Authors: Elizabeth Basque
Tags: #Mystery: Thriller - Paranormal - Humor
|Elizabeth Basque - Medium Mysteries 01 - Echo Park|
|Medium Mysteries |
|Elizabeth Basque (2013)|
|Tags:||Mystery: Thriller - Paranormal - Humor|
J.R. Rain Presents
Medium Mysteries #1
BOOKS BY ELIZABETH BASQUE
THE SHARPENED EDGES TRILOGY
The Hunger (coming soon)
THE MEDIUM MYSTERY TRILOGY
THE WALKING PLAGUE TRILOGY
(with J.R. Rain)
THE MERCY CRUZ SERIES
(with P.J. Day)
Published by J.R. Rain Press
Copyright © 2013 by J.R. Rain Press
All rights reserved.
Ebook Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. All rights reserved.
I refilled the bird feeder at the end of the earthquake-cracked patio and sat back in my chair, sipping my coffee and trying to ignore the ghost’s endless prattle.
Pauline, the clickah’s dead again,” Mack complained.
It’s my day off,” I snapped at the Fifties man.
Ghost of a man.
I made a mental note to put new batteries in the TV remote for him. “Give me a break, Mack. Coffee first. Conversation later.”
I listened for the mockingbird that visited me often, but he was nowhere nearby. I could have listened to that mockingbird song all morning long. This old dead fart from the East Coast, not so much.
“A break? A break from what?” Mack demanded. “From the non-stop traffic down on Los Feliz Boulevard? No wondah the buhd’s abandoned you. He’s probably smaht enough to fly away.”
Mack still spoke with the Boston non-rhotic accent that discourages vocalizing the letter “R” unless it occurs at the beginning of a word; his dialect was further steeped in the Jack Kennedy Cape Cod tradition, which flaunted that clipped, distinctive twang of the nasal short-a.
“Like you, he’ll be back. Mockingbirds always come back,” I said.
Why do you like that buhd so much?”
I grinned. “He doesn’t just sing
song. He sings
song. He’s like the Medium of songbirds.”
That’s deep, Pauline.”
Mmm, coffee, come to mama.” I sipped my coffee and attempted to ignore him because I was not yet fully caffeinated.
Yah-huh. Cahfee and
,” he corrected me.
Oh, piss off.” I wanted to enjoy the morning. So I put a little rum in the coffee. So what?
Better than harmless, I lied to myself; it was helping my hangover. I lit a cigarette and flipped him off.
Now, theah’s a buhd,” Mack chuckled.
It’s my day off,” I said again, as if there was such a thing for a Medium. “Can’t you find someone else to haunt for a day?”
I felt his presence behind me, heard him sigh. He could haunt others, as he wasn’t bound to my building, nor even my street, which was rare for ghosts. Most spirits were confined to a building or a certain area.
So why Mack the ghost hung out with me practically 24/7, I couldn’t fathom.
You need me,” he responded to my thought.
Yeah, like a hole in the head. Get out of here, you old bag of bones. And get out of my head. Can’t I have one private thought? Take a walk down all the stairs in Echo Park. See what everyone else in the hood is doing. Then come back this afternoon, and you can tell me all about it.”
He didn’t say anything. I’d hurt the East Coast ghost’s feelings. I remained silent, feeling a little guilty as he faded. But a girl’s got to set some boundaries, right?
I sighed, and got up for more coffee. Pretty pathetic to have a ghost, a spirit, as the main person you talk to. To be honest, though, Mack was my only real friend right now. Well, my only friend since my previous best friend, James—
also a ghost
—had gone from this plain. I closed my eyes for a moment, remembering his one kiss that had knocked my socks off. His widow had remarried and she and her second husband and the little girl still lived on the seventh floor, but I tried to avoid seeing them. I still missed James too much to look at his daughter, who was the spittin’ image of him. I pushed that thought away.
not a morning person and yet, I always hated myself for sleeping in and wasting my life on recovering from hangovers. Coffee was my great equalizer. It was my socially acceptable and relentless fix.
In the kitchen, I poured another cuppa joe. I didn’t fill it all the way. I hesitated, glancing at the Captain Morgan bottle on the counter.
Just a little.
I added about half a shot to my coffee. I looked into my cup again, then added the other half. Hell, it
my day off.
Or so I’d thought.
I was on my way back to the patio to recoup some of the day-off peace when the doorbell rang.
Oh, for God’s sake. If that bastard from Boston is playing ding-dong ditch with me again, I swear…
I set my doctored-up coffee on the table, took a quick peek in the mirror in the hall, and swore again, this time at my disheveled reflection. The doorbell rang again.
“Coming,” I called out in singsong, rushing into the bathroom for Visine and squirting a drop into each of my bloodshot eyes. I drew my fingers through my long brown hair in an effort to get rid of bed head. It would have to do. There was nothing I could do about my full figure that was a little
full. I was barefoot, but at least my toenails were painted a pretty red. I sucked in my tummy a bit and headed for the door.
Even before I opened it, I knew it wasn’t him. Not Mack the ghost playing a trick on me. I sensed someone in genuine need. I sighed again, but turned that frown upside-down and opened the door.
“Can I help you?” I asked, pleasantly enough.
Excuse me,” the young woman said shyly. “Are you Pauline Ocean?”
That’s me,” I answered dryly. “And you are…?”
She smiled genuinely and reached out her hand. “My name is Julie.” I took her hand, felt the warmth and premature trust in it as she pumped mine up and down, twice. “A colleague of yours referred me.”
“Who was that?”
Allison Lopez, from the Psychic Hotline. I only know her from the phone call, but she’s really sweet. She thought this was more up your alley.”
I wracked my brain, trying to place Allison, but without success. I
been to a big psychic fair and had exchanged business cards with quite a few Mediums and several Witches, too, however, I had been drinking quite a bit that day.
Her name doesn’t ring a bell. Please forgive me. I’m actually better at remembering the names of ghosts than I am the living. Why did she refer you to me?”
Actually, Allison said that I needed a Medium who specifically knew Echo Park.”
Interesting,” I said, my curiosity piqued.
Julie looked up at me for some sort of pardon or approval. She was young and petite, with the kind of natural beauty that takes only about five minutes in the mirror to enhance. It was the kind of organic look that told me she wasn’t sloshing any Captain Morgan in her morning coffee.
Julie was smiling, but as we shook hands, I sensed a terrible sadness within her. The emotion from her tingled into me through our clasped hands. A deep sorrow that she hid very well blasted me with a jolt of dismay. I finally returned her tentative smile to encourage her to open up and tell me her woes.
I hope I’m not coming at a bad time, Pauline.”
I realized that she was one of those people who said other people’s names a lot in order to get to know them quicker, or maybe to remember them better. It was an old trick that I used myself.
Julie obviously needed something from me, so even though it was my day off, I tried to be pleasant. “Not at all. I didn’t have any plans for today. Julie, won’t you please come in?” I stepped aside for her to enter my apartment.
Pauline Ocean. Like the movie,
Yeah, just like that.” My sarcasm was lost on Julie. Ah, well, there was no way she could know about all the jokes I’d endured about my last name. It was a good thing that Mack, the Cape Cod Ghost, wasn’t around right now.
He would rib me, if he were here.
The teasing chants of my childhood nicknames briefly wafted up from the past:
Motion of da Ocean
referred to my caboose jiggling when I was on my high school track team, long before I smoked to try to shed the weight. Like
was about all the voices in my head that I told therapists I heard as a child, not knowing any better to keep it to myself. Even
. That last nickname was an apt one, for I often felt empathy for others that was far greater than I sometimes could almost bear. It came with the territory of being a Medium. Captain Morgan helped me cope with it all, God bless him.
I gave her coffee, without the rum, in my best guest mug, the one that said,
The Medium is the Messenger
, with my phone number under it, and led her into my living room. So much for enjoying the morning sunshine on the patio.
You can keep the coffee mug,” I said. “Then you’ll always have my number.”
I made a mental note to order more of my special mugs from the CafePress website.
As she looked at all of the wallet-sized photos push-pinned on my big bulletin board and flapping in the ceiling fan breeze, she asked, “Are all of these people dead?”
Yep. All dead.”
And you have their photos to help you connect with them for your clients?”
You betcha. Those are some of my past clients’ relatives or friends or lovers. Some are their enemies.”
Does it help you to have the photos?”
I don’t need them, but it’s nice to have them. Someday, I’ll scan them all and put them in a pdf scrapbook, but for now, I’m a low-tech user of a corkboard.”
She nodded. “And you decorate with antiques. Very eclectic, but pretty.”
“Thank you. I find things with positive energy in flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales. I buy them and bring them home to surround myself with good vibes, rather than what matches.”
That’s cool. I love the hand-painted abstract art coffee table.”
Thanks.” How funny. My departed best friend, James, had loved that table as much as I did. And now Julie did, too. I knew I liked her already.
So, we’d exchanged a few polite but superficial pleasantries before getting down to real business. “What brings you here, Julie?”
“Allison told me that you were the real deal. Not like those psychics downtown. And I’ve been having some trouble lately.”
I could tell that Julie had been having trouble all of her life, and that she was looking for her true purpose, but not succeeding at it. I just
it. But what I said was, “What kind of trouble?”
I’ve been having these recurring dreams. They’re so real. And sometimes, when I see certain things, the dream comes back to me, really strong, like déjà vu while awake. You know?”
Like a tough punch in the stomach?”
Exactly!” she praised. “Wow, how did you know that?”
I’m a psychic, remember?”
remember. Good for her. I had a feeling Julie was in the personal business of forgetting, not remembering. But then again, who was I to judge?
So, what are these recurring dreams about?”
Well,” she began, “there’s this woman and a little girl. I think they are mother and daughter. But that part is hazy. Mostly, it’s about the daughter. The daughter…” Julie paused, her eyes drifting out of focus for a moment and looking far away at something I couldn’t yet see. “They’re trying to get into a house. They don’t have a key, but they have to hide from someone. They’re really afraid.” Julie was clearly uncomfortable talking about it.
This sparked my interest. I could feel Julie’s aura a little more now, and I sensed that she wasn’t accustomed to dealing with anything that made her feel ill at ease. Apparently, she avoided such situations at all costs. She was what Mediums recognized as
people. This was a good thing, in general, yet made it harder to solve problems that required conflict to get to the solution.
Go on,” I coaxed.
She took a deep breath and looked at me for acceptance and approval again. I smiled, but I didn’t take her hand. Not yet. I wanted her to tell me before I saw and felt it for myself.
I nodded with approval and she continued. “It’s not much more than that.” She gave a nervous laugh. “Just that they’re so afraid. The girl is trying so hard.”
To get into the house?”
Yeah. She’s trying, and her mother’s telling her to hurry up. It’s just so sad.” Julie suddenly burst into tears.