Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:June 3rd, 2008 19:10 EST
Trading Card Phenomenon Reluctantly Needs a Ghost Hunter

Trading Card Phenomenon Reluctantly Needs a Ghost Hunter

By Edward Perez

Currently the biggest issue at the United Nations is population. More and more people are having more and more children and modern medicine is keeping the elderly people alive. Some possible ways to solve this problem are creating laws that limit the number of biological children per person, make it easier for people to adopt, including same-sex couples, and legalizing abortion. Like any idea or solution to problems in the world there will be criticisms, and the main critic is The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Later Day Saints, better known as the Mormons. Whenever I explain to a Mormon the issue of an over populated earth, including food and water shortage, pollution, and using up natural recourses they always shrug their shoulders and say "God will find a way."

 Every six moths in Salt Lake City the LDS conference center the Mormons hold their General Conference. It consists of two two hour sessions on Saturday and two more on Sunday. All four sessions are broadcast live. Its purpose is to address the Mormon community with messages from their prophet that he supposedly was revealed to by the lord. Time and time again they encourage large families and they discourage abortion and anything that works in favor of homosexuals. Like other religious groups they push a rather conservative agenda challenging anything liberal or `worldly` as they call it.

 I never have watched general conference unless I was invited over by some of my Mormon friends; it was always boring as hell. In the first of the four sessions of the April General Conference, which I was not watching I received a phone call from one of my Mormon friends that told me to turn my TV on and watch a specific talk in General Conference. I did it as I was told, but my friend, Nephi was his name, hang up on me.

 General conference is usually broadcast on local channels in many major cities so that anyone who wants to can watch it so it was easy to find. I saw the prophet standing at his podium all dressed up formally telling the sea of people in front of him god`s message.

 "Not only do I advise all members of the church to avoid the new movie, but you should also not get involved with the Diamante trading cards either. They are all evil," said the elderly man.

 I was really surprised to hear what he just said. Diamante trading cards were the biggest thing in popular culture. Each card was its own good luck charm for different things and they all had a beautiful historical looking illustration of the charm. When I bought my first set of random Diamante cards I got a rare one in the pack right away, The Wealth Card, and on my way out of the comic shop where I bought them I found a diamond ring on the sidewalk which I pawned shortly after for a large sum on money. The cards later inspired a Medieval European themed soap opera which recently had a successful movie. What brought more people in to see the movie was the special deal; the first ten people per theater for opening night only will get a special promotional card, The God Card. I did not get to the theater in time to get the card, but I saw the teenage girl in front of me with one, I was jealous. The card had a picture of a sun above a crescent moon above a star above the calligraphy that said `God`. It looked exactly like the card in the Diamante movie. The gods gave it to the protagonist at the end turning him from mortal to a god.

 Normally I have been tolerant of different religions but then more than ever I was glad I was not Mormon. I was still confused about why anyone would be something so much as to ban it in the church. Could it be because `The God Card` was sacrilegious? That was a lame hypothesis; the Mormon prophet has yet to bluntly condemn South Park or Madonna.

 The prophet changed to topic to the family and family life. What I have always loved about the Mormon community is the parents are really caring for their children. When I knew Nephi growing up I always found it interesting that he treated his parents like close friends and he still had the typical respect a child usually has for their parents. Now Nephi and his wife are expecting a child of their own, but they are still so young, only in their early 20`s. The Mormon religion tells the youth to wait until they are at least 16 years old before they begin dating and getting too serious with one person right away is discouraged. At the age of 19 the young men are expected to sever a two year mission to far away places assigned to them by church leaders and when he comes home then he can get serious. Marrying right after the mission has become almost routine.

 The phone rang again; I turned the television off and answered it.

 "Hello?" I said.

 "Hi, me again," it was Nephi, "sorry I hung up on you, I just wanted you to see that thing right away. How was it?"

 "It was interesting, to say the least."

 "You really have bought into the phenomenon recently," he said.

 "Yes, but since I`m not Mormon and so it doesn`t really effect me. It would be the same thing as if I were a Muslim and I told you to slit some woman`s clitoral hood because god said so."

 He laughed, "That`s way too much information. I guess I am just a little bit curious why it`s suddenly banned. Anyway, nice talking to you, I need to get back to conference. I hope to see you when you come down here for baby shower,"

 "I will for sure be there, my flight leaves really late tonight" I said.

 We ended the conversation and hung up.

 The following morning my taxi pulled up to Nephi`s house in Salt Lake City and the next thing I new he rushed out and greeted me and then helped me with my luggage. I did not have much stuff, but I appreciated Nephi`s assistance.

 The inside of his house was clean and inviting, he was young so it was somewhat simple. His wife Emma was sitting on the couch looking hugely pregnant. She saw me and smiled and tried to embrace me with a hug the best she could. I did my part by lowering myself to her level.

 "Nice to see you again," I said.

 "It has been a long time," she replied.

 I sat down next to her and Nephi placed himself on the other side of her. We all caught up with each other.

 "Once I finished college I did want to go back home, but now I`m just getting too settled in here so I`m not so sure anymore," Nephi said. He was really close to earning his degree at the University of Utah.

 "Yeah, I understand. And with a baby due so soon it might make things even more complicated," I added.

 "The baby shower is today after general conference," said Emma.

 I nodded, "I already got a present, but I don`t have anything to wrap it with so I was going to go out and get some wrapping paper."

 "You can do that after general conference," said Nephi.

 I was confused.

 "We got three tickets to actually go watch at the conference center and we wanted you to join us," said Emma. She was smiling as if she was looking forward to this. Nephi also looked like he wanted me to accompany them.

 "I guess I can go with you," I said, "It sounds quite enjoyable," I lied.

 "I also heard that Nephi made you watch a little bit of yesterday`s session of conference," said Emma.

 "I did," I said, "it was about Diamante."

 "He saw the movie," Nephi pointed out.

 "What was it about?" asked Emma.

 "The gods said the whole purpose of the cards being here on earth are to test the mortals in a fighting tournament, each card gives a different individual a supernatural power and they use them in combat against each other and the winner gets to become a god. In the end the protagonist wins and becomes a god but then eventually gives it up so he can live on earth and stay with the woman he loves." I explained.

 "Is the TV drama going to end now?" asked Nephi.

 "I looked it up on the internet; the next season will be set in colonial American times and will play off more as a thriller than a soap opera. A lot of the story will revolve around the revolutionary war." I said.

 "That sounds educational," said Emma.

 "It is," I said "I learned so much from the first season about life in Medieval Europe even though the characters and story were fictional. It`s very accurate."

 "I heard that`s also why a lot of parents encouraging their little kids to watch it," said Nephi, "Stuff that their school textbooks don`t teach them."

 The conversation slowed down and Nephi said, "We should get to the Conference Center pretty soon," he turned to me, "Do you have something church appropriate?"

 "I have some formal stuff with me" I said.

 After parking in a parking garage we ran through the streets of downtown Salt Lake City, past a lot of businesses. I noticed one in particular, a comic shop, and in the window were Diamante action figures.

 I pointed, "Hey, Nephi, how long has that shop been around?" I asked.

 "I think it just opened recently," he said.

 "Can I take a quick look inside before conference?"

 He looked at his watch, "I guess we are ahead of schedule, so I don`t see the harm in it."

 The three of us all went inside, Nephi and Emma just looked around but I went straight to the front counter. There was a glass case and in it were assorted trading cards each with their own price on them. The Diamante cards were the most prevalent.

 "Can I help you find anything?" an employee asked me, he looked the perfect example stereotypical comic lover.

 "Actually, yes, do you have any card cases?" I asked.

 "We do, they`re back here."

 "Okay, I`ll take a pack of cases with..." I looked at the cards behind the glass and I saw the large bold text on the car that stood out more than any other card, `The God Card`, it was next to another God Card, I felt lucky "Those two God Cards" I said.

 I paid for them all, each card separately coast almost twice as much as a pack of 50 card cases.

 "You are really lucky to get those cards,"

 "I`m surprised that I even got one." I said.

 "The movie opened up only two nights ago, but yesterday a bunch of people traded their cards in, not just the God Cards, but their entire collection. Of course all of the God Cards all went fast."

 "I wonder why anyone would want to get rid of such a valuable card" I said aloud, but deep down I knew why the Utah citizens did.

 He chuckled and put the two cards and the 50 pack plastic card cases in a plastic bag with the store logo on it.

 The three of us left the store.

 "I admit, I used to be big into Diamante," said Emma "But I love my god more than any false god."

 "It`s not always about spiritually, its all innocent fun," I said.

 "The prophet said not to, so I threw out my cards," she finished.

 I did not reply to any of this, I just listened and tried to come up with a reason for the prophet to say such things. All I was able to conclude was just a test of obedience.

 There were many people outside of the conference center, most of them traditional Christians protesting against the Latter Day Saint faith. Inside was large and spacious but soon became cramped as people poured in.

 The meeting began with a song by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra and that was followed by a word of prayer. Nephi bowed his head in unison with the rest of the room, Emma turned to my direction and we made eye contact and she smiled and bowed her head and closed her eyes when the person began praying. I have only ever seen other people pray and so I did not know what to do other than just bow my head too as to not stand out as much.

 After the prayer ended there was person after person speaking about issues of spirituality. There was some mild and appropriate humor which was good comic relief, but not enough to keep me entertained. I was feeling somewhat hot, like I was having a fever and I needed to rest, and with the soft seat I was sitting in I made myself comfortable and I rested my eyes and drifted off into a deep sleep.

 I woke up not feeling sick anymore and in the middle of an older woman`s prolife speech, I did not agree with her whatsoever. Right next to me I also heard Nephi and Emma talking about how much they agree with the woman`s bitchy rant on the evils of stem cells.

 "I`m really glad that you let me keep it" said Emma.

 `Let me keep it`? That phrase repeated in my head over and over again. The first thought that came to mind was that Nephi did not want a baby. Quite honestly if that was the case I completely understood why, he was young and not psychologically, financially, or emotionally ready for one of his own. More than that why would Nephi need to give his wife permission to keep her baby? The point of prochoice is to let the WOMAN decide for herself either way. The two of them are married, they should be equals. She should never be his property.

 After that talk then there was one more song and prayer and it was time for everyone to leave and go home.

 "Why did you fall asleep?" Nephi asked me.

 "I don`t know, I guess I didn`t get enough sleep, it might be some form of jetlag, but I do feel well rested now," I said.

 Nephi, Emma and I went to retail store before going back to the parking garage. I asked customer service where I can find wrapping paper and I was directed to some. I grabbed one that was most suiting for the occasion, powder blue with teddy bear print. It took it up to the front to a cash register, while standing in line waiting for my turn I looked at a small magazine rack and flipped through a few on them. Right next them I saw another rack but with trading cards instead of magazines. Diamante cards were there too, larger theme decks, smaller card tins, and only one booster pack left. They all must have gone fast as usual. I grabbed the last pack.

 "Lucky you, you got the last one," said an unfamiliar voice.

 I looked behind me and saw a young woman smiling big; she was holding all of the news magazines I looked through briefly against her chest. "Hi, my name is Kyra,"

 "Do you like Diamante?" I asked.

 "I never miss an episode of the show," she replied.

 "Did you see the movie?"

 "Not yet, did you?"

 "Yes!" I said getting excited from my enthusiasm on the subject.

 "What did you think about it?"

 "I thought it was amazing! It was the best possible way to end the first season and now there`s supposed to be a season two coming out! Yay!"

 "I will definitely watch season two, but for now I have to go find a friend of mine, so bye!" after saying that she just took off.

 I looked up ahead of me, the line moved fast and there was a long gap between me and the next person, who was already paying for their stuff. I was next, while paying for my stuff my cell phone rang. The caller ID was Nephi`s number, I answered.

 "Hello?" I said.

 "Hi, it`s me, Nephi. Emma and I are still waiting in the car, but there are some problems, she says it feels like a fever. Anyway, can you hurry up?"

 "I`m actually done now, but I sure home Emma gets better in time for the baby shower."

 After we got back home Emma was resting, lying on the couch with an ice pack, trying to get over her fever before guests started showing up. I was in Nephi and Emma`s bedroom wrapping up my gift for the baby shower, some children`s educational programming on five DVDs. I wrapped them up the best I could, I have not wrapped anything since childhood.

 My shopping bag from the comic store was right in front of me. I did not go through it at all since I was inside the store. I opened it up and peaked inside; I saw the card cases and a God Card, but only one. I turned the bag upside-down and emptied the content of it onto the floor, there was no second God Card. "Shit," I said out loud. I thought have dropped in or maybe it got stolen. Whatever really did happen I was still pissed either way. At least I had the other one. I put my remaining God Card in my pocket with my unopened booster pack.

 I got up to throw my small scraps of paper into the wastebasket in the corner. I saw something else on the floor that looked like it was meant to be thrown away but missed the waste basket. I picked it up with the intent to throw it away, but then I realized what it was, it was a condom wrapper. I kind of chuckled in my mind but I also felt kind of creepy and so I threw it away. I grabbed my gift for the baby to be and left. I thought a little bit about Nephi and Emma and thinking about what kind of parents they would be. Then I remembered the condom wrapper, why would they even have a child if they were using condoms? People who try to push the conservative agenda of abstinence or monogamy always do bring up the slight chance of a condom failing, but that chance is way too slight to even consider. My dad was a big advocate of safe sex, he always said that he only had unprotected sex one time in his entire life, and I am his only child.

 When I got downstairs there were already a lot of people meeting and greeting each other. Nephi`s mother was there, she had her hand on Emma, trying to feel the baby kick. Emma still looked pretty sick, but she seemed to be doing her best to socialize with everyone.

 "It feels like it`s all only a matter of days," said Nephi`s mother.

 Emma nodded and did not say anything, it looked like her fever was intense, she was sweating a lot.

 "What will you name it?" she asked Emma.

 "First I wanted to be surprised if it`s a boy or girl, so I`ve been thinking of names that could be either," she began, "Nephi and I both agreed on Zion." Emma was breathing heavily while she was talking.

 I set my gift down on the floor and snuck out of the house around more people trying to avoid Nephi`s mother. I always felt uncomfortable around her. She was obsessed with her religion to the same unhealthy point as the mother from the Stephen King novel `Carrie`, or even more realistically the Middle Eastern terrorists. It was always hard for me to watch Nephi go through his life with a lot of pressure on him to be the ideal Caucasian, heterosexual in an asexual way, Latter Day Saint preppy person that was expected of him. Deep down I knew that none of this stuff was meant for him and he literally cracked under pressure and got in trouble with the law on many occasions during his teen years.

 Outside in the front yard there were lots of people I have never met all crowding around a barbeque grill. The air was too smoky to breathe well so I just took a walk down the street. While walking I pulled out my booster pack of Diamante Cards and opened them and flipped through them, The Music Card, The Beauty Card, The Plant Card and many other cards that I did not own for myself. I put my single God Card in with the others.

 "Hey there again!" said a voice.

 I looked behind me and I saw Kyra, the same woman from the store today.

 "Wow!" I said, "This is pretty soon to be seeing you again."

 "Hey cool! You have Diamante cards," she said.

 I handed them to her to look through.

 "Do you believe in their supernatural powers or do you just collect?" she asked me.

 "Both" I said, "In a way some supernatural stuff does make sense in my mind and the more I get into the Diamante phenomenon then the more I learn about the real supernatural stuff."

 Kyra nodded, "It`s all accurate and based on the real myth and legends. I got into the soap opera because I have always loved the paranormal and I know a lot of other people who study it," she said.

 "That`s interesting," I said, "I honestly do believe, but only to a point, I like to be realistic. I believe in the supernatural but I think that supernatural experiences with people are rare."

 "You would be surprised; they are actually much more common than you would think," said Kyra.

 The two of us walked and talked a little bit more, she told me that she lived in that neighborhood, just across the street from Nephi and Emma`s place.

 The two of us passes a teenage boy sitting the shade of the biggest maple tree I have ever seen. Each branch looked like it weighed as much as a vehicle. He was holding some Diamante cards in his hands which caught my full attention.

 "Hey!" I called.

 He looked at me, his face was expressionless.

 "Do you have cards?" I asked.

 He nodded.

 "Can I see them?"

 "Yes," he finally spoke.

 I looked through his stack of cards, he had really rare and hard to find ones, he even had a God Card. He asked to look through mine I showed him all of mine too.

 "I even have a God Card too," I said, smiling holding the card up so he could see.

 He looked really close at mine, "It`s fake," he said.

 "What?" I asked, shocked.

 "Look, the text is off center and if you hold it up to the sun and put your finger behind it you can see the shadow."

 I was again too stunned to say anything, he was right, this one was fake. Maybe that`s why whoever might have stolen the other card only stole that one.

 "I have a real one," he said, "I`ll trade you mine for yours."

 "Why would you do that?"

 "I just don`t want this card anymore."

 "Why?" I was still not convinced of his sincerity.

 "Do I need a fucking reason? I don`t want the card anymore!" he said.

 "Fine, I`ll trade," he handed me his card and I handed him mine. His expressionless face now had a smile, not as if he just ripped me off, but a peaceful smile as if there was nothing but serenity in him. "Thank you," he said.

 After that there were loud cracking and popping sounds coming from up above, he and Kyra and I all looked up in unison and one of the large tree branches detached from the trunk and fell to the ground. The smile was on the boy`s face previously disappeared and he screamed until the branch collided with him and hit him directly in the face.

 My first instinct was to help him and Kyra was helping too. The two of us were able to move the branch off of him only to reveal his current state. His head and neck were twisted much farther than humanly possible, his head was fixed at a sideways angle with the rest of his body and blood trickled from his mouth.

 A while later people came and picked up the body and Kyra walked me back to Nephi`s house, more people were there for the baby shower. Kyra went back to her house and I went back to the party. I thought a lot about death after seeing that poor boy go so horribly, it made me wonder why people really do have to die. The opposite of death is birth, which made me think about Nephi and Emma`s new baby. One possibility that I thought of about death was that it made room for the new life. The main reason why I was even in Salt Lake City Utah, or Slut Lake Shitty Utah as I call it, was to celebrate a new baby, a baby that was not even born yet.

 "Hey! There you are," said Nephi running to me when he saw me, "where were you?"

 "I was up and about, getting fresh air," I said.

 "Oh, okay. We are going to start opening presents, go get yours."

 I went inside and found my gift right there where I left it. I took it into the living room where Emma and Nephi were opening up all the baby gifts. At first I was nervous that mine might have been too corny, but after seeing the other cliché gifts, such as baby pajamas, pacifiers, and strollers, I at least felt original. They opened mine and out from between the inside of the wrapping paper and my gift The God Card slid and landed on Emma`s lap.

 "My God Card!" I said, "How did it get in there?"

 Emma picked it up and held it between her thumb and forefinger.

 "Maybe you wrapped it in with the gift," suggested Nephi, "Thank you also"

 Emma gasped loudly, my attention was now on her. Her face was redder than ever, her joints all tightened and she fell to the floor, gasping and wheezing and croaking. She dropped The God Card at her side. I picked it up and put it in my pocket with my other Diamante cards.

 Nephi pointed at me, "Please call an ambulance," he said "I think she`s really sick."

 I did as he told me; I ran to the home phone and dialed 911. I explained the situation and gave directions the best I could. I went back into the living room, everyone was crowing around Emma, all trying to be helpful. At least they were concerned, but if they wanted her to get well they should give her room to breathe at least. Only moments later an ambulance came and took Emma away, Nephi and I followed behind in his car; we did not speak much to each other.

 At the hospital we sat in the waiting room, we were right next to two Mormon missionaries who were comforting an older woman who was sobbing uncontrollably.

 "It`s okay, I knew her when she was alive, she loved the lord and in the next life she will be blessed," one of them said to her.

 "If you came in hear sooner to bless her maybe she would still be alive!" she shouted to the other one.

 "Yes, I personally feel guilty because I know we are responsible. Not that it`s any of our business, but why was your daughter here?" asked the other one.

 "She was going to the comic shop to get rid of her Diamante Cards, on the way home she cut through a cemetery. The grass was very wet and the gardener was mowing, she tripped over a tombstone and slid of the grass and went under the lawn mower."

 "Oh, that is so terrible," said a missionary.

 "I knew I shouldn`t have let her go, she had a really terrible fever before and it was so bad that she had disturbing hallucinations too," said the woman.

 I stopped listening to the conversation when a doctor came in to talk to Nephi.

 "Emma will be fine," he said, "but...her baby didn`t survive."

 "That`s so sad," I said.

 " that so?" said Nephi, he didn`t seem too concerned.

 Later we were given permission to go inside and see her. She was asleep but she looked calmer.

 "Maybe at least she`s still alive" said Nephi.

 "Yes, but why do you not even sound concerned that your baby died?" I asked.

 He scowled, "Truth is...I didn`t even want a baby."

 "Then why did you keep it this long?" I asked.

 "I wanted to get an abortion but it`s found on in the church, and Emma was happy when she found out she was pregnant."

 "You actually considered an abortion?" I asked surprised, "You always seem to try to be the perfect Latter Day Saint."

 "I am surprised I even kept up the act this long," he said, raising his voice, "You of all people should know me better than that!"

 "What do you mean?"

 "Remember high school?" he said "The mainstream Christian tells believers to `be in the world but not of the world`, and the Mormons have a verse that tells us to `throw off the natural man,` in other words give up anything worldly. During my high school years I experimented with drugs, homosexuality, alcohol, promiscuity, and anything else that Mormons consider worldly."

 "You were in you teen years, everyone in that age group messes around with some of that stuff and they all outgrow it," I said.

 He quieted down, "You don`t know what its like. There`s a lot of pressure on the youth. My parent tried to put all these ideas into my head of the type of person that I can ideally be," his eyes moistened, "Religion is like many other things, different faiths are better suited for different people, and I absolutely hated growing up Mormon. I was named after a character in The Book of Mormon and that putted even more pressure on me. I wanted nothing to do with the church."

 "Why didn`t you just stop being Mormon?" I asked.

 "It`s not as simple as that. After being raised as strictly as I was in the church I didn`t know anything else, it was all that I was familiar with. The only things I knew about other religions was The Bible because Latter Day Saints read that too. Other than that I thought for the longest time that paganism was devil worship. I didn`t fall away from the church because I don`t have anything else to believe in! Why I truthfully didn`t even want a baby is because I wouldn`t want it to grow up with me and all of this religious confusion" he said.

 "You never considered birth control?" I asked.

 "I always used a condom with Emma, but it failed...Emma wanted to keep in and eventually I let her," he said. I remembered what I found in his room.

 "I am glad that you at least got around to respecting her wishes," I said.

 "That fucking baby must have been god`s way to punish me," he said.

 "No, it wasn`t" said a weak sounding voice, it was Emma; she was awake the whole time "I used a sewing needle and I pierced a few up open condoms. I too grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Bullshit; women are not allowed to have the priesthood, because their ultimate goal in life is to become mothers. I didn`t want a child either but it was the only lifestyle I was familiar with."

  "Emma...?" Nephi began, but he didn`t finish.

 "We were both demented in our youth because of religion," Emma continued "In actuality I couldn`t care less what the cult leader of prophet says. All his commandments are there just to test the obedience and naivety of his followers, all his laws banning caffeine and R rated movies, but I have always loved the Diamante cards, I got rid of mine because the prophet said too," she turned to me, "When you got the two God Cards I stole one of them from you during general conference while you were sleeping because I liked them and I never had any real respect for this prophet whom I`ve never met. Now I don`t want this card," she pulled The God Card out from under her blanket.

 My eyes widened with surprise, "How?" I reached a hand into my pocked and pulled out my Diamante cards, only one God Card.

 "It`s been nothing but trouble since then!" Emma said. She held the card horizontally in both hands and ripped it in half. Suddenly Emma turned as red as she was when she collapsed at her house. Her chest spit open vertically down the middle, exposing her internally and soaking her bed with blood. Her body went limp and then she did not move again.

 Doctors ran inside quickly, they were all shouting and they made Nephi and I leave. The two of us stood in the hallway.

 "What`s the point now?" Nephi asked, somewhat rhetorically.

 "I think I might be next..." I said.

 "And then you`ll be gone too! Then there`s no more important people in my life!" said Nephi.

 "I probably had it coming," I said.

 Nephi looked at me, his face was overflowing with confusion, "What do you mean?"

 "I may not know very much about The Book of Mormon, but it does have its parallels to The Bible," I said "In the story of the great flood god gave the prophet at the time a revelation that the world was to be flooded in order to cleanse the earth. The prophet then gave the people the warning and they didn`t listen, I am one of those people."

 "Fine, you all brought it upon yourselves," said Nephi.

 The two of us did not speak after that, not even on the long drive back to the house, which was still occupied with baby shower guests. Nephi immediately ran up to his bedroom and stayed there. I wanted to leave the crowed house, I turned the doorknob of the front door, and it burned intensely. I held my hand up to my face, my palm had a bleeding black burn, it was in the shape of a `Z`...for Zion...the name Emma picked out for her unborn child.

 I knocked on the door of the house across the street. Kyra answered the door. Before she even had a chance to greet me I explained myself.

 "You don`t need to convert me, like I said I already believe. I think I`m going to die. You said that you have studied the paranormal; do you know any way to save me?" I asked.

 Kyra shook her head, "I can`t, but I know someone who can. For now please come inside." I entered her house.

 In the living room there was another woman sitting on the floor writing something down on a piece of paper. She looked at me and smiled, "Hello," she said.

 "Judyth, this person would like your help," said Kyra, pointing to me.

 The woman, Judyth, stood up, set her book down, and walked over to me. "What is it?" she asked.

 I took The God Card out of my pocket, "I think" I couldn`t bring myself to actually say it. Judyth smiled, she seemed to understand. She reached for the card and extracted a lighter from her pocket; she set the card on fire and set it down on the floor. Black smoke rose and circled around me and everything in the room turned into a dark abyss. I tuned around trying to find the slightest bit of light and I saw Nephi sitting on the floor running a razorblade across his flesh.

 "What are you doing?!" I asked, shocked.

 He stood up grabbed me by the wrist, he pulled it toward him and in his other hand he drew the blade closer. I couldn`t move...I was almost frozen where I was standing. I thought he was going to slash my wrist as well, but instead he toughed it to my palm with the `Z` already engraved on it, he traced over that with the razor, thus drawing more blood. He chucked the razorblade aside and traced over the cut again with his tongue, licking up my blood. When he finished the image of him in my gaze, as well as the black surroundings shattered like glass.

 I awoke lying face down on floor of Nephi`s house, the party guests were gone. In front of me I saw a single Diamante card, it had a beautiful picture of a guardian angel and the text under the picture said `The Protector Card`. I tuned the card over, there was a handwritten note on the back.

 "You are safe now,

 Please keep yourself out of danger, and remember that whether you believe in angels there is always hope for something miraculous.


The Reluctant Ghost Hunter "