He had to get inside her mind to knock her out, she’d been up all night and the sun was already coming up, and she had drawn her way through the small stack of papers he had found in the innkeeper’s office. But Izzy needed sleep and Kol decided to be an asshole and knock her out. She was going to thank him for it later.
Kol took a short nap himself and made sure that Izzy would have some breakfast when she’d wake up again. And when she did, she was going to have something eat and they’d go back to the hotel, maybe sit on the porch again, without her sketchbook and she was going to have to try to see things. Because she did see things, Kol knew that otherwise, she couldn’t draw it out. It was about making the connection.
While she was a fast learner, she still allowed herself to get overwhelmed and he hoped that she’d sleep for a good 10 hours.
She woke up to Jeremy and Kol softly talking to each other. “What happened to the room being a no-go area for the ghost?” she muttered as she rubbed her temples with a groan. “Did I hit my head or something?”
“Good afternoon, darling,” Kol let out a snort and sat down on the bed, next to her. “How are you feeling?”
“Headache,” she sighed as she sat up and pushed her hair out of her face. “What time is it?”
“Nearly dinner time.”
‘Kol knocked you out,’ Jeremy replied. ‘It’s one of his favorite tricks.’
Kol growled. “Only when someone needs their sleep and aren’t falling asleep normally. It’s not like I like doing it!”
“It’s fine,” Izzy smiled at him, rubbing her eyes. “I couldn’t stop my mind anyway so it’s probably a good thing. Thank you,” she replied as she crawled into his lap with a smile on her face, sighing happily. “I think something happened in my head.”
Kol put his arms around her and looked at her, questionably. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t know… I can’t really explain it, but… I think I was dreaming about Bella.”
“No, it wasn’t a dream because I was at the farm in my head you showed me, and Bella was there,” she looked up at him. “And she should be gone, and she told me that she should have been, but she said she lingered a little to see how I’d do with the ghost stuff. She didn’t want me to end up losing my mind.”
“She said she wouldn’t mess with you!” Kol said angrily.
“She didn’t,” Izzy replied as she gently cupped his chin and made him look at her. “I did. As it turned out, I can already control what I have. She taught me when I was younger and when I had a scary experience I put it all away underneath a trap door in my barn in my head.”
He didn’t have to guess what the scary experience was. “That was when Elijah showed up on your farm.”
Izzy nodded before she turned her head and looked straight at Jeremy. “You can look like whatever you want and you dress like an emo kid? I thought you’d look more decent.”
‘Hey! I take offense to that!’
She smiled then and looked back at Kol. “See? I’m glad she lied about truly leaving but she said she was living on my farm. The houses are obliterated, there’s a void where they once were. Bella wanted to make sure I was okay and had hoped we had found that trap door ourselves. She’s truly gone now, though. I’m sorry, I know how much you—-”
Kol let out a sigh of relief and kissed her hard, pulling her closer against him. Once Izzy needed air, he broke off the kiss and sighed happily. “Darling, I am glad that Bella could do this one last thing for you, that you remember her training you with your gifts as a young girl and that you feel a moderate control over it. It makes our job a lot easier and you and I can go on adventures without having to worry about you getting overwhelmed.”
She ruffled his hair and smiled at him. “But before we do that, we should head back to Las Vegas to get you your statue back.”
“After we investigate the hotel here?”
Izzy smiled then. “As you said, we don’t know how much I can control yet, but I am starving.”
“Well, the breakfast I got you has gone stale. Let’s freshen up and go downstairs for a bite,” Kol said all excitedly. “I can’t wait for tonight!”
‘Excited puppy,’ Jeremy snorted.
“You!” Izzy said as she pointed at Jeremy. “Out!” When Jeremy disappeared, Izzy softly kissed Kol. “As it turns out,” she said as she looked up at him. “Teaching me about what I can do when I was younger wasn’t the only thing she did.”
Izzy shook her head as she got a bit more comfortable in his lap. “She was my imaginary friend who told me stories about the love of her life and I remember thinking… even when I was so young, that I’d like to have someone like her boyfriend one day.”
“You know,” Kol said with a slight chuckle. “Had we been human and not connected in any way, this would have sounded so wrong.”
Izzy nodded as she kissed him again. “I no longer care. I gave up, and gave in.”
“Oh, I like the sound of that,” he laughed as he pushed her onto the bed and started to nuzzle her neck. “Are you hungry or can you wait a bit longer?”
“I can do with an appetizer,” she giggled as she wrapped herself around him. “You’ll have to undress me first!”
The residuals were still very much present at the hotel on the porch and in the street. “So what is it that you see?” Izzy asked Kol as they were standing at the door.
“Just spirits. Here it’s fine because they seem to be at ease with their situation and have no pressing matters that need to be dealt with. I can hear them and see them. When I’m somewhere where there has been a lot of death, they quickly notice I can see them and I am forced to help them,” he replied with a sigh. “I mean, I can control it to a certain degree, but controlling anything has never been my strong suit. And because they always suck so much energy out of me I get hungry, and that’s one of the things I can barely control as is.”
“So you’re not seeing the residuals?”
“Thankfully no,” Kol smiled at her. “I’m surprised you do.”
“It’s easy to see what’s residual and what is a ghost,” she said as she looked at Jeremy before looking back at the residual fighting that was going on. “Residuals are a bit more… translucent. It’s still very busy here, but not as overwhelming and I can hear my own thoughts. So that’s a bonus.”
“Just you wait until you get a spirit who won’t give up until you’ve given their loved ones one last message from them,” Kol smiled at her. “It’s annoying and gets old very fast.”
Izzy hummed as she had her hand on the door handle. “Bella liked to tell their stories, didn’t she?”
Kol nodded. “I sort of continued her website with new stories over the years, people love reading those and we never officially told her fans that she’s passed on.”
Yes, that was one thing she remembered about the shrine-ish at the Museum in Las Vegas. Bella disappeared one day and they all believed her to be dead. “Well, call me stupid or crazy, but what if we tell people just that? And then we continue telling stories and maybe add my drawings anonymously? In her spirit. I mean, once we have settled somewhere I do wish to continue my studies and become a vet but it could be a thing on the side?” Izzy suggested as she looked at him. “I have absolutely no intention of letting the world know about what I can do, what we can do, but I do think that it’s a worthy thing to pursue. Kindness.”
“I think that’s a good idea, yeah. Why not?” Kol smiled at her and nodded to the door. “Are you stalling?”
“No, I just wanted to get it out in the open that Bella was on to something with telling their stories,” Izzy replied as she opened the door to the hotel foyer. It was strange to see how she could see the real thing; old, dusty, banged up and out of place, but that she also had an impression of what it used to look like. It was like another layer of seeing things. “Wow.”
Kol quickly grabbed her arm. “The main rule here is not to wander off, okay? We don’t know what’s here and Jeremy doesn’t want to spoil things. Stay with me or I will have to buy you a leash when we get back to Las Vegas to pick up my statue.”
Izzy eyed him then, a playful smile on her face. “We only just started to have sex, is it already time to get kinky?”
He gently lifted her chin with his finger and softly kissed her lips. “Don’t. Wander. Off,” he said playfully. “Because a lot of spirits aren’t kind.”
Izzy sighed. “Fine, where do we start?”
“Wherever you wish to start,” Kol replied with a shrug. “Basements are always fun in buildings such as these. Not to mention the hotel rooms, they can tell plenty of stories.”
‘Yeah, I wouldn’t go to the basement,’ Jeremy said as he popped back in, this time a bit more dressed to the times, and Izzy approved. ‘You like my outfit now?’
“Yes,” she smiled. “Okay, we won’t go to the basement, we’ll go down the hall,” she said as she pointed to her left where there was a row of rooms. She took Kol’s hand and dragged him off. “So how do you talk to spirits? Like you do with Jeremy or?”
“Well, everyone has their own thing on how to do it, but the general idea is that you introduce yourself and you’re kind,” he replied. “Unless the spirits are jerks.”
“Hello everyone! My name is Kol, this is Izzy, and we’re here to listen to your stories or to help you when needed!” He called out. “We’re not here to hurt you nor do we have any equipment with us to see if you’re really here because that comes naturally to us. We’re here to listen. To help.” He then smiled smugly at Izzy who looked at him with an incredulous look on her face. “What?”
“You’re an idiot.”
“That’s being a respectful idiot, thank you very much,” he said as he bowed before he continued to follow her. “Just pick a room, any room, that might tickle your fancy.” For a hotel, it was quiet. At least this wing. He’d spotted a few heads poking out before retreating again, and he could understand their apprehension, normally they’d be harassed by people with gadgets and gizmos, making a lot of noise, and there they were, just talking and looking around.
“I think we should just walk through the hotel for a bit and see what happens,” Izzy said as she nearly jumped back, straight into Kol’s arms, when a ghost maid pushed a cart right through them, seemingly coming out of nowhere. “Jesus,” she said as she caught her breath. “Okay…”
“What?” Kol laughed. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, a maid just tried to run us over,” Izzy deadpanned. “Better keep moving in case it loops.”
“Residuals do loop.”
Izzy scowled as she pulled Kol with her. They explored the hotel for about an hour, not really interacting with anyone as the spirits wanted to be left alone before Izzy felt drawn into one of the rooms. The layer of residuals was so thick that she had a hard time pushing through it but from the look on Kol’s face this room had been a bad idea.
“What do you see?”
“Tell me what you see, first,” Kol said quietly. “We’re here to see if you have control over your gifts, not mine.”
“This wasn’t always a hotel, it was a hospital for some time too, I think. I kept seeing nurses and wounded men… burnt. Wet. This room has less of it, so that might come from another part of the hotel. I see men having sex with women. Sometimes kind, mostly violent,” she said as she looked around. “There’s a man on a horse, I’ve seen him before in the hotel, he keeps popping up and he feels important. Maybe he owned the hotel, or even the town back in the day,” she said as she sucked in a breath and could feel him stab her with a knife. “He’s present here, not just residual… ow, that hurts… he wasn’t a good man,” she continued as she rubbed the area she was stabbed. “Dirty dealings with money. Corruption… women? He traded women? Or he was a pimp on the side? He makes me feel dirty.”
“Is he here, right now?”
“Yes,” Izzy replied. “Yelling at you for some reason.”
“I noticed,” Kol let out a snort. “I’m doing my hardest to ignore him, he’s not a priority here. Push through everything and see why we’re here. It’s not like you can do anything about the man, can you?”
Izzy thought for a moment, a confused look on her face. “I don’t think I can.”
“Good,” Kol smiled at her. “Now, ignore that man and everything around you, there’s another spirit here I want you to see. Well, I don’t want you to see it, but you have to.”
Suspicious, Izzy crossed her arms over her chest and looked at him. “Why?”
“Because, not every spirit looks like Jeremy or that guy that’s in here. Some are stuck in their death state. It gets a while to get used to, but this spirit could really use a few kind words,” Kol replied. “Close your eyes, focus.”
Izzy took a deep breath and closed her eyes, ignoring the bad man and the residuals – which was a lot harder with her eyes closed as more seemed to be popping up. There was one in particular that felt really real and she found a connection with a spirit that was in the room with them – and the man. “He had a favourite girl. She wasn’t one of his, he took her on one of his travels. She was from a rich family and… no, it was a deal between him and her parents that she’d be his wife. And he wasn’t nice.”
When Izzy opened her eyes, she saw the girl sit next to a metal pole, handcuffed, bruises all over her body and bleeding from her stomach. Half her head was missing and Izzy felt nauseated. “She got pregnant at some point and he didn’t want that despite her being his wife so he cut her open. When she wouldn’t stop screaming because of the pain he shot her and left her here.”
Kol nodded, he had already suspected as much. The spirit didn’t talk, likely couldn’t talk. “What about her name?”
Kol grimaced at the name but there were a lot more people with the same name. “Hello, Lady Katherine,” Kol smiled at the spirit sitting next to him. “My name is Kol and that’s Izzy. We’re not here to hurt you.”
“We’re sorry that you had such a rough life, but you’re free now. He can’t tell you what to do anymore. He’s still here but you don’t have to be,” Izzy squatted down next to Kol and smiled at her.
Katherine’s eyes grew wide as she looked at Izzy and she transformed back into the beautiful girl that she was. ‘Are you an Angel?’
“No, I’m not.”
‘Your light… it’s so beautiful and warm… I am free now, I can go?’
“Do you want to go?”
Katherine nodded. ‘Edward has been unkind to me, even in death. Not to mention all the living who enter with their machines and tools to communicate, they hurt. I really wish to go, will you let me?’
“I told you, you don’t have to be here.”
Katherine had a relieved smile on her face before looking at Kol. ‘Thank you,’ she said to him and looked at Izzy. ‘And thank you!’ She moved to hug Izzy then and Izzy felt cold and relief wash over her. Her skin was tingly and something was wrong because she didn’t feel Katherine pass through.
“Get off me!” Izzy cried out. “I never said you could use me to get you places!” She swatted her arms and it didn’t work. “Jeremy!”
‘Yeah?’ Jeremy grinned as he poofed in. ‘Oh! Yes. Ah, well…’
“Get her off of me.”
“What do you mean, you can’t?!” Izzy was freaked out now.
‘Relax,’ Jeremy said as he looked at Kol who merely had an amused smile on his face. ‘You’re a dick. Did you bring some of Myriam’s stuff with you?’
“Nope,” Kol replied, shaking his head. “But what actually happened?”
‘I think that your ghost thought that Izzy’s light is THE light to get to to move on. Heaven. It no longer burns like fire so this might happen more.’
“I need to get out of here,” Izzy said as she ran towards the exit of the hotel and nearly stumbled over her own feet. She took a deep breath once she was on the porch and felt how Katherine was enjoying the sunshine. “You know, if you’d get off of me, you can enjoy the sunshine by yourself. This is my body and not yours. Not yours to rent, not yours to keep. Get off of me. Now.” When she still felt unlike herself, Izzy closed her eyes and tried to see that light of hers and tried to make it peel off the ghost of Katherine. “I may be new at this, but I will not tolerate being taken advantage off,” she said as she forced her light out, making it brighter than the sun, hotter than hell, and soon enough, the spirit detached itself from her. Izzy looked at the spirit and narrowed her eyes on her. “That was completely not necessary.”
‘I know it wasn’t, but your vampire friend asked me to do that to see what you’d do,’ Katherine replied. ‘But I am thankful for your kind words and that you’ve shown me that I CAN leave. And I will.’
Katherine fizzled out then and Izzy turned around to go back to Kol, but he was standing in the doorway of the hotel. “You fucker! Don’t ever tell someone to do that again! That was gross and unnecessary!”
“It was fun though,” Kol grinned.
Izzy angrily punched his arm. “Did I do what you hoped I’d do?”
Kol shrugged and put an arm around her. “How about you and I go back to the inn, have a bite to eat, sleep, and go back to Las Vegas tomorrow to pick up my trinket?”
“And then what?”
“We could go back to Texas for you to finish your education?”
“And… maybe have some fun with the remaining people in your small little town!”