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by Ric Wasley
Description: Spring 1858, Nantucket Island. Just outside of the harbor, a ship is approaching. She is the Elizabeth James, a trading vessel, home to Jeptha Dawes after two years in the South Sea Islands. But the Elizabeth James will not be enjoying the welcoming lights of Nantucket Town this night, because the cargo carried by the Yankee clipper ship is not just silks and spices. It's something that the ship's dying captain has sworn must never be allowed to set foot in the town of his birth. It is a cargo of pure evil.... Summer 1968, Cape Cod. Mick and Bridget ride on a 650 cc BSA motorcycle as it roars them over the Bourne Bridge spanning the Cape Cod Canal. They don't care about everyday life. They're on vacation, heading for a well-deserved rest, far away from city cares and hassles. They've picked out a quiet little town halfway up the Cape Cod peninsula. There, they plan to relax in a quaint white clapboard inn, surrounded by beach plums and primroses, encircled by nothing but sand, sea, and each other. Peace, quiet, and safety. Or so they think. What they don't know is that they're riding smack dab into the middle of trouble.... And something that's been waiting...for 110 years.
eBook Publisher: Wild Child Publishing/Wild Child Publishing, 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: July 2009
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [560 KB]
Reading time: 334-467 min.
"History and mystery always make a great combination, and Ric Wasley's new book is proof. You'll gallop through the centuries with his smart sleuths, who lead you ever closer to the exciting solution. A fine read for a winter's night." William Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Back Bay and The Lost Constitution "This reader had to continually remember to stop reading for a second and take a breath... This is an amazing story... I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves adventure, mystery, suspense, and love... This story is a 5 star keeper!" 5 by Susiq2, Manic Readers "a web of intrigue that ensnared me to read The Scrimshaw in one sitting... A wonderful tale of suspense and intricate sub-plots that at times had me on the edge of my seat..." 5 Flutes by Nutty Nana, Cocktail Reviews "a terrific tale... The intricate plot never falters... I could hardly turn pages fast enough to find out what happens next... a must-read for any fans of suspense and the paranormal..." 5 Pixies by Katherine, Dark Angel Reviews
The Skaket Creek Inn
August 18th, 1968
Bridget picked up the oddly shaped pieces one by one and turned them over in her hands. She held one up to the filtered morning light streaming in through the small semicircular window set high up in the basement wall. She shook her head and blew a stray wisp of jet-black hair from her eyes. Finally she turned back to Kathy Dawes standing in the doorway, leaning against the heavy oak door. An old fashioned brass key dangling from a faded, red velvet ribbon hung from her right hand.
"All right." Bridget sighed. "I give up. What are they?"
Before Kathy could answer, Mick asked quietly, "Do you remember what you asked me the first time we walked into the pub upstairs?"
Bridget glanced up at the heavy beams overhead that supported the pub's wooden floor. Yes, she remembered, the night before last. Had it really been so short a time? Time enough for their lives to be horribly changed. She gave a tiny, involuntary shudder and said, "Yes, I think so."
She frowned and tried to recall the exact words. "We'd just come in, and I was looking over at the bar, and there was a sign above it and ... yes--the sign. I asked you what that word meant. Scrimshaw."
Mick nodded and pointed his right index finger to the yellowed, cream-colored object in Bridget's left hand. "There's your answer, babe," he said softly.
She stared at the object for a moment and then stepped back from one of a dozen heavy dark walnut cabinets that completely lined the cellar. She swept her gaze around the octagon-shaped room again. Cabinet after cabinet, and each one filled with dozens and dozens of the fantastically carved yellow, brown, and dusky-white ivory objects--a room directly under the bar, a locked room with but one small window. A room dedicated to and filled with hundreds of objects that gave the name to the pub above. Scrimshaw.
Bridget held the curved tooth of a long-dead sperm whale up to the dappled light let in by the basement room's single window and studied the thin black lines and the odd patterns that had been etched into the old ivory. She turned it over in her hands until she finally saw one recognizable shape in the intricate and vaguely disturbing patterns. A three-mast ship under full sail. It appeared to be running from a pursuing storm or a giant wave or a....
The room began to spin, and the yellowed piece of ivory fell from her fingers. She reached out to grab hold of the walnut display cabinet in front of her, but the shelf somehow jumped forward into her hand. She stumbled back, but the shelf seemed attached to her hand like some sort of ectoplasm taffy and kept moving towards her. She screamed, pushed desperately at the shelf, but the more frantic her movements became, the faster the scrimshaws slid towards her, tumbling down the shelf and striking her shoulders and chest. She felt a sharp pain and looked down in horror. One small, pointed scrimshaw had lodged in the center of her chest, sticking through the fabric of her sweater. She tried to brush it off but the more she pulled at it, the deeper it worked itself into her flesh, like a fishhook. Its point squirmed into her skin.
"No, no! Get it off of me. Mickey, help me, please!"
She took a frantic step backwards, but instead of finding solid pine planking beneath her feet, she stepped and stumbled over dozens of irregular objects that littered the floor--scrimshaws. Her ankle turned, and she began falling backward. She grabbed the central brace of the cabinet for support, steadied for an instant, and heard a creaking sound. She looked up. The entire massive six-foot high cabinet started to fall ... right on top of her. She gasped as in the same heartbeat she knew that with no solid footing and off balance as she was, there was nothing she could do to prevent the entire thing from crashing down and squashing her like a bug. Her throat paralyzed, she couldn't even scream.