For complete disclaimers see part 1.
If you’d like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com. If you have suggestions or corrections, don’t bother as that’s what my publisher’s editor is for.
Remmy was walking along Maple Street, admiring the storefronts of some of the shops. It was her day off, as she’d been working on the Laundromat on 6th for the past month, working as the general help: someone needed quarters and the machine was broken, she was your girl; dryer stopped working or overheated due to lint buildup, she was your girl; dropping laundry off to be washed by the employees at Gil’s Fluff, she was your girl. She enjoyed the work, nice and laid back, and she was able to wear jeans. She enjoyed tinkering, so fixing the machines was nice, too.
It was a gorgeous day for January, blue skies and no snow in the forecast, and it was a nice, mild forty-six degrees out. Bundled up, she walked along, moving out of the way of a kid on a bike, absently side-stepping him as her eyes stayed glued to the simple white letters on the store window she stood in front of:
BRENDEN- SPIRITUAL HEALER AND GUIDE
Underneath the large letters was a list of what Brenden could do for the customer, including palm readings, magic stones, and past lives mapping.
Curious, Remmy pushed through into the shop, the light tinkling of gentle chimes announcing her presence. The store was long and narrow, shoulder-height shelving units offered various books on spirituality, past lives, astro-projection, dream interpretation, and astrology just to name a few. Candles of every shape, size and color adorned an open glass case, hand-written signs beneath each explaining what it was used for. The store was filled with an earthy incense, which Remmy thought was wonderful, if a little too intense for the space. She stopped, staring at a large cloth poster, the face of a man filling it, a round glow seeming to emanate from dead center in his forehead.
THE LIFE’S THIRD EYE, it read in black lettering across the top.
“Wonderful work, isn’t it?”
Remmy jumped, never hearing anyone come up beside her. A small man, short in stature and frail in frame, stood beside her, a knowing smirk on his boyish face. “A friend of mine made that for me.”
Remmy nodded in acknowledgement, realizing that the man on the cloth was the man standing next to her.
“I’m Brenden.” He held out his hand, which was taken for a brief shake. The man studied her, his short, light brown hair falling into one brown eye. His gaze was intense, and made Remmy extremely uncomfortable. She flinched when he reached up, gently tapping the center of her forehead. A strange sensation flowed through her body at the contact, it was almost as though she’d received a mild electrical shock originating from that spot. Uncomfortable, she backed away one step. “You have the sight, don’t you?” he said, his voice soft, his words very much a statement.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said, unable to shake his dark gaze.
Brenden smiled. “How can I help you today? Are you in the need of some Tarot cards? Or perhaps a deck of Angel cards, instead? Maybe a charm or magic stones.”
“Oh, uh, no. I was just looking around,” she said, indeed doing that. She had been in spiritual shops before, many times, in fact, always drawn by that which most did not understand. “This is nice,” she said lamely. In truth, this shop felt very different. It felt as though she were being watched, though she knew it had nothing to do with security cameras. There was a buzz in the air, a feeling of the shop, itself almost being alive.
“You look lost,” Brenden said, once again stealthily at her side. From the slight lift of his brow, Remmy wondered if his observation was as simple as it sounded.
“Do you have any pendulums?” Remmy asked, not really wanting one, but at a loss of some way to answer. Her own misgivings and uncertainties were hearing things in Brenden’s voice that likely weren’t even there. As she looked at him, she had the strangest sensation that he had all the answers. If only she knew the questions.
“Of course.” He led her through the maze of aisles and displays to the cash register, which sat on a glass case, filled with various types of pendulums. There were large ones, small ones, some made of stone, while others were made of semi-precious jewels. “Do you have much experience with pendulums?” he asked, all business.
“Yes. I used to have one.”
“What happened to it?” Brenden asked, unlocking the cabinet door from the other side of the case, and reaching in, bringing out the large display case out to rest on top of the glass counter top. The pendulums were laid out, chains pinned to the felt.
“I don’t know,” Remmy said with a sheepish grin. “One move too many, is my guess.”
He nodded. “Yes, You’re a restless soul. A wanderer.” Remmy said nothing, only barely holding his gaze. Brenden smiled again, indicating the pendulums at his fingertips. “Well, since you’ve had one before, you know that not all pendulums speak to you. The spirit inside must feel you, and you it, or it will not work.”
Remmy nodded, having heard that before. She glanced at him with questioning eyes. At his nod, she reached out and gently unpinned tear drop-shaped pendulum made of onyx. It was heavy in her hand, the chain thin silver. She studied the pendulum in her palm, trying to see if she could feel the heat from the stone that she could from her old one.
“I don’t think that’s the right one for you,” Brenden said, plucking the onyx from her hand. She would have been irritated if she hadn’t agreed with his assessment. “Try this one.”
Remmy accepted the pendulum made of jade, shaped into a smooth cone nearly three inches long. It was heavy, a small jade button was fastened at the top of the chain as a grip. Again, she held it in her palm, closing her eyes as she tried to feel the pendulum, allowing it to speak to her. She could feel the subtle heat pouring into her palm, almost as though the jade were aflame from the inside. Taking the grip between thumb and index finger, she let her palm drop out under the pendulum, its own weight falling to pull the chain taut as she held it aloft, her palm no more than an inch below the point of the cone.
Brenden watched with intense curiosity as Remmy waited for the pendulum to stop spinning, finally coming to rest. He could tell this one was more powerful than he’d seen in a long time, though he wasn’t sure if she knew it yet or not. He felt she was blocking him out, which no one had ever been able to do.
Remmy wanted to see how this one reacted, so asked it to simply show her “yes”. After a moment the pendulum shook slightly, as though unsure which way to move. The heat began to swell once more in Remmy’s palm, the jade slowly circling clock-wise.
“Stop,” Remmy murmured, the pendulum coming to almost instant stop. “Show me ‘no’.” Again the stone seemed someone what unsure, then began to circle counter clock-wise.
“It seems like a good match,” Brenden said. “The stone responds to you well.”
Remmy nodded, watching the almost hypnotic movement as the pendulum circled in a swift, strong movement. “Stop,” she said, the stone immediately complying. “How much?” she asked, glancing up at the small man.
“Pendulums are seventy-five.”
“Oh.” Somewhat bummed, as she’d like to have a pendulum again, Remmy handed the stone over. “That’s a little steep for me. I’m sorry. But thanks for your help.” She turned to walk out of the store.
“Remmy?” he said, stopping her dead in her tracks. “For you, twenty. This would be good for you.” He held the pendulum out to her in invitation.
Remmy studied him, truly shaken. “Do I know you?”
Brenden met her gaze, cupping the stone in his left hand, the chain dangling from between his fingers. “We all know each other. The Sight doesn’t lie.”
Truly disturbed, Remmy backed away from Brenden, her back coming into contact with the front door, which sent the chimes tinkling again. “I gotta go,” she muttered, pushing out into the afternoon sunny day.
“Skylar, I need you to bring in the rest of the dogs’ stuff,” Julie said, calling out from her kitchen, where she was beginning to unpack the groceries she’d just bought. She had been completely shocked when for Christmas the community had given her a check for twenty-thousand dollars, monies collected through donations from Woodland’s citizens, and local businesses. Deeply touched and moved to tears, she’d taken the money and had used some of it to restock her fridge, and was going to have to use part of it to get her house payments caught up. The bank had been working with Matt, as there was no way he could afford to mortgages while she’d been gone. But now that she had returned, their generosity had come to an end.
Tonight would be her first night to stay at the house, and Skylar had happily volunteered to stay with her. They had a video game marathon planned for later, giant bowls of popcorn to munch on. Julie smiled to herself, listening to her dogs tear around the house as they chased each other, their quiet growls heard every once in awhile.
Skylar ran back into the house, the dogs’ bed and toys in hand, immediately heading toward the living room where he knew they belonged. Bonnie and Clyde tore out of the kitchen and nearly knocked Skylar over with their excitement to get into their bed. The boy giggled, plopping down onto his butt and accepting the Yorkie bath.
For a short while Julie felt normal again. She laughed and cried out as her now 9 year old nephew kicked her butt with the Wii system he’d brought over. She was exhausted from their intense tennis match, then giggling like a school girl as they boxed. She couldn’t believe they’d actually worked up a sweat.
“Uncle! I give!” she called out, plopping down on the couch. With a cry of victory, Skylar jumped at her, ultimately landing with his head in her lap, and torturing her by quick pokes in the stomach. “You little shit,” she growled, laughing wildly as she tried to avoid his fingers, meanwhile getting in her own licks. Pooped and hungry, boy and woman trekked off toward the kitchen to make dinner.
The blue sky above shimmered with the bright sun. A few lazy clouds floated by, their shadows painted across the wild flowers, erasing the sun’s reflection upon the calm waters of the nearby water for just a moment.
Julie felt the softness of her dress flowing around her legs, and a sense of peace and happiness filling her. She turned in a slow circle, eyes scanning the seemingly endless field, though the fourth side faded into dark woods, the waters of a small stream to her left. She headed toward the water, knowing she was waiting for someone. She would go to the coolness of the stream and wait.
Bending down, she dipped her fingers in the water, finding it strange that she didn’t feel the cool wetness she expected, but rather hot air, which nearly burned her fingertips. Suddenly, she felt a trickle of fear drip lazily down her spine. Slowly she rose to her feet, squeezing her eyes shut as she dreaded turning around. Her heart was pounding, and she felt faint. Opening her eyes, she saw a shadow on the bank of the stream, right next to, and slightly behind, her own.
“Remmy!” Julie shot up, nearly knocking Clyde to the floor. She didn’t notice as her heart pounded, a thing sheen of sweat covering her body. Wide green eyes took in the darkened room. She felt a presence and turned, seeing Skylar standing next to the bed.
“Are you okay, Aunt Julie?” he asked, fear making his voice tremble. “You were making funny noises.”
Julie took several deep breaths, hand trembling as she ran it through her hair, pushing it off her forehead. “Yeah,” she murmured, “Just a bad dream.” She calmed as her nephew wrapped his arms around her neck.
“I’m sorry you’re so upset, Aunt Julie,” Skylar murmured into her neck. She hugged him tighter, then kissed him on the forehead.
“I’m sorry I woke you up, baby. Go back to sleep, okay?”
He studied her, eyes far more mature than they should be. The boy had been through a lot. “Are you sure you’re gonna be okay?”
“I’m sure.” She watched him reluctantly leave her alone, listening until she heard him climb into the bed that was reserved for only him, then she blew out a breath. Two pairs of large, brown eyes looked up at her. “Sorry, guys,” she said, gathering her two little dogs to her and closing her eyes, reveling in the comfort they gave her.
Unable and unwilling to get back to sleep, Julie headed down to the kitchen and made herself some coffee. Ironically, that had been one of the most difficult things to deal with during her captivity- no coffee. She had no idea just addicting it really was until she started getting caffeine headaches. They had passed quickly, but she had missed even just the taste, let alone what it did for her.
Sitting at one of the breakfast barstools with her coffee, sipping. She tried bring her mind back to the nightmare, needing to know what it was about. She had always been a fan of dreaming, and felt that it truly was the soul speaking desires, fears, or plain needs that the conscious mind wasn’t ready to admit, or was too busy to consider. Yes, she knew it had to do with Sergio and the fear that felt would forever be her companion now. The actual details of the dream were fading fast, leaving her with the unease it had caused.
Matt drained his coffee, nodding when Roman walked over and grabbed his mug to refill it. “How are you?” he asked, his gratitude with the young redheaded man, as he knew that he’d helped Remmy find Julie and the others.
“I’m great, Matt. How is Julie doing?”
“Good, good. Day by day, you know?”
Roman nodded, setting the newly-filled cup on the table, then walked away to wait on other customers.
Matt, left to his own thoughts, looked around the coffeehouse with mild interest, hearing snippets of others’ conversations: …telling you, it’s wrong… thought it was time we actually went out… time does the movie start? After another ten minutes, the door opened and a customer was blown in on the January cold and wind. He raised his hand, getting Grace Cowan’s attention. She wove her way through the busy shop, taking the chair across from him. She removed her heavy overcoat, resting it on the back of her chair.
“Sorry I’m late,” she said.
“No problem. Glad you could meet with me on such short notice.”
“Anytime, Matt, you know that.” Grace waved Roman down, the young man quickly making his way over and taking her order. Within five minutes, he’d returned with her muffin and cup of hot chai tea. As she mixed in some cinnamon and honey, Grace looked up at Matt Wilson, dark eyes expectant.
“Julie has moved back into her own house,” he began, sipping from his cup. “Skylar, my son, stayed with her about a week ago. He said she woke up from another nightmare, and she said something when she woke up that rattles me, Grace.”
“What did she say?” Grace asked, biting into her muffin. She stopped chewing at Matt’s answer.
“Remmy.” At Grace’s silence, Matt continued. “How would she know that name, Grace? I’ve never mentioned her, not wanting to bring back anything that might upset her. She refused to watch any news coverage of the story.”
Matt shook his head. “I asked her. Dr. Corregan said she’s never discussed the details of the case with Julie.” He took another drink of his coffee. “Should we tell her about Remmy? Have you heard from her at all?”
Grace shook her head, swallowing the bit of muffin in her mouth then sipped her tea. “I haven’t heard anything from her. Other than heading to the mid-west somewhere, I know nothing.”
“But, do you think we should say something?”
Grace sighed and sat back in her chair. She had felt all along that Julie should be told about Remmy, as well as she was curious if Julie had felt the connection that Remmy seemed to feel. “I'll talk to her,” she said, giving no room for argument. She and Remmy had worked closely together to solve Julie’s case, and she felt the need to tell the blonde all she knew. Remmy deserved that recognition.
Julie had a pot of coffee ready when the doorbell chimed. Bonnie and Clyde ran to the door, their little butts moving from side to side as their stubby tails wagged in anticipation of their new friend at the door. Julie pushed them aside and checked through the peephole- Grace stood on the porch, right on time.
“Welcome to my home, Detective Cowan,” she said, pulling the door open.
“Thank you, Julie. And please, call me Grace.” Grace stepped across the threshold, looking around the modest, yet wonderfully maintained home. “This is really nice.”
“Thank you,” Julie said, genuine pride in her voice. “Come on into the kitchen. I’ve coffee all ready.”
Grace followed the petit blonde, who looked better and better physically every time she saw her. Though still somewhat thin, she had put on some weight, her clothing no longer hanging on her as it had been over Thanksgiving. She accepted the mug of coffee given to her, and joined Julie at the round kitchen table, four chairs placed around it.
“How have you been?” the detective asked.
Julie nodded, her hands cupping her own mug. “I’ve been okay. I love Matt dearly, but it’s really good to be home.”
“Oh, I bet!” Grace laughed. “I would’ve throttled my brother long ago.” They both laughed at her words then settled. “Listen, speaking of your brother, he told me something the other day, and I felt it was really important to talk to you about it. But first, I want to ask you some questions.”
“Alright,” Julie agreed, setting her coffee cup down and pushing it away.
“First off, what, if anything, do you know about your rescue?”
“Well,” Julie sighed, “I know you were there. I know he was shot and killed. I remember someone else being there, but no clue who.” She looked into Grace’s dark eyes with open, sincere green. “That’s it.”
“I was told you had a dream one night when your nephew was staying with you. You woke him up with it.” Grace saw the recognition, and slight embarrassment, in Julie’s eyes. “You said a name when you awoke.”
“Remmy. I said it once before, too, when I was there, in the pit.”
“Do you know who that is?”
Julie shook her head, grabbing her coffee cup, but more for something to do with her hands rather than actually being thirsty. Her eyes took a far off look as she began her tale. She had told no one what she was going to tell Grace. “When I was at Sergio’s, I would have these dreams. At first they started out as actual dreams, like at night. But then, somewhere along the way, they turned into day dreams. I don’t know,” she shrugged and shook her head. “It seemed almost like when things were at their worst, I’d find myself in the field.”
“Field?” Grace listened intently, her mind spinning as she already began to try and put the puzzle together in her mind.
“Yeah. A field. It was always beautiful there, the skies clear and bright. A happy place. One time Skylar and my dogs even showed up.” She chuckled, amused as she felt it sounded silly, even to her own ears. “That was only once, but in that dream, as well as all the others, there was someone there with me, walking with me, holding me…” Julie’s voice trailed off, brows drawing as she remembered the blurry figure who always accompanied her, giving her strength and comfort. “I don’t know. The night Skylar heard me dreaming, I was back in that field, waiting for my dream-friend.” She met Grace’s gaze. “She never showed.”
“So, from this guardian in your dreams, was her name Remmy?”
Julie thought for a moment, bringing a hand up to rest her chin in the palm. Finally she nodded. “I think so. I don’t know that I’d swear to it, but I think so, yes.”
“Okay.” Grace took a long drink from her coffee, then set the mug aside. “I’m going to tell you a story, and you’re going to think I’ve lost my mind, but I swear, it’s the truth.”
“Alright,” Julie said, intrigued. She got up and refilled Grace’s cup, topping her off as well. Sitting back down, she waited.
“Not long after you disappeared a young woman came to the police station and spoke with my partner. She claimed that she had information on your disappearance, and that there was more than one that was missing. Unfortunately, my partner didn’t take her as serious as he should have, but she didn’t give up. She claimed to have what she called ‘visions’, and dreams.”
Julie listened, shocked as Grace continued with her story, telling her that the woman was able to pick up on all the weird collections Sergio had, as well as that she’d actually come face to face with him at her job over the convenience store and gas station. She felt nearly sick when she found out the young woman had even picked up on Roxie’s murder.
Julie was quiet for a long time, absorbing all that she’d been told. She sipped calmly from her coffee, the woman sitting across from her waiting patiently. Finally Julie met Grace’s gaze. “What is her name?” she asked, voice soft.
Grace’s gaze was unwavering and intense. “Remmy.”
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