Grave Concerns: A Parker Brothers Mystery (Part 2 of 5)
A Parker Brothers Mystery
by Bob Freeman
Michelle Hawkes watched the children from the third floor balcony of the Manor ruins. She despised Cairnwood and coming here with Landon Connors was not exactly her idea of a “date night”. Still, she had a soft spot for the occult detective, and he generally had his way with her. She often wondered if he used his esoteric talents to sway her, but decided it was more likely his damnable charm and not some arcane skullduggery on his part. But then, he was a Connors, through and through.
She stepped from the crippled rail, leaving the boys below to their grave-robbery. Do they know we’re keeping an eye on them? she wondered. The girl does, I bet. The spunky redheaded one. Even so, Hawkes hated that Connors had sent them into that damnable boneyard. This was no idle errand. Their very lives were in danger.
Passing through the ruined balcony doors and into the candlelit library, with its overturned shelves and the scattered remnants of what had once been an impressive collection, the weary paranormalist rejoined her companion. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor within a chalk circle, his hands casting daemonic shadows on the walls as his fingers danced before the open flame rising from the black candle before him.
“I’m thirsty”, he said, eyes locked on the flickering flame.
“More ‘shroom tea?”
“Gods, no,” Connors replied. “Another sip and I’ll be past my usefulness. My mind and my body are one, my heart beats in synch with the rhythm of the walls. They’re breathing, and they whisper. There are sigils drawn in the dust, they sing a song, so delicate. The wind… it’s laughing at me. It does not respect what we’re doing here.”
Hawkes picked up the near empty thermos and sniffed at it, curling her nose.
“Damn it, Landon, what is in this bloody witches’ brew of yours?”
“A mixture of Psilocybe subaeruginosa and cyanescens, with a pinch or so of Amanita muscaria, a smidgen of Ayahuasca. Oh, and the lot was soaked in twenty-three year old Scotch. You know, for a bit of flavor.”
“You’re a damn fool, you know that?”
“Of course I am, my dear Miss Hawkes.” Connors winked at her. “I’m a wizard.”
“More like a pain in my ass.” She sat down outside the circle and watched him weave his spell, a cigarette dangling perilously from his lips. The smoke rose into the air and swirled about him like a living thing, a serpentine effluvium with sinister intent. “You’re going to get them killed, you know.”
“Shh,” he hissed. In a whisper, Connors said, “We’re hunting rabbits.”
Hawkes rolled her eyes, but then, as a deep chill settled upon her, she bolted to her feet, intensely aware that they were no longer alone. Instinctively her hand went to her side, drawing her Mark III Browning Hi-Power. “Who’s there?”
From the darkness a voice slithered into the desolate chamber.
“What’s up, Doc?”
End, Part the Second