Read Linda Welch - A conspiracy of Demons Online
Authors: A Conspiracy of Demons
A Conspiracy of Demons
A Whisperings Paranormal Mystery
Books by Linda Welch
Whisperings Paranormal Mysteries
Along Came a Demon
The Demon Hunters
Dead Demon Walking
Demon Demon Burning Bright
Demon on a Distant Shore
A Conspiracy of Demons
Dark Urban Fantasy Short Story Collection
Whisperings: A Conspiracy of Demons
Nordic Valley Books
Flip City Books
Tiff photo by Jeffrey Banke /
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products 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.
Copyright 2012 by Linda Welch
All rights reserved.
Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a data base or retrieval system without prior written permission of the owner of this book.
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rolled my eyes. “Come on, Pete. Enough.
raise my voice
. Pete hear
me from wherever he hid in the old mining town of La Plata.
“Over here now!” Pete whispered
When a shade yells, it’s still a whisper to me, albeit a hoarse, forceful whisper.
I’d already spent twenty minutes pretending to play hide and seek. I couldn’t catch him, he zipped away if I came near his hiding place, and Pete knew I couldn’t.
A flash of red
woven pine branches -
and slogged up the hill.
n the Bear River Mountains, La
a silver-mining boomtown in the 1890s.
upied the small, narrow valley in
their cabins and stores
either side of
the creek. It was all over by 1
What remains of La Plata
sits in the middle of La Plata Recreation, a
camping area on
the 11,000 acre La Plata Ranch
camps in the old ghost town.
One cabin is still intact,
two are piles of rotting wood.
The other buildings
. Some old
mining machinery sits on the hill, and you have to
for collapsing mine shafts
if you hike the area
. Not all of them have been sealed.
It’s getting dark.
” He leane
d on the cab of
his new white
truck, one leg crossed over the other, arms folded o
I admired the way his stance
long-sleeved shirt tight
the blue denim
You’d think Royal spent
hours in the gym working out, but he
s just naturally built like
one of those Greek gods sculptors are fond of chiseling.
He unfolded his arms and reached up to push long copper and gold hair back over his shoulders, which did more interesting things to his shirt.
“Shall we stay another night?”
him a regretful smile
. “I wouldn’t mind, but I told Maryanne we’ll be home today.”
s the daughter of my favorite kennel owner
. A student at River Valley
University, her schedule allows
her to care for my
Scottish terrier MacKlut
zy when I am away. Her mother
offered her services when I needed someone to
Mac while Royal and I were in England, and I’d used her several times since.
A good sitter is a god
hen you are as paranoid as I am about
reliable care for your dog
white teeth. “I enjoy wat
ching you wake in the morning, e
cially when you wake in my arms.
I enjoyed c
out last night
. We brought a mattress in
truck bed and spent the night under the stars. I
not as a rule
, but a thick duvet and Royal’s hot body kept me toasty.
With no artificial light to
their splendor, sta
rs densely packed the night sky
as if painted on in thick swaths. I could not tear my eyes away, until Royal distracted me.
Need I mention we didn’
Fringing the valley, pine and
aspen stood against a pale-blue sky
expanse of long,
and dead wildflowers
Mule Ear which could pierce the thickness of my jeans, so I found a flat rock and
sat with arms
around bent knees.
Four Sharp-Shinned hawk
circled overhead, low enough
their copper and cream undersides.
ier in the year when birds cry, insects chatter and tiny creatures rustle
hout the evening
, only a gentle wind
through pine and shivering aspen leaves broke the silence
enough for today. If you don’t come out, we’ll have to leave, and
you won’t hear
I didn’t begrudge Pete his fun. Of all the people who visited the old mining town, only I saw and spoke to him
and he ha
d been alone for
I came here whenever Royal and I camped and a
n hour with
, even when he played hide and seek
should get off the mountain
before dusk took over the landscape
Moose and deer
from the higher altitudes
along the trails
now that winter approached
e could put a serious dent in Royal’s big truck
, and hurting or killing a moose was not an option.
“Oh, all right,” Pete grumbled from somewhere off to my right.
down the slope, a short, slim young man with waving black hair
the shoulders of his
red T-shirt. Dirt smeared his khaki shorts and clumped on his brown tennis shoes.
Blood and abrasion
in his clothing and blood matted his disheveled hair.
five buddies got
which escalated and ended in violence
ten years ago
Pete headed away in a huff,
Boyd Harrop crushed the back of
skull with a rock.
Boyd’s temper got out of control, he didn’t mean to kill Pete.
Terrified, the teens dumped Pete’s body down a mine shaft
They calmed down after
and realized what a mess they
. Their parents expected them to return home together, so saying they left Pete hale and hearty in La Plata
wash. One of them drove
picked up service and called
. He said Pete fell down the mine shaft and must be hurt because he didn’t answer them.
arrived and hauled Pete
out, and the coroner
the shaft and died of multiple wounds from impacting the shaft’s rocky walls. And that was that.
leased a campsite
After I talked
Captain Mike Warren of Clarion PD Homicide into reopening the case,
his people found
the rock used to smash Pete’s skull at the bottom of the mine shaft.
those old tunnels, but by some miracle
, perhaps due to the way in which the rock wedged in a crevice,
a few s
kin cells which d
id not belong to Pete still adhered
. When this
type of evidence comes up, it is
not uncommon for the police to
DNA samples from all parties involved. The skin flakes, of course, came from Boyd’s hand.
Pete sat next to me. “What’s this news?”
The prosecutor pushed for the
, but the judge
at the time and
that it was a crime of passion
hung his head,
silent for ten seconds before saying, “I’m sorry
. I was angry
at first, but we were kids
He didn’t mean to kill me.
not a kid anymore, Pete.
He meant to do you serious damage, he lied and hid the truth for ten years. He could have got
s only twenty-seven
. He never really lived.”
A hawk folded its wings and dropped behind a pine.
The breeze became a wind which dipped into the valley and ran over the long grass; it bowed as if stroked by a giant hand.
gave myself a mental shake. “Neither did you.
, Pete, it’ll be
before you go on
down the road
He lifted his head and eyed me. “What will happen when . . .
, but those I saw pass over
to be going
I stood and swatted dead grass from my
. “I’ll see you next time.”
stood beside me, face
to the sky. “W
inter’s coming. You won’t be ba
ck till spring. You will come back?”
.” I grinned at him. “And next time, I’m gonna
He laughed in my face. You can’t physically
Royal had the truck running when I joined him. He slowly eased the big beast along the narrow trail which took us to a more populated part o
f the recreation
ampers, trailers and motor homes
half hidden by quaking aspen
ill sat in their camping spots,
people had already taken
their rigs out
in case snow fell early.
We drove past the
spring where we filled our five—
gallon containers on the way in, then
over the cattle grid
and out of the campground.
Driving the ranch trails is teeth-rattling and bone-shaking,
the trail becomes a gravel road on the far side of the property’s gate. I relaxed back
the smooth leather seat and took my soda from the cup hold
I could drink without it splashing all over me.
Royal’s amber and sandalwood scent filled the cab. I
returning my gaze
to the road.