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Larkin Gentry believes he unwittingly released an entity in the forest during an excavation and now people are dying. He must return the entity in the woods to its rightful place before more lives are lost.
Faith Gentry knows something dark and foreboding lives in the forest. She can feel it watching her, creeping like a weed up each street, curling its vines into the very heart of the town.
Will Larkin piece together the mystery before Faith becomes the next victim?
He put a pencil in his mouth and opened another photo his associate had labeled “mattress tag”. Diana and her stupid titles. She couldn’t stick to his easy-to-follow method of naming things; site, date, and then a letter to signify the order in which the particular piece was found. This actually was B10.0710.K and it was nothing except vines. He enlarged the photo. This was odd. The focal point was a perfectly squared stone. He clicked the mouse again to get the photo larger. The pencil clattered to the desk before him.
He had seen this before. Two symbols had been etched into the face of the stone, two symbols that didn’t belong to any writing he knew, and he knew a lot of writing.
“Mattress tag?” He reached over and picked up the telephone. He punched in the numbers and waited.
“Diana, why did you label this file ‘mattress tag’?”
“Hi Larkin, how are you? Dev and the kids are fine. Thanks for asking. My flight to the States was a little choppy, and, of course, they lost my luggage. How was yours? Are you back at the lab? No, never mind that last question. Of course you’re back at the lab.”
Larkin could tell she was irritated. She always hated it when he just jumped in to the middle of a conversation. She said he was insensitive. It all sounded like a personal problem to him… her personal problem.
“Sorry Diana.” Larkin decided to be nice. “Was the house still in one piece?”
“Yeah. They did miss me, though.”
“Good.” Okay, that was enough of the pleasantries. “So why did you label this file ‘mattress tag’?”
“You know, Larkin, of all the males I have worked with in the past you have got to be the most single-minded of all. What are you doing looking at files on a Friday night? Friday night should not be spent in front of a computer screen. You should be out with a woman.” She sighed.
“I don’t have time right now.”
“I’ll make you a deal, you go out find some sweet little thing and bring me her mattress tag and I’ll tell you why I named that file ‘mattress tag’.”
“Diana! This is important.”
“It always is. My kids are in the tub. I think one of them is drowning the other. I have to go.”
“Wait! This is something I’ve seen before. These symbols were on a rock in my hometown.” The phone didn’t click halfway though his last sentence as he’d expected. Diana was still on the line.
“Really? Interesting.” She was thinking, he could tell. “Do you have photos of it? Do you remember where you found it? Can I go see it?”
“No, I don’t have any photos and I don’t know where it is. My wife was using it as a bookend last time I saw it.” The words were out before he knew it
“You had a wife?” Diana drew in a sharp breath then, whispered, “Is she the one in your wallet?”
“When did you go through my wallet?” Larkin gritted.
“Come on Larkin. If you don’t tell, I don’t tell.”
“Yes. I was married.” He didn’t add technically he still was although he had lived apart from Faith for the better part of a decade. He had thought about a divorce and that was as far as he got. He didn’t want to divorce her. He just didn’t want to be near her. When he got too close to people bad things happened.
“You say she has it. Did you actually pick that rock up and move it?”
“Yes, I didn’t think about disturbing a site back then. It was just an interesting piece.”
“Wow. You actually moved it? Did you touch it or did she?”
“I did, it wasn’t difficult. It’s a rock, not Stonehenge. It actually was very portable.” Larkin ran a hand through his short hair.
“Well, according to my research by all rights you should be dead. I firmly believe it’s cursed.”
“Yeah, this is all very pieced together and all very mystical, but you know isn’t that the beauty of all this? I mean look at King Tut’s tomb.”
Larkin tapped his pen on the keyboard tray. “Di, I don’t want to hear one of your stories. Are you going to tell me or what?”
Mallary Mitchell loves writing as much as reading. After years of teaching, Mallary returned to writing. When not typing at her computer she enjoys spending time with her children and husband. Mallary’s previous releases are The Widow’s Ransom and Cissy Cain and Abel.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 177
Paper Weight (lb): 7.6
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