Friday, November 24, 2017
*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*
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.
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.
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...
Saturday, November 11, 2017
*Author's Note: For those who are new to this site, this particular entry is a repost. I first wrote this particular story a little over 2 years ago and have never done another because I don't think I could surpass its message. For it shares the gratitude many of us have for those who've served, along with their families who must wait with bated breath for their return which may not always be a happy one. It reminds all of us at home that serving one's country can come at a price which should never be forgotten or taken for granted. So to all who've worn a uniform and risked everything for all of us, to you and yours we say "Thank you, and God bless and keep you all."*
The Soldier appeared again this year, just as he has over almost a hundred and fifty years. The first reports of him showing up here in Pointer date back to 1868 when the first Decoration Day (now called Memorial Day) was held. At the time most people assumed he was merely a veteran but when he moved there was no sound, and when he spoke everyone felt compelled to listen. It was as if an enchantment had been cast over all. He spoke of each soldier from the town who had fallen during the war between the states, telling tales of bravery and humanity. Then, once he finished, the figure marched back the way he came only to be swallowed by a mist that seemed to come from nowhere.
This happened again the following year, and every year after that. At first most people just assumed him to be a magician who had served alongside those who had died. Yet, none of those who had come home recognized the fellow. In fact, no one could even really describe his features even if he had been standing next to them. They could distinctly remember his uniform which had clearly belonged to the West Virginia 7th Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He had all the bearing of a soldier, but even if they looked up into his face all they could remember was that he was young, with a kind face, which had born witness to the horrors of the battlefield. But none of them could actually describe his face in detail.
Naturally the idea that the fellow was a ghost began to spread among the children and a handful of adults. But after thirty years passed and those children who had seen him close up could honestly say he had not aged in that time, that others began to believe the tale.
Throughout the decades, he has always appeared, never once missing a Decoration Day. And with each visit, he shared new stories about those who had served and fell in the Civil War. But it wasn't until the end of the Great War that this began to change. In 1919, one year after World War I ended, a new monument was erected in the town square with the names of those who had left Pointer to fight overseas. On that occasion the soldier appeared and shared several stories about those who had been lost on the battlefields of Europe.
From that day on he continued to appear on Remembrance Day (now called Veteran's Day) as well as on Memorial Day.
By this time few, if any, doubted the Soldier's existence. In fact many began to welcome his strange visits, but not all. Those who were too traumatized by their loss, could not bear to see him come. In particular there had been Violet Parker, who had been engaged to James Moore who fell at the Battle of Belleau Wood in France in 1918. When the Soldier appeared again on Remembrance Day in 1920, she rushed at him brandishing a pistol from her father's collection and shot him point blank. The Soldier did not flinch, nor did he fall. Instead, he gently took the weapon from her shaking hands, and pulled her close. She resisted at first, but then began to calm down. Those who dared approach them could hear his voice speaking gently to her in sympathy. Soon Violet slipped her arms around him and held him tightly. Then she kissed him on the cheek and walked back to where her father stood. For the rest of her long life, she was happier than anyone could remember, and strongly rebuked anyone who spoke ill of the Soldier or of anyone who served their country.
The addition of new names and stories of those who served that the Soldier spoke of continued with each passing year. Whether they were lost in peacetime or during America's entry into World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and of course Afghanistan, he made sure no one forgot them or their service. And today was no exception. He spoke of the town's most recent losses with such feeling, one was convinced he had personally known, or had watched each one of them grow into fine young men and women.
Of course, I and a number of others know this happens to be the truth. There are at least a dozen families here in Pointer that know of Uncle Nate. And they preserve his secret with fierce loyalty, just as mine does. It is a loyalty based on love and respect. Whether he's the 'Soldier' or just the family friend or godfather, he has been there for all of us over the decades. Our dark guardian, the soldier who even when he does not wear the uniform, is always on duty. Ready to defend and protect all of us and our town, just has he did the day he marched off to war at the age of 16, back in 1862.
God bless him and all the men and women who have served, and will serve.