PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 26 (UNEDITED)
Here is Chapter 26 a little earlier.
If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Second Prologue before proceeding to the Chapter 26.
Otherwise, read from the word go :)
Jimmy and Reginald arrived at around 4:30.There was still plenty of time to hang out as nobody had to be home for dinner until about six.Linda and Gail had been sitting on Dorothy’s bed filling her in on the latest gossip at school.Dorothy glanced down at Carl who sat on the floor beside the desk chair she still sat on.Carl sat with an arm around Dorothy’s waist and a rather pained expression in his eyes.Dorothy almost had to laugh at the site of her boyfriend having to sit in the middle of girls’ gossip.His expression of pain turned to relief when Jimmy and Reginald thundered up the stairs and burst into the room.Linda immediately jumped up and threw her arms around Jimmy and Reginald moved in to give Gail a quick kiss.
“How are you feeling, Dorothy?” Reginald asked.
Dorothy smiled and said, “Better.”
“Sorry we couldn’t get here sooner,” Jimmy said.“The coach wanted to talk to me and then George wanted to show Reg and me something.”
“And I don’t think I even want to know what that was,” Gail said.
For that moment, Dorothy was happy to have everyone in her room just having a good time.Normally, they would have all been down in either the sitting room or they would have all gone out somewhere and met up.But since Dorothy was still a little slow in moving down the stairs, her parents had made an exception as long as the door was kept open.
Carl tightened his hold around her waist also taking care to make sure that he didn’t hurt her in any way.His arm wrapped completely around her to where she could feel his fingertips lightly caressing the small of her stomach through the material of her sweater and camisole.A warming sensation came over her and the memories of her and Carl together in her room on Halloween entered her mind.The touch of Carl’s lips wandering her upper body was something she wanted to have again.She thought of their conversation earlier, thinking of feeling ashamed for not having a past or any previous boyfriend or even a date before Carl.There were those who would tell her that it was perfectly respectable for a young lady to not have a history with boys.There were also plenty of girls at school who hadn’t even experienced what Dorothy had with Carl, so there really wasn’t anything wrong with that.
But not even a date of maybe just a soda after school?Linda hadn’t gone all the way with any boys before Jimmy but she had been out with a couple boys before she and Jimmy were in a relationship.Gail had also gone on a couple after school dates before Reginald.And all those years of those two looking at me like I was crazy when I didn’t outwardly take interests in any boys at school.
Dorothy wondered if whatever had happened to her when she was seven had been so psychologically damaging that for years she would have a hard time trusting people.She had like Carl since about sophomore year and it took until last summer for her to share that with even her two closest friends.Not even her mother knew of the crush she had on Carl.So if she couldn’t even share something like that with three women who were close to her, how could she give herself to a relationship?The more Dorothy thought about this the more she came to recognize that this was a large part of why she had such reservations about going out with Carl initially despite her feelings for him.Maybe that’s where all these sudden thoughts of Bernice were coming from.Could it be that I’m looking for an excuse to get out of continuing further into the relationship with Carl?Am I really that closed off?
Dorothy thought again of the night Carl was with her, lying on her bed and how she somehow wanted to have that again.Then she remembered what happened as Carl touched and caressed her.She remembered the image of the threatening dark, almost black eyes that had been before her.She remembered the feeling of not being able to breath and then seeing the bloodspill on the stone floor beneath her.Then she remembered coming out of that to Carl’s worried expression.She had felt both scared and embarrassed, fearing Carl would think she was a spaz and run away.But he didn’t.Instead, he looked just as scared as she did and even apologized for moving too fast.
Being with Carl was unlike anything she had ever experienced before and part of her was scared.But the other part wanted to experience everything she could with him and wanted to break the last of that wall down.
The conversation of her friends was almost a distant buzz as she thought of these things.But it was all interrupted by a knock on the open bedroom door.Dorothy was shaken from her thoughts and the conversation between everyone else ceased.They all turned to see Tahatan standing in the doorway holding what looked to be a small leather book (a journal or diary of some kind?) and some pieces of paper with notes written on them.
“Hello, Tahatan,” Dorothy said breaking the brief silence.
“Hello, everyone,” Tahatan said.The rest of the kids responded to Tahatan’s greeting politely.
“Come in,” Dorothy said to him.She couldn’t take her eyes from the small book.Tahatan had told her of a new discovery he had made that morning and she wondered if the book had anything to do with it.Either way, she was anxious to hear it as it may explain what had been happening with her and what had occurred with all of them up at the Fleming property.She also began to feel a little better about her mental state that perhaps she really wasn’t going crazy.
“May I sit?” Tahatan asked.
“Certainly,” Dorothy replied.Jimmy and Reginald scooted over from their place on the floor so that Tahatan could take a seat at Dorothy’s dressing table.Everyone was silent as he placed the book and small stack of papers neatly on the table before he turned to them and said, “I’m going to get right to the point.I wanted to discuss the Fleming property and what happened up there.”
Dorothy watched as her friends regarded one another with uneasiness.They had all avoided speaking of what had happened up there with one another, though it was likely an incident that haunted them all.Dorothy knew that it certainly was haunting her and there was something to her attack that was connected to the orphanage.Why else would I have ended up there?Chills rose up on her skin as the memory of being shoved into the closet in the master bedroom came back to her.
Tahatan looked around at all of them and opened his mouth to speak again when Linda put up her hand.
“Excuse me, Tahatan,” she said.“I’m sorry to interrupt, but if I don’t get this out into the open I’m going to explode.”
All eyes, including Tahatan’s, fell onto the pretty blonde that some said resembled Jean Harlow.Her blue eyes darted around the room nervously and Jimmy reached up to place a hand over hers.“Baby, what is it?” he asked.
Linda looked at her boyfriend, obviously grateful to have him there.
“You’re all going to think I’m nuts,” Linda said shakily.
Try me, Dorothy wanted to say.
“Linda,” Tahatan said in a soothing tone, “don’t worry.You all experienced something and still are.I can see it in all of you.Now Linda, if you have something to say, something that may be of use to what’s going on, please say it.I can trust that none of your friends will respond negatively and neither will I.”
Linda looked back at everyone.Still doubtful but willing to get it over with, she took her hand out from Jimmy’s and began to rummage through her schoolbag.Everyone watched as she pulled out the dagger covered in its tattered sheath.
“Your dagger,” Jimmy commented.
“Is that what you had to stop at home to get?” Gail asked, assuming her friend didn’t just carry her dagger around on a regular basis.
Linda nodded.She drew in a breath and looked back at everyone before saying, “I wasn’t completely honest about how I came to have this.”
“Honey, what do you mean?” Jimmy asked.
“Well,” Linda began, “I did get it in Maine this past summer while I was visiting my relatives.That much I did tell you.But it was how I came to buy it.”
Linda paused, turning the dagger in her hands as she thought of what to say next.The whole incident really was a mystery, even for her.And then in school earlier when she saw the portrait of Anton Alexanderescu…
Wait, one thing at a time, she told herself and drew in a breath.
“My visit to Maine this past summer was different from the other times I’ve gone,” Linda said.“Ever since I was a little girl…my grandparents’ house almost seemed like a fairytale place especially with all the statues and paintings of the sea and all the creatures that supposedly inhabited it at one time.But this time, it seemed different and I began having these strange dreams.Actually, they began before my parents and I left Plains.Anyway, it got so bad that I needed to take a break.Get out of the house, even if it was only for a little while.So my grandmother’s chauffer drove me into town where I walked around for a little while and had a soda at the drugstore and soda fountain there.”
Linda paused, looking around the room again before continuing.
“You were all right to be surprised by my going into an antique shop to purchase a 19th Century Romanian dagger,” Linda said.“That isn’t me at all to do that.Which brings me to the fact that…I can’t even tell you how I came to the antique shop.It really was as though one minute I was wandering through town, watching the time so I wouldn’t be late meeting the chauffer and the next, there I was.Standing in front of the shop, pushing the door and going inside.It was as though…”Linda’s voice trailed off as she tried to find the correct words to express what had happened without sounding crazy to everyone, including herself.
“An outside force had taken you there,” Tahatan finished for her.
Linda looked at him and nodded.“Yes,” she simply said before she continued.“Next thing I know, I’m inside the shop, not really noticing anything but the dagger.As I’m standing there looking at it, a man, whom I assumed was the shop owner, suddenly appears beside me and begins telling me some things about the dagger.The one thing that really stands out is his saying that it was as though I was meant to have the dagger.I think he offered me tea or something as well.”
“Did you take any?” Tahatan asked.
Linda shook her head.“No,” she said.“Everything else was a blur.I couldn’t even tell you what happened or what was said or how I even paid for it.It wasn’t until the dagger was in m hands and I was leaving that I really got a good look at the man who sold it to me.He had an accent and mannerisms that almost seemed…European, I guess.Almost aristocratic, if that makes any sense because why would someone like that be working in a pawn shop.The whole incident was very weird, but then he called to me before I left.He knew my name and he knew about Jimmy.”
Jimmy shifted uncomfortably on the floor.“Are you sure you didn’t tell him your name or about me in conversation when you bought the dagger?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out.Like I said, it was all a blur so I guess it’s possible that I did.But I just felt uneasy about the whole thing.Then there was the way he looked at me…”
“How?” Jimmy asked obviously getting angry.“Because if he did anything to you don’t think I won’t drive up to Maine and punch his lights out.”
“He didn’t do anything to me,” Linda assured Jimmy, “but his eyes were…”
“His eyes were what?” Tahatan asked.
“Dark,” Linda said.“Just dark.They almost seemed to glisten like black jewels or something.But that could have just been the afternoon sun.Maybe?”
Tahatan didn’t say anything but just wore a thoughtful expression.Linda continued.
“Well after that,” she said, “I put the dagger away in a drawer and forgot about it.Just like that.Until the night we went up to the Fleming orphanage.I have had strange dreams, though.Even when I wasn’t thinking about the dagger.”
“What do these dreams entail?” Tahatan asked after pausing to think for a second.
Linda looked back down as Jimmy touched her knee.
“I’m usually standing on an ocean’s shore as a storm is beginning to take place,” Linda replied.“It is very windy and I can often see a woman with long, dark hair standing with her back to me.When I go to see who she is, there is a black hole where her face should be.”
Tahatan nodded thoughtfully as everyone else sat in a silence that was both stunned yet not very surprised at Linda’s story.
“What do you suppose that dream means?” Linda asked.
“It can mean any number of things,” Tahatan replied.“May I see the dagger.”
Linda nodded and handed it to him.Tahtan took it into his hands.From the moment he began holding it he could feel the dagger’s pulse.As though it were a living, breathing, object with a beating heart.The pulse entered Tahatan and he began to see clouds and an ocean.He was being taken across the ocean.
“Tahatan!” he heard a distant voice call to him.Dorothy’s?He couldn’t tell.All he knew was that he was being shown the dagger’s origins and possibly what it had to do with what was going on right now.
Tahatan was taken to what appeared to be a rundown village that normally belonged to the serfs or the slave class.It was Eastern Europe, he could tell that much so far.He saw a large, stone structure in the distance that looked like some photos he had seen of castles and mansions in Romania.He moved through the village, seeing the dark-skinned inhabitants and remembered Dorothy’s description of the little boy from her dream.Gypsies.Romani slaves…
Tahatan could feel whatever was attached to the dagger guiding to one hut in particular.He entered the doorway, and saw the family who lived in the hut.Tahatan saw a woman who looked to be in her early thirties.Obviously this family’s matriarch.He then saw two boys who looked to be about twelve, going on thirteen, playing some kind of a game at a very run-down table.Tahatan could sense that these boys were twins, the fraternal kind that his grandfather Sunkwa and his great-aunt Kimimela were.He then saw two little girls about six and four.The older was helping her mother with dinner and the younger was playing with a baby boy, who was about two years old, on the floor.The baby seemed to be very observant and precocious for his age.Much like little Willow Blake…
Tahatan then got the feeling that there was more to see.I haven’t seen the family patriarch yet and I feel that these aren’t all the children living in this hut…there is one more…
Tahatan left the hut and walked out behind it toward a wooded forest that sat about a mile back.He didn’t have to walk for very long when he came to the edge of the woods and saw a man who was perhaps a couple years older than the woman, the mother, he had just seen.The man was cutting up wood with an ax.Not too far away from the man was a little boy, sitting and watching the man with great intent.Tahatan then got a look at the man’s face and he could see the resemblance between the two who were obviously father and son.Tahatan looked back at the little boy and it was clear that the boy idolized his father.
The man paused from what he was doing, removing a handkerchief from his back pocket and whipped his perspiring brow.He then turned to the boy and smiled.
“Nicolae,” the man said, addressing the boy.
The boy, Nicolae, stood up quickly at the sound of his father’s summons.The father then spoke to his son in a tongue that was foreign to Tahatan, but it was apparent that the boy’s father was asking the child to fetch him another tool.
The boy smiled and went to a small bag and began to dig through it until he had found what his father had asked for.Nicolae, the boy, retrieved the needed tools (two daggers…both still in their sheaths) and moved quickly to where is father was.It was obvious to Tahatan that this boy Nicolae was very happy to please his father.The father then thanked his son and the boy beamed, sitting on another stump to watch his father some more.
Tahatan watched as the man retrieved one of the daggers from its sheath and saw that it was the one that Linda had had in her possession.But his attention was also drawn to the other that still sat in its sheath.Tahatan regarded that particular dagger, drawing in on it.Feelings of rage began to pulse through him and it was then he saw a pair of dark, almost black, eyes and a large amount of bloodspill, the red liquid spreading over a white surface.