Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground by Barbara Wood

Book: Sacred Ground by Barbara Wood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Wood
Tags: Fiction, Historical
time that she had rejected him because he was twenty years older, but since then he had decided that Erica wasn’t going to let anyone inside her carefully guarded walls. He suspected it was because of her past. No one could say Erica Tyler had had an easy life.
    “I wonder why Jared’s wife doesn’t come to visit him,” Erica said now as she and Sam continued to stare at the dark RV.
    He gave her a startled look. “Jared’s wife? You mean you don’t know ?”
    * * *
    “Hi, son, your mother and I were just talking about you and wondering how you were doing.”
    Jared started for the answering machine, then stopped.
    As he dropped his briefcase and car keys on a table, he listened to his father’s voice come through the speaker: “We were reading about you in the newspaper… the work you’re doing there in Topanga. We’re very proud of you.” Pause. “Well, I know you’re busy. Give us a call. At least call your mother, she’d like to hear from you.”
    Jared hit the mute button and stared for a long time at the phone. I’m sorry, Dad, he wanted to say. All the words have been spoken. There aren’t any left.
    Turning on lights and fixing himself a drink, he picked up a fax he had just received from the Congressional Native American Caucus in Washington. But hard as he tried to focus on the words, he finally had to lay the letter aside. His father’s phone call had triggered the pain again, and the anger.
    He began pacing the length of his RV, from driver’s seat to bedroom, pounding his fist into his palm. He needed to go to the Club. He could feel the rage building up in him like lava inside a volcano. Only an hour at the Club, thrashing himself to his physical limits, could vent the power of his fury. But they were closed tonight for maintenance, leaving tigers and tigresses to prowl the streets of Los Angeles in search of outlets for their energies and frustrations. Like most members of the Club, Jared didn’t go there for physical fitness.
    As he looked around at the clutter inside this temporary home/office— the computer that never slept, the bank of phone lines that never stopped ringing, the fax that never stopped spewing out messages, and the papers, stacked, spread, lying everywhere as if a snowstorm had blown through dropping three inches of documents, briefs, memos, letters, deeds, writs— he realized that the motor home, despite its size, was too small to contain both himself and his anger. He grabbed a jacket and flung himself out into the brisk night.
    * * *
    At the edge of the mesa, on a promontory overlooking the ocean, stood a fabulous old Victorian gazebo left over from Sister Sarah’s Church of the Spirits. The builder of Emerald Hills Estates had had it restored and then landscaped the area to make a small communal park for the residents. Unfortunately, the hillside had been declared unsafe and there were warning signs to stay away, so the gazebo was never used. Which was why Erica loved it.
    Ever since she had first started coming here a few weeks ago, she felt a sense of peace in this spot. She wondered if it was because she was away from the camp and her work, beyond the energy and vibes of the enthusiastic volunteers and staff. Or was it simply the ambience of this delicate gazebo, a relic from a more peaceful past, symbol of a simpler age?
    She looked at the book in her hand. What had drawn Sister Sarah to this place? Had she sensed an inexplicable peace on this hilltop, or—
    Erica felt a chill as a new thought suddenly came to her: in those days the canyon wasn’t filled in, the cave was accessible. Did Sarah go inside and see the painting and decide that it was a sign that here was where she should build her church? Sarah claimed to have built her temple of spiritualism in this area because it was conducive to reaching the Other World. But what exactly did that mean? Had she chosen to build her church of the paranormal here because it was called Haunted Canyon? Was she

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