Evelyn Chartres Author
Paranormal – Page 6

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part II

As expected the terrain was treacherous. For the first mile or so the ground was nothing but mud. Stepping through mud created suction which forced them to thread carefully or lose a boot. With every step they brought more and more of the battlefield with them; so much so that they had to use something to scrape off a few layers and bring some spring back to their steps.

Later on they reached a series of trenches which concealed their advance. The trenches were quickly beginning to deteriorate without constant care. Still it gave them ample cover, and they only had to keep an eye out for booby traps.

As they left the network of trenches, it began to snow. The type of snowfall that would have lit up a school child’s eyes; both Edith and Clara shivered as they ventured on towards their objective.

The snow would make it more difficult to conceal their tracks. Despite the risk they pushed on, and used a crater for cover while they surveilled the area. From the safety of a crater, the girls spotted the shattered spires of the church in the distance. From here the symbols of faith and sanctuary looked more like a jagged set of fangs.

The last five hundred yards or so were spent either on their knees or crawling across the terrain. It was eerily quiet, there was no gunfire, mortar or artillery fire to be heard. The wind was calm, so the snow fell lazily over the ground and transformed this burnt out landscape into a winter wonderland. It bothered Clara how all of that death and destruction could be so easily concealed.

Once they reached the outskirts of what had been the church courtyard, they found a piece of the property wall that was still standing. It would give them plenty of cover while they waited to find out why they had been summoned here.

A half an hour later Clara felt Edith press against her arm. To the east Clara saw two distinct shadows brake through the falling snow and in time turn into the defined silhouettes of a well-dressed couple.

The girls were confused, these were not the manicured gardens of Versailles. In the background an artillery barrage started anew and Clara guessed that Christmas was over and along with it one’s love for their fellow man. In the back of her mind she kept count on how long it took between the flashes of light and the bang to see how far the fighting was.

As the couple reached the church spire, they paused to scan the area. By this time the girls were covered in snow and thus well concealed behind the stone wall. They seemed unaware of the girls’ presence and the female grew increasingly impatient.

Edith passed the binoculars so Clara carefully pressed the cool brass against her eyelids. From this distance they seemed to be a normal genteel couple out for a stroll, which was clearly out of place for the setting.

For one there was no fog on their breath. Anyone out in this weather should have shown signs of breathing. One quick look at the woman’s uncovered face revealed a great deal more than a lack of breathing.

Clara would never forget that face, the woman of great beauty who rivalled that of angels. The sight of that creature brought back all those memories from that night. Had it been more than a decade already?

She reached for her pistol, and released the clasp. Edith caught the movement from the corner of her eye and motioned Clara to stop.

“What,” Edith asked noiselessly by moving her lips.

Clara handed back the binoculars and replied, “It’s her.”

At first the words did not elicit a response, but after a moment Edith’s eyes widened. She too had come to the same conclusion and knew why Clara had reached for her sidearm.

Two of them and one powerful enough to kill indiscriminately on consecrated ground. Even armed as they were, the girls were poorly equipped to deal with a threat of that magnitude.

“I doubt a sustained artillery barrage would work,” Clara thought.

The two observed from a distance and Clara kept tabs on what lay behind them. The last thing they needed was to end up surrounded.

After another twenty minutes of waiting the couple appeared to be at their wits end. The female scowled and lashed out at her male companion. The latter knew well-enough to cower, so clearly he was subordinate to the female.

Clara contemplated a course of action, one that would permit them to see another day. She also envisioned a scenario where that female ended up with a sunburn. Alas, Clara could not find a way to consolidate these disparate plans.

“Just ducky,” Clara thought.

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.

Salt the Earth – Part III

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!

“I’ve been told that you made quite an impression when you burst in with Edith on your shoulder,” the Reverend Mother said.

“Oh,” Clara said, sounding distant.

Truth be told, Clara had not been looking to make a grand entrance nor a scene. She was also unable to think of an effective way to deflect that statement without appearing to be insubordinate or appearing to be a braggart.

“Sometimes it’s a no win scenario,” Clara thought.

“They had been domesticated,” the Reverend Mother said when she decided to get to the point.

“What do you mean Reverend Mother,” Clara asked.

“Same as a dog I suppose,” the Reverend Mother said. “Taught them how to hunt and hide within a heavily populated area,” she added.

“Was that why their place was so clean,” Clara asked. “Except fo—,” she added but faltered.

It was difficult to remember what she had witnessed. The gore, the stench and the flies were all elements drawn together from a poorly written horror story. Even if the minutiae of the scenes was impossible to recollect, the images still haunted her.

Surely Jack’s room had been just as gory. A dismembered head with gouged out eyes should have evoked a similar response. Still there was something about this particular scene that made her mind run through what she witnessed over and over.

“Precisely,” Augustine said. “They had a fully stocked kitchen and one of the little ones was found in the icebox dead,” she added.

Clara noted that even the Reverend Mother seemed troubled by this development. She had always assumed that the head of her order was impervious to such news. Surely bad news came often enough to blunt her emotions.

The sight of the Reverend Mother showing a sliver of emotion was enough to endear Clara. The matriarch of the Tower being human gave her hope that she would not turn into some mindless killing machine. Somehow that notion warmed her heart.

“Was the young one a ginger Reverend Mother,” Clara asked.

“No child,” Augustine said. “Why do you ask,” she said.

Clara had not reported the apparition since ghosts and spirits went against all they were taught. To talk about such things might lead them to question her sanity. For now it was best to keep such knowledge close to her heart.

“What about the cigarette holder and hair Reverend Mother,” Clara asked.

“Your instincts had been correct that the item had been used recently child,” Augustine started with. “They also found a series of broken vases, frames and knick-knacks swept into a closet,” she added.

So the altercation had been far ranging, which meant that Edith must have put up one hell of a fight. Clara expected nothing less, but it was reassuring to have her suspicions confirmed.

That also meant they must have been waiting for her to die. Clara shuddered to think about such a death; left there to succumb to the infection. All to add flavour to the meat so that these creatures could feast on her friend.

A nearby door opened, and soon after a nun peeked out. Clara tried to read the emotions from the nun’s deep blue eyes but drew a blank.

“Reverend Mother,” the sister said. “The child is awake,” she added.

“Oh good Sister,” Augustine said while looking at Clara. “Shall we go in,” she asked.

“Of course Reverend Mother,” Clara said with a twinkle in her eyes.

Salt the Earth – Part II

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!

Carrots led the way while Clara followed, until the girl provided her with a proper name the nickname would have to do . The young girl was certainly a straight shooter, even the hustle and bustle of a major city did not sway her.

When Clara had been that young, she could never have resisted the temptation to explore. Even now that desire was just below the surface of her conscious mind, begging to be freed.

While the word incident had been used, the severity had been misreported. An incident would not require her to report back. Was it a death? It was not every day that someone from her order died.

Well not daily although a few times a year was accurate. Hunters were not normally recalled for a death, frequent use of the Terminus risked exposure. So what was important enough to have her recalled?

Clara kept these thoughts concealed along with the emotions that inevitably followed. It took a great deal of willpower to keep cool when one’s head was swirling, but Clara would not let an acolyte see anything more than cold professionalism. That much was expected from older students.

“Almost there Miss Grey,” Carrots said.

Clara nodded, she knew where the gate was currently located.

“Love your dress,” Carrots said just before walking into a restaurant.

Clara waited until the kitchen staff were out of earshot before replying, “Thank you.”

“Must take a while to put on,” Carrots said.

Clara momentarily looked down at the row of a hundred or so buttons that led from her collar to the very bottom. It did take time, but so did many aspects of being a lady.

“The price of fashion,” Clara said.

“I wouldn’t know,” Carrots replied.

“You will,” Clara countered, certain that in time Carrots would grow up to be a beautiful woman.

“We don’t all make it past our first day of freedom,” Carrots said bluntly.

That statement really caught Clara off guard. In that moment she realised that this exchange had been an elaborate distraction.

“Why,” Clara wondered.

They came to a door at the end of the kitchen’s storage area. On the other side there would be a small courtyard leading to three other buildings. The abandoned one on her left led directly to the Terminus.

Clara eyed Carrots and realised how the girl was deathly pale, even for a fair skinned redhead. Clara remembered a lecture that covered many of these details. It had been memorable because these details had been used as proof to deny the existence of these events.

“How did you find me,” Clara asked.

At first Carrots was quiet as though she were not expecting any questions.
“She wanted me to find you,” Carrots said.

“Who,” Clara asked.

While waiting for an answer Clara pulled a few pins from her hair that were used to anchor her hat. Her derringer dropped out from under and landed into her waiting hands; it was light and entirely familiar to the touch.

Instead of replacing her hat Clara kept it in hand. Meanwhile Carrots’ corporeal presence lost cohesion; so much so that Clara saw right through her.

“Rest now young one,” Clara said and for a moment Carrots appeared to smile.

Clara moved her attention to the door, hovering over the door she listened intently. For now it was silent as a tomb, which did little to reassure her.

At the moment she had the advantage of daylight to cover her advance. Vampires would not attempt an attack in broad daylight, even when under the cover of shade. The risk was simply too great.

Her instincts told her something was wrong. After all, that spirit were not roused from the grave for idle chatter.

“Well no sense in delaying the inevitable,” Clara thought.

With one swift kick the door flew open. The light of day strained her eyes, but she made out a lanky figure standing at the edge of the building’s shadow.

At first she hesitated until Clara caught that orange glow in its eyes. Without a second though she threw her hat at the figure, brought her derringer to bear and squeezed both triggers.

Even loaded with half-power charges, the weapon roared and obstructed her vision in smoke. Clara did not wait for the smoke to clear, instead she reached for her crucifix and charged.

Clara took three steps before the creature fell to its knees and collapsed. Only then did she see that a portion of its skull was missing. Clara watched as black ichor pooled on the ground.

“Ghoul,” Clara said.

Without a moment’s notice one of the adjoining doors blew open. A new figure was barreling down on her, the squeal it made would have filled her with dread if her training had not taught her to ignore such stimuli.

“Another,” Clara asked.

Clara stood her ground even as the seven-foot tall creature barreling towards her. Clara averted its gaze waiting and once it was nearly within arms reach she kneeled. Her positioning tripped the creature and sent it soaring overtop. A moment later Clara heard its body impact against the wall.

Once she dropped her arm, Clara noticed how it was stained with black ichor. Her blade had caught a piece of that thing during their brief interaction.

“That’s never going to come out of the fabric,” Clara said.

She approached the second attacker and without hesitation cut a deep gash through its throat. A spurt of ichor splattered against the wall, but the tide soon subsided once the creature’s lungs filled with fluid.

Clara was confused, Ghouls followed death. It was unheard of for their kind to seek out the living for their meal or for that matter hunt in packs.

“She wanted me to find you,” Carrots said.

Clara’s thoughts were disrupted when the cooks appeared at the doorway. One nearly dropped his butcher knife when the Ghoul’s stench reached them.

Clara expected to talk her way out of this situation, but they all seemed clueless. The human mind often chose to cast aside things that were deemed an impossibility. That’s the reason why Ghouls were able to survive without being discovered.

“Is everything alright mademoiselle,” a moustached man asked.

Clara concealed her crucifix and blackened sleeve. Her smile was warm and genuine, even while she looked over the courtyard to find an excuse.

“Mais oui,” Clara said. “I tripped on a crate and ran into the wall,” she added.

At first they seemed sceptical and the smell certainly kept them from getting closer. Fortunately that smell also provided her with an excuse.

“Must have been an old crate filled with rotten eggs,” Clara said. “Oh dear, looks like I broke a nail,” she whined.

“Pierre,” a man in the back row exclaimed just before he slapped the armed cook. “You idiot,” he added.

The cooks’ civility devolved until they retreated from sight. Fortunately men tended to keep their quarrels concealed from the fairer sex. Although there would surely be a black eye or two after the dust had settled. At least she had the opportunity to deal with this mess.

“I was called here,” Clara thought.

To give her a moment to think, Clara picked up her derringer and hat. The smell was really overpowering and her eyes nearly teared up. Still there was something amiss, so on a hunch Clara held her breath and closed her eyes.
“Nothing,” Clara thought. “Wait,” she said.

Clara heard a swarm of flies nearby, but there was nothing in sight to attract them. The ghouls bodies were too fresh to attract a swarm. That meant there was carrion nearby.

She walked from door to door until she neared the one nearly torn from its hinges. The sound through that door was more pronounced, but as a precaution she reloaded her derringer using full-powder charges.

The first thing she noticed was just how clean the Ghoul’s home was. These things tended to live in crypts or in caves, so this was highly out of the norm for their kind.

“Other than a few stray claw marks this place looks ready to live in,” Clara thought.

Clara came across a pearl encrusted cigarette holder with lipstick smudges at the base. Someone had left this behind recently and could not have been the ghouls. Difficult to say the least since they did not have a set of lips.

Immediately besides the cigarette holder there was a stray blond hair. Clara thought about it at length, but thought better of it, after all blondes were not exactly uncommon.

Clara followed the sound of the swarm and moved deeper into the building until she found a locked door. There were claw marks around the lock, which meant that whatever was inside had been locked in.

“Why would a Ghoul lock something in? Or why were they locked out,” Clara asked.

With the help of hair pins Clara unlocked the door with a skill that would make a locksmith envious. With her derringer in hand, she cracked open the door.

Signs of a brutal attack were immediately apparent, blood spatter covered the walls and there were blood streaks that led both deep inside and out of the room. Clara saw that this was a library, on a different day she might have been excited to make this discovery.

Instead she followed the blood until she found a shoe, followed by another and a bare leg with a deep gangrenous gouge. Clara gasped, even through a thick cloud of flies she could make out the pale and delirious Edith.

“My angel has come to save the day,” Edith murmured.