Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Killing and the Green-Eyed Girl, Des Moines, Iowa

Previously Ella Mae and her daughter fled Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and took refuge with Hunter Farmham at his isolated Iowa farm, hiring on to clean and cook. In early spring, Hunter hired a couple, Ben and Inez, to do the planting. Averil, Ella’s precocious daughter, warned her mother the Ben and Inez were not what they seemed and on a mission.

The expanded family fell into an easy routine with Ben and Inez preparing for planting, while Ella and Averil took care of the house and meals. Hunter noticed in the evenings Averil would stand by an old Elm tree watching the sun go down. As darkness fell, Hunter discerned a faint aura around the young girl. The sight stirred Hunter, yet made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, sending shivers down his spine. Who was this girl?
            One night Ben got his call from Boston. The geeks had drained Hunter’s Des Moines Bank account and recovered some of the stolen funds. “Time to take care of business.” The voice said cryptically.
            Ben got out of bed, dressed in his blacks and took his snout-silenced revolver.
“Don’t mess it up.” Inez said acidly from bed. “And do the half-breed and her weird daughter.”
Leaving the cottage, Ben went to the main house, entering through the kitchen. Hunter slept in a downstairs suite to the left. Ben stopped in the hallway, startled by a presence bathed in pale moonlight at the other end of the hall. It was Averil in a translucent gown, her black hair loose and her green eyes glittering in the dim light with a golden aura about her head. Averil’s arms were extended as if an angel, her hands splayed, welcoming the errant Ben.
            Ben aimed the silenced gun, but felt a shock as Averil glided forward. He fell to his knees, and then gasped as a spirit gripped his soul; the pistol fell to the floor. Averil came forward and put her arms around Ben, pulling him close, whispering. She helped him to his feet and led him outside, directing Ben to kneel by the Elm tree, facing east to wait sunrise.
            Averil then went around the house to the cottage and opened the door. Inez looked up in astonishment as Averil entered and quickly moved to the bed. Averil took Ben’s pillow and hovered over Inez. The muscular Inez was startled, then amused, and looked with disdain at the frail, young girl, who smiled down at her.
            Without a word, Averil put the pillow over Inez’s face, and she suddenly found herself pinned to the bed. The woman struggled to scream, to fight, but could only manage a whine. And in a few minutes, Inez was still.
There were many souls worth saving, but also those not. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Conman and the Geeks, Des Moines, Iowa

the killing, des Moines Iowas

Previously Sam Bradford of New Orleans, who had murdered his wife for her money, had visited the Eureka Springs Psychic Center. The Seer, Ella Mae Quicksilver, had told Sam his cancer was in remission. When Sam met her daughter, he prostrated himself, pledging his life and his fortune to the 13-year old green-eyed girl, Averil Jean. 

The folks in Eureka Springs at first tolerated the Psychic Center with its trickle of visitors. But as the trickle became a flow and people talked of a “Movement”, the tolerance became a misgiving. When the Center flourished, then local churches became alarmed. Some wags whispered the green-eyed girl was a witch, perhaps a demon, or worse, otherworldly. The town wise men gathered, muttering and nodding; something had to be done.
            Early one Monday morning in the dark of night, Averil woke her mother.  She said the townspeople would come that evening and it was time to go. They were always packed for flight and as the quirky town slept, the mother and daughter stole away. Ella asked about a sign, a star? But Averil shook her head. They would head north.

Hunter Farnham with his smooth, confident presentation was awarded the contract to manage the SoftWare Group’s, money. Hunter suspected the nerd company was a hacker operation, stealing money from all over the world.  He had control of $500 million that he managed. Assuming the group did not scrutinize his trades, Hunter slowly skimmed a little here and a little there. Small amounts that could easily be explained. As his uncle said a peanut here, a peanut there and after awhile… a jar of peanuts.
Taking his stash, Hunter it all on an improbable Sweet Sixteen basketball game. He heard via a source that the University of Florida was going to lay down for Florida Gulf Coast University, a no-body upstart from Fort Meyers, Florida. The odds were 100 to one. When FGCU won, Vegas would take the hit from the Sweet Sixteen upset of all time and Hunter could retire.
But the Gators did not lie down and Hunter lost millions. Fortunately, he kept a reserve and he fled his Boston office. He reinvented himself as a farmer in Iowa, buying a rambling farm house outside of Des Moines, the old Boynton farm. He grew a beard and became a recluse, but he did need a maid as he hated housework and cooking.
Thinking of placing an ad on Craig’s List, Hunter was startled one morning when two women appeared at his isolated spread. On inspection, it was a mother and daughter. The mother was dark, attractive, and perhaps Native American. The daughter shyly kept her head down as the mother explained they were looking for work, preferably live-in. She could clean, wash and cook with help from her daughter, who was home schooled.
As there was a large, empty addition on the back of the original farmhouse, Hunter agreed. The two looked harmless enough. The 13-year old girl was quiet and the mother clean and respectful.
A month later on his birthday, Hunter befriended Ella Mae and Averil Jean with wine and cheese, and then invited them to join him at his dinner table. When it got dark Hunter produced a cake and for the first time he scrutinized Averil, taking note of the six-fingers on each hand. He was startled by her jade, green eyes and felt a sizzle as Averil gazed at him; a shock ran up and down his spine and touched his soul.
As spring came, Hunter took on a brother and sister, Ben and Inez, to help with the plowing and planting. Ella Mae was immediately taken by the brother, a large strapping man in his late twenties. But Averil sensed evil, divining that the supposed brother and sister were at Hunter’s farm for more than spring planting. She told her mother they must leave the farm. This time Ella Mae, who yearned for male companionship, protested when Averil warned of danger.
“Perhaps there is another way.” Averil replied. 

And that is when the killing began.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Cure at the Basin Waters, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Previously, Ella Mae and Averil Quicksilver had to flee the Natchez Trace in Mississippi as Sam Bradford, a wealthy Louisiana deal maker, relentlessly pursued the mother and daughter, hiring an assassin to kill them. The two psychics knew that Sam had murdered his wealthy wife.  

After escaping from Mississippi, Ella Mae and Averil settled in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, known as a spiritual and healing center in the Northern Ozarks. Ella perceived positive energy in Eureka Springs, so they bought a Victorian house on a hill, establishing the Eureka Psychic Center. Many ill travelers sought the curative waters of the "Basin Spring" and found their way to the Psychic Center to learn what their future held.
Sam Bradford sick with the cancer traveled to Eureka Springs to take the basin waters and the cure. After having soaked in the magic baths and drunk the bottled basin spring water, Sam felt better and was upbeat. He decided to stay in Eureka Springs for a few weeks and sent his servants back to New Orleans.
One night on a whim, Sam visited the Psychic Center which he had learned about from the hotel staff. It was short walk from the hotel and he paused outside the small Victorian, studying the gingerbread house.  He recalled the strange note from Shadowman, his hired killer. The killer had quit the job after finding the two women on the Natchez Trace, returning the retainer to Sam with a cryptic note, Eureka Springs.
As Sam stood on the sidewalk, he felt an attraction to the location, a sensation he found vaguely familiar. With some trepidation, he went up the steps and rang the bell, which was immediately answered by young girl in a shadowy hood. Without speaking, she beckoned for Sam to enter the dim hallway. Unexpectedly, she took his hand and led him to the living room lit with candles. The girl led him to couch where he took a seat. Sitting in an arm chair in a dark corner was a slender woman, also wearing a hood.
Sam sniffed the sweet incense floating in the quiet room. The woman gestured for Sam’s hand, which he gave her and she ran her fingers over his palm.
“You’re in remission.” The Seer said. “Good for you. Time will tell.”
Sam relaxed. Indeed, he was in remission. His doctors said it was miraculous, one of those improbable events that had nothing to do with the quacks in Eureka Springs. It did not matter to Sam and he welcomed the good news. Always alert to possible investment opportunities, he would continue his curative routine and observe others who came for the treatment.
“Shadowman abandoned you.” The woman in the corner said.
Startled, Sam leaned forward and he recognized these were the same two psychics from Rue Toulouse, the ones who had saved his fortune. But also they knew he had drowned his wealthy wife in a contrived boating accident.
He held up his hands, palms open, a gesture to indicate it was all a misunderstanding.
The woman in the corner laughed and then beckoned for her assistant to come forward. Sam was startled as the young woman dropped her hood, revealing her alabaster face set off by jet black hair and dominated by wide green eyes. Looking into those riveting eyes, Sam Bradford felt a violent shock and he involuntarily slid out of the chair onto his knees, bowing his head.
“My fortune is yours.” He said. “I am your acolyte.”
The girl looked at her mother and smiled.
“Our movement has begun.”



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace, Mississippi


Previously, Sam Bradford had hired ShadowMan to torch the New Orleans townhouse of Ella Mae Quicksilver and her gifted, six-fingered daughter. But the two psychics escaped and fled to Mississippi. ShadowMan took up the chase.
          Standing in the chilly evening air, Sam surveyed the ruined townhouse. The French Quarter Committee wanted the structure rebuilt which Sam would assist and solicit funds, make a hefty donation.
          But what puzzled Sam was the reverent crowd that had gathered at the fire. What was it about the burning townhouse? Or was it the two women who were thought to be inside that attracted the crowd? If so, why?
           Sam scraped at the rubble with his foot as he saw a glimmer reflecting the late sun. It was the bronze plaque bearing the townhouse number, 437. As he stared at the plaque, his Sunday school lessons floated through his mind. Three was a divine number and four was a perfect number. Four plus three equaled seven, the number was featured in Revelations: seven trumpets, seven dooms.
            The night of the fire Averil Jean had seen the danger, warned her mother and the two had escaped just as the townhouse burst into flames. They fled north along the Mississippi River, stopping to rent a modest farm house at the Emerald Mound, a Natchez Indian site where the tribal leaders, Great Sun and Tattooed Serpent, performed sacrificial rituals.           
            ShadowMan, also gifted, was soon on their trail, hiking the ancient Natchez Trace. The assassin felt a connection with the two females and he sensed it was Averil he could read. What was it about the girl?
            Late one afternoon Ella Mae was standing at the kitchen window, having prepared her secret Indian recipe for pan-fried bread. Outside walking down the dirt road toward the mound was a slender, tall man, dressed in black. Ella’s eyes widened and she clutched her throat, holding her breath. In the dusty haze she swore it was the man from Roswell, the visitor who came, stayed a spell, and fathered Averil. Without explanation, one morning the stranger told her he had to go, but promised he would return. Then he left, walked down the dirt road and vanished.
 Ella ran outside to the front path and put her hand to her eyes, watching as the man studied the Emerald Mound’s historical marker. He looked her way, gazed and then smiled at Ella, who started out of the gate. Her heart fluttered; had the father of her daughter returned?
 Averil came to the screen door and saw her mother walking toward the stranger in the road. She called out, but Ella waved for Averil to stay put. As the two closed, Shadowman raised his eyebrows, seeing for the first time the lovely Indian woman with high cheek bones and dark, intelligent eyes. He hesitated as Ella held out her arms and came to him. But then the woman abruptly stopped and her cheeks flushed.
 “I’m sorry.” She said in confusion. “I thought you were someone else.”
 The two stood a few yards apart, staring at each other. Ella was embarrassed at her mistake, her wanton display of emotion. In her soul she always believed her one love would someday come back.
 The two turned as the screen door squeaked and then slammed shut. Averil was standing on the porch dressed in a blue, cotton dress, with arms akimbo.
 ShadowMan took a step backward as he stared at the raven-haired girl, who locked eyes and glared at him. She radiated a powerful aura…or was it a trick of the afternoon light?
 “Invite him to dinner, Mom.” Averil called, breaking the standoff. “Tell him we are having my stew and your fry bread.”
 Ella looked at the man who had gone pale, but relaxed at Averil’s invitation and he smiled at the smitten woman.
 “I’m a historian. Staying at the Eola Hotel in town and I’d be pleased to join you. It would be a treat to see the Mound in the evening light…there are so many stories about the rituals I can share.”
 They agreed he would return at six. In exchange for the meal, he would relate the complicated history of the Emerald Mound and the Natchez Tribe. Ella stood and watched as the man turned and walked back down the dirt road. His walk, his stride was so like Roswell.
 When she returned to the porch, Ella started to speak excitedly about their evening guest, but Averil quieted her mother with a sharp look. She took Ella’s hand, whispered in her mother’s ear, and marched her back into the house. 

At six that night, the stranger came down the dirt road. He paused at the gate, taking in the isolation of the house. He would enjoy his meal, share a few Natchez stories, and then take care of business.
           ShadowMan tapped politely on the screen door, and then called out softly, his voice echoing through the house. But there was no response. He sniffed the air and the aromas made him lick his lips. A combination of bakery-like scents, combined with a spicy tang floated from the house.
           He tapped again, then opened the door and stepped into the small entryway. To his right was a sitting room; to the left was the dining room, with a 4-chair dining set.
           Only one place was set at the table.


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Mystics, 437 Rue Toulouse, French Quarter, Louisiana


Previously, Ella Mae and her daughter, Averil Jean, stopped at the Myrtles Plantation in Alexandria, Louisiana where they met the nefarious Beau Raspberry. During their stay, Averil Jean encountered a lady in white, who had been murdered by her husband, Sam Bradford. The apparition urged Averil to seek justice for her in New Orleans.
           Sam Bradford left his New Orleans office to wander and think. Inexplicably, he found himself ringing the doorbell of 437 Rue Toulouse, a rundown townhouse in the French Quarter that advertised a Seer. To Sam’s surprise, a young girl with raven hair and blue-gray eyes opened the door.
           "We have been waiting for you." The girl announced mysteriously.
  She took Sam’s wrist in a strong grip and pulled him into the foyer. Sam noticed she had an extra finger on both hands, a six-fingered girl. Appalachia?
 He let himself be steered into a shadowy front room where a woman of 40 or so sat at a round table. The attractive mystic nodded for Sam to have a seat where a cup of tea steamed. They had been waiting for Sam.
He scrutinized the black haired woman who stared at him silently. She was of American Indian blood, dark with high cheekbones, slender and striking, perhaps royalty. Without a word, the woman took his hands and held them tightly and then let out a breath.
“You drowned your late wife, Alice Lacount." She said laconically.
Sam gasped and his blood ran cold as he pulled back his hands. How could this crackpot know?
“But no matter, we will come to that later. For now, we are here to help with a different message." The Seer told him with an enigmatic smile, taking Sam’s hands again.
 The odd girl sitting off to the side chirped. "Sell. Sell everything now!"
Sam looked at her as if she was deranged. But the girl persisted. “Sell now. Buy back in a year. Believe me!”
The woman rubbed her hands and looked at him with her dark eyes: " Five dollars, please."
Sam was filled with a sudden dread, a yearning to flee, so he paid and hurried back to his office. Nonsense, he thought. The market had fallen, but the Dow Jones average was still high. He laughed the townhouse session off and poured himself a glass of bourbon. His elegant office looked out over the French Quarter which was coming alive as the darkness took hold.
But he tugged at his collar, restless. He wondered what had made him stop at that pink, neglected townhouse. What about the woman and the strange young girl with the wolf eyes? His spine tingled as he recalled the woman saying she knew he had drowned his wife, the wealthy Alice Lacount.
Soberly, he nodded his head. He had drowned Alice in a staged boat accident to escape her haranguing, but also to inherit her money. Sam had loved running Alice’s Myrtles Plantation, but when the servants began to talk about the ghost, a woman in white, he knew it was time to move to New Orleans. With a sigh, Sam decided to call it a night and go upstairs. His day had been tiring and the encounter with the Seers had unsettled him.
Oddly, the next morning when Sam got to the office he called his broker and told him to sell his stock market holdings. Afterwards he gulped a coffee and chewed on beignets as his stomach turned. What was going on?
A few days later, the market collapsed, this time dramatically. The great recession was on. But Sam’s money was safe, half in a solid bank, the remainder in gold. He owed preserving his fortune to the crazy psychic and the weird girl. Why on earth did they help him?
Sam paced the floor in his office. The Seer knew Sam had taken Alice behind Myrtles to the Cane River that fateful night and cleverly arranged the boating accident. Something had to be done about the psychics.
A friend arranged a meeting for Sam in a cafe that was around the corner from Rue Toulouse. There he met a tall, thin man, his face hidden in the shadows. Sam explained his problem, the psychics at the townhouse. To Sam’s surprise, the man said he had heard of the two women, the mother a princess, her daughter otherworldly. He would be pleased to take care of them.  Perhaps a fire.
The Seer’s townhouse burned one night and when fire engines rushed to Rue Toulouse, the firemen were surprised to find a large crowd on the street watching the blaze. Men stood sadly and women sobbed, wringing their hands, young children wept. Who was inside the townhouse?
Once the fire was extinguished the firemen searched the ruins with dread, expecting to find dead bodies. The crowd continued their watch; many were on their knees, heads bowed.
Given the crowd’s strange reverence, the fire captain arrived and counseled with the fire team. He stood on the steps of the burned building and announced through a bullhorn that no one had been inside the destroyed building.
There was a cheer from the crowd. “Halleluiah,” some shouted.
“Praise God” rang out from the multitude, which maintained a vigil throughout the night, then dissipated in the morning light.
Standing in a doorway was a tall thin man, who watched the crowd. So the mystic and her strange daughter had slipped away. He would hunt them, find the pair and bury them deep. 

There was still work to be done.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Myrtles Plantation, Alexandria, Louisiana

Previously, Ella Mae departed Nocona, Texas traveling to Natchitoches, Louisiana. Her daughter, Averil Jean, enrolled in the sixth grade at the Hanna School. A mysterious woman in white instructed Averil and her mother to visit the Myrtles Plantation, a place of evil with a need for justice.
           Leaving Natchitoches early on a winter morning, Ella Mae and her gifted daughter drove along Route 40, a two-lane black top rutted by recent rains. They arrived early afternoon in the sleepy city of Alexandria and Averil Jean directed her mother to the imposing Myrtles Plantation, a structure of antebellum architecture, featuring a 100 foot white-columned portico and set among towering oak trees that lined the drive.
            Ella Mae stopped the car and put her hand to her throat, never having seen such a beautiful structure. She dutifully followed the signs to the service entrance and told Averil to stay in the car while she went to the door.
            Ringing the bell, Ella waited with fluttering in her stomach. What were they doing in such a grand setting? She asked herself.
            Fortunately, the handsome estate manager, Beau Raspberry, opened the door, his eyes widening as he saw the comely Ella Mae. There was something about the woman before him. She was obviously of Indian descent, graceful with flowing black hair, a chiseled face, aquiline nose, and dark eyes that telegraphed intelligence.
            Beau’s mind raced as the woman told him she was looking for work. There was the Myrtles Thanksgiving open house in a week and his assistant had taken ill. He was in desperate need of an intelligent helper and the alluring Ella seemed to fit the bill.
           Ella and Averil were quickly settled in the back section of the house, formerly the head butler’s quarters. Beau put Ella to work on the party preparations, while Averil attended the plantation school.
           One evening while Beau was directing a practice run, Averil wandered behind the house, coming to rest at the dock that overlooked the slow moving Cane River. She sat and closed her eyes, suddenly hearing music, a slow tempo waltz that drifted on the crisp fall evening. To her amazement, the dining room French doors flew open and two people emerged, a portly gentleman carrying a picnic basket, accompanied by a lovely, blond lady in white.
           Averil watched as they walked to the beach beside the pier and climbed into a teak rowboat, casting off and moving upriver, then drifting with the languid current. The woman sat in the back and bent over to pour champagne and serve canap├ęs when the man suddenly grabbed her feet and flung her backwards over the stern. He then stood, taking an oar and swatting the struggling woman who was tangled in her elaborate gown. In a few seconds, the woman in white sank.
The man than rocked the boat until it flipped over and he tumbled into the water. He surfaced and laboriously swam to shore where he pulled himself up on the beach, then collapsed. Moments later a servant appeared on the porch, scanned the river for the couple, and saw the man prostrate in the sand, quickly sounding sounded the alarm.
Averil opened her eyes and understood all…the woman was Alice Lacount and her husband, Sam Bradford, had murdered her, feigning the boat tragedy. Alice was the woman in white, the woman crying out for justice that she had met at the Hanna School. Averil now knew it would soon be time to move on and find the nefarious Sam Bradford.
Back in the mansion, after the practice and Beau Raspberry had gone to his quarters, Mae retreated to the kitchen with Chloe, who led the kitchen brigade. She and Ella had become friends and Chloe had confided that at one time she had been close to Beau. Chloe had rebelled when Beau took up with a younger servant, but Beau put her in her place by slicing off her right ear, which explained the head wrap she wore. It was Beau’s retaliation for Chloe listening at the door when he was dallying with his new desire.
Once alone in the kitchen, Chloe revealed that she was a mixture, a blend of Hoodoo and Voodoo royalty. Not only did she worship the Grand Zombie, the snake god, but she also had the ability to conjure. As such, she recognized the royalty in Ella Mae, but was puzzled by Averil Jean, Ella Mae’s daughter who cast an aura and had six fingers on each hand.
Ella explained that she was descended from a Yavapai-Apache princess, and that Averil‘s father came from far, far away and Ella motioned to the night stars, recalling the dark stranger who had wooed her when she lived in Roswell, New Mexico.
The two women agreed that Beau was evil and they must rein him in. Chloe said she was biding her time, but would soon extract sweet revenge.  Ella told Chloe to be patient, that she would arrange a setting for the lascivious Beau Raspberry after the annual affair.
Two weeks after the successful open house, Beau Raspberry made his move, always a feint to disarm the new quarry. He invited Ella Mae to join him at the caretaker’s small house located in the woods, a brisk walk from the manor. The pretense was to consider refurbishing. Ella eagerly agreed and that evening they walked to the cottage, pausing at the front door, which Beau unlocked.  Anticipation ran through Beau to his bones, but when he looked down at Ella’s shining face, he suddenly felt a chill and doubt.
“Maybe now is not the right time.” The hesitant Beau said.
“This is the perfect time.” Ella replied and pushed him into the dark cottage.
 Later that night when all was quiet and clouds were scudding across the three-quarter moon, Ella took Chloe to the caretaker’s cottage. The two of them paused as Ella turned the key and opened the door. Chloe gasped as she saw in the faint light Beau tied to a chair in the middle of the room, his clothes neatly piled on the floor. Ella handed Chloe a Bartlow hunter’s knife with a gleaming 6” blade and a honey stag bone handle, just right for gutting.
As Ella walked away the clouds obscured the moon and the night creatures were silent. Even the old owl in the oaks was quiet. That was when the shrill screaming started and Ella knew it was time to move on.
Averil had been importuning her mother to travel to New Orleans where there was someone who needed to be called to account.
The two left early the next morning.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Haunted Hanna School, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

Previously, Ella Mae Quicksilver and her daughter, Averil Jean, saved Freddie James, a notorious card shark, from a mob lynching in Nocona, Texas. A few nights later Averil saw her star and they headed to Louisiana.

 Early one fall morning, as they drove through the Red River Town of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Averil suddenly awakened and gave her mother instructions to the west side of the town by the river.           
      On a quiet tree-lined street Averil pointed to a large Victorian house with a “rooms for rent” sign. They parked and went to the door, welcomed by a tall, severe gray-haired lady who offered quarters on the second floor. The landlady, Ethel Moore, was the cook at the nearby Hanna School and in need of an assistant, offering the job to Ella Mae.
      Averil Jean was accepted at Hanna in the sixth grade, being placed in Mr. Hennery’s class, who quickly took to the bright, pretty child. The other children welcomed Averil, but kept their distance, sensing her difference, wary of their new classmate .
       All went well for a few weeks, but then Mr. Hennery began keeping Averil after class to bring her up to speed. He was intrigued by the raven haired girl, with the heart-shaped face, high cheekbones and cupid lips.
       One afternoon he closed the door and went to Averil’s seat, taking her hand. Mr. Hennery was medium height, balding with watery eyes and large lips. He stood there looking down at his pupil with a wicked look on his glistening face. Averil fixed the teacher with her green eyes.
        Mr. Hennery felt a tingling as he stared at the girl’s strange countenance, which seemed to emit an amber aura. Then suddenly a blinding beam shot from the girl to him, radiating throughout his body and searing him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. Mr. Hennery wanted to run, but was rooted. He breathed in and out, gasping. His eyes widened as his lips puckered and he expelled his malevolence into the quiet classroom. He watched the dark cloud float out of the windows into the afternoon quiet.
        Regaining his composure and without a word, Mr. Hennery turned away and left the class room. He was pale and shaking, but he felt a tremendous relief, as if a terrible and heavy load had been lifted from his back. No longer would he need to seek, to keep the girls after class.
       Averil Jean watched Mr. Hennery go. She knew he would no longer trouble the vulnerable children in his class. Quite the opposite, he would offer his hand in sincere help.
       Suddenly she was aware of a presence in the empty classroom and turned to see a woman in white standing in the back. She was quite lovely with blond hair and blue eyes, the belle of the ball fit nicely.
       “You and your mother need to move on to Myrtles. Fix the wrong there, and then bring me justice.” The woman said.
       That night Averil Jean went to her mother and told her it was time to move. Ella Mae never argued, never questioned, and by the end of the week they were on their way to the Myrtles Plantation in Alexandria, Louisiana.
        Of note, Mr. Hennery went on to become Louisiana’s teacher of the year.
        Regrettably, the repeated appearance of a woman in white hovering in the halls at Hanna terrified the children and unnerved the teachers. The Parish was forced to abandon the school.
        Natchitoches has offered attractive terms to the real estate community for the redevelopment of Hanna School. But so far, there are no takers.