Read Dead Demon Walking Online

Authors: Linda Welch

Tags: #urban fantasy, #paranormal mystery, #parnormal romance, #linda welch, #along came a demon, #the demon hunters, #whisperings paranormal mystery

Dead Demon Walking

W
hisperings book three: Dead Demon Walking.

Linda Welch.

 

Copyright 2011 by Linda
Welch.

 

Smashwords edition.

 

ISBN:
978-1-4657-6603-8

 

 

 

Dead Demon
Walking

Whisperings book
three

 

 

Linda Welch

 

 

Dear Readers,

 

In 2010 additional material
transformed Along Came a Demon from novella to novel, which
necessitated a small addition and some minor revision to The Demon
Hunters. The plot basics did not change, but those of you who read
the novellas will see obscure references in Dead Demon Walking and
think
what the heck
? I promise, they
are
minimal and have no material impact on this
novel.

 

I hope you enjoy Whisperings book
three.

 

Linda.

 

Chapter One

 

Late August in Clarion is a contrary
time of year, when the sun drops below the westward peaks at seven
in the evening and does not rise in the east till eight in the
morning. Temperatures fluctuate wildly; you can’t predict them from
one day to the next. Days can be hot, and nights cold enough to
chill your bones. I leave every window in the house open at night,
though the house will feel like an icebox till noon, because I know
the temperature will get right up there again. That way, I don’t
need to run the air conditioner much, which keeps the electricity
bill down.

I came out my bedroom with my robe
tightly cinched. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee bolstered my mood
and drew me down the stairs to the kitchen. A new coffee maker,
with a working timer, does that for me.

My black-brindle Scottish terrier
MacKlutzy waited at the pantry door.

Most dogs trail their
humans as they move through the house, but not Mac. He will
occasionally join me in my bedroom when I work at my desk, but only
if there is no patch of sunshine in the kitchen to lie in. His
chief preoccupations are food and walks, and I’m merely the
provider of these necessities. He sleeps in my room during the
night, but trots downstairs to the pantry the
second
I stir. I rarely see him in
his plaid doggy bed when I open my eyes.

I went to the pantry, scooped kibble
into his bowl and put it on the floor. As always, he cleaned the
dish in less than a minute. I think he inhales the stuff. I would
be seriously worried if Mac picked at his food, or worse, refused
it.

Next in his daily routine, I opened
the back door so he could go outside and do what a dog’s gotta do.
I left it open a crack so he could push back inside.

The sun pierced the small glass pane
in the backdoor and larger window in the wall beside it, painting
two golden paths over the kitchen floor and my beat-up old kitchen
table. Arms wrapped around her shoulders, Mel stood with her back
to the multi-pane west windows. “Brr.”

I grinned at her. Dead people don’t
feel the cold. “Where’s Jack?”


Probably still in
bed.”


You’re full of it this
morning.” Dead people don’t sleep, either.

I ambled to the counter, patted my new
toy’s shiny white plastic surface and reached to the top cabinet
for a coffee mug. The phone rang. I glanced at it, but didn’t
recognize the number on Caller ID, so let the answering machine
pick up.

A familiar gravelly voice said,
“Banks? It’s Brad Spacer. Something - ”

I put the mug on the counter and
plucked up the receiver with one hand as I felt in the silverware
drawer for a spoon with the other. “Morning, Brad.”


You’re there.
Good.”

I snugged the phone between shoulder
and ear, leaving my hands free to pour coffee. “What can I do for
you, Detective?”


Something’s come up, might
interest you.” I heard Brad’s supersized coffee cup
thunk
as he put it down
none too gently. Detective Bradley Spacer’s desk would look naked
without that cup. “You were interested in a cold case a while back,
guy went missing twenty-some years ago.”

My teaspoon tinged the side of the
glass carafe as my hand jerked a little. I knew which case Brad
meant. I turned my back on Mel and spoke as low as I could. “What
about it?”


I got a man in the
interview room asking. When I told him we had nothing new, he asked
me to recommend a PI. You know we can’t officially make
recommendations, but your name could come up in our
conversation.”

I cleared my throat. “What’s his
story?”


Name’s Dale Jericho, from
outta New York City, stopped here on his way to Saint George,
looking at property down there, taking an early retirement. Didn’t
realize his friend was missing till five years after the fact, when
he came here on business and decided to look him up. Went back to
New York after, but kept tabs on the case. We’ve logged seventeen
inquiries from the guy in the past twenty years.”


After all this time, he
wants to hire a private investigator?”


So he says. Says it’s been
on his mind all these years. You want it?”

I couldn’t help Dale
Jericho. I knew who killed his friend and where his body lay, and
would not share that with anyone. That would open a
whole
can of worms. No
way, no-how, could I explain why I’d not reported the two bodies,
or what would be left of them, buried in my basement.

I got the
chocolate-mint-truffle creamer from the fridge, added a dollop to
my Colombian medium-roast blend and stirred. Why would the
disappearance of an old friend be “on his mind” after all this
time? Why hire an investigator
now
?

Unless he knows something
about the murder.

Mac pushed the backdoor open with his
nose and made a beeline for the widest golden swath on the floor.
The light made the copper brindle in his coat glint as he stretched
out on his belly, head on paws, and closed his eyes.


You still
there?”

I pushed the backdoor closed with my
foot. “Yeah. I’m interested. Not that I think I can help him, but a
consultation fee is not to be sniffed at.”


Big time now,
huh?”


Definitely. Got my name in
neon lights across the office I don’t have.”

He chuckled.

I wanted to talk to Jericho, but not
where Jack and Mel could hear. “Give him my cell
number.”


Will do. See ya,
Banks.”


Yeah, sure.” I put the
phone down.

I sat at the table, lifted the mug to
my lips and almost impaled my eye on the spoon. Mel
sniggered.


Who was that?” she
asked.


Brad Spacer. Nothing
important, just following up on an old case.”

Dale Jericho. I didn’t recognize the
name. Would Jack?

***

 

My cell rang as I dressed; I zipped up
my Levis and fell across the bed to reach it. I flipped open the
cover, put it to my ear and rolled on my back. “This is
Tiff.”


Miss Banks? Dale Jericho.
Detective Spacer gave me your number.”

I eyed the hairline cracks in the
bedroom ceiling. “He said you’re interested in. . . .” I hesitated,
knowing my nosy roommates could be listening. “. . . . an old
police case.”

I heard voices, cutlery clattering in
the background. A restaurant or café?


Can we meet and discuss
this?”

I glanced at the mantle clock.
“Today?”


If possible. I leave for
Saint George tonight.”

Nine o’clock and I hadn’t eaten yet.
“Where are you?”


Audrie’s.”

Audrie’s Family Restaurant
- the guy had good taste. They do
really
good breakfasts. “I can be
there in ten minutes. That okay with you? Or would you rather we
meet in private?”


Here’s fine. Ten minutes,
then.”


I’ll be there. Why don’t
you order me their biscuits and gravy breakfast? Eggs scrambled,
with cheese. No toast; make it an English muffin. I don’t expect
you to pay.”


Ah . . . very well.
Biscuits and gravy. Right.”

He sounded put-off. Hey, if I had to
meet him in a restaurant I might as well eat breakfast. He could
order and it would be ready when I arrived.


I’ll see you there.” I
snapped my phone shut.

I lay there, tapping my
chin with the phone, pondering. Did the man think a private
investigator could discover something new, when the cops found
nothing? Or did he have another angle? Did he want to make sure
nobody
had
discovered anything new? But surely, for that, he would need
someone inside the police department, not an
independent.

I shunted off the bed, tucked the cell
in my back pocket and went to my desk. I kept Jack’s file, and
Mel’s, in the bottom drawer. I took a few minutes to skim through
the foolscap sheets, though I didn’t need to. I knew every word by
heart.

I would not take the file with me, but
it did give me an idea how to get out the house minus harassment
from my roommates. I replaced the file and took a big manila
envelope out the drawer. I went downstairs with it in my
hand.


Going somewhere?” Mel
called as I picked up my keys and wallet from the hall
table.

I flapped the envelope. “Off to the
post office.”

She stuck her head around the kitchen
door. “Why don’t you leave it in the mailbox for
pickup?”


I need a signature on
delivery.”

I’m not above lying if I
think the end justifies the means. The end, in this instance, would
be Jack and Mel
not
pestering me about where I went, why, and how long I would be
gone. I didn’t want them to know, especially not Jack. Not
yet.

***

 

Audrie’s is an old log-cabin-style
restaurant on Grant Avenue, on the west side across from the
transportation hub. You can get almost anything there including
American, Italian, Mexican and Greek. They serve huge meals at a
reasonable price, all made from scratch. I adore their breakfasts.
My favorite is cheese-covered scrambled eggs with biscuits
smothered in sausage gravy. It comes with country-fried potatoes, a
couple bacon slices and either toast, an English muffin, or a
deep-fried scone with honey butter. And in my opinion their coffee
can’t be beat by any fancy specialty coffee shop.

Cars, pickups and vans crowded the
rear parking lot, but I squeezed the Subaru between a truck and the
chain-link fence. I locked my car and walked to Audrie’s entrance,
went inside and hesitated as I tried to see into the three
restaurant sections. Diners packed the place
wall-to-wall.

One guy sat alone, over near the
bathrooms. As I wove among tables, I wondered if Brad told Jericho
I’m a psychic. I’m not, and don’t advertise as such, but Clarion
Police Department stuck the label on me and word
spreads.

You would be surprised by
how many police cases in which those with psychic abilities are
involved. What you’ll hear is an anonymous tip led officers to the
perpetrator, and when they walk in the courtroom there is no
argument with the evidence to which that
anonymous tip
led. They won’t
advertise who gave them the tip; a defense attorney would have a
field day with a psychic consultant on the witness stand, using
that to draw out the proceedings as long as possible.

I worried about being called to
testify when I worked for Clarion PD as a consultant, a possibility
as I didn’t have the rights of a confidential informer. But
prosecuting attorneys never asked what tipped off the police when
the evidence spoke for itself.

I’m not really a psychic, or a medium,
but I don’t tell anyone what I actually do. There is no title for
people like me, who see and speak to the violently slain as if they
are flesh and blood people.

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