Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 42 (UNEDITED)

Here is ALL of Chapter 42. 

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section or scroll to previous posts (in case I don't update the CHAPTERS section right away...as of now I do need to give that page love) to read the Prologue-Chapter 41 before proceeding to Chapter 42.

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

Otherwise, read from the word go :)

WARNING:  graphic content ahead.


CHAPTER 42

Carl approached the deserted intersection with his eyes on the sign that was ahead.  He ran down the paved ramp with an urgency to know where he was.  He had no idea where he was or how he had gotten there.  The wooded, secluded area wasn’t one he was familiar with.  The air chilled his skin through his undershirt and pajama pants and he was able to see the vapors from his breath as he exhaled.
He slowed down and stopped when he came to the sign that sat on the side of the road at a slope that dipped down a wooded slope.  He was able to read the wooden sign by the light of the moon.

Hunters Highway

Carl frowned as he tried to place where exactly he was.  Hunters Highway wasn’t anywhere near Plains or New York City that he knew of.  Nailed above it was an extension of the sign with two arrows pointing in opposing directions.  He stared up at the top sign and where the arrows pointed.  It read:

Stone Creek, 25 miles
Pinewoods, 25 miles

Carl sighed, letting out a small groan as he tilted his head back.
This is great.  Either way I go the closest sign of civilization is twenty-five miles away.
He turned his gaze to his left, in the direction of Stone Creek.  There was nothing but road, sky, and barren trees with the occasional evergreen.

He looked back up at the sign, racking his brain for any answer to where he was and how he got there.  He turned back toward Stone Creek’s direction and froze when he felt another presence.  Dread overtook him as he heard whispering among the trees with a woman’s voice prominent among them.  He looked back and saw two cloaked figures in the distance.  Without thinking of it any further, he broke into a run, heading in the direction of Stone Creek.

~~~~~~

Jimmy pulled himself to standing, immediately catching the red tint on his forearms.  He looked upward and jumped back when he saw the giant red moon that stretched across the dark sky, outlining the thick, gnarled branches of the sturdy trees that surrounded him.
Linda!
The name of his soon-to-be fiancée echoed in his mind.  His heart began to pound as he surveyed the trees, unable to shake the feeling that the girl he loved was in great danger.  As far as he could see, there was nothing but woods that surrounded him and nothing to indicate which direction he should go in.
He made an abrupt turn when he heard a rustling in the thick brush and watched a figure in a dark cloak emerge into the clearing.  The figure motioned for Jimmy to follow him.
Jimmy found his voice.  “What do you want?” he asked.
The figure said nothing but beckoned to him again.
“Where’s Linda?” Jimmy demanded.  “If you hurt her, I swear on my grandmother’s grave that I’ll—“
The figure cut him off, holding up his hand.  Jimmy narrowed his eyes as the figure turned its hand to beckon to him once more.
“Your grandmother’s grave?”
Jimmy startled at the figure’s question.  The voice of the cloaked man was deep but rather light and sounded as though it were circulated through the heavy oaks around them.
Before Jimmy could answer, the figure chuckled and retreated into the brush with his laughter trailing behind him.  Jimmy felt a burning fury rise up from his core.
“Hey!” he yelled, but the figure ignored him and continued walking.
“Your grandmother’s grave,” it repeated.

A blind anger propelled Jimmy toward the figure, but the cloaked man was quick to draw a dagger as Jimmy leaped forward to tackle him.

~~~~~~

Linda made her way through the dark, opulent halls.  The corridors had an elegance and grandeur to them that would have normally had someone walking through them in awe of what it had to offer, but in that moment all they offered her was terror and pain.  Pain that was physical and emotional.  She could feel her face throbbing and her right eye swelling up.  She could feel the drying blood on her split open bottom lip.  She was naked save for a linen that wrapped around her body.  There were many emotions pulsing through her and that was of fear and having been violated.  She could hear a man’s voice calling to her.  A voice that made her stomach turn.  He was calling to her, but it was a name that wasn’t Linda’s.  A name she did not recognize.  But there was a name that was in her mind.  The name of someone she felt she needed to find.
Nicolae.
She didn’t know if he was alive or dead and she felt a fear that they probably killed him, leaving her to be alone and owned by him, the man she was trying to escape from.  She had a feeling of knowing where she was well enough to be able to navigate its halls without question.
As she turned a corner, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen that caused her to double over.  That was when she noticed a pair of arms that were not hers.  Long, slender arms with dark olive skin beneath the forming bruises and a taller frame.  She saw a thick, mussed up curtain of long black hair fall in front of her face.  Another jolting pain shot through her lower half, this time engulfing her lower spine and upper thighs.
No…please…not our little one…
The thought caused her more agony than any physical injuries she had sustained moments ago by his hand.  The name Nicolae entered her mind again and her desperation of finding him.  They had put him a cell down in the castle’s dungeon last time.  As much fright as she had of going anywhere near there, she wouldn’t leave without Nicolae regardless of what it took.
“ELOISA!!!”
The deep, male voice was filled with an intense fury as it called to her.  She could feel her body jolt at the sound.  She made her way as quickly as she could down the hall and into the closest room.  She searched the room franctically.  She was in one of their sitting rooms.  The only light in the room was from an oil lamp that sat on a small table between two large armchairs.
“ELOISA!!!” the voice bellowed again, this time closer.
Linda felt the body she was in move as quickly as it could over to a larger table that was covered with a long, draping table cloth.  The pain from her abdomin had alleviated and she was finally able to breathe as she slid underneath the table and pulled the tablecloth back down to hide herself.  She could feel the heart pounding as she (Eloisa?) tried to control her breathing.  She could hear his footsteps which had come to a much slower pace that was almost eerie.  Almost like an animal biding its time before it pounced upon its prey.
Another pain shot through her abdomen and she stifled herself from crying out.  She brought her knees to a fetal position as she tried to will the pain away.
Please, my little one…as soon as we find your father we can leave…Us and your Uncle Sebastian.  We’ll go far away from here where you can have a good life.  I’m so sorry, I only wanted to protect you—
“Eloisa.”
The voice cut through her thoughts again.  He was at the doorway to the sitting room.  His voice was quiet this time.  Almost too quiet.  It demonstrated a confidence that made her skin crawl.  She held her breath.
“Eloisa,” he said.  “Oh come on, darling.  You brought this on yourself, you know.  You shouldn’t have broken the rules of our agreement.”
Linda was startled that she was able to understand the foreign tongue the man spoke.  She also felt the urge to scream we never had an agreement but stifle it.  The pain racked her body and she could feel the bruises on her swelling skin.
Her body trembled as she heard the sounds of his boots indicate his entry into the room.  She clutched the linen to herself, trying to block out the memories of being in that bedroom with him.  She could hear him pacing the room, pausing at the table where she was at before continuing to the otherside.  His footsteps stopped at the wall on the end of the room.
“It is futile trying to hide from me, you silly woman,” he said.  “I thought perhaps you would have figured that by now.  And as for Nicolae…I’m certain they’ve done away with him by now.”
Linda could feel the woman’s heart palpitating and the sorrow over the possibility of the man she loved having been killed.  In the sudden stillness of the room, she could hear the young woman’s thoughts as she said a silent prayer for him.
She had barely finished when the table cloth was yanked up.  A choked scream escaped her mouth as Dmitri leered at her, his black eyes glistening.  His smile was sadistic and his entire essence was that of something almost demonic in nature.  With every ounce of strength she had, she swung her fist at Dmitri, striking him in the left eye (it was that moment when Linda had a vague memory of Eloisa hitting Dmitri between his legs with her knee prior to escaping from the bedroom he had her in).  He doubled back, startled but then he lunged forward.  Dmitri reached in and pulled her out, causing the pain and throbbing she felt in almost every inch of her body to reach new heights.
She struggled with all she had left to escape but Dmitri was able to hold her back.  She could hear the young woman’s voice cry out in pain again and felt two ribs crack.  A numbing feeling began to take over her as Dmitri scooped her up by her throat with an almost inhuman amount of strength.  She caught a glimpse of his eyes which she would almost swear had gone completely black.
All at once, the linen she wore fell to the floor leaving her completely exposed to him again as he shoved her up against the wall, causing her head to fall back against the stone with a sickening crack.  She could feel the blood forming at the back of her head and the most excruciating feeling in her abdomen, almost as though she were being gutted.  She could feel a thick wetness gush out from between her legs as she felt Dimitri’s mouth on her.  It was then she began to lose conciousness.


~~~~~~

Dorothy looked out to the cemetery, searching for the Livingston girl.  She needed to speak to her.  That, Dorothy knew.  She headed around the corner where she had thought she saw the girl go in.  When she circled back around the mausoleum, she saw a haze had formed over the area she had come from and felt a small electrical current enter her when she attempted to touch it.
Dorothy glanced behind her toward the town of Plains.  It seemed different somehow.  She looked up to the overcast sky and heard music in the distance.  On her way out of the cememtery, she noticed the caretaker’s house at the far corner of the graveyard.

~~~~~~

The library sure was different afterhours, Gail observed.  How she had ended up there, she had no idea.
And I’m not even dressed, the thought as she glanced down at her red satin pajama set.
She wandered through the dark building, weaving in and out of the aisles until she came to where the journals of James Livingston had been displayed.  They seemed to breathe when she touched them.  Gail would almost swear she felt a pulse in some of them.  She was about to take a journal from its place when she heard a voice whisper to her.
“Gail,” it said.  The voice was of a rather stern male but there was also a gentleness there.
She turned her head and found herself looking at the portrait of James.  Even across the room, James Livingston commanded a strong and magnetic presence.  The moonlight cast itself onto the painting, illuminating James’s features.
He seems real…she thought as she felt her feet taking her to the painting.
As she approached the portrait, the library grew darker and she would almost swear that she could hear James breathing inside of the painting.
The room darkened until all she was able to see was James’s likeness, prominent in the dark.  The portrait seemed to expand, and she could feel something opening up, compelling her to enter.
Gail noted the feeling of floating toward some type of opening in the dark swallowing her up.  The air was cool as it look her downward and for a moment, Gail had the thought of the young girl who fell down the rabbit hole in the Lewis Carroll story.
Her feet finally touched the ground and the pitch blackness dissipated revealing a study.  The only light source was from two oil lamps.  One on a table next to a liquor cabinet and the other was on a desk.  A single look around immediately told Gail where she was.  Cedric Fleming’s study on the fifth floor of the main building on the Fleming property.

~~~~~~

The ship was just out of reach to Reginald as he persued it.  The massive 19th century vessel continued cutting through the oceans currents as he struggled to keep up.  He wasn’t sure of how much longer he would be able to stay afloat as all that was around him was ocean and sky.  The sky was beautiful as the stars and their dust clouds were visible and lighting the way for the ship.  The ocean appeared almost glassy and if he the question of how much longer he would be able to stay afloat didn’t plague his mind, Reginald would have been completely engrossed in the ethereal beauty that surrounded him.
Why do I feel like Carl is on that ship? he wondered.
His attempts to yell up yielded no results as his voice seemed to lose itself after leaving his throat.  Reginald let out a groan as he knew he couldn’t swim forever.  But there was something that caught his eye.  Something below the surface of the water.  Whatever it was let off an orange glow.  Before Reginald could decide what to do next, a pair of hands grabbed his legs, pulling him under.

~~~~~~~

The soft piano music floated from the Fleming Property.  Dorothy stood puzzeled at the bottom of the hill.  It seemed as though she left the cemetery and was immediately at the foot of the orphanage.  The piano was soft but had a great emotional charge to it.  She remembered seeing the Livingston girl playing the piano previously.
Dorothy drew in a breath and began to ascend the hill.  Walking up the hill seemed easier and she could not feel her physical pain.  From the corner of her eye, she thought she could see her great-great grandfather Howahkan.  But as fast as he appeared, he was gone.  Dorothy continued up the hill, keeping her eyes out for the other girl.
To her other side, she saw someone else who seemed to be following her.  She stopped and turned toward where she saw the figure, but there was no one there.  Uneasiness came over her as she turned back toward the orphanage and continued up.  In her peripheral, she saw it again, walking along with her through the trees.  She turned to look again only to have it disappear again.
Dorothy stood, her heart racing as the piano music faded out, leaving her surrounded by silence.  She had a feeling that she needed to leave.  She didn’t know where she was going to go, but she needed to leave.  But when she turned to head back down the hall, she ran into someone.  She looked up to see the cememtery caretaker looking down at her, regarding her with a strange look that was reminiscent to the creature who attacked her.
“Leaving so soon?” he asked.
His eyes glowed red as he grabbed her arm.  Before Dorothy could scream or struggle away, a ringing was heard off in the distance…

…Dorothy jolted in her seat at the sound of the phone on her desk ringing.  She glanced at her clock to see that it was close to two in the morning.
Who could be calling at this hour?
She reached for her phone and noticed that Tahatan’s notes were spread across the floor indicating that she had dropped them after falling asleep at her desk.  She groaned at the site before putting the receiver to her ear.  For a moment, a combination of hope and dread filled her as she thought perhaps it was someone calling in regards to her parents, Tahatan, and Father Louis.
“Blake residence,” she said stifling a yawn.
There was no answer on the other end, but Dorothy was able to catch a hint of a choked back sob.
Dorothy frowned.  “Um…who’s there?”
“Dorothy…” a choked voice could barely utter out.
Dorothy sat up straight in her chair.  “Linda?  Linda, what’s wrong?  What happened?”
She heard Linda begin to sob on the other end.
“Linda, what is it?”
“It was horrible…”
“Linda, what happened?  Do you need to call the police?  Please, you’re scaring me.”
“They can’t help…” Linda said.
Dorothy froze when she heard the front door downstairs open and shut.
“Linda, hold on,” she whispered.  She could hear Linda’s soft sobbing on the other end while she listened to footsteps entering the foyer.  She could hear the hushed voices of her Grandpa and Grandma Whitman traveling throughout the downstairs area.
Dorothy shook her head as she wondered how they were able to get away with being out this late passed curfew.
“Are you still there, Dorothy?” Linda’s shakey voice asked.
“Yes, Linda,” Dorothy said.  “Just hold on one minute.”  She listened to the voices and heard them retreating toward the study.  But something else caught her.  She thought she could hear a third voice with them.
“Linda,” she said, “what happened?”
“I can’t talk about it over the phone.  It was just horrible, Dorothy!  I’m not going to be able to sleep again tonight!”
Dorothy saw a quick flash of Alexandrescu Castle in front of her and felt the presences of both Jimmy and Linda.  “I can come over if you want.  I’ll just sneak out the front door.”
There was a pause on the other end.  “Are you sure?”
“Yes, of course, Linda.  Just stay there.  Wait for me by your front door so I don’t have to knock or ring the bell and wake your parents.”
“Thank you,” Linda said.  “And be careful.”
When the girls hung up, Dorothy stood and stretched her muscles as best she could.  Her body was a little stiff from dozing off at her desk, but didn’t see any reason why she couldn’t handle walking to Linda’s.
She doesn’t live that far away…only a ten minute walk, Dorothy told herself.
As she carefully knelt down to pick up Tahatan’s notes, she could hear Cyril, Alice, and their guest entering the study and closing the door.  A wave of uneasiness, similar to what she had just felt before running into the cemetery caretaker, came over her.  She also noticed an envelope that had been slid under her door.
Dorothy set Tahatan’s papers aside and picked it up.  When she opened it, she saw a folded piece of paper that contained two ten dollar bills.  Dorothy gasped and read the note.

We hope this helps you and Carl.  Also consider this
as our signatures of approval if it is needed in Elkton.
We love you.  Our prayers and blessings
are with you both.

Dorothy’s mouth dropped open when she saw the signatures of Gerard and Violet Blake at the bottom.  She stuffed the note and ten dollar bills back into the envelope, vowing to herself that she would not let it out of her site.  Her thoughts then returned to her Grandpa and Grandma Whitman and their guest down in the study.  She removed her robe and began to change out of her nightgown but decided against it.  If Grandpa and Grandma Whitman or their guest came out from the study while she was leaving, what would she tell them if she was fully dressed?  At least in her nightgown, she could give an excuse of needing a drink of water, not being able to sleep and coming downstairs to listen to the radio, anything to keep her out of trouble.
Remembering her Grandpa Gerard’s words of warning about the Whitmans, Dorothy hid Tahatan’s and her notes under her nightgown and crept downstairs toward the coat closet where she also kept her more comfortable shoes.  As she moved passed the study, she could see the light on from beneath the door.  She tiptoed closer until she was close enough to be able to hear the hushed voices on the other side.
Dorothy couldn’t make out all of what they were saying, but she could hear ‘the Turner boy’ said a couple times.  The third person then spoke and what Dorothy heard made her blood run cold.  The man’s voice was deep and had an accent that sounded as if their guest was from somewhere in Eastern Europe.
I have to get away from here before they come out and catch me…
Dorothy moved to the coat closet, making sure the notes were safely tucked in her undergarments.  As she opened the door to the coat closet, she heard the study door open.  Dorothy ducked inside the closet, shutting the door quietly but leaving it open a crack.  She held her breath while watching the figures of Alice and Cyril move passed her accompanied by their Eastern European guest.  She wasn’t able to get a good look at him, but she was able to see that he was someone with a tall and powerful build.
Dorothy could hear her grandparents bidding their visitor farewell at the door.
“I am sorry for your Elizabeth,” Dorothy heard the visitor say.  “Especially after your Roxanne had to go.  How is Stuart these days?”
“Last time we spoke to him he was just fine,” Alice said.  “And I’m sorry for Elizabeth too but she knew perfectly well what was expected of her.”
“I am looking forward to meeting Dorothy,” the visitor said.  “My great-grandson is as well.”
Dorothy felt her stomach turn.  What in the name of all that is holy is going on?  What are they talking about?
“She’s quite fond of that Turner boy, though, I’m afraid,” Cyril said.
“We are taking care of that,” Alice said.  “And we won’t miss this time.”
“No,” the visitor said, “we will not.”
A vision of Carl running down a deserted, wooded road flashed before her.  He was in danger, she could feel it.  What did they mean that they wouldn’t miss ‘this time’?  The idea of Carl being hurt or worse made every fiber in her body go limp.
Dorothy listened anxiously as the visitor bid her grandparents goodnight once more before retreating into the night.  She heard the door lock and Cyril and Alice walk in silence up the stairs and to the master bedroom.
Dorothy heard the door click and she counted to twenty as she clutched her coat in the darkness.  When she was certain that no one was around, she quietly opened the door with her coat slung over one arm and her other hand clutching her shoes.  She shut the closet door, making certain the click could not be heard and crept to the front door as quickly as she could.  She unlocked the latch, taking care to not make noise, and opened the door.  She felt a relief as she stepped out onto the porch where she put her coat and shoes on.
Only two blocks before I’m at Linda’s, she told herself.  And then, I have to get to Carl…oh, please don’t let him be hurt!
Dorothy left the porch, remembering the envelope her Grandpa and Grandma Blake had given her.  It was tucked under her clothes with the notes.  Our prayers and blessings are with you… it said.

She hoped and prayed that they would all be safe.  Danger was looming, hovering above them all.

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