Jezri's Nightmare Books

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Legend

Tawny braced herself against the wind, determined to make it to her destination despite the bitter chill. The wind blew around her, searching for a way through the coat she had buttoned tight against the frigid October air. Whistling in her ear, the wind seemed to mock her as it taunted "Turn around, turn around."

Tawny wished she could go back. Her father had always warned her to stay away from the docks. "It's a rough type around there," her father would say. "No place for a young lady like you to be." But that was before her sister disappeared.

Tabby had been her twin and best friend. Tawny would hear her at night, after she'd vanished. She was crying and telling Tawny she needed her to come for her.

"Help me Tawny! Only you can save me!" Some nights she would be cruel. "Tawny why don't you come for me? Is it because you want daddy for yourself?" Then evil images of her father would enter her mind, so many sordid scenes that Tawny would shower afterwards, turning the water so hot that her skin would be red for hours after.

One night she Tawny woke up screaming. Tabby had been telling her of the cruel things her captor was doing to her. She begged her parent's to call the police.

"She's at the docks!"

Her father didn't call the police though. "The police are useless," Tawny's father said. "They think Tabby ran away. They have given up."

"Then I'll go," Tawny said bravely. Her father's face went pale at her words and her mother started crying.

"I can't lose another child," she sobbed, clinging to her husband's arm. "Please Eric, do something!"

Her father's shoulders had straightened with her mother's plea, his face determined. "It ends tonight," he promised. Her father left that night but before he did he made Tawny promise that no matter what she heard, she wouldn't follow.

"But daddy," Tawny had started to say, her voice shaking and tears falling from her eyes, but her father cut her off.

"Promise me!" His voice scared her and Tawny had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"You are coming back," Tawny said, her voice shaking with doubt. "You are coming back, right?"

"I don't know," her father said. Then he turned and kissed his wife, their lips lingering and Tawny knew it would be the last time she saw her dad.

Tabby stopped haunting her, but the nightmares never went away. The police decided that Eric Thomas had murdered his daughter and then killed himself out of guilt. The newspapers reported for days, falsly accusing Tawny's father of molesting her and Tabby for years. Tawny tried to tell the. it wasn't true, but they wouldn't listen. Scandals sold papers and even more so when they were sex scandals.

That was a year ago and Tawny had honored her father's last request. She didn't go looking for him or Tabby. Not until today.

A week ago she buried her mother. After her husband vanished, Helen Thomas stopped eating. It was a slow death. Even with feeding tubes in the hospital, her mother waned. Tawny knew she would die without her father and she was right. A few days after the funeral, Tawny found the diary.

It had been her mother's and the rantings of a mad woman. Her mother had written about a family curse and vampires that haunted their family.

'S will never let us go,' Helen had written. Tawny didn't know who S was, her mother never mentioned his name, but a search of the attic revealed a box of old papers. There was one newspaper account of a ship that had docked at the pier, completely void of passenger and crew. One of the missing passangers was Stephen Thomas, her father's grandfather. Tawny wondered if this could be the mysterious S, but if so, where had he been all these years?

Further investigation revealed that Stephen's wife had ran off with his brother, taking their only child, Eric's father with them. Stephen had come looking for them.

Tawny had never known her grandmother or her husband, Stephen's brother. She knew they had married after Stephen's death but no more than that had ever been discussed. Now she wondered what more there was to the story.

"There's only one way to find out," Tawny said. "I know there are answers somewhere and I am betting I will find them at the docks."

Tawny didn't disobey her father easily. It took her a few more days to gather the courage to go searching for the answers. In the end it was the article in the paper that made up her mind. Someone had decided to do another investigation into her father's disappearance. Only now they were saying he wasn't dead, but stalking children around town. One girl around 8, said she had seen him and he had tried to get him to follow him by offering her candy.

Stopping to listen, Tawny wrapped her arms around herself. She thought she heard someone calling her name. After a moment, she decided it was just her imagination and continued on, then stopped, hearing it again.

"Tawny, is that you?"

"Who's there?" Tawny's voice shook, despite her attempt to sound brave. The wind blew in her ear. No one answered. "Just the wind playing tricks on me," she mumbled, feeling silly. She was beginning to regret her rash decision to come down here. What did she think she was going to do anyway? how could she be expected to find answers when she didn't even know where to begin.

Tawny heard laughter and glanced at a building on the other side of the road. It was one of the pubs that lined the wharf, offering drinks and cheap company to the sailors that came in. A group of men, unshaven and seedy looking, were standing outTawny braced herself against the wind, determined to make it to her destination despite the bitter chill. The wind blew around her, searching for a way through the coat she had buttoned tight against the frigid October air. Whistling in her ear, the wind seemed to mock her as it taunted "Turn around, turn around."
 

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