Date Published: September 5, 2023
Publisher: Running Wild/RIZE Press
Aaron thinks nothing of it when Aaron Langford’s friend, Otis Thomas, gives him a divination tray as a housewarming gift. However, as weird occurrences begin to happen around him, Aaron’s life is suddenly thrust into turmoil with the disappearance of his son, Asher, and daughter, Imani. As Aaron’s marriage and life spiral out of control and the police zero in on him as the prime suspect in his children’s disappearance, Aaron realizes he and his friends may have unleashed ancient supernatural powers that were best left alone. In a desperate attempt to bring his children back and clear his name, Aaron decides to embark on an improbable journey with the help of the divination’s tray original owner, Urbi Houna, as his guide. Shadowland explores one man’s attempts to overcome death and despair as well as pierce the veil between life and death.
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The Housewarming Gift
There. How’s that?” Donna pushed the couch into its new
location, then looked over at Aaron.
Donna was obsessed with rearranging the furniture. She tried
so desperately to recreate the warmth and feel of their brownstone in D.C.
“Aaron!” Donna screamed, pulling Aaron away from his
thoughts. “For one second can you please focus and tell me what you think about
the sofa being here rather than over there?”
Aaron envisioned the couch in its previous location. “I kind
of liked it where it was.”
“What do you mean you liked it where it was?”
Aaron had apparently hit a nerve. There was some lingering
resentment from that morning. Aaron wished he had stuck to his customary
response of “It looks great.”
“Look, baby, it’s fine. Okay?”
Socrates, the family cat, had taken a frontrow seat to the
“That is not what you said.” Aaron acted like he did not
hear her. “Don’t stand there like you don’t hear me talking to you, Aaron
“What do you want me to say?”
“I said, what do you mean you liked it where it was?”
When the doorbell rang at that moment, Aaron was relieved to
know he didn’t have to explain himself right away. “Look, there’s Otis and
Teri. Can we talk about this later?”
“Oh, we’re going to talk about ‘this’ later. You’re not
going to get off that easily.”
Aaron hastily made his way to the door. This was the first
time, since arriving in Seattle, Aaron would have a chance to spend time with
his old college buddy. Aaron and Otis were more like brothers than friends.
Otis was there for every major milestone in his life. He was the best man at
Aaron’s wedding. He was Asher and Imani’s godfather. He consoled Aaron when
Mother Dear died.
Otis ushered Teri in from out of the rain. “Hey, we’re not
late, are we?”
“Nah, you guys are right on time.” Aaron embraced his old
friend. “Thank God you’re here.”
“I heard you, Aaron,” Donna said from somewhere behind him.
“You guys are right on time. Dinner should be ready in a few minutes.”
Otis had forewarned Aaron he was bringing a date, which was
rare for him. It took a lot for Otis to be serious about a woman. Right away,
Aaron could see why Otis was attracted to her. She was a light-skinned,
curvaceous woman. Otis had a penchant for light skinned, shapely women. A
direct contrast to his tall, lanky, features.
Donna took Teri by the hand and led her into the living
room. By the expression on Donna’s face, it was clear she was pleased to have
another woman in the house.
As Donna and Teri made themselves comfortable, Otis
whispered, “What’s going on?”
“Donna’s on the warpath.”
Otis seemed to find humor in that tidbit of information.
“What is it, PMS?”
“Hell, I wish. It’s this whole move. It’s not sitting well
with her. I mean, she has rearranged the living room furniture five times this
week. She’s testy and ornery. The slightest thing sets her off.”
“She rearranged the furniture five times?”
“She’s that depressed?”
“Depressed is not the word; it’s more like antsy. She misses
being back in Washington, D.C. Not to mention, the chilly, overcast days are
“I know the weather takes some getting used to. Rest
assured, when spring and summer roll around, and she sees how beautiful Seattle
can be, she’ll warm up to the city. There is no place more beautiful than
Seattle in the summer. In the meantime, maybe you should consider taking her to
a lodge in the Cascades, or even better, Whistler in British Columbia.”
“Maybe she needs to get a job or start seeing patients
again, so she can stop jumping down my throat,” Aaron said. “How is that
“There are a few more pieces of paperwork she needs to
submit to the state, but she is taking her sweet time. She also has an
opportunity to do some adjunct work at the university. She has an interview
with the chair of the psychology department, but she keeps putting it off. A
few community colleges have expressed an interest in her possibly teaching as
well. Honestly, I don’t think she will have any problem teaching or reviving
her practice. The question is, does she want to?
Well, if she doesn’t like it here, and she doesn’t have much
to do during the day, what does she do to occupy her time?” Otis asked.
“She spends most of her time on the phone with her mother
and rearranging the damn furniture.”
“I surely hope you have a good cell phone plan.”
“I’m not worried about my cell phone bill. I’m worried about
“I hear ya. I hope you don’t mind? I brought a little
something for Teri and me to drink.” Otis held up a Cabernet Sauvignon, Aaron’s
favorite blend of wine.