Winch-Hunt: Part 8

From Part 7

“They have video surveillance of the break-in the other night. He wanted me to identify Jeff.”

“Oh no, Tom! What did you tell him?”

“I could honestly say I couldn’t recognize who it was. You know those pictures are always so bad anyway, and then you add the poor quality camera that Mr. Royer has, and well . . . I couldn’t recognize him.” I didn’t lie.

“Charlie said he thought it looked like Lester Cravitz. He’s looking for a promotion and he thinks this case will give it to him. I certainly don’t want Lester doing time for something he didn’t do, but I don’t think Charlie’s going to stop until he gets to the bottom of it; and when he gets to the bottom, you know who will be there. I guess the good thing is that Charlie is kind of a bumble-brain. It may take him a while to dig all the way to the bottom. Maybe by then, I can put all the pieces of this puzzle together.”

“Tom, maybe we should just let it go!”

“You have got to be kidding! Let what go?”

“The lighthouse – the mystery – Ronald Barry – the severed hand, the constant spying – everything, everything! You gave it your best shot. No one can fault you for that, but Tom, Tom, I love you. It’s too dangerous.”

“I love you too, but there’s evil out there and it has to be stopped.”

“Tom, don’t you think God can take care of the evil without you?”

“I think He wants to take care of the evil through me, Mel. Please just trust me. It will all work out.”

Continuing

“Mel, it’s a beautiful day! Let’s go down to the beach for the afternoon. I promise I won’t go near the lighthouse. I just need some time to relax and clear my head. The water always does that. You know what I mean?”

With doubts about the truthfulness of Tom’s statement, Mel reluctantly packed a picnic lunch and they were off. The sun was beating down a warm glow as Tom spread a blanket on the sand. The beach umbrella was in place and Tom was ready for a relaxing afternoon of doing nothing but enjoying some peace and quiet. With sunglasses in place, he would be true to his word.

The ocean glistened with whitecaps and sunlight. It was moments like these that Tom truly felt as one with his God. The Creator God had blessed him with the wonders of His creation. From Tom’s point of view, New England was much more captivating than the small mid-western town that he had left behind.

Slowly the sea breeze began to lull Tom to sleep. In that state of in betweenness, his memory took him back to his days in Brown County Indiana. It seemed that progress never made it to Nashville, the seat of Brown County. The vistas seemed to spread from every hilltop and the woods were a wonderful place for Tom to escape.

In an instant, Tom sat up. Mel, looking shocked, asked, “What’s Wrong, Tom?”

“Mel, we’ve got to be careful. We can’t trust Jeff.”

“Tom, what do you mean? Jeff’s on our side. He’s proven that. He was willing to do the break-in for you, to protect you. What are you talking about?”

“Jeff knows more that he’s admitting. He’s a reporter – and he’s from Indiana. I’m from Indiana.”

“So . . . . “

“He knows me from somewhere in my past. I can’t put it all together right now, but I will. I’ll find out what’s going on here and why.”

“Tom, be realistic. South Bend is nowhere near Nashville. There’s almost a whole state in between. Jeff’s here for one purpose and one purpose only – to find out what happened to his brother. Besides it’s getting late. Let’s go back to the house.”

Toms’ new fear had taken hold. Even though he and Mel were heading back to the house, he couldn’t shake the feeling that Jeff knew something important. Mel was right. Jeff had been loyal from the very beginning, at least it seemed that way. It would seem that Jeff could be trusted, but Tom was filled with questions and caution. From this moment on he wouldn’t let Jeff get too close to him or the investigation. Now Jeff would become part of the investigation. On the way home Tom rambled on about his lack of trust in Jeff.

“Mel, I know it sounds unreasonable. I know Jeff looks like . . .”

“Look Tom, Jeff hasn’t done anything to make you think he’s up to something. He’s been nothing but a friend to you and a partner in this crazy investigation that you insist on following through with. If you ask me, you’re the dangerous one.”

“Come on, Mel. I’m serious. I know it sounds irrational, but you women always have a sixth sense about things. Don’t you think we men have a sixth sense too?”

“Yes Tom, but there’s one difference.”

“I know I’ll regret this, but what might that be?”

“We women are always right! Now let’s forget about this. You need Jeff, at least for now.”

It was too late. Jeff was already waiting for them in the Winch’s driveway.

“Tom, be nice”, Mel muttered under her breath.

“Hey Bro, what’s happenin’?”

“Look Jeff, we need to talk abou . . .” Tom took Mel’s elbow in his side.

“What Tom means Jeff, is that we need to discuss our plans to continue the investigation.”

“Well, you guys know I’m all about that, so let’s get to it.”



Tom awoke with the uneasiness he had felt the night before. He couldn’t forget that he believed Jeff had a connection to his past and couldn’t be trusted. Along with that feeling, he also felt nauseous. This was going to be a long day and Tom knew it.

By mid-afternoon Tom was ready to go see Doctor Warren. He had broken out in a fever and was feeling considerably weaker than usual. Fortunately, Doctor Warren had a cancellation and was able to see Tom immediately.

The drive to his office was difficult if not painful. Every turn of the wheel, every press of the brake was excruciating. Tom couldn’t get to Doctor Warren’s office fast enough.

Tom wobbled through the door and was ushered back to the examination room. In a few minutes Doctor Warren came in.

“Well Preacher, what seems to be the problem today?”

“Oh, I don’t know Doc. I feel like I’m burning up and my stomach’s unsettled. It took all of my strength just to drive here. Probably the flu, I would guess.”

“Well, let’s take a look and see. You are extremely warm. Let’s get your shirt off and get into this gown. I’ll be back in just a minute.”

It seemed to Tom that Doctor Warren’s just a minute was more like an hour. When Doctor Warren did come in Tom was drenched in sweat.

“Tom, let’s get your temperature. We’ll get this under control and you’ll be on your way real soon . . . looks like 101, Tom. That’s high, but not high enough to cause all that sweat. Is there something else going on that I don’t know about?”

Tom was silent.

“Let’s check your breathing and your heart rate. Open up the back of your gown . . . Tom, I’m going to send you down to the lab. I want them to get some images of your back. Then I want you and Mel back here tonight at seven o’clock to discuss the results.

"Here’s a prescription for the fever. I’ll see you tonight.”

“Wait Doc. I can’t come back tonight. What’s going on? Is this something serious? And Doc, I’ve never known you to get lab results back in less than three days. Tell me now. What’s going on?”

"Tom, we’ll talk about it tonight. Your fever and nausea will take care of itself. The prescription will help with that. Tom, something else is going on in your body. I just want to take precautions. Now, the nurse will see you out.”

The drive home seemed exceptionally long. Tom’s mind was racing. The less he knew the better. He had no intention of returning to Doctor Warren’s office. Crawling out of the car, he slowly made his way to the front door where Mel was waiting for him.

So what’s the story, Tom? What did the doctor say?”

“Just the flu. He gave me a prescription. I stopped and had it filled on the way home. He said I’ll be fine.” Tom justified himself. He did get the prescription filled, and Doctor Warren did say the flu wasn’t serious.

Mel had supper on the table, and Tom was ready for some good, home cooking. Even though his stomach was still on edge, he had to eat something. Besides, he did feel a little better.

“Mel, thanks for a wonderful meal. I think I’m going to go to the bedroom and rest for a while; let the prescription do its work, you know.”

“Okay, Tom. I’ll wake you when it’s time to leave.”

“When it’s time to leave? What do you mean?“

"Doctor Warren called me. He knew you wouldn’t tell me. We’re both going to his office at seven o’clock. Go get some rest. I’ll wake you.”

Tom realized there wasn’t much use in arguing. He knew it was for the best. After all, he had to gain his strength back so he could continue the investigation. Maybe there was a bright side to this after all.

Tom was all ready to go when Mel came into the room to wake him. “Mel, what do you suppose is wrong? Did the Doc tell you anything?”

“Nope. All he said was that he needed both of us to be there to see the lab results. How do you feel since you’ve rested?”

“I guess a little better. I just wish I knew what the Doc saw that seems so important. You know Mel, I’m glad I’m going, and I’m glad you’re going with me. If I never knew the results of the lab work, I’d probably drive myself crazy wondering what was wrong . . . . Well, we’re here. Are you ready?”

Tom walked around to Mel’s door and opened it for her. They both went in together – holding hands. All of a sudden Tom was showing affection in public. Mel knew he was concerned about the lab results. She also knew he needed her as much as much as she needed him.

The nurse met them at the door. Most of the lights were off and there wasn’t anyone else in the waiting room.

“Hi, Shirley.” Tom greeted the nurse. Where is everybody?”

“Hi Tom. Hi Mel. Everybody is gone. We close the office at five o’clock. Doctor Warren thought it was important enough to come back in to discuss your results. No waiting this time. Come on back.”

Doctor Warren was waiting with photographs in hand. “Hi Tom, Mel. Have a seat. How are the flu symptoms?”

“Actually Doc, I feel pretty good considering how I felt this afternoon.”

“I thought that might be the case. Tom, let’s get you up on the table and take your shirt off. Mel, come around behind Tom. Now, look right here. What do you see here on Tom’s back?”

“Where? I don’t see anything.”

“Exactly my point. Now look at these pictures.”

Tom interrupted. “They’re photographs. I thought you would take some x-ray type pictures, or maybe ultrasound. How can you tell anything scientific from ordinary photographs.”

“Now just a minute, Tom. Be patient. I’ll explain everything. Just hold on. Now Mel, what do you see in these pictures of Tom’s back?”

“There’s three bloody scratches. Tom, Wh . . . .”

“Mel, now you hold on a minute. Let me make my point and then we’ll talk about it,” the doctor interrupted.

Doctor Warren placed the tip of his index finger on a section of Tom’s back. “Can you feel my finger, Tom? Take your hand and try to touch it.”

Tom moved his right hand behind his back and desperately tried to touch Doctor Warren’s finger. He was unsuccessful. He moved his left hand up over his shoulder and down his back. Still no contact could be made.

Viewer Discretion Advised

“Now Preacher, here are the pictures that we’ve been looking at. Do you see these three scratches are at the exact location that you just tried to touch? It is impossible for you to have done this yourself. Tom, to put it quite simply, you’ve been marked.”

“What do you mean, marked?”

“Three scratches – it’s the demon mark. Someone has summoned the spirits to destroy you. It’s that voodoo mix of theology, a little this and a little that, and three scratches. Tom, I can help you with the flu, but you’re the religious man. You’re on your own with this one. My guess would be that whoever cast that spell on your ankle is behind this as well.”

“Well Doc, that’s just what I wanted to hear! Mel said the marks are gone. What happened to them?”

“Once the mark appears, it often fades quickly. Its absence means nothing. The fact is that it appeared. I saw this in Louisiana twice, and both times the victims died within the year.

“Tom, I’m not much for your kind of religion, but you better pray that your God has things under control. The forces of darkness are very real and very powerful. Be careful. That’s all for now. Good night to both of you.”

It was a silent drive home as neither one spoke; maybe from surprise, maybe from fear, maybe from disbelief. Nevertheless questions were raised in the quiet of the night and could only be heard in the mind of the asker.

As Tom made the turn into his driveway he blurted out, “It’s Jeff. Mel, I told you he can’t be trusted. I knew it. I knew he was up to something since the day he arrived. Mel, I don’t care what you say. I’m done with him. He can go back to Indiana tomorrow.”

“I hate to say it Tom, but you may be right! But why? What would Jeff have to profit from your death? How could he possibly benefit?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care. He’s done!

© 2016 William Kovacic

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Comments 11 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

I think there are some questions that still need answering? Looking forward to them. A very enjoyable story. You've kept my interest and that's saying quite a bit as I usually don't read continuing chapters online.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean

I think I missed an episode, but the suspense and strange occurrences certainly make the story appealing. Good plot and good story-telling!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

MsDora,

Thanks for following along. I checked the other episodes, and it seems you left a comment on each one. Not sure which one you missed - maybe 7? (Still there was a comment). Anyway, I'm glad to have you along for the ride!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 10 months ago from The Beautiful South

That took a surprising turn! Will be back for more.

Shared


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

You're welcome here any time, Jackie. Looking forward to your next visit!


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 10 months ago from USA- Florida

Hi again Bill. You have me coming back for more.

This was great installment. I am really enjoying the whole story.

I admit, I have no idea what will happen next. I have always felt that there was something odd about Jeff. He does seem to come out of know where. I like the idea that he and Tom have met before. That was an interesting plot twist.

I am bothered by the Idea that a A curse could be placed on a child of God. I know you suggested Job as an example, and I suppose you could be right, but I wouldn't think Job is the rule rather the exception.

I was brought up in the Pentecostal tradition. As an adult I rejected much of the emotional hype and superstition that comes along with that mindset. But I have retained a few things so long as they can be supported with Scripture. My mother always told me God had my back. She drilled scriptures in me that helped me go to sleep at night, scripture that would help fight of fear and the devil. I truely believe that He that is in me, is greater then he that is in the world. That at the name of Jesus, Demons will have to flee. I take eternal comfort in the idea that the Devil had to get God's permission to inflict Job. That any voodoo witch doctor has to go through Him to get to me.

Looking forward to seeing how you straighten all this out within the circumstances of the story.

Excellent story line . I am lovin it.

Aaron


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Aaropn,

I 'm glad to hear you don't know what is to happen next. Maybe that means I did something right, I hope. Don't be bothered by the "curse". Hopefully it will all make sense in the end - or maybe the curse isn't a curse at all - or maybe . . . . Certainly God has our backs, and He is much greater than he that is in the world.

Thanks for following along. Part 9 will be ready soon. Have a great week!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 10 months ago from Pacific Northwest

"In the state of in betweeness." Good line. The plot thickens.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Now that was a twist! But is he right? Great writing

Lawrence


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Lori,

Not sure where I came up with that one, but I'm glad it meets your approval.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Lawrence,

You know the answer to your question - I'll never tell! Don't worry though. The answer is forthcoming.

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