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       The floorboards above creaked as the she-witch pranced around the house, celebrating her ability to capture Brett. Michael stood next to his grandson. He reached down and wiped granules of yellow powder from Brett’s face. Michael lifted his hand to his nose and sniffed. He winced before coughing. Hell! It smells like dead chickens mixed with blood!

       “Hey! Wake up. Brett, wake up,” Michael hissed in Brett’s ear and then shook his shoulder. “Sonny, you need to wake your ass up. We got to get out of here.”

       Something crashed on the floor above, causing Michael to jerk. He hoped Brett didn’t have what Anders had. He didn’t need to worry about two unconscious men. He grabbed the strap wrapped around Brett’s legs and jerked. A burning sensation immediately flooded his body, and his hands felt like they were on fire as a deep shade of red spread to each finger.

       “I hate hocus-pocus,” Michael grumbled. He inhaled deeply and blew on his hands, and the reddish color vanished. “Damn it, woman! You’re not dealing with an amateur.”

       Michael studied the straps, an apparent spell placed by Simone. Brett moaned as his eyes fluttered open, and he took in a full breath before glancing around the room.

       Brett sleepily asked with a half-smile, “What are—”

       Michael quickly clamped his hand over Brett’s mouth. “Listen carefully. We can’t let them know that you’re awake.”

       The strap tightened, and he gasped in pain when Brett tried to move.

       “Cut me loose.”

       “I’m trying. She cast a spell on those bindings.” Michael circled the table, frantically manipulating the straps, hoping to loosen them.

       There has to be a weak spot because everyone makes a mistake sooner or later! With a quick prayer, the bindings fell to the floor. Bingo! He pulled Brett to a sitting position and pointed to the basement window.

       “Wait a second,” Brett mumbled, frowning. “If I leave, she’ll keep hurting Lisa, maybe even kill her.”

       Michael scowled. “Then arrest her. She kidnapped and drugged you.”

       “She can still hurt Lisa.”

       “Then we’ll have to get rid of her,” Michael growled.

       “What?” Brett’s brows furrowed.

       Michael shoved Brett to the open window. “Get out of here. I’ll talk to the witchy woman myself.”

       “Do you think that’s a good idea?”

       Michael gave Brett a push. “Get going.”

       The thump of steps on the old stairs galvanized Michael into action. Once Brett disappeared into the night, Michael hopped on the table and adjusted his fedora. The show was about to begin.

Hazard Avenue