The Black Dog – A Harbinger of Death
Starting Monday, we will be having another week of Excerpts, here on The Write Stuff. I’ll post separately on that shortly. Since I have no #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger this week, I’ve decided start early, by sharing an excerpt from my current WIP, Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3. This is from the rough draft, so be kind. 🙂
To set this up, we met Rabbit in Book 2, A Boy Named Rabbit. He and his adoptive father, MacKenzie Cole, have been asked by the sheriff to help with a 20-year old cold case file. Mac is a master of gathering intel of various sorts through his computer research firm, and Rabbit has skills far and above the average 11-year-old. Or anyone else, for that matter. His gift of The Sight, as they call it in the mountains, has come on strong, developing into a prodigious talent far surpassing that of his gran, who was also gifted.
Sheriff Raleigh Wardell, his grandson, Finn, Mac, and Rabbit have gone to visit the burned out cabin where the Birdwell family lived for years, until the disappearance of 8-year-old Sissy Birdwell tore their lives apart. It’s a place of sadness and pain that Rabbit can clearly feel, even before setting foot on the property. And on this occasion, in addition to the things he feels, he’s had a vision, as well. Enjoy!
Saturday Afternoon, March 8, 2014
North Carolina Mountains
MAC’S BREATH CAUGHT in his throat. “You saw her? You saw Sissy Birdwell?”
Rabbit nodded. “She were a sweet lookin’ little girl, Daddy.”
Raleigh pulled a small, spiral notepad and pen from his pocket, and stepped closer, his excitement giving off an almost physical thrum of energy. He’d launched into full Sheriff Mode, ready for all the details. “Well now, Rabbit. That’s something pretty special. Can you tell us what she looked like?”
The boy turned brimming eyes toward the sheriff. “Pretty,” he said, swallowing tears. “A real pretty little girl, with long black hair in them ropes down her back.” He looked at Mac. “What’s it called when hair’s like that, Daddy . . . pig’s tails?”
“Close enough,” Mac murmured, rubbing the goosebumps on his arms, as he watched Raleigh.
The sheriff stood frozen, pen poised above his notepad, and eyes wide. His mouth had dropped open in surprise. He closed it with a snap, cleared his throat, and nodded briskly. “Ah, yes . . . pigtails. Um . . . what else can you see?”
Rabbit was quiet another minute or two, gaze gone vacant, and his brow furrowed in concentration. When he looked up again, he shook his head. “She ain’t here, now,” he said.
The sheriff was busy scribbling notes on his pad, but he glanced up at that, crestfallen. “She’s gone? Where’d she go? Can you get her back?”
“Wish I could, but it ain’t ‘zactly like callin’ her up on Skype, an’ I ain’t figured out yet if there’s some way to make it work when I want it to. I’m real sorry, Sheriff Wardell, but I only saw her for a minute. Felt her longer than I saw her, though. Her thoughts was all kinda zippin’ this way an’ that, happy ‘bout some new puppies, an’ then sad, ‘cause there was some goodbyes comin’ up, somewhere. I seen some bits of colored ribbon tied around the end of them pig’s tails . . . I mean, pigtails . . . an’ then, she wasn’t here no more.”
Raleigh looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry, Rabbit. I understand you can’t turn this on and off when you want. I just got excited to know Sissy left traces behind you can feel and see. It’s amazing, really, and you did great.”
“I ‘member one more thing, Sheriff. She were wearin’ a silver band on one of her arms . . . an’ it had these little, bluish sorta stones in it. Don’t reckon that helps much, but—“
Raleigh made a choked sound. If he’d been surprised before, he looked completely stunned now. He stared first at Rabbit, and then at Mac. His mouth opened and closed twice, before he managed actual words. “My God, Mac. He really did see her.”
Mac raised an eyebrow. “Well, yes. I thought we’d established that from the pretty accurate description he gave us.”
Raleigh was almost stammering in excitement. “I hoped he had, of course, but . . . well . . . it was just possible . . . I mean, he might have been picking up that description from you or me. We’ve both seen her picture, after all.” He gave Rabbit an apologetic look. “Not that you would do that on purpose, Rabbit, but I just wasn’t sure at first where the image you saw was coming from. But now I know.”
“How?” Mac asked.
“The bracelet was a brand new birthday present, and she lost it the day before she disappeared. When I interviewed Sissy’s mother the first time, she was real upset that she’d scolded Sissy so harshly for losing it. She was just starting to realize that a lost bracelet was nothing, compared to a lost little girl.”
Mac’s brow furrowed in confusion. “And?”
Raleigh shook his head, eyes glowing in wonder. “And that bracelet was never mentioned in any of the reports of her disappearance. It was already gone, so it wasn’t a factor when describing the clothes she was wearing that day. Hell, I’d forgotten about it myself. There’s no way Rabbit could have picked that detail up from you or I.”
He turned his eyes back to Rabbit. “Oh, yeah,” he breathed. “Rabbit’s the Real Deal, all right. And I’m absolutely sure he’s made contact with Sissy Birdwell.”
Buy Books 1 and 2 of my Wake-Robin Ridge series here: