They liked the natural beauty of the Sierras and planned to open a vegetarian cafe with bookstore, something not seen in Bears River yet. Howie wanted to stay too, for Mikka's sake, as she was thriving at the elementary school.
"I've been thinking of setting up on my own," he told Rebecca. "Contracting code jobs, maybe building web sites for local businesses here. With the Internet, it doesn't really matter where I am." Rebecca knew he'd been bitterly disappointed when Tark made a fortune off his innovative code.
"It wasn't fair, Howie, what he did."
"At least I got those stock options, eh?"
Molly and Gina helped Dorothy sort through the jumble of goods upstairs. "You should sell this stuff on eBay," suggested Gina. "You'll make a mint." Dorothy was a natural, her "Lily Pearl's Attic" store on eBay finding avid customers the day it opened. The Fed Ex truck became a frequent visitor to the mansion as Dorothy shipped vintage dresses and accessories all over the country.
The ragged bundle with rust stains stumped them for awhile. No one wanted to unroll it. Molly sat on the dusty floor and peeked inside. "Maybe it was a little bird. I think those are tiny bones, ew, I don't know. Let's have a ceremony." They lit candles and burnt incense and smudgy bundles of sage. Dorothy smoked pot for the first time in her life. The moon was impossibly huge, a harvest moon, and glowed through the tower windows. Gina poured salt in a circle. They spoke,
poetic phrases on paper, burnt the paper in a copper dish. Dorothy arrived at an answer and said "I will place this gift from my ancestors beneath the new grape vines I am planting. The vines will flourish."
"What are they doing up there," asked Howie as he and Rebecca cleaned the dinner dishes, "and why did I have to power-down all the computers?"
"I think it's an exorcism," joked Rebecca, and then whispered, "Gina says computers can be a haven, whatever that means."
"Oooh, I'm scared!" joked Howie.
"This house does get really creepy. Maybe they can banish the bad vibes here." said Rebecca, earnestly.
"Vibes?" grinned Howie.
"Yeah, begone bad vibes."
Howie had shut-down all the desktops and laptops in the house, including the powerful server required for their business, but he overlooked the router. Deep in its nano-circuitry, somewhere in memory near where the administrative username and password were stored, the lonely watcher that had long haunted Trapper's Mansion found a febrile place to hover until, power on again, it could replicate out into a looping array of mischief.