Evelyn Chartres Author

Yet Another Quick Read Before Christmas

A gal has to look out for herself after all.

You still have enough time to enjoy my Dark Fantasy novel before Christmas. Teats, a drink and the Van Helsing Paradox! Discover the life and times of a femme fatal hunter. What better way to bide your time before you unwrap some books?

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Want to know more about the story? The synopsis follows!

Clara Grey’s parents once said that the world was a dark and dangerous place. There was more truth than fiction to those words. There were things that lurked in the shadows which defied the laws of nature: perversions that fed on the dead, terrorised the living, or escaped the chill touch of the grave.

Clara is a member of the Tower, a religious order of hunters who work outside the confines of the Church. As keepers of the arcane, her order takes an active role to counter these threats. The life of a hunter can be short, and many disappear before their training is completed. So, what does it take to succeed against all odds?

Explore Clara’s origin, a child born before the dawn of the twentieth century. Witness her rigorous training, how she faces adversity, and fights in the Great War to become the derringer wielding flapper she is.

Throughout her tale, keep in mind that no matter the threat, a gal has to look out for herself after all.

The Prelude to Action – Part II

Clara walked through the Terminus’ sections until she found the door leading to her destination. While the gates were designed to travel one way, the doors themselves shifted and moved. Otherwise, given time, an individual could map out the Terminus in its entirety.

Now, she stood before the door and opened it. Clara never liked to dwell on what was about to happen, so she just stepped through.

This time, things were different. Normally, the transition was effortless, and the traveller simply found herself in a new location. This time, the transition was anything but instant and felt like she was being pulled in every direction. Clara opened her eyes and saw a whitewashed world, similar to the one found outside of the Tower.

Unlike the faded memory that was Pompeii, the world before her was changing at a fantastical rate. No one had ever mentioned being conscious during transitions.

“So why am I seeing this,” Clara wondered.

With that thought came a whoosh followed by a ball of fire that was gaining on her. Clara looked about, but found no way to push herself forward or manoeuvre. For better or for worse, she was stuck in transit until she reached her destination.

Moments before the ball of flame enveloped her, Clara felt cool grass beneath her bare feet. She instinctively rolled away and sensed a blast of heat pass over her.

Her eyes took a while to adjust, but she soon witnessed the carnage. The door itself had been blown from its hinges, rendering the gateway inoperative. Clara noted how debris was spread out all over the area and that the luscious green grass had been scorched… Just like the top of her outfit.

“I liked that top,” Clara said while brushing any dirt from her shoulders.

Clara quickly scanned over her surroundings to make sure there were no witnesses. Fortunately, no one had been visiting this graveyard. Odd, it should have been night. Clara had expected to be under the cover of the waxing moon.

Instead, the sun was a quarter of the way up in the deep blue sky. So unless she had been pulled out of time, Clara must have reached an alternate gate. Did that explain the feeling of being pulled in multiple directions?

“Horsefeathers,” Clara exclaimed. “So, where am I,” she asked.

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!

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part I

The powder keg that was Europe finally blew and plunged the region into chaos. War spread throughout the lands like a plague, bringing death to millions thanks to a new type of warfare. Trench warfare and the machine gun were responsible for the untold deaths, many of whom never got a proper burial, those poor souls were doomed to anonymity beneath the blood soaked mud.

It was no surprise that the abodimations were also drawn to the conflict. The scores of dead attracted ghouls by the hundreds while other menaces lurked in the shadows and preyed on unsuspecting soldiers. What better way to conceal wanton carnage than amongst the casualties of war?

In response to this epidemic hunters were sent out to assist in the war effort. Edith and Clara had joined up as nurses and served at a field hospital near the front. Day after a day, they were faced with a deluge of wounded and dying.

While tending to the living they kept a watchful eye for things that lurked in the shadows. The nurses had to pay particular attention to the wounds; it was not always obvious if shrapnel or fangs had caused the injury.

Clara felt like a bystander in the war that raged on just over the horizon. The flashes of bright light were always accompanied by a thunderous bang. Sometimes the shelling would get so close that the ground shook.

When the war entered one of its rare lulls, Clara often sought out the comfort of men. Even if the offers were plentiful, the services rendered was always poor. The hurried undressing, the awkward positions, heavy breathing and her partner’s quick crescendo meant she rarely got anywhere near the finish line.

Still it temporarily met her needs and distracted her from the horrors she witnessed. For Clara that seemed to be a better way of hiding from the world than restorting to drink or morphine. She needed to keep her reflexes sharp because her opponents would not give her the opportunity for her buzz to wear off.

This evening marked her second Christmas spent near No-man. When the war began, everyone had said that victory would be won by Christmas. This year had dredged up much of the same talk and Clara suspected they would bring up the same tired topic next year.

Despite the horrors witnessed, people still expected a quick end. Their hope spent waiting for that singular break in the enemy lines. The one which would permit them to push deep into their territory.

There were countless others from the Tower, some were even posted to the front lines. Snipers proved effective at culling any strays looking for a fresh meal. That tended to be dangerous work since the enemy liked to shoot back.

From time to time Edith and Clara were called in for a specific mission. They would set aside their blue uniforms adorned with brass and white aprons in favour of male uniforms. A bit of padding to conceal the hips, wrapping for the tits and cigarettes to harshen the voice did wonders to pass off as young officers. As an additional precaution, these missions were always conducted in the cover of night to further avoid detection.

The girls hid their change of clothes in an abandoned farmhouse near their camp. Clara often enjoyed the male uniform, which enabled her carry a pistol while hiding a few surprises under all that padding. As a precaution she opted to bring her derringer, a bayonet and some throwing knives.

They had been given little warning tonight, nor was there much intelligence as to the nature of their mission. Edith put on her uniform adorned with two pips, which was one more than Clara had. The selected ranks were senior enough to allow independent movement without arousing suspicion for their youthful appearance.

Edith examined the map with her compass in hand. She looked so different in an army officer’s uniform, so much so that Clara sometimes forgot who this dashing young officer was.

No matter how dirty or weary Edith was her eyes always shined brightly, a trait that Clara envied.

“Does Edith envy me in any way,” Clara wondered.

“Three miles bearing eleven mills,” Edith said while tracing out a line.

“Anything in the area,” Clara asked.

“Nothing but a bombed out church,” Edith said.

Clara scrutinised the map, stitching together the lay of the land. A week or so ago there had been heavy fighting in that area until the front lines shifted to the east. Clara remember it clearly because there had been a lot of casualties that week.

That meant they would have to traverse treacherous territory. They would be sure to come across networks of trenches, barbed wire, unexploded bombs, and gaping holes in the ground. They would have to move quickly and covertly while watching out for anything that posed a threat. Fortunately, little to no enemy activity was expected this far behind the lines.

Clara’s instincts told her there was something peculiar about that location. She glared at the map for a moment, but the reasons continued to elude her. Then just like photoflash powder going off, an idea popped into her head.

“Isn’t there a gate there,” Clara asked.

Edith furrowed her brow, “Not sure. Should have been deactivated when the fighting broke out.”

As with anything Georgian, there were very few guarantees. The Terminus’ gates provided travel to a single location, which made them safer for human use. Georgians and other less discerning clients used multi-destination gates, alas those were known to cause accidents.

“No matter,” Edith said to break the silence. “That’s our objective and we have no further detail. Full stealth, evade and if we get separated meet back here before sunrise,” she added.

Clara nodded then picked up her greatcoat from a charred chair. It was cold tonight and knew full well that it would get colder before sunrise.

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!

Salt the Earth – Part IV

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!

Edith still looked pale but her eyes were aglow. At first she attempted a smile, but faded once Clara came into focus.

“You’re not my Angel,” Edith said.

“That’s not what you said when I found you,” Clara teased.

Edith looked torn as though her mind were struggling to make sense of the situation. Clearly she remembered things differently.

To distract herself, Edith looked towards her leg. What had been a hive of infection and infestation was now mostly healed. The new skin was pink, a miracle if she had been sent to any other medical facility.

Above the bed Clara saw that mechanical monstrosity of Georgian origin. She had never seen it in action, but the results were always spectacular. It was said that given enough time the machine could reattach or even regrow limbs.

“It wasn’t Angela,” Edith said and promptly burst into tears.

The Reverend Mother pulled Clara out of the room. Between the two girls, she had managed to connect the dots.

“Angela was a ginger,” Augustine said. “How could you have possibly known,” she asked.

Clara gulped hard before she said, “She came to the bistro and informed me that there had been an incident Reverend Mother.”

“She’s been dead for over a decade,” The Reverend Mother said.
“I did not know that at the time,” Clara replied.

Clara described the situation in detail including any odd statements made. The Reverend Mother listened intently, but showed no signs of surprise.

“So the attacks may have continued unopposed had you not been warned child,” the Reverend Mother asked.

Clara simply nodded, there was nothing more to add. Still she hoped there would be no repercussions for her omission. After all she had failed to report the apparition.

“Those two were thick as thieves growing up,” Augustine said. “Inseparable and their friendship had all the markings of one that would last a lifetime,” she added.

“Was that how Edith managed to send out her plea for help,” Clara asked.

Clara wondered how powerful such a bond needed to be to wake the dead.

“Edith withdrew from the world after the accident and devoted herself to her studies,” the Reverend Mother said.

They both paused when Edith went silent. Until that moment she had been sobbing uncontrollably, audible even through the door. The nun must have given her a sedative.

“I never thought I’d see her embrace life again, or at least until you showed up,” the Reverend Mother said. “I think she saw your penchant for mischief and felt that spark in her soul reignite.”

Clara smiled, in a world where death followed her, it was great to know that she could occasionally improve the life of others. The fact that it was someone she revered made it all the sweeter.

“I’ve made a decision,” the Reverend Mother said.

“Yes Reverend Mother,” Clara asked.

“Your time at the Tower as an acolyte is over Child,” Augustine said.

“I thought—,” Clara said but was cut off when Augustine raised her hand to interrupt.

“You’ve been ready for a couple of years now child,” the Reverend Mother said. “We don’t typically send hunters out at your age. We were waiting until you were old enough to travel freely,” she added.

Clara’s early exposure to death had accelerated her development. The price paid for her prodigious rise had indeed been heavy.

“Edith was reaching out to you for help,” Augustine said. “She had faith that you would come through for her. Those are the signs of a great partnership,” she added.

“Really Reverend Mother,” Clara asked.

Those words were not faint praise coming from her. Clara felt her heart overflow with pride, she took a deep breath to keep her emotions in check. Betraying her emotions now would do little to show that she was ready.

“Really child,” Augustine said. “Now let Edith rest before you tell her the news,” she added before walking away.

The life of the Reverend Mother was indeed busy. Clara silently thanked the woman for giving her any time at all.

She would wait by the door until Edith was ready to leave. Freed from her academic responsibilities, she was free to let her mind wander.

“How much could she accomplish with support from Edith,” Clara asked.

Clara had to admit it, she liked where her mind was headed.

Sometimes There are Risks

Sometimes there are risks to reading the Grand!

This book was so wonderful and enthralling that I almost burned dinner! I meant to only read a few pages to pass time while during afternoon chores but I was just was caught up in the many different layers of timelines and viewpoints. I wish to request a follow up or sequel as I would love to know some more about the Grand many guests especially any famous ones.