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Unknown by Unknown Read Free Book Online

Book: Unknown by Unknown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Unknown
didn’t mean to wind up in this valley at all. I was just passing through. One of my friends in Charlotte recommended this route, and I just sort of followed along. But if I have to wait for my car to be fixed, I—’
    ‘You do,’ he said solemnly. ‘It will take some time. So what would you like to photograph?’
    ‘I don’t know,’ she said musingly. ‘I don’t know the area. But I do love that skyline over there. Is it possible to get up on the top of this mountain behind us, so I could make a panorama of the mountains? That would be nice. And then maybe a historical point or two. Do you know the history of these parts?’
    ‘Wow,’ he commented, shaking his head. ‘We can get you up to a place where you can make your panorama. About the rest of it, we’ll see. When would you like to go?’
    ‘Well, it has to be done in the morning, with the sun behind me. How about today. Right now?’
    ‘I don’t see why not,’ he said casually. He stood up again, and offered his hand. She felt a need to touch him. To walk back to the house with him, hand in hand. He pulled her up to her feet. She was looking over his shoulder directly at the kitchen door, and saw something moving there. Eloise had finally got up. And at the very moment of recognition he swung Katie around, pressing her hard up against his full length, and captured her lips in a tide of passion that made everything which preceded it seem like so much innocent child’s play. The pressure, the mindless pressure, kept on and on, until she was shaking in every limb, and gasping for breath. Then he released her and walked away, chortling, with Jon in his arms.
    Katie staggered, reached out a hand for support, and slumped on to the lounge chair again. He was whistling and Jon was gurgling as the two of them went up to the house. The kitchen door opened, and Eloise came out, just as they arrived. Eloise positioned herself directly in front of them as Harry set the baby down on its feet, and the pair embraced before they disappeared through the door.
    ‘Why you—you conceited, double-dealing skunk,’ Katie muttered as she staggered to her feet and started up the walk. ‘Why you double-dyed pig-stealing—conniving—man! I ought to put a gypsy curse on you—or an Indian curse, there’s the thing! Paleface talks with forked tongue!’ And then, using her best imitation of a Hollywood Indian dance, she shuffled a circular path in the grass and called out, ‘Oh Great Manitou, send the red-headed white man a—’ A what? A broken arm? A slippery tongue? Or—‘a case of boils!’ She was still laughing at herself when she stumbled into the kitchen and fell into a chair, holding her aching sides. And immediately smothered it all in the face of Aunt Grace’s stern mien.
    ‘So,’ the older woman said seriously, ‘you’ve got the powers! It’s not a nice thing, though, to send a curse on Harry. He really means well, you know.’
    ‘Sure he does,’ Katie returned sarcastically. ‘But he deserves every bit of it. Every bit!’
    ‘That’s true,’ Aunt Grace replied, ‘but if we gave men everything they deserve, where would we women be? Maybe you could make it just a tiny set of boils?’
    Katie grinned up at her affectionately. ‘Surely you don’t believe in all that, do you?’ she asked. ‘That went out at the turn of the century.’
    ‘Not in the mountains. There’s more than one who still believes. More than one. I can still remember Granny Sills, down Greasy Cove way. She was a witch without a doubt. And a herb woman. Carried all those herbs of hers around in a black reticule, and not a person would cross her for fear of the “eye”, you know. Do you know about herbs, Katherine?’
    ‘Oh yes. My great-grandmother was a gypsy. And my grandmother coached me in the remedies for years. Some of the simple ones did a lot of good, and, lacking anything else, they all had some uses. Or maybe I should say they did no harm. You don’t have a herb

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