Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 33 (UNEDITED)

Here is Chapter 33.

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Chapter 32 before proceeding to the Chapter 33.

Also, check out some further character development in some excerpts from the second draft in the SAMPLES section. 

Otherwise, read from the word go :)


That following week had been a whirlwind for Dorothy, her grandparents, and the entire town of Plains.  Of course there was a search for Matthew, Liz, Tahatan, and Father Louis conducted not only by police officials but even the town residences pitched in for the search party organization.  When investigators questioned Paul and Carl on what they had seen, both were at a loss for what to tell them.  Neither had forgotten what the creature looked like and both did their best to describe it only to get puzzeled looks mixed with alarm from the detectives.  They had also questioned Dorothy soon after she had awoken and with some prodding, she was able to recall some details of her attack and confirmed that she had been attacked by some kind of animal.  A hunt for a wild animal prowling around Plains was launched and the investigation on Dorothy’s initial abduction became more intense.
Within that week, Plains had gone from a town that was relatively safe and anyone could come and go as they pleased at anytime to one where everyone had to be in after dark.  The story also spread throughout the entire state of New York and down to Pennsylvania.  Many were on the lookout for this strange species of animal.
Dorothy was released from the hospital that Sunday into the care of her grandparents.  They had to leave through the backway to avoid any news reporters.  They were able to get back to the Blake residence without much trouble.  The police had allowed them to take the crime scene tape down from the front door when the Whitmans and Matthew’s parents showed up, but they also let the two families know that the house was still fair game for any needed investigation.  They also expressed their displeasure with Matthew, Tahatan, and Father Louis venturing up to the Fleming property which was still considered official property at that time.  The vehicles of Matthew and Father Louis had been found after Carl told them of Matthew and Tahatan going up to the Fleming property.  The cars had been left up there for further needed investigations.  A further investigation into the woods brought the discovery of two flashlights that had been dropped next to the stream, their batteries burned out and light lenses shattered.  What the detectives found strange was the sulfuric odor that had come not only from the flashlights themselves, but from the surrounding area on the misty stream.  An investigation was also launched in an attempt at detecting the rather foul stench, but that came up empty and the sulfuric smell seemed to just evaporate. 
One thing that puzzeled everyone the most was the disappearance of Liz.  Dorothy had kept the horrifying scene of her mother taking her life before vanishing to herself, but was able to tell investigators honestly that she had never heard her mother leave the house.
“Perhaps she had gone with your father and cousin?” a detective suggested.
“Maybe,” Dorothy had said, “but she would have told be if she was and none of them would have left me by myself.  At least not at this time.”

That Monday after school, Dorothy received visits from Gail, Linda, and Carl.  Alice Whitman didn’t approve of her granddaughter having a bunch of boys up in her bedroom so Jimmy and Reginald had to stay away for that time being.  Even Carl’s visits were limited to one hour after school.
Alice, with all due respect that is ridiculous,” Gerard said of Alice’s reservations.  “Her friends want to visit her and as long as they keep the door open, what’s the big deal?”
“The big deal is that its not appropriate for a young lady to be having boys traipsing around in her bedroom.  Its indecent and I will not allow it,” Alice replied.
Alice in case you’ve forgotten Dorothy is Gerard’s and my granddaughter too,” Violet said.  “We should have a say as well.”
“Oh yes Violet!” Alice retorted.  “You and Gerard should definitely have a say.  Just like the fine job you both did raising Matthew and your other children with all that Indian voodoo!”
“Excuse me?!” Violet said, her voice rising.
Alice, please!” Cyril interjected.  “This isn’t going to get us anywhere!”
“You know nothing of my family, Alice,” Gerard said through clenched teeth.
“I know enough to see that your son corrupted my sweet Elizabeth.  And that dreadful nickname he gave her,” Alice said.  “I never liked that he called her Liz.
Dorothy, Linda, Gail, and Carl all sat in Dorothy’s bedroom.  All were silent as they listened to the two families arguing below them.
“I’m sorry,” Linda finally said.
Dorothy glanced back up, seeing the solemn expressions of her two girlfriends and boyfriend as she fought back her own tears.  She managed to swallow them back.  All she could do at that moment was shrug in response.  Dorothy could tell that her Grandmother Whitman didn’t approve of most of her friends.  Alice had glowered at Gail’s flapper hairstyle, darker eye makeup and red lipstick and Carl being able to visit had been at the insistence of Gerard and Violet.
“Your mother’s old man doesn’t seem to have much in the cajones department when it comes to dealing with Alice,” Gail observed.
Gail’s comment did help alleviate the tension in the room and Dorothy couldn’t help smiling a little at her friend’s bluntness.
Dorothy sighed.  “The whole thing…its just so strange.  How my parents, Tahatan, and Father Louis all vanished without so much as a trace.  I mean, obviously my father, Tahatan, and Father Louis went up to the Fleming Place, but my mother…?”
Dorothy’s voice cut off and the tears burned her eyes again.  Dorothy brought a hand up to cover her face as two began to stream down her face.  Immediately, Carl went over and carefully pulled her close to him as she softly sobbed.
“I honestly don’t know how much more of this I can take,” Dorothy said.
“Honey, it’ll be alright,” Carl said.  But the look in the eyes of Carl, Linda, and Gail would tell any observer that none of them were sure of what to even begin to make of the situation after all that had occurred in the span of not even a month.
Dorothy lifted her head and used the back of her hand to dry her eyes.  “And I snapped at my mother the day she and everyone else disappeared.  I never even apologized to her for that.”
“Dorothy, I’m sure she knows you didn’t mean it,” Linda said.  “You had just been recovering from being attacked.  In fact, you’ve held up a lot better than I think I would have.”
Gail nodded and then had an idea.  “Hey you guys,” she said, “wasn’t Dorothy’s cousin supposed to go over more of what was possibly happening with us?  I mean, I know Jimmy and Reginald aren’t here, but it might make us all feel at least a little better if maybe we tried sorting some of this out.  We may even piece a few things together that may help find what happened to everyone and what is actually going on.”
Dorothy, Carl, and Linda looked at one another.  Neither could disagree.
“We can fill in Jimmy and Reginald later, right?” Linda said.
“Yeah.  Absolutely,” Carl said.  “And I still have about forty minutes before Dorothy’s grandma kicks me out.”
“What is up with Alice, anyway?” Gail asked with a grimace.
Dorothy gave her friend a small smile and shrugged.  “I don’t know.  She’s always been like that. For as long as I can remember.  From what I understand, she was very regimented with my mother and Aunt Roxanne when they were growing up.  I don’t think she ever did like my father or his side of the family much either.”
Everyone was silent for a moment and all had grown quiet downstairs with the exception of what sounded like Violet Blake moving about the kitchen.
“My Grandma Blake is the one whose been doing all the cooking since all this happened,” Dorothy said.  “I don’t think Grandma Whitman ever picked up a cooking utensil in her life.”
“Heaven forbid Alice get her poor hands a little dirty,” Gail quipped.
“Shh!  Gail, what if she’s around to hear?”  Linda said.
Gail shrugged.  “I’m just tired of all this bull.  I think it’s safe to say that we weren’t the only group of kids to go up and explore the Fleming Place.  I want to know what’s happening and I want it to go away.”
“It all started when we went up there,” Carl said.
“No it didn’t,” said Dorothy.
“Yeah, Dorothy’s right,” Linda said.  “I had weird and scary experiences in Maine this passed summer.”
“With the dagger and the antique shop,” Gail said.
“Well, there was that, yes,” Linda said.  “But I never got to finish my account of what all happened to you all.”
All eyes turned over to Linda.
“There’s more?” Carl asked.
Linda nodded.  She looked to her friends, hesitant to continue.
“Linda,” Dorothy said.  “I’m sure whatever you have to say nobody will even begin to think you are crazy.  Because then that means we all are.  Me, especially.”
Everyone looked at Dorothy.
“I also have a lot I haven’t told anyone,” Dorothy said.  “But Linda, you can go first if you want.”
Linda nodded.  Then she took a deep breath and began.  “About a week before I went to Maine with my parents, I began to have these really strange dreams.”
“You did?” Dorothy asked feeling a sense of relief at the thought of not being the only one with the odd nocturnal experiences.
“Yeah,” Linda said.  “They were very hazy but I could easily make out that I was standing in a field.  Up ahead in the distance was a large stone structure of some kind.  I would always be trying to make my way up to it but it was as though I were walking in quicksand.  In other words, I would be trying to get to it but couldn’t.  And I would have the same dream or at least something similar every night up until we left for Maine.”
“So did anything else happen in Maine besides the weird shop owner?” Gail asked.
“I was getting to that,” Linda said.  “You know how my mother’s family is Norwegian with some Viking ancestory?”
“Yeah you still have to take Dorothy and me up to that house,” Gail said.
“Well I’ve loved that house since I was a little girl,” Linda said.  “I especially have always loved the paintings and statues of the sea sirens and selkies.  Those were always my favorites.  But this last time, the house seemed different and very dark.  I mean, I know it’s dark in there to begin with but…I don’t know how to put it into words…”
“It’s alright, Linda,” Dorothy said.  “I think we all understand what you mean.”
And they all did.
“Well when I was a little girl, there was a statue of a selkie that I loved.  As weird as it sounds, I would talk to her and imagine she talked back,” Linda said.
“That’s not so weird,” Gail said.  “Children do things like that all the time.”
“Well when I was a child and I would talk to the selkie, there were times when I would almost swear she really did talk back to me,” Linda continued.  “But as I grew up, I dismissed all of that to be nothing more than my childhood mind wanting to believe that the selkie was speaking to me.  Until this passed summer.”
Linda paused before continuing on.  “On the first night, I was walking through the house and I thought I was going crazy because I could hear whispering coming from the direction of the selkie.  Then that night, I had a dream that I was standing by the ocean’s shore and felt arms from behind hug my waist.  I thought it was Jimmy but it turned out to be the selkie and as I ran from her she was telling me not to leave her.  I also woke up at the foot of the statue too before I ran from that and locked the door to my bedroom before going back to sleep.  It was that following day that I went into town and ended up at the antique store, which you all know that part already.  But it doesn’t end there.  After what happened at the store, I began having other strange dreams.  I was back at the ocean and this time, there was another woman there.  Her back was to me and she had long, very dark hair.  About the color of Gail’s.  I walked toward her to see who she was but when she would face me there would be a black hole where her face should be.”
“Yikes,” Gail said.
Linda shuddered.  There was more even beyond that and it was what Linda hadn’t said yet that frightened her the most.
Linda looked to all her friends before she said, “You know how we were studying Romania last week in History class?”
“Yeah,” Dorothy said as she felt her heartrate speeding up.  She still hadn’t completely caught her assignments up but she had gotten far enough to know what was all going on in her classes as school.
“Well, when I turned the page to the portraits of the Alexandrescu family, I saw…”  Linda’s voice trailed off as she tried to comprehend the validity of what she was about to say.
“You saw what?” Gail asked.
Bewilderment and horror filled Linda’s eyes before she said, “The man who sold me the dagger.  If you saw him, you would swear he was Anton Alexandrescu’s identical twin!”
“Are you serious?” Gail asked.
Linda nodded.
Dorothy and Carl exchanged glances before Dorothy took her History textbook from the desk and flipped it open to the small section on the Alexandrescu family.  The page included the portraits of Anton, Elsa, Dmitri, and Lucinda.  Underneath the portraits was a photo of their castle.  Dorothy handed the book to Linda.
“Yes, this is exactly what he looked like,” Linda said pointing to the portrait of the elder Alexandrescu.  “And that castle that they lived in…I’m pretty sure it was the one from my dream.  I never really could see it, but I can feel that this was it!”
“You know,” Dorothy began and then she paused to look at Carl before continuing.  “When Carl and I walked in on you all in the master bedroom…Linda, your face…and while I couldn’t see Jimmy’s, his jawline and the way his hair fell in that moment, it was very familiar.”
“I didn’t really see much of that,” Carl admitted.  “But yeah Linda, I will say you seemed different in that moment.”
“Well I did get a good look,” Dorothy said.  “And it wasn’t until I saw pictures of them again later that it all clicked.  Linda, when I saw you in the master bedroom you looked like Lucinda.  Your face did, at least.  And Jimmy…like I said, I didn’t see his face in that moment, but what I did see very much resembled Dmitri.”
Linda’s jaw dropped and her face was a mixture of shock and disgust.
“Damn,” Gail muttered.
“So wait a minute,” Carl said.  “You saw Jimmy and Linda as Dmitri and Lucinda when we walked in on them?  Like their spirits came into Jimmy and Linda at that moment.”
“Maybe,” Dorothy said.
Carl grimaced and said, “But Dmitri and Lucinda were brother and sister.  Weren’t they?”
“Well remember what we all talked about in the Fleming’s sitting room?  About the lengths some of the aristocratic families went to in order to keep their bloodline pure?” Gail pointed out.
“That’s just wrong,” Carl said.
“How do you think I feel?” Linda said.  “At least they didn’t invade you and Dorothy.”
“I have done a good amount of reading on the Alexandrescu family over the years,” Dorothy said, “and while most sources speak of the family in glowing terms, of course, I have found a few obscure ones that tell another story.  About how cruelly they treated their Rom slaves, even more than the average slavemaster.  But Anton got away with it because he had high connections to the point to where he was pretty much above the law.  And as far as his offspring went, they were just as vile when it came to how they treated those beneath them.  Yet, they were still revered by many.”
Gail took the book from Linda and said, “Isn’t it amazing how people who could be such tyrants are beloved by their public?  I mean, look at recently.  Does that world war that only took place a few years ago ring a bell?  Or even the Roman Empire.”
Dorothy nodded.  “Sometimes that’s out of fear and other times people are brainwashed.”
“And even how history books and news sources skew things,” Gail said.  “Even James Livingston hinted in his journals about how the periodicals of the time seemed to not want to give everyone all the facts to what had taken place with the deaths of Cedric, Margaret, and Jared.”
“But what does that have to do Dmitri and Lucinda them invading Jimmy and me?” Linda asked.
“Well, I also found in another article somewhere that Dmitri—and probably Lucinda as well—was very…experimental,” Dorothy said.
“And you don’t need to elaborate beyond that,” Carl said.
“Well, I’m looking at their dates of birth and death,” Gail said.  “Dmitri died in 1844 at the age of nineteen resulting in being murdered by one of his family’s slaves.  His service was held in St. Michael’s Cathedral of Alba Iulia.  That was also where the Alexandrescus attended Mass.  But get this.  The funeral service of his father Anton in the year 1870 was also there.”
“That’s what I was looking at too,” Dorothy said.  “All of the Alexandrescus were interred there too.  Or at least so it says.”
“So maybe the antique shop owner was a relative of his?”  Linda asked.
“Wait a minute.  Did you say St. Michael’s Cathedral?” Carl asked.
“Yeah,” Gail said.  “Why?”
“Well I’m not a theology expert or anything and this may not even be of any importance,” Carl said, “but aren’t the graves of the Fleming family also marked with a statue of St. Michael?”
Dorothy’s eyes widened and she turned to Carl.  “It is.  You’re right!  True, that could just be a coincidence, but still a good observation.”
Everyone was in thought for a moment, mauling over what had just been said.  Then Dorothy spoke up.  “Linda, do you know the name of the antique store you went to?”
“No,” Linda said.  “But I think I remember what street it was on.  I know it was near the soda fountain I stopped at before going there.  I could maybe wire my grandparents and see what I can find out.”
“I also have made findings myself,” Dorothy said.  “Some of it from passages of Lawrence Livingston’s The Child with the Black Eyes.  I know that’s a work of fiction, but there are passages in there that I think apply.  Also, Tahatan left his notes here.  I haven’t looked at all of them but it seems he shares my belief of Lawrence’s story.  He also left that book he had here.  I haven’t look at it very much either, but it turns out that it is Maxine’s diary.”
“You’re joking!” Gail said.  “How on earth did we miss that at the library?”
“I don’t know,” Dorothy said.
“Do you still have the dagger?” Linda asked.
“No,” Dorothy said.  “I think Tahatan kept that with him when he left with my father a few nights ago.”
Chills ran over Dorothy’s skin and her uplifted mood dropped at the reminder of her parents and cousin missing.  There was also more that Dorothy needed to tell from what happened to her at the age of seven to the dreams she had, including the most recent one where the little Romani boy led her to her cousin Cletus.  Cletus and a girl whom Dorothy did not recognize yet seemed familiar to her.
“I still don’t understand how that shopowner knew my name or about Jimmy,” Linda said.  “Like I said, that incident was a blur but I still don’t think I told him anything personal about me.”
At that moment, Alice appeared in the doorway of the room.
“Dorothy has a lot of to do,” she simply stated, “and Violet is almost finished making supper.”
Everyone got the hint and everyone said goodbye to Dorothy.
“You can all come back tomorrow after school,” Dorothy said, knowing her grandmother likely didn’t approve of the invite without consent.
“See you tomorrow, baby,” Carl said leaning in to kiss Dorothy.
“Young man!” Alice exclaimed so loudly that Dorothy and Gail jumped backward at the sound.
“Mrs. Whitman, I was just—“
“I know what you were doing and you will not do it here,” Alice said glowering at Carl.  “I don’t know what my daughter and her husband allowed but I expect you to behave like a proper gentleman toward my granddaughter.  Is that understood?”
“Yes,” Carl said.  “Of course.”  Carl then turned to a downtrodden Dorothy and said, “See you tomorrow.”
Dorothy nodded, giving Carl and apologetic look.

Alice followed the three kids down the stairs and to the door.  At the sound of the door shutting, Dorothy broke into silent sobs.

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