Chapter Twelve and Thirteen of "Samuel Light, Spiritual Detective: The Shasta Caper," is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
Samuel Light, Spiritual Detective: The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
The Seven Hills of Rome. And they were climbing one. Late afternoon. Sun was burning down on them, lapping over them like a hot clay fire. Claudius wiped at his brow, then tossed the sweat to the ground.
Ignatius smiled at him. "Got a good sweat worked up, brother?"
"No thanks to you. Or rather should I say, thanks to you." Claudius said.
Their sandals were having a hard time keeping a purchase on the rocky knoll they were mounting. They had promised each other to make it before noon, but it wasn't working out that way. They wanted to look at Rome from above and draw it.
Which brought up another problem, they had forgotten to bring any drawing materials. Claudius laughed.
"What's so funny?"
"Here we are on an afternoon hike to draw Rome, but without a single thing to draw upon or with."
"Well." Ignatius answered. "We have the dirt to draw upon and rocks to make our marks. I'd say we're not totally at a loss."
Claudius laughed again, then threw himself down on a lion shaped boulder that had been carved by Dinaus, a famous sculpter from Greece. "At least we shall draw in style."
"Yes, I'm sure Dinaus would love knowing our sweaty butts are annointing the flesh of his great work." Ignatius said with a grin.
Ignatius sat down next to his brother and studied Rome, which was nestled in the lap of the seven hills. "I wonder how Caesar is doing these days."
"I'd imagine not so good, considering Brutus having stabbed him."
"Suppose not." Ignatius muttered, unhappy with his thoughts.
"What's wrong, brother?"
Ignatius grunted. "It's just that I don't understand why anyone would ever betray the one they love."
"Did not the Christ get betrayed by the kiss of his disciple?"
"True enough, but this is not religious. It is blood of blood."
"Perhaps, but sometimes the closer two people are, the more difference that truly engulfs them. Who's to say?"
They were both silent a long time, until a hawk came screaming over head.
"One day I shall fly like that hawk." Claudius declared.
"Well, if I throw you down the hill, that day shall be now." Ignatius declared.
Claudius laughed. "That'll be the day."
Ignatius rose and grabbed Claudius by his shoulders and wrestled him to the ground. "Two out of three and we'll see who can fly further?"
"You're on!" Claudius declared, and immediately threw Ignatius from him.
"Sherelle Matilda. You still put a lot of bang into that shake." Samuel said, pretending she hadn't noticed the jolt of energy. She had, but she was very shy about talking about it with her brothers listening in, though both felt something up.
"You're so handsome and courteous as always." She told him back, hiding the gleam of knowing on her lips as she turned to Jacob. "You know the cows haven't been milked for two days. What in hell's name were you thinking, big brother?"
He hunched down, cowering a bit behind Jimbo, who smiled. "Sis, it's not like that. Someone had to go out and bury the pieces."
"Pieces?" I asked.
Jacob looked at Samuel. "Don't ask and then you won't have to tell."
Samuel didn't have to ask. It had to be the man they had machine-gunned down. "Won't the Sheriff be coming looking for him eventually."
Sherelle put an arm around Jacob's waist and leaned into him. "The Sheriff likes out blueberry and raspberry pies a lot, don't he, Jacob?"
"Oh indeed he do." Jacob said with a grin.
Samuel said no more.
Later, they sat around the dining table, which was made from Joshua trees burnished to a high polish. It was about ten feet long and four wide, supported by eight legs made of highly polished iron that had been hand made.
"I don't remember this." Samuel said, eyeing the beauty of it.
"Jacob's shy about his work." Sherelle said with a wink. "Like someone else I know well."
He blushed, then turned to Jimbo, who was polishing off the four steak that had been over the barbie out back.
Jimbo swallowed his food with a big gulp from a huge bottle of ginger ale, then burped. "She's got you pegged, Sammie boy."
Samuel blushed again and then yet again when she nudged his leg with her right foot. This time there was no WHAM, which made him both embarassed, curious and puzzled.
She put her chin in the palms of her hands that she cupped together and smiled. "Not everyone has all the goodies, Sammie."
He never got a chance to ask her what that meant, because a horrible howling came from out back.
Jacob got up, his face turning red with anger. "It's them damned ghosties again. They always wake up, just when we're getting ready to go to bed. It's like clockwork. None of us has gotten a good night's rest around here for days now."
Jimbo got up stretched, then eyed Samuel. "Let's go earn our meal, partner."
Samuel nodded and pushed away from the remains of his meal. Vegetarian. Soy meat with flakes of coconut and Stevia on top, a mild soy sauce pooled around its base. He had made it himself. Even Sherelle had had some, as well as Jacob, but Jimbo was having none of it. He was strictly a steak and potatoes man. Occasionally, a lamb.
"Take me to your leaders." Samuel punned.
Jacob eyed Samuel with disdain. "If that's the best you can do, then we're all damned to hell."
They went outside through the back door, closing it behind them. Samuel noted that the back porch was cleaner than usual.
"Me." Sherelle admitted. "Since I graduated from the University of Texas, I've been bored as hell. Nothing to do out here, except milk cows and rope horses. And the occassional dude."
Again she nudged him, but with her elbow. Still no WHAM!
Now Samuel was really puzzled.
They took a short path behind the barn and there stood a two story outhouse with three seats inside. All spanking new.
"We overhauled it nicely, don't you think?" Jacob asked.
"You going to the bathroom or moving in?" Samuel asked.
"Both." Jacob quipped.
Jimbo cuffed his younger brother and he was cuffed back. Both young men grinned at each other until the howl came from the haunted outhouse again.
As they neared the outhouse a flare of blue light shot out its moon shaped windows, casting the desert ground about it in a bluish glaze of unearthly color. The walls of the outhouse began to shake, then expand like something alive and breathing.
"Samuel, if you would do the honors?" Jimbo asked.
Samuel hesitated. "Looks like a Category One haunting." Samuel said.
"All the more reason to clear it out. I'm not going to the bathroom in any haunted house. Day or night!" Sherelle reasoned.
Samuel took a deep breath and slowly went up to the wall of the outhouse. A horrible scream came out and the wall seemed to leap at him as he reached out a hand to touch it.