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   Chapter 29 Keeper of the Crossroads

Keeper of the Crossroads By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10574

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:04

Chapter 29

His mother was dressed in a chic suit of black lined with white piping. Her shoes were black with white polka dots and she struggled to look casual as the heels sunk into the soft earth. Bella was in full charming mode while Michael had the air of a ring master.

"That spells investor, " Jamie thought with a sigh. "This is not going to be pleasant." The stranger noticed him first. Somehow, Jamie was not surprised.

"Hello, I am George Jennings, " The man said, walking over and offering his hand to Jamie. Jamie shook it and smiled at the man, ignoring his family.

"Good morning Mr. Jennings. I am James Fulton. What brings you to my home today?" George quirked up an eyebrow in surprise, but quickly suppressed it.

"I represent the Colfax Corporation, " George said pulling out a card and handing it to Jamie. Jamie glanced at the card. It had a shadowy outline of buildings behind the name and the tagline 'development for the future'. The tag line ended in an oversized red exclamation mark.

"I see, " Jamie replied, handing the card back to George. "I think you may be under some sort of misunderstanding. My property is not for sale." Jamie heard sputtering from his brother and a sort of hissing noise from his mother. He didn't glance in their direction.

"Oh, " George said slowly, his gaze darting back towards Bella and Michael. "I see." He held his card back out to Jamie. "If you change your mind…"

"I won't, " Jamie replied, trying to not make the words sound too harsh. "But thank you. I am sorry you drove out this far for so little reason."

"It was a lovely drive. You have a great place here, " George said with a faded smile as he tucked his card back in its holder and slipped it into his suit pocket.

"I think so." Jamie replied. George once again extended his hand and the two men shook. George headed back to the car. Michael left him to Bella's care and instead joined Jamie on the porch.

"What are you doing?" Michael hissed. "They are willing to pay us a lot of money for this rat hole."

"It is not yours to sell." Jamie said calmly, making no attempt to keep his voice from carrying. Michael's eyes hardened and Jamie nearly ducked back instinctively as that look had always been a precursor to one of Michael's punches. Instead he held his ground. Michael realized there was an audience and merely clenched his fists by his sides. "How did you get here, by the way?"

"We drove, " Michael said through clenched teeth. "Can't you see the car?"

"I realize that, " Jamie said. "But I distinctly remember locking the gate."

"We opened the gate, " Michael said. Jamie could see the muscle in his jaw clench.

"How?" Jamie asked, "I specifically didn't give you a key." Michael did not answer. Instead he turned and stalked back to the car.

"Bolt cutters, " George said with a frown.

"And you did not find that suspicious?" Jamie asked him. Bella's face was a hard mask of marble.

"A little, " George admitted with a shrug. "But they said the lock was rusted shut and the key had been lost."

"I'll have to get a new lock then, " Jamie said.

"I am sorry for the incon

ll kept. Jamie walked over towards one.

"This looks like someone swept it."

"Probably did, " Del said bemused. "This wouldn't be visible on your roads as we went through the cross roads quite some time ago."

"Really? I didn't feel anything."

"Were you expecting to?"

"I don't know, " Jamie said slowly thinking about all of the sci-fi and fantasy stories he had read over the years. Jamie looked around and at the edge of one of the buildings he saw something white fluttering slightly in a stray breeze. Jamie walked over to have a look. As he got close he again froze in his tracks. The flapping white was the tail of an un-tucked shirt. The body, or what he could see of it, looked as though it had been mummified. The skin was pulled against the bone, causing the clothing to fall in loose folds. The head was buried under a rock that Jamie was not certain he had the strength to lift.

Jamie gazed at the body, unsure what to do. Del knelt down and peered closely at the rock. As he moved he accidently bumped the man's hand. The hand slid from where it had been resting on his chest and fell to the ground. As it moved a ring, too loose for the desiccated hand slid from his finger and rolled away. Jamie bent down and picked it up. He straightened and looked at the ring in his hand. Jamie's breath caught in his throat as he turned the ring around and saw the design.

"Del, " he said hoarsely. "This is Albe's ring." Del glanced at him and then turned back to the body.

"He hasn't been gone long enough for this to be natural decay." Jamie stared at the body having a hard time reconciling it to the shell that once held his great uncle.

"How can that be?" Del tilted the weight of the stone to the side a little.

"Don't know, but you'd have to be pretty strong to heft this weight." Jamie heard a slight scuffle from behind and started to turn. He had time to see a stone, smaller in size than the one that had killed Albe but still plenty heavy, come hurtling towards his head. His vision went red as it connected and then black as he slid into unconsciousness.

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