Chapter One - Darkness Arrives
"We dance around the circle and suppose while
the secret sits in the center and knows" - Robert Frost
The car wound its way gracefully along the single
lane highway. Storm shifted it gently into second gear and the warm
Newport air caressed the hood as it purred its way toward the old city.
It was a toreador red blur that darted its way easily along the curves.
There is a certain magic surrounding Newport.
It's very old New England and it still retains its roots in Europe.
It is the French Riviera of America. The beaches are long and narrow
and for miles they come right up to the road. The homes are large and
beautiful, replete with hand-woven rugs and imported Italian marble.
The whole city reeks of money and of something else.
When people inhabit a place on the earth
for many generations the place tends to remember things, and the spirit
of the people stays behind long after the people themselves have left.
This is a phenomenon that is everywhere but we generally don't notice
it. A human being absorbs everything that he sees, hears, and experiences,
then it becomes a part of him. The same is true for everything in this
world. If you place a sturdy rock in a stream the stream slowly changes
it. Over time the flow of water, no matter how gentle, senses the insulting
edges of the rock and softens it. The same is true with living things.
If you plant a grapevine near a pumpkin patch the wine will have a hint
of pumpkin. If you grow thousands of people over one patch of land the
land will retain a hint of them. This is the way of Newport. For two
hundred years sailors, merchants, Mill-barons and commoners walked its
cobblestone streets; and the streets, like a rock in a stream, absorbed
the flow of the people. Some rocks are stronger than others, they resist
the change for thousands of years. Other rocks quickly comply to the
pressure and change. Newport is like the latter. It eagerly accepted
the heartbeats and thoughts of the people that crossed it. It is a place
of mystery, a place where the very threads of people and time meet and
have an affect on each other. The fabric of life here is very thick
and this fabric settled easily into the fertile soil.
Storm eased the corvette into third and
the tone of the engine changed from a purr to a masculine roar. He looked
over at Arabella and she smiled at him. They had the road to themselves
for the moment. In the late afternoon everyone was still locked in what
they were doing. Everyone that was out was still at the beach or perusing
the shops in town but in another hour or two, when dusk starts to creep
in everyone would pack up their beach chairs and head to the restaurants
and clubs for seafood dinners and jazz. Storm looked at Arabella again.
Her hair fluttered gently in the salty air. He loved her hair. It was
long and straight, very thick and dark brown. He brought his eyes down
to her legs. She was wearing her favorite jeans, the ones with rips
in the thighs and knees. This went out of style in America in the late
eighties, but in Spain where she grew up, it was still fashionable.
Most Europeans proclaim distaste for America and everything American,
but secretly they all pine for the glamour that Hollywood portrays.
He took his hand off the shift and slid
it right into the hole at her left knee. He pushed his hand into the
rip and cupped it under her knee. Arabella gasped gently at the surprising
contact, gave him a knowing glance, and without saying anything she
closed her eyes and laid her head back on the rest. She rarely spoke.
Her English was not that good and Storm had forgotten most of his college
Spanish but it didn't matter. She didn't need to talk. She communicated
everything she felt and thought with a glance or a touch, or an innuendo
of breath. She preferred to communicate in non-verbal ways and love
making for her was an exquisite experience. He learned long ago that
when they were making love to pay close attention to her breathing and
the subtle motions of her body.
Without opening her eyes she reached her
hand across, ran it gently over his head, brushed his ear then gently
brought it to rest on the back of his neck with a gentle squeeze of
His head was shaved completely bald and
she enjoyed the feel of it. A man should shave his head so the world
can see the machine that changes the world but a woman should grow her
hair long to show her connection to the earth -the brown of autumn leaves
or the gold of wheat and honey.
The tempo of her rubbing his neck changed
and he looked back over at her. She was staring at him, her brown eyes
showing a rising need. She wanted him to pull the car over so they could
go out on the beach and make love. Storm grinned. It wasn't just the
touching. Newport did something to her. She loved the beach and she
loved the sun. She loved the sound and the smell of the ocean but she
never went in the water. All her life she has had terrible dreams of
drowning so she was deathly afraid of going in the water but the raw
tactile power of the ocean still attracted her.
Storm coaxed the car to go faster. They
were racing upward now. Thick slabs of granite bluffs were on each side
of them and they were fast approaching the final curves and the top
of the bluffs. In a few moments they would be over the top. The granite
would fade away and gentler topsoil would dominate the landscape for
the final few miles to the city.
A hundred yards ahead a figure stood
by the side of the road and watched them approach. Storm saw him as
they got close and turned his head to get a longer look as they passed
him. It was a man, a large man, and he was dressed in a long dark coat.
His hair and his eyes were dark and he was holding something in his
hands. It looked like a large Axe - the type with blades on both sides.
Storm turned his attention back to the
road and glanced in the rear view mirror at the man who was just stood
still and watched them as they passed. Arabella turned all the way around
in her seat and looked back at the figure. Under his black coat his
clothing was a dull metal color; almost like some type of armor.
Arabella touched his arm. Storm couldn't
tell if it was concern for the figure or worry for their safety. That
was some character he thought. Lots of Theater groups in Newport. Maybe
it was some actor in uniform whose car broke down on the way to a play.
He watched the road ahead; looking for a broken down car. Tough place
to break down. He is exactly between the city and the beaches. It was
a walk of a couple of miles either way. You could flip a coin. It didn't
really matter which way you went. It was barren and unpopulated here
because the granite bluffs and the river made it impossible for anything
to be built. So this few miles was just a no mans land. Funny though
how the man didn't wave for help. He just stared at them as they passed.
And while he was carrying what looked like a pretty nasty axe sure as
hell nobody was going to stop and help him. They rounded another curve
and Storm took one more look in the rear view mirror to be sure they
had the man well behind them.
When he brought his eyes back to the road
something dark and about the size of a large dog darted out in front
In the perplexity of the last two minutes
of driving Storm hadn't decelerated the car at all. His right foot had
been locked in the same position and the car remained in third at too
high a rate of speed. His reflexes took control of him before his mind
could override him and he jerked the wheel sharply to the left and slammed
on the brakes.
His body filled with adrenaline and the
whole world went into slow motion. The tail end of the car turned out
to the right and Arabella's side of the car slammed into a granite outcropping.
This turned the car completely around and it launched itself backward
down a slope between outcroppings and directly into the ocean. They
hit the water with a deafening crunch then for a few seconds everything
was quiet until the water started rushing in and Arabella screamed.
It was the most horrifying thing that Storm had ever heard and it went
through his head like a spike. This was a sound he never thought he
would hear from the woman that never talked. He unbuckled his seat belt
then reached over and unbuckled hers as the water level inside the car
quickly rose. They couldn't have gone that far out into the water but
six feet deep would be enough to totally submerge the car.
Arabella was in a panic now. She was grasping
at her legs somewhere down below the water level. She screamed again,
but this time it wasn't a scream of shock, it was one of pain. He followed
her hands down her legs as the water turned red. When the car hit the
rocks it crumpled her side of the car and now her feet were trapped.
He pulled on her knees and she moaned. The water continued its rise,
now up to her chest and he dove his head under to look. She had a very
bad gash on her thigh and it hurt him to see it. He choked back a gasp.
The water was clear enough to see that her feet disappeared into a mangled
mess of metal.
He popped his head out of the water and
grabbed her head in his hands. "The water here is shallow. Breathe
deeply! Take deep breaths!" Recognition registered on her face
and she started breathing in a long rhythm and just as fast as it started
it seemed to end.
The car jolted and with the water at their necks it came to a stop;
and the water stopped its climb. They forgot about their breathing and
paused. Then like a knife reality came back to Storm. The panic of the
moment was gone. Up until now everything was reaction. The moment of
crisis seemed to be gone and now he had a small amount of space to think.
He assessed their situation. The car launched
itself into the river backward and now the rear end was the lowest part
of the car. The current of the river was brisk -rushing quickly by them
and through the car. Their position was precarious at best. The force
of the river could move the car and send them deeper into the froth.
Arabella's face was getting pale. She
was losing a lot of blood. He took off his belt dove back under the
water and tied it tightly around her thigh above the gash. The red water
quickly turned clear. The belt stopped the bleeding but if stayed too
long she would lose the leg. There was no telling the condition of her
He put his hand on her cheek. "Help
is probably already on the way. Try to stay calm." The sheer terror
showed in her face. This was the thing that she always had nightmares
about -drowning. It was something that sought her out and she had no
control over it. No matter how careful she was for her whole life, never
going in the water, never even taking a bath, it still found her.
"I am going to climb out the window,
swim around to your side and try to open the door." He waited for
her to respond but she just leaned her head back and closed her eyes.
He turned and grabbed at the steering wheel so he could wedge himself
by it and a shock of pain hit him. He pulled his left hand out of the
water and near his face. His thumb was broken and dislocated. The largest
thumb bone, near the palm of his hand had snapped, probably against
the steering wheel at some point during the accident. With the adrenaline
of the situation he hadn't been aware of it but when he reached for
the steering wheel to get out his thumb wasn't where it was supposed
to be and he jammed it hard. He closed his eyes and calmed himself.
If he passed out in this position he could slip under the water and
drown. If he tried to reset the bone now he would surely pass out so
he left his hand alone, just floating in the coolness of the water.
After a long minute the pain subsided to a manageable level and he opened
his eyes. Through the cracks of the windshield he could see the shoreline
from where the car launched. There was a figure standing there and his
heart, again, raged into action. He took a quick look at Arabella then
scrambled for the window quickly squirted his way through, and when
he surfaced outside of the car he screamed for help.
"My wife is trapped inside and She's
hurt. Did you call for help? Is help on the way?"
The figure didn't seem to move. Maybe he was mistaken, maybe it was
a tree. Storm shook the water out of his eyes and looked again. No mistaking
it was a man. He wasn't very far away - only about the same distance
as if he were standing on the sidewalk across a busy street. Storm got
a very good look at him and he shook his head again. It was the man
in black. The man they had seen just before the accident and he was
carrying an axe; a big nasty looking double bladed axe. His
long black overcoat shimmered in the windy torrent of the river's edge.
A hint of gold gleamed around his neck and the clothes he wore under
the coat were of a strange make. The fabric at his chest and legs shimmered
with a faint rainbow hue. His pants and shirt were made of what looked
like overlapping scales of some large fish. He just stood and stared
at Storm. Sitting by the mans side was what at first looked to Storm
like a dog with a dark black coat of fur -In its sitting position it
was enormous - coming to over the mans waist. But it was no dog, its
head and jaw were too big for a dog and its shoulders were enormous.
Framing its face was a mane of black fur. It was almost a cross between
a big dog and a lion.
"Go get help! There's someone still in the car."
Storm waved his arms above the water
and beseeched the man. But he and his pet just stared back.
He swam around the car and popped his
head into Arabella's window. She was still breathing but she looked
terribly pale. The cold water was helping with the blood flow but soon
she would be in shock. He frantically grabbed at the door handle and
pulled. It was a futile move the door felt like it had been welded to
the car. The accident had closed it securely in place. He looked in
on her again and she turned her head to look at him. "Your head."
She whispered. He brought his right hand up to his skull and felt around.
A flap of flesh on the right side of his head over his ear screamed
at him when he touched it. He leaned his hands and his head on the top
of the car and looked over at the man on the shore. The man raised his
left hand and pointed at Storm. The creature at his side, as if being
commanded, took two long lunges and launched himself into the water.
When it surfaced it's head made a wake
that pointed directly at Storm and Storm looked on in horror as it growled
and its yellow eyes fixed on him. 'What the fuck! This wasn't good.
What the hell is going on? Who is this man and what is this creature?'
He took one quick look at Arabella through
the window and she coughed some water out of her lungs. Again his heart
started to race but this time it was labored. There was very little
adrenaline left in his body. His reserves were exhausted, his thumb
was broken, he had a nasty cut on his head, and who knows what else.
He fought off the instinct to run his hands down to his legs to see
if they still were there.
The yellow-eyed creature was halfway to
him now and malice was clearly in its eyes. It growled in a timbre that
sounded like no creature on earth.
Storm quickly assessed the situation.
The thing was big, maybe a hundred and fifty pounds and most definitely
strong. It couldn't be too mobile in the water needing all four of its
legs to stay afloat, but the jaw, that was a weapon to be afraid of
and it looked like it could snap an arm with very little effort. It
drew quickly closer and the sound of its heavy breathing rose above
the water noise. It was laboring in the water and a few feet from Storm
it veered and with a scratching noise it hoisted itself out of the water
and onto the hood of the car. Its nails clicked as it walked across
the windshield then took a lunging bite at Storms head. He pushed himself
away from the car and watched in horror as the weight of the creature
tilted the car. Inside Arabella struggled to keep her mouth above water.
Anger rose up in Storm. Up until now everything
was like a surreal dream, cloudy and out of focus but now everything
was sharp, it wasn't just the coincidence of things that happen , now
it was a tangible threat, something that he could focus his energy against
-the creature. The car shifted and creaked as the thing shuffled around
on the windshield. Storm had to get it off the car or Arabella would
It was uncomfortable in the water and
maybe Storm, with that and his weight advantage could capitalize.
With two strokes of his arms he moved
back in against the car then and put his already damaged left arm up
to protect his face. The creature immediately attacked by clamping its
powerful jaw on his forearm. The pain was like a lightning bolt to his
head and he almost passed out but he didn't.
He curled up his legs in the water then
pressed his feet against the car and pushed with everything he had.
The force of his kick propelled him away from the car and it took the
creature off the car and into the water. He wrapped his other arm around
its neck then rolled in the water so he was on top of it. Its legs kicked
furiously but it wouldn't relinquish the grip it had on his arm. Storm
took a deep breath then dove himself down into the water. The two of
them went down, locked in a death grip. One of them would die right
here and the other would return to the surface. The
instinct of the creature was not suited for this type of a fight. In
it's life it would latch onto its prey with its powerful jaws and tear
and pull until the other creatures in its pack could find a killing
bite to the neck or throat. But its pack mates weren't here and it couldn't
bite and tear for the few minutes it usually took to wear down its prey
because it had very little air and very little time.
With a final gesture of its stubbornness
and a shaking of its head that sent renewed sparks of pain through Storm
it exhaled its air, breathed in the cold water and with a jolt it went
quietly to death.
That was a lot easier than he thought
it would be. The damn thing practically gave up without a fight but
its jaw was still locked onto his arm. He surfaced, shook the water
out of his eyes and with his good hand pried the thing off. and it floated
down and away. Storm turned back to the car then turned again, and again
in the cold water and for the fourth time his heart leapt. The car was
He couldn't have gone far down stream.
He looked to the shore. The man with the axe was still standing right
there. Storm swam toward the shore, now in a panic and he bumped into
the car. It was submerged only a few inches below the surface. He dove
and darted his head in the window.
Arabella was holding her breath and looking
at him. He motioned for her to exhale, she did and he placed her mouth
on hers and gave her what was in his lungs. He darted back up and screamed.
"Get Help! We need help now." Taking three quick breaths he
submerged again, popped his head in the window again and gave Arabella
another breath. He continued this pattern. Each
time he surfaced he called for help then submerged again. Everything
started to get gray and blurry. The rhythm of his breathing became a
metronome of pain. Up to the surface, then back down to the car. He
was hyperventilating but still not getting enough oxygen and had lost
a lot of blood from his head and even more now from the bite on his
arm. There were just a few inches of water between Arabella's life and
He pushed himself harder and broke the
surface again and sounds came to him out of a blur of numbness. Was
something happening? There was a commotion on shore. He thought it might
be voices but it could just be the blood pumping weakly inside his head.
He dove again and now he couldn't see
the car -the water had clouded; or was it his vision that clouded? Where
was he in his rhythm? Going up or going down? Oh yes -going down. But
he couldn't see her anymore so he felt for her, grabbed her face, kissed
her and again breathed into her. He broke the surface again. Were those
voices? Were people coming? Or was it his ears? Where was he in his
rhythm? Going up or going down? Oh yes. Going down. He dove and a voice
told him that he didn't get air so he looked at what he thought was
up and he saw light. He moved toward up and the light turned to gray
then the gray turned to black.
End of Chapter One
Chapter Two - Darkness Thickens
"When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss
also gazes into you."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
on to chapter two
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