Based on a true legend
â€œI don’t think we should be here.â€
â€œOh c’mon, Cait, calm down. Everything’s fine. We have the equipment set and-â€œ
â€I feel like someone’s watching me.â€ Cait Irwin turned around slowly, scanning the thick woods that appeared to be even more sinister now that the sun was setting. The trees spread out in every direction, so thick and numerous that she couldn’t even see where they’d parked her car, never mind the highway that was so far back nothing could be heard from it.
We could die here and no one would know…
Her best friend from childhood, Anne cocked her hip as she lowered her thermal imaging camera to smirk at Cait. â€œI hope something is watching you… Which direction should I be shooting?â€
Cait shook her head at her friend’s joy. There was nothing Anne loved more than a good ghost sighting. â€œAnne, I’m not joking. There’s something here.â€ She pinned her with a caustic glower. â€œYou brought me along because I’m psychic, right?â€
â€œThen trust me. This…â€ Cait rubbed the chills from her arms- â€œisn’t right.â€
â€œWhat’s going on?â€ Brandon set his large camera crate down next to Anne’s feet as he rejoined them. He and Jamie had gone out to set their DVR’s and cameras for the night.
While she and Anne were slight of frame, Brandon and Jamie were well bulked. Brandon more from beer and channel-surfing, and Jamie from hours spent in the gym. Even so, with blond hair and blue eyes, Brandon was good-looking in a Boy Scout kind of way while Jamie had that whole dark, brooding sexy scowl thing that made most women melt and giggle whenever he glanced their way.
Anne indicated her with a jerk of her chin. â€œWunderkind over there is already picking up something.â€
Brandon’s eyes widened. â€œI hope you mean spirit-wise and not some backwoods bug we have no immunity to. I left my vitamin C at home.â€
Cait shivered as another wave of trepidation went through her. This one even stronger than the previous one. â€œWhose bright idea was this anyway?â€
Anne pointed to Brandon who grinned proudly.
He winked at her. â€œC’mon, Cait. It’s a ghost town. We don’t get to investigate one of these every day. Surely ye of the unflappable constitution isn’t wigging out like a little girl at a horror movie.â€
Cait shrieked as Jamie grabbed her from behind.
Laughing, he stepped around her, then shrugged his Alienware backpack off his shoulder and set it next to the camera case.
She glared at the walking mountain. â€œDamn it, Jamie! You’re not funny.â€
â€œNo, but you are. I didn’t know you could jump that high. I’m impressed.â€
Hissing at him like a feral cat, she flicked her nails in his direction. â€œIf I didn’t think it’d come back on me, I’d hex you.â€
He flashed that devilish grin that was flanked by dimples so deep they cut moons into both of his cheeks. â€œAh, baby, you can hex me up any time you want.â€
Cait suppressed a need to strangle him. All aggravation aside, a martial arts instructor who was built like Rambo might come in handy one day. And still her Spidey senses tingled, warning her that that day might not be too far in the future.
â€œWe’re not supposed to be here.â€ She bit her lip as she glanced around, trying to find what had her so rattled.
â€œNo one is,â€ Brandon said in a spooky tone. â€œThis ground is cursed. Oooo-eeee-oooo…â€
She ignored him. But he was right. At one time Randolph County had been the richest in all of Alabama. Until the locals had forced a Native American business owner to leave her store behind and walk the Trail of Tears.
Cait jerked around as she heard the faint whisper of the woman’s name- it was the same name as the ghost town they were standing in. Rather cruel to her to name the town after the woman they’d run out for no real reason.
â€œLouina,â€ the voice repeated, even more insistent than before.
â€œDid you hear that?â€ she asked the others.
â€œHear what?â€ Jamie checked his DVR. â€œI’m not picking up anything.â€
Something struck her hard in the chest, forcing her to take a step back. Her friends and the forest vanished as she suddenly found herself inside an old trading post store. The scent of the pine board walls and floor mixed with that of spices and flour. But it was the soaps on the counter in front of her that was the strongest.
An older Native American woman with her hair braided and coiled around her head straightened the jars on the counter top while a younger pregnant woman who had similar features leaned against the opposite end.
But what shocked Cait was how much she favored the older woman. Right down to the black hair and arched eyebrows.
The younger woman… Elizabeth. Cait didn’t know how she knew that, but she did.
Elizabeth reached into one of the glass jars and pulled out a piece of licorice. â€œThey’re going to make you leave, Lou. I overheard them talking about it.â€
Louina scoffed at her sister’s warning before she replaced the lid and pulled the jar away from her. â€œOur people have been here long before them, and we’ll be here long after they’re gone. Mark my words, Lizzie.â€
Elizabeth swallowed her piece of licorice. â€œHave you not heard what they’ve done to the Cherokee in Georgia?â€
â€œI heard. But the Cherokee aren’t the Creek. Our nation is strong.â€
Elizabeth jerked then placed her hand over her distended stomach where her baby kicked. â€œHe gets upset every time I think about you being forced to leave.â€
â€œThen don’t think about it. It won’t happen. Not as long as I’ve been here.â€
Cait jumped as Jamie shouted in her face. â€œW-what?â€
â€œAre you with us? You blanked out for a second.â€
Blinking, she shook her head to clear it of the images that had seemed so real she could taste Elizabeth’s licorice. â€œWhere was that original trading post you guys mentioned being here?â€
Brandon shrugged. â€œNo idea. We couldn’t find any information about it, other than it was owned by the Native American woman the town was named for. Why?â€
Because she had a bad feeling they were standing on it. But there was nothing to corroborate that. Nothing other than a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.