Chapter 5-Getting Acquainted
I sit down on the couch in the living room trying to research the sign on my stomach online.
Crystal told me all about the internet and how to use it to help me catch up with news and other things that happened...while I was dead. I type in many different keywords into my phone, but no symbol comes up matching the one on my stomach. So I slide my phone back into my pant pocket.
I should really test my craft, I was laying dead and dormant for ten years. I should at least make sure I can still use magic to some degree.
Hearing a car pull up in the driveway, I jump from my seat on the couch thinking Mrs. McCaster will need help with the groceries. I’m kind of glad she’s back early, I won’t be so alone in this house.
Focusing on the door, I decide I may as well give magic a go. When I hear her walk up the porch I stand in front of the door. Most witches have their doors hexed with this spell. I’m sure the McCasters do too.
I glance out the window next to the front door. My satisfied grin dissolves quickly when I see a police trooper car parked out in their driveway instead of Cathy’s van.
"Patentibus,” I whisper reluctantly and the door unlocks and opens on its own. Well, my craft is still intact after all.
A tall police officer stands in front of me blocking my view of pretty much anything else behind him besides his car. Most likely due to my new confused and nervous state, the lines etching the symbol on my stomach burn painfully and I put my hand on my stomach as if it will make the pain go away. It doesn’t.
“Good mornin’ ma’am. I have a warrant to search this here property. May I come in?” the officer says in a deep southern voice.
I’m guessing he must be a new cop because he does not look very old or stereotypically fat. In fact, he looks quite young and he smiles a dazzling smile at me. He caught me checking him out, jeez. It’s not like I’ve been dead for ten years and haven’t seen an attractive person.
Get a hold of yourself, Valerie. I think to myself, internally scoffing at the stupid look that’s probably pasted on my face.
I mumble feeling embarrassed, “Oh, um. Yes, you may come in. Sorry.”
I tighten my jaw, feeling the mark on my stomach burn even more awfully all of the sudden as the officer steps closer to me and follows me into the house. Why would the police be here anyway? Any witch could make a human forget if they did a crime. The spell wouldn’t be too hard to do I imagine. I just can’t peg the McCasters as criminals anyway.
“Careful,” the policeman says in a smooth voice when I catch my foot on the welcome rug and fall flat on my butt right in front of him.
I stand up on my own, frowning at myself for expecting him to offer me a hand up. Which he didn’t, but hey I can get up on my own. He probably is suspicious of me anyway. He didn’t bother asking my name though, which is kind of weird. He really must be a rookie after all.
I stand up feeling awkward and dust off my pants as he quietly scans the room with a sweeping look. The burning sensation on my stomach has me tapping my foot impatiently. I don’t know if I can take it any longer! I bite my lip trying to keep from crying out in pain. The officer is too busy walking over to a few areas in the house to notice my agony.
Finally, he walks over from the kitchen looking over my head to the front door.
“Looks clear to me. Lead the way back out, ma’am,” he commands me with authority pointing back at the front door.
“Oh, r-right okay,” I spew out while scurrying over to the direction of the front door.
Once we’re outside again, the officer walks over to the porch steps jotting things down on a notepad and tucking his notes into the pocket of his shirt.
“Thank you for your time, ma’am. Sorry for the inconvenience. I’m afraid, ’ever, I’m at the wrong house. My apologies for the...intrusion,” he mumbles while adjusting his police hat.
Strands of sandy blonde hair fall over his dark blue eyes as he gives me a boyish grin. I’ve never seen a police officer smile so much and he’s kind of cute.
I catch myself staring silently at him appreciatively, not really caring about his startling words that he mistakenly came here except for the small fact that my stomach still feels like it’s on fire. I try to smile against the pain, a tight-lipped smirk is the best I can offer as we stand silently stuck in some kind of weird extended goodbye.
“May I help you?” Mrs. McCaster’s voice breaks the silence as she walks around the officer to my side with two hands full of groceries. Yikes, she looks angry. I didn’t even hear her car pull up.
“No, ma’am. I believe there was an error in the address I was sent. I had a warrant out for a large estate on this here mountain. I ended up searchin’ your house mistakenly. Your house isn’t numbered, I recommend buyin’ a number plate for your mailbox,” the officer tells her with a straight face -- all smiles gone.
“There is a large house on the other side of this mountain. That is probably the one y’all are lookin’ for. If I may ask, what happened?” Mrs. McCaster asks while setting her groceries down and crossing her arms still looking peeved.
“Arson. You ladies have a good day now,” the policeman answers while turning away from us.
He walks back down the steps and gets in his car. After he drives away, the awful burning sensation on my stomach finally decides to go away too.
Finally, I can actually breathe steadily and don’t have to pretend I’m not in horrible pain.
Mrs. McCaster and I finish putting away the groceries from her car. She gets out tuna from the pantry and starts making us tuna sandwiches.
“Can I ask you somethin’ dear?” she asks me while looking up from mixing the tuna mixture. Her smile is soft. “Did that policeman come inside here?”
“Yes, he had a warrant. Well, for the other house, but he didn’t realize it until we walked back outside.”
“Uh-huh,” she says slowly while putting the tuna on some bread.
She hands me a sandwich and I bite into it, wondering why she bothered asking me when the policeman already told her he was in here.
“Is something wrong?”
“Oh nothing, dear. It just smells like burned ash in here is all. My husband needs to clean out our fireplace, don’t you smell it?” she asks me with a raised brow, looking up from her sandwich to me with a slight sharpness in her eyes. Her face is tense and for once, I think she might be lying.
Taking a sniff, I come to realize the only thing I can smell is the tuna.
I take a bite into my sandwich. “No, I don’t think so.”
Cathy shrugs her shoulders and turns on some music on her phone. We finish eating the last of our sandwiches and she hums along to the music.
The tenseness in her face still there.