Veil of Evil (introducing The Foundation)
By Toni Walker
“Hollow Creek is like the Midwest’s Bermuda Triangle,” Mick Boyd said. “People have been disappearing on the road to that town for over one-hundred years.
Derek Newcastle lit a match and brought it to a cigarette. He drew in a long breath and blew out a steam of smoke.
“One of our own has disappeared,” Derek said. “The Foundation wants us to look into his disappearance.”
“Who is it,” Mick asked.
“Richard Laskey. He has attended many of the Foundation’s fundraisers. You might have met him when you worked for the police department.”
“Doesn’t ring a bell.”
“He and his two children disappeared over a week ago. His daughter, Cora, would be about your age.”
“What’s the plan,” Mick asked.
“Hollow Creek appears on very few maps. It’s history is suspicious without the disappearance of the Laskeys. We’ll enter as historians researching the history of the area. There is a bed and breakfast shortly across the border. That’s where we’ll stay,” Derek said. “Bailey will meet us there.”
“So, I guess what you’re saying is … road trip?
Bailey Cooper joined Mick and Derek at the small bed and breakfast. Her creamy dark skin stood out in the Midwest town of Hollow Creek. It seemed only a handful lived in the actual town. She marveled at the one stop light and various abandoned buildings. If she didn’t know better, the place was on the verge of becoming a ghost town.
She loved taking photos of the various locations they visited. The Foundation had even helped her get a publisher to put her photos into a large coffee table book. Considering the haunted nature of the region, it gave her a good excuse for being in town.
Emma Rogers had been paired with Bailey on her first book. They’d become fast friends. Emma was a writer. She took her plain photos and made them stand out with text. Bailey watched as Emma walked around with her palms face up trying to feel the air and caress it.
“What are you doing?” Bailey asked chuckling at her friend.
“Can’t you feel it? It’s like there is an underlying energy here. Almost like this reality is carefully placed over another, one that is very active.”
Bailey was sure Emma’s imagination was what drew Mick and Derek to her.
“That’s quite a theory,” Bailey said. She was the skeptic of the group. She didn’t quite believe this Foundation business. They seemed to help people, but at what cost? Most of the Foundations were outcasts in their community, the freaks people rolled their eyes at. Derek and Mick just looked more approachable than most.
Derek was distinguished and older. He wore sharp suits and spoke with a British accent. He had been known to make American women swoon. He wasn’t half bad looking either. Mick was a rebel. He’d dumped the police department for a chance at more excitement with the Foundation.
“What are you feeling, Emma?” Derek asked.
“Unsettled energy,” she said. “I’ve never felt it this strong before.”
“We need to find a way into their world,” Mick said.
“It’s not that easy, guys,” Emma said. “The spirit world has its own set of rules. You can’t force them to invite you in.”
“We have to try something,” Mick said. He paced like an animal in the small space.
“Why does this matter to any of you?” Bailey asked. “Richard Laskey isn’t exactly Mother Teresa. He has some rough stuff in his past.”
“The Foundation takes care of its own, Bailey” Derek said. He was quickly losing patience with the latte-skinned woman. “We’ll set up a base camp here. You and Emma will be in charge of it.”
Bailey tried hard not to roll her eyes. “Lovely.” She stepped off the porch walking toward the road.
“What’s up with her?” Mick asked.
“She still hasn’t accepted what we do for a living,” Derek said. “I’m not sure she understand the supernatural.”
“Or maybe,” Emma replied. “Maybe she understands it all too well.
“That’s a scary thought,” Mick added.
Cora entered the lobby of the Inn and immediately sensed she’d walked into a room filled with people. The funny thing was that no one was there except her and David.
“Do you feel that?” Cora asked. “It’s almost like someone is watching us.”
“The only thing I feel is tired,” he said, disappearing upstairs. Cora stared at her reflection in the mirror. And the feeling of being watched only grew stronger.
“She’s here,” Mick said. “I can feel it.”
Bailey returned to the Inn hearing Mick’s comments.
“Now you’re the psychic?” Bailey said with skepticism in her voice.
“Derek said we’re about the same age,” Mick guessed. “Maybe that has something to do with it.”
“Not to mention,” Emma said. “That his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw her picture. If they’re any connection between then, it’s pure lust.”
“Ah, come on, guys. Give me a break.”
“Mick’s right. I can feel her energy as well,” Derek said. “She’s here in the Inn.”
“If she’s on another plane of reality, how do we break through?” Emma asked.
“That’s simple,” Bailey answered. “We find a door.”
“You thing you can find this door?” Derek asked.
“No, but I have a friend who used to be in the military. He ran across a guru in Asia who taught him how to Ghostwalk.”
“Ghostwalk? Is that anything like sleepwalking?” Mick asked.
“Somewhat. You have to be in the right mental state to do it. Apparently, it came very easy to Mac.”
“Are you talking about Mac Marlowe?”
“I’ve met him,” Derek said. “Fascinating man.”
“You think he could give us a crash course on how to do this over the phone?” Mick asked.
“I think this is something he’ll have to explain in person,” Bailey said.
She called Mac on her cell phone and luckily he answered. It took only a few minutes to explain their situation.
“He’s agreed to help,” Bailey said.
“When will he arrive,” Derek asked.
A gust of wind blew the curtains gently and Mick felt his ears pop.
“Is now fast enough?” Mac Marlowe stood with suitcase in hand and greeted Derek. “It’s been a long time.”
“Too long, my friend,” Derek answered with a smile.
“How did you do that?” Emma said in awe. “That was amazing.”
“There are energy doorways all over the place. Most people don’t notice them. I merely step into one doorway and out another. You were easy to find since I’d met both Derek and Bailey before.”
“You think you could do the same trick here?” Mick asked. “I know Cora is in the Inn, but no on this level of existence.”
“I’ve never tried it, but it should be fun,” Mac said rubbing his hands together.
“Hey, first things first, buddy. Teach us.”
“You’re right, Bailey. He is rather smitten with the girl.”
“What?” Bailey asked with surprise. “I didn’t say anything.”
“Oh, didn’t I mention that I can follow all energy even recent conversations. Let me tell you, it can be a relationship killer.”
Night came without notice as Mac shared the techniques the monks taught him. Ghostwalking wasn’t something to be taken lightly. It was a dangerous business. It would be easy to pick the wrong doorway and become lost.
“There’s something different about this place,” Mac told them. “Doors on top of doors. It will make it more difficult to make your way inside the other reality, if you even do.
“What are you saying?” Derek asked. “You don’t think we could do it?”
“You’re all psychically gifted in one way or another,” Mac said. “Of course, you could do it. But the question becomes, should you? These energy doorways are tricky. And I can feel true evil radiating from some source beneath us.”
“I have heard of Pandora’s box of evil,” Mac continued. “What if the box has been transformed into the size of a town and placed on a different level of existence.”
“Great,” Mick said slowly. “Do you think gathering evil together is such a good idea? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.”
“If this truly is the box of the goddess Pandora, this is where the evil belongs,” Derek said.
“You don’t think Richard Laskey and his children are meant to be here, do you?” Bailey asked.
“They were searching for Katherine Laskey. Maybe she was evil and drawn into the box’s trap. We won’t know until we get there,” Derek said.
“So, there is no question about it,” Mick said. “We’re all going. If there is anything I’ve learned while meeting evil face to face, you can’t do it alone.”
“I can’t take the chance of you getting stuck between energy doorways,” Mac said. “I should go alone.”
“That’s not happening,” Mick said.
“I don’t think you can stop me.” Mac picked up his suitcase, gave a little wave and disappeared.