It’s time for another edition of Wednesday Briefs. Yay! Are you ready for more of the story I started last week? I sure hope so! This week, I chose a prompt composed of three words. The words include: cemetery, cranky, and charm. I think I put them to good use in the story!! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment *grins*
Here we go . . .
Ghostly Blues in the Big Easy, Part 2
The next day I tossed and turned, only managing a little sleep. One of the downsides of working odd hours meant I passed the daylight hours buried under the covers, taking full advantage of my awesome blackout drapes. It didn’t hurt that my windows faced west—thank you, Damien for that! After my grandma passed, I inherited her shotgun-style house. While it was cute, it needed work, and I didn’t have the time or energy for repairs. Then, along came Katrina, and well, it was more cost-effective to bulldoze the house than rebuild it. Damien had a fabulous mansion in the Garden District so he offered me a place to call home. Last year we adopted Brock so the three of us lived in the mansion and ran our consulting business out of the carriage house. Talk about a nice commute!
“Luce, you awake?” A light tapping sounded at my door. Brock. Maybe he found something helpful in his research.
I groaned, a tad cranky. I loved my bed, but I guessed it was time to face the day—er, night.
“D just made a pot of fresh coffee.” Brock knew the magic words to get me to move faster. “Come down to the library once you’ve got your face on.”
Har. Har. Smartass knew I didn’t wear make-up. “Give me five, and I’ll be down.” I had taken a shower when we got home so now I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and pulled my hair into a sloppy bun. Almost ready. A tank, some yoga pants, and glasses completed my outfit.
Stopping by the kitchen, I grabbed a cup of coffee—not black, I needed plenty of cream—and made my way barefoot to the library. We didn’t host big, fancy dinners so once Brock joined the crew we transformed the formal dining room into a library. Turned out Brock was pretty handy in addition to some other special skills he possessed so we soon had a wall of shelves that looked as though they were original to the house. We also had a working fireplace. No need for that today. The temperature had to be ninety, despite the late hour of the day.
I crawled into one of the chairs at the large table. “Whatcha got? Anything good?”
D winked at me while Brock finished organizing the books he’d scattered around the table. A wink from D was a good sign. I knew better than to rush Brock. As much as it killed me, I kept quiet and sipped my coffee.
He finally pulled a notebook from beneath an old leather-bound journal. Looking up, he eyed me. “Got enough coffee in you for this?”
I smirked. “You’re killing me here with the suspense. Let’s hear it.”
He turned an atlas-sized book toward me. “This is a sketch of the Lafayette Cemetery. The notable tombs are marked.”
He continued as I pulled the drawing closer. “My guess is the Benoits were interested in the Smith family vault. In particular, the tomb of Reginald Smith.”
“Smith? They had to pick a family with a freaking common-ass last name. Sheesh!” I complained. “How are we ever going to figure that out!” I tired to keep from whining, but it didn’t work so well.
“Hang on, Luce. You know Brock has mad skills. Give him a chance to explain.” Damien’s eyes still held a twinkle so I tried to wait more patiently.
“Turns out, Reginald Smith was a rather interesting fellow.” Brock shifted another book toward me.
“He served in the Civil War with the Twelfth Louisiana Infantry. Not as a solider, but as a cook. A damn good one at that. After the war, he opened a small restaurant on the outskirts of New Orleans.”
I shrugged. Nothing remarkable in there for a vampire. “Wait,” I interrupted with an evil grin, “Let me guess. Reginald was buried with a top-notch gumbo recipe, and the main ingredient is blood.” I chuckled at my own wit.
At Brock’s look, I shut up. Quickly. “If you would let me finish . . . Reginald was in fact buried with something that had been passed down from his great-grandfather.”
I sat up in my chair, wondering what non-recipe thing that could have been.
“I don’t know exactly what the item was, but two of my older journals note that Reginald’s great grand-daddy had been a shaman in Africa, prior to coming to the U.S.”
“Oh, this could be bad . . .” A shaman meant he had special powers or abilities, and if he brought those with him from Africa, including unique ingredients . . .
“So not good. As in really not good.” Damien’s eyes lost their sparkle and now broadcast worry.
“I have more digging to do, but it looks like it could have been a charm or a spell that would allow the wearer to shape shift.” Brock ran a hand through his already tousled brown hair.
“Wait, so you’re saying the person or vampire in possession of the charm or spell could shape shift into say a wolf or a panther?” I didn’t like the sound of this at all. The Benoits were the slimy car salesmen of the vampire world. If they didn’t try to use the spell on themselves, they would sell it to the highest bidder.
Brock sighed. “I’ve got a couple more sources to check, but, in theory, yes. We could potentially have shape shifting vampires.”
I slumped back in my chair. “Not what I was hoping to hear. I really wanted them to be looking for something a lot more harmless.” Was that really too much to ask? “Wait, I could have sworn Nicky said it was a raising, not a hunt for a spell.”
Damien barked out a laugh. “Luce, you know Nicky isn’t completely reliable with his scoop. When will you learn?”
I shook my head. It’s a good thing that ghost was already dead.
to be continued . . .
Be sure to check out stories from these Briefers!