Monday, July 29, 2013
Second Draft/First Rewrite: Chapter 14 (Excerpt)
Here is an excerpt from the second draft/first rewrite of Chapter 14. The second draft begins to explore Carl's wild side a little more than the first draft does as it is relevant later on.
The main building was the largest of the five buildings on the property. It sat in the forefront of the grounds, empty and silent. In back of it was a two story building that had housed the janitorial staff and further back from that was a small toolshed. On the way over to the main building, Jimmy, Carl, and Reginald talked of returning one night with George and Evan to explore the other buildings and possibly the surrounding woods.
“Maybe we’ll find your werewolf then, Carl,” Jimmy said, slapping Carl on the back as Reginald laughed.
Dorothy exchanged glances with Linda and Gail. She wasn’t sure of how she felt about Carl returning here to do some more exploring even if it was with a group of some other boys. Dorothy knew that all it took was for one of the boys to present a dare to Carl and her boyfriend would be off doing something dangerous and stupid. She worried about Carl, especially when she remembered the time last schoolyear when she heard about how Carl had driven George's car so fast that he almost didn’t turn around a curve and nearly went off the road.
What if he had gone off the road? Would I still have gotten the chance to know him as I do now? Dorothy sometimes wondered. While she liked Carl as he was, there were times when she wished that he would maybe calm down a little.
The group came to the front of the main building and ascended the porchsteps up to the front door and slowly entered the building that was the first to be built on the property mid 19th century. What was inside amazed the six kids as it was far more opulent and elegant than the building they had just been in. The main hall was spacious and the interior matched the Victorian era in which it was built. Rooms and offices lined both sides of the main area and there were two winding staircases that led up to the second floor.
“Now this is what I’m talking about,” Jimmy said. Carl and Reginald nodded in enthusiastic agreement. The girls looked at one another and actually felt more relaxed than they had in the other building. In a moment of playful mischief, Carl reached behind Dorothy and tickled both sides of her waist. Dorothy screamed and began chasing Carl around the first floor. The rest of them followed suit and soon everyone was running around, hiding, and jumping out at one another. The oppressing sadness that had been present in Maxine’s room had changed and here, the kids actually felt a high energy rush.
After slowing down to catch their breath, they ascended the winding staircase up to the second floor. They walked down the hall passed some old classrooms and finally came to the small chapel. The stone work of the room and the paintings that hung on the wall were breathtaking and each in the group of six wondered how the effects of the chapel had been overlooked during the auction liquidations.
As the kids walked down the aisle of the chapel, they noticed the cobwebs and dust that had settled on the heavy, wooden pews after decades of no use. There were still some worn Bibles and hymnals in the compartment shelves of the pews. Carl and Jimmy both took a hymnal.
“Jimmy,” Linda said.
“What?” Jimmy said, responding to Linda’s glare. “Souveniers.”
“Yeah,” Carl said, “it’s not as though anyone’s using them.”
“Stealing from a church. I’m sure that’ll give us points in the afterlife,” Linda said to Dorothy and Gail. Dorothy shook her head and shrugged. She looked at Gail and the two of them exchanged glimpses of agreement. That had also been the first time either of them had heard Linda refer to the afterlife.
Linda’s full of surprises tonight.
The group continued on, making their way to the front pulpit where the preacher would have given his service years ago. The alter stood behind a rail that guarded the pulpit area. Hanging on the wall at the very end of the chapel was a large, wooden crucifix. The wooden figure of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross was illuminated by the moonlight coming in through the stained glass windows.
The six stood, almost mesmerized by the site and could almost feel the eyes of the Jesus figure, looking down at them, seeming to give off a warning. The six looked at one another, each of them with a feeling of dread brewing up in the pits of their stomachs. None of them really knew where that feeling of dread came from, but it had them all thinking that perhaps they had had enough excitement for one Halloween. But that was all forgotten when Carl noticed a door on the left side of the pulpit.
“Say, check that out,” Carl said heading toward the door. One by one, they all began following Carl who was trying the door. It was locked. He turned back to the group. “Does anyone have something I can pick the lock with?”
“This might work,” Gail said and handed Carl a pin from her hat.
“Thanks,” Carl said. “This just might work.” He began picking the lock until a click was heard on the other side of the door. Carl turned the knob and the door opened with ease, with the exception of a couple boards in front of the door. He shoved the door open the rest of the way and kicked the boards aside.
The group entered to find that the room had been an office. Very likely the preacher’s office. The room had an oak desk and chair, a book shelf, and a small restroom. The boys found two fountain pens, and a small paperweight that was a miniature version of the entrance sign that welcomed outsiders onto the property. The three boys each kept one of the items: Carl kept the paper weight while Jimmy and Reginald kept the fountain pens. The girls noticed another door at the other end of the room. This door had long lost its knob so Carl’s lock-picking skills weren’t needed. The door opened to reveal a hidden, dark, winding stairwell.
“Jackpot,” Jimmy said with a wide grin.
No one could disagree and they were all finding the main building to be much more exciting than other one had been.
The group ascended up into the darkness with the stairs creaking beneath their shoes. The stairwell was rather stuffy and had a musty smell to it.
“Bless you,” Reginald said after the lingering dust particals assaulted Dorothy’s nasal passage.
“You alright, baby?” Carl asked rubbing the middle of her back.
“Yeah I’m fine,” Dorothy said leaning in closer to Carl. “It’s just horribly dusty in here.”
The group had almost reached the top of the stairwell when they heard Linda let out a loud yelp. “Oh God! I ran into a spiderweb!” she cried.
Jimmy turned to look at Linda, aiming the flashlight so he could see her without blinding her. He then shined the light to see the large, broken cobweb Linda had run into.
“Looks like that once housed a pretty big spider,” Carl commented.
“Oh get it off me!” Linda screamed. “I don’t want spider eggs in my hair!”
“Honey, calm down,” Jimmy said. “It’s just a cobweb. Whatever lived in it has long since moved on.”
The girls helped a disgusted Linda pick the pieces of cobweb out of her carefully styled blond curls.
“I’m going to have to wash my hair three times when I get home!” Linda wailed.
When all traces of cobweb was out of Linda’s hair and Linda had calmed down, the group continued up until they came to a door at the top of the stairwell. Carl ended up having to pick this lock before it opened to a small apartment the preacher must have lived in. It was very simple with a sleeping area, a small kitchenette, a sitting area, and a restroom. There was also a door leading out into the hallway on the third floor. Carl opened the door and the group stepped out into the third floor hallway which was lined with the old bedrooms of the children.
“Plenty of rooms for us to get lost in,” Jimmy whispered to Linda.
Linda smiled. “Jimmy!”
Jimmy gave Linda a devilish, lustful grin. Linda let out another yelp—this one more playful—as Jimmy smacked her behind. The group made their way to the staircase that led up to the fourth floor. They headed down that corridor until they stood at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the fifth floor, the living quarters of the Flemings.
“Well, what are we waiting around for?” Reginald said. “Let’s go on up.”