Blogs by Wade Hunter
Dark Glimmers Chapters 3 and 4
10/14/2006 5:49:20 AM
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“So do you think dad will be okay?” Frank asked Tommy as they sat in the hall outside their father’s room at the hospital. Frank was still mauling over what he had seen in his dreams and trying to put it into perspective. Had his dad really been in trouble? Was the legend of the White Wolf more than just legend?
Tommy had been quiet most of the trip from the house to the hospital, and once inside the walls of the large building his tongue stayed firmly set. Frank knew that Tommy had no idea about what he had seen. He knew that Tommy hadn’t suffered the same vivid nightmare.
Frank tried to peer into the room. The door was open, and his mother was in there talking to the doctor. He could see the strange mix of worry and relief on her face. Frank had a good feeling that his dad was going to be just fine. He strained to hear the voices leaking from the room, but they were too soft to understand. He turned and looked at his brother who was staring intently into the room also. “Tommy?”
“Yeah bud,” Tommy said pulling his gaze away from the door and diverting it to Frank’s face. He wanted to be in there with his mom, with his dad. He wanted to know if his dad was going to be fine, and he wasn’t in the most conversational mood. As he turned to Frank, as he saw the anguish in the boy’s eyes, as he saw the strain of worry on the boy’s face he forgot his anger towards the situation, and focused his energy on his little brother.
“He’ll be okay,” he said with strength in his voice, and Frank responded to that strength. Tommy felt his own worry creep in, but he was fixed on not letting it show. “Let’s talk about something else,” he said as he leaned his head against the wall. “How’d you sleep tonight?”
Frank felt a sudden rumble in his stomach when he heard the question, and the debate started immediately in his head. Should he tell his older brother what he had dreamed, or should he guard his visions? “Not bad, I guess.” I guess. I think I almost say dad buy the farm, but other than that no big deal. “No better than I have been.”
“That good, huh?” Tommy inquired with a small giggle. Frank was glad to hear the humor in his brother’s voice. It lightened him.
“That good,” Frank replied with his own chuckle. The boys smiled grimly at each other
Just then their mother came out of the room with the doctor. Her face wore a smile, but her eyes did not hide the worry that floated behind them. She bent down in front of her boys, and gave them a loving look.
“Boys,” she started, “we have to come back to see dad tomorrow. He is doing fine, but he needs his rest.”
“But I want to see him,” Tommy interjected angrily.
“Tomorrow. Your dad hit his head pretty good.”
“No I want to see him,” Tommy continued to protest. Frank noticed the twinge in the boy’s words and placed a hand on his bigger brother’s shoulder.
“What happened, mom,” Frank asked. He wanted to explode and tell her everything about the dream. He wanted to tell everything he had witnessed in a frenzy of incoherent and rushed sentences, but he knew that he mustn’t. It wasn’t the time for such rants, and it wasn’t the kind of thing that sure-headed moms would believe in times of crisis. It was better to swallow the thoughts, digest them, before he talked to anybody, especially an adult.
Fran hesitated a second, and both boys knew that she was deciding what all to tell them. “There was an accident,” she started. “A man wrecked his truck, and he died in the wreck.”
No he didn’t, Frank thought. A big ugly white wolf ate him after the crash. The White Wolf, mom. Sure he would have died eventually in the middle of the road from all the injuries, but he lived through that crash. He lived just long enough to know true soul enveloping fear, and to know what it was like to see death lurking.
“Well daddy was on the same road,” his mother continued, “It was dark. The roads were wet, and your dad must not have seen the wreck until the last minute. From what they can tell he tried to serve around the truck, but his car spun and hit it anyway. He bounced his head off the side window, and got a concussion. He passed out. Luckily someone came by and found the accident. Your dad is going to be okay. He just needs his rest, and a few days to recover. The doctors have given him drugs, and they have to keep a close eye on him tonight. We have to stay out of the way.” She ran a hand over Tommy’s face.
“But his meeting,” Tommy said, and Frank knew that the boy was searching for more reassurance that their father was fine, any little thing to grab a hold of and cling tight to.
Tears came to Fran’s eyes, and she reached out to touch her son’s face again. “The meeting can be rescheduled. Let’s us be thankful that your dad is going to be okay. Don’t worry about his meeting, honey. You fill your head with good thoughts.”
“But I want to see him,” Tommy said in a deflated tone.
“I know, baby,” his mother said. “I know you do. Tomorrow.”
Frank watched all this. Had his dad been unconscious? What had Frank seen? Maybe it had been just another bad dream, and deep inside somehow he knew that his father had been in trouble. Maybe his brain had just manifested his vision out of mere chance. He reached out and hugged his family. His mother extended her arms to enfold him.
Frank started the mantra in his head.
Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream.
The words flowed through him, searching every last corner, flashing across his mind’s eye like a scroll banner. It had been just a dream, just like all the others. Hadn’t it?
He felt his mom grab his arm, and roll it over.
“Honey what happened to your forearm.”
My forearm, Frank thought as he lifted his gaze up, and his mind filled with a violent swirl of color. The brilliance lasted only a second and was gone. His mother was running her hand gently over his forearm, his right forearm. He remembered the pain he had felt in that arm earlier, but that had been in the dream. He thought of Spinner.
“It’s all bruised,” his mother said as she looked up at him. “When did this happen?”
Frank shook his head. “I don’t know, mom.” He looked at the bruise on his arm, and he saw something he didn’t think his mother could see. He saw something crawling under his skin. He saw deep colors pushing at the surface.
“It’s nothing, mom. I fell and banged it. It’s nothing.”
Bullshit, his mind told him. Bullshit.
“So is your dad alright?” Aaron asked the boys on the way to school the next morning. Tommy took the lead and answered. “He’s okay, but I guess he hit his head pretty hard, rattled his brains a bit.”
Aaron shock his head gently back and forth in a sign of sympathy. “Well he has to be better off than the other guy from what I hear.”
“Better off than dead-yeah. You could say that,” Tommy said giving Aaron a quizzical smile.
“Well-yeah,” Aaron retorted in a don’t-be-stupid tone. “But that’s not what I mean.”
Frank looked over for the first time. He had been ignoring most of the conversation up to this point, but Aaron’s strange excitement had caught his attention. “What do you mean?” Frank asked.
“Oh my, he is awake. Look at that, ladies and gentlemen,” Aaron said candidly as he made a grand Vanna White like gesture towards Frank.
“Yeah I’m awake. How are you always so awake at this time of day?” Frank asked with a bit of annoyance in his voice.
Aaron was Tommy’s age, and no matter the situation, no matter how innocent, odd, or gruesome he always seemed to find some strange portion of it that fascinated him. The boy was Tommy’s height, but he didn’t have Tommy’s build. His red hair was cropped close to his head, and he had a nose that bent awkwardly in the middle from having been broken to many times. This was something that he was quit proud of actually. He felt it solidified him as an adventurous, rugged type that could take a beating and keep on ticking. He thought it looked tough (even though the fourth time his nose had been broke, it had been by a senior that finally had enough of Aaron’s quick tongue).
“I eat a lot of Pop Tarts in the morning,” Aaron replied to Frank’s rhetorical question, “And I live in a haunted house so I sleep rather nicely. The ghosts watch over me.” This was something else that Aaron liked to share about himself. He wasn’t scared to live in a haunted house. Actually, he rather enjoyed it. Of course the whole town was haunted from what Frank could tell, but Aaron seemed to think that his house was more haunted, and therefore he was braver for living amongst the haunts.
“Anyway,” Tommy said, trying to get the conversation back on track. “What do you mean about this other guy?”
Mischief played across Aaron’s eyes as a broad grin snuck across his face. “Well…” he started and looked around.
Tommy smacked him in the back of the head.
“Hey! What was that for?” Aaron protested even though his face still wore a smile.
“Because you’re a jackass, and it’s my job to smack you around every now and again.”
“Good enough,” Aaron replied.
“And because you’re smiling about some dead guy,” Tommy added and the smile sank from Aaron’s chin.
“Geez, what do you think of me? I’m not smiling because some guy bought the farm. I’m smiling because how he bought the farm.” He said the words as if they made all the difference in the world.
Frank turned to Tommy. “Does that make any sense at all?”
“No,” Tommy said, and then added, “Don’t touch him it might wear off. You could get really sick-like him.” Turning to Aaron he said, “I know you’re twisted, but please quickly explain before I have to smack you again.”
Aaron rolled his eyes as if the answer should have been apparent. “They say that the guy that died was messed up pretty bad. They say that it looked like something had been…uhm…‘feasting’ on him. There’s talk of the White Wolf in the air. Why with all the dead animals and then this guy. It is that time of year.”
Frank felt his breath catch in his throat, and he stopped walking. The two older boys stopped, and turned to look at him.
“Do you have to go home and hug your mommy?” Aaron asked, and he received another shot to the back of his head by Tommy.
“No,” Frank stammered. He felt his head go loopy on him, and he fought to stand while his vision went in and out of focus.
“Frank, you okay?” Tommy asked, and suddenly Frank felt himself gain control again. He felt fine, that is except for his forearm, which throbbed, and the vivid images of his dream bombarding his mind. He rubbed his forearm as he started to walk again.
“Who are they?” Frank asked skeptically.
“No. Who’s on first,” Aaron replied.
“Who saw the body? Who told you all this?” Frank persisted. He had to know if Aaron was just making up stories or if someone had actually seen the dead guy. His mind drifted back to the dream, but it seemed cloudy, and he couldn’t focus on the details of it. There were to many images, to many emotions fighting to stand out. It became a blur in his head. I had to be just a dream.
“My cousin is a volunteer fireman, and he answered the call last night. He saw it, called me this morning and told me all about it.”
“Over Pop Tarts?” Tommy asked trying to bring some much needed humor into the conversation. He knew that look on Frank’s face. Frank was a smart kid, and when he made that look it meant he was trying to solve something. That made Tommy a bit uneasy after the events of the past couple days, after there dad had been hurt.
“Yes, my good chap, over Pop Tarts. Wild berry to be precise, with a fine compliment of milk on the side,” Aaron said in a mock English accent.
“I should smack you more often,” Tommy said.
“You can smack me all you want Friday night,” Aaron said, “but I don’t want you brother to get jealous so smack him around a bit also.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re both coming over to spend the night. I asked mom this morning. She said if I could manage to get you to shower some time during the week, maybe even wash your hair then you both could spend the night. I even got her to give unlimited X-box privileges. We can play until our eyes bleed.”
Tommy looked at Frank and gave him a so-what-do-you-think expression. Frank still had that complex look on his face, but he nodded in agreement.
“Cool,” Tommy said.
From the shadows of the old church Spinner watched the three boys disappear over the crest of the dip. He had slept little last night after his initial dream, and he rubbed his eyes as the morning sun glistened off the dew of the cemetery. How had the boy faired last night? He was still alive, and that was a good sign. That was a great sign after the mess that they had found out on old route 386.
Spinner watched as the boys reappeared on the opposite side of the dip. He watched the smallest boy, and he tried to decipher the boy’s body language. It had been his dad out on that road last night. It had been his dad that had happened along the mutilated corpse of Merle Brown. What did the boy know about the events? Had he seen the White Wolf in his dreams? Had he witnessed the horror?
Something had happened last night. Something with enough power to send a ripple through the very oddness that in habited Spinner. He felt that odd quiver, almost like a chill but with more bite as he huddled over his books late last night. He had felt something like that before, and it had been during the death of the others, the death of the young ones taken in their dreams, the ones he had lost. This one had survived.
A good sign, indeed.
Spinner had feared that this new boy had fallen victim last night. He had feared that he had failed once more. It had to be different this time. This child had to be the one he had been waiting for, the one that he could guide through the dreams, the one that would help him find the answers that he so desperately sought, the one that he could help.
Spinner had been walking unaware of where his footfalls were leading him. The morning air was heavy in his nostrils as he walked. The moisture that covered the grass had begun to seep into his clothes, and he finally looked down to see just how wet he was.
He was in front of her gravestone, and that old picture looked at him scornfully as he stood there.
“You can’t have this one,” he said to the tombstone. No words answered him, but he felt the air around him compress. “This one is not for you. I will help him. Let him be.” He expected no echoing voice from the grave, but he wanted some conformation that the child would be safe. He knew that it would not be given.
He realized how tired he was. It was not from his lack of sleep the night before, but from all the years waging his secret war, all his years searching for the meaning of the horror that gripped this town, all the years searching for the meaning behind his strange ability, his curse.
He put his hands to his face and rubbed. He looked back down at the tombstone, and his eyes drifted from the picture to the name, but more importantly to the dates.
Born May 6 1848
Taken cruelly from this world
October 14 1902
In life we know fear
In death you will know why.
He had read the inscription again and again through the years. This day it was the dates that caught his attention. October 14. It was now October 8. Things always got bad in this town around these dates. There had been one death already. How many more would come?
Spinner sighed, and he turned away from the tombstone. The wind rushed past him as he began to walk. Things were going to get real ugly real soon, and he had to do something. His mind wrestled the thought, and he didn’t know what to do? He was lost just like he had always been.
Frank sat in class wondering about what Aaron had said. The White Wolf- could it really be real? What was wrong with this town? He sat back in his plastic molded chair and tried to drop all the questions from his mind. He had to pay attention to the teacher. Yes, that was it- pay attention to the teacher. As Frank converted his attention from his own dwellings, to that of the teacher, he was amazed at how heavy his eyes were becoming. Just a few minutes, his mind pleaded. Shaking himself, he sat up straight in the chair, hoping that the increased posture would lead to increased alertness.
It didn’t work.
He had to shake himself again when he realized he had started to fall into the loving arms of sleep. The room had grown trees, and there was a blazing fire where the teacher’s desk should have been. He knew that it was wrong, and he managed to claw his way back to the land of lead pencils and paper tablets before he fell deeper into the dream. He shuffled in his chair determined not to fall asleep. Of all places, of all classes do not fall asleep here. The teacher, Mr. Smith, was a half cocked, maniacal prick of a man, which wore too much cologne, and dressed himself sloppily. Frank had fallen asleep in here before, and he had paid by Mr. Smith’s-a simple title for simple man-public humiliation.
He was determined not to fall asleep in this class of any of them, but there where thirty minutes left, and that seemed like an eternity right now. The man’s voice invited Chinese water torture as a favorable alternative to listening, making it all the harder to stay awake. Pushing his hand into his pocket Frank used his thumb and forefinger to pinch his leg. The pain was mild, but seemed to be working well enough for now. Mr. Smith was droning on about some ancient culture or another that Frank figured (unless much mistaken) that he would never even hear about again once the school year was over.
The harder that Frank tried to stay awake the harder the actual act became. When he saw the flames boiling over the top of Mr. Smith’s desk he knew that he was dreaming, but he was unable to escape the lure of it this time. Maybe if he stayed asleep the flames would spread engulfing not only Mr. Smith’s desk but Mr. Smith himself. That would be a nice dream.
Something hit the floor with a loud bang, and Frank sat bolt upright in his seat. He expected to find Mr. Smith, and his beady little eyes, glaring down on him, but as he drug himself from the haze of sleep he realized that Mr. Smith was glaring at someone else in the front of the room and not him. A young girl that Frank only knew to see was awkwardly picking up a pile of books from the floor while big bad Mr. Smith lorded over her with a smug look on his face.
Frank looked past the man through the window hoping to find something to grab his attention, and he did. It was dark outside, completely dark, and the reflection of fire danced in the window. Wake up, Frank told himself again. The charm held no magic, and the window bent from the modern perfectly shaped frame of concrete and steel, to an awkward and crocked pane of glass in a wall made of wooden timber.
Frank watched the fire dancing in the window, and it seemed to mesmerize him. He became suddenly aware of the temperature as sweat formed on his forehead, and under his arms. Wake up, his brain told him again only this time it was less of a request and more of a plea. There came a loud crack that filled the room like thunder, and another, and another, and another followed it.
Frank looked around him, and knew that he was deep in dream, but this wasn’t just any dream. This was one of the bad dreams. This was one of the dreams that wasn’t a dream. It was in his head, but real at the same time.
He closed his eyes and opened them again, hoping that he would be back in school, not even caring if the dreaded Mr. Smith was looming over him when he woke. It wasn’t Mr. Smith standing in front of him when he opened his eyes, and he was nowhere near the school.
He looked around. He was in a one-room cabin. The floor was dirt, and it ungulate unevenly throughout the room. The building was made of logs. It reminded Frank of the pictures of old frontier houses.
The wind ripped outside sending tiny currents of air shifting past him, tickling his skin as the cold outside air mixed with the blistering air that filled the inside of the cabin. The walls groaned under the pressure of the wind, but the clang of metal over shadowed all other noise. A bed or what Frank thought was a bed rested in the corner, just beside the only door in or out of the one room building. The bed was covered in ragged, patched blankets of red, and something that use to be white but was now more the color of the floor. There was a small table at the end of the bed with an oil lamp on it, and some small tools of some kind. There were two windows, the one that Frank had been staring into, and one directly opposite of it on the other wall. The door was held shut by a large tree limb that had been faceted across it and making it impossible to open the door without its removal. On a hook of black steel beside the door hung a long white cloak, which seemed odd for this place. It was unstained, and the whiteness of it seemed to absorb all the light that came near it, like a black hole.
Then there was the far end of the room, and this is what had drawn Frank’s attention, this was where the loud sounds were coming from, this was were the immense heat was coming from.
Frank stepped back until his hand found the wall. The logs of the wall were rough under his touch, but he felt better with his back protected. The clanging of the metal filled the room, and Frank suddenly realized just how vulnerable he was. The limb across the door might as well been made of iron and unmovable. Frank knew that he would never be able to unlatch it and open the door in time to escape if things went bad. No, he knew better than that-when things went bad. He was completely trapped.
At the far end of the room a massive forge took up most of the far wall. It blazed with flames that licked the air from inside the forge like serpents trying to escape the pit. It wasn’t the forge that scared Frank. It was the man in front of the forge, swinging the large metal hammer down upon the red hot metal that lie on a large black anvil in front of him, with enough force to crush the skull of a rhino.
The man had his back to Frank, and the light from the forge made the man’s sweat covered body glisten as he worked. He wore no shirt, and Frank could see the heavy muscle working in his back as the man swung the hammer over and over. Each new swing seemed to produce a sound that grew louder than the one before. Each new swing struck Frank’s fear deeper and deeper into his soul until it seemed the very vibration of it would drive him mad. Orange light danced on the man’s bald head as he set the hammer down, and bent over. He picked up a long heavy chain, and heaved a portion of it into the fire. Frank could see now that the glowing metal coming from within the fire was part of this chain, and the man seemed to be cursing as he maneuvered it with heavy gloved hands.
Frank felt a pinch in his forearm, and he did his best to strangle any noise from escaping his throat and alert the man to his presence. He dared not pull his eyes from the man in front of him to look at his forearm, but it felt as if something was crawling on his skin. As the shirtless man began to pound away again, Frank lifted his arm to look. The skin was moving as if something were underneath of it, looking for a way out. He watched in wide eye horror as something that looked like a worm poked through his skin, and began to squirm out. The thing glowed, and was both horrible and beautiful to look at. It seemed to be made of light. As the light worm made it farther out of Frank’s arm, the pain lessened, and he saw the strange red glimmer come from deep within it. He watched as it snaked its way three inches out, and stood straight on end. He wanted to scream, he wanted to run, but how do you run from something that is inside of you? The light worm melted, leaking over Frank’s skin in a fine glimmering pool. For the briefest second Frank saw definition in the shifting light, a shape form within the pool, but it was gone before he could truly tell what it was.
Frank looked up when he realized that the hammering had stopped. It had been replaced with the sound of tortured crying. The man was slumped over with both hands on the anvil. His chest rose and fell with the sobs that left him. His head seemed covered in shadow regardless of the blasting forge in front of him.
You need to get the hell out of here, Frank thought as he watched the man. He was just beginning to see the tools that lie around the room, shovels, picks, and hammers all dirty from what was probably a recent dig.
And there will be another if he finds you in here. Wake up.
The man lifted the hammer, and brought it down with insane force against the metal on the anvil. He was still crying as he pounded with new ferocity, but words were coming from him now.
“Why,” he murmured heavily as he pounded. “Why did they take her from me?” The sound of metal ringing filled Frank’s head, and he thought that it would be too much to bear if it got louder than it already was. “Why? I’ll kill them all. I’ll make them pay. They shall still know fear. She will be with me, with them, forever.”
Frank felt the pain in his forearm once more, and he looked down to see blue and purple light swirling with red forming an image then clouding. The man brought the hammer down again, and again. He was out of breathe, and only tortured grunts escaped him. Frank was getting ready to turn for the door. He would throw the tree branch bolt out of the way and run, but he knew that wouldn‘t work. He would concentrate on someplace else and hope that the dream would take him there like it had last night when his dad was in trouble. He would flee one way or the other. Frank concentrated on the school. He had to make it to the school. For a brief second he saw the classroom around him. He saw the empty desks, and the large black board, and he tried to move. The dream shifted, and he was back in the cabin, back with the hammering maniac.
He had to try the door. The dream had him trapped in the cabin, and it wasn‘t letting him out. Before he could turn and begin his desperate escape, the man pounding on the anvil, the man yielding the heavy hammer that crushed the hot metal, stopped grunting, stopped pounding, and looked at the window.
Frank wasn’t sure what had made the man look that way, but he felt something had changed among the dream. He had felt some odd quake. It had vibrated from his feet to his head, and back to the ground before it disappeared. He didn’t know if it was from his attempt to change the dream or not.
Frank tried to get a better image of the man’s face. His profile was towards Frank, but the darkness seemed to cloak him as his head turned towards the window. The man stared at the window, unmoving. It seemed that he didn’t even draw breath.
Frank knew he was in trouble. He knew that he had to get out or wake up. He knew that he had to get away, and he knew all of this before the man finally moved. As if on a swivel the man’s head turned, but it didn’t turn back to the forge or the anvil. It turned towards Frank, and Frank felt as if the world was crashing in on him. The man’s smile seemed to invite him in merely for the purpose of pain. The thing that finally made the scream come form inside Frank was the glimmer coming from the man’s eyes. It was deep, and snaked viciously from his skull. It crawled over his cheeks and forehead as if it was trying to feed on the man’s skin and bone. It snapped at the air around him as if searching for more flesh to consume, and above all else, it was the color of pitch.
Spinner had spent the morning doing his work for the town, but come lunch it was time to go home. He played the part of the fun loving simpleton while performing his duties. He always volunteered to clean up the dead animals around this time of year, and there were always a lot of slain animals around this time of year. It was the slopwork to clean up the bloody messes, but it helped him keep tabs on the restlessness of the White Wolf without drawing attention.
The White Wolf was a concept that this town had embraced, and Spinner didn’t think he could blame them. He rubbed the scar on his forehead. There was something about the beast. It was real but unreal. It was a terror of the dream world, but yet it manifests itself into the world of the living. Just like it had last night. How could it be in both worlds?
An idea had popped into Spinner’s head this morning as he stared at Anna’s headstone. In truth it was more of a concept, a theory. He wanted to check on something that he feared he had been overlooking for years. As he thought about things-both the dream world and the physical world- it seemed almost simple, but he reserved his excitement until he could do some checking. As he drove home he hoped that he had finally placed a piece of the puzzle in the correct spot.
His house invited him home as he pulled up the long gravel driveway. It wasn’t much of a house but it was all that he needed. He parked his truck, and fumbled for the keys to the front door before finding the correct one. As he walked in he thought about taking a nap. He needed some sleep. Lord knew he didn’t get any last night. He had a worm eating at his brain though, and he knew no matter how tired he was if he didn’t go check out his theory than he wouldn’t be able to get any sleep.
He went to the kitchen and pulled all the blinds, then he followed suit in the living room, the dinning room, and the bedroom. He then locked the front door, and the back door. Once he doubled checked that all the blinds were down, and that both the door were locked he made himself a ham sandwich, and pulled down the flour tin from above the sink. Shaking the flour around a bit he finally exposed the edge of a plastic zip lock bag, which he grabbed and freed from the flour. Inside was a key, which he took to the pantry and unlocked a small chest the size of a jewelry box that rested on the top shelf in the corner. Out of the box he pulled a second key, and proceeded to return the first key to its hiding spot.
Spinner took a minute to eat his sandwich before going to the bedroom. Once in the bedroom he opened the closet, and pulled the rug up from the corner of the floor to reveal small vault door, which he used the second key to unlock.
He felt silly at times for all the cloak and dagger methods, but in the end it always calmed him to think that someone wouldn’t just happen to come along his secret collection. Out of the vault in the floor he pulled several books, looking at the dates on each one before setting them aside. Finally he came along the one he was looking for. It was an old town log, which he had “acquired” from the library of town records. He set this volume on the bed, and began to look for another book, which he found immediately. This book was his prize. It was an ancient text, which he happened upon in a specialty store in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was the only book that he had ever found that detailed the different dream powers that caused the glimmer. The cover was old brown leather, and the pages were made of parchment. The lettering on the front was written in gold gothic script. It was one word written in a beautiful hand, and it read Chimera.
When he had first picked it up all those years ago, he had picked it up for its craftsmanship and age not knowing what the word on the front meant. As he opened the book to examine it further, he read passages, and he knew that he must obtain this book. The owner of the shop looked him over fully as he handed the book to her, and he had feared that she wouldn’t allow him to purchase it. Only after she studied him for a while did her eyes narrow.
“Do you know of the Chimera?” she had asked in a thick southern accent.
“No ma’am,” he had answered, and she had begun to pull the book back as if she planned on not giving it to him.
“But I sure want that book,” he followed, and he could feel the passion in him grow, heard the demand in his voice. He reached out his hand, palm up, hoping to lure the book back into his possession when the lady behind the counter grabbed his wrist and pulled his arm forward, exposing the underbelly of his forearm. Her eyes grew large.
“You have a bruise on your arm. Is it painful?” She looked up at him as if the question meant nothing, as if it were only for show. He had wondered if she could actually see the mark on his arm. “Have you ever seen the Castle in the Air?” She asked.
He didn’t answer her, and he could feel the sternness in his face grow hard. He didn’t like all the questions. “The book?” he had asked, knowing that he must leave that place with it. He knew that the owner of the store might have been able to help him, but he was afraid. He wanted to open up to this lady, but years of living in a town where association with any form of witchcraft could mean a lynching made him hold his questions. Even to this day his shame towards that day would not allow him to return and seek consult.
Thankfully the owner handed him the book, never letting her eyes fall from his.
When he set to reading the book he understood that the owner of the shop had known what he had inside of him. She had known of his power, and he was mad that he squandered the opportunity to talk to her. The book was a form of diary. The person who had kept it had never mentioned their name among the pages. The only words in the book pertained to the strange gifts of the dream world, scattered histories, and theories. It wasn’t an all-knowing text, but it explained a lot of things to Spinner back when he knew so little.
He put this book on top of the town log, and pulled out his own diary. He had kept a book of the things he had discovered both for his own sake, and for anyone that he might find like him. He placed everything that he didn’t need back into the small vault, and closed the lid. Taking his books he went into the living room, and sat down at the table, which he had spent so many hours already.
He set the two smaller books aside, and lifted the large town log in front of him. The dates on it read-
January 1, 1901 through December 31, 1903.
He had read this text from cover to back at least three times, and as he flipped the pages he wondered if he had overlooked something very important all those times. The pages were informally written. The mayor was the one that kept the book, and it reported any major happening in the town for each day- almost like a captain’s log from a sailing vessel.
He flipped to October 15, 1902. The information he read here had been burned into his memory long ago just as the strange event itself had been burned into the memory of the town all those years ago.
October 15, 1902
Strange goings on today. Pasture Tim called on me today at my house in a frightful state. The man could barely talk he was so worked up, but he is an old man set in his ways, and when he gets going whether it is on a sermon or a tale he is a rapacious one. His words seemed to be incoherent at first, but with some hot tea I managed to settle him down, and have him talk common to me. He said that someone had dug a grave in the middle of the night, and that I had to go and see what he was talking about. The old priest was crazed I tell you, crazed. After some debate, I put on my hat and coat, and the priest and I traveled to the church. I understood his concern as I came upon the grave, and the sight of it filled me both with joy and fear. She was dead. Old Anna, the terror of this town, was dead. I knew this of course for I signed the papers that sealed her fate, and gave the people of the town the unmarshalled privilege to rid us of the lady and her evil if ever they had the chance. I had received word that late last night the old witch had been dealt with. The problem was no one- and I made sure of this- had the permission to bury her in the town’s sacred lot.
There I stood looking down on the headstone with its eerie final words and that ungodly photo of the women embedded in the stone. I tell you I felt my heart shrivel at the site of it. Someone had buried her last night after she had been dealt justice. They had buried her right next to the holy church, God help us that her evil does not stain the church as it stands. Who would bury her, and how had they the headstone to place over her grave? Witchcraft, I say. Witchcraft. If it had been any other person in this town I would have had the grave dug up, and the head stone moved, but I dare not disturb the very ground that covers Old Anna for surely it is unholy, and tainted. I ask again who would do this, and how? It reeks of her witchcraft, and is surely nothing short of sorcery that has planted its evil seed beside our beloved church. New land will have to be set aside to replace the tainted so our Godly citizens have clean soil for there final resting place.
Spinner knew that this passage was important in the grand scheme. He knew that something was hidden among the words. Maybe it was an answer. Maybe it was no more than a question, but there was something. He knew that this wasn’t what he was looking for right now though, and he moved on. Today he had a different purpose, a different question to answer.
He flipped the pages hoping that he would find what he wanted. He flipped the pages carefully as to not damage the brittle paper. He found the date that he was looking for.
October 15, 1903
Last night a terror struck the town. Four men dead, good men, men I trusted. All four found dead, but not just dead, mutilated. These are the same men that I have entrusted to many task of high importance, and now they are gone. And what do I have to account for these deaths? Tales and that is all. Tails of the great white monster...a massive wolf no less. There has been no wolf here in years. Frederick tells me that he saw the animal take no less than five shots. It had even gone done at one point, but the tale he tells after that is all too gruesome. Let it be known that a new menace has come among us. A hellhound has found our quaint little town, and slain its fathers.
The undertaker is here in a rant. I will return to you later with news dear pages.
I viewed the bodies early this afternoon or should I say what is left of them. The have been what could best be described as eaten. It was a ghastly site to behold, and it made me ill. I am still queasy as the pictures visit my mind once more. These four men that performed the ultimate duty for our town are lost forever. I have heard more accounts of this wild beast, this great White Wolf. Animals were found slain at two farms. Bill Parson tells a story of the beast taking one of his cattle. He watched the wretch from his bedroom window to scared to take up his gun and fire. He said that the beast glowed, and he swears its eyes shone green. What beast is this? Lord what vengeance has been brought upon us to stand siege by such an unholy animal?
It was the first sighting of the White Wolf. The date of October 14, 1903 marked the first kill by the White Wolf that many feared still stalked the town this day. Many feared that the beast had taken another victim last night.
He looked at the date again.
“One year to date,” he said leaning back in his chair. He had been right about that, and for some reason after all this time it had finally kicked in. He had finally seen it. Maybe it had been too obvious to him, and that was why he just didn’t see it. The White Wolf made its first kill on the one-year anniversary of Old Anna’s death. The first part of the equation fit. The physical end of the equation was written.
Spinner went back to the town journal and read the entry again. He read a line aloud so that his ears could hear what his brain was thinking.
“He said the beast glowed, and its eyes shone green.” He thought to his own dreams of the White Wolf. He saw the saw green eyes boring into him, trying to freeze his soul, and he knew.
Before he looked for the last bit of information that he needed to confirm his revelation, he flipped open his own diary and began to write the dates and events on a clean page. That having been done, he picked up the old leather bound book that he had bought in Virginia. He opened the book in the middle and flipped backward until he found the passage that he was looking for. He read the entry twice before he could accept it.
“Holy shit,” he whispered. “It’s her.”
The Eye in the Sun
The oak trees swayed in the wind as if clapping for the turrets of leaves that danced at their feet. The wind blew with a low moan that bounced off the surrounding hills and echoed back into the valley. The lonely sun hung high in the air ready to make its final decent into night. On the porch a squirrel stopped suddenly, poking his head into the air in search of the source of the winds agony, suddenly he sprinted from the open area of the porch and found cover in a near by tree.
Inside the house, Spinner sat in stunned amazement as he stared at the heavily inked lines marked on the yellow brown pages of the book in front of him. His mind flickered to memories that haunted his dreams. He thought of all the times that he had seen Anna in his dreams. He thought of all the times he had encountered the White Wolf. They were the same threat. How many times had he seen the odd green twinge flash across Ann’s eyes as she stalked him? How many times had he been locked eye to eye with the White Wolf as it leaped for him? Hundreds. Thousands. And he had never connected the same greenish aura that resided in both of their eyes.
He looked back down into the journal unable to fully except what was so plainly obvious now. Anna had come back to exact revenge on the town. Anna had been Chimera when she was alive, and she yielded a rare form of the power. Why hadn’t he picked up on it all before?
He turned the journal over in his hands, ran his fingers up the spine of the book as if the action would change what was written inside. He flipped the ancient journal back over. He considered the person who had written it. What had they been like? The book had been written in entries, which gave insight into the author’s experience. Some of the entries were precise with drawn and conclusive information. Others entries were obtuse in their meaning, more theories than facts, more ideas than anything. The author had obtained a high level of understanding. She had found entry into the Castle in the Air.
Spinner had written his journal in much the same fashion, but he hadn‘t achieved entry into the Castle. He had seen the Castle floating above him, but something was blocking him from getting there. Something, in this town, was blocking him from getting there. Anna? Could she be that powerful or was there something, someone, else aiding in blocking him.
The Castle in the Air was the focal point of Chimera power. If entry to the Castle was achieved by a Chimera that person’s power would increase ten fold while in the dream. The Castle in the air was the source of all six of the Chimera powers. It wasn’t a safe house. A person could still be harmed in the Castle. The Castle in the Air was a mecca to the Chimera though, and those who held entry there punished all evil performed within its sacred walls. Spinner longed to go there.
Spinner looked at his arm. How confused he had been when it had first started to appear. How scared he was when he saw the color shining from his skin. It was linked to the Castle in the Air. It was the mark of the Chimera, the entry pass. How he wanted to explore the Castle. He had dedicated his life to understanding the power within him, without ever getting to step under the five towers. He lifted his arm in front of his face. There was no color dancing there now. Way back when this had confused him. Now he knew. He could only see his mark when he was sleeping, when he was in the dreams. When he was awake it looked like a large bruise and nothing more.
The witch at the bookstore had noticed the mark. Had she been able to see it? There was a strange twist to the gift. You could see other’s marks, but not your own. The same went for the eye glimmer. He thought of the child, Frank Jordan. Spinner could see the child’s eyes and he knew that the child possessed vast amounts of power. He was young. Normally a Chimera didn’t develop a glimmer until the age of sixteen or seventeen. The boy was twelve, and already he showed at least two glimmers. He had seen the boy’s arms, and no mark was there. Not yet anyway. Spinner knew that the boy was approaching his time even though he was so young. He ran his fingers over the bruise. Soon the boy would see the mark.
“Purple,” he spoke softly into the empty room. That was the only color his mark glimmered. At first he thought the power was weak, that the purple glimmer was not as good as the others, but he realized that he was wrong about that. The purple glimmer was powerful. It not only aloud him to act as a guide but it provided him with a form of shield against the other glimmer powers. If one was to be a dream guide then they would need some form of protection. His power gave him that by weakening the affect of other powers against him. That’s why the White Wolf had been repulsed when it had bitten into his mark. It was his purple glimmer acting as a safe guard within the dream. That strange portion of the color’s power was probably the only reason he was still alive.
Spinner looked down into the journal. The page that was open had a list of the Chimera powers. The author had explored the Castle, and discovered the meaning of most of the colors. He looked at the entry that told him some of what he was capable of. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the first time he had read that entry, tried to remember the feeling of fulfillment that he felt. The entry was written in first person. The author had possessed the same glimmer. He spoke the words aloud. He had them memorized.
“And I find that I can help inside of the dream world for I possess the color of purple. I have the ability to guide others through the dream whether it be in the Castle in the Air or otherwise. I have the ability to lead others from nightmares to daydreams, from darkness to light, from danger to safety…or vice versa.”
I possess the color purple, Spinner thought reciting the line in his head now. He reconsidered the last sentence of the passage. I have the ability to lead others from nightmares to daydreams, from darkness to light, from danger to safety…or vise versa.
“Or vice versa,” he said aloud. Had Anna possessed the purple glimmer or just the green? Was she leading people from safety to danger? He was going to have to reconsider everything now that he knew she had been Chimera when she was alive, but that raised the question of how she was still using her power when she was dead. Green, she definitely had the green glimmer, but what of the others.
Spinner looked back down at the journal. Look at everything with a fresh eye, he thought. There were other colors, other powers. The author could only write about what she experienced. She had mentioned six colors; purple, red, blue, yellow, green, and black. Each color had a short description of its power. The Castle had five towers, and each one boosted a color. Each one was a focal point for a different power. The six color, black, did not have a tower. It had a dungeon below the castle, a place were the light could not penetrate. Spinner read the passages in the journal, hoping to find some new information that he had passed over before.
I have only seen the color red once while in the dream. It was stemming in torrents from the eyes of a very odd man in a strange form of dress. The man was large, and handsome. He looked like he came from a very far land. I came upon him in a field of mist. He turned and looked at me. His eyes flashed with their crimson brilliance, and he disappeared. I never saw him again or anybody with the same glimmer. I often wonder who he was, and what the power of the color could mean.
Spinner ran a hand over his face. He had seen the color red. It wasn’t brilliant, but he had seen it, snaking from the eyes of the young boy. It was the first time Spinner had ever seen the color. It had to be rare. Which meant that this boy was rare. Something that Spinner already knew. What could the power mean?
He looked back down at the journal, hoping that if he read some of the others entries that it might spark some other form of recognition.
My acquaintance in the Castle has the power of blue. I am quietly amazed by his abilities. He name is Francis. He is powerful. I met him more by chance than not. I think I stumbled upon him, or maybe he found me as I explored. He does not possess the color purple like I, but he was able to lead me in a new adventure as he displayed what he could do. We found each other in a long hall of the Castle in the Air. He took my hand and asked me what I had always wanted to see. Unsure, I told him the gardens of Parris. I felt a strange ripple cover me as if the earth itself moved under my feet, and the next thing I knew I was in the most magnificent garden I have ever seen. He had the ability to change the dream from within . It was amazing.
“How I could use that,” Spinner said as he thought about all the times he had to defend himself or run away while in a dream.
He continued to read.
The color yellow, the color of the sun, is the color of health in the dream. I have never met anybody with this ability to heal, but Francis has informed me that he has. He says he has seen the sick healed within the dream, and in correlation in real life. It must be the color of God, for he heals us with unseen hands. What good one would be able to perform with such power.
Spinner let his eyes fall to the next line. It was the passage that he had read to confirm his suspicions. It was the color green. He didn’t read the passage again. He wasn’t sure if he could. Some races believe that everybody has an inner animal spirit. The green glimmer allows the person who possesses it to change into that animal spirit. That meant that someone could become something else, like say a big, ugly, white wolf.
He had seen the green glow about Anna. Why didn’t her eyes glimmer? The color only blanketed the eye. She’s dead, his mind told him. Her power should have died with her, but something is holding her here. Something is giving her the power to inflict herself on the dream world and the physical world. What could do such a thing?
Local legend said that Anna was a witch, and Spinner had believed it until now. Now, he wasn’t so sure. Now, he knew the source of her power. He wandered if he had solved one piece of the puzzle only to be handed more. He wandered if Anna had possessed more power, if in life her eyes had more than one brilliance. It was too much to think on for now. Read the last passage, he thought, but even the thought of the final color made him shudder. Had Anna possessed it in life? Was its taint holding her spirit here? He let his eyes caress the words.
I have discovered the inner color of the mark, and it frightens me beyond comprehension. If yellow is the color of God than black is the color of the devil himself. I was with Francis. We were exploring the strange lands of the north through his ability to transform the dream when we came upon the body of a dead man. His skin was awful. It was red and burnt. Angry blisters pimpled his exposed skin. Francis rolled him over to get a better look, and I nearly fell out of the dream. The man’s eyes were taken from his skull, and all the hair had been singed from his head. It was the most nauseating smell ever. Before we could begin to ask each other what had happened a monster of a man stepped from behind a tree. His eyes were filled with nothingness, with darkness. It seemed as if oil spilled from his very sockets. I saw the dark mark on his arm, and realized that I had discovered the final color. It consumed the entire mark like a cancer. Pitch as night, the blackness in the man’s eyes rippled around his skull. I could feel the hatred pour out of him, and I knew that it had been he that had mutilated the dead man at Francis’s feet. The dark man took a step towards us, and I felt as if the world were crashing in on me. I was so afraid. The next thing I know Francis had a hold of my wrist, and I transported us back to the Castle. I woke immediately once we made it into the blue tower. I was too afraid to stay in the dream any longer.
Black- the color of death. The thought of Anna possessing this power made his skin crawl. You could kill in a dream without possessing the blackness, but somehow the dark glimmer gave you untold powers of killing while in the dream. It consumed all other colors. Spinner wasn’t sure if even his extra protection would be any good against it. Those who eventually went mad from their powers were said to be blackened. They lose their minds, and the black power consumes them. It was at that moment that Spinner knew that he must help young Frank Jordan find his way. He had to help the boy stay alive. If he only knew what trouble young Mr. Jordan was in.
Frank tried again to transport himself back to the school. He tried to pinch himself. He tried everything and anything in order to wake up before the dream could progress any further. When he focused on the school he saw the walls of the cabin waver into the walls of the classroom, but he wasn’t able to hold the image. The man in front of him straightened to full height. His white skin was pasty except for the sweat that glistened on it. It was the perfect contrast to the darkness in his eyes. He had no shirt on, and his muscles bulged at the skin. He had on heavy leather gloves, but Frank could still see the black glimmer on his arm slithering around like a giant spider. The oily glimmer that danced from his eyes shined, as the man’s smile grew larger.
The dark man leaned back resting his butt on the anvil and crossed his arms across his chest. He didn’t say a word. He only looked at Frank with those deep dark eyes that spit black fire. The smile hadn’t left his face, and Frank was pretty sure that it had actually gotten bigger.
Frank pushed his way back to the door, and looked sideways at the large limb barricading it shut. Even if he managed to get that off before the man got to him, he would never be able to outrun him. Frank knew that he was fast, but he didn’t think that he could outrun the monster on the other side of the room.
I have to get out, Frank thought. I have to wake up. He knows he has me. Frank focused on the classroom again, tried with all his might to force himself to that place. He had done it the other night, why could he not do it now. The man sitting on the furnace watched Frank intently. He looked around in delight as the cabin flickered then materialized once more. Frank pushed at the thought with everything, but he couldn’t transport himself like he had last night to help his father. Frank felt himself reaching for the limb that held the door shut. He looked over his shoulder at the man sitting on the anvil. The guy wasn’t moving as Frank began to lift the limb from the door. Those dark eyes were focused on Frank.
“You’re Chimera,” the man said in his harsh voice, and he began to laugh. “So young,” he whispered. He stood, and began to take off his gloves. He took the left one off first and tossed it to the side. It landed in the corner next to some ironwork that seemed to be the back of a chair. Frank trained his eyes back to the dark eyed man. He was taking off the right hand glove. The glove seemed to melt off his hand, and the sight it revealed made Frank drop the limp. It rattled back into place, barring the door shut once more.
The guy’s hand was missing, and in its place was a mass of black liquid goop. Frank felt the mark on his arm burn. He screamed both out of pain and fear.
“Where did you come from?” The man asked as he took the first step towards Frank. “We can’t have you running around our town.”
The dark man was coming, and Frank had nowhere to run. The black liquid began to crawl up the man’s muscled arm as he came forward. Frank turned for the door, but he knew that it was pointless. He slammed his fist into it in an act of hopelessness. Frank stopped and poised himself. As the man stepped closer, he jumped onto the bed, jumped around the advancing adversary, and ran back towards the forge. The man turned back towards him with a growl. Frank grabbed a shovel, and swung it in a wide arc. The blade of the shovel missed the man by about a foot. Frank tried again to mentally push himself out of this place, to move to anywhere. He didn’t care if it was the school or not. He just needed to get out.
He swung the shovel again, and this time the man had to dodge to get out of the way. The blackness had covered most of the man’s arm know, and it was begging to cover his chest and back. Frank swung the shovel again, and the man held his distance. A wild amusement danced in his eyes as if he didn’t think he was going to have this much fun today.
Frank pushed with his mind, and the walls of the cabin disappeared. Frank and the dark man were in the middle of a large field. The man looked around in amazement. His eyes narrowed on Frank. “We definitely can not have you running around.” He made a move towards Frank extending the blackened left arm. Frank swung the shovel again, but this time he brought the blade on a low arc, and he caught the man above the knee. His dark eyed foe roared in pain, and went down on one leg. Frank looked around. He was in the open. He dropped the shovel and began to run. If he could get away and hide then maybe he could make it through this.
He could hear the man coming for him, but Frank knew that the man’s ability to run would be hindered by the shot to the knee. Frank didn’t look back. He just ran.
“You are still in my world young one!” he heard the man scream. “Run as fast as you can, and I will still be there to meet you.”
Frank noticed that the air had become increasingly thick. He ran into a fog bank. His vision was dramatically cut down. He could see about six or seven feet in front of himself. He could feel the burn in his legs as he churned faster and faster. He couldn’t hear the man running after him any more, but his words rang in Frank’s head. I will be there to meet you. Frank stopped. He had to. He was out o breath. He listened, but heard nothing. He began to walk taking care not to make any noise.
The fog seemed to be closing in on him. He heard a twig snap, and he froze. He looked around, but only saw the shifting form of the fog. Move, his mind was saying, but Frank didn’t know which way to move. What way had he come from? Which way had the dark man gone? He began to spin looking for sometime that would give him a marker, something that he could head towards. The fog swirled around him as he spun, and he thought he saw the top of a tree close by. He stopped spinning, hoping to spot it between the waves of fog once more, and after a minute he thought he did- there on his right. He squinted his eyes to search. He heard a footfall behind him.
When he turned, he saw the outline in the fog. The man that had been chasing him was standing there watching him now. Frank couldn’t hear the man breathing. It was like he had formed out of the fog.
“You do have some talent,” the man whispered. “It’s just like the night I found her.”
Frank took off like a rabbit. He forgot about the pain in his legs, and he pushed harder. How had the dark man found him? Frank headed towards the tree that he had seen. He looked over his shoulder as he ran, frightened that the man would be right there ready to take him down. Have to wake up, Frank thought. Have to get out of this dream. Frank felt weighted down, like he would never wake up, and that could be the case if he didn’t find some way out of this jam.
The tree was getting closer, and Frank was hoping that it would be the start of the forest. He saw no other treetops as he looked around though. What the hell was he going to do?
He heard heavy steps behind him, and they were getting closer. He turned around looking for the dark outline among the fog. He tried to run faster, but his legs were beginning to give out on him. He was almost to the tree; maybe just maybe he could climb it.
He heard steps again and then laughter. Frank turned to look. He hit something, and it knocked him harshly to the ground. He looked up, and suddenly he wanted the company of the dark eyed man. He had found the tree, but he was beginning to wish that he never had. He stared in disbelief.
The tree was about a foot in diameter. It was old and dead, and there was a body chained to it. Taken back by the gruesome sight Frank first focused on the heavy chain that was cutting into the flesh of the person hanging on the tree. Blood was flowing over the chains and staining the ground at the person’s feet. As his eyes ventured to the face hanging limply, his fear became complete. The head hung vaguely to one side, but even in the darkness Frank could tell who it was. It was Old Anna. Her hair was matted with blood, and it looked as if she had been beaten. Ugly purple blotches had formed on her cheeks. Her eyes had swollen shut, and a large cut over one of them dripped blood. Frank pushed himself backwards with his hands and feet, and he thought he saw Anna’s eyelids flicker. He rolled over onto his hands and knees, and came eye to eye with the crouching form of the Mr. Dark Eyes, himself. The hatred in the man’s face was consuming.
Frank felt something slither over his hand. He tried to pull away but couldn’t. He felt heat in his arm. It felt as if his arm was covered in acid. He looked up into the face of the man in front of him, and found no pity there. Frank swung his free hand, and caught him in the eye. His attacker rolled with the blow, but Frank felt the pressure on his arm release. He scurried backwards, pushing himself to his feet, turning right into the open gaze of Anna hanging from the tree. Frank screamed. He felt the burning sensation again only this time it was on his shoulder, tracing around his neck. Those terrifying eyes of Anna bored into him. The dark man began to laugh, and the noise filled Frank’s head.
Have to move. Have to get out. Frank focused once more on the school. He had to wake up. The pain was immense.
“Can anybody tell me the answer class?” Mr. Smith asked in his monotone voice. He peered over his glasses, and he saw no hands in the air. Normally he didn’t pay to much attention to the class. As he looked over the kids in the room, he saw a boy in the back not paying attention to him, but to something else altogether.
“Mark,” Mr. Smith began, “Is there something wrong?” Even as he asked the question Mr. Smith followed the boy’s gaze and saw Frank Jordan with his eyes rolled back in his head. That little punk dares to fall asleep in my class again, he thought, but then the concern on Mark’s face registered in Mr. Smith’s mind.
The teacher started for the back of the room, and the reason for Mark’s concern became apparent. The boy was an turning red, and he made a small choking noise that was barely audible. “Mark was Frank eating something? Is he choking?” Mark looked up at the teacher with a blankly.
“I…I…I,” Mark stammered.
“Spit it out, son,” Smith yelled as he grabbed a hold of Frank, and began to slam his hand on the boy’s back. “Well?” Smith yelled.
“I didn’t see him eating anything. I just looked over and his eyes were all rolled back.”
“Mr. Jordan,” Smith yelled. “Can you hear me?”
The boy didn’t respond at first, but then for a brief second the boy’s eyes rolled forward, and looked at him. The boy took a deep breath as if he had been drowning, and Mr. Smith felt relief. The last thing he needed was for some brat to die in his classroom. He looked at Mark. “Go get the nurse, young man. Take the pass on my desk and go get her.” Once Mrs. Beck, the nurse, got here then the boy became her problem, and not his. “Hurry,” he scolded the boy. If young Mr. Jordan was okay then he might even get some praise for saving the kid.
Mr. Smith looked back over at Frank. “Damn it,” he cursed. The boy’s eyes were rolled back in his head, and he was choking again.
Frank felt the black liquid blob tighten around his neck. He tried to pull himself out of its grasp, but the its power was too great. An image of Spinner popped into his head. Have the dreams hurt you yet? He had walked away from the question figuring the man to be just the local nut job as Tommy had so elegantly phrased it. Now as he felt his life slipping from him, he wished that he had stayed and talked to the nut job. The man knew things, but Frank would never get to ask him. He felt his eyes roll into his head, and it seemed that he was trying to gain oxygen through the exhaust of a car. His skin burned. He was going to die in this dream.
“Mr. Jordan,” he heard a distant voice yell at him “Can you hear me?” Frank recognized the voice but couldn’t place it in his head. He had a feeling that if he could reach that voice he might be able to survive. His strength was draining from him, but he managed to focus what little he had on the voice. Follow the voice, he thought. I want to be with the voice. He felt pain in his arm again, but the strangle hold on his neck released. He opened his eyes and saw Mr. Smith looking at him. He pulled with all his might at the air trying to supply his body with much needed oxygen. The air- even though it was tainted by Mr. Smith’s bad cologne- was like Heaven as it filled his lungs. He heard Mr. Smith saying something about getting the nurse when his world went black again.
“You can not get away that easily,” he heard his attacker say. Frank was no longer ensnared in the black ooze that came from the man, but if he didn’t move he would must certainly would be again. The dark eyed man reached for him with his oozing hand. It glimmered as it reached for him. Frank rolled backwards, and he felt his back hit the base of the tree. He looked up, and Anna was staring down on him with two hateful green eyes. Frank felt something touch his foot, and he kicked at it. The dark man was coming for him again.
I have to get out of here, Frank thought. I have to find someplace to go. His mind raced trying to think of pleasant place he could travel. He remembered the five towers in the cloud from his dream the night before. He remembered how safe he had felt when he was going towards that place, and he focused on it. The man had stopped at the tree, and was caressing the face of Old Anna. He turned with a new rage in his black eyes. The black glimmer shot at Frank as if shot from a cannon. If he couldn’t go to the towers than he was finished.
The black glimmer came for him, came at his eyes. Frank clamped his eyes shut. The pain he expected to feel never came. Wind snapped at his hair and his face. He heard a flag rippling above him. He opened his eyes and looked up at a blue banner with a strange mark on it. He looked around. He was standing on the tower of a massive castle that seemed to be floating in the air on a cloud. He heard something behind him, but he turned to see nothing. He looked at his arm and saw the mark clearly for the first time. It was the same as the banner above him. It was an eye, and it had five rays coming from it as if the eye were the center of the sun. The rays changed color from purple, to red, to blue, and back.
Wake up, he thought and when he opened his eyes again he saw the faces of his classmates, Mr. Smith, and the school nurse looking at him with concern.
Tommy was pulled from his seventh period class to go and talk to the school nurse. He wasn’t sure what it was about, but Mrs. Buterbaugh told him to go when he entered the computer lab. He was concerned that it might be something with his dad, but if that were the case he would have been sent to the principles office, not the nursing station.
As he entered the nurse’s station he saw Frank sitting on the bed that was sectioned of in a small room enclosed by windows. Tommy gave Frank a quick wave and jerked his chin at him as if to say what’s up? Tommy could see the redness in Frank’s eyes. He contributed it to the boy’s lack of sleep Frank shrugged his shoulders. Same old shit, man. Frank tried to give him a small grin, but he couldn’t convey the level of disconcert that he wanted to.
“Oh, there you are,” Tommy heard the voice of Mrs. Beck ring out as she rounded the corner from the back room. He headed that way. The rotund lady placed a chubby hand on his shoulder, and looked at him lovingly.
“What’s wrong with Frank?’ Tommy asked.
“Well,” she started, “we don’t really know…exactly. He has a rash on his chest and neck, and he had an…ugh…an episode of sorts. Has he been ill?”
Tommy glanced over his shoulder at Frank in the other room, who was staring intently at the bruise on his arm and not paying attention to the conversation that Tommy and the nurse were having. The door to the room was open, and Tommy assumed that if he and the nurse spoke at all above normal tone than Frank would be able to hear and understand them.
“Well has he? Fever’s anything like that?”
Tommy turned back to the nurse, looked her over once, and tried to decide if her concern was genuine or if she was looking for something deeper. In this day in age they always looked for something deeper. He wanted to tell the nurse not to worry that Frank wasn’t on drugs and or he wouldn’t be bringing a gun to school and start shooting people. He saw the look on the nurse’s face, though, and he believed that she was concerned for his little brother. He held his original comments to himself. Smashing his lower lip into his upper lip Tommy shook his head back and forth. “No ma’am,” he said, but he knew that it wasn’t enough. He had to feed her something that would make her leave Frank alone. If he had an ‘episode’ then they would dig until they had a reason. “He was upset about dad getting in that accident last night, and he hasn’t been sleeping well.”
Tommy looked up at the round face of Mrs. Beck and something clicked in his head. The nurse was looking past Tommy at Frank on the bed. “What kind of episode did he have Mrs. Beck?”
“I’m sorry, dear,” she replied snapping her attention back to Tommy.
“An episode,” Tommy replied. “You said he had an episode. What did you mean? What kind of episode?” Tommy could hear the anger in his voice, and he tried to calm it.
“Well dear, we aren’t sure. My best guess is a fever seizure, but he doesn’t show any signs of that really. I just don’t think that was it. When I got there he was really warm, but his temperature dropped immediately once he came out of his state. It was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen.”
“Seizure,” Tommy persisted.
“Well his eyes were rolled back, and we couldn’t wake him up. But nothing else fits in that category so it couldn‘t have been.” She had focused her gaze back on Frank, but she turned to Tommy with a concerned look. “Now Tommy, I have to ask you a serious question, and I need a serious answer.” She hesitated, and Tommy thought, here it comes. When all else fears you have to blame it on the…
“Drugs. Has your brother ever been involved with taking any kind of drug?”
Tommy hesitated, considered blowing up on the lady, but choose a different path. “Yeah,” Tommy said and lowered his head as if ashamed to be saying anything.
“Oh my,” the nurse said and grabbed Tommy by the shoulders. “You must tell me.”
“Okay,” Tommy said.
“Now what kind of drugs did he get involved in?”
“Well,” Tommy started glancing over his shoulder at Frank who was looking at him with a state of shook. “Right before we moved-about a month ago- he took some penicillin for a cold.” He shifted his gaze to the nurse’s, and gave the older woman a hard look. He knew he was stepping on dangerous ground, but he wasn’t going to stand for them asking if Frank was on drugs. Mrs. Beck faced hardened.
“That’s not what I mean,” she said bitterly and squished her face up.
“Ma’am,” Tommy interjected before she could continue, “With all respect, he isn’t on drugs. He’s tired, and he’s concerned for our father. If you want to attribute anything to his episode than maybe consider that the kid is a bit stressed out. I mean how many times do you think he and I heard about this White Wolf nonsense today? How many times was it mentioned in correlation with our father? ‘Your dad almost got eaten by the White Wolf.’ It’s bad enough that our dad is hurt and in the hospital, but then to have this nut ball town force its ancient lure into the scenario…I mean come on. The kid isn’t now or has he ever been on drugs. He needs sleep, and to see that our dad is okay.”
The nurse pulled Tommy into her in a bear hug, and he thought he might suffocate smeared in her chest. “Oh dear, I am sorry. I know it must be rough.” She released her grip on Tommy, and he pulled back. The concern, the genuine concern, was back on Mrs. Beck’s face. “I am sorry, Tommy, that I implied in any way, but they make us ask now. You brother is a sweet child, and I am sure you are right. Can you forgive old Mrs. Beck for her lack of hindsight on the situation?”
Tommy nodded. The ambush of Mrs. Beck wasn’t necessary, but it did help him blow off some steam. He nodded harder. “I’m sorry. I got snippy.” Tommy glanced back at Frank. He couldn’t tell if he was trying not to laugh or trying not to cry.
“Don’t you worry about it,” Mrs. Beck said waving it off. “I’m still not sure what happened with your brother. Your line of thinking makes some sense though. Stress can cause some weird things. Your brother there,” she continued, looking at Frank then back to Tommy, “He’s a trooper, and he seems to be right as a whistle now. I gave him some cream for that rash.”
Mrs. Beck stopped and a look of clarity came over her face. “Do you boys pack your lunch or eat in the cafeteria?”
“The caf,” Tommy replied.
“Does your brother have any allergies, Tommy? They served a chowder soup at lunch today. I bet it had some shellfish in it”
Oh, you sweet old broad you, Tommy thought and smiled. He gave Frank a quick glance and the boy smiled back at him. “That’s it ma’am,” Tommy said, turning back to the nurse. “Shellfish. It gives him trouble sometimes.”
A grin broke on Mrs. Beck’s face. “Well child,” she said, tapping Tommy on his cheek with her hand, “it makes a lot more sense now. I can’t believe I didn’t think to ask. I know the allergy wasn’t listed in his chart. That’s probably why I didn‘t think of it. I’m going to have to mark that down.”
Makes more sense to you, Tommy thought as he smiled politely, but there is something more to it. He turned back to his brother who was watching him. The boys spoke with body language that only the two of them after many years could understand. Frank said that he was all right, but Tommy knew that his little brother needed to get something off his chest, whether it was about their dad or about those nightmares.
Mrs. Beck trotted over to her desk to mark down Frank’s supposed shellfish allergy. She wrote intently in the chart for a minute, closed it, and filed it. After she shut the drawer, she pulled a vial of pills out of the cupboard, and bounced one into a paper cup. Next she poured some water in a second cup and took both of them to Frank.
“This is Benadryl,“ she said to Frank. “It will help with that nasty allergy.” Mrs. Beck turned back to Tommy, and Tommy saw Frank stick the pill in his pocket “I tried to call your mom to come get your brother, but she is stuck at work until later. She had me ask the principle if you would be aloud to take him home. He said it was fine baring that I checked to see if you had any test this afternoon.”
“No ma’am,” Tommy replied. “ I had one first period but that was all.”
Mrs. Beck smiled and said, “Well why don’t you boys get your things together and you can take him home. Just make sure that you stop at the office on the way out the door.”
“Yes ma’am,” Tommy replied. Frank had been listening, and he sprang to his feet as Tommy came towards him. Frank leaned into his big brother finding comfort in his company. Tommy patted him on the chest pocket where Frank had placed the Benadryl, and the boys laughed softly.
“Come on Flash let’s roll,” Tommy said, and Frank shot him a wry smile.
“Yeah,” Frank agreed, “Let’s go home and eat that left over shrimp from dinner last night. I’m starving.”
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More Blogs by Wade Hunter
Dark Glimmers Chapters 9&10 - Saturday, October 28, 2006
Dark Glimmers Chapters 7&8 - Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Dark Glimmers Chapters 5&6 - Friday, October 20, 2006
Dark Glimmers Chapters 3 and 4 - Saturday, October 14, 2006
Dark Glimmers-Chapters 1&2 - Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Prelude-Dark Glimmers - Thursday, September 28, 2006
Sometimes small towns are small for a reason - Monday, September 25, 2006