The mystery at Brown-Blythe Manor isn’t over. The case is being re-opened, and Bryan is charged with finishing the engagement, only he knows there’s more to the job than his boss expects.
Kayden and the others from the WCPC team follow Bryan back to where it all began. Including Chad, who has more going on inside his head than he wants to admit.
WCPC handles all your paranormal needs. Poltergeists, ghosts, or mystical apparitions, we can help. We employ the most talented wranglers who can control even the toughest demons around. Call the consultants of Watercrest Cannon Paranormal Consultants to help.
Broody wrangler and tactile psychic must solve the mystery at Brown-Blythe Manor – Sometimes Rogues Return.
A grayish-green tinted the night sky. Hazy clouds drifted across the face of the moon, but they didn’t hide it completely. I could see it back there, sharing its eerie glow. I exhaled slowly, wondering where I was, but soon enough, I remembered this scene. The lawn spread out before me with the forest threatening in the distance. The one difference between the old plantation ruins I’d visited and this place was the giant oak tree. Off to the side, it stood black against the darkening sky. A progression of people snaked out from a side door and circled the tree. Waiting.
I held my breath. The anticipation was an electric current in the air. I didn’t know what was coming, but I’d damn sure bet something was. I shifted to move closer to the crowd, stepping down the stairs so I could see better.
No, stay on the porch. I turned to see a young, black woman standing next to me. She was dressed in rags, and her hair was covered with a cloth, tied in the back.
Her words stopped me, and I eased back up on the porch. We were some distance away from the gathering, but at a higher level so we could see over their heads.
Two large, white men, dressed in white button-down shirts that practically glowed like the moon, dragged out someone bound between them. They put the person on a box under a branch of the tree that stretched out over their heads from the trunk like an accusing finger. Their heads lifted, and dark eyes cut through the night. It was the girl—the one standing next to me. I didn’t dare look. I kept my eyes focused on the one under the tree.
Another white man, bigger around the waist than the others but also taller with broader shoulders, stomped down from the house. He stopped under the tree and faced the girl. “While I realize thar’s been talk of witchcraft. I’m here to assure you, folks, it ain’t true. We’ll not be burnin’ this woman. She’s no witch. Thar’s no such thang.” An uproar ran through the crowd around them, but the man held his hands up to settle them. “Now, now…she’ll be hanged for sure. But not as a witch. No, she’ll be hanged for starting an uprising. For instigatin’ the slaves to rebel. That. Yes, that and that alone, my friends.” He turned and stared them all down as if daring anyone to speak up. “That is the real crime.”
The crowd around him mumbled, making a raucous. I thought they would revolt, but the man held his hands up again, and they quieted. “I know she attempted to practice the dark arts…witchcraft…voodoo…” His words were a sneer, filled with disdain. “But her real crime was inciting a rebellion. That’s the one truth of it, folks.”
Yep, that’s the one thin’ I actually did. Tried to get those twits to rise up. Idiots—all of ‘em.
I pulled my eyes from the scene, reluctantly, but I needed to see her standing there. “What happened?”
Shh…don’t speak out loud.
Even though the request sounded strange, I knew exactly what she meant. We had to keep it in our head. Speaking out loud would interrupt—break the vision. Tell me?
She grunted and shot me an evil look. They drugged me, else I’d o’ burned them all down.
Burned them? You could do that? Had the man been wrong?
If I had anythin’ to work with. A scrap even. A trickle of power’s all I need.
It made sense then. Ah…You’re a wrangler.
Was. Like your Bryan. I didn’t like the sound of his name coming from her like that. I wasn’t sure how she’d said it, what it meant. Reverence? Awe? Before I could figure it out, she spoke again. Funny thin’ though…my uncle. She made an ugly laughing noise. He thought he had somethin’. He was nuttin’ but a foolish ol’ man. He had no power. He was an idiot makin’ deals with the devil.
No, a demon.
She snorted. Here he comes.
When I looked back, the scene had changed. The people were gone. Only the lone figure of this girl hanging from the tree had been left for me to see. I was glad I’d missed the moment, but from the woods, another figured stalked forth. He dug in the dirt with a stick below the girl’s hanging form. He made a circle of some kind. He tossed something from a pouch around his neck into the circle. A bit of fire flared up in the center, almost but not quite licking her toes.
The deal was done. Already made. I’d made my promise. My uncle…he jus’ here to pick up the pieces. An’ maybe keep ‘is own ass outta the fire.
“Sorry girl,” her uncle said, as he peered up at her body. He held up a glass bottle and a green gas poured out of her and into it.