Thursday, July 18, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chaper 25 (UNEDITED)

Here is Chapter 25.

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Chapter 24 before proceeding to Chapter 25.

Otherwise, read from the word go :)




CHAPTER 25

Dorothy had hardly been able to even touch the snack that her mother had brought up for her.  She picked at the food, eating small bites after Tahatan went downstairs to talk to Liz.  Dorothy was alone again.  Her bedroom was quiet and the faint sounds of Tahatan and Liz’s voices downstairs could be heard.  Dorothy couldn’t hear what was being said, but she was able hear the strained tone in her mother’s voice.  Occasionally Tahatan would interject his calm, soothing voice but even his had a slight chill to it.
Dorothy considered going to the edge of the stairs and getting a better listen at what was being said but in the end decided she didn’t have to.  The tones in which they spoke said it all.
They think I’m crazy…everyone thinks I’m cracking up…my parents, Tahatan…probably even my friends…and Carl…
Dorothy stared at the telephone on her desk as her mind wandered back to the conversation she had had with her boyfriend earlier.  She remembered the irrational thoughts she had about Bernice.  Dorothy knew and understood perfectly well that Carl and Bernice were done and that Bernice was now going with Evan.  Neither Carl nor Bernice had ever shown any interest or desire to get back together.  Dorothy had seen the way Carl looked at her and it was different from the way he had looked at Bernice when they were going together.  The way he looked into Dorothy’s eyes was different.  The way his eyes were and the way his voice was when he told Dorothy that he loved her.
Had he ever told Bernice that he loved her?  They obviously had gone as far as heavy petting…but did they do something more?  Did they go all the way?  Bernice does have a reputation for things like that…ever since freshman year when she did it with a boy from the senior class…and even before freshman year…wasn’t she also going behind the school with boys and--
“Stop it!” Dorothy said aloud.  She brought her fingers to her temples, gently pressing in an attempt to make the negative thoughts disappear.  It didn’t matter what happened with Carl and Bernice.  That was in the past.
But aren’t you even the least bit curious?  a voice from her mind asked her.  A voice that caused chills to spread over Dorothy’s body.  A voice the sounded like what she imagined the serpent sounded like when he was tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden.
“No,” Dorothy answered it, trying to also convince herself that it was so.  She then realized what she was doing.  Wonderful.  Now I’m actually answering voices in my head.
Dorothy turned back to face her doorway where the voices of her mother and Tahatan had quieted down.  She could hear her mother moving around in the kitchen, probably beginning to prepare dinner, and assumed that Tahatan had gone back into her father’s den to work on whatever it was he had been working on since early that morning.  Dorothy remembered the look in her mother’s eyes before she had exited the room and it had frightened Dorothy.  She had never seen her mother regard her with such fear.  Terror.  Not since you were seven, at least.
Now Dorothy sat thinking about what had occurred in her bedroom earlier and Tahatan was doing the same as he paused from the notes he was making in the den.  After Liz had exited the room following the incident with the hairbrush, Dorothy sat at her desk with her head in her hands, feeling terrible for dismissing her mother along with fear and confusion over everything.  As Dorothy tried to make sense of everything, she felt Tahatan touch her shoulder.
“Dorothy…” he said.
“What else is there to say?!” she exclaimed raising her back to look at Tahatan.  “I’m going crazy.  Pretty soon I’ll be just as much a raving lunatic as Maxine Fleming was…”  Dorothy’s voice trailed off as that last thought sunk in.  God, I hope that isn’t true…
Tahatan was silent.  He had wanted to offer Dorothy some words of hope, but at this time, even he wasn’t so sure.  He had read of what had happened to the old orphanage’s original owners and knew what he saw and felt up at the property that morning, with Father Louis as a witness.  Tahatan also remembered the incident Dorothy had when she was seven and he felt that it, along with what happened to Matthew when he was a boy, all tied together.  Then there were his new findings at the library, something that he wouldn’t reveal until after Dorothy had calmed down a little.
Dorothy stared at Tahatan and said, “So you do think that I am going insane?”
“I didn’t say that,” Tahatan said.
“Well you’re not denying it when I say it!”
“Dorothy, right now I don’t have all the answers and I want to watch what I say at this time, should my initial assumptions turn out to be wrong until I know more.  I made a couple new discoveries this morning and hopefully I will know even more tonight.”
“Well what do you think is happening?” Dorothy asked.  “Don’t worry, I can take it.”
Tahatan looked back at Dorothy and paused before saying, “I don’t think it’s simple, what is happening here which is why I don’t think you’re going crazy.  You and your friends saw and experienced things up there.  Father Louis and I both saw something this morning in the woods on that property.  If you were going crazy, it would have just been you.”
Dorothy sighed, feeling a little better.  “Father Louis was there this morning?” she asked.
“Yes,” Tahatan said.
“And you found out more this morning?” Dorothy said.
Tahatan nodded and said, “Yes.  But I will wait until later to tell you.  After you’ve eaten something and when your friends are here.  That would probably be best.”
Dorothy turned back to her desk and managed to force down half of her sandwich.  She thought about the two copies of Dr. Faustus and Faust that Tahatan had taken downstairs with him.  Dorothy remembered feeling a thrill over stealing the books from the property a couple of nights ago and now, both first edition books had lost a lot of their appeal for her.  Then, Dorothy remembered something else.  She got up and slowly walked over to her nightstand where her copy of American Ghost Stories sat.  She turned to the bookmarked page of Lawrence Livingston’s The Child with the Black Eyes.  Her eyes went to the passages that she had underlined with a pencil earlier.  She began to read it over again.

“The very idea of considering a person’s sleep as a time for comfort and escape is a silly fantasy at best.”

“To sleep and to dream is to open oneself to a brief chance with death.  Nighttime itself is its own separate realm and a time when a person is at his most vulnerable whether he may acknowledge this or not.”

“Is it not strange how a man wouldn’t think twice of walking that back road shortcut alone during the day would think it was madness to do so once night fell?”

“These creatures.  They know these things.  They are aware.”

The passages were almost like a puzzle.  Dorothy stood up from being seated on her bed and walked back over to her desk taking the book with her.  She sat back down in her desk chair and opened the book up to the passages.  She picked up her pencil and on a blank sheet of paper, began to make her own notes.

~~~~~~~

Dorothy had been so engrossed in The Child with the Black Eyes and her research that she barely noticed the hands on her clock hitting 3:30pm.  Not too far away, school was letting out for the day at Plains High and Carl was headed over.  Dorothy was wrenched from her thoughts when Liz yelled up the stairs announcing Carl’s arrival.
Is it that time already?  She glanced over at the clock.  Yes, I suppose it is…
“Thanks, mom,” Dorothy yelled back, taking extra care to keep her voice sounding cheerful.  She was still feeling badly over snapping at her mother and still embarrassed about hanging up on Carl.  Her heart pounded hard in her chest as she heard Carl’s footsteps ascending the stairs.  She quickly shoved her notes beneath her history textbook and opened the schoolbook to no page in particular and pretended to read and then felt silly for doing so.  Why do I feel the need to hide this from Carl?
Dorothy felt Carl’s presence in the doorway.  She slowly took her eyes from the textbook and saw him looking in at her from the doorway’s frame wearing that same concerned but timid expression he had on Halloween when her father, mother, and Dr. Ramsay were called after she had passed out.  There was something about that look that was vulnerable.  Endearing to her.
Dorothy felt heat traveling to her face.  She shifted her eyes down to the floor before she said, “Hi, Carl.”
“Hi baby,” he said.  They gazed rather uncomfortably at one another.  Dorothy could feel Carl’s desire to walk over, gently embrace her, and give her a kiss.  But instead, he stood in the doorway, unsure of whether he should move from that spot.  Finally, Carl asked, “How are you feeling.”
“Okay, I suppose,” Dorothy said looking back up.  She could see eyes travel hungrily to her torso that was hugged by her red sweater before he caught himself and move his eyes back up to level with hers.
“Carl, I—“ Dorothy began at the same time Carl said, “Baby—“
They both paused before Carl said, “I’m sorry.  You go first.”
“I…just wanted to apologize for snapping earlier.  I guess everything that happened has had more of an effect on me than I thought,” Dorothy said.
“It’s fine, honey,” Carl said.  “But I still want to know…did I say or do something wrong?”
Dorothy sat in silence as her head swam with thoughts.  The subject of Bernice was on the tips of both of their tongues as that was when Dorothy began behaving differently toward him.  But neither really knew what would be the best way to bring it up.  Carl placed a hand on the doorframe, leaning against it and Dorothy thought of how incredibly fetching he looked when he did that.
Well, someone has to say something, Carl thought.  Then he spoke up.  “I’m sorry about what George said when I was on the phone with you earlier.  I had a talk with him about it when we were outside having a smoke before study hall.  He wanted me to apologize to you for him, also.”
Dorothy looked over to the window and then back at Carl.  She had heard what George had said, but she had been so wrapped up in thoughts of Carl and Bernice that she hadn’t really paid much attention.  But she forced a small smile and said, “Well, that’s nice.  His apology is accepted.”
Carl nodded.  There was more awkward silence between them.  Carl began to speak again.  “Dorothy, I…” he began but stopped when he noticed Dorothy bringing a hand to her eyes as tears welled up.  Carl shook off the discomfort he felt and walked over to Dorothy, kneeling in front of her and carefully placing a hand on her knee.
“Honey, what is it?  What happened?” he asked.  He hated to think that he may be responsible for this as all he wanted to do was make her happy.
Dorothy shook her head and brought her hand back down.  Carl offered her his handkerchief which she slowly accepted.
“I don’t know,” she said.  “I really don’t…”  She remembered the incident with the hairbrush and how it now sat mockingly on her dresser.  And then how she had snapped at her mother.  How can I tell him that I think I’m cracking up?  Besides, he probably already knows that.
Dorothy then drew in a breath and said, “Carl…maybe I’m not the person you should be with right now.”
Carl blinked as surprise crossed his face.  “Dorothy, what are you talking about?  Why would you even say that?” he asked.
Dorothy looked at him and thought she could see his own hazel-green eyes beginning to cloud over.  It pained her to see him that way even more than the physical injuries she sustained.  But there was no way in the long run that Carl would be happy with her.  That she was sure of.
“Carl,” Dorothy said with her voice cracking, “I don’t want to end our relationship.”
“Then why are you?  Sweetheart, I know you’re going through a lot.  Please, let me be here for you,” he said.
You don’t know all of what’s going on and would probably want to run away if you did, Dorothy thought.
“Honey,” Carl said, “please don’t do this.  Look.  Don’t you remember?  We all experienced something up there.”
Dorothy could see desperation in Carl’s eyes.  But it’s not just Fleming Orphanage and what happened up there.  It’s what’s happening now.  What’s happening with me.  I’m not myself…not at all…
“Baby,” Carl begged, “please talk to me say anything.  Say you hate me.  Just say something.  Honey, you’re scaring me.”
Dorothy looked at Carl and said, “I don’t hate you, Carl.  I don’t even think hating you could ever be in me.”
A small amount of relief crossed Carl’s face and he a little too.  “Dorothy,” he said bringing his hand up to rub her arm, “please.  Let’s at least talk before making any sudden decisions about our relationship.”  Then, he took in a breath.  It may cause more conflict but it needs to be addressed.  And sooner rather than later.  “Is this about Bernice?” Carl asked.  He hoped the question hadn’t come across as too aggressive, but he also knew that they weren’t going to get anywhere unless it was brought up.
Dorothy looked at Carl and swallowed back the lump in her throat.  The last thing she wanted was for Carl to believe that she was some jealous lunatic.
“Honey, please answer me,” Carl said.  “Is this about Bernice?  Because if it is, you know she and I ended our relationship before the end of last school year.  She and Evan are going together now and to me they both seem happy with eachother.  And I’m happy with you.”
Dorothy looked hesitantly at Carl before asking, “Are you sure?”
“Yes!” Carl said, almost exasperated.  Then he dropped his voice down.  “You think I go around asking every girl I meet to marry me?”
“No,” Dorothy said in a small voice.  At least I hope not…Oh God, STOP IT!!  Dorothy looked at Carl, seeing the sincerity in his eyes.  “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she said.
“Well you had quite a scare,” Carl answered.  “Actually I think it’s safe to say that’s putting it mildly.  Am I right?”
All Dorothy could do was nod.  Then she asked, “Why did you and Bernice break things off?”  There had been the usually rumors among their peers at school about who had broken things off with whom, but Dorothy wanted to hear it from Carl’s mouth.  Perhaps it would make her feel a little closure.
“Well,” Carl began slowly.  Dorothy could hear the hesitance in his voice and it worried her.  “I just…wasn’t feeling very fulfilled in the relationship anymore,” Carl said.  “I mean, there has to be more to a relationship than...”
“Then what?”  Dorothy prodded after Carl cut himself off.  She could feel her heart pounding and she could see Carl beginning to flush.  She knew what he had meant to say and wasn’t sure she wanted to hear it.  But I have to.  Maybe in some odd way, that will help take away my paranoia…or make it worse…
“Dorothy…I…” Carl stammered.
Dorothy remembered Halloween night after the Fleming Orphanage.  She remembered lying on her bed with Carl and how he had looked at her.  She couldn’t help wondering if he had looked at Bernice that way at one time.  Of course he did, a voice told her.
But he doesn’t anymore, she thought and she remembered how Carl had touched her.  How intimate he had gotten with her.  The memory caused a rather aroused shudder to escape down her body.
“Are you alright?” Carl asked.
“Yes,” Dorothy said.  “I was just thinking about…”
“About what?”
“Well…Halloween.  After we got back from the Fleming Orphanage.  And after I had woken from being passed out.”
A small smile crossed Carl lips.  His beautiful lips. 
“I think about that often too,” Carl said.  “Very often.  I do love the way that sweater fits you, by the way.”
Dorothy felt as though her stomach were beginning to dance the Charleston.  She nervously tucked a strand of her dark, brown hair behind her ear, suddenly aware that Carl was looking at her without her hair done.
“We still haven’t had that date we were supposed to either,” Carl said moving in closer.
“I know,” Dorothy said.  They were silent for another moment before Dorothy asked, “How did Bernice take breaking up with you?”
“Well,” Carl said, “I think she and I were on the same page.  Besides, I had the feeling she was developing an interest in Evan.  Which was fine.  Bernice is a good kid, but I think she and Evan are much better for each other.”
Dorothy studied Carl’s eyes and was able to be satisfied that he was telling the truth.
“Carl, I’m sorry I doubted you.”
“Dorothy, it’s alright.  I’m just glad we’re talking about this.”
“I guess everything that’s happened has just really gotten to me.  I don’t even feel like myself most of the time anymore.”
“I’m sure that will pass,” Carl said.  “Once you get back to school and back into the real world.”
Dorothy looked appreciatively at Carl.  But there was another look in his eyes that reflected what she was feeling.  What really is the real world when one really stops to think about it?
“Did you love Bernice?” Dorothy heard herself blurt out.
Carl looked at her in surprise at the question and then shrugged.  “There may have been a time when I thought I did,” he answered.
“What about Juliette?”
“Dorothy,” Carl said, “we could sit here going through every girl I’ve gone with since Betty Ann Smith chased me around the playground in second grade.  It doesn’t change how I feel about you.  I poured my heart out to you and meant every word.”
“I know,” Dorothy said.  “I don’t mean to put you through an interrogation.  But you’re the first boy I’ve ever gone with and I can’t help feeling, well, worried.”
Carl didn’t have to ask what she meant by worried.  He knew and understood completely.  He moved in to put his arms around her waist.  “Dorothy, I know I have a history with girls and I hope that isn’t something you would hold against me.  I want you if you’ll have me.  But that also means understanding that my past is just that.  The past.”
“I know,” Dorothy said with a sigh.  “I’m being silly.  Maybe it’s side effect from the pain medication.”
Carl chuckled.  “No honey, it’s fine.  I mean, we’re in a relationship so we should be able to be open about things including what happened in the other’s past if one of us should ask.”
“Except I don’t have a past,” Dorothy said, feeling almost ashamed.
“I love you,” Carl said.
“I love you too,” Dorothy said.
They looked at each other for another moment before Carl asked, “May I kiss you?”
Dorothy looked to her open door, knowing that her mother and Tahatan were still downstairs.  Her father would also be coming home from work in another hour.  But she figured a kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.  Dorothy nodded and Carl leaned in and gave her lips a soft caress with his.  He moved a hand up her back and felt the line of her camisole under the sweater.
“Well isn’t it about to get hot in here or what?” a familiar voice said.
Dorothy and Carl parted and looked to see Linda and Gail standing in the doorway with their schoolbags grinning at them (it had been Gail’s voice that was heard).
“I was going to apologize for our being late,” Gail continued.  “Linda had to stop at her house to get something.  But it seems you two were hardly missing our presence.”
“Hello, Gail.  Linda,” Carl said.
“Hi girls,” Dorothy said.
“Jimmy and Reginald will be here soon,” Linda said as she and Gail let themselves into Dorothy’s bedroom.  They began to unpack their schoolbags, bringing out the schoolwork they had brought for Dorothy.  As Linda got out a biology assignment to give to Dorothy, her hand brushed the sheath of the dagger she had stopped by her house to get on the way over to the Blake residence.

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