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   Chapter 6 6

Brownie Oxford and the Seabridge Surprise: Brownie Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 22017

Updated: 2019-06-11 15:08

Chapter 6

I groaned when the alarm went off and flailed wildly trying to get it to stop buzzing. I sat up and ran a hand over my face. I felt puffy and exhausted. After the beast left, I was pulled back into Emily's last moments and no matter how many times I thought of my elephant and pulled myself out of the dream, it was waiting as soon as I closed my eyes. I watched the family die over a dozen times. The whispered questions remained and even though I couldn't get Emily to directly converse with me, I was certain the questions were hers.

I slipped out of bed, forcing myself to begin the day even though the only thing I wanted was to slide back beneath the covers and sleep for a few straight hours. Unfortunately, I suspected Emily would still be waiting. Usually, I went straight to the bathroom to begin my Bonnie disguise. Today, I aimed straight for the coffee pot, letting it brew while I showered and dressed so it would be waiting for me instead of the other way around.

The shower helped, but I still felt groggy as I poured my first cup of coffee, Bonnie disguise in place. As I got ready to face the day, I wondered why I was even having the dream about Emily.

'I'm expending the energy and I don't feel twitchy, ' I thought as I gathered my books and papers.

I checked the weather report for the day. Rain was not expected, so I left my big umbrella where it was. I slipped my small pop up umbrella in my bag as a precaution. If I was getting the dreams again than the Saturday session weren't working. That was not a good thing. Not only did it wreck my sleep for the night, but I knew it could escalate.

Right now, it was just dreams. When I was younger and didn't have full control over myself, spirits came up to me without my calling them. All of them had bodies located nearby. Standing by a cemetery would be one thing. All of the dead there were accounted for. Someone knew they were there and more than likely how they came to be buried. The body dumps were a different thing. I remembered the man who was found in a dumpster when I was little. The entire day I saw him watching me. He never approached, but I remember his eyes following me. I am pretty certain if I thought to address him directly, he would have responded.

And more than likely asked me to do something about him being in a dumpster.

People tended to get upset about things like that.

Most of the random dead I saw during that time were in actual cemeteries though, buried good and proper and were benign like Mrs. Ellison who comforted me after a run in with the resident bully. My uncontrolled power let them drift out of the confines of their final resting place. Others glanced at me, knowing what I was, but leaving me alone.

'But I was a kid then, that might be why they let me be, ' I reminded myself. 'Would they do so now?' I didn't have an answer for that.

Given the temperature, I decided I didn't need my coat. Still, before I left I opened the door to my coat closet and checked the left hand pocket. Inside was still the small roundel of metal I was certain was some sort of listening device. With the weather warming up, I was leaving my coat behind more often and I wondered if someone would either be sent to retrieve the bug or to move it to a better location. I made a mental note to check the pocket each morning I left it at home, then shrugged and closed the closet door.

I was doing nothing and saying nothing that would mark me as Brownie at the moment. Even when I conversed with the dead at the flea market, I thought at them rather than using my vocal chords. I was even getting good enough that my lips didn't move as I thought the words at them. As far as I knew, thoughts didn't show up on audio recordings. I slung my bag over my shoulder and picked up my keys. After letting myself into the hallway, I made certain the door was locked and headed for the elevator.

Worry about being spied on was not my biggest concern at the moment. Either they would continue to watch and see nothing or go away. Even though it was worrying, the dreams of Emily weren't my biggest concern. Sooner or later I would figure out why I wasn't burning up all of my excess energy.

My chief worry was named Anzu.

While I knew of the bug in my apartment, I wasn't certain if my computer and cell phone was being monitored. I was pretty sure they were, because Swift liked his electronics, so I made certain everything I used at home had a clearly identifiable purpose for me searching. This was the only reason that I didn't type the name into a search engine in my laptop as soon as I woke up.

'Although I'm not certain what Swift would make of me searching for things related to a Chaldean cuff and Anzu.'

As the beast appeared when the cuff did, I figured it was too much of a stretch to think they weren't related. Honestly, I wasn't entirely sure what Chaldean was on its own. All I figured out was that cuff referred to some sort of fancy bracelet. While Swift might not associate the term with anything I'd be interested in, it could turn up something that screamed necromancy and my cover would be blown. For a second I frowned thinking dark thoughts at John for not giving me a better explanation. I then cleared my face and set my expression into more pleasant lines in case someone was watching.

'I have to use the computers in the library to get the file numbers of the old newspapers and magazines anyway, I could just look it up then, ' I decided as I got into the elevator and rode down to the lobby. 'That way my library trip could be about more than just keeping Ricky from playing matchmaker.'

I wasn't actually certain who Ricky knew that was male, single, straight and in my general age range, but I wasn't willing to find out.

Nor was I willing to risk him trying to find people that fit that description for me.

Sadly, I could actually see him holding interviews.

It would not be pretty.

'And I can look up stuff on the Bradford Family, ' I added, dismissing thoughts of Ricky's interview process. At the moment I wasn't entirely certain what I could look up about them that would tell me much. I knew from Pork chop man's comments that William Bradford and family, were killed because William opposed, threatened or in some way annoyed a politico named Ellis, but truthfully that wasn't much to go on.

And it told me nothing of who pork chop man actually was or what happened to the servants.

'He's probably someone Mr. Ellis hired, ' I thought as I rode the elevator down. 'Whoever Mr

ge I could work with and I centered it on the screen, blowing it up to focus on details. I then opened my sketch book, selected a pencil and began to draw. Working helped me block out the fact that Halloran was sitting only about five feet from me. He was quietly scrolling through something or other and doing nothing to excite any interest. In fact, beyond acknowledging my arrival, he paid me no attention whatsoever. I ignored him in turn.

Well, outwardly I ignored him. Inwardly I wondered, a lot. If Swift reported in what George told me about Stevens and Halloran, then he could be here as some sort of revenge against me for finding out his secret.

'Of course they might not have believed me.'

It was well known that I was not good with torture victims. The fact that any of my successes with torture victims came after I stopped taking Dr. Harding's pills on a routine basis lent weight to the theory that the pills blocked some of my skills. One of the reports Matheson unearthed about me from Dr. Harding suggested it. It also claimed that he was working on a different formula that was designed to help me speak to more torture victims. Luckily, I ran before he could test out the new drug.

I had no plans to tell him he was right.

In fact, I never wanted to see Dr. Harding again.

I also didn't want to see Halloran, but at the moment there was nothing I could do about that.

'So when Swift said I found it out about Stevens and Halloran, they might not believe I could talk to George. Or Swift might not have told them.' That was always a possibility. I wasn't certain what the benefit would be in keeping the information to himself, but if there was a benefit, I could see Swift exploiting it.

'Technically it doesn't matter, ' I reminded myself as I sketched a copy of the image on the screen. 'It only matters why he's here and what he plans to do.'

Having someone known to use torture as a questioning method in the area and more than likely looking for me scared the crap out of me. I knew Steve also found torture a useful tool, but so far he was keeping his distance. Swift never brought me anyone he tortured so I didn't really know his take on the matter. I know, technically torture is illegal. Yet somehow, torture victims still seemed to appear on a regular basis.

I know, weird right?

I worked until none of my pencils were sharp anymore and my hand was starting to cramp up. I searched my pencil case for a sharpener and realized I left it sitting on my kitchen table. Deciding this meant I was done for the day, I put my things away and let the machine spin the film into a tight little coil. I then put the reel back in its box, turned off the machine and slung my bag back onto my shoulder.

After making sure I wasn't leaving anything behind, I took the reel back to the bored looking clerk. I decided that if Halloran showed up here than someone overheard that I was journeying to the archives. It seemed like a rather obvious assumption. So I decided potential public embarrassment might be the way to go if I wanted to maintain my guise as ignorant Bonnie instead of someone who recognized Halloran. I braced myself and decided to ask about Tom. Hopefully, she wouldn't laugh.

'Please don't let her be his girlfriend at least, ' I thought.

"Excuse me, " I said as I handed the reel back to the clerk. "Does Tom still work here?"

She momentarily looked surprised, then a lot friendlier as she smiled and nodded. "Oh yeah, this is his usual, but I swapped with him this week so he could do some research. It'll be back to normal next week."

"Great, thanks, " I replied.

I wasn't certain if she was friendlier because she thought I was a regular in the archives or because she thought I was friends with Tom, but I didn't correct her and decided to go for regular. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow then."

She nodded and I turned away. "See you then, " she called as I walked away.

I looked back, but she was already looking down at her book, reading. I turned back to the door and continued on my way.

I half expected Halloran to follow me, but the door swung shut behind me and no one pushed it open from behind. I concentrated on walking normally and not breaking into a run as I walked down the stairs and towards the exit. At the front doors I discovered that the weatherman was indeed a liar.

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