Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Snippet 7.27.07

So, this is another section that is likely to end up on the cutting board. But, it's enjoyable, and so here it is as a snippet. I'm just not sure how much it furthers the plot, or if - in the long run - it just confuses things.

This bit takes place in San Jose, where Cynthia has felt a pull toward the Winchester Mystery House... and for Watchers, these hunches always pay off. She's not sure what it is she's looking for, but she'll know it when she sees it...

Reminder: this is draft material, has been copyrighted by the author, and is not to be reproduced anywhere or in any form. It may not be in the final draft, and will probably be altered if it does make the final draft.

If I had come back for a tour, it would have been for the special tour at Halloween, not a standard tour at the end of the summer. There were too many tourists on these end of the season tours. You couldn’t actually talk to the tour guides; they had to put all of their effort into herding their charges along.

“This room here,” our guide was said, pointing through an open doorway as she led us down the hall, “used to hold a variety of musical instruments. Mrs. Winchester had them moved because the music played in that room made the spirits restless.”

I tried not to roll my eyes. Poor, confused Sarah Winchester. I had never met a ghost, nor had any of the other Watchers. Yet another way for the Mundanes to explain away things they didn’t understand.

“If you listen closely, you can still hear them singing.”

The part that amazes me most is how people blind themselves to real magic going on around them, yet cling to the idea of ghosts with such tenacity.

As we rounded a corner and started down another long flight of stairs, alarms went off inside my head. The time had come for the tour and me to part company. It was simplicity itself for me to fake an untied shoelace; no one noticed that I dropped behind. I tied my shoe and waited for instinct to tell me which way to go.


Okay, failing help from hunches, the next logical step was to do a little looking around on my own. The only problem was I had no idea what I should be looking for, and minimal practice at skulking. My usual duties—such as cleaning up after natural disasters—tend to leave telltale signs that point me in the right direction.

I headed down the hall opposite from the staircase, looking and listening for anything abnormal. Unfortunately, I was in a house that radiated abnormal. Windows and fixtures had a habit of appearing in multiples of thirteen, staircases led to nowhere, and there was at least one door in the floor.

On the bright side, I had been here enough times to know what to expect. Even better: now that I was away from the noise of the tour, I could hear sounds of movement somewhere ahead of me. I rounded yet another corner and entered a room that featured one of the house’s many windows overlooking the surrounding gardens. This particular window was open, with the source of the pending accident leaning out and reaching for a butterfly.

“Hey, little girl.” I spoke softly as I inched forward, trying not to startle her. Hoping to reach her before the butterfly lured her any further out the window. “Stop leaning out—”

Before I could get close enough to pull her away from the window, she leaned just far enough to reach the butterfly.

It was also far enough for her feet to leave the floor.

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