Drawing the Dead – Chapter 3

“What the hell, Reg, what is this? Who is this guy?” Viki asked. She had excused herself, and left Alexander in her workroom and come downstairs.

Reginald Anderson stood behind the counter of the Sacred Vortex shop. He was a big man with long grey hair pulled back in a ponytail, sharp grey eyes, and wore a green silk shirt. “Calm down, V,” he said, his voice deep and even.

“Calm down? Two grand a day? What is this?”

“Look, I’ve been checking his story out. He works for a very wealthy Russian named Mark Kosov. Kosov is one of those crazy-rich guys that made his money the old-fashioned way—by beating his competition to a pulp. Now he wants to give it all away. He’s signed onto Bill Gates’s and Warren Buffet’s ‘Giving Pledge.’”

“That’s a lovely story, Reg. But if he is paying two grand a day, he is going to want something.”

“The guy is for real. I can’t find anything bad about him since he cleaned his act up about twelve years ago. Maybe you should talk to his man and find out more.

“Besides, two thousand a day for fourteen days is a lot of money. How can you turn that down?”

Viki inhaled, as if winding up to say more, but slowly exhaled and stomped back up the stairs.

~~~

“I apologize, Mr. Wells. It’s just that the amount you have offered is a lot of money.”

“I understand, Ms. Dobos, but the matter is urgent, and my employer thought it a reasonable compensation for the inconvenience.”

“And what, exactly, does your employer, Mr. Kosov, I believe…” Alexander nodded. “What exactly does he want me to do?”

Alexander looked down at his steepled fingers before continuing. “To tell you the truth, Ms. Dobos, he didn’t tell me exactly what he wants. All I know is that it involves your rather unique gift and your presence at his house in Hawaii.”

“He wants me to draw for him? In Hawaii?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t he just come with you? I could draw for him here for a lot less money.”

“I am sorry, but I am not sure. I do know that he has his reasons. He always has a reason.”

Viki sighed and got up. “I am going to need to think about this. Can you come back in the morning?”

“I am sorry, Ms. Dobos, but the offer expires today. I have a plane waiting for us at the Sedona Airport and I was instructed to head back this evening with or without you.”

~~~

Viki left Alexander Wells again, and went outside to think. The British man had been gracious about it, but she could tell he was agitated, he kept fidgeting and checking his watch. It was late January and cold. Viki pulled her sweater around her as she paced in front of the Sacred Vortex. She reflexively reached for a cigarette and silently cursed when she didn’t find one. Five years later and the habit still wasn’t totally gone. She missed Boston and how sure of herself she had been then. How with a few minutes with a cigarette her tension would fade.

The money was enticing, she had to admit it. It took a busy week for her to make two thousand dollars. Why not go to Hawaii for two weeks and make twenty-eight thousand? She could really get ahead, maybe start looking for a house. Not in Sedona, of course, she would never have enough money for a house in Sedona, but maybe down in the Verde Valley. That would be enough for a down payment on a small place. She could start a garden, or—

“V,” Reg said as he sauntered out. “The butler is getting anxious, so what’s it gonna be?”

“I don’t know, Reg. The money is nice, but this doesn’t feel right.”

“Oh come one, V. You’ve barely left Sedona in the seven years since you got here. You’ve only been back to Boston once to visit your family. I know you and your mother aren’t tight, but… she’s your mother.”

Viki’s shoulders tensed at the mention of her mother. Memories of how they had fought flickered past. Fighting over her gift, over her lifestyle, over her lack of a husband, over her abortion. With her grandmother dead there was nothing left for her in Boston.

“Don’t you think it’s time for you to step out a little?” Reg continued. “Have an adventure? And, God forbid, maybe some fun?”

“And what if I do? What if I lower my guard? What if it’s like Boston all over again? What if someone dies?”

Reg frowned. “That wasn’t your fault. You didn’t know.”

“Yeah, well maybe I should have. My gift should help people, not kill them.”

“And what, just because you’ve got a gift, just because you’re sometimes psychic, you think you should know everything? Be able to avoid every mistake? Is that what you’re doing in that little room above my bookstore charging tourists a tenth of what your worth?”

“Reg, please…” Viki crossed her arms and looked down at her feet.

“No. I’ve got something to say and you need to listen. Remember when we met?”

“Yes,” Viki replied. “You came to Boston, I drew your mother. You invited me to come draw at your bookstore.

“That reading changed my life, V. And the readings you do change lives every day. But back then you had started coming out of your shell, you wanted to find a way to help more people, even those you couldn’t draw for. You weren’t afraid. You weren’t hiding then.”

“I am not hiding,” Viki said quietly, her gaze meeting Reg’s.

Reg smiled thinly and shook his head. He gently touched her shoulder. “Yes you are. I do all the public stuff, and I am happy to, but this gift of yours could reach so many more people. Maybe this Kosov guy can be a start of something for you.”

Viki turned, shrugging his touch off and walked several paces away.

“And make so much more money, you mean,” Viki said.

“Yes, V, more money. And what the hell is wrong with that? You help more people, you earn more money. Sounds like karma to me.”

“Mark Kosov, he’s going to ask me to do something I shouldn’t do. I can just feel it, Reg.”

Reg shrugged. “So set your boundaries and go for it. If it doesn’t look good once you get there, walk.”

“But, my cat, who’s going to take care of her?”

“I already called Jamie, she said she would be happy to look after Bast.”

“But my appointments—”

“I’ll reschedule.”

Viki sighed and wrapped her arms around her chest, shivering at something other than the weather. Reg was right, she had been hiding, afraid to use her gift and afraid not to use it. Afraid to leave the safe little world she had created. What would her grandmother think? She felt change coming, and she knew she needed it.

More than anything she needed change.

“Okay, I’ll do it. And, Reg, you’ll get your usual twenty percent of this.”

“Ahh… No need, V,” Reg began, as he looked at his shoes. “I’ve arranged so my cut is separate from what they are paying you.”

Viki laughed, “Of course it is.”

She shook her head and walked back into the bookstore wondering about what was to come.

This is the end of the excerpt.

Drawing the Dead is available here:

Signed copies are available in the bookstore.

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