Lisa's sister is the one who suggests it. It's funny; Lisa has never really believed in spirits and ghosts and people who can "see" them. That's always been her sister's thing. But still, somehow, when Emily suggests it going to see someone about her dreams, she actually takes her advice. It's like some stupid switch's been flipped; she doesn't believe in psychics, really, but something in her won't let her discredit them entirely.
And so she finds herself in Lily Dale, N.Y., the most psychic city in America. That's what the brochure she's got in her hand says, at least. The clerk at the front desk had handed it to her with her key, and on the front, in bright, cheerful letters, there's an invitation to have her palm read and her departed loved ones contacted on her behalf.
She's walking out to her room on the other side of the parking lot when a car pulls in and two guys get out, both doors slamming violently like they've been practicing their whole life. They're arguing over something, and she walks a little faster. They're not exactly the kind of people she'd like to meet at night; one's tall and broad, all long arms that he's gesturing wildly with and longer hair, and the other one looks just as menacing, despite the fact that he's at least three inches shorter than the other guy. He looks tired and mad and just a tiny bit familiar, the way he scrubs his hand over his face like eye's trying to erase something and the way he tries to look careless bringing back...something. Like memories, but not quite. Lisa can't place it. Maybe an ex.
By now, she's at her door, and fumbling with the ridiculous credit card-like key that's impossible to insert right. When she looks back at the guys, her door finally open, they're both looking at her. She's too far away to see their faces, but there's something chilling about it, something that makes her swing the door open and quickly step inside.
It swings shut heavily behind her, and just for good measure, she slides the deadbolt and the chain to lock the door. That strange little voice inside her adds that she needs to go check if there's any salt in the room and make sure the window's locked down. For once, she listens to it.
She still goes to sleep with one arm hanging off the edge, ready to reach for something that isn't there.
She's looking through her own eyes, but she can't move for some reason. There's a smile on her face, and there's Ben, and he's looking at her and he's terrified, and she doesn't understand why. There's someone else, unfamiliar words bouncing around and ricocheting in her head. There's a moment of terror, and then pain.
There's green eyes telling her something and really dark shadows and a hand wrapped around hers, and it's cold.
Glass crunches under her feet, and she's yelling at these men.
Dark cars and dark eyes and black, roiling smoke, choking-
Lisa bolts awake, hands scrambling across the bed for something. There's road noises from outside, and artificial light casting shadows on the bed.
She's fine. Ben's fine, at home with her sister for the weekend. Everyone's fine. Something(one) tugs at her, someone's not fine that stupid, stupid voice adds, but she doesn't listen.
Doesn't mean she sleeps, though.
When she steps out of the room, the car she saw yesterday with the two guys is parked two spaces down from where she is. It's really kinda pathetic looking; the front-end is all blue, while the doors are grey, and it doesn't look like it's in all the best shape. Someone once gave her a love of classic cars, and she hasn't shaken it since, and so she has to fight the urge to walk by and check out the model. She has to remind herself that it belongs to the two freaky guys from the day before.
Just as soon as the thought arrives, one of the guys(familiarfamiliarfamiliar) storms out of the room the car's parked at and gets in, guns the engine, and is out of the parking lot before his companion has even made it out of the room. It's the tall one who got left behind, and from this distance, Lisa decides he not actually that terrifying. In fact, he kind looks like a lost puppy. There's a defeated slump to his shoulders, and dark circles under his eyes.
He looks over at her, and for just a second, surprise flashes over his face before he offers a weary smile that she knows isn't fooling either of them.
"I hope we didn't wake you up," he says.
She shakes her head, and pockets the key to the door. He looks friendly enough, but you never know, and she's got her container of pepper spray in her purse anyway.
"Well, sorry, anyway. These walls are paper thin," he adds, like he's trying to start a conversation with a perfect stranger. He's managed to edge himself closer to her without her noticing, and this sends her warning bells off.
"Yeah, well, I didn't hear anything last night, so you're good," Lisa finally offers in reply, before taking off walking towards the office. She'd rather not stay and chat with this guy who's staring at her like she's got all the answers to the universe's questions. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see his mouth opening and closing uselessly.
He doesn't follow, but she can see his reflection in the windows, and he's still watching her.
She's back in her room after catching breakfast when there's a knock at her door. She opens without thinking, which is stupid, so stupid, she can't believe she did that-
It's the guy. Well, it's the short guy, who, wow, isn't actually that short, and if it weren't for the absolute world-weary pain on his face, would be pretty damn handsome. He's frowning now, the shock and pain from just a second ago gone.
"Here," he says, and stiffly holds out a room card. "My brother says you dropped this."
Lisa eyes it suspiciously, but takes it anyway. Her fingers brush his, and he practically jumps out of his skin, turning to leave, before suddenly something clicks.
"Wait," she says. "Do I know you?"
The man freezes; his eyes wide. "Uh, no, I don't think so," he stutters out, and then practically runs the distance back to his room.
Well, I never would have pegged him for being chicken she thinks, and then wonders where the hell that came from.
The rest of the day is completely uneventful, which doesn't surprise her. She's just a little bit mad she took two days off, came all the way to New York, and found absolutely nothing. The psychic said she was missing something important, someone important, but she already knew that.
She wants to say that this is why she doesn't like these people, but she won't, because she's not that kind of person. Most of the time.
It's when re-packing her bag that it hits her why the guy from earlier seems so familiar. She's seen him before. At the hospital. He's the guy who hit her and Ben.
Well, that would explain his reluctance to talk to her, right?
Lisa's never been stupid, despite what her sister occasionally says, and she's never really had problems remembering faces, but this guy's is murky, kinda muted and overlaid. For some reason, she can perfectly picture him smiling, the way his eyes crinkle around the sides. She can also perfectly imagine what he looks like in a bar; a flirty smile and leather jacket seem to suit him, just like he strikes her as the kinda guy who's pissed he has to drive that car outside.
However, she's not sure how she makes the jump from "curious about the guy who hit her" to "standing outside his door knocking to ask those questions", but here she is. The car's gone, and nobody's answering their door.
That small voice that's been growing since the day she walked into her house and realized she didn't remember living there is screaming in the background, demanding that she find him, because he's important. There's an ache in her heart and she doesn't know why, and she's really just tired of this shit. She's tired of not knowing, and she came here for answers. Maybe the psychics were a dead end, but what if fate brought her here, to this guy who feels just two steps away from everything?
She goes to check out, and when she does, she asks about the two guys in room 34. The girl behind the desk shrugs, says "They left this morning," and takes her keys.
Lisa leaves Lily Dale without her answers.