The following morning, Dorothy walked to the schoolgrounds
with the chatter of Linda and Gail echoing in the back of her mind.Dorothy had much to think about as she
anticipating the possibility of seeing Carl again.As promised, Linda had come over to help
Dorothy decide on her attire, accessories, and makeup for the following
morning.Dorothy did feel a little
better about herself, but the butterflies in her stomach began to scatter
throughout her body as the three of them began to get closer to the high
school.Her heart began to race as Linda
turned her attention back to Dorothy, trying to prepare her for seeing Carl.
“So.You know Carl is
always in the group of boys Jimmy and Reginald are always with in the morning,”
Linda was saying, “so you are likely going to see him as soon as we are at the
school grounds.Are you ready?”
“I guess,” Dorothy said.
“Well that’s not a very positive attitude,” Linda said,
“especially after all the work I did last night!”
Linda had come over after dinner the previous night with her
powder blue makeup case, a bag of fashion magazines, and even a couple of her
own blouses for Dorothy to try.Linda
was still in Dorothy’s room when Matthew and Liz Blake were ready to go to bed
at 10 ‘o’ clock.Linda’s mother had also
called the Blake home asking for her daughter to come home.Matthew drove Linda home as Dorothy slowly got
ready for bed.She had fallen into a restless
sleep and had the type of dreams that were so bizarre that she couldn’t explain
to anyone even if she tried.The only
thing that was explainable was that she saw herself with Carl in the
dreams.Of course, she chalked the
dreams up to simply being the result of nerves.Dorothy absently twirled a dark curl of her hair around her index finger
as Linda continued on with her instructions.
“Now remember, you don’t want to look desperate,” Linda said,
“men like to feel needed, but they don’t want to be smothered.And honey, please leave your hair alone!It looks perfect so don’t ruin it!”
Dorothy released the curl from her finger as Gail said,
“Dorothy, try not to think about it too much.Carl talked to you yesterday and I’m sure he will again.”
“Easier said than done,” Dorothy replied, “I may not even
have a chance to talk to him.”
Despite the assurance that her friends were trying to give
her, Dorothy could still feel anxiety brewing up inside of her.What if she made a fool out of herself and
this was all for nothing?What if Carl
decided she was such a knucklehead that he decided to not even speak to her
“Yes you will,” Linda said, “and I’m letting you borrow one
of my best blouses so I don’t want to see you after school until you have
spoken to Carl.”
The school grounds were up ahead and Dorothy could feel her
heartrate begin to pick up speed.
“Almost there,” Gail whispered to Dorothy, giving her
friend’s hand a squeeze as they approached the building.
Dorothy gave her friends a small smile, feigning
confidence.She looked ahead to the
school grounds just across the street.Then, she saw the group of boys at their usual spot underneath a tree
near the front steps that led into the school.Linda called to Jimmy as she, Gail and Dorothy crossed the street,
heading to the schoolgrounds.Jimmy
turned in their direction and headed toward Linda with Reginald behind him to
meet Gail.The two boys happily greeted
their girlfriends before turning to say hello to Dorothy.Dorothy smiled back at both of them, though
she was still a little embarrassed knowing that Jimmy and possibly even
Reginald knew about her feelings for Carl.She dreaded the thought of not being able to face any of her friends
again if she blew it with Carl.Dorothy’s eyes then fell to the group of boys that Jimmy and Reginald
had just come from and that was when she saw him.Carl was standing with the boys, but as he carried
a conversation with his friends, Dorothy noticed that he was gazing in her
direction.As Linda and Gail headed off
to an area on the schoolgrounds with their boyfriends, Dorothy got a wink from
Linda and a reassuring smile from Gail.She knew that Jimmy and Linda were going to go somewhere secluded neck
until the morning bell rang and lately, it was very possible that Reginald and
Gail may do the same. Dorothy sighed,
acknowledging to herself that she was, in fact, tired of being the fifth wheel
to her friends.She drew in a breath,
telling herself that she was not going to avoid Carl.As she got closer to the group Carl was in,
she kept her face forward.
Stay calm…he’s just a
She managed to keep her pulse rate under control and even
slowed her steps as she began to pass the group of boys.It was then that she heard a voice call to
Dorothy stopped and turned to see Carl walking toward her,
giving her the same warm smile he had given her the previous day.She could also see that the other boys in the
group were looking knowlingly as they watched Carl head toward Dorothy.
So apparently the
whole school knows.Thanks a lot, Linda.
But Dorothy was feeling more relaxed about the situation
than she originally thought she would be.
I suppose it’s now or
never, Dorothy thought.She put a
smile onto her glossed lips and returned Carl’s greeting.
“Hello,” she said, only a little breathless.
The two of them stood, silent for a moment before one of the
boys Carl had been with gave Carl an encouraging shout.
“Can it, George!” Carl called back.
Dorothy could hear George and some of the other boys
laughing at Carl’s response, but it didn’t really matter to her what they all
thought.Carl was here.He was talking to her.And that was all that mattered to Dorothy.
Finally, Carl spoke up.“May I walk you into school?”
Dorothy could feel her heart swelling to twice it’s
size.She remembered Linda’s advice
telling her to not appear desparate.Dorothy was able to maintain her composure and answered Carl by saying
that she would like that.Carl would
meet Dorothy and walk her to all of her classes that day and by the end of the
day, as it always happens in high school, word about Carl and Dorothy’s
newfound relationship had been spread throughout the school.This was especially obvious when Dorothy and
Carl met Jimmy, Linda, Gail, and Reginald at the soda shop later that day.The soda shop was a favorite for high school
students to go to after school.
Carl and Dorothy would have their first real date when they
would go to see a picture with Jimmy and Linda the following Friday night.During the first month of their relationship,
Carl and Dorothy would often join their friends on dates, but by then end of
Spetember, they had gone on a date with only themselves.That was also the night Carl gave Dorothy a
real kiss.Up until then, he had only
given her small pecks on the cheek.
Carl would also be the first person outside of her family
who she would allow to hear her sing and play the guitar and to her relief, he had
responded in an appreciative manner.
Early October brought the first homecoming dance, which
would be Dorothy’s first time attending a dance.She liked Carl very much and couldn’t deny
that she enjoyed dating a guy who had a reputation for being something of a
rebel.But despite his nature of being a
carefree daredevil, he made sure to show Dorothy how he cared about her and was
very much a gentleman.Carl even managed
to win over Matthew and Liz Blake, making them secure in his taking their
daughter out.Dorothy’s cousin, Cletus,
also expressed his happiness for her in finding a seemingly decent guy in a
letter to her.
And very soon, I’m sure you’ll find a nice girl who deserves you, Dorothy
had written back to her cousin.She also
thought of the possibility of marrying Carl out of high school but would often
stop such thoughts as she and Carl had barely been together for two
months.Still, she was really falling
for him and found herself thinking more and more about what it may be like to
experience the physical pleasure Linda spoke of having with Jimmy.But it would be an experience up at the old
Fleming Orphanage that Halloween that would change everything for the six
Plains area high school students.
That Halloween night, the six of them had made plans to go
out as a group.They had all gone out in
Jimmy’s car with Linda beside Jimmy in the front passenger’s seat.Dorothy sat between Reginald and Carl in the
backseat and Gail was on Reginald’s lap.The first stop was at a party that George was having and stayed for
about two hours before they would carry out their original plans of heading to
Chuck’s Diner in town for a bite to eat.
They sat around their usual table with their dinner of steak
sandwiches and potato chips (a dish Chuck’s Diner was famous for) and with it
being Halloween, their conversation eventually turned to the sort of talk
appropriate for that season.As it
always happened in the talk of local folklore, urban legends and ghost tales,
Fleming Manor and Orphanage entered the conversation.The table the kids sat around was next to a window
that looked out to the hill where the old orphanage stood.The dark sillouhette of the trees surrounding
the silent old Victorian era buildings of the manor towered above them in the
distance. The stories of those claiming
to have seen the ghosts of the Fleming family around the orphanage property and
even in the Plains Cemetery
had been brought up.There were also the
stranger stories about demons and werewolves haunting the surrounding
woods.The creatures had come from the
hellmouth or vortex that was somewhere in the woods.There were even tales of how Jared Fleming
was actually a werewolf.
“Oh come on,” Jimmy said as he worked on his second steak
sandwich, “if Jared Fleming was a werewolf than how was his body so
mutilated?Did he do it himself?”
“He could have gotten into a fight with another werewolf in
the woods,” Carl said.
“But he was found hanging in the front hall of the living
quarters,” Jimmy said, “and wasn’t Maxine was also walking around saying that
her brother Nathaniel did it before she was taken to the nuthouse?”
“No,” Carl said, “she was saying that he was telling her to
let him in.There’s a difference.Hey!Maybe Nathaniel didn’t die of scarlet fever!Maybe he became a werewolf!”
“What is it with you and werewolves?” Jimmy asked.
“Well don’t forget the documents that James Livingston
kept,” Reginald added, “Livingston was a good friend of
the Flemings and somehow convinced the coroner to hand over the documents that
recorded the details of the deaths of Cedric, Margaret, and Maxine.He spent a good portion of his final years studying
them and making notes.His journals are
on display in the library.I actually
read through some of them.They’re very
fascinating.Especially the entries he
made close to the end of his life.
“Well, some of his journals are,” Gail said, “I think the
family did take at least a couple of them after his death.You know, to keep in the family.”
Dorothy sat eating the potatoe chips that remained on her
plate as she listened to the conversation.She had also read through some of James Livingston’s journals and agreed
with the fascination that Reginald and Gail held for them.She had seen a few entries that mentioned her
great great grandparents, Charles and Emma Blake.Growing up, she had heard stories of how her
family and the Livingstons had been friends and the confirmation by James
Livingston’s own handwriting was enough to give her chills, especially when she
would walk by the statue of Livingston’s likeness outside of the library.There was also an oil painting portrait of
him in the library’s main room.In this
painting, James’s features were more pronounced on the strong but thoughtful
expression he wore.Dorothy found the
painting to be so life-like, that it sometimes almost appeared as though Livingston
were breathing, alive in the painting.Dorothy had also read the published works of his son, Lawrence, under
the name L.H. Livingston.Lawrence
had only published a few works in his lifetime, but those works could easily
rival that of Poe, Stoker, and Lovecraft.Dorothy had recently read one of his short stories, simply titled, The Child with the Black Eyes.It had been one of the first works Lawrence
had had published in a New York
periodical and it was later published in an anthology book about American ghost
stories.The story told of the wild
frontier of early America
and sightings of a child with black eyes who would go cabin to cabin asking the
occupants of the cabins if they would let him inside.It was a simple story, but it was able to
give Dorothy more of a scare than even the works of Poe could.She could also see similarities between The Child with the Black Eyes and some
of the final journal entries of James Livingston’s last journal in regards to
the unexplainable deaths of Cedric, Margaret, and Jared Fleming.It wasn’t nessecarily the incidents that were
the same, but that they both had left the reader questioning everything.Everything they had ever been taught about
the word around them and how it worked and operated.Your reality may not be someone else’s. And is anyone really sane?Truly?And what of the perceptions of what we can see and touch? Is it the same as someone else’s
perception?Did Maxine Fleming really go
mad or was she simply seeing things, another reality that she had been opened
up to but those around her weren’t?If
so, why was Maxine chosen to experience such things?These were the questions that Lawrence’s
story and James’s journal entries had sparked in Dorothy.
Dorothy sipped her soda as Jimmy and Carl continued their
“Carl, there is nothing to back up the werewolf claims,”
“There’s nothing to dispute it either,” Carl said, “it can
go either way.”
“Well then I dare you to go into the woods by the Fleming
property and find one,” Jimmy said.
Dorothy’s head snapped in Jimmy’s direction.He should know better than to challenge Carl
like that!Because Carl would actually
do it.While Dorothy did find Carl’s
rebellious streak appealing, she did worry about him taking on a dare that
would go to far.
I’m willing.Who wants to go with me?”Then, in a spooky voice he added, “Maybe we’ll
even find the vortex they come out of…”
Jimmy laughed and said, “Now you’re talking!I say we do it.It is Halloween and the night that Cedric,
Margaret, and Jared were found. And when
Maxine was found rambling like a madwoman.What about you, Reginald.Are you
“Sure, why not,” Reginald said.
“Now wait a minute,” Gail interrupted, “people really have
died and went missing on that property.”
“Yeah, a long time ago,” Carl said, “Jared and Maxine were
the last incidents up there.That was,
what, fifty years ago?”
“People have seen things up there, though,” Gail said.
“They claim to
have,” Jimmy said, “look, we’ll go up there, have a couple of laughs, and
“Sounds good to me,” Linda said leaning against Jimmy who
sat with his arm around her.The rest of
the group turned to look at Gail and Dorothy.
Gail rolled her eyes at the group and Dorothy sat with her
front teeth raking over her bottom lip.Dorothy had to admit that what her boyfriend and other friends were
suggesting sounded fun, even if the idea of going up to the old orphanage gave
her a rather eerie feeling…the same feeling she had gotten when she read The Child with the Black Eyes…
“Well, maybe…” Dorothy said slowly.
“That’s my girl,” Carl said.
“Great,” Jimmy said, “so Dorothy’s in too.Gail, come on.”
“Yeah,” Linda said, “it’ll only be fun if we all do it
fine.I guess I’m outnumbered.Far be it from me to want to respect the
“Babe, don’t worry,” Reginald told her, “we’re not doing
anything wrong.We’re just doing a
little exploring up there.Many have
done it and have lived.”
Gail smiled at Reginald, but she didn’t seem very
convinced.Dorothy shared a little of
Gail’s reservations, but being with Carl did have an influence over her.She also didn’t want to be sitting worrying
about Carl as he went up into what, according to legend, that been some pretty
dangerous woods at one time.
“Well I think we should start at the cemetery,” Jimmy said.
“That’s right!” Reginald said, “they’re all buried
there!People have claimed to have seen
their ghosts in the cemetery.Including
“I’m liking this plan so far,” Carl said grinning.
“I have candles in my room!” Linda chimed in, “we can stop
at my house and I can grab them.Maybe
we can have a séance or something!”
“Hey, if we’re going to do it, we may as well do it right,”
Jimmy said, “get the whole grand tour.”
By the end of their dinner, the plan had been laid out for
them to stop by Linda’s house for the candles.They would then visit the cemetery before heading up to the Fleming
Orphanage.The girls retreated into the
ladies room to freshen up their makeup while the boys paid the bill.Jimmy, Carl, and Reginald were waiting near
the diner’s entrance when their girls came out from the restroom.They thanked Chuck, the diner’s owner, before
heading out into the night and piling into Jimmy’s car to begin their Halloween
adventure.One they would be excited to
tell their schoolfriends about on Monday morning.It was a Saturday night and perfect for
staying out as late as they wanted to.
Chuck watched the six high schoolers leave his diner.He liked when the kids came in as they always
provided him with one form of entertainment or another.Chuck looked around his diner.Some of the tables were taken by patrons and
some were empty.He made his way over to
the table were Jimmy, Reginald, Carl, and their girlfriends had sat.Chuck began clearing off their plates as
Jimmy’s car began to pull out of the parking lot.As the tail lights of the car disappeared
into the darkness, Chuck stopped to look out at the Fleming Orphanage.
“I wish they would just tear that eyesore down,” he
muttered, “historical monument, my ass.”
He gave the Fleming property another glance before he would
hear the bell at the door jingle, signaling more patrons entering his diner.