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Offline WelshPixie

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The Rise and Fall of Nathaniel Callinan
« on: May 30, 2005, 01:14:24 PM »
Something I've just started re-working..

The Rise and Fall of Nathaniel Callinan
1766 – 1789 – Present Day

Saturday, March 2nd, 1789

   I can’t write for long. The Johnson’s boy, Dale, has gone missing; I have to organise a search party. He told no one he was leaving, and I fear for his safety. He’s only twelve for God’s sake - it’s not safe to run away at his age, especially at this time of year with the weather so cold. I have a very bad feeling about this. But I must be positive - for his family’s sake. I must leave now, it’s getting late. I will write on my return.

   Nathaniel remembered arriving home a few hours later. It was early in the morning, and he was cold and tired. They had found the boy. He was dead. They found him out by the river; Nathaniel thought he looked as if he had been there for a while. Doctor White went with them. The look on the Doctor’s face when they found Dale was... strange. Frightened, and panicked. He said nothing on their journey home - nothing at all. He walked ahead of them all the way, but seemed to make sure they were always close behind.

   Nathaniel had helped carry Dale back to the town. The state of his body frightened him; it still did, even now after all he’d been through. Dale’s skin was as white as snow, he remembered - almost translucent, and very cold. He had seen a few dead bodies in his time, but nothing like Dale’s. And his neck – Nathaniel had noticed something he found very odd, at the time. Just lower than Dale’s ear were two round red marks, about an inch apart. He had thought they looked like large insect bites…
Monday March 4th, 1789

   The funeral was yesterday. It was early, but the body was in such a state... The family wanted an open coffin, despite Dr. White’s disagreement. I didn’t go. I couldn’t face looking at that boy again. I joined the family afterwards in the house. I think they felt odd about it also. Dr. White wasn’t willing to hold a post-mortem. His reason was that he knew positively why the boy had died; pneumonia. I doubt it. His skin was of a pallor I have never seen the like of before. As if he had no blood in his entire body! But such are the mysteries of nature. Maybe he died of some estranged disease that causes the blood inside to disappear... who knows? I only wish it doesn’t happen to me.

   Eva and Maggie are coming here this afternoon. They shouldn’t know much about Dale’s death, hopefully. They are too young for such horrors, at the age of twelve! I shall teach them a little math today, I think. They are coming along quite well. Eliza is pleased with them. I gave them each a book to take home yesterday to read to her. She is a proud mother! But I do still feel pity for her, having to manage two children and a house in times like this.

   If only the father of her children hadn’t been so cruel to have left her. None the less, he is gone now, and so much the better for her sake. She is managing well; only I wish she’d take me up on my offer to help. It makes perfect sense! I have enough money from Father’s death and from my own career as a teacher to look after the girls a few days a week while Eliza does her chores. It would keep the twins from under her feet, and they do enjoy my company... But she is so stubborn! I will try to win her around.

   The weather is better today. The sun seems to be longing to show his face; hopefully he will. Wait - there is a knock at the door. I shall write this evening.

   The twins had just left and Nathaniel had decided to retire early. The day had been full of surprises; it had worn him out entirely.

   His visitor was John, his good friend. John had helped prepare the body for the funeral, and had a strange story to tell. Whilst with Dale’s corpse, one of the men had accidentally cut the body with a scalpel. It was only a small incision, but quite deep, John had said. And there was no blood. Not a drop. So Nathaniel was right - there was no blood in Dale’s body. He had discussed the situation with John, who was a fairly bright man, to see if he had the same fears as Nathaniel had. John mentioned a friend who he thought might know something - he said he would get in touch.

   Eva and Maggie arrived after lunch. Everything was as normal, until Maggie began to question Nathaniel on an odd subject. She had queried whether any strangers had come to town recently. Nathaniel replied that he himself had not seen any, but that he would find out. She seemed quite intent on this topic of conversation until Eva kicked her under the table. Nathaniel pretended not to notice. They were silent for a while; Nathaniel resumed his teaching, and then at the end of the day as they packed their bags he asked after their mother.

   This triggered a hush in Eva; indeed she turned quite quiet for her usual bubbly self. Maggie, however, spoke. “She’s been going out a lot lately.”

“Yes? To where?”

“We don’t know... She leaves us food and comes back after we’ve gone to bed.”

“You mean to say she leaves you in the house alone?”


   All the time Eva had not spoken a word. This provoked a thought - were they hiding something? Or were they afraid of something? Nathaniel decided it would be best for them to stay with him while Eliza went out, rather than them being left on their own. He made a mental note to see her tomorrow.

Tuesday March 5th, 1789

   I had nothing to write this morning, and the rest of the day has been busy as usual. I managed to find time to see Eliza - she agreed with my suggestion, and in fact seemed quite relieved that she didn’t have to leave the children alone in the house. I tried to find out where she’s been going, but she kept drifting from the subject. Maybe she is courting, and feels uncomfortable about it. Anyway, I’m not one to stick my nose in when I know it’s not welcome.

   Lessons were as normal today. The only person not in class was Dale’s brother Stephen. But that’s understandable - they were very close. He didn’t miss anything important; we merely went over some basic Latin.

   Nothing else I’m afraid. Goodnight!

Sunday March 10th, 1789

   A lot has happened. I haven’t had time to write. Wednesday the girls came and stayed. Eliza had gone out again. She hadn’t said where she was going. Nothing really strange there, until the night. A knocking sound awoke me, and my first thoughts were that it was Eliza, perhaps to fetch the twins. I looked at the clock; it was three in the morning. I rose, and walked to the window. There was no one at the door.

   I listened again. Nothing, so I went back to bed. It seemed that I had only just drifted off to sleep when I was awoken again, this time by Eva. She was standing at the edge of my bed, and I must say she frightened me a little. I asked what was wrong, she said she couldn’t sleep. I asked her for what reason, she replied that she was afraid - she had heard knocking noises. So it wasn’t my imagination. We listened together for a while, and upon hearing nothing we decided that the trouble had passed, and that it would be safe to go back to sleep. The rest of the night was a peaceful one.

   I took the twins’ home Thursday morning. When Eliza came to the door, she looked most unwell. I didn’t ask what the matter was – I just put it down to a late night. John came to see me, in a panic. He swore to have seen Dale last night - walking in to the forest. Having eliminated all other possibilities, we came to the conclusion that it was either John’s mind playing tricks; or what he had seen was Dale’s ghost walking to the place where he had died - the unhappy soul. As hard as it was for him to accept, John said that he was sure of what he had seen, as after seeing the apparition through his window, he rushed outside to look again, and could still see the figure walking through the trees - he had to accept that it was a ghost.

   Friday began as normal. I saw Eliza during the day, she looked much better. I asked if she had enjoyed herself Wednesday evening, she replied quite casually that she had, thank you very much. I questioned no further on the subject.

   Then a terrifying discovery was made. Dale’s grave had been seen empty the night before. I didn’t question how this was discovered - I did not wish to know.  I have since learned that the cemetery watch had seen ‘odd goings on’ by Dale’s grave, and upon investigating found that his coffin was unearthed and empty. I checked the times, and to my astonishment realised that this was only a short while before John claimed to have seen Dale’s ghost walking through the forest. How alarming! The town folk have all put this down to grave robbers, but I fear something more sinister is at hand.

   He accompanied John back to his house where they stayed up most of that night talking, and Nathaniel ended up sleeping on his settee. He awoke in the early hours of the morning, for no apparent reason. Sitting up, he found himself facing the rear window, the one looking out at the forest. He had not been looking long when a movement caught his eye, and curiosity forced him to investigate. He rose and walked to the window. What Nathaniel saw then, stuck in his mind and he doubted that anything could shift it. He saw Dale, walking; looking as alive as when he had last seen him, before he went missing.

   Fearing that Dale would turn and see him, Nathaniel ducked below the window ledge and crawled to the foot of the stairs. How on earth did John pluck up the courage to go outside for a closer look? His palms were sweaty as he quietly but quickly climbed the stairs, and tapped gently on John’s bedroom door.  He must too have been awake, for he answered almost instantly. Nathaniel led him to the bedroom window which also faced the forest, and pointed to the eerie figure walking through the branches. John signalled to him that this was what he’d seen. They watched as the boy walked in the direction of the graveyard, until he was out of sight.

   Neither of them could sleep for the rest of the night. John was a bachelor like himself and so had no worries of a feared wife to look after. They sat in silence until Sunday morning was upon them.

   The next day, when they heard the town begin to wake, they dressed and rushed to see William, the cemetery watch. They asked if anything had happened the previous night; he replied that he had seen nothing. They decided not to tell him what they had seen until they had discussed the matter further, in case it was all some sort of misunderstanding. The rest of the day went bye like a blur, until John came over to see Nathaniel in the evening. They talked for hours, and finally decided that they could confide in Will and tell him what they’d seen. So that was Nathaniel’s duty for the rest of the day - if Will believed them, and he hoped to the Lord he did, they would want to have a look in the grave...

Sunday, March 10th, 1789

   I have spoken to William. He listened with interest, not once interrupting. When I had finished our story, he calmly asked if he could see this strange phenomenon for himself. I instantly agreed - the more witnesses the better. He is with me here now - at John’s house. I have brought my diary so that anything we see can be instantly recorded while it is fresh in my mind. The others have agreed, and have sworn to stand by me if this need go further. Williams’ nephew Liam is here with us - he is a very skeptical man, so if he sees what John and I have seen, and believes it to be real, we are certainly on to something.

   It’s getting late now - we will wait here, by the window, and if anything is seen I shall write it down.

   It was about 2:30 am when they saw him. Liam swore that they were looking at a real being; not a ghost.  The spectral figure moved into the forest, along the same path that John saw him take that first time - and there was someone with him. He couldn’t quite make out who the other person was - it looked like a little girl - yes, they were all in agreement that it was a young girl. Nathaniel suddenly realized she looked familiar - in fact, she looked very much like Eva; was it her? The others assured him it wasn’t. But if he find out that the girls were left on their own that night, he would have to speak to Eliza in earnest; perhaps even tell her what was going on, of the dangers they could have been in.

   Liam recognised the girl - she belonged somehow to his wife - and ran out of the house, was too quickly for them to stop him. They returned to the window again, waiting to see what Liam would do. They could see him - he ran up to Dale and the girl, and a struggle began - the girl was thrown aside, she looked odd, as if in a daze - something happened, he couldn’t quite see - Liam and Dale were on the floor, Dale was on top of Liam – then the struggle ended – strangely, for Dale was still on top of Liam, yet Liam was making no attempt to get up.

   A few minutes passed; Dale got off Liam and continued walking deeper into the forest with the girl. They would wait until he was gone, to see what had happened to Liam.

March 10th - additional

   Liam is all right - or seems to be. He was unconscious when we found him, but a quick slap and he was revived. He was confused at first, but then recovered and William walked him home. William is coming here (to my house) tomorrow (or should I say today, as it is early in the morning?) to talk with me. I think he is interested, and will let us open the grave. We have decided only to tell the Johnson’s if we fear something serious is developing. Now tiredness overcomes me, I wish to sleep. Goodnight.

Monday, March 11th, 1789

   The story is developing. Firstly, John has got in touch with his ‘friend’, who will be visiting us shortly. She is called Zuzanna Burnay; she was born in Africa, although she is white of skin. She currently works in the museum at Gloryford, where she lectures in African Mythology. How interesting! I can’t wait to meet her. Apparently she and John were almost married once, but she had to leave to look after her dying father back in Africa, so it was never to be. John says he hopes to try again, if she has not married in the meantime - I say the best of luck to them. John is quite a decent gentleman with a good education behind him; he deserves to marry a good woman.

   Secondly, William called last night. He began the conversation by mentioning Liam’s health - apparently all was not as it seemed last night. He slept heavily throughout the night, and most of the morning, and when he woke up he immediately drew the curtains and lay in bed for the rest of the afternoon (reports are from Liam’s wife). When evening came, he left the house, and hasn’t been seen since. No doubt he will return.

   William has agreed that we shall look in the coffin, but under his supervision and at times chosen by him. I agreed with these conditions, and he gave me the times he had chosen -yes, he wants us to open the coffin twice! - Tonight, around two of the clock, and again tomorrow with the first light of the sun. Dale’s parents have gone away to visit friends for a few days, so there is no need to worry about them seeing anything.

   He didn’t say why he wished to open the coffin twice, but I have my suspicions. We have seen Dale’s body walking into the woods, at the time William wants to open the coffin first, and walking back from the woods in the direction of the cemetery, just before William wants to open the coffin for the second time. This suggests to me that William wants to see if the coffin will be vacant the first time, and contain Dale’s body the second - he wants to see if Dale walks from and to his coffin every night.
   I have had a thought - perhaps he is, strange though it may seem, some sort of walking dead! Maybe that is why John’s friend is joining us, I have heard that there are many such occurrences in Africa, ‘voodoo' I believe it is called.

   I almost forgot - the twins had a lesson with me today, although it couldn’t have been a good one because my attention was somewhere else. Eliza didn’t go out last night, thankfully. But not so thankfully - it was because she was ill. I could gather the name of no particular ailment from the girls, only that she was unwell. I will pay her a visit tomorrow, to see how she is fairing. I hope it’s nothing serious.


Tuesday, March 12th, 1789

   The basics - lessons as normal this morning. Only Stephen was absent again, but he is away visiting friends with his parents.

   The not-so-basics; last night. My hypothesis was correct - Dale was not in his coffin in the early hours of the morning, but when we returned later on, at the time dawn broke, he was there. We have yet to find an explanation for this. I suggested my walking dead theory, but William pointed out that the body had not decayed at all, as would be the norm at this stage of death; also there was no rigor mortis to be found. We will conduct another investigation, this time setting camp within eyesight of Dale’s coffin, to see if we actually see him leaving and returning. I fear the worst!

   Liam returned home to his wife early this morning, just before dawn. He looked most unwell, and she sent him to bed immediately, at which he didn’t protest. He has spent all of today there, sleeping. His condition, whatever it is, is worsening, and his wife will call the doctor if he doesn’t improve before very long.

   I saw Eliza this afternoon. She did look pale, and seemed quite weak, but was all right otherwise. I didn’t stay long - we sat down to a hot cup of tea, which I made for us (after some protest from Eliza), we talked a little, and then I left. Something different happened to my normal visits - as I was leaving, she held my hand - I turned back, and she gave me a small peck on the cheek. I was quite surprised, but at the same time, I must admit, most delighted! I have never thought of Eliza in such a way before, but thinking about it now, I suppose she is quite attractive, and we are quite close as friends. I will wait and see if something develops. How exiting!

   Although it is early in the evening, I am going to bed now, for I am extremely tired after the past week’s events, and I know that I still have a lot of late nights to come. Goodnight.

   Nathaniel wrote in his diary in a hurry for he was meeting with William and John to carry out their experiment. John called there the day before, after Nathaniel’s lessons, and brought Zuzanna with him. Nathaniel had found her to be a very charming lady.  She wished to go with them that eve, although he couldn’t see John being too keen on the idea – it was no place for a woman where they were going, and certainly not for the job they were doing. They seemed quite friendly together - maybe romance would blossom again. She was staying with John for the length of her visit.

   Eliza called today to see Nathaniel during the day, although she had no real reason to. He spent a lot of the time studying her, and found that she was really quite beautiful. Quite so, in fact, that he couldn’t help return the kiss that she gave him Tuesday - but on the cheek as was hers. It amounted to nothing, but she didn’t seem perturbed! She looked much healthier, also.

   Nathaniel paused his writing. How could he forget? Liam had taken a turn for the worse, the doctor feared for his life! His symptoms were that he had difficulty breathing, was having bouts of insanity, and was generally most unwell throughout his entire self. Nathaniel made a mental note to ask William about it, when they met later that eve.

Thursday, March 14th, 1789

    What a bizarre night. I met with everyone at the gates of the cemetery. John had brought Zuzanna with him, or rather she had brought him! She had insisted on going, when he wasn’t very keen, and dragged him along to keep her company!

   We waited for a while, a short distance from the grave, but out of sight. At around three, there was a disturbance in the ground, and before our eyes, Dale rose from his grave! He moved as any healthy human being would, and looked perfectly alive!

   He again walked in the direction of the forest. We waited until the sun was about to rise, and there again was Dale, walking back to the grave! All the time Zuzanna was very watchful, and seemed to be taking particular notice of the occurrence with grave interest!

   After making sure everything was safe, we left the graveyard and the party came to my house, as it is the closest to the site. Once home, Zuzanna told us an intriguing story. I should have realised!!!

   It was so obvious when she said it! Yet how it scares me now! Vampires are quite common in Africa, but vampires of a different kind - of the walking dead kind – ‘Zombies’, she called them. These vampires we have here are termed as the ‘modern’ vampire, a genuine species, rather than a result of voodoo witchcraft.  Zuzanna said that she thinks Dale is a slave to one of these ‘modern’ vampires, a sort of half - vampire, if there is such a thing. She thinks that there is one main vampire that uses Dale as a slave, to fetch him food, hence doing his dirty work. She says that the real vampire is probably in the forest, out of harm’s way - harm being humans.

   Liam has died. Incredible! William told us. He knew, or had his suspicions about these vampire occurrences, but he didn’t say anything until he knew for sure. He also thinks that Liam will rise from the dead, as one of these vampires. Zuzanna says we must stop that from happening. She has told us how - we must pierce his heart with a wooden stake. The funeral is being organised tomorrow, but will probably be Sunday. We will all gather in the night, and William will do the deed.

   The next day was quite uninteresting compared to what had now become the norm. Eliza called again, and brought the twins. She was going out again that evening. Nathaniel asked where - for he now feared for her safety - how many of these vampires were there? - But she would not say. He felt strongly that she was hiding something, so he decided to take a course of action.

   Nathaniel took the twins to stay with John and Zuzanna for the night; Eliza wouldn’t know. He would follow her, to wherever she went. He knew it was unfaithful, and felt wretched about it, but it had to be done - for her sake and the twins’. Zuzanna mentioned that ‘modern’ vampires had a tendency to seduce women, for feeding from. He couldn’t let that happen to Eliza! He hoped it hadn’t begun already.

   Nathaniel set his quill down, and left, to wait for Eliza to depart.

Saturday, March 16th, 1789

   I followed Eliza last night, to the tavern. I didn’t go in incase she saw me, but I spied through the window. Now I know why she hides where she goes - out of shame. She has become a prostitute - selling herself to the men in the bar. I had no idea she was this short of money! If she had only come to me, I could have helped her in a far more decent way than this. Shall I confront her? I daren’t, it might spoil our relationship.

   The funeral is tomorrow. We have made our arrangements. Dale has to be killed also - but we might not do that tomorrow. Since Liam hasn’t risen yet, it might be easier to kill him.

   Eliza must have had a rough night last night; she called and asked if I’d look after the twins for the majority of the day - she looked terrible. I of course agreed. There was no kissing - no sign of any romance. Maybe she was too tired.

   I asked Zuzanna today about the other vampire; whether it would be possible to kill him. She said probably - although only if he (or she!) Weren’t too strong - it appears that the more blood a vampire drinks, the more powerful it becomes! How bizarre. I suppose we will have to try to kill this vampire, regardless of how powerful it is.
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Offline horrorcrafter

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Nathaniel Callinan
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2005, 10:47:06 AM »
I really enjoyed reading this... good sentence structure and word choices are intelligent, sentence length does not vary much which I happen to like.   The characters are simple though.  You chose a challenging format to write in... the journal entry does not allow for much character description in a story like this.  Stoker managed to skip around from perspective to perspevtive which gave the reader a broader view of scences and characters.  But overall, I liked this and would read more.  You might way to go back and add more vivid descriptions of settings, particulary the lighting of the scenes, but thats just my personal bias, I guess.  Cute pen name.
Yours in the darkness,

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