“Do you think he can help us, Pa?” Her voice trails off. Her left foot steps on the porch of Elijah Brooks, seer of things.
“Well Ma. We prayed for three nights. The good Lord sent us here… ” his voice loses its baritone sound. “She’s lost. He finds things. We need to do this Ma.”
He stands on the ground. His face worn more than his years. Those eyes are dark by misfortune and loss. The black hair turned mostly white. His Sunday best clothes appear to have seen better days. If you draw a picture of forlorn, you’ll see Samuel Grey.
Bessie Grey stands at the door. She is a rail of a woman. Her dark clothes make her look ghost white. Waves of hair sag beneath a yellowed bonnet. Her bright blue eyes sparkle as only hope can. Her face is drawn. Her heart is slow. The door might as well be a wall. It seems an immovable force as hand shaky hand tries the latch.
“Ma, move aside. It’s an old house. Door sticks. The man’s in the spirit business. Not much use for tools in his work.” Samuel makes quick work of the door ” There we go. After you Ma.”
Samuel steps back to let Bessie by. They enter a parlor. Bookshelves crowd the room. Darkness seems misplaced by hurricane lamps. The smoke cascades out the door as if it waited for the chance to escape.
“Is there anyone… at home? We need to talk with Mr Brooks. Kinda important.” Samuel’s call seems to echo down unseen distant halls.
Bessie looks over the old books, boxes, and skulls that fill the shelves that hide every visible wall.
Her hand finds a coyote skull. She turns it to face her. It’s eyes still seem to gaze at her. She can feel a presence.
A hand suddenly slides over hers and captures the skull.
“These are finely tuned spiritual devices. We musn’t get too many feelings added to them.” Emma sings a soft song with words. “Mr Brooks expected a visit, but more than one. If you’ll find a rest here on the ough, he’ll be here shortly. And whom is calling and the item we need to find please?”
The couple stands silent. It’s as if this woman suddenly appeared out of the blue. Her smile angelic. Her hair bright red, tight curls that sway as she stands still. Green eyes that holds you captive. The accent far from these hills.
“Please sit, sit. I really have to prepare him. He’s in a tempered mood. Hates surprises. So your business is…?” Emma smiles with dimples on fill display.
“We are the Greys. We need to find our daughter. She’s just 17 and left without notice. And we just need to find her….” Bessie reaches out her right arm with her palm turned up. “My baby… I need her back at hoooome.”
Her head crashes into Samuel’ s shoulder.
“Please ma’am. You can help us?” Samuel covers Bessie with his left arm.
Emma heads down a long hall. She stops and opens a double set of doors. The room is dark. Curtains of dark wool cling to the windows thet look held up by cobwebs. Shadows give way to hallway light. Three round tables and a handful of highbacked chairs clutter about. Each has a collection of globes, candles, books, bright colored scarves, and two hurricane lamps.
She lights the lamps from back to front. She chooses a smaller table near the door to clear all but the scarves and lamp from. A quick glance about the room finds the rug beater. The curtains need cleared of the spider webs and dust. It has been awhile since she has been in this room.
Emma stands at the doorway. A chill catches her. A side to side view reveals nothing. As usual, something can always be there in this house, near him.
She straightens the cotton dress with both hands. Her eyes catch the green color in the folds of aged black dye material. The dress was her first gift back when Elijah was a Magician only needing a model to tour. The miles and years have sank long below the horizon.
Low voices of the Greys murmur in the parlor. It’s time to get to work. The process follows a pattern. Each step brings them closure and provides until the next mystery.
Her pace down the hall quickens. The floorboards give slight squeaks and occasional creak to tell of the journey. A black door marks the library. It holds the deepest secret of all. Elijah Brooks. Emma takes a deep breath before entering.
The room is just as cluttered as every other here. Books and trinkets scatter through the room. Ivory sheers cover the windows. Tapestries of dark battles and unicorns frame the lone chair. A bunch of tables make a maze to protect the solitary figure.
Elijah sits on a black wooden chair. Rust colored velvet and lion head handrests fight with gilded spidlings for attention. His long pale face is sunken and accented by black goatee. The dark cropped hair could be made of coal spikes. He looks more dead than alive and too young to be this way.
“Woman! What is the meaning of barging into my meditation and divining?! We have company coming… Big journeys.. I sense things a stir in the spirit world.” Elijah pulls himself toward standing.
Elijah runs his bony fingers through his hair. His gaze fixes on the crystal chandelier filled with long lost candles.
“Yes, we will be working again.” he coughs
“Elijah, we have the Greys in the parlor. The daughter is missing. Rumor is she left with a coal miner from next town over. So says Mildred down at the Dry Goods. It’s been a couple of days. They are here. Get you act together! They await you.” Emma gets tired of the drama when he wakes up. Her job is to collect and set the mood.
“Why yes. Girls run off. I’ll give them a spirit read with rattling chairs. Did they bring anything with them? I can’t work without props! Simply does not look good. Make sure and allow me a brief pause. The decanter of spirits is the first passage to another world.” Elijah moves his hands in circular pattern. “Why are you still here?! Before they leave Emma!”
“Oh… You! Get it together. This could be big.” She snaps her heels to the floor. It echoes to and fro.
Emma walls slowly down the hall. The gloomy path has a soft glow coming from the parlor. It loosens her heart. Comfort brings a smile.
“Mr and Mrs Grey, please come with me. You must think of your daughter.” Emma motions back down the hall. “You do have something personal to her. It should identify her.”
Emma turns around shepherding the Greys into the double doors of the reading room. The few steps are dragged out to fit a ritual of mystic proportions.
“Pa, maybe we should get more of her things. I hope the necklace is enough.” Bessie touches her right eye with a handkerchief.
“She wore it for years. Until last month. Nothing better to fit her.” Samuel puts his hand on the small of her back. There’s a nervousness about him.
“There are a few things to discuss. Any stray thoughts change how the spirits work with us. Elijah is a bridge. Sometimes..” Emma explains
“We brought what we could… I don’t know how much.” Samuel jumps in.
“The gift is we share. Never is what you can give questioned! We help to find things. You will know what is right.” Emma reaches to touch his forearm with a slight grab. “Let’s find her.”
They arrive at the doors. Their eyes try to make sense of it all. Rainbow talisman catches Bessie’ s eye.
“We can use that one.” Emma whispers to her.
Bessie nods her approval.
“Please we will use the back table by the window. I’ll light some candles. Elijah Brooks seats nearest the window.” Emma stays back by the door while the Grey’s work through the collection filling the room.
“One moment, I’ll return with the seer.” Emma bows
The footsteps creep down the hall. Elijah appears outside.
“Use the rainbow talisman. She stared at it. I’ll attach the left table to the harness. Are the electric lights to be used tonite?” Emma whispers to Elijah.
“Yes, woman. Give me three minutes. Shake the chair twice. If you hear my voice raise, move the table. Are they believers?” Elijah peers in the room
“They will be.” Emma smiles and heads down to a small room next door.
Elijah watches the older couple. Bessie is fidgety. Her eyes looking at every trinket. Her hands constantly wring themselves. Samuel sits still. A thin sculpture of simple man. No feeling gets out of him either. Samuel stares toward a sign that reads ‘Do Not Ask the Bridge The Price of the Toll.
“Bessie and Samuel! Welcome to my place of Spirits. I can not tell you what we shall see. I can tell you the more you believe, the more the spirits will provide.” Elijah spreads his hands out like a bird taking flight. “I will be reducing these lamps some. We need to watch for even weakest spirits. They all speak in different tongues. Some move to communicate.”
Elijah pauses at the door. He looks about the room. His right pointer finger lifted to his lips then points to the rainbow talisman “We will draw from this, Pendant of Roybiv.”
Bessie draws a quick breath. Her left hand finds Samuel’s right thigh.
Elijah smiles and walks to sit at the table. “You approve Mrs Grey! Excellent!”
Elijah sits and adjusts the position of his chair several times. His eyes watch the angle of the candle light. The room seems to dim slightly.
“Mr Brooks. Our daughter is gone. Three days have we waited for her return. What ever can you do to find her. Please.” Samuel extends his hand to Elijah.
“Sir. I will exhaust my abilities to your wishes. I cannot touch anything but what is hers. Clear vision is most important.” Elijah drops his smile. His lips tighten and almost disappear.
“Ooooohhhh. Aaaaaahhhhh. Descend to do our bidding. We call amongst the blessed and unmitigated among you.” Elijah raises his voice and slightly in his chair. His arms drop to the table. He extends those arms with open hands toward the couple.
Both Grey’s look a bit lost. Both see the hands before them. Both unsure of what has begun here.
Elijah opens and closes his hands. Bessie clasps his left hand and reaches for Samuel right hand. Samuel notices Bessie’s moves and grabs the others hands.
Elijah jerks upright with his eyes wide open. Then falls back to the chair. The lamps near the door flicker and go dark.
“Your object please. Focus on the candle in the middle. That is the doorway. Visions will dance. Voices will talk. Speak only to me! The spirits can draw from you if you engage them. I neeeeedd to feel. Her. Her. Her.” Elijah rocks forward and back.
Bessie tries to release her hand from Elijah. She uses her other hand to find the pocket with the Blue necklace. She temples at its feel. It is warm like skin not the metalits made from.
“Here it is, Mr Brooks.” Bessie uses as little voice as possible. Placing it next to the pillar candle
“I must ask please talk only to me. With my name.” Elijah looks at the other tables hidden in the dark.
Behind Samuel the sound of a chair sliding against the floorboards fills the room. The couple jerks their hands free.
“Samuel! Samuel! Look!” Bessie’s voice echoes.
“Circle! Circle! Never break the circle! I can’t protect us without it! Your hands now!” Elijah roars in a deep voice.
“Spirit! Join us. The Holy spirit watches all assembled here. Spirit of pure heart tell me your name!” Elijah leans and stands partial up. His eyes blazing in the candlelight.
“You sense her. I can tell by your vibrations.” Elijah lowers his tone to reassuring. “We seek a path to her. Lend us a light.”
A soft glow appears above the table. A glass globe spills a pale yellow light. The couple eyes move like a moth to the light.
“Miners lady?! I understand none of this. Please spirit. I close my eyes to welcome youe vision.” Elijah elevates and drops his tone. His body falls deep in his chair. He jerks forward.
His mind sees an image. His body isn’t comfortable with it. His hands squeeze the others hard.
“I see a figure. It’s a lake… so very blue. Darkness surrounds… Cave? Mine? Dark but sound off waves. Tell me spirit.” Elijah takes a reverence to his words.
The girl is fuzzy in his mind. The lake creates a mist that spirals clockwise. Her arms make her a spinning cross. The left arm spilts the haze. Her eyes glow deep blue like the water.
“Desmond, Desmond” unmoving lips speak
The vision goes black
“Drummond! Emma lights! Emma lights!” Elijah throws off their hands.
He stands up. His body is shaky. His elongated features look like they have changed. “I had a clear vision! You are lucky parents. Love and belief have brought forth this glorious vision.”
“You found her! She’s in Drummond!” Bessie jumps out of her seat.
“We still don’t know about this lake. How do we get there?” Samuel asks of Elijah
“Spirits have their own timescale. The vision faded. It may take more than one or two. I’m exhausted. Please tomorrow… We will do more.” Elijah lowers his head. He wipes a damp cloth across his forehead.
Emma opens the doors. “Elijah! You called.”
“Show them the way home. I had clear vision but someone severed it.” Elijah doesn’t look at Emma.
Emma looks blank at him. She never been called so quickly to the session.
“Mr and Mrs Grey, this way. There’s a black bag in parlor. Fell free to leave what you wish there for Mr Brooks. Please return tomorrow. These sessions withdrawal his energy. He had a contact… that’s what we need for a beginning.” Emma walks backwards facing them the whole time.
Confused faces stare back at her.
“Emma, he seen her. Why, oh why do we wait. We need her back! Please it’s been four days since our baby was home.” Bessie drops yo her knees holding Emma’s hand.
“Ma, we should go home. We’ll be right back next evening.” Samuel digs for silver to pay for the reading.
“I need to know she is well. I need to know shee.” Bessie’s voice fails her. She drops her eyes. Her eyes rise as Samuel reaches for her.
“He told us tomorrow. We don’t know the spirits. She will be home soon.” Samuel holds his wife. His word extrude calm.
“Good evening folks” Emma holds the front door for the Grey’s.
Samuel places a handful of silver dollars in the black bag with a sigh.
Elijah watches from the down the hall.
Emma closes the front door and leans against it.
“I saw her. Emma, I saw her floating in deep blue water! I actually saw her.” Elijah stands white as a ghost in a dim hall.
“I don’t understand. You are really worked up. You used to see things before. Details told by spirits.” Emma tries not to laugh.
“Don’t! This one is real. I mean… not the pomp and circumstance. Real vision. She said Desmond twice. It was clear. I let go of her. Of course, I told them Drummond. Your washer women talk. Running to the next town makes sense.” Elijah comes out of the shadows. ” This is different.”