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   Chapter 11 The Ravenwood Arms

The Ravenwood Arms By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 16077

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:28

Chapter 11

Whether due to Sean's suggestion or the day's events, thoughts of Davis did follow me into sleep. Unfortunately, the dreams fell more into the nightmare category than the fantasy one. The dreams were jumbled and the topics shifted and blurred together. In one dream Davis and I were attacked by the shadow creatures and both of our skills failed. I couldn't get my shields up and Davis managed to miss when he threw the red balls of energy at them. Disturbingly, I heard an umpire like voice calling one, two and three strikes before declaring us out and letting the creatures tear into us. A row of babies in carriers watched from the sidelines. I couldn't tell if they were Chinese or not but they were all holding boxes of popcorn.

In other dreams, Davis called to tell me the building's foundation crumbled and I raced down the street only to find the apartment building listing sharply to one side like a ship after hitting an iceberg. In still others, Bradford demanded to know why I would shield an apartment building and not shield his friend's apartment. He then hurled books at my head until I was buried in half a library's worth of texts. Sometimes James would show up to lecture me, before, after or during the book throwing.

The dreams cycled through over and over again, sometimes, just for fun, blurring together so that Bradford threw books at the apartment building and Davis and I turned to ash and fell to the ground, James lecturing us while the creatures licked up our ashes as though we were their favorite ice cream. Weirdly, several times Davis danced naked in the background when I had to deal with Bradford or listen to a lecture by James. I woke up early, twisted in the sheets and feeling like I had been running most of the night. Slowly, I untangled myself.

"At least I can blame Sean for the naked dancing parts, " I told myself as I got out of bed. "And the babies. I just know they were Chinese." Winston and I went on our normal run and when we returned, I put on the coffee before leaving Winston to his breakfast while I showered. Sean still wasn't awake when I returned to the kitchen and I realized that even with an extra lap around the park, I was still up earlier than usual.

"So even with the nightmares the early night helped, " I told myself. As I settled with my first cup of coffee I pulled out the new rules and regulations booklet. Slowly, I read over each one of the rules regarding shielded properties. Sometime in my dreams, I realized I was nervous about the fact that I was creating shielded apartments when I knew of no one else who had and I needed to reassure myself that what I was doing was in fact legal. I read the booklet cover to cover, even checking the date of the edition to make certain it was the latest copy of the regulations and not an older copy that had accidentally gotten into the pile. The booklet was less than a month old.

"And I was right, " I told myself, shoving the booklet away. Nothing I was doing was against the regulations. Everything was perfectly legal. "So why is everyone making such a fuss? There can't be that great a need for shielded apartments."

While the shadow creatures were dangerous, if attacks were so common The Whisper would have reported something and pressure would have been put on the Commission to change the rules. It was after all their job to keep us all safe. That was why we put up with the regulations they set. When the rules were revised, more would have changed had it been a problem. The only thing that appeared to have changed in this latest edition was that if the person providing the shielding for one of the private schools had a child, they could trade their shielding for tuition credits for their child or children. As I had no children, the few times I was called in to shield a school I waived my fee. The change didn't affect me much.

"I suppose if I had kids it would mean more, " I decided, still sipping my coffee. Winston finished his chow and arranged himself in the sun. "And they were just revised, " I continued, looking at the booklet. "Clearly there wasn't that big of an uproar over them." Despite my apparent conviction, the whole thing still left me feeling uneasy.

Annoyed with myself, I got ready for my day, deciding to go in a little early since I would be taking off time later in the week for the interview and didn't know when Davis would call to let me know there were small jobs on site that I could work on. As I was getting ready to leave, Sean shambled out of his bedroom, poured two cups of coffee, tossed me a grin and headed back to his room.

"No Chinese babies I guess, " I told Winston as I gave him a quick belly rub before heading out to the shop.

On my walk to work I decided to give into my tho

w we are in the tofu phase. Luckily for Mike, she drops one phase before she starts the next. I'm not so sure he would survive if he had to go through the gluten and carb free life at the same time she was inflicting tofu. I think he's secretly hoping that that caveman, paleo diet will attract her interest soon."

We chatted amiably as we ate our sandwiches and I found myself liking Davis more. While he was always friendly and good looking, on the work sites, he was boss which didn't leave a lot of room for casual conversation. It was nice to find I liked him as a person as well as a fantasy.

After lunch, we made decisions on paint colors, he headed back to the apartment building and I headed back to my room divider. I traced a hand over the wood, studying the design. The carvings definitely reminded me of the cinnabar bracelet sitting in my jewelry box. It had been my grandmother's and I always found it intriguing as a child. I remembered sitting on her lap as she told me stories about how it was made. My favorite involved a red hot stone taken from inside the heart of a volcano and placed under ground. There ants would swarm the rock, taking little pieces and leaving behind the delicately carved bracelet. I even tried my own version when I was little and got into a whole lot of trouble when I heated one of the charcoal briquettes for my father's grill up to a white hot heat and dropped it into the center of an ant hill in our back yard.

Neither my parents nor the ants had been happy that day. From then on my grandmother added the words 'skilled artisans who trained for years' to each of her more fantastical tales.

I smiled at the piece and decided cinnabar was the right color. Something so bold might turn off some buyers, but we would have to place it in such a way that it accented a room's design rather than clashed which was certain to attract others. I was certain that between Sammy and me, we could come up with something. I finished the second panel and began work on the third and final panel, a mental plan in place.

The rest of the day passed in relative quiet as I tried not to think about the upcoming interview. When I left for the day, I went home and spent a great deal of time looking through my closet. While I would be working in my habitual jeans and t-shirt combo, I wanted to look nice during the interview. I also didn't want to be stumbling around the work room in a skirt and heels. I pushed aside both my date wear and paint spattered clothes. Sadly, this left me with a limited selection to choose from. I picked through the remaining selections finally coming up with a pair of gray wool slacks and a blue cashmere sweater. I figured with a bit of shoe polish, and only the toes showing, my work boots would pass.

I hung the interview outfit on the back of my bedroom door, folded a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and stuffed the not so dressy clothes into my messenger bag. Once Wendy was through with me, I could nip into the bathroom, change and get back to work.

"Now, I just need to tackle those boots, " I told myself narrowing my eyes as I looked around the room. "If I were shoe polish where would I be stashed?"

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