This blog is a compilation of short works of fiction by Allan and Helen Krummenacker, authors of the Para-Earth Book Series. The stories contained here take place before our novel "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home", with the idea of introducing you to some of the characters who appear in that book and the upcoming anthology "The Vampyre Blogs - One Day At a Time" coming this November.
So please, sit back and enjoy more glimpses into Nathan's (our vampyre) and his friends' lives.
Monday, December 22, 2014
"Home For Christmas: A Para-Earth Holiday Tale" - Part Two
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
She’d seen that kind of
expression before on some of her fellow officers. It was one that said a clue had been
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
But before either man could
answer Jason joined their little group saying, “Resting, from the look of
“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
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
“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?”
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.
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.”
“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
“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
“No, it happened purely by
chance,” Nathan told him. “I was a
soldier, fighting to protect others.”
“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
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
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.