Darkest Journey (Krewe of Hunters #20)(7)

William Leake went on to become Grand Master of the Feliciana Lodge, and for forty-nine years, he tended to Hart’s grave. When Leake died, he was buried next to Hart, and the two were now honored every year with a reenactment ceremony called The Day the War Stopped.

The whole story was covered in Brad’s movie, which made it very special to Charlie. Her mother’s great-great-grandfather had been one of the Confederate States Marines who had attended the funeral services for Commander Hart. She’d always loved the story, because it was about the goodness that could be found in people even amid the tragedy of war.

But Brad’s movie wasn’t historical; it was a suspense movie about a piece of land hallowed by the blood of the soldiers who’d died there and was now threatened by drilling, people trying to save it and other people sabotaging efforts at negotiation, while a few evildoers were ready to kill to have things their way. It was timely, and those on both sides were drawn as complex characters. At the end, the would-be killers were stopped by the very ghosts who made the land so special. Or, possibly, by what they saw in their own imaginations. The truth was, the ending of his movie was left to the eye—and the imagination—of the viewer.

As Charlie and the decaying soldiers, along with Harry Grayson and Blane Pica—who played the scuzzy oil baron and sleazy senator trying to kill Charlie—and assorted crew members got a look at the footage, she had to agree with Brad. It was great. Also really creepy. If the rest of the footage was as good, they would have a surefire hit.

“Thank you, and that’s a wrap for the day,” Brad said, smiling. “You’re free—until your 7:00 a.m. call if you’re in the fight scene. Check your schedules and have a good night.”

Grant laughed and called out, “Brad, check your schedule. It’s a 7:00 p.m. call tomorrow.”

Brad winced. “Sorry. Go and enjoy your night.”

Charlie smiled at Grant. She wasn’t on call at all for the next several days. Due to her commitment to a web series she was also filming, she had returned to Francisville only five days earlier, and she’d been on call pretty much nonstop since. Now she had only a few scenes to go.

“Sounds good to me,” Jennie McPherson said, as she glanced over at George Gonzales—another Tulane classmate—who was doing double duty in set design and as a prop master. The extras had been returning their hats, swords, guns, belts, buckles and the rest of their accessories—everything but the period uniforms they were still wearing—and George was frowning.

“Missing a belt buckle, a canteen and a knife,” George said.

“Come on, let’s go. Showers for one and all,” Jimmy said, wrinkling his nose as he got a whiff of himself.

“I’m going to stay and help George and the set guys retrieve whatever fell in the fields,” Charlie told him. “We can’t afford to lose any of our props.” She loved George. He was one of the hardest-working and funniest friends she had, claiming descent from both slaves and also from their Confederate masters. He loved to chime in on their historical discussions, especially since his mother—who, confusing things even more, was Israeli—had been born in New York City. He considered himself a Confederate/Yankee/African American, and liked to say that gave him a unique perspective.

“Yeah, don’t want to leave George in the lurch,” Jimmy said. “I guess I can stay, too.”

“You have a call tomorrow night. I don’t. Go have fun, then get some sleep,” Charlie said.

“Oh, man, thanks, Charlene! There is so much we have to be so careful with! Money, you know,” Jennie said. She was a petite blonde, and with her hair in a ponytail, as it was now, she looked to be about fifteen, but she’d actually turned thirty on her last birthday. Brad had met Jennie working on a project in New Orleans. She liked to lord it over George, who was her junior by a year. “We have to be so careful about costs.”

“I’ll stay and help, too,” Grant offered.

“No, you do the books, you do the budgeting, you write the checks—and you’re an extra every time Brad needs one. I’ve got this,” Charlie said. “Go.”

Jimmy and Grant left, looking more like ghostly apparitions than ever as they headed toward their cars. Brad didn’t notice; he was studying shots with Mike, his brother and main cameraman.

“I’m off to look for your missing props,” Charlie said. “Can Barry light up the field for me?” Barry Seymour was in charge of lighting. He was also an electrician, which made him perfect for the job, because he could fix any problems at minimal cost. He came from Baton Rouge, and like Grant, he was in his early forties. He could not only take the time to work on the film but he could invest in it, as well, because he’d once worked as an electrician on one of the big oil rigs in the Gulf. He’d taken his pay and invested heavily in the oil company, and it had paid off.

“Barry! Light the field!” Jennie yelled.

Charlie cringed. She could have yelled herself.

“I can help, too,” Luke Mayfield, their sound engineer and another friend, just a few classes ahead of Charlie and Brad at Tulane, walked over and said to Charlie.

“Great,” she said.

She hurried toward the field where they’d been filming, followed quickly by Luke and George, and then Barry, Mike and Brad.

Even the director worked at keeping costs down.

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