Archive | December 2016

He Thought He Saw – Part 45

He Thought He Saw redAfter spending the morning going over the pages, Brian asks if they can get the video tapes of him at the sleep specialist’s office, from his house. Heath agrees to take him and Jordan over.

“And here I thought it was anti-lock brakes and windshield wipers,” Jordan said.

“Get in a car on a cold day without these babies, you’ll learn to appreciate them.”

They drove slowly to Brian’s house. The storm gathered, getting worse. Visibility was poor and it took almost 10 minutes to drive the two blocks to the Casey’s house.

It was chilly in the house. Brian checked the thermostat and saw that it was around 65 degrees in the house. That didn’t make sense. The heat was on 71. A quick look around showed that the doors and windows were all closed. However, when Brian walked past the basement door, he felt a breeze. He and Heath went down together and found that the backdoor that Brian had helped repair, was open. The door at the top of the steps was closed and locked.

“That’s just weird,” Brian said. “I know Mr. Hamilton and I checked that and made sure it was locked and dead bolted. It hasn’t been tampered with, has it?”

“Not that I can tell,” Heath remarked, running his fingers over the latch. “Let’s put something against it until we can get the carpenter and a locksmith over here.”

“Good idea.”

They got the sofa from the rec room and shoved it in front of the door.

While they were downstairs, Jordan went to the office to look for the tapes. She looked through all the drawers and filing cabinets, even checking under the drawers. She was in the process of pulling out the books and flipping through them, when Brian and Heath joined her.

“Does your dad have a safe in here?” she asked.

“Wouldn’t put it past him. He’s kind of paranoid. He had odd little cubby holes all over the house. Most of them were here when it was built in 1850. The whole house is double walled, with a foot of air space between the inside and the outside walls. It’s like two feet thick altogether. Dad thought that it was possible that whoever built the house probably helped escaped slaves. We had a priest hole in the living room, but it was damaged and had to be taken out. They just expanded the room and made kind of a bookcase thing. We check every nook and cranny of the house. If we have to tap on every wall….” He snapped his fingers. “I just had an idea.” He ran out of the room and down to the basement. He came back a few minutes later with something that looked like a TV remote, only it was bright yellow and black. “Stud finder.”

“Do you know how to use it?” Heath asked.

“Of course I do, it’s mine.”

Brian went to the nearest wall and put the stud finder against it before turning it on. He moved it until it beeped. Going a few feet over, he repeated the process. Jordan watched him with interest.

“Why are you doing that?” she asked.

“Because, the studs should be fourteen and a half to twenty-four inches apart, depending on if it’s an insulated, structural wall or just finished for looks. Like this wall. It’s an inner wall, not insulated, so the studs are—aha! Twenty-two inches apart. Not sure why.” He frowned slightly. “But see? If we find an extra large gap, we know we’re in the right place.”

“Do you have more than one stud finder?” Jordan asked.

“I do.”

He handed her a second one from his pocket. It was older and more battered than his, but still worked. Jordan sensed this was his father’s. She took it from Brian and handed it to her father.

“Why don’t you help with this and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”

“Which is what, exactly?” Heath asked.

“Checking for hiding places in the books and shelves.”

“You’ve read too many mysteries, honey,” her father said.

Jordan picked up a book and it rattled. She opened it, finding a hollowed out area. The pages were stuck together, forming a box. Inside the box was a key. It looked like an old fashioned pressure key—one that would shove straight into a special slot and not turn. A red ribbon adorned one end. Jordan grinned at her father, holding up the book and key.

“Yeah. Reading a book doesn’t teach you a thing.” She smirked, waving the key at him.

“She’s going to be insufferable now,” Brian said as he examined the key.

“Now? She wasn’t before?” Heath teased his daughter.

“Well. Okay, more insufferable.”

Jordan swatted at him, but Brian dodged.

“No pillows in here, missy.”

“I’ll get you for that remark,” she warned. “Maybe not right away, but you’ll be near pillows sometime.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Gail and Jim

4755b-red2briver2bradio2blogoOn the last show of 2016, Dellani and Christina welcome back one author and greet a new one.

gail-cavanaughThough it’s been awhile, we are pleased to welcome back Gail Cavanaugh, author of Beyond My Imagination: How Music Changes Our Lives and Retailer’s Guide to Merchant Services: From Storefront to Internet. Gail was one of Dellani’s first guests and it’s great to have her on again.

jim-hughesNew to the show is Jim Hughes, author of the self-help marriage guide, C Through Marriage. Welcome to the show, Jim.

The show airs Wednesday, December 28 at 4 PM Eastern time (3 Central, 2 Mountain, 1 Pacific.)

Be sure to join us live for fun and laughs, or listen to the podcast at your leisure.

 

He Thought He Saw – Part 44

He Thought He Saw redBrian, Jordan and their parents spend most of the day going over the information in the papers Brian got from his house. They read aloud so that Maribelle can hear it too. Brian suggests contacting Chase, but is dubious about calling Marissa.

“Good point. And Marissa just loves me so much, she’s never going to tell me anything.”

“What, not BFFs?” Brian teased.

“Shut up. As if I’d be friends with that anorexic Barbie doll.”

“That isn’t really important,” Heath reminded them. “Getting through the rest of this, is.”

“I want to know more about the necklace,” Brian said. “I wonder where it came from and who made it.”

“Oh, now this is interesting,” Heath said. He pulled out a sheet of paper he’d been studying and laid it on the table. “This is very interesting.”

The teenagers glanced at it, shaking their heads. It didn’t look all that impressive to either of them.

“It’s a family tree,” Heath persisted, wanting them to see its importance. He shook the paper at them rather emphatically.

The women came in with a platter of sandwiches and a big bowl of chips. Heath and Brian took the serving dishes, setting them on the table.

“Honey, I found something kind of cool,” Heath said as he held his wife, helping her sit.

“Really? What?”

“It’s just some dumb family tree,” Jordan said before taking a bite of her sandwich.

“Yes, but it’s got an interesting name on it,” Heath said.

“Dad, you just want it to be cool,” Jordan said, mouth full.

Her father huffed an irritated sigh. “I bet your mother and Maribelle will see it differently. Maribelle, did you know that your husband’s family is distantly related to Edgar Cayce?”

“The man who had visions?” Jackie’s surprise was evident.

Maribelle smiled, nodding. “Yes, it’s a distant link and one that most of the family doesn’t acknowledge. They changed the spelling of the last name sometime after he started getting his visions and cut him off.”

“Why? He was so brilliant,” Jackie sounded awed.

“He was considered a raving lunatic,” Maribelle said. “No one wanted to be associated with a crazy man.”

“But you see why this is interesting?”

“Yes,” Maribelle replied. “That sensitivity is inherent in the family line. There are others who had the talent for telling the future or seeing things that weren’t there. When Brian was little, he had horrible nightmares. After talking to members of Miles’ family, we realized they weren’t just nightmares, they were visions. He still has them, sometimes, but they don’t wake him up like they used to.”

“Is that true, Brian?” Jackie asked.

“Yeah, but I can’t remember them when I wake up.”

“At one point, Miles was so worried, he took Brian to a sleep specialist. They put all those electrodes on him and filmed him as he slept.”

“Why don’t I remember that?” Brian asked.

“You were very young,” his mother replied. “Maybe four or five. Whatever they found out, Miles never fully shared it with me. He told me it wasn’t life threatening and not to worry. Of course, I did anyway. He never showed me the tapes they made.”

“Do you—have them?” Brian asked. “Did Dad keep them?”

“I think he did. They’re probably in his office somewhere. Why?”

“I want to see them,” Brian demanded. “Can we get them?”

“Sure, kid,” Heath said. “I’ll take you by after lunch. The women can go through this information.”

“I want to go too,” Jordan said. “We all need a break from this.”

“Honestly, I’d like a nap,” Jackie said. “I bet Maribelle wouldn’t mind one.”

“I would love a nap,” Maribelle said with a smile.

“Then let’s put the papers up and call it a day,” Heath said.

He picked up the stacks they’d gone through and put a red, industrial sized rubber band around them. He put a blue one around the smaller stack that they hadn’t gone through. Brian put them back in the briefcase and Heath locked them in the safe in his office.

The three of them bundled up before going out. It was snowing again. Fluffy flakes fell in a festive flurry. The teenagers bundled in the back of the SUV while Heath hopped in the front. He turned the heat on full and turned on the seat warmers.

“Best invention ever made for cars,” he commented as he waited for his car to warm up.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 43

He Thought He Saw redBreakfast is fun with lots of teasing and bantering. Heath says something so like what Brian’s father would say, it makes him think of his dad. Suddenly missing him, Brian is afraid he’s going to cry.

“Excuse me,” he said, dropping his napkin. His meal was only half eaten, but his appetite was gone.

Jordan started to go after him, but her father stopped her.

“I got this, baby girl. Got a feeling it’s a guy thing.” He got up and followed Brian.

Heath found the boy on the front porch, barefoot and coatless, shivering in his shirt sleeves. He dropped a pair of battered slippers on the porch and handed him an afghan from the couch. Brian bundled up and Heath led him to the porch swing. They sat, swinging for a minute before Heath spoke.

“Want to talk about it?”

Brian shrugged, shaking his head.

“Meaning you do, but I’m not your dad.”

“Where did he go, Heath? Why has he been gone so long? Doesn’t he know we need him? We’re worried about him?”

“Of course, he does. He’s probably worried sick about you both all the time.”

“Then where is he and why isn’t here? Where we need him!”

Heath shook his head. “I don’t know. But my guess is that whatever it is he’s doing, it’s important. Maybe the most important thing he’s ever done. Jackie told me about your vision. He’s fighting Deidrich. That seems pretty significant.”

“Yeah.” Brian paused, holding in a sob. “I don’t understand any of this. How is a bunch of stuff about rocks supposed to help me fight when I don’t know who I’m fighting or how to do it?”

“Suppose we finish our breakfast and get those papers out. We can spread them out in the dining room and all of us take a look.”

“My mom….”

“We can take turns reading it aloud. Sometimes that helps understanding anyway.”

“I guess you’re right.”

Heath chuckled. “I don’t know if I am or not, kid. I’m just freezing my ass off out here.”

They went back in the house. Jackie poured fresh coffee for them both and Jordan put their scones in the microwave to reheat them. After they cleaned up and loaded the dishwasher, Brian got the case of papers.

Jordan led them into the dining room and helped Maribelle get acclimated to the new room. Brian, Heath and Jackie laid out the papers in separate stacks. They’d gotten out of order when Brian dropped them, but luckily, they were numbered. Jordan joined them when she’d gotten Maribelle settled. It took very little time to get the stacks sorted and in order.

Brian inhaled deeply, putting his hand on the top page. Words came into his mind, like those he’d said to the whirlwind and spoken to Mr. Deidrich. He didn’t understand them, but spoke them anyway. He sensed it was some sort of prayer or blessing. Something on the table rattled and Brian saw that Jackie had brought in Lester. He picked up the purple stone skull, holding it in both hands as he spoke the words again. It warmed in his hands and light glowed briefly in the empty sockets.

Brian set the skull in the middle of the table and they gathered around, each picking up a stack. They took turns reading about the magical properties of stones, wood and metals. Brian learned more about the stones on his necklace and how to make a small charm with different combinations of each. He learned that Oak, Ash and Thorn were considered the sacred trinity of trees in the Celtic zodiac. Similar to the Greek Zodiac, each 26 days the symbolic tree changed.

It was interesting to note that Brian, Chase and Jordan were born on the fifteenth of three different months. Chase was the eldest, his birthday March fifteenth. Brian was next, his birthday falling on May fifteenth. Jordan’s was last, on June fifteenth. The most amazing thing about it was that their birth signs were Ash, Hawthorne and Oak, respectively.

Around noon, the women went to fix lunch leaving Heath with the teenagers. They went through new stacks, highlighting passages to share with the others.

“We need to contact Chase and his father,” Brian said.

“His dad said he had his own stuff to learn,” Jordan reminded him.

“Yeah, but if we’re all in this together, shouldn’t we find out what they know and tell them what we know?”

“What about Marissa?” Jordan asked.

“We don’t even know if they’re still dating,” Brian reminded her. “And I’m not sure I feel comfortable asking Chase. If they aren’t together and it was a really bad breakup….”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 42

He Thought He Saw redUnfortunately for Brian and Jordan, his mother catches them kissing in the den while lying on Brian’s bed. She lectures them briefly about self-control.

Jordan laughed lightly, grinning up at him. “As I recall, it was a pretty mutual thing. But she’s right. Self-control.”

Brian chuckled, shaking his head. “Yeah. That’s gonna happen.” He walked off.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jordan called after him.

Brian merely continued to laugh and shake his head. A pillow hit him in back of the head. That seemed to be Jordan’s major method of communication when she was angry with him. At least it wasn’t painful, even if it was annoying. Another pillow hit him, and another.

“How many of those damn things are there?” He whirled around and the next one caught him in the face. “Jordan, dammit!”

Whap! Another pillow.

“Tell me what you meant.” Whap!

“Dammit, Jordan!” He ducked the next pillow, catching it as it whizzed over his shoulder.

Apparently, she’d run out. The pillows stopped coming at him. Instead, she stood in the doorway, looking for all the world like she wanted to cry.

“I didn’t mean anything bad, jeez! What is this? Death by Stuffing?”

“You’re not funny,” she whimpered. “And you’re laughing at me.”

“I’m not—no. Not at you, silly. At myself.” He walked over, taking her hands in his. “I didn’t mean what I said before about not being attracted to you. You’re all kinds of hot, Jordan. If I were a different kind of guy, I’d be all over that. But we have to stay focused on whatever it is we’re supposed to do.” He moved a step closer, gazing down at her. “It felt good kissing you. And sometime, I’d like to do that again. But not in your parents’ house.”

Jordan nodded, biting her lower lip. Her dark eyes filled with tears. She came toward him, putting her arms around his waist. Brian held her close, arms around her back. She was so short, he could rest his chin on her head. Jordan pressed her cheek to his chest.

“I’m really scared, Brian. What are we fighting? How do we do it?”

“I don’t know, Jordan. We’ll read Dad’s papers today and see what we can find out.”

“Life was so much easier before.”

“Yeah, but it was boring as hell. Being a social pariah isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Jordan laughed, loosening her hold on Brain. She smiled up at him. “Speak for yourself, dweeb. I rocked being an outcast.”

Brian’s stomach growled, then Jordan’s. They laughed at one another and themselves as they headed to the kitchen.

Their parents sat around the table, sipping coffee and eating scones. Jackie had prepared three kinds—blueberry, cranberry orange and lemon. Brian heaped his plate with one of each. He put a couple on a plate for Jordan as she served them each a mug of coffee.

“That’s what I call teamwork,” Heath said with a grin. “Sorry there’s no school again today.”

“Ah, well,” Brian said, sighing. “I do miss the excitement of the classroom. All that learning. Blissful.”

Jordan nearly choked on her scone. Brian helpfully patted her on the back. Heath chuckled, raising his coffee in salute.

“I’m sure that it’s extremely enlightening and enervating,” Heath mused.

“Oh, Daddy. Using all those big lawyer words! How do you do it?” Jordan gushed, batting her eyelashes at her father, her tone sarcastic in the extreme.

“Jackie, my love, we have a smart-alec as a daughter.”

“Do you think so, honey? What gave you that idea?”She also batted her eyelashes at her husband.

Heath threw up his hands in defeat. “I swear, Maribelle, if you pull the same thing on me, I’m gonna retire.”

“Retire from what?” She asked innocently. Her beatific smile was as disarming as the fluttering eyelashes.

“That’s it.” Heath threw his napkin into the middle of the table. “I’ve officially conceded the battle.”

“What battle are you conceding, darling?” Jackie asked.

“The Battle of the Sexes. I’m out gunned. Brian, throw in the towel now before they gank you too.”

“Gee, golly, whiz, Heath. You folded awfully fast. If that’s the kind of backup I’ve got, I don’t stand a chance.”

“Pick your battles, son. It’s safer that way.”

Brian laughed at his mock defeat. It was exactly the same kind of thing that his dad would have said. Heath reminded him a lot of his father. They were only slightly similar in looks, but the way they viewed the world was very much the same. Their warm, bantering way with their wives and children, even the way they laughed. Brian suddenly missed his dad, so much that it actually hurt. His chest tightened and he thought he was going to cry.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 41

He Thought He Saw redFinally giving in to the strong urge in him, Brian kisses Jordan.

Their lips met with a little spark, making them both jump. The tingle wasn’t unpleasant, in fact, it added to the pleasurable sensations they felt when their lips met once more. Jordan put her arms around his neck, cushioning his head on her arms. Brian’s hands held her hips tightly. He rolled to his left, sandwiching her body between his and the bed.

Brian’s boldness grew and his hands slid up to Jordan’s waist and higher, to her ribs. His fingers moved of their own accord, touching her full chest. Suddenly, he stopped. His eyes flew open and he sat up.

Jordan squeaked angrily, grabbing for his face. Brian’s gaze was fixated on the door. Tilting her head, Jordan saw what had him transfixed. Maribelle Casey stood there, framed by the door, waiting expectantly. She might not be able to see them, but her other senses were more alert. She knew something was happening. The air was charged with raw energy, heavy with the scent of pheromones.

Brian jumped up, as far from Jordan as he could get. “It’s not what you think, Mom. We were just playing around and fell over.”

“I see. And when you fell over, you just felt compelled to put your tongue in her mouth?”

“Mom, I swear!”

“Out,” she said calmly. “Go have a shower.”

“Are you going to tell?”

“Go,” she said again.

Brian quietly gathered his things and left the room. His mother closed the door behind him. He heard her speaking to Jordan, but not what she was saying.

While he was in the shower, Brian thought of all the things his mother would say when he got out. He lingered as long as he could, until his conscience got the better of him. He dried off and dressed, combing his fingers through his hair. He’d forgotten his hairbrush in the den.

When he got back, the door was open and his mother waited for him, sitting primly on the edge of the recliner’s seat. She looked up when he got to the doorway, smiling.

“Jordan told me what happened,” she said quietly. “I won’t say anything, but I do think we need to go home. The weather’s cleared up and the radio said the freak storm has lifted.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I never intended….”

She held up her hand, stopping him. “I know. I was fifteen once, I remember what it was like. All those raging hormones.”

“It wasn’t like that, Mom.” Obviously, she really didn’t get it. “We were talking and Jordan got mad at something I said and hit me with the pillow. We fell over and she landed on me…. I made a mistake.”

“What if it had been Heath or Jackie who caught you and not me?”

Brian shook his head, shrugging.

“Can’t hear a shrug, son,” she teased.

“I don’t know,” he replied, somewhat tersely.

Jordan appeared in the doorway behind him. He stepped aside, letting her in. Maribelle focused her attention on Jordan, though the girl hadn’t made any noise. She’d just showered. Her hair was wet and pulled back in a loose bun.

“Maribelle, Mom said to tell you that the coffee is ready. May I get you some?”

“I’ll get it, honey. Thanks.” She stood, looking more like herself than she had in quite awhile. “You,” she pointed to Brian. “Hands and lips to yourself,” she said quietly. “And you,” she turned to Jordan. “Keep him on a short leash.”

“Honestly, it’s not like that,” Jordan protested.

Maribelle put her finger on Jordan’s lips, smiling. “Maybe not, but you still need to try to control him.” She walked toward the kitchen with unerring accuracy.

“It’s spooky how she can do that with such confidence. I can see perfectly and I’m still clumsy as hell,” Jordan said.

“I think she sees more than she lets on,” Brian said. “But not well enough to do all the things she used to.”

“What caused it?”

“Doctors don’t know. It just kind of happened. One day, she was fine. The next, blind. Right after my dad left.”

“Weird.” She shuffled her feet. “Look, I’m sorry about what happened. Did she get mad?”

“No. It was strange. I thought she’d be yelling. She just told me to control myself and she wouldn’t say anything. I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have taken advantage of you like that.”

Jordan laughed lightly, grinning up at him. “As I recall, it was a pretty mutual thing. But she’s right. Self-control.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Elaine, Gerald and Pepper

 As friends and family prepare for the holidays, our authors are preparing to sell their books. Whether paperback, hardcover or electronic, books make great gifts! Our guests have some of the best, so we hope you’ll check them out.

After too long a time, we welcome back Elaine Littau, author of Luke’s Legacy, Running to Her Future, The Eyes of a Stranger and many more. We’re delighted to have her with us again.

Also returning is M. Pepper Langlinais, author of The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller, Manifesting Destiny, The Mystery of the Last Line and many more. We’re pleased to have her back.

Last, but not least, we welcome an author for the first time. Gerald Darnell, author of The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land and other Carson Reno Mystery Series, Please Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time to Go, and he is featured in the Mystery Gone Mad boxed set.

He Thought He Saw – Part 40

He Thought He Saw redBrian sees a vision of his father fighting Deidrich, along with the two white dogs. He wants to join him, but Jackie assures him that Miles isn’t there now. He goes back to bed and has terrible dreams, waking with a start that also wakes Jordan.

“You okay?” she asked dreamily.

“Had some bad dreams. Don’t remember them, though.”

“You kept calling out. You had me worried a few times.”

“Sorry. I’m okay right now. I had some strange things happen after you went to sleep.” He told her about the vision he’d had of his father.

“Wow! Really? So, he’s alive, then?”

“Of course he’s alive. Why wouldn’t he be?”

“I don’t know. I just had it in my mind that he was dead.”

“All this time you thought my dad wasn’t alive?”

“Why else would he leave and not come back? He obviously loves you guys a lot or he wouldn’t have left all this information for you. I know if my dad left like that, he’d come back if he could.”

“Maybe he can’t yet,” Brian said tersely. “My dad’s a lot like yours. He’s strong and takes charge. He doesn’t let his family suffer if he doesn’t have to. He’s a good man, Jordan!” Tears burned in his eyes. It was important to him that she understand what his father was like.

“I get it, Brian. I know your dad is a good guy. I don’t know how I know that, but I do. I know that whatever he’s doing, it’s to protect you and your mom.”

“It’s more than that. This stuff that’s happening, it’s evil. I got that from the vision. He’s not the only one fighting, but he’s the main one going on the offensive right now. He needs reinforcements. He needs us. Not just you and me, but your parents, my mom, Chase and his dad. I think Mr. Finley knows a lot more about all this than he’s said.”

“I think so too. It’s time to get him and Chase together with our parents and have a talk. We need to know what they know. But first, we need to read everything your father left for you. Maybe something in that research will give us a key.”

“Mr. Finley kept saying we needed to see the pattern.”

“Not we, you. He was pretty specific.”

“Maybe so, but I have a feeling that even if I’m at the center of this, we all need to see it. We all bring things to the table.”

“And we’re all in pairs. There’s you and me, Andre and Louisa, Sweet and Ginnifer, Mom and Dad, your parents, and Chase….” She paused. “Does he have a girlfriend?”

Brian’s eyes widened and he stared at Jordan. “You’re gonna laugh when I tell you.”

“Why? Is he dating that Marissa girl?”

Brian nodded slowly. Jordan’s jaw dropped.

“No way! Chase and Uptight Barbie? You’re kidding!”

“They were, anyway. I don’t know if they’re still together. They had a big fight a few weeks ago. She’s a religious freak and he’s—well, he’s a guy.”

“So, he wanted sex and she’s too frigid to give it up?”

Brian snorted in disgust. “Something like that.”

“Good thing you aren’t like that. You’d be sadly disappointed.”

“We aren’t dating,” he reminded her. “That puts a different spin on things.”

“Why?”

“Because it would mean that I was actually attracted to you,” he replied casually, turning away from her.

Brian was teasing, but clearly Jordan didn’t think so. A pillow hit him in the back of the head. Jordan’s shriek very likely woke the household.

“You bastard! I’m not deformed or anything! You seemed pretty interested in my tits!” She continued to hit him with pillows, scrambling to her feet, on the bed, to get better leverage.

“That was an accident.” Brian moved away from her, laughing. “Your coat hung up on the Velcro.” He put his arms up, laughing as she battered him with two pillows now.

“Oh, you!” Jordan launched herself at him. Her trajectory was off and she missed him.

To keep her from landing in a heap on the floor, Brian caught her. His hands slipped and he had a handful of her chest as she slid down, kicking and cursing. He tried to help her up, but she struggled up on her own, narrowly missing his chin with the top of her head. Still angry and fighting like a wet cat, she knocked him over. Brian made a grab at her and they tumbled on the bed together, with Jordan lying on top of him. Their faces were mere inches apart.

For the second time since they’d met, Brian felt an undeniable urge to kiss her. He watched as her angry gaze softened. Her dark hair cascaded around them smelling like dusky flowers—a scent that was uniquely Jordan. She leaned closer, eyes drooping closed. Brian raised his head, meeting her halfway.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 39

He Thought He Saw redBrian finally allows Jordan into bed with him, so she feels safe. She falls asleep, but he thinks he hears someone calling his name. Compelled to respond, he finds himself in the crystal room talking to a purple skull. Jackie arrives and he joins her in meditation, with the skull in his hand.

Brian did what she said. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply and waited. The skull warmed in his hand and his mind’s eye filled with images which moved jerkily, like an old silent film. Soon, the movement smoothed and Brian saw his father. Miles Casey stood on the road to the swamp, about the same place where Brian had first seen the dog. He held out his arms, palms facing the woods, and seemed to be talking. Brian couldn’t hear any sound, but his father’s lips moved rapidly.

Two dogs appeared, a female to his left, a male to his right. Brian recognized the dog who had protected him. His father knelt, greeting them like old friends. The dogs licked his face and hands, grinning and barking. Again, there was no sound, only movement.

Suddenly, the image changed. Dark clouds formed. The dogs took up defensive positions with Miles. The clouds became black birds, circling and diving at the trio. They swooped low to the ground, rising suddenly. Behind them, Mr. Deidrich appeared, forming from the flock of birds.

Brian saw the black man’s lips moving as he pointed at Miles. The birds attacked. The dogs and man fought bravely, but Brian watched his father fall. The birds flew away as soon as he quit fighting. Mr. Deidrich leaned forward, obviously taunting the downed man, before disappearing in a puff of black smoke.

Terrified, Brian didn’t want to see any more. He tried to break the connection with Jackie Barrett. She held his hand tightly and he directed his gaze back to the vision. His father rose slowly, staggering to his feet. Bruised and bloody, he spread his arms. Again, Brian saw him speaking, but couldn’t hear the words. A whirlwind sprang up, racing after the birds, catching them in the vortex. The birds were torn apart, turning to fog and leaves. A few escaped, but most were destroyed.

Brian saw his father bend over, hands on his knees, gasping and panting. The dogs circled around him, licking his wounds. The vision faded.

Brian jumped up, nearly knocking over the tall crystal. “I have to go! I have to find my dad. He needs me.”

Jackie caught his hand, tugging him back to the floor. “No, Brian. That was something that already happened. Your dad isn’t there anymore.”

“How do you know?” he yelled at her, fighting to rise.

“Think about it, Brian. It was daylight and there was no snow. It looked like early fall.”

Brian sank to the floor, sobbing. He covered his eyes, rubbing hard, fighting against the tears. Men don’t cry. Isn’t that what he’d always been told? But he had to. The pain was too deep.

Jackie held him, letting him cry. She spoke soothingly to him. After a little while, he felt better and leaned back, her hand still in his.

“This is so hard for you, but you’re strong, Brian. You can do this.”

“I can’t do it on my own.”

“No one is asking you to. There will be individual challenges, but you have friends and family. You’re not alone.”

“I’m scared,” he admitted quietly.

“Good. The fear will protect you. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Being afraid makes you careful. It’s when we don’t fear that we fail to pay attention to that inner voice—like the one that called you in here. Listen to that voice, Brian. It will tell you what to do.”

As far fetched as it sounded, Brian knew it was true. Suddenly exhausted, he said good night. He put Lester down by the crystal and headed to his room.

Jackie Barrett watched the boy close the door and sighed. He’d been given so much responsibility. It was too much to expect from a boy his age. There was no avoiding it. This was a time that he, and others, had to endure. They would learn from it and grow—or it would consume them. Quietly, she went upstairs and got back in bed with her husband.

“Hey, babe. All right now?”

“Everything’s fine. Go back to sleep.” She cuddled next to Heath and fell into a troubled sleep.

Brian noticed Jordan as he got in bed. She lay, facing him, curled on her side, with a hand tucked under her chin. She looked like a little girl when she slept, but Brian could see lines of worry in her face. Had they always been there? Or were they new? Did he have them too? He hadn’t noticed, but he hadn’t spent a lot of time looking at himself either. He lay down on his stomach, arms under the pillow, and fell soundly asleep almost immediately.

Brian woke with a start, his dreams full of unnamed horrors. Lying there, covered in a cold sweat, he wondered what time it was. There was no clock in the den and he didn’t wear a watch. He reached for his cellphone, deep in his pants pocket. 6:15. Groaning, he huddled under the covers, feeling Jordan at his back. When Brian moved, she stirred around and sat up.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 38

He Thought He Saw redJordan wants to spend the night in with Brian, because he makes her feel safe. He objects, knowing that her father will be upset if she does. She disagrees, loudly.

“How do you know? You’re not my dad.”

“I’m a guy! That’s how we think. And he’d assume—Oh, never mind. I can’t explain it.”

“If you think I’m staying in that creepy room by myself, you’re totally wrong.”

Brian angrily threw a blanket at her. “Then you can sleep in the chair.”

“Me? Why should I?”

“Because you’re the one who wants you in here.”

“A gentleman would let the lady have the bed.”

Brian pounded the pillows and lay down. “Well, when you see either of those, let me know. Get the lamp, would you?” He turned his back to Jordan and closed his eyes.

The light went out and Jordan pulled the blanket around her. A few minutes later, Brian heard her sniffling. He put the pillow over his head and hunkered down in the bed. He could still hear Jordan. His anger melted and he rolled over. Folding back the blanket, he turned over on his side again. The bed gave a little bounce when Jordan sat down. She curled up on the edge of the bed, pulling the covers to her chin. Neither of them said a word, but Brain could feel her relax and fall asleep.

Brian couldn’t get comfortable. In spite of the fact that it had been a long day, he wasn’t tired. He wanted to sleep, but couldn’t drop off. He felt compelled to get up and do something, but he wasn’t sure what. It felt like someone was calling his name, faraway and faint. He took Jordan’s blanket from the chair and wrapped it around his shoulders as he walked into the living room. His bare feet made no noise as he walked across the scattered area rugs.

The compulsion continued to pull him to the far corner of the room. This was the area the Barretts had for their meditation space. A tall quartz crystal sat on the floor, surrounded by other polished stones and small, carved stone skulls. His hands reached for one of the skulls. He picked it up without consciously intending to. It was a brilliant purple, but he knew it wasn’t amethyst because it wasn’t translucent.

The stone skull resonated in his hand. He could feel a strong vibration from it. He’d seen Jackie hold a skull on her palm as she concentrated on it. Brian did the same, placing it on his outstretched, left palm. The skull vibrated and jumped on his hand. Brian jumped too, nearly dropping the stone skull. His muffled cry of astonishment sounded loud to him. Sitting up straight, he tried again. This time, the stone hummed and vibrated comfortingly.

“He likes you,” Jackie said from across the dimly lit room.

Mrs. Barrett’s voice startled Brian, but at least he didn’t cry out or drop the stone.

Jackie sat across from Brian, smiling. “I never got a reaction from him before. He must have been waiting for you. He likes you.”

“It’s a rock,” Brian said, puzzled. “How does it like anything?”

“That would take too much time to explain. Think of it as a spirit in the stone. He reacts to vibrations and energy in us.”

“Why is he a he?”

Jackie giggled. “Because he is. Some skulls and stones have female energy. This one is decidedly male.”

“Does he have a name?”

“He’s pretty new. He doesn’t have one yet. What do you think his name is?”

Brian held the skull in his hand and gazed into its eyes. A name drifted into his mind. He waited a moment to see if anything else came up. When it didn’t, he glanced at Jackie.

“Lester,” he whispered. “His name is Lester.”

Jackie smiled at Brian. “Welcome, Lester. Did you call us for a reason?”

The stone shivered and Brian thought he saw it glow. A comforting, quiet hum surrounded them.

“Lester is very responsive,” Jackie breathed, smiling.

“Do you just ask questions? Like a Magic Eight Ball?”

Jackie laughed. “Not necessarily. But you can. It just depends. Lester called us both for a reason. Let’s see if we can figure out what he wants to say.” She lit a a stick of incense and put it in a holder. “Sit closer to the mother stone. Hold Lester in your left palm and take my hand with the other.”

“What do I do?”

Jackie smiled, closing her eyes as she took his hand. “Breathe.”

“That’s it?” His eyes widened. “Really?”

“And listen. He wants to tell you something. Clear your mind and be open to it.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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