Monday, June 10, 2013
PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 20 (UNEDITED)
Here is Chapter 20 and I may post 21 sooner than next Monday to makeup for my sporadic posting lately.
If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 19 before proceeding to PART 2: Chapter 20.Otherwise, read from the word go :)
There was an intensified darkness on the fifth floor that wasn’t present in the rest of the building. One could say that it was the lack of moonlight from that night, but Matthew and Carl would both be able to deny that being the case. There was a shadow about the former living quarters and a presence that one could feel. The air in was like trying to breath in a dense fog and was almost suffocating. Carl would note that the atmosphere of the floor was, in fact, different than he remembered it when he had come up the other night with his friends.
Or had I just been too distracted from being with Dorothy and the rest of our friends that I just failed to notice?
Matthew and Carl exchanged glances by the light provided by their flashlights and proceeded with caution down the hall, entering each of the rooms and quickly but thoroughly searched them to only come up empty. In the sitting room, the large portrait of the Fleming family still stood propped against the wall as Carl and his friends had left it. The empty spaces in the bookshelf where Dorothy had taken the copies of Faust and Dr. Faustus and he heard what he thought sounded like laughter somewhere off in the distance. He looked over at Matthew to see if had heard it or if it was only him. Matthew’s eyes shifted away as if he were also listening to see if he had heard something or if it was only the dark making him see or hear things.
When Dorothy wasn’t able to be found in the sitting room or the office, they carried on to Maxine’s childhood bedroom. As they searched the room, the memory of him and Dorothy in there together came back to Carl. To think that was just the other night…and that it was up here that I told Dorothy that I loved her and meant it. Now here I am, back here searching for her…
Carl’s heart thudded in his chest. He clutched the flashlight and Dorothy’s wolf figurine. I don’t know what I would do if I lost her…
Swallowing back the lump rising in his throat, he looked over at Matthew and could see the fear and pain in the eyes of Dorothy’s father as the possibility of losing his only child loomed over him.
When they didn’t find Dorothy in Maxine’s childhood bedroom, Matthew drew in a breath and said, “Well, I suppose it’s onto the master bedroom and then the washroom is the only other place left to look in.” Carl nodded before they exited the room. It was then that Carl thought he could feel someone breathing by the side of his face. When he turned to see who (or what) it was, only him and Matthew were revealed to be the ones in the room. It was also then that Carl thought he saw a shadow pass by the window, even without the moon shining into the window, and he remembered Dorothy telling him that she thought she had seen a shadow at the window. At the time, Carl had been certain that it was nothing more than the tree branch that was just outside, but now he wasn’t so sure.
Carl jumped at the sound of his name and whirled around to see Matthew standing in the doorway, regarding with curious, yet knowing grayish-blue eyes. The same color as Dorothy’s eyes.
“Are you alright?” Matthew asked, his vocal tone flat.
Carl nodded. “Yes sir…I was just double-checking…” His voice trailed off as Matthew’s eyes told Carl that he understood. They both understood the extent of how much the other loved and cared for Dorothy and Matthew’s gaze also gave Carl a new respect and appreciation.
“Thank you,” Matthew said.
“What for?” Carl asked.
“For caring so much about my—“ Matthew’s voice cut off, cracking as he seemed to be holding back his emotions.
Carl watched as Matthew tightly shut his eyes and inhaled deeply.
“There’s no need to thank me, Mr. Blake,” Carl said. “I would do it anyway. I…love your daughter.”
Matthew opened his eyes and Carl could see the glistening of tears that threatened to spill down the older man’s face. “I know,” Matthew told him with a small smile. “I can see that.”
A sense of reassurance filled Carl before he said, “Let’s go check the master bedroom.”
Matthew quickly regained his composure. “Right. Let’s hurry as we don’t even know how much time we have.”
They exited Maxine’s room and went to the master bedroom where the door was open halfway. As it was the other night, there was a shift in the air between the hallway and the bedroom as Matthew pushed open the door for them to enter. They both felt light-headed, almost to where the room felt like it was going to start spinning at any second.
“Do you feel that, Mr. Blake?” Carl heard himself say, frightened by the nature of his tone.
“Yes,” Matthew answered.
They both fought the overwhelming nausea that began to take over them as they searched the room. Carl’s flashlight fell onto the portraits of Nathaniel and Maxine, the two children sitting and looking out to him. Then, it occurred to Carl that Jimmy and Linda had turned the paintings around before their tryst the previous night. Chills crawled over Carl’s skin as he wondered how they had gotten turned around and then he remembered his dream of the two children crawling out from behind the frames as they crept toward an unconscious Dorothy on the bed…only they did not look the way Nathaniel and Maxine did in the portraits…
Carl turned his light with it’s beam toward the floor, stopping cold when he saw droplets of blood on the wood from when Dorothy had cut her finger on Linda’s dagger. Then, he saw something else. More blood.
“Hey, Mr. Blake…” Carl kept his flashlight’s beam on the smeared bloodstains by the closet door. Both of their hearts skipped beats when they saw that the blood still appeared to be pretty fresh. Matthew took his flashlight’s beam up to the closet door where there was more blood streaked across the bottom half of the door. There was also something else. Handprints. The handprints were patterned in such a way that they appeared to be the result of a struggle. Carl noticed something else in the door…a white material sticking out from the bottom corner of the closed door.
“Oh God, Dorothy…” Carl uttered out. Matthew turned his flashlight to see the white material that was very much like the material of the pajama set Dorothy had worn that night. With his eyes widening in terror at the possibility of what lay behind that closet door, Matthew threw it open to find it empty. The white material was a fragment that had been torn away from a larger source. The floor of the closet was also streaked with what looked to be still fresh blood. When Carl turned his light to the inside of the closet door, there were more handprints indicating a struggle. Stuck to some drying blood was an almost whole fingernail as the person struggling had, at some point, broken it down to the quick. Even more puzzeling was why the closet was empty, but Matthew and Carl would soon have their answer. As Carl looked at the inside of the door, Matthew something out of place with the trap door that led to the compartment in which the paintings had been formerly kept. It’s door seemed almost stuffed into place. Carl turned his light to the trapdoor, his breath catching in his throat at the crude way it had been shoved back into place. Matthew and Carl both exchanged glances, both filled with dread over what they could find. Matthew handed his light to Carl and knelt down to the floor. With shaking hands, Matthew used all his strength to gain control so he could open up the small door to the compartment built into the wall of the closet. Something white and crumpled had been crammed into the compartment. Matthew and Carl stared in disbelief and then horror at a motionless Dorothy. She was badly bruised and blood had soaken through her white pajamas.
“Dorothy!” Matthew screamed.
Carl watched in shock and unable to move as Matthew gently took his daughter out from the compartment and began to cradle her. “Dorothy, baby, please. It’s Daddy…” Matthew sobbed. Matthew’s voice died into silent crying as Carl stood, wanting to take Dorothy in his arms himself. He turned at the sound of sirens heading up the hill followed by the police entering the building and heading up the stairs.
The rest of the night was a blur for both Matthew and Carl. Dorothy had been taken to the larger hospital that was close to the city. The paramedics were able to determine that she was still alive, but the next few hours would be critical. The police detectives questioned Matthew, Liz, and Carl, all of whom were not in the best emotional state. Paul and Gladys Turner were also called to the scene to come pick their son up, but Carl refused to go anywhere until he heard news on Dorothy. The detectives saw the state everyone was in and decided to call it a night as far as questioning everyone was concerned, saying that they would try them all again that following afternoon once everyone had a chance to rest a little. But there was no resting for anyone. The Fleming property was now claimed as police property and had been taped off, prohibiting anyone other than police personel to enter it.
The doctors were able to inform the Blakes and the Turners that they were able to stabilize Dorothy, but she still was not awake and wasn’t ready for visitors other than her immediate family members. Carl was slightly resentful of the fact that he couldn’t see Dorothy, but tried to remind himself that Matthew and Liz were the ones who really did need to be with Dorothy at that moment. The doctor assured Carl that once Dorothy had woken up, he would be able to see her. Paul and Gladys did their best to offer their son comfort and reassurance, but most of their efforts proved in vain.
The Turners allowed their son to stay at the hospital instead of going to school that Monday morning. Paul had also offered to Matthew that he would go pick up Tahatan from the train station. Tahatan had arrived at the Thomas Jefferson Train Station at around 8:30am. Paul had met him at the gate, explaining what had happened and why Matthew wasn’t there before driving Tahatan to the hospital where the Blakes, Gladys, and Carl still were. Tahatan moved to Paul’s car with the same urgency that everyone had been since finding Dorothy on the Fleming property, but Paul did notice that Tahatan also seemed like he knew or at least had a pretty good idea of what was happening.
They arrived at the hospital where Paul led Tahatan to the waiting area. The Native American did get a couple glances from some of the staff. Tahatan seemed unphased by the few stares he received, but Paul ended up telling up a small group of orderlies, “What the hell are you looking at? Don’t you have other things to be worrying about?”
The orderlies quickly turned away and Tahatan gave Paul an amused but appreciative small smile.
Paul and Tahatan reached the waiting area where Gladys, Carl, and now Matthew were. A still shaken Matthew greeted his cousin before introducing him to Gladys and Carl.
“Carl,” Tahatan said shaking the young man’s hand, “Matthew has told me of you. It’s a pleasure to finally put a face and a voice with a name.”
If there was such a thing as a humble pride, Tahatan had it, as his and Matthew’s great grandfather Howahkan had. Carl gave Tahatan a small smile. He was almost overwhelmed by Tahatan’s serene energy that also carried centuries of ancestral pride and a strong connection to the active spiritworld. There was a sort of electic surge that flowed into Carl as he touched Tahatan’s hand. But Tahatan’s touch was soothing and not like the piercing surges that teemed over the Fleming property.
“Likewise,” Carl managed to say. He saw a serious urgency in Tahatan’s dark eyes.
“We must talk. You, Matthew, and myself. But later,” Tahatan said.
Carl nodded. “Sure.”
Tahatan and Matthew both thanked Paul, Gladys, and Carl for their help with Dorothy.
“Liz is still up in the room with Dorothy,” Matthew began explaining to Tahatan, but then the doctor entered the waiting area.
“Matthew Blake,” he said.
Matthew stepped forward, his heart pounding as he tried to read the doctor’s expression for some clue of what he was about to tell him. But the doctor remained stoic as he took Matthew aside from Tahatan and the Turners.
Oh dear Lord, please don’t let the news be bad…Matthew thought as his could hear his heart pounding in his ears. He did his best to keep his composure long enough to hear what the doctor had to say.
“Mr. Blake,” the doctor began, “your daughter has woken up.”
“Oh thank God!” Matthew exclaimed. The doctor smiled and held up his hand to indicate that he wasn’t finished.
“Your wife is still in the room with her,” the doctor continued, “and Dorothy is still in a lot of pain, though we are giving her some medication to help with that. As you were already aware, she has sustained quite a few injuries and it will be a week before she will be able to be released and returned home.”
“But she is going to be alright,” Matthew said, “and she will be able to come home.”
“That’s the prognosis right now, yes,” the doctor answered. “Though please be aware that things can change either way but we will have a 24 hour staff looking in on her to ensure her stability and recovery.”
Matthew returned to the waiting area to let the Turners and Tahatan know of the good news.
“When can I see her?” Carl asked.
“Carl,” Gladys chastised her son, “I’m sure Matthew and Liz would like some time with her first.”
“Oh, right,” Carl said. “I’m sorry, Mr. Blake.”
“It’s alright Carl,” Matthew said. “You will get to see her soon, I assure you.”
Matthew went back up to Dorothy’s room where Liz sat, crying tears of joy and relief, in a chair next to their daughter’s bed. With a tired smile, Dorothy greeted her father as he entered the room. Neither Liz nor Matthew questioned Dorothy about Fleming Orphanage and how she had gotten there. All they wanted at that moment was to enjoy the fact that their daughter was going to recover. Anything else could wait.
“Where’s Carl? Does he know where I am? Is he here?” Dorothy asked after visiting with her parents for a little while.
Matthew told her that Carl, his parents, and Tahatan were all in the waiting area. He went down to retrieve Carl from the waiting room.
“Well, she’s asking for you,” Matthew told him.
Matthew took Carl up to Dorothy’s room where Liz still was. As Matthew began to shut the door, leaving Carl and Dorothy alone in the room, he caught a glimps of his daughter and her boyfriend and the way they regarded one another. It made his heart heavy to imagine his daughter leaving him as he had almost lost her. But it also made him happy to know that Dorothy had found someone who cared for her as much as Carl seemed to. He shut the door as Carl made his way over the chair beside the bed.
“Baby,” Carl was finally able to say, “how are you feeling?”
“Sore,” Dorothy answered.
Carl sat down in the chair, looking into her gray-blue eyes that were surrounded by a badly bruised face. But she was here. His girl was alive and was going to recover.
“I…I really want to kiss you,” Carl blurted out. He noticed a small cut on her lip and then the faraway look in her eyes.
“Honey,” Carl said, “what happened? Do you remember?”
Dorothy shook her head. There was so much she needed to say, to tell but she wasn’t sure if she had the strength at the moment. She felt tears threatening to escape her and the contorting of her muscles made her face hurt.
“Carl please,” she said, “just sit here with me. I just need you to be with me right now.”
Carl began to protest as it was only a matter of time before the police detectives would return to question her. But he saw the desperation in Dorothy’s eyes. Carl nodded in agreement with her and carefully kissed the corner of her mouth. He would let it go for the time being, but he also knew that eventually he would have to make her tell him the story, regardless of how painful it would be.