Evelyn Chartres Author
Evelyn Chartres – Author (Nom de Plume)

Morpheus’ Embrace – Part I

It was a couple of hours since the incident, and the lab was still in complete disarray. Half of the false flooring was gone, removed to access the fusion generators below. Test equipment and tools littered what little was left of the floor space, which confined Breanna to her station. Fortunately, she kept busy by running system diagnostics while keeping an eye on their remaining power reserves.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

The North wall, farthest away from the exit, had been scorched black after a fire broke out at one of the associated workstations. Fortunately, emergency power had been restored by that time, so the integrated fire suppression systems dealt with the threat before the lab turned into a crematorium.

“I told you to check the polarity!” Mason yelled.

Brett just glared at the team leader, and avoided making eye contact with Breanna who was snickering at the outburst. These generators were his pride and joy, and knew their designs intimately, he should not have been second guessed.

“I’ve maintained these generators for the past twenty-five years,” Brett said.

“So?” Mason asked.

“So I’m sure the power bypass is compatible with our systems,” Brett said in all honesty.

For now they were at an impasse. Mason was also aware that the polarity, phase, and the voltage at the tap was compatible. The generators alternate feed was designed to provide long-term auxiliary power, that was their primary function. So why did they nearly blow out the power grid in the attempt? They needed auxiliary power to restart the generators, only then would they have stable power.

Breanna cleared her throat to get the men’s attention. Both of them looked up from the mess of wires and circuits to focus on their counterpart. Brett was clearly annoyed by the distraction, while Mason seemed relieved for the opportunity to focus on something else.

“This service manual for the Mister Fusion Mark Twelve Bravo says…” Breanna said, before she paused to decipher the schematics. “That you should have tapped after the converter to get the correct polarity.”

The men turned to one another, and collectively shrugged. Now that was downright odd, since what she reported did not match what either knew to be true.

“We have a Mark Twelve Alpha,” Mason finally said as a way to avoid escalating tensions.

“Yeah,” Brett said. “Bravo’s are fitted on interstellar craft, not ground installations.”

Breanna shrugged and quickly tapped on her dimly lit console. The systems were scaling back their processing power as reserves dwindled. This trend would continue until they established auxiliary power.

“Wait one,” Breanna said while the query ran in the foreground. “The system’s firmware pings back as a Bravo.”

“No way!” Brett yelled.

Breanna turned around so fast that the men flinched. Her eyes darted in their direction, sized them up before looking away slowly and sighed. She then rubbed her temples in an effort to calm down. Breanna may not have been born a redhead, but she clearly embraced that particular stereotype.

“You want to come up here and check?” Breanna challenged.

Mason cringed and thought it best to say, “Why don’t you check the tally plates, Brett.”

The request coming from Mason managed to diffuse the situation. Brett disappeared from sight, since getting to those plates required him to squeeze by two industrial capacitors, followed by hugging the outer casing to avoid making contact with exposed circuits.

“Fuck!” Brett yelled, although the sound was muffled by the surrounding equipment.

“Everything good?” Mason asked.

“No!” Brett exclaimed just as he lit a red filtered torch. “I just ran into a high capacity power conduit.”

For a man who insisted he knew these generators intimately, that certainly raised a slew of questions. One did not just forget the location of power transmission lines, because inadvertent contact when the system was operational meant disintegration.

Minutes later, the red light bled out into the room followed by Brett. It gave the man a certain demonic look, despite the wide eyes and soft features that were trademarks of those humbled.

“Mister Fusion Mark Twelve…” Brett said. “Bravo,” he whispered.

Mason cocked an eyebrow once that information hit him. His memories were clearly aligned with Brett’s. In fact, he would have bet his life on it. No matter, his bruised ego could be addressed at a later time, and for now they needed power.

“How long will it take you to establish a power bypass?” Mason asked.

Brett sighed, then looked up towards Breanna. His shoulders were slumped and his face was crestfallen. It was clear that he did not take well to being proved wrong.

“I don’t know,” Brett replied. “I’ll have to consult the technical manuals to provide an assessment.”

“So safe to say that you’ll need at least four hours?” Mason asked.

“Safe to say,” Brett responded. “Yes.”

Mason turned to Breanna and said, “Does that phone of yours still work?”

Breanna withdrew the device from the depths of her lab coat. She tapped on the surface, and on command the screen came to life, so she nodded.

“We are going to be here a while—,” Mason said.

“On it,” Breanna said in haste, seeing how she could stand to eat as well.

Breanna flew past the apps and menus until she neared the entry she sought. At least, that had been her intent, but the Chinese restaurant she sought was not listed. Odd, since she passed it just this morning, and the memory of that fried rice wafting from out of their exhaust, was enough to make her salivate.

“It’s not there?” Breanna asked.

“What do you mean?” Mason queried in return.

“General Chang’s Lucky Wok,” Breanna said. “Doesn’t show on Scroogle or even on Street Peeper.”

“I loved that place!” Brett whined.

Mason stepped back, and immediately latched onto a solid object, to avoid falling in between the equipment. Distractions in this current situation were ill advised, but these disconnects from reality were making it more likely.

Was the group’s collective memory faulty? Not only once, but twice now? Or was there something else at play they had yet to consider?

“What’s there now?” Mason asked.

Breanna spread her fingers over the screen to zoom in on the sign and answered, “King of Donair.”

“What’s a donair?” the men asked.

Mason was tired of this, so he hopped skipped and jumped through the gaps, until he reached the exit. Once he pressed the button, he expected to hear the airlock equalise pressure. Instead, the door slid open to reveal a storage closet.

“What the fuck!” Mason swore.

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

Chicken Tetrazzini with Roasted Red Peppers

A straight-forward recipe that combines noodles, chicken, mushrooms, cream, sherry, and red peppers to create a ready-to-serve dish. This cream based dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (180 g) of egg noodles
  • 1 pound (450 g) of chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 10 fluid ounces (285 ml) of canned sliced mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of cumin
  • 2 cloves (5-10 mg) of garlic pressed (Optional)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of flour
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of chicken broth
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of dry sherry
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of fine chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of grated Parmesan (Optional)

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse, drain, and set aside.
  2. Grill and spice chicken according to preference. Cut into cubes, and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan (1.4 quarts or 1.3 litres) over medium heat.
  4. Add mushrooms and cumin then sauté until browned.
  5. (Optional) Add garlic and sauté for about a minute.
  6. Stir in flour; whisk until smooth.
  7. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  8. Blend in cream and sherry. Allow sauce to thicken.
  9. Add red pepper, chicken, and Italian seasoning. Allow peppers to warm up.
  10. In a large bowl, mix pasta with sauce. Ready-to-serve.
  11. (Optional) Sprinkle with Parmesan for a burst of flavour.

Bleed Through – Part IV

“I love you!” Edith shouted before she closed her eyes and fell to earth.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

Angela had trouble focusing on the scene. Her vision marred by tears that streamed off her burning cheeks. Even her nose ran like a sieve, and normally that annoyed her, but this time she was too distraught to care.

“How could she?” Angela wondered even though the answer was obvious.

Edith wasn’t the kind of person to stand back and let others risk their lives. Even if doing so risked her own life on several occasions. That was Edith’s greatest strength, one shared by many saints.

“How can I hate her for that?” Angela asked herself.

She closed her eyes and then used some of her limited training from the Tower to focus. As her self-control began to reassert itself, the wave of anguish and anxiety began to wane.

“I’m good now” Angela said as her eyes opened.

Edith was no longer visible by then, gone along with that shockwave originating from the mortal realm. Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach, but she did her best to remain centred. What good was she to anyone as an emotional wreck?

From the corner of her eye, Angela caught the glimpse of a pale brunette hovering over the mortal realm. Despite the woman being roughly thirty years older than she remembered, Angela knew exactly who this was.

“Clara!” Angela exclaimed.

The woman did not respond, instead she closed her eyes, and just like Edith before her, dropped like a rock.

“What’s going on?” Angela yelled out.

“Is there a problem, child?” Gabriel asked.

Angela turned around to find the archangel Gabriel facing her, which immediately explained why he referred to her as a child. Only those who came into existence as angels were capable of seeing a soul’s true form.

“Did you come back for something?” Angela asked while dispensing with any civility.

“Child?” Gabriel asked.

“You left the moment Edith dropped to Earth,” Angela replied.

Gabriel was like an immutable statue, a trait that was common among the natives. It was so frustrating to bare your soul, and see no empathy reflected in the recipient. Her frustration with their kind provided an unexpected reprieve, so Angela channelled this emotion to gain some focus.

“Edith?” Gabriel asked. “Edith was never here.”

That statement almost threw Angela for a loop, but a part of her was expecting to hear such a response. The appearance of Clara from out of the ether did much to lay the groundwork for a working theory. Clearly there was something wrong, but she had no way of proving it.

“Apologies,” Angela said. “I meant to say Clara.”

Gabriel did not respond, although a hiccup in his movement caught her eye. For a fraction of a second, Gabriel had been facing away from her. The movement had been so fast that any ill-timed blink would have meant missing the clue.

“Edith will… shortly… I’m sure,” Gabriel said, even though his lips never moved.

The words appeared to have reverberated from off of some invisible structure. While uncertain of the source, she knew it did not originate from the depths of her mind. Angels were not known to have that ability, besides that sort of communication was experienced differently.

After the hiccup ended Gabriel said, “Clara will be back shortly.”

“I’m sure,” they said in unison.

While Gabriel remained unperturbed by her guess, it did little to help Angela’s state of mind. At this very moment, her heart was migrating from the pit of her stomach to the very tips of her toes. Perhaps she should have been more studious back at the Tower. If only Edith had not been so beautiful.

“Please come back to me,” Angela pleaded before rhyming off a quick prayer that she hoped was heard.

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

Dua Reviews The Portrait

I came across a 3🌟 review for The Portrait from Goodreads Librarian Dua, a story that is near and dear to her heart. It’s honest, and at times even brutally so, mentioning aspects of that story that I’ve been concerned about for some time now. However, it goes a long way to show the progress I’ve made since then.

Authors need to start somewhere, and it’s often tempting to go back to out previous works and rewrite. After all, this is the story about Evelyn Chartres, a character that is near and dear to my heart. Dua even mentions Evelyn specifically in her review.

Oh and Evelyn… I loved Evelyn.

Still, if I continually went back to my earlier works, chances are that The Grand, The Van Helsing Paradox and its upcoming sequels would be nothing more than conceptual. So I choose to take these types of reviews to heart, and hope these concerns have been addressed in future releases.

This book also differs greatly from the others, since it delves into the mind of an author Victoria Frost, who takes up writing after the death of her parents. The character set it limited, as is the dialogue, since most of the story takes place inside her head. That aspect goes a long way to explain the stream of questions in the book, since it denotes her chaotic thought patterns.

She did appreciate how I weaved art into the prose, since this book focuses on the author’s vision of a particular painting hanging in some nondescript gallery. Of note, art is also core to Evelyn’s own identity.

The art, in its many forms, is an important part of the book, almost like a character on its own, and I loved how it was woven throughout the story.

So thank you Dua for your honest review! I hope that delves into my later works and discovers my evolution as a writer.

Bleed Through – Part III

“I love you,” Edith said as her thoughts faded back into reality.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

“I’ve always known,” Angela replied. “How else could you summon me from beyond the grave to warn a friend?”

“I could have joined you that day,” Edith said. She took Angela’s hand and pressed it against her chest, “We could have been in each other’s arms far sooner.”

“It wasn’t your time,” Angela said just as reality began to reassert itself.

Angela giggled before she grabbed Edith by the hand, and dragged her through the park until they reached a series of steps.

“Why are you taking me here?” Edith asked.

Angela turned back for a moment, careful with her steps to avoid tripping and said, “I know you love it there.”

“Why would you think that?” Edith asked out of curiosity.

Angela did not say another word until they reached the top of the steps. From there, it opened up to an observation deck, where someone could see the mortal realm.

“I’ve seen you here before,” Angela said.

Edith looked around, and saw that they were alone. That in itself was not unusual, there was something to be said about seeing the world that contained both the beauty, and pain of life. It was simultaneously a reminder on how sweet the fruit of life had been, and that one would never again partake. Very few chose to go through that torment, although she often felt compelled to do so.

“I know that you come here,” Angela added.

“You’ve been following me?” Edith asked with a smile.

“Of course!” Angela exclaimed before she kissed her lovers cheek.

“Good girl,” Edith replied with reddened cheeks.

Edith did come here on a regular basis to stare down at the world. At first, she did not know what compelled her, but in time she came to understand the reasons. While Angela had been her first love, there were others who had awoken similar affections, including another hunter of great renown.

“Clara Grey was it?” Angela asked.

That name brought a smile to her lips, the mere mention of that name was like casting a spell that let loose, all those cherished memories. Edith would have gone through hell and back for her, and to this day had no clue what had happened to her.

“How—How did you—,” Edith tried to ask.

“Know?” Angela asked. “She was the one you summoned me to find. The one who saved your life that day.”

“I’m impressed,” Edith repeated with a grin.

Edith kissed Angela with such passion that her lover’s legs nearly gave out. For a moment, nothing else in existence mattered, save those lips. Oh how she longed to stop time, and make this moment last an eternity.

Alas even in this realm, time moved at a predictable rate. When she opened her eyes, Edith gazed inadvertently towards the mortal realm. There was a certain beauty to God’s creation, even though atrocities happened daily. That notion alone was enough to make someone wonder if free will had been a good idea.

At this moment, the North-American continent featured prominently. In her search for Clara, she would peer down through the clouds, searching for clues on her friend’s passage. Every attempt proved fruitless, Clara would have been over one-hundred-and-twenty years old by now. There was no chance that she was still alive at that age. Or was there?

Then from the Eastern seaboard, she witnessed a shockwave that expanded outward until it enveloped the Earth. The disturbance caught her eye, and broke from the kiss to focus on the event.

Confused, Edith said, “That’s odd.”

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!