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   Chapter 41 Keeper of the Crossroads

Keeper of the Crossroads By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11614

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:11

Chapter 41

Jamie made sure the basement door was both shut and locked before heading up to the upper floors. The lock was just the kind that was turned at the doorknob and required no key. Jamie frowned a little at it. Somehow a key seemed more secure than just a lock on the door knob. Something in him wanted to lock the door and hide the key in a deep drawer. He didn't think locking the drawer and hiding that key would be a bad idea either.

Jamie thought about it as he hung up his jacket, tucked the flashlight back under the sink and went upstairs. The basement hadn't felt, for lack of a better term, bad. It wasn't like a house of horrors that claimed its victims. The only fear he felt was the thought of not being able to get out. The basement had been insistent when he was in there and disappointed when he left.

'I wonder if Alexander felt the same way?' he thought to himself as he entered the hidden floor and made his way carefully to storage room three. Jamie thought of the way he had been almost compelled to speak his thoughts aloud and wondered if there was something like voice activated magic. He thought of the smoke thing that the High Talbot battled in Albe's room and how it reacted to his voice and presence.

'So that would be a yes, ' he thought. 'Although admittedly it doesn't' take much encouragement to get me to talk aloud to myself.' Once in the storeroom Jamie skirted the boxes, still wondering how many of them had come from the first house. With the image of the fire in his mind and reflected in the mirror he was quite surprised that anything could have survived the destruction. Jamie reached the shelves with the journals and chose the one with the same date as House's construction on it. With a start he realized that that was also Alexander's first journal.

"I shouldn't be surprised, " he said aloud. "Everyone said the old Keeper died in the fire." Jamie thought of the past week and his first days as Keeper and wondered if Alexander had been so constrained in his memories and confused about what his new job entailed even as he watched the House being built and magic being poured into the foundations.

"If tradition held, he would have been as confused as I would be, " Jamie thought, wondering how he would react to seeing a sentient house being built by fairytale creatures. He shook his head and decided to take Alexander's journal into the library to read. After all he wasn't just scanning pages this time, but actually reading more than just events pertaining to Lune Muertos.

"Might as well be comfortable for that." Jamie went up to the library and found a fire burning in the grate, chasing back the October chill. As he settled himself he heard footsteps behind him and found Del holding a small tea tray.

"Heard you leave the basement and thought you might need something to warm you up, " he said setting the tray on the side table.

"Del, did you feel anything odd in the basement?"

"Odd?" Del asked his face looking like he was suppressing a laugh. "I went into the basement with Burr to assist in removing death magic. I think odd would be about expected."

"Were there any traces of death magic left when you were done?"

"No, " Del said firmly, all traces of his amusement fading. "Burr removed everything. There wasn't a trace of anything left. After I left him with you for a restorative tea I checked the basement again to make sure we had removed every trace and

to the house itself. The first house had not been the first house, but rather the house that the Keeper at the time had built. Apparently the older house had not been much and had been relegated to the status of an outbuilding.

The Keeper at the time, also a Fulton, had built the house with the aid of friends and family. He had been quite elderly when it was destroyed and everyone seemed to believe that when he died, the house simply went with him. Alexander had tried looking for further details, but had always come to a dead end and the unshakable belief that no one would ever try to destroy the Keeper of the Crossroads.

"As I have several attempts under my belt at this point I think that foul play is an option, " Jamie muttered, thinking of the watchers in the woods. Were they merely watching or were they doing something? Jamie walked to the desk and picked up the journal he had begun.

Even though he felt like he was treading old ground, he still jotted down what he had learned in the hopes that seeing all the facts lines up would present him with some sort of pattern. In addition to noting his findings about Alexander and what destroyed the older house, Jamie also noted a new and somewhat surprising fact. House had not been created sentient, but had developed the ability to communicate with the Keeper over time. A thought occurred to him.

"House?" he asked looking up from his notes.

"Yes Keeper."

"The older house that was destroyed and used as part of your foundation, " he began carefully choosing his words. "Was that house able to speak to the Keeper who lived there the way you are speaking to me?"

"Yes Keeper, " House replied, sounding as if he should have known that.

'Gotta wonder when the talking house thinks you have gone crazy, ' he thought. Out loud he thanked the house and let it fall back into doing whatever it did when he wasn't talking to it.

"I wonder if what I feel is the former House trying to communicate with the present Keeper, " he wondered, jotting his thought down even as he said it. "Alexander wouldn't have known that as House didn't start talking to its Keepers until his son took the role of Keeper. Maybe if I take Del with me as a safety net I could actually talk to the older house. Now that is something to think about."

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