A voodoo shop a zombie a.., p.1
A Voodoo Shop, a Zombie, and a Party, page 1
A Voodoo Shop, a Zombie, and a Party
A Deanna Oscar Paranormal Mystery
By CC Dragon
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A Voodoo Shop, a Zombie, and a Party (A Deanna Oscar Paranormal Mystery)
Copyright © March 2017
By CC Dragon
Cover art by Coverkicks.com
Edited by Mary Yakovets
Proofed by: Jessica Bimberg
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Table of Contents
A Personal Note from Ivy
About the Author
Someone's cursed Deanna Oscar. Bad things keep happening: a spider bite, a stripper, a doc who looks like Death...and more.
An awesome Super Bowl party is ruined when someone takes a shot at her in her own club. Her powers go on the fritz. A creepy demon—or maybe a zombie—seems to be stalking her. Three young girls go missing and De can’t find them.
She needs to find the source of the curse and ditch the zombie—or is it a demon? But first—those three girls...
Join Deanna Oscar for her latest high-stakes New Orleans adventure!
For anyone who thinks they need to be strong all the time...everyone needs help sometimes!
You wouldn’t think of the Super Bowl as a big deal at a drag club, but between the hot men in tight pants slamming into each other and the high-priced commercials on big screen TVs, The Long and Big Easy was packed. The jokes about balls and hiking the ball were getting old, but I doubted they’d slow down as people drank more.
The wait staff was dressed like cheerleaders. Most of the big TVs were on the game, but a few were switched to the Puppy Bowl or Kitten Bowl. One table actually flipped to the Harry Potter marathon. I didn’t even ask. As long as they were paying customers, I didn’t care, but Ivy was all out in her Super Bowl event mode.
Steve, Greg, and I were at a round booth in the back with our own personal TV. I split the screen between the human and kitten games with Tish pawing at the screen from my lap. She’d grown quickly, and I had to keep a little harness on her because she’d dart to Ivy or Greg in an instant. There were too many people to have her roaming. Ivy carried her little white dog, Pearl, like a miniature accessory, and Tish, my little black cat, could climb Ivy like a tree. She’d already shown Pearl whose claws were sharper.
I grabbed another chip from the basket of cheese-covered nachos and dodged Tish’s attempt to lick it before I ate it. I did let her lick my cheesy fingers after. The truth was I’d turned out to be a cat person. Tish was smart and independent. She’d be climbing all over everyone in the room if I let her loose. Sure, she enjoyed scratches and treats, even some cuddling, but she wasn’t nearly as needy as Pearl.
“That cat is going to drink your frozen margarita,” Steve said with a smirk.
I moved Tish to her little bowl of water on the table then picked up my drink and sipped it. The cat wasn’t buying it and pounced on my arm. Before I knew it, I had her paws on my face.
“It’s the umbrella.” Greg plucked it from my glass and put it in the cat’s bowl. The black rescue cat jumped back to the table and was on the new toy. Tish batted at the flipping and spinning little decoration.
“Oh, halftime show!” Steve got excited.
“The halftime shows always suck. Put on the Puppy Bowl,” I said.
“They replay the Puppy Bowl all night. This is live,” Steve argued.
It was nice to have a guy around, sometimes. The more he was around, the more I realized the sometimes was when I was working on a case and needed an extra set of hands. Steve didn’t really fit into my group naturally. Ivy didn’t mind him, but he and Greg butted heads. Steve was a bit younger than me, a typical guy-next-door. Good-looking but always in jeans and a baseball hat.
“It’s her bar,” Greg said.
More proof Greg was smarter than Steve... Greg took my side whenever Steve wanted something else. But I couldn’t be a dictator. That was a relationship. I was used to having my own way, but I didn’t want to be alone forever. I’d inherited a mansion and a fortune, but I wasn’t going to end up some crazy old woman in a huge house.
“Want anything from the bar?” I asked as I got up.
“What do you want? I’ll get it,” Steve offered.
“No, you watch the halftime show.” I handed Tish to Greg. “Want anything?”
“We should probably hydrate,” he said.
“Waters, it is.” I nodded.
I made my way to the long glass bar with shirtless men working behind it. They weren’t dressed in drag but in tight jeans or leather pants. The cheerleaders were assembling on stage so they could perform as soon as the live show was over.
“Teddy. Three bottles of water and a big bowl of spicy snack mix,” I said to the bartender.
“You got it. Another drink?” he asked.
“No, I’m good.” I cracked open a bottle of water as soon as he set one down. Everything I’d eaten was salty, from wings to chips. “I need something sweet.”
“Ivy has a cake for fourth quarter,” Teddy said with a wink.
“Of course.” I recapped my water and tucked the other two under my arm. I grabbed the big bowl of snack mix and turned.
Then, I froze. I sensed something before I heard it. A vision of gunfire through the massive front window filled my mind. Tires screeching could be heard from all the way out on the street.
“Get down!” I shouted. I hit the floor.
A gunshot rang out, and people gasped. Customers scrambled as glass broke. The cheerleader drag queens shrieked and dropped their trays. One wobbled on her platform heels and fell—flashing plenty of patrons. She really needed to wear Spanx!
Everyone was crawling under tables. Snack mix spilled all over. Glasses shattered when they crashed to the floor, causing more shouting that it was another shot. I braced for whatever came next. Would someone enter and demand money? What was this?
People were hugging the floor and the chatter was gone. Muffled cries and frantic prayers could be heard, but the only loud noise was from the
“Anyone hurt?” I asked.
All the reports were negative, but a lot of people flopped into their chairs and shook their heads in shock. The few drinks still left unspilled were downed quickly. I poured myself a shot of tequila and took it, then grabbed a lime slice and sucked on it.
“Maybe it was a car backfiring?” Ivy suggested.
“Sorry but no, boss. We got some damage.” Teddy pointed to the mirror behind the bar. A bullet had cracked the glass.
“It came through the front window,” Greg said.
I took the situation in slowly. The bullet would’ve sailed just above my head where I had been standing in front of the bar just moments ago. “I’ll call Matt.”
“It’s probably a random thing. Misfire. Celebration.” Ivy was trying so hard to sugarcoat the situation and keep on smiling in her silver and gold cheer uniform.
“The game isn’t over. No one is celebrating, yet,” Steve said.
“This is the French Quarter. They need to police it better if it was a random shooting,” I said.
I’d been shot at before, faced snakes and murderers—but when I reached for my phone, my hand was still shaking. We needed the police one way or another. It was best I made the phone call. Matt Weathers, a bigwig detective, was working tonight. He picked up the phone for me when I dialed.
“Hey, De, what’s going on?” he asked.
“Someone shot at my club,” I said.
“At your place? Did you see them?” he asked.
“No, but it was pretty damn close. And it was only one shot. If they were just vandals, they’d shoot more, you’d think. I don’t know. But we have a bullet, so it wasn’t a car backfiring,” I said.
“I’ll be over with a squad. Don’t touch the bullet or any evidence,” he said.
Half an hour later, my patrons were annoyed about being questioned during the game. Some had left, but many weren’t spooked by it. Some swore it was just a commercial and didn’t want to see the bullet hole.
“Tough crowd,” I said.
“New Orleans has its share of violence and gangs. We watch the French Quarter more, but there are parties all over the city. It’s not quite Mardi Gras yet. Chicago girl, your city is worse than ours,” Matt said.
I smiled. “I know. But there, like New Orleans, I know where to go and where not to. This is supposed to be a safe area. Touristy. The biggest thing I should worry about is pickpockets. One bullet isn’t gangs. They’d shoot the place to hell and back. Someone is sending a message.”
“One bullet. Is that random or well-placed?” Greg frowned at the broken mirror.
“Probably a kid got his dad’s gun and was showing off to friends. Getting drunk in the French Quarter. This is the night everyone is in somewhere watching the game. Eyes are glued to the big screens. Teens sometimes run a bit wild and do stupid stuff because the adults are all distracted. The kids have already watched all the commercials on the Internet. and they watch the games on their phone or tablet. They don’t care about a big screen.” Matt sighed. His family owned the mansion across the street from mine. His brother was a judge, and another brother was a lawyer. He knew this city deep down, from gangs and kids to the rich and powerful.
“You’re probably right. If someone wanted to shoot me, they’d have hit me. None of us saw it coming. We hit the ground when we heard tires. Then it was the shot and glass breaking. It just felt too close.” I rubbed my forehead.
“You need another drink.” Ivy poured me a shot. “Drink.”
“No, I’m fine.” I looked down at the scattered snack mix. The bottles of water had skidded who knows where. The staff were cleaning up spills all over.
“We’ll document everything, I’ve got squads circling the block and moving out farther to see. Odds are the kids scared themselves and ran off. I’ll write up a report for your insurance. I’d duct tape the glass and buy a new mirror.” Matt shrugged.
I nodded and downed the shot. “I hope that’s all it is.” I knew it wasn’t. Being psychic had disadvantages. I couldn’t explain my instincts or feelings. There was no proof. But someone meant to shoot into my club. Did they want to kill me or someone else? Was it some other warning? I wasn’t sure yet, but I had to take the message seriously.
Greg put Tish on my shoulder. The purring cat helped me relax a bit.
“It’s nothing,” Steve said.
Greg was an ex-priest who’d worked with my grandmother. He looked the part in dress slacks and a dress shirt now with rolled up sleeves. He was older than me and had that distinguished something about him you couldn’t pin down. The best thing about him was that he didn’t make assumptions. He looked at me. “Was it?”
I shook my head. Like it or not, I had to trust my annoying but accurate psychic powers. “It was intentional.”
I had plans for investigation the next day but sometimes, even I couldn’t predict what would happen. I woke to Mary Lou Weathers, my friend from across the street who happened to be Matt’s sister-in-law, dragging me out of bed with Ivy at her side.
Ivy lived with me. She and Greg, her cousin, had moved in when I moved up to Chicago to look after my brother. What I had hoped was a short visit had ended up being years, and at least my house was occupied. When you have house ghosts roaming, bad ghosts locked up in the attic, and a possessed object under the stairs—you couldn’t just leave a house standing empty.
The big mansion felt better with Ivy and Greg in it so I’d asked them to stay. I wasn’t born into rich high society so all that space to myself was eerie. Mary Lou, however, loved the riches, and if I ever needed a lesson in how to spend my money, she’d happily volunteer.
“Spa day,” Mary Lou insisted.
“No, I have to find out about the shooting. I’m not feeling great, either,” I said.
“More reason to pamper yourself. You need a fresh set of nails, and your eyebrows need a little wax,” Ivy said.
“And a hair trim. I see split ends,” Mary Lou sighed. “You get too wrapped up in work and you don’t take care of yourself.”
“Not everyone is a beauty pageant queen,” I said.
Mary Lou had been Miss Louisiana back in her day. I could pull myself together for a wedding or other formal event, but my job was not about looks.
“When you look better, you feel better,” Ivy said.
“Even if you have a boyfriend, you have to keep him interested,” Mary Lou added.
I rolled my eyes. If Steve didn’t like the way I looked, he could get lost. I kept myself up well, but I didn’t have three hours a day to primp and pluck.
“Come on. Mani/pedis and a little trim.” Ivy nodded.
“Fine. I could use a day off, I guess,” I said.
I hadn’t been working all that much, but with the shooting, I’d be breathing down Matt’s neck. He probably sent Mary Lou over to distract me so he had a day to find out who did it.
Still, an hour later I was at a spa. The day started with pedicures.
“So, do you think Steve is the one?” Mary Lou asked.
“I don’t know. It’s not that serious,” I said.
“You’re never serious about guys,” Ivy said.
“The Ghost Tamer thing was all your fault, Ivy. I never wanted to be on a TV show or work with another team. So, it’s all on you. He’s not a bad guy. I really needed a date for the wedding, and he was there. But we’re both busy, and I’m not working with that group again. I don’t want my stuff all over TV,” I said.
“Nothing wrong with privacy. You’re the real deal. Their show is a bit cheesy,” Mary Lou admitted.
“It’s very popular. I’m trying to make you as popular as you deserve, De. People need to hear your message. See what you can do,” Ivy said.
“Message? What message? I’m not broadcas
“True. I just always feel like we should be doing more. Helping more people or letting them know we’re here to help. I know you don’t like being a minor New Orleans celebrity, but that’s how people find out about you.”
“She does have a point there,” Mary Lou said.
“Matt brings me to the attention of people who need me. Weird cases I’m good with. Greg can bring me cases from different angles. He’s working more with the demonologists and stuff. It’s good for him,” I said.
“It is. But now, you’re sort of flying solo and you need work,” Ivy said.
“I don’t need work. Work finds me. Plus, I have to figure out who shot at the club,” I said.
“So awful. Stressful and senseless. Ruining people’s evenings with one bullet.” Mary Lou shook her head.
The conversation broke slightly while we switched to manicures.
“Any guys around for you, Ivy?” I asked.
“I thought you were dating someone,” Mary Lou said.
“No, I gave up on him. Some men can’t handle a woman with a demanding job. He wanted me there all the time on his arm. I’ve got my own big career. That club doesn’t run itself. So, he got sick of me not putting him first all the time. Done.”
“You made the right choice. You can put a guy first, and he loves it. But if you have to come first for any amount of time, it’s like you attacked them. In the end, most of them just leave, anyway. I saw it so many times in grad school,” I said.
“Even if he is rich enough to spoil you, you need to find your own things. Have your own life. Men.” Mary Lou sipped her fancy coffee drink.
Mary Lou married Lance Weathers, a rich lawyer. Their marriage was less than ideal, but she was a trophy wife, and he was a rich guy. Somehow, they made it work. I did my best not to judge. Rumors of infidelity on both sides made me stay off that topic unless she brought it up. But it did remind me that there were worse things than being single, even at my age.
by CC Dragon have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes