￼THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 14-66
￼AMBER LOVE 13-AUG-2018 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.
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Where we left off:
We discovered fairy vomit and broken eggshells of the fairy babies. Some days Gus feels like venturing into the woods; other days, he never wants to leave the yard. It makes investigating difficult.
In early July, the heat was suffocating. It wouldn’t take long before the crisp chill pre-dawn would elevate into a sweltering globe of humidity. It might slow Gus down a little, but he still wants to be outside. It’s easy to tell when he’s motivated because his energy spikes and he’s like a monkey on a sugar rush.
Oliver is affected by the weather too. He can be totally content lying around the porch or sitting in a window continuing the chipmunk stakeout. When the humidity breaks, he jumps into a buggy and gives the most irresistible look able to weaken all human defenses.
The blooming flowers started to die and make way for berries and mushrooms. The ferns and hostas of the Fairy Garden are growing abundantly even when mowed. Nuts from the trees have started to fall too. There seems to be plenty for the wildlife to eat. We distribute the peanuts almost daily anyway. The squirrels, chipmunks, and crows seem to appreciate them.
While I was trying to spot other berry bushes in the woods, Gus paused at one of the intersections of trails. He does this often. There’s a particular corner at the end of Bunny Hollow where he loves to sit and observe. At the edge of this intersection, I found small pieces of pottery. For months I left them there, but after a much longer hike following the rocks and fallen trees, I found a larger piece. I was curious if they were connected so I retrieved all of them.
The ceramic pieces were washed back at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency office. The three small pieces fit together perfectly. I had to wait for them to dry before gluing them back together.
There was a lot of magickal activity around the yard for a couple weeks. Other people reported seeing two foxes. Gus and I once spotted a fox or kitsune running through the yard of the cottage on top of the mountain. Ollie and his butler have seen one a couple times also.
Although our long beloved resident momma deer seems to have died, we have had one that comes through now and again. I believe it’s one of her daughters. She sticks to the north end and travels from the road to the edge of the Fairy Garden, through the open space to the corner of Bunny Hollow. Then she can go up the trail and into the woods. Mostly I’ve seen her coming from the woods and walking towards the road which makes me nervous.
I have wondered if the increase in maging and wildlife activity had anything to do with the discovery of the ceramic pieces. Is this pottery something special or formerly something special?
One side is glazed black while the other is a shiny grey. Since the pieces are broken, it’s even easier to tell that this isn’t covering the classic red color of what’s called earthenware. The red clay is found in abundance on the east coast and made pottery creation more readily accessible; however, it was porous and not optimal for prolonged food storage.
Colonists then learned that the New York and New Jersey regions had dense blue-grey or buff clay. This was used to make pottery called stoneware which didn’t require lead, only salt, to create a sealed glazed effect. It was harder to come by because there wasn’t reliable transportation hauling goods or raw materials from New Jersey and New York to other places; that later changed with improved logistics. Imported goods also took a hit on consumers because of tariffs.
I didn’t do a fabulous job gluing the pieces back together. I’d say that if this were a Kindergarten project, I’d likely get an “NI” for “needs improvement” with glue skills. That was the equivalent of failing when I was in elementary school. Nowadays you’d probably get a Star-Minus or Frowny Cloud. I don’t know.
I thought back to the time (oh so long ago) when I was writing for Dynamic Forces and used to get Dynamite comics sent to me as “payment.” I read the early Project Superpowers (created by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger) which sometimes wouldn’t arrive consecutively or I’d miss two issues then get one. It was a little hard to follow stories that way. The compelling part to me was that this crotchety old dude, the Fighting Yank (resurrected from public domain like the others), was tied into this story about opening Pandora’s Box. Only Pandora’s Box wasn’t a “box” so to speak. It was a jar. The superheroes had been trapped inside another dimension through the jar. Basically like the Phantom Zone from Superman stories.
Though the best part of the comic was Alex Ross’ art, that one portion of the story has stuck in my head all these years. Whether we think of Pandora or Superman of Krypton or even the Ghostbusters’ traps, there are multiple legends of containers used to entrap beings. There’s a great all ages comic by Sina Grace and Michael Stock called Penny Dora and the Wishing Box (Image Comics) which I highly recommend; yes of course, it’s about learning tough lessons.
The crows have left us six feathers this year. I did some digging and saw that the number six corresponds to the Hebrew letter Vav which is part of the name of the Creator Y-H-V-H (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey); therefore it’s a part of the building blocks of humanity. Since crows have always been harbingers, I have feeling they were trying to bring something to my attention.
A container of something special:
I have no way of knowing precisely when these pottery pieces were broken. What I can determine from the samples is that it was an item without any or much decorative qualities. It was plain in character and served a practical purpose. I got to thinking: What if someone had no idea what was inside this pot or whether it had any value when they decided to dispose of it? I can tell you all about what it was like cleaning out the family home where four generations had lived; but once my grandmother died, the house needed to be sold. The insides were filled with treasures and junk.
If this specimen had been something like an urn, I don’t think anyone would lose track of it in the woods; but I guess you never know. I washed the dirt off so there’s no way of telling if ashes of any kind were once in it. Plus it had been through plenty of snow and rain so I doubt there would be much left of evidence that small.
I do have theory though. If this was an urn, a descendant could have taken it to the woods to release the ashes there. If that was a place of significance to someone, it makes sense. Trying to walk over all the logs and unstable rocks, the urn slipped from their grasp and crashed on the ground. As snow accumulated and melted, some smaller pieces glided down the hill to where I found them at the far corner of Bunny Hollow.
I consulted with Oliver Winchester as this is more his area than Gus’. Oliver finds it plausible. In fact, he even wondered if it wasn’t something besides a loving gesture releasing the cremains or captive soul in the woods; someone could have been trying to get rid of the remains of someone they despised.
Witch jars are common tools of the craft. It’s a simple practical magick process. You fill a jar with certain items like rusted nails or iron shavings, a mixed brewed potion, paper with someone’s name and your intention, and other items of significance. You have to seal the jar with wax then bury it. Most elder witches will say it has to be buried at a crossroads, but let’s face it — you deal with what’s around. Though most spellbooks would show pictures of clear mason jars as examples, there’s truly no reason it would have to be glass at all. It only needs to be sturdy and sealed.
- Case: Open, unsolved
- Further investigation ordered by Prof. Winchester.
- Updated notes dated 13-Aug-2018 0800: more fragments were discovered on Gus’ morning perimeter check. The specimens have to be processed and examined.