Monthly Archives: August 2019
Posted by G G Collins
Rachel Blackstone’s Greatest Challenge Yet
Anasazi Medium: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery is due out in August 2020.
(Copyright 2019 by G G Collins)
They ate in silence for a few minutes. It tasted like the best meal Rachel had ever eaten. Everything always tasted better, the sun looked brighter and the birds sang sweeter after a close call. She could feel the adrenaline losing its punch as she came down and began to feel tired.
“Where did the yellow water come from?” Chloe asked.
“No clue, but I’m going to find out. I got a sample on the way home.”
“Rachel, that’s great. What made you think of that?”
“Something’s very wrong,” Rachel said. “First the bird kills, the otherworldly appearance in my backyard, his prediction, the deaths of the university officials, and now being in the right place at the right time to rescue Anna. And there is the ever growing Dog Star.
“My understanding is the yellow water and fish kill is another sign of the impending end of the fourth world.”
They were thoughtful for a few minutes.
“Rachel, I wonder,” Chloe said. “Should we visit the Valles Caldera? Is there anything we could learn there?”
“I think there might be,” Rachel said thoughtfully. “The last time I was there I did an interview for the Longmire TV series coverage, back when they were filming the series in New Mexico. We ran several stories on that production. The Valles Caldera was used as Sheriff Longmire’s ranch location.”
“Quite a drive from the Las Vegas where they filmed the downtown and sheriff’s office scenes,” Chloe said.
“Yes, I know. I drove to both sets for the interviews and again to Madrid and the Mine Shaft Tavern that was used as the Red Pony bar.”
“I hated when that series ended,” Chloe said.
“Yup, me too. Seems like the good shows always end too soon.”
“And Supernatural is ending,” Chloe added. “Don’t know what we’ll do without Sam and Dean to guide us on these, uh, mystical excursions.”
“At least they got 15 years,” Rachel said. “Longmire only got six.”
Rachel changed the subject.
“You know, I’ve had those herb plants sitting on my back porch all summer. I think after what happened today, I’d like to do a little gardening.”
“You want help?” Chloe asked.
Rachel raised an eyebrow in question. She’d never seen Chloe plant any of her gardens.
“Well, I could ask my gardener if he would have time to plant it for you.”
“No, but thank you for the offer. I think I need to do something physical.”
“Okay,” Chloe said. “I’m going to check in at the office, see if anything critical is a foot and then go home to a hot bath and a glass of wine.”
“Do you think they will still grow?” Rachel asked.
“Sure, everything but the parsley will likely come back in the spring. Sometimes my parsley even overwinters,” Chloe said. “Of course, as you so generously pointed out I don’t cultivate my own so my gardener may have secrets to plant longevity that I don’t know.”
“I just can’t see anything else dead for awhile,” Rachel choked.
“I know,” Chloe said and hugged her friend. “Seeing those dead men will haunt us both for a long time. Go get your hands dirty and forget about today.
“I’ll let myself out.” Chloe was gone in a whirl of her long dark hair.
Chile Pod had finished her dinner and was glazing out the kitchen window at a bird picking at the remnants left on the ground from the feeder.
“You stay there. You can watch me plant the herb bed.” Rachel grabbed a jacket off the hook near the door and went into the evening air.
She’d bought the herb plants in spring and somehow she never got around to planting them, but somehow remembered to douse them with water several times a week. There just never seemed to be a good time. Now the leggy plants were root bound. Rachel hoped she could save them.
During the spring she had bricks delivered. In a fit of energy, she had turned the soil, laid the bricks in a 6-foot square and mulched it. In the meantime, deadlines came and went. Time passed without planting the herbs.
Because she had mulched the garden all she had to do was push the organic matter away, dig a hole and add the plants. First, Rachel took a knife and cut the roots back as she remembered her father doing when she was a kid. It would help the roots grow in a more normal way. She planted lavender and then added rosemary, thyme, oregano and fennel.
With that done, Rachel picked up the bucket against her house and brought it to the garden. Inside were an assortment of stones and crystals she had collected for the past several years. She placed each among the herbs; a river stone here, a quartz there and a lovely piece of petrified wood.
When it was all watered in, Rachel went inside the house and came back with several gazing balls in purple, blue and red crackled colors. In the center of the herb bed she placed a stand and added the larger purple gazing ball. She positioned the smaller ones on the ground and stood back to survey her handiwork.
Satisfied and feeling better, she headed back inside. Before she reached the safety of the backdoor, a wolf howled. Rachel was now recognizing the various warnings that Kiyiya made to alert her. This howl was an announcement, not an urgent warning.
Rachel stopped immediately, her pulse quickened and her breath turned to fog as the temperature dropped. Once again, the rattling sound commenced, the vapors seemingly came from nowhere and formed into a column. She had no idea who or what to expect. Would it be the Native American she met most recently or someone or something altogether different?
Within a couple of minutes, it was the Native who stepped from the fog. Rachel braced herself and waited.
Again, he spoke in a language she didn’t understand, but the words appeared in her mind in English.
“The blue star grows in the sky,” he pointed.
“I know,” Rachel replied. “What I don’t know is who or what is causing it?”
“The evil men.”
“Who are the evil men? What are they doing to cause the star to grow?” Rachel asked.
“I do not know them,” he said. “They are of this time. Not of mine.”
“Do you know what they are doing that is wrong?”
“Taking from our land.”
This wasn’t going well. There was a lot of time and space between them. Rachel didn’t know if she could span the centuries. She tried to keep her words simple to enhance his comprehension.
“I’ve been looking for these men, but haven’t found them. I’ve looked to see where…where work is being done. I’ve checked for mining and drilling permits.”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“I’m sorry. It’s when men remove earth by digging into the ground.” He nodded with some understanding.
“I’ve been trying to uncover what these men are doing along with two friends who are helping me. And I think that two men were killed who may have known what I need to know.”
The man was silent for several minutes. Rachel thought he was about to disappear leaving her in more confusion.
“Do your powers take you to the Land of the Dead?” he asked.
That took her off guard.
“I…I” she stammered. “I don’t know.”
“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.”
“How can I do that? I don’t know how.” Rachel asked.
“You have friends in spirit?” he said as though having inside knowledge.
“Uh, yes.” As far as Rachel knew that would be one spirit. The Hopi shaman, Joseph, who had helped her before.
“You should talk with spirit,” the Native said. “Time grows…” He searched for the word. “Short. Everyone will die.”
“I understand, but I don’t know what to do,” Rachel felt panic seeping into her soul.
“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.” He faded from her view in a whiff of smoke.