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   Chapter 2 Brownie Oxford and the Idlewild Incident

Brownie Oxford and the Idlewild Incident: Brownie Bk 2 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 9128

Updated: 2018-03-07 14:32


Chapter 2

I got back to the car, and slid back behind the wheel. For a moment I sat, rubbing my hands together and trying to warm up my frozen fingers. I looked at Martha. "So do I trust them? Do I go to the house and see Avery?" I asked. I leaned back in the seat. I could feel the exhaustion of the last few days sucking at me. After gassing up the car and refueling myself at the diner, I drove in the direction of Matheson's house. Since any credit cards I had would be easily traceable, leaving a brightly lit trail for Swift to follow, I found a small shop in one of the towns I passed through and bought a pre-paid credit card.

With the cash I had brought with me, in addition to the strong box Matheson stuffed with cash, money wasn't an issue at the moment and really wouldn't be for a while. However, while I could pay for gas for the car with cash, I had the feeling paying cash for overnight accommodations might make me stand out. I knew there were motels that would take cash for the night, but I also knew Swift would remember I had cash on me and start looking in those places first. After all, he was the one who taught me how to track people via their credit and debit cards. I was hoping that paying a little more by an untraceable pre-paid credit card would help keep me out of his initial searching net.

Even after getting the card, I drove until I couldn't keep my eyes open and felt I was becoming a danger to other motorists. Giving in, I pulled into a small hotel. It was a step up from many of the roadside motels and required a credit card at check in. Luckily, my pre-paid one counted. There I showered and slept fitfully, scenes from the Mayenfield cemetery rising up to disturb my rest. I didn't intend Matheson's death, but I knew I was responsible. Mixed in with the dreams was the constant fear that at any moment Swift would find me. At the front desk, I kept my hair bundled under my hat in case my curls were a descriptive factor Swift used during questioning. The only time my hat was off my head was when I was showering or sleeping.

As soon as I woke, I showered again, using cold water to wake myself up, bundled my hair back under my hat and left the hotel for the highway. In the five days I had been running, I stopped twice more, each time only managing enough sleep so that I didn't fall asleep at the wheel. I was exhausted and knew I either had to take my chances with Avery at the house or try to find a bed someplace else before I passed out at the wheel.

"And anyplace I could get to by the time that happens wouldn't be too hard for this Avery to find, especially with his ghost spies." I didn't know the range of the dead in the Matheson family cemetery, but something told me they would make an attempt to track me down if I ran from them. "And I really don't need another thing to run from, " I told myself deciding to head up to the house. "The NCS is bad enough."

Decision made, I started the car and backed out of my vehicular hide-a-way. As I turned on the road and headed up to the house I caught a flash of silver in the woods and wondered if those in the cemetery sent someone to watch and see if I planned to run. "I would, " I decided too worn out to take offense.

I drove around to the main gates of the house and found them open. I knew this wasn't a normal condition as they had been closed when I drove past earlier, skirting the property to look for the cemetery. "I suppose it's a welcoming gesture, " I said to myself. As I drove through the gates and followed the given directions to the garage, the gates swung closed behind me. I tried not to think of it as ominous. The garage door was open and there was an empty spot inside. A man in a pressed black suit, his hair glinting silver in the overhead lights waited beside the open garage door.

"In for a penny, in for a pound, " I muttered to myself as I drove into the garage and parked. I pulled the keys from the ignition and slid out of the car as the silver haired man closed the garage door. He opened a small human sized door as I wondered how I was going to get out of the darkened garage.

"My I get your overnight bag for you Miss?" The man asked differentially.

I smiled thinking of my hastily packed duffle bag. I opened the back door and picked it up off of the back seat. "I think I can manage."

"Very good, Miss, " He replied. "I am Avery. I will not be offended should you not wish to provide your name. My family has worked for the Matheson's long enough to understand th

e risk. If you will follow me?"

Figuring I had very few other options at this point, I hefted my duffle bag to my shoulder and followed Avery out of the garage and into the house. As soon as I stepped into the entryway, I felt grubby. Polished marble shone underfoot, rich wood gleamed and everything practically shouted the words 'priceless antiques' as we proceeded into the house. Marble floors were soon covered with thick Turkish carpets and I thought of the memories I observed when talking to the spirit of George Whittaker and his impression of Matheson's wealth. As George was tortured to death so that I would have trouble questioning him, I quickly pushed the thoughts away.

Over all, it was a little much for a kid raised in the Riverview Girl's Home to take in.

"If you will follow me Miss, my wife has arranged your rooms, " Avery said. I nodded, feeling very much out of my depth as I followed him across the room and up a set of stairs. One flight and a short corridor later, he opened the door to a suite of rooms, leading me inside. As we entered, I spotted a matronly looking woman plumping pillows on an enormous four poster bed. The posts seem to rise from the corners like tree trunks. She turned at our approach and smiled.

"Welcome home Miss, " she said warmly. "They said you'd be needing sleep more than anything and I can see they had the right of it, " she said looking me over. "Would you like something to eat before you go to sleep?"

"Oh, um, no thank you, " I replied clumsily as I tried to stifle a yawn. Without the outside cold to slap me awake I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.

She smiled and nodded at me. "Then we'll leave you to rest. Your bathroom is through there, " she added pointing to one of the doors set into the wall. "And if you need anything, just call down to the kitchen." She gestured towards a phone placed on the night stand. I nodded numbly and Avery and the woman I guessed to be Mrs. Avery left me alone. I let my duffle bag slide to the floor and feeling somewhat paranoid I walked to the door and turned the lock. While I was certain the couple probably had the key, the door was old and the lock made a squeaking thunk as it was turned proving it didn't get a lot of use. If the couple used a key to gain entry, I would probably hear it. I also checked the latches on the windows in both the bedroom and the bathroom.

The bathroom was a marble wonder with a bathtub I could easily see myself lounging in, bubbles piled up to my ears. I yawned and felt my jaw pop. "Of course if I tried that now, I'd slip beneath the surface and drown, saving Swift the trouble of finding me." I told myself as I checked the bathroom's window latch.

I went back to the main room and let my eyes scan it quickly. Across from the bed was a large fireplace already laid for a fire. All it needed was a match touched to the newspaper wadding beneath the logs. I contemplated it, but like the bath, I figured it would be more enjoyable once I was rested. There was a set of double doors across from the bathroom and knowing I had to see what was behind them before getting into bed, I opened them. They led to a large, and at the moment very empty, walk-in closet.

I closed the doors and headed back to the bed. As I toed off my shoes I looked at the phone Mrs. Avery indicated. There was no dial, just a series of buttons, each labeled with a room. Kitchen was the first button. "At least I won't have to remember a number while I'm here, " I said pulling back the sheets. I dropped my hat, coat, jeans and bra into a heap next to my duffle bag and climbed into the monster four poster wearing just my t-shirt. Next to the bed there was a light switch and I was pleased when I flipped it, all of the room lights went off, saving me from crossing the room in the dark. Despite the strangeness of the situation, the past five days caught up to me and I felt sleep waiting to suck me down into its embrace.

"At least I know one thing, " I said half to myself. "Swift won't be appearing in my doorway before morning." I had the feeling that if nothing else, Avery would stop him at the gates. "And if he gained entry I'm sure I could either slip out the back or hide somewhere." Somehow this house seemed like the sort that would have hidden spaces in it, although the thought of what Matheson might use those hidden spaces for left me a little creeped out. With a stronger feeling of security than I had all week, I closed my eyes and let sleep claim me.

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