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By James L. Jones
April 1, 2002

The alley stretched ahead a long way.† There were no people.† I was a little afraid.

Yet, I was brave. I was looking for that guy, that guy who had done those bad things.† What would I do if I caught him?† I donít know, Iím just a small spirit.† If I caught him, or caught up with him, he might mangle me like he did the others and then I would just be a small mangled spirit-thing.

My soft spirit-feet slid along under me on the stone walls.† Thatís how spirit-people walk, on the sides of things.† Itís not like weíre real people.† Real people canít see us.† I tried to move silently like the spirit-animal (they live in the factory and feed off the parts of what was spirit-people).

Determination welled up inside me and started to break through my spirit-chest.† This mean guy, this spirit-animal that had mangled many a defenseless soul would soon have to deal with me, and Iím good.† Iím capable.

My nameís Jim. Iím part of a bigger effort to catch this guy Tom.† We (Spirit Patrol B) go out every Saturday night in groups of three trying to catch Tom.† Well, if itís not Tom (itís been Tom for three weeks now), then itís some other spirit-thing thatís gone awry. They get sent back to the factory for dismantling.†

A spirit-sound ahead made me freeze.† Another spirit was in the shadows, I knew, I heard it.† I moved slowly now along the side of the wall.† It probably was Tom, and all he had to look forward to was being dismantled, which probably made him furtive.† I waved my spirit-hand to my two Spirit Patrol members on the wall.

The shadow with the spirit moved again -- cautious, uncertain, furtive. It peered forward, edged on.† His spirit-face told me that it was indeed that guy Tom.

My spirit-heart was pounding in my spirit-chest, and then unfortunately I fell off the side of the wall behind a large garbage can.† Iím a 400 year-old spirit and still I canít stay on the side of a wall (a very simple spirit-skill).† Fortunately the fall was noiseless.

Tom was now too close.† I had managed to right myself on the wall, but Tom jumped me.† He was on top of me, but I knew that my team members were in control.†† The only sounds I heard were the spirit -grunts of Tomís crazed exertion.† Steely muscles clamped around my neck and tightened.† It felt warm where mean crazen Tom bit off part of the back of my spirit-neck.† But it was ok.† Iíd get it back, and itíd get re-attached.

Deftly, silently, quickly, my team members got him into the sack.

The soothing voice of Tim (Spirit Patrol B Team Member) said ĎWeíve got him now.í

ďTomís in the spirit-sack now,Ē said Jack (the third team member of Spirit Patrol B).

Heíll get sent back to the factory for dismantling by the great dismantling machines.