(continued from Friday, October 9)
Now, here was Ellie, blinking and pointing and shaking her head.
“Gidget, you lead the way,” the sheriff barked.
I grimaced. He darn well knew how irritated it made me when he called me Gidget. Briefly, after high school, I’d gone to California, called by the surfer lifestyle of the 60s I’d read all about. But I scampered home, shocked by what I’d found and longing for east Texas cypress trees. Sheriff Gates wasn’t about to forget my brief foray into another lifestyle, even though it had been ten years ago.
So I lifted my chin and stepped through the door gap and into the barn.
It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the dimness. Some light made it inside through the slits between the wall boards. More light poured in through the open window in the haymow. I scanned the barn, not stopping to study the old rusty tractor and plow, or other farm machinery I couldn’t identify. My look finally settled on the center of the barn floor where a large griddle set. The letters of the alphabet had been written in a couple of rows across the griddle’s surface, and in one upper corner was written YES, and in the other corner, NO. A makeshift pointer made of sticks and tied together with string sat on the YES.
Someone had been speaking with spirits on a primitive Ouija board.
Scuff marks in the dirt floor of the barn were evidence that more than one person had been seated around the makeshift ‘griddle’ table.
“Nobody in here, Sheriff,” I called, and then turned to find Gates and Nixon right behind me, as well as a shivering Ellie.
“I see that, Hardesty,” Gates grumbled. He turned to the shaking girl and squatted. “What were you doing in here, Ellie? Who was with you?”
She tried to speak, but her mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for air. Finally, she got out a few letters. “J … J… J… N… N … Eeeeeee.”
“Jenny? Jenny Hooper?”
Ellie closed her eyes and nodded.
“Where is Jenny now?” I asked.
Ellie looked up, and tears rolled down her cheeks. She shrugged her thin shoulders.
Together, all three of us looked up as well. The air swirled above us like a tornado was forming.
“What is it?” Gates asked. He didn’t expect an answer. None of us knew what the hell it was. But the hair rose up on the back of my neck and icy fingers took little steps down my spine.
“It’s J…J…J…N…N…Eeeeee!” Ellie wailed.
(Check back Wednesday for Part 3 of ‘Inheritance’)