Evelyn Chartres Author
The Van Helsing Paradox – Page 3

The Prelude to Action – Parts V and VI

For Clara, getting into Mexico was not a concern. The Cristeros War required substantial government resources to contain. That meant border guards did not bat an eye at a pretty foreigner crossing the border alone.

All Clara had to do was hide any religious affiliation. The government had grown suspicious of anyone connected with the Church. For now, it was best to avoid being a target for arbitrary arrest.

Clara had a good idea about which gate had been used. It must have been near the city from which those missing hunters were based out of.

The most interesting aspect of this journey had been the transition in flora. When she crossed into Mexico, the area had been dry and arid; but it gradually transitioned into a greener and more welcoming land as she progressed westward.

By the time Clara had reached the Pacific, she had crossed a lush jungle. This was a tropical paradise, and she imagined that it would become a major tourist destination once the dust settled.

The two hunters had been operating out of this city when they disappeared. Since this was an important port-o-call, the gate had strategic value.

Clara sensed that the Tower’s reason for choosing a gate location applied just as well to their enemy. So it was reasonable to assume that they had a gate nearby as well. With some luck, she might be able to determine the available destination, although by itself that would be daunting.

Once Clara arrived at the train station, she took a cab to a nearby hotel. The surroundings were quiet ritzy leaving nothing to desire. Clara was even surprised to find a few telegrams waiting for her.

Clara tipped the concierge and quickly read through the messages. Every telegram received conveyed the same general information; all of the gates except for those in use during the incident were intact but inoperable. That meant the point of attack must have been destroyed as well.

When her luggage had been delivered, Clara pulled out the wireless. As expected, the number station provided the same sequence of numbers, but the message was being narrated by a male student. That meant the station was manned, so the Tower itself must still be intact.

Clara changed into a fashionable dress and made sure to bring her derringer along with a vial of holy water. It was time to explore the city and fashionable attire would distract the government troops while she sought out the Terminus gate. That would be her starting point. She only hoped it would not be a trap.

* * * *

By the time Clara neared the gate, the sun hung high in the sky. While it precluded stealth, it made it impossible for Drusilla or her ilk to be out and about.

The heat and humidity were making it difficult for her to keep dry and composed. She was starting to understand the allure of siestas. Even from this distance, she saw the devastation that surrounded the area. Clara had seen this level of destruction before, but only in a warzone.

“Very little left,” Clara said as she ventured deeper into the ruins of what had been a church.

The remnants of the structure were charred and retained that distinctive odour of cordite. An incredible amount of munitions had been used to secure this place. That might explain the ball of flame that followed her through the gate.

There were tracks from heavy wheeled vehicles visible throughout the area. This had all of the hallmarks of a government sanctioned assault. So that meant that she was probably in the middle of a…

“Don’t move,” someone ordered in Spanish.

When she turned around with her derringer in hand, Clara noticed that she was surrounded. There were about thirty or so armed women visible, which meant there were more hidden.

“Ambush,” Clara asked.

“Correct señora,” the leader of the group replied.

“Lovely,” 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!

Weekend, Coffee and a Book

It’s the weekend! What better time to grab a copy of my dark fantasy novel, the Van Helsing Paradox? Relax, and enjoy the read while at your local coffee shop. Explore the life and times of a hunter, the derringer wielding femme fatale, and see why a gal has to look out for herself after all.

Get it now! http://bit.ly/2QgqOLJ

Clara Gets Some Advice and a Review

I normally find reviews by periodically checking the stores who carry my work. This time around, I received an Email from a fellow author, who took the time to leave me a great review for the Van Helsing Paradox!

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be the last. Recommended.

The excerpt of the review can be found below:

The book is the life story of Clara, a very strong female character, who grows up to hunting monsters (primarily ghouls and vampires) as part of a secret Catholic order that protects humanity from the monsters. The author is quite creative in both the headquarters of the order and the religious aspects of the book. The novel contains a small amount of explicit sex and a fair amount of violence (not gratuitous, but appropriate for the book's plot and world) , making it appropriate for young adult and adult readers. The book also has some nice twists and a strong ending I didn't expect. I would definitely be interested in reading a sequel, prequel, and any book by this author in this universe. This is the first book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last. Recommended.

As an aside, the author also sent me a list of grammatical errors and/or mistakes that were found while reading. Some were clearly things that had been missed during the many revision cycles, while others were related to style choices that I made.

So I guess I’ll have something to do over the weekend. Friendly advice and a great way ahead to make the book even better! What’s not to like?

The Prelude to Action – Part III and IV

It took the better part of the morning to find out where she ended up. Unfortunately, the gate’s destruction made it impossible to return to the Terminus to get some answers.

Clara used a shawl she had lifted from a passer-by to conceal the scorch marks, then wandered about until she came across the main entrance. The fact that every sign and the bulk of the graves were marked in French convinced her that she was nowhere near Mexico.

She eventually found her way out into town. People, for the most part, nodded politely and seemed oblivious to the mesquite odour that followed her. Clara kept on a smile and listened intently to their non-Parisian accents.

Without, much effort Clara made her way to the river bank. On the opposing side, she saw a small port city that could have been pulled straight out of central Europe. The city even featured a fortified wall and a French château overlooking the old city below.

To her right, she saw a large steel bridge that linked the two communities. Clara had not been here before but she knew enough from the landmarks and language to make an educated guess.

That helped her come up with her next course of action; first, Clara had to find a place to stay. A problem that was easily solved by finding her way to that French château. Fortunately, it was a railway hotel and a luxurious one at that.

After a base of operation was established, she would need to make contact with the Tower. How hard could that be?

* * * *

Clara walked into her opulent hotel room. The plush carpet, decorative bedding and fine crafted furniture adorned the room. In the space of a week, she had gotten a few odds and ends to keep her going.

Her wardrobe was a different matter. The clothes she wore on arrival had long been relegated to the trash heap. Clara had amassed a wardrobe that would permit her to blend into a crowd or stand out like the paragon of fashion she was.

A bell hop brought in a wireless that Clara had purchased earlier this morning. This disruptive technology was making the world feel smaller. Isolated communities now had a peek of the world beyond, exposed to music and cultures they never knew existed.

Wireless radio was a boon to her group. As they became ubiquitous, their order used the technology to stay informed and even coordinate missions.

To communicate, the Tower ran a number station, where an older student would read a series of numbers, repeated every five minutes. All she needed was ink, paper and her wireless.

She turned on the contraption and began to tune it. While most radios were not designed to pick up this frequency, certain models such as this one could be tweaked, all thanks to the Georgians. She tuned it exactly as taught using jewellery tools. At first, she heard nothing more than white noise, but slowly the distorted voice of a young woman cut through the interference.

“Thirty,” the unfamiliar voice said calmly then trailed off.

“Aww, nertz,” Clara said.

Clara looked at the clock and determined that it was running late. Unfortunately, that meant she needed to wait until the numbers were repeated.

After a pause, the voice began to recite the code, “Ten, Five, Eight, Fifty-One, and Thirty.”

The code always used biblical references. In this case, the first three letters identified the book, so J, E and H were used to identify Jeremiah. The latter two numbers referred to the chapter and verse.

Clara looked it up in her room’s copy of the Gideon’s Bible. She already had an idea of what it would say, but it paid to be prudent to confirm what she knew.

“The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting, they stay in the strongholds; their strength is exhausted, they are becoming like women; their dwelling places are set on fire, the bars of her gates are broken,” Clara read.

Bible verses were, of course, cryptic and this one required a fair amount of context to interpret. Based on her last jaunt through a gate, Clara determined that the Terminus had been attacked and disabled. Clara was effectively on her own, just like anyone else away from the Tower during the attack.

The Tower did have alternate entrances, kept secret from everyone but the most senior members. No doubt, they would use those to evacuate or to establish a new base of operations.

“How long would that take,” Clara wondered.

“That’s not good,” Clara muttered while pacing the room. “So who is responsible?”

Clara could not help but think that Drusilla was responsible for this particular attack. That meant that those two hunters had paid the ultimate price so they could gain access to the Terminus.

Trading the lives of your enemy to weaken them globally. Even Clara would take that deal if the situation were reversed, especially if it crippled their ability to wage war.

The creature would have made sure to vacate the scene of the crime. Staying in proximity to the gate might lead to retaliation, so that meant getting as far away from the scene of the crime as possible. Drusilla must have used one of their gates to escape the scene.

At least Clara had a starting point: Find the gate and narrow down potential avenues of escape. That would focus her search and perhaps find a trail to follow.

“Not a great plan, sure, but it’s better than nothing,” 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!

Just Got Back Home?

Just got back home? If so, grab a taste of home and read a good book! The Van Helsing Paradox is a dark fantasy book about the life and times of a femme fatal hunter. Remember that a gal has to look out for herself after all.

A gal has to look out for herself after all!

Get it now!