Desperately Seeking Salvage
Adventures in Ghostsitting
Mel Hargrove, eighties enthusiast, is the protector of much more than random cars and broken washing machines. Each piece in her precious junkyard has a ghost attached to it. No one in Frysville is aware of the secret that’s just down the road from them, and she wants to keep it that way. But when she finds naked statues of aging townspeople in the main square, she must figure out if someone, or something, is missing from her junkyard and out causing havoc. With a host of ghosts behind her and her new boyfriend beside her, Mel is ready to take on almost anything. Almost being the operative word…
The book popped open to lie flat on her desk and fluttered its pages for about two minutes, going back and forth through sections and times. It landed on nothing.
“I can’t believe we don’t have a single statue maker here.” She shoved the glasses back up on her nose.
“What about someone who works, or worked, with marble?” Becker offered.
“Why not?” Mel glanced back and gave him a smile. “Okay. I’m looking for someone who is capable of chiseling marble.”
More fluttering, more shuffling back and forth fast enough to send a light breeze tousling her frosted hair. She played with the jelly bracelet on her wrist while she waited for the thing to settle down.
The book halted suddenly, the air stilling as she looked down at the name highlighted in red. “Jameson McElroy Cleverton.”
Well, she knew where he was because she’d rented him out in his shaving kit to Mrs. Paisley to clear her house of negative energy brought on by her family fighting during a family reunion last week. “Next.”
More flapping followed by a slowing down, and one page at a time slid across each other. Another name was highlighted in red. “Casey Deavers.”
Casey in his sea-glass bubble was on a trip to the Martins’ house to dust the knickknacks standing on the shelf that no one wanted to use a ladder for, ten feet above the floor. “Next.”
One page slid slowly to the right but settled back down before it fully flipped.
She tried to move it herself, and it was as if it had been welded to the other pages. Grabbing a letter opener from her Gem and the Holograms cup, she tried to wedge it in between the pages, but the bugger wasn’t budging.
She slapped both hands on the desk, stared hard at the book, and said, “Show me the next.”
The page rippled like water in a pond after a rock had been thrown, but it didn’t flip.
“What’s going on?” Becker asked.
She shook her head at him, not wanting to break her concentration. “Show me the next,” she said louder and with more force.
The page wrinkled and crinkled and twisted and squirmed but didn’t actually turn.
“Now!” she yelled like a drill sergeant.
The page surged against the rest of the book, humping up enough for Mel to get her fingers in under it. She would see this freaking page if she had to tear the damn thing out.
It flipped, the rest of the pages turned on top of it, and the back of the book slammed down on her hand, pinning it so tightly her fingers began to ache.
“What the hell?” Becker stepped back.
“Get me the phone, please,” she said trying to pull her hand out of the book. It was futile. The book just compressed harder. Her circulation was being cut off.
“What is going on?” he asked while handing her the phone.
“Can you hit the speed dial five?”
He did that, too, but one eyebrow kicked up, which wasn’t surprising since her hand was caged in a book that looked like it was trying to eat her.
“I promise to answer all your questions in just a minute.”
The other eyebrow joined the first, high on his forehead.
The phone rang in her ear. Mercifully Serena picked up on the second ring. “What’s up, chickie?”
“I’m stuck in my book. What do I do?”
Serena whistled through the phone, a long sound of disbelief. “Did you piss it off?”
“Do we have to go through all this? I need to get my hand out of the book before my fingers fall off. The book is clamped down around me and won’t let go.”
“Tell it you withdraw the question.”
But she didn’t want to withdraw the question. Whatever was in red on that page was probably the exact name she needed. Without it she had no way of knowing who to go after or what they were attached to. She’d be at a dead end.
On the other hand, well, she’d still have her hand.