Home > Haunted House (Krewe of Hunters #35.5)(5)

Haunted House (Krewe of Hunters #35.5)(5)
Author: Heather Graham

“He would never mind you asking him for help, Brenda—” Kylie began.

But Brenda was a pile of nerves. She seemed not to have heard Kylie as she rushed on.

“They’re true, Kylie. Some of the stories about Brim House must be true. I mean, that it’s haunted and that murders happened here. Today was my first day as the new owner, and I had to go in. And, Kylie, the dead are in my house. They’re in my walls. Please, please, can you come up? And quickly? I am so, so scared.”

Kylie looked over at Jon.

A moment of fear filled her again.

Salem. She had loved Salem all her life.

But she’d nearly been killed there.

And this…

Resolve filled her as she looked at her husband. He had given her the strength to accept her strange fifth sense—and what might well be a sixth sense, too. He had given her so much more than that, as well. He was solid. His sense of justice was great. His will was strong. And his care for others—his desire to seek the truth and end evil before it could claim more victims—was something that drew her to him.

She’d gained so much from him: her acceptance of her strangeness and the courage to move forward and think even when terrified.

Looking at him now, she knew.

Yes, they were going to Salem.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Jon Dickson felt a sense of dread.

Brenda lived in Salem, Massachusetts. And while he loved the city—he’d been born and had grown up there—the concept of a friend calling Kylie for help after she’d done one of her strange in-body visits was alarming.

And sad.

Because it had started off as such a great night. He’d just wrapped up a case with his fellow agents—one that had gone well. A twelve-year-old had disappeared on his way home from baseball practice. Thanks to a friend—the kind only the Krewe could usually see—they had tracked down the kidnapper in record time, stopping what might have been a ransom situation—or far worse.

Jon had had an early night, and Kylie had gotten home early, as well, happy because her fellow docent at the Washington, D.C. Museum of History, was working out wonderfully.

Jon seldom had early days since field agents often tended to work into the night—something the agents in the Krewe of Hunters accepted. They were also, by nature, willing to accommodate each other when needed.

Kylie’s hours were better. She was a researcher and docent—beloved by Adam Harrison their philanthropist founder, who had funded the museum—and she was incredibly happy with her work, lecturing for other venues sometimes, but usually home by six or seven. The museum had variable hours.

Today had been special. They’d both been home by four.

And they’d found themselves ordering in and had headed up to bed early—hey, they were still newlyweds! A great deal of delightful activity later, and they had dozed off…

Until Kylie’s dream. Or vision. Or whatever it was that her subconscious did when she entered another person’s being and saw through their eyes. He woke, immediately worried that she seemed to be in such a distressed and restless state.

Hearing Brenda on the phone, and knowing Kylie’s dream forbode something bad, he put through a call to Jackson Crow.

Luckily, his field supervisor was accustomed to calls at all hours of the day and night. They spoke quickly, and he said he would give Jackson more details when he knew them.

Jon just knew they’d be heading for Salem.

As he finished his call, he heard Brenda’s nervous and excited voice through Kylie’s cell, even though the phone wasn’t on speaker. He couldn’t quite make out the words, though. Kylie had met Brenda in college and had gone to see her time and again during Kylie’s many trips to Salem throughout the years, so it made sense that she would reach out.

“Brenda, calm down, please—” Kylie tried.

Kylie looked at Jon, shaking her head and frowning slightly.

Jon and Kylie had been together for more than a year now, and had been man and wife for several months of that time.

He still loved just watching her, seeing her, taking in the soft fall of her auburn hair, the light in her eyes—green and brown and sometimes a bit gold. Her face had been crafted with elegant features, and yet that wasn’t what created the depth of beauty in her. Kylie cared. She cared for others around her. Jon never had to explain a late night at work or his worry about a friend or even a stranger.

“Wait, wait, Brenda. Wait, hold on.”

Kylie placed the call on mute and looked at him, shaking her head. “Okay, so Brenda got her new house—”

“Right. I remember you mentioning one night that Brenda desperately wanted to buy one of the historic houses,” he said. “So—”

“There really are dead bodies in her wall.”

“What?”

“She’s standing out on the street right now, down the block from her new place. She went there after work and leaned against a wall in the den. Apparently, the drywall gave because it’s a false wall, and she found a skeleton in the space behind it. And then…”

“That’s what you saw through Brenda’s eyes earlier?”

Kylie nodded. “She thinks there’s a newer body.”

“You were there,” he said softly. “What do you think?”

Kylie winced and nodded.

“Okay,” Jon said quietly. “Kylie, I’m happy to go to Salem and help Brenda, but if she has bodies in her walls and is standing in the street, she needs help faster than we can give it to her. It’s a seven-hour drive. Even if I ask for my unit’s jet, it might still be several hours before we can get to her. Tell her I’ll call a detective. A good guy, a friend—”

“Ben Miller?” Kylie asked.

He nodded. Kylie had met Ben during the case that had brought the two of them together.

“We’ll be there as soon as possible. I just called Jackson, and he cleared me already to go for as long as we need. What about you? Sometimes, I think you are the information desk for the museum.”

“The new guy is great. And Adam loves him. I’m in good shape.”

Jon reached over and glanced at Kylie. “May I?” he asked her.

Kylie handed him the phone.

“Brenda, it’s Jon. We’re going to come up. But you need help sooner than we can get there—it’s a bit of a drive from northern Virginia. But I have a friend there—great guy—a local detective named Ben Miller. I’m going to call him, and I know he’ll get to you as soon as possible. For now, just head over to the Hawthorne and wait for him at the bar. It doesn’t sound as if you want to be alone.”

“Alone, no. I don’t want to be alone. I mean, I may not know anyone at the bar, but you’re right, there will be people and…um, your friend… Should I have just called 911? Or…Jon, I don’t know when that false wall went up. It’s decaying, so I guess it’s been a while, but…I think there’s a body behind the skeleton that’s being held together by bits of clothing or…maybe the wall itself. I mean, the skeleton is held by the wall or…I don’t know. But I think I saw flesh. I don’t know how long it takes for a body to decompose—”

“Brenda, I’m going to call the detective right now. Go to the hotel like I said.” He paused. “No one who might still be alive and in danger is in the wall, right? Ben will get a medical examiner out there to make sure, but… Did you lock the house?” Jon asked her.

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