Seeing You – Part Nineteen #NaNoWriMo2016

An hour passed since the sketch had been released. The team sat around the conference table while the police took calls. Tips trickled in. Some were easily dismissed, but others had to be physically vetted. The unsub kept a low profile, but that didn’t surprise anyone on the team.

Rick tapped a pen on the desk. Waiting on leads was the hardest part of his job. He stood up and paced around the room, stopped a few times, stared at the boards, and then paced again. Jenna had her nose stuck in her iPad. She felt that they were on the verge of something big, but the pieces weren’t falling into place. Rayne sat quietly beside Trip and Dan. She listened to the two men exchange computer tips. When Rick’s cellphone rang, they were all startled. It was Mr. D’Arca. Rick put him on speaker phone.

“Hello?”

“Agent Harris?”

“Speaking.”

“Paul D’Arca here. I just got off the phone with Donny.”

“Was he able to tell you anything?”

“Not much. He doesn’t know the name of the man who bought the equipment. Just some guy who answered his ad from the local paper.”

“What about the van?”

“Scrapped it at a junk yard. Spartan’s.”

“Thanks, Mr. D’Arca.”

“Wish I had more information, Agent Harris.”

“You did great. If we need anything else, we’ll be in touch.”

Rick ended the call while Jenna added the new information to her iPad. Trip looked up Spartan’s address and sent it to Jenna. He sat there scratching his head for a minute and then pulled up a map of Fairfax.

“Check this out,” he said excitedly.

Rick and Jenna joined him at his laptop. Trip had input the locations of the kennel, Spartan’s and the outreach church where Mr. D’Arca had donated the uniforms. The three locations formed a tight triangle around a section of streets along the Metro line.

“That can’t be a coincidence,” Rick said.

Jenna grabbed the sketch off the board and picked up her briefcase. “Let’s check out that church and junk yard.”

Rick glanced over at Rayne. “You up to it?”

Rayne wasn’t, but she nodded her head anyway. She just wanted this whole thing to be over and those girls returned safely to their parents. She stood up and joined Rick and Jenna.

They went to the garage first, but it was already closed for the day. Rick checked the post on the door and Jenna jotted down the business hours into her iPad. They’d have to return in the morning. They drove six blocks east and pulled up in front of the outreach church, Christ Church of Fairfax. Rick got out and tried the front door of the church. It was locked. He walked around to the side and saw an attached building with homeless people wandering in and out of it. He motioned for Jenna and Rayne to join him.

Rayne walked closely beside Jenna. Her senses were heightened as they approached the doorway. Homeless men stared at her with deadened eyes. She shivered. She didn’t fear them, but she could feel their despair and pain. They walked inside the center and a small child with widened eyes spotted Rayne. She leaned in and half-hid behind her mother. Rayne smiled at her and the girl grinned before hiding completely behind her mother’s skirt. Jenna turned her head to see the girl’s movements and then looked at Rayne.

“She’s a cutie. Shy.”

Rayne smiled and nodded, and then a frown creased her face. “He’s watched her, but she is too young,” she said too softly for Jenna to hear.

Jenna and Rayne hurried along to catch up to Rick who stood at a table where an older man handed out clothes to a group of women. When they caught up to him, Jenna pulled the sketch out of her briefcase and handed it to Rick.

“Excuse me,” Rick said as he approached the man.

The man looked up and flashed a friendly smile at them. “Can I help you?”

Rick withdrew his badge from his jacket pocket and showed it to the man. “SA Harris and SA Styles from the FBI and this is our colleague Rayne Fallon,” Rick said as he introduced everyone to the man. “Can we ask you some questions?”

The man moved away from the table and waved his hand for them to follow him. He led them to a small room off from the main one. “Sorry, these people get nervous around cops. I’m Pastor Richmond. How can I help you?”

“I understand,” Rick assured him. He held up the sketch of the unsub. “Have you seen this man in here before?”

The pastor took the sketch and studied it for a long moment. “I can’t be sure. We get a lot of men in here these days. Times are hard,” he concluded as he handed the sketch back to Rick.

“He would have badly scarred hands,” Jenna added.

The pastor rubbed his chin. “Scarred hands, huh? Come to think of it, a man came in here a few months ago with burns on his hands. We offered to treat him, but he just asked for some clothes and food.”

“Did he ask for any specific clothes, like work uniforms or hoodies?” Rick asked.

“We give out a lot of jackets and hoodies this time of year. It’s possible that we could have given him one, but if I recall correctly, he did ask if we had any old work shirts. He claimed that he was working on a car, no… a van, and he didn’t want to ruin his t-shirts.”

“How can you be so sure?” Jenna asked.

“We get uniform donations a lot here. People close shops and just dump whatever they have. Most of the homeless don’t want to wear shirts with logos on them. Cops can spot them too easily that way and harass them. This man specifically asked for work shirts.”

Jenna jotted down notes again and then looked up at the pastor. “Has he been back recently?”

“Not that I am aware of. He could have slipped in while I was off duty though.”

Rayne took in her surroundings. The room held shelves like the ones she’d seen in the abductor’s basement. “Do you ever give out shelving?” she asked.

The pastor turned his head and followed Rayne’s eyes to the shelves behind him. “Not directly, but sometimes we toss out rusted shelves behind the building. People are free to take them.”

Jenna noted that on her iPad too.

“Thank you, Pastor Richmond. You’ve been a great help,” Rick said as he extended his hand.

The pastor shook it. “Let me know if I can help in any other way.”

As Rayne followed Rick and Jenna out of the center, the little girl ran up to her and handed her a small metal trinket. Rayne looked down at it and inhaled sharply. It was a dog tag.

“Where did you get this?” she asked the girl as she squatted down to her level.

“A man gave it to me. He said I could be his puppy someday,” the girl said in a shy voice.

“When did he give it to you?”

“A few days ago.”

“Did he have scars on his hands?”

The little girl nodded. She scrunched up her nose. “His hands are scary.”

“I know, sweetie. Do you mind if I keep this?”

“I don’t want it. It gives me bad dreams.”

Rayne patted the girl on the head. “Where’s your mommy?”

The girl pointed to the woman Rayne had seen earlier. She stood up and took the girl’s hand and walked over to the woman.

“There you are, Mia,” the woman said with a smile.

Rayne released the girl’s hand. “Please keep an eye on her,” she whispered to the woman. Without waiting for a response, Rayne turned and hurried to catch up with Jenna and Rick.

“What was that about?” Jenna asked as they approached the car.

Rayne held out the dog tag. “He’s tagged her as a future mark.”

Rick opened the back door for Rayne. “Damn it. We need to get this unsub off the streets.”

“We will,” Jenna assured him as she opened her door and climbed inside.

Rayne stared into Rick’s eyes. The kindness she normally saw there had turned into pain. She felt it too. This case had affected all of them in the worst ways possible. She slid into the car and Rick closed the door for her. She watched his body as he walked around to the driver’s side. Even his normal, confident posture had changed. He slouched more. She stared down at the dog tag. On the front, a small bone was etched into the metal. She flipped it over and read a name – Bethany.

“I don’t think Bethany is a child,” Rayne said.

Jenna turned around in her seat. “Why not?”

She held up the back side of the tag. “I think it is a dog.”

Rick let out a long sigh as he settled into the driver’s seat. “What kind of sicko kidnaps little girls to replace a dog?”

“That would be a good question for Mark,” Jenna said. “He has morning shift, right?”

Rick nodded.

Jenna pulled out her stylus and made a note. “I guess tomorrow morning will be a busy one.”


Seeing You (a working title) is the story of Rayne Fallon, a witch with the power to see into the past and future, although not always accurately. She gets tangled up with FBI’s SA Rick Harris and SA Jenna Styles as they search for an 8 year old missing girl, thought to have been kidnapped by a Serial Killer.

Seeing You ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.

In case you missed a part, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18

or jump ahead to Part 20

I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Each day I will try to write at least 1667 words for a total of 50,000 by the end of November. Today’s total: 1562 words. Total words so far: 32, 067

Seeing You – Part Eighteen #NaNoWriMo2016

The morning lead left the entire team elated. To celebrate, Rick, Jenna, Rayne and Trip shared burgers, fries, and salads in the conference room for lunch. As they ate, they talked about anything and everything not related to the case.

“You followed Jenna around like a lost puppy when you first joined the team,” Rich chided Trip.

“I did not.”

Jenna laughed. “Yes, you did. I had to run to the ladies’ room to get away from you.”

“It was a mild crush, nothing more.”

“That’s nothing,” Jenna said as she stuffed a fry into her mouth. “You should’ve seen how Rick treated me when I joined. I think he had a father complex.”

Rick tossed a fry at her. “You wished. Besides, I met your father. I am nothing like him.”

“True. Dad is sharp and witty.”

Rick stabbed at his heart with a straw. “You wound me, partner.”

Trip laughed at his two colleagues. He noticed that Rayne hadn’t said anything since Rick returned with their food. “How about you, Rayne? What’s your father like?”

Rayne looked up from her salad and shrugged her shoulders. “He died before I was born.”

Jenna lifted a hand to her mouth. “How tragic!”

“Not really. Men don’t last long around Fallon women.”

Trip wrinkled his nose and Rick caught him. “Guess you’d better train those puppy-dog eyes on someone else.”

“I… I wasn’t…,” he stammered. “Honestly, Miss Fallon, I wasn’t…”

Rayne laughed. “It’s okay, and call me Rayne.”

Jenna’s curiosity got the better of her. “So, what happens to the men? Do they just leave?”

Rayne shook her head. “No, they die.”

Rick pulled back from the table and his eyes grew wide. “Seriously?”

“Seriously. Fallon women are cursed.”

Apparently, Rick and Trip remembered the investigation into Rayne’s cousin, Mindy Stevenson, at the same time. They locked eyes. Their mouths hung agape as they nodded at one another.

“Rayne, can I ask you a personal question?” Rick asked.

She nodded.

“Why is there bad blood between you and Mindy Stevenson?”

“Honestly, I haven’t a clue. Ever since we were kids, she has just hated me, mom, and grandmother. She made my life a living hell in school.”

“I think I know why.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I had Trip check her out. Did you know she is your cousin on your father’s side?”

Rayne narrowed her eyes. “No, I didn’t know that.”

“I bet her mom filled her head with tales about Fallon women,” Jenna chimed in.

Trip leaned across the table. “Your dad was a Carmichael, right?”

Rayne nodded.

“So was Mindy’s mom.”

Rayne slumped back into her seat. So, that’s why Mindy hated her. Her uncle had gotten mixed up with a Fallon woman and died from the curse.

Rick patted her on the back. “Sorry, kiddo. I just thought you’d want to know why she was so mean to you.”

“It’s okay. Mom and grandmother never talked about Dad’s side of the family. I knew they lived close by, but I had no idea my nemesis is my cousin. It actually makes sense now.”

“Afraid I have more bad news. I know where they hauled Charles’ mother off to.”

Rayne sat upright and stared at Rick with widened eyes. “Where?”

“St. Mary’s Retirement Center.”

Rayne rubbed her forehead and lowered her eyes. St. Mary’s was a rundown old folks home. “I can’t believe with all their money, they put her in that place.”

“They don’t have any money,” Trip interjected.

Rick nodded. “Yep, in debt and on the brink of losing the B&B.”

Jenna saw the despair on Rayne’s face. “Enough bad news. This was a celebration, not a funeral.”

Rayne pushed her seat back and stood up. “Excuse me,” she whispered and hurried off to the ladies’ room.

Once inside, she locked the door and slid down onto the floor. She had a feeling all along that Mindy and Charles had done something despicable and cruel to Adelaide. She covered her face with her palms and wept.

“Those tears for me, witch?”

Rayne jumped as a voice ripped through her mind.

“Where’s that purdy necklace of yours?”

She couldn’t see anything. Not through his eyes or her own. She fished into her pocket and pulled out the necklace. As she fumbled to put it on, his voice grew louder.

“What did you do with my mark? I know it was you. Tell me or I kill the blonde.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Oh, yes you do. Cute little black girl. I’ve been watching her for a month and now she’s gone. Whole family, gone. What did you do?”

Rayne finally got the necklace clasped and she was there, standing face to face with him, but not in the basement this time. He stood in Nisha’s yard with that grey hoodie pulled down over his face.

“Answer me, witch or I swear, I will kill that girl.”

Rayne backed away from him until she bumped into a tree. She stood flushed up against it and slowly moved her arms behind her body, hugging the tree. Sacred Oak, protect Gina and Sally, she murmured in her mind.

“I don’t know where she is. The FBI took them away.”

The man moved toward her. “I don’t know how you knew. I don’t know how you see what I do, but when I am done with those two little girls, I’ll find you and you’ll be dead too.”

Rayne screamed and passed through the oak tree to the other side of it. She felt him moving in on her, closer and closer, and then she heard a rapping sound. Low at first, then more rapid. She clinched her eyes closed, but the sound continued. And then she heard a female voice.

“Rayne? Are you okay?”

It was Jenna. Rayne opened her eyes and raised her hand toward the door. She stretched forward and unlocked it. Jenna hurried into the room and sank to the floor beside Rayne, pulling the upset young woman into her arms.

“What happened?”

Rayne pressed her head against Jenna’s shoulder. “I saw him again. He knows about Nisha and her family.”

“Shhhhh. They are safe.”

“Gina and Sally aren’t. He said he would kill them and then…,” Rayne paused and wiped tears from her face. She glanced up at Jenna. “When he’s done with the girls, he’s coming for me.”

“We won’t let him harm you. You believe that, right?”

“He’s angry, Jenna. We foiled his plans for Nisha and now… he’s going to kill Gina and Sally out of spite.”

“We don’t know that for sure. It could’ve just been a threat. This isn’t your fault.”

“Then why do I feel so guilty?”

Jenna pulled away and stood up. “It’s a natural reaction, but you are not to blame here. He is and we are closing in on him.”

“Not fast enough. Those girls are in danger now.”

“C’mon,” Jenna said as she offered a hand to Rayne. “The sketch artist is back and we are about to release the sketch of the unsub to the news.”

Rayne took her hand and allowed herself to be pulled up from the floor. She wiped her eyes on her sleeve and left the restroom with Jenna. As they walked past the police, Rayne kept her head down. She didn’t need them to see her in that state. Questions would be raised that she wouldn’t be able to explain without scrutiny. They walked back into the conference room. Rick stood by the boards talking to someone Rayne hadn’t met yet.

Rick flashed a concerned look at Rayne. She waved her hand at him and shook her head. He nodded and stretched out a hand toward her to join him.

“Rayne, this is our sketch artist, Dan Fuentes.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Rayne,” Dan said. “I was impressed with your sketch of that young girl. I hope you don’t mind, but Rick told me about your… er, unique talents.”

Rayne glared at Rick.

“Don’t be angry with him. It was my curiosity. I couldn’t understand how you drew such details when you’d never met the girl. I am not a skeptic,” Dan concluded.

“Dan’s worked with us for years. He’s seen and heard just about everything imaginable,” Jenna said, coming to both Dan and Rick’s defense.

Rayne’s face softened and she smiled at Dan. “That’s fine. Can I see your sketch?”

Dan returned the smile and handed over his sketchbook.

As she stared at the man’s face, Rayne traced the sketch with her fingertip. It was the abductor. She didn’t know how she knew since she’d never seen his face, but it was him. She could feel his rage through the obsidian eyes that stared back at her.

“It’s him,” she whispered and handed the sketchbook back to Dan.

“Great. Let’s get this on the evening news,” Rick said.

After Rick went out to give a press conference, Rayne collapsed into a chair. She couldn’t get the abductor’s voice out of her head. He’d been so angry. Would he go through with his threat? She closed her eyes and recalled the large oak tree she’d seen in her vision. Her grandmother had told her that trees held special magic. Rayne just prayed that her invocation to the oak tree would be enough to protect those girls.


Seeing You (a working title) is the story of Rayne Fallon, a witch with the power to see into the past and future, although not always accurately. She gets tangled up with FBI’s SA Rick Harris and SA Jenna Styles as they search for an 8 year old missing girl, thought to have been kidnapped by a Serial Killer.

Seeing You ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.

In case you missed a part, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17

or jump ahead to Part 19

I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Each day I will try to write at least 1667 words for a total of 50,000 by the end of November. Today’s total: 1556 words. Total words so far: 30,505

Updates on Current Events

Hello, my lovely readers. I just wanted to update you all on what’s going on with my health and current writing projects.

Health-wise, I am still sick. This whatever I have is determined to linger. I am having short bouts of okay-ness where I am able to get out of bed and do a few things. And then I must resolve myself back to bed. I don’t do sick well, never have. The weather isn’t helping any. We had a few days of warm weather and now it has turned bitterly cold again. I go from sweating to chills. Today is one of those chills days. I did go to the doctor and am on a series of antibiotics because I have bronchitis now. Yay me.

My ISP company has been shutting down the internet nearly every evening for the past week or so. It goes down for about six hours. I’ve been using those hours to sleep. I schedule posts on up-hours in case it doesn’t come up when it is supposed to. We’ve been assured that they have no updates this weekend, so I am going to try to catch up on my writing projects. Next week? More rounds of interruptions, although they haven’t even sent out a tentative schedule yet. Apparently they are trying to secure some communication lines for this winter and upgrading some in-house technical mumbo-jumbo that I haven’t a clue what they mean (and I am fairly techie). The good news? Free HBO for next month. That seems to be the gift they give out any time they do ISP work. Not sure what people who don’t have cable through them gets. But I am a writer and rarely have time to even watch television. Go figure.

And that brings me to my current writing projects. Here on A Whispered Wind, I am working on my novella, Seeing You. I am currently two days behind again (yesterday and today). I hope to get those caught up between now and midnight. Tomorrow, I will try to get the next part of the science fiction round-robin, Zanzibar, up over at Promptly Written and another part of Seeing You up.

I have promised to read and review 10 novels through the end of December. Luckily, I can read in bed when I just feel too poorly to be up at the computer. So, my lovelies, be prepared to see more reviews in the upcoming weeks.

Over at As the Fates Would Have It, I’ve been working on a daily series titled Inspired! where I post something (quotes, poems, videos, art, music, etc.) that inspires me. I’ve got these scheduled out for most of the remaining month. I’ve also recently caught up with Calen’s The Sandbox Writing Challenge and will continue to do it on Tuesdays. In the meantime, I have started a new series of journal writing titled, The Daily Me. I also have some of these scheduled out.

So, my lovelies, as I sit here coughing and wheezing, sniffling and blowing my nose, I want you all to know that more stories are coming, more reviews are on the way, and I am still plodding along. Thank you all for continuing to read me. You all inspire me.

 

#BookReview – Vampire for Hire: Vampires She Wrote by Eve Paludan

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Vampire for Hire: Vampires She Wrote (Kindle Worlds Novella)
(The Secret Chronicles of Fang Book 1)

Set within the world of J.R. Rain’s Vampire for Hire series, Eve Paludan has brought together many of Rain’s character into an exciting new adventure: Fang – a dangerous vampire who runs a members-only blood club, Samantha Moon – a private investigator and vampiress, and Kingsley Fulcrum – Samantha’s lover, a werewolf and a lawyer. A classic literary character and a historical figure also star in this fast-paced supernatural romance.

When Fang first meets Justine Black, a novelist and vampiress, at his blood club, he doesn’t realize that he is about to embark on a lethal mission. He promises to help Justine find the vampire who turned her in a most cruel manner outside his club. Justine wants vengeance. Fang just wants to survive. During the course of their adventure, they fall in love, a love that could be derailed by mortality.

This is the first time I have read any of Eve Paludan’s novels. I also admit, I have not read any of J.R. Rain’s Vampire for Hire series either. However, I didn’t really miss anything by not having a prior introduction to the characters. Paludan crafted her story in such a way, that I felt like I already knew these characters. If you enjoy a great love story that makes you laugh and keeps you on your toes, this is the novella for you. You will easily fall in love with the main characters and root for their success.

There were a couple of literary issues that I found slightly unsettling with the book. It is written almost entirely in dialogue, and at times, I felt that the characters were a bit 2-D as a result. The dialogue tags, which were used sparingly, didn’t always help to move the story along either. With that said, the fight scenes were well-written and exciting. Paludan’s descriptions put you right in the midst of those battles. The initial love scene felt a bit flat, but improved by the end of the book. As a lover of birds, the flight scenes took my breath away.

Overall, this is an amazing story with great characters and well-constructed scenes. It has also encouraged me to read J.R. Rain and Eve Paludan’s other books.

Rating: 4.5 stars (for the few literary issues)

Genre: Supernatural Romance

To Purchase: Amazon

Eve Paludan’s Website

J.R.Rain’s Website