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.
“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.”
“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?”
“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.
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.
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