"Not bad at all."
Abbie grinned. She grinned a lot. "Just what you need after a trip to Witches Hill."
Fanshawe felt, first, the liquor's chill, then the delayed bloom of heat spread in his belly; it seemed quite similar to his "b.u.t.terflies" when he'd first seen Abbie behind the bar. "You know, tourist gimmick or not, it was pretty unnerving, standing in the middle of a place where executions occurred."
"Oh, they occurred, all right-wholesale. Thirteen in one day, and a over a hundred more for decades after that. In truth, there were far more folks executed for occult offenses than criminal offenses. Some claim to fame, huh? Did you see the graveyard?"
"No. I didn't know there was one."
"Well, there is, believe me, and it's ten times creepier. Half of it's unconsecrated ground; it's on the western end of the hill. Unconsecrated burial grounds are always located to the west or north of a town's church."
Fanshawe opened his small map on the bar. "I don't remember noticing it on this-"
"There," she said, pointing. Her fingertip touched next to a minuscule cross on the colorful map.
"No wonder I didn't see it, it's tiny," but then he looked up, his eyes following the line of her arm. It was an unconscious tactic for any "scoptophile" or voyeur: Abbie's blouse-as she leaned down slightly to address the map-had looped out between two b.u.t.tons. Fanshawe glimpsed part of a sizable breast sitting within a sheer bra. A ghost of a nipple could be seen through the light fabric.
Oh, G.o.d... "I'll check it out tomorrow," he recovered.
"And there aren't many regular tombstones, either," she went on. "Just splotches of this stuff called tabby mortar."
"Yeah. It's like low-grade cement. The convict's name would be written in this stuff by someone's finger-you've got to see it to know what I mean."
Fanshawe had trouble concentrating on her words, still too hijacked by her image, by her simple proximity. Whatever shampoo she used didn't help; the soft, fruity scent affected him aphrodisiacally. But when he recollected what she'd said, he wasn't sure if she spoke with genuine interest or- Is she just laying a bunch of tourist c.r.a.p on me? Same as the old lady? "I guess it's just more of the motif, that and the power of suggestion. But it was a good marketing ploy to name the hotel after"-he faltered, for the name drew a blank. "Jacob... What was his name?"
"Jacob Wraxall, one of the founding members of the town. He lived here with his daughter, Evanore-"
Fanshawe remembered with some unease the old portrait and Wraxall's thin, sinister face. The rendition of the daughter, however, struck him with an even more ominous impact. Evanore... Her fresh-blood-colored hair sent a b.u.t.terfly of a far less pleasant type to his belly. Fanshawe felt a momentary whooze...
He shook the image out of his head, then look
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