Wednesday, October 30, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 44 (UNEDITED)

Here is all of Chapter 44. 

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 43 before proceeding to Chapter 44.

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

Otherwise, read from the word go :)


CHAPTER 44

The boat docked on the shore.  Jimmy and the cloaked man had sat across from one another in silence throughout the entire ride.  Jimmy held his shirt up to his face as the stench from the forest of impaled corpses was spread out along the shore in front of them.  The man seemed to grin as Jimmy grimaced in disgust at the site.
Walking through the forest was even worse as Jimmy nearly ran into one bloody stump or severed limb after another.  The scavengers that ate the bodies—many of which moaned as though still alive—feasted heartily as though it all would be their last meal.  When they finally reached the end of the forest, Jimmy was relieved to breath in air that wasn’t polluted with decaying flesh.  They stood at the edge of a field with a large stone castle at the other end to the very far left off in the distance.  Closer to them, a village of rundown huts were clustered together.
Jimmy looked up at the cloaked man who lifted up his hand forward.  Before them, what appeared to be a membrane vanished as did the island of impaled corpses.  Behind them there was only forest brush.
Jimmy felt relief at the disappearance of the island, but there was still disconcerting feelings over what was happening.  He looked into the distance at the large stone castle that loomed ahead and recognized what little of the structure he saw as being one of the Romanian castles they were studying in school.  He wanted to get closer and get a better look, but the cloaked man gestured for Jimmy to follow him.
They walked toward the village which was long run down and abandoned.  But as they entered, Jimmy began to feel presence there.  He looked around to see the images of people begin to manifest, walking through the village and going about their lives.  The clearer the images got, the more Jimmy was able to make them out to be Romani gypsies or an ethnic group like them.  He looked again into the distance, seeing the castle again.  Next thing he knew, he and the cloaked man were inside of an elegantly furnished stone hall.  Jimmy surveyed his surroundings and turned back to the man.
“Are we inside that castle we saw?” he asked.
The man said nothing and stared back at him.
“Can you please say something?” Jimmy asked getting irritated.
He could see the corners of the man’s mouth turn upward before the body under the cloak shook as he deeply chuckled.  He seemed to enjoy Jimmy’s intolerance.
Jimmy could feel the anger begin to boil inside him, but the surroundings of the hall did seem familiar to him.
Finally, the man said, “Yes.”  He turned his head back to looking straight ahead and began to walk down the hall.  Jimmy sighed and followed him, feeling more nervous than he would like.  Where was he and why did he feel as though Linda were in trouble?
Where is Linda?
They turned a corner and there, in what appeared to be a secluded area of the castle, he saw a young woman who looked to be Jimmy’s age.  She was down on her knees scrubbing the floors with a brush and bucket.
Jimmy watched as the girl rose a little to reveal her face to him.  She is very pretty, he thought.  Her figure was long and willowy under her clothing but her body also seemed to have strength to go with her initially seeming fragility.  Her long black hair was pulled back and braided.  The girl wiped her forhead with the back of her hand and stood up to stretch her legs.  As she did that, Jimmy could see that the girl was not alone.  He could someone sneaking around the corner.  It was a young man who was also Jimmy’s age, perhaps a year or two older.  He also looked to be a Romani who worked either in or around the castle.  Jimmy watched as the young man regarded the woman with love before playfully sneaking up behind her.  She flinched in surprise as the young man jumped in front of her and said the young man’s name.  “Nicolae!”
The two of the spoke to one another in a language that was foreign to Jimmy.  At first, the young woman seemed to playfully scold her lover for sneaking up on her but then the two were in an embrace and their lips joined.  When they parted, they spoke to one another and Jimmy could hear inflections of caution in their hushed tones.  He could hear the desperation in both of their voices and though he didn’t understand their language, he was able to grasp the nature of their brief discussion.
The couple was interrupted with the sounds of heavy footsteps approaching where they stood from down the hall.  Jimmy watched as the girl urged her lover to leave, likely before whoever was approaching them was to happen upon them.  The young man (Nicolae?) was obviously reluctant to leave her, but also knew he didn’t have a choice.  He whispered one last intense promise to her and then dashed around the corner as quietly as possible.  While Jimmy couldn’t see him, he knew that Nicolae lingered somewhere a little while longer to ensure the young woman’s safety.  To the girl’s relief (and probably Nicolae’s), the person whose footsteps they had heard were merely a servant’s.
“What does all this have to do with me?” Jimmy asked, turning toward the cloaked man.  But the man was gone.  The entire hall darkened around him and the young woman had disappeared.
“It has plenty to do with you, Christopher,” a deep male voice answered.
Jimmy jumped at the booming Eastern European accent, calling him by his first name.  Something that nobody did, not even his parents.  He turned slowly to find himself staring straight into the black, glistening eyes of Anton Alexandrescu.

~~~~~~~

The water pressure became almost too much for Reginald as he felt his lungs ready to burst.  His attempts to fight whatever it was that was dragging him downward was almost futile as it demonstrated a strength that was far beyond anythings Reginald could ever have imagined.
As he was pulled down into the murkey depths his thoughts were of Gail.  He didn’t want to leave her.  Not like this.  Somehow he was going to survive this.  Whatever it was.  Whatever was happening.
In the passed few days when he and Jimmy hadn’t been allowed into the Blake house to visit Dorothy, Reginald had gone to the library to do some research of his own.  He hadn’t been entirely sure of what exactly he was looking for, but he had the feeling that he would know it once he found it.  He had scowered the old town records and other things like James Livingston’s journals and Lawrence Livingston’s writings.  He couldn’t help his regret over the Livingston journals that were not open to the public.  While it was understandable to him that the family would want to keep some of them, wondering over what those journals contained that could possibly help their situation irritated him slightly.
He had been over the journals, writings, and some of the town records before but this time, he combed through them, reading between the lines and trying to find things that would click.  Then earlier that day when Reginald was seated at a table in the library looking through the old writings, he had looked up to find Jimmy standing over him.  Reginald’s initial reaction to seeing Jimmy in the library was a surprise as he had never known Jimmy to ever read anything other than the pulp thrillers at his own choice.  But the shock of seeing Jimmy in the library turned into a deeper understanding when Reginald saw a very disconcerting look in his friend’s eyes.
Jimmy had taken a seat across from Reginald and after a brief uncomfortable silence proceeded to tell him of a dream he had had the previous night.  Jimmy had seemed terribly disturbed and had a difficult time with deciding on where to begin.  But when he finally did get to talking, he had confided to Reginald that in his dream, he had murdered another young man.
“He was asleep and I remember feeling rage to the point of almost losing my sanity completely,” Jimmy had said.  “I remember plunging a dagger into his throat and blood just going everywhere.  I remember the look in his eyes when he died and you know what?  I enjoyed it and felt no regret.  In fact, what I had done was not enough.  I noticed an ax hanging on the wall and I then just hacked away at him…leaving him in pieces.”
Reginald could feel his stomach dropping as he listened to his friend’s story.  “Do you know who it was you killed?” he asked him.  “Anyone you know or just someone random?”
Jimmy had drawn in a breath and paused before saying in a shaky voice.  “You’re not going to believe this, but I would almost swear that it was Dmitri Alexandrescu.  I mean, that could be due to us studying Romania now in History, but…”
Reginald had grabbed his History textbook, paging through it as Jimmy’s voice trailed off.  He found the pages with the portraits of the Alexandrescu family and turned it over to Jimmy.
“Him?” Reginald asked, pointing to the portrait of Dmitri.
Jimmy took the book and nodded as he looked at the picture.  “Yeah.”
Reginald studied his friend and asked him, “Are you aware of how Dmitri died?”
Jimmy shrugged.  “Yeah.  He was killed by a gypsy.  I paid attention enough to know that much.”
Reginald was silent for a moment as he contemplated what Jimmy had told him.  His thoughts went to Nathaniel and Maxine Fleming and something occurred to him.
“Jim,” he said, “didn’t you mention one time that your grandmother was adopted?”
“Grandma Kratz, yeah,” Jimmy answered.  “I remember something about her being born in Spain and ended up in a Hungarian orphanage near Transylvania.”
Transylvania,” Reginald said thoughtfully.  “Not too terribly far from Alexandrescu castle.”
“Wait, what are you driving at?” Jimmy asked.
“Do you know anything of your grandma’s parentage?  The area of Spain she was born in and how she ended up being at an orphanage in Hungary?”
Jimmy shook his head.  “I don’t know what part of Spain.  But yeah I will admit that I always found it odd she ended up in Hungary instead of a Spanish orphanage.  Trust me I’d love to ask her but she passed on five years ago.  She never liked to talk much of it though.  But…”
“But what?” Reginald prodded.
Jimmy took in a deep breath and said, “One thing I do remember her mentioning was of the nightmares she had as a child.  When she was growing up, she would have dreams of seeing an old cradle in and abandonded hut.  She said that sometimes it would rock by itself and sounded as though it were calling to her but calling her by another name.  But she could feel that the name was hers.  The name her adopted parents gave her was Marisa, but what these voices called her…well, wasn’t that.”
“Maybe they called her by her birth name?”
“Maybe,” Jimmy said.
“Did she ever say what that name was?”
“Nope.  But she also mentioned that sometimes after she had gone to bed, she would see dark shadows swirling above her.”
Reginald and Jimmy had stayed at the library until it was time to leave for supper and curfew.  There were a couple things they noticed that they hadn’t before.  One was what appeared to be an extension of the Fleming property on the blueprints and another was something at the end of one of James Livingston’s final journal entries.  It mentioned how he thought he had solved the mystery of what really happened to Cedric, Margaret, and Jared Fleming.  It also explained why Maxine had seen what she had.  But when Reginald went to turn the page to see what James had written on it, he noticed something strange.
“Why have I never noticed this before?” he had asked.
The closer he and Jimmy looked, the more it was apparent that someone had torn the pages out.  The pages that likely told more on what James had found out.
“Sometimes nothing can say a lot,” Reginald had said and Jimmy didn’t disagree.

Now as he fought the thing that pulled him down into the water, he opened his eyes to see what had been a mere glow from the surface.  He also noticed that his ability to breath was slowly returning.  For that he was grateful but he still didn’t know what was happening.  Reginald turned his head to get a better look at his assailant but saw nothing as he plunged into the abyss from where the bright light came from.

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