Read The Sibyl Online

Authors: Cynthia D. Witherspoon

Tags: #romance, #paranormal romance, #paranormal, #gods, #ghost, #mythology, #television, #oracle, #ghost hunting, #sibyl

The Sibyl

BOOK: The Sibyl
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The Sibyl
Cynthia D. Witherspoon

 

 

Story ©copyright Cynthia D. Witherspoon 2014

Cover art:
Cold Wet Saturday
by Kris Krug; edited for cover use by
Mika
Hearn
. Creative Commons.

 

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Chapter One

 

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I
wasn’t expecting this. I didn’t know whether to laugh or leave as
my best friend detailed the proposition he had kept from me over
the phone. He promised it was good. He promised I would soon have
an end to the unemployment crisis I’d found myself in since I’d
graduated from the University of Georgia a few months earlier. What
he wouldn’t tell me over the phone was what this great job offer
would require me to do.

“I’m sorry.” I waved my hand in an attempt to
get him to slow down. “I think you’ve lost me.”

“Where?” Elliot Lancaster gave me his million
dollar smile as he tore a drink napkin into pieces. “I can’t give
you all the details until we see the contracts, but you’ll learn
most of what you need to know from Connor.”

“Who’s Connor again?” I picked up the pieces
he had scattered all over the table and piled them between us. “Is
he important?”

“Yes, he’s important. Connor Garrison. He’s
the executive producer who’s agreed to take on this project.”
Elliot grabbed my hand across the table. “By god, Eva, have you not
heard a single word I’ve said?”

“No, I’ve been listening.” I squeezed his
hand. “You got a gig on television. I think that’s fantastic. But I
can’t do this with you. It’s not like studying for an exam or
pretending to be your sick sister when you’re stuck on a bad
date.”

“Why?” He dropped my hand and folded his arms
across his chest. “Give me one good reason as to why you can’t be
on the show.”

“I have no experience being on television.
That’s plenty reason enough.”

“You don’t need experience. You’re not going
to be an actress. You’ll be a presenter. The only experience you
need is to know how to talk.”

“Fine.” I snorted as I mirrored his defensive
stance. “I fall on my face every time I try to walk across the
room. And I stutter when I’m nervous. So what makes you think I
won’t do the same thing during filming?”

“We’ll get you at angles where you won’t have
to worry about walking.” Elliot smirked. “And I have never heard
you stutter before. When’d you start doing that?”

He decided to change tactics on me as he
reached for his beer. Elliot didn’t take a drink of it though. He
began gesturing with it instead. “This isn’t just any gig on
television, Eva. Think about it. This could be our chance to travel
the world. Maybe even make a difference.”

“So let me get this straight.” I snatched the
bottle out of his hand and took a swig. “You want to go around to
dusty old houses just to talk about the scary ghosts who live
there? That’s not what I call traveling, Eli. Besides, I’m going to
need you to explain to me just how you think you’re going to make a
difference doing this.”

“Give me that.” He took his nasty beer back.
“If we can prove the existence of the paranormal, it would be
monumental. We could prove that life doesn’t end at death.”

“Just like every other ghost hunter. Just
like every religious fanatic.” I shook my head. “Eli, I love you.
And don’t take this the wrong way. But what do you have that the
others don’t?”

“I got you.”

I started laughing before I could stop. Here
was my dearest friend offering me the chance of a lifetime. A
ridiculous chance. I couldn’t be on television. Much less spend my
time chasing after tragedies best left forgotten. I managed to stop
laughing long enough to take a sip of my tea and catch my
breath.

“Ok, Eli.” I shook my head. “I’m flattered,
truly I am. But I have my concerns.”

“Which are?”

“One, you know how bad I am about speaking in
front of crowds.” I held up my hand, ticking off my argument with
my fingers. “Two, I don’t believe in that stuff. Three, have you
seen me? I’m not exactly camera ready. Four…”

“Eva McRayne, you are far too hard on
yourself.” Elliot pushed down each finger I had raised as he
outlined his own argument. “First off, you won’t be speaking in
front of crowds. It’ll be just me, you, and a cameraman. Second,
that’s why I need you. Think about it. Two friends hunting down
ghosts together; one who believes and one who refuses to. You’ll be
the Scully to my Mulder. Third, have you seen yourself? I think
you’ll be perfect.”

I went back to picking at the small squares
of paper he had ripped up earlier in an attempt to ignore him, but
it was hard. I was drawn to Elliot. We’d been practically
inseparable since our first class at UGA together. In all the years
we’d known each other, I never thought I’d be having this
conversation with him. And I never thought I’d be able to refuse
him anything.

I was two for two today.

“Elliot, I just can’t.” I sighed, relenting
to the silence growing between us. “There are a million girls who
would kill to be having this conversation with you. I’m just not
one of them. I want a steady job. Nine-to-five. A desk. Not a
show.”

“You want boring.”

“Not boring. I want security. A steady
paycheck.” I pushed my chair away from the table and reached for my
purse. “And if you’re going to make fun of me for it, then we’re
done with this conversation.”

“I’m not trying to make fun of you.” He
reached for my hand again, but I was quicker this time. I snatched
it away. “I really do want this to work, and I want this to work
with you. Connor was ecstatic when I told them about you.”

“No.” I threw a few dollars down on the table
and stood. “I’ll be sure to tune in though. Sounds like a real
riot.”

“The studio is going to provide us with a
furnished condo.” Elliot was studying the chair I’d just vacated.
“Not to mention the salary. Five figures per show to start.”

“Per show?”

Elliot nodded as his shoulders dropped. He
tried to look dejected, but I was sure he was resisting the urge to
grin. “Yeah. But hey, I understand. If you don’t want to do this,
you don’t have to.”

“You’re not playing fair.” I let my words
come out slowly. Carefully. “Besides, I’m sure your dad has more to
do with the perks than this Garrison guy.”

“Now whose not playing fair?”

Elliot’s face lost the neutral look he had
conveyed so well. And he was right. I wasn’t playing fair. I knew
better than most how he hated to be under the shadow of his father.
The great Joseph Lancaster of Theia Productions, LLC. I can’t tell
you how many times I’d heard him confess his fears of not measuring
up to his old man after too many drinks. For a moment, I considered
apologizing, but it was too late. My friend took a final swig of
his beer, threw more ones on top of mine, and stood. He linked our
arms in one smooth motion to lead us out of the diner.

“No, Dad has nothing to do with this.
Granted, I knew the right people to talk to at his office, but for
once this is all me.” Elliot’s dark eyes gleamed as we stepped out
into the Georgia sun. “I pitched the show to Connor and his boys
myself. They loved the idea. Really thinks they can sell it. And
just imagine! You and me traveling around the world to investigate
notorious and nefarious places. I’ll document all the paranormal
stuff. You’ll shoot me down. It’ll be fun.”

“Notorious and nefarious?” I smirked. “What
century are you in again?”

“You know what I mean.”

“It does sound like fun.” I admitted. “I’m
more attracted to the salary than enjoyment though.”

This was my main concern. I’d spent all of
the savings left over from my college loans to survive as I went on
the job hunt. So far, my prospects were null. I released his arm to
dig through my purse. “I still don’t like the idea of being on
national television.”

“It’ll be on cable, Eva.” Elliot’s smile was
back as he realized my resolve was cracking. “It’s not like anyone
will actually watch us.”

I finally found my sunglasses and slipped
them on. “I won’t have to talk in front of people at all?”

“Not unless you count the ghosts we run
into.” His amusement was visible when he glanced down at me. Elliot
was a good bit taller than I was. “No. I was serious when I said it
would just be you, me, and a cameraman.”

I nodded. “Alright. I’ll think about it.
After I’ve seen the contracts and met this Connor person.”

Elliot scooped me up in a bear hug right in
the middle of downtown Athens. “I knew you’d do it, Eva!”

“Put me down.” I smacked at his shoulder
until my feet touched the sidewalk again. “I haven’t said I’d do it
yet.”

“But you’ve stopped saying no.” Elliot
laughed, wiggling his eyebrows. “Tell me, Eva. What won you over?
My magnetic charm? My dashing good looks?”

“It certainly wasn’t your modesty.” I
grumbled loud enough so he could hear me.

“Not my style, doll.” Elliot grinned as we
turned down the side street leading to my condo. “We fly out to
L.A. on Wednesday to meet with the boys and see the new place; work
out the details. I swear, I’ll keep the place spotless. You won’t
even know I’m there.”

“Wednesday?” I squeaked as I came to a halt
once more. “You mean I have two days to get myself ready for the
biggest interview I’ve ever had?”

“No. Three.” He had the decency to look
puzzled. “We’re scheduled to meet with Connor at nine on Thursday.
Why?”

“Why? Oh my god, Eli.” I groaned. “I’ve got
so much to do! I have to get my hair done. Figure out what I’m
going to wear. Not to mention actually packing everything.”

“Since when are you worried about your
hair?”

“Since I found out you want me to be on T.V.”
I was glaring again, but this time he was shielded thanks to my
sunglasses.

“You’re just being silly.” Elliot pulled his
own pair of glasses out of his back pocket and put them on. “Don’t
worry about it. You look fine.”

“Women on T.V. don’t look ‘fine’. They look
perfect.”

He didn’t respond, only waved as he took off
across the street as I started to panic. Wednesday! Elliot wanted
me to fly across the country for a job interview in two days. I
took a deep breath, mentally listed everything I needed to do, then
turned towards the nearest ATM with a weight in my stomach. I would
have to perform miracles if I were ever going to make this
happen.

***

“No, Daddy. For the tenth time, I’m not
crazy.” I tapped my cell phone against the side of my head as my
father’s voice filtered through the speaker. On of the first items
on my ‘To-Do’ list was to call my parents in South Carolina to give
them the good news about my impending employment. The problem was
my dad didn’t see me flying out to Los Angeles for a job as ‘good
news’. He wanted me back home in Charleston so I could spend the
rest of my life rearranging the tourist knick knacks in his
store.

“You can’t be serious about this, Eva.” Daddy
still had a monopoly on our conversation. “That place is dangerous.
It’s full of nothing but drugs and crime.”

“I get it, Dad. I can feel the hellfire
already.” I was standing in the middle of my studio apartment,
surrounded by a medley of clothes and luggage. “This is a once in a
lifetime opportunity. I can’t be on your dime forever.”

“You’re not ‘on my dime’ now. You keep
refusing my offer to hire you on at the store.”

“Oh, don’t listen to him, honey.” My mom
chimed in. Somehow, she’d managed to wrestle the phone away. “Are
you excited? When will it be on? What channel?”

“I’m not hired yet, so I’m not excited. I
don’t know, and I don’t know.” I answered her questions as quickly
as she threw them out at me. But it didn’t matter. My mom wasn’t
listening to a single word I’d said.

“Our baby is going to be on television! Oh
Martin, can you imagine?”

I found myself once again holding the phone
away from my ear, rolling my eyes as she dreamed up a party for the
premiere of a show I wasn’t even a part of. I didn’t have the heart
to tell her that if this Connor had any sense, he’d replace any
notions of hiring me with someone else. I felt a sharp pang in the
base of my stomach at the thought of it. Could I really want this
job despite my obvious reservations? No, that wasn’t it. I wanted
the money, not the position. Could I be jealous? Nah; not of
Elliot. And certainly not of some girl they would hire to work with
him. More like nerves. Yeah, that’s it. I was just nervous.

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