Mel arranged the flowers in a vase filling it with water and placed it in the middle of the dinning room table. She was going through so many emotions she was not sure how to feel, happy, scared, or silly. She knew it was a huge step she and Janice were planning on taking with their friendship, but her heart told her it was right, but it was still a scary thought.

She needed to keep busy that was for sure and let Janice regain some of her composure. Grinning once again at the thought of her friend stumbling out of the kitchen once she had said yes, that left not doubt in her mind that she was right.

Tilting her head upwards, Mel looked at the ceiling wondering what Janice was feeling right now? Might as well explore the rest of the house she thought making her way into the living room, crossing the hallway and into the parlor.

The room was comfortable, and definitely had a woman's touch, too many flowery designs for a man, but Mel felt cozy here. A piano was in the corner, walking over she pressed a few keys listening to the musical tones.

She now wished she had paid attention to her piano lessons all those years ago. But they were with her Aunt Opal, and the woman would pick the time her father was on the porch with his friends telling stories. So in-between running away and sneaking onto the porch steps, or playing so badly that her aunt gave up, her lessons came to nothing.

Sighing at a lost chance, she strolled to the door in the back of the room, turned the knob and entered what she could only call the Captain's room.

All about her were the collections of a man that had spent a lifetime at sea. Paintings of ships filled the walls, from ancient roman galleys to whaling ships; so many that Mel wondered if the room's former master had painted them.

Walking around the room, Melinda had notions at times that she was in a museum. The vast number of scrimshaw teeth and bones astonished her; every nook and cranny was filled with the engraved art. Everything but the desk that is, situated away from the wall, with it's back to twin windows was a aged oak desk, with a oil lamp sitting in the corner, and much to her surprise and some relief, a telephone.

Picking up the earpiece, she held it to her head while clicking the cradle several times, waiting for the operator, and letting the woman know she was just testing the phone. Setting the earpiece back down into its cradle, she took another look around spying the almost hidden door.

Opening the door, she found herself at a back staircase leading upwards. And another door upon opening she found herself back in the kitchen, curious at this discovery, she stepped into the kitchen shutting the door, amazed that it formed almost perfectly into the wall.

"Well I'll be . . ." Mel muttered, "A hidden doorway." Feeling around the wall, she felt a slight bump about waist level near the icebox, pressing it the doorway popped opened, she could not wait to tell Janice about her find.

Mel spent the rest of the day searching through the house, finding a downstairs bathroom, and two more bedrooms upstairs, a sewing room, and another bathroom off the hallway. The only place she didn't go was the attic, and the basement, mostly because the light knob for the basement didn't work. And she was not about to use one of the lanterns in the pantry to explore the darkness.

Several times she wondered about what Janice was doing, but guessed the woman may be asleep, and she was not about to disturb her needed rest.

Noticing the lengthening shadows, Melinda knew what she wanted to do now, heading back to the kitchen she couldn't wait to try out the wood burning oven.


The dinner went much to Mel's surprise very quietly, Janice seemed preoccupied with something, and only managed to say that she liked the smoked favor of the pork chops. Even later when they sat down in the living room to listen to Baby Snooks on the radio Janice had said few words.

Janice knew she was not being fair to Mel, but she did not trust her senses. She wondered when Melinda told her about the rooms she explored, or about the secret door, if it was Mel or her own illusions that she was hearing.

With a worried look, Melinda stood and strolled over to Janice kneeling next to her, "I guess I'm going to bed . . .Hey, you feeling okay?"

Fastening a false smile on her face, Janice nodded, "Yes, just doing some thinking for once, you know how that makes smoke come out of my ears."

Returning the smile, Mel stood heading for the staircase, "You staying up for awhile?"

Standing, Janice pulled a cigar from her shirt pocket; thank god I've not forgotten them she thought, "Just going to have a smoke, night Mel . . . get your rest we have a big day planned tomorrow."

Pausing Mel stood under the archway nodding, "I'm looking forward to it, I'm going down to the beach in the morning did you bring any books with you?"

Lighting her cigar, Janice threw the match in the cold fireplace answering between clutched teeth holding her stogie in place, "Yea, there's a couple on top of my dresser."

"Night Janice." Mel said as she headed up the stairs.

"Night sweetheart," the woman replied as she watched her friend climb the stairs and disappear. Rolling the cigar between her fingers, Janice walked out of the living room and opened the front door stepping out onto the cool porch.

Janice was not sure how long she stood there; her mind was not focused on any one thing. She took in the cool night air, relaxed for the first time since she started to admit her feelings for Mel. Leaning against the door with her hands in her pockets, the only light came from a lamp in the living room. She had to confess this place was peaceful despite its appearance, the night air, smell of the ocean, sound of the wind with a touch of the waves breaking upon the rocks at the bottom of the hill.

While trying to catch the sound of the waves, did it finally register in her mind the creaking of the floorboards behind her; turning expecting to see Melinda, she was surprised to see no one. House settling, or her mind was starting to play tricks on her again she thought. Taking a last drag on her cigar, she walked into the house closing the front door before heading into the living room

Tossing the cigar into the fireplace, Janice turned off the lamp plunging the room into darkness. Blinking several times, Janice waited until her eyes adjusted to the black night before she slowly made her way to the staircase.

Once at the foot of the stairs, she heard the floorboard's creaking again, but it sounded more like someone walking rather than the house settling. Hesitating, the woman finally shook her head knowing she had to check, she had to be sure it was just her mind playing tricks.

Following the sounds of the creaking steps she stepped into the parlor and halted, straining her ears listening for any sound, until she heard a slight creak coming from the door leading to what Mel had called the captain's room over dinner.

Cracking the door open, Janice paused once again, until slowly she entered the room; right away she noticed the chill in the air, the room felt more like a cool winter's day than the summer night outside.

Moving about carefully, Janice could barely see, the windows for some reason were not letting in much moonlight. Groping around for a light switch, Janice heard the floorboards squeak; spinning around she saw a white mist forming in front of her.

Eyes widening, the woman stepped back looking at the haze, she could see it clearly despite the dark. The mist slowly took the shape of a man, crooked with age and a full beard covering his wind withered face. He was wearing a long overcoat, with some type of hazy cap upon his head.

Her breath coming in gasps, Janice closed her eyes tight, then opened them again, the mist was still in front of her, but the details of the man were now even clearer. A look of pain seemed to emulate from his eyes, yet he was unmoving.

"It's all in your mind Covington, it's all in your mind," She said repeatedly. Then leaped back as the figure's arm moved slowly, with disbelieving eyes, she watched the hand formed into a fist but for one finger, which pointed at the floor.

Switching her gaze from the ghostly hand back up to the misty face, she once again locked on to the specter's eyes, filled with it seemed a river of sadness.

Shutting her eyes once again, she yelled out, "YOU'RE NOT REAL!"

Opening her eyes once again the mist was gone; the room was brighter as the moonlight illuminated the room through the pair of windows. Janice could feel she was trembling, her first thoughts were it was because of the cold, then she realized the room was in fact quite warm.

Turning around the woman ran out of the room slamming the door behind her, running through the parlor, she bolted up the stairs heading for Melinda's room. She had just grabbed hold of the doorknob when her mind finally took control back from her emotions.

Pulling her hand away from the doorknob, Janice took several deep breaths, and ran her hands over her face. Noticing for the first time she was drenched in sweat, "Calm down Covington, you just imagined it that's all," she told herself.

Her mind checked over her body, trying to pacify the heavy breathing, her racing pulse. "Calm Janice, you can do it, no need to worry Mel about anything, you just need some rest." Taking one more deep breath, she opened the door to Mel's room.

Entering, she grew more relaxed once she saw the woman was in a peaceful slumber. A smile crossed her face while she watched Melinda, then feeling as if she was intruding now that she was sure Mel was safe, Janice tiptoed across the floor, heading to her room and she prayed sleep without nightmares.

Chapter Six

Janice opened her eyes; sunlight was streaming through the window. Sitting up she ran her hands over her hair trying to chase the sleep away. Thank god she didn't have any nightmares she thought as she got out of bed wearing only her boxer shorts while padding to Mel's room.

Melinda was already gone much to Janice's surprise, one of the few times Mel had actually woken before her. Walking into the bathroom to freshen up, she played over in her mind the appearance of the ghost.

She had been alone, when she unpacked she was alone, maybe her mind needed to be kept occupied. Looking at herself in the mirror while brushing her teeth, she decided no matter how much she hates the beach she was going down and join Melinda.

After she had finished, Janice walked back to her room pulling on a pair of British khaki shorts, picking up her bra she shrugged and tossed it aside only donning a men's white cotton tee-shirt, knowing Mel would be scandalized at her appearance.

Grinning, Janice knew Mel called her a nudist, she just replied that she was not ashamed of her body, besides they spend over ninety-nine percent of their lives with clothes on, she only wanted her body to breathe.

Disregarding shoes, Janice strolled over to the dresser looking for the book she'd been reading 'The Big Sleep,' no one could write a detective novel like Raymond Chandler could.

Then she remembered Mel asking to borrow one of her books, Janice looked around the dresser not sighting the other. Chuckling, the woman wondered if Mel really knew what the book she took was about?

Walking downstairs, Janice made a quick trip to the kitchen grabbing a glass of milk, on her way back out she noticed that the flowers on the dinning room table were already wilted. Figures you'll buy a bunch that was about dead already, she told herself as she walked out the front door.

Looking around from her vantage point on top of the hill she could not see the beach, but as she strolled toward the ocean, she did notice a dirt path. Once on the downwards sloping path Janice saw the beach area, a small area that was sandy thank gods, but the rest of the area was mostly rocks and gravel.

She could see Melinda below her; the woman was laying face down on a beach towel reading. Her bent legs swaying back and forth. Janice held still, admiring Mel in her swimsuit, it was daring for Melinda. A red one-piece that showed plenty of leg and a large floral-print hat, praying a silent thank you to Betty Grable for her pin-up picture that had millions of women wanting to imitate her, Janice thought Mel had Betty beat all to hell.

"Morning," Janice called out, causing Melinda to look up from her book with a blush, "Morning Janice," Mel replied then saw what her friend was wearing, "Janice! You're positively indecent, why don't you have a shirt on?"

Laughing, Janice walked over toward her friend pulling on the tee shirt, which exposed the tops of her breasts, "I thought I was wearing a shirt?"

Shaking her head, Mel closed the book watching her friend, "Janice what if someone comes by?"

"Mel," Janice said as she spread her arms wide, "Look around, the only ones on this beach is us, and it's a mile to the nearest building other than our house, who's going to come around?"

"Besides," Janice continued as she sat next to her friend, "Why would they look at me when they should be staring at your legs."

Looking over her shoulder at her legs, Melinda shrugged, "They're okay I guess."

"Okay! Mel, you're under rating yourself, you have great legs,"

Smiling softly, Mel picked up her book and opened it back up, Janice was always flirting with other women, but this was the first time she had flirted with her; and her mind was telling her that she loved it.

Remaining in place Janice spied Mel's suntan lotion; "Need some oil Mel?"

Melinda almost said no, since she had put some on about five minutes ago, but decided that she could use the extra protection, "As a matter of fact, I was just about to put on a fresh coat, do you mind? I don't want to get oil on the book."

Pouring a large amount of oil in the palm of her hand, Janice only grinned before she spread the lotion from Mel's thigh down to her foot enjoying the silky smooth texture, "What do you think of the book?" she asked while massaging the ointment over a perfect thigh.

Almost not hearing the question while lost in the sensation, Mel shook her head to clear it, while making a point of looking at the book, "I was surprised by it, I mean when I saw the title, I thought it was not your type of book."

Arching an eyebrow, the thigh beneath her hands momentarily forgotten, "Oh and why'd you think that?" Janice asked in a questioning manner.

"Well, 'The Well of Loneliness' didn't sound like one of your detective novels, more of a love story, I just never seen a book like this before," Melinda confessed.

Snorting, Janice shook her head before switching to Mel's other thigh, "I'm not surprised, the book was banned in the states for a few years, hell it's still banned in England."

Quickly realizing what she said, Janice froze gripping Mel's thigh, cutting off the woman's reply, "I know-I know, watch my mouth." Continuing when Melinda gave a short laugh, Janice massaged her friend's calf muscles, "Besides, would any southern bookstore sell that book?"

"Uhhhhhhh, Atlanta might," Mel acknowledged.

Moving her hands to Melinda's shoulders, Janice poured more lotion into her palms and worked the ointment into her skin, "Read some for me . . . please?"

Sighing in pleasure at the attention Janice was reaping upon her, Mel couldn't say no, picking out a passage, "**You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet you've not got your niche in creation.**"

"So what do you think?" Janice asked.

"It's different, first time I've heard it said that you could be born that way." Mel responded before continuing to read the book out loud.

The two women spent the rest of the day taking turns reading to each other, while the other rubbed sun tan lotion over the reader. Janice told Mel that she was a lifesaver by bringing a lunch with her in her tote bag. While Melinda turned a deep scarlet when Janice took off her tee shirt and sun bathed topless, flirting with Mel to spread the cream on the front side of her body, then apologizing when the woman became flustered.

Neither one of them wanted to leave the beach, more so Janice who admitted that spending a day at the beach was not that bad after all.

After getting back to the house, they both went to their rooms. Janice going to the hallway bathroom to clean up, while Melinda used the master bedroom.

Janice beat Mel downstairs, she was wearing her best gray slacks with suspenders and a black man's shirt with a tie loosely hanging from the collar; and of course her brown fedora. She was nervous, constantly checking the time though they had no reservations, also she had not seen anything all day, so why should she be nervous she wondered.

Plus she added she was finally going out on a date with Melinda! Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, now she knew why she was nervous.

Hearing a small cough, Janice opened her eyes looking at what she thought was an angel descending the staircase. Melinda was wearing a light blue jacket dress, with a satin trim bodice and cuffs with a wide darker blue belt. Janice admired the skirt, which ended right at the knees, showing off Mel's gorgeous stocking clad legs.

Adjusting her glasses, Melinda smiled to herself enjoying Janice's reaction; it made her feel quite warm inside. "You look very nice Janice, but one day I will get you into a dress!" Mel said in a teasing tone.

Shaking her head with a smirk, "Only way you'll get me into a dress is to hold a gun to my head," Leaning closer Janice sniffed the air around Melinda, "You smell good, not like you normally smell."

Seeing Mel's raised eyebrows, Janice immediately stepped back stammering, "I mean not that you normally smell bad! I mean that you smell different, not that I smell you a lot, just that . . . Uh, I like your perfume THAT'S what I mean!"

With her lips forming a smile that radiated from her sky blue eyes, Mel leaned forward kissing Janice on the cheek and took her hand, "It's alright Janice, I understand. It's something that I got in Charleston, shall we wait outside for the taxi?"

Wiggling out of Mel's clasp, the small woman linked her arm around her date's arm, escorting her outside onto the porch and she hoped, an enjoyable evening.


** Text from 'The Well of Loneliness' by Radclyffe Hall. @1928

Chapter Seven

The ride into Mystic was quiet; Janice was mentally kicking herself. Unable to think of anything to say she just made comments about the weather. "Come on Covington," her mind had chided her, "this is Mel! You can talk all day with her, but go on a date and you clam up."

Once in Mystic, they started to stroll down the street hand in hand, but Janice feeling that Melinda was feeling slightly uncomfortable with some of the looks they received, shoved her hands into her pockets. She was used to the stares, you can't wear men's clothing and not expect to be stared at she found out early in life. But Mel was new to this, don't want to spook her too bad her mind said.

Since it was still early, and at Janice's insistence they took in the movie playing at the Echo. As she told Mel, one does not pass up a movie with Humphrey Bogart, and 'Casablanca' is one of his best.

Sitting in the darkened theater, Janice reached out once again taking Melinda's hand in a firm grasp, her heart skipping a beat when she felt Mel squeeze back. Through the newsreels, and the previews, neither woman said a word, just took comfort in the touch they were sharing. Though Melinda whispered that she wanted to come back in a couple days after the preview for 'Song of Bernadette' finished.

Throughout the movie, the two women were conscious of each movement, every cough the other made, every brush back of the hair. Janice almost jumped out of her skin when a soft caress breezed across the back of her neck, only to discover it was someone taking a seat behind her.

Once the film finished, they made their way through the early evening crowds, stopping at several restaurants before deciding on eating at the 'Captain's Locker.'

Seated at a table with a view of the fishing boats, they each ordered fish since meat was so hard to get due to the war, and settled down with their drinks. Scotch on the rocks for Janice and Mel her wine, sipping slowly while looking out the window.

"Janice." Melinda spoke up unable to bear the silence. "Mind if I ask you a personal question?"

Pausing ever so slightly as she sipped her scotch, Mel's short companion shrugged her shoulders, "With all that we've been through together Mel, you can ask me anything."

"Well," Melinda started off then hesitated before plucking up the courage to go on, "It's really two questions, why do you wear only men's clothes, and have there been any men in your life?"

Sitting back as their dinner arrived, Janice waited until the waiter left them alone once again, "Well as for the clothes, since I was able to walk my dad had me wearing boy's clothes, only thing for a kid going from dig to dig. And I guess you can say I'm so addicted to men's clothes, I just don't want to wear what other's call normal.

Seeing Mel nod at her explanation, then take a bite of her swordfish, Janice hastily added, "Not that I don't mind seeing women wearing them, I think you look beautiful in them, but dresses are not for me."

"Thank you," Melinda said, inwardly feeling delighted that Janice thought her beautiful, "And men?"

Cutting into her fish, Janice thought how to word her reply, "I just don't feel no attraction for men, I did it once with a guy and . . . and I didn't care for it."

Looking down at her plate, Janice tilted her head turning her gaze back to Mel, "And you?"

Now seeing it was her turn, Melinda took a quick bite, thinking about her own answer while chewing, "There was one, his name was David Horn, he was a friend of my daddy. While arranging a trip for him in London, David was killed by what they call Friendly fire. A anti-aircraft shell didn't burst until it fell to the ground during a air raid."

"I'm sorry," Janice replied setting her fork down. Great Covington, her mind scolded her, always nice to bring up the death of someone close during dinner.

Noticing the change of mood in her friend, Mel thought she better try to lighten things, "It's okay Janice, it was his time, and I found out that happens more often than I would've imagined."

"What did your father think of you and . . . huh . . . your friends?" Melinda got around to saying after she attacked her vegetables.

Laughing, Janice thought back to the time when her father found out, "I was nineteen, on my summer vacation from school when I joined my dad on a dig in South Africa. I thought he had gone into town and I was uh, enjoying the afternoon with one of the girls from a nearby village, when guess who walks in?"

Chuckling at Mel's blush Janice wiped her mouth with her napkin, "Right it was dad, he saw the two of us, and turned right around without losing a step. I still remember the look on his face."

Wide eyed, Melinda shook her head in shock trying to think how her father would've reacted, "That's it, he didn't say anything more?"

"No," Janice said as she felt her father's loss once again, "That night he told me to be more careful, if the South African police knew I was taking natives to bed they would kick us out of the country."

"She was a Negro you mean?" Mel stated simply.

Taking a gulp of her Scotch, Janice been wondering about the subject, though Mel never said anything about her affair with the brown skin Kehlia when they were in Casablanca, she wondered about the southerner. "Yes, any problems with that?"

Melinda's smile turned into a tight frown, feeling the heat raising to her cheeks, "Janice, from the time I was born, I was taught that everyone is a human being, and that it does not matter what the color of their skin is." Holding her hand up to stop Janice's protest, Mel went on, "I know how things are in the south, and I hate it. But I also hate that people think since I'm from the south, that I'm a automatic card carrying member of the Klan."

"I'm sorry," Janice said as she stared into her drink, "I should know better than put you into a stereotype, when everything you've said and done shows you're a woman with a mind of your own."

Watching Janice, Melinda felt her annoyance dissipating at the sight of the woman's remorse, "It's all right Janice, We're not perfect and I do understand that sometimes stereotypes fill our minds over facts, but at least you came out and asked."

Finishing her drink Janice felt a weight coming off her shoulders, "How was the whitefish?"

Taking the last bite, the southerner ate it with a contented look on her face, "Very good, you know I'm going to have to take you to Charleston for some catfish, that is really a bit of heaven on earth."

Dropping her napkin on her plate, Janice asked Melinda if she was ready to go and finish the rest of the evening. Suspicious at what the woman was planning, Mel nodded and followed Janice out the door, after the woman paid for the dinner, and left a tip that the waiter would not forget.

Melinda was again surprised when once out of the restaurant Janice signaled for a cab to take them back home. Even when Mel asked Janice what she was up to the woman kept silent except for a smirk, which caused Mel to be a bit more nervous.

Her suspicions increased when Janice had the driver stop at the end of the drive to the mansion for them to get out, "Janice Covington, what are you planning," Mel asked following the woman out of the taxi.

Taking Melinda's hand, Janice lead her down the path to the beach stopping at the bottom of the hill to take off her shoes and roll up her pant legs, while Mel followed her example by removing her high heels.

Holding hands the pair ran into the surf, letting the cool water play around their feet until Janice grabbed Melinda in a tight embrace spinning her around. "Okay Mel," Janice started by saying, "Flowers, dinner, and I believe you said dancing?"

Smiling, Melinda looked around at the moonlit shores taking Janice's hand in hers, as the small woman took the lead. "What about music?"

Blushing, Janice looked down at the sand then back up to Mel, "Okay, this is the only song I know all the words for." Moving Melinda gently across the lapping waves, Janice knew what heaven could be like, as her soft voice carried over the water.

**What'll I do, when you are far away, and I am blue what'll I do,

What'll I do, when I'm wondering who is kissing you, what'll I do,

What'll I do, with just a photograph to tell my trouble to,

When I'm alone with only dreams of you, that won't come true,

What'll I do?**

As if in a dream the couple moved around the shore until they came to a stop holding each other, Janice her head on Mel's breast could hear the calm steady beat of her heart.

"You still owe me a poem," Mel said quietly, "But I think I'll let you off the hook."

Gazing at Melinda's face in the soft light of the moon, Janice shook her head, "No, you said poetry and you'll get poetry . . . at least it'll be the best I can do."

Moving her hands, Janice reached up to caress Mel's face with her fingertips, delighted at the closed eye response it received, "Here goes, Roses are red."

"Janice!" Melinda said with a mischievous tone, her eyes opened and looking at the woman in her arms.

"Hey," the woman protested, "Listen to the whole thing first." Clearing her throat, Janice started again.

"Roses are red,"

"Your eyes are magic blue,"

"I thank god,"

"For the day I met you."

"Well?" Janice asked while searching Mel's face for her reaction.

Embracing the small woman tightly, Melinda felt her eyes brimming with tears, when she could talk, it was in a choked voice, "I think it's silly, and one of the most beautiful poem's I've ever heard . . . thank you."

Tilting her head down, Mel found herself staring into a pair of green eyes; she was not sure how long they gazed at each other. Then finally Janice moved, softy touching her lips to Mel's, before drawing back with raised eyebrows, "Well?" the woman asked.

Melinda didn't want to upset her friend, but . . . "I guess I expected more."

Surprised at the admission, Janice hesitated, then pulled Mel's head lower, meeting her mouth in a more forceful kiss, her tongue darting forward to snake it's way into the southerner's mouth as the taller woman's arms tightened her embrace.

Twisting her head, Janice kept her lips firmly planted against Melinda's lips. Her tongue exploring the woman's mouth until she suddenly broke the kiss, and looked at the southerner, "And now?"

"Oh my!" Mel cried out, feeling a tingling from the top of her head, to the tips of her toes, and a strange new warmth around her sex that felt very good.

The smile that started to form on Janice's face was wiped away by the sound of a explosion ripping across the ocean. As they turned their heads seaward, they saw the end of a bright fireball raising in the sky, until only a pillar of flames was left.

"What the hell was that?" a shocked Janice called out, as Melinda watched the dying flames, "I don't know," she replied taking a few steps into the water, then pointed toward the fire, "Janice, see it! A light flashing, maybe someone is sending a SOS?"

Dropping Mel's hand, the small woman turned heading for the path back up to the house, "I'll call the police and let them kno . . ." Her words were cut off as she stared at the house then rubbed her eyes before looking back at the mansion.

"Janice?" Melinda said quietly, "Janice are you alright?"

Coming out of her stupor, the small blond nodded and ran for the house, "I'm calling the police." As she raced up the hill, Janice kept telling herself that she was seeing things again, that she didn't see a light flashing from the attic window.


**Text from, 'What'll I do' @1927

Chapter Eight

Melinda rushed into the house calling out her friend's name, then followed the answering bellow to the captain's room just as Janice hung up the telephone, "Well?"

Walking to the window, the small woman gazed at the fire, now just a small spot on the horizon, "Well, they're receiving calls from all over the area, we're not the only one's that saw it."

Joining her friend by the window, Melinda placed her hand on Janice's shoulder, leaning over to follow her gaze at the dim fire, "What do you think, a ship?"

Letting out a breath, Janice nodded, "Yes, but I don't think we'll hear anything more tonight." Turning around, the blond softy kissed Melinda on the lips and smiled, "Guess our evening ended with more of a bang that I thought it would."

Grinning, Melinda blushed looking at the floor, then kissed Janice on the forehead, "I'm going to bed I guess, thank you for a wonderful night Janice." Reaching out Mel took her friend's hand, using her thumb to caress the back of the blonde woman's wrist, "I hope this is not our last date?"

Feeling a tingling run through her body, Janice could not help but grin widely, "How about I join you on the beach tomorrow after I pick up my Indian?"

Mel's face turned serious as she gripped Janice's hand, "Remember your promise, no stunts and no faster than fifty, okay?"

Once again Janice stood on her toe's flicking her tongue across Mel's lips, before kissing her deeply. The kiss lasted a full minute until Melinda broke off and backed-up, a crimson flush coloring her cheeks.

"Goodnight Janice," Mel managed to stammer out, the warmth that she felt between her thighs down on the beach was back, but now there was a nice aching accompanying the feeling.

Strolling over to the rear door, Janice went through the double doors entering the kitchen and poured herself a glass of milk. Things had gone better during the evening than she could have ever imagined; Mel had been responsive to her. Hell Janice thought with a grin, she even kissed her back.

Putting the glass in the sink, Janice walked to the icebox and punched the hidden door switch, heading up the back staircase. Marching down the corridor the woman considered using the bath in the master bedroom, but dismissed it, she wanted Melinda to have some breathing room tonight.

Opening her bedroom door Janice was thinking that life could not get better when she heard the creak from the ceiling. Looking up, the woman stared at the ceiling listening as the creaking moved, Covington, her mind said, it's not real don't pay any attention to it.

Then the creaking shifted; moving along with the sound over her head, Janice walked back down the corridor. Are you sure Covington? Her mind was saying, are you sure that it's not real? Or do you really want to take a chance on Mel's safety.

Knowing the answer to her own question, Janice followed the creaking as it moved around the ceiling. Nearing the back staircase the woman started to shiver, it was getting cold her body was telling her, cold just like the night before.

All of a sudden a bright light flared in front of her, bringing her hands up to shield her eyes, Janice took a couple steps back before the darkness returned.

Lowing her hands, Janice felt her body shaking, in front of her was the swirling mist in the form of the sea captain she encountered the previous night.

"You're not real," the woman spoke to the mist, which showed no reaction. Stepping forward, Janice's face took on a harsh look, she was getting angry with herself for fearing a figment of her imagination.

"You're not real," she repeated while stretching a hand out towards the apparition until she touched the wispy mist then jerked back her hand with a cry of pain.

Bending over, Janice clutched her hand as a sob escaped pasted her lips. Her fingers were paralyzed, trying as much as she could, the fingers on her right hand would not move. It felt like a thousand needles were pricking them as she backed away from the specter.

Shaking her hand in an attempt to get the feeling back into it, Janice looked to make sure the ghost was not advancing upon her, and was astonished that the specter had vanished.

Stepping forward hesitantly, the small woman would've thought she had imagined the entire thing if not for her paralyzed fingers. As if proving it to herself, she was once again baffled to see her fingers wiggling back and forth with no feeling of the pain she had felt just a minute earlier.

Backing up, Janice's head swiveled around looking for any evidence of what just happened; spinning around the woman ran to her bedroom slamming the door behind her.

At the sound of Janice's slamming door finished echoing through the corridor, the door by the rear staircase leading to the attic slowly opened with an unearthly silence, before a dark figure emerged and crepe it's way downstairs.


Janice woke up before dawn; not that she had much sleep, she wondered if she was going insane, or if there was such a thing as ghosts? She met a god that was supposed to have never existed by the name of Ares, then she met Callisto, a woman that had been alive for three thousand years, so she thought why can't there be such a thing as ghosts?

Climbing out of the bed Janice started to dress, she needed to go to a few places today, and picking up her Indian would make things easier. Donning pants, shirt, and motorcycle boots, she topped it off with her leather jacket before grabbing her brown fedora.

After checking on Melinda to make sure she was all right, the small woman raced down the stairs hurrying to the captain's room, she knew she'd find the paper she needed. Not worried too much about Mel since it was now light she scribbled her note on the stationary before reading it over.

Dear Mel,

I'm going to Groton to pick up the Indian and then make a stop at the docks in Mystic; I want to find out more about the owner of the house and why people say this place is haunted. I'll explain when I get back, and tell you what I find out, please go down to the beach and wait there until I return, either something is wrong here, or I'm going crazy. I'm so sorry to leave a letter like this, but the courage that it took to give you those flowers has left me; please understand that I trust and love you, bu Love Forever


Gods, Covington, she said to herself, sounds like you're going to kill yourself. But glancing at her black and blue fingers, Janice knew she had not imagined last night.

Pausing to call for a cab, Janice stood with the note walking across the room, through the back door into the kitchen. Now Covington she thought, where to put it?

Glancing around the kitchen, her eyes settled on the icebox, moving closer she opened the door, and shut it with her letter trapped between the door and the frame knowing Mel could not miss it there.

Leaving the kitchen Janice headed out the front door to wait for her cab to the train station.

After the front door closed, the door to the basement in the kitchen opened and a dark figure silently slithered out heading for the icebox grabbing the letter. Reading it over several times, the figure grabbed some food out of the cool refrigerator then punched the button opening the door to the captain's room, heading for the telephone.


The train ride to New London only lasted twenty minutes, but to Janice it seemed like an eternity. The number of sailors was almost overwhelming; it seemed like the entire United States was heading for the Submarine Base.

More than once she discouraged a sailor from trying to pick her up; Jesus her mind was telling her, be a woman and alone, and the whole world thinks you're available.

Walking out of the terminal once the train reached New London, the woman was thankful that the base had buses waiting for each train coming in. Grabbing another taxi, she took it across the river to the gas station that offered her the Indian.

Her first sight of the motorcycle had her falling in love, from the instrument panel set in wood grain, to the colorful Indian chief's headdress etched on the gas tank, she loved it!

Not even trying to bargain she paid the two hundred dollars, and kicked started the bike, her mind was overjoyed, a 1939 Indian Four was hers!

With a final wave to the former owner, Janice kicked up a cloud of dust as the motorcycle roared off from the filling station heading back to Mystic.


Melinda entered the kitchen and opened the icebox, she had intended to have some leftovers for breakfast, but found the ham already gone. Must be Janice, she thought, the disadvantages of have a wood burning stove, her mind continued as she threw wood into the holding pan.

Turning to walk into the pantry, Melinda noticed the basement door swing open, "Janice?" she called out, "Janice are you still here?" Moving to the basement door, Mel opened it wider while flipping the light switch. Sighing when the light didn't come on she took a step down staring into the darkness, "Janice?"

Flicking the light switch a couple more times, Melinda walked back into the kitchen and shut the door, guessing that the door had just not been closed all the way.

Down in the basement a figure stepped away from the furnace looking up at the light sneaking from under the door. Tonight the figure was thinking, it'd be over tonight. Her friend will be taken care of at the docks, later tonight it will be her turn; then he'd have the house all to himself again.

Chapter Nine

Roaring down the road, her long wind swept hair flying behind her, Janice felt alive. The power of the motorcycle between her legs, and the sense of freedom was almost overloading her senses.

Feeling that nothing could overcome this sensation, the woman opened the throttle a bit more, increasing her speed. Then the back of her mind reminded her of a promise, with a quick look at the speedometer the blond woman eased back on the gas. She knew she was wrong as much as she loved the feeling of sailing down the road; there was a kiss last night, several kisses in fact that told her there was a sensation more deep, and caring that she could never get from this metal machine.

The trip back to Mystic didn't take long, and she admitted to herself that she was happy that she was going to the docks. Even Melinda would be able to guess how fast she drove the bike if she got home too soon. Downshifting the motorcycle upon coming to the dock area, she was not really sure where to go, it was just past noontime and all she had was a taxi driver telling her to check out the docks for more information on Henry Wurz.

Pulling into a parking space she turned off the Indian's ignition and waiting for the vibrations to settle in her body. Her mind turned to some immoral thoughts about what she and Mel could do on the bike, and was startled at the idea. It was not the first time she ever fantasized about making love to her Mel, but it was the first time she ever thought it could happen.

Getting off the bike with a wicked grin, she reached inside her leather jacket pulling out her fedora and placing it on her head as she stepped on the wooden boardwalk.

Walking down the docks, her ears listened to her footsteps, as they pounded along the weather-dried boards, glancing from tavern to tavern until she would feel in her gut which one to go into. Preoccupied with her search, she failed to noticed two men hop out of a sedan and follow at a discreet distance.


Continued - Part 3