The Eyes Of A Fetch 241-260

The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 260) In The Valley

It is apparent the greenery has been placed across the fence deliberately, because none of the vine’s trails have intertwined or attached themselves to the wooden gate. If this were truly a natural thing, the honeysuckle would have twisted itself to the entrance as tight as a rope. Once she has the path clear, Lyla pushes the gate open and gets back in her car.

Pulling forward the tires roll over the gravel drive making popping sounds as she slowly moves ahead. The gravel path curves slightly and starts down a hillside, where once it is out of site of the main road; it turns into a well-maintained blacktop path. It is as if someone wants to give the appearance from the road that this drive is simply a passage through a field. Obviously, it is much more than that. Excited yet hesitant, Lyla presses onward.

Looking around, the landscape is beautiful with bright green pastures broken up by clumps and rows of thick trees and shrubbery. Perfect rows of fencing and posts run along either side of the road. Driving slowly, Lyla tops another hill and sees a house in the valley up ahead where the road ends.

It is a modest place and looks well kept with lush terrain and perfectly groomed trees. As she gets closer, she discovers the road turns into a circle drive directly in front of the house. The shutters on the windows of this cottage are closed giving off the appearance that it has been boarded up and left deserted.

“I remember being here before.” Lyla says as she parks the car and turns the engine off.

Excerpt 260

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 259) Searching

The predawn sounds of birds chirping are a sure sign that spring is well underway. Droplets of dew cling to each blade of grass as the morning sky turns a velvety looking pale lavender color. It all seems to be in anticipation for the sun to streak the sky with bands of yellow and orange.

Lyla has been driving the twisting turning country roads for nearly an hour but nothing seems to look familiar. Maybe if she knew what she was looking for, her search would not be so daunting. She does not know what she expects to find but she is compelled to be out, searching. Coming to a crossroad, she stops and then takes a right.

“No, I’ve been down this road already.” She says to herself as she slows her speed to look for a place to turn around. That is when she sees it. There is a gate in the fence line. Covering it are vines of honeysuckle with loads of fresh buds that are not yet open to display their white and gold color.

“Now what have we here?” she whispers as she pulls up stopping the car in the middle of the isolated road. Looking around and in the rearview mirror it appears she is the only one in the area. Therefore, she backs up and pulls into the drive stopping the car at the hidden entrance. Stepping out of the vehicle, she looks around then begins to pull the vines away from the area.

Excerpt 259

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 258) I’ve Been There

The sound of water trickling along rocks and pebbles serenade the night-time air. With her eyes closed, Lyla can hear this peaceful sound and she feels as if she is floating. Upon opening her eyes, she finds herself on a stone path near a small brook were the sounds of the water are playfully trickling along.

It is dark here and deep green moss has created small roadways between the rocks of the path and along the side of the brook. Looking up she finds herself at a cottage. It is the same cottage where she dreamt of the couple sitting on the sofa, laughing as they held each other. She remembers that it ended up being her own self that she was watching. Gasping for air Lyla quickly awakens and lies in her bed for several minutes before sitting up.

“I know that cottage, I’ve been there before, and I know where it is.” She says as she grabs a pen and pad of paper from the small night table. After scribbling down a few things, she pulls the covers up to her neck, rolls over, and falls asleep once again.

Excerpt 258

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 257) Exhausted

“When you shared that Marnie attacked you, well, that is just plain nuts!” Marcus says to Lyla as he looks out at the foyer. “And I’m sorry to say it Lyla, but I think this house is haunted, it has a very strange feeling to it and I’m not sure that I want you to stay here alone.”

“I’m not so sure that you are wrong but at the same time, I’m not convinced that you’re right either.” Lyla says. “Listen you two, go home and get some rest. I am going to go find Smokey and go to bed. I’ll touch base with you later.” Lyla walks them to the front door.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come to the loft?” Marcus asks. “I think that would be a tight fit for three of us.” Replies Lyla as she reaches over and puts her arm around Destry. “I’ll be in touch and we will finish our conversation when we can think clearly.” She laughs as she tries to lighten the seriousness of their moods.

“Alright, call me if you need me.” Says Marcus as he hugs Lyla. He and Destry then walk out the front door.

As Lyla shuts and locks the door, the sounds seem to resonate throughout the foyer. She looks around at the open space, shivers slightly, and then heads up the stairs to her room where she finds Smokey curled up and asleep on the bed. Too exhausted to do much, she undresses and slips into bed where she immediately falls asleep.

Excerpt 257

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 256) To Count

“I’m sorry to do this, but I’m really getting tired and think we should call it a night.” Lyla looks at Marcus hoping he is too preoccupied with Destry to notice she is just trying to get them to leave. Her ploy is successful because Marcus immediately stands up.

“I agree, this has been a tiring day and I think we should give it all time to soak in,” says Marcus as he holds out his hand to count. “Number one, we all know that at some point Crispin Duff was here and Lyla was doing some work for him. That in itself is not anything odd, because that is what you do. You design and maintain websites. Number two, he must have thought enough about you to contract me to work up a painting for you, possibly as a housewarming gift.” He glances from Destry to Lyla and back.

“You are rolling right along with this and are correct so far, I think.” Says Lyla as she bobs her head up and down.

“So now for the odd stuff. You are either having visions of some sort, possibly due to the injury you sustained during the tornado. I know I have memory loss as well.” Marcus looks at Destry who is intently listening. “But then we have Marnie who I believe is now officially insane. I have never seen a person that acts so strange. Then after she leaves our little meeting here, you’re told she is locked up, so how the hell was she here?” Marcus questions.

Excerpt 256

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 255) Distorted

In a whirlwind of questions, fragments of memories, and moments in time that do not make sense, Marcus, Destry and Lyla discuss what they know about Duff Industries. This conversation lasts until the daylight hours are long gone. Mixed into this tattered discussion is the odd behavior of Marnie. Has she been sneaking out of her locked down confinement and now fallen victim to her own distorted mind? If she is getting out, then she deserves a reward for her clever ability to escape from a secure facility. It is either that or she has an evil twin running about, which seems ridiculous. What other explanation is there for her extreme actions, not to mention all the other strange happenings these past few days.

“I do not understand any of this, but I do know one thing for sure now that we have all talked,” says Destry as she looks from Lyla to Marcus, “I know you have not lied to me. As strange as it is, I believe your story. It is somewhat like the stories Severo has told of the months leading up to Grandmother’s death.”

Hearing this from Destry gives Marcus much relief and he reaches out and takes hold of her hand. Lyla is in deep thought and now with everything they can remember out in the open, she is more determined than ever to uncover the entire truth. However, she feels as if Marcus and Destry are in the way somehow. Not physically but emotionally, and she wants to do this alone.

Excerpt 255

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 254) Color Drains

“I need to fill you in on a few things about Marnie, but first let me call her brother so he knows to check on her.” Says Lyla as she picks up her phone and dials his number. “Hello, Robert?”

“Yes, hey Lyla, calling to check on Marnie?” he asks. “No, well yes, kind of.” She says. “Marnie was just here and I thought you would want to know in case you are looking for her.” Lyla stands up to look out the window.

“Seriously? Are you just messing with me?” he laughs. “She has been locked up at the hospital under a doctor’s care for almost twenty-four hours now!”

“What?” Lyla asks as a stunned expression crosses over her face. “Yeah, you want to go visit her? It’s all locked down and you have to make an appointment.” His voice trails off. “Oh, um, maybe later, um. . . thanks.” Lyla ends the call. The thoughts in her mind are in a flurry over what she just learned. If Marnie has been locked up for a full day, then who was just here and who attacked her last night? Moreover, who was the man with the menacing eyes?

“What is it?” asks Marcus. “What’s wrong?”

Lyla looks up as the color drains from her face. “Whoever was just here, standing at the window, was not and could not have been Marnie.”

Excerpt 254

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 253) Stay Clear

Lyla stands up with Destry. “Please, hear me out.” Destry stands in place for a moment then sits down again next to Marcus as Lyla speaks. “From what I can tell, I was working with him, helping him with data, a website and possibly web interview connections. I feel like I may have been close to him but in everything I have remembered, which isn’t much, I don’t think he would be a very likable person.” Lyla pauses and looks at Marnie who continues to stand with her back turned to the group.

“So what are you saying?” asks Destry. “I’m saying I don’t remember key things but in looking at my notes and adding them to the experience you have had with him, I think I’d stay clear of any interactions.” Lyla looks at Marcus. “So where do I come in at?” he asks.

“I think you painted a picture for him and that’s all, you were doing a job for a man with money.” Says Lyla bluntly. “From what we have remembered and from the things we have observed with your family, Destry. I think Crispin Duff and Duff Industries would not be clientele that neither of us would want to be associated with.” Marnie turns around and looks at Lyla.

“Do you have something to add, Marnie?” Lyla asks hoping she will open up and share what she knows. “No,” Marnie says quietly. “I doubt anything I would have to say is of importance to any of you.” She folds her arms as if to close off any further questions. “I should go.” She says as she steps out of the room, opens the front door and leaves, quietly closing the door behind her.

Excerpt 253

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 252) Getting Angry

“I remember you moving in and we hung the painting of the lake and moon that I did for you. I came by a few times for lunch and dinner too.” Says Marcus as he looks around the room.

“There was a big party. I know Penny was here working and stuff but. . .” pauses Lyla. “But what?” questions Marcus. “Well, I keep having visions, or dreams, or something. . . and it’s about a party.” Lyla says in a vague manner. She is not sure how to explain what she is experiencing without sounding like she is going insane. All this time, Marnie is quiet, motionless, and continues to look out the window.

“I don’t recall ever meeting Crispin Duff.” Lyla says fearing this will upset Destry. “What?” Destry asks. “How are you connected to Crispin Duff?” her voice is raised and Lyla can tell she is getting angry.

“No, you don’t understand.” Lyla says quickly. “After I left the shop this morning with the invoice, I found files in my office. His picture was attached.” Lyla pauses slightly. “Apparently, I was building and monitoring a website and it looks like I was employed by him to do this.” With a shocked look on her face, Destry stands up.

“I don’t know how you people can be working for him and claim to never know him! Are you all crazy?” she yells.

Excerpt 252

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 251) Talk With You

“Destry and I are hoping we might be able to talk with you about Duff Industries.” Says Marcus as he looks at Destry. Marnie slowly turns around to watch him as he continues. “I’m so fuzzy on what happened those many months ago.” He looks directly at Lyla, “You and I both ended up with nasty bumps on our heads and I know I don’t remember much. I was thinking that maybe if we sit and really try to put it all together, we might figure out the missing pieces.” He states as Lyla glances up at Marnie.

“Marnie, I think you seem to know more about this than the rest of us.” Lyla says all the while fearing she will once again find herself in an attack. However, this time she has Marcus for support and can avoid a one on one assault.

“Um, no. . . I don’t really have much to say.” Stammers Marie as she turns again to look out at the front yard.

“But, just last night you talked as if you knew a lot.” Says Lyla hoping this will not anger Marnie and oddly, it does not appear to affect her at all. She watches as Marnie continues to look out the window without speaking. Glancing over at Marcus, Lyla shrugs her shoulders as she questions Marnie’s unresponsive behavior and she wonders if her silent friend even heard what she said.

Excerpt 251

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 250) Curious Glance

Marcus and Destry step up onto the large deep porch of Lyla’s house and ring the doorbell. While they wait for her to answer, Marnie comes up the walkway behind them. “Well hello,” Marnie says in a soft voice. Marcus turns around to greet her. “Hey, Marnie, what’s going on?” he says as he gives her a hug. Marnie is a bit stiff in her gesture as she hugs him back. “Marnie I’d like you to meet a friend of mine, Destry Boucher. Destry this is Marnie Jones.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Destry says as she extends her hand. “Nice to meet you too,” replies Marnie. As the two shake hands, Lyla opens the door.

“Oh, hello everyone.” A bit startled, Lyla gives Marcus an odd glance. “What’s this all about?” she questions as she looks from face to face. She is very leery to be around Marnie after the horrible interaction they had. Since she has not had a chance to share the incident with Marcus, she acts as if everything is fine. However, she does not invite the group in as she normally would. Instead, she stands in the way, holding the door ready to close it at any second.

“Um, can we come in?” asks Marcus with a smile as he gives Lyla a curious glance. “Oh, yes. Sorry.” Lyla steps to the side allowing all three to enter. “Let’s go to the living room, shall we?” She looks at Marcus lifting her eyebrows as if waiting for him to speak. He sits down next to Destry on the sofa while Marnie stands at the window looking out.

Excerpt 250

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 249) Boundaries

“Why must I stay within the so-called boundaries with this when clearly we have stepped far beyond them in other matters?” Crispin states as he finally makes eye contact with Quinn. “The true purpose of my duty has nothing to do with buildings or land and money. The true purpose has not been the focus for many years now, so do tell Quinn, what boundary lines are you directing me to stay within?” Quinn does not like Crispin’s challenge or the sarcastic manner in which he is speaking. He looks directly at Crispin as he replies to this dispute.

“The last thing you need now is something or someone that defers your focus! We have wasted more time trying to complete this transaction than any other. The vineyard was an easy take but now it is dragging along and we are very close to losing it all together!” Quinn is very direct and stern as he continues. “Ms. Boucher has drawn a large amount of attention to this matter and she must be dealt with quickly, so I suggest you get your priorities straight right here right now! I do not care where we are, here or home, as long as you quickly complete your mission.” Quinn turns to leave the room but he stops short of entering the kitchen and turns around. “You need to get Lyla out of your head, permanently.”

Crispin gets up and walks to the door. “I’m going into town and will return shortly.”

“Very well,” replies Quinn as he carefully watches Crispin. “Be strong and finalize this now or you will force me to do it for you. Be assured that I have no qualms or restrictions of which I will place upon myself. It will be quick, thorough, and without loose ends.” Crispin stands in the threshold of the doorway in silence and with his back to Quinn as the old man continues. “I trust you will return a success.” With that said, again Crispin does not reply to Quinn. He merely steps out of the cottage closing the door quietly behind him.

Excerpt 249

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 248) Return Home

The afternoon sun is a brilliant gold as it glows brightly in the blue sky. White streaks of wispy clouds are drifting throughout as if adding texture to a pristine canvas. Small pockets of spring bulbs are blooming in the nooks and crevices of the short wall of stone that circles Crispin’s cottage. Inside the little house, the wooden floors echo of conversation and raised voices.

“Quinn, I think it’s best if we return home.” Crispin says quietly. He is sitting alone in a chair in the living room of the cottage. Quinn is at the table near the door to the kitchen. Without looking up from the paperwork in front of him, he goes on about his business of reading then stops to speak.

“I’m glad to hear you are once again making sound decisions, I agree it would be nice to go home,” states Quinn with little emotion. “However, we need to make our final attempt at closing the book on the Vineyard so we can move on to the next item of interest.” Quinn glances over at Crispin but does not receive a response to his statement. After several minutes he says, “Would you like something to eat?”

“No,” says Crispin in a vague manner.

“I know this is hard, but your duty in life is written and must be fulfilled as directed. You have a job to do and you must work within the boundaries you are allotted.” Quinn stands up and collects the cup sitting on the table near Crispin.

“Why?” says Crispin.

“Why what?” replies Quinn.

Excerpt 248

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 247) It Was Real

Walking over to the curtain, Lyla nudges the shiny item with her foot causing it to slide across the wooden floor. It is a piece of stained glass from the lantern, the very piece of glass that broke out when she was trying to help Marnie. It really did happen! It was real!

Chills run up Lyla’s legs and arms as she picks the piece of glass up from the floor. The fear she felt in confronting the evil thing that stormed into the house comes flooding back. She knows how forceful it had to be to pull Marnie from her aggressive stance, slamming her up against the open door. The screams, she has never heard anyone scream like that before. Slowly turning the lantern around and tipping it sideways, Lyla finds the piece of glass to be a perfect fit for a section that is missing. With shaking hands, she holds the piece in place then sets the lantern down on the small table, placing the broken piece next to it.

In the loft of the art shop, Marcus and Destry have been talking from the moment Lyla left, which was a few hours ago. Destry is extremely distraught over the discovery that Marcus has been doing business with Duff Industries and she wants to go home. No matter how reassuring Marcus is, he has not been able to convince her that in no manner did he partake in a scheme of deception toward her or her family.

The explanation Marcus is attempting to give would be more convincing if he could truly remember exactly what transpired between him and Duff Industries. Unfortunately, the memories are just not there. Due to this, he cannot give her details and this is frustrating for both of them. Sitting on opposite sides of the sofa their discussion grows quiet. After many minutes, Marcus suggests they go to Lyla’s house and try to resolve this mysterious connection.

Excerpt 247

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 246) Looking Back

Feeling numb, Lyla closes the paper file and sets the stack on her desk. Next, she scrolls through several online pages before quickly signing off and stepping away from her desk. Slowly she walks out of the room and into the large open foyer. Staring up at the light fixture for quite some time, she begins to remember small aspects of recent past moments.

“What is real?” she asks herself as she fights back tears. “I don’t know what has truly happened. I must be going mad; I don’t know what to believe.” She mumbles as she sits on the bottom step of the staircase trying to fill in the empty slices of her memory.

“I now remember some things about Crispin, I do remember working with him.” She covers her face in her hands as she leans over and then looks up at the door. “What or who is the black figure that seems to be haunting me? Is it real? Is it connected to all of this somehow?” She sits quietly looking down at her feet.

Tipping her head sideways, she looks over at the full-length mirror where her reflection is looking back. Just as she is about to stand up a sparkle of light near the floor catches her eye. She turns around and sees an object jetting out from under the curtain. It is near the small table where the lantern sits. This is the same table she thought for sure had been broken when she pushed the man, or whatever it was off Marnie.

Excerpt 246

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 245) Her Own Work

After pulling out the haphazard stack of files and papers, she takes them with her to a chair near the window. Sitting down, she tips the stack sideways to read the tabs. All six folders are marked, Duff Industries. “What the hell?” She says to herself as she begins to tremble. She is afraid to open them fearing what she may find as she uncovers the mystery she so desperately wants to solve. What will she have to face next? Did she help Duff Industries in unfavorable dealings like the vineyard?

Lyla opens the first file and there on top is a photo with a note attached that reads, Crispin Duff. She recognizes him immediately as the man who assisted her in the early morning hours at the art shop. She also believes him to be the man she ran into while in Madrid. That must be why there was such a connection between them when they bumped into each other that night outside the stained glass shop. She knew him from here and it appears she was working for him!

Listed along with an address and contact information is a link and password to a website. She logs into her laptop and types in the web address. She practically closes her eyes as she hits enter. There before her appears a site under the name of Duff Industries, Ireland. Along the right hand side of the screen is her name and title, Lyla Harris ~ Web Specialist. Shocked at her findings, she covers her mouth while staring at her own work.

Excerpt 245

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 244) Tossed Inside

Walking from the gazebo to the house Lyla dreads stepping foot inside. She does not know if she is experiencing some form of schizophrenia or not, but the things she has been seeing does not make sense to her. To top it off, she has nothing concrete to prove that any of it is real or simply distortions of her past playing out in her mind.

Is there truly a dark force in her home that has eyes so green they pierce your soul? In addition, what about Marnie? What in the world is going on with her? She too is acting strange and now that Lyla thinks about it, she has not been around since she pushed Lyla to the ground in her moment of rage. Would she be able to backup Lyla’s story? Was there truly a man in the house?

The veranda door makes a creaking sound as she swings it open. This in itself makes her return to the house a bit unnerving and she decides to squirt a few drops of oil on the hinge. This would be a quick fix except she cannot locate her can of oil spray. She rummages through the drawers of the kitchen and then decides to check in her office.

She pulls open the heavy bottom drawer of her filing cabinet where she thinks she may have stuffed several items when she was unpacking. However, instead of finding what she is hunting, she comes across several folders and files that look as if they were quickly tossed inside.

Excerpt 244

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 243) How Much Time

What is real and what is not? What are the pieces of the puzzle that are missing? Are her visions fact? Or is she slipping into a self-destructive world much like Marnie? Then again, maybe Marnie is the rational one.

Lyla walks over to the gazebo and sits down on the bench. The small waterfall to the pond is peaceful and it seems to put the entire garden in a very tranquil state. So why is she so nervous? She closes her eyes for just a second to take in the sounds around her and she finds herself falling into another hallucination.

She is dancing slow and very close to a man, the same man that has been in her other visions. She knows this and she recognizes this as a dream or perhaps this is a memory. He is holding her without much effort as she looks over his shoulder and from side to side at the crowd of people. She cannot focus on his face and it feels as if she is looking through him. He leans in and she can smell his cologne as his lips touch her ear. He is in control yet gentle as they dance together to the music. He says something that she cannot quite hear and as he pulls her tighter, almost too tight to breathe, he speaks again.

“I know you know.”

Lyla quickly awakens from this dream state and is very confused as to where she is. With a few minutes passing, she realizes she is lying on the bench in the gazebo of her own backyard. The angle of the sun is much higher than the morning glow she enjoyed strolling home in which seemed like only minutes ago. How much time did she lose? Where are these visions coming from and who is this man?

Excerpt 243

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 242) Small World

“I don’t understand, what is this?” says Marcus as he glances up at the banister railing that opens to the living room of the loft. Destry is sitting on the sofa that backs up to the rail and Marcus can see the top of her head bobbing slightly as she tries to gather herself.

“I don’t know. I was hoping you had some idea.” Says Lyla, she then calms her voice to a slight whisper, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ruin your morning. I thought the name sounded familiar but never once thought it was the company Destry had been talking about.”

“Small world, huh?” says Marcus. Again, he glances up and Lyla gets the hint.

“You go to her, I’m going to take this with me and do a little investigating. Something odd is going on here and we need to find the underlying cause of it. Why would Duff Industries give me a painting?” Marcus shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head. As Lyla gives him a hug, she whispers in his ear. “Something is terribly wrong with Marnie; I’ll fill you in later.” She then turns and leaves the shop so he can go upstairs to speak with Destry. Marcus must make it clear to her that he is not part of some master plan to deceive her. He is fearful this may tear them completely apart from one another.

Walking around the corner of the building Lyla glances down at the invoice in her hand. “Duff Industries,” she says aloud. “Duff Industries.” She repeats as she continues along the sidewalk. Once she reaches her house, she stops and stands in the yard looking at the plants and structures. She is not focusing on one particular thing as she pauses in deep thought. Many things are racing through her mind as she tries to make sense of the dreams and visions that plague her.

Excerpt 242

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 241) This Scheme

Lyla walks over to the box and pulls out the file marked with a capital D and says, “The painting over my fireplace that looks like the one in your exhibit. Did you give it to me or something?” she starts flipping through the file. “Wow, honestly I don’t know. I don’t think so but. . . why do you ask?” Marcus questions. “I want to know who ordered it and why.” She says as she remembers placing the invoice in the cash register. Walking round the counter she opens the drawer and pulls the piece of paper out of it. “Who is Duff Industries?”

“Duff Industries?” says Destry loudly. “Did you say Duff Industries?” Lyla looks at her with a questioning glance. No time is wasted as Destry takes the invoice out of Lyla’s hand and reads the limited amount of information therein.

“What is it, Destry?” asks Marcus, concerned with her expression. “Duff Industries is the company that bought Grandmother’s vineyard and land. You have been doing business with them all this time?” she questions loudly as her temper flares. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” says Marcus in a very concerned way as Destry tosses the invoice in his direction. It lands on the counter, face up in front of him. “Have you been part of this scheme all along?” questions Destry as tears fill her eyes.

“No, no never!” says Marcus as he steps toward her to comfort her. “Leave me alone!” she says as she runs for the spiral staircase and goes upstairs to the loft. Marcus and Lyla can hear her sobbing as they stand there in shock, looking at each other with blank expressions.

Excerpt 241

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