Thursday, August 1, 2013

In which we find a posssible lead and John explains about salts....

"Here?" Maddy said, pulling cautiously into the almost-empty lot and looking around.

"According to what Percy said." John was trying to get a signal through Maddy's phone for his laptop, but she only had one bar at most. "What was this place originally?"

"This whole place was a mall at one point. Then a lot of the stores either closed or moved to the Galleria after they built that. I know at one point Wal-mart wanted the property - I think they got as far as tearing most of the old mall down before the town told them no freaking way. I'm not too clear on the details. Then it turned into a battle when a group of Republican council members up in Hyde Park wanted to raze the entire business district and put in a Wal-mart and Sam's Club. That went nowhere either, thankfully. The one down on the other end of Route 9 is one too many, if you ask me." She looked at us. "You won't believe this, but my mom knew the old man himself, Sam Walton, when he managed a Ben Franklin's in Newport, Arkansas. Ironic that the store he started ended up putting Franklin's and a lot of other stores out of business."

I'm not sure what Ben Franklin's was, but putting it and/or a lot of other stores out of business sounds bad. I've never been near the Wal-mart anyway - Maddy won't shop there. From what I've heard, that's probably good...

"Anyway, off my soapbox. What did your sister find?" Maddy looked at John. "I thought it was all houses back there."

He got up to look. "Was there a farm over there at one point?"

Maddy nodded. "Yeah. Really small, though. They had a farm market in the summer. I think it changed hands in the late nineties and the new owners don't plant anymore."

He looked at her. "She thinks that's it. She also thinks that what we're looking for is underground."

"Underground?" Maddy looked around. "Okay, this is getting really seriously creepy." She looked around apprehensively as a white pickup truck drove slowly around the perimeter of the lot, slowing slightly to look at us before driving off. "We'd better get out of here."


"Did Dr. Armitage ever got back to you about that book?" It was later, back home.

"He did. As luck would have it, the Tyson translation is in fact quite true to the original Latin," John said. "Not that it tells us much, though. And he couldn't get any more information from Mrs. Bishop, I'm afraid. I shouldn't speak ill of anyone, but the poor woman is - well, not the brightest." He looked down a bit. "She's not a bad person, not by any means, but she's rather naive and - what's the saying - easily led? She's far too quick to trust anyone who has an air of authority, especially if it comes wrapped in a cloak of faith. Not that her beliefs are wrong - anything but - however, she's too quick to trust anyone who claims to share them."

"So what's all this about salt?" I was totally lost.

"I'm not sure, but if whoever this Dr. West is was talking about essential salts, we might have a huge problem on our hands," he said. "It's a way of taking a body and reducing it to its essence so that the person can be brought back to life through certain magickial means."

"In other words, Instant Human. Just add water." One of these days I really need to stop saying the first thing that pops into my head.

John laughed, though, "Pretty much. Except in practice it doesn't seem to work very well. At least we've never heard of anyone actually doing it." He sobered. "What I don't understand is what any of this has to do
with him buying her rejected dolls." 

Something had occurred to me. "Did she make you?"

He nodded. "Percy and I were intended to be toddler dolls, but neither of us came out right. Rich I'm not sure about. Dr. Armitage wanted us for his daughter, but his wife didn't want her to play with dolls. She felt it was unseemly for a modern child to play with what she called "gender-based toys." He didn't know what else to do with us, so he had us trained in paranormal studies."

"Do you like it?"

"It's interesting. It's all I've really known - until now." He looked at me, then back at his computer.

He's staying. One way or another, I'm going to convince him to stay. And Maddy just might be finding herself copying my ancestor Hitty's wedding dress for me after all....

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