The Summoning God: Book II of the Anasazi Mysteries

The Summoning God: Book II of the Anasazi Mysteries by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O’Neal Gear Read Free Book Online

Book: The Summoning God: Book II of the Anasazi Mysteries by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O’Neal Gear Read Free Book Online
Authors: W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O’Neal Gear
is going to be an open and shut test excavation. A couple of square holes to determine if these rich liberal developers have a ‘spiffy’ site, and then Dale and I will backfill and leave.”
    He gulped the last of his Guinness and listened to the wind ripping through the trees.
    It was the wind, wasn’t it?
    Why in God’s name did it sound like laughter?
    He reached for the .41 Magnum Smith & Wesson on the table. The cool wooden grips reassured him.
    He closed his eyes and rested the pistol on his stomach. He could imagine the disdain in Maureen Cole’s eyes. She was Canadian,
didn’t believe in guns, ghosts, basiliscos , or any of the things that scared the hell out of Dusty.
    “Maybe”—he yawned—“being a cold-blooded scientist isn’t such a bad thing after all.”
    He had just started to doze off when the laughter brought him bolt upright. He looked around the trailer and rubbed a hand over his face.
    “Good Lord, what is that?”
    Like a magnet, his eyes were drawn to the trailer window and the Bronco sitting outside in the faint golden gleam.
    Dusty whispered, “Tomorrow I’ll be rid of you for once and for all, you little son of a bitch.”

    “D O YOU SEE THEM?” CATKIN BREATHED IN BROWSER’S EAR. Browser lifted himself to gaze over the tangled pile of deadfall where they’d taken cover when movement caught his eye. The scent of decaying wood filled his nostrils.
    Twenty paces ahead, on the ground between the aspens, things moved. The windblown piles of fallen leaves twitched and then sighed and moaned.
    “What are they?” he whispered. “Animals? People hiding in the leaves?”
    Catkin shook her head. Sweat beaded her turned-up nose and shone across her wide cheekbones. She was almost too beautiful to be flesh and blood. Her long black braid hung down her back like a shiny serpent. “They don’t move like living creatures, Browser. Perhaps it’s just Wind Baby toying with the leaves.”
    “Maybe, but—”
    A tiny explosion of leaves whirled into the moonlight and pirouetted away in the wind.
    Browser watched them curiously, trying to decide. A leaden cape of exhaustion weighted his shoulders. His thoughts didn’t want to coalesce. All he wanted was to get home to Longtail village. “It is likely just mice scurrying beneath the leaves.”
    He started to rise, and she put a hand on his arm to stop him. He glanced down at her slender fingers. Like a war club in his fist, her touch comforted him, made him feel safe. He let out a pent-up breath, and asked, “What do you wish to do?”
    Catkin said, “Wait. A few more moments of inspection will not harm anyone.”
    Browser eased to the ground again and stared out through the filigree of dark branches. The aspen leaves trembled and winked in the moonlight, their white-barked trunks shining.
    Browser frowned at the exposed roots that laddered the ground on the far right of the grove. He leaned closer to Catkin. “Is that a hand?”
    The “hand” resembled a bloated white slug against the black roots.
    Catkin’s fingers dug into the fallen tree as she pulled herself up for a closer look.
    “It might be. I—”
    From beneath, the leaves stirred and panted as though a dozen bodies exhaled at once.
    Browser shot Catkin a glance and saw her eyes tighten.
    “Survivors?” she asked.
    Browser shook his head. “I doubt it.”
    The Flute Player Believers did not leave survivors wandering the woods. They hunted down every man, woman, and child. Some they enslaved. Others, the sick, the elderly, or those too young to be of use, were slaughtered immediately. Frequently they toyed with captives, forcing a girl to couple with her brother, or a boy to cut out his mother’s living heart. In the name of the Blessed Flute Player, creator of their world, they committed every kind of atrocity.
    Browser said, “I’m going closer.”
    Catkin’s head jerked around. She examined his face. “You are sure?”
    “Can you leave here without finding out

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