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   Chapter 2 2

Brownie Oxford and the Seabridge Surprise: Brownie Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 6147

Updated: 2019-06-11 15:06

Chapter 2

Ricky stayed and I turned off my oven, leaving my potato to wait while we ordered pizza and settled in to watch a string of old monster movies. It was in the wee hours of the morning when Ricky finally left. I collected the empty pizza box and glasses, taking both to the kitchen. The box was folded and after I stomped on it a few times, added to my trash can. The glasses were washed out and placed in the dish rack to dry.

Outside, the rain turned from a pounding deluge to a constant shush of white noise. I yawned and rubbed my eyes as I headed towards my bed room. Once safely locked in my bedroom, I went to the en suite bathroom and washed my face. In the morning I would shower and not leave the bathroom until my hair was dry and straightened, my make-up back in place.

Face freshly scrubbed, I took a minute to study myself. All my life, my hair sprung out in a riotous mass of curls. From visiting the Matheson estate, I knew that both the curls and my naturally green eyes were a trademark of the Matheson blood line. In fact, when I mentioned them to John, he knew right away which family I belonged to.

'Not that I actually belong to the family, ' I thought.

I grew up in the Riverdale Girl's home. I was dropped off and never reclaimed, so I figured I wasn't wanted. Later, I found out that I was sent away to protect me from Cecil Matheson and that the plan was always to reclaim me. With Cecil dead, I inherited his estate as well as whatever my parents left me. Avery, the butler, and his wife, as well as a host of dead Mathesons, expected me to return, both to learn and live on the estate. I still hadn't made up my mind how I felt about that.

On one hand, they promised lessons so I could better control my abilities. Finding out I wasn't the one-off freak I thought myself, but someone whose abilities were hereditary, felt really good. The estate made me wonder. Not only was it daunting to me to stay there, let alone think of owning it, but I knew it took a lot of money to build and maintain a place like that. While I knew the Mathesons had abilities like mine, I knew very little else about them. Before I considered going back, I wanted to know how they made that money.

Over the years I did many favors for the dead and was offered many varieties of reward. In general, I favored information as payment. In exchange for enough energy to converse and interact with each other I was given a math tutor and sewing lessons, among other things. In Mayenfield, I traded the energy for assistance in balancing my nutrition and learning to cook. Occasionally, I traded for more substantial items like the safe deposit box held in a long term lease by James.

'What would Cecil trade for, ' I asked myself. Nothing good was the only answer I came up with. As he tried to kill me, using some sort of arcane ritual to add my power to his, I doubted he traded energy for sewing lessons.

'Maybe if I told John about the ritual he would explain, ' I thought. It was worth a shot. I hadn't tried that angle

before. 'Next week, ' I decided. I looked away from my brown eyes, the green covered with contact lenses and turned off the bathroom light. 'For now bed.'

Sleep found me an easy mark and I drifted off with no problems. In my dreams, the beast returned.

I was in the parking lot of the flea market and was humming to myself as I placed my purchases in the car. I turned and the beast was there, pacing a few feet away from me.

At least until I noticed him.

I froze at the sight and the shadowy beast raced forward, its form covering me in a thick miasmic cloud. The stench of it filled my senses, invading as though it was a solid presence dripping into me through my pores, absorbed through my skin. It was the stench of something dead and rotting in the hot sun. I could also smell burning and the rotten egg smell of sulfur, the fumes strong enough to make my eyes water.

In my ears I heard screams, shrieks of torment and pain. There was no escape. It was all around me. The sounds of terror echoing through my brain, vibrating through my organs and sinking into my bones, the smell like a slithering snake moving under my skin. I tried to run, to turn, to move, to do anything, but I couldn't. I could only stand there and let the sound and smell assault me.

'Just a dream, ' I reminded myself. 'The people with the Chaldean cuff left. It's just a dream.' I screamed the words so I could hear myself over the screams of others.

In my dream, I realized my eyes were squinched shut. I opened them to reassure myself that I could still see the parking lot outside the shadows. I found myself looking directly into the eyes of the beast as it looked down on me. I was still encased in its body and trying not to retch. Its gaze fascinated me, like a small bird trapped by a snake. I could not look away. To my surprise, the hunger that I saw in its eyes when I met with it in reality, was dimmed. Now, it gazed at me, a look of curiosity and puzzlement on its face.

Slowly, the beast backed up. It was no longer covering me, the screams and the smell faded. My heart raced and all I could hear was my blood pounding in my ears. I sucked in as much air as I could, trying to wash my lungs clean. I wanted to spit the taste of it from my mouth, but didn't dare as the beast continued to watch me, studying me.

A strange call rent the air and the beast turned. He looked over his shoulder as if annoyed by the sound. He turned back to me and tilted his head to the side, once again studying me. The call came again, sounding somehow silvery in the air. The beast growled and then turned and loped off in the direction of the clarion call. My knees went weak and I slid down the side of my car, landing on the asphalt of the parking lot.

'Just a dream, ' I told myself as I pressed my hands to the rough surface beneath me. 'Just a dream.'

I closed my eyes and woke up in my own bed. "Just a dream, " I told myself, " my voice a whisper in the pre-dawn darkness of the room. Somehow, I couldn't make myself quite believe it.

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