Disclaimers: Mine.  But, you can certainly enjoy them here.

Sex: No doubt!

If you’d like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com

Happy Halloween!


Unfinished Business
Kim Pritekel

(come visit me at www.kimpritekel.com to find my books, ebook stories, and even get yourself a commissioned story for you written by yours truly!)


“Maria, if you’re here, can you give us a sign?  Let us know somehow?”  The four seated on the hardwood floor waited in the darkness, the red light on the recorder placed on the floor at the center of the quartet the only light.

Suddenly, the softest of sounds, like a whisper, rent the air.

“Was that you?  Maria?  Did you say something?”

“Um.  Actually, I farted.”

“Goddamn it, Jordan!”

The malodorous investigator grinned, even as he was almost knocked over by the aggressive punch to his arm by his girlfriend, Gina, who had been trying to conduct the EVP session.  The motion of his body as he tried to keep himself upright, slammed into Casten Powers, who promptly pushed him back in the direction he’d come, thus another fragrant gift bestowing the recorder and those present.

“Asshole!” she exclaimed, clambering to her feet to get out of the toxic cloud of stench.

“Albert!” Gina cried, reaching out and snatching the recorder and hitting the STOP button as she glared across the gloom in the general direction where he was sitting.  “You ruin everything!”

“I’m sorry!” he laughed, quite obviously anything but.

“Dick,” Casten muttered, stepping a few feet away from the circle of friends and enthusiasts, of which she was not.  “Gina,” she whined. “I really just want to go.”

“Come on, Cas!” Gina whined back.  “Just one more round?  And, we’ll get a cork for dumbass over here.  Please?”

Casten sighed, rolling blue eyes as she shoved her hands into the pockets of her jacket.  “Listen, I need to get some fresh air,” she growled, also looking in the general direction of where Albert sat.  “I’ll be over by the doors, but I promise to be quiet during your … session.”

Before Gina could protest, Casten walked away from the group, seated at the center of the gutted sanctuary of Christ On the Cross Church, not more than a burnt out shell since the massive fire of ’64 that killed three adults and six children during rehearsal for a Christmas program.  It had been tagged as haunted ever since.  To Casten, it was nothing more than a bunch of bunk. 

Even so, her friend of many years believed in this stuff, and had been in hot pursuit of it since they were teenagers.  After nearly fifteen years, she owed Gina the respect to hurry along and find a place to be perfectly still.  Lord knew she’d heard about EVPs long enough, and how sitting around a recording recorder and asking the air around you random questions so that you could hear “responses” in the playback later, was of super importance. 

Casten snickered to herself at the thought as she hurried across the empty sanctuary, deciding to go stand outside, even if it was freezing out. Shutting the door behind her as quietly as the squeaking hinges would allow, she stepped out into the night.

The old church was in the tiny town of Josie, Colorado, which had pretty much been abandoned after the silver mine, which had been the heart of the town, had closed down in 1974 after a massive explosion that not only killed forty-eight mine workers, but also leveled three nearby houses, killing a passing motorist in the process.  A few developers had come in and purchased the tiny town, but nothing ever came to fruition and the town was put back on the market.  Now, it sat empty and for sale.

Rumor had it the town never could get legs because it was haunted by those killed in the horrific accident, as well as miners who had died in the underground tunnels over the ninety-three years it was in use.

Casten wandered away from the church, the heels of her boots crunching the frozen gravel beneath her steps.  She walked over to where her 2006 4Runner was parked, which was closest to the road and a small stand of trees.  She pulled her keys out of her pocket and clicked the button on her key fob to release the alarm and lock.  It was cold, and she decided it would be wiser to sit inside.

The cab of the large SUV lit the inky blackness for a moment, making Casten feel vulnerable for a moment, every horror movie she’d ever seen flashing before her eyes:

The stupid one who goes off alone, a sitting duck for the axe murderer as her dome light acts like a beacon ….

Shaking those thoughts from her head, she climbed behind the wheel and, with admitted quickness, closed and locked the door, rendering the night pitch black once more.  As she got comfortable in the leather seat, she stared out through the windshield, hoping her blue eyes adjusted quickly to the darkness.  They’d arrived in Josie around four-thirty, about an hour before it began to get dark, so she could recall what the lay of the land looked like around her:

Behind the 4Runner was the church, the nose of the SUV pointed to the dirt road, hidden by a small stand of trees.  To her left was a thicker grove, barely able to see what there was of the moon through it.  To her right, the eerie gray spread of a small iced-over pond, thick forest beyond it. 

Something about that pond.  Casten wasn’t sure what it was as she buried her hands deeper into the pockets of her jacket, but she kept glancing over towards it.  Something caught her attention, movement of some kind.  Sitting forward in her seat, she tried to peer into the darkness, the big blob of gray drawing her attention.  Nothing.  There was nothing there, yet something kept her attention.  She realized she was holding her breath.

She it out slowly, chuckling at herself, allowing her body to relax back into the seat.


Gasping loudly, Casten’s head whipped around to the driver’s side window to see a young woman standing there, hand still balled and raised in the fist she’d used to knock on the window, which to Casten, had sounded like an explosion. 

“Christ!” Casten breathed, a hand going to her chest.  She stared wide-eyed at the young woman.  She wore a light-colored parka, the fur-lined hood pushed back from her face.  She gave Casten an apologetic smile and wrung her hand around in a circle to indicate Casten should roll down the window.  Everything electric and the SUV was off, Casten took a deep breath to still her pounding heart and opened the driver’s side door a bit.

“I’m so sorry,” the woman said, shaking her head in added apology.  “I didn’t mean to scare the dickens out of you.”

Casten took another breath and opened the door a bit more, feeling foolish for allowing herself to get so worked up in the darkness.  “It’s okay.”  She was able to see the woman much better with the dome light coming to life.  Her hair was blonde, cut into a cute pixie cut that flattered a beautiful face with delicate features and large, hazel eyes, made a strange golden brown color in the golden hue of the light.  She wore somewhat baggy jeans and boots, her hands tucked into the pockets of her parka.  “Are you okay?  Are we trespassing?” Casten asked, hitching a thumb back towards the church. 

The woman glanced over at the building then back to Casten.  “No,” she said with a smile. “I think everyone’s allowed to talk to God.  Or something.”

Casten grinned, feeling remarkably more comfortable.  “Guess so.”  She looked at her with a question in her eyes.

“Oh,” the woman said, bringing a gloved hand up to brush some bangs from her eyes, almost as in a nervous gesture.  “Sorry.  Guess you wanna know why I’m pounding on your window, huh?”

“Pretty much,  Especially since it’s so cold out.”

“Oh!  I’m so sorry.  I’ll make it quick so you don’t freeze your caboose off.  My car broke down, couple miles down that way,” she explained, pointing off into the darkness down the road.  “Could I beg you for a ride into the next town?”

Casten glanced in the direction of the next tiny mountain town, where she knew the young woman could at least get a warm place to stay for the night, as it was fairly unlikely she was going to get anyone up to fix her car until Monday. 

Looking back to the stranger, she studied the hopeful and somewhat panicked look in her eyes then nodded with a smile.  “Sure.  Tell you what, why don’t you get in and I’ll let my friends inside know I’m heading out.”

Casten knew she was crazy.  She knew it, she felt it in her bones, allowing a perfect stranger into her car while she made the trip back to the church.  Sure, she had the keys in her pocket, but still …. 

Reaching the double doors to the building, she grasped the cold brass handle and waiting, pressing her ear to the wood to see if the EVP session was done.

“Casten, if that’s you, come on in!” Gina yelled out from within the building, irritation in her voice.

Rolling her eyes, Casten pulled open the door to see a flashlight beam aim her way, nearly blinding her.  “Do you mind?!” she growled, raising a hand to block the glare.

“Do you?” Gina bit back.  “Your footsteps and the constant slamming of your damn car door ruined our session.”

“Okay, already!  You can stop blinding me.  My god.”  Casten dropped her hand once the beam was aimed to the ceiling, illuminating the trio sitting on the floor in eerie bluish hue.  “Listen, I need to head out.”

“What?” Albert said, turning from where he sat with his back to her, his body now in profile to her.  “Why?  I thought you were going to give me a ride.”

“I’ll give you one,” Gina said, defeat in her voice as she pushed up from the floor and walked over to Casten.

As Casten watched her get closer, she felt bad.  She knew what all this meant to her friend, as nonsense as it was.  “Hey.”

Gina stopped just shy of reaching her and looked down at the six inches of flooring between them.  “Look, Casten,” she said softly, finally looking up and meeting her friend’s gaze.  “I know this isn’t your thing.  Thank you for coming.  I’m bummed it didn’t catch, but,” she shrugged with a small smile.  “I get it, I guess.  Be careful heading back, okay?”

Casten smiled.  “Okay.  You guys, too.”  She backed up a step towards the double doors.  “You guys let me know if you captured anything,” she said, pointing a finger at Gina and the recorders and cameras planted all around the sanctuary behind her.

Gina nodded.  “Okay.”  She turned and walked back to the two guys waiting for her.

Casten left the church, more guilt eating at her, but feeling that, in the end, her skepticism was probably far worse for whatever Gina was trying to accomplish than her being there to support her friend’s hobby.  She hurried to her SUV, breaths coming out in broad white puffs, as the temperature seemed to be dropping.  Truth be told, she figured her strange passenger would be gone once she reached the 4Runner, but nope, she sat in the passenger seat, right where she’d been left a few moments before.

Climbing behind the wheel, Casten tugged her seatbelt across her chest and glanced over at her unexpected companion.  “What’s your name?” she asked, noting the blonde woman wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.  “Buckle up.  Pretty slick out.”

“My name is Hannah,” the passenger said, glancing over at Casten’s seatbelt and buckle before tugging her own into place.  She smiled over at Casten.  “I really appreciate this.”

“No problem.”  Casten smirked.  “In truth, you just got me out of all that crap they’re doing in the church.”

“Not into it, huh?” Hanna asked, a smile forming.

“Uh, no.  Not so much into connecting with the spirit, you know?”

“Yeah, me neither.” 

“Good.  We’re in agreement.”  Casten grinned over at her soon-to-be passenger. “ Okay,” she continued, putting the key into the ignition, the 4Runner roaring to life.  “To civilization, right?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

The heater blew a burst of cold air at them.  Casten grimaced and turned the heater off, sending an apologetic smile to the woman who could only be seen from the eerie green lights shone at them from the dashboard lights.  “Sorry.  It’ll take a few minutes to warm up.”

A silence fell between them, though not entirely uncomfortable as Casten navigated the winding mountain roads, trying her best to keep an eye out for any sign of deer or elk who thought it would be a great idea to run out in front of them.  With the slick ice beneath the 4Runner’s tires, she’d never be able to stop in time. 

“Isn’t it funny how those poor animals are attracted to our headlights?” Hannah asked quietly.

Casten glanced over at her, eyebrows raised in surprise.  “I think you just read my mind,” she said with a small laugh.  “I was literally just thinking about something running out in front of us.”

“Don’t worry,” Hannah said softly, “I’ll keep watch, too.  We’ll be just fine.”

Casten didn’t dare take her eyes off the road for long, but she couldn’t help but glance over at Hannah from time to time.  She was so beautiful, and had such a calming presence about her.  She felt drawn to her, somehow, wanted to know absolutely everything that she could about her.

“Where are you from?” she asked, reaching to turn the heat on, hoping the engine had grown hot enough to produce the heat they desperately needed in the cab of the SUV.

“Well, “ Hannah said, raising her hands to the vent as warm air blew out.  “I was living in California for the longest time, but decided it was time to come back home.”  She met Casten’s brief glance.  “You know?  Sometimes there’s just no other place like home.”

Casten nodded.  “I can understand that.  I’ve never lived anywhere else besides Colorado, but I know an awful lot of people who left and came back.”

“Well, you’ve met another one.”  They shared a smile before Hannah continued.  “I just got tired of the scene out there.  A bit too intense for this country girl.”

“What part?”

“I was all over, but last I was in San Fran.  Just not my thing.”

“You said country girl.  Do you live up here in the mountains?” Casten asked.  When nothing followed but silence, she glanced over at her passenger, noting Hannah was looking out the passenger-side window.  “I’m sorry.  Am I being too nosy?”

Hannah met her gaze and shook her head with a sad smile. “No.  Just don’t have much of an answer for you.  I just rolled into town about a week ago.  This is as far as I got,” she explained, indicating the landscape they were passing.  “My car is all I’ve got, so …”

“Oh.  Jeez, I’m sorry, Hannah.  That’s a really tough break.”  Casten nearly hit herself, as she realized how stupid that sounded.  “Listen, I’m headed to Denver.  If you want to come back there with me, you’re welcome to.  I’ll take you wherever you were trying to go.  Well,” she amended with a smile, “within reason.”

Hannah returned the smile, which went straight to her eyes.  “You’re really sweet,” she said softly.  “Thank you.  I was actually trying to get to a little town called Littleton.  Heard of it?”

Casten smirked. “Yeah, little.  And, sure.  I’m actually there all the time.  I live in Highlands Ranch, so …”  Casten missed the puzzled look on Hannah’s face as she was focused on the hairpin turn they were about to take.  “Is that where you want to go?”

“Yes.  Very much so.”

Casten’s interest was piqued by the tone in Hannah’s voice.  It was almost … wistful.  “Alright.  Then Littleton it will be.”


Little more than thirty minutes into their drive, Hannah fell asleep, leaving Casten alone with her thoughts.  It was certainly strange having a beautiful woman in her car again.  It was strange having anyone in her car again, for that matter.  After Fiona’s death three years before, she’d shut herself down so completely that, about the only things that were still in her life from before the accident were her cats, her job and the few friends that had stuck around, including Gina.  The fact that Gina had managed to somehow get her out of the house and up to join them for the investigation pretty much took an act of Congress, but Gina pulled it off.

Casten glanced over at Hannah.  She was sleeping so soundly, almost as though she hadn’t slept in days.  Her body was completely relaxed, as was her face.  She truly was a lovely young woman.  Far too young for Casten’s taste, but lovely all the same.  Her eyes were closed, fair eyebrows arched just enough to give the hazel eyes beneath character.  Her soft-looking lips were parted a bit, the barest bit of white teeth beyond could be seen.

Casten smiled and turned her gaze away before she allowed it to stray to Hannah’s body, which though covered up with the large jacket, could still easily allow her to fantasize about what lay beneath.  She hadn’t touched anyone or been touched in a very long time.  Since Fiona, she’d only been with one woman, and she’d regretted that almost before it happened.  A lonely night had led to self-pity, which had led to a stupid decision, and that was Cora. 

Another glance at Hannah and Casten knew she could easily allow herself to do something very stupid if she weren’t careful.  Gina and Casten’s closest friends were trying valiantly to get Casten to meet women.  Fiona’s death had been traumatizing and horrific on her, and in truth, she really wasn’t even sure if she were capable of loving again.  Though their relationship had had it’s rough spots, she’d loved Fiona very much. 

Casten slowed the 4Runner to a careful stop at a red traffic light, Denver traffic all around them, now.  She glanced over when she heard a loud yawn and couldn’t help but smile as Hannah stretched as much as she could in the confines of the passenger seat.

“Feel better?” she asked.

Hannah looked over at her as she brushed blonde strands out of her eyes.  “I do.”  She looked around, eyes wide. “Wow!  So much traffic.”

“Yeah, everyone heading out on a Friday night.”

“I guess.  Jeez.”  Hannah sat up a bit straighter in the seat, moving her head back and forth as if to loosen up a stiff neck.  “How long was I out?”

“About forty-five minutes or so.”

“Oh, Casten, I’m sorry!  Terribly rude of me.”

Casten smiled at the panic she saw in Hannah’s eyes.  “Nah.  You obviously needed it.”  The traffic light turned green and she hit the gas, getting them headed towards Littleton.  “So, where do you want me to drop you at?”

“Are we in Littleton?” Hannah asked, confusion in her voice and eyes as she took in the street light-lit night around them.

“In about fifteen minutes or so we will be,” Casten said, switching lanes to get out from behind a huge semi that was spitting rocks at her windshield. 

“Well, I guess is there a motel there?”

“Oh sure.  A few of ‘em.”  She spared a glance to Hannah, who was taking in her surroundings with wonder in her eyes.  “Is that what you want?”

“I suppose so.”  Hannah smiled at her.  “Then I can take care of my car later.”

“Okay.  I know of a decent place that’s pretty reasonable,” Casten said, hitting her turn signal to change lanes again.  “Cool?”

“Pretty groovy.”

Casten laughed at Hannah’s enthusiastic response as they got closer to their destination.  Twenty-two minutes later, the 4Runner pulled in front of a small, locally-owned motel owned by an acquaintance.  Casten knew Hannah would be safe there.

“Okay,” she said, pulling the large SUV to a stop in front of the motel office.  “You should be fine here.”

Hannah unbuckled her seatbelt and turned to Casten, reaching out a hand and covering a slightly larger one that rested on a denim-clad thigh.  “Thank you, Casten.  What you’ve done means a lot to me.”

“It was very much my pleasure,” Casten said softly, surprising herself by covering the hand that rested atop hers with her other one.  “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

“Me, too.”  With a final smile and squeeze to Casten’s hand, Hannah gently slid hers out from under Casten’s, and let herself out of the SUV.

Casten watched her gather her meager belongings and close the passenger-side door with finality.  Strangely, Casten felt something … odd … a loss of some sort, as she watched Hannah walk away from her car and towards the manager’s office.  She shook it off as she got the 4Runner in gear and pulled away and towards the exit of the parking lot.

The nose of the SUV was just about to push in to merge with traffic when Casten noticed Hannah hurrying back across the parking lot of the motel when she glanced into her rearview mirror.  She hit the brakes and looked out her window, watching as Hannah walked over to a bench that sat on the sidewalk in front of the building and lowered herself to the seat, looking around her.

Casten pushed the button for her window to lower.  “Hannah?” she called, garnering the blonde’s attention.  “What are you doing?”  Hannah looked over at her guiltily before looking down to where her hands rested in her lap. 

Seeing she wasn’t blocking anyone from leaving the parking lot, Casten cut the engine and removed her seatbelt before leaving the SUV and walking over to the younger woman with long strides.  She thought she knew what the problem was.

“Hey,” she said softly once she reached the woman.  “You don’t have any money, do you?”

Hannah let out a long sigh and shook her head, never looking up at Casten.  “I was going to sleep in my car once I hit town, but …”

Casten sat down next to her and lowered her head enough so she could catch hazel eyes.  “Hey,” she said, placing a hand on Hannah’s knee.  “You’re coming with me.  Okay?”

“No, Casten,” Hannah said, shaking her head as she finally met blue eyes.  “No.  I can’t do that to you.”

“Do what?  I’ve got a spare bedroom.”  Casten pushed to her feet and reached a hand down.  “Come on.  It’s cold and I’m hungry.” 

After a long moment, Hannah took Casten’s hand in her own and allowed herself to be pulled to her feet, but she squeezed the larger hand to get Casten’s attention.  “Someday you’ll be paid back for your kindness.”

Casten couldn’t look away.  The look in those hazel eyes was so intense, so focused, she felt it to her very soul.  “Okay,” she heard herself saying, uncertainty in her voice.  “It’s not necessary, though.”  She smiled, feeling a bit nervous at that intense gaze.  Hannah smiled and the moment was over.


“Okay, so in here you’ve got towels, washcloths, any toiletries you may need,” Casten explained, standing before the linen closet in the hall by the guest bathroom.  “Okay?”

Hannah nodded, eyes wide as she took in all the supplies and linens.  “So much stuff.”

Casten chuckled.  “Yeah, well set me loose in Costco and I shop like the world’s about to end.”

“I guess,” Hannah muttered, following a still-chuckling Casten into the spare bedroom.

“So, bed, dresser, though somehow I doubt you’ll need that,” Casten said with a grin, considering Hannah had very little of anything with her.  “There’s an electric blanket on the bed, feel free to use it if you get cold.  It takes a bit to warm up, so I’d recommend turning it on to heat up while you wash your face or whatever.”  Hands tucked into the back pockets of her jeans, Casten looked around the room then at Hannah, feeling a bit nervous all of the sudden.  “So,” she continued, “anything else you think you’ll need?”

Hannah shook her head slowly.  “No.  You’ve done plenty.  Thank you.”

“Sure.  Well, um, if you want to shower or sleep or whatever, I’m going to watch a bit of TV.  I’ll keep it low so I don’t bother you.”

Casten left Hannah where she stood and headed to her own bedroom, switching on the light as she entered the large room.  She loved her house, but never understood why the master bedroom was so huge and the other two bedrooms were so small.  Made no sense.  She unzipped her jacket and allowed it to slide down her arms as she walked over to the bed, one of her two cats swishing her tail over Casten’s calves.

“What’s up, Frankie?” she asked the gray longhaired feline.  “You didn’t get enough loves when I got home, huh?”  She gave the eight year old a scratch behind the ears when she jumped on the bed, then tossed her jacket down beside the purring cat, who promptly plopped down to lay on it.

Walking to the master bath, Casten stopped for a moment when she heard something.  Humming.  It was the sweetest humming she’d ever heard.  It made her want to sit cross-legged at Hannah’s feet and listen all night.  Within a moment or two, the humming turning into soft singing, even more beautiful than the humming was. 

She was about to open her mouth to compliment Hannah’s voice, but decided to stay quiet and listen instead.  It wasn’t until the singing stopped as water in the bathroom was turned on that Casten was released from her spell.  She shook her head and ran a hand through her hair before continuing on her way into her bathroom.

Thirty minutes later, Casten was changed into a pair of yoga pants and an oversized sweatshirt.  She was plopped down on the couch with the TV on and a warmed container of leftover spaghetti held just under her chin with one hand as the other guided a loaded fork to her mouth.  Hannah sat next to her in her, making short work of the second container of leftovers.  Once she’d removed her jacket, it revealed a fitted long-sleeve shirt that showed beautiful feminine curves and a slender frame.  Casten did all she could to not stare at her breasts, hugged lovingly by the flattering material of the shirt.

She glanced over at her companion as she chewed her latest bite, for a moment no longer tasting the spicy tomato and garlic of her homemade sauce or the al dente noodles that she chewed.  Swallowing her mouthful, she shook her head.

“You look like you haven’t eaten in a week!” she exclaimed, resting her fork in the plastic container that she’d lowered to her lap.

Hannah glanced over at her just as she sucked the last of a long noodle between pursed lips, which made Casten smile.  “I love spaghetti,” Hanna said after she, too swallowed her mouthful.  She used the napkin she’d been provided with to wipe a bit of sauce from her chin.  “I’d forgotten how much.”

“Well, good.  Glad I could be of service,” Casten laughed, readying her fork for another go.

After dinner was finished and cleaned up, the two women were back on the couch, though this time the TV had been turned off and Hannah listened as Casten answered her question.

“So, here I am four and a half years later.”

“You’re your own boss.”

“I’m my own boss, yes.  I love the store.  I’ve always wanted to own my own business, so when the opportunity came up to buy the café,” Casten shrugged her shoulders.  “I jumped at it.”

“Wow.”  Hannah, who had pulled her legs up so her thighs rested against her chest, hugged her shins.  “That’s really wonderful, Casten.  Really.”  She gave the brunette the most beautiful smile, her eyes filled with pride for her new friend.  “I think it would be so much fun to own a café.  All the food, the cute little uniforms …”

“Oh, no!  No, no, no.  No way will you catch me in a little waitress get up with an apron and a nametag,” Casten declared, waving the idea away with her hand.

“Oh, come on now, Casten,” Hannah teased.  “I think you’d look absolutely adorable.”

“Uh huh.  Not a chance.”

Hannah was quiet for a long moment, her fingers running absently through Wrigley’s soft fur as the fat cat had taken a liking to her and had been glued to her since their arrival home.  “Casten?”

“Hmm?” Casten asked, even as she was envisioning Hannah in the waitress outfit she said she’d never wear.

“Can I tell you something?  A truth.”

This got Casten’s attention, as well as the somewhat sad tone in Hannah’s voice.  She looked over at her.  “Of course.”

Hannah took a deep breath then let it out slowly as she continued pet the softly-purring cat.  “I’m here for a very specific reason, Casten.”

“Okay,” Casten said, letting Hannah know she had her full attention.

“I … I have a daughter.  I want to see my daughter,” Hannah said, her words in near whispers.

“Oh, wow.  She’s here?” Casten asked, easily able to feel the sadness pouring off Hannah in waves.  She stopped herself from reaching out and taking the smaller woman into a hug.

“Yes.”  Hannah let out another breath, though this one seemed to be a bit of a relieved one.  “She is.”

“How old is she?”

“Older than she was the last time I saw her,” Hannah said with a small, sad smile on full lips.  “The last time I saw her,” she continued, the whisper back, “she was nearly 6.”

Casten looked at her as though she’d lost her mind.  “Six?!  You don’t look old enough to have a two year old, let alone a kid that’s 6!”

Hannah chuckled lightly.  “Yes, well.  The women in my family age well, I guess.”

“Why isn’t she with you?” Casten asked carefully, not sure what she should or shouldn’t ask.  She had no desire to bring anymore pain to a mother who was obviously hurting deeply.

“Because I was an idiot,” Hannah said simply, meeting Casten’s gaze with very empty eyes, all the fight gone.  “I trusted someone that I really just shouldn’t have.  Because of him I had her, but because of him, I lost her.”

“Wow. I’m so very sorry, Hannah,” Casten said softly, this time reaching out and covering a soft hand with her own.  She was surprised when Hannah’s thumb rubbed lightly against the side of her finger.  “What’s her name?”

“Eva,” Hannah said, a genuine smile on her lips.

“That’s really pretty.”

“So is she.  Such a beautiful baby, too.”  Hannah stared off into space, no doubt thinking about her little girl.

“Are you going to try and get her back?”

The softest of smiles spread across Hannah’s lips, a faraway look in her pretty hazel eyes.  “I want her to know her mamma loves her.  Always have, always will.”  Hannah squeezed Casten’s hand then pulled hers out from beneath it as she got to her feet.  “I’m heading to bed, if that’s okay.”

“Of course.  Sleep well, Hannah.”

“You, too, Casten.”  Hannah stood there in the middle of the living room for a moment and studied the older woman, their eyes connection.  A somewhat dreamy, almost mysterious smile, passed through Hannah’s eyes and lips before she turned and disappeared down the hall, leaving Casten to watch after her.


Despite being exhausted, Casten could not get to sleep, no matter what she tried.  Tucked beneath her covers, she turned from her side to her back, hoping to find the perfect comfortable spot.  Not happening.  Even Frankie and Wrigley got sick of her tossing and turning, both cats jumping off the bed and disappearing into the dark house.

Bringing up her hands, Casten buried her face with her hands as frustration set in.  She was so horribly restless and couldn’t figure out why.  She felt unsettled and deeply troubled.  She always slept with her door left open just enough for the cats to come and go as they wished, so she was surprised and started when she heard the soft squeak of her door pushed open. 

Lifting her upper body so she rested on her elbows, Casten tried to peer through the darkness to see why the door had opened further.  It was entirely possibly Wrigley had butted it with his head, but something told her that wasn’t the case.  She knew that wasn’t the case when she felt the bed shift as added weight made it dip slightly to the right. 

“Hannah?” she whispered into the almost complete darkness.

Her only response was to feel the covers lifted a bit and the sound of a body sliding across the mattress closer to her.  Casten felt her heart begin to pound and her breathing grow shallow.  A moment later, she felt the softest touch of a leg brush her own, then she was gently pushed back to the mattress with a hand to her upper chest.  She complied, her body torn between absolute confused arousal and fear.

“Shh,” was whispered mere inches from her face.  “It’s okay.”

“What are you doing, Hannah?” Casten asked, her words near breathless.

“Shh,” Hannah repeated, a hand reaching up to brush away long dark strands from Casten’s face.

Blue eyes fell closed as the softest of kisses was pressed to her forehead, then her left cheek followed by her right.  The touches were very soothing, yet deeply enflaming.  She brought a hand up to rest upon Hannah’s back, only to gasp when she felt the smooth, warm nakedness of her flesh beneath her fingers. 

The first touch of Hannah’s lips to Casten’s was electrifying.  Casten’s lips responded immediately, her fingers trailing up Hannah’s back, up the back of her neck and into her hair as the kiss continued, slowly deepening as Hannah moved on top of Casten, the fullness of their breasts pressed together.

Hannah’s slight weight felt wonderful to Casten, her warmth near singing the skin beneath the thin layers of cotton that covered Casten’s body.  She sighed into the kiss when she felt a thigh press against her own, nudging them to part, which they did, allowing firm pressure where Casten was beginning to need it most.

Casten’s hands wandered from short hair down the silky smooth skin covering the working muscles of Hannah’s back and finally to her firm, rounded behind, which she squeezed, eliciting a soft moan into their kiss.  The kiss broke as soft lips began to explore Casten’s jaw, wandering fingers making their way up the t-shirt she was sleeping in until they found her left breast.

Casten’s sigh was almost a whimper at the incredible feelings and sensations the touches were giving her.  She nearly cried out when two fingers took hold of her very hard nipple, tugging lightly before it was rolled against a palm.

Suddenly, to Casten’s great consternation, all touches were gone as Hannah pushed up to her knees.  Casten looked up into the shadows, desperate for a glimpse of her, but she couldn’t see anything.  Her eyes just wouldn’t seem to adjust to the darkness in the room, and in fact, the room seemed to get darker by the second. 

She was pulled from these thoughts when she felt a soft touch on either hand as she was pulled to a sitting position.  She could feel the surging body heat of the woman kneeling before her, that same soft touch reaching down to pull Casten’s t-shirt over her head, leaving her naked from the waist up.  She closed her eyes as the softest, sweetest kiss was initiated.  Strangely, she swore she felt the silky strands of long hair brushing against her neck and shoulders, hair that she knew wasn’t her own.

That realization barely there when, once again, Casten was pushed back to the bed.  She lifted her hips when she felt a firm touch to them, the material of her pajama pants grasped in determined fingers.  The flannel was tugged down, followed by her panties, leaving her naked and extremely aroused.

“Hannah – “

“Shh,” came the whispered response.  “Just let me love you, baby.”

Casten’s eyes fell closed and mouth slightly open as she felt lips and tongue begin to explore her nakedness.  A tremor passed through her as fingernails lightly trailed along her side and up over a breast and nipple.  She felt her thighs nudged further apart, and gladly allowed them to fall open, her immense hot wetness cooled by the night air, making her hiss at the sensation.  That hiss grew into a moan as wet warmth engulfed her right nipple, a soft, warm body lowering itself to lie between her legs.  She couldn’t help it as she bucked her hips up slightly, looking for purchase against the tummy that rested there.

“Yes, baby,” she whispered, feeling as though she were leaving the world she knew and entering one that had yet to happen.  Yet again, the feeling of long, silky strands of hair brushing against her skin as mouth, lips and tongue continued on her nipple and breast. 

Casten’s breath caught as, after many wonderful moments on both breasts, that talented tongue began a fiery journey down along her abdomen, finally finding purchase where Casten so desperately wanted it to.

Casten’s thighs fell open further, even as strong arms held tight.  She lifted her hips with the first feel of that tongue gliding up from her entrance to her clit, gathering a sea of molten need as it went.  She reached down and buried her hands in thick hair, her mind only on the pleasure, nothing more.  Everything else felt far too right to question.

The sensations that were running through her body were endless, and the sounds of that tongue slicing through her wetness nearly made her orgasm just from that.  It didn’t take long before she felt the pressure building and knew her release was not only imminent, but fast in arriving.

Casten cried out loudly as her body exploded with a fierceness she’d never experience before.  She grabbed handfuls of long hair, holding the head in place as the tongue continued to press down on her clit, eliciting every ounce of pleasure that it could. 

Finally, after what seemed an eternity of small orgasms that rocked her body, Casten felt the warmth of the woman who had just made love to her with her mouth climb back up her body, leaving little kisses and nips along the way.  Once she lay her full length along Casten’s, she initiated a slow, deeply passionate kiss, Casten’s taste still on her tongue and lips. 

To Casten’s great surprise, she responded, her hands running all over the woman’s back, a woman that felt so familiar to her.  It was almost as though they’d made love hundreds of times before. 

“I love making love to you, baby,” was whispered against Casten’s lips, which smiled in response.

“And, I love you making love to me.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”


Casten’s body twitched slightly at the first lick.  A blue eye opened at the second.

“Frankie,” she groaned, pushing the affectionate cat away.  “It’s too early.”

The licking stopped, but the purring ensued, Frankie’s vibrating body plopping down upon Casten’s upper chest.  Deciding sleep was a lost cause, Casten let out a heavy breath and brought up a hand to cover her eyes for a moment.  It didn’t take but that moment for the previous night to come back to her, and to realize she was alone in bed.

Gently nudging the cat off her, Casten sat up in the king-sized bed, shocked to see that she was wearing the clothes she’d gone to bed in: dark blue t-shirt and gray and yellow flannel pants.  A glance around the bedroom showed no signs of anyone but her. 

The spare bedroom gave no more clue.  The bed was perfectly made, just as it had been the day before, seemingly never touched.  There wasn’t a towel hanging in the bathroom or neatly folded on the bathroom counter, and even more strange, only one plastic container and fork was in the strainer next to the kitchen sink.  The second container of leftover spaghetti was tucked neatly on the second shelf.

“Hannah?” Casten asked, turning in a slow circle in the living room, taking in everything.  There was no answer, of course.  “I’ve lost my friggin’ mind,” she whispered.

Feeling very strange – and admittedly sore – she headed back towards the kitchen to make coffee when she noticed something on the floor near the front door.  Walking over to it, she stared down at it, mystified for a moment until it hit her.

Bending over, she reached down and picked up the small bundle of fluff with her fingers before standing upright again and examining it. 

“From her parka,” she murmured, recognizing the furry material.  “What the hell?”

No sooner were those words out of her mouth when her phone chirped to life with an incoming text message.  Setting the fur from the parka on the coffee table, she walked over to where her phone sat on the kitchen table.  Tapping to the right screen, she was baffled.  There was no number nor contact information, simply a message:

Thank you for such a beautiful evening.  I’m sorry I had to leave so early.  Please meet me today 11: 15 at 515 Beacherson Rd. in Littleton.  I think it’s appropriate you be there to see my little girl, too.


She read the message then read it two more times.  Hitting reply, she punched out a quick message and sent it, only to get a return message seconds later that it was undeliverable.  An attempt to make a call from the text message proved the same.

“What the fuck is going on?” Casten asked her phone, staring down at the message which sat there in bold black and white, taunting her.  Glancing at the clock on her stove, she saw that it was nearly 10:00.  She’d have to rush to get ready and make it in time.


The truth of the matter was, Casten had not clue one why she was driving to that house in Littleton.  No clue why she wasn’t just chalking everything up to a crazy dream, all centered around perhaps she’d seen that bit of fluff on the floor the night before and it set off some weird chain of events in her subconscious after returning from the investigation. 

That was the only thing that made sense.

So, why was she going to meet this kid?

The neighborhood was nice with landscaping that would no doubt be stunning during the summer and spring.  The houses were suburb-close, but didn’t usurp too much privacy with neighbors.  The houses looked to be anywhere from ten to twelve years old, about every other house or so similar, the ones between a different design. 

“Five twenty-one,” Casten murmured, reading the numbers on the houses she passed.  “Five nineteen …”  A couple houses further, “Five fifteen.  Bingo.”

The 4Runner pulled up to the curb.  The house was adorable, a two-story painted a light olive green with cream trim.  The front lawn was small, lined by decorative brick and rock with flowers planted all around, though they were all dead for the winter.  No cars were parked in the drive, but the plate glass door showed an open main door.  Somebody was home.

Casten looked at her cell phone to see that it was 11:11.  She had a couple minutes to get herself together and try to do the best to calm her nerves.  She grabbed her phone to check the text message she’d gotten while driving and saw that it was from Gina.

Gina: OMG, Cas!  We got some GOOOOOOD stuff!!!  Call me and tell me when I can come over to let you hear.

Casten’s first thought was to roll her eyes, as she knew Gina was talking about “evidence” from the investigation the previous night.  But, something stopped her.  Something was making her rethink a whole lot of things, though she wasn’t sure what.

Casten: I should be home tonight if you want to swing by.

Message sent, Casten unbuckled her seatbelt and let herself out of the SUV.  She eyed the house as she pushed the driver’s side door closed.  Pocketing her phone and keys, she took a deep breath, releasing it in a puff of steam before walking up the steep drive to the path that would lead to the small porch.

For some reason, it seemed like an eternity for someone to answer after she rang the bell.  But, there she was.  A woman hurried to the door dressed in comfy-looking pajama pants that were red and had white and black snowflakes all over them, an oversized matching top and her long, blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail.  Though she had no makeup on, her skin looked fresh and clean, very pretty.  But, what got Casten the most was her eyes.  They were the greenest green she’d ever seen in a pair of eyes, outside of a cat; like spring grass.  She was the most naturally beautiful woman Casten had ever seen.

“Can I help you?” the woman asked, pushing the glass door open just enough to look at Casten through the opened space provided. 

“Yes, uh, I’m looking for an Eva?”

“You found her,” the woman said with a friendly smile.

Casten could only stare at her for a long moment, confusion clearly written on her face.  “Wait, uh … this is awkward.  Maybe I have the wrong address.  I’m looking for a little girl Eva, about six years old.”

The blonde woman’s eyebrows drew and she shook her head, the end of her ponytail flipping against her cheek with the movement.  “I’m the only Eva here.  I’m the only person here.  No children.”

Feeling foolish now, Casten shoved her hands into the pocket of her jacket and kicked the toe of one of her boots at the cement beneath her feet.  “I’m really sorry I bothered you, miss.  Not sure what’s what, but I was sent here by a Hannah to meet her little girl.”

Before Casten’s very eyes, the woman’s face drained of all color.  “Who are you?” she asked, her voice low and filled with barely-suppressed emotion. 

Casten was taken aback by her reaction and literally took a partial step back from the door.  “My name is Casten and I spoke with Hannah – “

“Listen, I don’t know what your game is, but my mother, Hannah Winters died more than thirty-five years ago.  She was killed in a freak mine explosion accident.”

It was Casten’s turn to go pale.  She saw Hannah’s face before her mind’s eye, and before she knew it, she realized she was looking in the spitting image of that lovely young woman, only this one was older and even more beautiful. 

“I …” She had no idea what to say.  She was confused and felt completely out of her depth.  Suddenly, a calm filled her and a peaceful smile spread across her lips.  “She wanted you to know she loved you.  Always did and she always will.  She’s looking out for you, Eva.”

The beautiful blonde’s eyes immediately filled with unshed tears and a hand came up to cover her mouth.  Her gaze was so unflinching on Casten, Casten had to stop herself from looking away. 

“Today is the anniversary of the last time I saw her,” Eva whispered, her hand leaving her mouth to use the thumb to wipe away a tear that managed to begin a lazy journey down her cheek.  “I’ve been thinking about her all morning.”

Again, Casten didn’t know what to say.  Finally, she managed, “I’m so sorry.”

“Are you a medium or something?  Like that crazy blonde lady from Long Island?”

Casten chuckled and shook her head.  “Furthest thing from it.  I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you how I ended up on your porch.”

Eva sniffled and wiped at her eyes, seeming to get herself under control.  She held the glass door open.  “Want a cup of coffee while you tell me the story?”

Casten met the sweetest smile she’d ever seen with one of her own.  “I’d be happy to.”

It would be a few days before Casten was able to meet up with Gina and hear the EVP that was caught at the church.  It was the EVP that was a whispered woman’s voice:

Thank you. 

The End …. ?