Authors: Madison Johns
Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Paranormal - Michigan
|Madison Johns - Agnes Barton Paranormal 02 - Ghostly Hijinks|
|Number II of|
Agnes Barton Paranormal Mysteries
|Outrageous Books (2014)|
|Tags:||Mystery: Cozy - Paranormal - Michigan|
|Mystery: Cozy - Paranormal - Michiganttt|
An Agnes Barton Paranormal Mystery
Copyright © 2014 Madison Johns
Ghostly Hijinks, Madison Johns
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead (unless explicitly noted) is merely coincidental.
I dedicate this book to all of the readers who have embraced Agnes Barton and Eleanor Mason and their adventures. This series has no end in sight and with the support of my readers. there’s no reason it ever needs to.
I stared at the stack of vacation brochures lying on the table.
I’m Agnes Barton, and while I’m a private investigator in and around East Tawas, Michigan, with my best friend Eleanor Mason, I’m so ready for a real vacation. I’m also a young seventy-two with Eleanor coming in at eighty-two. Oh, and I also have recently acquired a ghost named Caroline who has decided to attach herself to me. She’s about as silent a partner as any I know of. It took some doing, but Caroline found her tongue and can speak. She has allowed Eleanor to see her, too. The jury is still out on if that’s such a great idea. Eleanor just isn’t used to having any competition.
Eleanor stood there, snatching a cruise ship brochure. “This looks fun.”
“With your skin, Eleanor? I think not.”
Eleanor plopped herself down in a chair opposite me. “You’ve been at this for two weeks. Are we ever gonna go on vacation or what?”
Caroline appeared, her thirties ensemble of a green and white floral dress with petaled step heels on her feet. While she wasn’t as filled out as most of us, she didn’t appear nearly as transparent as you’d expect a ghost to look like. Caroline had the ability to disappear and re-appear at will, and not always when I wanted her to.
“This one looks fun,” Caroline said.
Eleanor squared her shoulders, and snatched up the pamphlet. “Journey to the Old West and visit an actual ghost town,” Eleanor read. “Actually, that does sound fun. I just hope there’re no real ghosts there, though.”
I gave this some thought and nodded. “I’m with you there, Eleanor. I’ve seen far too many ghosts of late.” Caroline floated away, and I quickly added, “I didn’t mean you, dear. I just meant that staying at the Butler Mansion has really rattled my nerves. There’s always some ghost stomping on the floors or howling at all hours of the night.”
“You can’t blame them, really. They have to behave themselves all day long. The twilight hours are all they have,” Eleanor said.
“Yes, but even then,” Caroline began. “Someone is always sneaking around at night with voice recorders trying to get a reading, but luckily most of the ghosts at the mansion know enough not to give anyone any solid evidence.”
I nodded in agreement. “I’m good with visiting the Old West. I’ve always been fond of history. It would be exciting and calm compared to here, of late. I’ll have to railroad someone into watching over the mansion while we’re gone. The place is booked up pretty solid.”
“You could ask Martha,” Eleanor said.
“I could, but only if we don’t tell her where we’re going. She’s not likely to stay here, otherwise.” I fanned myself with a brochure. Then I thought about Millicent, who is Mr. Wilson’s granddaughter. Mr. Wilson is Eleanor’s fiancé. “Millicent seems able-minded. Is she still in town, Eleanor?”
Eleanor’s face lit up. “She sure is. I’ll call her and ask if she’s up to the job. We really need to find her a man.”
“I’m sure she can find her own man if she has a mind to. It’s not good getting too involved in someone’s love life. I mean, what if we introduced her to someone and he wound up being a jerk? I don’t want to be responsible for her unhappiness.”
Eleanor pulled out her iPhone and called Millicent. When she finally hung up, Eleanor said, “She’d be happy to help us out, but only if we take Mr. Wilson with us on our trip. I think the poor dear needs a break from his tuna casserole.”
Sheriff Peterson waltzed into the mansion in a hurried fashion. “There’s been a bank robbery in East Tawas. I’m surprised you girls haven’t been to the bank already, questioning witnesses.”
So, Sheriff Peterson wants our help? Before I was able to answer Clem, Eleanor calmly informed the good sheriff that he was on his own this time. “We’re going on vacation,” Eleanor informed him. “We’re going out West this time. Hopefully, you don’t have any kin there like you had when we went to Florida, and we also won’t be needing you to arrange accommodations for us. The last time you had us staying at an old folks’ home.”
Peterson pulled the neck of his shirt out slightly. “I believe that was a retirement village, but okay. I don’t have any relatives that I know of in—where did you say you’re going?”
Eleanor hid the brochure behind her back. “None of your beeswax.”
“Now, Eleanor, be nice. We’ll leave the particulars with Millicent Wilson. She’ll be along soon since she’s looking after the Butler Mansion while we’re gone.”
“Good enough,” Peterson said on his way to the door of the mansion.
Just then Duchess, my cat, surfaced and whizzed past with the ghost dog hot on her heels. That’s how it’s been of late. Not only did I inherit Caroline, but any other spirit that decided to latch itself to me, or I should say, Caroline. The ghost dog was compliments of Leotyne Williams. He was her hell-hound in real life. Ever since I went to see her, that blasted ghost of her hound has been chasing Caroline … but of late, he’s decided that Duchess is a better target. Leotyne was a gypsy-slash-witch that has resided in the Tawas campground for quite some time. Some might call her a fortuneteller, but her sight is subjective and full of riddles. Most times, it was downright confusing.
Millicent came through the door, a huge smile on her face. She immediately went behind the desk that sat between the drawing room and dining room. That’s where guests were checked in and confidentiality agreements signed. So basically, what happens at this mansion, stays at this mansion. Whenever guests ask about the haunted history, it’s merely shrugged off. Instead, they are first given the history of who built the mansion and are then taken on a tour of both the house and cemetery. The room on the third floor is off limits to guests and kept locked at all times, and not just so that the ghosts who live on that floor aren’t disturbed. It’s also considered unsafe, since more than one person has fallen to their death from up there. Yes, this mansion had its secrets and mysteries, but that was left to the imagination of the guests.
“Where are you headed?” Millicent asked.
“We’re heading West, partner,” Eleanor said.
“Anywhere in particular?”
“Austin, Nevada, to begin with, but I hope we can find an even more remote town.”
“Oh, so a ghost town, then. It’s—”
“We’d rather discover it for ourselves, dear. I know you’re a history buff and all, but it would take all the fun out it.”
“I see. Well, have fun and don’t worry about the Butler Mansion. I’ll take care of things just fine, and that delightful cat of yours. Will you be flying this time?”
“I’m not sure. I suppose so, since Nevada is a long way from here.”
“What’s in Nevada?” Andrew asked as he walked into the door. He’s my beau and fiancé, but I’m not ready to tie the knot just yet.
“We’re headed to a real ghost town.”
“Don’t you have enough ghosts around here already?” he asked with a smile.
“Ghosts. I told you so,” a woman said to her husband as they headed down the stairs. “I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.”
“He was kidding. We’re going to a ghost town for vacation. It was a pun, is all.”
“Oh, and the footsteps we heard last night, what does that mean?”
“It must have been one of the other guests. I assure you, this place isn’t haunted.”
Caroline stood next to me with crossed arms.
Anticipating her actions, I said, “Don’t you dare.”
“Don’t we dare what?” the man asked.
“Nothing. She’s a bit touched in the head, is all,” Eleanor said. “Don’t pay her any attention. That’s why I’m taking her out of town. She really needs to get out of here for awhile.”
From the looks on the faces of our guest, I could tell they didn’t believe either of us.
* * *
Andrew made the travel arrangements and we were all packed and ready to go. This time when we boarded a small airplane at the Tawas airport, there was only Eleanor, Mr. Wilson, her beau, my Andrew and me. I decided to wait to call Martha during the flight so that she wouldn’t tag along—not that I’d mind terribly if she had, just that it could be more of a couple’s trip with just the four of us. Martha never was the type to stick close to us, anyway.
Our plane landed in Saginaw, Michigan, where we boarded another, much larger airplane that took us to Denver, Colorado, where we then boarded a smaller plane yet again, and eventually landed in Austin, Nevada. A kind gent by the name of Travis took us into town and gave us use of his vehicle when we found out that there weren’t any car rental places in town.
Agnes and Eleanor enjoyed the sights through the window. Toiyabe Mountain Range was in the backdrop and Austin had many businesses along the main drag, such as motels, restaurants, gas stations and unique shops.
“Humph,” Eleanor said. “This isn’t a
“Oh, I know, but it still has a Western feel to it.”
Caroline took that moment to float from the ceiling into the car. “Eleanor’s right. There’s a much better place up Highway 50.”
Andrew unrolled the window. “This air conditioning must be broken. I can see my breath.”
I nodded, knowing full well that it wasn’t a good idea to mention to Andrew that Caroline had tagged along on our vacation. He knew I saw ghosts, but it’s just not something we’ve ever talked about, and I can’t imagine what Mr. Wilson would have to say about it. I’ve been denying it for quite a while now to my friends, except for Eleanor.
I flipped down the visor and stared through the mirror until I could see the back seat. Of course, I couldn’t see Caroline through the mirror, but her bubbly voice said, “Not to worry. I’ll leave, for now.”
Eleanor giggled and Mr. Wilson asked, “What’s so darn funny, Eleanor?”
“Oh, nothing. Agnes just made a face at me in the mirror, is all.”
I stuck my tongue out for good measure and flipped the visor back up. I then took out the map, rustling it as I searched the nearby area. “We’ll check out some ghost towns further up Highway 50.”
Andrew pulled into the driveway of the Cozy Mountain Motel. We then all got out, and Andrew pulled out Mr. Wilson’s rolling walker from the trunk and we made our way to the office. Outside there was a bench made with two wagon wheels that held the bench part up. Eleanor and Mr. Wilson sat there while Andrew and I checked in.
Andrew smiled at the young man behind the counter, who, by the way, closely resembled Norman Bates! He took Andrew’s information and then handed keys to him. We made way to our adjoining rooms with a queen-sized bed in each.
Wilson and Eleanor went into the other bedroom and Andrew fetched the suitcases while I waltzed around until I could find a signal to surf online, searching out a real ghost town to visit and making an online reservation at a hotel that looked right up our alley.