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Chapter Thirteen

Hello Reader, please visit my home page for chapters 1 – 12. Chapter Fourteen will be posted tomorrow and a heads-up for those of you who like to save a few chapters to read with a cup of tea, we are getting close to the end. Thank you for reading.

Chapter Thirteen:

Seated in the back booth at Mulligans Tavern and Grill, surrounded by the low hum of conversation and mellow 80’s rock coming from the speakers, the mouth-watering scent of hot wings and fries in the air and drinks on the table.

I need this,” picking up the wine glass and watching the light reflect in the dark red of the liquid. Noticing flecks of lichen under her nails from digging in the snow.

The others nodded in agreement and clinked their glasses together before drinking.

Okay Rose, let’s do this. What is it in your past that makes you think I’m connected to Lucinda?” taking another slow sip then replacing the wine glass on the table.

Remember all I know is from the stories told by my mother and grandmother.  Lucinda was my mothers sister, and a bit of a rebel, she wanted to do more than the binding spells, she thought that the rules put in place by Heritage were stupid, weak. That the members could be capable of doing more, having more power over their gifts, not just following old traditions and rules. My mother said she constantly argued with my grandmother and the other members, she couldn’t settle, she always pushed,” Rose paused, taking a sip of her wine she looked around the pub, it was busy, wings were always a draw on a weeknight.    

When she was 18 Lucinda ran away and married a man a few years older than her. The family didn’t know she was seeing him, they apparently met by chance at the library. My grandmother never believed it was an accident, she always thought there was something sinister, tricky about him. She thought they targeted Lucinda because she was part of Heritage. His family, actually just an uncle, what was his name? Um, Ambrose, Ambrose Garcia. Interesting, the name Ambrose means immortal, which makes sense when you think about all the rumours. No one remembers when he arrived he’s just always been there, and he never ages. One thing that was true, is true, is that he was quite skilled at some of what you might call the Dark Arts, Heritage proved it but I don’t know how. Sorry, back to Lucinda… the family rarely came into town and only for supplies, and they definitely didn’t socialize with locals, never mind marrying one. There were so many rumours about what was happening, and what Ambrose was doing, people said he ran a commune, did blood rituals and even that there had been a human sacrifice. That one was because a young girl was passing through town years and years ago, and someone saw her standing at his truck, and she was never seen again. No one had any proof but the stories were passed around. ” Rose stopped. The back of her neck tingled, looking around nothing looked unusual, people were still eating wings, drinking beer, having fun. But there was a sense that the energy had changed, that it had woken up.

“I remember him, from when I was a kid, all of us were terrified, our mothers had drilled it into us that if we saw him in town, run the other way. The poor guy, imagine, you come into town to pick up supplies and all the kids scream and ride their bikes in the opposite direction, only to double back so they can do it again when you come out the store. Sometimes I felt bad for the guy.”

“Seriously, you felt bad for him? Rumours of sacrifices and rituals, missing girls. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, I’d bet money there was something happening, maybe not sacrifices but something,” gesturing to the waitress for another round of drinks.

Rose continued, “Heritage didn’t worry about the rumours until they involved Lucinda, her history with Heritage meant she had access to our secrets, how the binding spells worked, and why the Imps were important. Why keeping them bound was important. If Lucinda did decide to break the Heritage rules with help from someone like Ambrose, it would be devastating. So when someone said they witnessed her marriage ceremony and that a creature came out of the woods and killed a young woman while everyone watched, then they danced on her blood, my family paid attention. Most people dismissed it as a story but not my mother or her mother, or Mrs. Miller, they knew Lucinda and how much she had wanted to break free, to reach into the next world, they knew she was dangerous. Then about a year later word came that she was pregnant,” looking up as the glass of wine was placed on the table and from the corner of her eye seeing a movement, a slippery, slithery shadowy movement, but when she looked there was nothing.

My grandmother went out to speak to Ambrose – if there was a baby then Lucinda should come home, be with her mother, her family, in town during her pregnancy, what if there was a problem and she needed help? But Ambrose said it wasn’t true, there was no baby and no she couldn’t see Lucinda, because she and Raymond were away, finally taking a prolonged honeymoon.  My grandmother put the word out through Heritage, one of their own was missing, pregnant and the baby was definitely in danger. You see my grandmother had her own gifts, and one of them was an extremely heightened sense of truth, she could tell if someone was lying. Clear as day. She could feel it from Ambrose, the pregnancy was real and the child was in danger.”

Hey, didn’t expect to see you guys here, I thought you were at the pond,” Baxter interrupted, smiling at each of them in turn, holding a beer, the glassiness of his eyes suggesting this wasn’t his first, “oh look who else is here! Rose! Rose, how are you Rose?”

Baxter, got an early start did you, maybe you should head home?”

Yeah, maybe, home home home on the range…. I’ll be over there, if you need me,” waving to a high-top table on the other side of the bar, slopping his beer slightly.

Is he with…he is, he’s with Paula, I wondered when they’d finally get together, Baxters been smitten since she arrived, only took him three months of awkward flirting,” a laugh as they watched Baxter arrive at his table, carefully set his glass down and lean over to kiss their fellow detective.  As Baxter whispered in her ear she glanced over and waved, giving a cheeky wink.

Rose caught her breath, started to stand and checked herself, she felt slightly faint, the scent of ammonia wafted across the table.

“That woman, she works in your office? She has really pale green eyes right?” without waiting for an answer, “I was wrong, it isn’t you, I thought it was because of the visions, but I was wrong.”

Rose, what are you talking about, that’s Paula, she’s a detective.”

Wait let me finish what I was telling you. My grandmother put the word out through Heritage and eventually Lucinda was found, it was about a month before the baby was due. Heritage has a lot of connections, some powerful people know about us, and sometimes they help with things. Things that need special skills. When Lucinda was found Heritage decided to kidnap her until the baby was born, then to hide the baby. No one was supposed to get hurt, but Raymond, Lucindas’ husband, was killed. He tried to prevent the kidnapping using a movement spell, to move where he and Lucinda were, the actual space they were in, to another location, but he ended up moving himself into the space, he became the space. The walls, the floor, the ceiling. He was trapped and he died.”

“Wow, that is creepy, what happened with the baby?”

“Lucinda was kept isolated until the baby was born, she fought the doctor and nurses, the guards, every day she cursed my grandmother, threatened to bring down Heritage, my grandmother would cry when she got to this part of the story. The baby was taken somewhere to be kept safe and that was the end of the story. Until now. All I was ever told was that the child was a girl, she was born with pale green eyes and red hair.”

They looked over at Paula and Baxter, they were laughing and clinking glasses. The light over the table shone on Paulas’ long red hair.

She was born with pale green eyes and red hair, and a birthmark behind her right ear, a small spiral mark on her skin.”

“So, we just have to go over there and casually look behind her ear?”

“Rose you thought I was the baby an hour ago and I don’t have green eyes by the way. Are you sure the story your grandmother told is true, there was a baby with green eyes and red hair?” reaching across the table to touch Roses hand, “could it be just a story, a family legend?”

No, it’s true, I didn’t know if the details were true, like the eye colour or hair, and those can change as a child grows up, right. But there was a baby and Mrs. Miller told me about the birthmark, my grandmother didn’t tell me that, Mrs. Miller did. She was there, at the birth.”

Rose shivered, as if someone had walked over her grave, “and I felt it, when she looked at us, the blood connection, it’s her and the birthmark will prove it.”

Yeah, and then we just have to figure out where she fits in with all this, because if she is Lucindas daughter it’s a bit of a coincidence that she arrived when she did.”

To be continued.

Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/norrisc/3853957600/

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