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Dunning Manor, Book 1
Under His Wing
Katie spent the next week calling people, searching through old newspaper articles and learning about druid lore and magic. Her heart grew heavier with each day that passed, each lead that didn’t pan out. Thomas could be anywhere, any time by now, and she didn’t even know if he’d heard her before she left. He’d been so deep in that trance…what if he didn’t even remember who she was?
She wasn’t giving up. She’d made a promise, and she’d keep it, even if it took the rest of her life to do so. Every day she called a few more numbers. Early on, she learned not to give up her secrets too quickly. People were all-too-ready to write her off as some sort of quack, and a couple of women even offered to take her to their local psychiatric centers for evaluation.
She’d spoken to others like her, she thought, but they’d seemed scared, and unwilling to trust her, denying knowledge of reports they’d filed or articles posted online. Those were the people she needed to speak with most, but they didn’t trust her, and after just one day’s worth of calls, she completely understood why. Still, it made gathering any kind of useful information on Dunning Manor and its curse nearly impossible.
Sitting down with a bag of fast food that night, she blinked back tears as she surveyed the mess of notes and images and articles strewn over the coffee table. So much…nothing, really. No one seemed to have photos of the manor, and many of the first-hand accounts she’d found were archived web pages long since deleted from their original places, as if the writer wanted to erase the whole experience.
The idea put an uneasy feeling in her grease-laden stomach. Obviously people had felt strongly enough to speak out about the manor at some point, but they’d been convinced into taking back their words and disavowing all knowledge of the manor or its inhabitants.
Something – or someone – had clearly scared them. Whatever it was, Katie felt sure it was the key to finding her way back to the manor – and Thomas.
Biting into a cold, limp fry, she wrinkled her nose and tossed the other half back in the bag just as her phone rang. The number wasn’t familiar, but considering all the calls she’d made earlier, that wasn’t strange. She answered, not daring to hope it might be something helpful.
“Are you the woman looking for information on Dunning Manor?”
The voice was digital, clearly obscured on purpose. Katie wasn’t surprised.
“Yes, that’s me. Do you know the Manor? Have you seen it? It’s very important that I find it again, soon.”
There was a long pause, and Katie almost hung up just before the voice started speaking again.
“Meet me tomorrow morning. Ten sharp, at the bench on the west side of Taylor Park. Don’t be late.”
The call disconnected before she could say anything, not that Katie needed to. Finally, a break, or so she hoped as she did the dishes by tossing the paper bag in the trash.
“I’m coming Thomas,” she whispered on her way back to the couch. “Hang in there.”