Monday, August 24, 2015

Bygone Eras: "But They Didn't Know That Back Then!"

Yes, 'tis a statement I hear quite often. And in some cases it is true while in others it is not. But when it's wrong, boy is it ever!

Recently, I read the book Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked by Mary Miley Theobauld of Colonial Williamsburg. The book is a fast, easy read and great for those just being introduced to historical studies, especially when it comes to really getting to know where such widespread myths came from. Myths like "People didn't bathe back then" (see this great article/rebuttal of that myth from the blog Frock Flicks) or "Women in colonial times were sent to the pillories for the crime of showing their ankles" or the old "Prudish Victorians 'dressed' their naked furniture legs in the name of modesty" or "men and women in the Victorian era had to used separate staircases in order to avoid indecent exposure of the ankles."
Seriously, what is it with our obsession with showing ankles? We seem to have more of an issue with it than our predecessors ever did. As a side note, the naked furniture leg thing seems to have come from - according to Ms. Theobauld's book and a couple of other sources - a satirical book written in 1839 by an Englishman by the name of Frederick Marryat. The book is titled Diary in America and Marryat wrote it while on tour in America (the book is rare but still available and I'm very tempted to check it out).
In the book, he laughs at America's use of the word "limb" instead of the more "vulgar-sounding leg." He also laughed at how when he visited a boarding school for young women in New York, he saw a piano that the mistress of the establishment had "dressed in all these four limbs in modest little trousers, with frills at the bottom of them!"
According to the books (along with my own research), searches of many black and white photos of Victorian interiors fail to turn up a single example of any piece of furniture with "dressed" legs. Yes, there were floor length table cloths, but those still exist and are used today. The few that might have done this likely did it out of the Victorian tendency for loving lavish ornamentation of their homes.
In another book, Catherine Beecher, said to have been the Martha Stewart of her day, also published the American Woman's Home in 1869 and supposedly mentions nothing about covering furniture legs (yet another book I intend to check out and read) for the sake of modesty. Besides, have you ever seen 19th century furniture? Who would even want to cover it up and have that fine craftsmanship go to waste?

I will say that many who do debunk historical myths acknowledge that said myths often begin with a kernel of truth. Which I most definitely agree with. And some myths aren't even necessarily historically inaccurate. Just a little mislead. Some are also said out of making ourselves feel superior (yet another obsession we seem to have). Many a time have I witnessed a piteous, condescending (even if well-meaning) "oh, but they didn't know any better back then...thankfully we've become much better." Again, I won't say that's completely false. But as I also always say, we do need to be mindful of sweeping generalizations and being a little too sure of ourselves. Because you never know what new information might come out of the woodwork.

In researching history for my books, along with my work at the Depreciation Lands Museum, I am amazed at how much I keep coming across. This passed Sunday, I was stationed in the schoolhouse at the museum. In between visitors, I like to read through the various old schoolbooks, especially the really old books that we have on display in the back. Out of curiosity, I chose a health book that seemed to have been used in schools from the mid-late 1800s. The book is simply titled The Human Body.

Now, when it comes to medicine, we often think of our predecessors as these simpletons. While it's true that certain medical breakthroughs had not yet been found, the average person would likely be surprised at how in depth and even complex the descriptions of the human anatomy are. And they seemed to have a good grasp on the various systems within the human body. While I wasn't too terribly surprised by this, what did catch me was the section on tobacco, alcohol, and opium (which was used both as a pharmaceutical and recreational drug at that time).
Of course, we always hear of how they thought that tobacco was good for them, how they didn't know the damaging effects of alcohol, etc. It is also said that even as recent as the 1950s and 60s, doctors were telling their patients to "smoke more." While I'm not going to sit here and deny any of that, I WILL say that in this particular health textbook used by school students in the 1800s that is on display in the schoolhouse at the Depreciation Lands Museum, detailed descriptions on the harm tobacco can do to the human body is detailed, including how addicting it can be and how "smoker's lung" is caused. The same with alcohol and opium.

Now, if it was known back then that tobacco and smoking was actually harmful, why would doctors still prescribe it? And why would people even entertain using it and then telling of "not knowing it was bad for them and that they just thought they were being suave and cool" after being diagnosed with a smoking related illness (as several from back in the day have)? As of right now, I can't really answer that, though I do plan to look into it more. But what I can say with confidence is that the research and information was most certainly there. Because I have seen evidence. Add to that, I'm certain many can attest to the idea that "just because a doctor prescribes it, doesn't necessarily mean it's the best thing to do." I mean, look at all the pharmaceutical commercials out there that spend at least half the advertisement time listing the potentially dangerous side affects that almost always includes death. Then six months later, you see another commercial for the same drug, only this time it's a lawsuit instead of an advertisement. And how many sources practically scream of how harmful artificial sweetener is while others sing its praises? Perhaps, maybe, our predecessors simply might have had the same mixed messages that we do today.  And perhaps peer pressure isn't such a new thing either.

I have also begun reading Norman F. Cantor's In the Wake of the Plague (a history on the Black Plague of the 1300s). So far it is a very fascinating read, and I plan to continue this discussion later as I look into it all more.

Til next time. :)


Sources to check out:
The Gross Eighteenth Century: Calling Bullshit on Hygiene Myths on FrockFlicks.com
Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked by Mary Miley Theobauld
Diary in America by Frederick Marryat
American Woman's Home by Catherine Beecher
The Human Body, a 19th century school textbook on display at the Depreciation Lands Museum
In the Wake of the Plague by Norman F. Cantor







*****

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Ashagal at the Mythmusica and Faerie Festival

Check out an awesome band I connected with at my last show. Especially if you like bagpipes and a nice hurdy gurdy. :)

You can also visit their website at http://ashagal.com









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"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Quick Update - What's Happening Over Here

Hi everyone,

A quick update and plans for the near future:

- In getting up my new store on my website, one of the new merch items I'm having made are bookmarks. My goal is to have 4 different kinds with design and quotes from The Birthrite Series. The ones I will be having printed will be eco-friendly with vegetable based ink and printed on paper that is 55% post consumer recycled content. And they will be beautiful!

-Temporarily, my debut album Poet is out of print (but won't be for long) as I plan to repackage the album in a digipack instead of a jewel case. However, the album can still be purchased digitally.

-And I plan to release the next two installments of The Birthrite Series and get the new album Antiquity going before the year is out.

Lots to do, but it will be worth it.

Also:

-Check out SHOWS AND EVENTS to see where I will be next!

- The beginnings of the new store is open! Check it out at my official store..






*****

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Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
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Monday, August 17, 2015

An Update and Reflections (Free-styling it today)

Hi everyone,

This passed weekend performing at the Mythmusica Music and Faerie Festival was a really great time (YouTube videos coming soon). It is always fun reconnecting with old friends and performing with musical acts we've always enjoyed sharing the stage with, along with making new friends and connections. It was also our first time performing out in a really long time (I took about two years off from writing and recording music to get my book series going) and overall - other than a couple small glitches, which happens at these things - it went off pretty well.

In addition to this, it was also a turning point of sorts. As many who know me well or even those who are simply familiar with my work and/or read this blog on a regular basis know of my interest in history. It is an interest I have always had. However, in starting to do research for The Birthrite, I started on a journey that really took me to places I almost didn't expect to venture to. This journey ended up turning over many stones and discovering many hidden places often not traveled by the mainstream. And it only deepened my wanting to know and understand those that came before us. It also deepened my respect for our elders and the ancients. I have had a couple people comment on the dedication I have at the beginning of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1). And that dedication reads as For those who have been forgotten with time. And that dedication is there for good reason.

In our modern world, we are told to go constantly, that more is more and the more complicated things are the better. If you aren't running yourself ragged, than you aren't really being 'productive.' Now I'm not saying that those who came before us were perfect. Far from it. But they really seemed to value things typically forgotten or taken for granted in our current world. And I'm sure many will agree that we have a tendency to disregard the past and those who came before for us, dismiss them as ignorant simpletons or downright demonize them. The mainstream media likes to tell us to forget it all (save for the times they are using it as a means of spreading negativity and keeping us divided) and that we should never want to be 'like them.' But I firmly believe that there is much to learn from the past. Both good and bad. People today tend to forget that a large part of why we overcame such atrocities in the past is BECAUSE of the good people from back then fighting those that tried to maintain oppression of really any individual that wasn't part of 'the cool kids club.'  I truly believe that through the past, we are all connected. And I believe that none of it should ever be forgotten. The stories, songs, and proverbs taught to us by the ancients and our elders can still hold water today. But in a society in which many have embraced a corporate world and have become content with becoming nothing more than 'the good worker bee', many balk at the idea of taking a moment to slow down and enjoy what's around all of us. Many are miserable and discontent without really knowing why (which I'm sure if you venture out, you see quite a bit of every day). Or maybe they are aware of why, but are too afraid to address it. That is what our current culture has become. We are taught to believe that pursuing our passions is silly after reaching a certain age, that we must get that 'high paying, high ranking corporate job' to be truly happy and without the newest gadget that all the cool kids have, our lives will never be complete. When really, it's the exact opposite. Or it at least should be.

In performing at such festivals, I can't help but be appreciative of the reverence shown to those of the past, to the ancient ones and to the nature that surrounds all of us. None of it should ever be forgotten, nor should the goodness that was in the hearts of many. And the fights of those good men and women - of all ethnicities - as they fought against the evil trying to oppress humankind should not be tossed into a grave and buried. Which many in our modern culture are attempting.

Performing this weekend cemented the direction I am taking my new album Antiquity in, along with subsequent books in The Birthrite Series. The album and series will be accompanying one another and will be deeply rooted in the past and telling the story of the ancient ones. Stay tuned for more as there is much more to come on this journey. And I hope you will travel with me. :)


"Ever-mindful of the weight of history behind us that allows us to draw lessons from its ancient voice, I have not wavered in my conviction that we are a culmination of our collective histories and that there should be more to bind us together than tear us apart. Nor have I ceased to hope that in striving toward harmonious, integrated diversity, we will be guided by collective beliefs that will be life affirming at their core." – Loreena McKennitt

"Government keeps us divided by always pointing out our differences..... they keep us fighting amongst ourselves with topics like jobs, religion , sexuality , race .....while we are all arguing they are taking all the f'n Money and running to the bank !" ~the late, great George Carlin









*****

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Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
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"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
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Friday, August 14, 2015

We'll Be Back...

...to our regular programming after this weekend's Mythmusica Music & Faerie Festival. :)










*****

For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound








Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What's Going On Over Here

Hi everyone,

This is one of those posts where I fill everyone in on what's happening in my corner. :)

- First, I am happy to announce that I will be appearing this Sunday night on the podcast, The Erie Hours with WPI. The show starts at 9pm EST. So tune in. It will be an awesome time. :)


- There is also still time to win a copy of Descent and Sacred Atonement: A Novelette at the Unusual Historicals giveaway. Just comment (with your email address) in the comment section at the end of either the excerpt or Q&A and you are entered!

Unusual Historicals DESCENT Excerpt

Unusual Historicals Author Q&A


- In film news, I am told that the film I act in titled The Downfall of Mr. Difford is now in the final editing stages. Check out the trailer:




-I will also be filming my final scenes for the film, Midnight Massacre. So stay tuned for news on that front. :)

- Also, two songs from my album POET are being featured in the short film Knock. I was also informed that Knock will be featured at the Action On Film Festival in California this September!

- I am also scheduled to perform a set at the MythMusica Music and Faerie Festival on August 15 in Telford, PA.


- And finally, if all continues to run fairly smoothly over here, I will be starting up my Vixen recaps again in September. :)

Thanks everyone and hope everyone is well. :)






*****

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Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "The Vanishing American" by Zane Grey

Hi everyone,

First I will mention that the Q&A part of the feature and giveaway of Descent ( The Birthrite Series​, #1) at Unusual Historicals is now up. :)

http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/2015/08/author-inerview-book-giveaway-tiffany.html


So with that said, onto the book review of The Vanishing American by Zane Grey.

Zane Grey was born on January 31, 1872 in Zanesville, OH. He was a semiprofessional baseball player during his youth, along with being a "half-hearted dentist". He studied dentistry to appease his father while on a baseball scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania. His true passion, however, was writing and he put himself on a strict regimen when it came to honing the skill of crafting a gripping and compelling story. It would pay off as he would soon go on to become among the bestselling Western authors of all time. For much of his adult life, he had at least one novel in the top ten each year. According to the Official Zane Grey's West Society website, having his name on a movie theater marquee (as several of his books were adapted to film) often drew more audiences than the names of the Hollywood actors starring in the film. Even after his death in 1939, posthumous works continued being published.
The Vanishing American is said to arguably be one of his greatest works. It tells the story of the love between Nophaie, a young Native American (or American Indian) man and his love for and with a woman by the name of Marian Warner. It was first published as a serial in the 1922 run of the Ladies Home Journal, a periodical that had over a couple million subscribers at the time. In 1925, it was then published as a novel and adapted for the screen, a cast that included Geronimo's grandson in a supporting role.
In the beginning of the book, we meet Nophaie as a young boy, tending to the sheep in the desert before he is kidnapped by white bandits. After they let him go, he is adopted by a white family, and brought up in the ways of "the white man." He attends college where he is the star athlete on the baseball team. It is also at the college where he meets Marian Warner. The two have an almost instant connection and a rather romantic relationship. However, after graduation, Nophaie returns out west in an attempt to rediscover his AmerIndian roots and ancestry.
We are then taken to February 10, 1916 where Marian Warner is living in Philadelphia. She receives a letter from Nophaie, a letter in which he declares his feelings of love once again, beseeching her to come out to Oljato and work among his people. It is an invitation she accepts and then boards a train.
Throughout the next couple chapters we see Marian experiencing life outside the city and in the unforgiving wilderness for the first time. She also has a Native American guide whom she has paid to take her to where Nophaie said he would be. Along the way, she experiences the desert wilderness as she imagines Nophaie does everyday and as difficult as it is, she comes to prefer it to city life. She also very much anticipates seeing Nophaie again. Along the way, she stays with a family of traders at a trading post who do know Nophaie personally and also know of her from his speaking of her.
Finally when the two are reunited, it is a pretty emotional scene.
After that, we are taken on the journey of Nophaie's inner battles of having "a white man's brain and an Indian's heart and soul." Meanwhile, Marian is on her own journey of rediscovery of self as she lives among the Native American tribes, working as a school teacher for the children.

In reading this story, I understand how Zane Grey's writings were so popular during his time. The story is rich with beautiful imagery and the characters, both good and bad, are compelling even if slightly stereotypical of Westerners. And Grey's own sympathy for and belief in ethical treatment toward Native Americans are also evident throughout the pages of The Vanishing American. I very much recommend reading this book (along with watching the 1925 film...but read the book first before seeing the film) as I think it offers a slightly different perspective from how the media often portrays those from Grey's time, in addition to being a touching and thought provoking story. Even if this book might have been seen as controversial, it didn't exactly ruin Grey's popularity and career. In fact, the book itself had a tremendous impact on the public and - as far as I know - the only protesting it received were those from Christian missionary and government groups who were afraid that this book would put them in a bad light (Grey did have to alter a few parts in the story pertaining to that before his publisher would put it out, though the uncensored version was later published in the early 1980s).
The bottom line is this: I think that regardless of era, there are always groups and individuals looking for something different from what the status quo tries shoving at them. And if you can write a good story and tell your side in a eloquent fashion, people will listen and take your points into consideration. Grey wrote of many issues during his time, from the ethical treatment of Native Americans to nature conservation to philosophical questions of the Ultimate Reality and the meaning of life. The Vanishing American encompasses all of this, and takes the reader on a journey. Not only the journey of Nophaie and Marian, but a journey of the reader's own self-discovery.


Read The Vanishing American





*****

For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Saturday, August 1, 2015

CHAPTER PREVIEW FROM KINDRED (THE BIRTHRITE SERIES, #2)

Hi everyone,

I will be posting my review of The Vanishing American tomorrow evening, along with other news that is happening in my corner.

In the meantime, enjoy a full chapter preview from Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2).

Also, the awesome blog Unusual Historicals is featuring Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) as well as a giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of that book along with the novelette, Sacred Atonement (The Birthrite Series, #1.5).

So check out the feature of Descent on Unusual Historicals, followed by a Q&A that will be featured tomorrow. :)

Now without further ado, here is a chapter from Kindred. As I stated before, Dorothy's cousin Cletus is introduced in Descent but only gets a cameo appearance. In Kindred, he takes center stage a little more. :)








CHAPTER 2
Pennsylvania Railroad Station in
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

1

Cletus awoke at around five 'o' clock in the evening as the train was pulling in to the station. His eyes glanced out the window, seeing the town of Wilkes-Barre.
After the train came to a slow halt, he rose and collected his carry-on bags. Other passengers started filing off as he remained, staring in almost a trance out the window at the town that was only a mere couple of hours out from where his cousin had grown up.
It would be quite easy to drive out there...
Awareness suddenly hit him like a splash of icy water when a voice asked, "Are you all right?"
Cletus jolted slightly as he turned to see a rather attractive young female regarding him in a rather amused, but flirtatious way. Her hair was light brown, and her deep blue eyes were set off by the blouse she wore.
Cletus inhaled, collecting his equilibrium as he replied. "Yeah...yeah I'm fine. Just a little tired from traveling, that's all. Thanks." He motioned for her to go on ahead of him.
When she did, he started down the aisle behind her.
As they reached the door, she turned back to him. "Where are you coming from?"
His heart began to pound. "Ohio."
"I see. Do you have family out here?"
"Friends, actually. And a distant cousin."
"I see. You're visiting I take it."
He nodded.
There was a rather awkward pause as they stepped out onto the pavement and new passengers began getting on board the train.
"My name is Christina," the young woman said. "I'm actually from Delaware. I'm moving here though because of a job. I was recently hired as a hospital receptionist. I'm not too terribly excited about leaving my family, but I suppose we should all be grateful for employment these days."
"Yeah, definitely," Cletus agreed.
"I have to stay here overnight," she continued, obviously not ready to allow them to go their separate ways, "and then I have to board a train to New York. Plains, actually."
Cletus flinched as a vision of the town and his cousin's old house flashed through his mind.
"Are you sure you're all right?" she asked, bringing him back to the present.
"Yeah...I'm fine. Just experiencing a bit of lag."
"I'm actually a little hungry and was going to get something to eat."
Cletus regarded the young woman for a moment. As his cousin Dorothy was, he was quite good at reading people. And this girl was definitely hoping that he would volunteer to join her. His blood raced at the notion and he knew that if his friends, Patrick, Rob, and Grant, were here, they would be encouraging him to accept her subtle invitation. The young woman was attractive and seemed to have a good head on her shoulders. But as with most other girls he knew and met, he knew he would not be pursuing anything. Because this woman was not her. The girl he had seen in his dreams so many times. The one he could feel was meant for him. (It was both a blessing and a curse)
"Well, good luck with everything," he said. "My friends are waiting for me here. It was nice meeting you, Christina."
He turned away quickly, never looking back as he felt her disappointed gaze.
Not too far away, Reginald and Gail were waiting for him. Relieved, Cletus smiled at them and waved.
Reginald grinned. "We were starting to wonder if you backed out."
Cletus approached the couple, shaking hands with Reginald. "Sorry," he replied. "It took a little while to finally wake up."
"Yeah, well we did see you get off the train but didn't want to interrupt as it seemed you were making a new friend."
Cletus's eyes shifted from Reginald's. "Only small talk."
"Well in that case, I see even more family resemblance between you and Dorothy. How was the trainride?" Gail said, giving her girlfriend's cousin a brief hug.
"Long," Cletus replied as the three started heading toward Reginald's car. "Nothing but cows and fields as far as the eye could see."
"How exciting," Reginald laughed.
Upon arriving at the Johnsons' car, Reginald opened the trunk for Cletus to set his suitcase in. Then he held the passenger door open for his wife.
As Cletus settled into the back seat and Reginald and Gail were in the front, there was a brief moment with a sense of melancholy crept around the trio. This was especially evident as Reginald glanced back at Cletus through the rear view mirror from his place in the drivers seat. There was something evident in the other young man's eyes, and Cletus could feel that same energy radiating from Gail.
Then in an instant, the moment was broken and Reginald started the car, ready to pull it out of the station and onto the road.
Finally, the silence between the three was broken when the young man in the drivers seat asked, "So how's life in Ohio?"
"Well, as I said in my last letter, I'm working a lot," Cletus replied. "Trying to help mom and dad with bills and such, along with trying to save up for my own car."
Reginald sighed. "I completely understand. It took me a good year to save up for the vehicle I have now. By the way, we tried making the couch as comfortable as possible. You're absolutely sure you don't want our room? It's still up for grabs."
"Oh, I'm positive. Thank you, though," Cletus replied. "But the couch is fine."
"Well, if you change your mind. As of this moment, we can only afford a one bedroom apartment. Hopefully that will change, but with the economy the way it is, we can only play it by ear."
"It gets especially interesting when our families come to visit," Gail added. "Someone always ends up on the floor."
"Yeah, usually me," Reginald said. "Of course we allow our parents or siblings or anyone else visiting our bedroom. Then Gail gets the couch and I'm on the luxuriously comfortable floor."
"Take one for the team, sweetheart," Gail said, leaning in to kiss her husband's cheek.
"And my back's always screaming at me the next morning," Reginald quipped.
Gail's dark eyes eyed Reginald, as if to say, And you know I always take care of that afterward.
Cletus watched the couple as immediate thoughts of his cousin Dorothy and her husband Carl entered his mind. The thought also conjured images of the young Romany woman he was seeing in his dreams. The young woman with whom he felt and strong connection and attraction to. He thought of the young woman Christina back at the station, feeling bad about dismissing her the way he had. But leading her on wouldn't be right either. Somehow, some way soon, he and this young Gypsy girl were supposed to meet. How, he was unsure. But eventually, it would happen.
Recently, Cletus had also brought good news to Reginald and Gail of Jimmy's having been recovered from Hell and Linda giving birth to their now one-year-old daughter, Meredith. Jimmy and Linda had also managed to repair their relationship and were living in the same chateau together. Jimmy was also being trained for a place in the Sanctuary and a high ranking position on the Council. While it wasn't completely understood by either of the present three what exactly this Sanctuary and Council were, it was still a surprise to Reginald and Gail what Jimmy's position was. In high school, Jimmy had been a rather popular football player who didn't read much other than pulp thrillers and anything he was made to for school. Upon graduation, his plans were to marry Linda and switch from working part time to full time at his father's mechanics garage. But two Novembers ago, plans for everyone's future had been changed.
Cletus's thoughts were interrupted when Gail turned around in her seat.  "There are a couple sites we'd like to show you while you are here," she said. "Also, we attend Mass at St. Jude's in Mountaintop on Sundays."
Cletus raised his eyebrows. "We? You mean you're taking the plunge and joining the fold, Reg?"
"I'm considering it," Reginald said. "Staying in touch with Father Louis has been a huge help, if you know what I mean."
And Cletus did.
Father Louis, the man who was the priest at Gregory the Great Church in Plains, had been present for all that had taken place in November of 1931. It was in that moment that Cletus began seeing the town in his mind's eye again. Visions of the library with its founder, James Livingston's portrait, so life-like and staring back at him. The eyes of the nineteenth century patriarch stared into him before he saw his cousin's old now vacant home, and then the Fleming Orphanage. He was taken to Gregory the Great Church, where he could see Father Louis once again, sitting in his chamber and looking over what appeared to be documents of great importance.
Then the visions left him, and he could see Gail turned and looking back at him, her brown eyes studying him. Cletus gave her a brief reassuring smile, which she returned with a more wistful one. There was an understanding between all three that plenty of discussion would be had later.
Finally, Gail broke the silence. "On the way to Tahatan's, we pass though Elmhurst. There is a beautiful set of gothic buildings inhabited by an order of monks. Maybe we can stop and have a look on our way there."
Cletus nodded. "Sounds great."
"Who wants to get a bite to eat?" Reginald added.
"I wouldn't mind," Gail said.
"Me neither, "Cletus replied. "I could definitely go for a burger."
Reginald grinned. "It's settled then."
Within a few minutes, the car was pulling up to a diner.
Throughout their time inside the restaraunt, the group discussed college, jobs, and other aspects of their lives not related to the events experienced in Plains. At that time, all three chose to avoid what really needed to be discussed in favor of a few sweet moments of normalcy.

2

Later that night, after Reginald and Gail had retreated into their bedroom, Cletus made himself comfortable on the couch. This actually isn't so bad...
He started recounting the evening with Reginald and Gail. After leaving the diner and arriving at the apartment, the three stayed up for a little while longer, talking into the night. They did touch briefly on what would be discussed at Tahatan's. Now it was just Cletus. Alone in a small, dark sitting area.
His eyes started adjusting to the dark as he looked out at the moon in the sky. He could hear the sounds on the street below. How different this was from his rural life in Ohio.
As his mind started to wander, his eyes grew heavy. He started to drift and two little boys appeared in front of him. One with dark hair and the other light. They were in a field playing with a ball as they ran about. In the distance he saw a hooded figure standing beside a young man at the edge of the forest. The young man was dressed in the nineteenth century attire of a peasant or a slave. As Cletus drew closer, he could see the young man's dark complexion and wavy black hair that reached the collar of his shirt. He felt a certain kinship with the young man, and - after seeing his features - knew who the young man was.
Nicolae...
Cletus could some resemblance between him and Dorothy's friend Jimmy. He turned back to see the two little boys disappear in front of him and the scene turn from day into night. The field around him disappeared and Cletus found himself on a road. Up ahead was a sign indicating where he was.
He walked toward the sign, feeling the pavement beneath his feet and the wind rustling his clothes. When he was close enough, the moonlight shone onto the sign, lighting it up so that he could read the letters Hunters Highway inscribed into the wood. Above were two arrows pointing in directions opposite from one another. The arrow on top read Stone Creek and the other Pinewoods. Both towns where 25 miles from where Cletus stood.
As he started feeling a draw toward Pinewoods, his eyes suddenly snapped open and he found himself back on the couch in the apartment. He turned over to face the window, feeling his insides jolt as a shape appeared in the window. A face.
He sat bolt upright, and the shape disappeared.
Cletus tried forming a rational explanation to what he had just seen, but there just wasn't one.
Chills started enveloping his body as he glanced about the dark room. It was then he heard a whispering. Feeling frozen to where he was, he tried listening in order to make out the words, but they proved inaudible.
As his body slowly regained mobility, he considered knocking on Reginald and Gail's bedroom door, but he could not move quickly enough. It was as though he were trying to travel through quicksand.
Soon, the whispers died down, only to be overtaken by the sounds of a piano playing a familiar piece by DeBussy. The song to the moon...
Finally, Cletus was able to move and rose fluidly from the couch. He flinched when his foot touched an icy wooden floor. His eyes darted about, and breath hitched upon seeing his whereabouts. The Fleming Orphanage surrounded him as the summer breeze turned into a crisp, autumn chill. All around him, leaves were falling from their branches, blanketing the ground. He felt a pull, one that was compelling him toward the woods. He could feel his cousin Dorothy's presence, and the danger she was in here.
Confused and disoriented, he continued looking around, calling out to her. But she was nowhere to be found.
The woods and the empty buildings of the former orphanage seemed to mock him. Then he heard a distant howling off somewhere, followed by the humming of a familiar tune. All the Pretty Little Horses...
Cletus tried taking a step in the direction of the hill. He knew it would take him away from the property, but suddenly the wind started up and it was as though invisible arms were holding him back. He heard the howling again, only it was much closer this time. It sounded unlike any animal he knew of.
A foul stench began seeping out from the buildings. When Cletus turned, he beheld the windows of the buildings glowing a deep red. 
(Blood red)
The stench of death, decomposition, and decay engulfed him and in that moment, he knew he was not alone.
His body stiffened upon hear a bloodthirsty growl right behind him. He tried turning to see what it was, but once again, his feet seemed planted to the ground. He could hear it - whatever it was - inching closer. As the creature's breath assaulted Cletus's nostril's it let out a roar before pouncing, pushing Cletus forward…

Cletus was jarred awake, relieved it see the early dawn filtering into the room. As he sat up, he realized he was lying on the floor. Thankful that Reginald and Gail were still asleep, he looked back toward the couch, his temples throbbing. He rose to feet, taking up the blanket and returning to the couch. That was when he caught a glimpse of his feet. He stared down at them and the traces of dirt that were on them.
His blood raced in his ears as he tried coming up with a logical explanation for why there would be dirt on his feet.
Maybe Gail isn't a very good housekeeper...
But a look around the small apartment suggested differently.          
Cletus sat down on the couch, running a hand through the dark strands of his hair as he tried recalling the details of the dream. But all was slowly fading from memory. He folded up the blanket and took a final glance at the morning sunrise before heading toward the washroom with and image of the Felming Orphanage branding itself into his mind.








*****

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