After an uneasy dream about the witches, Brian has a very nasty confrontation with Mr. D, in the guise of Dr. Meru. The following morning, he isn’t sure he trusts the mystical man.
“We determined that the only way to burn the witches was with magical fire. Then we walked into the living room, you reached for a paper in one of the boxes and I woke in my room. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t get the door open. No matter how I tried, I was locked in. Willa would not wake. I could hear you calling out, but the words were strange. With a last yell, you stopped and I assumed you were awake.”
“Did you try the door then?”
“Yes. I was able to open it.”
“Why didn’t you come then?”
“Because I heard enough of your dream to know that you wouldn’t have wanted to see me. Even now, you don’t trust me. I accept that. Are either of the dogs about?” he asked Miles.
“Janus showed up a few minutes ago,” Miles replied. “I saw him in the yard.” He went to the back door and whistled for the dog.
Seconds later, the huge Ridgeback clomped into the room, wagging his tail, tongue lolling. He walked up to Meru, sniffed his hand and licked him. That was confirmation enough for Brian. He relaxed, telling his version of the dream.
“And you found the paper?” Maribelle said.
“Yes. I put it in Dad’s safe before I went back to bed. I think all the other artifacts should be locked up and warded. That stuff is dangerous.”
“I agree with Brian,” Miles said. “And not all in one spot.”
“Copies,” Meru said. “Scatter and hide the originals and keep copies.”
“That will take a long time, something we don’t have much of. It’s already Tuesday. Halloween is Thursday. If Mr. D. is going to make his power move, it will probably be then.”
“We need to take care of the ashes right away,” Maribelle said. “I called Mom to babysit. I’m going, too. We must have everyone we can get. Brian, call Andre and the others. Miles, you know what to do.”
He nodded at his wife and got up from the table. “Meru, can you give me a hand with these boxes?”
“Certainly, Miles.” He followed Brian’s father to the dining room.
Maribelle Casey grabbed a jacket and went to Miles’ office. Moments later, she went to the safe in the dining room. Brian joined her there while he talked to Andre. He showed her the paper and the page in the book. She scanned copies and locked the originals back in the safe.
“Time to go shopping,” she said with a smile.
“Do I need to drive you?”
“No. It’s just really cold in the storage space. Come. I’ll need you to carry things. Bring a coat.”
Puzzled, Brian followed his mother to the basement. She opened the door to the storage room and walked confidently to the center.
“Open that, please.”
There was a trapdoor in the floor that Brian couldn’t remember ever seeing before. Flush with the floor, a thick, brass ring lay in a recessed area. Brian lifted it with ease. It swung back without a sound. He followed his mother down narrow steps. The room was extremely cold. Even with his coat, Brian was chilly. Maribelle turned on a light and pulled out the list.
“Get that crate.” She pointed to a wooden crate a few feet away.
Brian picked it up and set it on the small table in the center of the room. It looked like a pantry, though the items in the glass jars were hardly things he’d expect to find in his mother’s cellar.
“Is that eyeballs?” He peered at one jar with marble sized spheres.
“Yes, from goats.”
“But useful. We don’t need them though.”
“Grab that for me, Ladder Boy.” She pointed to a small glass jar full of yellow powder.
Brian lifted it down and put it in the crate. “Are you going to tell me what all this is?”
“No. That next,” she commanded, pointing to some other mysterious substance.
After ten minutes, she seemed satisfied that they had everything. Double checking her list, she beckoned for Brian to pick up the crate and follow her up the steps. When they were back in the basement, she shut the trap door and Brian couldn’t see it anymore. He felt like he should be able to see it, but it simply wasn’t there.
“Neat trick, that camouflage.”
“Very handy. Bring that upstairs,” she commanded. “Please,” she added almost as an afterthought.
This was an aspect of his mother Brian had never seen before. He couldn’t decide if he liked it or not. He was still thinking about it when she brought out a variety of small glass bowls.
“Prep time,” she said, handing him a knife he’d never seen before. The blade looked like it might be made of dark glass—or possibly obsidian. The handle was made from some sort of bone and it was inlaid with stones and pieces of metal.
Her hands moved deftly and quickly, chopping, mashing, peeling and grinding. Brian followed her movements as exactly as he could. Satisfied, she sealed the bowls with plastic lids, stacking them in another small crate.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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