I’ll start with my usual bit about copyright law and how my pet monster can turn mean toward anyone who copies my work. So just don’t do it.
Remember that if you have not read Infusion Blue blog posts in the past month or so, go to the Claire and Jaycee category and start from the first post. The story is continuing forward and by the time I’m finished here I’ll damn near have “Without Notice”, the initial volume, finished! Wow!
Thank you to all who have sent me so much positive response and continue to support my work. You’re all fantastic and it’s a pleasure to have you here!
It was a dark and stormy night….
Well, at least in Claire’s mind it was that. She had a storm brewing in the form of a big plan to even the score with Arlan Truss, aka the hacking bastard, and she wanted to do it in her own way and on her own terms.
Claire had been in contact with Winnie Malone, one of the two-nurse nightshift team that had attended to Arlan during his stay in the psych ward, and by way of Winnie, she had been introduced to Brandy. And that, is how the whole dark storm of ideas began. God help them all!
Poor sonofabitch doesn’t stand a chance.
Brandy pushed the doorbell button again. She was nervous about this meeting. Right now she didn’t even remember why she had agreed. It all happened so fast.
Winnie pulled her aside before their shift two days ago, and mentioned that she had been contacted by someone named Claire Randall and given this wild story about Arlan Truss. Except that Winnie had not thought it to be so wild really, considering that she already believed there was something lurking in the shadows that attacked him.
Brandy didn’t like the fact that Winnie offered to tell Claire about how Arlan had humped and dumped her (Winnie’s phrase!). But the cat was out of the bag and there was no turning back now.
The strangest part to Brandy, was that Claire was so very interested in this meeting. For what purpose she had no idea.
The classy brunette in a pink jumpsuit suddenly in front of Brandy, elegantly offered her hand. “I’m Claire. Claire Randall.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Brandy.” She laughed.. “Of course you knew that already.”
“Come in. I have some wine. I hope you like red?”
“Sounds perfect.” If it was one thing Brandy could use right now it was fortification. She didn’t like discussing her sex life. The truth was that up until Arlan it had been stupidly boring
“If you don’t mind,” Brandy seated herself in a big chair and began talking after taking a sip of what she discovered was a great full-bodied Alexander Valley Cab, “I’m a bit surprised at this meeting. I mean, I mainly came out of curiosity.”
Claire smiled at the frankness. “Don’t blame you.” She paused. “But this is such a fucking weird situation.”
Brandy laughed. The tension was now easing. “I’ll say. How much do you know about what happened to Arlan Truss?”
Claire shrugged. “Most all of it.” She took a good gulp of wine, put down the glass, and recounted her story, “I saw Arlan perform three years ago and did some kind of zombie-freakout at his show. That’s the only way to describe it.”
Brandy nodded. “I can see why. He’s got something about him. Sexy, but, a little terrifying.”
“Well, for me it was definitely terrifying. You see, I believe I know him from a past life.” Claire waited for Brandy to react. Possibly laugh in her face. Maybe even get up and leave. Neither one happened. “You don’t have doubts about that?”
Brandy shook her head. “I believe in reincarnation. Always have. I’ve been attending elderly and special care patients since I was in college and I have seen some things a person can’t rationalize away. At this point in life, I’m totally comfortable with the idea.”
Claire let out a breath. “Well, it’s a great thing that I contacted you then. I was afraid that my friend Jaycee was the only one who didn’t think I was nuts. And to be honest, I sometimes wonder if she isn’t just trying to humor me.”
“I doubt she is. Many people believe they’ve lived a past life and are afraid to openly admit it. You’re braver than you realize.”
“Thanks. But my courage didn’t stop this guy from being a total asshole.”
“Hey, it’s what he does best!”
“That’s for certain. In my case, he hacked my phone. My wi-fi. Every freaking thing that plugs into my world.”
Brandy wasn’t prepared to hear that. “You’re sure?”
“Oh, yes! When he started playing music he either heard me say I wanted to hear, or, that I had been listening to earlier, I knew for sure. It happened time and time again. There were other things too. Comments he’d make on social media. All under the radar but clear as day to me.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Why did you put up with it?”
Claire shook head and brushed some hair out of her face. “He lost his father not long ago, and then he went through that divorce thing. Had some other problems. He attacked some guy up on stage. Not sure why. Eventually he ended up in rehab. I thought he was down. You know? Like some wounded lion.”
“And you wanted to pull the thorn out of his paw?”
Claire laughed. “Exactly.” She paused, looking away. “I fell in love with him. Even back at that show. My heart recognized him. My brain did not. I knew next to nothing about him. But, yet, it was like I had found someone important to me. Someone I had not seen in a very long time.”
Brandy closed her eyes. “God! And he took full advantage, did he not?”
“Sure did. I didn’t want to believe that at first, of course, I thought he was a better man than that. But upon closer inspection, he was pretty gross.” Claire got up to go into the kitchen. “Want something to munch on? I made sandwiches. ” A minute later she returned with a tray of ham, tuna, and chicken sandwiches cut into small rectangles.
“Thanks.” Brandy had not realized how hungry she was. Must be the wine. “In my case he came on to me in the hospital. About five minutes after he came back around. It’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid.”
Claire raised her eyebrows at Brandy’s choice of words. Beast, indeed. There was something she had in mind that went along with that thought. She lowered her voice when she spoke, so it was barely above a whisper. “Wanna get even?”
Brandy heard her loud and clear. It had been her hope to hear Claire ask just that, but she had been hesitant to say it first. “You’re goddamned right I do!”
Claire smiled broadly. She was pretty all the time, but her smile was like lightning – it lit up the room. “I believe I know how to do it.”
“I’m all ears!”
Claire sat back in her chair, wine glass in hand, and told Brandy how Jaycee had willed the monster to attack Arlan. “Natural witchcraft. That’s what I call it. All women have the power since time began. That’s how Eve got Adam to bite that apple! Few tap into it, but my friend Jaycee experienced it firsthand when she did.”
Brandy looked at her companion. The two could easily pass for sisters. Both were the same tall, slim type, with a mane of dark hair that went down their backs, and while Claire was technically younger, in appearance they seemed to be just a year or two apart. “You have a plan, then?” Claire nodded slowly to her in response. “Count me in. I want to hear all about it.”
“We both have had intimate contact with Arlan. You had a psychical connection with the man, and I have had an emotional connection. Put both together and it’s very, very powerful.” Claire paused for a moment, then went on, “I propose that we team up and see that justice is served. Jaycee’s magic was potent, however, ours would be off the charts more so, given our up close and personal knowledge of the man.”
Brandy nodded. “Yes. That’s smart. Makes perfect sense.” She took a deep gulp of wine before she spoke again. “I don’t want him dead. And I don’t think you do either.”
“No! But I want him to get a message that is much stronger this time. And, I want him to know why he’s getting that message.”
“We’re like-minded, Claire. We could be sisters, don’t you think?”
Claire tipped her head to one side and looked at Brandy, smiling. “I thought so right away. When I opened the door it was kind of like looking in a mirror!”
They both laughed and Claire got up to get another bottle of Cab. It was going to be a long night. With a very important plan to be made.