Monday, October 24, 2016

Haunting Halloween Hop - Part One, Cassie's Ghost

Halloween in Savannah sounded like a dream come true, but Cassie Devlyn-Ferguson wasn't feel much like celebrating. Work was keeping her husband far away this year, and solo-flying with her girlfriends wasn't the pressure-reliever she had in mind. But getting out of Atlanta seemed better than another weekend at home, nose-deep in research, sweatpants and thick socks reminding her there was no one to dress for.

Reservations had been made at a hotel right on River Street, guaranteed to place them in the middle of all the action, Her costume was hanging in her office, along with the rest of her luggage. The other three members of their gang worked in the nuclear lab at Georgia Tech, across campus from her office in the Geophysics area. Friends since freshman year, it was a miracle the four of them still got along.

Cassie was the youngest, and the only married one in the group. Next came Linda Spivey, another Georgia native from Waycross, she was the instigator of the group. Every adventure/problem they had ever experienced usually started with Linda's alto drawling out, "Any body wanna get the hell out of Dodge?"

The shyest was Michelle Walker. The only daughter of six children, her mother had given up on turning Mike into a lady. She was just short of five foot, ten inches, with bobbed blond hair and green eyes that drew men to her like a moth to a flame. Too bad Mike wasn't interested in any of them. She only had eyes for  the other member of the group, Wendy Payne.

Where Mike was tall and lanky, Wendy was the exact opposite. Barely five feet tall, with a mop of brown curls and chocolate brown eyes, Wendy was a lot of dynamite packed in a small body. With a mouth full of sass and an attitude to match, it was a good thing she had Mike around to finish what her mouth started.

Cassie felt in no mood to go join a tens of thousands of strangers in Savannah but she'd promised everyone months ago, and to retreat now would only bring the full force of her friends over to kidnap her in front of her students and other engineers. That, she knew, would be a fate worse than any trip. With a sigh, she turned off her desk lamp and gathered her things. An envelope fell out, one that Cassie was certain she'd never seen before.

It was a rather plain envelope, more cream than white and made from heavier paper than people used for work these days. On the front in calligraphy was printed her name: Cassandra. The flap wasn't sealed.

Inside was a piece of heavy cream stationary. A faint whiff of Bay Lime filled the room when she unfolded the paper. Sean's favorite shaving cream. She let a smile play around the corners of her mouth. He'd been in the Middle East a long time, too long. Maybe she should call his office and see if they knew what crisis he was defusing this week.

The words on the paper caught her eye.

Meet me at the Masquerade. I'll be wearing Wedgwood Blue.

That's all there was, nothing more.

Assuming one of her friends threw it into her things, Cassie shrugged, threw the paper in the trash and grabbed her car keys. Maybe this weekend might have some new surprises after all.

TOMORROW: Part Two, Savannah and Halloween Surprises.