More from Hedge House, a paranormal/urban fantasy, almost finished first draft.
Cara has crawled through a “tunnel” she used to play in as a child, formed by the arching branches of an old mock orange bush until she reached the end of it where it butts up against the stone wall.
She brushed away fallen leaves, her fingers searching for the loose stone. It had become caked with dirt and moss, but she managed to work it loose and her eyes filled with tears as she reached into the hole and her fingers found the ceramic box that she had left behind. She pulled it out and shifted to sit cross legged, nestling it in her lap. The latch and hinges were a little rusted, but she managed to convince it to open.
A stab of pain brought tears to her eyes as the first thing she saw was a photograph of her father. There had been none in her home growing up – her mother had either destroyed them all or had not taken any when they had moved away, she didn’t know which – but she remembered this photo and the day it had been taken – her fifth birthday. He had taken her to a friend’s farm and the photo was of her on a pony, her father at her side, helping her find her balance.
Swallowing hard, she propped it up gently against the inside of the box lid and turned her attention to the other contents.
A few pretty pebbles, a few pieces of quartz. One of them was a Herkimer diamond, wrapped with copper in an infinity symbol and suspended from a chain. The chain was tarnished, but still intact, although somewhat too small for her now. She remembered her father giving it to her, telling her that she would always be able to see clearly and know the truth if she wore it. She hadn’t wanted to leave it behind – hadn’t wanted to leave any of it behind – but even at seven years of age she had known that her mother would not have approved of her treasures and would have destroyed them. Over the years the memory of it had faded, along with the memories of this place and the people in it, but her return was awakening them.
Carefully placing the pendant back inside the box she closed it and replaced the stone in the wall. Clutching the box to her she crawled out of the tunnel, emerging into sunshine.
“Ah, so that’s where you went. Playing in the hedge?”
When Cara Hawthorne returns to the childhood home she had been torn away from twenty years earlier, she thinks it will be to do nothing more than settle her grandmother’s estate and return to her job as a junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Tulsa.
But every nook and cranny of the house and gardens unearths long-buried memories, and when the town’s mayor sets his sights on her and the property she finds herself caught up in a centuries old battle with powers she has only barely begun to understand