Chapter 6: Out of the Shadows

As the vestiges of twilight faded slowly into darkness, Sierra stayed focused on doing an exterior inspection of Brooke Manor. She began speaking into a voice activated recorder to dictate her notes and recommendations to repair damages as she surveyed the estate.

“This is the recorded checklist for the exterior surface,” she said. “The cream-colored limestone on the second and third levels of Brooke Manor is smooth. The limestone on the first level cracked with mild to moderate erosion and heavy rust stains. A gentle poultice applied to remove the stains will restore it. The entire surface area will be re-polished and we will apply a water sealant to protect it from further damage  followed with a fresh coat of cream-colored paint.”

Because of the rain earlier that day, Sierra decided to walk around the estate to check the grounds for drainage efficiency. She noticed standing water in different areas behind the home.

She began dictating again.

“This is the checklist for drainage efficiency. The surface drainage is inadequate after moderate to heavy rainfall. We will flush the clogged Gargoyle shaped downspout, and upgrade the lot grading system so water can flow and drain properly away from the foundation and surrounding grounds.”

After she finished dictating her findings, she knelt to the ground and placed the voice activated recorder inside a brown leather satchel that she used as a backpack. When she stood up, she saw a male figure walking towards a thick hedge of trees two miles away.

Sierra called out, “Devlin, is that you?” The man kept walking without looking back.

“There’s still a sliver of light,” she said to herself, and she walked quickly hoping to join him.

“Devlin, where are you going?” she asked loudly.

Without answering her, he disappeared on a path beyond an opening in a hedge of trees. Moments later, Sierra followed him into the trees, but she did not see him anywhere.

“That’s odd, his footprints are not here in the mud from the rain,” she said while examining the ground for any sign of Devlin’s trail.

All at once, Sierra stopped in her tracks. She saw a set of white square granite steps that led up to a small white granite building. There was a tall statue of an angel on each side of a Gothic arched doorway with an iron gate locked with a chain. She looked around and saw several gravestones on both sides of the building.

“Oh my, I’ve stumbled into a private cemetery with a mausoleum,” she said as she studied the scene.

“None of this was in the blueprints or photographs I received from Devlin.”

Sierra walked up the steps to the mausoleum door. A hooting owl in a tree above her head startled her before she reached the chained iron gate. Darkness had set in and she was overcome with a feeling of anxiousness about losing sight of Devlin along with a feeling of claustrophobia from the surrounding trees. Quickly, she turned around to go back to Brooke Manor.

Devlin stood silently in the shadow of the doorway, behind the chained iron gate in the mausoleum, and watched her as she walked away.

That was strange, I know I saw him, Sierra thought as she hurried home under the moon lit sky.


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