Chapter Two

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It was still drizzling the next day, but he had to go home. He had some searching to do.


"I have to go home for a little while."


"Why?"


"That deed is in there somewhere. Chemicals are pricy and Cobblepot's not about to give me the Old Acquaintance Discount."


"Can I come?"


"Sure. You can help search."


They took an umbrella and a thermos filled with coffee and trudged across the overgrown no-man's-land to Keeney Manor.


It had fallen apart in his absence. The porch was almost completely rotted away and the roof had holes. The door had swollen shut in the humidity.


"We're locked out." She tugged on his arm. "Change of plans, let's go home."


"Scared?"


"No, but it's creepy and we're locked out anyway."


Locked out, indeed. What were guns for if not getting them inside?


Bang!


"There. Door's open."


Inside was no better. It was dusty and it smelled like something had died. Hell, something probably had-they'd had rats in that last year, and now, with no one setting traps, they'd probably taken over.


"Deed?"


"It has to be here somewhere. She probably hid it-she was paranoid in her old age-but it's here. It has to be."


She shrugged and pointed to an old oil painting of a man in a grey uniform. He had cold blue eyes and curly black hair and his right hand was missing a finger. Jonathan had always hated that picture. It always felt like it was watching him.


"Who's that?"


 "Elias Keeney. He built this place."


"I don't think I like him."


"Nobody liked him, according to Granny." The picture seemed to scowl. "His slave cursed him. Apparently Elias thought he was stealing from him, and lynched him. Before he died, the slave swore that anybody who set foot in his old bedroom would die a horrible death."


"And?"


"That's it."


"Some curse."


"That's what I thought. But Granny never let me go in the attic. She said there were black widows up there, but maybe there's an angry ghost." He scoffed and went into the parlour. It hadn't changed since the day Granny died-there was even an empty glass on the table by her Bible. "Superstitious old crone."

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