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Fear swamped Wesley McCarty as he looked at the date on the newspaper in disbelief.
He had lost six months of time and had no idea of what he had done. Swearing viciously, he leant back against the couch. He ran his hand over his head. The last thing he remembered was going to bed early. When he woke he was so relived, hell thankful, he hadn’t dreamed.
Wesley looked down at his hands and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank God, no blood, cuts, or markings. You’re doing okay, Wes.”
Even as he said it, he knew it was a lie. It was just the beginning of summer when he went to sleep yet when he woke there was snow on the ground. He tried to remember what had happened.
Black waves of pain hammered in his head. He swallowed the nausea bubbling in the back of his throat. He breathed rapidly in and out. The feeling passed. After some time, the pain lessened and he could think.
Oh God, what is happening to me? I’m losing my—
Wesley cut off the thought before it could form. No. There is a reasonable explanation. There has to be one.
Wesley sat up and pushed the button for the answering machine on the table next to the couch. As the many messages played, he started to shake. By the last one he knew that one of his vague explanations weren’t going to fix this. His friends who were also his business partners would want an explanation. Besides this one, there were times before that he had disappeared for a few hours, or days, and he had easily explained them away. This last disappearance of so many months would only make them question all the other times he had been gone before. He wasn’t ready to answer any questions. He had no clue himself what was going on.
“What am I going to do?”
He slumped deeper into the couch and closed his eyes while he thought up various explanations for his disappearance. None sounded believable enough for his partners to buy.
With a sigh, he opened his eyes. His gaze landed on the tapestry over the fireplace. The profusion of colours of the scenic mountains, waters, and beautiful landscapes was a backdrop to a woman seemingly in the shadows. He couldn’t make out her features, but still got a sense of her happiness and sultry beauty. Her head was tilting back, and she held her body as if waiting for something. When he had received the piece from his friend Ian McIntyre, the note had said it was called Prophecy. Although it should have seemed like a weird name, it somehow seemed to fit.
He remembered the note had also extended an invitation to come to Blackstone Haven.
With a sense of purpose, he stood. He knew where he was going.
You’re running away. He ignored the voice in his head and continued to look at the tapestry.
The scene called to him.
In a swift motion, he picked up the letter opener from the table, turned, and threw it. It quivered, embedded into the wall behind him.
Shocked, Wesley stared at it. Slowly, he made his way over to it. A feeling of unease swept him as he saw the bug pinned to the wall with the opener. He curled his hand over the handle and tried to pull it out. He couldn’t.
Tugging hard with both hands, he was able to release it. Wesley looked at the letter opener, then at the mark it in the wall.
“What the hell?”
His voice echoed in the emptiness. He glanced around the room that usually gave him comfort. The long, dark brown couches, chairs, and other items he had chosen years ago when he had bought the house seemed to not be the same. The walls were closing in on him.
“I’ve got to get out of here.” Wesley turned quickly and made his way back upstairs.
Three hours later, he was shifting gears in his SUV. The tension in his shoulders and the closed in feeling had eased as he put the city behind him. He patted the head resting against his thigh. A tongue licked his hand.
“Newt, you’re not getting any steak for dinner, no matter how nice you try to act,” Wesley said.
A bark sounded, and he glanced at his copper-red and white Siberian husky, who had sat up beside him. Newton barked again. Her parti-coloured eyes—one brown, the other blue—twinkled with mischief.
“Don’t give me that look.” Wesley returned his attention to the road.
He had swung by Pan’s—one of his business partners—house to get Newton on his way out of town. He was grateful that Pan was out of town, too, or he would never have got away without questions. At least this time, they would know where he was. He had sent them all emails.
“I’m not a coward. It is better not to talk to them right now,” Wesley defended.