them through this wringer and turn the handle to get the runny water out of the clothes.”
“I haven’t seen a wringer on an old washing machine, since I was very little. Today, I think they are all gone. Today, basically everything is automatic. Washing machines, clothes dryers, cars, lights, a conveyor belt. Even our factories like General Mills, Post, Kelloggs and other cereal companies make their cereals in automated factories.”
“In my day, we ground the wheat to make flour. We used wheat, oats, and corn to make our cereal, but, we didn’t have any factories that made cereal. Even our porridge was made from oats. But, everything was made by hand.”
“Well, the news is coming on. Have you ever seen a television set?”
“What is a television set?”
“It is a, what we call a receiver, that receives pictures that are broadcast through the air, by what we call a transmitter. The television station is where the transmitter is, and we receive their broadcast in this little receiver. This television set is called a flat-screen. Here, I will show you.”
Dan turned on the television, and the picture and sound came up almost immediately.
“I have never seen anything like this.”
“Not even when the people who lived in the mansion in the nineteen fifties?”
“No, Danielle, uhm, Daniel. Spirits don’t have too much to do with machines. When you were with your friend in the mansion, I could not really ‘see’ you, but, I felt your presence.”
“That is interesting. Every now and then, my dad likes to watch scary movies. You might find some of them very funny. So, now, the people you will see on the news are actual people, and the broadcast is streaming live. That means it is being televised right from the station’s newsroom.”
“Here comes Adam Baker.”
“Yes, he is going to watch the news.”
Dan’s father sat down, and watched the news. He listened intently as the reporter gave the latest news that was going on around the town and surrounding area. The reporter even reported things going on around the country. Catherine was even more amazed when the weather was broadcast.
“You mean, they can predict how the weather will be?”
“No, not really, it is only a forecast. Weather patterns going a certain way at a certain speed, can be forecast to affect a certain area, if the weather pattern keeps up its direction and speed. That is why it is only called a forecast. That is, because weather patterns may not come our way, but may bypass us entirely.”
“So much to learn in this time. When does this movie come?”
“In about another half an hour. This is a long movie, and because it is on cable, there will be no commercials.”
“Danielle, uhm, Daniel, what is a commercial?”
“There are companies who will pay the television station to show their products on the air. Like for example, Kellogg’s may want to advertise their line of cereals. Sometimes it might be Rice Krispies, and another time it may be Corn Flakes or maybe even Nutri-Grain bars. Commercials is how the television station or radio station makes their money to continue operating. Anyway, that is a commercial. Radio stations talk about the vendor’s products, because radios don’t have any screens.”
“What is a radio, Danielle, uhm, Daniel?”
“Come and I will show you.”
Dan went over by the radio, and turned it on. Music came streaming from the little box with the knobs. After the song was over, the D.J. then said what the song was and by what band.
“This is a radio, Catherine.”
“It is like having a complete symphony right in your own home. Daniel, how does the sound come to the radio and the pictures and sound come to the television?”
“Through the airwaves. The station broadcasts through what is called an antenna. This antenna then ‘shoots’ the sound and pictures through the air. The antenna in the radio and the television picks up the signal from the station’s antenna. Because of that, we have sound on the radio, and sound and pictures on the television.”
“That is amazing, Danielle, uhm, sorry, Daniel.”
“If you think that is amazing, wait until you live in my father’s body. He will show you things you have never even imagined. The movie is starting now. Dad should be in here, in just a few seconds. Even though this is one of his favorite movies, he will still fall asleep.”
The words starting the movie rolled across the screen, telling of a society that is Gone With The Wind. For those that have never seen the movie Gone With The Wind, should read Margaret Mitchell’s book before seeing the movie. Then that way, too, you can compare the two, to see if the movie is true to the book.
The movie was made in 1939, the same year The Wizard of Oz was made, with Judy Garland. In Gone With The Wind, Clark Gable says to Vivien Leigh, “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. It was the first time that a cuss word was said in a major motion picture.
As they watched the movie, Dan/Catherine heard soft snoring comeing from the reclining chair that Dan’s dad usually sat in. Catherine, wasting no time, left Dan’s body, and entered in to the body of Adam Baker. Dan felt house the reverberate with the evil sounding laughter he and Carl Spencer did not hear, when Catherine possessed Dan’s body in the old Stevens mansion.
Next time: Strange things are going on with Adam Baker.
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