Friday, July 5, 2013

PART 2: THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 23 (UNEDITED)

Here is Chapter 23.  It's short so I'll be going through Chapter 24 to post asap. :)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: FIRST INTERLUDE before proceeding to Chapter 23.

Otherwise, read from the word go :)


Eariler that morning, after Tahatan had left the Fleming property, he paid a visit to the library, passing the statue of James Livingston on the way in.  It was 8:30 in the morning and the library had just opened.
Tahatan was met with the life-sized portrait of the Livingston patriarch in the library’s entrance.  Tahatan stopped to study it, recognizing that those who had said that the painting was a step away from it being a living, breathing human certainly wasn’t exaggerating.  James’s eyes were knowing and his thin smile held a secret and a mystery, almost in a way Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was said to have done.  Tahatan’s intuition had led him here, despite the fact that he had planned to head back to the Blakes’ house for breakfast.  He had phoned the house and Matthew had already left for work, but he was able to tell Liz that he would be a little longer than expected.  Liz told him to just help himself to whatever was in the refridgerator when he got home. 
As usual, Tahatan didn’t really know exactly what he was looking for, nor was there any guarantee of actually finding something.  But when he had a stab of intuition, he knew better than to ignore it.
Tahatan stepped into the main area of the library and was met with an area of tables that a couple people were already sitting and reading at, the librarian’s front desk off to the right hand side, and staring at Tahatan from across the room was another portrait, this one being of President Herbert Hoover.  The president gazed back at Tahatan with a lot less taunting mystery than James Livingston.  The difference between the two paintings was almost overwhelming.
The handful of library patrons looked up from their books or periodicals as Tahatan entered, as did the librarian, a middle-aged woman in her fifties by the name of Carol Stratton.  Nobody bothered him, though.  Nobody in this town really seemed to bother him.  And Tahatan wasn’t sure if it was due to them knowing that he was Matthew Blake’s relative or that people in this town just accepted people as they were and didn’t trouble anyone so long as you didn’t trouble them, as there were actually many areas in the country like that as much as there were areas who would have had someone like Tahatan run out of town regardless of whose relatve he was.  One just had to choose their travel destinations carefully.
Tahatan figured it was both.  The Blakes had many friends in this town and he remembered Father Louis’s words to him from earlier:  Any friend or family of Matthew Blake is a friend or family of mine. 
Plains also seemed like a town of good people.  In some ways, it seemed as though the town had chosen its residents, from James Livingston and the founders up to Matthew and his peers.  The Earth is alive, there is all sorts of activity around us…so that just may be possible…
Tahatan certainly felt as though the small wooded area of the Appalachians that he lived in had chosen him as much as he had chosen it.
Tahatan gave Carol Stratten a small smile and nod.  The librarian looked a little surprised, but returned the greeting before going back to her filing.
Tahatan walked through the library, muttering a ‘good morning’ as he passed Herbert Hoover’s portrait.  The president continued staring out to the library as Tahatan made his way toward the back shelves of the library.  He could see James Livingston’s journals on display on the side wall toward the front and the Plains town records were there as well.  But Tahatan was feeling compelled to search the back first.
Tahatan searched the shelves, coming across some books that looked interesting, but nothing that he knew would assist him in what he needed to do.  There were a couple books on the history of the occult that might come in handy, but Tahatan felt he were being led in a direction different from even those.
He had come to the end of the bookshelf empty handed and stood wondering what he was supposed to be finding.  As much experience as he had in listening to the elements, there were times when even he was left baffled.  Tahatan stood, shaking his head and wondering what exactly it was he was supposed to find.  His question would be answered when he would look down toward the floor and see an object, a square object, sticking out from one of the shelves against the wall.  Tahatan knelt down and took hold of it.  It was a book of some kind, one that looked to be rather old, and it seemed to have fallen behind the shelf and gotten stuck there.
After a couple gentle tugs, he was able to pry it loose from its place behind the shelf.  The book was leatherbound and without a title.  It appeared as though there may have been a lock on it at one time that had been broken off.  Tahatan frowned and opened the book.  Once he did that, he knew that he had found what he needed.
Tahatan had sat at one of the tables with the book, a couple of James Livingston’s journals, and some of the town’s record books making the notes he needed.  He ended up taking the book he had found with him, which he felt guilty about, but he decided that he would bring it back after it had had its use.
When Tahatan had returned back to the Blakes’ house, Liz had been on her way out to market and had been waiting for Tahatan to return so someone could stay with Dorothy.  Tahatan had been in Matthew’s study, going over his findings.  That was when he had heard the phone ring and Dorothy answer it.  Figuring it was Carl or one of her other school friends, Tahatan hadn’t bothered her.  He had looked up, hearing her hollering to someone and had gone to the door of the study but heard nothing.  He had dismissed it and had figured that perhaps he had simply heard part of Dorothy’s phone conversation.  Tahatan returned to the desk and tried to concentrate on reading everything over and searching for some type of missing piece to the puzzle.  But something wasn’t right and he felt the air around him telling him that, telling him to check on Dorothy.
He had gone up the stairs toward Dorothy’s room, but heard the shower running in the washroom.  Tahatan had looked into Dorothy’s bedroom seeing that it was empty.  Figuring that Dorothy was in the shower, Tahatan went back downstairs, to wait and give her enough time to get out of the washroom and dressed.
Now, he sat across from her in her bedroom, trying hard not to stare too much at her alarmed face, but he couldn’t help the grave expression of concern he regarded her with. 
“Tahatan…” she stuttered out.  “..what…”
Just then, they both heard the front door open and Liz call up, “Dorothy!  Tahatan!  I’m back from the market!”
Tahatan looked at Dorothy, whose body began to tremble under her red sweater and gray slacks.
“Hey, is anyone home?” Liz called again, this time from in the kitchen.
Dorothy looked tentatively at Tahatan and said, “Please tell me you heard that.  That is mom, isn’t it?”
“We’re upstairs, Liz,” Tahatan called back.  Then he turned back to Dorothy and said, “It’s fine.  Youre mother is home now.” 
Dorothy appeared relieved, but there was still an expression of fear in her eyes.
“Dorothy,” Tahatan began.  There was much he needed to inform her of, but he was interrupted by Liz appearing in the doorway.
“Hey, is everything alright?” Liz asked.  Then, she saw her daughter’s pallid face that wore an expression that she never wanted to see on her daughter’s face again.  Too similar to that night ten years ago…  “Dorothy!  What happened?” Liz went over to her daughter.
“I’m alright, mom,” Dorothy said.  “Just a headache.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes!”  Dorothy yelled. 
“Dorothy…” Liz stepped back at her daughter’s tone.  She then saw Dorothy’s grayish-blue eyes flash with a hard anger that she had never seen in her daughter.  They almost seemed to glisten…  They all turned at the sound of something clattering to the floor.  The three of them sat looking at Dorothy’s hairbrush, which had fallen from the dresser.
Dorothy reached back to pick up the brush, wincing with pain.  Tahatan and Liz both began to reach for the hairbrush before Dorothy stopped them.
“I can pick up my own brush,” Dorothy said with an edge of tears in her voice.  “Please, I’m not an invalid.”
Liz stepped back and Tahatan returned to his seat as Dorothy moved to pick up the fallen hairbrush and return it to its rightful place on the dresser.  It took her a little longer than it would have under normal circumstances, but she did it.
Liz stood, visibly distraught over what had just occurred.  But she managed to collect herself and ask, “Is there anything you need, dear, before I go fix us something to eat and then start dinner?”
Dorothy could hardly bring herself to respond and put her face in her hands, resting her elbows on the desk.
“I’ll stay with her,” Tahatan said.  He could see the hurt expression in Liz’s eyes and felt badly for that.  Tahatan tried to take away some of that by giving Liz a small, reassuring smile.  Liz nodded and with a final glance at her daughter, went back downstairs into the kitchen, to fix a snack for Dorothy and Tahatan, fix dinner for her family, and act as though nothing was wrong.  As usual.

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