Disclaimer: I do not own the HB characters and I am not making any money from this story.

A/N: This story takes place ten months after my story "The Christmas Star." It is set in the Frank/Callie universe I created in that story. This is not the F/N story I promised. I am still working on that one.

Chapter One

Ten month old Eva was a dark-haired baby with bright blue eyes and a sunny disposition. Always smiling, always looking for adventure, or so Callie thought. Eva's latest feat was pulling up on the sofa, the coffee table, or the toy box and taking a few steps.

"You'll be walking soon," Callie said to her daughter.

Eva lay on her back in her crib kicking her chubby, little legs. Smiling and babbling. She could say dada quite well and did so now.

"Dada." Kick, kick. "Dada."

Callie smiled affectionately at her child. "Mama. I'm mama. Can you say, mama?"

Eva blinked, sucked on her knuckles, and seemed to ponder Callie's words. Then, "Dada!" Her little legs kicked enthusiastically.

Callie laughed and shook her head. "Oh well, I tried. Let's finish getting you dressed, little one. Grandma and grandpa will be here soon."

The doorbell rang in the background and Callie chuckled to herself. "Guess they're here now." Callie wasn't surprised her parents had arrived early. They loved their grandchild dearly and Callie was sure they couldn't wait to babysit Eva for the weekend.

# # # #

It was late October and the countryside was ablaze with color. Vibrant red, orange, and gold leaves adorned the trees. Autumn was Callie's favorite season. Autumn meant colder weather and evenings spent in front of a cozy fire. Callie envisioned herself, Frank, and Eva snuggled on the sofa in the living room, a fire raging in the fireplace. It was a delightful image and Callie clung to it for a moment as she watched leaves fall from the trees.

Frank was driving and Callie sat in the passenger's seat. She and Frank were on their way to a Bed and Breakfast in Walnut Creek. This was a work weekend for Callie. However, it was also a chance to get-away with her husband and spend a few nights alone without the interruption of a baby.

Frank and Callie had been married three years. Three wonderful years. Frank was a police officer for the Evertville Police Department.

"It's a starting point," he had said when he'd accepted the job. The first step in what he hoped would be a long career in law enforcement.

Callie was comfortable with the decision and liked the small town of Evertville. She enjoyed living in the country. The people were so friendly and ready and willing to help whenever necessary.

Callie and Frank had purchased a modest home. Nothing big or fancy. A simple one story, three bedroom ranch that suited Callie and Frank to a T. Callie had found work, too. She was a freelance journalist for Evertville's tiny newspaper. Callie loved the job. She worked mainly from home and chose the stories she wrote. Working from home meant Callie and Eva were together. Eva did not need to be in daycare.

Most of Callie's stories dealt with the history of Evertville. Callie often spent long hours on the internet searching through old documents or historical events and people.

Callie did have to pop into the newspaper office on occasion and on those days, she brought Eva with her. What wonderful visits those were. Everyone oohed and awed over the baby.

What a gorgeous child. Look at those blue eyes. She's a doll, an absolute doll.

Callie's heart swelled with pride at the sweet comments and she certainly agreed with them.

During one of those visits, Callie's boss had ushered her into his office, his expression telling her he had something exciting to say. Callie was pleasantly surprised when he offered her a special assignment. Would she be willing to investigate a ghost story in the nearby town of Walnut Creek?

"It would be the perfect story for our Halloween edition of the newspaper," Callie's boss, Mr. Calabrese, had said.

"It certainly would be." Callie had not been able to conceal the excitement in her voice. The assignment had everything Callie liked in a story; mystery, intrigue, and a bit of local history.

"Elizabeth Lancaster went missing fifteen years ago," Mr. Calabrese had explained, "and was never seen again. Her body was never found." Mr. Calabrese held out his hands and shrugged. "What happened to her? People want to know."

Callie held Eva in her arms, bouncing her on a hip. "You said people have seen her ghost? Where?"

"By the river," Mr. Calabrese said. "At the exact spot where some of her clothes were found fifteen years ago. Those clothes had blood on them."

Callie had gone straight home, put Eva down for her nap, and started an internet search on Elizabeth Lancaster. On the surface, the story seemed straightforward.

Seventeen year-old Elizabeth Lancaster disappeared one rainy October night. According to her mother, (no father in the picture), Elizabeth was a dependable child and would never leave home without telling her mother or a friend where she was going. Elizabeth worked at a local diner and was saving her money for college. She had dreams of being a writer. Her mother said she was good at spinning a tale.

When notified of the missing teen, the Walnut Creek police department and local volunteers immediately began a search. They worked all night through the pouring rain and into the next morning. Around noon, the rain finally let up and a volunteer spotted bloody clothes lying near the edge of Walnut Creek, the town's namesake.

The creek was swollen and the waters fast moving due to the previous night's heavy rainfall. Police speculated the teen had fallen into the creek and been swept away. Walnut Creek's police chief called in extra help from surrounding communities. Searchers and police officers scoured the banks of the creek looking for clues. Unfortunately, nothing more was found. A week later when the creek waters receded, divers were brought in. There were a few deep areas in the creek. Sadly, no trace of the teen was ever found.

All that remained were the bloody clothes. Elizabeth's mother confirmed they belonged to her daughter; a favorite jacket and a pair of tennis shoes. DNA tests confirmed the blood was Elizabeth's.

Quite the story, Callie thought as she watched the countryside flash by outside the car window.

Frank glanced at his wife. "ETA twenty minutes."

Callie reached out a hand and touched Frank's arm. "Thank you, again, for coming with me."

Frank grinned. "No need to thank me. I know you're here for your job and that you'll be working, but you won't be working every minute of the next three days. I think we can squeeze in some time for ourselves." Frank gave Callie a look, one she correctly interpreted. One that said, the nights will be ours. All ours. No fussy baby waking us at four a.m.

"Yes, we will have some time for ourselves." A shy grin danced upon Callie's lips. "I may even need your help in my investigation."

"No problem," Frank said. "I'd love to help."

# # # #

Twenty minutes later, Frank pulled into the parking lot of the Walnut Creek Bed & Breakfast and parked.

"Here we are," he said and turned off the car.

Callie got out of the vehicle, tugged on her jacket, and surveyed her surroundings. A beautiful, two-story Victorian style building took center stage. Wood smoke curled from its' stone chimney. The fire would be welcome. The air was decidedly crisp and cool.

A wraparound porch with Adirondack chairs beckoned visitors to sit and lounge. Maybe read a good book or watch the birds gathering at feeders hanging in nearby trees.

Callie glanced at the sky. Thick clouds had rolled in. A thunderstorm was on the way. There would be no lounging on the porch this evening.

Frank opened the car's trunk and lifted out their suitcases.

Callie stepped up beside him and took the handle of her case. "It's beautiful here. I'm glad we came."

Frank closed the trunk and grabbed the handle of his suitcase. "So am I. You know what makes this place even nicer?"

Frank and Callie started walking toward the porch and entrance.

"No, what?" Callie tucked a strand of long, blonde hair behind an ear.

"The fact your boss is paying for the room."

Callie laughed. "That certainly doesn't hurt."

# # # #

The aroma of hot cider hit Callie and Frank the moment they stepped into the Bed and Breakfast. A fire crackled in a stone fireplace. A sofa and two arm chairs, positioned on either side of the hearth, invited guests to sit a spell. Bookcases filled with paperback books, jigsaw puzzles, and board games gave the room a homey feel. Callie liked the place instantly.

A middle aged woman behind a wooden counter greeted the couple. "Good afternoon, folks." The phone on the counter rang and the woman held up an index finger. "Excuse me a sec, I'll be right with you. Please, help yourselves to some spiced cider right over there on the sideboard."

Callie and Frank turned in the direction the woman had indicated. The sideboard was a beautiful oak piece decorated with intricate wood cravings. An earthen pitcher and mugs were laid out on top on a lace doily.

Frank poured each of them a cup of hot cider.

"This place is gorgeous," Callie whispered as she took the mug Frank handed her.

"Lot of history in an old place like this." Frank scanned the room as he sipped his cider.

"This place was built in the 1800s," Callie said, holding her mug with both hands. "I read about it online. Some people say it's haunted."

Frank lifted a dark brow. "Why? Did someone die here?"

The woman behind the counter hung up the phone and cleared her throat. "Ahem, no one died here. At least, not as far as I know and I know a fair amount. My family has owned this property and building for three generations."

Frank and Callie approached the counter and woman.

"Claims that the building is haunted have been greatly exaggerated." The woman seemed genuinely amused by the notion. "Honestly though, I don't mind. It draws people in. We get a few guests that come just to see if they can spot a ghost wandering the halls at night."

Callie set her mug on the counter. "I read that there have been sightings of a ghost along the creek."

The woman nodded and brushed a lock of gray hair off her forehead. "Yes, there have been. A lot of the locals – mostly teens – claim they've seen a ghost running along the creek at night. Look out the windows there."

Callie and Frank dutifully did as instructed and walked to the mullioned windows. Beyond the glass they saw a gently flowing creek. It was a good distance from the building and cut a wide path through the surrounding pines and maples. A stone path led to a sitting area on the near side of the creek. It looked like a good place to curl up with a cup of tea and watch the creek roll by. On a better day, of course. Today the clouds were thick and held the promise of rain. Those clouds also lent an air of gloom to the outside world.

The woman continued, "That's Walnut Creek. It runs through our property and into the next county. There's several well marked hiking trails along it. One of those trails leads to the spot where a teenager disappeared many years ago. There's a white cross staked in the ground where her bloody clothes were found. Those were the only things ever found of her."

Callie's heart thumped. She had to take that trail. She had to walk the same ground Elizabeth Lancaster had walked the last night she was seen alive. Callie turned to the woman behind the counter. This woman was a valuable source of information and Callie wanted to interview her.

"Hi, I'm Callie Hardy and this is my husband Frank." Callie included Frank with a wave of her hand.

The woman's face lit up. "Why you're the journalist from Evertville. Your boss, what was his name? No, don't tell me. Yes, I remember it now. Mr. Calabrese. He called and booked a room for the two of you. He picked the best room we have. Second floor at the end. Very quiet up there and it has a nice view of the creek."

"That was very kind of him," Callie said, truly appreciative. "Did Mr. Calabrese tell you why I'm here?"

The woman nodded. "He said you were here to investigate the disappearance of Elizabeth Lancaster, the missing teen I was just telling you about. By the way, I'm Sheila Donahue."

Sheila extended a hand and Callie shook it. "Nice to meet you, Ms. Donahue."

Sheila waved her hand like she was swatting a fly. "Please, call me Sheila." She glanced at the register on the counter. "I see you folks are booked for two nights. That'll give you plenty of time to investigate."

A wry smile curled the corners of Callie's mouth. Three days and two nights. Would that really be enough to unearth the mystery of Elizabeth Lancaster's disappearance?

A man of about fifty-five – the same age as Sheila – came into the room. He wore work clothes, old jeans and a plaid shirt, and scuffed up boots. His arms were filled with firewood. "Howdy, folks. Don't mind me, I'm just bringing in more firewood for this evening. Looks like we're in for a storm."

"My husband Neal," Sheila said. "Neal, these are the Hardys. Mrs. Hardy is the journalist I was telling you about. She's here to investigate Liz Lancaster's disappearance."

Neal's bushy eyebrows rose and he stared at Callie as if he was assessing her abilities. "Good luck," he finally said then walked to the fireplace and quietly stowed the wood in the niche beside the hearth. He never once looked back at Callie or Frank.

Frank frowned at the man's back for a long moment. Callie felt she could read Frank's mind, What's up with Neal Donahue?

Sheila made a sound of annoyance and rolled her eyes. "Don't mind my husband. He can't see any point in investigating Liz's disappearance. To his way of thinking, too much time has passed." She lowered her voice, forcing Callie and Frank to move closer. "He says, leave the dead alone, there's nothing new you can find after all these years. Any evidence there might have been was washed away that night. We had a terrible rainstorm the night Liz went missing." Sheila shivered like she was reliving that night.

Frank rested an elbow on the counter and kept his voice low. "I'm of the opinion it's never too late to investigate a disappearance and I'm sure Elizabeth's family would feel the same. They might like to know what happened to her."

Sheila nodded and her expression turned sad. "You're right, they would. Her mother and sister still live in town. The sister works at the Bobcat Restaurant. It's a good place to eat if you're interested. It's just down the road. You can walk to it."

Callie looked up at Frank. "I think we'd like to try it this evening."

Sheila smiled. "Tell them Sheila sent you and you'll get a five percent discount."

Callie returned Sheila's smile. "Thank you, we will."

"Well," Sheila said, "let me get you two checked in."

Callie and Frank finished their hot cider while Sheila entered their information in the computer and then handed them a key.

Neal came up beside them and held out a hand to Frank. "Sorry if I seemed a little .. um, short with you, folks. Didn't mean to."

Frank shook the older man's rough hand. "No problem. By the way, I'm a police officer. I understand how difficult it is to crack a cold case."

One bushy brow rose a smidge. "Police officer, huh? Well, good luck to you. Perhaps the two of you can ferret out something new in the Lancaster case. Nobody else has been able to find anything new in all these years."

Callie wondered how many people had been working on the case 'all these years.' She and Frank thanked Sheila for the cider and left the empty mugs on the counter as Sheila insisted. Then they wheeled their suitcases to the beautiful staircase that led to the second floor. No elevator in this old Victorian.

# # # #

Frank set Callie's suitcase on top of a luggage rack and did the same with his own.

Callie went to the window, pushed aside the lace curtain, and looked out. The view of the creek was indeed nice. Callie turned in a circle and admired the room. It was like stepping into the past. An old chest of drawers, a handmade quilt on the bed, and a braided rug on the floor. "I love this room," she told Frank. "Especially the fireplace." She bent to examine it. "It's gas."

Frank scooped a paper off the antique chest of drawers. "Says here the fireplace is the only source of heat for the room."

"I don't mind." Callie sidled up to Frank and put her hands on the back of his neck. "I think it's romantic. I can't wait to fall asleep, snuggled up to you with a fire going."

Frank wrapped his arms around his wife's waist and kissed her lightly on the lips. "Who says we'll be falling asleep?" The glint in his eyes signaled longing and need, a need that had gone unanswered for far too long.

Callie pulled back slightly and ran a hand down Frank's cheek. The power of his presence – his body pressing against hers – stirred desires, desires she had kept buried for the past ten months. "You're right, we won't be falling asleep. Not right away," she whispered.

Frank lowered his head and held Callie's gaze. He saw desire flickering in her sky blue eyes. Exactly what he had hoped to see. "I say we try out the bed. See if it's comfortable."

# # # #

The bed proved to be very comfortable and Callie felt a twinge of guilt for enjoying herself so much, but only because her boss was paying for the room. Now, however, it was time to start earning her pay. Callie was hoping Elizabeth's sister – Rose – was working tonight at the Bobcat Restaurant. Rose was on Callie's list of people to interview.

As Callie eased out of bed, Frank grabbed her by the wrist. "Leaving so soon?"

Callie leaned over and kissed her husband. "Yeah, I'm going to freshen up and then we can walk to that restaurant, the Bobcat. I'm starving."

Frank released Callie's wrist and propped himself up on an elbow, a better angle from which to gaze upon his wife. The view was spectacular. "I'm hungry, too." His voice was deep and rough and sent a little thrill down Callie's spine. She wasn't sure Frank was talking about food and the thought made her smile.

It had taken four months to get her pre-pregnancy figure back and now that it had returned she felt sexy and feminine. She wouldn't mind climbing right back in bed and showing Frank just how sexy she felt. His expression said he would welcome it if she did.

Reluctantly, Callie stifled her impulses and forced herself to focus on her job, her assignment, the whole reason she and Frank were here. "Ahem, I can be ready in ten minutes. How about you?" There was a teasing, mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

Frank tossed off the covers and Callie almost changed her mind about climbing back in bed. Frank Hardy was a hard man to resist. Tall, dark, handsome, and muscular. Oh-so muscular. And kind and loving. And also a wonderful husband and father.

Frank got out of bed and reached for his clothes. He gave Callie a sideways glance as he picked up his jeans. "I can be ready in ten minutes." He paused, looked over his shoulder at her. The moment stretched and held. "Unless you want to change your mind."

Callie swallowed with difficulty, staring at the strong line of Frank's back. Why must Frank look so devastatingly sexy? Callie took a deep breath and hardened her resolve. "Um, no. Ten minutes it is. We'll have all night to .. to enjoy the bed."

A wicked glint came into Frank's eyes. He dropped his jeans on the bed and walked over to Callie, took her face in his hands and kissed her tenderly, slowly, sensually. Callie felt her resolve slipping. Her hands were sliding up Frank's arms, headed for his broad shoulders when her stomach issued a loud grumble.

Frank broke the kiss and laughed. "I guess you really are hungry."

Callie gave Frank a weak smile. She wasn't sure she appreciated her stomach's interruption. "Yeah, I am."

Frank chuckled good-naturedly. "Then we better get going. Don't want my wife starving to death."

# # # #

The hostess at the Bobcat Restaurant told Callie and Frank that Rose Lancaster, now Schmidt, was not working this evening. Rose was home with a sick child.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Callie said automatically and rued her bad luck. Of course, it was bad luck for Rose, too. Poor thing had a sick child. "I hope it's nothing serious."

The hostess, a young woman of about thirty, gathered menus and led Callie and Frank into the restaurant. "A bad cold," she said over her shoulder then stopped at a table and laid the menus down. "Rose isn't one to let her kids miss school, so her daughter must be really sick. Rose has kept her home for two days."

"Must be a very bad cold," Callie agreed as Frank pulled out her chair. "I hope her daughter gets better soon." Callie was relieved to know Rose was in town and home. Rose's phone number was tucked in Callie's notes back at the Bed and Breakfast. Callie would call Rose tomorrow and set up a time to talk with her.

With business out of the way, Callie and Frank enjoyed a delicious meal. The thunder and lightning started when their dinner plates were being taken away. The rain started in earnest when Frank handed the waiter his credit card.

"How about an after dinner drink," Frank said with a grin. "Give the rain a chance to die down before we walk back to the Bed and Breakfast."

Callie examined the bar. It was cozy and dimly lit. Not many customers. It looked very inviting. A refuge from the storm. The rain was hammering the roof and running down the windows in thick rivulets. If they walked back now they would be soaked to the skin.

"I'd love a drink," Callie said.

# # # #

Callie and Frank sat at one end of the bar, each with a glass of wine. This was another return to pre-pregnancy normalcy. Callie had not had a drink in .. in over a year. Not that she missed having a drink, no, it was date night with Frank that she had missed. Those had gone by the wayside once Eva was born. Until now.

Not that Callie didn't miss her baby because she did, thoroughly and completely. Frank did, too. Eva had been the main topic of conversation during dinner. Callie had even phoned home to check on her parents, to see how they were holding up. Taking care of a ten month could be taxing especially, for two people in their late fifties. The call had lasted quite a while. Callie's mom had had to tell Callie all about Eva's dinner and her bath and story time and how very much Eva loved her stuffed lamb. Yes, Callie had said, Eva did love that lamb and by the way, it was named Harry in honor of a real lamb the family had once met.

"Penny for your thoughts," Frank said breaking into Callie's reminiscing.

Callie suddenly realized she had been lost in thought and smiled softly. "Just thinking how much I miss Eva, but also how much I enjoy being here with you tonight. It's been nice to get away together. Just the two of us."

Frank took Callie's hand in his and rubbed her knuckles with his thumb. "I was thinking the same thing. Maybe we could have your parents babysit once a month."

Callie chuckled under her breath. "I'm sure they would love that. They adore Eva."

"Your mother has been hinting she'd like another grandchild." Callie was amazed Frank said this with a straight face.

Callie tilted her head and looked at Frank from beneath dark lashes. "I wouldn't mind another baby. In a year."

"Me, too. In a year." Frank's voice was low and tender and Callie felt the love in it.

The bartender appeared and placed a hand on the counter. "How's everything, folks? Need a refill on that glass of wine, sir?

Frank noticed his glass was nearly empty and looked up at the bartender. "No, thanks. One's enough for me."

The bartender nodded and turned to Callie. "How 'bout you, ma'am? Can I get you anything?"

Yes, Callie thought, there was something the bartender could do for her. She smiled at him and said, "I'm a writer and I'm working on a local interest piece for my newspaper. It's about Elizabeth Lancaster. I was wondering if, by any chance, you lived in town when she disappeared."

"Wow." The bartender was genuinely surprised. "That's a blast from the past. Um yeah, I was here when she disappeared. Went to school with her as a matter-of-fact. We were juniors in high school. Liz was one of the prettiest girls in school. A lot of guys wanted to date her."

"Did you ever date her?" Callie held her breath, hoping the answer was yes.

"Nah. Wish I had. Liz was hooked up some older guy. He worked .." The bartender cocked his head, frowned, and searched his memory. "Oh yeah, he worked as a mechanic at the local gas station."

"Rudy Glynn?" Callie was sure of the name. It was in her notes at the Bed and Breakfast.

"Yeah, that sounds right." The bartender's head bobbed up and down.

"Can you tell me anything about Rudy Glynn?" Hope rose in Callie yet again.

The bartender shook his head. "Sorry, I only know his name cause it was in the paper and everybody at school was talking about him. We all figured he had something to do with Liz's disappearance. He left town a few months after she went missing and that got everybody talking again. He was the number one suspect in our books."

"Leaving so soon after Elizabeth's disappearance would certainly make him appear suspicious." Callie's hopes of a breakthrough in this case were cooling like the embers of a dying fire.

"Did to us," the bartender said and shrugged. "But hey, we were just high school kids. What did we know?"

Callie saw a customer further down the bar trying to get the bartender's attention. "Well, thank you for talking to me. I'll let you get back to your customers."

"Sure, no problem." The bartender saw the customer indicating he would like a refill and hurried over to wait on the man.

Once the bartender was out of earshot, Frank asked, "Learn anything new?"

"No." Callie fingered the stem of her wine glass and looked a bit disheartened. "I already knew about Rudy Glynn, that he was older than Elizabeth and that he left town. I'd love to talk to him, but haven't been able to locate him. He and Elizabeth seem to have vanished into thin air."

"It's early," Frank said. "We've only been in town a few hours and you've only talked to two people, Sheila Donohue and this guy. You still have tomorrow and the next day to question people."

Callie valued Frank's positive and upbeat attitude. She laid a hand on his. "True. Thanks for the pep talk. I needed that."

Twenty minutes later they were trudging through the rain, trying to avoid the puddles on the sidewalk. They had no umbrella and were hunched in their waterproof jackets. Thankfully, their jackets had hoods. Their upper bodies were warm and dry. However, their shoes were no match for the pouring rain. Callie's feet were soaked. The bottom half of her pant legs were soaked. She decided to throw caution to the wind.

"I'll race you to the Bed and Breakfast," she yelled at Frank. The rain was pelting their slickers so hard he would not have heard her otherwise.

"You're on," Frank yelled back and smiled.

"Go!" Callie shouted and took off.

Frank stand on the sidewalk, arms out. "Hey, what happened to one, two, three, go?" Callie didn't stop running, didn't even look back. What the heck, Frank thought and took off. He soon closed the gap between them, jogged up alongside of Callie, and admonished, "You cheated."

Callie glanced at Frank from under her hood and grinned. "Did I?" She put on a burst of speed, grabbed hold of her hood so it wouldn't slide off her head, and bolted ahead of Frank. She was tiring, but would never admit it. Besides, she could see the dim, watery glow of the porch light of the Bed and Breakfast. That covered porch promised shelter from the rain.

The race was on. Callie and Frank pounded the wet pavement, water splashing their legs, raindrops hitting their faces and blurring their vision.

"Careful," Frank cautioned as they approached the steps leading up to the porch.

Up, up, up they went and out of the rain. They collapsed into each other's arms, laughing. Callie was exhausted and panting, yet exhilarated. The run had felt good. Her body was warm, but the heat wouldn't last. The night air was cold.

Callie and Frank stripped off their shoes and socks and tiptoed into the Bed and Breakfast. They hung their dripping jackets on hooks inside the entrance, in a mudroom. It was after ten p.m. and the place was quiet. The only sound was the crackling of a fire in the stone fireplace. A lamp on an end table cast a soft, golden glow around the room. Callie longed to sit in front of the fire, to put her feet up and warm them. Already her toes were ice cold and starting to ache.

Frank leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I'll start the fireplace in our room if you get the shower going."

"Deal," Callie said.

Frank took Callie by the hand. They crept up the stairs, down the hall, and into their room.

The shower was hot and wonderful. The bed proved to be just as comfortable the second time as it had been the first time. The gas fire had warmed the room nicely.

Frank wrapped his arms around Callie and she snuggled against him, feeling warm and secure. She fell into a deep sleep. She hadn't slept this deeply in months. As a new mother, a part of her was always on alert. Some small portion of her mind kept a constant ear out for a crying baby.

The rain had stopped. A clock ticked softly on the old chest of drawers. Tick … tick … tick.

Callie heard a baby cry and struggled to wake herself. It was like trying to swim to the surface from the bottom of the ocean. An impossible feat.

Another cry, louder and closer. Callie sat bolt upright on the bed, the sheets and quilt falling away, her breath coming in sharp gasps.

Eva. Where was Eva?

No, not Eva. Eva was home with Callie's parents.

A loud shriek that cut like a blade came from outside.

Frank jolted awake and threw off the covers. "What in the world?" He dashed to the window in only his boxers and a t-shirt.

Callie rapidly followed, pulling her robe off the end of the bed and tugging it on. The room wasn't as warm as it had been when they fell asleep.

Frank pushed aside the lace curtain and Callie joined him at the window. They stood, shoulders touching, and peered through the glass. They saw movement down below, near the creek. A flash of white. Bright white. Callie's heart jumped. She leaned forward and placed a hand on the cold window sill. A woman with long, flowing hair raced along the creek. She wore a long white dress and carried a lantern. The lantern swung in her hand and sent wedges of light shining this way and that.

"The ghost," Callie whispered. "She came."