Sunday, August 25, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 35 (UNEDITED)

Here is Chapter 35.  As I said in the previous post, I'm going to try to post the rest of the first draft of Book 1 as quickly as possible.  Still Chapter by Chapter, but as quickly as possible :)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Chapter 34 before proceeding to the Chapter 35.

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

Otherwise, read from the word go :)  Alot beginning to happen so stay tuned :)




CHAPTER 35

After supper, Dorothy sat at her desk trying to concentrate on Biology.  She was determined to catch up and be able to easily take the final exam for the end of the semester along with everyone else in her class.  And Biology was a nice break from everything else.  She had certainly had enough of History for a while.
Dinner had been terrible and that’s all there was to it.  Dorothy was surprised at how much strength she had actually recovered when she made her way down the stairs to the dining room.  Both of her grandfathers had been there to help her, but Dorothy was proud of herself that she was able to make it on her own for the most part.  The uplifting feeling was short lived when she sat down at the table and she was also surprised that she was able to keep her food down.  Of course Grandma Violet had made supper and her cooking was always superb.  But sitting at a table where her grandmother Alice sat with her prim posture and icy stare was torture.  Even with her side still in pain Dorothy managed to slouch just because she knew that it would make Alice crazy.  Dorothy had always been one to respect her elders, but there was something that had shifted in her when her grandmother had treated her in such an infantile fashion in front of her friends and boyfriend.  She was suddenly to a point at where she almost just didn’t care anymore.
Sure enough, Alice scolded Dorothy for her purposely bad posture.
“Good heavens, didn’t my daughter and her husband ever teach you that you are to sit like a lady at the table?” Alice had scolded while she ever so properly cut her Chicken Marsala.
“Gee grandmother.  I’m sorry.  I shall try to be more lady-like from now on,” Dorothy had replied.  There had been the slightest tinge of sarcasm in her voice that had gotten a glare from Alice.  Cyril turned his eyes downward as he chewed his food and even Gerard and Violet couldn’t help raising an eyebrow at their granddaugher’s tone.  Dorothy stared back at Alice as if she were challenging her to say something more.  Alice shifted her gaze and took a bit of her chicken, chewing and swallowing before saying, “It’s appalling how the young people today behave.  In my day, we had more respect for our elders.  And we certainly did not go traipsing about town looking like cheap floozies.  Like that Gretchen girl you are friends with.  She looks like she belongs in those awful jazz clubs.”
“Her name is Gail,” Dorothy stated as she began to cut her chicken more forcibly.
“Whatever,” Alice said reaching for her water glass.  “I don’t think you should be around a girl like that.  Girls like her are a very bad influence.  And that other girl.  That blonde?  She looks like she barely has two brain cells to rub together.  And don’t even get me started on that…boyfriend.  He looks like a hoodlum if I ever saw one.”
Dorothy dropped her fork on to her plate in anger as Gerard spoke up.
Alice, I think Dorothy is sensible enough to choose her friends wisely,” Gerard said.  “They all seem like very nice kids to me.”
“They would to you,” Alice said.
“And, pray tell, is that supposed to mean?” Violet demanded.
“I think you and Gerard are smart enough to figure that out, Violet,” Alice said coolly.  “You both raised your children less than favorably and it could only be expected that you would find a hoodlum, a harlot, and a bimbo appealing.  Of course you can’t be blamed.  You probably learned it from your parents.”
Gerard fumed but he managed to maintain his composure.  “My parents taught us all to think for ourselves and that was something Violet and I passed on to our children.”
Dorothy could feel anger she never felt before begin to boil inside of her.  She tried to focus on her chicken.
“And look at where it got you!  Your parents couldn’t look after their youngest daughter and now my Elizabeth is missing probably because of something that husband of hers did,” Alice retorted.
That did it for Gerard.  “Listen, Alice,” he said standing up.  “My parents were the best any child could have.  And furthermore.  When Violet and I met Liz for the first time she was timid and barely able to look us or anyone in the eye.  If anything, it was our Matthew who helped bring her out from her shell and helped her to grow as a person.”
Dorothy stared at her water glass.  She placed her hand upon it and could feel it vibrating.
“How dare you!” Alice yelled standing to face Gerard from across the table.  “Elizabeth was a respectable young lady until that son of yours got to her.  Dorothy still has potential to be one but who knows how long that will last now that she’s with that no good hood.”
Alice,” Cyril tried to interject.
“I can handle this, Cyril!” Alice shouted.
“WILL YOU STOP IT?!” Dorothy exploded.
All eyes turned to Dorothy as her water glass shattered.  The lights of the dining room flickered as Dorothy tried to regain control over herself.  She turned to look at Alice with an almost brooding hate piercing into her grandmother.  Dorothy thought she could see Alice flinch backward but manage to maintain her composure.
“I’m so tired of you talking to Grandpa and Grandma Blake like that,” Dorothy said.  “They have never done anything to you.  And don’t you dare say one more terrible thing about my father.  You are the most selfish person I’ve ever met!  Everything is always somebody else’s fault with you.  Well perhaps next time things aren’t going your way, look in a goddamn mirror!”
Alice stared at her granddaughter with a combination of anger, horror, and even some humility.  There was something else that Dorothy thought she saw.  A touch of sadness.  But in that moment, Dorothy didn’t care.  She was tired of Grandma Whitman pushing everyone around and while Gerard and Violet Blake would stand up to her, they could never be as vile in their words as Alice was to them.  No matter how many terrible things Alice accused them and their family of, the hearts of Gerard and Violet were too large to even consider bringing up Roxanne.
The remainder of supper was eaten in silence after Cyril and Gerard helped Dorothy clean up the broken glass and got her another glass of water.  After dinner was over, Dorothy managed to help Gerard and Violet clean up.  She moved through any pains that threatened to erupt, doing her best to push them back.  Dorothy was determined now more than ever to be back to completely functioning again.  And the sooner the better.
Cyril had retreated to Matthew’s study to read and Alice shut herself in the master bedroom.  Of course, Cyril and Alice had moved into the bedroom of Matthew and Liz while Gerard and Violet took the guest room at the end of the hall.  Dorothy could hear Gerard and Violet talking in the kitchen though she couldn’t hear what was being said.  She thought about going to the door and listening but decided against it.
Dorothy decided that she had enough of Biology.  Thinking about dinner had broken her concentration.  She turned to look at the phone that was still on her desk, grateful that Gerard and Violet had won the argument against Alice of allowing Dorothy to keep it in her room until she was well enough.  Dorothy was grateful as it was her only connection to the outside world.  Then there was the glass that had shattered when she stood up to Alice.  Dorothy looked at her dressing table at the hairbrush that had slid to the floor by itself only the previous week.
When I snapped at my mother…
Guilt began to overcome Dorothy as she wondered what her Grandma Whitman was doing in the master bedroom.  There was part of her that felt bad for Alice.  Dorothy was only ten when her Aunt Roxanne had passed away.  All she remembered of that was her mother being upset and going to stay at Gail’s while her parents went away upstate for the viewing and funeral service.  Sleeping over at Gail’s for a few days had been fun.  They had both stayed in Gail’s bedroom and Gail’s mother, Janine, had gotten them both along with Gail’s two older brothers up for school that first Thursday and Friday morning.  That Saturday, Linda had also come to stay over and the three of them had had a sleepover.  Dorothy had gone back home that Monday after school when her parents had returned home and Dorothy had actually at the time wished she could stay with Gail and her family.  There was still a lot of sadness in the Blake house that remained in the week following Roxanne’s funeral and burial.
Roxanne had been Liz’s older sister and was only 33 when she passed away.  Roxanne had been survived by her husband, Stewart Hawthorne.  Dorothy never knew Roxanne’s husband very well and had only met him a few times in her childhood, mainly on holidays.  But he seemed like a nice enough man and also seemed very shaken by his wife’s passing.  They had never had children as they were a couple who seemed to like to travel quite a bit and led a very active lifestyle that didn’t seem to involve children.  According to some who had known the Whitman girls growing up, Roxanne had been the more brazen out of her and Liz but Alice still managed to keep both of her daughters on a tight leash.
Over the years, the family had moved on and Roxanne’s death along with the cause was never outwardly discussed.  Dorothy had been to her aunt’s gravesite only once during a Thanksgiving Holiday.  She remembered standing and looking at the elaborate grave marker that had

Roxanne Ellen Whitman Hawthorne
1889-1923
“beloved daughter and wife”

etched into it.  It seemed that Alice had been pleased that Roxanne had married well as her husband Stewart had come from a well to do family.  This also pleased Cyril because as long as Alice was satisfied so was he.  Five years after Roxanne’s death, Stewart had gotten remarried and apparently stayed in touch with Cyril and Alice.
The more Dorothy thought about it, the more she realized how little she knew of her mother’s upbringing.  Although there were a few mysteries about the Blake family, Dorothy new her father’s side of the family very well and visits with them had always been open and warm, quite the opposite of the visits with the Whitman side.  She was definitely thankful to have her Grandpa and Grandma Blake there at this time.
I honestly don’t know what I would do if it was just me with Grandpa and Grandma Whitman.
The thought frightened Dorothy.  What would she have done if Gerard and Violet hadn’t come and kept things at least a little sane and normal for her?  Dorothy shuddered and shut her textbook.  She looked at the phone that still sat on her desk as she remembered Carl’s words to her the first time in the hospital:

“I want to marry you, Dorothy.”

Thursday, August 22, 2013

PART 2, THE FIRST EVIL, 1931-1933: Chapter 34 (UNEDITED)

Here is Chapter 34.  I'm going to try to post the rest of the first draft of Book 1 as quickly as possible.  Still Chapter by Chapter, but as quickly as possible :)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Chapter 33 before proceeding to the Chapter 34.

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

Otherwise, read from the word go :)  Alot begins to happen in Chapter 35 so stay tuned :)




CHAPTER 34

“And sit on this, Alice,” Gail said as she stuck a middle finger up in the direction of closed front door.  “It can keep the pole you already have stuck up there company.”
Carl burst out laughing and Linda’s jaw dropped at her friend’s obscenity.
“Gail!” Linda scolded.
“Well, I couldn’t do it while we were in there,” Gail said.  “Anyway, why are you so upset about it?  Alice deserves that and a lot more.”
“I have to agree with Gail,” Carl said.  “Yes, she’s Dorothy’s grandmother and I know I should have more respect for her.  But you heard how she spoke to not only us but Dorothy’s grandma and grandpa Blake.  Alice practically treats Mr. and Mrs. Blake as though they are the hired help around here.  And then Cyril just lets her have run of the house.  And for her to just barge in and treat Dorothy like that…”
The three of them were down at the end of the small walkway the led up to the porch of the Blake house.  They ceased their conversation when Gerard came around the corner of the house holding a large bag of leaves in one hand and a rake in the other as he headed toward the garage.  Gerard stopped when he saw the kids at the end of the walkway.  He gave them a smile and small wave, lifting two fingers from the rake.  Linda, Gail, and Carl returned Gerard’s smile and wave back.
“Have a good night,” Gerard said.  His tone was much more gentle than it had been when he was speaking to Alice earlier.
“Thanks, you too Mr. Blake,” Carl called back.
Gail and Linda nodded in agreement with Carl and with another friendly but forlorn smile, Gerard disappeared into the side door of the garage.
“I can only imagine how hard this must be on him,” Carl said as he walked between the two girls on the sidewalk leaving the Blake house.
“Yeah,” Gail said.
“Well that’s why I thought Gail went a little too far with Alice just now,” Linda said.  “I mean…yeah, she wasn’t exactly nice to us and I would be beyond humiliated if my dad or mom talked to me that way in front of Jimmy and my friends.  But remember, she also has her daughter missing.  She may not really be that bad if you were able to catch her in a more normal situation.”
“I guess,” Gail said.  “But I always went with the notion that people reveal their true selves in a time of crisis.  I mean, you don’t see Dorothy’s grandma Blake being a major bitch and grandpa Blake still behaves like a human being.  I mean they’re obviously troubled.  Who wouldn’t be?  But they also have enough sense to realize that Dorothy does need to be with her friends now.  I get the feeling that if it where just Cyril and Alice here, Dorothy really would be locked up in her room.”
Linda sighed.  She had to agree that Gail did have a point even if she dealt with it in a less than lady-like fashion.
After a brief pause, Gail said, “You know, I hate to cause anyone more need to worry, but I am concerned about Dorothy.  Did anyone else see how she looked when we left?”
“You mean when Alice wouldn’t let me give Dorothy even a small kiss goodbye,” Carl replied.  “Yeah I saw.  Dorothy looked so beaten down.  I hate seeing her like that.  If you ask me, Alice makes the Gorgon Medusa seem appealing.”
“Dorothy said that Mrs. Whitman was also hard on her mother and Aunt Roxanne when they were growing up,” Linda added.
“Yeah,” Gail said.  “The Aunt Roxanne who died.  Remember?  When we were ten?”
The trio was silent for the rest of the walk home, each person deep in his or her own thoughts.  Carl saw Gail and Linda home before heading back to his own house for dinner.  The sun was setting and curfew would be in another hour.  Plains had certainly changed quite a bit, especially in the last week.  Normally, Carl would have been going out with Dorothy and their other friends to the soda fountain or some other hang out popular with the kids of Plains High School.  Now the town seemed so empty.  Desolate.  Carl chuckled to himself, amused at a thought he had about expecting to see a ball or two of tumbleweed bouncing down the road everything was so deserted.  It was one of those thoughts that reflect the seriousness of a situation yet is light enough to find enough humor to create an at least small feeling of solice.  Then his thoughts turned to Dorothy.  He really was concerned for her well-being.  For a reason Carl couldn’t explain even to himself, this situation was far graver than even the first time Dorothy had ended up in the hospital.  He knew he would never forget coming upon the creature as it was eating Dorothy alive for as long as he would be alive.  His heart still ached over seeing that large purple scar near the left side of her chest and he felt the anger begin to boil up inside of him all over again.
“Why are you doing this?” Carl asked whatever unseen dark force that might be out there listening.  “Why can’t you leave Dorothy alone?  Just leave us all alone.”
Carl then realized that he was standing in front of the Blakes’ house again.  It towered over him, outlined by the red and orange sky.  The house that only a week ago had been a warm, inviting place for him was now cold and unwelcoming even with Matthew’s parents and their apparent kindness present.  Carl could easily admit to himself that he hoped that whatever happened with Matthew and Liz Blake, it would be resolved and in a positive way.  Even in the short amount of time that he had known Tahatan, Carl had really grown to like him.  He also hoped that the Blakes’ priest would also return safely.
Carl thought about what was said of Dorothy’s Aunt Roxanne and her untimely death.  He remembered the way Dorothy had looked at him before he, Gail, and Linda had left.  He had never seen Dorothy look like that.  That sudden cold hopelessness that had come over her.  Carl shuddered as a feeling of dread came over him.
“Oh God, please not Dorothy,” he said.  “Please don’t let anything happen to her.  I really don’t know what I would do…”
Carl’s voice trailed off as he tried not to think of it.
I can’t dwell on the worst possible scenarios, he thought.  For Dorothy’s sake I can’t.  She’s depending on me to be strong for her.
Carl wasn’t sure just how much strength he would be able to have given everything that had happened.  But for Dorothy, he was willing to do anything.
Kill if I have to.
Carl stopped at the sudden thought that had entered his mind.  He hoped with every ounce of his being that it would never have to come to such a thing.  His hand when to the jacket pocket that carried the pocket knife that his father had given him.  Carl usually had it on him, even at school.  It was good to pick locks with if needed.  He remembered that he hadn’t had it with him the night they had all gone up to the Fleming place.
I wonder why I left it, Carl thought.
Carl was moved from his thoughts when he thought he saw a shadow move at the corner of his eyes.  The way he had in the sitting room at the Fleming place.  He turned his head to see the sidewalk empty.

Carl turned back to head home when he saw something move in his peripheral and then stop.  With his hand on his pocket knife, he turned in the direction of the figure and stopped short.  Staring back at him from across the street was the cemetery caretaker.  He had a rather strange look on his face and his eyes seemed to glow a bright red in the light of the sunset.  Carl’s heart began to pound in his chest as his grip tightened around his knife.  The caretaker seemed to peer right into him and almost seemed amused.  Keeping his eyes on the other man, Carl quickly began to walk away from the Blake house toward home.  As he broke into a run, he would almost be able to swear that he heard the caretaker laughing as he watched Carl run down the block.  And Carl didn’t stop running until the front door of his house had shut behind him.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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

Here is Chapter 33.

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

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

Otherwise, read from the word go :)



CHAPTER 33

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

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

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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Second Draft/First Rewrite: Excerpts from Chapters 18 and 19

Hey everyone,

I've been working like mad on the second draft of this first book.  It's been an interesting and very humbling experience.  The interesting is how much more the characters and situations have developed during this first rewrite and how I've also found it necessary to sometimes combine maybe two chapters into one or change a chapter into an interlude because I think it would serve the story better that way.  So its been interesting seeing the story develop even further and get to know the characters on an even more personal level.

The humbling part has been coming across errors that were previously unnoticed and sometimes I think my brain leaves my head.

The second draft is almost complete and after that, I plan to print it out and set it aside for a month or two before I do the third draft.  This is something I've learned from not only more seasoned novelists I know but also from Stephen King's book "On Writing."  And yes, they (including Stephen King) do say print it out when you set it aside so that when you go back to do the new draft, you can actually mark the areas you want to make adjustments to making it easier when you go to do the final draft.  While it will be difficult for me to leave the characters and their world for a month or so, it will be nice to come back and look at it with new eyes and see the story really come to life.  Plus, I'll be working a little more on Book 2.

I will say that the entire Bloodlines turned out much differently than it was when I wrote the first outline and I'll be posting a blog entry on the writing process from the time I started this a year ago (yes, a year ago).

But now, onto these excerpts and I'll be posting Chapter 33 of the first draft this week after I make sure there are no absolutely atrocious errors.

These are excerpts from Chapters 18 and 19.  Because the story has expanded a little in the second draft, Chapters 16 and 17 are now 18 and 19.  The first excerpt from Chapter 18 is Matthew's dilemma of allowing Dorothy to grow up which was only glossed over a little in the first draft.  I do feel this is a very important passage for the Blake family which is why I'm sharing it.
The second excerpt is from Chapter 19 and I'm sharing it because I do love Reginald and Gail as a couple :)

So, without further ado, here are the excerpts from the second draft and stay tuned for Chapter 33 from draft 1 coming this week :)


CHAPTER 18 (Excerpt Only)

Dorothy’s freefall came to an end as a cold draft encompassed her and she lay floating in the black void with nothing beneath her.  For a second, she remembered laying this way when she, Linda, and Gail tried the game, Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board.  And that was exactly how she felt at now.  Light as a Feather and Stiff as a Board.
Try as she might, Dorothy was unable to move her limbs.  Calling out also proved to be futile, as though a pair of hands were closed around her throat preventing her from uttering out even a croaked whisper.  Nothing but cold, dark, silence.  She felt restless and then that restlessness rose to panic.
What’s going on?  Where am I? 
Dorothy felt another cold draft cross her body and she noticed something wet at the top of her head.  She tried to move her arm again in order to bring her hand up to identify what it was, but her body remained stiff and immobile. 
Dorothy summoned up every ounce of strength she had to use whatever senses she could.  All she could see was darkness, so she listened.  Listened for any indication of where she was and what was happening.  She could smell the fragrance of burning sage and she was able to hear voices.  Voices that were distant but familiar.
“She’ll be just fine,” the voice said.  “She just needs to rest and no more shenanigans this evening.”
Dr. Ramsay?
“Well, we do appreciate both of you looking after her,” another voice said.
Dad!
Relief began to set in and Dorothy was slowly regaining her mobility.  She then realized that her eyes were shut and pried them open.  Everything around her was a blur but her vision quickly cleared.  Dorothy recognized not only where she was but also was able to indentify why she felt so cold.  Where the draft she felt had been coming from.  She was lying on her bed in the middle of her bedroom and the window at the foot of the bed was open, letting in the cool, October nightbreeze in.  The powder blue and cream curtains ballooned up as the breeze entered the room.  Dorothy turned her eyes toward her desk, closet, and packed to capacity bookshelf.  In her peripheral, she could see her nightstand to the right side of her bed with her alarm clock and radio.  Next to the radio burned a sage candle her father had gotten from one of his Native relatives.  Dorothy also discovered that a cool, wet washcloth was on her forehead.
Dorothy let out a deep sigh and rose to prop herself on her elbows.  She willed the lingering grogginess to leave her and removed the washcloth from her head.  She turned to look at the clock.  The hands on the clockface revealed the time to be 12:47am.
How long have I been out for?
Through a small opening in the curtains, Dorothy could see the moon still hanging in the night sky.  The curtains rose again as another breeze came in through the window.  The fresh air felt amazing to breathe in, especially after the mustiness inside the corridors on the Fleming property.
The Fleming Property!
The events of the evening began coming back to her, but her thoughts were thwarted when her bedroom door opened to reveal Dr. Ramsay tentatively stepping into the room followed by her mother and father.  Carl was behind her father and Dorothy saw a genuine concern in her boyfriend’s eyes.
“Well!  She’s awake!” Dr. Ramsay said with great enthusiasm.
Dorothy gave everyone a small, sheepish smile as they all entered the room.  Having just come from the Halloween party at the Millers’ residence, Matthew and Liz Blake were still in their formal evening wear and held the masks they wore in their hands.  Dorothy noticed her father’s dark gray wolf mask and her mother’s white one.
“How are you feeling, sweetheart?” Matthew asked his daughter as he sat down to face her at the end of her bed.
“I’m alright,” Dorothy said as memory of the gray, hazy forest began leaving her.  She struggled to keep where she had been in the front of her mind while also wondering how much of the evening her parents knew.
Dorothy looked at Carl, who stood quietly by the doorway with his hands in his pockets.  His concerned expression had shifted to guilt.
“What happened?” Dorothy asked, looking cautiously from Carl, to her parents, and then to Dr. Ramsay.
“According to Carl and your other friends,” Dr. Ramsay said, “you all were out cruising around and ended up on the Fleming Property.  You all were walking around outside, checking out the buildings until passed out and gave everyone a scare.”
Dorothy turned her gaze to Carl who looked down at the floor.  She then looked back over to her window as she tried to remember everything that had taken place up on the Fleming property.  Dorothy swallowed and nodded in response as she anticipated being able to talk to Carl alone and have him jog her memory. 
The doctor continued, “Your friends brought you back here and that was when your boyfriend phoned your parents and then me.  The rest of your friends stayed until we arrived.”
Dorothy nodded again, still trying to place the events of the night while being grateful for Carl and her friends.  She looked back over at Carl who peered back up at her. 
“You really think she’ll be alright?”  Liz asked, sitting on the bed and taking her daughter’s hand.
“I think so,” Dr. Ramsay said. “This likely was nothing more than a case of fatigue or dehydration.  Her vitals are all working and she seems perfectly fine albeit a little groggy.  But of course, should anything change, don’t hesitate to give me a ring.  I’ll phone in the morning for an update on her.”
Matthew and Liz thanked the doctor before offering to see him to the door.  Carl also gave him a small smile and thank you.
Dorothy and Carl stared at one another, neither one of them moving, as Dr. Ramsay left the room with Matthew and Liz.  They could hear Dorothy’s parents saying goodnight to Dr. Ramsay, thanking him once again, before shutting the front door.  As the doctor’s car could be heard driving away from the Blakes’ house, Carl opened his mouth to speak.  He was interrupted by Matthew and Liz re-entering the room.
“Are you feeling any better, dear?” Liz asked sitting by Dorothy on the bed and putting an arm around her daughter’s shoulders.
“Yes, mom,” Dorothy answered, still feeling very distant.
“Well, Dr. Ramsay said that you are to rest for the remainder of the night,” Matthew added.
“Sure,” Dorothy said and looked again at Carl.
Matthew and Liz followed her gaze.
“And you,” Matthew said to Carl.
“Yes, Mr. Blake?”
Dorothy could see immediate fear in her boyfriend’s eyes in reaction to her father’s stern tone and glare.
“I’ll never understand for the life of me what you all find so fascinating about that Fleming property that you had to go up there late tonight,” Matthew continued. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?  God only know who or what those buildings and woods could be hiding.  Of all the places you all could have gone!”
Carl seemed to shrink under Matthew’s gaze.  “I’m sorry, Mr. Blake,” he uttered out.
Dorothy couldn’t stand it anymore.  “Dad, please don’t be angry with Carl,” she said.  “Going up there was just as much my idea as it was his.  As it was all of ours.  It’s Halloween and we were just looking to have some fun.  That’s all!”
Matthew turned to his daughter and said, “Alright, Dorothy.  But your mother and I thought that you all were going to George Kolinski’s party.  What happened with that?”
“We did,” Dorothy answered, “and then we went to Chuck’s Diner and that’s where we all came up with the idea of going exploring up there.”
Matthew sighed and closed his eyes.  Liz gave her daugher’s shoulder a light squeeze.  They both worried about Dorothy.  She was their only child and they had been unable to have anymore.  Liz had had three other pregnancies that had all resulted in miscarriages.  The first two had occurred before Dorothy and the last one happened when Dorothy was three years old.
As Dorothy grew up, Matthew and Liz shared the struggle of refraining from being too overprotective of their daughter.  She had been a quiet, reserved child and they had taken joy in seeing her come out from her shell during her senior year of high school.  They wanted to see their daughter happy and they they had initial concerns of Dorothy going with Carl, Matthew and Liz had—in the end—found him to be a very nice boy.  But there was still a shadow that followed Matthew and Liz.  One that had been present since the night they bolted into a seven-year-old Dorothy’s bedroom following the sounds of her bloodcurdling shrieks.  They still never knew the details of what had terrified their daughter so on that night ten years ago, but it had been something that was much more than a simple childhood bad dream. 
Matthew opened his eyes, seeing the dreamcatcher that still hung from the ceiling over the headboard of Dorothy’s bed.  The Blakes were Irish Catholics but still held close much of their Native American heritage brought on by Kimimela’s family.  The dreamcatcher played a prominent role in the traditions of the Ojibwe and several tribes within the Sioux.  Kimimela’s grandmother had been the one to really insist on it’s use for their children and grandchildren.  After that, every one of the descendents of Jonathan and Kimimela would receive a child’s dream catcher at birth and an adult one on their thirteenth birthday.  The child’s dreamcatcher wasn’t very strongly made as it was meant to fall apart as the child began to make the entrance into adulthood.  The adult’s dream catcher was sturdier as it was supposed to be with an individual from the beginning of adulthood up until old age.  Matthew still had his that hung over the bed of him and Liz.  The dream catcher was said to be a representation of the life cycle and that in life, good and bad forces would be trying to influence one’s steps and that one must choose their paths wisely.  It was also said that the night is filled with activity, both light and dark.  Both would be trying to make their way to an unsuspecting, sleeping individual.  The good is meant to pass through the webs and trickle down to the individual and give them pleasant dreams that will guide their steps in fulfilling their own dreams and destiny in life.  The dark and negative iss meant to stay caught inside of the web. 
The morning after the nightmare that had left their seven-year-old daughter so shaken that Liz had to call Dorothy in sick at school, Matthew had taken off from work that day to take a two hour trainride to Northeastern PA near the small town of Mountaintop and deep into the woods of the Appalachain Mountains.  A grandson of Kimimela’s twin brother, Sunkwa, resided there inside a small but sturdy house.  The man’s name was Tahatan.  He was full-blooded American Indian and possessed many of the healing and spiritual gifts of his and Matthew’s great grandfather Howahkan.  Tahatan had noticed a loose thread in Dorothy’s dream catcher when Matthew had presented it to him.  Tahatan had tightened it and even observed that it was still a little too soon for Dorothy’s child dream catcher to begin falling apart.  Tahatan then recited a prayer and blessing over it so that it may bring the little girl comfort and happiness as she slept.  Matthew had ended up staying overnight as there was much that Tahatan needed to tell him (Dorothy slept with her mother in Matthew and Liz’s bed that night).
The two men had spent the late afternoon walking the woodland trails as Tahatan reiterated the legend behind the origins of the dream catcher.  He then proceeded to tell Matthew of visions that Howahkan and all of his children, including Kimimela, had had. Visions of blood and death.
“I wish I had better news to give you, Brother,” Tahatan said with regret filling his voice.
Matthew stood beside his cousin, the grandson of his great uncle Sunkwa.  The Appalachian woods surrounded them.  The air was crisp as the season cycle had just made its transition from summer into autumn.  It was peaceful and Matthew could understand why Tahatan chose to live there instead of in a busier suburban or urban setting.  Matthew had also noticed a shift in the atmosphere as he drove up here, though he couldn’t quite place how or why. 
“Every area on this great Earth is alive,” Tahatan said as though he were able to read Matthew’s thoughts, “even the areas that don’t appear to have any activity.  In fact, sometimes those tend to be the most active.”
Matthew looked at Tahatan and then turned his gaze up toward the tops of the trees.  “Why does this have to have anything to do with my family?  With my daughter?  Dorothy is my and Liz’s only child as we have been unable to have anymore.”
Tahatan nodded.  “I understand your frustration.”
“Oh that is an understatement,” Matthew said. “Frustration doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
“If it can provide any comfort, being aware of such things can be the first step to fighting it,” Tahatan said. “Unfortunately, the visions of our great grandfather, your grandmother, my grandfather, and their other two siblings seem to point to the descendents of Jonathan and Kimimela.”
Matthew turned his eyes downward.  For a second, he thought of his colleagues at work and what their reaction may be if they knew exactly what he was doing when he had taken off from work.  Of course, they would dismiss much of what Tahatan was telling Matthew as hogwash.  ‘Dorothy had a bad dream.  It happens with kids,’ they would say.  But this just wasn’t a bad dream.  This was much more.
He and Liz had run into the room to find Dorothy backed up against her headboard, staring with wide, horrified eyes at a corner in her room by the closet.  The look in Dorothy’s eyes at that moment was an image that was burned into Matthew’s mind.  Even after Dorothy had calmed down, she still refused to sleep in her room alone and with the light off.  What was even more puzzling was how terrified Dorothy was, yet she was unable to recall any details of her dream.  This wasn’t just a case of a child having a bad dream and the intuition that Matthew had inherited from Kimimela told him that.
“Do you know what it is?” Matthew asked.
Tahatan sighed.  “Not exactly.  But I keep getting the feeling that it is selective.  Meaning, it will only affect certain individuals of the family.”
“Well, what does it want?  Where does it come from?”
“I can’t say I know for certain.  Many of these are forces have no beginning or end.  They can show up at any time and for any number of reasons.  Why it’s coming to the houses of Jonathan and Kimimela, can be for a reason as far back as something an early ancestor may have done when they were alive.  If that’s the case, a bloodline can go for many generations without having any incidents only to have a force suddenly descend upon their house.  Usually to collect a debt owed to them.”
Matthew was silent.  It all seemed much more complicated than he thought he could handle.  But then, a thought occurred to him.  “Wasn’t one of my grandmother’s visions involving some young girl cutting her hand in some kind of blood oath?”
Tahatan looked at him and slowly nodded.  “That is correct, yes.  She and Jonathan had just discovered that she was carrying their eldest son, Chaska, at that time.”
“But the girl wasn’t related to either of my grandparents,” Matthew said.
“No,” Tahatan confirmed. “Kimimela’s spirit was taken across the ocean when she had the dream.  But, there was a reason she was meant to see it.  And that is when the visions of Howahkan became stronger and my grandfather began having them as well.”
Matthew thought for a moment before he said, “Well, since we don’t know all the details, what can I do in the meantime for Dorothy?”
“Keep a close watch on her, especially at this time.  Whatever it was that gave her such a fright can return.  That I can tell you for certain.”  Tahatan paused as though he were getting a signal of some kind before he continued.  “Also, make sure Ronald watches his youngest.”
“Why? Is whatever this is after Cletus as well?” Matthew asked.  His older brother Ronald’s son, Cletus, was six-years-old at the time and a year younger than Dorothy.
“That’s just the vibration I’m getting,” Tahatan said, “of course, I will write to Ronald myself.  But it will help if both of us can tell him.”
“Good luck with Eunice, though,” Matthew said of his sister-in-law. 
Tahatan smiled.  “I think we’ve gotten her a little more warmed up.”
Ronald’s wife, Eunice, had come from the Farnon family who, like the Blakes, were a Catholic, Black Irish family.  The Farnons, including Eunice, were very devout in their faith and it did take Eunice a little while to warm up to the fact that Ronald and his other siblings still kept some of the Lakota-Sioux/Ojibwe traditions along with the Catholic practices.  She was initially put off by giving her and Ronald’s two eldest sons, Chayton and Raymond, dream catchers at birth.  But Eunice was more welcoming of the tradition by the time Cletus was born and she found that some of the Native traditions didn’t really clash all that much with her Catholic faith.  The Blakes had found a way to intermingle the two rather nicely. 
It was a light-hearted moment before Tahatan grew serious again.  “But I mean it.  Watch Dorothy.  And make sure Ronald watches Cletus.  Your family is also Catholic.  Get as much to protect you as you can and be careful to not leave any loopholes open.”
“Like the one you just fixed in Dorothy’s dream catcher,” Matthew said.
“Yes,” Tahatan said, “And you do remember how to smudge?”
Matthew nodded.
“Good,” Tahatan said.  “But remember, in any protection you may have…make sure that there isn’t a way for the darkness to find its way in.”

Matthew stood in his daughter’s room, staring at the dream catcher and recalling Tahatan’s words from a decade ago.  Ever since then he and Liz had been very protective of Dorothy.  It wasn’t until a year ago that they brought themselves to acknowledge that they couldn’t keep Dorothy from growing up and living her own life.
For the most part, Matthew and Liz were fine with Dorothy wanting to go out with her friends and Matthew had even warmed up to Carl quicker than he thought he would.  But Dorothy going up to the Fleming Orphanage bothered him greatly.  Of course he wasn’t the only one in Plains whose skin crawled at the site of the property, but to Matthew there was something more to that place, though he couldn’t place it.  And for some reason, that feeling he had heightened after Dorothy’s night terror.
Perhaps I will phone Tahatan in the morning, he thought.  For that time being, Matthew decided to keep his focus on the fact that Dorothy was home and safe.  The rest he would worry about in the morning.
Matthew turned back to Carl and said, “I apologize for snapping at you.  Liz and I do appreciate your looking after Dorothy and phoning us about what happened.”
Carl’s eyebrows rose.  “No, it’s okay.  I understand why you’d be upset,” he stammered.
Matthew gave Carl a small smile.
Liz watched her husband and daughter’s boyfriend before saying, “Carl, why don’t you go get Dorothy some water.  There’s also a bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinent in our bathroom.”
“Sure,” Carl said.
“Mom, I’m fine,” Dorothy protested.
“Just to have by your bedside in case you need it,” Liz said.
Dorothy relented.  “Alright.”
Carl disappeared into the hall and Matthew came to stand at the foot of the bed, running his hand along the red Maplewood footboard.
“Well, I suppose we’re calling it a night,” Matthew said.
“What?  Why?” Dorothy asked sounding more abrupt than she meant to.  She had been looking forward to an evening alone with Carl and still wanted to have it despite not feeling well.
“Honey, we got a phone call saying that our daughter was passed out and the doctor was being called,” Liz answered. “We’re not going to return to the party and leave you here alone.”
“Carl’s here,” Dorothy said with caution.
Matthew and Liz exchanged glances.  Dorothy figured they wouldn’t be comfortable with her being in the house alone with Carl even if they did like him.
“Mom, Dad.  I’m almost eighteen and Carl is a gentleman,” Dorothy said.
“I know,” Matthew said, “but being alone in the house with him…I can’t say I approve of that and I know your mother feels the same way.”
“Other girls in my class get to be alone with their boyfriends,” Dorothy said, “and they’re all fine.”
There a small pang of regret that Dorothy felt saying those words and she hoped her parents wouldn’t ask for names.  She wasn’t about to snitch on Gail and Linda.  To Dorothy’s relief, Matthew and Liz didn’t question her further with that.
“We’re not those other girls’ parents, though,” Matthew simply stated.
Dorothy decided to try another angle.  “But now I’m going to feel guilty because I’m spoiling your evening at the party.”
“Dear, don’t feel that way,” Liz said.  “You’re our daughter and your well-being is more important than any party.”
“But this was a night for you two to be out with your friends, especially after you and dad both work so hard durning the week.  You deserve a night out.  Besides, don’t you two trust me?”
“Of course we do,” Matthew said.  “You know we do.  You’ve never given us reason not to.”
“And you know Carl isn’t a cad,” Dorothy said. “Has he ever given you any reason to think so?”
“No honey,” Matthew said. “You know your mother and I like Carl.”
“Well like I said,” Dorothy said, “I’m almost eighteen, Carl isn’t a cad, and I don’t want to be the one to spoil your evening.  I’ll feel terribly guilty if I do.  I’m fine.  Dr. Ramsay even said so.  And I promise if anything happens, Carl or I will phone you and Dr. Ramsay if needed.”
Matthew and Liz were silent as they considered what their daughter was saying. 
“I’m not a little girl,” Dorothy said. “You have to let me live my life.  Especially since I’ll be graduating high school in the summer.  Linda’s my age and she’s planning her wedding.  So are some other girls in my class.  I’m old enough to be getting married and in some cultures, girls even younger than me are courting and getting ready to be married.”
Matthew sighed and looked at his daughter’s eyes.  She was right and he knew that although he couldn’t say he approved of her being alone in the house with Carl.  And having once been Carl’s age himself, Matthew knew all too well what was on the mind of an eighteen-year-old boy.  Any father would be concerned about his daughter being alone with a boy whether he was a nice one or not.
Matthew could tell that Carl did care for Dorothy and that Carl also meant a lot to her.  While it warmed his heart to see Dorothy happy, he felt rather melancholy at the thought of losing her.  To him, she was still that scared seven-year-old little girl.
But she isn’t…she’s almost a woman.
There was also something about tonight’s air that Matthew could sense.  Something that didn’t sit well with him.  At that moment, he wished he could just keep his daughter safely in the house.  It wasn’t uncommon for Matthew and other fathers to jokingly threaten to lock their daughters in their rooms as the little girls grew.  But in doing that, they all knew that doing so would not be doing them or their daughters good at all.  Some things had changed with the Roaring Twenties with both young women and men equally seeking out “free love”.  After the stock market crashed and the Depression hit most of the United States, many families were encouraging their daughters to go to any lengths at finding a husband, thus continuing the “free love” trend.  If they couldn’t afford a wedding or marriage license, the young couple would simply move in together and live as though they were a married couple.  Matthew knew that even his friends, Howard and Eva Parker, didn’t seem at all concerned about Linda being alone with Jimmy.
“I’ve already given my blessing on them getting married,” Howard had told him.  “As long as he has her back by the curfew I allod them they can paint New York City red three times for all I care.  I know Jimmy looks after my princess.”
There were still times when Matthew thought Howard and Eva were a little too loose with Linda and even sometimes seemed relieved to have Jimmy take her off their hands.  But Matthew knew it wasn’t any of his business or his place to comment.  Perhaps it was his predominatly Irish Catholic upbringing, but there were still some things Matthew thought should be kept sacred that seemed to be starting to slip through the morality cracks.
Times have certainly changed, Matthew thought, remembering a time when such things would have been enough to austrocize someone from their community.  In some ways, such actions still would, though people seemed more lenient than they were when Matthew was younger.  He recalled how Cyril and Alice Whitman had kept him at an arm’s length when he began a courtship with their daughter.  It wasn’t until after he and Liz married that the Whitmans finally warmed up to him.
Talk about a trying time, Matthew thought and had always swore he would never be that frigid with any suitor Dorothy would bring home.
He walked over to the window, peering out as he felt his daughter’s anxious eyes on him.  Dorothy had grown into a very intelligent, responsible, level-headed, and beautiful young lady.  He knew that Dorothy wouldn’t make any decisions concerning Carl or any other boy frivolously.
Matthew sighed as he came to a difficult decision.  He turned his head to look at Liz who returned his gaze while subtly turning a corner of her mouth up into a faint half smile.  They were at a place in their marriage where they were able to communicate without speaking.  Sometimes just a simple look could say everything and Liz understood.  Matthew then looked back at his daughter who sat staring at him with wide eyes.
“Dorothy,” he began and paused before continuing. “If we leave you here with Carl, I want you to promise to give us a call exactly one hour after we leave.  The phone number to the Millers’ is by the telephone in the sitting room.”
Dorothy nodded with enthusiasm.  “Yes!  Yes, I promise.  Thank you!”
“And I want to make it known that your father and I would prefer it if Carl didn’t stay over,” Liz said. “But if he does, we want to come home to find him sleeping either on the couch or in the guest room down the hall.”
“Absolutely,” Dorothy said.
At that moment, Carl slowly entered the doorway holding a glass of water and a bottle of aspirin.  “Am I okay to come in?” he asked with a nervous smile.
“Sure Carl,” Matthew said.
Carl entered the room and placed the water and aspirin bottle on Dorothy’s nightstand.
“Are you feeling any better?” Carl asked Dorothy.
Dorothy smiled at him and nodded.
“Carl, can I speak with you for a moment?” Matthew asked.
“Sure,” Carl said.
Matthew led Carl down into the sitting room leaving Liz and Dorothy in the bedroom.  After they entered the sitting room, Matthew sat down in the armchair and motioned for Carl to sit across from him on the couch.  The two of them sat this way and made small talk when Carl had come to take Dorothy out for the first time.  But now they were going to be having a more serious talk.  They sat in silence for a few seconds before Matthew cleared his throat to speak.
“Carl,” he began, “first I want to apologize again for coming down hard on you upstairs.  My wife and I do appreciate you looking after Dorothy and taking the initiative to call us and Dr. Ramsay.  I also appreciate you not trying to cover up where you all were tonight.  I’m not crazy about the idea of Dorothy being in a place like the Fleming property, especially this late at night.  Ever since she was a little girl I never allowed her up there.  I do think you all could have been a little more responsible in the decision making as far as that went.”
“We were in a group, Mr. Blake,” Carl said. “I would never have taken Dorothy up there alone.  Honest.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t know that Dorothy wasn’t allowed up there.”
“I understand,” Matthew said. “I guess I also wouldn’t expect Dorothy to tell you such a thing especially around her friends, knowing how kids your age think.  But that property has empty buildings that haven’t been tended to in decades and thick brush.  It’s dangerous enough in the day.  Anyone or anything could be hiding out up there.  I realize that Dorothy isn’t a little girl anymore and that I can’t monitor her every move.  That is when I expect her as well as you to make decisions responsibly.”
There was also more to Matthew’s concerns, but he wasn’t sure if or how he should delve into the Blake family history with Carl.  He knew that one day he would have to if Carl and Dorothy came to a place in their relationship where they would start planning a future together.
Especially if they planned on having children.
Matthew decided that the best approach would likely be taking Carl up to visit with Tahatan.
He could explain things better than I ever could, Matthew thought.  Perhaps I’ll phone Tahatan tomorrow and bring that up with him.
“I know,” Carl said, “I’m sorry.  Really I am.  It was just a bunch of kids looking for some Halloween laughs.  That’s all.  I would never do anything to hurt Dorothy.”
“I can see that,” Matthew said. “Plus you all are still young and I would be lying if I said I never made an irresponsible move when I was the age you, Dorothy, and your friends are at.  But I did want you to know how I felt about you taking Dorothy up there.”
Carl swallowed as he felt guilty all over again.  As usual, he had gotten caught up in the moment when Jimmy dared him to go find a werewolf in the woods that surrounded the buildings on the Fleming property.  That’s something that always happened with Carl when he was presented with a dare or a less than conventional activity.  But being up on that property was enough for Carl to see that perhaps the place possessed more of a danger than fodder for some folklore.  And because of that, he couldn’t blame Matthew for being less than thrilled at the thought of his taking Dorothy up there. 
“I understand,” Carl said, “and I promise you that won’t happen again.”
“Good,” Matthew said.  “Now, onto another thing I wanted to speak to you about.”
“Okay,” Carl said.
“Dorothy has made it pretty clear that she wants to spend more time with you tonight,” Matthew said.
Carl tried to keep his gaze on Matthew as every one of his nerve endings felt as though they were on fire.  All he could do was nod his head in response.
Matthew paused, shifting eyes to the side and then back at Carl before continuing.  “If her mother and I allow that to happen, I want to set some ground rules.  I know you and Dorothy are practically adults and will be graduating high school, but until she’s off married, I’m still her father and I have a full say in how things are with my daughter.”
“Of course,” Carl said, trying to keep his voice from shaking.
“Well, Liz and I told Dorothy that if we leave you two here…alone…that I want either you or her to call us at the Millers’ exactly one hour after we leave.  And I’m going to be honest and say that we would prefer for you not to stay overnight.  But we also don’t want Dorothy to be left alone due to what happened with her tonight.  So if you stay, there is either the couch in this room or there is the guest room down the hall from Dorothy’s room.”  Matthew paused, leaned into Carl, and emphasized his words as he spoke, “We do not want to come home to you asleep with Dorothy in her room.  Or any room for that matter.”
“Yes sir,” Carl said.
Matthew let out a rather shakey breath.  “Alright.  Well, now that we’re clear on all that, Liz and I were planning on coming home at around 4 or 4:30am originally and I suppose we’ll be sticking to that.  It’s a little after one o’ clock now.”
“Sounds good,” Carl said as the two of them rose to standing.
“But Carl,” Matthew said, “really, Liz and I do appreciate you looking after Dorothy.  And we are trusting you both to be responsible.  I’m only doing this because I trust you and Dorothy.  Don’t ruin that.”
“I won’t,” Carl promised.
“Good,” Matthew said.
Carl followed Matthew back up the stairs to Dorothy’s room where Liz and Dorothy were.  Dorothy was taking a sip of water as her father and boyfriend entered the room. Carl noticed that Dorothy’s bedroom window was now shut and assumed that Liz was the one who had closed it.  Dorothy quickly looked up and placed the water on her nightstand next to the sage candle that still burned as her father and boyfriend entered the room, trying to read their expressions.
“Well,” Matthew began, “Liz, if you want to we can return to the party and come back here at the time we initially planned to.”
Dorothy immediately brightened.  “Thanks, Dad!”
“But you both have to abide by the conditions we have set,” Matthew said.  “You phone us at the Millers’ exactly an hour after we leave.  And Carl sleeps either in the guest room or on the sitting room couch.”
“Yes, of course,” Dorothy said.
She could see a hint of reluctance in her father’s eyes, but she could also tell that her father knew that time had come to treat her as a responsible adult.  She knew this was a giant step for him.  Dorothy thought about Gail and Linda and how their parents had loosened the strings on them when they had entered their second year of high school.  Sure, they still made certain that their daughters were home at a reasonable hour, but the curfew that Gail and Linda had was an hour later than what Matthew and Liz set for Dorothy.  Only this passed summer had Matthew and Liz relented and raised Dorothy’s curfew to match that of her friends. 

Before they left Dorothy’s bedroom, Matthew and Liz both reiterated that they were trusting Carl and Dorothy to behave responsibly.  Then, Dorothy got a hug from both of her parents before Carl walked with them to the front door.  She could hear Carl and her parents saying goodnight to one another as she sat staring out her window at the moon.  Dorothy felt her heartrate pick up as she Carl shut the door and lock it, signaling that the two of them were now alone in the house.  She looked back to the doorway as she heard Carl’s quick footsteps ascending the stairs.


CHAPTER 19 (Excerpt Only)

Gail sat with her bare feet up on the couch in the sitting room at Reginald’s house as she waited for someone at the Blake house to pick up the phone.  Reginald sat across from her in a chair, watching with the same amount of anticipation that Gail felt.  Gail and Reginald had begun an attempt at taking advantage of both of their parents being gone for the night, but they both knew that any attempts at romance would be futile until they could be assured that Dorothy was alright.  Finally, someone picked up the phone on the other end.
“Blake residence.”
Gail breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of Carl’s voice.  “Carl!  It’s Gail.  Sorry to bother you but Reg and I were worried about Dorothy.  How is she doing?”
“Oh, hi Gail.  Dorothy’s doing well.  She woke up not too long ago and her parents just left to go back to the Millers’.  Dr. Ramsay said she’s going to be fine and she just needs to rest tonight.”
Gail nodded to Reginald, signaling that all was well with Dorothy.  Reginald responded with a small, relieved smile.
“Oh good,” Gail said, “I mean, we knew she would be okay, but Reg and I just wanted to be sure.”
“Well, I appreciate it and I’m sure Dorothy will too.  I’ll tell her you called,” Carl said.
“Great!” Gail said. “Well, I won’t keep you.  Especially since Mr. and Mrs. Blake returned to the party.  You must have really won them over!”
“I hope so,” Carl said.
“Well, have a good night, you two.  Give Dorothy our love,” Gail said.
“I’m sure Carl will be giving her plenty,” Reginald said with a teasing grin.
“I heard that,” Carl replied.
Gail laughed.  “Alright, well I’ll let you and Dorothy get back to whatever it was you were doing.”
“Sounds good,” Carl said.  “Hey!  Maybe we can all do something tomorrow afternoon.  I think Linda also still has the souveniers we took from the Fleming place in her bag.”
“I’m sure Reginald and I will be up for that,” Gail said. “You haven’t spoken to Jimmy or Linda, have you?”
“Nope.  But I think it’s safe to say that they are occupied right now.”
“True,” Gail said. “Well, I’m sure we’ll talk to them tomorrow if nothing else and I’m sure they’ll be up for going out somewhere.  Not to the Fleming property, of course.”
“Yeah I think even I had enough of that place,” Carl said as he remembered a still shaken Dorothy up in the bedroom alone.  At that moment, he felt an urgent need to get back up to her.  “Listen Gail, I have to run.  Tell Reg I said hi and I’m sure we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“Sounds good,” Gail said.  “We’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Have fun, you two,” Carl said before hanging up the phone.
Gail set the receiver back into the cradle as Reginald came over to the couch, sitting beside Gail and taking her feet into his lap.
“So Dorothy’s alright?” Reginald asked.
Gail nodded, lying back on the couch, stretching her legs over Reginald’s lap.  “Yeah.  Which is fortunate.  The scary thing is that I don’t think she would have been if I hadn’t caught her in time.  She came really close to cracking her head on the sink.” 
 It would have ended up being a completely different night, that’s for sure.
“Well the important thing is that she’s alright,” Reginald said.  “How about we forget the Fleming Orphanage?  So much negative vibes up there.”
“Yeah, I’m all for that,” Gail said, “and I’m sure Carl will take good care of Dorothy.  Apparently, Mr. and Mrs. Blake trust him enough to knowingly allow him to be alone in the house with her.” 
Gail recalled the talk she had had with Dorothy about Carl in the washroom and couldn’t keep the smile that spread across her dark red lips away.
“And what are you so happy about all of a sudden?” Reginald asked.
“Nothing.  Just a talk Dorothy and I had earlier,” Gail said. “About her and Carl.  You know.  Girl stuff.”
Reginald nodded and said, “Well, I think I might have an idea of what you two talked about because Carl and I also had quite a talk as we tried to drown out part 2 of the End of Summer.”
“Let me take a wild guess,” Gail said.  “Jimmy and Linda.”
“Yep.  Even up there they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.  And if memory serves me correctly, neither could a certain attractive brunette.  She was a wild one.”
Gail threw a couch pillow at Reginald.  “Hey!  I don’t know what the hell that was up there.”  Gail paused growing more serious.  “It was as though something else was in me.  Both in the master bedroom and Maxine’s dormroom when I told Linda off.  I still feel really bad about that.”
“I know,” Reginald said, “but you and Linda made up.”
“Yeah,” Gail said, “it just bothers me that it even happened in the first place.”
“Hey, I thought we were going to forget the Fleming property,” Reginald said.  “Besides, what are you saying?  You wouldn’t have kissed me that hard unless something made you?”
Gail playfully narrowed her eyes at Reginald.  “Mmm, I don’t know…that depends…”
“Keep that attitude up and I just may have to take you over my knee and give you a good spanking,” Reginald replied stroking the arch of Gail’s foot.
“Not if I get to your behind first,” Gail said.
Reginald chuckled and set Gail’s feet aside before heading over to the radio at the other end of the room.  Gail sat up, bringing her feet to the floor as Reginald turned the dials until he found a station where Rudy Vallee was crooning out one of the year’s newest songs.  Gail rolled her eyes and laughed as Reginald sang along, doing his own exaggerated version of Vallee’s “As Time Goes By.”  He extended a hand to Gail and asked, “May I have the pleasure of this dance?”
Gail smiled, “Absolutely.”
She took Reginald’s hand as he brought her to her feet and close to him.  As they swayed to the music, Reginald leaned in and kissed Gail’s lips.  Gail returned the kiss and then held Reginald shoulders with both arms.  Reginald also brought his other arm down to meet the other one at her waist.  The intensity of their embrace deepened as Vallee’s voice filled the room.  And this time, that intensity was brought on by Reginald and Gail alone.

Chapter 33 of Draft 1 comes this week :)