Brian’s E-Journal “The Soldier”

*In honor of the ending of World War I, I’m re-posting this story from several years ago. I have never done another because I don’t think I could surpass its message of gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price for serving their country. And to all who loved them, 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.

Nathan Takes Over The Blog Today…

Okay, I’m taking over the blog today since the authors have been down for the last couple of weeks fighting with a nasty case of bronchitis/pneumonia.

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Mind you, they’ve also been trying to get the anthology finished and ready for release. We’re all hoping for it to go out before Halloween, but with all that’s been going on it might not be until early November. We’ll see how things work out.

In the meantime, let’s talk about that anthology.

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What’s it all about?

Untold tales not just about me but Lisa, Marisa, Otto and even some familiar faces from the first two books in the Para-Earth Series (“The Bridge” and “The Ship”) which we’re a part of. A few of you may be asking, why does the Para-Earth Series seem to have smaller series within it? It’s more a case of different sets of characters being focused on within the series. As you will see in the anthology, the authors are starting to mix us all together in anticipation of a much bigger cross-over that is currently in the works.

Mind you this is not just a one-shot deal kind of cross-over like you get with a lot of comic books.  Oh no, this is the beginning of something bigger and permanent. It all starts with “The Door”…

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Or rather towards the end of that upcoming novel (which admittedly has been in the works for several years) which the writers hope to have close to (if not actually finished) before the end of next year.  Part of the problem with that book was the fact that me and my friends’ story got in the way and had to be put out first. Then, life got in the way which further complicated getting “The Door” heading in the right direction. But things are improving on that front and progress is being made as I type this entry.

I will be making not one but two guest appearances in it as well as some ‘friends’ you’ll be meeting in “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. So you see, all these delays do serve a purpose as Allan and Helen continue to introduce you all to more Para-Earths and those who inhabit them. Some of those being we meet will be scary, some will be friendly, others well… you’ll have to wait and see. But rest assured, all of us will do our best to keep you glued to your seats while trying to get your hearts racing with each new installment.

As for the anthology’s release… Allan and Helen are waiting to hear back from the last few beta-readers, but so far the response has been very enthusiastic with a lot of big thumbs up.  So stay tuned. In the meantime, please accept everyone’s heart-felt wish for you all to have a very…

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COVER REVEAL

COMING NEXT MONTH:

 
The latest installment of the 
Para-Earth Series…
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Our first anthology:

– 25 tales (8 of them brand new)

-Spanning 150 years

-Starring all your favorite characters from this blog and

“The Vampyre Blogs: Coming Home”

-Including guest appearances by characters

from our other Para-Earth titles

“The Bridge” and “The Ship”

along with host of all new characters!

****PRE-ORDERS will be coming soon****

Announcement Time…

        *After almost a year, we are finally getting to the last leg of releasing our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. Provided all goes well, it will be available at the beginning/early October, just in time for spooky and weird tales. Helen and I are working on the last story for the anthology even as I write this post. We will be looking for Beta-Readers with hopes for feedback by the middle of September so we can make any final adjustments.

     In the meantime, here is a little peek at one of the 24 tales that await you within the pages of this newest installment of our Para-Earth Series.

The Snowman

By Helen Krummenacker

     A chilly December evening was made cozy not only by the fireplace, but the scents of vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger from baking in the kitchen. Marissa turned the radio to a station playing all Christmas music. Isabella was excited even beyond the average child at Christmas time, for this was her first Christmas tree, her first time seeing fairy lights, and even the radio was a novelty for her. She would sit on the sofa, stare at the tree and get up again every few minutes to better distribute the ornaments for color balance and even presentation.

     Marissa and Lisa were helping Nathan with paper chains, a decoration he remembered from his childhood. The girls were using a ladder to reach high, but Nathan took care of sites out of their reach. Otto, having recently surrendered the kitchen to Penny, who was making a couple of her own favorite treats, had started to show Richard how to wire pine and holly into swags to place around. “So ‘Boughs of holly’ are just branches done up to decorate the place?”

     “Yes. Deck and decorate have the same word as a root.”

     “Ain’t that something. I always wondered about that song. Especially the gay apparel.”

     “That meant jolly, bright colored, festive.”

    “And that makes ‘Johnny Comes Marching Home’ a lot better,” Richard laughed. The professor was  all right by him. Strange and a little weird how he treated the boss like a kid sometimes, but when he was around, you always felt a little bit smarter.

     Just then, a new tune came on the radio. “Frosty the snowman, was a jolly, happy soul–”

    “Turn that off!” Otto snapped. Isabella looked at him in shock a moment before heading to the radio and pushing the big circle button she’d learned made these new electric things go on or off. “I’m sorry… I just do not like that song,” he explained, suddenly aware that everyone was watching him, puzzled by his uncharacteristic change of mood. “I really do not like it. You would not like it, either, if you knew how dangerous that snowman could have actually become.”

     “Wait, Frosty was *real*?” Marissa asked skeptically.

     “There are more things on heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” quoted Otto, then sighed. “Yes. Frosty was real, and he was the result of my missing an important detail and behaving carelessly.”

     “Story time!” Lisa called out.

     “Oh, yes, we have to hear about this,” Marissa added.

     “Really?” Otto asked, as if surprised by the attention.

     “Even I haven’t heard this one,” said Nathan, “and it sounds like a doozy.”

     Otto took a seat on the sofa, next to Isabella, and the others gathered around. Richard kept at it with the greenery, but still cocked an ear and moved so he could see Otto’s face and gestures. Taking a deep breath, the professor began to tell the tale in a rich, melodic voice.

“The Cannibal Killer” Part – VIII The Conclusion: Private Papers of Michael Rhodes June 18th, 2016

     Close up of man's hand reloading pistol chamber

      As soon as I finished re-loading, Nadine headed for the classroom door only to find it locked. “Seriously?” she hissed, “They lock classrooms doors an abandoned school? What did they think kids were going to break in and start rummaging through textbooks so they can catch up on homework or something?”

     Suppressing a smile I joined her and explained, “Teachers always lock the doors to the classrooms when they leave, and when they left this school they had no idea it wasn’t going to reopen. Besides, even if they knew they’d still have locked things up because the school district would still be responsible for anyone, even trespassers, hurting themselves in here.”

     “I know one I won’t mind hurting,” she murmured under her breath and reached for the handle.

     I stopped her, “Too much noise. If the Cannibal’s nearby he’ll hear it. The hinges are on this side of the door. Do you think you can pull the pins out?”

    Smiling she elongated her fingers and with a little super-human strength, the pins were out. Together we managed to silently pull the door out of the frame, then stepped into the hallway.

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   Seeing no sign of our quarry, I quickly determined our location and led the way towards the stairwell leading downstairs. I have to admit, even if we weren’t hunting a psychopath, the old hallways I’d wandered down so many times seemed kind of eerie. The district had been right to close the place down. Some of the ceiling tiles had collapsed, littering the floor with debris and dust. Not to mention the occasional opened locker which revealed cobwebs and abandoned notebooks. I found myself starting to wonder what might be hidden among the closed ones and shuddered.

     Upon reaching the old stairwell, I could see more fallen ceiling tiles and exposed wiring.

    “This place is starting to feel more and more like a horror movie set,” Nadine whispered as we carefully made our way down the steps.

      “And we’re headed for the boiler room where creeps like Freddy Krueger hang out,” I replied in a hushed voice, then a thought hit me. “Hey, Nadine, how about you changing back to your normal form?”

      My companion paused on the steps and gave me a curious look. “Why?”

   “Because I watched enough of those old slasher movies to know the only girl left always makes it out alive. But any guys with her, especially if they’re black like me, they’re toast,” I told her.

    Rolling her eyes, she glared at me. Then a wicked smirk crossed her face and she whispered, “See you downstairs,” and took off down the steps in a blur.

     Cursing myself for having said anything I quickly followed. And for the record I wasn’t the least bit annoyed with her for abandoning me like that. I knew damn well if she had sensed the Cannibal anywhere nearby she would never have left my side, even for a joke.

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     Just before I reached the last step a light came on and I saw my partner standing near the switch staring into the most unnerving area we’d encountered yet. Old white brick walls surrounded us on all sides, with the occasional dark hallway staring at us almost begging us to come and take a look. There was an old chair and abandoned pallet in one corner, along with some big old rusted bins that had seen better days.

     Then I noticed Nadine’s breathing sounded louder and faster. “He’s getting near… and so is someone else.” Closing her eyes she trembled slightly as she concentrated.

   ‘Going back inside his head,’ I told myself and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. She seemed to appreciate it as the shaking stopped and her eyes flew open. “That way,” she snapped, pointing at one of the dark corridors.

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    Gun drawn I led the way. As we moved I could here noises up ahead including moaning. Quickening our pace we soon found ourselves in a huge room filled with machinery, boilers and God help me… a fucking cage with a young woman inside it. She was curled up in a ball in one corner of her prison, rocking back and forth in a rhythmic fashion that told the entire story. From what little remained of her torn clothing it was obvious she had suffered much at the Cannibal’s hands.

     This time Nadine didn’t hold back. She rushed right up to the door to the prison and ripped the thing right off its hinges and flung it aside. The sound of tearing metal seemed to cut through the girl’s almost catatonic state as she looked up and stared at the two of us, not certain if she could believe what she was seeing.

     I placed a hand on Nadine’s shoulder and whispered, “Gently, she’s been through a lot.”

      She gave me an annoyed look and then nodded. “Got it,” she replied and was about to say something else when the young woman stood up and rushed into her arms crying uncontrollably. In the distance I could hear the sirens of my fellow deputies’ cars drawing closer. No doubt the killer was nearer too.

     That’s when I heard the first hint of footsteps coming down the stairs. He was close than I’d thought.

      “Nadine!” I murmured, cocking my revolver.

      “I know,” came her muffled reply.

    Puzzled I turned and saw my companion’s face buried in the girl’s neck. “What are you…?” I began, when she turned and faced me.

      To my relief, there was no blood on her lips. “What did you do?” I asked.

    “Gave her peace,” Nadine replied and gently placed the now strangely calm victim into my arms.

     “You wiped her memories?” I hissed, in disbelief.

    “No, just gave her some strength to cope and recover with time,” my partner answered as she stepped past me.

      So she’d given the girl a bit of herself, that was a relief.  I was about to say more when our rescuee blurted, “Don’t! He’ll get you too.”

     Nadine paused and gave us both a reassuring smile. Then without saying a word, she headed out of the room.

      “What’s she going to do?” the girl asked me.

     Before I could answer a voice bellowed from the other room saying, “JOANIE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME? I’M GOING TO…” the rest the words were lost on a cry of despair.

      The girl in my arms stiffened for a second and then became calm. “That cry, it was his voice, not hers. What’s happening?”

    “Let’s find out,” I told her and led the way out of the boiler room and down the hallway. As we moved I could hear Nadine speaking softly as we drew closer.

       “It’s all right, I’m here,” she was saying.

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     As we stepped into the white bricked room I could see my friend approaching the Cannibal who was slowly backing away until his back was pressed against the far wall.

      “DON’T TOUCH ME! I’M FINALLY THE STRONG ONE, NOT YOU!” the killer wailed, his face contorted in a mask of fury as his hands clenched into fists. Yet in spite of all that rage, his hands remained seemingly pinned to wall. But why? Then it hit me, the Sangui-Sapio was holding him back. It wasn’t about to let him harm the one who had shared her life with it.

     Nadine took another step closer then stopped and said softly, “It’s okay, you can let you go. I’ll catch you.”

     It was hard to make out in the dim light of the room but then I noticed the bullet holes in the Cannibal’s shirt began to move as if of their own accord. Peering closer I finally made out particles of deep red were slowly exiting the tears in the fabric and floating across towards Nadine’s extended hand. Once there, they seemed to disappear into the flesh of her palm, and I could see a sense of relief take over my friend.

     As the last of the stream of particles disappeared back into her, the Cannibal slumped against the wall and sat there staring at nothing.

   Then Nadine turned to us and I could see her shoulder had finally began to heal properly. Within seconds there was no trace of the injury she’d suffered earlier. Smiling she said to the girl in my arms, “It’s over, he’s done for. Let’s get you out of here.”

     I caught the faintest glimpse of green mist waft from her hand into the girl’s nostrils as she spoke. No doubt the sight of red particles coming out of the Cannibal and going into Nadine’s hand would be forgotten.

      ‘Good job,’ I mouthed to my partner as we led the girl upstairs.

    We’d just reached the top of the steps when Sheriff Parkes and several deputies appeared down the hallway. Upon seeing us they called out and quickly joined us.

     “What are you doing here…” my boss began, when he and the others unknowingly inhaled some faint green mist. After a moment, he continued, “You found her! Good job you two. What about our suspect?”

      “He’s just down those stairs in the basement…” I began when.

     “JOANIE! JOANIE YOU BITCH!” came the Cannibal’s voice from the stairwell. “I won’t let you get away this time. I’ll prove I’m stronger than you… you bitch.”

      “Get this girl out of here!” Parkes barked at our back-up.

     Two of my fellow deputies took care of our charge and moved her down the hallway to safety, while the rest of us turned to face the nightmare figure coming up the stairs.

    As the Cannibal came into view I noticed fresh blood stains had appeared exactly where he’d been hit by our bullets earlier.

     “Joanie…” he said spying Nadine, his voice was husky and his breathing more labored. “You keep coming back to prove I was never enough of a man for you… I joined the army to become stronger… and proved it overseas. I practiced on the whores I found there and found it wasn’t me it that was the problem… it was you. You never knew how to satisfy me… but they did. I taught them how, with they’re screams, their blood, their flesh.. And then I came back to show you but you’d left… and I had to find you. I had to find you over and over… and prove and prove it all over again, and again and…”

     Suddenly the man’s eyes rolled up into his head and he toppled back down the steps, ending with a sickening thud at the bottom. Even before we reached him I knew our quarry was dead.

      “It’s finally over,” one of my fellow deputies breathed.

    Parkes nodded, then turned to me saying, “You and Collins two did great tonight. Finding the girl while we had him on the run was a great move. Speaking of having him on the run, we heard from the hospital while we were chasing the bastard. Terri’s awake and identified her assailant as our friend here.”

     A wave of relief swept over me. Knowing she was out of danger really brought the entire chapter to a close for me. I made a mental note to head to the hospital as soon as we were done here. Unfortunately, there was one last piece of business to attend to here, and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

     I glanced over at Nadine who gave me a sad little smile. We had agreed back at the bar that it would probably be best for no one to remember her or her part in all of this, but I was having second thoughts about it.

     As Nadine approached I said to my boss, “You know to honest I couldn’t have done any of this without Detective Collins help. I think it would be good for us to keep her in mind if we need her expertise again down the road. She’s something of an expert in handling unusual cases.”

     “Is she?” Parkes remarked turning to her. “I know asking you to become part of our team would be a step or two down for you, but I would appreciate it if we could call upon you again in the future.”

    For a pregnant moment I half expected to see more greenish vapors, but instead Nadine smiled and extended her hand saying, “Of course. Michael… I mean Deputy Rhodes knows how to get a hold of me.”

      “Glad to hear you say that,” my boss replied taking her hand. And he wasn’t the only one. I had grown rather fond of this ‘other’ side of my Uncle Nathan, and I was happy to know may get to see/work with ‘her’ again one day.

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

****Another note from the author: Sorry gang, I know I said this would be the final installment, but the story is just too big.  Next time will bring about the end of this saga from Nathan’s long life, with a possible epilogue installment from Nathan’s point of view.  In the meantime, enjoy.****

      “You four okay?” my boss asked as he helped us to our feet.

    I was glad to see he’d finally climbed out of the pond and had not been seriously injured, but the same couldn’t be said for his equipment.

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    “My radio didn’t like taking a dip,” he told me gesturing at his shoulder, “But I saw which direction he was headed in. So I need to you get a hold of the patrol cars on the south side of the park. Tell them to intercept if possible and to use force if necessary. I don’t know what he’s on but that guy is more dangerous than we ever suspected.”

   As I did so, Nadine suddenly grabbed my arm and snapped, “Cancel the last part of that order. Tell them to pursue but not engage!” Then she quickly turned to my boss and added, “He’s got another girl stashed away somewhere. No doubt that’s where he’s headed. If he we follow he’ll lead us right to her, and right now with him all pumped up we’re her only hope.”

     I could see my boss’ expression was about to turn ugly when a greenish mist snaked its way from behind his neck and into his nostrils. In the blink of an eye, he face softened and he nodded. “You heard the lady, Rhodes. Give the order.”

  Obediently I relayed the message, then checked on the two deputies who’d been thrown at me and Nadine. Aside from being bruised and a little shaken, both were ready to rejoin the pursuit. Just then my radio came to life as two of the patrol cars had caught a glimpse of a figure in fatigues racing down Maple Street and had started to follow.

   “We’ve got him in our sights,” one of the driver’s reported, “But damn the guy is fast. Every time we start to close in he pours it on and starts pulling away and… HOLY SHIT, he just vaulted over the ten foot fence around the high school basketball courts.”

   “That’s seven blocks from here…,” Sheriff Parkes began then stopped. “Wait…Jenkins repeat what you just said about the fence!”

   “They guy just jumped over it like runner in the middle of a hurdle race,” came the incredulous reply. “What the hell is he on, Crystal Meth/steroid combo or something?”

     I stole a quick glance at Nadine who was now standing unusually silent with her arms clutching each other across her chest. She seemed to be breathing rather heavily, as if she herself was there in the middle of the chase. Then it hit me. She was still in touch with the Sangui-Sapio! That was how she knew about the other girl the guy was already holding. And now she was trying to see inside the Cannibal’s head and figure out where he was holding her.

    Just then the other patrol car called in saying, “This is Unit 3 we’ve just finished circling around to the front of the school. But there’s no sight of our perp.”

    “He’s either hiding somewhere inside the building, or he he’s laying low somewhere on the grounds,” my boss surmised, then snapped, “Rhodes, Collins, you’re with me.

     “Boiler Room,” muttered Nadine suddenly as her eyes snapped open.

     All eyes turned towards her.

    “What was that, Collins?”

    “He’s got her hidden away in the boiler room,” she replied darkly.

   One of my brothers in brown began to protest. “There’s no way he could keep a girl hidden down there, that’s where the janitors hang out. I should know, a bunch of us used to visit with them in between classes.”

   “You’re thinking the senior high school,” Parkes pointed out, “What about the old junior high building on the far side of the campus? It was closed down about seven years ago due to structural issues and was fenced off from the rest of the grounds to keep the kids out, while they decided whether or not to salvage the place.”

    “I remember seeing something about that. They decided last year to tear it down and a construction company put up a portable office so they could have someone there at all times to keep an eye on the equipment they were moving in and…” suddenly I stopped myself. If our boy was part of the advanced crew who was getting things ready for the demolition project he’d have had time to explore every part of the building including the old boiler room down in the basement.

   Sheriff Parkes seemed to be thinking the same thing, as he turned to one of the deputies, “Have the patrol cars surround the construction zone and begin casing the area. He may not have gotten inside yet. Tell them to enter the building only if they spot him going in. Otherwise they’re to wait for my arrival. You two with me.” This was directed at our assistance. Then turning to me he baredk, “Rhodes, you get Collins seen to at the hospital. Her back and shoulder aren’t looking too good.”

     I began to protest, but Nadine stopped me with a glance.

    “I’ll get her checked out,” I told him.

    Nodding he took off with the other two deputies.

    “Now what?” I hissed in case they were in earshot.

   “You’re getting on my back and directing me to that school,” she replied and hunched down.

    Obediently, I did as she instructed and in a flash the scenery around us turned into a blur, only occasionally snapping back into focus as Nadine waited for where to turn next. In the distance I could hear my boss’ siren blaring telling me we were still way ahead. After one last blur, the abandoned junior high building stood before us.

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     We’d approached from the back, so the patrol cars already on site had no hint of our presence. “I really should alert them…” I began.

    “And possibly give our position away to the Cannibal?” Nadine cut in abruptly. “He’s not here yet, but he is close.”

     I frowned. “He had a huge head start, especially with the speed he was moving at.”

    “Yeah, but now he and the part he stole from me he are having a disagreement,” she replied looking around.

   “How do you mean?” I asked, eyeing her shoulder again. In spite of having finally closed up, it looked like it might re-open at any time, and I began to worry about the one in her back as well.

    Nadine didn’t answer right away. Instead she closed her eyes for a moment before answering. “The Sangui-Sapio is all about preserving life and our friend the Cannibal…”

     “Is all about torturing and killing,” I finished, as my mind flashed back to a moment in the park. “So when you were saying all that stuff about being frightened you were talking to the Sangui-Sapio, trying to coax it out of him.”

     She nodded. “It’s found itself trapped inside a mind that’s full of rage and a desire to end life. And it’s realized that it cannot get him to change. It wants to reject him, but because of all the repair work it’s done on his body, he was too quick and got away. It needs me to be nearby so it has somewhere to go. Otherwise, it won’t survive for very long on its own. That’s what happened when it found me all those years ago. It had just been driven out of another host and was desperately trying to find a life form to merge with.”

    This time she cut me off by asking, “How well do you know the layout of this building?”

    “Like the back of my hand, I spent three years in this place,” I replied, studying the structure. “And as you already surmised the boiler room is in the basement, just below the gym.”

    Nodding we headed towards the nearest broken window and carefully climbed inside.

Empty+classroom

      As my eyes adjusted to the gloom I could make out the rows of empty desks all facing a big desk at the front of the room. There were old posters and even a few old homework assignments still attached to the bulletin boards that were parked next to the blackboards. I could barely make out an old faded chalk message on one of the blackboards that simply read “Goodbye”. Apparently, during the time the school board was deciding whether or not to save the old place, they’d never bothered having anyone clean out the rooms. There were even stacks of old textbooks piled up in a corner.

     If it was like this on the main floor, God only knew what the basement level must be like. I’d gone down there once looking for the janitor and had gotten lost. There had been so many doors and hallways leading to all kinds of storage rooms along with the heat, electrical, and water systems down there. There was no telling where the Cannibal might have stashed his latest victim.

    “Hey, wait a minute,” I whispered as we reached the door that led out of the classroom. “You said earlier that the Cannibal already has a girl captive down in the boiler room. Why did he try to grab another girl tonight if he already has one still alive?”

    Nadine didn’t look at me as she answered, “The last couple he killed weren’t quite as ‘satisfying’ as the earlier ones. So he decided to increase the level of excitement. The more terrified they are the more fun it is for him. And what’s more terrifying than seeing what someone has in store for you, by watching it happen to another?”

     Quietly I reloaded my gun. The nightmare had to end, tonight.

“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….