Walk This Way

“Please. Step inside,” the man said. Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” was blasting from hidden speakers. Jack looked around the cluttered office and forced down the impulse to twitch and start organizing the piles of papers and books.

“Thank you,” Jack replied. He stepped into the office, searching for a chair. Captain pressed up against him, tail low, but not tucked between his legs. That was a good sign. Jack had come to rely on the German shepherd’s ability to detect when things were just off. Right now the dog wasn’t fully trusting, but he wasn’t ready to run or fight either.

“You must be Jack Eaton. I am, as you know, Griffin Black. Call me Griff.” He reached and tapped an icon on his laptop screen and the music shut off.

“Yes. Nice to meet you, Griff,” Jack answered, shaking the proffered hand. Griffscooped a pile of papers off of a chair and gestured for Jack to sit. Captain sat down next to Jack’s leg.

“Beautiful dog,” Griff commented.

“Thanks. I sort of inherited him, but Captain has become a good friend.” Jack reached down and gave Captain a quick scratch between the ears. The dog continued to watch Grif.

“Now, how can I help you?” Griff asked.

“Well, I found a journal that my grandfather kept. He mentioned encountering an entity in the house on 47th Street. I think I’ve run into the same entity. I understand you are well-versed in the history of Crestville and I’m hoping you have information on what it might be, or can help me figure out where to locate any information.” Jack didn’t need to specify which house on 47th Street. All of Crestville knew of the house and avoided it.

Griff sat down, rested his elbows on the desk and steepled his fingers. “Ah. Yes. Eaton… Eaton. Was your grandfather Malachai Holmes Eaton by any chance?”

“Yes.” Jack explained how he had come by the journal and what he’d read. He finished up by telling Griff about his work as a freelance cursebreaker as a reason for interest in the house. Jack didn’t know Griff well enough yet to give him all the details of the cursed dolls and magic practitioners who had requested his help in recent months.

“Oh, of course. Curse breaking as a business. That would explain why somebody with no magical, ah, resources would be interested in that house.” Surprisingly, Griff didn’t deal in the veiled insults full magic-users often directed his way. “Yes, I do think I can dig up information that you would find useful,” Griff continued. “Are you aware of the general history of the house?”

Jack gave Griff the ownership trail as far as he’d been able to find through local knowledge and the title filings.

“What little I’ve been able to discover suggests that the land is not… a sacred place but more of a place where a spirit lives and the local Native American tribes avoided it,” Jack finished.

“That is true. And it is accurate to say that… something lives or perhaps occupies that land. It is my belief that the first settlers, and the first house built on that lot started a process of waking up the entity, and when the second house was built a few years ago, that brought it back. That developer is lucky he and his family escaped alive,” Griff commented.

“Absolutely,” Jack agreed. “So, can you give me any more information or ideas about where to look for more?”

“I have some ideas. But,” Griff paused and Jack braced himself for bad news. “I would like to assist you in your… investigations, if you would permit me.” Griff smiled at Jack.

Jack dropped a hand to Captain’s head. The dog was still watching Griff, but had relaxed somewhat. Having a full magic worker with him would definitely help in terms of defense against any nasty or evil entity. But would Griff respect Jack’s abilities and knowledge?

Griff must have noticed Jack’s hesitation because he smiled again. “I don’t blame you for wondering, given how those with, ah, limited magical resources tend to be treated. But I assure you, I will limit my work to assisting and advising.”

Jack digested the comment. Making up his mind, he nodded. “Yes. I would appreciate your help. Thank you.”

Griff held out his hand and Jack shook it. It appeared he had a partner for the first time in his working life.

******

At More Odds Than Ends this week I was prompted by Ray Krawczyk with: Step inside. Walk this way. Leigh Kimmel got my prompt: The vase on the mantel gave a slight quiver and the elf popped out. Need some inspiration? Need to get back into writing? Head on over and pick up a spare or send one in to oddprompts at g mail dot com and see what you get in return.

Image by Kristin Baldeschwiler from Pixabay