Monday, April 29, 2013

Chapter 15 to be posted later on and more fixes to Chapter 14

Hey everyone,

After I get a few more things done, I'll be posting Chapter 15 later tonight.  Even though this is supposed to be the "raw and completely unedited" first draft, I'll be combing through the chapters prior to posting them from here on out.  Not to the extent I will be when doing the second draft?  But at least looking for inconsistencies that will stick out like a sore thumb.  I ended up finding and fixing another in Chapter 14.  Yes, the whole thing with the painting the kids find upon entering the hall that is similar to the Monet painting.  Since the Monet in question was done in 1903, it was obviously done well after Cedric and Margaret Fleming had died so there's no way they could have even known of it to have something similar done (or....could they....?).  But even if they somehow mysteriously could (which may be another avenue to open in the Flemings' story), there's no way Dorothy could really know that (at least not at that first moment).  So I basically changed it to Dorothy's observing the similarities between that painting and the Monet and just left it at that.  Who knows...that may be an avenue explored later in one of the future books (as yes, I will say that all the families and original patriarchs and matriarchs do get revisited) or even touched on some when I do draft 2 of this first book.  We'll see :)  But all of it still made me wonder if there were fumes somewhere sneaking up through my nasal cavities and into my brain when I wrote Chapter 14...

I'm also starting to read Wuthering Heights again as it is a book that is among Dorothy's favorites.  I've only read it once and that was a few years ago.

Whelp, that's all and I'll be posting Chapter 15 soon! Shit's about to get real.  :D

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Details, Details! (Chapter 14)

Hey everyone,

Chapter 14 was posted last night and I added a little more detail to one of the conversations that the kids have.  Just some historical stuff that I brushed over when I wrote this first draft that I meant to add a little more to when I posted it but then didn't.  It was bothering me, so I went ahead and added a little more.  Overall this is an unedited first draft, but there are a couple standout things that I am correcting now (and there likely will be a little more I'll find as I do the second draft).

But other than that, happy reading!

Read on to Chapter 14 :)

PS- Also when I was going back to add the needed historical details to Chapter 14, I was skimming over it again and found that I got Brecht and Geothe confused (when Dorothy takes the copies of Faust) when I originally did this first draft.  Definitly a big 'Oh snap' moment.  So I fixed that as well.  

I'm not going to lie.  I will say that Chapter 14 was a bit of a challenge to write.  In fact, the entire last half of Part 2 kind of was (even moreso than Part 1 and The Time In Between were).  And as I go through the story for the second draft, I'm sure I'll find some more that went overlooked or mistyped even though I tried to be as accurate as I could with things even in the first draft.  :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 14 (UNEDITED)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 13 before proceeding to PART 2: Chapter 14.
 
Otherwise, read from the word go :)





CHAPTER 14

“Well then, what are we waiting for?  Let’s head on up!” Carl said.
Jimmy, Carl, Reginald, and Linda began to climb the stairs to the door that closed off the Fleming’s old quarters to the outside world.  Dorothy and Gail hesitated before following.  Carl pushed ahead to the top step and reached out to try the door.  He barely laid a hand on it when it opened to them with a loud creak, causing all of them to take a step backward.  They stood, staring into the dark void that lay beyond the doorway.  Jimmy shone his flashlight inside, revealing a hallway lined with rooms that led down to the dead end wall.  When nobdy made a move to enter first, Carl turned back to them and said, “Well, shall we?”
“Definitely,” Jimmy immediately answered.
“Of course,” Reginald added.
The boys sounded confident but the girls knew their boyfriends well enough to be able to tell that underneath it all, they were feeling just as unnerved as they were.  Linda also feigned the confidence as she smiled, grabbed Jimmy’s hand and stepped through the doorway with Jimmy.  Carl held out his hand to Dorothy.  She took it.  She and Carl followed Jimmy and Linda.  Then, in went Reginald and Gail.
Once everyone had stepped through, they stood for that first moment, taking in what was once the Fleming family’s place of residence.  The entrance had led them into a corridor with a high ceiling and wooden floors.  There was a kitchen to their right that was still equipped.  The wall to their left had a small table against it and, by the moonlight that filtered in through the kitchen window and into the hall, the kids were able to make out the outline of a large painting decorating the wall above the table. 
Jimmy cast the beam from his his flashlight onto the painting.  The painting reminded Dorothy of Monet’s 1903 painting, Water Lillies (The Clouds).  What a coincidence to have such similar paintings decades apart from one another.  It seemed innocent enough and was obviously put there by Cedric and Margaret in an attempt to create a cheerful and comfortable atmosphere for their living space.  But to Dorothy, there was more to the painting than the pretty colors blended together on a canvas.  The painting featured two different worlds, both reflecting off of the other.  The pond was a sort of looking glass that one could fall through and into another dimension or realm, much like the stories of Lewis Carroll.  In the glow of Jimmy’s flashlight, the painting seemed to come to life. The more Dorothy looked at it, the more the water seemed to ripple, taking on a glassy appearance, and the clouds above it began to slowly move.  Dorothy was taken away from the painting when Jimmy took his flashlight from the painting, casting the world that was withing the painting in darkness. 
Jimmy sent the beam from his light down the hall.  There was another room just a couple of feet down from the table and the painting. 
“Let’s check this out,” he suggested, pointing his light toward that second room.
The six of them traipsed wordlessly over to the room that was revealed to be a sitting room.  The pale glow from the moonlight lit the area enough for them to see where they were going without bumping into anything.  By that and the light from Jimmy’s flashlight, they were able to see that a couch, two armchairs, and a divan remained in the room around the fireplace.  There were bookshelves that still had books on them.  Dorothy’s fascination with the books took over her and she stepped into the room, heading straight for the bookshelves. 
“Dorothy…” she heard Carl say.  But she couldn’t help her curiosity over the books and how they could have been left here without at least being given over to the library or even a bookstore or museum.  There were many in the New York state.  Dorothy ran her hands over the dusty, hardback books that lined the shelves as her friends walked over to where she stood.  She felt Carl place a hand on her upper arm.
“Look at some of these!” Dorothy exclaimed, “don’t you think the library would love to have these?  I know I’d love to have them, myself!” 
Everything from Shakespeare to Leroux to the Brontes to Poe filled the shelves.  She noticed that the Flemings also had the Marlowe and the Geothe versions of Faust.  Dorothy took out both of the books.  Both copies were small enough to fit into her bag.
“Dorothy, you know this makes you a thief like Carl, Reginald and I,” Jimmy said with a teasing grin.
Dorothy smiled.  “Well as Carl said, it’s not as though anyone’s using them.  Besides, I don’t think anyone will be missing them.  Apparently not if they were left here.”
Linda and Gail looked at one another and raised their eyebrows.  They were both impressed with how much more nerve Dorothy had since she began seeing Carl.  Jimmy chuckled and shone his flashlight around the room until he came to a large rectangular object that was tucked away in a far corner.  It stuck out from behind another shelf across the room.  Unlike the first shelf, this one had been stripped empty.  Jimmy walked over toward the object.
“Jimmy, where are you going?” Linda asked.
“I’m seeing what’s behind this other shelf, honey,” Jimmy answered.
Everyone followed Jimmy to the other shelf as he inspected the rectangular object that was shoved behind it. 
“What is that?” Linda asked.
“I think it’s a frame,” Jimmy answered, “a framed painting, maybe…here, someone take my flashlight.”
Reginald held Jimmy’s flashlight as Jimmy moved the shelf out a couple inches in order to have easier access to the large, heavy object.  Dorothy could see Linda’s look of neverending admiration for Jimmy, especially when he would move objects that were on the large and/or heavy side.  Dorothy smiled and shook her head.  Jimmy could never do any wrong in Linda’s eyes.
When Jimmy had a grasp on the object, he turned it around, resting it against the wall.  It was, indeed, a framed picture or painting that was covered in dust and cobwebs. 
“Carl, rip a piece of that sheet off,” Jimmy said pointing over to the couch that Carl was near to.  Carl tore a piece of cloth from the sheet who handed it to Jimmy who wiped the thick layer of dust and cobwebs.
“Jimmy, be careful!” Linda cried, “What if there are poisonous spiders living in there?!”
Gail rolled her eyes.  “Linda, spiders don’t live in cobwebs.”
Before Linda could respond, Jimmy said, “Check this out!”
They crowded around the painting as Reginald shone Jimmy’s flashlight onto the painting.
“I’ll be damned,” Carl said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Fleming Family,” Reginald said.
The six of them stared as Cedric, Margaret, Nathaniel, and Maxine Fleming looked back at them from the canvas their likenesses were painted on.  Cedric and Margaret stood behind their two young children.  Reginald, Gail, and Dorothy had seen photos of the Flemings in several old periodicals at the library, but seeing an almost life-sized painting of them was an entirely different experience.  Dorothy guessed that the painting of the Flemings had been done by the same artist who had done the portrait of James Livingston that was hanging in the library as both paintings the same life-like appearance (almost as though the portrait subject or subjects could step right out from the painting and into the room with you).
At the time the painting was done, Cedric had been a man who appeared to be in his early forties and Margaret a couple years younger.  And although Nathaniel and Maxine had both been adopted, the two children looked as though they could very well pass for being the biological children of Cedric and Margaret.  Nathaniel had a mid-tone hue of brown hair that looked as though it could have been a combination of Cedric’s light brown hair and Margaret’s dark brown.  Maxine’s hair was strawberry blonde, but she and Margaret had blue eyes.  But Maxine’s eyes were lighter, icy blue to Margaret’s darker, almost violet, eye coloring.  The painting had obviously been done prior to Nathaniel’s bout with scarlet fever and the boy looked to be about ten and his sister five or six. 
“Why do think it was stuck behind the shelf?” Carl asked.
“Well, remember that Jared Fleming moved in here after his aunt and uncle had passed away,” Gail said, “maybe it was too painful for him to look at.”
“Or too painful for Maxine to look at,” Dorothy said.
“That could be,” Reginald said, “she did allegedly stayed with him up here almost every night during the week.  Although Maxine would stay in her room, the one we were just in, a couple nights during the week to avoid gossip.  But, of course, that didn’t stop it.  And it didn’t help matters when Jared would come to her room on some of those nights.”
“What do you mean?” Linda asked.
“Well,” Reginald continued slowly, “according to some of the other instructors who stayed on the property…Jared and Maxine weren’t exactly…you know…quiet.”
“Oh, you mean they were like Jimmy and Linda,” Carl cracked.
“You’re hilarious, Carl,” Jimmy said.
“There is nothing scandalous about Jimmy and I!” Linda cried.
“I didn’t say you were scandalous.  You two are practically married.  I just said you were loud,” Carl said.  “We could hear you all the way down the hall at George’s End of Summer party.”
“Carl…” Dorothy said, hoping her boyfriend would take a hint to not push it any further.  She could see Linda’s eyes darting up toward Jimmy.
“Can we change the subject from Linda and I, please?” Jimmy asked through gritted teeth.
“Actually, I don’t see how it was so scandalous,” Dorothy said thoughtfully, “Jared and Maxine, I mean.”
All eyes turned to Dorothy.
“Really?” Reginald inquired.  He was obviously interested in hearing Dorothy’s viewpoint on what many did view with much disdain.
“I think that the only thing that could pass as scandalous was the fact that they were unmarried,” Dorothy said, “but even with that, it’s not as though they were the only ones to ever have such a relationship.  History is loaded with stories like theirs, some of them far more scandalous.  I think they just drew too much attention to themselves and that was their big mistake.  Otherwise, I don’t think anyone would have noticed or cared.  At least not as much.”
“What about the fact that they were also cousins?” Carl asked.
“Back in those days, it wasn’t all that uncommon for cousins to marry one another,” Gail said.”
“That is true,” Reginald said, “especially if they were upper class.  Which the Flemings were.  In some parts of the world, such a thing is still sometimes practiced.”
“That would just be way too close to home for me,” Jimmy said grimacing.
“Well Jimmy, if it makes you feel better, Nathaniel and Maxine were adopted.  She and Jared weren’t even blood-related,” Gail said.
Jimmy shook his head.  “Still…I’d feel like I was necking with my sister.”
“If you and Amanda were from a royal family, centuries ago in Europe or ancient Egypt, that would have also been perfectly acceptable,” Reginald stated with a matter-of-fact tone. 
“How’s that?” Jimmy asked.
“Incestual marriage was a fairly common practice for some royalty.  They saw it as a way of keeping their bloodline pure,” Dorothy said.
“Well I could care less if my bloodline is kept pristine,” Jimmy said.  “Thank God I had the foresight to sleep through History class.”
“Me too,” Carl said, “I think I’d rather remain blissfully ignorant to the King of England being married to his sister.”
“Actually, England hasn’t had a king since the early 18th century.  Only queens since then, smart guy,” Reginald said.
“Haha.  Alright, asshole,” Carl said grinning,“besides, that’s not true.  What about George the Fifth?  Isn’t he there now?”
“Yeah,” Reginald said,” but William the Third was the last to hold the title, reigning jointly with his wife.”
“How do you have time to memorize all this stuff?” Carl asked.
Reginald shrugged. "George the Fifth isn't married to his sister, either."
The group returned to a good-natured conversation while Dorothy looked back to the painting, focusing on little Maxine before turning her attention back to the rest of the family.  The happy contentment in the eyes of Cedric and Margaret was almost heartbreaking to behold.  The parents of the two beautiful children had been blissfully unaware of what fate awaited their young son within only a year or two years’ time.  Blissfully unaware of what the future held for all four of them. 
Dorothy felt a chill pierce through her body and she glanced at Gail, who looked back at her.  Gail had also returned to looking at the painting and Dorothy could tell by Gail’s eyes that her friend had been contemplating the same thing.  How circumstances could change so much in such a short time and how nobody can truly tell how anything will really turn out.  Dorothy felt the urge to reach out and grasp Carl’s hand at the thought.
“Are you alright?” Carl asked as Dorothy squeezed his hand.
“Yeah,” Dorothy replied, “just a little chilly.”
“Well, I happen to be quite good at keeping pretty young women warm,” Carl said wrapping his arms around Dorothy.
“Women?” Dorothy asked with a teasing smile.
“Well, only one in particular,” Carl said tightening his embrace around Dorothy.
“Hey you guys, it’s starting to get late,” Linda said, “what do you say we find a place for the séance now?”
“How about instead of a séance, we could play a game?” Gail said.
“A game?” Jimmy asked with an eyebrow raised.
“Yeah.  Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board,” Gail said.
“You, Dorothy, and I tried that last summer,” Linda said, “it didn’t work.”
“Maybe we’ll have more luck here,” Gail said.
“Well you’ve certainly had a change of heart from before, Gail,” Carl said.
“Yeah,” Gail said, “I don’t know what it is about this place…”
“Well whatever we’re doing, let’s get moving,” Linda said.
“A kid’s game?” Jimmy asked with a grimace as they filed out of the sitting room.
The next room down from the sitting room was a study with the desk, chair, and cabinets still in place.  The six imagined that this had been used for business affairs and official paperwork for the orphanage.  Dorothy, Reginald, and Gail each held a curiosity for whether or not there may be a lingering document.  But their thoughts were interrupted by Linda.  “Look! This must have been Maxine’s room when she lived here with her parents!” she exclaimed.
The room was across the hall from the study.  The study and Maxine’s old room were slightly diagonal to one another with Maxine’s bedroom slightly further toward the end of the hall.  The bedroom had been done in all white.
“Look at this bedspread,” Linda said stepping in to expect what was once a pure white, lacy bed cover, “if it wasn’t so aged I’d steal it for my room!”
There was also a white, wooden chair in the far corner of the room near the foot of the bed and next to the closet.   The moon peeked through the lacy window curtains that had once been white to match the bedspread.  The dresser had also been painted white and was against the wall by the door. 
“Hey, I wonder if they left behind and of Maxine’s old clothes,” Linda said.  She was visibly disappointed when she opened the closet and drawers to find them empty.
“I guess the family took them,” Dorothy said with a shrug, “they did take some things with them when they closed the place up.  Maxine’s clothes must have been among those items.”
“They apparently missed the painting back in the sitting room,” Reginald said.
“That’s an awfully large object to just miss,” Jimmy observed.
“They also left the painting at the beginning of the hallway,” Dorothy said.
“Yeah, but you would think they would take the family portrait with them,” Jimmy said, “at least I would think.”
Jimmy did have a point no one could disagree with.  Of course, it could have been an oversite on the family’s part when they set to closing the establishment as quickly as they could.  But it still seemed an odd thing to miss, especially since most of the walls had been stripped bare of any décor.
“Alright people,” Carl said breaking through the silence, “what do you say we move on from here and into the master bedroom.  The room where all the action took place.”
“How morbid,” Reginald said.
Carl shrugged and the group left Maxine’s room and began heading to the room where Cedric, Margaret, and Jared Fleming had met their end.  As she was exiting through the doorway, Dorothy felt a draft as though someone were breathing close to her head.  She turned her head to look behind her.  But she was the last to leave the room and it appeared to be empty.  Dorothy’s eyes roamed the room and stopped at the window when thought she saw a shadow move by from the outside.
Or was it outside?  Dorothy couldn’t tell.
Dorothy took a cautiouse step back into the room and nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard a voice next to her. 
“Dorothy…”
She whirled around to see Carl, who was looking at her bewildered.
“Baby, are you sure you’re alright?” Carl asked her.
Dorothy let out a breath, recollected herself, and said, “Yes.  Yes, Carl.  I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine,” Carl said as he gently placed his hands on her elbows, “you like you had quite a scare.  I’m sorry if I startled you.”
“It’s alright,” Dorothy said, “I just thought I saw…”  Her voice trailed off as she looked back toward the window.
“You thought you saw something out the window?”  Carl asked.
“I don’t know.  Maybe.  A shadow, I think.  But it was probably the dark playing tricks on me.”
Carl gave Dorothy a small smile, headed to the window, and pulled back the curtain.  He stepped aside to reveal a tree branch just outside of the window to Dorothy.
“Was this your shadow?” Carl asked.
“I suppose so,” Dorothy said feeling heat creep up to her face, “I can’t believe how jumpy I am.”
Carl shrugged and said, “It’s understandable.  Places like this will do that to you.” 
Dorothy gave Carl a small smile as he went back over to her.
“But don’t worry.  You have me to protect you,” he said putting his arms around Dorothy and pulling her close.
Dorothy returned Carl’s embrace and put her head against his chest.  Being with Carl did make her feel safe.  She felt his lips lightly brush the top of her head and closed her eyes.
“You know,” Carl said lowering his tone, “my house is empty for the night.”
Dorothy opened her eyes as she anticipated what Carl was suggesting.  “What are you saying?”
“You know how all of our parents are at the Millers’ party.  Probably all night.  And Emily and Mark are both staying with friends tonight.  It’s going to be awful lonely going back to an empty house.”
Dorothy looked up at Carl with her heartrate picking up speed.  Carl was right.  The majority of everyone’s parents in town were at a party over at the Miller’s house on Main Street.  And Carl’s two younger siblings were at friends’ houses for the evening.  Dorothy knew that it would be quite some time before both her and Carl’s parents would even be starting to come home.  The very thought of being alone with Carl in an empty house thrilled and frightened her. 
“My parents aren’t home either,” Dorothy stammered.  She tried to control her body from trembling and Carl tightened his embrace around her.
“Dorothy, I know we haven’t been seeing each other very long,” Carl said.
“I am very fond of you, Carl,” Dorothy said.  Even in the dark, there was enough moonlight to reveal the nervousness in Carl’s hazel-green eyes to her.
“I know this isn’t the ideal setting for telling one another about our feelings, but…Dorothy…I…I’m really falling for you.  I mean…I have fallen for you.”
Dorothy stared at Carl as a variety of emotions began to stir inside her core.  “I love you, Dorothy,” she heard him say.
“What…?”  Dorothy choked out. 
Carl’s face fell.  “That wasn’t exactly the reaction I was hoping for,” he said.
“No, no.  Carl…I just wasn’t expecting it,” Dorothy said.  She stood, clutching Carl and still in a small state of shock.  Dorothy had read of love and confessions of love in literature but was never prepared for it actually happen to her.  Wuthering Heights was among her favorite books and one she had read through three or four times.  She had first read it at the age of thirteen and was more than familiar with the story when her eleventh grade literature class was assigned to read it.  Even at thirteen, she was taken by the tragedy that befell Heathcliff and Catherine.  She felt for the intense passion that burned inside of Heathcliff when he lost Catherine to another man and set out for his revenge on the family that had ruined his life.  The literature instructor of her junior year had asked those in the class to each write an essay on the story and the part of it that had the greatest effect on them, whether it was good or bad. 
Even at the young age of thirteen, Dorothy didn’t care much for the idea of arranged marriages, especially for women and that’s what she wrote for her essay.  In addition, she wrote about how she found that the greatest tragedy of not only the story, but also of the time in which it was written, was people having to marry according to class instead of just allowing relationships to naturally develop and for people to choose the person he or she would spend the rest of their lives with.  And while she didn’t agree with all of Heathcliff’s actions, she understood the reasoning behind them.  Each time Dorothy had read the book, she found Catherine’s actions more and more frustrating, regardless of how good her intentions were of raising Heathcliff’s status in the process.    
Although Dorothy had spent much of high school acting as though she didn’t care much for boys and dating, she would get lost in books like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Persuasion.  In each of those stories, the female leads all had men who were very much in love with them.  But those women would end up rejecting them due to principles or social norms, regardless of how the women themselves really felt.  This would often raise the question in Dorothy of how long could a person go, bowing to what was considered virtuous and socially “normal” before they would pass over happiness and only end causing themselves and those around them more pain and misery.  This usually ended up being the case in such stories. 
Dorothy also remembered the story of her own great-granparents, Jonathan and Kimimela.  To her, they were an example of two people who had taken the risk of not being accepted by the society of their time (and possibly even their families) in order to be with the person they loved.  Jonathan had passed away in 1896, seventeen years prior to Dorothy’s birth.  His wife, Kimimela, followed him in death a year later.  Dorothy had been to the gravesites of her great grandparents and great great grandparents along with the other deceased members of the Blake Family.  Most of them had been buried on a patch of the land that Charles Blake had purchased on the border of Iowa and Illinois and it still remained property of the Blakes to this day (part of which was thanks to James Livingston).  While she had heard stories from those who had known Jonathan and Kimimela, there so much she would have loved to have spoken with them about and hear their story directly from them, in their own words.
Dorothy looked up into Carl’s eyes.  His confession burned into her, branding his words forever in her mind.  While the story of her and Carl paled in comparison to that of Jonathan and Kimimela (and even the words of the Brontes and Austen), it reminded her of how she close she came to missing out on Carl and this moment with him. 
When she and Carl had begun dating, Dorothy had read a few articles from some of Linda’s magazines that were meant to be advice to how a lady was supposed to behave on a date.  Almost all of them advised against the female making a move and to only allow men to take the lead.  The woman’s place was simply to be charming and appealing.  Like many girls her age, Dorothy had tried to adhere to the advice of the articles the first couple of times she had gone out with Carl.  But the times when she would try that advice, it never felt right with her.  It wasn’t long before she was finding those articles to be complete nonsense.  It was when she started relaxing and being herself with Carl that their times together became more enjoyable.  Carl would listen as Dorothy would talk about a new book she was reading, despite some of the dating advice articles stating for the woman to not “emasculate” the man by appearing smarter than him.  But Dorothy quickly noticed that Carl never seemed threatened by her expressing any knowledge or insights she had.  And now, here he was; telling her that he loved her.  The real Dorothy.  Not some phony piece of arm candy some magazine columnist dreamed up.  She was falling in love with Carl as he was with her, and this made Dorothy fall in love with him even more.
Without giving it (or some silly magazine article) any thought, Dorothy rose up on her toes and pressed a passionate kiss onto Carl’s lips.  Carl’s initial reaction was that of surprise, but then returned the kiss with the same amount of fire that Dorothy was giving him.  Dorothy parted her lips from Carl’s briefly to tell him, “I love you too, Carl,” before returning her mouth to his. 
They were lost in one another and, for a moment, had forgotten that they were at the old Fleming Orphanage and their reason for being there.  They had forgotten about their friends waiting for them in the master bedroom. 
The tip of Carl’s tongue darted from his mouth and explored inside of Dorothy’s lips.  Dorothy could feel Carl’s pants growing tighter in his groin area as his arousal began to grow against her lower abdomen.  It startled her and caused her body to tense a little, but she soon forgot any reservations when Carl brought his lips down just below her jawline.  Dorothy was beginning to relax again when Jimmy’s voice was heard bellowing in the hallway near the door.
“Hey you guys!  What’s keeping…”Jimmy’s voice trailed off when he saw what had actually been keeping Carl and Dorothy.
“Woah!  Sorry…” Jimmy said, rather sheepishly.  Dorothy and Carl parted from one another.  Carl stood behind Dorothy (and it wouldn’t be long before she would understand why).
“Um…Linda has the candles set in the master bedroom,” Jimmy said, “and we also found something else…”
The three of them stood in an awkward silence before Carl said, “Alright.  Just give us a minute.”
Jimmy nodded and quietly turned to head back to the master bedroom.
“And yes, I really do need a minute,” Carl said after Jimmy had left.
Dorothy turned around to hold Carl and was met with the reason why he needed a minute. 
“I see,” Dorothy said pulling away from him.
Carl looked at the floor and sat down on the edge of Maxine’s former bed, glad that Dorothy couldn’t see his face turning red in the dark.  Dorothy slowly approached him, sitting next to him on the bed and taking his hand in hers.  He looked up, giving her a bashful smile.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Dorothy frowned. “For what?”
“For being so forward,” Carl said.  There was an awkward giggle in his voice that Dorothy found very endearing.
Finally she said, “Don’t be.  I’m actually glad you said what you did.”
“Really?” Carl asked.
Dorothy nodded and leaned in to kiss the side of Carl’s mouth.  Carl turned to Dorothy, putting his arms around her and resting his chin on the top of her head. 
“My invitation still stands after we leave here,” he said.
Dorothy couldn’t help tensing up again at the thought.  She had been alone with Carl before, but they hadn’t been in a situation yet where they had the possibility of a house to themselves for possibly the entire night.  Dorothy thought of the times Linda had been candide with her and Gail about the intimate times she had with Jimmy.  She was certain that Jimmy and Linda would be taking advantage of the time with their parents out of the house and at the Millers’ once they all left the Fleming property.  The idea of being with Carl in the same way…
Am I ready for that?  Even Jimmy and Linda had been together for a year before they did that.
As if to answer her, Carl said, “You know…we don’t need to be with eachother that way if you’re not ready.  Like I said, I know we haven’t been together that long.  But I can’t help how I feel.”
Dorothy adjusted her sitting so she would be able to look at Carl.  She could see the warm tenderness in his eyes, which was something he reserved only for her.
Carl continued, “If all you want to do is hang out on the couch and listen to radio all night, I’m fine with that.  I swear.  It’s just hearing Jimmy talk about him and Linda all the time…”
Dorothy couldn’t help letting out a small laugh.
“What?” Carl asked.
“Jimmy talks to you and Reginald about him and Linda?”
“Well, yeah,” Carl said, “you know.  Locker room conversations.”
“I just thought it was funny because Linda tells Gail and I everything.  And she’s not exactly subtle, so I can only imagine how Jimmy is.”
“I guess boys and girls both tend to talk.”
The two of them sat in a brief silence before Dorothy said, “Well, I suppose we should head over to the master bedroom.”
“Yeah,” Carl said.
“Oh, but wait a minute,” Dorothy said as she reached into her bag and pulled out her mirror and headed over to the window.  “Can you pull the curtain back for me Carl?”
Carl did as Dorothy used the light from the moon to make sure she didn’t look too disheveled after her passionate embrace with Carl.  She felt her blood beginning to race at the memory of what took place on a couple minutes ago.  Dorothy also remembered how ‘fixing oneself in front of her date’ was also considered a big no-no in some of the dating advice in the periodicals. 
Well sorry, I’m not about to go into the washroom across the hall by myself, Dorothy thought.  And she wasn’t about to bother Linda or Gail to go with her into that washroom either.  I’m sure the dating advice experts won’t lose sleep over this one time.
Dorothy finished and replaced her mirror in her bag.
“Thank you,” she murmered. “Sorry.”
Carl smiled at her, replacing the curtain in it’s place.  “Not a problem.”
Carl placed a hand on the small of Dorothy’s back as she walked ahead of him toward the hallway. 
“Dorothy,” Carl said when they had reached the doorway.
“Yes?” Dorothy asked, pausing and turning to face Carl.
“I…I really meant what I said.  I do love you.”
Dorothy reached a hand up to touch the side of Carl’s face.  “I know you did.  So did I.  I love you too.”
They leaned into one another at the same time to a soft, but full, kiss.  After they parted, Dorothy said, “I’d like to be with you for the night.  I don’t know if it will in the way that Linda and Jimmy are, but I would like to be with you.”
“I would love to be with you.  Any way I can,” Carl answered.
After another quick, chaste, kiss, Carl and Dorothy walked hand in hand to the master bedroom where the rest of the group waited for them.

Read on to CHAPTER 15.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

As we await Chapter 14...

Another song for the playlist!  Loreena McKennit is an artist I've been listening to alot of as I wrote the first draft and now begin the second draft :)

Loreena McKennit:  "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"


Chapter 14 on Friday! :) 

Monday, April 22, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 13 (UNEDITED)


If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 12 before proceeding to PART 2: Chapter 13.
 
Otherwise, read from the jump :)




CHAPTER 13

Carl, Dorothy, and Reginald could only remain silent as they still tried to comprehend what had just occurred.  Reginald still sat on the floor with Gail, holding onto her as she softly sobbed against his shoulder.  Dorothy glanced over to the doorway into the dark hallway Linda had run to and to where Jimmy had run after her.
“I’m going to look for Linda,” Dorothy suddenly said, “and see if Jimmy found her and if she’s alright.”
“Well I’m coming with you,” Carl said.
“I’ll be fine,” Dorothy said.
“I’m not having you run around here by yourself,” Carl said, “I’d wager it’s very easy to get lost here.”
Dorothy looked to Reginald and Carl followed her gaze.  Reginald looked up at them and said, “You two can go find Jimmy and Linda.  I’ll stay here with Gail.  We’ll also stay if Jimmy and Linda come back before you are able to find them.”
“We’ll try not to be too long,” Carl said.
Dorothy gave her friend one more quick look before she would take Carl’s hand and they would leave the room in search of the other two members of their group.
Poor Gail…Dorothy thought.  But she couldn’t stop the shudder that traveled her body.  What had happened to Gail in that room?  What had caused her to say such things?
“I think Linda and Jimmy ran in the direction of the stairwell,” Carl said.
“Well that’s a start.  But I wonder if they went up or down?” Dorothy asked as they made their way through the hallway and to the stairwell.
“My guess would be down as that’s the way we came from.”
“Should we begin down on the first floor or start with the third and work our way down?”  And not take too long anywhere…Carl’s probably right about this place being easy to get lost in.
Dorothy and Carl ended up on the third floor and another thought crossed Dorothy’s mind.
We came in Jimmy’s car.  What if…?
Then Dorothy scolded herself for even beginning to think of such a thing.  Jimmy and Linda would never leave the rest of them behind, especially not over a misuse of words.  Words that were typically out of character for Gail unless someone had made her really angry.  But Linda hadn’t done anything to warrant anger from Gail…
But Jimmy could have gotten angry over what was said to Linda…and Linda could have…
“Stop it,” Dorothy said in a loud whisper, attempting to cease the scenario that kept invading her mind.
“Stop what,” Carl said.
“Oh…nothing…I just thought…well, it’s silly.”
“What?”
Dorothy drew in a breath before saying, “You don’t think Jimmy and Linda would be so angry with what happened in that room that they would just leave and take the car, do you?”
Carl halted his step as they stood in the doorway of another dormroom.  “Jimmy?  No way!  He wouldn’t just leave us.  I’m sure he’s comforting Linda somewhere and everything will fine.”
“Sure,” Dorothy said with a nervous laugh, “I’m certain you’re right.  I told you it was silly.”
“Well, this place has been known to have imaginations run away with them.”  Carl then flashed Dorothy a confident smile.  She loved his smile more than anything.  Dorothy smiled back at him and then turned back to peer into the room.  All the rooms had the same basic setup that Maxine’s room had had.  Dorothy turned her gaze over to the mirror above the sink.
“Well, this is the last room up here and no sign of them,” Carl said, “I say we head down to floor number two. Or maybe we should just go down to the first floor.  What do you think, baby?”
But Dorothy didn’t answer him.  Instead, she stood staring at the mirror trying to make sense of what she just saw. 
“Did you see that?” Dorothy asked.
“See what?”
“The mirror…I thought I saw…”  She wanted to say that she saw a silvery glint followed by a brief outline of what looked like a face that was only there for a second…
But instead, she shook her head and said, “Nothing.  Probably just the moon, this place, and the fact that it’s Halloween playing tricks on me.”
Carl and Dorothy continued on to the stairwell and began to make their way down the staircase.
“Too bad Jimmy’s the one with the flashlight,” Carl said, “we didn’t come very well prepared for this.”
“Well we weren’t exactly anticipating having to run through a dark building in search of our friends,” Dorothy said.
They were almost down to the first floor when a beam of light blinded Carl and Dorothy.
“Whoa!  Easy there with the brights!” Carl said.
“Carl.  Dorothy.”  It was Jimmy’s voice.  He lowered his flashlight and to Carl and Dorothy’s relief, Linda was with him.  Jimmy held onto her hand and Dorothy could see that Linda’s eyes were still a little red and puffy from crying.
“Is everything alright?  We were looking for you two,” Dorothy said.
Linda kept her eyes lowered to the floor and Dorothy wasn’t sure if it was because her friend was still hurting over what was said to her or if Linda didn’t want any of them to see her with most of her eyeliner wiped away.  Or both.
Jimmy said, “Yeah.  I caught her just as she was running out the front door by the dining hall.”
Dorothy reached out and gently touched Linda’s arm.  “Linda, why don’t you come back up?  I’m sure once you and Gail talk, everything will be fine.”
“Why would she say that, though?” Linda asked.  Her eyes were still lowered and Jimmy put a comforting arm around her.
“I don’t know,” Dorothy said, “but I saw Gail before Carl and I came looking for you and I know she’s terribly sorry.”
Carl nodded in agreement.  Linda turned her eyes up, peering at her friends.
“Baby,” Jimmy said rubbing Linda’s shoulder, “let Gail explain.”
Linda looked back down at the floor.
“Linda, please,” Dorothy said, “the three of us have been friends since we were all children.”
The four of them stood in the stairwell for a few moments without saying anything.  Then, Linda spoke up.  “Do I really come across as vain, self-centered and a head full of air?”
Jimmy, Carl, and Dorothy couldn’t help exchanging amused glances at one another.
“Linda, you have high standards for yourself,” Dorothy said, “that’s not a bad thing.”
After saying that, she began to feel a little badly about some of the snide thoughts she had toward Linda at times.  Overall, Linda was a good friend despite some of her shortcomings.  It was thanks to Linda that Dorothy had the nerve to acknowledge and act on her feelings for Carl, even if she had gone about it in a bolder way than Dorothy would have liked at the time.
“She’s right, baby,” Jimmy said, “I know I consider myself a lucky guy to have you.”
“And Gail and I both appreciate you as a friend,” Dorothy said.
Linda remained facing the floor for another second as she took in the words of Dorothy and Jimmy.  Finally, her lips curled up into a small smile before she uttered a small “thanks.” 
Jimmy stepped aside as Dorothy gave Linda a hug before Carl suggested they return to the room where Reginald and Gail were.  Jimmy shone his flashlight as they ascended the stairs back to the fourth floor.  Jimmy pushed open the door and they stepped into the hallway.  They could see the flickering light from Linda’s candles coming out from Maxine Fleming’s old room.  Carl and Dorothy stepped into the doorway of the room first with Jimmy and Linda behind them.  Reginald and Gail had moved over to Maxine’s old bed.  The two of them sat on the edge facing the doorway with Gail resting her head on Reginald’s shoulder.  Reginald had his arm around Gail and rested his head on hers.  They were so still and the combination of dim light and shadows from the candles danced over their features, distorting them a little.  To Dorothy, they sat almost too still.  So still she could feel her stomach beginning to do flip flops.
Why do I feel so nervous?  But she was and couldn’t help what she felt.
Holding onto Carl, Dorothy took a step forward and called out to Reginald.  She was very relieved when Reginald and Gail both looked up in response.  They rose from the bed as Jimmy, Carl, Dorothy, and Linda stepped into the room.  There was a nervous tension between Gail and Linda as they both stepped toward one another.  Finally, Gail said, “Linda I’m so sorry!  Really.  I can honestly say that I have no idea what came over me!  Please, I’m so sorry.  You know I don’t really think those things of you.”
Then why would you blurt it out in the first place…it had to come from somewhere…
Linda studied Gail for a moment.  Linda sighed and gave Gail a small smile.  The two girls hugged eachother and Linda said, “It’s alright.  I know you didn’t mean it.  It just really hurt my feelings that you would say that.”
“I really don’t know where it came from,” Gail said, still mystified over where such a thing could have come from.
“This place does seem to have a way of doing crazy things to someone,” Carl offered.
“Yeah,” Reginald said, “look what happened to the original residents.”
Everyone stood, relieved and happy that the situation had been resolved when Linda’s eyes widened with alarm.
“My dagger!” she exclaimed.
“What about it?” Jimmy asked.
“It’s gone!  I still had it when I ran from the room!  Oh no.  I must have dropped it somewhere!  Did you see it at all, Jimmy?”
“No, baby.  I was more concerned with making sure you were alright than I was with paying attention to whether or not you dropped your dagger.”
Linda turned a questioning gaze over to Carl and Dorothy who both shook their heads.  They hadn’t seen it either.  Linda sulked at the idea of having lost the dagger. 
“Where am I going to find something like that again?” Linda wailed.
“Honey, calm down,” Jimmy said, “let’s head back out.  That way, we can retrace our steps and maybe locate it.  Linda just ran out into the hall and down the stairwell, so it can’t be that difficult to find.”
Jimmy looked at his girlfriend and how worked up she seemed to be getting over the dagger.  There was truth to the reactions of Gail, Carl, and everyone else at Linda obtaining such a thing.  It did seem out of character for Linda.  But he shrugged it off.
People take on different interests all the time.  Linda shouldn’t be any different.
The decision was then made by all present to leave the building and keep a look out for Linda’s dagger on the way out.
“So does this mean we’re leaving the property?” Dorothy asked as she, Linda, and Gail blew out the candles and returned them to Linda’s bag.  A pang of hope was inside of Dorothy (and even Linda and Gail) at the thought of leaving the old orphanage. 
“We don’t have to,” Jimmy said.
“Yeah, we still have at least the main building to explore,” Carl added.  “Unless, of course—“
“No, no,” Dorothy interrupted, “I’m fine.  Just wondering what the plans were.”
“I’m fine with staying for a little longer,” Linda said.
“As am I,” Carl said.
“I am as well,” Jimmy said.
They all turned to Reginald and Gail.  Reginald said, “Gail, are you alright?”
Gail quickly nodded.  “Yes.  Yes, I’m alright.  Now that I’m here the place has sort of grown on me.”  She gave her friends a reassuring smile and her usual dry, but good-natured sarcasm was back.
“Then I’m alright with staying too,” Reginald said.
“I’m sure we won’t be too much longer,” Linda said, “just enough to at least explore the main building.”
“Yeah,” Jimmy said, “there obviously are a couple other buildings, but then we’d be here all night.”
“Hey I’d be fine with that,” Carl said grinning, “but the main building is supposedly where all the action took place.”
“Carl, don’t be sick,” Dorothy scolded her boyfriend.
Carl frowned.  “What?  That’s the truth, isn’t it?”
Dorothy shook her head at Carl’s ignorance and said, “Let’s just go.  Find Linda’s dagger.”
The six were back together and traipsing down the hall to the stairwell.  Though no one mentioned it, there was a pronounced air shift between Maxine’s old room and the hallway.  In general, there was a thick chill to the air on the property that wasn’t present down in the rest of Plains, but even Maxine’s room seemed different than even the rest of the Fleming property.  The sadness that Maxine had carried with her through most of her life remained in that room and perhaps that had an affect on Gail, hence her outburst.  As Dorothy continued down the stairwell with her friends, she remembered one of the last entries in what was at least one of James Livingston’s last journals.  While he hadn’t come and said anything right out, there was a hint of regret in James’s tone when he reflected upon the old property and showing the land to Cedric.  He also clearly wasn’t fond of Cedric’s nephew, Jared, and worried over how his presence at the orphanage affected Maxine.  Even in her early to mid thirties, which was around the time of her parents’ deaths, Maxine was still a very impressionable woman.  Like her brother, Nathaniel, Maxine had been adopted and depending how Cedric and Margaret had gone about breaking such a thing to her, the news could have rolled off of Maxine without a hitch or had a devastating affect on her, even if she didn’t necessarily show it.  Maxine also had been dealt with the death of her brother at a very young age, then her hidden pregnancy to Christian Andrews and having to give her child up, followed by the untimely deaths of both of her parents.  Given the circumstances, it was understandable that she had found solice in Jared, according to rumors of the time.  And then when Jared died, well, that had been the final nail in the coffin for Maxine.  It all apparantely become so much more than she could handle.  In fact, when Dorothy had read James’s entry on Cedric and Margaret’s daughter along with some of the old periodicals from the time, she found her self questioning her own stability and just how much of what Maxine had gone through would she herself be able to handle before completely breaking…especially in the time in which Maxine had grown up. 
Those were different times…
There was also another part to the story that hadn’t been in the periodicals, but passed along in the town’s folklore.  According to some, when Maxine had been found wandering the orphanage grounds following Jared’s death, she was not only claiming that she saw her deceased brother, but the color in her hair had left, leaving her hair completely white.  It was also said by some that in addition, the pupils of her eyes had dilated thus coloring her blue eyes black.  Dorothy had read of several similar cases of a person’s hair losing their pigment in a time of stress, fright, or shock.  One of the earliest she had read was that of Marie Antoinette of France whose hair had gone from it’s auburn color to white the night before her execution at the guillotine.  There were also similar cases with Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Thomas More.  Even some medical records told of such a phenomenon, so perhaps that wasn’t so far-fetched.  As for her eyes turning black, there could be a few factors with that.
“Here it is!” Linda cried, shaking Dorothy from her thoughts.  Dorothy turned to see Linda picking up the dagger.  It had been shoved into a corner on the first floor across from the stairwell.
“I don’t know how I manged to drop it here and not notice,” Linda continued as she placed the dagger back in her bag with her candles and matches, “but at least I found it!”
“Well now that that’s solved, what do you say we head over to the main building,” Carl said.
“Sounds good to me,” Jimmy said and looked to the girls.  “Ladies?”
The girls all nodded in agreement and the six of them passed through the dining hall and out the front door. 
The main building sat in front of them, empty and silent.  Jimmy, Carl, and Reginald immediately began heading toward it’s front door.  The girls looked to one another, exchanging nervous glances, before following their boyfriends.  They ascended the steps up to the front door and slowly entered the first building that was built on the property.  They were amazed by what was inside and it was far more opulent than the building they were just in.  The main hall was spacious and the interior matched the Victorian era in which it was built.  Rooms and offices lined both sides of the main area and there were two winding staircases that led up to the second floor.    
Jimmy, Carl, and Reginald grinned at one another.
“Now this is what I’m talking about,” Jimmy said.  Carl and Reginald nodded in agreement.
The girls looked at one another and actually felt more relaxed than they had in the other building.  Suddenly, Carl reached behind Dorothy and tickled both sides of her waist.  Dorothy screamed and began chasing Carl as he ran around the hall.  The rest of them followed suit and were all running around, hiding, and jumping out at one another.  The oppressing sadness that had been present in Maxine’s room had changed and here, the kids actually felt a high energy rush. 
After slowing down to catch their breath, they ascending the winding staircase up to the second floor.  They walked down the hall passed some other old classrooms and finally came to the small chapel.  The stone work of the room and the paintings that hung on the wall were breathtaking and each wondered how they had been overlooked in being collected for any auctions.  As they walked down the aisle of the chapel, they noticed the cobwebs and dust that had settled on the heavy, wooden pews after decades of no use. There were still some worn Bibles and hymnals in the compartment shelves of the pews.  Carl and Jimmy both took a hymnal. 
“Jimmy,” Linda said.
“What?” Jimmy said, responding to Linda’s glare, “souveniers.”
“Yeah,” Carl said, “it’s not as though anyone’s using them.”
“Stealing from a church.  I’m sure that’s wonderful for karma,” Linda said to Dorothy and Gail.  Dorothy shook her head and shrugged.  She looked at Gail and the two of them exchanged glimpses of agreement.
Linda’s full of surprises tonight. 
That had also been the first time either of them had heard Linda use the word ‘karma’ in a sentence.
The group continued on, making their way to the front pulpit where the minister would have given his service.  The preacher’s alter stood behind a rail that guarded the area.  Hanging on the wall at the very end of the chapel was a large, wooden crucifix.  The wooden figure of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross was illuminated by the moonlight coming in through the stained glass windows.  They all stood, almost mesmerized by the site and could almost feel the eyes of the Jesus figure, looking down at them as if giving off a warning.  The six exchanged rather uneasy glances, each of them with a feeling of dread brewing up in the pits of their stomachs.  Perhaps they had had enough excitement for one Halloween.  But before anyone could say anything, Carl noticed a door on the left side of the pulpit. 
“Say, check that out,” Carl said heading toward the door.  The group hesitated before following Carl.  Carl tried the door, but it was locked.  He turned back to the group.  “Does anyone have something I can pick the lock with?”
“This might work,” Gail said and handed Carl a pin from her hat.
“Thanks,” Carl said.  “This just might work.”  Carl began picking the lock until a click was heard, signaling the possibility of the door coming unlocked.  Carl tried the door and it opened with ease, with the exception of a couple boards in front of the door.  He shoved the door open the rest of the way and kicked the boards aside.  The group entered to find that the room had been an office.  Obviously the preacher’s office.  The room had an oak desk and chair, a book shelf, and a small restroom.  The boys found two fountain pens, and a small paperweight that was a miniature version of the entrance sign that welcomed outsiders onto the property.  The three boys each kept one of the items:  Carl kept the paper weight while Jimmy and Reginald kept the fountain pens.  It was also then that they noticed another door at the other end of the room.  This door had long lost it’s knob, so Carl’s lock-picking skills weren’t needed.  The door opened to reveal a hidden, dark, winding stairwell.
“Jackpot,” Jimmy said with a wide grin.  No one could disagree and each was finding the main building to be much more exciting than building with Maxine’s old room.  The group ascended up into the darkness with the stairs creaking beneath their shoes.  The stairwell was dusty with a musty smell to it.  Linda yelped when she ran into a large cobweb and they all had to pause as a disgusted Linda picked the pieces of cobweb out of her hair. 
“I’m going to have to wash my hair three times when I get home!” Linda exclaimed.
After that, they continued up and came to another door.  Carl did end up having to pick the lock this one before it opened to a small apartment where the preacher must have lived in.  It was very simple with a sleeping area, a small kitchenette, a sitting area, and a restroom.  There was also a door leading out into the hallway on the third floor.  The group stepped out into the hallway which was lined with the old bedrooms of the children. 
“Plenty of rooms for us to get lost in,” Jimmy whispered to Linda.
Linda smiled. “Jimmy!”
Jimmy gave Linda a devilish, lustful grin and put his arm around her as the group made their way to the staircase that led up to the fourth floor.  Finally, they were on the fourth floor standing at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the fifth floor, the living quarters of the Flemings. 
“Well, what are we waiting around for?” Reginald said. “Let’s go on up.”
“I’m with you,” Carl said. 
A wide grin spread onto Linda’s face.  She held up her bag containing the candles, matches, and dagger before she said, “We may be able to have our séance after all.”

Read on to CHAPTER 14.

Friday, April 19, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 12

So things got a little crazy today, but here is Chapter 12!

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-PART 2: Chapter 11 before proceeding to reading PART 2: Chapter 12.
 
Otherwise, read from the jump :)



CHAPTER 12

The words Nathaniel Fleming Orphanage were etched into the stone sign that stood at the bottom of the hill.  Underneath those words were founded in 1842.  Dried leaves and twigs engulfed the sign that welcomed whoever dared venture onto the old property.  Jimmy turned his car and slowly began to move the vehicle up the hill.  The beams from the headlights lit up the driveway as the car inched it’s way up the hill as Jimmy kept a watch out for deer and other animals that had a tendency to sometimes jump out in front of moving cars.  They were halfway up the hill at the old security building when Jimmy breaked the car to a halt. 
“Let’s pull into here,” Jimmy suggested referring to the small parking area behind the building.
“Why?” Reginald asked.
Jimmy looked at Reginald’s shadowed face through the rearview mirror and said, “So we can walk the rest of the way up.  You know, get the full experience.”
The kids all looked at one another before Carl shrugged and said, “Sure.  Why not?  May as well.”
There was a nervous tension in the car, but no one argued and Jimmy pulled the car into the small parking area behind the building and put it in park.  He shut off the car engine leaving them cloaked in darkness.
After a brief moment of silence Carl said, “Well, I say we get moving.”
“Let’s do it,” Jimmy said, “let’s get out and take in what Fleming Orphanage has to offer.” 
The six of them all emerged from the car and waited as Jimmy locked the doors.  Linda clutched her bag of candles with an excited expression.  Reginald and Carl each kept an arm around their respective girl, shielding her from the chilly, autumn air.  Jimmy finished locking the car and he and Linda wrapped their arms around eachother.  They all stood, taking in their surroundings.  While neither of the kids would share this thought with one another, each of them felt as though they had stepped through a vortex and into another world.  There was an energy on the property that was different from what was outside of the entrance.  The grounds of the Fleming property were quiet and still (perhaps a little too quiet and still).  Even the wind had seemed to stop.  It was as if all form of life had died on that property along with Cedric, Margaret, and Jared Fleming.
“Well, should we start walking up?” Carl asked. 
The rest of the kids looked over at him and Dorothy looked up at her boyfriend.  His lively voice seemed very much out of place up there.
“Absolutely,” Jimmy said, smiling to mask how nervous he really was beginning to feel.
The six of them turned to begin their journey up the rest of the way when Jimmy stopped them.
“Hey, wait a second,” he said. 
They turned back to him as he keyed open the passenger side of his car, reached into the glove box, and pulled out a small flashlight.  “Just in case the moon goes back behind the clouds,” Jimmy said.
Jimmy then took Linda’s hand and they all began their way up the top half of the hill.  The moon was bright enough despite the occasional cloud.  It cast it light down through the nearly bare branches of the trees that lined the long entranceway, almost forming a tunnel.
A gateway…Dorothy thought before pushing such thoughts from her mind.  She shuddered as she huddled closer to Carl.
“You alright, babe?” Carl asked, tightening his arm around her shoulders.
“Yeah,” Dorothy answered, “just chilly.”
“Well, we’re almost there,” Jimmy said.
Dorothy looked over at Reginald and Gail who walked huddled together.  In the moonlight, she could see the two of them observing their surroundings.  Jimmy and Linda walked in front of them with their hands clasped together and Linda holding her bag of candles with her free hand.  The only sounds were the clicking of their shoes on the pavement combined with small crunches as they stepped on the leaves that had fallen from the trees and blanketed the ground.  It was easy to understand where the local legends and folklore of the place had come from.  There was plenty of room for one’s imagination to run away with itself in that place.
Finally, they reached the top of the hill to find themselves surrounded by the vacant buildings.  The relics stood, towering over the kids as though they were waiting for the right moment to pounce and devour them.
“Well gang, here we are,” Carl said.
“Yep,” Jimmy replied.
Just off to the side of the main building was the old playground.  Even in the dark one could see the rust that had collected on the swings, sliding board, see saws, and merry-go-round as a result of the natural elements and decades of not being used.  Dry, unkempt grass had grown up and around the swings that years ago, many children had gleefully swung on.  Dorothy thought she could hear the sound of playful laughter coming from the playground’s direction but chose to ignore it, telling herself that it was the property and it’s history and folklore causing her to hear things.
The six of them stepped up to the large porch that led up to the entrance of the main building.  They simultaneously looked up to the windows of the top quarters where Cedric, Margaret, and Jared had met their doom.  A faint, blue glow flickered in one of the windows and then was gone.
“Say, did anyone else see that?” Reginald asked, “I swear I saw something flash up there.”
“I saw it too,” Carl said and after him, everyone else confirmed that they had also seen the blue light.
“What do you think it was?” Dorothy asked.
“Maybe the moonlight reflecting off of something?  A mirror, perhaps,” Linda offered.
“I’m sure,” Jimmy said, but there was a nervous edge in his voice.  Then, he drew in a breath and said, “Well, what do you say we head on in?”
“Sure,” Reginald said.
“Let’s do it,” Carl added.
Jimmy let go of Linda’s hand and climbed up the steps of the porch to try the front door.  The door had obviously been broken into before and opened easily. 
Jimmy turned around, facing the group with a huge grin on his face.  “Looks like we’re open for business.”
“Alright,” Carl said as he bounded up onto the porch.  Reginald followed after Carl. 
“Wait,” Linda said, “didn’t Maxine live in the other building while she was a class instructor here?”
Carl turned around and grinned.  “You’re right,” he said.
They turned and looked toward the second building that housed the dining hall, many of the classrooms, and the rooms in which the school instructors who had lived on the property stayed during the schoolyear.  It was decided that they would explore in there first and head up to Maxine’s room before going into the main building.  Like the mai building, the second building’s front door had been previously broken into and opened easily.  They were immediately met with the old dining hall.  Large windows lined the walls, casting light from the outside moon.  Two long tables with benches were placed in the middle of the room while smaller tables surrounded by chairs were off to the right hand side.  It was figured that the children had sat at the long, center tables while the faculty and instructors would eat at the smaller side tables.  To there left was the large kitchen where many meals had been cooked and served.  There was a large window where plates and trays had been returned after one had finished up his or her food.  The six kids walked over to the tray depositing window and peered in.  Stoves and food prep tables and remained in tact and there were even a couple pots and pans that lay on top of the stove.  Some of the effects of the property had been taken and auctioned off, but there were more who dared not venture onto the property than there were those who did.  There was also the fact that the auctioneer swore that he had seen a large, twelve foot shadow that resembeled a crow the last time he had ventured up for more items.  While there were a few more eccentric collectors who had bought the items that were able to be auctioned, most people didn’t want to be involved with the curses that were rumored to be on the property and all that was associated with it.  Thus, the property and it’s remaining effects went untouched.
“So where is Maxine’s old room?  On the fourth floor?” Carl asked.
“On the fourth floor,” Dorothy confirmed.  She had read of that in one of James Livingston’s journal entries.  And of course, everyone in town knew the stories of the property.
“Then let’s go,” Linda said.
They exited the dining hall and headed over to the staircase that was across the hall and climbed each flight of stairs until they got to the fourth floor.  Jimmy pushed open the door that led to the hallway that was lined with doormrooms for the instructors. 
“Which one was Maxine’s?” Linda whispered to Dorothy.
“The one in the center on the right,” Dorothy answered.
 They walked over to the door of the room that had been Maxine’s.  The door was slightly ajar.  Carl barely tapped the door when it creaked open all the way, welcoming the kids into the room.
“Well, I’m sure this room hasn’t seen very many visitors,” Reginald said, attempting light humor.
The room was small and the kids faced the window that looked out onto the grounds.  Under the window was the outline of a bed covered by a large, white sheet.  Three shelves lined the wall that was about two feet from the foot of the bed and off to the side of the shelves was a sink with a mirror that opened to a medicine cabinent.  A closet was a couple feet from the sink and after the closet, was the door that the kids stood at.  They stood, taking in the small, deserted room when Linda got an idea.
“Hey!  Maybe we can try conjuring up Maxine here,” she said, “do you think we can?”
Dorothy looked around and said, “Maybe.  I’ve read several stories where one easily conjured a ghost through a mirror.  And this room has a mirror.”  She looked at the mirror above the sink and felt a small, nervous flutter in the pit of her stomach.
“Do you think we should?” Gail asked.
“Why not?  It’s just a game.  For fun,” Linda said and began to take her candles and a box of matches out from her bag.  She set them up on the shelf by the sink, lighting them all until the room was blanketed a warm glow.  Shadows danced across the faces of the six kids.  Then, Linda reached into her bag and pulled out what looked to be an old dagger.  Reginald’s jaw dropped at the site of it.
“Where did you find that?” he asked.
“At an antique store when my parents and I were visiting family in Maine this passed summer,” Linda said, “the shopkeeper said that it’s 19th century Romanian.”
“Since when are you interested in that kind of stuff,” Carl said unable to hide his amusement.  No one, not even Jimmy, could disagree with Carl.  It was very unlike Linda to pick up such a thing.
“Yeah baby.  I didn’t even know you had that,” Jimmy said.
“I suppose I just forgot to mention it,” Linda said with a shrug.
“What made you pick it up?” Reginald asked.
“What made go into an antique store?  I always figured you to be the high end makeup boutique type,” Gail added.
Linda rolled her eyes.  “I don’t know,” she said, “besides I can have other interests, can I?”
“Sure,” Gail said, “I’m just surprised you would even know what 19th Century Romanian is.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Linda challenged.
“You’re a vain, self-centered bitch who has nothing but air between her ears,” Gail said with almost a sneer.
“Gail!” Reginald exclaimed.
Gail looked at Reginald who looked at her with wide, surprised eyes.  She looked to Jimmy, Carl, and Dorothy who wore the same expression as Reginald.  She then looked at Linda who glared at her with a combination of anger and hurt in her eyes.  It wasn’t the first time Gail had taken shots at Linda.  But before it had been simply in jest.  This time, the tone of Gail’s voice had been cold and condescending.  Gail had also never used foul language with her friends before.  It was as though Gail had become a different person in that moment. 
Gail stood, stunned at what had just come from her mouth.  She looked back at Linda and could see tears beginning to form in her friend’s eyes.
“Linda…” Gail said filled with remorse.  She slowly stepped forward in an attempt to embrace Linda.  But before Gail could finish her apology, Linda ran passed her friends and out into the dark hallway.
“Linda!” Jimmy called, running after his girlfriend, “Baby, wait!  I’m sure she didn’t mean it!”
Dorothy, Carl, and Reginald watched as Jimmy disappeared after Linda.  The three of them turned their heads back toward Gail, each one’s expression questioning her over what just happened.
“I’m sorry,” Gail choked out as she felt sobs rising up through her throat.
“Gail,” Reginald said gently, “why would you say that?”
Gail shook her head as tears burned her eyes.  “I don’t know!” she cried, “I didn’t even know what I was saying until it had already come out!  Honest!”
With that, Gail sunk down to the floor, breaking down into sobs.  Reginald sat down next to her and took her into his arms.  “There, there honey.  It’s alright,” he said, “I’m sure Jimmy will talk to her and everything will be fine.”
“I honestly didn’t mean to say that,” Gail carried on, “Linda has her faults but she’s still a dear friend!  I don’t even think that about her!”
“I know,” Reginald said. 
He looked back up at Carl and Dorothy who both stood staring blankly at them as they tried to comprehend what had just happened.  Reginald held on to a shaken Gail as she attempted to calm herself down and clearly think of a way to convince Linda of how sorry she was.  Of how much she valued her as a friend and how she would never in a million years think of her as the stupid, selfish bitch she had just described her as.  But then another thought crossed Gail’s mind.
Why would you say that in the first place if it wasn’t what you really thought?  Even if it’s in the deepest, darkest, crevices of your mind…it had to come from somewhere…

Read on to CHAPTER 13.