Ghast Me Gently (Wicked Good Witches Book 4) (4 page)

BOOK: Ghast Me Gently (Wicked Good Witches Book 4)
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“Should be simple enough,” she mumbled. “There’s nothing magical involved.” Melinda walked with a determined gait, soon passing by the Wicked Muddy Cafe. A hot coffee sounded good but she could not fathom facing Grace and kept going. Instead, she relived the dream hoping not to forget any important details.

It seemed pretty straightforward… a vacationing family was on the beach and their son was playing in the water. A large wave crashed over the boy, dragging him out into the ocean. His father attempted to swim after the boy but the boy drowned before the father could reach him. The father in turn, hit his head on a rock, and drowned before the lifeguard could save
him
.

“I just need to get the boy out of the water before that wave hits.” She could really have used Mack’s help on this one. The sheriff could have ordered an evacuation of the beach, or some such thing. Melinda glanced up at the sun, and started to jog her way toward the beach. Why hadn’t her dream given her more time? She’d be lucky to make it. In her dream, the sun had been at two o’clock. It wasn’t far away.

“I can’t believe I thought about getting coffee. Can I do anything that’s not just stupid ass stupid?”

I really need to stop asking myself that.

Then stop getting yourself into ridiculous and avoidable situations!

But confrontation sucks…

Are you really going to sit here and argue with yourself?

I need a freakin’ vacation from my brain…

Melinda darted through crowds of tourists, making her way to the beach. She veered down a walkway that threaded two shops, popping out at the back of the buildings, closer to the water’s edge. She raced along a cobblestone pathway behind the shops, which straddled the beach.

This wasn’t the right section of beach though. The family would be at the far edge of this particular beach, near a rocky shoal that branched out of the ocean and onto the shore, serving as a wall that ended the beach.

Her breaths came out heavier with each step she ran.

“Man, I’m out of shape! I really need to work out or something…”
Yes. Let’s find something else we hate about ourselves!

Exhausted, and pissed at her brain for not just shutting the hell up already, she veered again, this time heading onto the sandy beach toward the rocky shoal. Her eyes scoured the beach searching for the family or the boy.

Melinda froze.

Atop the rock wall sat Riley Deane.

“Son of a bitch! Seriously?”

A shadow grew out of the corner of her eye.

“The wave…” She scurried to the shoreline. The boy played in the sand just at the edge of the waterline. Small waves were whirling around his feet. His parents’ backs were turned as they unpacked a picnic basket.

People started shouting up and down the beach as the oversized wave came into view, rushing toward the shore. The lifeguard blew his whistle loudly, sounding a warning.

Melinda flew past the boy’s parents, hurrying to reach the boy before the wave did. The parents jumped as she ran past, hearing the warning whistle of the lifeguard. Their eyes opened wide with dread as they witnessed the wave charging the beach; they screamed for their son.

Others on the beach had already headed into shore or braced themselves for the impact. But the little boy had not. Melinda heard the boy’s parents pleading behind her. They would never catch up.

Even if I reach him, I’m not going to have time to run

As she leaned over and snatched the boy, the wave came crashing over them. “Hold on,” she cried out, wrapping her arms around him. The wave hit her hard, her footing swept out from under her. Nevertheless, she didn’t loosen her grip on the boy.

The force of the current dragged them away from the beach and farther into the ocean. Her head slipped under the surface. She kicked with her feet as hard as she could, pushing towards air, but the current swept them in circles, pulling them down instead of up.

Melinda was finding it harder to breathe, her grasp of the boy, loosening. She tried to boost him upward, to get him above the water. She opened her eyes, salt stinging for a second, and all she could see was water whooshing around their bodies.

Finally, the wave subsided and the current slowed, just enough for her to kick upward. Something pushed against her back and she panicked for a moment that they’d been thrown into the rocky shoal. It didn’t feel hard enough though.

The next thing she knew, they were being pushed upward, their heads peeking above the water. She gasped for air and lost her grip on the boy. She tried to reach for him but her arms gave out.

Melinda realized there was a person behind her, keeping her above water. “I lost him,” she choked out.

Someone else appeared in the water. The lifeguard. He dove underneath and got hold of the boy, swimming him to safety.

Melinda’s eyes wanted to close. She feared she might pass out. Her vision sparked with colorful splotches. A cold sweat sent a shiver ravishing through her. The chilled waters of the Atlantic did little to help.

Someone tugged her towards the shore and once she was able to touch bottom, a voice called out her name. When she opened her eyes an alarmed looking Riley Deane faced her; his haunting, molasses eyes searching hers for signs of encouragement that she was all right.

Even though she knew it was wrong, relief swam through her. Her head collapsed on his shoulder. “I’m okay,” she breathed out, though weakly. He embraced her, relieved, gently pulling her onto the shore.

Once on the beach she fell backwards onto the sand, trying to catch her breath. The lifeguard hopped over and took a glance at her. She gave him a wary thumbs up.

“Are you sure?” he grilled.

“Yes,” she mustered out. “Really.”

“She’s just out of breath,” Riley told him.

“She saved that little boy’s life,” the lifeguard spoke gratefully. “By the time I saw what was happening there was no way I could have gotten over here in time. Rogue waves…” he shook his head. A lifeguard’s worst fear.

Riley looked down at Melinda with a wry smirk. “I guess you can add lifesaver to your list of jobs…”

Someone threw her a towel, and she dried her salty wet hair and legs. She peeled off her jean jacket, along with Riley’s help, hoping her clothes would dry out quickly. Although with all the humidity, maybe not.

Once on her feet and breathing normally again, the parents of the boy came to Melinda and gushed for what seemed like forever. The mother had tears streaming down her face and her thanks came out in gracious sobs.

Melinda was glad the boy was okay, but just wanted to leave. She had no idea what to do about Riley, but the look on his face said,
I don’t care that you’re a Howard and I’m a Deane.
There’s no way in hell I’m leaving you alone right now
.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

Michael drove the jeep into the parking lot for the lighthouse closest to the Jordan’s home, aptly named Mermaid Point Light. Mermaid sightings were periodically reported. Of course, the Howards made sure that their underwater friends were never truly revealed to the outside world.

The lighthouse was already crawling with tourists. Mermaid Point was still in use, as were all The Demon Isle lighthouses, and at this particular light, the keeper lived in quarters beneath the lighthouse.

“I just had a thought, William,” said Michael as they hopped out of the jeep. “I was thinking Emily could do a bit of research, see if any stories pop up.”

“Such as the missing boy that swore he went somewhere else?”

“Yeah, like that, or anything out of the ordinary.”

“Good idea, although, I do not personally recall any others.”

“I’ll have her check anyway, just in case.” Michael dialed her number as they approached the entrance to the lighthouse.

“Well hello,” she sang into her phone, as she picked up his call. “I didn’t expect to hear from you until I found you hiding under my bed sheets later.”

“Something I am more than looking forward to. But actually, I was wondering if you could do a bit of research, if you’re not too busy.”

“I love research,” she squealed. “Especially for you. What do you need me to do?”

“Do you have any idea how hot that is?” he got sidetracked. “When you get all worked up over doing research for me.” William eyed Michael, hard. He shot him an apologetic shrug. “Sorry, Em. William doesn’t want to listen to sexy talk.”

“God, Michael. Give the poor man a break! What do you want me to look up?”

“Could you see if there are any strange stories surrounding The Demon Lights?”

“Strange like what? Ghost sightings?”

“No, not so much ghosts, but disappearances. People going missing, or reporting strange sightings, other than ghosts.”

“Is that where Eva’s dad disappeared? At a lighthouse?”

“We’re not sure yet, but it’s a possibility.”

“Okay, I’ll get on it and call you if I find anything.”

“Thanks, Em.” Before disconnecting, he relayed the story that William had told them, about the boy that had gone missing and sworn he had gone somewhere else, as well as the supposed existence of a map that allowed magical travel between the lighthouses. She was just as curious as everyone else to find out more about this situation. He finished with far too cute and lengthy a goodbye, which earned him an annoyed eye roll from the vampire.

“Sorry,” said Michael upon hanging up. “I just cannot help myself when I’m talking to her.”

“Yes. I can see that,” mumbled William. “Although I suppose we can all deal with your
sexy talk
… seeing as you have to put with most everyone else’s emotions, all the time.”

“This is true,” he acknowledged. It was kind of William to say, seeing as Michael’s empathy didn’t actually work on vampires.

William stepped into the lighthouse. Over the door was a sign that said, Gift Shop. The shop was attached to the lighthouse and was an addition that had been added long after the original lighthouse had been built.

Just inside the entrance was a small information desk. You had to walk through the gift shop to access the public area of the lighthouse, which was a long spiral staircase leading to the observation deck and lantern.

“So what exactly are we searching for?” William’s gaze grazed through the shop.

“No idea.” Michael stepped out of the way of a tourist trying to exit. “Anything that could be a supernatural sign of some sort, I guess,” he spoke quietly.

“Honestly Michael, with all the tourists that come and go from this place, I simply do not see how anything supernatural would go unseen for long.”

Michael had to concur. It was only logical. He stood in thought for a moment, cocking his head to one side.

“You’ve thought of something?” picked up William.

“Only that because of the tourists, whatever we’re looking for must be in a non-public area. Somewhere people don’t normally go.”

“I would wager you are correct. Surprised I didn’t think of that myself.”

“Outwitted the vampire,” mused Michael, while walking over to the lady sitting behind the information desk.

“Well hello there gents,” she greeted cheerfully. “Would you like to sign up for a guided tour? There’s one starting in just a few minutes.”

“That depends,” replied Michael, flashing his brightest smile. “Does the tour cover all of the lighthouse, or just the area we can see on our own?”

“Same tour you can do yourself, but with our resident expert lighthouse keeper as your guide.” Her cheeks turned rosier the longer she looked at Michael’s dazzling smile.

“Do they ever do tours of the non-public areas?” inquired William. He looked intently into her eyes. The woman cleared her throat, her face turning from rosy to red, as she wiped a bead a sweat from her brow.

“No,” she responded, sounding out of breath. “I’m afraid they don’t. It’s the keeper’s private quarters and also holds the inner workings of the lighthouse, not really safe for tourists, you know.”

“Of course. Thanks for the information,” said Michael, suddenly walking away, tugging at William’s side.

“I could have easily used my power of persuasion and had her show us the rest of the lighthouse,” he reminded Michael as they departed the gift shop and headed out to the parking lot.

“Yeah, but I was thinking we could just sneak away and do that ourselves. No need to take the woman away from her desk.”

“Fewer prying eyes,” agreed William, again thinking he should have thought of that himself.

“You all right, William? You seem a bit, not so on your game today.
Worried about Melinda?
” he guessed.

“The truth is, Michael,” lamented the vampire, “I worry about each of you. But where Melinda is concerned, I admit she takes me to the limit.”

“You’re not alone.”

“No, I doubt very much I’m alone in that sentiment. However, I am confident that whatever is going on, it will work itself out. We should give her the opportunity to come out of it herself.” He didn’t believe a word of it, but pretended for Michael’s sake.

“I suppose. But you’re going to have a hard time stopping Charlie from picking her up and carrying her out of that bedroom if she doesn’t come out on her own, soon.”

“I almost did that very thing this morning,” the vampire noted dryly.

Michael chuckled.

“In the meantime,” William started, “the rosy-cheeked lady behind the desk revealed that a tour was beginning momentarily. If things go as I believe they should, she will remain behind her desk while the lighthouse keeper performs the tour.”

“Leaving the inner workings of the lighthouse unattended,” finished Michael. “I was thinking I’d keep watch and you go do your super speedy stealthy thingy and take a peek.”

William lifted his eyebrows in irritation over Michael’s description of his vampire abilities, but in the end, agreed. They first confirmed that the tour had begun and slipped around the backside of the gift shop, searching for the entrance to the actual lighthouse keeper’s living quarters.

“My suspicions tell me that what we’re looking for would not be located in the keeper’s quarters,” advised William.

“I’m guessing there’s a basement below the quarters.” 

William turned the doorknob. It opened instantly.

“Good old small town values,” mumbled Michael. “No one locks anything.” He stepped away and tried to look as though he were simply checking out the view, while William vanished inside.

William darted effortlessly through the living quarters and as expected, there was nothing that appeared supernatural in the least. He located an entrance to the basement, also finding it unlocked. He flipped on an old light switch and a string of bulbs buzzed, flickering to life. Thankfully, William could see perfectly in the dark, so the dim lighting did not bother him.

The only thing in the basement, however, was spare parts for the lighthouse, a generator, a water heater, an old wood stove that was no longer in use and some personal things the keeper had in storage. He searched along the walls, the ceiling and the floor, but saw nothing remotely magical or suspicious.

Outside, Michael’s phone rang. “Hi, Em.”

“Hey, so get this,” she started out, excitedly. “That story William told you was easy to locate. I logged onto the historical society’s website and started foraging through the old newspapers.”

“Sexy and brilliant,” declared Michael.

“So true,” Emily returned playfully. “But… here’s the super cool part. That little boy was a local. And he’s much older now, of course, but he still lives here.”

“Really?”

“That’s not all,” she continued. Michael could practically see her face lighting up as she spoke. “The man’s name is Freddy Collier, and he spends a lot of his time at the Wicked Muddy. He meets his old buddies there to have coffee, play games and stuff. I see him there all the time.”

“Wow! That’s a good solid lead.”

“I know, right. But seeing as you guys are all out in the field, I figured I would stop into the Wicked Muddy on my way to check in on Melinda. I gotta grab a coffee anyway.”

“Emily, that would be so awesome of you!”

She giggled into the phone. “It’s sort of neat,” she admitted. “I finally get to question my first witness.”

Michael laughed.

“Don’t worry, totally professional and all.”

“I have no doubt,” said Michael, as he saw William suddenly swoosh to his side. “Call me once you talk to him, okay?”

“Will do.” She disconnected.

“Anything?” Michael aimed at William.

“No. Nothing at all out of the ordinary. No sign that anyone has even been down in the basement in a long time.”

“Onto the next one I guess.”

William nodded and headed toward the jeep. Michael dialed Charlie as he followed.

“Michael, what’s up?”

“Nothing so far. Checked out Mermaid Point, nothing here, and no sign of Mr. Jordan. How about you guys?”

“We’re just pulling in now.”

“Right, well, we’re heading out to lighthouse number two.”

“Okay. I’ll let ya know if we find anything.”

Before letting Charlie go, Michael explained Emily’s findings. Both Charlie and William were impressed at how fast she had tracked down the information and were eager to learn what she’d discover in her talk with Freddy Collier. Michael promised to call as soon as he heard from her. He hung up, started up the jeep and continued toward the next lighthouse.

 

##

 

Charlie informed Eva it was Michael on the phone. He shook his head, speechlessly informing her they had found nothing of value. She nodded that she understood, swerving slightly as they pulled into the parking lot of the lighthouse.

“I think I’ll drive once we leave here,” he suggested.

“What? Can’t handle my mad driving skills?” she challenged.

“Mad skills? Have yet to see those,” he quipped. “And if you grip that steering wheel any tighter I’m going to need pliers to loosen your fingers.”

She let go of the steering wheel as if it were suddenly burning her hands, and balled and stretched her fingers, trying to return some feeling and color. “Bad habit when I get nervous. Guess I probably shouldn’t be driving.”

Charlie took hold of her hands, rubbing them, returning some blood to her skin. She shivered, but had no idea if it was because she had a chill, or because he had touched her. He worried it was the latter and let go. She looked away, making an obvious gesture of checking her cell phone.

“Let’s go see what we can find,” he suggested when she had no new messages.

She wasted no time hopping out and making her way to a large sign, which marked the location.

“The Cliffside Lighthouse,” she read aloud. “Otherwise nicknamed the Suicide Light as visitors often claim to see the ghost of a young woman dressed in veils of black wandering through the lighthouse and the surrounding grounds. The young woman is believed to have thrown herself over the cliff after the untimely death of her beau, in the early to mid-1800’s.”

“Kind of sad.” Charlie sidled up alongside her.

Eva glanced at him, rolling her eyes.

“Well, if it’s true, it is sad,” he defended.

“Have you ever seen the ghost? Is she real?”

“No idea. Never seen her myself. Far as I’m aware, no one in my family ever has. But there’s been plenty of sightings… by others.”

“Others who want to keep the myth alive?” she spoke suggestively.

He shrugged. “On the Isle, you just can’t be sure.”

Eva laughed under her breath. “So where should we start? When I came here earlier this morning the place was empty, and I couldn’t get inside, it was locked up. So I just scoured the outside.”

“Locked? Really? No one locks anything around here. Why don’t we get it open and look inside. If we don’t find anything, we’ll take another look around outside too.”

BOOK: Ghast Me Gently (Wicked Good Witches Book 4)
9.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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