Saturday, November 9, 2013

New and Hopefully Improved Prologue (Though it's no longer a prologue...probably call it an introduction or part 1 now?)

Okay.  So I wasn't going to give anymore new draft samples until the final draft was completed but I decided that since I've changed up the prologue to something I feel makes it flow a little better, I would share it.  Now why did I change it?  Well as I stated in a previous entry when I was considering doing this, what was originally a prologue ended up being alot more and WAY longer than a prologue should be.  As a result, it is now INTRODUCTION or PART 1 (haven't completely decided on which yet): HECTOR'S CAVE.
Yes, the emphasis is more on Hector Fuentes and even though we don't really start getting into the Fuentes history until the middle of the second book (Nicolae and Jonathan get the most stage time in book one), Hector having visions of the other three bloodlines he ends up being connected to plays an important role in the series as a whole and is very important to the Joanna character.  Also, since its been established that Joanna is from the Livingston clan, which of James Livingston's sons does she descend from?  At this point it's ambiguous and that's one thing that will be found out in the second book.  Who knows, maybe I'll take a pole and see what everyone guesses and see if the popular guess is correct!
Book One is only the tip of the iceberg as there will be much more explored in the future books.
As I said before, we are in the home stretch here with six more chapters to go which I will get up her as soon as possible.  I'm also excited about giving you a little of the second book's first full draft at the end of November.  

Remember as you read: NOTHING in here is filler.  Everything experienced by the characters has a purpose whether we see that purpose immediately or later on in the book or series.  :)

So enjoy the revised former prologue and keep in mind that this is not the final draft by any means.  Also, scroll down to the previous post to read Chapter 47.  Chapter 48 and the other final chapters of the first book will be up very soon.  :)


PART 1: 
June of 1844
Tuxpan, Mexico


Hector de Fuentes took in the serenity of the early evening as he walked along the seashore.  The tides covered his barefeet as he headed to the secluded area at the end of the shore; it was a place that only he knew of and one that would not be seen by anyone other than him.  And Samuel, of course.
Even at the age of sixteen, Hector thrilled at having a secret retreat that belonged only to him.  Most young men Hector’s age were long passed involving themselves in such things.  But Hector was not like his peers.  It was on a rare occasion that he would come across someone with whom he had any commonground.
Hector still couldn’t tell whether he had found the place or if it found him.  On the day after his twelfth birthday, he had been walking along the coastline just after sunrise and before his family would be sitting down for breakfast.  As always, he was admiring the beauty that surrounded him but stopped when he noticed a large rock cluster in a far corner near the coastline.  He frowned as he never recalled seeing it prior to that morning.
He had stood watching the large bolders being slapped by the morning tides and felt compelled to get a closer look.  He couldn’t explain the draw he felt to it, nor could he figure out why he had never noticed it before.
I’ve walked these shores everyday for as long as I’m able to recall, he had thought.  Surely, I would have noticed them…would I not?
It was as though the formation hadn’t existed before that day, as though it had appeared out of thin air.
And perhaps that is just what happened…
Hector could feel a strange vibration in the ground coming to him from where the rock formation stood.  As if whatever was beyond those bolders were calling to him.  Beckoning him.
Even as a young boy, Hector had been fascinated by the unknown and things that could not be easily explained.  Perhaps this was what had piqued his curiosity and provided enough of a reason for him to give in to the draw of the rock cluster, though he had been cautious in his first approach.  He had been able to climb up over the formation and see what was on the other side.  He couldn’t have been more thrilled at what lay hidden by the formation of boulders.
Hector had found himself staring into the mouth of an underground cave.  His heart began palpitating with excitement as he made his way down the slope of rocks.  When he reached the bottom, he stood at the cave’s vast opening and was delighted to see the sun’s rays trickling in through small openings in the cave’s walls and ceilings.  Hector crept inside, unable to take his eyes from the splendor that was the intricate rock formations of the cave’s interior.  He had spent that entire morning exploring the cave and ended up losing track of the time.  He quickly left the cave and ran home up the coastline to find that his parents had been out searching for him when he failed to show up for breakfast.
Miguel and Inez de Fuentes had reprimanded their son for missing not only breakfast with the family but also the school lessons he had with his siblings.
Hector had been confined to the house for the remainder of that week.  During that time, he dreamt of the cave.  In these dreams, he had been walking deep into the tunnels and coming out on the other side to worlds that were not his.  He also saw people whom he had never met but still felt familiar with.  One of those individuals was his friend Samuel.
When Hector’s punishment had ended, he hurried back to the area the cave was in.  He hoped that his visit there hadn’t been something he had imagined or that perhaps the cave would only appear to him once.  Part of him felt silly for thinking such a thing, but something about the experience told him that this was different from other caves and formations.  As someone who lived in Mexico since birth, Hector had seen more than his share of caves, many with some of the most beautiful formations imaginable.  But this particular cave, it was…different.  Another world in itself.  Four years later, it was still here for him.  Now at sixteen, Hector came often to be alone, think, read, and watch the ships sailing in the distance toward ports in Mexico and America.  It remained to be a place that belonged only to him.  A place that only he and Samuel knew of.  Hector wasn’t ashamed of being a loner.  Although he had friends his age and got on well with his siblings, he treasured his time alone and he was grateful to have his cave.
Hector would often joke with himself about wanting to be interred in one of the rock formations of the cave following his death (whenever that would end up being).  But the more he thought about it, the more he came to realize that that was exactly what he wanted.
Would that even be possible, though…if no one else but me could see this place?
On this evening before summer’s solstice in 1844, Hector arrived at the rock formation that led up to his cave.  The evening tides crashed against the bottom of the boulders as he made his way up.  The cave’s mouth was there, open and waiting for him.  Hector smiled as though he were greeting a close friend before turning to sit upon one of the boulders and focused his gaze out to sea.  Here, he felt all of enterity at his feet.  Off in the distance, he could see a ship sailing out from a port before disappearing into rays of the setting sun.  Hector shut his eyes, listening to the churning waves as he welcomed the salty sea air blowing on his face.  And then he heard them.  The voices.  Those from his dreams.  Among them was Samuel.
What set Hector apart from his siblings and peers was his ability to see and hear people and other places no one else could.  It was a talent he kept to himself as he did have a fear of being rendered insane should anyone find out.  As he concentrated, two boys materialized in front of him.  One was about ten or eleven years of age and the other appeared to be between eighteen and twenty.  Hector didn’t know too much about them other than the fact that they were brothers and came from a slave village in Romania. It was night where they were at in Transylvania near the Romanian-Hungarian border.  Hector could see them running toward the dark woods…


…as a pale moon hung in the black, starless sky.  Nicolae Ganoush knew there would be a manhunt for him.  He and Sebastian were on borrowed time with a long journey ahead of them.  Nicolae was also aware that officials in neighboring countries would be alerted and told to be on the lookout for two Romani slaves on the run.  Anton Alexanderscu wouldn’t cease his pursuit of him until he had the young man’s neck stretched in a hangman’s noose.  At nineteen, Nicolae was wanted.  Wanted for murder and treason.
The boys felt their way through the brush, keeping their steps at an even pace despite Sebastian’s protests.  The younger boy’s words would be met with Nicolae ordering him to keep his mouth shut.
Nicolae’s plan for them was to travel through the night and into the morning with no plans for stopping to rest until the following night.  Even when that time came, they couldn’t afford to be still for very long.
Sebastian held back his tears as they continued deeper into the dark forest.  The younger boy did his best at keeping up with his older brother and was unaware of the incidents that had occurred just moments earlier.
Sebastian hadn’t seen much of Nicolae that evening.  The boy had a long time been asleep and was awakened by the older boy pulling him up from his cot.  Sebastian had immediately noticed the blood on Nicolae and immediately questioned it.  But the only explanation Nicolae would offer was that of having to leave that very minute.
The younger Ganoush boy shuddered as ghostly clouds floated passed the full moon.  To him, they seemed to enjoy the game of taunting the boys with a small amount of light before enveloping them in darkness again.
Sebastian felt Nicolae grab his hand as they continued their way through the thick, black brush. 
“Keep close,” the older boy whispered.
They trudged on, hearing only grass and leaves crunching beneath their shoes.  The woods surrounded them, dark and endless.  Anyhing or anyone could hide here.  Hide before they would jump out and eat us!  Sebastian forced the frightening thought from his mind.  The soft sound of running water brought him a small amount of relief.  They had come to a creek in a clearing.  The water flowing over rocks and branches was a soothing contrast to the heated tension that radiated from Nicolae.
The moon emerged from behind the clouds, casting its pale beam onto the patch of land where the boys stood.  Sebastian watched his brother remove his bag he had slung across his torso and set it down onto the bank.  The younger boy was grateful for the stop, however brief it would be.  He hoped Nicolae had some food in his bag.  The haze of sleep had left him, but the pains of hunger grew.
Nicolae knelt down by the water and roughly scrubbing drying blood from his hands.
Blood that’s still wet…
Sebastian felt the skin on his arms prickle as he watched the dark red liquid leave his brother’s skin and fade into the clear water.  What happened?  Why is there blood all over him?  But before the boy could allow his thoughts to go any further, the emptiness in his stomach prevailed.
“Nicolae,” he said.
“What,” Nicolae replied without looking up.  He had removed his bloodstained shirt and was dipping it down into the water.
Sebastian could see hints of the intensity on his brother’s face as he worked to remove as much of the blood as possible from his clothes and skin. 
The boy took in a breath and said, “I’m really hungry.”
“Well you’re going to have to wait!” Nicolae snapped.
Sebastian flinched at his brother’s angry tone.  The hot tears that had been in limbo since he had been wrenched from sleep moments earlier formed at the rims of his eyes.  He turned to face the other direction so his older brother wouldn’t see.  All he wanted was a scrap of something to eat and for Nicolae to tell him what was going on.
I’m not a silly child! he thought as two tears rolled down his cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” the boy heard Nicolae say.
Sebastian made sure his eyes and cheeks were dry as he wiped them with the back of his hand.  He looked back at his older brother.  In the moonlight, he could see genuine expression of remorse on Nicolae’s face. 
“Look, I’ll give you something to eat soon,” Nicolae said. “We just need to go a little further while the moon is still out.”
Sebastian slowly nodded.  “Thank you,” he said. 
Nicolae gave his brother a sad smile and pulled his damp shirt back on.
He got most of the blood out, Sebastian noted, but where did all of it come from?
Nicolae picked up his bag and said, “Come.  Just another mile and we’ll stop to eat.  I promise.” 
Sebastian gave his brother a grateful smile and was met with a dark, faraway look.  A look that sent chills across the skin on the younger boy’s arms all over again.
Nicolae carefully slung his bag over his torso and started walking along the bank of the creek.  Sebastian followed, trying keep up with Nicolae’s quick, long strides.
There was a strange tension between the boys.  One that Sebastian would be willing to surely say had never been there before.  He snuck the occasional glimpse up at his brother as they continued along the bank and caught something in Nicolae’s eyes that troubled him.  It was pain.  Pain among other emotions he wasn’t able to place.
What is it, Nicolae? the boy wanted to say.  Please tell me!  I swear I’ll understand!
Sebastian was ready to give up when something else suddenly occurred to him.  Eloisa! 
More confusion filled the boy.  Why isn’t she with us?
He turned his eyes back to his brother, hoping that Nicolae would at least answer one burning question he had.
“Nicolae, where are we going?” he asked.
Nicolae hesitated as if considering whether or not he should answer Sebastian’s question.  Finally, he uttered out, “America.”
Sebastian’s eyes widened.  America?!
He stared at Nicolae who kept his eyes forward, avoiding eye contact.  The feeling that something wasn’t right grew stronger.
Sebastian frowned.  “But…what about Eloisa?  Why isn’t she coming with us?”
Nicolae came to an abrupt halt at the mention of Eloisa and gripped the strap of his bag.  Sebastian thought he could see tears forming in his brother’s eyes.  Nicolae tightly shut them and said, “I’d rather not speak of her now.”
Sebastian could hear a strain in his brother’s voice.  Before anymore could be said, Nicolae turned and hurried down the bank.  Once again, Sebastian had to jog to keep up with him.
The brothers moved on through the night, taking some of the forest’s most secluded paths.  The paths were dark but there was enough moonlight filtering through the branches above for Sebastian to observe a pronounced pain, anger, sadness, and deep state of concetration on his brother’s face. 
Nicolae looks very sad and Eloisa isn’t coming with us…we left so quickly and we’re going to America… Nicolae was all bloody…the blood on Nicolae…Blood on Nicolae and Eloisa is not coming with us.
For a third time, chills returned to the skin on Sebastian’s arm as his mind swam with possibilities of what could have happened.  He always had an active imagination and there were times when the images and scenarios that appeared in his mind frightened him.  They seemed real sometimes.  Too real. 
Sebastian jolted from his thoughts when he heard a branch snap from somewhere nearby in the surrounding brush.  Nicolae had also heard it.  He whispered for Sebastian to get back behind him and withdrew his dagger from the sheath around his waist.  The blade of the dagger glistened in the moonlight.  Silver…and red.
Sebastian focus intensified on the rusty red that caked the blade and his heart began to beat faster.  But his attention was thwarted when a shadow emerged from the direction from which the snapping was heard.
The brothers stood watching with nervous anticipation.  But all was quickly disgarded when the shadow and apparent source of the snapping was revealed to be a deer.
The animal stepped out from behind the trees, regarding the two boys with large, curious eyes.  As Nicolae lowered his dagger, the deer turned and scampered down the bank in the same direction the Ganoush brothers were headed.
Sebastian saw Nicolae noticing the red stains on the dagger’s blade.  The older brother’s gaze darted to Sebastian.  Sebastian’s breath caught in his throat as Nicolae’s dark eyes blazed in the moonlight, giving the boy a blatant warning to not question him any further that night.
Nicolae quickly removed a cloth from his bag and wiped the blade clean before returning it to the sheath.  He dipped the stained cloth back into the creek, wringing it dry before returning it to the bag.  Then with a look that was more indifferent, Nicolae gave Sebastian a nod before continuing into the thick forest.
The Ganoush brothers resumed their quick pace, following the direction the deer had gone in.  They would go barely another mile before the ghost clouds returned to block out the moonlight and leave the boys in darkness.
Well, at least I can eat now, Sebastian thought.
And Nicolae did let him eat.


Hector could feel their anxiety and tension.  He could feel the fear they felt and the older boy’s torment.  Sadness along with the struggle to hide it from the younger boy.  Hector could sense the protective nature of the older brother toward the younger one and the staunch feeling of responsibility the young man clearly felt for his little brother’s safety.
There was also and overpowering sense of loss that pulsated inside the older one.  A loss that came with a dark, cold emptiness threatening to consume him.  It was almost too much for Hector.  He was relieved when a bright, happy warmth faded in, replacing the oppressing essence of Nicolae Ganoush.
Hector saw the young Irishman who lived far north of him on the border of Illinois and the Iowa Territory.  Anxiety pulsed through this young man, but it was different from what the first one felt.  It was a beautiful early evening on the prairie near the border of Illinois-Iowa Territory (much like the one Hector enjoyed in Tuxpan, Mexico)…


…when eighteen-year-old Jonathan Blake rode his black stallion across the frontier of the American Midwest.  Jonathan had finished his day of work for the town Blacksmith who employed him and his father, Charles.  That early evening, he had eaten his supper as quickly as possible and excused himself from the table so he could head back out to the family’s barn for his six-year-old horse, Samson.
His mother, Emma, was slightly taken aback by her son’s sudden departure.  The rest of the family had barely finished their own supper and she still had yet to bring out the blueberry pie she had made for dessert.  But Charles and Emma allowed their eldest son to leave the table.  It had been a longer work day than normal for Charles and Jonathan and Emma knew how much her son loved taking his horse out for good, long rides before nightfall. 
Riding Samson along the open terrain was indeed a much loved pastime for Jonathan despite the risks of the frontier.  He had come to know the area well, but there was always new uncharted territory to discover and that was the part of the adventure he enjoyed the most.  But on this particular evening, he was not out to uncover a new corner of the land.  He was returning to a place where he found what he considered to be a new treasure.  The greatest he knew he would ever find.
Be still, my beating heart, he thought as he anticipated the possibility of seeing her again. 
He gently nudged Samson, quickening the horse’s pace.  If there was such a thing as love at first sight, it was what Jonathan had experienced two days prior.
“Please, Lord,” he prayed aloud, “let her come back to me…”
He hoped and prayed that he wouldn’t be too late.

Jonathan, his brother Brendan and their parents had been in America since the autumn of 1832.  The Blakes were a working class Irish family (referred as ‘Black Irish’ by outside of Ireland) who emigrated from the Galway area in Ireland when the beginnings of what would later become the potato blight began forming in some areas of the country.  At the time, Jonathan was barely five-years-old and Brendan was two.  If one asked them to describe the journey, neither boy could recall much of the boat ride from Ireland to America.  One memory that Jonathan did have was of getting off the ship as he clutched his father’s hand while his mother walked beside them holding little Brendan.
The boat had docked at a port in New Jersey.  It was overwhelming and exciting for little Jonathan to watch all the other passengers filing off with them as they all took in their new surroundings.  He also had vague recollections of being at the Immigration building.  Jonathan had been a curious child and could hardly get enough of everything that was happening around him.  He took in how different the new country seemed from his family’s native Ireland.
As for Charles Blake, his intention was to get some land near the Iowa Territory with his wife and (then) two children.  Upon their arrival, Charles had only enough money to get his family the most basic necessities while they stayed in a hostile in New York City.  After struggling to find work, he was finally met with some good fortune when James Livingston had offered him a job at the publishing firm he owned.  Charles would work for Livingston Publishing to not only provide for his family but also save up money to purchase the land out west.
Within a year of their arrival in New York, Charles and Emma would welcome their daughter, Frances (or “Frankie” as family and friends would call her), into the world.  Charles, Emma, Jonathan, and Brendan were all thrilled with the new addition to their family and considered the little girl to be a wonderful blessing.  But with one more mouth to feed, obtaining land out west seemed to be a far greater challenge than before.
Charles and Emma had been considering the possibility of a permanent stay in New York following Frankie’s birth.  While there was a little disappointment on Charles’s end, the devout Catholic family had come to accept being thankful for the things they did have rather than covet for more.  Charles had also found an unlikely friend in the very wealthy James Livingston and didn’t mind working hard for Livingston Publishing.  James had even offered Charles a better paying position shortly following his month-long trial period and helped the Blakes find better housing than the hostile they were living in; thus, giving Emma a more comfortable setting when she gave birth to Frankie and then, two years later, a son she and Charles named Isaiah.  After five years in New York, the Blakes were able to purchase their land out west.  The youngest child of Charles and Emma, a girl named Rachel, was born on the new land.
It had now been eight years since the Blake family started living on the land Charles Blake dreamed of buying for his family.
Jonathan spent the ages of ten to eighteen living in the farmhouse his father built with his own hands.  The young man was thankful for many things.  He was thankful for his family and for the privilege of being able to ride the open trails with the late afternoon sun warming his shoulders.  But what he was most thankful for in the recent days was for having met her.
His heart skipped a beat as he and Samson approached the familiar patch of land.  The trail on which the most beautiful girl he had ever seen had been walking two days ago.  As a light wind from the east tousled his dark brown hair, the fantasy of pulling her close to him and kissing her beautifully shaped mouth played through his mind.  He felt his groin tighten a little as he imagined her warm, honey-colored skin and the petite figure that was underneath her deer-skin garments. 
Jonathan figured the young woman to be part of the nearby Dakota Sioux tribe.  He had seen her two days ago while out with Samson on one of his rides.  She was walking up from the opposite direction as he turned the horse to the trail.  He had slowed Samson, approaching the girl with caution while also keeping aware of his surroundings.  He was able to hear her singing softly to herself (a sound he would never tire of playing over and over again in his mind).  With his heart pounding, he had brought Samson to a halt in front of her and was able to get a better look at her.  She appeared to be a couple of years younger than he was.  Possibly sixteen years of age.
The young woman had ceased her singing and looked up at him with dark, curious eyes.  Both were still as they regarded one another.  His eyes traveled over her, from her moccasined feet, to her face, to her silky mane of black hair.
I have never seen such beauty before, he thought.
Jonathan observed his surroundings again before returning his gaze to the young woman.  He offered her a friendly smile in an attempt to put her at ease.  But the girl’s curiosity evaporated and was replaced with apprehension.
“Please, lass.  My intention is not to hurt you,” he said. 
The girl was silent but appeared to relax her stance.
He slowly dismounted Samson and hooked the horse’s reigns to a strong branch on the closest tree.  He turned back to her and their eyes locked; her near black eyes to his grayish-blue.
Jonathan watched as the evening’s light wind moved some strands of her black hair to flow around her face.  He could feel his heart pounding harder against the wall of his chest.  The world around him seemed to fade and for that moment, he only existed with her.
Can I take you away to find the Garden of Eden?  To find our Heaven together? he thought as he felt his feet taking him toward her.
His visions of them in a paradise together with no barrier of any kind between them burned into his mind’s eye.
The young woman stood frozen in her place, watching him close the distance between them.  It wasn’t long before the two of them were standing face to face with one another. Jonathan stood before her, struggling with the urge to scoop her up and claim her lips with his.  He drew in a breath and opened his mouth to speak to her again.  But before he could say a word, she jumped back and ran back down the trail. 
“Please.  Don’t run away,” he called after her, but she had already disappeared from the path and into the field she came from, leaving Jonathan and Samson alone on the secluded trail.
He was first inclined to run after her but had been able to stop himself.  Instead, he stood staring in her direction, questioning whether or not the incident occurred or if he had imagined it all.  He wondered if the young woman had merely been an angel who had come down from Heaven to grace him for only a torturous minute.
I have to see her again…that is not a girl you can just forget.
Over the next two days, Jonathan had returned to the area holding onto the hope that she would return to him.
Perhaps this time I can convince her to not run away.
But she hadn’t returned, leaving him feeling an overwhelming emptiness.  Even Samson seemed to feel his master’s disappointment as the stallion’s steps slowed down and dragged as Jonathan rode him from the trail back to the barn.
Jonathan had spent those two nights lying in bed and staring out at the stars that filled the sky.  He thought of her asleep in her village.  He had visions of her hair sprawled around her as she slept.
“I hope your dreams tonight are sweet ones,” he whispered.  He wondered if somehow his message would find its way to her.  His own mind would drift to where he would see himself lying with her, holding her to him as they slept, feeling her sweet, soft breath on his chest.  He could feel her skin against his after knowing one another in the most intimate way one could know a lover.  In his mind, she had given him the most precious gift a woman could give to the one she loved.  Jonathan hoped that he could somehow be that man for her.
He did feel a little caught off guard at the effect this girl had on him.  There were plenty of other girls in the town and neighboring areas, many of whom Jonathan found quite beautiful.  But none of them had made him feel the way the young woman on the trail had.  Now here he was, back again at that trail for a third attempt at making his fantasies of her into something real.
Jonathan knew that his desire to court and marry a Native girl came with risks, but they were risks that he was willing to take.  He rode Samson onto the trail, nervous but happily infatuated and blissfully unaware of two Romani boys on the other side of the world.  He hadn’t the slightest idea that Nicolae Ganoush--a young man only a year older than he was—and his brother Sebastian--who was the same age as Jonathan’s own brother, Isaiah—ran through a dark forest with barely anything to their names as they made an escape from a great danger.
As Nicolae and Sebastian stopped at the creek so the older brother could wash away the blood that covered him, Jonathan stopped Samson at the trail and surveyed the area for the young woman while also keeping his senses aware of what surrounded him.  He nudged Samson down the trail as Nicolae and Sebastian began following the creek toward the Romanian-Hungarian border.
The three boys each had a purpose for their movement.  Nicolae and Sebastian would pick up their pace along the creek as Jonathan slowed down Samson’s steps as he continued keeping watch for the girl he was seeking.  Samson was brought to a halt as Nicolae stopped to give Sebastian the food break he had promised him.
As the former Rom slaves took that brief, sweet moment to eat a piece of stale bread and drink a little water from Nicolae’s small flask, the Irishman from the American Midwest felt his heart leap when he saw her.  She had returned and was walking along the path, singing softly to herself as she had been doing two days prior.  She ceased her steps when she noticed him but then proceeded up to where he waited for her.
Jonathan sat anxiously watching as she approached him with caution.
“Come to me, my sweet lass,” he whispered.  “There’s no need to be afraid of me.”
He offered the girl a warm, though nervous, smile when she came to a stop in front of him.  They gazed silently at one another before Jonathan cleared his throat.
“Hello,” he said.
He saw the girl wince a little, but then her lips turned up into a shy smile.  Jonathan melted at the site.  He watched as she lifted her small hand to slowly pet Samson and wondered what it would be like to have that hand touching him.
He drew in a breath and slowly dismounted Samson as he had done three evenings ago.  The girl shifted her dark eyes back up to him. 
“Please.  Don’t run away, my love,” Jonathan blurted out.  “I’m a man of honor and I mean you no harm.”
The girl’s eyebrows rose and Jonathan cringed at his words, realizing he had called her ‘his love’ when he really had no right to do so.  He feared he had offended her and that for sure she would run from him and never return.
He watched with anticipation as the girl rested her facial muscles and brought the hand she was using to pet Samson with to the center of her chest.
“Kimimela,” she said.
To Jonathan, her voice echoed the light breeze that flowed around them.
“Is that who you are, lass?” he slowly asked her.
The girl paused, studying Jonathan as though she were trying to comprehend his words.  He wondered if she was able to understand him at all as he knew the Native tribes all spoke their own languages.
After what seemed like an eternity, the girl alleviated his unsurity and nodded.
“Kimimela…that is your name,” he said.
She nodded again with more confidence.
He let out the breath he had been holding and said, “My name is Jonathan.”
“Jonathan?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said as a wide smile spread across his lips.
Kimimela returned his smile before bashfully turning her eyes to the ground.  Then she peered back up at him and said, “I like your voice.”
Jonathan felt his cheeks flush at her compliment of his Irish brogue.
After a brief pause, he asked, “Would you like to walk with me, Kimimela?”
Kimimela’s face brightened as she nodded.
“What’s your horse’s name?” she asked as Jonathan took hold of Samson’s reigns.
“Samson,” he replied.
“Han, khola Samson,” she said with a soothing tone as she patted Samson’s nose.  Jonathan saw the horse respond favorably to Kimimela’s gesture.  He had no understanding for what she had just said but to him, it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard.
His heart raced as he watched Kimimela and Samson for a little longer.  When she finished petting the horse, he asked her, “Forgive me, but may I ask what you just said to him?”
“I told him hello,” she replied.  “I called him a friend.”
Jonathan and Kimimela regarded one another for another moment before walking side by side with Samson trailing behind them as Jonathan held the reigns. 
On the other side of the world, Nicolae Ganoush was a young man wanted by the Romanian Law Enforcemant while Jonathan Blake became a young man wanted by a young woman with whom he would come to share a great love.  A love that, for Nicolae, was now a memory.


The attraction the Irishman and the American Native girl had to one another was evident.  Hector saw their nervous conversation as they walked together down the secluded trail (secluded like my cave).  He could hear the faint though pleasant sounds of their voices.
Hector could sense the young Irishman resisting the urge he had to take the girl’s hand as they continued down the path with the large, black stallion trailing behind them.  The initial unease the girl had moments earlier was no longer present.  Even after meeting only for the second time, the couple seemed comfortable in the other’s company.
They seemed destined for one another despite challenges that loomed ahead of them.
The image of Irishman with the young woman of his heart’s desire left Hector and in their place was a quaint, American town in New York.  Hector knew that place.  It was where Samuel’s family stayed on a holiday (Hector understood this as his own family also had a home specifically for that purpose).


Plains, New York, United States
The Livingstons were one of America’s oldest, most prominent families in America’s history.  They had been in the country since the mid 18th century among the founding fathers and helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The family was the first in the aristocracy of the Colonies, owning large portions of the land surrounding the Hudson River.  Many in the Livingston bloodline held prominent positions in politics, including that of Chancellor and mayor.  Others practiced law and were highly respected lawyers and judges.  It was typical for a Livingston to follow in the footsteps of the predecessors, but James Henry Livingston would be one of those in the bloodline who would pave a slightly different direction with his inheritance. 

James had been born in America during the first of the colonizations.  In his early years, he developed a passion for literature and science.  As a boy, James and his five siblings were taught by private tutors as children of the upper class typically were.  During these school lessons, a young James Livingston would find himself fighting to stay awake with the exception of the Science and Literature classes.  As a teenager, he would attend a prestigious secondary school before being accepted to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusets.  At the request of his parents, an eighteen-year-old James took on a major in Business Law.
James would go on to excel in his studies, despite Business Law not being his preferred choice of major.  Being a Livingston came with the high expectation from those in society.  James also became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity during his second half of his first year.  The fraternity had an emphasis in Liberal Arts and Sciences which allowed James to indulge in his true passions.  Fate would also look favorably on him in his final year of school when he would meet a young woman by the name of Samantha Jo DeWitt at a party hosted by his fraternity.
Like the Livingstons, the DeWitt family was of America’s high end society, having emigrated from England and Holland around the same time the Livingstons had.  Samantha’s mother and father had approved of James courting their daughter and James would stay in Cambridge for a year following his graduation from Harvard to persue a relationship with Samantha.
On Christmas of 1816—and with the approval of her father—a twenty-two year old James would formally propose marriage to a nineteen-year-old Samantha.  The wedding was set for the summer of 1818 and afterward, a newly married James and Samantha Livingston moved back to New York where James began practicing law.  There were some futile attempts for children in the first years, but in the spring of 1826, Samantha would give birth to their son, Jesse Robert Livingston.  That was also the year James had stopped practicing law and officially opened Livingston Publishing.  Two years later, another son they named Samuel James was born. 
James’s publishing company had its main offices in New York City and he had been working on opening a branch in the newly founded town of Plains, an area just short of an hour outside of New York City that James had been among the founders of.  He had overseen the building of the new town and founded the town’s public library.  The Plains Public Library opened to the public in 1832 (the same year the Blakes arrived in America).  Four years later, Lawrence Henry Livingston would enter the world as the youngest child of James and Samantha.  It was also the same year Emma Blake gave birth to her son, Isaiah.
In the year of Lawrence’s birth, James had reserved land in the new Plains area to build his family a holiday-weekend home.  The two-story home was built on a large field that stretched back toward a forest that was connected to the woods that covered the Appalachian Mountains and expanded into the Northeastern part of Pennsylvania.
After the Livingtstons’ holiday home had been built, James and his family found it to be a peaceful retreat away from the city.  Over the years, frequent family retreats had been made out there and occasionally, the Livingstons invited friends like the Blakes and the Flemings.
On this evening in June of 1844, James sat in the carriage heading out to the holiday-weekend house where he planned to get some much needed work done.  Samantha remained at home in New York City with the houseservants and her and James’s three boys.  The portfolio case that James carried with him contained paperwork that he intended to finish that Friday evening and into Saturday.  The documents concerned new growths occurring with Livingston Publishing, new additions being made to the library, funding for the orphanage that his good friends, Cedric and Margaret Fleming, were building, and the letter to his other dearest of friends, Charles Blake. 
At forty-nine years old, the years had been very kind to James.  His face was only slightly aged with fine lines that creased his eyes and mouth.  His forehead and brow had furrow and expression lines but made him appear distinguished rather than old.  There was also the faintest touch of gray peppered throughout his reddish-brown hair.  Even the younger women found him very handsome and a few of the more brazen ones had dropped hints of wanting to be a mistress to him, something that was not an uncommon practice among the upper class.  But James was an exception to many of his more boorish peers, keeping his devotion with his wife.
James enjoyed the long carriage rides out to Plains.  When he was alone it gave him opportunity to clear his mind and think and in the company of friends and family, it made for a pleasing ride of great laughs and conversation.  On this particular evening, James savored the silence that followed a rather stressful work week.  The only present noise at that moment were that of the horse’s hooves clomping on the road as it pulled the carriage.  Every so often, he could hear the call of a crow or nighthawk out in the distance.  It all had a hypnotic effect on James, lulling him into a trance.
 James was shaken to attention and he realized that the carriage was no longer moving.  He had arrived at the holiday-weekend home.  The coachman, Bradley, stood holding the carriage door open, waiting for James to exit.
“Hold on.  I’ll only be a second, Bradley,” James said, alarmed at how tired his own voice sounded.
“Of course, Master Livingston,” Bradley replied.
James could feel the coachman’s eyes on him as he gathered his portfolio case.  He paused, when a slight nausea passed over him.
“Forgive me for asking, but are you quite well, sir?” Bradley asked, wearing a puzzled expression in his bluish-green eyes.
James looked at the young, light-haired coachman and said, “Yes.  Yes Bradley, I’m quite alright.”  He stood, shaking away the last of his dreamstate, and exited the carriage.
“My lord,” Bradley said with a small bow as James’s boots landed on the dirt road in front of the house. 
“Safe travels back,” James said turning to Bradley. “I will require a carriage to the city tomorrow evening.  Seven ‘o’ clock sharp.”
“Yes, Master Livingston,” Bradley replied. “Will there be anything else before I depart for the evening?”
“No.  Thank you, Bradley.  You are relieved for the night.  Samantha and the boys have our servants in the home should they be in need of anything.”
“Very well, my lord.  I’ll shall return here tomorrow evening at seven ‘o’ clock,” Bradley said before returning to the carriage.
James stood alone in front of the dark, two story house, peering up into the top window as the carriage faded down the road.  He was always amazed at the quiet stillness Plains offered.
A breeze traveling west lifted his cloak as James started up the pathway to the house.  He had gone half of the way when he felt the need to stop and observe his surroundings.  James looked ahead, squinting his eyes as he studied the distant woods as an offsetting feeling began to crawl in through him.  It was one he recognized.  The feeling that he was not alone.  The feeling that somewhere, a pair of eyes watched him.  Someone he couldn’t see but could see him.
From the corner of his eye, James noticed what looked like a small figure running across the field toward the woods.  He made a fast turn to get a better look, only to find that the field lay open and empty. 
Perhaps I do need a real holiday, James thought as he brought a hand up to massage his temples.
From somewhere far off in the woods, a howling flowed back to where James stood.  He felt his stomach jolt before quickly walking up the rest of the path, making certain his key was ready to unlock the door.  As he shut himself inside the house, James felt a great relief but was also thankful that nobody was around to see how on edge he was.
James straightened himself up and made his way to a couple rooms, lighting some oil lamps.  He entered his study, placing his portfolio on top of the desk.  James opened the case and removed the documents, organizing them into neat piles.
James sat down, ready to focus his mind on his work.  He decided to begin with the new paperwork concerning the Fleming Orphanage.  With his pen in hand, he began reading over the form.  But it wasn’t long before the paper’s lettering began blurring together.  James tried to ignore and push through it, but the more he tried, the more bothersome it became.  He finally gave up when his temples began throbbing.
James slammed his pen down onto the desk and brought his hands to his face as he waited for the thumping pain to leave.  He lifted his head and shifted his eyes over to the liquor cabinet.
A drink…he thought. I could use a drink.  Yes.  Perhaps that will help…
James rose from his chair, grasping the edge of the desk, taking in and letting out deep breaths until the last of the throbbing dulled down.  He slowly walked to the cabinet and took out a bottle of brandy with an appropriate glass.  James poured the dark liquid into the glass, swirling it absently before taking a first sip.  It was enough to dull any physical and emotional discomfort, but nothing could erase her from his mind.  The girl he had encountered only a week ago. 
Now, James Livingston was what one would consider to be a reasonable and logical man.  A sane man.  While he attended the Presbyterian church with his wife and sons every Sunday, a passion for science and a being self-proclaimed Agnostic had always compelled James to seek out logical explanations and never entertained anything outside of what could be seen, heard, and felt with the five physical senses.  Therefore, one can only imagine the pains James was taking to explain what he had seen up at the Nathaniel Fleming Orphanage property.
The property was not far from James’s Plains home and he was considering heading up there.  Considering going back up to the fourth floor of the second building to Room 410 just to prove that there was a good reason for what he had seen there.
That I’m not going mad…
James was very fond Cedric and Margaret Fleming.  He had known Cedric since his days at Harvard and they had been Phi Beta Kappa brothers together when Cedric was in his first year at the University and James was in his last.  Although James and Cedric were four years apart in school, the two became fast friends and had been ever since. 
Cedric and Margaret had been courting since secondary school.  James and Samantha had been in attendance at their wedding as the Flemings had been at theirs.  The Flemings ended up moving to New York following their wedding, not far from the Livingstons.  To James, they were neighbors and friends and he was happy to help them in any way he was able to. 
James had been up to the Fleming property to oversee the building of the orphanage a few times.  It was nice to see the progress, but James also liked seeing Cedric and Margaret in good spirits again.  The tragic death of their young son, Nathaniel, five years ago had had a devastating affect on them.  The construction of the orphanage, along with their daughter Maxine, seemed to give them a sense of purpose again. 

In the dim light of the study, James raised the glass to his lips, once again taking the sweet, warm liquid into his mouth.  As the brandy trickled down his throat his thoughts went to her.  The small, dark-haired girl he had encountered up there. 
James and Samantha had gone with Cedric, Margaret, and little Maxine Fleming to the property after all having dinner together.  Cedric had wanted to show James the new building that had just been finished.  The building that would house the kitchen and dining hall for the children and teaching faculty along with some classrooms, a small library (that Cedric insisted on naming after James), and dormrooms for the class instructors.  The kitchen and dining hall were on the first floor and the classrooms and library were up on the second.  The third and fourth floors held rooms and living quarters meant to house the classroom instructors who would be staying on the property during the schoolyear.  It was almost ready, only needing a little more furnishing.
Upon their arrival, James had wanted to have a look around on the building’s four floors.  He excused himself, leaving Samantha, Cedric, and Margaret to finish their coffee in the dining hall.  Little Maxine ate a bowl of ice cream, but still appeared quite restless and bored as the adults engaged in seemingly endless chatter about a wonderful young twenty-five-year-old school instructor named Christian Andrews who would be teaching English at the orphanage.
The voices of Cedric, Margaret, and Samantha faded as James made his way up the stairs with a lantern Cedric had given him.  He spent a considerable amount of time on the second floor and third floors, peering into all the rooms and feeling pleased that he agreed to help sponsor Cedric and Margaret’s orphanage. 
James went up to the fourth floor, feeling satisfied with how everything was turning out.  He repeated the routine of looking into all the rooms as he had on the previous floors. James had reached room 410 and stepped inside to take a quick look around.  As he was turning to leave, the flame in his lantern flickered out.  James looked toward the window, expecting to see it open, making way for a draft to come in.  But the window was shut and latched.
Strange, he had thought.
He surveyed the room in an attempt to place where the draft may have come from, but there was no sign of any kind of opening.  James dismissed it as perhaps the lantern having had run out of oil and decided to return to the first floor.
The fourth floor was cloaked in shadow, but because it was early evening, there was still enough light streaming in through the windows for James to make his way back down the hall.  He had seen all he needed to anyway.
I just need to be cautious in the stairwell…he had thought.  The lights still need testing…
He had made his way back to the doorway when he felt the floor begin to vibrate.  He frowned, puzzeled. 
“An earthquake?  Here?” he asked himself.  If it was an earthquake, he had to make it down to Samantha.
James made it out to the hall and felt another vibration from the floor, this one lower and more pronounced.  It was enough for James to fall backward into the room as he grasped the door frame to catch his balance.
As he tried to keep his mind clear enough to find a way back down to his wife, he felt the room’s temperature cool down and the air seemed to thin.  There was a new scent in the room, the smell of tobacco smoke.  It almost overwhelmed James to the point of causing him to choke, despite his years of spending Wednesday evenings in the cigar filled gentlemen’s club.  Then his ears picked up sounds filling the room.  Deafening unearthly, ghoulish sounds.
“What the devil…?” he demanded through gritted teeth as he pressed his hands over his ears.
He turned his head back to see shapes materializing before him.  Shapes that turned out to be a bed and a desk.  James shut his eyes tightly thinking that surely this was the evening shadows playing tricks with his eyes in the midst of a small earthquake.
Perhaps I’ve been working too hard as of late...perhaps I need a holiday.
The vibrating in the floor stopped to James’s relief.  The smell of tobacco smoke alleviated as did whatever ghastly sounds that were just present.
James counted to ten and opened his eyes, expecting to see an empty room.  But instead, he stood in a completely furnished room.  He didn’t have much time to observe it all because that was when he saw her.  The light in the room was still minimal, but he could see her, plain as day.  She appeared to be about twenty years of age and she wore dark clothing to match her hair.  James could hear his heart pounding in his ears as he watched her.  She was standing on a chair securing a hangman’s noose to a hook on the ceiling.
What is going on here? he wondered.
James stepped further into the room, attempting to get a better look at the girl.  He paused at the desk, placing his hand on the surface and nearly falling over when his hand went through it.  An electrical current pulsed through James’s body as he stood, trying to collect himself.  He continued over to the girl and stopped right beside her as she finished securing the noose.  The girl then stood, staring at it with blank eyes, though there was a stain from a single tear on her left cheek.  James could see her delicate chin.  He could also see the shadows under her eyes, and hollow cheeks as her face was on the gaunt side.  He reached out to touch her arm and his hand, as it had done with the desk, had gone right through her. 
James could feel another current pulse through him, followed by a sudden wave of sadness.  Sadness, anger, anxiety, and a desire to end it all took over his being.  The feeling was oppressing and paralyzed him to where he could hardly move.  But it was when the girl turned in James’s direction and her eyes met his.  She was looking directly at him but it was apparent that she could not see him.  Her eyes told a story of who she was and what had happened to her.  Terror and anguish rose inside of him.
Oh dear God... “No…” he uttered out, slowly shaking his head.
He struggled to move his legs as the girl turned back to the noose, placing her hands around where her neck would go.
“No! Please, stop!” he managed to lurch out as the girl placed the noose around her neck and stepped down from the chair, suspending her small body in mid air, held by the noose that stretched her neck.
James was then finally able to break free of whatever restrained him, lunging forward to grab her, hoping he could save her before it was too late.  James ran into the wall as the girl, the chair, the bed, the desk, and all other objects in the room had disappeared leaving James alone in an empty room.
James collapsed sobbing, lowering his hands to his knees as his eyes stared at the floor.  He reached a hand up to wipe away the tears that had made their way down to his chin.  James noticed the broken lantern that lay on the floor in shattered pieces.  He knelt down to pick up the remains as he searched his brain for when he could have dropped it along with an explanation he would give to Cedric of how it broke.  James thought of Cedric, Margaret, Samantha and Maxine down on the first floor.  He wasn’t sure how long he had been in Room 410.  Surely they would all be wondering what was keeping him.  How much can one possibly blather on about a new school instructor?
James rose back to a standing position, holding the pieces of the broken lantern and used the last remains of daylight to check the mirror above the sink, making sure he looked as he did when he had left everyone in the dining hall.  He turned back around to exit the room and stopped when he saw a small glowing figure in front of him.
James jumped back, startled.  But he relaxed when he saw that the glowing figure was only little Maxine Fleming standing in front of him, holding a lit lantern.
“Maxine!” he exclaimed. “Good heavens, I didn’t even hear you come in!”
“Sorry,” the little girl answered. “It was getting boring downstairs.  Momma and Daddy said I could come up and find you.”
James forced a smile at the ten-year-old.  “Well, thank you Maxine.  Tell your parents and my wife that I’m on my way down.” 
“Alright, Mr. Livingston,” she said. 
James waited for Maxine to turn around and leave the room.  But continued standing in front of him, squinting her icy blue eyes as she studied his face and turned her attention to the broken lantern that he held.  The little girl then turned her face back up at him.  She stood holding the lantern in front of her.  Between that and the rays of the setting sun trickling into the room, her hair seemed to take on a red tint.  Her eyes almost glowed as she gave him a rather peculiar look as though she could see right through him.
“Are you well, Mr. Livingston?” she asked. 
James’s eyes widened at the question.  He returned the little girl’s gaze and for a reason he couldn’t place, he felt his skin begin to crawl.  Maxine regarded him rather shrewdly for someone her age.  Of course, James would write that off as her brother’s death having had a terrible affect on her.
He regained his composure, cleared his throat and said, “Yes.  Yes, Maxine…I am.  Run along and tell your parents and my wife that I’m on my way back downstairs.”
“Yes sir,” she said.
The little girl turned and headed toward the hall.  She stood in the doorway, turning back around. 
“Mr. Livingston,” she said, “your lantern is broken.  How will you see down the stairs?  The lights haven’t been installed in the stairwells yet, you know.”
James looked down at the broken lantern in his hand and said, “Why you’re absolutely right, Maxine.  I suppose I’m right behind you, then.”
The little girl looked pleased with herself as James followed her out to the hall.
As the two walked together toward the door that led to the stairwell, James could feel Maxine’s eyes on him once again.  He looked down at the girl, giving her a quick smile. 
“Mr. Livingston,” she said.
“Yes, Maxine.”
“Why were you crying?”
He stopped.  “I beg your pardon?”
“I heard you crying,” Maxine answered.
James avoided her stare and said, “I wasn’t.  Perhaps you were hearing things.  Let’s get back downstairs.”
“I wasn’t hearing things,” she said, her tone defensive and rather harsh.  “I heard you.”
“I was choking on something,” he said.  “Perhaps that is what you heard.”
“What would you be choking on?” she asked.
“Look, it does not matter,” James said, trying to control his rising anxiety.  “Let’s just return to the dining hall, shall we?”
He turned toward the stairwell door.  Good Lord, I’m arguing a ten-year-old…
“You saw her didn’t you?” he heard Maxine say.
James felt his body grow tense.  “Who?” he asked turning back to the little girl.
“The crazy girl,” she said.  “The witch who lives in room 410.”
James’s eyes widened.  A sick feeling entered his stomach as Maxine stared up at him unwavering.
“Her ghost lives in the room, you know,” she whispered.  “My momma and daddy don’t know.  I also have dreams about her.  Don’t tell momma and daddy, now.”
James could only stare down at Maxine who giggled before turning back to the stairs.
“Come on, Mr. Livingston,” she said.
The two headed down the stairs with Maxine practically skipping ahead of him.  They both had returned to the dining hall, acting as though nothing out of the ordinary happened.

The image of the dark-haired girl hanging by her neck had been present in James’s dreams almost every night since that evening.  He would feel her torment and anguish before waking up in a cold sweat and feeling even worse for waking Samantha.
He swirled the last drops of the brandy in the glass as he heard little Maxine’s words.
You saw her…the crazy girl…
James shook his head and finished off the brandy, allowing the liquid to burn the lining of his throat.  He welcomed the sensation and poured another glass to take back to his desk. 
Perhaps I should leave business with the orphanage until tomorrow, he thought to himself.
He decided to take out the letter he was writing to Charles Blake, putting his other paperwork aside for the time being.  Finishing the letter to Charles did help with calming his nerves.  The other important document that sat in his safe back at his home in New York crossed his mind.  His Last Will and Testament.  James’s lawyer was coming that Sunday evening to aid him in making a couple important changes.
He folded the letter to Charles, placed it in an envelope, stamped it, and put it into his portfolio case as something completed.
He turned his attention back to his other paperwork when something else caught his attention.  He had left the door to his study opened a crack and was able to see a shadow moving in the hallway passed his study.
James felt his heart lurch into his throat.  He reached into his pocket and fished out his keys.  He found the one he needed and unlocked the bottom desk drawer where he kept his loaded pistol inside of a lock box.  He picked up the firearm and crept out to the hallway, cautiously pushing open the study door.  He peered down the corridor in the direction in which he had seen the shadow move.  The door to one of the rooms at the end of the hall was ajar.
James frowned.  He was certain that the door had been shut when he arrived. 
Armed with his pistol, he made his way toward the room and saw a soft glow illuminating the doorway.  As he got closer, he could hear movement from inside the room, confirming that he was not alone in the house.
James drew in a breath and peered into the room and saw a figure standing by a dresser at the far end of the room near the closet.  He kicked in the door, pointing his pistol in the direction of the figure.
“Who goes there?!” he bellowed.
“Master Livingston, please!” a voice cried.
James lowered his pistol.  “Winifred?”
It was indeed Winifred, the housekeeper of the Livingston’s holiday home.  She lived nearby and came once a week to clean and make sure the home was in order.
“Yes, Master Livingston,” she replied turning around.
James could see a bewildered expression on Winifred’s face.  He let out an exasperated sigh. “Good God, woman!  What the hell are you doing sneaking around in here?!”
“I’m sorry, Master Livingston,” she protested. “I had left my reading spectacles in here earlier today.  I let myself in with my key and I saw lamps had been lit so I called to let you know I was here.  You didn’t answer so I figured you were occupied…I…I’m sorry…”
“Winifred, it’s alright,” he said quickly. “I supposed I was so engrossed in my work I must not have heard you.  I apologize for my outburst.”
Winifred nodded.  “It’s alright,” she said.  “You just startled me, that is all.”
Winifred made her way passed James and headed toward the stairs.  At the top of the stairwell, she paused and turned back to face her employer.
“Master Livingston if I may be so bold…please.  Get some rest.  You do not look well.”
James looked at the gray-haired African woman and nodded his head before waving her dismissal. 
“I’ll let myself out,” she said.  “My son Daniel is waiting for me outside.”
James braced his back against the wall as he heard Winifred leave out the front door.  He wondered how he had not heard her call to him.
As James was leaning against the wall, another thought occurred to him, one that amused him so much that it made him chuckle rather loudly.  Winifred had been the third person that week to make the suggestion of his not being well.
First little Maxine Fleming, then Bradley, and now Winifred.
James leaned his head back against the wall, raising his eyes to the ceiling.  His thoughts returned to the small dark-haired girl at the Fleming property.  A young lady he watched take her own life.
Her ghost lives in that room, Maxine had said.  But there was so much about that that did not make any sense.  
“Perhaps I’m not well,” James said aloud as a helpless feeling came over him. “Perhaps I never will be again.”


He could see Samuel’s father in the upstairs hallway appearing to be very troubled and even somewhat disturbed.  He tried to get a feel for what was troubling Mr. Livingston but instead was taken to the Livingston home in New York City.  He understood well what Samuel’s father was feeling as he had also seen visions of the dark-haired girl.  Hector could see Samuel in his bedroom, sitting upright in bed reading a book.  Hector tried to focus in on the title of the book, but was unable to make the title out.  Like Hector, Samuel tended more of a loner.
Samuel looked a great deal like his father with the same reddish brown hair and blue eyes.  His older brother, Jesse, also resembled the family patriarch but with hair that was more of a dark brown.  The youngest Livingston brother, Lawrence, resembled their mother and had dark blond hair.  The three boys all had their father’s eyes. 
Hector remembered the first time he and Samuel met.  He had been exploring the cave about a year ago and had seen a bewildered New York boy his age step out from a twisted rock pillar that touched the ceiling of the cave.
Hector sat on the rock facing the ocean, trying to focus in on Samuel.  He wondered if perhaps he concentrated enough, Samuel would get the message and maybe even come visit him in the cave again.  Samuel had been there a few times and it was nice to have a friend to share the secret with.  But before Hector was able to channel his energy, he was interrupted by a low rumble vibrating below him beneath the rocks and on the ocean’s floor causing Hector to snap open his eyes.
The vibration that was felt by Hector was also experienced by the four other individuals he had seen from Romania and America.  Hector de Fuentes and the four he had seen—Nicolae Ganoush, Jonathan Blake, James Livingston and his son Samuel Livingston—would see things that were not part of the environment in which any of them dwelled.  What they would all see would not last for more than a second or two; but each man would experience it and feel a magnetic charge pulse into their veins.  All five of their senses would be heightened and the sixth would be ignited.
As the five men each took another step closer to their destinies, the veils of the worlds thinned as the Earth tilted ever so slightly more on it’s axis toward the sun as the spring faded into the Summer Solstice.  Each would have a role in what was to become of the world.  The world and its’ future generations.

And their future generations.

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