“The Cannibal Killer” – Part VI: Private E-Papers of Michael Rhodes, June 18th, 2016

*Authors’ Note:  Sorry for the delay between posts.  We work for the county and are currently winding down the fiscal year which runs from July 2017-June 2018, so we’ve been run off our feet.  But things will be calming down in another few weeks so please bear with us.  In the meantime, here is a lengthy entry to help make up for the lack of posts.  We hope to get back on our more regular posting schedule before July is out.  Thank you for you patience – Allan and Helen Krummenacker

madness

    “Nadine!” I screamed and rushed to her side, while my boss and our back up started moving slowly towards our suspect. The Cannibal Killer was still on the ground having spasms, and seemed to be completely unaware of our presence.

      I carefully rolled Nadine on her side and studied the knife handle which was all I could see. The bastard and really rammed it in deep. Luckily, I knew from past experiences that it would take more than a knife in the back to stop Nadine. Even if the guy had struck where her heart should be it would’ve failed, because her body would’ve moved the vital organ or created another to keep her going. For all the similarities between her and the vampires of legend, she was something more.

      Still something wasn’t right. Even though her eyes were open and staring right at me, she didn’t speak. And the look on her face… what was happening?

      That’s when I noticed her bare shoulder and nearly threw up. It took me a moment to get myself under control. I’ve seen a lot of injuries in my line of work, including what our perp had done to his other victims… but none of them had still been alive at the time. The bastard had literally taken a bite out of her.

      But the thing that was getting me was the fact that the wound was… doing things. The ragged edges of the wound kept moving, as if they knew they should be reaching across to their counterparts to seal the injury but couldn’t. Instead, they simply kept waving about likes streamers attached to a fan… only bloodier.

      I was almost grateful when I heard the sounds of a struggle breaking out behind me… almost. Before I could turn, one of my fellow deputies landed hard beside me and Nadine and rolled.

      Whirling I saw I saw our perp was back on his feet tossing both my boss and another deputy aside as if they were a couple of five year olds. Then instead of fleeing the scene, the guy just stood there… laughing.

      “Oh… Joanie,” he called and turned in my direction, only his eyes were fixed on the prone form of Nadine in my arms. “I’m not finished with you, not by a long shot!”

       Before he could take a single step I raised my gun and fired.

       I saw the pocket covering his heart explode as the bullet hit. The impact knocked him back yet he managed to keep standing. For a moment he stared at the hole in his jacket dumbly, as the cloth slowly turned dark then stopped. Then to his shock, and mine, the stain slowly began to shrink.

      Immediately the true horror of our situation hit. The guy had eaten and swallowed of not only a piece of Nadine but the Sangui-Sapio life form from that Para-Earth she’d landed up in back in 1862. And just as it had changed Nadine from a simple human into a pseudo-vampire in order to save her life, it was now doing the same to the maniac standing a few yards away from me. But the change was only beginning.

    Our psycho staggered and fell to his knees. His eyes were glassy-looking and he seemed confused.

      This was our chance! I started to get to my feet when Sheriff Parkes waived me off as he and three more officers, who had materialized out of the darkness, descended on the Cannibal. They were able to grab his arms and cuff them behind his back without the slightest bit of effort. In fact, they well into the process of removing other weapons he had secreted about his person before he seemed to realize what was happening.

       Then he laughed.

      Something about that sound made all of us back up and draw our weapons. “On the ground! Or you will be shot!” my boss warned.

       For a second no one spoke or moved.

      Then the killer began to murmur and giggle, “Now I get it… you were right, Joanie. I wasn’t man enough for you before. How could I be… you had a secret but wouldn’t share it with me. But now I know it…”

      “I said don’t move!” my boss repeated cocking his weapon.

   But the Cannibal didn’t listen, instead he turned towards where Nadine lay and whispered almost sweetly, “…Because I taken from you. But it’s not enough, I want it ALL!”

      In flash he was on his feet, snapping the handcuffs behind his back in the process.

      But we were faster and opened fire.

     At point blank range, every one of our shots struck home and I watched as the Cannibal jerked with each impact. But he never went down. Instead, he lashed out with superhuman strength and speed. His first blow sent Sheriff Parkes sailing over Nadine and into the pond beyond her, while another sent our backup rolling a good twenty yards in opposite directions.

     Instinctively, I started to turn towards the pond, but my superior was already getting back to his feet, bellowing, “Stay where you are, protect Collins!”

      He was right. At this point I was the only one left to keep the super-powered Cannibal from reaching his target.

     Weapon raised, I wracked my brain for ideas as our perp started towards me. Bullets weren’t going to stop this guy, but maybe one in each of his eyes would at least buy us time to regroup…

     Suddenly, Nadine appeared between us. Arms outstretched she stood protectively in front of me.

     I could see her shoulder was finally healing, but it was doing so slowly, as was the spot in her back where the knife had been. Her entire frame trembled for a moment and I feared she might collapse, but she held her ground and spoke.

     “You’re scared… confused. This isn’t what you expected,” she said gently.

     The Cannibal Killer chuckled, “No I’m not, Joanie. I’m seeing things clearer than ever before. This is how come you never stayed dead. You kept coming back over and over again, taunting me, laughing at me. But now I know how you did it. And now you can’t stop me. No one can! I’m like you… only better.”

     Now he started moving towards us, yet Nadine didn’t move. Instead she gently reached out a hand and said gently, “We both know what you really want.”

      That made him stop as he stared at her stupidly at her for a moment.

     Behind him, the two deputies he’d thrown were getting to their feet and regrouping so silently, if I hadn’t seen them I’d have never known. Still I kept a poker face, so as not to give anything away.

     Yet, without looking away from us the Cannibal Killer pointed at them saying, “And don’t expect them to stop me Joanie… because they’re going to be the warm up act. Once I’m done with them and the one behind you, I’m going to start on you and not stop…”

      “You’re in pain,” Nadine cut in, “Don’t let it hold you back, let go.”

     “YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE ONE IN PAIN JOA… UNGH!” Suddenly, the killer froze and began to jerk uncontrollably like a marionette whose strings had gotten tangled.

      “I wasn’t talking to you,” Nadine smiled and took a step toward him.

     The look in the Cannibal’s eyes changed from hungry rage to horror as she drew closer.  

     Just then the other two deputies rushed forward and tried to tackle him from behind. At the last second the killer spun, grabbed each of them and threw the pair directly at us.

    Unfortunately, Nadine was not fully recovered. In spite of her attempt to catch my fellow deputies, their combined mass and speed knocked her back into me and the four of us went down in a sprawl. By the time any of us were able to get up, the Cannibal was already gone.

night

TO BE CONCLUDED….

Marisa’s Musings -October 24th, 2019 “Red Fang” Part XII

As I was still asking myself that question I stared up at the Aurora Borealis over head. 

I could make out the stars through the swirling colors. It’s an incredible sight. I can understand why Nathan comes up this way every so often. I don’t think I’d ever tire of this sight. According to Lisa and Otto, Nathan also goes to Norway, Sweden, Finland or one of the other northernmost countries where you can see these lights. Those countries also tend to have open wide expanses of wilderness which allows him to ‘cut loose’ with his abilities. Those countries also haves long periods where the sun may not appear for weeks or even months, which makes it easier for him to be out and about even during the ‘daytime’ whether he’s out in the woods or in a city. 

As I lay there I understood that the night, or those periods of long-nights, do have a lot to offer a person. But, to actually have to live that way most of the time? I mean, I know Nathan can ingest extra blood so he can go out into daylight for a few hours a day (then load up some more if he needs to in order to keep being out in it) but it’s still physically uncomfortable (even painful at times) for him to be out in it. 

I shook my head. I wanted Nathan more than anything… but to be like him?

One of the wolves who was cuddled up to me must’ve sensed my distress, for he suddenly raised his head then nuzzled and licked my face as if to comfort me. At first I thought this was more of Nathan’s doing, but he was no longer with us. I figure he must’ve silently got up and headed who knows where, leaving me with my protectors. Carefully I reached up and stroked the licking wolf’s face and then scratched him behind one ear. He seemed to like it. Then one or two others took notice and they decided they wanted some attention too. Eventually, after I gave them all a bit of love, we all settled down and sleep quietly overtook us.

The dreams that followed were the most vivid I’ve ever had. I was in the middle of a greenish fog which slowly dissipated and I found myself staring at a woman I’d never met in my life, but who’s face I knew quite well. 

It was Madeline, Nathan’s first wife and Lisa’s great-great grandmother. I recognized her from a number of paintings Nathan has done of her over the years. He keeps practically all of them in his art studio which is located on the top floor of the same building that houses his club “The Crypt” in the basement.

She was standing in the middle of a room with shelves with canned (meaning jars) of fruits and pickled items, a large mound of potatoes in one area, and carrots in another. I quickly realized this was an old root cellar. But instead of gathering any supplies located there, Madeline was simply standing in the center of the room looking down at the dirt floor. I caught the gleam of anticipation in her eyes. A moment later the ground began to ripple, as I had seen it do many times before, and Nathan rose to the surface.

He was standing upright as he emerged from the rippling soil with his arms open wide.  As soon as the ground became solid again, Madeline stepped eagerly into that waiting embrace, and I couldn’t blame her. Nathan was clearly as glad to see her, in more ways than one (since he was naked as usual when he came out of the ground). As they kissed, I swear you could practically hear their hearts pounding in unison.

Then the scene changed, I now saw the two of them curled up in front of a fireplace. Nathan was wearing clothing now and there was a little boy, from Madeline’s first husband who died during the war, fast asleep on a chair nearby. Nathan was holding Madeline in his arms as they were talking softly so as not to wake the little one. While I couldn’t make out what they were saying, I saw a number of occasional kisses and caresses being exchanged with genuine affection.

Feeling like a voyeur I turned only to find another scene playing out before me. The boy was now 8 or 9 years old and smiling as he watched Nathan and his mother dancing a waltz. They clearly had eyes only for one another, even though there were a dozen other couples around them. As I watched the scene seemed to melt and now the two of them were dancing alone in their bedroom. Madeline was wearing a white chemise, while Nathan was wearing what was then called a man’s dressing gown, which was basically a more elegant version of the modern bathrobe. As I watched them, I caught the first signs of crow’s feet in the corners of Madeline’s eyes. Her figure also seemed slightly fuller now, not that it seemed to bother either of them. I swear they were acting like a young couple about to celebrate first anniversary.

Other scenes of domestic life rolled out before my eyes like a movie with the occasional fades which revealed a new scene. I witnessed walks, trips, travel to foreign lands, gatherings with friends, and a number of quiet personal moments. I knew time was passing, but the emotions and passion between Nathan and Madeline never seemed to diminish even slightly.

Then a new scene began, and for a moment I thought we were back at the beginning, for Madeline was standing in the root cellar again. Then I realized she was wearing a robe instead of one of her dresses. I also noticed there were traces of gray in her hair, along with a few extra lines here and there. But as soon as Nathan emerged she opened her robe and let it fall to the ground to reveal she was wearing nothing underneath. And although time and gravity had been at work on her body, she was still quite desirable. I became a little envious watching Nathan scoop her up in his arms and begin kissing her like a sailor who’d been away at sea for way too long.

As he spun her around in his arms, more time passed and her hair became more gray until nothing but long silver tresses crowned her head. But the thing that got me was the fact that Nathan’s attention and affection towards her never changed. He was still at attentive, flirtatious, and devoted to her as ever. And neither did their passion for each other.

Just then the Chainsmokers/Coldplay song “I Want Something Just Like This” started running through my head.

“Yes,” I murmured, holding my arms out as if to hug someone, “That’s exactly what I want.” Now I’m going to admit, I was so caught up in the tune, that it took me a moment to realize that I my arms were wrapped around someone because I could feel the warmth of that person.

‘But I’m asleep,’ I thought to myself in confusion. ‘Aren’t I?’ Instinctively, I began to grope around with my hands to try and figure out what was going on and awoke to a wolf licking my face. Sighing I muttered, “So much for waking up in the arms of a hot guy.”

“In spite of technically being a vampyre, I am not undead, so I resent that remark,” came Nathan’s voice from just above my head.

Looking up I found that I was lying in his arms. Glancing around I found the wolves had not only surrounded but covered us in a huge puppy pile. As I became more aware of our situation, I quickly realized that Nathan was naked, and that one of my hands was very close to a certain ‘region’ of his anatomy.

My eyes locked with his.

“Careful, I can be very ticklish,” he warned.

Instead of answering, I looked around and spotted our friend and his mate curled up together. Clearly she was very happy to have him back, Sangui-sapio and all. Then I thought about Madeline and all I had seen about her life.

Turning back to Nathan, I kissed him with everything I had. Then I moved my hand lower and took hold.

His eyes widened, but instead of admonishing me as he had in the past, he said, “Are you sure?”

I nodded.

“Why?” he pressed.

“Madeline,” I answered after a moment.

“You saw her memories,” he said and began nodding to himself.

Her memories?” now it was my turn to be taken by surprise.

He gave me a gentle smile. “You now know firsthand, that I remember everything that ever happened to me because of the Sangui-Sapio. And you know I have access to the memories of its previous, and currents hosts.” Here he gestured at me and our wolf friend. “But what I didn’t tell you, was that I also have the recollections of those who’ve ever had even ‘some’ of the Sangui-sapio in them.”

“Madeline had some in her?” I gasped.

Nathan sighed, “Yeah, I hadn’t realized it myself for the longest time but eventually I figured it out.”

“How did it happen?” I pressed.

He gave me a disappointed look, then sighed, “Someone wasn’t paying attention in biology class. Okay, when a man and woman are really into each other, certain activities can lead to an exchange of body fluids which…”

“You guys weren’t using protection?” I cut in.

Nathan shook his head. “She caught an infection after giving birth to her son, and wasn’t able to conceive after that, so we didn’t bother worrying about protection. And since I was still getting used to my new existence, I hadn’t realized what had happened until much later.”

I started to frown. “But she never became like you.”

“She never wanted to. And as I learned later on, the Sangui-Sapio respected that and simply gave her a healthy long life,” Nathan explained at gazed out at our wolf friend and his mate. “Just as it will with him.”

I thought briefly about how good Madeline looked and moved during her later years. “Can the Sangui-sapio that’s in me, do what it did for Madeline?” I began.

Nathan nodded. “I already asked it to. Not that I had any idea what you were about to decide, mind you. It’s just,t I like to make sure those I care about are ‘taken care of’ so to speak. Especially if there’s the possibility of them one day contracting something serious.”

I knew he was referring to my father and his fight with cancer. I’ll admit, I have wondered and worried from time to time if I might develop that same form of cancer one day. So hearing that  Nathan had already made ‘arrangements’ for me, was a huge relief.

“So, the Sangui-Sapio will have to remain in me, but I won’t become like you,” I asked, just to be clear.

“Only if you wish to. Whether it be now or one day many years down the road, you’ll have the option,” he told me reassuringly.

“And if I choose not to?”

“It will return to me, and I will have a bit of you to carry with me always,” he smiled.

Feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders I relaxed into his chest and kissed him deeply once more. I knew where I wanted things to go next, but my stomach had other ideas and started to growl.

Talk about a mood killer.

A couple of the wolves who’d been keeping us warm raised their heads and gave me a funny look.

“You haven’t eaten since before we met up last night,” Nathan observed and slowly sat up. “And you don’t strike me as the type of person who’s into raw bison.”

“Definitely not,” I replied, doing my best not to look over at the remains of last night’s kill.

“Luckily, I know of a nice place less than an hour from here, where we can get you a good meal and I can hide from the sun for the day,” he continued.

That made me do a doubletake. “We’re in the middle of the tundra, how can there be a place to stay that close by?”

“I never said it was close by,” Nathan corrected. “I said we can get there in less than an hour.”

“But it took us a few hours to get where we are from the airport,” I pointed out.

“That’s because we were trying pick up the pack’s scent and then zero in on their location,” Nathan replied reasonably.

Apparently, him having an answer for everything was one of those little quirks I was going to have to get used to. Still, as much as I wanted him in that moment, I was sorely tempted to smack him on the arm. But I resisted and pulled out my cellphone. I knew there probably wouldn’t be any reception here, but since it was still kind of dark I was curious to know that the time was.

You can imagine my surprise to see it was 7 in the morning. Then I reminded myself where we were and that the nights were longer here. However, I could see the first hints of the coming dawn way in the distance. Nathan then informed me the sun would not be up proper for another 2 hours, which meant we needed to get him indoors as well get me food.

Around us the wolves began to meander amongst themselves, while our friend and his mate came over. She came to a stop just out of arms reach, while he came right up to me. Bending down, I ran my hands through his ruff once more and gave him a hug which he readily accepted. “Take care of yourselves,” I told him, knowing that a part of him understood my words perfectly.

He in turn, nuzzled and licked me. Then he looked at Nathan and gave him a short bark. To which Nathan smiled and said, “Thank you, I will.”

Then the pair returned to their pack and slowly moved on.

“He invited you to come and run with them again sometime, didn’t he?” I asked Nathan who was already transforming back to his own wolf form. Once shifted, he nodded, then gestured for me to climb onto his back once more.

Obediently, I climbed on board and felt the fur stretch and wrap around me once more. And boy was I glad for it. When we took off, we were moving way faster than last night, and I couldn’t help but keep a death-grip on Nathan as we went.

But as he promised, we reached our destination in just under an hour. Although, I was more than a little shocked by what we were looking at as I climbed off him.

“Are you serious?” I asked Nathan as he began putting on the clothing I had been keeping safe for him since the night before. “I thought you said there was a ‘nice place’ we could go.”

“It is a nice place,” he protested.

“It’s an ICE place!” I cried gesturing at the white curved structure. “It’s a frickin’ igloo! It’s going to be freezing inside.”

“No, it’s not. Take a closer look,” he instructed.

Frowning, I did as he instructed and got closer. Now I could see that it wasn’t made of ice but was a geodome partly covered in snow and frost. I could make out a chimney of sorts and as I moved around I spotted a wooden section that acted as the entrance to the structure. I was slowly becoming less annoyed and more impressed. I’d seen pictures of such places on the internet. Most of them were found in the Nordic countries. However, I had heard there were some here in Alaska but those were located way north of where we were.

“I had it built by some friends from Norway a few years ago,” Nathan explained.

“So you own this land?”

He nodded. “I went the ‘homestead’ route back in the 1960’s. I own several pieces up here in fact, and before you ask, yes, I do have cabins/homes built on them too. And all of them are well stocked with food, warm beds, and heating materials.”

Taking another look at the dome I could see there was a huge window looking out onto the tundra and the sky. Having slept under the Northern Lights outdoors, I started thinking about being able to do it again but inside a nice warm place with a bed.

My mind suddenly switched over to sharing a bed with Nathan all alone up here under those lights…then I started thinking about Lisa. My best dearest friend, who also cared for Nathan every bit as much as I do. While she and I had talked many times about one of us being with him, we hadn’t really…

Suddenly, my phone started to vibrate. I had a signal? All the way out here? Pulling the phone out I saw that I had full bars and a message. It was from Lisa. “It’s your time. Go for it.”

“What?” I stammered, staring at the message in confusion. She knew? But how?

Nathan came over and placed a hand on my face. “Open your mind and listen,” he told me.

Then I heard Lisa’s voice inside my head saying, “Welcome to the family, Bestie. And remember, I love you too.”

“The Sangui-Sapio,” I whispered in shock, “She has some in her as well?”

Nathan nodded. “I only do it with certain people who are very dear to me who I want to keep a close eye on. This way I can be there all the faster in case I’m… needed during an emergency.”

The way he said that last part told me it wasn’t something he wanted to discuss right now. And I was fine with that. Just knowing that my bond with Lisa had become even stronger and made us closer than ever, made me extremely happy.

But not as happy as Nathan did over the next few days and nights…

THE END – as promised

Marisa’s Musings -October 24th, 2019 “Red Fang” Part XI

 I tried not to show how worried I was of course, since they say animals can smell fear. But that didn’t stop me from mentally shouting, “NATHAN, I’M KIND OF SURROUNDED UP HERE!

What I got back was, “Little busy right now…

At that point my fear was instantly replaced with what I consider righteous annoyance. “FINE… just remember if I wind up as wolf chow, YOUR going to have to explain things to not only my parents, but Otto, Lisa, Richard, your sister AND Penny!

At that point our friend let out a series of growls and barks, which were repeated all the louder by his mate. What happened next will be engraved into my brain for the rest of my life. The wolves who were all around me closed ranks and… I still can’t believe this…

… they all curled up against me. 

Lay down, they’ll keep you safe and warm,” came Nathan’s gentle reassurance, so I did as I was told. I have to admit the added warmth of those furry bodies was more than welcome. It also spared me watching the rest of the kill. 

As expected, our friend and his mate, along with Nathan and the others made short work of the big bison. Now I’ll say right up front, I felt sorry for the big animal, but I also understood that this was the way things were in nature. I’ve watched enough documentaries to know, this is how it goes in the wild. Hunting and killing were not for sport, but for survival. And today, with Nathan’s guidance, they didn’t go for a calf or a female. It was understood that they were needed to keep the herd’s numbers strong. I had a feeling our friend would keep things that way in the future, provided of course this kill managed to help re-establish his leadership.

I’m pleased to say it did. After the kill and everyone took their turns at the carcass, including those who were keeping me warm. As each went to get their fill, one of the ones who had already eaten had come over to take the spot that had been vacated around me. Eventually, I risked a look and saw our friend and his mate were making up for lost time.

They had clearly missed each other. It is said some wolves mate for life, and with these two, I could believe it. But there was still the matter of the Sangui-Sapio, in the male. How was Nathan going to get it out of our friend, without alarming his mate or the rest of the pack?

“A very good question,” Nathan replied aloud, not using our mental link. 

Frowning I turned, expecting to see a talking wolf, but no Nathan was in his human form. He was sitting just on the other side of the pile of wolves that were surrounding me, with his arms resting on his drawn up knees. I noticed right away he was shirtless and his legs were bare, which meant he was stark naked. ‘Duh,’ I thought to myself, ‘I still have his clothes.’

“Yes, you do but I don’t want them right now,” he said with a smile. “I may do a bit of running with some the of the more rambunctious younger wolves before morning.”

I started to gesture at our friend and his mate, “But what about…” 

“Oh they’re fine, nothing to worry about,” Nathan assured me. 

“So you already pulled the Sangui-Sapio out of him?” I pressed.

Nathan looked at me and sighed, “Not really. It’s been in him too long. He and it are… integrated.”

I was shocked and immediately began worrying. After all, the Cannibal Killer only had the Sangui-Sapio in him for barely an hour and Nathan was able to call it out of him. But I’d already had it in me for at least three times as long. 

“When you say it’s been in him too long… exactly how long is too long?” I asked, trying to sound not the least bit concerned.

“Well,” Nathan began, “In my case, the Sangui-Sapio fully bonded with me over the span of a couple of days. And…”

“It’s been in him since January,” I finished and shook my head. “So there’s nothing you can do for him?”

This time he shot me a disappointing look. “If that were the case, neither you nor I would be here, now would we?”

I don’t usually flip someone off, but this time I did it without thinking.

His reply took me by surprise. “A tempting offer but only one of us is naked at the moment, and the other could get undressed but wouldn’t be able handle to take the cold for very long. Even with shared body heat. So I’ll have to take a pass on that for the moment. Perhaps later. Besides, we don’t want scare our friends off, especially not when a number of them are helping keep you warm.”

Had… had he just propositioned me? Shaking my head, I focused my thoughts back on my original point. “But what about our friend? How is he going to keep from shapeshifting into a man…” That’s when the penny finally dropped for me. “Wait a minute. You’re in your normal form? And he’s in his? But he kept changing whenever you started to shift back to human. How did you…”

“During our fight with the bison, I had a little mental chat with the Sangui-Sapio inside him. I convinced it to kind of go dormant so to speak,” Nathan smiled.

“Meaning?” I pressed.

“It’s still inside him, but it won’t try to be in the ‘driver’s seat’ if you get my meaning. It will do the usual things for him, help him heal quickly, keep him strong and even give him a little boost when he really needs it. But, it won’t try to shift his shape and it will keep the other memories it possesses to itself. It’s just going to be a helpful passenger, that’s all.”

“But what about the wolf’s lifespan? Will it get extended?” I asked, uneasily. The idea of an animal living for over a century was not something I wanted to consider. Having shared the wolf’s mind already, I knew it would drive the poor creature completely mad.

Nathan bowed his head. “No, it will let the creature live a good long life, but not too long. But he will be allowed to pass, and when he does, I’ll be here to take back the Sangui-Sapio. It will need a host, and it will be happy to come back to me.”

‘So the wolf will have it’s chance at a normal life and be able to one day leave this world. Unlike you, who have will keep walking it for God knows how long,’ I thought, understanding his bowed head. 

Lisa and I had talked about how even though Nathan has a very big “Extended Family”, people who he’s watched over for years even generations, he could also get lonely. Sure, he’d have those he loved around him, but eventually every one of them would leave this world and him behind. And while he would keep their memories alive, and I suspect a part of them alive within himself, it wasn’t the same.

I cannot count the number of times Lisa and I considered asking Nathan to make one or both of us like him and share that long existence with him, so he wouldn’t be alone. He’s been married twice before. The first time was in the 1860’s when he didn’t know he could share his gift with her, so he never offered. By the time he’d married his second wife in the 1930’s he did know, and they were planning on it, but Magda had married him at the age of 16 and they wanted to wait a while until she was closer to his apparent age. Only, since she and her family were gypsies they had been rounded up by Nazis and spirited away while Nathan had been gone helping others. Months passed before he finally found where she’d been taken and it was already too late.* (as told in “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” link provided at bottom of page)

But where I still wasn’t sure if I could handle such a existence, Lisa had already decided that it would happen in her case. It was just a matter of when. But now I had some of his Sangui-Sapio in me, and I was already learning firsthand some of what Nathan has been experiencing for over and century. Where he couldn’t retrieve the Sangui-Sapio from the wolf, there was still time for him to do so with me. The question was, did I want him to?

TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME…. seriously, I mean it this time.

MARISA’S MUSINGS – October 24th, 2019: “Red Fang” Part X

Glancing down at my watch I saw half an hour passed already. How much farther did we have to go? I mean, I was grateful for Nathan’s suggestion of putting on his coat, but it was much colder out here than I’d expected. There was a strong breeze and even with the extra layer of clothing, along with the fur he’d extended to keep me from falling off his back, I was starting to feel the chill, especially in my legs. Still I had the heat coming off of his wolf form to help. But instead of complaining, I simply hugged Nathan tighter and buried my face in his fur and tried not to think about my discomfort.

Then I noticed more fur stretching and slowly covering my legs. “Thank you,” I shouted over the wind. 

You’re quite welcome,” Nathan replied, inside my head.

Now I was feeling much more comfortable. Between that and the rhythm of being rocked while on Nathan’s back I wound up dozing off. It was only when we came to a sudden halt, that I awoke. Remembering where we were I was about to ask if we’d found the wolf’s pack. But no. Instead we had come to a halt on the top of a ridge.

I was about to ask what was wrong when I suddenly had to catch my breath. We were standing right under the  Northern Lights

Or at least if felt that way. The Aurora Borealis stretches for miles and miles naturally, but at that moment it felt like we were right under the very center of it. Front, back, side to side, they were the sky for us at that moment. I could even make out the stars beyond the swirling colors, which was something I’d never thought about until that moment. It was… incredible. 

I thought you’d like it,” Nathan told me through our mental link. There was a tenderness in his words that I actually felt. I’ve always felt something for Nathan, but in that moment I truly knew how much I was in love with him.

Yet at the same time I wished that Lisa could have been with us in that moment. Her being there with us would have made it truly perfect. 

Another time,” came Nathan’s voice in my head. 

Taking the hint I looked over at our wolf friend. I could tell he understood how we felt about the scene above and around us, but he had a longing of his own to fulfill. Nodding I said to Nathan, “LET’S GO!” 

Nathan turned his head to look at me and smiled. “Hang on!” he told me with his voice, instead of our link. 

It was a good thing I listened. The pair of them took off like shot. We were moving much faster than before. I realized they must’ve gotten the scent of the pack who were on the move.  A hunt perhaps? No doubt I would soon find out.

Finally we spotted them in the distance.

They were out in the open and seemingly in disarray. From the tracks in the snow near them it appeared that some kind of big prey had gotten away. A failed hunt? More than likely. 

They apparently haven’t been able to decide on a new pack leader,” Nathan said in my head. “Look off to the side and you’ll see the alpha female.”

I did as he instructed and saw her. 

She was even more beautiful in person than in our companion’s memory. She was curled up off to the side, ignoring the boisterous males who seemed to be arguing amongst themselves. Clearly she had not chosen a new mate, and nearby were several more females watching her closely. Sisters? I wondered. Possibly. Maybe that’s why none of them had challenged her her alpha position, even without a mate.

But even more curious was the fact that she was staring in our direction. Ears perked up, eyes sharp and alert.

“Maybe now would be a good time to take the Sangui-Sapio back?” I whispered in one of Nathan’s pointed ears.

He shook his head and did not speak aloud but through the link once more. “She knows we’re here. Or rather that HE is here.”

Then she can smell the Sangui-Sapio in him,” I thought back. Knowing that wolves are normally very shy of people to begin with, I didn’t want to use my voice and possibly spook the pack. 

She was on her feet now and took a few steps in our direction then stopped. Clearly something was holding her back. Then I spotted the rest of the pack. They had either spotted us or caught our scent, and were clearly not happy about it.

Feeling a little anxious I mentally hissed, “Okay, NOW would definitely be a good time to take back the Sangui-Sapio.” 

Not yet!” Nathan thought back forcefully. From someplace nearby I could hear bison calling to one another. 

A herd was nearby.

I caught the look that passed between Nathan and our friend and suddenly the two of them took off, with me still on Nathan’s back. Looking over my shoulder I saw that the blonde female was following, along with the other females. Eventually, the rest of the pack began to follow as well.

What was going on?

I soon found out.

On the other side of a rise, the herd soon came into view causing us to slow to a halt. There were about 20-30 of them, slightly scattered, grazing on the tall plants sticking out of the snow.

Now I understood. Our friend needed to make a kill to prove he was still a good hunter/provider to get his position back. And since Bison were extremely dangerous animals, Nathan was leaving the Sangui-Sapio where it was to give the wolf added strength to bring one down. But even with the extra strength, surely one wolf couldn’t bring down a bison all by himself.

Suddenly, Nathan’s backside hit the snow, and the fur that had been holding me in place receded. Taking the hint, I slid off him and stood next to a nearby tree. As soon as I was clear, the two of them began sneaking up on the group below.

I’ll say it right now, I was worried. Not so much for the two of them, but for myself. Because I could tell the pack, still following the alpha female, were practically right behind me. I hadn’t realized how close they were until our friend’s mate came to a halt just a few yards off to my right. She was keeping one eye on me, while also paying close attention to what was happening below.

There were a few calves among the herd, and for a second I was afraid that one of them would be the target. But no, Nathan and our friend were making their way towards a lone full-grown adult. A male, I later found out. An older one, but still full of fight.

I won’t go into detail, but needless to say the two of them pounced and kept their prey from escaping with the rest of the herd. But still, the odds were not necessarily in their favor. It was quite the struggle and only when it was clear that they were able to keep the bull form escaping that the alpha female turned to the pack. She became very vocal letting out a series of barks and growls, then took off to join the fight. A number of others joined her, while the several of those who remained behind slowly began to take up positions around… ME!

TO BE CONTINUED… and eventually concluded I promise!

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward – October 24th, 2019 “Red Fang” – Part V

I recognized the tone in Marisa’s voice and knew she was being completely serious. So, I immediately looked in the direction she was pointing. Sure enough, standing there amidst the trees across the road, was our quarry. It was still in its wolf/human form. As we watched, the creature kept switching its gaze from Marisa, then to me and back. 

“It must’ve sensed your presence,” Marisa murmured.

I nodded. “The Sangui-Sapio we share is calling out to itself. I felt he was near while I was still on the plane.”

Marisa shot me a puzzled look and I quickly explained what had happened. “I see,” she nodded when I finished and glanced back at the creature across the road. “But why is it choosing a humanoid shape? I would think it would hunt better in its own form.”

“That’s got me puzzled too,” I confessed and told her about the dreams I’d been having. “So, when I saw the article, I knew I had to come. I think the poor creature is stuck and can’t shift back to normal.”

“Do you think the Sangui-Sapio is responsible?” she asked, then frowned. “No that doesn’t make sense. You’ve always told us that the only times the Sangui-Sapio has ever altered your form shape without permission was to keep you safe. Otherwise, it never tries to interfere or takeover.”

“I know, that’s what got me confused,” I told her.

“Not as confused as this poor thing,” Marisa replied and proceeded to cross the street.

Naturally I immediately followed, all the while saying, “Marisa what are you…” Then I stopped myself. The wolf-creature was coming out from among the trees. Its body language was neither hostile or threatening. If anything, it seemed drawn to her somehow… 

And of course, that’s when everything went to hell! 

A passing car’s headlights illuminated the wolf who was completely clear of the trees just then. The sound of tires screeching to a halt, told me that the driver had spotted the poor misshapen animal. Before I could even think, Marisa began shouting at the wolf to take off which it promptly did with amazing speed. 

I think I was the only one not surprised, but that was because my keen eyes saw the animal’s mismatched limbs suddenly shortened or stretched until they were the same length, allowing it to move with a speed only I could match. Not that I did of course, not with the Ranger right there. 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the vehicle that had come to a halt was a modified pick-up belonging to an Alaska Park Ranger. The driver was already leaping from his vehicle holding a rifle when the beast disappeared from sight. 

Unfortunately, the wolf had not bolted back into the woods as I’d hoped. Instead, it shot across the road and disappeared between the shadowy buildings of the airport before any of us knew what was happening. 

At that point there was only one thing I could think of doing. I straightened up and did my best impression of Bull Shannon from the show “Night Court” and said, “Ooooo-kay,” in his voice.

I knew he was one of Marisa’s favorite characters from the show, but if you had seen the look she gave me you’d have thought I’d done an impression of Dan Fielding, the sleezy lawyer, instead. 

“Seriously? Is that all you’ve got to say at a moment like this?” she demanded, while pointing behind me.

I quickly got what she meant, because I could hear the Ranger reaching for his radio. I immediately pointed at him and shot my mist in his direction. I wasn’t able to stop him from getting a few words out saying he’d located the creature, but I did manage to get him to tell them to search in the opposite direction from where the animal had fled. I also got him to completely ignore us and take off in the wrong direction. 

“Better?” I asked Marisa, only to find she was already crossing the road again to get back to the airport.

Catching up with her, we’d just reached the edge of the buildings where we’d last seen our quarry in time to hear shouts and running feet. This time I was the one to spot the animal, darting between a couple of hangars. Without pausing, I picked up Marisa and raced towards the buildings. To anyone watching they’d have just seen a blur shoot past, since I wasn’t holding back on the speed. And as for the snow on the ground, I can run on top of it, which meant no trace of our passing would be found. 

As soon as we were in the shadows of the building, I put Marisa down and we both started scanning the area for our friend. But because this was real life and not a Disney or Hallmark Channel story, all we could see and hear were people screaming and scrambling away from the tarmac. Although I had gotten the ranger and his friends heading in the wrong direction, the animal had clearly been spotted by people who were now surging towards terminal to escape and raise the alarm.

As we stood there, we could see security armed with rifles were already pouring out of the terminal and nearby buildings. 

“This is not good,” Marisa muttered, looking around for our friend. “And I don’t see him anywhere?”

Neither could I, but I knew he was still near. But with security already spreading out to search I didn’t have time to try and zero in on him. But I did know where he definitely wasn’t. “I’m going to lead them off, keep an eye on my stuff, please,” I told Marisa. 

Before she could ask what I meant, I began misting out of my clothes and let them hit the ground. A moment later I solidified a few feet away not as myself but as the ‘werewolf’.

Marisa smiled.

Gesturing with my snout at the security guards I gave her a wink.

“Okay, but you be careful,” she whispered and then let out a bloodcurdling scream that got everyones attention. Immediately, I bolted from our hiding spot and onto the tarmac, pausing briefly to make sure I was spotted before trying to get away from the terminal area. I purposely alternated running on two feet, then all fours, so as not to discourage pursuit. After all, the whole idea was to lead them away from the area where we knew the creature was. 

Glancing over my shoulder I saw a number of security officers giving chase, as well as a couple who were ‘tending’ to Marisa who was putting on quite the damsel in distress act.  They were leading her into the terminal where she would be safe. Or so I thought. Like I said before, this wasn’t a Disney or Hallmark movie…

TO BE CONTINUED…

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward – October 24th, 2019 “Red Fang” – Part IV

After a five-hour drive to Columbus Ohio, and now coming to the end of a 12+ hour flight, I’ll be touching down in Fairbanks very shortly. Isabella tried getting Otto to come with me, but I pointed out that this was more of a solo trip. As knowledgeable and talented as Otto is, I’m the one who has more of a direct connection to the wolf. The recent dreams have proven this to me, and even this high up, I think I can feel the gap between me and the errant Sangui-Sapio shrinking. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. I’ll know for sure once we touch down.

The flight crew are asking us to shut down our electronics. I’ll take this up once I’m back on the ground.

Three hours later… 

Okay, so much for my ‘solo’ mission. Apparently, Isabella has been acting as the eyes and ears for Lisa and Marisa without my knowledge. How did I find out? Well, coming off the plane and finding Marisa at the gate holding up a sign that says, “Congratulations on your sex change, Sis… er Bro!”, which included a photo of me in my ‘Nadine’ persona, was a huge hint. You see, I’ve only ever let Isabella take photos of me in that form, so I knew it had to have been her doing.

I was tempted to walk in the opposite direction, only I had this horrible image of Marisa running after me yelling, “So? How’s the new plumbing working out?” I know how tenacious she can be. So instead, I simply walked right up to her and said quietly, “Thanks for going the sibling route, instead of something like, ‘Congratulations on the sex change, Honey. When do I get to try out your new equipment?’.”

She laughed and said, “Ooo… I’m saving that for next time.”

“Me and my big mouth,” I murmured as we headed for the baggage area. “So, how did you land all the way up here. I thought you were riding the rails with our Karneval Schatten friends?”

Karneval Schatten, as the name implies, is a traveling carnival made up of people and beings from various Para-Earths who at one point or another found themselves stranded in this world. By traveling and presenting themselves as performers, they’re able to hide their ‘strangeness’ from the folks of this world. And like Otto and me, they seek out incursions from other Para-Earths and try to return any creatures/beings land up here. If they cannot return the ‘visitor’ to their reality, they will add them to their ranks if possible. However, in cases where the intruder is hostile or more dangerous, they will contact me or Otto to help contain the being.

They travel by an unusual train which can actually travel through various Para-Earths and reappear in this world at a variety of select locations that act as beacons for them. Just don’t ask me for the mechanics of how the train does it because I have no idea. Nor do my carnival friends to be honest. They ‘borrowed’ it from another Para-Earth traveler, who had been gathering and imprisoning them (and eventually me) for purposes I’d rather not go into right now.

Damn, just thinking about that day still makes me shudder. I swear if it hadn’t been for Brandon Elliott, and his grandson Peter, God only knows what might have happened to us and this world.

The rest of my reverie was interrupted by Marisa.

“Once I heard you were coming here, I asked them to drop me off,” she explained, brushing a stray blonde hair out of her face and back into the hood of her parka. “I was ready to head home anyway and figured I could catch a lift back with you after we find your… friend.”

I halted in mid-step and frowned at her. “My sister sent you the article too?”

“No, I found it,” she laughed, “Who do you think sent it to her the others in the first place?”

Eying her curiously I asked, “So, you’ve been keeping an eye out for possible ‘incursions’?”

She nodded. “Incursions, strange phenomenon, sightings… after all I need material for my children and Young Adult ‘fantasy’ books don’t I?” Then she bumped me with her hip saying, “Unlike some people, I don’t have over a century and a half of life experience to draw upon.”

“Touche’,” I conceded. “When are you going to finally try releasing one of them?”

“I want to have a good number of them completed first in case I hit a dry spell so I can keep releasing stories in a timely manner. That way the audience doesn’t wind up getting frustrated that it’s taking so long between books,” she replied as we started walking towards the carriage area again.

“How many have you got on hand?”

“Five, but I want eight at least before I start publishing.”

“Eight?” I frowned as we reached the baggage carousel. “Why so many?”

“That way I can safely put out two per year with plenty of room for travel or…” she paused to snatch my bag which had just appeared on the conveyor belt, “Life getting in the way for a good four years.”

I had to admit she had a point. I often wished I still had a few books set and ready to go some days. But ever since I moved back to the family mansion, I’ve had a number of distractions (which included her and Lisa) to deal with. And this ‘werewolf’ business was only the latest.

As we made our way out the doors of the terminal I could see how much snow had fallen recently. Marisa must’ve noticed it too and promptly huddled closer to me as we walked through the parking lot. Since she is almost as tall as me meant she could rest her head on my shoulder, and promptly did so.

“You didn’t by chance rent a car, did you?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I caught a taxi and came right here. Besides, I wasn’t sure if we’d need a car, skis, or a snowmobile.” Here she paused and looked at me, “Then again, we could just rent a dogsled and tie you to the front. You’re so strong we wouldn’t need a full dog team.”

“You just want an excuse to get a leash on me,” I blurted and instantly regretted it.

“Well now that you’ve brought it up…” she began.

“Uh-oh,” I muttered, looking up. “It’s starting to snow again.”

Marisa frowned, “So? I thought you loved the snow?”

“I do, but with it falling that means no moon or Northern Lights to help us find my ‘friend’ as you call him,” I explained and looked around. I blew out a breath. “I’ll have to reach out mentally to try and get an idea…”

“FOUND HIM!” Marisa cut in and pointed.

TO BE CONTINUED…

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward – October 23rd, 2019 “Red Fang” – Part III

Otto raised one bushy eyebrow and asked, “Nathan, what did you do? Come clean, now.”

“I got hurt during a hunt,” I replied distractedly, as I pulled up a new tab on the computer and began searching for the nearest flight to Alaska. There was one leaving that evening from Columbus, Ohio. I could easily make it if I started getting ready right away. Booking a seat on the plane, I got up and began making for the door only to find both Otto and Isabella blocking me.

“You do know I can easily mist past the two of you,” I pointed out.

“Are you so sure?” asked Otto, pulling out an oversized fireplace bellow. It took me a moment to realize the bellow he was holding was the one I kept next to the fireplace. As usual, I never heard or saw him grab it. He’s a sly one, let me tell you.

Knowing the clock was ticking for me to get to Ohio I told them, “Fine, follow me upstairs and I’ll explain while I pack.”

That got them to let me pass, and the three of us headed upstairs. I told them all about my visit with my friends in Fairbanks and how I’d headed for the Boreal Forest after leaving them.

As we reached my bedroom Isabella headed straight for my closet and pulled out a couple of suitcases, one of which was almost as big as her. Not that she had any trouble handling it. Since I accidentally infected her my Sangui-Sapio (a story for another day), she has the same strength, speed, and weaknesses I possess. And although she has the body of a child, unlike me she has been growing at the normal rate of any 12-year-old girl. Though I suspect, that like me, this will slow down considerably once she reaches adulthood.

In the meantime, Otto urged me to continue my tale and I complied.

Since they already know about my tendency to ‘go native’ when I’m up in Alaska, I was able to gloss over that part quickly. Finally, I got to the part about meeting up with the pack of wolves, and how I’d won their confidence with my mist trick.

“Since the hours of night are so long at that time of the year, I wound up staying with them almost a week,” I explained. “Since we were making kills pretty regularly, there was plenty of blood to keep me sated. Plus, it was pretty cloudy at the time, and we were keeping under the tree canopy a lot, which made things even easier for me to stay in wolf form.”

“Sounds like you were having a lovely time,” Otto nodded pleasantly, as he sat on my smiling. “So, when are we going to get to the ‘Oops’ part of your story?”

I stood there holding a stack of underwear in my hands, and just stared at him. “What makes you think there’s an ‘Oops’ part coming?”

“Because it’s clear from your reaction to the article that you suspect you accidentally infected one of those wolves with your Sangui-Sapio companion,” he answered calmly.

“Psychology?” I asked.

Otto shook his head. “No, more like I know that look you get whenever you’ve goofed something up,” he teased, then his expression became serious. “So how did it happen? You’re usually very careful about not ‘sharing’ your gifts.” His eyes darted to Isabella ever-so-briefly before looking at me again.

As I mentioned before, infecting my sister had been an accident. It had happened back in 1863, shortly after the Sangui-Sapio and I had formed our bond. I hadn’t learned about the mistake until decades later, mistaking her for a ghost at first.

Anyway, I resumed my packing and my tale. “It was the last night I was with the pack. We were hunting bison. Shortly before I met the pack they had lost both their alpha and beta leaders. With me appearing on the scene, they’d had more successes with their hunts and were beginning to eye me as a new leader. Too many failed hunts and they’d be in trouble. Luckily there was one young male who was showing a lot of promise and I was trying to support him, so to speak. Follow his lead and all, kind of thing.”

“And how did he take it?” Otto inquired.

“He wasn’t exactly thrilled about me, but he knew I was effective in helping bring down prey so he tolerated my presence. But during that last hunt, errors were made. He wanted us to go after one of the younger bison. Unfortunately, I could tell already that the herd was keeping a very good defensive ring around their young. No matter how much the pack harried them, they wouldn’t break rank. That is, except for one older bull who at that point was wide open.”

As usual Otto was already ahead of me, saying, “Let me guess, our young alpha saw this as an opportunity to firmly establish himself as leader. Am I correct?”

I nodded. “Oh yeah. Mind you he was a good hunter, but I could see he was going to be seriously outmatched.”

“So, you jumped in to try and help him?” my sister asked.

“That had been the plan,” I winced, “I didn’t want to make him look bad, but I knew he couldn’t take that bison alone. So, I zipped ahead and challenged the big bull myself, giving the alpha a clean shot at the throat. Unfortunately, the bull was faster than either of us expected and he gored me something fierce, got my blood all over his face and neck. A second or two later, the alpha nailed him in the throat and the three of us went at it. The pack arrived moments later, attacking the bull’s rear and sides. And that was it for the bull, we brought him down. But looking back, I suspect that some of my blood was on the bison’s throat where the alpha struck. Which means it didn’t return to me when we called my blood back.”

“You called your blood back?” Isabella repeated with a frown.

“Whenever I bleed, either me or Sangui-Sapio can call the blood I spilled back into me through the skin. Unless something prevents it from reaching me, like being ingested for instance,” I explained.

“Like the Cannibal Killer you fought three years ago?” Isabella continued.

I nodded. That guy had lived up to his name and had taken a bite out of me, along with a chunk of the Sangui-Sapio. He’d been injured in our fight before he bit me. And since the Sangui-Sapio’s first instinct is to preserve life, it went to work pretty quickly on him, making the guy nearly as strong and hard to stop as me.

As if reading my thoughts Otto spoke again. “If this is indeed the case with the wolf, why is the creature taking a humanoid shape? From what you’ve told me in the past, the Sangui-Sapio normally just adapts to its new host’s form. It only tries to shapeshift the body briefly, in or to protect or help the new host. Otherwise, the host appears to be normal. Yet, according to the article, the creature seems to have taken on a humanoid shape and was having rough time of it. Now, why would a wolf do that?”

Once more I thought back to the dream. In it, I was having trouble keeping my wolf form. “I don’t know,” I replied, finishing up my packing. “Which is why I have to get up there as quickly as possible, before that poor creature accidentally winds up infecting another animal or even a person.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Nathaniel’s Private E-Journal – October 23rd, 2019 “Red Fang” – Part II

Upon reaching the bottom of the steps I could hear Otto, Penny, Richard and Isabella in the study laughing about something on the internet.

“Well that certainly makes a change from Abominable Snowman sightings,” Richard was saying.

“Maybe it’s a Wendigo?” I heard my sister chime in, “They travel with the snow!”

“True, but I have never heard of one that far north,” Otto’s gentle bass voice pointed out.

Intrigued, I did a 180 and headed for the study instead of the kitchen. Coffee could wait, this was sounding interesting.

Upon entering the study, I saw that they were all gathered around the computer on the big desk where I work on my novels. There are two computer monitors, which makes it easier for me to do research on one while I work on my story on the other. At this point though they had the story on only one screen and their heads were all in the way, so I couldn’t see what they were looking at.

As I strained to look over their heads, Penny suddenly said, “You’re up early, Nathan.”

I did a doubletake. She hadn’t even turned around to look at me. And I know I didn’t cast a reflection on either monitor. I swear the woman has developed some kind of “Mom Radar” ever since she gave birth to her son Richie Jr. four years ago.

Then again it may just be a survival tactic she developed growing up in Detroit. She doesn’t like to talk about her childhood. But one time she did tell me you needed to have eyes all over your head to survive not only the neighborhood, but the apartment building you lived in too.

Before I could respond to Penny’s observation Isabella spoke up again. “Lisa’s visiting some museums over in Charleston for one the college classes she’s taking, and Marisa’s travelling with our carnival friends. He doesn’t have any reason to be tired enough to stay in bed.”

At that point Otto looked at me and waggled his bushy eyebrows at me saying, “You poor boy.”

Ignoring these little jibes at my expense, I finally got to see what was on the screen. It was clear from the headline what movie they got their inspiration from. 

“An American Werewolf in Alaska?” I read aloud incredulously.

“I know,” cried Penny turning to me. “Alaska has been part of the United States for decades, so of course any werewolf that turns up there is going to be American.”

“I would have gone with ‘Red Fang’ myself,” added Otto.

I stared blankly at him for a moment, which earned me an eyeroll from my oldest friend.

“What?” I cried, wondering what I’d done this time.

Richard came to my aid. “He’s making a joke off of the title ‘White Fang’. You know, the novel by Jack London that takes place in Alaska?”

“Never mind, Richard,” Otto told him, “Apparently, he doesn’t read modern books.”

“Modern!” I exclaimed, “That was written in 1906. If that’s modern, what do you consider ‘classic’?”

Otto simply shrugged, “The Bible, the Vedas, Ovid’s Metamorphases…”

“The Dead Sea Scrolls, anything you were able to check out of the Library of Alexandria…,” I supplied helpfully.

“I wish,” he sighed.

Laughing I excused myself and went to get some coffee. Otto is way older than me, yet in spite of our being friends for the last 120+ years, I still don’t know exactly how old he really is. Oh, he claims he’s given me plenty of hints over time (which I know he has), it’s just… I have a problem with numbers. It’s called Dyscalculia, which is a kind of dyslexia only with numbers instead of letters, which throws my calculations off whenever I’m doing math. I barely passed my classes at the universities, which made me kind of blase when it comes to doing casual math problems, outside of research or for a class. 

Heading back to the study, I found only Otto and Isabella were still there. “Where’d Penny and Richard go?” I asked.

“To wake Little Richie up from his afternoon nap,” Isabella answered, then turned back to Otto asking, “If the creature is real, do you think it might be another Para-Earth incursion?”

“It’s possible, but none of my calculations predicted an opening taking place in that area recently,” he replied.

This piqued my curiosity and I slid into one of the chairs vacated by Penny and Richard, in order to check out the article. There were a few photos, but since they were taken at night, so the lighting was not great. 

Heck, I’ve seen photos of Bigfoot (which never do him justice, FYI) that were more recognizable. And that includes the fuzzy grainy shots like this one.

Turning to my old friend I asked, “Otto? What did you mean when you said you’d have called this article ‘Red Fang’?”

“Well, if you read the article, you’ll find out,” he replied curiously.

Obediently, I did as he instructed. The description of the creature varied somewhat from witness to witness. However, they all agreed it looked humanoid with tufts of hair on its back and misshapen limbs. According to those who got a better look at it, one or more of the creature’s limbs was longer than the rest, which made it hard for the thing to get around. Perhaps that was why it seemed to vary running on two limbs and then all four. However it was only towards the end of the article that two people described the creature’s coloring not as reddish, but red. Almost blood red, to be specific. Looking back to the title of the article, I saw that the encounter had taken place on the outskirts of Fairbanks.

I suddenly found myself thinking back to the dream, and now an uneasy feeling was sweeping over me.

As if knowing my thoughts, Otto observed casually, “Of course, the creature could have made a kill and was simply covered in the blood of its victim.”

I shook my head. A century and a half on this, and a number of Para-Earths, has taught me that if something seems ‘sus’, then it probably is.

Just then Isabella said, “The article said this wasn’t the first sighting of the creature. There have been reports of a red wolf type of creature being spotted as far back as April. You were in Alaska back in January? Did you see the creature while you were there?”

At that moment I remembered a particular incident that had happened during my visit. “I think, I might have…” I replied.

TO BE CONTINUED…

News and a New Tale Coming Soon…

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying the stories shared here for the past few months, even if they are re-runs so to speak. Still, I’m hoping that they have been new to a number of our visitors. 

I’m popping in today to give you all a heads up as to what’s been happening for me. I’ve been going through procedures for a back and leg problem, and have another one scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully this one might be the ‘silver bullet’ that corrects the problem. If not, then the doctors are going to have to look into some more invasive procedure options to alleviate the pain which should then allow me to return to work and being more mobile.

In the meantime, I have just about wrapped up my “A Christmas Carol” project, which will be made available to all for free over on YouTube. This will be an unabridged reading of Mr. Dickens classic tale, complete with images from Wikimedia and other public domain sites. The only thing I have left to do for each chapter is record an opening and closing where I will be discussing the novella as well as the importance of Mr. Dickens work at the time of its release. I’ll also be briefly exploring themes and why ghost stories were associated with Christmas even before the novella was ever created.

In the meantime, we have another spooky holiday coming up next month and in celebration of the season I wanted to let you all know that I am preparing a werewolf story involving Nathan and Marisa in Alaska.

So I hope you’ll keep visiting this site as my goal is to get the tale written within the next week or two while I recover from tomorrow’s procedure. My intention is to have the entire story written and then break it up into as many installments for this blog, with the finale being released on October 30th.

Until next time, take care and stay safe everyone.

Nathaniel’s E-Journal May 2007 – I’m Now A Published Author

As I sit here typing my mind is still in a whirl.  The idea that something I’ve written is actually getting published seems unreal.  Then again a lot of things I’ve done in my long life feel that way.

The first time I stepped out onto a stage in vaudeville to play a part in one of the Marx Brothers routines I felt the same way.  I’d been helping out in their rehearsals and knew the routine by heart, so when Gummo wasn’t able to appear with his brothers one night, I was drafted then and there.  I’m proud to say that I did not suffer stage fright, but that was mostly because I had Julius, Arthur and Leonard with me.  I knew they had my back and I wasn’t about to let them down.  In a way, it was like being back in the Union Army, where I knew I had a bunch of guys watching out for me just as much as I was keeping an eye out for them.  When we finished our routine they made sure I took a bow with them.  After that I started finding myself on stage a number of times with some of the other acts who knew me pretty well.


But I digress.  As my second semester taking writing classes was drawing to a close, one of my instructors urged me to try and submit a few of my short stories to a few magazines for publication.  This was in March and I trusted my instructor’s judgement and with their help I prepared a cover letter, synopsis and a sample of one of my stories.  Needless to say the results were pretty much what I half expected…

Not to say I wasn’t a little hurt, but my instructor was like, “Good, now you’re really on your way to being an author.”  Needless to say I gave her a very curious look, but nodded and kept trying.  Within weeks the responses, or rather more rejections, came rolling in…

Yet in spite of this, Brian, his family, fellow students, and even other members of the English and Literature faculty kept urging me on.  So I kept at it.  Finally, yesterday, I got a response from of all magazines Playboy, who wanted to publish one of my stories. It was one I submitted on a whim to their college fiction contest last year.  I didn’t win mind you, but one of the editors kept it on file because he thought it was really good.  


In any case, somehow they were looking to fill space and he remembered my story and contacted me saying they wanted to run it.  Naturally I said yes so next month, my first published short story will be coming out in Playboy Magazine.  I’m hoping the readers like it, or at least those who read Playboy for the articles, all of two of them.


Still, to have my first published story appear in a magazine of that caliber is an honor.  I’m hoping it will help springboard me into other publications or at least get my name out there.  Or rather my pseudonym Daniel Bachmann.  Bachmann was my mother’s maiden name and Daniel was my grandfather’s name.   Too many people out there know or heard of Nathaniel Steward over the last few decades who don’t know my secret.  So a fake name just seemed more appropriate on this occasion.


So my first published work will be sandwiched somewhere in between naked women and… now I’m jealous.  Time to head out and enjoy some nightlife.  I hear there’s plenty of great places here in London, and the lights at night are beautiful.  Who knows, I might get an idea for a few more stories.  Yup… I’m a writer all right.  Always thinking about the next tale.