September 18, 2031, 4:15 PM.
Jeff Redman called down to them. “Meet you around back at the courtyard.”
Don, Tap and Luisa carefully stepped through the weeds and debris to the back of the buildings. In a courtyard next to the loading dock was a blackened stainless steel outdoor grill with a thin stream of gray smoke rising past the ruins.
Jeff came out through the loading dock. “You are my guests. I will treat you to dinner.” He lifted the lid off the grill and pulled out a skewer with a thin strip of meat on it. “We can share this, or can catch some more.”
Luisa looked a little green. “Catch more what?”
Jeff hooted, “Well there ain’t any fish in that creek. Trust me, this rat is better than the big ones that used to call the shots in that building. I had a dream that you folks was coming, but cannot be too sure about such things.”
Tap wanted him to clarify that. “You had a dream?”
“Oh yeah, you know a vision. My momma was Vietnamese and my daddy black Cherokee. Spirits no stranger to me. I feed the hungry ghosts here.”
Don knew what he was talking about. “My grandmother in China called them hungry ghosts too.”
Jeff flipped the meat and put it back on the grill. “Yep, these are hungry ones around here. You do not feed them and they start to wander, no telling where they might wind up. Sit yourselves down at that picnic table and I will tell you what Tommy Raven told me.”
Tap tried to steer the conversation. “Thomas Raven?”
“Yup. He was a mixed up child just like me. Half this and that but mostly Indian. Belonged to the Raven clan up north somewhere. Whites count blood, we count spirit. You know there used to be a village on this very spot? Old man Antzen got this place when he married some senorita. No offense Miss Almondo, but in those days, when you bought land you got Indians with it. I hear told that the Old Man wanted land for cattle and not Indians. So he invites them to a feast and brings a bunch of poisoned beef. They died a horrible death.”
Luisa was now green and scared. “Where are they buried?”
Jeff opened up the grill and pulled out dinner. He pointed the skewer over to the darkened concrete pad. “Over there, in Building 3.”
Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.