Michelle was thankful for the library skills her English teachers taught her as she quickly navigated the research area, finding several newspaper articles that focused on the history of the area and the local houses that had been around for a while.
Finding the Maddox name was easy, and when she did, she realized that Marta had left a little bit out when reciting the family history. The Maddox family had indeed tried, and failed, to start an indigo plantation. When that happened, they’d turned to shipping, but not in the way Michelle had thought.
The Maddox’s used their private cove to offer sanctuary to pirates and smugglers as they made their way up and down the
coast. It had obviously proved quite lucrative since it had built them their beautiful home. After the Civil War, the family had turned to more legitimate pursuits, opening retail businesses in
That business had closed down in the late 1930s when Richard Maddox, the last of the family, had passed away without leaving an heir. The house had been empty until Mark had purchased it five years ago. According to the article she’d read, it had taken quite a bit of renovation to shore up the building and clear out “unwanted visitors,” in the forms of snakes and other crawly things.
Making a mental note to watch where she stepped outside, Michelle hit the copy button, then rewound the microfilm. She paid for her copies as she dropped the film off at the counter. A glance at her watch showed it was a little after three. She hadn’t slept in quite a while and was tempted to go back to the house and hit the sheets.
But she needed to use the library's WiFi to contact Sandra. She retrieved her laptop from the car and found a nice spot inside to sit.
She sent an e-mail to Sandra, apologizing for the fact that her wireless connection didn’t seem to be working at Mark’s house and promising that she would try to get that problem corrected. Either that or she would contact Mark and ask if she could hook into his system.
It took no time to compose an email to Sandra, but she knew Sandra didn’t baby-sit her account. Michelle would wait for an hour or so to see if she got a response. In the meantime, she’d do some surfing on the Maddox family.
After twenty minutes of less than nothing hits, she finally hit pay dirt. A paranormal research site listed the Maddox house in
as being haunted.
“Thanks for the heads up, Kate,” Michelle mumbled under her breath. Of course the only strange thing she’d seen at the house was Sebastian. Could he be the ghost? Somehow she doubted it. Ghosts didn’t kiss like Sebastian did.
She flipped through several pages until a hyperlink finally took her to the page dedicated to the house. The photo showed it in disrepair and Michelle’s eyebrows lifted. Mark had done quite a bit to the old place in the last five years.
There were a few paragraphs under the photo, telling the story of how Sebastian Maddox, son of plantation owner Benjamin Maddox, disappeared without a trace in 1823. Benjamin, reportedly rife with grief at his son’s loss, tortured the slaves, whom he blamed for the event. He told all who would listen that a local voodoo queen had used his son as a “sacrifice to their heathen god.”
Michelle’s blood ran cold as the story ended with Benjamin Maddox killing every slave he could get his hands on, but his son never reappeared. It is said, the article concluded, that Sebastian Maddox walks the plantation grounds to this day.
“Okay, what I need right now is a picture,” Michelle muttered. “If I were writing this story, I would have a photograph of Sebastian Maddox so the heroine could gasp and faint at the idea she’d kissed a ghost.”
“They didn’t have cameras in 1823,” Charles whispered in her ear.
“Of course not.” She flipped through several more pages on the site but found no more information. “But there could be a painting, a