By Mavis Applewater
For disclaimers see part one.
A special thank you goes out to my beta reader Mountain Girl.
As always this is for Heather.
Stewart, Massachusetts 1923
Mary Dunhill was toiling in the kitchen of the grand manor. The young girl had felt lucky when she was hired as the cook at the palatial home. She was new to the area and with work being hard to find, she jumped at the opportunity. She just didnt understand why the people in town gave her strange looks when she asked for directions to the manor. Many went so far as to caution her against accepting the position. Mr. Hughes, who was Captain Strattons solicitor, had warned her that her new employer was a bit eccentric and demanding. She didnt care a lick if he liked to swing from the chandelier she needed the work.
It was her first day at work and the Captains dietary needs seemed to be quite simple, making her job that much easier. She had to admit there was an ominous feel to the house, perhaps it was the old mans gruff demeanor or the way the rest of staff seemed to skulk about jumping at the slightest noise. Again, she didnt care. She was curious as to why the kitchen woodworking was marred in the most unsightly manner.
She thanked the heavens that the Captain was a simple meat and potatoes man, since she wasnt skilled enough to expand beyond the basics. Another thing that piqued the young womans interest was the way the house seemed to be falling into a state of neglect, while the garden was pristine. "Curious, but none of my business," she theorized as she carried the large roast to the oven.
"Youd be wise to listen to the warnings," a soft voice whispered in her ear.
Mary jumped with a start almost dropping the roast onto the floor. She shoved it quickly into the large oven as she looked about. "Whats this?" She blurted out as she looked around the empty room. "Go on have a laugh at the new girls expense," she taunted her unseen tormentor. "I dont scare easily," she threatened.
You should, the same soft voice repeated sending a shiver down her spine.
"Ill not give in to your Tom Foolery," she snickered as she convinced herself that it was just someone trying to give her a fright. Mary wiped her hands on a rag before ducking out the backdoor for a much needed cigarette. Standing along the side of the house she hid in the shadows so her new employer wouldnt catch her smoking. She glanced over towards the kitchen window. Marys dark brown eyes widened with surprise as she spied the small woman looking down at her from the kitchen window. She blinked once and the woman was gone. "Who was that?" She muttered as she looked about, she hadnt recalled seeing the woman before.
"Talking to yourself already?" A snicker came from behind her. Once again the young woman jumped with fright.
"For goodness sake you scared the devil out of me," she exclaimed once she spotted Ned, the groundskeeper. The wispy older man seemed unsteady on his feet.
"No, the devil is hiding in his study just like he always does," Ned slurred the rancid smell of stale cheap whisky assaulted Mary as he spoke.
"Aint you a pretty picture," she sneered with disgust as she took a drag on her cigarette. "I thought that old lady Miller, the maid, and I were the only women who worked here?"
"Ya," he shrugged his eyelids dropping.
"But I just saw some lady standing in the kitchen window," she sputtered as he half listened while scratching his beard.
"That would be one of the ladies of the house," Ned yawned with disinterest.
"I thought the Captain was a widower?" She asked truly confused by the events.
"Of his own making," Ned gravely supplied. "You get used to seeing them. Mrs. Miller says they keep her company while she is cleaning the big old house."
"What are you talking about you drunken old fool?" Mary hissed as she snubbed out her smoke.
"He killed them," he flatly explained as his eyes drifted to her small pouch of tobacco. "You wouldnt want to roll one of those for a poor old man would ya?"
"I might, if you tell me what you are talking about?" She toyed with the inebriated man.
"His wife and his sister, killed them both," Ned grimly offered as Mary began rolling him a cigarette.
"Rubbish," she sneered with disbelief as she thrust the neatly rolled smoke at him.
"I was here," he hissed at her. "I still hear Miranda screaming, she was the maid back then."
"Right, he murdered his wife and sister and is a free man," Mary scoffed at the notion.
"A rich and free man," Ned corrected her. "Never found the bodies, nothing the sheriff can do," Ned shrugged once again as he snubbed out his cigarette. "Looked like a slaughter house," he shakily added.
"What did?" Mary inquired.
"The kitchen," Ned snorted. "Why do ya think he has to hire a girl like you from out of state? No one in these parts will set foot in there," his crooked finger pointed up towards the window. Mary felt another shiver as he sauntered off. "Believe what you wish, I saw it fer myself. We work for the devil, youll see soon enough. The ladies can be pranksters."
"Go on with you," she shouted after his retreating figure. He stopped and turned back to her, his eyes narrowed with a sad expression.
"As you wish," he coldly retorted. "It was Halloween morning, the kitchen was covered with blood, and my axe that was kept in the woodshed along with the ladies vanished after that day. But maybe they went off on holiday," he threw out with a cold sneer before wandering off.
"Crazy old bugger," Mary muttered under her breath before ducking back into the kitchen. She shrieked in horror as she stepped into the smoke filled room. Mary was frantic as she rushed to the oven and yanked out the charred remains. She dumped the ruined roast into the sink, fearing that her first day of employment would be her last. "I dont understand it," she gasped as she threw open the door in an effort to clear the smoke. Once the smoke trickled out she checked the oven. "What in the bloody hell?" She sputtered as she gaped at the oven. "I didnt set it this high. Oh, there are pranksters about but theyre quite amongst the living," she fussed as she began to prepare a second meal. Mary refused to believe that what had happened was anything more than her co-workers having a lark at her expense.
A month later after most of her meals were mysteriously ruined Mary still refused to believe that the events were anything but someones idea of a joke. Each time she tried to talk to the staff, in an effort to unmask the culprit, she only received blanks stares, and someone telling her that it was the ladies of the house having a bit of fun.
"Mrs. Miller," Mary bellowed as she stormed up the staircase. Once again her work had been destroyed. If it werent for the constant pranks, Marys job would have been a walk in the park. She was paid very well and rarely saw her employer who seemed content to lock himself up in the study all day alone. She heard the old man had a son, but the boy never came home from school. "Mrs. Miller," she called out as she found the plump older woman toiling in the hall linen closet.
"Now what is all this fuss about?" Mrs. Miller calmly addressed the irate woman.
"Ill tell you what the fuss is about," Mary growled. "A perfect ham, that I spent all day preparing. I left it cooling on the counter, only to see it being tossed out the backdoor while I was getting a breath of fresh air. You and me are the only ones in the house, I want to know why you did it?"
"Oh hush," the older woman chuckled as she closed the closet door. "It is just the ladies having a bit of sport."
"Dont hand me that rubbish," Mary snarled.
"I swear on my poor Johnnies grave it is the truth," Mrs. Miller protested with a broad smile. "They have to have some fun. The boy never comes home, and the old man hides in his study. The old devil only comes out for meals or to trample poor Mrs. Strattons garden. Every time he steps out of that study, theyre on him like flies on dung. Serves him right, if you ask me. Now before you start calling me a foolish old woman, just listen to what I have to say. First I wouldnt set foot in that kitchen. My brother was working up here when it happened. He was madder than a wet hen when I took a job up here. What choice did I have with Johnny gone and six children to support? My second day here, the old man was running about screaming at someone. Leave me be! He kept shouting at the top of his lungs. I thought the old bugger was just loony until I saw her."
"Saw who?" Mary skeptically encouraged Mrs. Miller as they strolled to the top of the landing.
"Catherine Stratton," Mrs. Miller simply complied while pointing to the bottom of the staircase. "Standing in the foyer as clear as day and then with the blink of an eye she was gone. I was frightened at first, but then I remembered how she and Mrs. Stratton would stroll through town arm and arm happy as the day was long and if the boy was with them, they just strutted like peacocks. You wouldnt have known that they were the richest women in town by the way they would stop and chat with everyone. And they knew who you were; they were two of the sweetest souls to ever walk the earth. If you want my advice, if you are determined to stay on here just get along with the ladies."
"Youre crazier than that drunk Ned," Mary grumbled.
"Maybe." Mrs. Miller merrily conceded. "Then again, Ned never touched spirits until that day. Poor old fool hates himself for staying here."
Mary threw her hands up in disgust before storming back down the staircase. She felt an icy cold breeze wafting against her body as she stomped through the corridor that led to the kitchen. "Awfully brisk for this time of year," she shivered as she swung open the kitchen door. She froze in her tracks when she discovered the petite woman standing in the middle of the room.
"Where is my son?" The woman sadly inquired as Mary gaped at her.
"Your what?" Mary stammered as her gaze drifted down the womans body, she released a horrifying shriek as she realized that the woman was missing the lower half of her body and seemed to be floating in midair. Marys heart was pounding against her chest, her knees buckling as the woman simply faded into a mist and was gone. Her eyes rolled back as the room spun and she collapsed onto the floor.
Mary had no idea just how long she was lying on the kitchen floor before she awoke. "Im sorry, " someone whispered. "No one will come in here to help you. Theyre afraid. Are you alright?" Mary blinked open her eyes to discover a misty covered vision of a tall blonde kneeling beside her. Mary jerked her body up and scrambled across the room. She snatched up her thin coat and purse before bolting out the door never looking back as she tore down the driveway. Mary didnt stop running until she reached New York City. Years later she would write a short story based on her experiences at Whispering Pines, which began her career as a moderately successful suspense novelist.
Stewart, Massachusetts 1957
Katy Anne Stratton fidgeted nervously as she stood on the porch of her ancestral home. "I can do this," she groaned as she tried to will herself to put the key in the lock and open the front door.
"Sweetheart if it makes you that uncomfortable then just forget I suggested it," Roland her fiancée tenderly offered as he caressed her shoulder.
"No," she stammered as she tried to shake off the years of ghost stories. They were just starting out, and money would be tight. Sitting just a short distance from her childhood home was a great big house, falling into disrepair. They could live rent free, with just a short walk into town to catch the train to the city and their jobs. They could save money, while fixing up the old mansion that was more than big enough to start a family. Her father readily agreed, cautioning her about the house. Her brother had tried to live in the house back when he was trying to strike out on his own. He lasted ten minutes before he went screaming from the house.
"Katy Anne, Im serious with our parents help we can get an apartment in the city," Roland continued as the tall woman turned ashen.
"Is that what you want?" She asked the kindly man she had met in college. "I want us to be able to stand on our own just as much as you do. Now it would be foolish to pass up on a free house, a mansion to boot," she laughed at her silliness. "Come on," she nudged him as she slipped the key into the lock. "Wow," she gasped as she drank in the craftsmanship.
"Why would anyone simply abandon this place?" Roland St. James gasped with appreciation. "When was it built?"
"1912," Katy Anne supplied as they began to explore the grand old home. "My grandfather had it built for himself and my grandmother."
"The cemetery is awfully full for it being just the two of them?" Roland curiously inquired.
"Distant relatives, and some of the towns folk mostly, and my Grandfather of course," Katy Anne hedged as they entered a large room with mahogany walls and a fireplace.
"Honey, this would be perfect for you," Roland blurted out. "When you are drafting late at night, the fire can keep you warm and I can build you a great big desk and drafting table."
"You dont want it?" She nudged him knowing that he was already eyeing the old barn to use as his woodshop.
"No," he smiled brightly. "Ill be out in the barn sawing wood while you create works of art. Wait?" He stammered as his brow furrowed. "Youre grandmother isnt buried in the cemetery?"
"Uhm," Katy Anne stammered as she began chewing on her bottom lip. "No, she isnt. My Grandfather is buried in the large crypt in the center of the cemetery. My father had the one on the hill built, for his family which he hopes someday will include his mother and aunt."
"Your grandmother is alive?" Roland enthusiastically inquired as Katy Anne took him gently by the hand.
"I doubt it," she began while patting his large calloused hand. "Oh, Roland sweetie you know how you are always saying your family has a colorful past, well brace yourself sweetie," she continued as the sound of a door slamming echoed throughout the house.
"What was that?" Roland asked with surprise.
"Lets hope it was the wind," Katy Anne muttered. "Roland, we dont know what happened to my grandmother Anna or my great aunt Catherine."
"You dont know?" He sputtered as another door slammed.
"Well you see, Dad is convinced that my grandfather killed them," Katy Anne reluctantly explained. "Then hid their bodies somewhere on the property."
"Beg pardon?" Roland said with a hard swallow.
"Ill tell you what I know," Katy Anne continued as the room temperature suddenly dropped. "On Halloween morning, 1916 while my father was away at boarding school, the staff arrived to discover the kitchen was covered in blood and both women were missing. The sheriff investigated for years but never found anything that could explain their disappearance."
"My God, why would someone do something so horrible?" Roland blanched as the hair on the back of his neck prickled.
"They deserved it," came the eerie hiss.
"Lets go," Roland sputtered as he griped Katy Annes hand and dragged her out of the room. They stumbled each of them trembling violently. Roland instinctively wrapped his arms around his soon to be bride. "I love you, but there is no way we are living here."
"Thank you," Katy Anne blew out as she hugged him tighter. They jumped with surprise as the front door squeaked open.
"Tell my son that we love him, now go," a soft lilting voice echoed.
"I will," Katy Anne promised as a wave of sadness engulfed her. She was crying as Roland guided her out of the house. The tears didnt stop as they locked the door and walked away.
Katy Ann was still in a somber mood as they stepped up to the doorway of her parents home. "Oh, Katy Anne," Richard sighed deeply as the young couple approached. "I was hoping," his words were cut off as his daughter threw her arms around him and engulfed him in a warm hug.
"Youre mother wanted you to know that they love you," she choked out before taking a step back.
Richards eyes filled with tears as he slumped down onto the steps and buried his face in his hands. "Did she say anything else?" He pleaded as he wiped his eyes.
"To go, so we left," Katy Anne expanded as Rolands head bobbed up and down.
"I keep hoping that they will let someone stay and then maybe I will find out what happened," Richard wearily explained.
"Sir, I love your daughter more than life itself but there is no way we are living there," Roland choked out his body still quivering.
"I understand," Richard agreed with a shy smile. "Well then Roland is just going to have to help me build an extension to this old place."
"Daddy," Katy Anne began to protest.
"No arguments you kids are just starting grad school and working," Richard cut her off. "We can discuss it over dinner."
Stewart, Massachusetts 2003
Katy Anne St. James stared out her kitchen and smiled sadly at the cottage she had designed and her husband and father built together. They lived there for many years until her father passed on. She and Roland moved into the main house with their teenaged children so they could keep a better eye on her mother. Now Andrew lived in the cottage, enjoying his freedom while still be able to raid her refrigerator.
She sighed deeply as she heard the kitchen door opening. "Roland, you left you socks on the floor again," she chastised without turning around.
"Sorry, Mom it is just me," she heard her daughter explain. Katy Anne smiled brightly as she turned to find her first born peering into the refrigerator. "Your socks are probably on the floor as well."
"Yes they are but since I no longer live at home it is none of your business," Delia teased her mother.
"Then get your head out of my ice box," she swatted her daughter playfully. "What brings my brilliant over worked daughter home?"
"The film people have some papers for us to sign," Delia explained as she pulled left
"Ever thinking of actually cooking for yourself?" Katy Anne chastised her oldest child as she studied the papers.
"Why would I want to do that?" Delia snickered as she watched the food warming.
"Just a thought," Katy Anne retorted as she rolled her eyes. "This reads pretty much the same as the others. I hope they have better luck this time. Is Dr. Williams still refusing to go?"
"Yes, cant say that I blame her," Delia explained as she brought her food to the table. "It is just that she has gotten closer than anyone else."
"Tell me about the bracelet?" Katy Anne requested as she watched her daughter eat.
"Im almost positive that it was Annas," Delia supplied. "I checked with the shop and I couldnt find anything else that I could be definite about. There werent any records so it was another dead end."
"That reporter gave her the bracelet?" Katy Anne thoughtfully inquired. "Interesting. Are they a couple?"
"I dont know," Delia blew out recalling the bizarre interaction between the two women. "I think they were. Miss Charles is certainly carrying a torch for Dr. Williams."
"Maybe that is the key?" Katy Anne pondered. "It would be nice to finally put them to rest."
"Dont get your hopes up," Delia cautioned her mother. "There might not be any bodies. He could have dumped them at sea. There is going to be this detective stopping by. It is some kind of new angle the television people are working. Shes investigating the murders as if it were a current case."
"That should be interesting," Katy Anne smiled. "Now tell me what you are working on and how long you will be in town?"
Atchison, Kansas 2003
"I just want to go home," Faith whimpered every muscle in her body ached. She had endured another long day with Trudy and company. Since Daves arrival everyones attitude suddenly changed. Now that they knew that she was working the upcoming Whispering Pines shoot, everyone wanted to be the reporters best friend. Having the larger than life psychic sucking up to her was the worst. She could tolerate the hefty woman when they openly hated one another. Having her clinging to her was disgusting and Faith was constantly searching for a sharp object.
"I want to go home," she wearily repeated as she flopped down onto the hotel bed. She frowned as she realized that she had no home. She had given up the tiny apartment in Boston when she went over seas. Most of her belongings were in storage and she couldnt very well stay with Shawn. "Okay, so I just want to get the hell out of Kansas," she conceded.
She rubbed her throbbing temple as she pondered calling Shawn again. She grimaced at the thought. After the fiasco last evening it might be best to wait until Shawn contacted her. "Who the hell is Cary?" She snarled recalling that Shawn was entertaining another woman when she finally made contact with her. The pounding in her head increased as she tried to will Shawn to call her. "One more day then Im out of here," she snarled with disgust. "Then what? I have a shoot in Scotland but that isnt for another week."
She had nowhere to go. "Not a problem, I can always visit my parents," she reasoned as the familiar stirrings of bitterness began to fill her. Growing up she had been very close to her parents, until the day her father fell from the pedestal she had mistakenly believed he rested upon. "Let it go youre an adult now," she reminded herself. It was the same reminder she tried to reinforce each time she visited them. Somehow she just couldnt let the betrayal she felt go.
Faith sprung off the bed as her cell phone chirped. "Hello?" She anxiously greeted the caller whom she prayed was Shawn.
"What is wrong?" Her ex-lover echoed from the other end over the din in the background.
"What makes think something is wrong?" Faith suddenly bristled before she recalled just whom it was she was talking to. "Nothing just worried about you. And Kansas sucks. Not the entire state I just hate this shoot. Trudy is trying to be nice to me."
"And how is that a bad thing?" Shawn teased her with a throaty chuckle.
"You dont like her either so dont even try to convince me to play nice," Faith snorted with disgust. "I told Dave she was all wrong for Whispering Pines, but I think they are going to sign her."
"What?" Shawn stammered. "Did I hear you correctly? They want Trudy for the shoot at Whispering Pines?"
"No," Faith sighed heavily. "They want you. You keep saying no, so they are sticking me with Trudy. I think Daves trying to punish me. For some reason the brass seems to think Ive become a problem child."
"You a problem?" Shawn laughed heartily. "If they think youre being a pain in the ass I could fill them in on some stories that would make your attitude in Kansas seem positively endearing."
"Such as?" Faith challenged her suddenly feeling better. Her smile faded when Shawn failed to respond. "Shawn? Are you there?"
"Im sorry," Shawn finally whispered. "Im getting confused. Something about your family, I cant quite figure it out. Sorry, my mind is a mess right now. My head is pounding."
"You just finished at the Joshua Ward House," Faith cringed wanting nothing more than to be able to be there and comfort Shawn. "That place really messes with you."
"I know," Shawn confessed. "Cary was completely spooked. Althea is worried that she wont be able to go to Whispering Pines."
"Cary?" Faith sneered as her own headache returned. "And how is your new little friend? Let me guess all of that noise Im hearing is because the two of you are in a bar."
"Everyone is here," Shawn snapped. "We just wrapped. Faith, shes straight and you know her."
"No I dont," Faith fumed.
"Well she knows you," Shawn countered. "She was ready to pull out of her contract because she doesnt want to work with you. This woman really hates you."
"Okay, that would imply that she has met me before," Faith conceded. "Honestly the name isnt ringing any bells. Is she on the crew?"
"No," Shawn tried to explain her voice sounding weary. "Shes a cop. She is investigating the murders as a side piece for the special."
"I still dont recognize the name," Faith interjected her concern for Shawns well being growing. "Forget about it. I pissed off a lot of cops when I was a reporter that is probably how she knows me. You dont sound good. Im worried about you."
"Im fine," Shawn lied. "Just a really long day. Im heading back to New York for a little rest before Scotland. Why dont you stay with me and we can fly over together, after you visit your parents."
"Wait how did?" Faith almost laughed at the question she was about to ask. "Never mind," she chuckled. "So, does this mean youre not mad at me anymore."
"No, Im still terribly upset with you," Shawn taunted her.
"Liar," Faith sighed with relief. "Ill see you sometime next week. Promise me that you will get some rest."
"Im trying," Shawn grumbled. "This town is just so active, I cant seem to shut the voices out."
"Baby," Faith offered feeling helpless that she wasnt there to comfort Shawn. "Im flying out tonight."
"No, finish the job and well see each other next week," Shawn flatly refused her offer.
Faith didnt feel any better about things after she and Shawn said their goodbyes. "Who the hell is Cary?" She repeated as she recalled the many times she butted heads with the authorities in an effort to do her job. Her next call was to her parents, who were overjoyed by the news that she was coming home for a short visit. Deep in her heart she wished that she could muster up the same enthusiasm.
Salem, Massachusetts 2003
Shawns head was pounding as she stepped back towards the booths where the crew was partying. After wrapping up the shoot everyone retreated to the small Irish bar just down the street from the Ward house. She felt queasy as she reclaimed her seat next to Althea and the ever-mysterious Cary. "Are you alright?" Cary asked with concern.
"Headache," Shawn waved it off. "Places like that can be a bit much on me. What about you after the last couple of days you must be looking at things differently?"
"You could say that," Cary blew out before taking a sip of her drink. "Are you sure that trash can wasnt knocked over by a member of the crew?"
"It wasnt," Shawn snickered as once again she tried to shut out the sounds of a small girl crying. She turned to say something to Althea who was studying the policewoman carefully. Shawn tried to shut out the voices that were calling to her. Turning her attention back towards Cary didnt help. "Althea is worried about you," she whispered to the policewoman.
"Ill be fine," Cary asserted so that Althea could hear her. "Im glad I got my feet wet over the past couple of days. I should be able to handle whatever the Pines has to offer."
"How is the investigation going?" Shawn prodded the cocky brunette.
"Really good," Cary gushed enthusiastically. "The case is really shaping up. After reviewing all of the witness statements I cant understand why they didnt bring the husband in for questioning."
"He owned most of the town," Shawn provided thoughtfully the voices still trying to claim her. "Sheriff never let it go," her voice trailed off as something popped into her head. "Youre divorced," she mumbled.
"You know I am," Althea snorted with a toothy smile. The smile vanished as the dark skinned woman looked past Shawn. "Oh you mean Cary?"
"Stop doing that," Cary barked. "It isnt uncommon given my profession."
"She cant help it," Althea interjected. "In fact Shawns the reason Im divorced."
"Im not the reason," Shawn protested. "Your husbands girlfriend is the reason."
"Anyone ever try taking you to the track?" Cary quipped in an effort to ease the tension that had suddenly sprung up.
"Several times," Shawn groaned shifting her body in an effort to get comfortable. "I cant pick horses and I lost a lot of money in Atlantic City."
"That sucks," Cary laughed lightly as the pain in Shawns head drifted down to her neck.
"That is what my Dad said the first time he took me to the track," Shawn tried to laugh it off as pain gripped her body. "Oh for the love of," she muttered as she heard her cell ringing before it had actually rung. She snatched up the phone from her pocket and waited for it to ring. "For the love of God, go to sleep," she barked already knowing who was on the other end.
"I was calling to tell you the same thing," Faith whispered.
"I know," Shawn grumbled the throbbing in her body increasing. "Im not staying much longer." She listened as Faith tried to comfort her. Out of the corner of her eye she spied Cary playing with her glass. The sound of it scraping against the wooden table was adding to her discomfort. She reached out and clasped the policewomans wrist in an effort to cease the agitating noise.
Suddenly filled with sadness and pain she released the policewomans wrist and bolted to her feet. The cell phone dropped from her hands as her chair crashed to the floor. Shawn raced out of the tiny bar room crying.
Outside in the brisk night air Shawn could finally breathe, the voices quieting. She brushed the tears from her face as she leaned against the brick building. Shawn took deep cleansing breaths as she tried to understand what she had seen. A tiny girl was whimpering as she stood shaking beside the indoor pool. Shawn could smell the chlorine; hear the sounds of water splashing and happy children giggling. Why? the tiny figured wailed as the tall dark figure loomed above her.
Stay away from me! The figure snarled breaking the little girls heart.
Shawn felt sick as she recognized the cruel voice, it was younger, she was younger, but there was little doubt that the dark figure was Faith. The feelings began to ebb as the image slipped away. "Jesus, Faith I knew you could be a jerk," Shawn mumbled into the night air. "But scaring small children?"
"Shawnee?" Mark one of the techs shyly approached her.
"Hey buddy," she blew out as she finally felt the pain leaving her. "Did I manage to freak everyone out?"
"Yeah," he responded with a warm smile as he rubbed her shoulder. "Are you alright?"
"Im much better," Shawn blew out. "Tell everyone I dont have bad news," she teased knowing that many of her colleagues were wondering if what she had seen was a bad omen pertaining to their lives. "I just got one of those creepy Salem vibes," she lied. "Ill be coming back in a minute so tell the gang to stop changing the flight reservations."
"Good to know," she heard Althea as she emerged from the large wooden double doors that led inside the tiny bar. Mark smiled once again patting her shoulder before returning to the party. "Someone wants to talk to you," Althea informed her as she handed her the cell phone she had dropped. "Id like to tell you that I managed to chill her out, but Id be lying."
"Im fine," Shawn calmly addressed Faith.
"Bullshit," Faith barked in response.
"I am," Shawn blew out. "I just had a funky vision. My senses are on overload. I am really feeling much better."
"Why dont I believe you?" Faith softly inquired.
"Ill tell you all about it when I see you," Shawn promised her body and mind finally relaxing. She listened carefully as Faith seemed to be grumbling about something. "Faith? Yo, oh tall one, Im fine."
"Promise?" Faith helplessly pleaded.
"Yes," Shawn smiled her heart warming at the way Faith was worrying about her. They talked for a little while longer until Shawn managed to convince Faith that everything was all right and they both needed to get some sleep.
Just as she was disconnecting the call the crew stumbled out of the bar. "Closing time already?" She teased the weary crew.
"Are you sure that everything is alright?" Althea sternly inquired.
"Yes," Shawn rolled her eyes. "Go on. Im just going to walk back to my hotel. The fresh air will do me some good. Hey before you take off why is Trudy going to Whispering Pines?"
"She is on the short list," Althea conceded with a shrug. "Unless you have reconsidered?"
Shawn chewed on her bottom lip suddenly wondering if she should just do the shoot? "When do you have to know?"
"As soon as possible," Althea beamed. "We are heading there right after Scotland. In fact Im doing some prelim work with Cary and the Stratton decedents this week."
"What about Faith?" She asked her heart pounding for some unknown reason.
"She isnt going to be needed until we head up there," Althea explained. "Shawn are you really interested?"
"I dont want to go," Shawn muttered. "I just think that I cant avoid it."
"Get in touch with me before we leave for Scotland," Althea encouraged her. "Ill see you in two weeks."
They hugged goodbye as Cary approached her. "Youre going?" The brunette inquired.
"Maybe," Shawn hedged with a slight scowl.
"How about I walk you back to your hotel and you tell me what happened earlier?" Cary suggested.
"Oh that was nothing," Shawn waved off the events as they began to stroll down the now deserted streets.
"Not to me," Cary interjected with a heavy sigh. "It isnt everyday a psychic touches my arm and freaks out. Should I be more careful the next time I go out on a call?"
"What I saw was the past," Shawn tried to explain.
"It couldnt have been my divorce," Cary reasoned. "Brian and I parted on very good terms, heck were still friends. What did you see?"
"I dont know," Shawn confessed as they approached the hotel. "A lot of the time what I see or hear is just a quick flash or jumbled image. I like to explain it as trying to listen to a song that is caught between radio stations."
"That must be annoying." Cary scrunched her brow as they stepped into the lobby.
"Ready to call it a murder yet?" Shawn teased eager to change the subject.
"Oh yeah," Cary chuckled. "The bar is still open. Up for another round? I tell you all about the case."
"Cool," Shawn perked up.
"You know it would be a lot easier if you could just tell me where the bodies are," Cary teased her after they received their drinks and claimed a spot near the fireplace.
"So now you believe me," Shawn teased.
"Maybe," Cary resisted with a familiar cocky smirk. "So any idea where the bodies are hidden? Sheriff Mulder and Richard Stratton were convinced they were buried in the garden. They dug it up the day Horatio Stratton died and found nothing."
"Theyre in the house," Shawn offered thoughtfully.
"Care to be more specific?" Cary encouraged her.
"I wish I could," Shawn sighed with regret. "Why did they think it was the garden?"
"Youre going to love this," Cary eagerly began. "The Captain was constantly digging in it. By all accounts he seemed to be obsessed with the garden. That is if you can believe the witness statements. Most of them claimed that the garden would blossom over night."
"She still tends her garden," Shawn absently supplied. "Sorry, just having one of those moments."
"Why the house?" Cary pried.
"Just a feeling," Shawn shrugged her body relaxing from the heat emanating from the fire. "And what happened to a film crew after my visit there. They brought in a douser and the house went berserk."
"Whats a douser?" Cary asked.
"They have a gift that allows them to find bodies," Shawn explained offering the short version. Cary scrunched her brow clearly not believing what Shawn had told her. "Have you found anything in the old records that might be helpful."
"No," Cary groaned. "On the morning Anna and Catherine disappeared the kitchen was covered with blood. The sheriff requested to have a look after most of the staff showed up in his office ranting and raving about it. He drove up to the house and the captain refused to show him the kitchen. The only statement he offered was that his wife and sister were out of town on a family matter. Apparently it was quite a trip since they never came home. They were never seen or heard from again. Unless you take into account the scattered statements of staff members who have claimed to have seen their ghosts."
"Which you dont," Shawn nodded with a smile.
"I cant," Cary argued. "The only tangible evidence I have to work with is that their belongings were either burned or sold by the Captain. I understand you have the only identifiable possession."
Shawn offered a sweet smile as she held up her wrist and allowed the detective to look at her bracelet. "You should check out the shop where it was purchased," she suggested. "A member of the family has already confirmed that it was Annas."
"I did go to the antiques shop and couldnt find anything, as did Ms. St. James," Cary grumbled. "Im meeting with the rest of the family this week. Could I take this with me just to confirm that it was indeed Annas."
"No," Shawn politely declined. "Take a good look now and compare it to the photo. This doesnt leave my wrist."
"It must be very special to you," Cary noted thoughtfully.
"It was a gift from Faith," Shawn absently responded feeling Carys demeanor turning cold. "If you want me to stop asking questions then you really should stop doing that every time I mention her name."
"I dont what you are talking about," Cary spat out her lie.
"Yes, you do," Shawn countered keeping her tone soft. "I dont know what happened, but I will if you keep allowing your emotions to surge every time I mention Faith. You could just tell me. Maybe I could help."
"There is nothing to tell," Cary fumed the deception still ringing in Shawns ears. "You already know why I have a different name. It is because I was married. There you have it mystery solved."
"That is why you have a different last name," Shawn sighed as she corrected the brunette. "I still dont know why you have a different first name."
Carys jaw clenched before she blew out a heavy sigh. "Youre pissing me off, you know that dont you?" The policewoman grumbled while Shawn simply nodded in agreement. "Does it ever get to you, knowing things that are meant to be private?"
"Constantly," Shawn confessed. "I dont want to invade your privacy. I just want you to know that it happens. If you dont want me to know then try not getting so angry every time you hear her name and I promise to not mention her."
"Fair enough," Cary agreed. "So, lets talk about the case. I get to visit the actual crime scene in a couple of weeks."
"The kitchen?" Shawn swallowed hard her body trembling.
"Yes, I understand it has never been remodeled," Cary beamed. "Are you alright? Is there a reason I shouldnt go into the kitchen?"
"You?" Shawn laughed. "No, youll be just fine. I on the other hand would rather walk through fire than set foot in there again." Shawn was filled with a sudden sense of panic as she realized that as the host of the special Faith would have to accompany Cary into the kitchen while her investigation is being filmed. "Oh my God," she squeaked out in horror.
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