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�Someone married him?� Alison whispered to Davey well before they caught up withWalter. It probably was crazy, Alison mused, to be thinking of the man�s marital status but he was too unreal� she could only imagine what the missus would be like. Maybe she was an American, one of those fat ladies perhaps with a passion for historic romance novels and Wagner operas. Whatever she was, Alison hoped with secret delight she was every bit as colourful as this Englishman.

�It�s a pleasure, Mr Rushing�, she told him genuinely with a quick look to the truck. What a shame her camera was laying out of reach on the front seat. Perhaps if she slipped it into the conversation, Mister Walter Rushing junior would be partial to having his picture taken. With that moustache, he�d make an excellent subject for one of her portrait studies� But not here, she decided, the light was too strong here in the open. Now, if the man�s home had a porch, that would be simply perfect�

�Davey is the scribe, actually. I just provide the pictures, I�m a photographer.� If his wife is as photogenic as he is, we have a winner. A picture of him alone only needs a very short article to sell. I wonder if Davey sees it too. Looking at Davey made her smile, nothing could get that man down! At the same time seeing him reminded her of why they were there and with a brief pang of regret, Alison forced all greedy thoughts of Walter Rushing pictures to the backburner of her mind.

Avoiding to look at the gruesome scene to their left, Alison raised her hand in a vague gesture. �Not the first time then, Sir? The poachers, I mean?�

Alison had not studied the dead beasts too closely, but still had not gotten the impression the criminals had taken much meat from the cows. Either they had been interrupted, or they�d been after something else. Whatever they had been doing, they had taken the time to line the animals up, which might well indicate they had intended an unhurried butchering. She shivered, caressing the hollow of her throat with nervous fingers. �I hope you will catch them�, she added abruptly. While the girl wouldn�t frown upon a family poaching a chicken or a solitary animal for some food to get them through, the situation here was something else indeed. Slaughtering animals on this scale had the feel of careless, brutal waste. Uncomfortably, Alison waved herself some fresh air, chasing a buzzing insect away from her sweaty brow.

--Alison


Alison's comment threw Davey into a roar of laughter, but he composed himself before greeting the stranger.

Walter Rushing Jr. smiled delightfully upon hearing of their occupation.

"Photography! Yes! Wizard past time. I dabbled in it myself far too long ago than I care to admit. And you sir, a sorceror of print, indeed. I shall oblige myself to dangle into your world, as it were, and take upon your musings with great zeal. Where would our empire be without the blessed craft, back in the stone age I say. Yes, wizard. Quite wizard."

His exaggerated face melted into dismay and possibly desperation. Throwing a hand into the air he said, "Yes, indeed. The poachers have been quite naughty lately."

Davey looked back at the cattle and scratched the scruff of his neck.

"Um.. Mr. Rushing. Don't poachers usually take the meat or something somewhat useful?"

Rushing raised a cooky eyebrow and looked beyond Davey's shoulder.

"So they do. It seems these ruffians extracted nothing at all..."

He went to inspect the cows. After lifting up the incision with the nose of the rifle, it appeared that the animals were cut open but everything was still inside.

Alison noticed that the eyes of the animals were missing.

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


When both Davey and Walter Rushing jr focused their attention upon the slaughtered beasts, Alison�s gaze involuntarily followed their investigation. The fingers at her throat tensed and she remained very still, watching Walter in helpless fascination. Even before Walter lifted the slabs of cut meat Alison already knew what he�d find, she�d seen it through the seeker of her camera. To Alison, it appeared as if the cows� eyeless sockets reflected an endless patience, whatever had been done no longer touched them. They were just waiting until those fast-moving, slow-thinking humans were finally done. Then they�d disintegrate and leave humanity�s cruelty behind. Despite the moist jungle heat, Alison shivered. Whoever had done this, had had a purpose� but what anyone would want with that many cow eyes eluded her �. Unless�

�Their eyes are missing, think our devil wanted a change of diet?� She asked Davey, forcing a light-heartedness she could no longer feel. The Malay might know why this happened, their knowledge of demons, devils and warding against them is better than ours.

�That�s what we�re here for, you see?� She addressed Walter Rushing. �To investigate rumors of a devil scaring the inlanders.� An outstretched hand indicated the cows.. �We thought they were just rumors... � Her voice trailed off and she avoided looking at Davey and Walter. In the light of the burning sun, it seemed too farfetched to suggest the inlanders might have been scared enough to harvest extra eyes for protection� but Alison found herself considering just that. And if she wished to know whether the people here had behaved oddly, Walter -no matter how weird - was their best bet. "Have you had any trouble lately, Sir? Aside from poachers?" She asked. It never occurred to her to distrust the man. Who would slaughter his own lifestock? And besides, he was British.

--Alison


The cartoon man looked at her with bushy raised eyebrows. Thoughtfully sucking on his pipe he looked over his slaughtered cattle once more.

"Ah. Well. If it is the Penangal you are speaking of... it doesn't exist. And if it did, it goes after babies, women and children. Those are local folk tales. Rubbish."

He cocked his head and added, "The locals have been squawking like chimpanzees over the bloody devil women, though."

Davey, having been crouched for a further inspection of the cows looked up suddenly, "Our devil is a Penangal?"

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


�You know the story of the Penangal, Davey?� Alison waded through the long grass towards him, causing another storm of flies to momentarily abandon their feast. �We�re getting somewhere now�Did you find anything?� She whispered as she reached him, having more faith in Davey�s examination than in the caricatural man�s observations.

�I don�t believe the stories either but if the locals believe them, there might be trouble.� She raised her voice enough to be heard by both men. �I�d very much like to meet the ones who�ve been squawking�� Smiling at Walter to soften her eagerness, she added a polite �but not until after tea, of course.�

--Alison


Davey shrugged and sat back, accepting more rum into his stomach before proceeding. He allowed Alison to step in and see what he was looking at.

"Penangal... some sort of baby eating ghost or something, isn't it?"

"Not quite on the dartboard, old friend," Walter said, "if it were a ghost, it wouldn't be eating the flesh of the young, now would it? Disembodied demon, they say. It comes at night in the form of a head or torso, the very insides of the creature hanging beneath it in a site that would turn Dante himself pale. Forever cursed to feat on human blood."

He cackled evilly and then erupted in his own obnoxious laugh.

Davey suddenly perked up as he looked from behind Alison, "Mr. Rushing? Do you know of anyone from the Caribbean on this island?"

The rancher's eyebrows arched in curiosity, "Why, sure I do! My help is a wonderful Haitian family. Odd sort, but they do a pretty piece of Edwardian labor."

Davey grunted and then pointed in the cow's mouth. Alison saw immediately what he was referring to. The animals' tongues were missing as well.

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Walter�s cackling laughter chased a shiver down Alison�s spine. Odd how the noon sun wasn�t hot enough to prevent the sudden cold that trickled through her veins. When she had been living on the isle of Penang with her parents and brother, she�d heard the locals whisper about the Penangal but they had never described the demon�s appearance. All Alison had ever heard was that they fed off pregnant women and newborn children�s blood, but even more than Walter�s description, his laughter made her uneasy. Compared to Rushing�s quaint behaviour, the mutilated corpses almost appeared normal.

She exchanged a discrete glance with Davey and lofted a questioning brow. �What made you think of the Caribbean, Davey? Does this ring a bell for you?� An imploring hand reached for Davey�s arm, slender fingers curling over his wrist.

Alison healthy complexion turned a bit pale and her breathing quickened. The more they found out, the less she liked this �hunt� and Walter�s strange laughter had tripled her unease. However, with the odd Englishman so close she didn�t dare speak her mind and just reached for the flask of coconut rum Davey was carrying. Before she raised the flask to her lips, her eyes sought Davey�s, holding his gaze for a second before flickering towards Walter. A concerned frown etched upon her brow and she tipped the flask back, enjoying a good sip from the soothing liquor.

--Alison


Davey rather liked the attention and took her clasping fingers with his other hand, smiling.

"Well. Taking eyes and tongue is a Voodoo custom. I just thought it'd be a strange religion to be in the bleedin' Pacific. Unless some local customs bare strange similarity.

"I think your servants might be stirring up the pot."

Rushing furrowed his bushy eyebrows and stuttered over his words before finally settling on, "I see..."

Davey stood up, taking Alison's hand.

"Well! Looks like we found our devil quite a bit sooner than expected."

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


What an odd reaction... Alison watched the odd Englishman bemusedly. Weird man� Firing at us, but gaping like a fish on dry land now Davey figures his own staff might be involved. A frown creased upon the young woman�s brow and she clasped Davey�s hand just a little bit tighter.

�Not much of an article without a devil�, she laughed away her distress with a light joke. �Unless we can find another angle, the Geographic will be terribly disappointed in us.� Recovering as she talked, Alison smiled at Walter Rushing. �Although I can�t say I share their disappointment. Voodoo rituals are so much more... normal.. wouldn�t you agree? Still, isn�t Davey just the miracle to think of it?�

I don�t believe a word of it She thought as she babbled away at small talk as if she were attending a tea party. Even if his staff did this, they�d have had a reason.. and he wouldn�t know about it? No�I don�t like it.. He is too odd, too strange�like he�s inviting us to think he�s stupid, but that doesn�t mean he is. He could be involved for all we know. Oh, if only I could speak with Davey alone!

--Alison


Walter Rushing lead the two to his jeep nestled in an overgrown road beneath the awnings of a jungle canopy.

"I trust your truck will be safe?" He asked rhetorically as he started the vehicle.

Davey, keeping her hand shrugged and as they went to the jeep he whispered in her ear without his knowing, "I don't trust him either, but what'll a bit of tea hurt, eh?"

Rushing drove them down the road as if nothing had happened. His drawling banter poured out in gushes. He spoke about the countryside, the locals, the problem with poachers, and how hard it was to raise cattle in the tropics. Every word left little room for the other two to discuss or respond.

At last the arrived at what must have been his mansion. Towering four stories high in a traiditonal colonial architecture complete with pillars and an open deck, it was hardly the home of a meager rancher. Ancient moss-covered trees hung vines all over the property so that the entire ediface of the house could not be seen.

Walter exited the jeep and clapped cheerfully into the air. A Haitian girl, barely reaching 14 left the house dutifully. She wore British clothing: a corsette and dress, but it did not fit her athletic physique. Black eyes and stared humbly at her boss as he barked, "Gather their things, Abella."

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Alison made sympathetic sounds whenever Walter paused and switched from one topic to the other. She had quickly discovered that asking questions was a no go and � with an amused glance exchange with Davey - had settled for the alternative in polite listening. She concentrated mainly on keeping her camera safe in her lap, only occasionally lifting one hand to brush the blonde locks away from her face.

�What a splendid house!� The exclamation came before Alison had time to think it over. Her fingers ached to lift the camera and photograph this magnificent sight. Good manners, however, dictated otherwise and she climbed from the jeep, tearing her gaze from Rushing�s home towards the servant girl, noting the subservient demeanor. perfect for a servant, I suppose, Alison thought wrily. But I don�t think she�ll tell us anything without Rushing explicit whispering in her ear. She should have expected this, but it was a disappointment all the same.

�Mr Rushing, you have my admiration�How did you find this gem? You didn�t build it, did you?� As her eyes had travelled back to their scrutiny of his home, it was evident what Alison meant. It has atmosphere.. Not sure yet if it�s the good kind. It�s old� There are windows behind the vines. I wonder if anyone is watching?

--Alison


"This pleasent little vista is birthed from my very own hands, sweet lady. Well . . . hands employed by me at any rate. And for good salary, I'm not a barbarian after all, now am I? Wretched mess, it was. Took five bleeding years to get the foundation stable, what with the bleeding Singapore sludge they call ground.

"Took the design from the Americas. I'm quite fond of Haiti as you may have gandered."

The jovial man tossled Abella's hair as she went to help Davey, who politely refused.

"Go on then," he said, "I'm sure I can take it."

"Abella," Rushing said, taking note of Davey's response, "a bit of tea would be nice, if you please. There should be fresh cream in the pantry."

Rushing shrugged apolegetically, "I'm afraid we are cursed with Medeival technology. The power of electricity is alien to this land. I do have a generator for emergencies, but I rather enjoy the peace, admittedly."

Davey's playful fingers suddenly came up from behind Alison and he tickled her spine wailing like a ghost.

"Don't know, without electricity how will we SEE THE DEVIL?"

Davey thought his joke was rediculously funny and toasted himself before sipping the rum. Passing the flask over to his colleague he followed Rushing into the house who politely smiled with a furrowed brow.

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


�Davey!� Alison hissed the name, shooting him a frosty glare as she accepted the flask. This time she didn�t drink but restoppered the flask, attaching it to her belt when she was done. Davey�s wit and good humour had turned business into pleasure, had softened the shock of finding the dead animals, but unlike the others this joke had been ill-timed and left Alison feeling uneasy and disappointed.

Perhaps the tea would do him good; it had done wonders for her only hours ago. Her smile softened and she took her camera, leaving it to Walter to decide whether more of their luggage should be brought in. They weren�t intending to stay long after all. She headed towards their host, camera-bag slung over one shoulder. �It�s a gorgeous house. With a home like this, I�d gladly forgo electricity too.� She flattered, eager to make up for Davey�s ill-behaviour. �Would you allow me to take pictures of the house, Mr Rushing? It�s a gem!� her smile deepened. In this, at least, she could be honest without reserve. �You would get a print, of course, and I promise I won�t use them without your permission.�

--Alison


Like a child, Davey shrinked back blushing. Realizing he'd gone too far, the young man cleared his throat and ran his hands through unkempt black hair. He looked at her apologetically and then immediately took a business-like posture.

"A photo opportunity would be very generous . . . and perhaps an interview?" Davey asked.

The cartoonish man laughed from his belly and waved his hand.

"Nonsense! Who'd interview an old sloth like me. You are indeed welcome to take photos, my dear, and you have carte blanche to use them however you please."

Posing proudly he looked up at his mansion while the young girl helped unload the camera gear.

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Only Walter�s presence stopped Alyson from wrapping Davey in her arms, telling him she had not meant it. He looked so vulnerable, so sweet that it was tempting to forget it wouldn�t be proper, easy to forget he was so much older than she. Davey, I am so sorry. Don�t be like this, please� Her smile was radiance when Davey found his business pose and she turned towards Walter.

�An old sloth! Certainly not.� Alison laughed. �Davey is right, sir. You have build a home based on South American style here in Singapore. I am sure our readers will be thrilled to read why you chose Singapore, what problems you encountered and how you solved them.� It took a few seconds before her own words echoed back at her. Why Singapore? A good question indeed. He loves the Caribbean.. Why is he ranching here? It doesn�t make sense. Stiffling a sigh, Alison resisted the urge of copying Davey�s manner of running her fingers through her hair.

The girl cast an appraising look at the sky. �A few more hours, I think, till the light is best. We�d have more than enough time for tea before we�ll have to set up our equipment. Wouldn�t you agree, Davey?�


--Alison


"Well then," Walter Rushing said, "I'd love to have an interview. Tea first, shall we?"

The rancher lead them inside wherein Davey nodded as professionally as possible to her inquiry. The manor was far more glorious inside than out. A colonial master staircase draped from the second floor down into a wooden foyer where masterful rugs and tapestries lined the walls. Brass bordered the houses features and dark oak supported the walls. Candle lanterns and chandeliers brought as much illumination as electricity would and oil portraits consumed the halls.

Rushing gave them a very quick tour as they went into the dining room and each room was more elegant then the last. Upon arrival of the dining room and the adjacent tea terrace stretching into a manicured garden outside, the Haitian servants were seen. An older man and his wife dressed in traditional English serving clothes set the table with fine china and pewter. The servants were careful not to make eye contact with their master's guests and went on as usual.

In the tea garden was a young girl, certainly Walter's daughter, who had gotten her pretty blue English dress dirty by playing amidst the willows, vines, and trees. Her blonde locks were done up in ribbons and sparkling blue eyes radiated at the vision of her father.

"Father!", she squealed, "I found a caterpillar in the garden!"

"Leave it be, bird, and come meet my guests. Ashleigh, this is Alison and Davey from the National Geographic. You remember that periodical don't you?"

"With the animals!" She ran up and hugged Alison as if she were a long lost aunt.

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Wiping her hands on her kaki pants, Alison followed Walter and Davey through the house. �I was right.� She smiled at the eccentric Brit, �this house is a gem. You have created a marvel, Mr Rushing, I am in awe.� After an initial curious look to the Haitian servants, Alison avoided looking at them directly. In this perfect, harmonious setting they were the only dissonant, grating on the nerves like nails over a schoolboard.

When Alison stepped out into the tea garden, the tension flowed from her muscles. Quietly she drew in the beauty of the mansion's garden, reminded of the gardens the British had kept in Penang before the occupation, only more splendorous. She might even go as far as to compare Rushing�s achievement with the sweet beauty of the Cameron Highlands, where the mountains shielded the valley, allowing for a pleasant mild climate the entire year through. It reminded her of home.

Wistful thoughts of her brother and the lost peace on Penang were chased away by a child's happy squeel. �Hello Ashleigh.� Alison laughed and kneeled to meet the kids height �Yes, that�s the one. With lots of animals. Although Davey knows more about them than I do. I only make the pictures.. some of them.�

The house grand interior, the child�s welcome and Walter�s hospitality had sung her suspicions to sleep. How could she have doubted Walter? A man - an Englishman - who had made a home like this, and family like Ashleigh was not the devious scoundrel she had started to take him for. All the folk tales and rumors faded to the background as Alison smiled over the child's head at Walter. �It was so very kind of you to invite us, sir.�

--Alison


Ashleigh could not contain her excitement. Face buzzing and proper clothing doing little to stop her she scrambled to Davey who also knelt to greet her.

"Can you tell me about the monkeys and the zebras and the gazelles? I'd love to go to Africa, but father says it is too dangerous for young girls. Have you been? Have you seen a lion before? Elephants? Giraffes? I saw in the National Geographic that giraffes only eat plants, is that true? Like salads? Do they eat tomatoes? I don't like tomatoes, they are gooey and far too tart for my tastes. Can you ride a giraffe like a horse? Father got me a horse in the stable last summer for my birthday. I'm 8 years old. Father says I'm almost a woman. Do you want to see my horse? It's not as pretty as a zebra. Her name is Wendy. Wendy the horse. She's a pony, really, but father says the pony is a horse just like I am a young woman."

Davey had fallen on back, propped with his hands, abdomen heaving with laughter. Not even bothering to try to answer any of her questions before she rattled off the next one, he finally took a breath in between laughs and said, "We'd be delighted to see Wendy, love."

"Now, bird, don't scare away the guests," Rushing jested, "We will have some tea and then we can visit Wendy."

"Very good, father, can I have tea?"

"Of course!"

They each took a seat in the garden. From inside the Haitian woman delivered a pot of tea and soft cheeses. Not really acknowledging them Walter proceeded, "Mrs. Rushing should be out directly."

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Laughing, Alison threw Davey a hand to help him up from the grass when Walter gave the signal for tea. �I'd love to see Wendy." She sighed contently, sinking into one of the chairs near the tea table. The early afternoon sun warmed her face and Alison tilted her head to the light, squinting her eyes as she enjoyed the lazy warmth. With one hand she waved herself some air, an old habit to cool the sweat on her brow.

Waiting for Mrs Rushing to arrive, she couldn't quite stop herself from speculating. What kind of woman would have married the comical Brit? Would she be every inch as eccentric, or would she be a young voluptuous blonde chasing after Rushing's obvious wealth? Glancing at Walter from under her lashes, Alison enjoyed a feeling of pleasant anticipation. In a few minutes, she would know.

--Alison


When Mrs Rushing arrived Davey openly laughed again, but quickly disguised his shock by clearing his throat and coughing. She was as cartoonish as Mr. Rushing. Complete with a flower-pattern dress, pearls, tidy short and gray hairstyle, white gloves, and a hat with delicate netting.

"Ah, husband! You have brought guests. How delightful! They will have tea, yes?"

"Dearheart, these are journalists for the National Geographic. They have come to research the devil."

"Oh, so they have! Lovely! Well, I don't envy your work. The subject of the devil can be ghastly."

She sat down and Haitian woman poured them all a round of tea.

"I know the locals are very fearful. They think their sons an daughters will be eaten," she resumed.

Davey chimed in, "Are they blaming the devil on the loss of livestock?"

Walter Rushing shot him a furious glare and then surprise dawned an his wife's face.

"Loss of livestock? Whatever do you mean?"

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Although she had laughed as well upon first meeting Walter Rushing, Alison merely smiled when Mrs Rushing proved every bit as colourful as he. She rose from her seat to greet their hostess properly, a warm smile touching the soft brown eyes. The gorgeous mansion and Ashleigh had made all the difference in the world, these people might be eccentric, but surely it had to be a good kind of eccentric? �Mrs Rushing, what a pleasure to meet you. We were just telling Mr Rushing what a gem this house is.�

�We were hoping to talk with the locals later, for background on the story?� Alison mused as she retook her seat. Watching the exchange between Mrs Rushing, Walter and Davey, Alison fought back a frown. Surely Davey�s comments had been out of line, but the look Walter send him was equally over the top. Men!

Alison reached for her tea and stirred in a lump of sugar as she composed her thoughts. �That is how we met Mr Rushing. We found several of your cattle dead in the fields�, she explained to Mrs Rushing. It was too late to keep it a secret now, if that was what Walter had intended. �Your husband thought we were the perpetrators and tried to shoot us.� The girl grinned at the memory. �Fortunately, he missed, we explained the situation and here we are.�

�And we are so lucky to have met you both, Mr Rushing promised us an interview.� An �oh� shaped her lips and she looked over at Davey. �That reminds me. Davey, quick question, please?� She set her tea down and pushed her chair back. �Business, please forgive us�just one minute.� With smooth apologies and a warm smile to Walter and his wife, she stepped to one side, a little distance away from the group.

�What are you doing?!� She whispered to Davey when he caught up with her. �You are deliberately baiting him, that�s not like you. Why?�

--Alison


Leaving the two older folks to discuss the loss of livestock, Davey and Alison were in the other room for a moment of fleeting confidentiality. His brown eyebrows raised, pushing tousled hair backward.

"I don't have the first idea what you're talking about," he bantered, "I'm just making bleeding conversation in there and I feel like I'm walking on bleeding pins and needles. There is no bloody devil, Alison, these Haitians are practicing voodoo. They've taken the organs of those cows and are probably hexing their overpriveleged masters for mistreatment as we speak.

"We've already cracked the case, I say we run with it and create as much drama as we can."

He presented a headline with his hands "Voodoo in Asia," he conjured, "or... Inside Haitian Singapore. We need a chat with that family. I wonder . . . how is your French?"

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


�I don�t know, Davey.� Clasping her hands before her, Alison lowered her gaze to her companion�s chest. �I agree it looks that way, but I�ll be more convinced after we�ve spoken to the locals.� She cast a quick glance to the other room where Mr and Mrs Rushing presumably were discussing their recent misfortune. �Why did the servants come with the family if they were out to hex them? Mind you, I am no expert on voodoo but with most of those �magics� they have something that is supposed to work over distance. Wouldn�t they have done something when they left Haiti?� Fingers uncurled and she threw her hands up in an uncharacteristic display of defeat. �Oh, I don�t know.� She had enough control to keep her voice down, which resulted in a comical sigh. �Maybe you are right.�

She did not know what to think. Although Davey�s explanation didn�t cover all her questions, it was tempting to believe him. His reasoning had the merit of being straightforward and it kept the Rushing�s out of the picture, something of which Alison was secretly glad. If he had tried to pin this devil hoax on them, she�d have fought his reasoning with much more vigour. Seeking Davey�s hand for comfort, Alison fell silent as she pondered his advice.

�I guess you are right, but my French is non-existant�, she said somberly. �Unless I can keep them occupied with photographs, you�ll need Mr Rushing anyway. I don�t think they�ll talk to you if he�s hovering nearby to forbid them. Or if you�d rather get his support? Perhaps if we could get him apart from the servants and explain?� Or we could ask Ashleigh when she shows us Wendy� but I really don�t like doing that. There is no need to go behind Walter�s back, they�ve been nothing but kind to us.

--Alison


"You have a point, bird, but I suspect whatever is prompting them to hex is a recent problem or else they wouldn't have left. We won't know until we talk to them."

Happily taking her hand he fell silent, processing their next move.

"Perhaps you're right, going behind their back may be offensive, at the same time they may not be willing for us to have privacy with their servants. If you think you can get that from Mr. Rushing, that should be our play. If there is even a doubt he'll be suspicious, then I'll take him for an interview and you can get to the Haitians covertly.

"If you're caught just be your sweet self. How were you to know that speaking to the servents was frowned upon? You are simply doing your job after all. They'd understand.

"What do ya' say, kid, are you up for it?"

--Laveaux 21:27, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Davey suggestion brimmed with practicality even if it wasn�t entirely ethical and Alison found herself nodding reluctantly. �I cannot predict what he�ll do. He might refuse, I don�t know.� Nervous fingers entwined with Davey�s, �I could ask one of them to help me with my equipment while you interview Walter.�

Alison still was not convinced pushing the servants was a good idea but since she had nothing better to offer, she went along with Davey�s suggestion. He made sense, even though he was showing a part of himself that made her squirm. The ease with which he changed from goodnatured friend to a reporter well used to deceit and manipulation, hinted that Davey had done this sort of thing before.

He has to get those insight stories somewhere. She defended him against her own judgement. Watch and learn, and maybe some day you�ll be travelling the world as well.

�It�s the only sure way�Yes, i am up for it.�

Davey�s excitement caught on to her and she laughed, swinging their hands. �Very well, I�ll go and get my camera. If you�ll excuse me with the Rushings? The light won�t let me wait any longer. If they�re gone by the time I get back, I will have the perfect reason to ask the staff for help.� It was terrifying how easily she could picture the scene, the inevitability of it all. How could she have blamed Davey for his scheming talents? She was just as bad, only not as good at it as he was. And what harm was there? They weren't intending to hurt anyone, after all.

--Alison


The story concludes on Hunt for a Demon/3.

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