He Thought He Saw – Part 37

He Thought He Saw redWhen they get home for dinner, Brian and Jordan make sure to sprinkle the blessed salt in the food. They also touch their parents and Mr. Deidrich with it on their hands. They notice a distinct difference with Heath. He finally snaps out of his daze.

“You know, Deidrich,” Heath said pleasantly. “We really don’t have the room for you to stay here, old man. Why don’t you head over to the Super 8 for the night?”

“I’m going to stay with Maribelle and Brian at their house.”

Heath rose from the table, tossing his napkin down. “Well, no, you’re not. I let myself believe that was for the best, but I’ve had a change of heart. You’ve been here long enough. It’s time to go.”

“Honey, there’s no need to be rude,” Jackie said, blinking slowly.

“Oh, but there is, dear. You see, he’s worn out his welcome. I don’t want you here anymore, Gavin Deidrich.”

Mr. Deidrich flinched. He dried his hands on a paper towel before turning from the sink. “I believe you’ll find that I haven’t.” His dark eyes glowed.

“You heard him,” Jordan said bravely. “The head of the house, told you to leave.”

Shaking violently, Mr. Deidrich walked to the back door as if he were being pushed. He tried to fight it, doing his best to convince Heath to let him stay, but the energy of their combined wills was too strong for him.

“And don’t come back,” Heath commanded. “I don’t want you even setting foot on my property.”

“You aren’t welcome at my house,” Brian said boldly. “While my father is gone, I’m the man of the house. Don’t come around there.”

“You can’t stay in here forever,” Deidrich said. “You have to come out sometime.”

“You can’t stick around forever either,” Brian said. “You’ll have to go back where you came from sometime. Save us all the bother, do it now. Leave!” He pointed away from the house. “Leave now.” He took him a moment to realize he’d spoken words of power, not English.

Deidrich looked like a deflated balloon. He turned sharply, walking jerkily as if he fought every step. Muttering and cursing, he crossed the street and headed toward the woods.

“What did you say to him?” Jordan whispered.

“I have no idea. It’s like with the whirlwind. I heard these words in my head, so I said them.”

“It worked, whatever it was.”

As he prepared for bed, Brian thought about all the things he’d learned that day. He was still very puzzled by it all. He also wondered who Mr. Deidrich was and how he had influenced the adults in the house. Why hadn’t his compulsion affected Brian and Jordan?

The door to the den opened and Jordan walked in. “I visited our parents and left the charms with them. I told Dad what it was and he promised to talk to Mom. I put the one for your mom in the pocket of her sweater. She hangs it on the bedpost.”

“Good idea. Thanks.”

Jordan flopped on the side of his bed. Brian moved to the other side, far away from her. She didn’t fail to notice.

“I don’t have the plague or anything, Brian.”

“I know—it’s just….”

“What? You think I’m gonna bite you? Jump your bones? What?”

“I’m not worried about you. I don’t want your dad to worry about you.”

Jordan laughed at Brian’s flustered expression. “Oh, dream on, homeboy! Never gonna happen.”

“I didn’t say it would,” Brian’s tone was wounded. “I said, I don’t want your dad mad at me. You’re my friend, Jordan. The best friend I’ve ever had. I don’t want to screw that up.”

“Dad likes you. It’d be okay.” She lay down, her feet toward the pillows.

“No, it wouldn’t be okay if he thought— Dammit, Jordan! Are you really that dense?”

She sat up, glaring at him. “Dense? Am I dense?”

“Kids younger than us are already having sex. It’s not inconceivable.”

“It is for you! You must have a high opinion of yourself if you think I’d ever!” She snorted in disgust.

“You have the listening skills of a turnip. I’m not saying that’s what I want. I’m saying your dad might think that if you stayed in here tonight!”

“How do you know? You’re not my dad.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 35

He Thought He Saw redChase calls his father to help them. They realize that there is something wrong with their mothers and Heath. Cliff gives them some advice before taking them home.

“Can we go by my house, Mr. Finley?” Brian asked. “There’s something I need to do over there.”

“Sure thing, kid.” They drove to Brian’s house. “Want us to come in?”

Brian hesitated. He wasn’t sure how to answer that.

“Yes,” Jordan said. “Why wait in the cold? Even with the heat on, it’s nicer in the house. And it saves gas.”

They went inside together. Brian was glad Jordan had done that. He hadn’t wanted to admit that he was a little nervous about going in the house alone. Mr. Finley was big and muscular. He reminded Brian a lot of his father. By his mere physical presence, Brian felt better.

“I have to get something in Dad’s office,” he said. “Y’all make yourselves comfortable.”

“Want something to drink?” Jordan asked, playing hostess as if it were her house.

Brian appreciated her taking over. He walked down to his father’s office, hands in pockets. When he got to the door, he saw it was slightly ajar. He knew he’d latched it tightly when he left. His mother hadn’t been near it when they came home to pack. Wary and curious, he opened the door and headed toward the desk. The computer was gone.

Frustrated and upset, Brian groaned. Moments later, the others rushed down the hall.

“Are you okay?” Jordan asked.

“It’s gone! Dad’s computer isn’t here. What am I going to do? That was the only other copy of the research!” Frustrated, he knocked papers off the desk. They fell, skittering across the floor.

Jordan bent to pick them up, and froze. Slowly, her hands reached for a piece of paper. Its glossy finish caught Brian’s eye. Jordan stood, handing the picture to Brian. With a trembling hand, he took it from her. It was the photograph from the stones file. Closer inspection showed that the entire stack of paper was a complete print out of the files his father had left him.

“I swear,” he whispered to Jordan. “That wasn’t there yesterday.”

She shivered. Taking a deep breath, Jordan bit her lip. “You know what you’re saying, right?”

“I’m saying—someone printed that out and left it there for me.”

“Hidden in plain sight,” Jordan breathed. “Your dad’s a genius.”

“Too bad he has such a dumb ass for a son,” Chase said as he sifted through the papers.

“Thanks so much,” Brian said, sounding hurt.

“I’m serious, dude. Stupid. How is any of this important?”

Mr. Finley took the papers from his son. “Because you’re looking only at the surface. You have to look for the deeper meaning. Can you do that, Brian? Can you look below the superficial facts and see the pattern?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Finley. I don’t even know what the pattern is.”

The older man closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. “Read this, absorb it. Don’t consider it at face value. You have to look deeper. I can’t tell you more than that, Brian. You have to figure this out on your own.”

“But why?”

“Because that’s how it’s meant to be,” Mr. Finley replied. “I want to tell you, Brian, but I can’t. Believe—you must believe, or none of this will mean anything.”

“Can’t you give me a hint?”

Mr. Finley said nothing more. Shaking his head, he gathered up the rest of the papers and searched the office until he found a satchel for them. It was battered and old, red leather that fastened with brass clasps. Brian recognized it as his father’s. He used it for all his most important papers. It was fitting that these should be housed in it.

“Don’t let that Deidrich fellow anywhere near this,” Mr. Finley cautioned. He closed his eyes again, laying his hand on the case. He murmured a few words before opening them again. He handed the case to Brian. “Probably the best place for this is with you at all times. Take it to school, leave it in your locker. Sleep with it, if you have to. Keep it in this case.”

Brian didn’t know what to think. It was obvious that Mr. Finley knew more than he was saying. He couldn’t help wondering why he didn’t tell them.

“There’s another storm coming,” Mr. Finley said as they walked back out to his car. “There won’t be school again tomorrow. You two read through this tonight and tomorrow. I don’t care how long it takes you. When you’re done, if you don’t see the pattern clearly enough, I’ll do my best to explain.”

He dropped them off at Jordan’s house in time for dinner, cautioning them not to eat anything Mr. Deidrich touched. “Don’t let him serve dishes, set the table or handle the glasses. If you can’t avoid it, say this—glan dom. Can you remember that?”

“Yes, sir,” they answered together.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 36

He Thought He Saw redCliff Finley offers them very precise instructions on how to handle Mr. Deidrich. He also gives them a bag of blessed salt with cumin and tells them how to use it, along with a couple of words, whose meaning they don’t recognize.

He made Jordan and Brian repeat it.

“Good. Be careful. And if you need me, call. I can be here in less than five minutes.”

“Thank you.” Jordan hugged him, kissing his cheek. “I wish you could stay with us.”

“I wish I could too. Oh, nearly forgot.” He dug around in his pocket. “This is what I went after. You add this to the food before your parents eat it. It will help against whatever Deidrich’s put in the food.”

Brian looked at the packet of pale pink powder. “What is it?”

“Taste,” Mr. Finley said with a grin.

Brian licked his finger and took a tiny bit of the powder on his finger. “It’s salt!”

“Yes, but a very special kind. It will purify the food. Just a pinch per dish. Another pinch by the doors and windows will help keep out evil. And this.” He handed each of them a small bundle of what looked like twigs, bound in red string. “I know it doesn’t look like much, but it will protect you. That’s oak, ash and thorn tied with string dyed with rowan berries. Carry it with you.” He handed each a small bag, also dyed red. “That’s also dyed with rowan. A great deterrent for evil. I’ve made them for your parents. Slip it in a pocket or put it in their beds. It will help.”

“How do you know all this, Mr. Finley?” Jordan asked.

He looked directly in her eyes. “Because I read the information and I saw the pattern,” he replied. “Now you do the same.”

“What about Chase?”

“He’s got his own things to read and learn. Better get in for dinner now.”

“Thank you,” Jordan and Brian said once more.

They got reluctantly out of Mr. Finley’s car. Brian suddenly remembered that his dad and Mr. Finley were close friends and wanted to cry. This was his father’s job—watching over his son and protecting him. It wasn’t he responsibility of Jordan’s father or Chase’s, but his own. How could he leave when he knew his son was vulnerable? What had been so important that he’d left like he did?

He saw the pattern, Brian heard in his head. And the pattern can’t be denied.

The house seemed calm and quiet when Jordan and Brian walked in. Mr. Deidrich sat at the kitchen table while Jackie fixed dinner. Maribelle sat there, sipping her tea and smiling. Heath sat at the table too, but his expression was hard to read. Mr. Deidrich flickered his fingers before he spoke.

“Heath, why don’t you get the children something to drink?”

“Yes, why don’t I?” He got up and grabbed two sodas from the back of the refrigerator. He handed each child a can.

“Why don’t you pour it in glasses for them?” Another flicker of his fingers.

“We’re fine without them,” Brian said. “Thanks, Heath.”

Mr. Barrett nodded. Was that a wink or did he blink more slowly with one eye than the other? Jordan rinsed the cans at the sink, drying them with a paper towel. Mr. Deidrich frowned, saying nothing.

When dinner was served, Mr. Deidrich handled the plates and serving dishes. He didn’t touch the flatware, which was silver, Brian noticed with glee. He ate and drank very little, but plied the others with food, offering to serve the children as well as the adults, holding the serving spoons with his napkin. Brian and Jordan refused, murmuring the words Mr. Finley had taught them, when he insisted. Brian made sure that any food that passed his hands got a sprinkle of the salt.

Deidrich sat next to him, and flinched every time a salted dish came his way. It looked like it caused him real pain. His dark eyes grew harder and colder as the meal progressed. It was pretty obvious that his hold on the adults faltered when Jackie and Maribelle started having a normal conversation about the weather. His face showed the strain more and more as the meal drew to a close.

Brian had quite a bit of salty residue on his fingers. When Mr. Deidrich reached for a platter, ostensibly to pass it to Maribelle, Brian touched his hand. Hissing, Mr. Deidrich pulled his hand away. The platter clattered to the table, the food scattering. An angry, red welt the size and shape of Brian’s fingers, rose on the black man’s hand. Furious, he got up from the table and ran to the sink.

Heath winked at Brian, very definitely that time. He nodded slightly at the women. Brian got up, offering to pour some more lemonade for his mother. When he handed her the glass, he let the salty fingers touch her palm. She flinched slightly as if she’d received a shock. He did the same for Jackie. Even though Heath seemed fine, Brian made sure to shake his hand as he went back to his seat.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Brian, Gary and Whit

4755b-red2briver2bradio2blogoWEDNESDAY, November 23, 2016 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM EST on Blog Talk Radio

Dellani and Christina are delighted to welcome back two fantastic authors, and greet a new one.

whit-mcclendonFirst up is our pal Whit McClendon, author of Mage’s Burden and Gart’s Road. Whit will be on from 4 to 4:40 to chat about his work.

brian-briscoeSecond is newcomer, Brian Briscoe, author of The Conflict Etiquette Handbook: The Art of Behaving Well in the Midst of Conflict and Juke: A Blues Novel. Brian will be on from 4:40 to 5:20.

gary-d-henryThird, our buddy Gary D. Henry, author of In the Manor of Heather Black, Falling Waters, Witchwoods, and more. Gary will come on from 5:20 to 6:00

We look forward to chatting with each of our authors. As always, dust off your speakers, kick back with your favorite beverage and enjoy the show!

LISTEN LIVE OR LATER TO OUR PODCAST

 

He Thought He Saw – Part 34

He Thought He Saw redChase joins Jordan and Brian when they meet up with the Louisiana group. Ginnfer insults Jordan somewhat, by calling her perky. However, she and the others are far more impressed when they find out that she held off a fire elemental with a greenwood stick.

“Wow, for real?” Andre sat, clasping hands with Chase. His eyes fastened on Jordan and her clingy sweater. He smiled. “Delightful to meet you, Miss Jordan.”

She smirked, raising a wary eyebrow. “Of course it is. What color are my eyes, Romeo?” She closed her eyes before he could peek.

“Um…. Green?”

Ginnifer punched Andre—hard. “My eyes are green, you idiot!”

Jordan snorted before taking a sip of her hot chocolate. Ginnifer glared at her. Brian didn’t want to see the day explode in their faces. There was too much going on for them to fight.

“Doesn’t matter,” Brian said. “I don’t care if you hate each other, we have to work together—now. Serious shit is happening. There’s been two very targeted attacks on Jordan. First the fire elementals, then the ice last night.”

“Whoa—on me? We were both in the house.”

“But it was your room,” Brian said. “And the fire elemental headed straight for you.”

“That’s true,” Chase said. “It wasn’t interested in me and Bri at all.”

Jordan paled. Her hands shook as she put her cup down. Ginnifer, in an uncharacteristic moment, took it from her before she spilled it. She put a gentle hand on Jordan’s shoulder.

“All this time, I saw it differently. I thought of it as attacking us, coming after us—not me!”

Ginnifer patted her hand. “When Louisa and I got attacked, the creatures ran past her to get at me. If it hadn’t been for the dog, we wouldn’t have gotten away.”

“That reminds me,” Jordan said. “Where were the dogs last night? We sure could have used them.”

“I wondered the same thing,” Brian said. “Weird that they didn’t show up. They always have before.”

“You don’t think—could that Deidrich guy have anything to do with that? Chase’s dad said he’s been hanging out in the woods. What if he hurt them or something?” Jordan said.

“We can’t really focus on that,” Andre said. “Seems to me we need to see this information and learn what we can about Brian’s amulet.”

“Can we get our own?” Ginnifer asked. “I’d feel safer if I had something.”

“We have no idea what we’re doing,” Chase said. “We could come up with something that had the total opposite effect. We could kill ourselves.”

“They aren’t that tricky,” Jordan said. “My mom has made them and she showed me how. I’m not perfect at it, but I think I can imbue a few stones. I don’t know how much help they will be, but I’ll try.”

“Meanwhile,” Andre persisted. “The files.”

Brian nodded. He booted up the computer and took the flashdrive off his wrist. Once the computer was ready, he plugged it in and went to the menu. He accessed the file marked stones. The file opened, but it was gibberish. It was completely unreadable. Each successive file was like that. They couldn’t read a thing.

“I don’t understand,” Brian said, near panic. “It was fine when we looked at it earlier.”

“Deidrich,” Jordan said. “I bet he did something. I felt all tingly when I touched him, like electrical current running through me. What if he did something?”

“How could he?” Ginnifer complained. “He didn’t touch the flashdrive.”

“No, but he did touch Brian. I wouldn’t put anything past that man. He was so creepy. I hope you never meet him, but if you do, you’ll understand.”

“I have another copy,” Brian said. “It’s safe, for now, but I’d sure feel better if we could make a backup.”

“Where is it?”

Brian and Jordan exchanged a look.

“I’d rather not say in public. I should have made a copy already. I wasn’t thinking straight.”

“What will we do if it’s corrupted too?” Ginnifer asked.

Licking his lips, Brian shook his head. “I don’t know. Start from square one, I guess.”

Since they didn’t have the files to look at, Jordan and Brian told the others what they’d read. They talked about the properties of stones.

Jordan showed them her mother’s site and they read a lot of useful information there. They still didn’t understand what they were supposed to do with it. Knowing about the stones didn’t tell Brian how to use his amulet and didn’t protect the others.

After a couple hours, they decided to head home. It was going to be dark soon and looked like it was going to storm some more. Andre didn’t want to hit bad weather driving home. He and Ginnifer said goodbye. Ginnifer hugged everyone. She was far less confrontational and even hugged Jordan. Chase called his father after Andre and Ginnifer left.Cliff arrived a few minutes later.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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One Night in Daytona Beach by Dellani

Love Under the Sun

One_Night_in_Daytona_Beach_by_Dellani_Oakes - 200He hadn’t seen her in 10 years, but there she was, dressed in black leather, straddling the Harley. Draven Wick is back home, on a break from filming his vampire themed TV show, when he spots Jamie Humphrey at a Bike Week raffle. The love of his teen life, Draven never thought he’d see her again. Rekindling their romance after 10 years is the easy part. Unfortunately, Draven has been blamed for the death of a notorious bike gang leader. Staying ahead of the police, and the biker gang bent on revenge, takes Jamie and Draven to the brink of disaster.

Startled by the noise, the girl lost her balance as she rolled out of the shoulder stand. Toppling, she fell. Draven leaped toward her, covering the ten feet to the cycles, in a superhuman rush. He steadied her, helping her sit up slowly. Getting a good look at her…

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He Thought He Saw – Part 33

He Thought He Saw redThey decide to go to the ice cream parlor and meet up with the Louisiana group. They want to discuss what happened with the fire elementals and the ice. Brian also wants to introduce Jordan to the others.

“Good. I want you to meet Jordan and I’ve got a story that’ll turn you white.”

Andre’s laugh was tense. “Man, that only works for a brown skinned boy like me. But I feel ya. We’ll be there soon. I finally gave into the impulse and hopped in the truck forty-five minutes ago. Meet at the same place?”

“No, the Miracle Moon Café on Main Street.”

“You seriously have a Main Street there? Didn’t think it was big enough.”

“Aw, shut up and drive. We’ll see you soon.”

Laughing, the boys hung up. The smile faded from Brian’s face when he thought about the implications of that conversation. Something had prompted Andre to drive up for a visit. Had he sent out a psychic message and not realized it? Forty-five minutes ago, he and Jordan had opened the first of his father’s files and started to read. Could Andre have sensed that somehow? Had the amulet Brian wore projected his fears?

Whatever was the case, they had a more immediate danger facing them. Evil was in Jordan’s home and it was up to them to drive it out. But what could four teenagers do against something like Gavin Deidrich?

On an impulse, he called Chase. His friend answered breathlessly. “Are you okay?”

“For the moment, why?”

“Cause I’m itching all over. Something isn’t right. Are you sure?”

Brian filled him in on Mr. Deidrich.

“I saw that guy around town when Dad and I were at the gun store. He asked us where you were staying. We said we didn’t know—hell, we didn’t. But Old Ms. Hooper said you were at Jordan’s.”

Ms. Hooper was the Casey’s next door neighbor and a terrible, gossiping, busybody.

“Dammit! Thanks for letting me know. Jordan and I are on the way to the café. Can you get here? Andre’s coming from Louisiana.”

“Yeah. Give me a minute. Dad will bring me.”

“Ask if he can stay. Chase—I think Mr. Deidrich drugged our folks. We could sure use an adult right now.”

“After what happened at the fire, my dad’s totally behind you. You and Jordan are his heroes.”

“Thanks, Chase.”

“Anything for a friend.”

At the café, Jordan and Brian ordered hot chocolate. By the time it arrived, so had Chase and his father. Brian rapidly filled them in on what had happened the night before and all about Gavin Deidrich.

“That sounds like the tramp I’ve seen hanging about the last few weeks,” Mr. Finley said. “He stays out in the swamp not far from us. That’s why I give Chase a ride every day. His bus stop is remote and he’s the only one who goes there.”

“I’m kind of worried about tomorrow,” Brian said. “If he’s around and our parents aren’t acting right, what are we gonna do?”

“I’ll come get you,” Cliff Finley said. “And I’ll make it a point not to associate with this Deidrich person. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few errands to run. Call me when you’re ready to go home. I’ll give you a lift.”

“What if he’s still there?” Jordan asked, her eyes wide with fear.

Mr. Finley pursed his lips, thinking. “I’ll have to study some about that, Jordan. Maybe we can figure a way to get him to cut loose.”

“I doubt that,” Brian said. “But thanks.”

Cliff Finley clapped Brian on the shoulder. “Don’t give up before you start, son.” He nodded and left.

Andre walked in shortly after Mr. Finley left. Ginnifer, dressed all in black, with heavy kohl around her eyes and blood red lipstick, joined him. She gave Jordan a once over with a snooty sniff.

“Who’s the perky one?”

Jordan was dressed in low riding jeans and a clinging, dark pink sweater. Her expression wasn’t exactly perky, unless one compared it to Ginnifer’s morose one.

“Andre, Ginnifer, this is Jordan. She’s had the same things happen to her that we have. She and I fought a fire elemental last night. This is Chase. It happened at his house. And he helped.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes