Monday, May 13, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 17 (Unedited)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 16 before proceeding to PART 2: Chapter 17.
Otherwise, read from the word go :)


Dorothy was cold.  She lay floating, with blackness surrounding her, in a horizontal position.  She couldn’t tell where she was, nor where she had been earlier.  For a second, she remembered laying this way when she, Linda, and Gail tried the game, Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board.  And that was exactly how she felt now.  Light as a Feather and Stiff as a Board.  Try as she might, she was unable to move her limbs.  Calling out also proved to be futile, as though a pair of hands were closed around her throat preventing her from uttering out even a croaked whisper.  Nothing but cold, dark, silence.  She couldn’t move nor speak.  She felt restless and then that restlessness rose to panic.  The top of her head felt wet.  She started to try to move her arm in order to bring her hand up to identify why that would be, but like the rest of her limbs, it remained stiff and immobile. 
What’s going on?  Where am I? 
Dorothy did her best to use whatever senses she could.  She used every ounce of strength she could to listen.  Listen to what was around her.  Listen for any clue that may indicated where she was and what was going on.  It was then she began to hear voices.  They sounded distant, but familiar.  One voice was vaguely familiar to her, but the other she recognized immediately.
She then tried to place the other voice.
“She’ll be just fine,” the voice said.  “She just needs to rest and no more shenanigans this evening.”
Dr. Ramsay?
“Well, we do appreciated both of you looking after her,” another voice said.
Relief began to set in and Dorothy began to feel more mobile.  When she pried her eyes open, her vision was blurry but it began to clear and she recognized not only where she was but also was able to indentify why she felt so cold.  She was in her bedroom and the window was open, letting in the cool, October nightbreeze in.  The powder blue and cream curtains ballooned up as the breeze entered the room.  Dorothy also saw her desk, closet, and packed to capacity bookshelf.  In her peripheral, she could see her nightstand to the right side of her bed with her alarm clock and radio.  Dorothy also discovered that a cool washcloth was on her forehead and was the cause of her head feeling cold.  Dorothy rose up, propping herself on her elbows, willing the grogginess she still felt to go away.  She removed the washcloth from her head and turned to look at the clock.  It was after midnight, close to one in the morning.  Through a small opening in the curtains, she could see the moon still hanging in the night sky.  The curtains rose again as another breeze came in through the window.  The fresh air felt amazing to breathe in, especially after the mustiness that was on the Fleming property.
The Fleming Property!
Dorothy’s skin prickled as the events of the evening began to come back to her, but her thoughts were thwarted when the opening of her bedroom door caught her attention.  Dr. Ramsay walked in followed by her mother and father.  She saw Carl behind her father and the look of genuine concern in her boyfriend’s eyes.
“Well!  She’s awake!” Dr. Ramsay said.
Dorothy gave everyone a small smile as they entered the room.  Her parents had obviously come from the party they were at as they were still in their evening wear and held the masks they wore in their hands.
“How are you feeling, sweetheart?” Matthew asked his daughter as he sat down to face her at the end of her bed.
“I’m alright,” Dorothy said, still slightly confused at why she couldn’t recall the events in between being on the fifth floor of the main building at the Fleming property and then ending up in her bedroom.  She also wondered just how much of the evening her parents knew.  She looked at Carl, who stood quietly by the doorway with his hands in his pockets and wearing and expression that seemed to be guilt.
“What happened?” Dorothy asked, looking from Carl, to her parents, and then to Dr. Ramsay.
“According to Carl and your other friends,” Dr. Ramsay said, “you all were out cruising around and ended up on the Fleming Property.  You were walking around outside, checking out the buildings when you felt dizzy and passed out.”
Dorothy looked over at Carl, who looked down at the floor.  She then looked back over to her window as she tried to remember.
That doesn’t seem right…she thought.  But she decided to go with what Dr. Ramsay reported to her until she was able to talk to Carl alone.  Dorothy swallowed and nodded in response. 
The doctor continued.  “Your friends brought you back here and that was when your boyfriend phoned your parents and me.  The rest of your friends stayed until we arrived.”
Dorothy nodded again, still trying to place the events of the night and also grateful for Carl and her friends.  She looked back over at Carl who peered back up at her with the same look of guilt on his face. 
“So you really think she’ll be alright?”  Liz asked taking her daughter’s hand.
“I think so,” Dr. Ramsay said, “it was likely fatigue or dehydration.  Her vitals are all working.  But of course, should anything change, don’t hesitate to give me a ring.  I’ll phone in the morning to see how she’s feeling.”
Matthew and Liz thanked the doctor before seeing him to the door.  Carl gave him a small smile and thank you before Dr. Ramsay left the room with Mr. and Mrs. Blake. 
Dorothy and Carl stared at one another, neither one of them moving, as Matthew and Liz said goodnight to Dr. Ramsay, thanking him once again.  Carl opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Dorothy’s parents entering the room again.
“Are you feeling any better, dear?” Liz asked sitting by Dorothy on the bed.
“Yes, mom,” Dorothy answered still feeling rather distant from everything.
“Well, Dr. Ramsay said that you are to rest for the remainder of the night,” Matthew added.
“Sure,” Dorothy said and looked again at Carl.  Matthew and Liz followed her gaze.
“And you,” Matthew said with a stern tone to Carl.  Carl’s head snapped toward Dorothy’s father.  Dorothy could see immediate fear in her boyfriend’s eyes. 
“I’ll never understand for the life of me what you all find so fascinating about that Fleming property that you had to go up there late at night,” Matthew continued, “do you have any idea how dangerous that is?  God only know who or what those buildings or woods could be hiding.  Of all the places you all could have gone to tonight.”
Carl looked as though he were at a loss for words before uttering out an “I’m sorry, Mr. Blake.”
Dorothy spoke up.  “Dad, please don’t be angry with Carl.  It was just as much my idea as it was his.  As much as it was all of ours.  It’s Halloween and we were just looking to have some fun, that’s all.”
“But your mother and I thought that you all were going to George Kolinski’s party,” Matthew said.
“We did,” Dorothy answered, “and then we went to Chuck’s Diner and we got the idea to go exploring.”
Matthew sighed and closed his eyes and Liz put an arm around her daughter.  They both worried about Dorothy.  She was their only child and they had been unable to have anymore.  Liz had had three other pregnancies that had all resulted in miscarriages.  Two of them had been before Dorothy and the last had been after her.  Matthew and Liz had struggled at not being too overprotective of their daughter.  They had seen her come out from her shell during her senior year of high school and for that, they were happy.  And they liked Carl and thought him to be a very nice boy.  But there was still that shadow of worry that followed Matthew and Liz, especially after the night they had come bolting into their then seven-year-old daughter’s bedroom.  They still never knew the details of what had terrified their daughter so.  But it was still something that haunted Matthew and Liz to that very day and would never stop. 
Matthew opened his eyes, seeing the dreamcatcher that still hung from the ceiling over the headboard of Dorothy’s bed.  The Blakes were Irish Catholics but still held close much of their Native American heritage, thanks to Kimimela Blake.  The dreamcatcher played a prominent role in the traditions of the Ojibwe and several tribes within the Sioux.  Kimimela’s Lakota grandmother had been the one to really insist on it’s use for their children and grandchildren.  After that, every one of the descendents of Jonathan and Kimimela would receive a child’s dream catcher at birth and an adult one on their thirteenth birthday.  The child’s dreamcatcher wasn’t very strongly made as it was meant to fall apart as the child began to make the entrance into adulthood.  The adult’s dream catcher was sturdier as it was supposed to be with an individual from the journey into adulthood up until old age.  Matthew still had his that hung over the bed of him and Liz.  The dream catcher was said to be a representation of the life cycle and that in life, good and bad forces will be trying to influence one’s steps and that one must choose their paths wisely.  It was also said that the night is filled with activity, both light and dark.  Both will try to make it’s way to an unsuspecting, sleeping individual and the good is meant to pass through the webs and trickle down to the individual and give them pleasant dreams that will guide their steps in fulfilling their own awake dreams in life. 
The morning after the nightmare that had left a seven-year-old Dorothy so shaken that Liz had to call Dorothy in sick at school, Matthew had taken off from work that day to take a two hour trainride upstate and deep into the woods of the Appalachain Mountains to where a grandson of Kimimela’s twin brother, Sunkwa, resided.  The man’s name was Tahatan and he possessed many of the healing and spiritual gifts of his and Matthew’s great grandfather Howahkan.  Tahatan had noticed a loose thread in Dorothy’s dream catcher.  He tightened it and even observed that it was still a little too soon for Dorothy’s child dream catcher to begin falling apart.  Tahatan also recited a prayer and blessing over it so that it may bring the little girl comfort and happiness as she slept.  Matthew had ended up staying overnight as there was much that Tahatan needed to tell him (Dorothy would sleep with her mother in Matthew and Liz’s bed that night).  The two men had walked the trails in the woods as Tahatan reiterated the legend behind the origins of the dream catcher.  He then proceeded to tell Matthew of visions that Howahkan and all of his children had had, including Kimimela.  Visions of blood and death.

“I wish I had better news to give you, Brother,” Tahatan said with regret filling his voice.
Matthew stood beside his cousin, the grandson of his great uncle Sunkwa.  The Appalachian woodland surrounded them.  The air was crisp as the season cycle had just made it’s transition from summer into autumn.  It was peaceful here and Matthew could understand why Tahatan chose to live here instead of in a busier suburban or urban setting.  Matthew had also noticed a shift in the atmosphere as he drove up here, though he couldn’t quite place how or why. 
“Every area on this great Earth is alive,” Tahatan said as though he were able to read Matthew’s thoughts, “even the areas that don’t appear to have any activity.  In fact, sometimes those tend to be the most active.”
Matthew looked at Tahatan and then turned his gaze up toward the tops of the trees.  “Why does this have to have anything to do with my family?  With my daughter?  Dorothy is my and Liz’s only child as we have been unable to have anymore.”
Tahatan nodded.  “I understand your frustration.”
“Oh that is an understatement,” Matthew said, “frustration doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
“If it can provide any comfort, being aware of such things can be the first step to fighting it,” Tahatan said, “unfortunately, the visions of our great grandfather, your grandmother, my grandfather, and their other two siblings seem to point to the descendents of Jonathan and Kimimela.”
Matthew turned his eyes downward.  For a second, he thought of his colleagues at work and what their reaction may be if they knew exactly what he was doing when he had taken off from work.  Of course, they would dismiss much of what Tahatan was telling Matthew as hogwash.  ‘Dorothy had a bad dream.  It happens with kids,’ they would say.  But this just wasn’t a bad dream.  This was much more.  He and Liz had run into the room to find Dorothy backed up against her headboard, staring with wide, horrified eyes at a corner in her room by the closet.  And the look in Dorothy’s eyes at that moment was an image that was forever burned into Matthew’s mind.  Even after Dorothy had calmed down, she still refused to sleep in her room alone and with the light off.  What was even more puzzling was how terrified Dorothy was, yet she was unable to recall any details of her dream.  This wasn’t just a case of a child having a bad dream and the intuition that Matthew had inherited from Kimimela told him that.
“Do you know what it is?” Matthew asked.
Tahatan sighed.  “Not exactly.  But I keep getting the feeling that it is selective.  Meaning, it will only affect certain individuals of the family.”
“Well, what does it want?  Where does it come from?”
“I can’t say I know for certain.  Many of these are forces have no beginning or end.  They can show up at any time and for any number of reasons.  Why it’s coming to the houses of Jonathan and Kimimela, can be for a reason as far back as something an early ancestor may have done when they were alive.  If that’s the case, a bloodline can go for many generations without having any incidents only to have a force suddenly descend upon their house.  Usually to collect a debt owed to them.”
Matthew was silent.  It all seemed much more complicated than he thought he could handle.  But then, a thought occurred to him.  “Wasn’t one of my grandmother’s visions involving some young girl cutting her hand in some kind of blood oath?”
Tahatan looked at him and slowly nodded.  “That is correct, yes.  She and Jonathan had just discovered that she was carrying their eldest son, Chaska.”
“But the girl wasn’t related to either of my grandparents,” Matthew said.
“No,” Tahatan confirmed, “Kimimela’s spirit was taken across the ocean when she had the dream.  But, there was a reason she was meant to see it.  And that is when the visions of Howahkan became stronger and my grandfather began having them as well.”
Matthew thought for a moment before he said, “Well, since we don’t know all the details, what can I do in the meantime for Dorothy?”
“Keep a close watch on her, especially at this time.  Whatever it was that gave her such a fright can return.  That I can tell you for certain.”  Tahatan paused as though he were getting a signal of some kind before he continued.  “Also, make sure Ronald watches his youngest.”
“What could whatever this is want with Cletus?” Matthew asked.  His older brother Ronald’s son, Cletus, was six-years-old and a year younger than Dorothy.
“That’s just the vibration I’m getting,” Tahatan said, “of course, I will write to Ronald myself.  But it will help if both of us can tell him.”
“Good luck with Eunice, though,” Matthew said of his sister-in-law. 
Tahatan smiled.  “I think we’ve gotten her a little more warmed up.”
Ronald’s wife, Eunice, had come from the Farnon family who, like the Blakes, were a Catholic, Black Irish family.  The Farnons, including Eunice, were very devout in their faith and it did take Eunice a little while to warm up to the fact that Ronald and his other siblings still kept some of the Lakota/Sioux traditions along with the Catholic practices.  She was initially put off by giving her and Ronald’s two eldest sons, Chayton and Raymond, dream catchers at birth.  But Eunice was more welcoming of the tradition by the time Cletus was born and she found that some of the Sioux traditions didn’t really clash all that much with her Catholic faith.  The Blakes had found a way to intermingle the two rather nicely. 
It was a light-hearted moment before Tahatan grew serious again.  “But I mean it.  Watch Dorothy.  And make sure Ronald watches Cletus.  Your family is also Catholic.  Get as much to protect you as you can and be careful to not leave any loopholes open.”
“Like the one you just fixed in Dorothy’s dream catcher,” Matthew said.
“Yes,” Tahatan said, “but in any protection you may have…make sure that there isn’t a way for the darkness to find it’s way in.”

Matthew stood in his daughter’s room, staring at the dream catcher and recalling Tahatan’s words from a decade ago.  He had been protective of Dorothy up until her beginning hight school.  It was then that he and Liz both acknowledged that they couldn’t keep Dorothy from growing up and living her life.  For the most part, Matthew was fine with Dorothy wanting to go out with Carl and her other friends.  But there was something about her going up to the Fleming Orphanage that bothered him.  There was just something about that place that made his skin crawl everytime he passed it.  But at that moment, all that was important to him was that Dorothy was alright and safe.
Perhaps I will phone Tahatan in the morning, he thought.
Matthew then turned to Carl and said, “I apologize for snapping at you.  Liz and I do appreciate you looking after Dorothy and phoning us about what happened.”
Carl’s eyebrows rose.  “No, it’s okay.  I understand why you’d be upset,” he stammered.
Matthew gave Carl a small smile.  Liz watched her husband and daughter’s boyfriend by the door before saying, “Carl, why don’t you go get Dorothy some water.  There’s also a bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinent in our bathroom.”
“Sure,” Carl said.
“Mom, I’m fine,” Dorothy protested.
“Just to have by your bedside in case you need it,” Liz said.
Dorothy relented.  “Alright.”
Carl disappeared into the hall and Matthew stepped over to the foot of the bed.
“Well, I suppose we’re calling it a night,” Matthew said.
“What?  Why?” Dorothy asked sounding more abrupt than she meant to.  She had been looking forward to an evening alone with Carl and still wanted to have it despite not feeling very well.
“Honey, we got a phone call saying that our daughter was passed out and the doctor was called,” Liz answered, “we’re not going to return to the party and leave you here alone.”
“Carl’s here,” Dorothy said with caution.
Matthew and Liz exchanged glances.  They were’t completely comfortable with their daughter being in the house alone with a boy, even if they did like Carl.
“Mom, Dad.  I’m almost eighteen and Carl is a gentleman,” Dorothy said.
“I know,” Matthew said, “but being alone in the house…”
“Other girls in my class get to be alone with their boyfriends,” Dorothy said, “and they’re all fine.”
As those words came out, Dorothy hoped her parents wouldn’t ask for names as she wasn’t about to snitch on Gail and Linda.  To Dorothy’s relief, Matthew and Liz didn’t question further with that.
“We’re not those other girls’ parents, though,” Matthew said.
Dorothy decided to try another angle.  “But now I’m going to feel guilty because I’m spoiling your evening at the party.”
“Dear, don’t feel that way,” Liz said.
“But this was a night for you two to be out with your friends.  Please, mom, dad.  Don’t you trust me?”
“Of course we do,” Matthew said.
“And you know Carl isn’t a cad.  Has he ever given you any reason to think so?”  Dorothy said.
“No honey,” Matthew said, “you know your mother and I like Carl.”
“Well like I said,” Dorothy said, “I’m almost eighteen, Carl isn’t a cad, and I don’t want to be the one to spoil your evening.  I’m fine.  Dr. Ramsay even said I’ll be fine.  And I promise if anything happens, Carl or I will phone you.”
Matthew and Liz were silent as they considered what their daughter was saying. 
“I’m not a little girl,” Dorothy said, “you have to let me live my life.  Especially since I’ll be graduating high school in the summer.”
Matthew sighed.  He knew Dorothy was right.  But there was a nagging feeling he had about this evening.  Matthew looked at his daughter’s eyes.  He could tell Carl meant a lot to her and any father would be concerned about his daughter being alone with a boy.  Even a nice one.  But he also knew that he and Liz couldn’t keep Dorothy locked in her room, something he would sometimes jokingly threaten to do as his daughter was growing up.  Dorothy had grown into a very intelligent, responsible, level-headed, and beautiful young lady.  He knew that Dorothy wouldn’t make any decisions concerning Carl frivolously.
Matthew looked at Liz, who looked back at him.  They were at a place in their marriage where they could communicate without saying a word.  Sometimes just a simple look could say everything.
Matthew then looked back at his daughter who stared at him with anticipation. “Dorothy,” he began, “if we leave you here with Carl, I want you to promise to give us a call exactly one hour after we leave.  The phone number to the Millers is by the telephone in the sitting room.”
Dorothy nodded with enthusiasm.  “Yes!  Yes, I promise.”
“And we would prefer it if Carl didn’t stay over,” Liz said, “but if he does, we want to come home to him either sleeping on the couch or the guest room down the hall.”
“Absolutely,” Dorothy said.
At that moment, Carl slowly entered the doorway holding a glass of water and a bottle of aspirin.  “Am I okay to come in?” he asked with a nervous smile.
“Sure Carl,” Matthew said.
Carl entered the room and placed the water and aspirin bottle on Dorothy’s nightstand.
“Carl, can I speak with you for a moment?” Matthew asked.
“Sure,” Carl said.
They left Liz and Dorothy in the bedroom as Matthew led Carl down into the sitting room.  Matthew sat in the armchair while Carl sat across from him on the couch.  The two of them had sat this way and made small talk when Carl had come to take Dorothy out for the first time.  But now they were going to be having a more serious talk.  They sat in silence for a few seconds before Matthew cleared his throat to speak.
“Carl,” he began, “first I want to apologize again for coming down hard on you upstairs.  My wife and I do appreciate you looking after Dorothy and taking the initiative to call us and Dr. Ramsay.  I also appreciate you not trying to cover up where you all were tonight.  I’m not crazy about the idea of Dorothy being up at the Fleming property.  Especially this late at night.  I do think you all could have been a little more responsible in the decision making as far as that went.  But you all are also still young and I would be lying if I said I never made an irresponsible move when I was your and Dorothy’s age.”
“We were in a group, Mr. Blake,” Carl said, “I wouldn’t have taken Dorothy up there alone.”
“I understand,” Matthew said, “but that property has empty buildings that haven’t been tended to in decades and thick brush.  It’s dangerous enough in the day.  Anyone or anything could be hiding out up there.”
There was also more to Matthew’s concerns, of course.  But he wasn’t sure of how to start getting into the Blake family history with Carl.  He knew that one day he would have to, especially if Carl and Dorothy would ever get to a place where they would start planning a future.  Especially if they planned on having children.  Maybe he would take Carl up to visit with Tahatan.
He could explain things better than I ever could, Matthew thought.  Perhaps he would bring that up with Tahatan when he phoned him in the morning.
“I know,” Carl said, “I’m sorry.  It was just a bunch of kids looking for some Halloween laughs.  That’s all.  I would never do anything to hurt Dorothy.”
“I realize that,” Matthew said, “but I did want you to know how I felt about you taking Dorothy up there.”
Carl swallowed as his feeling of guilt came back to him.  As usual, he had gotten caught up in the moment when Jimmy dared him to go find a werewolf in the woods that surrounded the buildings on the Fleming property.  That’s something that always happened with Carl when he was presented with a dare or a less than conventional activity.  But being up on that property was enough for Carl to see that perhaps there was something more to the folklore that surrounded it.  And because of that, he couldn’t blame Matthew for being less than thrilled at the thought of Carl taking Dorothy up there. 
“I understand,” Carl said, “and I promise you that won’t happen again.”
“Good,” Matthew said.  “Now, another thing I wanted to speak to you about.”
“Okay,” Carl said.
“Dorothy has made it pretty clear that she wants to spend more time with you this night,” Matthew said.
Carl tried to keep his gaze on Matthew as every one of his nerve endings felt as though they were on fire.  All he could do was nod.
Matthew continued.  “If her mother and I allow that to happen, I want to set some ground rules.  I know you and Dorothy are almost adults and will be graduating high school, but I’m still her father.”
“Of course,” Carl said, trying to keep his voice from shaking.
“Well, Liz and I told Dorothy that if we leave you two here…alone, that I want either you or her to call us at the Millers exactly one hour after we leave.  And I’m going to be honest and say that we would prefer for you not to stay overnight.  But we also don’t want Dorothy to be left alone until we were to come back home.  So, if you stay, there is either the couch in this room or there is the guest room down the hall from Dorothy’s room.  We don’t want to come home to you in Dorothy’s room.”
“Yes sir,” Carl said.
Matthew let out a breath.  “Alright.  Well, Liz and I were planning on coming home at around 4 or 4:30am originally and I suppose we’ll be sticking to that.  It’s nearly one o’ clock now.”
“Sounds good,” Carl said as the two of them rose to standing.
“But Carl,” Matthew said, “really, Liz and I do appreciate you looking after Dorothy.  And we are trusting you and her to both be responsible.  I’m only doing this because I trust you and Dorothy.  Don’t ruin that.”
“I won’t,” Carl promised.
“Good,” Matthew said.
Carl followed Matthew back up the stairs to Dorothy’s room where Liz and Dorothy were.  Dorothy was taking a sip of water as they entered the room and Carl noticed that Liz had apparantely shut the window.  She quickly looked up as her father and boyfriend entered the room, trying to read their expressions.
“Well,” Matthew began, “Liz, if you want to we can return to the party and come back here at the time we initially planned to.”
Dorothy immediately brightened.  “Thanks, Dad!”
“But you both have to abide by the conditions we have set,” Matthew said.  “You phone us at the Millers at exactly an hour after we leave.  And Carl is not to sleep in your bedroom.”
“Yes, of course,” Dorothy said.
Dorothy could see a hint of reluctance in her father’s eyes, but she could also tell that her father wanted to treat her like a responsible adult.  She knew this was a giant step for him as he had always been rather protective of his only child.  It made her think of Gail and Linda and how their parents had loosened the strings on them when they had entered their second year of high school.  Sure they still made sure their daughters were home at a reasonable hour, but the curfew that Gail and Linda had was an hour later than what Matthew and Liz set for Dorothy.  It was only that passed summer that Matthew and Liz had relented and raised Dorothy’s curfew to match that of her friends. 
Before they left Dorothy’s room, Matthew and Liz both reiterated that they were trusting Carl and Dorothy to behave responsibly.  Dorothy then got a hug from both of her parents before Carl walked with them to the front door.  She could hear Carl and her parents saying goodnight to one another.  She sat staring out her window at the moon as Carl shut the door, locked it, and began to ascend the stairs to Dorothy’s bedroom.
Dorothy looked back to the door as Carl re-entered and sat at the foot of her bed.  She could feel her heart starting to pound as Carl brought a hand to her stocking covered foot.  Neither said a word for what seemed like a long time and simply sat looking at one another in the dim light of their room.  They had not been this nervous around eachother since the first time they went out on a date.  But now here they were, alone in a house together for the rest of the night.  Carl tried to shift his mind away from what he had originally wanted to spend the rest of the night doing as he kept hearing Matthew’s warnings.
Finally, Carl spoke up.  “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” Dorothy said.
“Do you want an aspirin?” Carl asked nodding toward the bottle on the nightstand.  “I can get it for you.”
“No thanks.  I’m fine.”  Dorothy looked down and fidgeted with the damp washcloth that had been on her forehead only a moment ago.
“I’m sorry,” Carl said.
“What for?”
“For messing tonight up.”
“Carl, you didn’t mess it up,” Dorothy said.  “We all agreed to go up there.  It was all of our idea.  We all went along with it.”
“I know,” Carl said, “but it started with me accepting a dare from Jimmy.”
“Well then,” Dorothy said giving Carl a grin, “if it’s anyone’s fault it’s Jimmy’s.”  It was an attempt to lighten the moment and it did make them both relax a little.
“Well, Jim isn’t here to defend himself,” Carl said smiling, “so maybe we’ll go with that.”
There was a pause as they continued to look at eachother.
“I’m just afraid of disappointing you,” Carl said.  This night was going a lot differently than he had initially envisioned.
“You’re not disappointing me,” she said with a rather shy smile.
Carl slowly moved closer to Dorothy and said, “You took quite a fall.  You didn’t even appear to be breathing at one point.”
Dorothy looked down and began pick at her light blue bedspread with one hand.  She remembered running through a thick, silvery haze and being persued by…she didn’t know what.
“I’m glad you’re here,” she said to Carl, still looking down at her bed cover.
She could sense Carl bringing his hand up to her cheek.  He slowly ran it down to her chin, turning her face up to look at him. “I’m glad you’re okay,” he told her before leaning to softly brush her lips with his. 
Dorothy welcomed the physical contact with Carl and the incident between the two of them that took place in Maxine’s childhood room started to come back to her and even made her heart flutter a little and her nerves begin to dissolve.  There were still some incidents of the night that were a blur to her, but she remembered Carl’s words to her very well.
“So what exactly happened?”  Dorothy asked when she and Carl parted.
“Well…Gail said that one second the two of you were standing in the washroom talking and the next you’re crumpling to the floor.  And then…” Carl stopped.  He wasn’t sure if he should give Dorothy anymore details.
“Then what?” Dorothy pressed.
Carl remained silent.
“Carl!”  Dorothy exclaimed.
“Dorothy, I don’t want to upset you.”
“Carl just tell me what happened,” Dorothy said.  “Are you saying I can’t handle it?”
“No!” Carl answered.  “I just…well, Gail said that you looked…not like yourself before you collapsed.  As though your face morphed.  She also said that your eyes rolled so far back into your head that all she could see were the whites.”
A shudder ran down Dorothy’s body.  Carl then drew in a breath before continuing.
“We also couldn’t even get the washroom door open.  From the outside or the inside.  I had to pick the lock and even that was a challenge.  It was as though something was trying to keep us out.  I know that sounds silly.”
“Not at all…” Dorothy heard herself say.  Then she looked back at Carl and said, “How did you get me up here?”
Carl’s eyes shifted to the floor in a sheepish manner before he said, “I carried you.  Down the stairs, out to Jimmy’s car, and then in here.”
Dorothy felt a pang of disappointment enter her.  He carried me in his arms and I was passed out through it?
“You carried me down five flights of stairs and then halfway down the hill to where the car was parked?” Dorothy asked.
“You’re very light,” he said.  “Besides, I had to get you out of there somehow…and I found that I like to carry you.”
Dorothy felt small butterflies inside of her and she looked back down at her bed cover as a smile spread over her lips.
“When we got back here,Gail got your key out from your bag and we were able to open the door,” Carl continued.  “I carried you up here and everyone stayed until your parents and Dr. Ramsay got here.”
“I thought you wanted to go back to your place,” Dorothy said softly.
“I did,” Carl answered, “but that was before you passed out.  I thought you would be more comfortable here in your own bedroom.”
Dorothy was silent for a moment before she said, “Thank you.  And I’m sorry I ruined everyone’s night.  I still don’t know what came over me or why I fainted.”
“Baby, you didn’t ruin anyone’s night,” Carl said touching a hand to her cheek, “and Dr. Ramsay said it was probably just fatigue or dehydration.”
Dorothy looked back up at him.  “But what could have even caused that?  I don’t think I would do anything that would cause those things.”
“You tend to study hard.  Too hard, sometimes,” Carl teased her.
“And what’s wrong with that?” Dorothy asked.
“Nothing’s wrong with that,” Carl said.  “I like having a girl with a good mind.”
“Well I’m glad because that is what you’re stuck with if you want to continue seeing me,” Dorothy said.
Carl paused, looking into Dorothy’s eyes as he stroked the side of her face.
“I meant what I said, you know, earlier,” he said.  “I do love you.”
Dorothy felt her heart warm all over again, the way it did when Carl had first spoke to her in the hall at school and then up at the Fleming property when Carl had told her how he felt. 
“Me too,” she answered, “I love you too, Carl.”
They leaned into one another, each claiming the lips of the other with a growing passion.  Dorothy could feel Carl moving in close to her and slipping an arm around her waist.  His hand that was on her cheek moved back into her hair, his fingers gently combing through the dark brown waves.  Dorothy began to allow her body to mold into Carl’s when she suddenly remembered something. 
“Baby,” Carl said as he felt her body tensing, “what is it?  Are you okay?  Am I being too forward?  Because if I am, tell me.”
“The boy…” Dorothy said, a wave of sadness washing over her.
I could feel his sadness.  His sorrow…
“What do you mean?” Carl asked
“I remember something from earlier.  There was a boy.  A little boy.  He was about the age that Nathaniel Fleming was when he died from scarlet fever,” Dorothy said, “but it wasn’t Nathaniel.  I had never seen him before.  Not physically, at least.”
“Whoa.  Slow down, honey,” Carl said, “was this while you were passed out?  I mean, we saw quite a few strange things up there, but I don’t remember that.”
Dorothy nodded.  “Yes.  This was while I was passed out.  I was in the woods and I saw him.  He actually looked almost exactly they way I pictured Heathcliff as a young boy whenever I would read Wuthering Heights.  Like a gypsy boy.  I don’t remember anything else.  Except that he kept telling me that he couldn’t find his brother.  He seemed so sad…”
Carl was quiet as he took in Dorothy’s words.
“I know, this sounds crazy,” Dorothy said.  She knew there was more to what she saw while passed out, but she couldn’t remember it no matter how hard she tried to.  A terrifying feeling of dream came over her and she began to feel the same way she felt at the age of seven when she had traumatizing nightmare she could not remember.  Tears began to spill from her eyes and she heard a voice in the back of her mind.
But you did remember…up at the property…right before you left your body…
“Honey…” Carl said as he took Dorothy into his arms.  He held her as the tears continued to spill down her face.  Carl held his girlfriend’s shaking body to him, feeling worried for her all over again.
“Baby,” he whispered, “I’m sure whatever it was…it was simply a dream from you being passed out.  It’s alright.  I’m here.”
Dorothy wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand and Carl gave her his handkerchief which she gladly accepted.
“Everything’s just so confusing…” Dorothy choked out.  “And I can’t even remember it all no matter how much I try…”
Dorothy wanted so much to tell Carl what had happened to her as a little girl, but her mouth could barely form any words at that moment.  Carl pulled Dorothy to him and allowed her to sob into his shoulder and would whisper the occasional comforting words. 
“I love you Dorothy,” he said, “and I’m here and not going anywhere.”
I want to be with you forever, he thought.
As Dorothy’s sobs began to die down, Carl’s eyes turned to look out the window to the bright moon that looked in at them through a small opening in the curtains.  His thoughts drifted back to the orphanage and all that had happened that evening.  The thing was, he was scared for Dorothy.  Much more than he let on.  He remembered seeing Reginald, Gail, Jimmy, and Linda on the verge of something of a sex orgy and that was disturbing enough.  But when he had managed to open the washroom door and saw Dorothy crumpled on the floor…she was laying in such an unnatural position and even in the dimness of Jimmy’s light, Carl could see Dorothy’s face had gone pale…almost gray.  There was a moment when he actually thought he had lost her.  A thought he never wanted to have again. 
In that moment that Carl was sitting on Dorothy’s bed holding her, his first impulse was to make her his, the way Jimmy had made Linda his.  He wanted to let Dorothy know that he was committed and that the thought of losing her was almost unbearable.  But then he remembered Matthew Blake’s words to him and wanted to respect the wishes of her father.  Carl sighed and tightened his hold on Dorothy.
I’m here and you’re safe now.  I won’t let anything hurt you.
But what Carl didn’t know was that beyond the curtain and the safety of the walls, someone stood on the sidewalk under a streetlamp as a shadowed sillouhette, gazing up through the small opening of the curtains into Dorothy’s bedroom. 
Carl was lost in the world that was him and Dorothy.  He was taken out of that world with the shrill sound of the telephone’s ring piercing through the stillness of the house.


Gail sat with her bare feet up on the couch in the sitting room at Reginald’s house as she waited for either Carl or Dorothy to pick up the phone.  Reginald sat across from her in a chair, watching with anticipation.  They both knew that the phone may have to ring a couple times before either Carl or Dorothy could make it over to the kitchen or sitting room from Dorothy’s bedroom. 
Gail and Reginald had begun an attempt at taking advantage of both of their parents being gone for the night.  But they both knew that any attempts at romance would be futile until they could be assured that Dorothy was alright.  Finally, someone picked up the phone on the other end.
“Blake residence.”  Gail breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of Carl’s voice.
“Carl!  It’s Gail.  Reginald and I were worried about Dorothy.  How is she doing?”
“Oh hi, Gail.  Dorothy’s fine.  She woke up not too long ago and her parents just left to go back to the Miller’s.  Dr. Ramsay said she’s going to be fine and she just needs to rest.”
Gail nodded to Reginald, signaling that Dorothy was alright.  Reginald gave her a small, relieved smile.
“Oh good,” Gail said, “I mean, we knew she would be okay, but Reginald and I just wanted to be sure.”
“Well, I appreciate it and I’m sure Dorothy will too.  I’ll tell her you called,” Carl said.
“Great,” Gail said, “well, I won’t keep you.  Especially since Mr. and Mrs. Blake returned to the party.  You must have really won them over!”
“I hope so,” Carl said.
Well, have a good night, you two.  Give Dorothy our love,” Gail said.
“I’m sure Carl will be giving her plenty,” Reginald said with a teasing grin.
“I heard that,” Carl replied.
Gail laughed.  “Alright, well I’ll let you go and get back to Dorothy.”
“Sounds good,” Carl said.  “Hey!  Maybe we can all do something tomorrow afternoon.  I think Linda still has the souveniers we took in her bag.”
“I’m sure Reginald and I will be up for that,” Gail said, “you haven’t spoken to Jimmy or Linda, have you?”
“Nope.  But I think it’s safe to say that they are occupied right now.”
“True,” Gail said, “well, I’m sure we’ll talk to them tomorrow if nothing else and I’m sure they’ll be up for going out somewhere.  Not to the Fleming property, of course.”
“Yeah I think I had enough of that place,” Carl said as he remembered a still shaken Dorothy up in the bedroom alone.  At that moment, he felt an urgency to get back up to her.  “Listen Gail, I have to run.  Tell Reginald I said hi and I’m sure we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“Sounds good,” Gail said.  “We’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Have fun, you two,” Carl said before hanging up the phone.
Gail set the receiver back into the cradle as Reginald came over to the couch, sitting beside Gail and taking her feet into his lap.
“So I take it Dorothy’s alright?” Reginald asked.
Gail nodded, lying back on the couch, stretching her legs over Reginald’s lap.  “Yeah.  Which is fortunate.  The scary thing is that I don’t think she would have been if I hadn’t caught her in time.  She came really close to cracking her head on the sink.” 
 It would have ended up being a completely different night, that’s for sure.
“Well the important thing is that she’s alright,” Reginald said.  “How about we forget about the Fleming Orphanage?”
“Yeah, I’m all for that,” Gail said, “and I’m sure Carl will take good care of Dorothy.  Apparently, Mr. and Mrs. Blake trust him enough to knowingly allow him to be alone in the house with her.” 
Gail recalled the talk she had with Dorothy about Carl in the washroom and couldn’t help the smile that spread across her dark red lips.
“And what are you so happy about all of a sudden?” Reginald asked.
“Nothing.  Just a talk Dorothy and I had earlier,” Gail said, “about her and Carl.  You know, girl stuff.”
Reginald nodded.  “Well, I think I might have an idea of what you two talked about.  Because Carl and I had quite a talk too as we tried to drown out part 2 of the End of Summer Party.”
“Let me take a wild guess,” Gail said.  “Jimmy and Linda.”
“Yep.  Even up there they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.  And if memory serves me correctly, neither could a certain attractive brunette.”
Gail threw a couch pillow at Reginald.  “Hey!  I don’t know what the hell that was up there.”  Gail paused growing more serious.  “It was as though something else was in me.  Both in the master bedroom and Maxine’s dormroom when I told Linda off.  I still feel really bad about that.”
“I know,” Reginald said, “but you and Linda made up.”
“Yeah,” Gail said, “it just bothers me that it even happened in the first place.”
“Hey, I thought we were going to forget the Fleming property,” Reginald said.
Gail sighed.  “Yeah, you’re right.  Dorothy ended up being okay and the rest of us made it out alive.”
Reginald smiled and set Gail’s bare aside before going over to the radio on the other end of the room.  Gail sat up as Reginald turned the dials until he found a station where Rudy Vallee was crooning out one of the year’s new songs.  Gail rolled her eyes and laughed as Reginald sang along, doing his own exaggerated version of Vallee’s As Time Goes By.  He then extend a hand to Gail and asked, “May I have the pleasure of this dance?”
Gail smiled, “Absolutely.”
She took Reginald’s hand as he brought her to her feet and close to him.  As they swayed to the music, Reginald leaned in and kissed Gail’s lips.  Gail returned the kiss and then held Reginald shoulders with both arms.  Reginald also brought his other arm down to meet the other one at her waist.  The intensity of their embrace deepened as Vallee’s voice filled the room.


Only a block away at the Parker residence, Rudy Vallee serenaded Jimmy and Linda as they finished using the large bathtub in her parents’ washroom.  They knew they had plenty of time as Howard and Eva Parker were notorious for being the last ones to leave a party.  Linda also knew that her parents would also go straight to their bedroom and pass out for most of the morning, so there would be a lot of opportunity for Jimmy to leave out her bedroom window.  Howard and Eva were also accustomed to their daughter spending time with Jimmy and they had no reason to dislike their daughter’s boyfriend.  Jimmy had always been good about bringing Linda in by curfew and Howard had already given his blessing to Jimmy’s intending to make a formal marriage proposal to Linda that Christmas.
Linda was in her satin, pink, lace trimmed robe as she lit the candles on her nightstand.  Jimmy entered the room wearing only a towel wrapped around his waist, shutting the door behind him.  He watched the outline of Linda’s form beneath the thin material of her robe in the glow of the candlelight.  A smile played across Jimmy’s lips as he walked up behind Linda, slipping his arms around her waist as she blew her match out.  Linda placed the burned out match on one of the candleholders and leaned against Jimmy’s strong, muscular torso.  She felt his arousal against her and responded to his lips at the base of her neck as he began to untie the sash that held her robe closed…


At the Blake residence, Carl returned to Dorothy’s bedroom as quickly as he could, following his conversation with Gail.  As he approached the doorway, he could hear the sounds of Rudy Vallee flowing out into the hallway.  He was relieved when he entered the room to see Dorothy switching on the small radio on her nightstand.  Carl stood, just watching her as she adjusted the radio’s dial.  Dorothy turned her head to see Carl standing watching her.  She offered him a small smile as she sat back on the bed.  Her crying had stopped, though her eyes were still a little puffy. 
Carl returned her smile and made his way back to her side on the bed.  Dorothy kept her eyes on him, looking very intently up at him. 
“May I sit down?” Carl asked.
Dorothy nodded and scooted over a little to give Carl more room.  Carl sat down and said, “That was Gail.  She and Reginald wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“That was nice,” Dorothy said.
“We also all may do something tomorrow.  If you’re up for it.”
“I should be,” Dorothy said.
The two of them sat without saying anything.  For a moment, Rudy Vallee was doing the talking for them.  Carl slowly slipped his hand under her chin, gently holding it between his thumb and index finger.  Dorothy held his gaze.  The normal mischievous glint had left Carl’s eyes and in it’s place was a gentleness, a sweetness.  It was a look that was reserved only for Dorothy and it made her heart race. 
“Baby…I know you’re not feeling well,” Carl said.
“I’m actually alright now,” Dorothy said.  “Carl…I do love you.”
“I love you too, Dorothy.”  More than I can say…
Their lips met one another and Carl gently pulled Dorothy into him.  His arms were around her waist as he slowly moved a hand up her back.  Dorothy felt the tip of his tongue emerge from his mouth and explore the inside of her lips.  She slowly opened her lips more to allow for a complete entrance to her mouth and wrapped her arms tightly around his shoulders, allowing her body to merge with Carl’s.  At that moment, Dorothy couldn’t be more grateful for her parents returning to the party that night. 
“Are you okay to lie back?” Carl whispered against Dorothy’s mouth.
Dorothy felt her insides doing somersaults and all she could do was nod.  She allowed Carl to lead her to lying down.  She felt the softness of her pillow against her head followed by the firmness of Carl’s body on top of her.  Carl paused to remove his jacket, keeping his eyes on Dorothy’s.  To his surprise, Dorothy reached up and helped Carl take the jacket off before the clothing article fell to the floor.  Dorothy then put her arms around Carl, feeling his upper body through the material of his shirt and though she felt the urge to remove Carl’s shirt, she managed to restrain herself from doing so.  Carl’s lips camed down to meet hers again and she completely gave in to him, feeling his lips on hers and traveling across her jawline and down her neck to her collarbone.  Dorothy felt her heart pick up speed and blood begin to rush from her core and downward as Carl moved even lower, kissing her decollate through the material of her blouse.  He paused and looked back up at her and could see a combination of nerves and desire in her eyes.  Carl slowly brought his hand to the top button of her blouse.
“Is it alright if I undo some of these?” he asked.
Almost in a daze, Dorothy swallowed and nodded.  Carl began to undo the top buttons and it was just enough for him to slip his hand in to cup the material of her brassiere.  He then began to kiss her with a deeper hunger than before.  Her breath began to quicken as she felt Carl’s hand exploring the flesh above the material of the undergarment before the tips of his fingers slid inside the brassiere.  She let out a small gasp when his middle finger reached her nipple, softly stimulating it with circular movements.  Carl moved his lips from her mouth, down her neck, and to the tops of her breasts. 
Dorothy’s heart was beating so hard she thought it just might burst through her chest.  She heard Carl whisper her name as he undid the rest of the buttons of her blouse, pushing the material aside.  His lips where on her stomach, moving back upward as he pulled back the brassiere cup that his hand was just in.
“Oh God, you’re beautiful…” she heard him whisper before he brought his lips down to her exposed left breast.   Dorothy let out a soft cry, arching her back in response.  She could feel Carl becoming aroused through the material of his pants and she could feel the blood rushing between her legs.  She could hear her blood racing in her ears as she raked her fingers through the thickness of his hair. 
Dorothy opened her eyes, enjoying the sensations that Carl’s mouth on her bare skin was giving to her.  But she saw her ceiling spinning above her and her vision began to cloud over to blackness.  It was then she began to have that familiar feeling of being suffocated.  It was a something she had had before, yet she didn’t recall ever having.  She felt short of breath as a strong hand was on her throat, choking her.  She couldn’t see her assailant, yet she saw blood spilling onto the stone floor beside her.  She could feel a choked sob escaping her throat.
“Dorothy!” she heard a voice call to her.
Tears began to fill her eyes as she saw two dark, almost black eyes in front of her.
“Dorothy!”  The voice was more urgent this time and she recognized it.
“Carl…” she uttered out.  It was then that the blackness, the blood, the suffocation all began to dissipate.  She was back in her bedroom and Carl’s beautiful, eyes looking down at her and filled with alarm.  Dorothy’s body was trembling as she attempted to calm herself by trying to take even breaths.
“Dorothy, honey,” Carl said, “sweetheart, what happened?”
“I don’t know…”
Carl removed himself off of Dorothy, sitting upright beside her.  “Here baby, sit up,” he said.
Dorothy propped herself up on her arms, which were still shaking a little.  Carl removed her bed pillows from under her and propped them up against her headboard.  “Just sit up against these,” he said.  And she did.
“Do you need your water?” Carl asked, reaching for the half full glass on her nightstand.
Dorothy nodded and Carl handed her her water glass.  She slowly took a couple small, shaky sips before handing it back to Carl to set back on her nightstand. 
Carl looked at the poor, shaken girl, wanting so much to put his arms around her, but he didn’t want to make any moves until he knew what was going on.  He noticed that her breast was still exposed and slowly moved his hand to cover it with the material of her blouse.
“I’m sorry,” he said.  “I was moving too fast.”
Dorothy drew in a jagged breath.  She was beginning to feel the aftermath of what had just happened leave her and the safe feeling she had in being with Carl was returning to her.  She turned to look at him, his eyes filled with a mélange of confusion, concern, and anticipation.  She tried to come up with the words to say, but she couldn’t.  Instead she threw her arms around his shoulders and began to sob all over again.  She could feel Carl’s body releasing a breath as he brought his arms to hold her.
“It’s alright, baby.  I’m here,” he said and pressed a kiss to her hair.
They sat like that for what seemed like a while before Dorothy finally spoke.
“It wasn’t you,” she said.  “I don’t know what’s wrong with me tonight.”
Carl pulled back and saw the faraway look in Dorothy’s grayish-blue eyes.  He handed her his handkerchief which she used to dry her tear-stained face. 
“It’s alright,” Carl said.  “It was probably me moving to fast.  I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”
Dorothy looked up at Carl and it pained her to see the guilt in his eyes.  She brought a hand up to the side of his face and gave his lips a soft, chaste kiss.
“I love you, Carl,” she said.  “It wasn’t you.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  Please don’t feel guilty.  It’s just…this whole night has been…unusual…”
Dorothy wasn’t sure if ‘unusual’ was the correct term, but it was all her mind could comprehend at that moment.
“I know, baby,” Carl said and brought Dorothy into a gentle embrace. 
They sat that way, not moving as Dorothy continued to come down from the aftermath of the terror she had just felt.  She slipped her arms around Carl’s waist, pulling him closer to her as a way of telling him not to feel guilty and that she still wanted him.  She wanted him very much.  She feared Carl wanting to leave her after this.
He probably thinks I’m completely off my rocker.  And maybe I am.
On the same note, Carl feared that he may have pushed things too far with Dorothy that night.  She had had a terrible fainting spell earlier that her body was probably still recovering from. 
Carl sighed.  She probably thinks you’re a real cad now.  Especially after you just promised her father that you wouldn’t behave like one if he let you stay here tonight.
The two of them sat as Bing Crosby crooned out Stardust on the radio next to them.  Neither wanted to let go of the other and their embrace seemed to tighten with each passing minute. 
“Please don’t leave me,” came their two whispers simultaneously.  At first, neither was sure if the words were spoken aloud or mentally.  But as the announcer on the radio finished up by bidding whoever was listening goodnight and a Happy Halloween, Dorothy and Carl turned themselves to look at one another as they had both heard the words that were spoken by the other.

Read on to CHAPTER 18.

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