E-mail from Deputy Michael Rhodes Dated June 17th, 2016 – “The Cannibal Killer” Part-1

****WARNING THIS STORY MAY BE TOO INTENSE FOR SOME READERS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF RAPE, VIOLENCE, OR LOST SOMEONE TO A VIOLENT ACT.  PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU THINK THIS STORY MAY CAUSE YOU UNDO MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL ANGUISH.****

Dear Uncle Nate,

I know it’s just been a month or two since you were last out this way, but bad things have been happening.  REALLY bad things.  Right now we’ve got townspeople, the Mayor, hell even the Governor clamoring for an arrest and so far we’ve been coming up empty.

We almost got him last night but his ‘victim’ had to come first.  It was my partner, Terri McCloud.  You’ll remember her of course.  She had dinner with us that one night.  But even if she wasn’t my partner, I’d have still put her first.  She’s one of us and you watch out for your own, especially when they wear the same uniform as you.  You told me that a long time ago. I was too young to fully understand what you’d meant back then, but when I enlisted in the army, your words came flooding back and I finally got it.

Of course, I’m not in the army now, but I still wear a uniform and so do my fellow deputies, like Terri.  And right now we’re up against something, or someone, who seems almost inhuman.  How else can you describe a rapist who also eats parts of his victims?  You don’t expect someone like that to show up in small town like this.  Not to say we don’t have our share of death, violence, drugs, etc.  We may not be the big city, but we have a lot of the same problems.  But a maniac like this?  No!  Nobody is ready for a serial killer to show up.  And this one is smart, which makes him even more dangerous.

According to a profiling expert who came in to advise us, killers like this one don’t announce their arrival, not right away.  Oh no. They’re subtle at first.  An attempted mugging or a sexual assault, then they possibly lay low for a while to see what happens.  Did they leave any evidence behind?  How good a job of keeping their face hidden from the victim?  Then he’d wait and see what far we’d take to find him… sort of scoping out how overstretched we were, that kind of thing.

Based on that idea, I’m starting to suspect he’s had military training and have mentioned this several times to our boss.  He wasn’t so sure about that theory at first, but after the fourth attack he started coming round to my way of thinking and so have the others.  Problem is, we still don’t have much to go on.

To make matters worse, he knew who his target was last night.  He KNEW Terri was a deputy gone undercover.  How do I know?  She told us while they were rushing her to the Emergency Room!  She’d suffered massive blood loss from multiple stab wounds.  She never got a look at his face, but heard him muttering about “her being out of uniform after dark…” during the attack, but that’s all we got.  She’s been unconscious since they brought her out and we’ve got men on the door to her room.  They’re checking EVERYONE who comes in to make sure they’re hospital staff.  Hell, they even stopped and searched a priest who claimed to be from her brother… which he was.

Right now she’s the only victim to survive that we’re certain of who’s survived, and I’m worried we might not be enough to keep her, or anyone else, safe.  That’s why I’m e-mailing you Uncle Nate.  You’re the only one I know who can probably help take this guy down.  Everybody here has been doing their best to try and catch this him, but he keeps getting past us and as I said he never leaves any evidence behind.

I know I’m breaking all the rules asking you to come in and help, and I haven’t told my superiors or even my partner about you.  But I don’t want to see anyone else wind up like Terri or the others.  Please let me know what you decide as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Michael

LISA’S “PRIVATE” THOUGHTS – OCTOBER 22nd, 2014 “Something Bad Is Coming” Part-I

     *With the start of the holiday season, Helen and I thought it would be nice to give you all a little glimpse into some of what has been happening between the end of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, and the upcoming sequel “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”.  Those who  have read the first book were given a sneak peek into the next installment where there are is a solid two week block of anxiety where Nathan is not to be found.  Nor is there any indication of when or if he will return.

     Today’s story takes place during that three week period where Lisa, one of those who witnessed Nathan’s departure, shares the growing sense of foreboding that has been building inside her.  Enjoy* 

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     It’s been two weeks since Nathan went to ground and there’s still no sign of when he may return… and I’m worried.  Not about whether or not he’s coming back, the Professor has assured both me and Marisa repeatedly that Nathan will come back to us, it’s just a question of when?  Ever since that night at the cemetery when everything went down, I’ve had a growing feeling of unease.

     I only really noticed it a couple of days after the battle, but looking back I’m certain it was already starting to gnaw at me the moment we all headed inside Nathan’s manor to tend to Marisa’s ankle.  But I didn’t dwell on it at the time because my dad arrived with Penny, who had had a bad shock earlier having seen her former pimp Tony in town.  She still doesn’t know the guy was already dead and acting as host to the ghoul slime that nearly killed me and Marisa, not that any of us plan to tell her anytime soon because that would mean possibly revealing Nathan’s secret.

     Luckily the Professor, sorry I mean Otto (he prefers Marisa and me to call him that), was on hand to smooth things over.  I always thought Nathan was a fast-talker, but he pales in comparison to Otto.  He explained to Penny that Nathan had been called away on business, leaving him in charge of overseeing further restoration of the manor in his absence. Naturally, Marisa, Richard and I all backed him up, not that we really needed to.  Otto has a disarming way about him and can be so charming that Penny seemed quite happy to have him around.

ankle

     Of course, there was still the question of what happened to Marisa’s ankle. I wound up taking the lead on that one.  Nathan taught me long ago that half-truths are far more convincing and easier to remember than flat out lies.  So I told her that Marisa slipped and fell while running up the driveway to the manor when she and I were racing each other to see Nathan.  When we found out he wasn’t here, nor were Richard or Otto at that point, we called Dr. Jack who does house calls.  Which is also true, he does make house calls quite a bit even in this day and age.  Then again, we’re not a huge town so that makes things easy for him to give that personal touch.  And he did a great job on Marisa’s ankle, she’s doing much better.  At school today I could barely detect any sign of a limp as we walked to and from our classes.  Some movements still give her a twinge, but nothing serious.

     And right now as I type these words, I’m feeling another twinge of anxiety.  Probably because of the recurring dream I’ve been having for the past week.  It always starts out with me was standing on one of the many hillsides that overlooks our little town of Pointer.  The sun is just rising and I can see the light spreading across the valley slowing approaching the town I’ve called home all my life.  Soon the morning rays begin touching the trees, turning the yellow leaves that still cling to their branches, a brilliant gold, while at the same time making the grass seem more vibrant and welcoming.

town

     The rooftops seem to spring to life and glisten with morning dew and everything just seems so beautiful and alive… then that uneasy feeling that’s been haunting me  seems to awaken and grow with a terrifying vengeance.

     I find my eyes are drawn to one of the dairy farms in the distance, where not too long ago a Tim Spratt was trampled to death when something spooked the family herd causing them to break out of the barn where they’d been kept.  Officially, the word is that a mountain lion or bear broke in and killed two of the animals, but I heard my father telling Otto just last night that he believes there is more to the story.  One of the deputies, who is part of Nathan’s “Extended Family” here in town was away at the time of the incident, but upon returning to work he learned the case was still quietly being investigated.

     It turns out Kevin, that’s the deputy’s name, learned from his co-workers that tracks were found leading in and out of the barn.  It looked more like several animals had been on the scene, including a deer, a bear and one or two others, that would not normally be found entering a barn.  Furthermore, there had been a sickly smell that still seemed to linger in the area.  Last I heard, the family is tearing down the barn and have moved the animals to another enclosure.

     Upon hearing this, my mind raced back to the cemetery where Marisa and I came under attack from creatures the Ghoul Slime had made from the bodies of dead buried there.  Each one had been a fusion of human and animal remains, which gave off a sickly unearthly smell.  I began to wonder then if Tim Spratt had been one of the Ghoul Slime’s earliest victims, which might account for what happened next in my dream…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Nathan’s Private E-Journal October 6th, 2014 “I May Have Made A Mistake…” Part – II

     Ah, how I love the crisp night air on nights like this.  I think Fall and Winter have always been my two of my favorite seasons.  Long before my change I used to love these times of year.  Something about the cooler weather just made things easier on my achy body.  Of course back then no one had heard of Fibromyalgia, you were just considered “too delicate” or “a malingerer”.   But in those seasons, I just always felt more alert, more alive and still do.  Although now it may be partly the fact that since my body prefers evenings, the shorter hours of daylight probably plays a big part in things.

     In any case the cool air and the signs of autumn are helping lift my spirits tremendously.

     The barren branches of the trees seem to reach out as if to touch the starlit night sky.  There are a few clouds but not enough to mar the view of the moon or the stars.  Halloween is not far away, I hope the evening is like this so everyone can enjoy themselves trick or treating, or going to parties.  Perhaps I should open the manor to visitors?  Nah, too soon.  Although Richard’s done wonders with the place, but it’s not ready for visitors.  Or maybe it’s just me which is probably the case, since I’m using all this mental wandering to avoid the problem of Marisa hanging around the old locomotive, which happens to be exactly where I’m headed right now.

     How long has the old thing been there?  Even I’m not really sure.  We were a rail town long before the war started back in 1861 and trains were coming and going on such a regular basis, who’d have noticed if one engine never seemed to be moved?  I’ll have to ask Louisa the next time I see them.

     I can see her outline in the darkness up ahead.  One side of her is lit up from the distant glow of a streetlamp.  She’s always been impressive looking, in spite of all the rust and weathering from all the years of exposure to the elements.  She’s a fixture from another time and will in all likelihood continue to stand there for many decades to come.  Especially since there is no way to move her.  She’s anchored to that spot, just as I hinted to Marisa last night.

     That probably wasn’t one of my better moves, but she was so upset at the idea of the thing being haunted I had to come up with something more pleasant and intriguing.  Alas, that is part of my curse for having become a writer.  My mouth works faster than  my common sense some days.  Of course there are those who question whether I have any common sense at all, like Louisa.

     Oh the haranguing she’ll give me if the carnival shows up and finds Marisa hanging around one of their ‘anchors’ to this world.  That woman can have the sharpest tongue on her at times.  Hell, she could put a ginsu knife to shame when she wants to.  Not that I can blame her.  Like me she’s very protective of those in her carnival, and with good reason.  If anyone ever knew the true nature of any of the members of Karneval Schatten, or where they came from…

   Wow, I’m actually shuddering at the thought.   But who could blame me?  Our first adventure together was a terrifying one.  If it hadn’t been for Brandon Elliott and his great-grandson Peter, I don’t know if even I could’ve survived the fire that night.  Thanks to them, we all got out in one piece… well almost all of us.  Brandon stayed behind to keep that white-haired creep at bay, while Peter and I got the trapped employees, along with Louisa and her troupe, to safety.

     I tried to go back for Brandon but it was already too late.  The building had begun caving in on itself and the heat had become too intense even for me to mist through.  I felt like a failure that day, until I noticed young Peter, who was standing no more than a dozen feet away, talking to a man that everyone else seemed blissfully unaware of.  It took me a moment to recognize the figure as that of the man who had saved us all, only he was looking much younger.  I thought about going over to them, but just then the figure faded and Peter came over to me saying, “We have to get the others out of here.  There’s a train about a half a mile from here we can get them them on.  But it has to be soon, otherwise the opening will close and they’ll be caught again.”

     I started to ask why, only Louisa’s mother (also her namesake) joined us.  Having seen my abilities in action earlier, she begged me to help get those in her care back to their train.  Most were still exhausted from their imprisonment inside the depths of the factory, while others had been injured in our escape.  Having learned that many of them were, like my Sangui-Sapio half, were not from this Earth, I agreed.  Getting them to the safety of their conveyance had not been easy, but between my mist form and mind control we managed and saw them off.  That was the second time I’d seen a portal to a Para-Earth open, but the first time I saw one close.  However, it wasn’t the last.

    They’d asked me to come with them before they left, but I’d declined.  I’d only recently lost Madeleine my first wife, and our son Brian (who Lisa’s father is named after) was still in mourning and needed me.  So I remained behind, that time anyway.  But our paths crossed again and again, and always they’d bring me back here to this spot because it’s one of their an “anchor points”.  At least that’s what Otto and Louisa told me once, long ago.  In spite of all my travels with both Otto and my carnival friends, there’s still so much to learn about Para-Earths.  Lisa seems fascinated and would like to go with us on one of our jaunts, and one day I might take her.  But first I’ll introduce her to Louisa and company the next time they come calling.

     Whenever that will be.  I never know.  Sometimes they’ll come to town and stay a few days, while other times they’ll just show up in the middle of the night looking for me because my talents are needed.  They always seem to know where to find me, not that I mind.  I have many friends aboard that train.  I’m just not sure about Marisa encountering them unexpectedly.

     The Crypt will be open tomorrow night and I know the girls will be showing up, so I’ll talk to them then.  If worse comes to worse and Marisa insists on visiting the engine, I’ll make sure I’m on hand just in case the carnival suddenly decides to come to town at the wrong moment.

*And so ends this untold tale.  We hope you enjoyed this latest installment and that it piques your interest to learn more about the strange traveling carnival who will make their first full appearance in our upcoming anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time”.  

And For those who have read the “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” this entry takes place the night before Marisa and Lisa are taken up to Nathan’s art studio, after Marisa’s little fight with another girl.  It in the studio that Marisa’s first suspicions about Nathan’s true nature form because of a dropped compact. 

Until next time, happy reading dear friends.*

Nathan’s Private Journal, October 12, 2011 – “The Theater” Part IV

I stared sadly at the rows of dilapidated chairs and torn hangings.  Plaster had fallen from the once ornate ceiling, as well as the walls.   There was dust everywhere and a feeling emptiness that seemed to reach inside me.

“I’ve heard people say they can still hear the laughter and applause when they come here,” Mae told me in a wistful voice.

“I’m not one of them,” I replied with a candor and bluntness that took me by surprise.  “This place is as empty as a tomb… and yet not quite.”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mae smile.  “You didn’t use to be so direct,” she remarked.

“Only with you,” I reply and turned to face her.  “And do you know why?  Because you told me that the was the way you preferred me to be.  Direct and honest.”

 Her smile widened and for a moment I could see the girl I met in this very place all those years ago.

Taking my hand she led me out of the balcony area and back towards the stairs.  As we walk, I notice the top of one of the pillars.  Being so high up, it seems to have avoided accumulating too much dust and can see the gold painted scroll work.  It glistens in the what little light there is coming through the down the stairs.

 The sight makes me smile.  To see hints of the old grandeur of the place still in tact, in spite of all the decay that surrounds us, brings a warmth to my heart.  It also raises suspicion that has been growing in the back of my mind since I got Mae’s phone call.
 

 But I say nothing.  I just wish to enjoy being with her again.  As we both said, it had long time since we’d last spent time together.  We make our way down the stairs carefully.  A fall wouldn’t do me much harm, but Mae would be another matter.  Besides, it gave me an excuse to keep her close.  Even after all this time, the smell of her was intoxicating to me.  There were so many things I wanted to say and do right then, but I kept myself in check.  She had brought me here for a reason and I was curious to learn what it was.

 Once we reached the bottom of the steps she led me down a corridor that was as familiar to me as my own name.  I’d carried her down this way one night after she’d slipped and twisted her ankle just outside the theater.  It had been snowing and the sidewalks had been slippery.  She was trying to get back on her feet when I arrived on the scene and scooped her up as if she weighed nothing.  The gesture had impressed her.  Until then she thought of me as a real sweet guy who could use a little beefing up.    She started looking at me in a different light after that.

And now, over sixty years later, we were passing this way again.  Surprisingly, the corridor was in better shape than I expected.  There were sections of wallpaper missing and the ceiling needed some work, but there was an elegance that was still visible.  As we explored, we talked about our days here and of old friends.  Some of them were still among the living, while others had left this world.  Yet, all of the ones who had been here, had left something of themselves.

I know this sounds contrary to what I said earlier about the place being empty, but there was something in the air.

Now we had reached the stage and were carefully making our way among the fallen curtains and forgotten ropes an pulleys, which I had worked so many times in my first few years at this theater.  I still remembered how to operate each and every one of them, and what they did.  I also knew how to fix them and could get them up and working again within a short time.

At that point the suspicion that had been in the back of my mind grew, but I said nothing as we continued our exploration.  Soon we found ourselves in the area of the dressing rooms.  Vandals had left their marks on the doors, but had done little else.

Another wave of nostalgia swept over me as we peaked into each room.  One of them left the two of us breathless.  It had been converted to be a prop room and there were still some items inside.  Of course time and neglect, along with some hooliganism, had left their marks here.  But what really moved me was the fact that one or two pieces of furniture I recognized.  “That table and wardrobe, they…” I began, only to have Mae cut in.

“There were in my dressing room,” she breathed in awe.  “I can’t believe they’re still here.”

“Would you like to take them home?” I asked, even though I already knew her response.

“No, they belong here.  Or rather in my old dressing room,” she said with her usual confidence.  But then she sighed and added more quietly, “Not that anyone will ever see them.”

“Not unless we buy the place and restore it to its former glory,” I replied.  “That is why you asked me to come here, isn’t it?”

Mae didn’t answer right away.  She merely smiled and slipped her arms around my neck and whispered, “The thought had occurred to me.  But there was another reason why I asked you to come.”  Then she kissed me, good and hard.

TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME…

Nathaniel’s Private E – Journal January 16th, 2011 “Wolves and Northern Lights…”

I’m back in Alaska for the first time in over a decade and it feels great.  Unlike a lot of people, I like the cold and snow.  But even more importantly I like to be someplace where I can really unleash my powers and experience them to the fullest.

I’m not talking about attacking creatures and sucking blood mind you.  I stick to my blood bags and I’ve got plenty of them on hand.  But up here I can be up and about more often, at least for a few months of the year.  The daylight hours are shorter up here, so I get to move around more and meet people.  I can go places and not have to load up so much on the red stuff.

The stores are still open, people are out and about doing things like ice fishing, sledding, shopping, there’s so much activity it allows me to feel like I’m not so cut off from daily life.  But what I really love is the wide open spaces, especially at night.

When I first became what I am, I felt so lost at first.  But it didn’t last because I soon discovered the wonders of the night.  Back then there weren’t so many towns and cities so the night sky was more clear.  There was less smoke and light pollution back then and a whole other reality was opened to me.

I can still remember the first time I emerged from the ground, having slept the daylight hours away in safety.  As my face surfaced the sight that greeted me was beyond words…

I had never seen so many stars before.  Then again I hadn’t really had the opportunity to look up.  As a child I was usually in bed long before the night sky full took hold.  And when I was a soldier, I’d been trained to keep my eyes on the ground for traps, or to watch my surroundings because you never knew where Johnny-Rebel might be lurking.

But I’m not a soldier these days.  I can stare up into the night as much as I like.  But unfortunately, sometimes the sky isn’t as clear as back then.  Which is why I come to Alaska.

You may wonder what exactly is the connection between the night sky and unleashing my powers.  Well, when I say I ‘unleash’ my abilities, it’s more a case of taking advantage of them.  Oh, I’ve had my fun with them in other places, but here it’s different.  I have a different stage to work on with one of the most magical backdrops ever, the Aurora Borealis.

Imagine if you can having the ability to wander for hours on end, beneath such a wondrous sky.  From dusk to dawn I can watch the most spectacular show and not have to worry about how I do it.

Some nights I’ll shift my form to that of a black wolf and race across the tundra, sometimes alone other times not.  On occasion I’ve met up with wolf packs who smelled I was more than a little different.  But a gentle release of spores soon pacified their misgivings and then we’re off together running and hunting as one.

It was on occasions like these where I’d allow my own hunting skills to come into play.  If I saw the pack was going to lose a kill I’d unleash my own unnatural speed and bring our target to a halt so the others could join in. However it depended on what we were hunting.  Females and offspring were a no-no.  I’d even use my powers to lead the pack off to find food elsewhere.

But if we were up against a huge bull moose or a bison all bets were off.  This may sound callous to some but one thing I’ve learned is nature has its cruel side.  Feast or famine.  Survive or die.  Those packs needed food just like any other animals, and because they’d accepted me as  one of their own I felt obligated to help them.  Basically it was my way of saying ‘Thank you for letting me be part of your, even if it was just one night.’

How many people ever got to say that?

I have many more stories and experiences to share about Alaska, but for now I’m ending this entry here.  The Northern Lights are slowly appearing and I long for the wind on my face…

Good night.

“Home For Christmas: A Para-Earth Holiday Tale” – Part Two

icy barbed wire

FRIENDS AND STRANGERS

     “We have company,” Nathan heard his friend murmur, and simply nodded.

     He’d heard the approach of the car but hadn’t bothered to look up.  His mind was solely focused on the barbed wire stained with blood.

     More than one being had passed this way earlier, but the snow had already covered the tracks.  The blood appeared to be human, but he had been fooled before.  Touching a finger to the barb, he found the blood was still wet.  Without hesitation he tasted it…

     Veronica was keeping an eye on two men kneeling by the barbed wire fence across the road.  Her original intention had been to stop and ask if they’d seen a little girl, but now then she saw the one in the full length parka reaching out to the barbed wire.  He touched one of the points and then began sucking his finger.

     Normally this wouldn’t have seemed all that odd, but it was the way he’d done it.  He hadn’t pulled his finger back quickly or yelped, as if he’d hurt himself.  Instead he’d moved slowly and had the most intense look on his face.  It was that, which really caught her attention.

     She’d seen that kind of expression before on some of her fellow officers.  It was one that said a clue had been found.

     Studying them carefully she noted that neither man appeared to be armed, nor were they dressed for hunting wild game.  ‘So what were they doing around here?’ she began to wonder when a figure appeared beside her.

    “They seem to be searching for something, don’t they, Sergeant?” the newcomer observed, quietly.

     Turning she saw the familiar profile of Jason Cloudfoot, the missing girl’s uncle.  He didn’t even glance at her.  His focus was solely on the two strangers across the road.

    “Or someone,” she whispered back and stepped forward, while keeping one hand close to her gun.  “Excuse me? Have either of you gentleman seen a little girl, around nine years old, come by here?”

    The two men exchanged a look and then the younger one stood up.  “No, but someone’s come through here recently and pricked themselves on this barbed wire,” he told them.

     ‘Oh dear God let this be a lead,’ she thought and quickened her pace, totally oblivious to the fact that Jason had not followed her.

     As soon as she reached the pair, she bent down and saw that indeed someone had cut themselves on one of the points.  At a guess, she suspected it was just the right height for a nine year old girl to try and climb through.

     Unfortunately, the wind and falling snow had already erased any footprints.   “Damn, if only we knew whether it was really Julie’s blood and not some poacher who cut through here,” she muttered.

     “Is that the girl’s name?” asked the younger of the two men.

     Veronica nodded and looked at him.  From beneath the hood of his long parka, she could see he had blonde hair and a pair of eyebrows that seemed to give him a perpetual scowl.  But the warmth in his eyes hinted at a much kinder and caring nature, she hoped.

     “Yes, it is,” she told him and then asked, “How long have you two been in this area?”

Instead of answering, the young man turned to his friend who replied, “Hmm… I’d say about an hour so.”

     “I see,” she nodded and fixed her gaze at the one in the parka.  “Neither of you are from around here, may I ask your names?”

     This time the older man spoke up.  “Well, in spite all the snow that is making my beard turn white, I am not Santa Claus.  My name is Professor Otto Hofstadter, and this is my research assistant, Nathan Steward.”

     The young man smiled and gave a slight bow, which made her wonder.  For someone who had to be her age, his manners seemed a bit old-fashioned.

     She smiled politely, but silently raised her guard again.  Why had the one called Nathaniel had to check with his friend about how long they’d been here?  She’d seen similar behavior between suspects when they were being questioned when they were trying to keep their stories straight.

     Eyes narrowed she asked them, “And neither of you saw anyone else during that time?”

     The younger man shook his head. “I was inside the trailer until about five minutes ago.”

     “Doing what?” she asked curiously.

     But before either man could answer Jason joined their little group saying, “Resting, from the look of things, Sergeant.”

     “And how do you know that?” she demanded, shooting an annoyed look at him.

   “Because while you were over here asking questions, I went inside the trailer,” the tall Native American replied.  “It was wrong of me to do so I know, but as a police officer you have to follow certain rules.  Whereas I am simply a man looking for his niece, and I don’t have time to worry about social niceties.”

      She just stared at him for a moment and then shook her head.  A part of her couldn’t blame him.  Julie was his responsibility and he was obviously very afraid for her.

     Sighing she turned back to Nathaniel and his friend and briefly caught the two men exchanging strange looks, but then it was gone.  But she was sure something had just passed between them.

    But before she could form her next question the professor asked, “How long has the girl been missing?”

    “Since this morning,” Jason answered, “She developed Chicken Pox two weeks ago and had to stay with me and my family, while her parents and older brothers headed back to sea.”

     “They went on a cruise?” the one called Nathan frowned.

     “No,” Jason corrected him, “My brother and his wife are marine biologists.  Then this morning I got a call that my brother’s research vessel had been caught in a storm and all contact had been lost four days ago.  The searchers had found nothing and were now turning their efforts into a… recovery operation.”

     “And the poor girl she overheard everything and took off crying; am I right?” Professor Hofstadter asked.

    “I’m afraid so,” Jason nodded.  “Julianna has gotten into the habit of running off into the woods when she’s upset.  She says it helps her calm down and forget her troubles.”

    Veronica watched Nathan’s eyebrows furrow, giving him a more intense look than before as he asked, “What kind of troubles does she have?”

     It was a good question, she had to admit.  No one had bothered to tell her back at the station why Julie had run off.  Whoever this fellow was a part of her was starting to like him.

     “My niece is a bit overweight and has become more sensitive about it recently.  She’d been teased a lot back at school and even my own children started giving her a hard time about it until I made them stop.  They hadn’t meant any real harm since she was their cousin, but her feelings had been hurt so she was still feeling very emotional.  Then when the call came she overheard and took off before any of us realized what had happened,” Jason explained.

     “The poor thing,” Veronica sighed, feeling more determined than ever to find the girl.  “Assuming the blood on the barbed wire is Julie’s…”

     “It is,” she heard Nathan murmur almost inaudibly, and did a double-take.

      Staring at him she said quietly, “I though you said you hadn’t seen anyone come through here?”

“I didn’t,” he replied and looked her straight in the eye.  “But every fiber of my body is screaming that it was her.”  Then he turned and stared out into the field.  “There’s a little girl out there and she needs to be found NOW!  It’s going to be dark within the hour and the temperature is dropping fast.”

     Hearing the same thoughts she’d had back at the station, struck a tone within Veronica.  “I take it you both want to help?”

    “Absolutely,” Professor Hofstadter, “Now since we already suspect she came this way, I suggest the four of us start searching from here and stay in contact by radio.”

     Veronica looked at him, “Do you have any on you?”

    “Back in the trailer, come.  You can call in more help from your station while we’re at it,” the older man suggested as they headed back across the road, while Jason and Nathan remained at the fence.

 trailer

      Nathan stared out at the white expanse.  A part of him had hoped that the girl’s uncle would have gone with Otto and the policewoman, so he could send out a small search party of his own.  But the man had stayed behind and was watching him out of the corner of his eye.  The fellow obviously suspected something.  He’d admitted to going inside the trailer to search for the girl.  Had he found the refrigeration unit with the supply of blood bags?

      As if knowing his thoughts the tall man said quietly, “You have been places where no other man has set foot before, haven’t you?”

    Nathan caught the unspoken hint in those words.  The first time he’d met Otto back a similar conversation had sprouted up between them in a similar manner.  He studied the man for a moment and noted his skin tone and long black hair.  Surely he was of Native American descent.  He also held himself in a manner that more than hinted at authority.

     “Yes,” he said finally.  “Do any of the stories or legends of your tribe speak of strange places that few have ever suspected were real?”

    “They do,” his companion nodded, “In fact I know them all.  You see it is my responsibility to know all things pertaining to my people: our traditions, medicines, and folklore.”

     Upon hearing this Nathan turned to his companion and looked up at him in surprise.  “You’re a shaman?”

The man nodded.  “And I know many things, including that such places as you and I have been discussing do exist.  One of my people from long ago, before we called ourselves Seneca, entered one of those places.”

     “By accident?”

     “No, he went by choice to find a way to save our people from a being that did not belong in this world.”

     “And did he succeed?” Nathan asked quietly.

    “Indeed he did,” said his new acquaintance with pride, “There was no way to send the thing back, but he brought an object with him that allowed us to imprison the creature and keep it from harming others ever again.”

     Nathan smiled and nodded, but a part of him was troubled.  “Was he the same when he came back from that other place?”

     “Yes, but he was more wise than before.  He had seen and learned much during his period in that other reality that was so much like ours, yet so different,” here the man paused to at him and added solemnly, “You were not as fortunate.”

     “Depends on who you ask,” Nathan replied with a sigh.  “My life has been extended far beyond that of any man.  But my body’s requirements changed.”

    “Yes, I found that which you keep cold and hidden from sight,” the one called Jason nodded.  “Tell me, did you enter that other place by choice?”

     “No, it happened purely by chance,” Nathan told him.  “I was a soldier, fighting to protect others.”

     “Drafted?”

     “Volunteered.”

     “Then you had a good heart,” his companion nodded, staring out into the empty field.

     Behind them Nathan could hear Otto and the police sergeant starting to head back their way.  “Our friends are about to rejoin us,” he murmured just loud enough for the other man to hear.

     “I know,” Jason replied without looking at him.  “Can you tell me one thing?  Did you find that your heart had changed after you came back?”

     Without pause, Nathan shook his head.  “No, I’m still the same man I was before.”

     Jason studied the stranger carefully.  Deep down he sensed that the man before him, was indeed a good person.  But still he had to be sure.  “Then please show me,” he told the fellow.  “If you have any gifts that can help me find my niece, please use them and know that you’re secret will be safe.  It getting dark and the snow is getting worse.”

     For several seconds nothing happened.

    Then he noticed the young man’s brow furrow in concentration.  A moment later, the fellow’s right hand disappeared into the sleeve of his jacket. This was followed by the arm of the jacket slowly ‘deflating’ as if the arm that occupied it was shrinking or withering away.

   As Jason stared in wonder, his sharp eyes detected movement within the rest of the coat, as if dozens of tiny creatures were racing down towards the man’s feet.

Suddenly a flurry of mice, the color of blood, began emerging from beneath the edges of Nathan’s floor-length parka.  The creatures began racing across the open field began to slowly spread out in various directions.

    “If they find any trace of your niece, I’ll know,” he heard the young man whisper as the last of the mice emerged and joined their brethren across the snow.

   “Thank you, my friend,” Jason smiled placed a hand on his companion’s shoulder, knowing full well that there was no longer an arm attached.

snowfall at night

TO BE CONTINUED…

“Home For Christmas: A Para-Earth Holiday Tale” – Part One

A note from the author:  My original intention had been to complete this particular holiday story and release it as a free short story on Smashwords on Christmas.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints I was not able to create a cover or do most of the usual more serious editing that I wanted.  So instead, I’m presenting this tale in installments, that will continue until Christmas Day where the last part of the story will be told.  

I will do another in this style for next Christmas as well, thus starting my own tradition for you my readers.  But I will also be re-releasing this story in full as either a very small novella/short story on Smashwords complete with full editing, a proper cover, AND… hopefully some pen and ink illustrations to accompany the tale.  

I do hope you’ll enjoy this tale of the season which includes my first crossover.  What I mean by that is that this is the first time Nathaniel will be meeting some of the established characters from my first published novel “The Bridge”.  Those familiar with that novel will see some familiar faces here, but set sixteen years in the past before the events of the novel.  Will we see these characters and my vampyre Nathaniel meet again?  We’ll have to wait and see.  In the meantime, please enjoy this story.   The next installment will be up tomorrow followed by more each day until Christmas.  Enjoy…

town

A LOST GIRL

New Swindon, Connecticut, December 23rd, 1999

     “She’s only been missing for eight hours, Sarge,” said the patrolman, shifting his feet uneasily.  His superior had her back to him as she stared out the window, not moving.  Even the looser strands of red hair, sticking out of her ponytail seemed unnaturally still.  This made him uneasy.

      Ever since the summer she’d become solemn and hard.  She could also be more unpredictable than a volcano.  “Technically, it’s not a missing person case until twenty-four hours have passed,” he added nervously.

      Finally she broke her silence and replied in a quiet voice “The temperature is already dropping and it’s starting to snow.”

      “Everyone’s keeping an eye out for her already, Sarge,” he pointed out and immediately regretted it.

       Sergeant Ross spun around so fast that her pony tail wound up slapping her in the face, which did not seem to improve her mood.  “Keeping an eye out isn’t the same as actively searching for her!” she snapped.  “We’ve already got one girl missing with no leads.  I… we don’t want another.”

     The patrolman took a step back.  He’d heard that red-heads could have a fierce temper, but up until now he’d never believed it.  A part of him silently began praying for some kind of diversion that would allow him to leave the room as quickly as possible.

       Just then another voice joined the conversation.

      “No we don’t, Sergeant.”

      ‘Note to self,’ he thought breathing a sigh of relief, ‘Stop by the local church and drop a few extra dollars in the donation box.’  Then he turned his head ever so slightly and watched their boss enter the room.

     The man’s craggy features made him look like he was always scowling, so you always had to watch his manner and tone of voice.   But even then he could prove quite disarming and trip you up before you realized what had happened.  More than one suspect had fallen into that trap which was what had led to his appointment as head of the New Swindon Police Department seven years ago.

      Since his arrival, Chief Petersen had made a number of improvements in their department. They had doubled the number of officers and would soon be moving to a new and much larger facility.  For now they were still located in the town’s original station which was located in the middle of downtown.  He’d also brought in Sergeant Ross to act as his second-in-command, two years ago.

      Unlike their boss she had a manner that could be quite disarming, which had been a big help in dealing with the local youths.  In fact she’d proven to be one of the most effective officers in helping the more troublesome offenders.

      But ever since the night that girl disappeared from the Graham estate, she’d become harder and less patient, even with her subordinates.

      Just then, Petersen turned to him and said, “Why don’t you round up as many volunteers as you can to start looking for little Julie, Jenkins?” their boss told him.

      “Don’t you mean men, Chief?”

    “Women too,” his boss replied, “Remember we’re dealing with a little girl.  According to her Uncle Jason, she was pretty upset and might respond better to a woman being around.”

      “In that case I’ll head out as well,” Sergeant Ross announced, “Where was she last seen?”

      Petersen held up his hand to stop her before he answered.  “She was heading off into the woods to the east of the Cyrus Graham’s home.”

      Jenkins noted the look that passed between his two superiors and quickly left.

      He moved quickly down the hallway thinking, ‘Great, that place again.  We’re going to need a lot more people, the grounds there are huge.’

     Leaving the station, he headed for the local tavern just a block away.  There was always a good crowd there at this hour.  And most of clientele would have just gotten off work and would only be on their first or second drink.  He should be able to round up a good number of volunteers there, plus he could use a quick shot himself.  He’d also grab a little brandy to take with him just in case they needed it for the girl when and if they found her…

     “I can handle going out there, Roy,” Veronica told her boss evenly.  They were alone, so she knew it was okay to call him by his first name.  He had been her first partner back in New York City, ten years ago.  And in spite of the fifteen year difference in their ages, they’d become the best of friends.  So when he left to become chief of police way up here in northern Connecticut, she’d felt as if a part of herself had gone away.  Of course she’d had other partners, but it had never been the same.  Plus, the city seemed to become meaner over time.

      So when Roy came back to visit her two years ago, she was more than ready to accept his offer to become his second-in-command, in this this rural community of twenty-five thousand.  She’d been able to do so much good since coming here, but she’d also suffered some failures…

      “Are you sure?” her old partner asked gently, interrupting her reverie.

       Looking up at him, she nodded.

     Unfortunately, he didn’t seem convinced.  “I know you, Ronnie.  You’re still upset about what became of that girl who disappeared the night Cyrus Graham had that heart attack that put him in a coma.”

      “Yes, I am,” she admitted in a controlled voice.  “And I’m still hoping he’ll come out of it one day soon and be able to tell us what happened to Rachel.  But right now we have another girl missing out that way and she needs to be found before it gets too dark out.  The snow is already falling and we’re wasting time.”

      Roy studied her for a moment and nodded.  “All right, get over to Jason’s place.  It’s located on the grounds of Cyrus’ estate near that old stone bridge.  That’s where the girl took off from.”

      As she started for the door, he added, “Be careful out there, Rookie.  I don’t want you getting lost in the snow.”

    That made her smile.  Even after ten years, she still found the nickname amusing.  “I’ll be careful,” she assured him and left.

     Halfway down the hall she could feel his eyes watching her.  So she decided to give him some of his own medicine.

     Upon reaching the front doors she called over her shoulder, “Don’t wait up for me, Oldtimer!”

She barely caught the words, “Who are you calling old, you snot-nosed…?” as the door closed behind her.

*   *   *   *   *

snow-covered-barb-wire-fence-12653362

      Parked off to the side of the road at a rest stop, sat an old station wagon, with a box-like travel trailer attached.  A picnic table with benches stood nearby.  Both table and seats were covered in a layer of snow at least four inches deep.  But this was old snow which had lost some of its white luster.  Another layer was already building, giving both bench and table and icy layered cake effect.  Beyond the table a gradual slope rose up a dozen feet or so, before sinking downwards and disappearing among the trees.

    However, the driver of the vehicle was taking little notice of the wintery scene around him.  Instead, he was standing near the edge of the road where the asphalt ended and frozen ground began.  He was an older man, with curly greying hair, and a matching beard and moustache.  Standing up, he placed his hands on his slightly pronounced abdomen.  “Yes, most curious,” he said to himself in a heavy German accent.

      “Find something, Otto?” came a voice from the vicinity of his vehicle.

    Turning the driver smiled at the sandy-blonde young man who was stepping from the travel-trailer.  He had a slender build and was dressed in a heavy winter parka that stretched all the way down to the ground.  Although he had just emerged from the warm compartment, his face seemed awfully pink.

    “The sun is still up, albeit behind the clouds,” the older man called Otto remarked.  “I didn’t expect you to be up until after it had set.  Is something the matter, Nathan?”

    “I’m not sure,” the young man replied scanning their surroundings with his eyes.  “I… I felt a presence.”

     “Blonde, brunette or red-head?” Otto teased.

      But his friend didn’t answer.  Instead, he found Nathan staring into the open field across the road.  A barbed wire fence had been erected to keep interlopers out of the rows of corn that normally grew there.  On this day however, the field hosted only a wide expanse of snow that ended at the line of woods that bordered it on three sides.  The uniformity of the treetops was interrupted by the occasional sloping of a hill, where some pines rose above their brethren and silently stood watch over the open field.

      “What do you see?” Otto asked after several moments had passed.

     “Nothing, but I smell something,” Nathan replied and quickly made his way across the road.  Once there he started to examine the barbed wire carefully.

      From what Otto could see there was nothing unusual or odd about the fence, no wait.  One section seemed newer than the rest.  It was hard to notice at first, because the wire had built up a layer of rust over the years, but the posts it was attached to were fresher by comparison to the others.

     Suddenly Nathan stopped and knelt down in front of one section of the fence.  Reaching a hand out he touched one of the barbs and that’s when Otto saw it, a red glistening stain on one of the metal points.

     He barely remembered to check if the road was clear of oncoming traffic, before running over to join his friend.

White Wolf

     Emerging from among the trees a lone wolf slowly padded down the slope and stopped near the picnic table.  Its fur was snow white, which allowed the animal to blend in with his surroundings.  Watching the two strangers intently it slowly made its way over to where the station wagon and travel trailer stood.  Keeping behind the vehicles so as not to be noticed, the great beast began sniffing around.

     Both men’s scents were unlike anything it had encountered before, yet there was also something familiar about their smells.  Remembering its mission, the wolf began sniffing around the area. In particular is spent a lot of time around the trailer where the younger man had emerged.  Besides his odd scent, the beast also detected another familiar smell, human blood.

     Just then the breeze picked up and began to come from across the road.  Immediately, the animal raised its head.  Its delicate nose had detected another scent, one the animal knew very well.

     The wolf eyed the two men suspiciously and was about to approach them when its sensitive ears detected the approach of a vehicle.  Looking up, the beast saw the car in question had red and blue lights on top.  Without hesitation, the snow-white animal quickly made its way back up and over the slope.

     A few seconds later, a new figure appeared.  It was a man, with long black hair, and high strong cheekbones.  Without hesitation he made his way down the steep incline with all the sure-footedness of a deer.

     He reached the bottom just as the patrol pulled up behind the travel trailer.  As soon as the driver began to emerge from the vehicle, he immediately recognized the flame-red pony-tail trailing down her back.  Delighted, he was about to call out to her when he noticed one of the two men across the road do something, disturbing.

TO BE CONTINUED…

An Important Announcement About “The Vampyre Blogs” Novel Release Date…

For those of you who don’t already know, I started attending the California State University at Monterey Bay in August and the workload had been fairly manageable, until recently.  Things are heating up and I have less and less time to work on “The Vampyre Blogs”.  I had planned on getting the latest draft finished, edited, beta-read, etc. so I could have it out in time for this Christmas.

 Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  I’m afraid I’m one of those authors will not release a book until it’s had all those things done to it.  Currently, I’m still trying to finish the 2nd draft and I’m still not entirely happy with the piece.  Plus I haven’t even started on a cover for the book.  I do have this, which I made on my computer.
However, I’m not totally sold on this version really.  I’d prefer to try and do a soft pastel piece like I did with my other two novels.  But instead of doing the entire cover in soft pastel, I’d like to create more of a background and then super-impose the image I have on top of the background.  In short, I’d like a nice blend of the two and that’s going to take time.

All this is bad enough, but there is also the issue of the holidays getting closer and closer.  I’d still need to get the novel to my beta-readers, but they’re going to be busy with family stuff like cooking, visiting, and shopping.  I don’t feel right asking them to take time out of their schedules to read the book and give me their feedback.  That wouldn’t be right.

So I’m going to continue to finish the 2nd draft and getting it edited and whatnot over the holidays.  Then I’ll be sending beta-versions out in January and doing another draft after that.  I hope to have it all done my March, but I won’t be releasing it then.  Instead the book will come out in late October to coincide with Halloween.  Why wait until then?  Because the story begins in early fall and ends just around Halloween, thus making it a a more seasonal novel.

Now for anyone worried they have to wait for more Nathaniel and company until then, never fear because I’m still going to be posting more mini-stories here.  Plus, I’m working on a special ‘free’ short story for this Christmas that will involve Nathaniel and several characters from my other novels in the Para-Earth Series.  Anyone who’s read “The Bridge” or “The Ship” will be pleased to see some old friends as well as our favorite Civil War vampyre.

I’ll be releasing the short story through Smashwords which carries e-book formats for all the new e-readers and laptops people will be getting as gifts.  You’ll find Mobi (for Kindle), Nook, Apple, Sony,  Phones, and even plain good old PDF for those who just have a computer/laptop.  And in the spirit of the season, the story will be “FREE”.  So stay tuned.  I’ll be announcing more as the day draws near.

Finally, I want to also let you all know that Nathan will not be a one-book wonder.  I intend to keep him going for some time.  When you’ve got someone who’s over a 150 years old, you got a lot of room for many tales.  I’m even considering making an anthology filled with short stories from different eras he’s lived though.  But that’s a little ways down the road.  For now, I’ll leave you with the following list of novels I’m working on and their intended release dates for the next 2-3 years:

October/December 2015 “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”

In 1862 Nathaniel Steward was only sixteen years old. He left home to fight in the Union Army, knowing the experience might change him. He had no idea how much it would. Now, 150 years later, he’s finally coming back to what he thinks is an empty manor. What he doesn’t know is someone has been waiting, and some ‘thing’ is following him, a being that does no belong in this world.

Coming Mid-2016 “In The Shadow Of The Door – Book 1”

Cassandra’s ghostly protector Brandon has always been an enigma to many. Now, we get to hear his story which will lead directly up to the events that took place in my third book, “The Door”.

Coming December, 2016, “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

Nathaniel is back and he’s not alone. A mystery involving a member of his family has arisen, but so has an old enemy. New dangers arise that threaten not only those he loves, but his entire hometown. Like any soldier he will fight to protect his place of birth, but it may cost him his very existence.

Coming Mid-2017 – “In The Shadow Of The Door – Book 2”

Brandon’s story continues as he and his uncle continue to struggle with the family curse that everyone believed was over. The threat has been thwarted but not ended and time is running out. Soon the door will be reopened and nothing will be able to stop what will come out of it if they don’t seal it for good first.

Coming in December 2017, “Harlequin House”

When Alex Hill was only twelve years old he went inside the most haunted place on the planet as part of a team of paranormal investigators from the university his older cousin Rick was attending.
  Within those walls he watched most of the team die one by one, and barely got out with his sanity intact.  He swore nothing would ever make him go back.
Tonight he will enter the place the very place that has haunted his dreams for the last twenty years, to save his father. Will he be as fortunate this time?

OTHER BOOKS IN THE PARA-EARTH SERIES THAT ARE AVAILABLE NOW FOR ALL E-READERS AND IN TRADE PAPERBACK:

 

THE BRIDGE

Alex Hill buried his psychic talents for eighteen years. But with the scream of tires and twisting metal all this changes. Upon learning his girlfriend Police Sergeant Veronica Ross was nearly run down by two teens he becomes concerned. But when he learns both the driver and passenger had been dead for almost twelve hours when they nearly ran her down, he knows what he must do…
*NOTE: You can sample the book for free at:
 

THE SHIP

What starts as a simple surfing lesson, turns into a struggle for survival for billionaire heiress Cassandra Elliott and her new love interest the Seneca shamaness Julie Cloudfoot.
Cassandra is knocked off her board by an unseen assailant who leaves a terrifying gash in her wetsuit, along with a small red mark on her leg. Soon terrifying visions of a ghost ship begin haunting the heiress’ dreams. She also begins to find herself strangely drawn to the sea whenever a strange fogbank appears in the distance.
Something hiding within the miasma, but what does it want from her, and what connection does the entity have with the legendary “Lost Colony of Roanoke” and the tribe of Tuscarora Indians who Julie is distantly related to…

An Early Halloween Treat From Me To You!

stock-vector-trick-or-treat-halloween-text-109771892

*HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!  I decided to give you all an early treat by sharing a snippet from “The Vampyre Blogs” novel itself.  Unlike the other entries you’ve seen here on this blog, this entry actually shows up in the book.  I was careful to choose this particular entry since all three characters are well known to you by now.  Plus it doesn’t give too much away, while hopefully leaving you with some questions to think about until the novel’s release at Christmas.  So without further ado, here are Marisa, Lisa and Nathaniel.  I hope you enjoy*

MARISA’S MUSINGS – October 7th, 2012

It’s been such a strange day, especially this evening.  I still don’t know what think at the moment.

Waking up and finding Dad was still at home sitting in front of the TV just like in my dreams, gave me a start.  Especially when I saw he looked a little greyish, but then Mom opened the curtains and I saw he was just tired.  I literally blew a sigh of relief, but it still set me on edge for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, most of my classes were on the quiet and boring side today, which meant I kept worrying about my dad.

Thank God Lisa was in all of them with me.  I don’t know what I would’ve done without her around trying to distract me.  But I still couldn’t get that damn dream out of my head.  It had felt so real.  Then, just as we arrived at The Crypt, I started wondering if it had actually been some kind of warning. The idea it might be really put me on edge.

Unfortunately, that’s when Dianne showed up and started in with me, as usual.  Normally I can ignore her comments, but tonight, I just couldn’t.  God I feel so bad about what happened.  Poor Lisa got caught up in things and could’ve wound up getting hurt if Nathaniel hadn’t stepped in when he did.

I still feel bad about blowing up at him the way I did at the time.  But that’s not the only thing that’s bothering me about him.  After tonight, I can’t look at him the same way I used to.

Finding out he was once married and that his wife pass away in his arms, really hit me hard.  I guess that’s why I kissed him the way I did.  I just wanted to wipe away the pain I knew he was experiencing at that moment, along with my own.  I didn’t tongue him or anything, but for a second I nearly did.  Something about him that made me feel so alive that I didn’t want it to stop.  But I remembered Lisa was with us and I know she has a crush on him.  So I backed off.  But a part of me wanted to go right back to kissing him.   I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone so bad in all my life.

And truth be told, I still want him.  But I’m also a little leery of him, because of because of what happened next.

I excused myself and started to fix my make-up.  After all that crying I’d done earlier, I knew I must look like hell.

Nathaniel was kind enough to walk away and give me my space, while Lisa checked on me quick before she went over to join him at the window.  As I heard the two of them talking quietly, I stole a glance over my shoulder.  Lisa was hanging onto him in a playful way, and I started to get jealous for a moment.

Quickly, I shook my head and pulled out my compact so I could use the mirror as I fixed my make-up.  Surprisingly, I didn’t look too bad and was able to make myself presentable rather quickly.

Then I decided to use the mirror to take another at Lisa and Nathaniel to see what they were up to.  And that’s when it happened.  I could see Lisa still acting if she were draped all over Nathaniel, only he wasn’t there.

I blinked and stared at the mirror again, but the image had not changed.  From the way Lisa was positioned, I knew she had to be hanging onto someone, because there was no way she could keep her balance in that pose.  But there was no one there.

Carefully I took another look over my shoulder and saw the two of them just as I had before.  Then I looked back at my mirror and saw only Lisa holding on to empty air.  I let out a little gasp and dropped everything, including the compact which shattered on impact.

Immediately, Lisa came rushing over to see what was wrong and quickly helped me gather everything.  Nathaniel on the other had stayed by the window.  He seemed to be in deep thought.

Naturally, I didn’t tell either of them what I saw, or rather what I didn’t see.  Instead, after Lisa helped me get all my make-up back in the purse, I told them I felt like going back down to the dance floor.   I’d remembered there were huge mirrors on the walls down there and wanted to see what would happen when we got down there.

To my amazement and relief, I saw all three of our reflections in every one of them.  At that point I was fully ready to believe my eyes had simply played a trick on me.

But now my mind has gone back to the day in my Aunt Betsy’s office when I first met Nathaniel.  She had brought in those beautiful fresh cut flowers.  But after he went near them to get his coat and hat,  we’d found them black and withered.

Is he what I think he is?  I’ve seen enough movies to know all the signs.   Yet, I saw his reflection in the mirrors of the club.  Plus he has a bunch of mirrors in his home which I’ve seen him use.

No, I think I’ve just been stressing out too much lately.  There’s no such thing as vampires.  Right?

Happy-Halloween-Gif-2

Nathaniel’s E-Journal July 10th,2011 “My Goddaughter Is A Psychic”

I’ve walked this Earth for over a hundred and fifty years and never tire of the surprises the world still has in store for me.  This summer I’ve been touring Europe with my godson Brian, his wife Annie and their daughter Lisa (who is also my godchild).  Annie is expecting their second child in a few more months so I’m keeping a close eye on her as we travel.

Brian is a history professor over at a college back in West Virginia and had wanted to travel overseas to get some firsthand looks at historical places.  Knowing that I’d spent a fair amount of time in Europe actually witnessing many events in the early 20th century he’d asked me to act as tour guide.  I did point out to him that I wouldn’t be available for a lot of daytime excursions, to which he said, “True, but I know you have a lot of extended family connections over there who could show us around.  Plus they’d love to see you I’m sure.”

I had to admit he got me on that point so rather than take just him I brought his whole family over.  I figured it would be educational for Lisa and a wonderful change of scenery for Annie.

We spent a good three weeks just in England alone, before crossing the channel into other places.  After a short stay in France we moved on to Germany, where I first began to notice something different about my goddaughter, Lisa.

                                  

With Brian being a history professor, he naturally wanted to see the old concentration camp at Dachau.  I arranged for a private tour, but did go with them.  I’d seen such places in action long in the early 1930’s, long before the war began.  Some folks never realized how long they were going before the first shots were fired. The memories of what I saw and experienced inside those places have never left me.

Mind you, the ones I had been to were mostly the temporary camps, which had been hurriedly built to hold ‘detainees’ while the main camps like Dachau and Auschwitz were being constructed.  Those temporary facilities were completely dismantled afterwards and most of their names have been lost to history or mysterious fires that wiped out the entire facility.  Not many people hear about those, because no one likes to speculate how the flames seem to claim only only the officers and guards of the facilities.

Anyway, at Dachau they were met by Gustav Schuster, another of my godchildren.  Gustav was  only seven when the war began, but like many children he had kept his eyes and ears wide open.  He was able to tell Brian a number of fascinating details that often get left out of most history books.

Lisa went with him, and being a typical fifteen year old wandered about on her own apparently.  For when I saw her later that evening she looked badly shaken.  I asked her what was wrong and she turned to me and whispered, “It was horrible… the suffering that took place here… I could almost hear their cries on the breeze…”

But I didn’t say anything.  I’ve heard others say similar things because they were so moved by the history that surrounded them, so I didn’t make anything of it.  That had been a week ago.

Tonight, her words came back to me and I began to realize there is much more to my favorite goddaughter than I ever suspected.

Having left Dachau behind we’d continued our travels out of the cities and into the countryside.  We were now settled in a little heard of town up north, not too far from Denmark which was to be our next destination.  I had been to this place before and several of the older families knew me and were only too glad to put us up when I called a month ago.

Once dusk fell, I was free to wander the countryside and decided to do so.  I had a particular destination in mind and had planned on going alone, but Lisa and Annie (her mother) insisted on joining me.  To tell them I wanted to be alone would’ve have been rude.  Plus, I know from previous experience, Lisa would’ve followed me anyway.  So I let them come along.

We drove a couple of miles out of town and then came to a wide open field surrounded by trees and flowering fields.  As soon as we got out and took a few steps Lisa suddenly froze in her tracks and visibly shivered.

Immediately I sensed what was wrong.  Putting an arm around her I said, “You feel it… don’t you?”

She looked up at me with eyes full of pain and confusion and then nodded.  “But I don’t know what it is.”

Yes, she could feel it.  The girl was a ‘sensitive’ or psychic as they say.  I pulled her close and whispered, “It’s the echoes of human suffering.  You see, the Nazis had temporary concentration camps throughout Germany.  They acted as a stop-gap while the more notorious camps were being built.  And because they only lasted for a while there are little or no records of them or where they stood.”

“There was one here,” she murmured in a hushed voice of awe.

“Yes,” I told her and led her back to the car, lost in my own thoughts.

Hardly anyone knew about the the camp that had been here in 1933.  It had been one of the temporary ones which had housed almost a thousand ‘undesirables’, specifically Roma (more commonly known as gypsies).  Like the Jews, they had been persecuted and hunted by the Nazis, although not to the same extent.  But for those who were taken to this place the results were the same.  Torture, forced labor, unclean facilities, sickness, starvation and systematic executions.

Mind you, these were not the rogues and thieves that so many writers and Hollywood produces depict in their works.  These were good people who chose to roam the country, partly out of choice and partly because no one wanted ‘their’ kind living among them.  I know this for a fact because I was living among them in 1933.  How I came to them is a tale for another entry.  It is enough that I became part of their family.  And yes, my secret did not remain hidden from them for very long.  They’d found out early on my true nature, but accepted me anyway as one of their own.  As well as their protector and guardian.  I even married one of them.  A teenage girl named Magda who loved me like no one else had ever before.  And whom I lost in this place.

She’d been taken from me months before and I’d spent the entire time searching for her nonstop.  When I finally found where she and the others had been taken I came as quickly as I could.  But it was already too late.  We were reunited long enough to say goodbye and for me to save those who were still alive.  As for the soldiers and officers who were running the place… my wrath consumed every single last one of them, with only a few exceptions.  (Again a tale for another entry)

Afterwards the place mysteriously burnt to the ground never to be rebuilt.  Perhaps the burned, bloodless bodies discouraged them.  Or perhaps what happened to the soldiers who came later to exact revenge on the town for the escape of the prisoners and the destruction of the facility, made them think twice about trying again. Whatever the case, the Nazis avoided the area forevermore.  Convoys of trucks and soldiers would take a wide circuitous route around and away from the town and forgot it was even there until after the war ended.  Although I heard many time through the grapevine that it was sometimes mentioned in hushed, fearful whispers among the Gestapo who made sure to erase any mention of it from the records.

After getting Lisa and her mother into the car, I quietly excused myself and returned to the field.  Normally I would walk the entire spread of the open area, but due to Lisa’s reaction I did things a little differently.  I rose up into the night sky for about twenty feet and my lower half dissolved into a greenish mist.  This cloud columned down to the ground and spread across the entire field. Soon the flowers which were already withered or browning suddenly began to bloom as if it were early spring instead of mid-summer.

This is my special way of ‘laying flowers’ at gravesites.  Cut flowers wilt and die within seconds of being in my presence.  As long as they are in the ground and are still alive to some extent I can bring them back to full health, but once dead or dying after being severed, my ‘field’ seems to accelerate the decomposition.

As soon as the field was lush and full of color once more, I reconstituted and returned to earth.  Once there, I knelt down and offered the for those who had been lost.

Much to my surprise, before my prayers were finished, Lisa and her mother appeared on either side of me and knelt down to pray along with me.  I had lost family in this place, especially one closer to my heart than any before.  But I did not remain alone.  I always have family and I will always fight to protect and keep them safe.