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   Chapter 11 Brownie Oxford and the Idlewild Incident

Brownie Oxford and the Idlewild Incident: Brownie Bk 2 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 25745

Updated: 2018-03-07 14:37

Chapter 11

The next morning I stretched for my morning run, my head feeling slightly too large due to the excessive celebration. Upon hearing the news of my acceptance, Christa and Matt joined us. Someone then called Ricky who brought a host of others, some of whom I had only met in passing, and the small celebration became an impromptu party.

My first actual party in fact.

I reached Idlewild, pleased to be able to share my news with my second set of friends. They may not join me in champagne, but I knew they would be happy for me. I also knew the three sisters would enjoy hearing about the party even if my friends weren't dressed to the nines. Elaborate balls seemed to be their thing and their descriptions of gowns worn to long ago events had served as the basis for some of my designs. Admittedly I had to draw them accurately the first time to show the sisters, proving I was listening and then modify the outfits later. If nothing else, I was practicing my drawing skills. They didn't consider my alterations for possible modern wear quite as grand.

Explaining that bustles were no longer the in thing had not gone well.

When I got to the cemetery and raised the residents, I found them quite agitated and my celebratory mood soured. Looking around, it was easy to see what caused the agitation. I called the cemetery as I did each morning, this morning however, more heard the call than normal. Among those from previous eras were three new additions, all male and all wearing modern clothing. Mrs. Kensington was frowning at them. Her eyes took in one man's shorts and flip flops and did not seem at all impressed.

"This is most irregular, " she said with a sniff of disapproval. On that we were agreed. Extra dead, meant a problem, usually a body dump. Body dumps eventually brought police, police brought inquiries that went into the official record even if you were just a bystander and anything that involved cemeteries were likely to bring Swift's attention. Even if the cops thought I was just an innocent passer-by, if I were questioned it would be in the file. Swift would look for anyone associated with such an event. This could be bad. Very bad.

"Could someone please tell me what happened?" I asked, leaning against the base of a large gravestone and trying not to give into the impulse to run away screaming. It was topped with a life sized statue of an angel, its wings towering over my head, casting icy shade like the specter of doom. One of the men looked to Mrs. Kensington and with an impatient gesture she indicated he was to speak.

"Well you see Miss, " he began, addressing me. "We just sort of arrived here, although we aren't really sure how. I'm not even sure I know where here is. I had a meeting with Big Jimmy you see…" The man started trailing off, looking confused. I had the feeling his meeting with Big Jimmy ended in his death as none of the dead seemed able to remember their own deaths.

"They can't stay, " Mrs. Kensington informed me when the man stopped speaking and stared confusedly off into the distance trying to remember what I knew he never would be able to. "This is private property. They weren't invited. You must do something." While Mrs. Kensington may have fallen into the suffragette category, believing in equal rights for women, even in death she still held tightly to class distinction. From previous conversations I figured out that her version of equality meant that women of each class should be afforded the same rights as the men of that same class. The inequality between classes was not among her concerns. Clearly the newcomers were not in what she considered her class and therefore unacceptable.

I nodded. "I'll have to think about it and come back with a solution, " I told her. Mrs. Kensington nodded looking satisfied. I wished I was as certain of my own ability to reach a solution. I buried my own rising panic and had the three men move towards where they felt the strongest connection so that I could tell where they were buried, although I didn't say that was what I was doing since I didn't want to cause panic. I just asked them to show me the spot. As always the regular dead could not refuse my request. Satisfied that I knew where their bodies were located, I pulled my power from the cemetery and went back to the main running pathway through the park.

As I jogged home, I felt like I was running away and had to work to maintain a normal speed instead of running as fast as possible. In fact I was trying to convince myself to run away. This wasn't my problem, it was something for the authorities to deal with, not me. Back in my apartment, I locked the door and paced the living room, trying not to panic. While this problem was within my skill level to fix, I needed to do so in a way that wouldn't advertise my presence, if indeed I was going to do anything at all.

"Okay 'Nie think." I took a deep breath and continued to pace. "The smartest thing to do would be to just walk away. To never go back there again." After all, if I wasn't there, then they wouldn't rise and the three new occupants wouldn't be an issue. It's not like they could converse with each other without me. Without my power, the dead were just dead. I could walk away. I paused and bit my lip.

"Of course at some point there is the possibility they could be found anyway, " I thought to myself. "Even if it takes a while." If I were Swift, I would be scanning the news for anything even related to dead bodies and cemeteries. "If he believes my note then he knows there are two unaccounted for bodies, Matheson and Dave, so he'd be looking for them as well as me." Idlewild had three new bodies not two, but I had the feeling it would still ping on his radar and be checked out.

The thought that I could pack up and run before that happened occurred to me, but I dismissed the thought. Running would look suspicious and, if I did and Swift was in the area, the Bonnie Brown ID would be useless as would the straightened hair and now brown eyes. Even if the bodies were found and the cemetery investigated, I was better off not running.

At least for the moment.

"If they are found quickly, there is the possibility they could be easily identified, or at least quickly identified as not Matheson or Dave. Well, Dave at least, I don't know if Swift knows what Matheson looked like." I never mentioned that the glimpses of Matheson I saw in the dead men's memories gave him features similar to mine. I thought it might make Swift think I could raise zombies. "Of course, I never told him I could see images from their memories either." I shook the thought away.

"If the men are only bare bones when they are found, they will be harder to identify and it might make Swift more curious, " I reasoned. That would be incentive for me to help them be found more easily as long as I could keep myself from being implicated when the authorities searched for anyone who might know anything. Also if I waited for them to be found naturally, the timing would be completely out of my control. If I helped them to be found I could get it over with and not wait around for the axe to fall.

And then there were the residents.

I knew I couldn't walk away. I knew them. Yes, I learned their names on the off chances something even remotely like the events in Mayenfield recurred, but I still knew them. I may not always like them or the things they thought or said but they were my friends. I couldn't just walk away for the same reason that Noah stashed champagne in his fridge in anticipation of me getting excepted into the fashion design program at the university. We were friends, and

but otherwise it was not a terribly noticeable patch of earth. As I studied the ground, I realized I was stalling, the horrors from Mayenfield circling in the back of my brain.

"Not the same, " I told myself knowing I wasn't in anyway raising any spirits. "Just the bodies, " I told myself. "And even them not entirely." I took a deep breath, the scent of hot baked earth filling my senses. I reminded myself I didn't have the time to stall. I needed to be long gone before anyone else arrived on the scene. I closed my eyes and mentally rummaged around under the earth. The bodies of the three men were piled on top of each other so whoever planted them only had one hole to dig. Luckily, it may have been fairly well hidden, but it wasn't deep. His laziness actually made my job easier. I let my power swim into the top body as I pulled out my pen knife and bandanna. I crouched down low and placed the bandanna on my knee. As I touched the knife to my skin, I felt the power beating inside me, waiting to be let loose. I sliced open the meaty part of my palm, wincing from the sting of the blade and as the blood spilled from my split flesh, I felt the body stir with my power.

It was unlike anything I ever felt before. There was no spirt, no sense of awareness, just a thing made of rotting meat filled with my will. It made me feel…powerful. Invincible. For a moment I had a hard time catching my breath. I looked around and noticed the world was shimmering with a myriad of extra colors. It was as though everything living had been dipped in liquid rainbows. It was the sort of power I thought one could easily become addicted to. It made me feel as though I could take on the world. Thoughts of Matheson swirled in with the power, dulling its savor. This was how he felt just before the Mayenfield dead tore him to bits.

I was not invincible.

The thought sobered me and I pushed the feeling aside, concentrating on the corpse below the earth. His hand moved, wiggling to the surface and exploding from the dirt like a bad horror movie. I felt it as if it were my own hand, my own skin. Fingers scrabbled on the ground tearing it up as though something had been digging. I could feel the grainy texture of the dry earth between my fingers, shifting over my flesh. The hand pulled the body up through the ground, exposing the arm and part of the shoulder.

The stench was awful and dented my power trip more than the memory of Matheson's death. Even in a clinical setting I had a hard time tolerating the stench of rot. Here where it was mixed with the scent of the earth and growing things around it, the smell seemed deeper and more intense, but even less inviting. Still I knew there was more to do.

There was little likelihood that the body would be found anytime soon in this hidden corner, even if I left it exposed. I saw a second hand rise from the earth. I grit my teeth and tried to swallow my own nausea as I gave the necessary command. The fingers of the zombie's left hand dug into the arm of the right, ripping and tearing at the rotted flesh, creating sickening sounds and foul odors as it severed its own limb, making it look like it had been chewed. I felt no pain, but I felt the odd separation of the flesh as if my own limb was tearing away. It was distinctly unpleasant and I had to keep glancing at my own arm to make certain it was not coming apart. Slowly I caused the severed limb to crawl away from the body, leaving a trail of gore in the dirt behind it.

Careful to leave no foot prints, I straightened, put away my pocket knife and bandanna, and after making sure none of my blood was on the ground, walked back down the gravel path through the cemetery. I felt the arm move even when I couldn't see it, my power still connecting us. I saw the limb crawl to the edge of the trees near the running path. Satisfied that it would be found and was torn up enough that animal scavengers could be blamed, I severed the connection, feeling my power slam back into my body as an almost physical force. I rubbed my arm feeling everything connected as it should be, despite the phantom sensations. Feeling that I needed to say something, I slipped my power back into the earth as I normally did, although I didn't provide enough power to let the residents rise.

"I've arranged a way for someone to find the three strangers and take them away. It also means I must leave. Thank you for your conversations, " I whispered. I received several whispered thanks and good wishes in return. Slowly I pulled my power back, leaving the residents of Idlewild to rest in peace.

I ran home, trying not to hear the sounds of tearing flesh and smell the stench of the grave. I made it back to my apartment and went directly into the bathroom where my stomach heaved, the contents pouring out of my mouth and into the toilet.

"No amount of feel good power is worth that, " I decided as I rinsed out my mouth and brushed my teeth. I took my shower standing under the hottest spray I could stand for as long as the hot water lasted, wondering how long it would take for the arm to be found.

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