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Winch-Hunt Part 4

Updated on September 4, 2018

From Part 3

“Mr. Winch, this is Jeff. My flight just got in ahead of this rain. I’m at the motel. Could we meet for lunch tomorrow – say about 12:30?”

“The sooner the better, Jeff. I want to get this over with. And just call me Tom. Forget the Mr. Winch stuff.” Was Tom softening? They were now on a first name basis. That thought was even surprising to him. Even though a certain level of trust was not yet present, Tom could feel himself easing up a little. Maybe he had finally come to realize that Jeff needed him – and that he needed Jeff. The only way to put the puzzle together was to share each other’s pieces. Truly, they needed each other and Tom was beginning to realize this.

“I’ll meet you tomorrow Jeff, at the Pit Stop over on Conway Boulevard. You think you can find it?”

“Yeah, sure Bro. I never go anywhere without my GPS.”

“Um, Jeff. Let’s not get carried away. First names are fine, but knock off this Bro talk. I’ll see you tomorrow."


Through the rest of the morning, rain continued to fall. Tom was getting edgy. He wanted to take one last look around the beach and lighthouse before he met with Jeff the following day. Mel would soon be home for lunch. “If only she could see what I see,” Tom thought to himself, “she’d understand the importance of this.” No matter. She didn’t understand and Tom knew it would be up to just Jeff and him to solve the puzzle; to fight the crime.

What crime? No body had been found. The severed hand could have washed ashore after the boat hit the rocks. It could belong to one of the victims of the crash. Maybe Tom was making too much of the circumstances. A trip to the funeral parlor might answer some of Tom’s questions. Someone there would know the condition of the bodies from the wreck.

Tom sat waiting for the rain to stop when the thought was suddenly jogged from his memory. What about the note that read, “BACK OFF!”? Someone felt threatened by Tom’s find – enough so to bully him. Someone else had a stake in that hand. If it was from a victim of the fishing boat accident, maybe it wasn’t an accident at all.

Tom’s concentration was broken when Mel came in through the back door allowing it to slam behind her. “Tom, I had such a great time. Mrs. Camp invited two friends over and they both got saved. Isn’t that wonderful, Tom!”

“Yeah, that’s great.” Glad you could go.”

“Tom, they were asking for you. Don’t you think it’s time to at least start to plan your ministry?” “Yeah, I’ll get around to it, but right now . . .”

“But right now it’s that old lighthouse thing, isn’t it? Tom, we left the Midwest to do God’s work. We picked up and left everything behind – our friends, our church, your work, for what?

“You’ve only been promised support for one year. Time is slowly running out and you haven’t even begun to build a church. Our church didn’t give support to track down the New England Mafia. Please, Tom, let’s begin planning. You have three people that need you to follow God in this. They need a church, and after talking with them I’m sure there will be others to follow. The eternal destiny of this town may come down to your willingness to obey Christ and see this through.”

“Mel, I know you’re right, but I can’t get away from this whole thing – the hand, Jeff Hunt, Ronald Barry, the wreck, and the lighthouse. Mel, there’s something about that lighthouse. Somehow the lighthouse holds the key, but I haven’t figured out how just yet.”

“Tommm! – I’ll get us some lunch.”

By mid-afternoon, the rain had cleared and a bright New England sun glistened off the waves as Tom walked by the lighthouse. Nothing appeared to be different than any other day, but as Tom glanced up at the old weather-worn building, he thought he caught a glimpse of someone at the third story window. Thought wasn’t good enough for Tom. He had to be sure. The question was how could he get inside the lighthouse without being seen? There were several people on the beach, not to mention the fact that the lighthouse was fenced for high security.

That was another piece to the puzzle. Why did an old, abandoned lighthouse demand such strong measures to keep people out? More questions kept rising. In the back of Tom’s mind, he could hear Mel’s voice, “The eternal destiny of this town may come down to your willingness to obey Christ and see this through.”

Tom couldn’t sleep. The big, red numbers on the alarm clock read 2:06. Tossing and turning was getting him nowhere. He quietly moved through the darkened room trying his best not to wake Mel – until he stubbed his toe on the corner of the dresser.

“Tom, are you okay?” Mel screamed. “What happened? Can you sit down?”

“I’m okay, Mel. I just stubbed my toe".

“Tom, you can’t even walk. Sit down and I’ll get the light.”

Once Tom and Mel were able to see the toe, it was becoming clear that it was more than a simple stub as evidenced by the purple discoloration.

“Tom, get your foot elevated. I’ll get the ice pack. You didn’t stub your toe. You broke it. Now just relax and I’ll get the ice pack. In the morning we’ll get you over to Doctor Warren’s office. He can take a look at it.”

“Mel, what is the doctor going to do, even if it is broken. He’ll put it in a splint and that will be that. Get me a popsicle stick. I’ll be fine.” “Get your foot up. I’m getting the ice pack.”

The pain had not yet reached a sufficient level to subside. Tom gave up on the idea of sleep. The ice pack did very little to alleviate the pain. The big, red numbers on the alarm clock continued to change at a slow rate – 3:15; 4:27; 5:32 . . . . The last number Tom saw was 6:04. Finally, sleep had come. Mel decided to let him sleep. After such a long night for both of them, she felt the doctor could wait.

A sleepless night and the severe pain had finally put Tom into a deep sleep. He rolled over to look at those big, red numbers on the alarm clock – 1:15. Just then the phone rang.

“Hello, Mrs. Winch. This is Jeff Hunt. I was to meet your husband today for lunch. I had a 12:30 appointment. Do you know if he’s left yet?”

“No, actually I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep that appointment. Who did you say this is?”

“Jeff Hunt. I talked to you a few weeks ago. I’m the reporter from South Bend. Mrs. Winch, I really need to talk to him. Would he be available later?”

“Jeff, he didn’t sleep at all last night. He stubbed his toe in the middle of the night – so he says. He broke it and I need to get him to see the doctor. He’s still sleeping.”

Well, not exactly. Tom had been listening to the one-sided conversation long enough. He hopped out of bed and putting his foot down left out a terrible squeal. Mel excused herself from the phone with the promise to have Tom call as soon as he could.

Tom’s weight was more than he could handle. It wasn’t just his toe. His ankle was twice its normal size and just as purple as his toe. The pain from his toe masked the pain of his ankle, but now there were shards of pain stabbing everywhere. The ankle had given out and Tom knew he missed his chance with Jeff – at least for today. Mel helped him into the car and they headed off to see Doctor Warren.

Doctor Warren could only stare at Tom’s ankle. After a few seconds, he finally said, “Tom, what did you do?”

“I was getting out of bed in the middle of the night and I stubbed my toe.”

“Tom, you didn’t stub your toe. It’s your ankle. What you felt in your toe was coming from your ankle. I’ve never seen an ankle that twisted before. Let’s get you some x-rays.”

Jeff headed down to the beach for a look around. He didn’t know what he was looking for. He was just looking. He pulled out his notes and began to review. Since the night the fishing boat wrecked, his brother had not been seen. A good month had passed. Any physical evidence would no longer exist. It would be up to Jeff to take what information he had and draw sound conclusions from it. Any new information he might be able to pick up from the people of the town would also be a help.

He walked past the lighthouse; nothing out of the ordinary. He saw from a distance the rocks where the boat had wrecked; nothing unusual. Up to this point, it hadn’t been officially known if Ronald Barry was even on the boat at the time of the wreck. Jeff never knew his brother to be much of a fisherman. If he was on the boat, the question ‘why‘ would have to be answered.

Without Tom’s input, Jeff didn’t really have much to go on. This much he knew. Ronald called him the night before to tell him that he was investigating some strange happenings around the Sandy Hill Lighthouse. If something were to happen to him, he told Jeff, just know that he had succumbed to foul play. No other details were given. Now Ronald had disappeared off the face of the earth.

The sun had just set when Tom hobbled home on his newly found crutches. What caused the ankle to give out was unclear, but the damage was done to the ligaments. For no apparent reason, they just popped. There was no doubt about it. Tom wouldn’t be visiting the beach for several days, maybe weeks. That was the doctor’s orders, but Tom knew differently.

Mel settled in for what she knew was going to be a time of insisting and holding her ground. She knew Tom too well, and she knew he would not go quietly. Getting him to bed was the easy part, but tomorrow was another day and nothing would slow down her stubborn, set in his ways, husband.

Tom was able to sleep somewhat peacefully despite the pain that was still pushing through his body. Total exhaustion brought sleep quickly and quietly. Fortunately for Mel, the ankle had stiffened overnight and Tom wasn’t able to get out of bed without her help. Even Tom knew he wasn’t going to the lighthouse this day.

The phone rang. “Tom, it’s for you. It’s Jeff Hunt. Do you want to talk to him?

“Mr. Hunt, he can’t talk right now. He’ll call you as soon as he’s able.” With that, she hung up, but she couldn’t escape the thought – “What’s that crazy husband of mine up to now?”

It wasn’t in Tom’s temperament to give up so easily. Mel was sure he was plotting something. It was just a matter of time until she found out.

“Tom, do you want me to bring you some lunch?” You don’t have to get up. I’ll bring it in. Tom, what are you doing?” Spread over the bed were papers with names and addresses. Tom was working on a contact list for his newly founded church. He began placing them in order by street names and numbers.

Mel blurted out, “Where in the world did you get all those names?”

“These are contacts I made while developing the ministry that you think I’ve been ignoring. I’m sending a letter of invitation from the church to each one.”

“Then does that mean that you have a date in mind?”

“Yep, two Sundays from now.”

“And does that also mean that you have a place to meet in mind?”

“Yep, right here in our living room!”

“Tom, you can’t bring strange people into this house. What will they think? A house is nowhere to have a church. This is our house and I want to keep it that way. I don’t want a church to be judged on my housekeeping.”

“Then you better get cleaning. We have people that are ready to come. You said so yourself. If we don’t act soon, we’ll lose them. You said that yourself, too. So it’s time to get going. After I get this bundle of invitations ready, will you take them down to the post office? I’m not getting around all that well these days.”

“Yes, I’ll mail them – and Tom, I really am glad you’re doing this. It’s nice to see you thinking about the needs of others.”

The official report came back from Doctor Warren’s office. Tom’s ankle had been broken, but in such a way that it couldn’t be explained. Tom didn’t hit it hard enough to cause the damage that now existed. Tom needed to get back to the office to get the attention his ankle needed.

Doctor Warren started off, “Tom, there’s no way that ankle was broken by bumping or even smashing it. And how did you even manage to walk? I’ve seen things like this only once before, and Tom, you’re not going to like the cause . . . .”

“So what is it, Doc? Come on. Tell me!”

“Tell me, Tom, what do you know about Voodoo? Have you ever seen the dolls that are used for curses? You know, the pincushion dolls? Very rarely are they used for revenge, but when they are it’s a very serious matter. Tom, do you have any enemies? Anyone that would want to harm you? I doubt you bumped into anything at all.”

“Wait a second Doc. You’re telling me that my ankle is broken because someone stuck a pin in a doll? That’s ridiculous!”

“Tom, you’ve been targeted. This is only the beginning. Come on, think! Is there anyone that might want to hurt you? Tom, if I’m going to be able to help you, you have to level with me.”

“I don’t have any enemies that I know of . . . wait, Doc.” Tom was leading up to something, but he wasn’t sure he should really go there. “Could one of these dolls remove a part of a body? I mean, I’ve heard of severed hands that were attributed to that kind of activity,” Tom lied. “Is that really possible?”

“Years ago, Tom, I practiced medicine in New Orleans. There were always the stories. Like I said, very rarely was Voodoo used for retaliation or revenge, but on one occasion I remember a person’s hand being crushed much like your ankle. I never saw any body parts completely removed, but I do believe in the power of Voodoo. I believe your ankle is the result of Voodoo. Tom, be careful.” One thing Mel would never know was how Tom really broke his ankle. The second thing Mel would never know was how much danger Tom was facing.

© 2015 William Kovacic


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    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Tammy,

      Good example with Balaam. Aaron had questions about the curse too, and as you say, "We shall see." Thanks for taking time out to read and comment!

    • Tamarajo profile image


      5 years ago

      Home church...sounds great to me it sure would eliminate a whole lot of technicalities and rid church of its whole business feel. Curious to see how the voo doo thing plays out if I'm projecting correctly....Curse causeless shall not come. Balaam proved it. We shall see : )

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      We'll see what happens, Lawrence. Thanks for sticking around!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      So now we've got the occult in the story, I think Tom has a real fight on his hands, seeing how it'll all weave together will be interesting


    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Okay, Lori. I'll see you there!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from United States

      I'm with Dora, what a surprise with the voodoo. On to the next chapter.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Happy New Year Brother,

      Question #1 - I think Christians can in a sense be cursed, although only to the extent God allows. Although not a cursed of voodoo, I think of Job. And I could be wrong.

      Question #2 - I'll never tell!

      Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy 2016!

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      5 years ago from USA- Florida

      Voodoo? Hmmm? Got to admit, you surprised me.

      This brings up some interesting theological questions.

      1. Can a child of God be cursed by a witch or a devil worshiper? Isn't He that is in me, greater than, he that is in the world?

      2. Perhaps it wasn't voodoo, rather the hand of God. Will God brake my ankle, arm, or nose if need be to get my attention? For some reason, Jonah comes to mind.

      hmmmm? Interesting. I am off to read part 5.

      Excellent Chapter Bill.


    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks as always for stopping by for the read and comment. YHou're always welcome here!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from the beautiful south

      Now I don't know what to think! Can't wait until he finally catches up with Jeff!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi MsDora,

      I'm glad you're still following. I always look forward to your visits. Hope you're having a great Monday!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      I never saw this Voodoo idea coming. This minister might be up against "principalities and powers" for which he is not prepared. Still interesting!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      And have a happy new year, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time is short this week and weekend, Bill. I just have time to wish you a belated Merry Christmas and thank you for your friendship.


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