Garden of Sorrow (Book 4 of Psychic Visions, a paranormal romantic suspense)

BOOK: Garden of Sorrow (Book 4 of Psychic Visions, a paranormal romantic suspense)
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Garden of Sorrow

Book #4 of Psychic Visions

 

Dale Mayer

Valley Publishing

Copyright © 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1-927461-05-1

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidences either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. 

 

License Notes

This ebook is licensed
for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're
reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for
your use only, then please return it and purchase your own
copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents
  1. Prologue
  2. Chapter 1
  3. Chapter 2
  4. Chapter 3
  5. Chapter 4
  6. Chapter 5
  7. Chapter 6
  8. Chapter 7
  9. Chapter 8
  10. Chapter 9
  11. Chapter 10
  12. Chapter 11
  13. Chapter 12
  14. Chapter 13
  15. Chapter 14
  16. Chapter 15
  17. Chapter 16
  18. Chapter 17
  19. Chapter 18
  20. Chapter 19
  21. Chapter 20
  22. Chapter 21
  23. Chapter 22
  24. Chapter 23
  25. Chapter 24
  26. Chapter 25
  27. Chapter 26
  28. Chapter 27
  29. Chapter 28
  30. Preview of Touched By Death
  31. About the Author
  32. Prologue

    I
    f only he could turn back time... Be there when he'd been needed.

    The night was bright and clear. The moon full, happy. The opposite of what he wanted, what he felt. There should be thunder and lightning destroying the world…like his world had just been destroyed.

    He sat in the borrowed truck and studied the funeral home. Inside the stone building, that beautiful little one lay cold and alone. He couldn't stand it. That she was dead, that he'd never hold her again, never play with her or bring her gifts and watch sunshine break free with her smile. It broke his heart…and damn near crippled his soul. To think of her inside that box…alone for all eternity…was too much to bear. For all its fancy brass and plush interior that coffin would seal her up and keep them apart forever.

    He couldn't lose her. He
    loved
    her too much. That said everything…and nothing. The term love was overused, misunderstood and didn't begin to explain this ache so strong it had turned the pit of his stomach to a cavern of emptiness. How could one adequately describe the light of your life? The reason you got up each day. She'd been his savior in this dark existence. His reason for being.

    She couldn't go into that grave. So dark. So far away. So alone.

    It couldn't happen.

    He couldn't let it.

    Irrational blind rage warred inside him. She was a child, but she'd been the only light in his world. That she'd died
    not
    in an accident was just another wrong he hadn't been able to prevent. It happened when he hadn't been there to look after her. He'd been away. He hadn't wanted to go. But he'd had no choice.

    He couldn't fight everyone all the time. They'd both had a shitty life, her and him. At least
    her
    suffering was over.

    Now his was just beginning. He had to go on. With his new purpose – to make them pay.

    But he couldn't do it alone. He had to have her at his side.

    Somehow. Somewhere. Someone would be able to help him make that happen.

    CHAPTER 1

    Many years later

    S
    he should have stayed in bed.

    "Un-freaking-believable." Alexis Gordon stood, hands on her hips, at the edge of chaos. Cops, kids, dignitaries and everything in-between wandered through the green spaces of the park. She sniffed the aroma of hot buttered popcorn and hot dogs permeating the air.

    Smaller communities like theirs got fanatical about events like today's groundbreaking ceremony for the new gardens. A ceremony to celebrate the completion of the gardens made sense to her. Too bad the politicians in the small community of Bradford, Oregon, used events like this to garner votes. Not just at the beginning of the ceremony, but the end, too. Bradford was smaller than Portland, but independent like neighboring Gresham. And Bradford politics were a complicated issue.

    Alexis blew out a gust of breath and ran her fingers through her long superfine hair. Why hadn't she stayed home? She was a gardener, not a politician and it was Sunday, after all. At least she didn't have to wear her work boots today. But her presence, apparently, was mandatory.

    Tucking her yellow cotton shirt into her faded jeans, she headed away from the crowd and behind the cordoned off construction area. Her crew had set up a makeshift bridge to cross the huge culvert where the city was installing new sewer pipes. A ditch that clearly resembled a wading pool after last night's rain. Scott McIver, her boss and best friend, approached from the other side.

    "Hey, Alexis, be careful! Without work boots, that thing's a bitch."

    Alexis nodded at Scott's warning, refusing to let her lightweight sneakers keep her from crossing the bridge. She kept her eyes firmly glued to the slick surface in front of her. Once at the other end, she grinned in triumph, reached for his outstretched hand, and jumped the last foot. "See no probl—"

    The soft dirt edge fell away from under her foot as she landed, and her fingers slipped from his grasp. "Shit!"

    "Jesus, Alex!" Scott made a grab for her…and missed.

    His voice rolled over her as she tumbled in a mad downward scramble, clawing against the dirt wall for something solid to grab, but winding up in a slow, muddy slide. A fresh puddle of muck waited for her at the bottom.

    "Oh, hell!" The oath slipped out as she pulled herself up on her hands and knees, grimacing as slime oozed between her fingers. "I don't need this today." The smell of wet earth and minerals assailed her senses. It might be a new ditch, but it already smelled like a sewer.

    Everything ached, but nothing appeared damaged. She was more pissed at herself than anything. Alexis glanced up to see Scott staring down at her, a worried frown deepening his heavily wrinkled face. "I'm okay. Just give me a minute."

    Feeling more or less normal – if disgusting was normal – she attempted to stand. Something sharp dug into the palm of her hand as she pushed against the ground to get up. Her fingers automatically closed over it only it squished out the top of her fist and back into the mud.

    "Ouch." A thin stream of red oozed up from her mud-covered fingers. Whatever that thing was, it had scratched her palm. She stared at the surrounding puddle. Where had it gone? There, beside her right foot. Alexis leaned over for a closer look.

    It couldn't be.

    Several voices called down to her. She ignored them, and tugged the muddy piece free. Blowing away several strands of hair blocking her view, she swished the item around in the rainwater and managed to clean off most of the dirt.

    Small, white and with a distinctive shape, it resembled a bone. More like several tiny bones barely connected by stiff mud. And oh, God… It looked like…
    a finger
    !

    Ice settled into her spine. She held a finger.

    A tiny finger.

    A child's finger, still wearing a toy ring.

    Her fingers tightened around the fragile piece. Her insides warred to keep the precious item safe while another part of her wanted to throw it far away from her.

    Then something changed.

    Dizziness and nausea fought for supremacy as her vision blurred. Disoriented, she wavered as the ditch before her suddenly lengthened and narrowed, morphing into an interior hallway.

    Alexis froze, her horrified gaze locked on the changing scene.

    Dear God, what was going on? Her mind raced to sort out the change. How had the dirt bank turned to gray paint? And the sewer smell smothered by heavy cooking odors? Fried chicken?

    Where was she?

    Alexis stared down the hallway. A young child, caught inside this peculiar scenario, stumbled toward her with both hands clasped over her ears. Tears streamed down her young face, and her t-shirt was inches above the dirty shorts. Bruises decorated her lower legs, and well…dirt covered the rest of her. As if she'd recently been playing in a dirt pile. Alexis tried to run to her, to hug her tight, to protect her…only to find she couldn't move. Her feet were paralyzed in place. Terror filled her heart.

    She opened her mouth to scream. No sound came out.

    Run.
    The scream seared through her mind.

    Dimly in the background, loud crashes and yelling could be heard, as if someone gave chase. Fear of retribution accentuated every step the distraught child took. The sound and tone distorted.

    Alexis shuddered. Tears clogged her throat and pain choked her heart.

    "Alexis. Alex? Alex!"

    Scott's alarmed voice pulled at her from outside the vision that held her transfixed. Caught between two realities, Alexis jerked toward Scott, the object dropping from her fingers.

    Instantly, the hallway disappeared.

    It was if a vacuum sucked the dirt walls back into place, with a rush so powerful it forced Alexis to lean forward. Then as if caught in a giant rubber band, the force suddenly released, to throw her into reverse. She flew backwards and landed, once again, on her butt in the middle of the large puddle.

    Her gut screamed and bile tried to escape her throat. She shuddered. What the hell had just happened? She swallowed convulsively, willing her breakfast to stay down. Tremors started at her toes and rattled up her spine.

    "Alexis, damn it. Answer me!" Scott demanded.

    "I – I'm fine." Was that croaking
    her
    voice? The finger... Where was it? More than a little daunted by the prospect of touching it again, she remained seated and eyed the surrounding mud.

    There.

    It rested on the muddy surface…waiting for her.

    Eerie. She hated to touch it again, the last experience too horrific to repeat. She reached for it, but her fingers shook so badly she stopped. Yet, she couldn't force herself to leave it behind. Compromising, she pulled a tissue from her pocket and gingerly picked it up.

    The size bothered her. The vague image of the running child from a few moments ago slammed back. Ruthlessly, she pushed the vision out of her mind. She couldn't even begin to analyze what had happened. It had been way too weird. Alexis focused on what was important right this moment. Where there was a finger…

    She studied the high expanse of dirt wall. She dimly remembered digging her fingers into the bank on her downward tumble. But how high up had that been? The ditch stood eight to ten feet deep.

    "Here's the ladder, Alexis," Scott said as Mike, another coworker arrived with the ladder. Scott held the long metal structure several feet off to the side.

    "No!" she motioned. "Please, bring it over here. Where I fell in."

    Scott shrugged and the two moved the ladder to the right spot.

    Alexis struggled to position it the best she could near her original flight path. Once the ladder was secured, she moved upward, one rung at a time. At each new level, she stopped and searched. The bone had to have come from somewhere.

    "Oh, for the love of God. Alexis, what are you doing?" Scott peered over the ladder at her.

    Alexis didn't answer. What could she say? Three, maybe four feet from the top, a speck of white caught her eye. Reaching between the ladder rungs, she gently brushed some of the dirt away. Another bone, possibly another finger. Vomit lined her throat. She rested her forehead against the steel frame of the ladder for a long moment.

    "Scott?" Her hands squeezed the ladder tight. She kept her voice low.

    "Yes, beautiful. What's going on?" He crouched down for a better look, but he was at the wrong angle.

    "Are there any police close by?" She cleared her throat, tears suddenly clogging her throat. Willing him to not ask her any questions. "If not, go get one –
    now
    ."

    Startled, Scott stared at her for a brief moment before disappearing from sight, his heavy footsteps fading rapidly. Mike held the ladder steady. Alexis rested her head against a rung, and waited with her arm wrapped around one side of the ladder. The steel dug into her forehead as she realized something important.

    This wasn't just a ditch. This was a grave.

    ***

    Detective Kevin Sutherland chose a spot off to one side where he could watch the proceedings. He tugged at his collar and unbuttoned his one good suit jacket. If it weren't for his boss, he wouldn't be here.

    This was so not his scene. The warm sun already sent sweat down the small of his back, and there were hours more to go. Irritation pulled at him. He had no time or patience for this. Up half the night on a domestic violence call, he should be catching a few hours of much-needed rest. Instead, he'd been badgered into coming here to support his elected officials and to ensure everything went smoothly.

    He snorted. Support, his ass. When would they support his request for extra manpower to keep the community safe?

    "Kevin, it's good to see you." Mayer John Prescott approached, his hand out to shake. With a wary glance around, John asked in a low voice, "Everything okay?"

    Kevin narrowed his gaze on the mingling crowd. "Everything appears fine."

    He paused. Except for one thing. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end, a sure sign that something was wrong somewhere.

    The mayor nodded. "Great. Let's keep it that way." He sharpened his gaze, locking it on Kevin's face. "Keep that other issue in mind, today, too."

    With a curt nod, Kevin said, "I'm on it."

    The mayor returned to the crowd, his politician smile firmly in place.

    Kevin slipped further back from the noise to the large stand of evergreens. He had his own special way of finding out what and where the trouble was coming from. Alone, he opened his mind, allowing his senses free rein. From this new perspective, he opened a special portal and reached out mentally, like a trouble-seeking probe, searching.

    The music blaring over the loudspeaker mixed with the shrieks of children on the playground. Normal. Widening his perimeter, he checked the parking lot and side streets. That area seemed fine, too. Turning slightly, he half-closed his eyes, sending energy behind him.

    There.

    Cold tendrils of fear crept toward him from the back of the construction area. He did another quick mental check. The energy was calm but insistent. Not static and flaming, which meant the problem wasn't violent or an emergency. But someone needed help.

BOOK: Garden of Sorrow (Book 4 of Psychic Visions, a paranormal romantic suspense)
3.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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