Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 3

  • The small town seemed deserted. He glanced at his watch, it wasn’t yet nine in the evening. Driving around, he spotted a couple of older women sitting outside on their porch. Grinning to himself, he pulled over. No one knew town gossip like the cute, little old ladies. He got out and smiled his most charming smile as he approached them.
  • “Good evening, ladies. Beautiful night.” Friendly smiles beamed back at him. He stopped at the bottom of the porch stairs. “I was wondering if you could help me. I’m looking for Miss Gracelyn Trainer.”
  • One of the sniffled and pulled a handkerchief from her pocket. “That poor dear, she’s all alone now.”
  • The other straightened and patted her friend’s hand. “Now, Vie.” She turned to him, her wise eyes looking him over. “If you’ve come to pay your respects, I’m afraid you’re too late.”
  • “I only just heard,” he said softly.
  • She nodded. “The services were yesterday, such a tragedy. Faith was a spiteful child, but she didn’t deserve that.” She picked up her cup and took a drink. “Are you family?”
  • Evan shook his head. “No.”
  • She tsked a few times. “That’s too bad. Poor Gracie is alone now and only eighteen. You won’t find her, though. No one recalls seeing her at the service, the poor dear. She was gone. The house was empty when one of her neighbors went over after the services to check on her.”
  • Gone? Shit! He cleared his throat. “No one knows where she went?”
  • The sniffling woman shook her head. “No, not a word of where she was going, she was just gone.”
  • “I see.” He turned and looked around. “Could you point me in the direction of the house?” He shrugged. “I’d like to leave word in case she happens to come back for any reason.”
  • They both pointed. “End of the street, big house. You can’t miss it,” one of them whispered.
  • Evan nodded. “Thank you very much, ladies.” He started to turn.
  • “If you’d like to pay your respects, the cemetery is at the other end of town. Gracie’s parents are buried right alongside her sister.”
  • “Thank you.” He nodded again and went back to his car.
  • ~
  • Needing to know if black magic had been the cause of the girl’s death, he went to the graveyard first. What other reason would Gracie have to take off the way she had?
  • Finding a new grave wasn’t hard in a town this size, he thought as he stopped his car. He went over to the gravesite slowly, seeking magic as he did. There were no traces of black magic here. The girl had died without magical aid. He squatted and looked at the new headstone. It only had her name and dates, nothing else. He found that odd that her own sister hadn’t added anything else other then when she was born and died.
  • He moved over to the older headstone marker for her parents, and squatted again. “Where would she go?” Not that he was asking the headstone or her dead parents, but sometimes, just sometimes, if one sent ideas out into the air, it brought back what was needed.
  • Getting up, he sighed and went back to his car. Would he find anything at the house to help him? A small trace of magic was all he needed. If she’d left him that, maybe he could find her. As he left the cemetery, it occurred to him that maybe she didn’t want to be found. If that were the case, he had a lot of work to do.
  • With the overall size of the town, it didn’t take him long to find the big house at the end of the street. It was a beautiful home, maybe needed a little work here and there, but for two young girls to have been left in charge of it for the better part of two years, it was in a good shape.
  • He went around the entire perimeter of the house and didn’t like what he sensed. Magic had been used within the walls here, both dark and light. That confirmed one thing—he had to go inside the house. He checked three times to make sure he wasn’t walking into some sort of magical whammy before he suggested to the back door that it open for him.
  • He stood in the entrance for several minutes and absorbed the vibrations throughout the house. The last felt, and the strongest, were sorrow and despair. Not grief as he’d imagined he’d feel, considering she had buried her last family member.
  • As he moved slowly through the house, he had to admit that living in it would be more than comfortable. Although, anything was better than the small apartment he now called home.
  • He froze when he stood at the bottom of the stairs. The pungent odor of dark magic filled his nostrils and put him on alert. Had it happened right here? He looked down at the bottom step and stooped to run his hand lightly over it. It was there, but it wasn’t right there. He held his hand lightly over the banister and moved slowly up the stairs. Five steps from the top, it was the strongest. Someone had used dark magic in this very spot. And chances were that the person it was used against had stood at the bottom.
  • He was going to have to find out what happened to the oldest sister, Faith. He didn’t know anything for certain yet, but the older women had said she was a spiteful child, and to him, that meant it often led into doing nasty things as the person got older. Had she cursed her own sister?
  • Evan continued up the stairs, and he checked each room carefully. Slight touches of magic were throughout them, but nothing strong enough to gauge anything. The last room he checked brought him to a stop as he entered it. It was heavy with despair, and somehow, he knew this had been Gracie’s room. “Why did you leave?” He turned in the room slowly and then spotted a picture hanging on the wall. Frowning, he walked over and looked at it. A couple stood with their two daughters in front of them. He touched the frame gently and leaned closer so he could see in the fading light. One daughter had coal black hair, and something told him it was Faith.
  • He took the picture off the wall carefully and walked over to the bathroom to turn on the light and get a better look. The picture was probably five years old, judging by his guess of the ages of the girls. He studied the auburn-haired girl. Even in a photo, her aura was lit with joy. She appeared graceful and carefree. It had to be Gracelyn. “Where are you?” he asked the photo.
  • He turned back toward the door and wandered around the room. “I’ll find you and give you back your home, Gracelyn.” Still holding the picture, he went to the back to the stairs. He had a lot of ground to cover and very little time to do it, but he knew one thing—no one was going to take this house away from that girl in the picture.