Evelyn Chartres Author
The Van Helsing Paradox

Clara’s Amazon Giveaway

A glass of wine and a good book. Is there a better way to spend your time? To celebrate the release of the trade paperback version of my latest book, I’ve decided to give away some copies!

From now until 29 Sep 2018, you can enter to win a free copy of the Van Helsing Paradox! Simply click on the link below, confirm you have a United States address and take your chances.

Enter to Win

Those lucky few who win a copy will not be expected to pay for shipping, provide personal information or join any lists. For those who were not selected, remember that you can still get a free copy of the eBook through most retailers here.

Good luck!

Dinner with the Devil – Part I

[Please note that sexually explicit elements of the scene were scrubbed]

“Two women were found dead last week,” Clara said.

Clara hopped lightly from one foot to the other so her toes would stay warm. Snow covered the ground, while more fell lazily from the sky in the form of large snowflakes. This could have been a romantic winter’s eve if she were not busy working.

A couple passed by on the opposite side of the street. While the gentleman paid her little heed, the well-dressed flapper at his side leered at her. Even from that distance the tattoo on Clara’s leg was visible and around here that was a symbol for women who were from the wrong side of the tracks.

Clara had been working this particular corner for the past three weeks. In that time there had been eight deaths involving prostitutes. All of them had been killed without a single witness coming forward. In itself that was odd since the deaths all occurred in heavily trafficked areas.

The city had done their best to keep things under wrap, namely by clamping down on the prostitutes. The local intelligencia also kept it out of the news, even that nagging tidbit about the women being drained of blood. Worse still, their fates did not lend any sympathy from the constabulary; around here an impure lifestyle meant they deserved a death to match.

Every victim had certain commonalities, all were ladies of the night, dark haired and young. Lastly every one of them had a tattoo on their leg although the latter might have been a red herring.

“Fortunately I can have it removed when I’m done,” Clara thought.

In the distance, she saw a set of glowing headlights coming down the street. Cars were getting to be more common now, especially in big cities. The snow today would make driving treacherous, these vehicles were tricky to control since there was no traction.

Fortunately this was a newer model, long hood with side mounted spare tyres, a hard top and running boards. There was a single occupant inside who sported leather gloves and a white scarf. Funny how some people were unable to break from tradition.

The car slowed as it approached, Clara saw how he was sizing her up. This was not the first time that she had been approached in this matter, so she opened up her coat to let him have a peek. While the cold air rushed in she shivered, an effect that somehow got his attention.

“The spider is checking its web for flies,” Clara thought.

The man obviously had money, how else could he own an imported car of this sophistication? That may have been a disarming trait for some, but Clara suspected the killer was wealthy. For the most part they were all affluent and drawn to power.

The man pulled up to the curb and rolled down his window. This was the part Clara dreaded, feeling like a piece of meat. She wore a simple dress that left little to the imagination and did much to draw the eyes to her ample bust, but he showed no interest. Instead, he focused on her eyes and then lingered on her tattooed leg.

“Hiya handsome,” Clara said mimicking the accent of the local street urchins.

“How much,” the man asked.

“Starts at two bits for a dry bob honey,” Clara said.

The man never batted an eye at the price, since he could easily afford the going rates at an exclusive brothel. While Clara was attractive, she was hardly unique in that aspect, so her prices had to be competitive to not arouse suspicion.

The man smiled before he said, “I’ll pull up over there.”

“Whatever ya say honey,” Clara said and winked.

While this gentleman drove off fifty feet, Clara made her way towards the alley and noticed how his car had no frost in the windows. Despite that clue, all she could think about was how cold her feet were, and how divine it was to start walking again.

From her purse she pulled out a lipstick applicator and applied a fresh coat. A moment later, she dabbed a bit of holy water on her lips, a trick that worked well in the past, but prayed it would not be needed.

Once she got to the alley, Clara saw the gentleman standing by a series of refuse bins. Inside she heard the band playing, which meant no one would notice errant moans, grunts or gunshots.

Clara played her part and placed the purse she carried within arm’s reach. She then sat on a bin and hiked up her dress to reveal that she had no knickers. For a moment his eyes glanced at her inviting muff before he licked his lips.

For all the pomp and circumstance this man had shown while driving that car, he displayed none of that now. The buttons to his trousers were undone in a flash which caused them to drop effortlessly around his patent leather shoes.

Clara would have helped him, but he was too fast for her. Before she knew it, his hands were on her thighs forcing her legs apart while his member hovered just an inch away.

“Take it easy handsome, we got all the time—,” Clara said.

Clearly this man was not in a mood to listen… …All the while her hand slid ever closer to her purse, and the derringer concealed within.

“This is a powerful one,” Clara thought.

He had to be, being oblivious to her aura of faith required nothing less. It also explained why he was still enjoying the ride…

…Clara opened her eyes just enough to watch him clench his jaw. The act should have been pure rapture…

Clara grabbed a hold of her derringer and drew it out… …she squeezed on the first trigger of her weapon.

The muted shot still echoed through the alley, but the music inside drowned out the noise. The man fell face first into the snow and gave her a view of that gaping hole through the back of his skull.

She sighed in relief that her precaution of applying holy water in all the right places had been an unmitigated success. With her weapon trained Clara got back on her feet and closed up her coat. She was chilled to the bone and looked forward to a warm bath at a reputable hotel. With this threat neutralised, she had no need to stay at the local dive.

“At least he has a car,” Clara said.

The hunter then fired another well-aimed shot at the base of his spine, which ensured he would stay down until morning. Now all she had to do was get him into the boot of his car.

“All work and no play,” Clara said.

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!

Clara’s Proofs are Here

Yay! My proofs just arrived! I have to admit that I was rather curious at first, considering the size of the box. Once I removed all the wrapping paper, the proofs beckoned me to peruse their pages.

Alas, there is a slight flaw in this printing, the index came out all wrong. So I had to change the manuscript and submit the changes through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Fortunately, this minor setback will not slow down release of the print version for too long.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Re Moran for her work on the cover. It looks even better in print!

Clara in Print?

I just got notice from CreateSpace, that my proof of the Van Helsing Paradox is ready! So I’ve ordered a couple of proofs and my book should be available as a trade paperback within the next couple of weeks!

While it’s nice to be able to cuddle up to my Kindle Paperwhite. I know people like nothing more than the smell and feeling of inked paper between their fingers… Actually, that sounds like a great reason to catch up on my reading!

For now, you can get find my eBook on most platforms for free! Please visit the Van Helsing Paradox‘s page or its Universal Book Link to find a retailer.

Raiders and Tombs – Parts VIII, IIX and IX

Clara and Jonesy ran without pause, even when their lungs felt as though they were on fire they ran on. When they passed by the tomb, Jonesy tripped on the slippery surface and without missing a beat was dragged back onto his feet by Clara.

When they finally reached the light of day, they both dropped to their knees. After the experience they had, it was great to feel the warmth of the sun’s glow, a sure-fire sign they were safe.

“Well that explains the lack of traps,” Clara said.

“No kidding,” Jonesy said.

The locals were quick to notice that someone was missing. If the tables had been turned, Clara would have pressed them for information, but they already knew. There must have been local legends on what lurked below.

“Professor Jones,” Clara said. “I thought they had been instructed to set up camp,” she added.

Jonesy looked around and came to the same conclusion. His face was still flushed from the exertion and would need time to recover his mental faculties.

There was still a solid hour of daylight left. That meant they had time to get away from here and never return. Jonesy was certainly thinking the same thing, so he passed on new instructions.

While the locals quickly collected stray items before getting atop their mounts, Clara fetched a pack from hers. She casually walked towards the entrance, gave it another donation of blood and walked on through.

The locals looked at each other in awe. It was one thing to face the horrors below and come back alive. It was something else altogether to walk back inside willingly.

Fortunately Clara emerged quickly and within a minute there was a dull thump. The ground shook, the camels were spooked, but Clara never flinched.

“What did you do,” Jonesy asked.

Clara mounted her camel with a self-satisfied look on her face. Nothing was going to find its way down there without a lot of effort.

“I blew the entrance to the tunnel,” Clara said calmly. “Some things are better left buried by the sands of time,” she added.

* * * *

Clara sat by a fire looking through the contents of Father Allen’s bag. While Professor Jones wrote up his final report, it was up to her to sort through Father Allen’s belongings.

She never took the time to look at his sketches. They were really quite good, an excellent combination of speed and accuracy. She found a series of sketches dedicated to the city and inside the ziggurat.

She even found a sketch of Professor Jones interacting with the locals. Clara wondered if the professor had known he was being sketched.

She was certainly unaware that she had once inspired him. Clara had been reading a book on that particular evening, even now she found it bizarre to witness another’s perception of her. She was both flattered and worried, given her vocation she should have known what he was up to.

The sketches drawn underground revealed a great deal. Clara had taken pictures as directed, but she had not noticed a series of symbols found throughout the complex. For Clara they had been lost in the noise, like picking out minutia on a complex tapestry.

There were at least fifteen different instances of the half-crescent moon; over and above the one found at the entrance. Some symbols had been in plain sight, while others were concealed.

When Jonesy came by Clara said, “Did you notice these instances of the crescent?”

Professor Jones looked at every sketch. It was clear from the look on his face that he had missed these as well.

“Makes sense,” Jonesy said. “That step pyramid was built in his name,” he added.

“It’s a fitting symbol for those who fear the sun,” she added.

“What do you mean,” Jonesy asked.

“Well,” Clara said while trying to find her words. “Being exposed to the light of God will set them aflame,” she added.

Professor Jones looked at her sceptically. Only the clergy were expected to make that type of connection. Most professors saw these creatures from a pragmatic point of view, concepts based on faith rarely occurred to them.

“Go on,” Jonesy said.

“It would be sensible for them to worship a God that stood in opposition to the sun,” Clara said.

“Worship,” Jonesy asked.

His eyes were glassy as though years of indoctrination had been shattered. Clara was sure to hear about this back at the Tower, first she lost a priest and then breaks a professor on the same day. At least that would mean no more babysitting for her.

* * * *

Clara overlooked the top of a ridge and saw the sand swept and desolate land. Up ahead there was a crew busy pulling up a large globe from the back of a truck. The item was covered in spikes that would normally trigger a detonation, however those elements had been disabled as a precaution.

Besides the truck the river was being swallowed up whole. This was one of two access points for the river that ran under the ziggurat. The men continued pulling on with ropes until the sea mine splashed into the water.

In all, there were five other trucks similarly equipped. Clara had managed to convince the Reverend Mother to support this plan. A lot of strings had to be pulled to make this happen, but Clara knew this was the only way.

As the sea mine floated downstream, she looked at her watch and set the timer for twenty minutes. While the default triggers had been disabled, a timer had been wired into the detonator. Clara estimated it would take eighteen minutes to float down and make contact with those doors.

Clara sat down on the ridge with a sketchbook in hand. She began to sketch out the rough details of the landscape and would make touch-ups later. She found the process relaxing and thanked Father Allen for introducing her to it.

After the timer ran out Clara felt the ground shudder. The hunter began to smile once the water level dropped significantly. That meant the obstructions had been destroyed by the mine and the rest of her plan could continue.

A second mine was dropped with a forty-two minute timer. As it floated away, Clara continued on with her sketch. She fought for a few moments to capture the wind-swept ridges, but there was no need to rush.

The second mine detonated out in the open. As expected it overshot the complex by a hundred feet or so.

The third mine detonated after thirty-nine minutes causing the water levels to rise. Clara had detonated this one to damn the river’s exit, exactly as planned.

Before water levels rose over the river banks, the remaining mines were dropped into the water with a thirty minute timer. Clara kept busy by continuing her sketch.

This time the ground shook violently and prompted Clara to collect her things. By that point the trucks had already been evacuated to higher ground. Clara watched as the river flowed over its banks and began to form a lake.

It was impossible to imagine just how much damage had been done by the mines. However, Clara was certain that the water level would make any future pilgrimages impossible. For now, the threat was contained.

The water level would rise until a new path to the river was found. In time the tunnel would be filled with silt and harden like mortar and seal the complex shut.

“Rest in peace,” Clara said as she walked away from this dustbin, never to return.

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!