Two weeks had passed since Emily and the detectives had taken up residence in Wilhelmina Chastain’s castle. In those two weeks Emily and the others had come to understand just how much a creature of habit Wilhelmina was. The meals were served promptly on time and if you didn’t eat then it would take you a while to get to the kitchen to fix a bite to eat because after each meal Thomas cleaned like a mad man and took only a short break before preparing the next meal. Thomas the Chef had very little “down” time.
Emily had little quiet time herself. Since the day after she had gotten there, Wilhelmina had her up at six o’clock each morning to do meditations. At seven o’clock they began training, which was nothing more than Emily “reading” other people, usually Willie.
For her own part, Willie was quite strong and could easily block Emily’s probing. They did this for half an hour and then left to go get ready for the day and breakfast which was served at exactly eight o’clock.
Willie also had Emily training with Reginald and Vinnie in fighting, weight lifting, and reading. “The mind is a muscle, just like any other muscle in the body. You have to keep it stimulated and activated so that when you need its powers suddenly they will be there,” Willie had explained.
The older woman wasn’t a complete dictator. Willie allowed Emily to read romances as well as other books, which they talked about, usually at the evening meal or over coffee after.
While Emily had training with Willie, Vinnie and Azz did their own routine of weights, running, sometimes swimming, and sparring. They either sparred with each other or with Reginald. According to Vinnie, he had not been able to best Reginald since their training had begun. Reginald had Vinnie’s respect and Azz’s curiosity.
Today was a special day for everyone. They were going to have lunch and possibly tea with “the club.” That’s how Emily thought about the psychic’s and others of the local “special” people. They called themselves The Chips. When Emily asked why that name, Willie would just chuckle softly, her eyes sparkling and say: “That is for Kitten to answer.” This was all Willie would say. Every. Time.
It was October now and chilly in the mornings with warm sun through the day. Some days, of course, it was sixty or seventy!
The rain that had begun the day before kept falling. Every so often a roar of thunder would come out of the black clouds and not too shortly after bright flashes of lightning. It was a miserable day to get out. Add to this just how nervous and anxious Emily was the gloom of outside was very appropriate.
Will they like me? Will they think I’m naive? Will they think I am young and not worth teaching or joining their little club?
Emily rolled these thoughts away and turned her attention back to the mirror and her reflection. If everything Willie said about these people were true, Emily wanted, needed to make a good impression on them so she had chosen her clothes very carefully.
It was chilly, but not cold enough to pull out a thick sweater and because it was raining, Emily put on a light-weight yellow sweater over a crisp white shirt; it was unbuttoned only a couple of buttons to show her throat and clavicles. It was demure and understated. Emily also wore new dark jeans. They fit nicely. She made sure to wear the soft-soled moccasins she had brought from home. She wanted to be comfortable: If the meeting was long and boring she needed comfortable clothes to sleep in; if the meeting was active and they tried to kill her, Emily needed to be able to move quickly.
Vinnie and Azz were going to be there, too, which gave Emily a drop of hope they would be able to help her if things turned ugly. But if the group really consisted of strong psychics and other abilities did Vinnie and Azz have a chance at all? Emily could anticipate and pick up broadcast intentions. Emily would be a little more forewarned than the two men.
Azz could do something. She wasn’t sure what Azz could do exactly, but he didn’t flinch away from her psychic probing – Azz volunteered as a guinea pig for Emily’s training – and even had silent conversations with her. Emily suspected Azz kept his abilities secret – no one needed to know what he knew in case he needed it, and then it would be most unexpected.
Emily wanted to know what Azz could do even more now with this rationalization running around in her head. Azz was still just as creepy as from the first moment she had met him. He was perhaps creepier now because he taunted Willie with his secret abilities and seemed always amused when Emily had to track down a memory or find out a piece of information only by using her gifts.
It wasn’t easy. It was a struggle and a lot of hard work. When she left the training room Emily would look as if she had just come back from a 10 mile run.
Emily had just turned to retrieve her small handbag when there was a soft tap at the bedroom door leading into the communal room. Emily only closed her door when she was changing or needed some boundary to her space.
“Come on in, Vinnie,” Emily called.
“It isn’t Vinnie, you should always reach out and check with your mind before calling an entrance – that’s dangerous,” Azz said stepping into her bedroom.
He looked around curiously. Azz didn’t try to hide his curiosity. He was like a little boy suddenly in a woman’s private area and wanted to know everything about it. No, it wasn’t creepy at all.
“Very nice,” he said, taking another step into the room. “I’m making you uncomfortable. I won’t come in any farther. Always be on your guard, Emily,” Azz said with an added wag of a finger. “You never know when you may be in the presence or vicinity of someone else like you, and they may want to harm you. They may be weaker; they may be stronger, but you need to be aware of them.” Emily smiled and forced her shoulders to relax.
Emily retrieved her bag and slipped its loop over her hand. It was a vintage purse from the Sixties. Someone had knitted a small cinch bag, lined it in psychedelic reds, blues, purples and yellow. The knitted portion of the bag was royal purple. It was happy.
“Willie is ready to go,” Azz said, motioning with his thumb over his shoulder. “She does not want to be late, not even fashionably late.”
“That’s a bit understated isn’t it?” Azz said giving her a quick glance up and down as he moved aside to let Emily pass through the door into the communal room. They both walked to the Vinnie’s adjoining door.
“I want to be comfortable for either way this could go. Being forgettable afterward could be useful.” Emily knocked on Vinnie’s door.
“Good thinking,” Azz said. “There’s hope for you yet!”
“Come,” was the answer from inside.
Vinnie was dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, and another one of the light fall sweaters. It hung loosely about his waist, but somehow managed to outline his biceps, pectorals, and give a hint of a very flat stomach. He smelled freshly shaven with just a hint of sandalwood. Emily approved with a smile. Vinnie smiled in return.
“Rich says Willie is ready and vows not to be late. Jones has already informed me the car is waiting and Willie is already in the car.” Vinnie slid his wallet into a back pocket and change and keys into one of the fronts.
They left Vinnie’s room and found Jones already at the front door holding it open for them. He had a disapproving crease at his forehead. Once in the car, Reginald started off smoothly.
On the drive, Willie informed them the total enclave of Chips might not be there. Two or three had prior engagements in Louisville and Frankfort.
“Don’t worry, dear, you will meet the crème de la crème. It isn’t so important you know the juniors; it is the established ones you should meet.”
“Is it like the mafia, each established psychic has his or her territory?” Vinnie asked. He was reclined, even with his seat belt on; one arm was resting across the seat where they were sitting – and he just so happened to take the spot beside Emily – and his legs stretched out a good distance.
“I assure you, Vinnie, none of us go off and cut fingers off or limbs, nor put animal’s heads in the beds of enemies!” Wilhelmina smiled indulgently. “However…the older ones of us have certain parts of the world like presidents or bishops: We have taken on ourselves the task of protecting and teaching as many of us as we can find. Sometimes we have discovered individuals with abilities and desires that should not coalesce. These individuals are well-provided for and always under our observation.”
“What do you mean their desires and abilities should mix?” Richard Azz asked, turning ever so slightly in his seat for better conversation. Willie was quiet for a moment. The hairs suddenly rose on Emily’s arms and back of her neck.
“Do you mean killers?” Vinnie offered.
Emily shuddered at the thought. Depending on what the psychic could do, he could have a victim convinced they were being burned alive, or buried alive; or that they were enjoying the torment they were being put through…or make the experience even worse than what they were being put through!
“Yes,” Willie answered flatly.
“How many?” Azz asked, completely absorbed in what Willie was saying.
“At the last count, ten.”
“Wh-Where are they?” Emily’s hands were suddenly very cold. She clasped them together in her lap so as not to betray her nerves. Nausea splashed Emily now and again and she was determined not to give in.
“There are 12 Territories. Each territory has a Legate over it that has been chosen, elected by their peers….”
“You mean other psychics?” Emily was surprised her voice didn’t quaver.
Willie nodded, “Yes. You are not alone dear. There are thousands of psychics all over the world. The truly gifted ones reach out for others like themselves. They begin on the lowest rung usually, searching for others at alternative health festivals, psychic fairs, and sometimes covens.” Emily, Vinnie, and Azz all glanced at each other. “Witches and other nuisances that go bump in the night are for a different conversation.
“Once a psychic has entered into a Legate’s jurisdiction they become privy to the company of other psychics and can practice their craft freely, or learn,” Willie said, firmly pulling them back on conversational course.
“A Legate is in office for eight years when another election is called and people decide on who to be the candidates and if the out-going Legate wishes to keep his name in the running they may do so. It is the people who decide who is in office. It is very direct and, unlike the national elections, the people actually do get to vote for which they believe would help them and the cause advance.
“Anyway, it is a Legate’s duty to make sure their territory’s gifted are not harmed, and if they are harmed to try and help them. Each Legate encourages and leads the training of those who would like to advance their crafts.
“Sometimes individuals are brought to a Legate’s attention, not because of their gifts, but because of their desires. Some psychically inclined have not had the help they need, or are just broken from the very beginning and grow to enjoy torment and torture of body and soul. We collect these individuals and keep them comfortable and safe. These Broken Ones sometimes heal, if they have enough time to grow out of the dark desires. Sometimes a Broken One will break out of the estate where they are being kept and attack the populace again, but escapes are rare.”
“How many are there, these…Broken Ones?” Vinnie asked, not quite as relaxed as he had been a few moments before.
“And where are they being held on these estates?” Azz queried.
“These places are secret. Only the Legate knows, and since I am not the current Legate of the area, I don’t know where anyone I being held or by whom. I do know ‘estate’ is a loose term: it consists of a house, several acres of property and guards.
“One of them is quite popular and we don’t have to worry about where he is or what he is doing.”
“Why?” Emily was stunned at Willie’s matter-of-fact tone and approach to sharing the information.
“He is Charles Manson, dear. Ah, here we are!”
The limousine had slowed and come to a stop. Reginald was immediately at the door and was extending his hand to assist Willie out. Emily, Vinnie, and Azz all shared the same stunned look.
They were on Main Street of Downtown Lexington in front of the tall blue Fifth Third Bank Building. The bank itself was on the first floor of the building with other offices on the second floor. Other than the bank, which was Emily’s bank, she didn’t know what else was in the tall, round tower.
“Park the car and come up as soon as you can, Reginald.”
“Yes ma’am.” Reginald gave Willie his arm to escort her to the revolving door in the front of the building. Once to the door, Reginald gave a curt bow, touched his fingers to the rim of his chauffeur’s hat, and exited to the car as Willie led the way inside.
On the other side of the revolving door was lobbies with a uniformed guard like you see in the movies. The bank itself was through a door to the right of the desk and large African-American man in a dark blue suit seated at the security desk. Except for Willie he gave everyone a thorough once over.
“Hello Charles, we’re going up to the 27th floor,” Willie said to the guard.
“Yes, ma’am, but you still have to sign in.” The guard was no nonsense, and as Emily looked at him closer she could recognize bulk underneath the suit. He also didn’t like rich people trying to push over him all the time. He had a job to do and he was going to do it, by God!
Emily quickly signed her name when it was her turn and kept her eyes on the floor. Knowing she could do more than just merely touch his surface emotions, Emily felt…embarrassed. It was probably irrational and childish, but Emily felt as if she had had her hand caught in the cookie jar, or kissing Fred Johnson in the school gym. They thought they wouldn’t be seen by anyone, but old Mr. Dixon caught them and sent them to the principal’s office. Stepping onto the elevator gave her the deep impression she was heading to the principal’s office all over again; this time it was for nothing she could exactly explain, or comprehend adequately enough.
Azz felt as if he was getting invited to an exclusive club. Richard Azz felt even more secure and superior because of the elevator ride. Emily snuck a glance at Azz and found him looking directly at her. Emily faced the elevator doors as her face became uncomfortably hot. He absolutely thrilled in freaking her out. Emily stamped her foot. Everyone, of course, turned to look at her, but Emily stayed firmly focused on the shiny metal doors. Emily was aware of her reflection and made sure to keep her face as calm and natural looking as she could. Emily was purposefully unaware of the satisfied smirk on Richard Azz’s face.
The doors opened onto a hallway lined in dark wood paneling. They were so polished you could see yourself in them. The carpet was rich beige and the carpet cushioned their footsteps to instant stealth. There was a feeling immediately of having gone back in time, but the modern convenience of a door and sign stating it the way stairs kept them in the current century.
Three sconces lined each wall. They were made to look like the expensive Victorian gas lights. They gave off soft illumination escorting them to a set of large double doors with shiny brass doorknobs.
There was a sign above the door that read, The Brothers and Sisters in Psychic and Paranormal Study Society. It took two large lines to get it all out. Emily didn’t understand why she had not seen or read it sooner.
Willie adjusted her clothes and the attire of the others. Azz was the only one wearing a sport coat and dress slacks – his usual attire – and thus received a nod and smile instead of a frown. Satisfied everyone was at least presentable, Willie knocked on the door.
Willie tapped three times in quick succession, and then two times slowly, followed by three more quick raps. There was a short pause before the door opened just a crack and a violet eye peeped out at them.
All Emily could see was a violet eye set into a pale face with a shock of white, wispy hair floating above a fluffy white and gray eyebrow. The guard was a man and he looked to be in a dark blue suit.
“Wilhelmina! So glad you could make it! And these are?” The man didn’t open the door any wider, and didn’t feel as if he had any intentions of doing so just yet.
“Hello Arthur, it is so good to see you!” Azz gave a chuckle. Thankfully he held everything else in!
“This is my charge, Miss Emily Post. These are her two bodyguards – Vincenzo Shields and Richard Azz.” Willie touched each one of them as she introduced her entourage, after giving Azz a warning look. It was the sort of warning look you received from your mother just before she declares your punishment.
Arthur took a step back and to the side, opening the door wide as he moved.
The carpet in the room was thick purple velvet that greeted them from the double doors and escorted them to the bank of windows over-looking Lexington. Just like the entrance hall, the room was paneled in lighter wood.
Thick drapes hung over the sheer curtains underneath and windows. To Emily’s right there was a full kitchen. Three doors opened on the far left wall, and there was also a non-carpeted hall leading around a corner.
Light fixtures, kitchen decor, and every decoration were Victorian. They had effectively stepped into the past. Willie hugged Arthur, who was dressed in a gentleman’s pin-striped day suit.
- A Story of Emily Post, Part XII (kmgn.me)
- A Story of Emily Post, Part XIII (kmgn.me)
- Potential Novel/Short-Story (dpswanwriter.com)