Grave Robber for Hire – Excerpts
Today, Cassandra Shaw shares excerpts from Grave Robber for Hire.
About this excerpt: Vig (ViggoO is Angel’s guardian angel that only she can see. Streak is Angel’s car, and Clyde is the dead person Angel must connect with to find a missing Rembrandt for her client. This scene takes place in a cemetery. It’s one of the early scenes in the story. Enjoy!
I glanced around. An elderly couple stood admiring a huge angel monument and a Labrador watered a palm tree nearby. Otherwise, I was alone. Just me, my guardian, and a few hundred dead spirits. Yep, same-old-same-old.
The old sections of cemeteries are the easiest for readings because the long dead don’t get many visitors to watch the freak feel up the grave. Me being the freak.
Vig leaned on the neighboring gravestone, crossed his arms and sunned his face.
I dumped my handbag in front of Clyde’s impaired cross. Heat shimmered in silver wraithlike vibrations off the faded grass and summer scorched soil. Hands on hips, I wrinkled my nose. This was so gonna suck. It would have been nice to find the grave steeped in shade. I readied myself for the burn and lowered myself till I lay face down. Shame my leatherette outfit didn’t include insulation.
Cross chunks and soil crystals seared the bare skin on my arms, chest and cheek. Dust burning my nose, I opened my sixth sense and called telepathically to the spirit lingering in the disintegrated coffin beneath. My version of knock, knock, who’s home.
I blew out a breath, creating an eye blinding dust storm. Eyes watering, I blinked them clean. “I’m not looking forward to meeting up with Clyde’s spirit again. He was creepy,” I told the ant near my nose and Vig.
“Creepy?” Vig speaks only a few decipherable modern words.
“Super creepy. Shrivel my ovaries to specks, creepy.”
He laughed, “That is bad.”
The thousand year old dead guy had a point.
A whisper tickled up the hot soil into my hands. I hate doing this sort of search. Since Clyde died just after the painting went missing, reading his spirit was probably the quickest and easiest way of finding said masterpiece—just not the most pleasant. I get all sorts of visuals from this sort of reading: personal, boring, sexual. Everything.
Clyde’s spiritual volt felt weak with age, but two years ago I’d done this with a six century old grave in Yorkshire, so I knew the spirit was still available. I just had to dig deeper. Literally. I wriggled my fingers back and forth, digging them further into the packed dry earth.
“I’m adding the cost of a fresh manicure to Claudia’s account,” I told Vig, although I doubted he understood a girl’s mangled nails angst.
A gentle abrasion nibbled my fingertips. Woot. “I’ve got him.” Through the dusty vapor, I saw Vig’s thumbs up. To gain a stronger connection, I dug down a few more millimeters. An electrical malignant slime bolted through my fingers, up my arm, and jolted my soul. I screamed, but nothing left my mouth except a puff of black smoke.
My heart hammering blunt spikes into my chest, I pulled and twisted, trying to extricate my fingers from the ground. Multiple savage stings told me something with mini claws had latched onto my fingers. I tugged and jerked and tugged but couldn’t pull them free.
Two broad, callused hands grabbed my wrists and ripped my fingers out. Vig dropped my hands, fisted his own and yelled in agony.
Black sludge dripped from my throbbing finger-tips into the impressions my fingers had left in the soil.
I pushed myself up to my hands and knees, and dry heaved until a trickle of black coiling mist escaped. What was that, and was it all out? God, I hoped so. I flopped down, rolled onto my back, and sucked air like I’d never before tasted oxygen. What the fuck? Or was that, Holy fuck?
Never had I felt such malevolent evil.
A sizzling bubble darted around in my stomach in a painful cramp. Skin chilled, I wrapped an arm around my middle as my brain seized.
Whatever traveled up my arm, some of it now resided in me.
Definitely, Holy fuck.
About the excerpt: Tina is Angels ex-trick horse, one of her horse rescues. This scene occurs near the end of the story.
I heard a click as the house yard gate released. Tina raced into the yard and skidded to a grass tearing stop. Using her teeth she grabbed Tyreal’s beer. Head thrown back, she chugged the amber liquid down fast. Bottle emptied, she flicked her head sideways and dropped the bottle onto the grass.
Tyreal choked and sprayed out his mouthful of beer. Eyes watering, he pointed to Tina. “What the fuck?”
Tina snickered, the eye I could see, rolled toward me and down at my beer. Her lips quivered.
I took a sip. “Piss off old girl, this is mine.”
I looked at Tyreal’s shocked face and laughed. “What, you never met a horse hard up for a beer before? Where have you lived?”
“Shit.” His eyes still protruded. On a lesser man, it might have appeared unattractive, unfortunately, Tyreal never looked unattractive.
Tyreal leaned on the wall, snatched my beer, and drained it. He put his arm around my shoulder, pulled me to him and nuzzled my neck, sending ooh and ahh tingles down my body. “You live an odd life. I have told you that haven’t I?”
“You stole my beer.”
“I needed it more.” His chest started to shake, then his whole body as he laughed. “God but you do it for me. You are hotter and far stranger than any woman I’ve ever met.”
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