Sunday, May 26, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL: 1931-1933: Chapter 18 (UNEDITED)

Sorry this is a little late.  The weekend has been on the crazy side.

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 17 before proceeding to PART 2: Chapter 18.
 
Otherwise, read from the word go :)




CHAPTER 18

She was back here again.  She had been returned to the forest.  At least she thought it was the same forest.  The last time she had been here, everything had been blanketed in a silvery fog but this time, she could see everything clearly.  It was autumn in this forest and most of the trees, save for the evergreens were almost barren as the colors of red, orange, brown, and gold covered the woodland floor.  It was also daylight, appearing to have been just after sunrise.  The scent of forest brush was prominent and the air was cool on the skin of her arms.  She listened, hearing only the silence that surrounded her.  There were no sounds of life to be heard and not even the smallest amoung of wind blew.  But as Dorothy surveyed all that surrounded her, she noticed what appeared to be a glow off in the distance. 
Strange…she thought.
The land and trees were lit with an orange, red, and yellow light. 
Perhaps it’s the sun’s rays.
But the glow seemed to waver, as though the source were from a fire.  Possibly a campfire.  As she started toward the area, the sounds of her shoes crunching on the leaves were the only sound.  She looked down and for the first time, she noticed that she was wearing a long, white dress.  The dress was covered in white lace from the cap sleeves and V neck down to the hem that touched the leaves on the ground.  It looked nothing like anything she owned, but the material seemed familiar to her. 
Dorothy continued on toward the source of the glow, as though something were moving her along.  The crunching beneath her shoes echoed through the woods.  She was concerned about the noise, fearing that it may attract unwanted attention.  But whatever was pushing her in the direction she was going in didn’t allow her to slow down and adjust her steps.  Dorothy could feel her heart pounding as she approached a clearing.  She could see the wavering colors and shadows dancing in the early morning light off of the trees.  She did feel relief when she saw the glow was caused by a small campfire.
Dorothy stood as still as the trees around her, watching the flames flickering and dancing as the smoke curled upward into the air.  The fire was small but strong.
Dorothy frowned.  It’s blazing quite well without any wind…
But there was part of her that felt at ease, as though she belonged there. 
Dorothy took another step toward the fire.  She was savoring the warmth when she heard someone (or something) step up beside her.  Dorothy turned her head toward the other presence and let out a gasp.  It was him!  The little boy was back!   Every one of her nerve endings seemed to stand at attention as the boy turned his face to look up at her.  The sadness that reflected in his dark eyes began to take over Dorothy and she could feel her heart breaking for him.  She forced a smile at the boy in an attempt to give him some comfort, but the child’s face never cracked from it’s solemn expression.
“What’s your name, dear?” she asked.  She hadn’t noticed before how tinny and hollow her voice sounded here.
The boy looked away and back to the fire.  Dorothy stooped down to the boy’s level and said, “My name is Dorothy.”
“My brother used to come here,” he answered as if he hadn’t heard her.  Dorothy noticed the boy’s accent.  It was rather thick, resembling that of someone who had come from either Eastern Europe or one of the Arabic countries.
“Who is you’re brother?” Dorothy asked.
The boy turned back to face her.  “My brother comes here sometimes.  It makes him happy.”
Dorothy frowned and the boy continued.  “He brings her here.  He doesn’t know that I know, though.  But she makes him happy.  I think she’s the only one who really does.”
Dorothy paused before asking, “You know where we are?”
The boy didn’t answer but instead, began to walk into the brush.  He then turned as though he expected Dorothy to follow him. 
The boy seemed to know exactly where he was going as he led Dorothy through the brush and to a large opening at the edge of the woods.  The two of them walked across the field, passing a ghost town of small huts.  There were two sheds at the back of the village.  At one of the sheds, the boy stopped, gazing at it as though he were looking for someone.  Dorothy watched as the boy seemed to wait as though he were expecting someone to emerge from the shed.  But after a minute or two of standing and waiting, the boy let out a disappointed sigh before turning and began to lead Dorothy again.  They only walked for another half mile when the boy stopped, looking up at Dorothy as if to inform her that they had reached her destination.  Dorothy and the boy looked on at a large, dark stone castle with red roofing looming in the near distance. 
Dorothy began to feel her heart race all over again.  “I know this place…” she told the boy.

~~~~~~~~

Everything was black around Dorothy and familiar voices made their way to her ears.  She stretched her limbs, noticing the softness she was lying in.  She opened her eyes to realize that the voices she was hearing were those of her parents as the entered the house through the front door.  Her eyes began adjusting to the darkness and the furniture of her bedroom began to take shape.  The hushed voices of Matthew and Liz could be heard through the walls of Dorothy’s bedroom.  She could hear her parents’ footsteps ascending the stairs and disappearing down the hall to the master bedroom.  Dorothy smiled at the dream catcher on her ceiling when she remembered Carl sleeping down at the other end of the hall in the guest room.  Memories of Carl with her only a few short hours ago came flooding back to her, almost erasing the offsettedness she felt after waking up from her dream (or whatever that was).  Dorothy felt a little more at ease when she had known where she was as she had read of Alexanderescu Castle and the Alexanderescu bloodline several times, though never really delved too much into it.  But seeing the little boy again and having the child lead her to the castle had left her baffled, though in the dream a lot of it seemed to make sense…
Dorothy then noticed that she was sweating.  Her blankets were tangled around her and the material of her white, satin pajama set stuck to her skin as strands of her hair stuck to her cheeks and forehead.  She pushed back the sticky strands of hair from her face. 
I may as well have just worn one of my flannel nightgowns.  Dorothy thought as she started getting out of bed to open her window.  But she was stopped when she heard footsteps heading toward her bedroom door. 
Dorothy rolled on to her side and shut her eyes as a sliver of light filled her room from out in the hallway.  Part of her hoped it was Carl sneaking into her room, but she knew it was far more likely that either her mother or father was checking to make sure that Carl was not in her bedroom.  Sure enough after the door to her bedroom shut, Dorothy could hear the footsteps heading down to the guestroom where Carl lay asleep.  She sat up and quietly got out of bed.  As the footsteps walked passed her bedroom and made their way back into the master bedroom, Dorothy unlatched the window, opening it just enough to let in a nice amount of the cool, early morning breeze into her room.  The sky was still dark and the moon, though it was significantly lower than before, was still out.  Dorothy leaned her elbows on the windowsill, resting her chin in her hands as the coolness from outside enveloped her body through the thin material of her night clothes.  She thought of Carl wearing only his pants and undershirt as he gave her a long, goodnight kiss before retreating down to the guest room.  Dorothy raked her teeth across her lower lip as the image of lean muscle definition of Carl’s upper body through his undershirt appeared before her mind’s eye along with Carl’s appreciative gaze at her in her nightclothes (which she had carefully chosen). 
When Carl had left her so she could change for bed, Dorothy had gone sifting through her nightclothes, most of which were flannel nightgowns.  Dorothy did have a few thin, satin pajama sets and nightgowns reserved for for warmer weather that she had to dig out from the drawers of the small chest in the back of her closet.  They weren’t anything like what she knew Linda owned, but they were at least more fetching and adult than an old-fashioned flannel nightgown. 
Note to self: have Linda help me with investing in some new nightwear, Dorothy thought.  At least one piece she could wear if she and Carl were ever alone again the way they had been earlier.  She drew in a shuddering breath as the feeling of Carl’s lips on her bare flesh came back to her, pressing her thighs together at the thought of Carl pushing aside the cup of her brassiere.  Part of her had a hard time believing that it all had actually taken place, that Carl had actually been to a very intimate part of her.  She turned her head to look at her shut bedroom door, thinking of how Carl was asleep in a bed not too far from her.  She wanted very much to have again what he had given her and much more.
Only next time, I won’t ruin it by acting like a complete lunatic, Dorothy thought.
Aside from feeling as though she had embarrassed herself in front of Carl, that entire incident frightened her.  Dorothy recounted the events of the evening.  First, there was her fainting spell in the cemetery.  Then, Gail’s yelling at Linda followed by what she and Carl and walked in on in the Flemings’ master bedroom.  Finally, there was her last fainting spell in the washroom.  But had she really passed out?  Physical evidence said that she had, but she remembered the disembodied feeling she had felt after blacking out.
Almost as though I were floating.
Of course, one might equate that to light-headedness and maybe some amomia and loss of oxygen to the brain.
But it all felt real…too real.  The forest, the gray mist, the little boy, the cloaked woman…
Dorothy felt chills crawl over her skin as she recalled the new detail of the cloaked woman. 
The cloaked woman…laughing as I ran…the shadows of the woods in pursuit…I run from the shadows…just like when I was seven…
Dorothy felt her heart racing as she wished she could remember more of what had terrified her when she was a little girl.  It was frustrating that what had come back to her for a split second at the Fleming property now completely eluded her again. 
But do you really want to know? a voice in the back of her mind asked her.
In some ways, she didn’t want to know and figured that perhaps there was a reason she couldn’t remember.  On the other hand, she also thought maybe remembering all that had happened to her at age seven might be able to provide some answers to what was going on with her now.  No matter how hard she tried, Dorothy could not shake feeling as though that it was somehow all connected.
Dorothy turned toward the dream catcher above her bed.  The breeze from outside billowed the curtains and gave small movement to the feathers.  Her eyes returned to her now empty bed which triggered the memories of her and Carl together there.  Carl had held her for what had seemed to be a very long time before they both uttered the words “don’t leave me” to one another.  Neither had meant to say it aloud and both had to take a moment to make sure that it actually was said and that the other had also said it.  What followed was an awkward silence before Carl spoke again. 

“I’m sorry,” Carl said, his voice shaking.
They sat facing one another, fighting the heat that threatened to creep over their faces.
“Carl,” Dorothy answered, trying to keep her own voice and body still, “please stop apologizing.”
“I can’t help it.  I feel like I’m doing everything wrong tonight,” Carl said turning his gaze away.  “I wanted to show you a good time tonight and instead I end up lousing everything up!”
Dorothy stared at Carl as he stood up, visibly distraught.  “Carl, please,” she said quietly, “you didn’t do anything I didn’t want—“
She cut herself off when she realized what she was about to say.  She turned away as she felt tears begin to sting her eyes as everything inside of her began to churn.  She wanted Carl.  There was no question about that at this point.  But she also worried about what Carl would think of her if she came across as being too ready, especially when it wasn’t exactly thought highly of for a girl to be forward with a guy.  Since the age of seven, Dorothy had lived much of her life hiding in the background and she very much wanted to take more risks in her life.  She had watched Gail and Linda live their lives as she had her crush on Carl, accepting that all she would ever have from him were her daydreams.  Now that things were happening for her and she was coming into her own, she welcomed the changes but there were still some things that still made her nervous.  And intimacy with Carl was among those things.  She still had a fear of Carl leaving her, especially after tonight and she didn’t want him to leave her.  Ever.  But then it hit her and she was reminded of how Carl had said the same thing she did.
“Dorothy,” she heard Carl say to her.  There was an immense amount of hesitation in his voice.  She slowly turned her head halfway toward him.
“Yes,” she answered.
Her reply was followed by Carl kneeling onto the bed and loosely wrapping his arms around her.  She leaned in against him and he tightened his grip on her.
“I should let you get to sleep,” Carl said, though it was obvious by the tone in his voice that he was very reluctant to leave Dorothy.  “But I do want to make tonight up to you,” he added.
Dorothy turned to face Carl.  “You don’t have to.  Nothing was your fault.  Nothing was anyone’s fault.  Sometimes…strange things happen and there really is no way to explain it.”
“But still,” Carl said, “you deserve much better than what happened tonight.  Please let me make up for tonight.  How about this coming Friday?”
Dorothy gave him a tired but reassuring smile.  “Sure,” she said.
Carl looked relieved as he sat down on the bed.  He then slowly leaned in toward her and brushed her lips with his which she returned.  When their lips parted, Carl said, “I should let you get ready for bed.”
Dorothy nodded.
“I know your parents said that they wouldn’t be back until 4 or 4:30,” Carl continued, “but with the way things have been going tonight, with my luck, they’ll decide to come back early and find us like this.”
Dorothy knew that Carl was right, especially when she looked down at her still undone blouse. She could only imagine her father’s reaction if he were to walk in on them.  
Carl got up and walked over to the other side of the bed as Dorothy prepared to ease herself off.  The dizziness she had felt passed, but she accepted Carl’s helping her up.  They looked at one another again before Carl pressed a kiss to her forehead. 

Both of them had still been shaken by the events of the night.  But looking into Carl’s eyes before he had left the room, Dorothy had seen that Carl wasn’t about to leave her for anything.  She could see how he felt for her and all of the negative aftermath of her experience began to leave her.

As another breeze cooled Dorothy’s skin, she wondered what might have happened if she hadn’t had the horrifying vision of being attacked.  Would she and Carl have gone all the way?  Or just as far as heavy petting?  Dorothy’s mother had told her a little of what to expect when Dorothy was thirteen and had begun the first of her menstrual cycles.  While Liz wasn’t a prude and fairly reasonable, she did take the time to stress to Dorothy that such things were only to be reserved for when she had gotten married.  Dorothy could understand where her mother was coming from and such a thing seemed perfectly respectable.  But on the other hand, Dorothy also didn’t see anything wrong with the arrangement that Jimmy and Linda had.  She knew enough to know that such a thing was not an uncommon practice among engaged or soon-to-be engaged couples.  But would Carl be the boy she would marry?  She could admit to herself that she certainly hoped so.  She did love him and that she was sure of.
Dorothy shut her window and walked back to her bed and sat down, thoughts of seeing Carl again in the morning was on her mind a filled her heart with a completeness that she had never felt before.  Friday couldn’t come soon enough.  She lay back down, anticipating what Carl would plan for them and dreaming of what she hoped the following year would bring.

~~~~~~

The remainder of that weekend had gone without much incident.  Carl had gone with the Blakes to 10:00am Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church.  There wasn’t many in attendance that Sunday as most of the neighborhood had been out all night celebrating Halloween.  In fact, Dorothy was surprised that her own parents had managed to pull themselves out of bed to go to church. 
“It is All Saints Day,” Matthew had pointed out, nursing his cup of coffee as though it was a large canteen of water in the middle of the desert. 
I’m sure God wouldn’t hold it against us if we skipped one, Dorothy thought, despite knowing that the holy day was a day of obligation if it fell on a Sunday.  But she also knew that it would take illness or the end of the world for her father to allow the family to miss a Sunday Mass.  In the end, Dorothy decided to just not question her father and on this morning, she was glad to have Carl’s company there; though she hoped that it wouldn’t be too awkward for Carl being that his family was Methodist.  When Matthew had phoned Paul and Gladys Turner about Carl going to church with them that morning, Paul was barely audible, mumbling something about just making sure his son was back in time to ‘clean out the damn garage.’ 

Matthew, Liz, Dorothy, and Carl had stopped for breakfast at Chuck’s Diner prior to heading to the church.  Chuck’s Diner was normally packed on a Sunday morning, but not today.  Dorothy looked around to see if she could spot Linda, Gail, Jimmy, and Reginald with their families, but they were all apparantely skipping out on Sunday services in favor of sleep.  This was especially true if a holiday fell on a Saturday.  Over the years, Dorothy noticed that Father Louis (and likely the ministers of the other churches in town) had come to expect attendance to be low on those Sundays.  Some would make up for it by attending the Saturday evening services before heading off to the residence of whoever was throwing the party.  Most would say that it was an escape from the Depression and the soup lines those who still had their jobs in the city would witness everyday and that was likely true, though others with a more wild imagination blamed the effect of the grounds that the Fleming Orphanage was on along with the other folklore that surrounded the town of Plains.  Whatever the cause was, one thing was certain:  the residents of Plains knew how to throw a good party, even with Prohibition laws in effect.
Throughout Mass, Dorothy kept sneaking glances at Carl hoping he wasn’t too bored or feeling out of place.  He seemed to be holding up relatively well.  Carl had caught her looking at him a couple times during the service.  There was definitely something different with Carl and Dorothy beginning with that morning.  While neither of them wanted to bring up Fleming Orphanage, they also couldn’t deny that that night had given them a turning point in their relationship and for the better.

Later that afternoon (after Carl had finished helping his father clean out their garage), Dorothy and Carl had met up with Gail, Reginald, Linda, and Jimmy.  Most places were closed on Sundays, but the picture shows and Chuck’s Diner were open until 5 in the evening.  The six of them had gone to see a Lon Chaney double feature.  The pictures showing were London After Midnight and The Unholy Three.  Following the pictures, they went to Chuck’s for ice cream sodas.  The conversation was fairly normal and no one spoke of Fleming Orphanage other than Linda bringing Reginald and Carl the items they had swiped from the property.  The boys took them but with far less excitement than the previous night. 

That night, Dorothy fell into bed exhausted but looking forward to school in the morning.  She turned on her radio and closed her eyes as Rudy Vallee sang the same song he did the previous night when she was with Carl.  She drifted into sleep as she anticipated seeing him in school and their date on Friday.

Dorothy was fast asleep by the time the radio personality had signed off for the night, leaving white noise to fill the air.  Had she still been awake, she may have seen the dream catcher’s feathers move abover her.  She stirred slightly as the white noise began to take the form of voices.  Voices that, if one listened carefully enough, seemed to take on the form of chanting.  It wasn’t long before a deep, male voice boomed over the chorus of voices.  The voices all spoke a tongue that was foreign to Dorothy’s. 
As the chanting continued with the deep, male voice over them, a young dark-haired woman a year or two younger than Dorothy sliced her hand with a dagger and let her blood onto the soil.  Two babies lay on the ground in front of her, both blissfully unaware of what went on right beside them.  The babies looked to be newborns, one with black hair and the other with tufts of blond hair.  Across the field stood a young man with wavy black hair that reached just above his shoulders.  He had a lean but strong build and an olive complexion.  Alexanderescu Castle stood in the distance, outlined by a dark gray sky.  The other woman was in the castle and while she wasn’t seen, the terror she experienced came with the wind that began to howl throughout the field.  A blinding bolt of lightning lit up the sky above the castle, fading everything to a dark void and that would be the last thing Dorothy would see before she would awaken.

Dorothy was still half state of sleep as she searched for her blankets to cover herself back up.
How did it get so chilly in here?
She groaned, confused over why she couldn’t find the blankets.  Then she began to notice that her bed felt unusually hard and seemed to move back and forth as Dorothy tried to roll over.  She rubbed her eyes, forcing them open and what she would see would be enough to make her heart nearly stop beating.  It would be one of those instances where your mind is telling you to run, but every muscle is frozen in it’s current position.  That very thing happened to Dorothy when she awoke to find herself on the porch swing that hung on the porch of the main building of the Fleming Orphanage.

Stay tuned for Chapter 19!

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