Pt. 4

Derek rummaged through the files again, trying to find the estimates on money spent on the Winston Raine Hall of Antiquities. Somewhere in that estimate was the amount the Legacy had spent on acquiring a set of cursed wine goblets supposedly linked to the Borgia family. Derek had, at the time, expressed certain reservations about their authenticity – until a dockworker had used one for a beer mug and had died under mysterious circumstances hours later. The Mother House had insisted he give them all the details of that event down to the last penny spent to create a factual cover story to explain the man's death. Derek sighed and pushed the files away in frustration. He hated doing the monthly reports that the Mother House seemed so fond of. Alex usually dealt with them; compiling them into a neat, comprehensive document he could put his signature on. But this month she was busy on assignment and had left the job in his lap. "She looked very pleased to kick this back to me" Derek groused to himself. "I'd swear she did this on purpose." He rose and stretched, allowing his tired muscles to unwind. He had heard a car pull up a few hours before but had been so engrossed in the paperwork that he hadn't checked on who had arrived. Now, he decided, would be a good time to check up things before he drove himself to distraction on a report no one would read.

"Dominick" he asked as he stepped out into the hall "Do you know who arrived a while ago?"

"Yes Sir, I believe it was Miss Guinevere. She and Nick are in the lab." Dominic continued towards the kitchen. "I was about to see about dinner, Sir. I suppose Miss Guinevere will be staying?"

"I haven't a clue" Derek replied, heading in the direction of the hologram.

Inside the lab, Gwen and Nick continued to study the diaries, each trying to avoid the moment when one of them would have to inform Derek of the impending arrival of the Mother House's notorious Security Chief. "Nick, look at this clipping. It fell out of that first journal – the one I was holding when I had the vision." Gwen gingerly held out a yellowed scrap of newspaper with a frown. "I was afraid something like this might have happened."

Nick laid the paper gingerly on the scanner and copied it, projecting its image on the computer screen in front of them.

Lords Ville Daily Gazette – January 4th, 1882

Local couple killed in tragic fire

The home of Captain Josiah Duncan was the scene of a tragic fire today. Capt. Duncan and his wife Mercedes – both long time residents of our fair community – died when their parlor was engulfed in flames. Only quick action by the Captain's servants saved Mrs. Duncan's sister Vivian Lord and the majority of the house. It is believed that the fire started when a candelabra was accidentally knocked over into a set of lace curtains, which ignited immediately. Mrs. Duncan, a long-time invalid, was unable to escape the smoke and flames and her husband – who had recently been injured in a hunting accident – was overcome while trying to save her. Mrs. Lord's family has been a member of this community since its founding and she and her husband will be missed.

"Give me a break!" Nick commented sarcastically. "Okay, I can buy the guy might not have been able to help her himself if he'd been hurt previously but he couldn't just yank the curtains down and stomp on them? Or get out of the room and bring help? Something's fishy about this story."

"Yes, it does read like a press release doesn't it? I'd almost swear…" Gwen's voice trailed off as her Sight hit her again. It began in the same place with the man and woman from her previous vision seated in chairs at opposite ends of the room. But there was something wrong with the scene. The man and woman appeared to be sleeping in their chairs. The male figure was stretched out in his chair with his feet propped up on a small table. The woman reclined on a settee with a veil over her face. A shadow passed them in the darkness, holding a lighted candlestick. The figure carefully lit the lace curtains gently moving in the evening breeze then dropped the candlestick beside the flaming mass. Smoke began to fill the room and the wallpaper began to curl as the flames spread from the windows to any burnable item they could reach. The man coughed and gagged but stayed in his chair, seemingly unable to break the hold that sleep had on him. The woman didn't move at all. The heat began to be unbearable…

"Gwen!" Nick reached over and shook his friend hard, as she began to choke in her seat. "Come out of it!"

"Nick! What's going on?" Derek raced into the lab, concerned by Nick's shouts.

"It's Gwen. We were talking and suddenly she just trailed off with that distant look in her eyes. Then she started to cough and choke."

"I'm alright," Gwen sputtered, trying to take a breath. "I just got too caught up in the vision."

"What did you see?" Derek asked, concerned.

Gwen pointed distractedly to the image on the computer screen. "I saw the fire. You're right to think that article was a put-up job Nick. It was no accident that killed Capt. Duncan and his wife. They were murdered."