CH. 10


I got back to town hungry and stopped at Colombo’s for a bite. After smashing a cheeseburger and fries, I took a short walk down Main Street, book bag in hand. I sat on the bench in front of the large clock on the bank at the corner to relax and read the bizarre book I found.

I took The Hidden Doctrine from the bag. “M. Hall” was written with blue ink on the inside of the cover. The book belonged to Manuel Hall, Elise’s husband. It was about strange places like Stonehenge, the Bermuda Triangle, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Aztec monuments.

The writer claimed that earthly energy fields were common knowledge to Native Americans and ancient peoples from almost every culture in the world. These energy fields were also known as “energy vortexes” or “earth chakras.” He specifically mentioned vortexes in Montana and Oregon, along with other places on Earth.

The book claimed everything in the universe was connected through vibrational frequency. The author conveyed that thought, mind, and spirituality can flow through various levels of consciousness and that they were interwoven into the fabric of existence.

My mobile vibrated in my pocket, and I stopped reading. I looked at the screen: Caller unknown. I answered it anyway, and whoever it was hung up. I assumed a wrong number.

The sun began to set, making it harder to read in the dark, so I put the book in my bag. The air was crisp and felt good. I sat, my arms stretched along the back edge of the bench, and rested until night finally fell. Ravensgate had a different feel at night, not many people around. I walked back to my car at Colombo’s. Blackstone’s Bar and Grill was still open. As I walked past the door, I saw patrons playing a game of pool.

My car was still in the restaurant’s parking lot at the end of the block. The streetlamps weren’t working down there, and it was dark. The outline of a tall figure stood on the sidewalk directly in my path about block down. The shape was solid black in the darkness. It didn’t move but looked like a man. My pace slowed as I studied the figure and my surroundings, my situational awareness training kicking in. After a few more steps I noticed the greasy hair.

“I warned you, outlander,” said the groundskeeper. It seemed he found me first.

A loud snap camefrom above,followed by an echoing thwip. After the reverberation of noisy crackles, I quickly looked up. Swinging directly toward me was an electrical line that had snapped free from the top of a telephone pole.

I leaped out of the way and landed on my side on the sidewalk, dropping the book bag. The downed wire landed on the ground next to me, flipping around like a fish out of water, sparks flying everywhere.

I rolled back on the cement away from the violent sparks of electricity and looked up in the direction of the groundskeeper. He’d vanished. A man and a woman ran to me from across the street, sidestepping the danger of the charged line.

“It just missed you! Are you all right?” the man said.

“I’m fine… and extremely lucky,” I said, dusting myself off.

“If you hadn’t dodged that line, you’d have been fried,” the woman said.

“Yeah, you’re right. You guys didn’t happen to see the man that was standing on the sidewalk a few yards down that way?” I asked, pointing down the block as I got up from the ground.

“There was nobody there,” the woman said. “You were the only person on the block.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” the man said.

“Yeah, I am. I’ll be all right. Thanks.”

I picked up the book bag up from the sidewalk and made it back to the car. Logically, I couldn’t prove the groundskeeper caused the downed wire, but I knew it he did it. Somehow. This was war.

I had enough for the night. I didn’t feel like spending the night in the house, I just needed a mental break. I stopped by the Victorian first to pick up clothes and other things to take to the Lamplighter Inn in east Ravensgate, the poor side of town. Before I left, I checked the basement door in the hall. It was still locked the way I left it. I ran upstairs, packed a gym bag with clothes, toiletries, and my Glock.

I was in danger. What if I was killed or came up missing like Sandy? Who would come looking for me? I needed to tell someone why I moved into the old house, so I made a quick call to Greg, the manager I put in charge of the security company while I was away. Gave him a heads-up about where I was, and if I needed backup, we’d have a team ready.

I’d left the book bag on the white wicker chair in the sanctuary, so I went in there to get it. Before I walked out, I noticed that the bust on the table next to the empty fish tank had been moved. The bust was now facing the grandfather clock to the left of the table.

I picked up the bust and faced it toward the center of the room like it was before. There was something different about it. On the chest of the sculpture, right beneath the clavicles, was the word DOOR scratched into the white stone.