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Sunday, October 17, 2021

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, I simply recognized 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...


Sunday, October 10, 2021

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward - 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...




Friday, October 1, 2021

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward - October 23rd, 2019 "Red Fang" - Part I

 


Woke up this afternoon in my bed… yes, I do sleep in a real bed, believe or not. In fact I do it quite often. I only sleep in the ground when my body needs certain nutrients that can only be found in the soil.

I’ll sometimes wake up to find my little sister Isabella curled up next to me. She has her own room and bed of course. When mom and dad were still alive (back in the 1860s) she used to sleep with them on cold nights or when she was feeling poorly (which was fairly often after her bout with Scarlet Fever) in their room, which is now mine. And of course, since we’re the only actual family each other has these days, I don’t mind having her with me on those nights when she’s missing them. I can’t blame her. Even after one hundred and sixty years wandering this Earth, I still miss them myself. So having her share my bed once in a while can be a great comfort for both of us.

Anyway, from the looks of my sheets and blankets, it’s a good thing she hadn't joined me. Oh, they weren’t torn or anything, they were just all over the place, as if I’d had a very restless sleep. Mind you, I felt well rested. Which is surprising since I did have some rather active dreams. I was back in Alaska, out on the tundra with the stars and the northern lights above, and a pack of wolves all around me.

This is nothing unusual. Whenever I go up there, I usually head for the woods and take one of my animal forms and roam the land. It’s one of the few times I can just let loose with my powers and experience nature in ways no human being can really appreciate. I enjoy the enhanced senses of my nature forms and experiencing the world as they do.

And one of those forms I take is that of a wolf. Whenever I take this form, I like to seek out a pack to run with. When I find one, I’ll use of the greenish mist I can exude and allow them to ‘breathe me in’ so to speak. Once they do, I have access to their minds to a degree and can ease any misgivings they have of my presence and can even get them to let me join them for a few nights. We’ll huddle together, roam, and even hunt.



I rather enjoy those hunts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cold-blooded killer or anything like that. It’s just that my Sangui-Sapio half (the slime mold-like creature that fused with me in the Para-Earth I landed up in so many years ago) had bonded with a number of other life forms in that reality long before it found me.

Now, in addition to giving me my vampire-like abilities and needs, it also gave me incredible recall of all the things I’ve ever experienced in my life. People, places, events, you name it. I have perfect recall of all of it. Even little things I glimpsed ever-so-briefly, or heard in passing, I can remember as clear as day. But I don’t just have access to my own memories, I also have access to the Sangui-Sapio’s memories which includes those of the other creatures it had fused with before we met.

While this might sound as if my head should be pretty crowded, or that I might have a hard time holding onto my identity with all those memories, I don’t. I’m the most complex being the Sangui-Sapio has ever bonded with before, and I have such a sense of self that it isn’t a problem. Furthermore, my other half makes sure it doesn’t let itself or those other memories try to ‘take over’. Our relationship is very equitable.

However, I do sometimes get cravings to explore my… I guess you would call it, more primal side. Which is part of the reason why I head to places like Alaska, Norway, the Black Forest of Germany or any other place remote with woods and open spaces.

Last night I dreamed about being on a hunt with a pack of wolves I met earlier this year. I’d spent New Year’s Eve up in Fairbanks Alaska to welcome the new year with some old friends. On New Year’s Day I bid them goodbye and headed into the Boreal Forest where I could cut loose a bit. As I hoped, I eventually encountered a pack of wolves. After the usual sizing each other up and exuding my mist, we became quite close and I wound up spending an entire week with them. I was almost sorry to leave. Maybe that’s why I dreamed about them.


Anyway, in my dream we were on the hunt once more, but for some reason there was a nervous tension in the pack. And as much I hate to say it, this feeling seemed to be directed at me. There was no outright hostility, but I was noticing how some of the pack kept eyeing me or moving slightly away as we ran. Sadly, I couldn’t blame them. Even I could tell something was off about me, but before I could really figure out what it was, the scene changed. I found myself alone and on the outskirts of a town and being shot at by some of the townsfolk. I was still in wolf form at the time, which in and of itself was weird because I never go where there’s people when I’m shapeshifted. Yet it felt like I was having trouble keeping my form. I could feel my limbs stretching at times, throwing my balance off as I ran.

I kept calling out to the pack as I ran. I could sense they were nearby, yet none of them answered. Eventually, I finally spotted them way off in the distance, but I could tell they were not happy to see me. They weren’t exactly hostile, but they weren’t welcoming either. If anything, they seemed frightened and confused… then I woke up.

It’s weird. I’ve dreamt of the pack a few times in the last couple of months, which is something I’ve never done before.


After dismissing the dream, I fixed my bed, changed clothes, and left my bedroom. I noticed the clock in the hallway and saw it was mid-afternoon. Risking a quick peek out one of the windows near the stairwell, I saw it looked like rain was coming. That made me smile. I wouldn’t have to contend with the sun or load up on extra blood. I might even be able to head outside for a while. The estate, which is just over a thousand acres, contains swaths of virgin woods that have never known the blade of an axe. Maybe the dream was simply my brain’s way of telling me I needed to get out a bit and enjoy the ‘nice’ weather.

With that thought in mind, I headed down the stairs with a little bounce in my step.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Sunday, September 26, 2021

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.


Friday, September 17, 2021

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.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Nathaniel's E-Journal, August 2005... Beginning A New Chapter Part-II

                                                


Another night and I stand once more in my artist's studio located on the top floor of the building that houses my club "The Crypt".  No one's allowed up here unless I say so, and tonight I wish to be alone with my thoughts.  For two days now I've been wrestling with the idea of trying my hand at writing novels.    

In some ways the idea seems ridiculous.  Me? An author?  

Then another question comes to mind in the form of one word, why?

That's the sticking point for me.  Why would I take up writing?  Because I'm bored and want to try something new that I've never done before?   It wouldn't be the first time.  When I joined vaudeville, it was simply to keep myself busy and working behind the scenes as a stagehand at night seemed ideal.  But then I started to get to know the performers like Julius, Arthur, Herbert and Leonard... better known as the Marx Brothers.  Their range of talents fascinated me.  The number of instruments they could play, or the snappy patter they should spout on a moments notice never ceased to amaze me.  Plus, they seemed to sense the feeling of being 'lost' and 'adrift' in me, which made them reach out so I could be a part of their comeraderie.  But it didn't stop there.  Others in the troupe welcomed me as well, like "Fatty" (Roscoe Arbuckle), the Keatons, Harry and Bess Houdini, the lovely and sweet Mae West and so many others...




Before I knew what was happening they'd be teaching me all kinds of skills and even dragging me out on stage to help out in their acts.  I could write endless stories about those days and the ones that came before.  

My days on the battlefield while serving in the Union Army.  So many stories were lost there that only I know about.  The hopes and fears of my brothers in blue, as well as some of those who wore the rebel gray.  In 167 years of walking this world, I've not forgotten a single person who I've met, good or bad, I remember them.  I also remember the stories they shared, the sweethearts they pursued and the outcomes.  

So many stories to choose from, but where would I begin?  

I brought up the idea of my taking up writing to Brian and his family last night at dinner.  Much to my surprise no one laughed.  Instead they eagerly supported the venture.  Brian in particular urged me to take a couple of creative writing courses at the college where he teaches history.  "We've got some really good instructors there and they could really help you hone your skills?" Brian pointed out.  "I've taken a couple of them and they were really helpful.  Of course, you'll need to decide on a genre to write in.  Agents and publishers like to represent someone who has a specific kind of novel."

"You should write romance," his daughter Lisa suggested with a twinkle in her eye as she looked at me.  Even though she's only a child I have a feeling she's developing a crush on me.  I've seen that look before in girls her age and even younger, over the decades.  But only one ever managed to land me, but she was extremely persistent.  

Even now I can feel her eyes on me after seven decades.  Looking up I find myself staring into a pair of dark eyes, forever captured in oil.  Dark hair frames those eyes along with the lovely face and strong chin.  "Magda," I whisper and smile.

Our time together was not nearly as long as either of us had hoped, but it was magical.  Our first meeting and her prolonged pursuit for my love could fill several volumes.  Her persistence paid off and after three years she became my wife at the young age of sixteen.  

As I stand there lost in thought, the sounds of music reaches my ears from several floors below.  The Crypt is now open and is already filling up with the usual crowd.  Even from here I can sense the whirl of emotions and life down there.  Laughter, sorrow, broken hearts, lust, hopes for love...  

A flash of light through the window catches my eye.  After several nights of gathering clouds it looks as rain is finally drawing near.  I make my way up the stairs and onto the roof of the building to watch the approaching storm.



I see lightning in the distance over my hometown, it's going to be a good one.  But instead of retreating back inside, I stay where I am and feel the breeze on my face and close my eyes.  I can feel the storm's energy on the wind and without thinking, several lines of words describing the feeling come to mind.  Some of the words are trite, but they still help paint a picture within my head.


Suddenly my eyes shoot open as realization sinks in.  Painting a picture, but with words instead of oils or acrylics!   No pencils, no paintbrushes, just words that form an image or a scene within the readers mind.  That's what an author does. But they don't just paint one picture, they paint a whole series of images, coupled with emotions and thoughts.  Yet, I can still use my skills as a painter as well.  Illustrations and book covers... yes.  

And I have so much material to draw upon.  My own experiences as well as those of people who's memories lives I keep alive within me.  I've shared their stories countless times with descendants so they are never forgotten.  

But what kind of stories to write? 

From down in the alley I hear the sound of raised voices.  Looking over the edge I see a young couple having a heated argument.  The boy is obviously breaking up with the girl and leaves her in the alley alone.  But she does not remain that way for long.  Three others, friends of hers arrive and comfort her.  One of them is a young man who obviously has feelings of his own for her.  But instead of being foolish and declaring his affections, he merely gives her the support and comfort of the friend she needs right now.  

But I can sense a change in her.  It's not big, but her gratitude to him and the two girls with him is obvious.  I hear her say she wishes more guys were like him as they step inside.  Perhaps something will come of it eventually.  

However the thing that gets me most is the image that forms in my mind.  Just like the other night down in the club, I could see other figures, superimposed over the trio.  Their outfits changed several times within the span of a few seconds.  I saw flappers, soldiers, suits, gowns, hippies, but their actions were all the same and leading towards one thing... romance.

"Love Across Time..." I murmur as the first drops of rain start hitting my head.  

Why not?  I've seen and experienced it so many times in the last fifteen decades.  Oh, the settings and ways one behaved have changed over time, but the feelings never do.  

Feeling elated at the idea, I spread my arms wide and let the rain and story ideas pour over me.  


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Nathaniel's Private E-Journal - August 2005 : "Beginning A New Chapter..."

 


Summer in West Virginia hasn't changed all that much in a hundred and fifty years and tonight is no exception.  It hit the upper 80's which in and of itself isn't so bad, but the humidity makes it feel much worse.  Brian and his family are out of town, so I spent part of the evening with Jack, the town's physician, and his family.  They know my secret and have kept it to themselves for the past one hundred and twenty years.  It was nice spending time with his mother and grandmother.  As much as time has passed I still see them both as little girls who I used to take up into the evening sky on a warm summer night.  

But only when the sky was clear.  Tonight there are clouds overhead so I can't even enjoy the stars.  I'd have spent the rest of the evening with Jack and his family, but they were hosting a party with others from out of town and I didn't want some of our conversations overheard, so I left early and headed to The Crypt.

One of the nice things about having a private club that's located in the basement level of an old building is that it doesn't get too hot down there and I'm not the only one who knows this fact.  Even before I turned down the alley and reached the stairs that led down into my club, I could hear the music playing, accompanied by laughter and cheering.  

 


Upon opening the door I find the room is full bodies gyrating to the latest hit tunes my new disc jockey is playing.  He goes by the name of Scar-Man due to on old wound that runs from his forehead and across his face.  Thank God I got to him in time, otherwise it could've been a lot worse.  I've offered to help him get it fixed but he always refuses.  "I need to remember where I've been... so I don't forget where I'm goin'," he always tells me, so I leave it at that.

He spots me from across the room and gives me a questioning look.  Some nights I like to make a grand entrance, other times I don't.  Tonight is one of the latter.  Instead I find myself in a reflective mood and give a little shake to my head.  He nods and keeps the party going.

I quietly make my way through the crowd in my own unique way.  I pass between bodies that only a fly could navigate without anyone noticing.  Soon I've reached a dark quiet corner of the room where I can observe without being noticed.  There is a table here and I settle in and let my eyes roam.  Oddly enough they fall upon one of the old vaudeville posters I have lining my wall.  My mind begins thinking about how things were back in the 1910's and the 1920's.  Without realizing it, my eyes swing back to the crowd on the dance floor and I see something wondrous.  My eyes are clearly seeing the young people moving back and forth, flirting, and kissing and having a wonderful time.  Yet in the same moment in my mind I'm seeing another image super-imposed over them.  I see uniforms from bygone eras.  One moment I see the Union blue, then the brown ones we wore back in World War I, in another instant I'm seeing the dresses become flapper style, while the young men are decked out in the old Zoot suits.


The styles continue to change, yet the emotions and feelings are still the same as I watch the figures both before me and in my memories.  Something stirs within me as I stare.  Soon I leave my little corner of the club and head upstairs.  Normally, I'd take the actual stairs themselves, but tonight I take my 'mist' form and head upwards until I reach the door that leads to my art studio and slip through the open transom above it.

Once inside my artistic sanctuary I solidify and stare around at my surroundings.  Canvasses, both finished and still under way, line the floor and walls.  

  


I soon find myself studying each one intently.  My mind begins to think back to when I created each one and the story that led to their creation.  But more than just the stories return, so do the emotions that inspired the imagery.  Before long I find myself exploring where those stories and feelings began which culminated in these artworks.  I've often heard people say, "I wonder what the story is behind this art piece..."   Well, I know each and every story behind my works.  Some of them are simple, others could fill page upon page of a number of books.  

"And I'm the only one who still knows most of them..." I murmur to myself as new thoughts enter my mind.  "Do I dare..." I whisper to the silence that surrounds me.

TO BE CONTINUED...



Monday, July 19, 2021

A Blog Milestone - 100,000 Views!



Wow, I cannot believe we've had this many views! It took 7 years, but we've done it. And it's all thanks to everyone who comes to read about Nathan and his friends. Your comments and continued visits mean so much to us and we hope to keep bringing new content later this year. I've still got a lot of audios to record, some of which will be tales about Nathan and company, and I will be sharing them here along with new tales. 

The "Christmas Carol" project which I will be releasing on YouTube in December is more than halfway completed. However, I'm also continuing on editing another collaborative novel with my old high school friend Rich Caminiti, and an amazing illustrator Gabrielle Callan. This book does not involve th Para-Earth series, but is an entirely new series which we will be kicking off hopefully in October. The first novel with be titled "The Pass". What will this book be about? Here's a little tease:



Was it just bad luck and weather that doomed the Donner Party in 1846, or was it something 'else', something evil and powerful? And is it still there waiting to help bring about the fall of the Union army during the final years of the Civil War?

Conspiracy and Intrigue meet Asian mythology, Native American folklore, and something as old as Earth itself in the first installment of this epic trilogy that spans the continent and distant shores.  

Sound interesting? I'll keep you all informed in future posts.

In the meantime, I'm also going to be working on a cover for Helen's 4th novel in her "Forever Detective Series", which will be titled "Forever Festive".  As you can guess this will be a holiday story, where her vampire detective Rafael Jones, goes home to celebrate the season with his parents who have no idea that their dear son is now one of the undead.  But it gets even more interesting when besides trying to hide his condition, he's also working on a missing person's case for a Guardian Angel. Intrigued, then I suggest you all check out the first three books in her series over at Amazon: The Forever Detective Series where you can find them in e-book, paperback, and Audible formats. (PS: I did the narration for the Audible, and they've been getting 5 star ratings and reviews)

Getting back to Nathan and company, the sequel to their first novel "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties" has been coming along. That novel now sits at 12,000+ words so far, and will finally see the light of day next year (2022), just in time for the Halloween festivities. Which is rather appropriate since the events of the story will be happening at Halloween. 

We're also in the process of gathering tales for another anthology starring Nathan, Otto, Lisa, Marisa, and others, so there's a lot going on behind the scenes. 

So we hope you'll stick with us and stay tuned for more tales here on this blog. In the meantime, here's to keeping this blog going and hitting 200,000 views in the not too distant future.

Again thank you all for getting us to this huge milestone. We love and appreciate you all, and please stay safe.


Thursday, July 1, 2021

"Visiting My Family" E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward - January 4th, 2005

 It's been two days since my last entry.  I had expected copying the letter I'd left Isabella to be hard, but not like that.  I should have known better.  Father told me in one of his letters that Isabella had kept my note on her nightstand to look at every night before she went to bed.  I had made her a promise that she had hoped I'd be able to keep, in spite of all the news that came back from the front lines.  I had always been able to keep my promises to her.  No matter what the odds were, I always found a way to fulfill them.  Which was probably why she was still clutching it in her hand that December night when... 


I'm getting ahead of myself again.  There are more letters and journal entries that must be copied and saved, but not tonight.  Something happened after I left here the other night, that I need to follow up on. 

You see, after Brian took the letter away to clean it, I left and began wandering the streets.  I don't even remember what I saw or whether or not I passed anyone as I walked.  I just had to keep moving.  At times I ran, even though there was no one chasing me.  It was foolish of course, one cannot can run from memories of guilt, pain, or loss.  Especially not when you've had a hundred and fifty years to accumulate them, and God knows how many more decades ahead to add to them.

Probably that was what my brain was telling me when I finally came to a halt.  Back when I still had a breath to catch, I'd probably have been bent over trying to do just that.  But not these days.  Instead, I simply stood there taking in my surroundings, trying to figure out where I was.  Imagine my lack of surprise when I realized I was standing in front of my old homestead.  Perhaps the old saying you can't run away from the past is more accurate than we think.


I stood there for several minutes staring up at the old manor.  Time had not been kind to it.  Probably because no one has lived in it since the 1970's, when the last of a series of relations tried inhabiting the place passed away.  After she passed on there was no one else to take over the place, so it became another forgotten edifice from a bygone era.  I could have come forward to try and claim the place, but there would be awkward questions about my lineage,  Especially since I'd had myself declared among the fallen back at Gettysburg during the Civil War.  But that's another story.

Anyway, I felt compelled to enter the old grounds.  I did not go inside the building itself, I rarely do these days.  Maybe it's seeing how time has and has not touched the interior.  Oh, the wallpaper has faded and peeled in many places.  Yet, a lot of the furnishings are still there, untouched, preserved by yellowed sheets that have accumulated layers of dust.  On the shelves sit figurines and books, untouched and forgotten.  As if waiting for someone to brush away the cobwebs and clean them off to they can be admired once again.




The portraits still hang in the gallery beneath dust cloths, their colors preserved and vibrant thanks to being spared and denied the light. Forgotten and unappreciated works of art by some of the most skilled painters of their time.

Why has no one ever gone inside and tried to steal any of the these forgotten treasures, I do not know.  Perhaps, some of the rumors of the place being haunted have a ring to truth to them?  I wouldn't put it past some of my 'nephews and nieces' to have come up with story of the place being inhabited by spirits.  They probably even played a few tricks to help reinforce the idea.  Heaven knows the number of times they've begged me to claim my old homestead and live here permanently, so I can be close to them.  Generation after generation have made this plea, and I always refuse.

Not that the idea isn't tempting.  But as I pointed out in my last entry, the longer I stay in one place, eventually tongues wag and trouble follows.  I couldn't bear the idea of the place and all the things within, being destroyed.  I know time will eventually take its final toll, which is why I helped Brian's father create the museum forty years ago.  My goal was to slowly remove the more valuable and treasured items from here and transfer them into the museum for safe-keeping.  Yet, every time I go inside the old place, I cannot bring myself to remove even a simple knick-knack.  It always feels like someone is glaring down at me with disapproval.

I did not enter the house, that night.  Instead I walked the overgrown path towards the family plot which sits a back in the trees behind the house.  There was once a little chapel as well, but that fell during the 'Night of Fire', along with my parents and our servants.  Again, another story, for another time.

The family plot is surrounded by a wrought iron fence which is only a few years old.  The original had long fell into disrepair and I'd had it replaced, with a new one that still had the old world look to it.  Oddly enough, the new gate creaked like its predecessor.  I could have had it fixed, but the sound seemed appropriate somehow.


So when I heard it groaning in the distance I new we had visitors.  Normally, it would be one of my extended family, but not at three in the morning.  Besides, I'd already caught a whiff of smoke in the air.  No, these were most likely unwelcome guests.  And as the only liv... still walking member of the household, it was up to me to greet them.

My footsteps become silent, even thought I'm walking over layers of dried leaves from autumns long past.  Not only do I make no sound, there are no imprints to mark my passing.  I'm still not sure how I manage this little trick, it just seems to happen whenever I go into stealth mode.  Even after one hundred and fifty years, there are questions I have yet to answer about my condition.

I turn the corner and see three figures entering my family's resting place.  Young would-be toughs.  I've seen countless numbers of them over the years.  The costumes may change, but the attitudes and arrogance is always the same.  I'm tempted to wait and get an idea of what kind of mischief they intend to get up to.  But I already hear the rattle of a spray paint can coming from one of their pockets, while another starts brandishing a crowbar.  The third kicks an old white stone I know so well.  It belonged to William, our butler.  It strikes me as disrespectful to see someone of African descent violating the grave of one of his own kind.

I decide to make my presence known.  "If you're not here to pay your respects, I suggest you take yourselves elsewhere and find some other form of enjoyment," I say loudly.

I won't bother repeating the profanity they shoot in my direction.  Needless to say, it was followed with threats against my person if I didn't start running.  Naturally, I did not retreat.  I merely stood my ground and repeated my request in the form of a warning this time.

The one with crowbar was the first to start walking towards me.  He was white, about sixteen, with all the swagger and arrogance of someone who'd watched way too many 'Gangsta' films.  I kind of felt sorry for him, which is probably why I didn't kick the living shit out him like I wanted.  Yes, I do curse and swear with the best of them.  However, I was also raised to be a gentleman and as such I refrain from using unnecessary violence when a simple scare can be far more effective.

He was about  twenty feet from me when I smile at him, put my hands in my pocket, and then and look down at the bottom of the jacket I'm wearing.  It goes all the way to the ground, similar to the style of coats back in my day.  It's a style I've always been partial to and have kept using throughout the years.  Though I make sure the cut and collar are always in keeping with whatever the 'modern day' trends are of the time.

In this case, my coat has what's called a Mandarin or Banded collar, which I leave unbuttoned as is the custom these days.

I glance up at him and smile.  This enrages him and he gets even more angry, which pleases me.  Anger can be your worst enemy sometimes.  While it may give you an adrenaline rush and maybe add a bit more to your punches, it can also make you careless.   He obviously has not noticed the movement taking place at my feet.

He soon does though.  The first dog head slips out from beneath my coat when he's just ten feet away and growls.  That catches his attention.

It throws him for a second and then he laughs, "Oh you got a dog, huh?  You think he's going to stop me from cracking your fucking skull open?  You a dead man, you here me?"

Then the second head emerges from the folds of cloth at my feet.  His blustering begins to waiver as the two hounds emerge.  Both are black with heads the size of  beachballs, with bodies to match.  I decide then to make their eyes glow red, a little something I picked up from the countless movies I've seen over the years.  It may seem trite, but the effect they have are always impressive.

As he takes his first few steps backwards, I can see his friends coming out of the gate looking worried.  There's just something about seeing something that looks like a Pitbull, but is the size of a Great Dane that is really off putting to people.

Tough guy yells as the first dog lunges for him.  He takes a step back and tries to hit it with the crowbar.  He connects and the dog's head splits in two.  For a moment he thinks he's won, then realizes that each half is now shaping and becoming whole.  Now he's dealing with an angry two-headed beast.

Unfortunately, I can smell the urine running down his legs as he screams like a girl and flees.  His buddies are already far ahead of him, chased by the second hound which had silently shot past Mr. Crowbar before he could blink.

Once I'm satisfied that they've had enough I retract my pets.  I've not moved an inch from where I'm standing, with good reason.  Thanks to the darkness, none of the trio noticed the long black lines stretching  from beneath my coat, across the ground and all the way to where the dogs should have hind quarters.  As the canine figures distort and stretch back beneath my coat, I sigh.  I could've easily shape-shifted into the form of a huge wolf, but that would start rumors.  And as you know I abhor those.

After my 'pets' are back in their proper place and I can feel my legs again, I enter the family plot and right the headstone.  I'm relieved to see that it hasn't broken, or even cracked.  I was worried, considering its the original stone and fragile.  Eventually, I'll have to replace it, but not yet.  Maybe in another few decades, but for now it's still quite legible and beautiful in a weathered sort of way.

I check on the other graves, none of them were harmed.  I got here just in time.  But the flowers have been trampled, plus there are a few looking rather wilted.  I know what needs to be done.  As sacrilegious as it sounds, I slowly walk over each grave.  As the tails of my coat pass over them, the flowers are looking strong and healthy once more.

Satisfied with my handiwork, I take a final look around.  There's no one near. I can even hear the trio still running, they're at least a mile and half away.  Good.

I knew they wouldn't be back, but I checked on things last night and stayed in the shadows until I sensed the dawn coming.  I intend to do the same tonight.  Brian is insisting on coming with me this time.  He wants to keep me company and go over some of the other letters I have to transcribe.  I think he's going to bring his laptop with him in case the mood to type strikes me.

If he offers to do it for me I'll decline.  Those letters and journal pages tell just a part of the story, only I can fill in the other sections.  No matter how hard or difficult I may find it at times, it needs to be done.

I can see it's almost nine now, I've been here for over an hour already and Brian is looking antsy.  He wants to read what I've typed, which I will let him do.  He's a good man, just like his father and grandfather and so on all the way back to his great-great-great grandfather, the first Brian Weston.  Or rather I should say Captain Weston, hero, and childhood friend.

I'll probably speak more of him in my next entry, since the next letters will begin mentioning my military service.

Good night.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Nathaniel's Blog "Gone West" August 20th, 2018

 While scouring my art studio for clean paper I found one of my old journals which I thought I'd lost.  It's a fairly recent one with only a few entries in it.  I remember buying it just after I headed out to California to meet with some movie producers down in Los Angeles.  It had been many years since I'd last been down there so I bought some art supplies to do some preliminary sketches to be turned into paintings later on.  The journal had originally been intended so I could make some mental notes and impression, but it wound up being a travel diary after I made an unexpected stop in Monterey and wound up visiting my first aquarium...


*Note:   Yes I know it sounds weird but most places like this have daytime business hours.  I was lucky to catch this one with extended evening hours.  Furthermore, not everywhere I've gone has been close to the water.  A pity really because I really enjoy walking along the sea, or traveling on a ship. 

I need to do that some more.  Anyway, here goes...

Travel Journal, May 16th, 2009...

Well, everything is set. The producers were happy and so am I.  Soon my bank account will be as well. Negotiations for the rights to my first two novels are set and all is well. I've come back north to stay with some old friends, the Cloudfoots. As the name implies, they were of native American ancestry dating back to way before my time even.  

I met Jason Cloudfoot some years back over in Connecticut, when his niece disappeared around Christmas. After helping find her, Jason and I became fast friends and I visited whenever I could. Over the years he's told me some wonderful tales of Seneca lore, while I've shared many of my own personal stories and adventure with him. He's one of the most remarkable men I've ever met. One of those rare people who figured out right away I wasn't all that I appeared to be... but that's a story for another time.

I got to know his children and helped keep an eye on them they were growing up and they too know all about me and what I am.  Now they have families of their own and have moved out this way and are currently living up near Santa Cruz. When they heard I was going to be down in Los Angeles, they insisted I swing up north and come to stay with them for a few days.  

When I gave them a date they asked me to meet them here in Monterey, because they were taking their own children to the aquarium located here. Apparently, this place keeps long hours and occasionally have sleep-overs for children who wish to spend the night surrounded by the mysterious beings from the depths.  

I agreed to meet them and I'm so glad I did. I've never been to an aquarium like this before. To me, an aquarium is a big twenty to thirty gallon tank in someone's living room, filled with gold-fish or whatever.  

I had no idea what a treat I was in for.  This place was magical. I've practically filled my sketch pad with pencil drawings of creatures and settings I'd never dreamed existed. Oh, I've seen photos in magazines, but to actually be here is another thing entirely.

For one thing, each exhibit room has it's own background sounds. There's a jellyfish exhibit that is nice and dark (perfect for someone like me) with the most ethereal music playing in the back ground. It was so soothing and relaxing I almost didn't want to leave that room.  The types of fish varied more widely than I ever suspected.  



Then there were the sea otters, playful furry beings who are so gosh-darned cute as well. They are also very large, much bigger than I originally expected. Some are the size of a large dog, as in 60-70 pounds big.  Yet they were so graceful under the water.


There was a particularly interesting blue room with a circular ceiling. Inside the ceiling was a series of glass windows all interconnected, with silver sardines racing about in one huge continuous circle.  It was both dizzying and breathtaking.  

I even got to see my first real live octopus.  My timing couldn't have been more perfect.  Like me, the creature is usually very shy during the daytime hours.  But tonight, he was more lively and I got to see him to great advantage.  I made several sketches of him for future use.


A part of me could have stayed in this wondrous place for days or weeks. Alas, time was getting on and the children decided they wanted to be home instead of staying for the sleepover. Too much excitement for them they said. Personally I think they were a little intimidated by all that was around them and I couldn't blame them. Everything here inspires both wonder and awe. I could set up my easel and spend night after night painting these wonderful creatures.  This place is truly magical...


Alas, I haven't been back there since duty has called me away to other places.  But I hope to get back there soon.  Jason is no longer with us, but his children know me (and what I am) yet always ask me to come and visit them again.  Which I will do shortly.  There are other sights and places I wish to visit, like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and a supposed "Concrete Boat".  Jason's son always laughs when he mentions it, perhaps it's the incredulous tone in my voice.  A concrete boat?  That is something I have to see for myself.  I'm planning on going to see them next month.  I'll write more about that adventure when I get there.

For now, I'm going to set up my easel and try and make up my mind which of my sketches to work from first.  I'll either do several pieces or use the various creatures to create one large painting.  We shall see, it's so hard to say.  They are all so beautiful and colorful.  My palette will get a hell of a workout over the next few weeks.