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Saint Louis, Missouri~~~~~

 Evan Whitman brushed the last strokes on the freshly painted yellow wall in her dining room. Standing back to admire her handiwork, she smiled and thought for her first attempt she'd done a good job. Gathering the brushes and rollers into the pan, she knew she would not be finished until her least favorite part of the task, clean up, was done.

Going into the kitchen of her traditional downtown Saint Louis brick row house, she carefully rinsed the brushes and rollers in the sink and then cleaned the porcelain sink basin, sure not to leave any traces of paint. While she wanted to renovate the house, she only wanted to restore it to its former beauty, not modernize it. She had fallen in love with the huge white enamel sink with its built in sideboard, and the gigantic white gas stove. The kitchen was small, but homey, and that was what mattered most to her. She wanted a home. She hadn't been in the old house for very long, but she was busy most of the time at work and did not have much time for domestic endeavors. She was taking advantage of a couple days off to try to get everything in order.

In the living room, she finished unpacking the last box, which contained the few knick-knacks she had kept since going out on her own. Carefully, she placed the tarnished silver frame with her only picture of her grandmother in it on the fireplace mantle. Lovingly, she dusted the glass and the crevices of the beaded frame. Next to it, she placed the blue carnival glass vase that her grandmother had cherished. Last, she pulled out a worn Family Bible that was the only record she had of her family.

She sat on her comfortable couch and pulled a lovely patchwork quilt over her lap, trying to stave off the inevitable chill in the drafty old house. Evan gently picked up the old Bible and opened it to the Family Records section and read the names written there in her grandmother's tiny script. The dates of her mother's birth and death were the last written in the fine hand. Evan had entered her grandmother's death date in her scrawling hand, which she hated.

She was inevitably drawn to the memories of her childhood with her grandmother. Her grandmother had been the only one left to care for her, unaware of the catalyst for Evan's mother's insanity. Evan felt responsible for the dissolution of her family when she was six. Her father had blamed her mother for the strange abilities his daughter exhibited. He left, screaming about having Satan's spawn for a child and vowing that he would never lay eyes on her again. Evan had learned he had died later that year in a drunk driving accident. He'd been the drunk driver.

Evan had loved her mother, but the special gift they shared had caused her mother to go slowly crazy, spending many days not bathing, not sleeping and not eating. She had become used to caring for her self, but then her mother's delusions led to beatings and severe punishments for imagined infractions. That was when Evan's grandmother had taken responsibility for her upbringing. While her grandmother did her best to give her everything she could, Evan never told her about her ability to feel energy in others. She did not want to cause the older woman any grief.

Evan closed the worn leather cover on the large Bible and rose to place it on the bookshelf next to the fireplace. Bending to the hearth, she gathered a stack of wood, placed it in the lovely fireplace and lit a match. After several attempts to start a fire, she had only succeeded in a meager flame and a mass of newspaper ash. Someday she hoped to learn how to start a fire that would help warm the chill from the place.

A/N: I have said before I am not a fan of the author's note in general. I will not continue to put them in every chapter, but I would like to thank you all for reading, comment and voting. I am thrilled by the number of reads this book has achieved, and I would love to ask those of you reading for the first time to please vote and comment as you go, in order to give this labor of love a great chance for success in the Watty's. Thanks in advance. You will never know how much your support means to me.

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