Moments after Rayne laid out her plan, Charlene arrived at the Rosewood Center. At barely five-feet tall, the twenty-something entered the center in a flurry of panicked apologies for her late arrival. She carried a long hobo bag slung over her shoulder and several paper bags in her arms. She placed all the bags on the long table and smiled at everyone. Tossing her long black hair over her shoulder, the hazel-eyed woman plopped down in one of the chairs and let out a deep sigh.
“Hey, I know I’m late, but why the long faces?” she asked.
Mazi let out a nervous chuckle. “It’s not because you are late. We’ve had some disturbing turnabouts.”
“Oh dear! This is related to Arthur, I presume.”
Mazi nodded. “Let me introduce you to SA Jenna Styles,” she said as she pointed to Jenna. “Rayne Fallon, the one we enchanted the pendant for,” she continued, pointing at Rayne. “And you know my cousin Rick,” she concluded with a smile and nod at Rick.
“Good to see you again, Rick.” Charlene flashed a bright smile at him and then turned her attention to Jenna and Rayne. “Lovely to meet you, ladies. Wish this was under better circumstances.”
Rick stood up and walked over to Charlene. He leaned down and embraced her. “Good to see you too, Charly.” He released his hold on her and kissed her cheek. Charlene had always been one of his favorites of Mazi’s coven sisters and affectionately called her Charly. Rick walked back around the table and picked up the file folder. He removed Leo Decker’s picture and handed it to her.
“Oh yes, I remember this guy. Quiet, timid, always clinging to Arthur at the festivals,” Charlene noted. “He never came to any of the meetings though. Arthur said he didn’t approve of him messing with witches.” She rolled her eyes. “I felt sorry for the kid though. Arthur was such an asshole to him.”
“Mazi said you did a one on one with Arthur once. Can you tell us about it?” Jenna inquired.
“It was a horrible mistake to astral travel with him,” Charlene began, her voice quivering. “When we got to the astral plane, I realized that he wasn’t interested in anything spiritual about the place. He wanted to see if he could inflict pain in real time while in the astral.” She lifted the black sheer blouse she wore and pointed to the scar on the left side of her ribcage. “The bastard stabbed me!” she concluded.
Rick stared at the scar for a long moment and then asked, “Was there anything unusual about him before this incident?”
Charlene shivered. “He was always an odd duck. Obsessed with his dead father. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Just thought he was one of those emo artists.”
“Did you ever see any of his art?” Jenna asked.
“A few times. He invited me to his studio once. He had a series of beautiful watercolors, mostly with angels, little girls and their dogs, stuff like that. Then I went to one of his shows. He’d done a series of brutal sculptures. Twisted, horrid stuff. Scared me shitless. I had to leave. It was all too creepy. A week after that show was when we did the astral projection.”
Rayne furrowed her brow. “We’ve seen his handiwork… sculptures, I mean.”
Rick pulled out the notes on Percy from the folder. “Arthur’s real name is Kent Percy.”
Charlene’s eyes widened. “Oh! He told me he was Arthur Kent. That makes sense now.”
“The first time he came to the center, he signed in as Kent something, but scribbled out the last name and wrote Arthur Kent after it. I thought it was peculiar at the time, but when I heard he was an artist, I figured it was just a pseudonym. They all have them. Artsy types, you know?”
Jenna nodded as she looked up from her iPad. “I just sent a message to Trip to do a search on Arthur Kent. We know he’s used the name Arthur in Fairfax, but if he is using the full name, we may get some financials on him.”
“Or more,” Rick hoped.
Charlene relaxed. It felt good to get all the information she’d known about Arthur and Leo off her chest. Then she realized how solemn everyone looked when she’d arrived. She leaned her elbows on the table and cupped her cheeks with her hands. “Say, why did you all look so down when I came in? I mean, it wasn’t because I was late and none of this stuff about Arthur and Leo is so depressing. What gives?”
“Rayne needs our help,” Moonsong said, having kept quiet until now.
“What kind of help?”
Moonsong looked over at Rayne and nodded her head. “I’ll let Rayne fill you in.”
Rayne wrung her hands in her lap. It had already unnerved her the first time she spelled out her idea, and it wasn’t going to be any easier this time either. She cleared her throat. “I’ve been able to explore the area where Percy lives a little without his knowledge, but eventually he discovers what I am doing and puts a stop to it. We are nowhere close to stopping this… this lunatic. I need more time to explore, to see something significant – a building out a window, a street sign or his house number. I thought maybe,” she paused, looked up at Moonsong, and then continued, “if I were inside a protective circle, in this place with a protection spell against him already in place, then I could find something to help the FBI nab him.”
Charlene clapped her hands together and her face lit up. “That sounds like a wonderful idea!”
“You can’t be serious,” Mazi stated.
Charlene laughed. “What could go wrong inside a protected circle?”
“Quite a lot,” Moonsong said as she glared at Charlene. “We only have eleven members available right now. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this without a full thirteen. And from what Rayne has told us, he has grown stronger. Any number of things could go wrong.”
Charlene lowered her eyes. “Sorry, High Priestess. I didn’t mean to be flippant about this.”
“No matter,” Moonsong said. “We just don’t have the strength to pull something like this off.”
Mazi suddenly became excited. “But we do, Moonsong. Rick has joined some of our gatherings before and Jenna can join in too.”
“Wait! What? I don’t even know if I believe in all of this stuff,” Jenna protested.
Rick turned to his partner. “You don’t have to believe. You just have to join the circle with an opened mind and an intent to help.”
Jenna glanced over at Rayne and saw the pleading in her eyes. How could she not help Rayne now after all she had done for the FBI in this case? She closed her eyes and inhaled. If her Catholic grandmother could see her now, she’d pay a ghostly visit to the Pope and have Jenna excommunicated. She laughed internally. She’d never even prayed or given a confession. Her grandmother was probably already petitioning the Pope. Sighing, she opened her eyes and nodded at Rayne.
“Okay, I’m in.”
Rayne smiled and Moonsong shrugged her shoulders.
“I guess we’ll attempt this after all,” Moonsong resolved. “But… we need to do it on a full moon and that isn’t until tomorrow night. Can you all stay until then?”
“I’ll call Troy and confirm it, but I doubt he’ll have any problems with it,” Rick assured her.
“We’ll have to extend out hotel reservations,” Jenna interjected.
Mazi huffed. “Nonsense, you can stay with me. It’ll give Rick and I a chance to catch up,” she said as she winked at Rick. Rick grinned back at her.
Moonsong stood up. “That’s that then. Charlene, call the other members and remind them to all bring a black candle. Mazi, you and I will prepare the meeting hall tonight. As for you three,” she said, glancing from Rayne to Rick and finally at Jenna, “I suggest you rest up. This is going to be a tiring ordeal.”
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.
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Today’s total: 1362 words. Total words so far: 47,882