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Friday Fiction -- The first paranormal case Abee Normal worked on.

The Casebook of Abee Normal, Paranormal Investigations (Vol. 1)

The Case book of Abee Normal, Paranormal Investigations (Volume 1) came out in April 2018. It's already received rave reviews.

"Dead or alive, everyone loves Abee."

For the next four weeks, I'll share a portion of the first story on Friday. If you get anxious and wish to read the entire chapter, you can do so at Wattpad. The book is available in eBook or paperback at Apple books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and anywhere you purchase books.

The Case Book of Abee Normal, Paranormal Investigations (Volume 1)

The Case of:

Something goes bump in the night, not otherwise explained

“My name is Abee Talent Normal. I live in the forest just outside of town in that house you thought was haunted,” Abee read.

“Seriously?” Joanna Normal asked. “You want me to tell you how your little advertising webpage sounds?”

Irritated, Abee sighed. Her mother had just asked her to read the “About” section of her new paranormal website.

“You asked me to read it to you,” Abee said.

She’d made an effort not to sound irritated, but her mother’s head jerked in her direction anyway.

“Don’t you use that tone with me,” Joanna said.

Abee knew there was no point in saying anything else. Abee turned away from her mother.

“I just think it’s . . .” Joanna started.

“ . . . dumb that you’re going into this business,” Abee mouthed along with her mother’s oft-repeated words. “You were the Valedictorian at your high school. You have scholarships to every college you applied to. Why do this?”

Abee whipped around to stare at her mother. Joanna had been stricken with Multiple Sclerosis when Abee was ten years old. Her mother had descended into infirmity the way she did everything — rapidly with a large volume of words. They had moved into this ramshackle house to live with Joanna’s grandmother, Ma’am.

Ma’am was supposedly born in this house. She used magic — black, white, and whatever else — to keep Joanna’s disease from progressing. Her mother still sat in a wheelchair. The only muscles that worked well on Joanna were the ones in her jaw, tongue, and voice box.

Abee raised her eyebrows, and Joanna blinked before looking away.

“You could still go to college,” Joanna said under her breath.

“And leave you here?” Abee asked.

“Well . . .” Joanna said.

Joanna picked at her shirt.

“I can’t take my mother, her wheelchair, and box of magic potions to college,” Abee said with a shake of her head. “Plus, I’m good at this.”

“Like your grandmother,” Joanna said.

“Like your grandmother,” Abee said. “My grandmother is still locked up in the looney bin.”

“Such a shame,” Ma’am said with a croak.

Ma’am shuffled past them. Leaning over, she read Abee’s webpage. Ma’am looked up at Abee and pointed.

“You’re missing a couple of commas,” Ma’am said.

“Where?” Abee asked.

Abee leaned in.

“That’s a modifying clause.” Ma’am pointed to the webpage.

“Just outside the town,” Abee said. “Good point.”

Ma’am might be a witch but she was not stupid. In fact, the woman was a genius, but that was another story for another time. Ma’am nodded to Abee and shuffled to the kitchen.

“See, Ma’am’s on my side,” Abee said.

Joanne sniffed at Abee and rolled away.

“That’s what I thought,” Abee said to herself.

She put her hands on her bony hips. She was taller than most, thinner than anyone else at school, and as dark as Ma’am. She was also smart and kind. Dead or alive, everyone liked Abee. She nodded to herself.

“I’m a paranormal investigator,” Abee said.

“You act like that’s something special,” Ma’am said, as she walked by a cup of vile-smelling tea. “Our people have been interacting with the not-quite-normal since before we landed in on this continent.”

“Our people” could mean anything from the indigenous who wandered up this way to white Pilgrims from England to Spanish Conquistadors to slaves imported from deepest Africa. Rather than respond, Abee’s eyes followed Ma’am out of the room. Abee turned her attention back to the webpage.

If she could get paying clients, she could pay for her mother to see a real doctor, buy gas for the car so they could visit her grandmother, and possibly buy Ma’am a new dress.

“I don’t need a new dress,” Ma’am said from the other room.

“Yes, you do,” Abee said to herself. “Yes, you do.”

Abee clicked “Save” and turned away from the webpage. She was halfway across the room when she heard a chime indicating that she had an email. Shaking her head, Abee went into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of cool water from the filter in the refrigerator. It had warmed up early this year. Even under the cool dark of the tall trees, the house was warm. She forced herself to drink down the entire glass of water before going to check her email.

Walking back across the room, Abee prepared herself for the worst. Her friends were leaving for college in the next few weeks. They were having good bye parties. They wanted Abee to be there, if only to gloat. Despite what Abee said, she’d always thought that she’d leave with them. She’d imagined leaving this house, her mother, this awful place, and everything else far behind her. She’d go to college and then graduate school. She’d become a doctor or maybe a lawyer. She’d live in the city in a big apartment overlooking the park.

Sighing, she leaned over to look at her email.

She blinked.

The subject said: “Paranormal investigator needed for prize of ten thousand dollars plus expenses.”

Sure that this was a scam, Abee let her fingers linger over the “Delete” button. She raised her index finger to delete the email. The little voice inside her whispered “read the email.” She clicked it open.

Dear Ms. Normal,

Ten years ago, we purchased the historic Glosip mansion . . .

“Why the hell did you do that?” Abee asked aloud. She continued reading.

. . . in order to turn it into an exclusive spa and resort.

“Takes all kinds,” Abee said.

We spent a year removing the silt and mud left over from the Great Flood of 1927. After all that time and all that money, on the first night we spent in the house, we discovered that there was an unexplained phenomenon going on within the structure of the house. At first, we believed it was something mechanical — loose wiring or possibly the pipes. We’ve spent many thousands of dollars on many certified tradesmen looking for answers. They found no such mechanical problems with the house.

We’ve consulted every kind of professional. Here is a list of paranormal professionals:

Abee blew a low whistle. More than a hundred paranormal experts were listed here. The list included famous paranormal experts with television shows, famous psychics, and every kind of scientist.

Everyone has an explanation, but no one has come up with an effective solution. We are at the end of our tether. If we are unable to solve this problem, we will have to abandon the property by the end of this year. We’ve invested more than a million dollars into our dream. We will be devastated to have to give it up.

You’re receiving this email because your website came up on an alert through our search engine. If this seems like something you’d be interested in, we’d love to have you. We guarantee to pay your reasonable expenses to our location in Bayou Chene, Louisiana.

“Cora Lee Dawson” signed the letter.

“Ma’am!” Abee yelled.

“You don’t have to break my eardrums,” Ma’am said from behind her.

Abee turned to find that her great-grandmother was standing right behind her. Ma’am leaned over to read the email. She gave the same low whistle.

“Thing that goes bump in the night?” Abee asked Ma’am.

“I imagine,” Ma’am said. “When are we going?”

“We?” Abee asked.

“You don’t think I’m going to let you around a thing that goes bump by yourself, do you?” Ma’am asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“What about Mom?” Abee asked in a low tone.

“Her brother will be happy to help out,” Ma’am said with a dismissive wave.

Abee gave her a sideways glance. Albert Mausteen Normal was not the kindest or most generous of men. He had a real fondness for her mother, though. He also had a large air-conditioned house in a swanky suburb.

“He’s already on his way,” Ma’am said.

“How? What?” Abee asked.

“I knew it wouldn’t be long before you got your first case,” Ma’am said. “Are you packed?”

“Packed?” Abee asked.

“I’m packed,” Ma’am said. “We can leave when you’re ready.”

Abee gawked at her great-grandmother.

“You’ll have to drive, of course,” Ma’am said.

Shaking her head, Abee went up the rickety stairway to pack. She was almost to her room on the third floor when Ma’am yelled to her.

“Three days,” Ma’am said.

Shaking her head, Abee started to pack for three days. She brought an extra pair of underwear just to be safe. Ma’am was waiting for her in the passenger seat of Ma’am’s baby-blue 1952 Chrysler Imperial.

“We’re sure this thing runs?” Abee asked.

She set her bag in the back seat next to Ma’am’s. Her great-grandmother gave an indignant snort.

“Al had it in the shop last week,” Ma’am said. “He said it’s good for another five thousand miles.”

“So we’re driving to Louisiana?” Abee asked. She got into the driver’s seat and put her hand on the ignition key.

“I booked us tickets on line,” Ma’am said. “We’ll have just enough time to get to the airport.”

“And Mom?” Abee asked.

“There’s her brother,” Ma’am said. She pointed to the end of their long driveway, where a plume of dust indicated that someone was moving in their direction. In a low tone, Ma’am added, “You’d better get going, or we’ll miss our flight.”

Abee started the car. It turned on with a satisfying burst of power. They waved as they passed Al in the long driveway. Abee eased out onto the highway. The vehicle’s V8 engine could put them over the speed limit in seconds flat. They did not have time to play with the police today.

They easily made it to the airport and were on their way to Louisiana in no time. While Ma’am napped, Abee set up a car from the Classic Car rental when they landed in Baton Rouge. Ma’am wouldn’t drive in any car with a computer in it. She said it messed with her intuition. Although Ma’am would never admit it, Abee was pretty sure that Ma’am just wanted to look cool. At least that’s what Uncle Al said.

They were walking across the car-rental lot when Abee’s cell phone rang. She looked at the face of the phone and shoved it back into her handbag.

“You should speak with him,” Ma’am said.

“And say what?” Abee asked. “‘You’re going to Princeton like we planned, and I’m staying home’?”

For a moment, the disappointment Abee never allowed herself to feel welled in her heart. Ma’am’s intelligent eyes followed Abee.

“You know . . .” Ma’am said.

“Here it is.” The attendant cut Ma’am off. “We only have yellow. Will that work? I upgraded you to a convertible at no charge because we didn’t have the blue.”

“Perfect,” Abee said. She took the keys to a 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook Coupe. “Thank you. It’s perfect.”

Because Ma’am spoke to strangers only when she was forced to, Ma’am sniffed in the young man’s direction.

“Here’s everything you need,” the attendant said. “You know where you’re going?”

“I think so,” Abee said. “I looked it up online.”

“You said on the phone that you were heading out to the Glosip mansion,” the attendant said.

“That’s correct,” Abee said.

“It’s tricky to get to,” the attendant said. “I drew out the directions on the map.”

The attendant grinned at Abee as if he’d done them a big favor. He couldn’t know that Ma’am had never been lost in her entire life. But that was another story.

“It’s a lovely day,” the attendant said. “Would you like me to show you how to put the top down?”

Abee nodded while Ma’am shook her head.

“You take the other side,” the attendant said. Abee went to the other side of the vehicle. “Are you paranormal investigators?”

“I am,” Abee said. “This is my great-grandmother.”

Ma’am gave the young man a suspicious look.

“A lot of folks have rented cars here for the journey to the Glosip mansion,” the attendant said. “There’s something not right there. You know what I think . . .”

The case of: Something goes bump in the night, not otherwise explained, will continue next Friday...

For the next four weeks, I'll share a portion of the first story on Friday. If you get anxious and wish to read the entire chapter, you can do so at Wattpad. The book is available in eBook or paperback at Apple books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and anywhere you purchase books.

Abee Normal, Paranormal Investigations