Black Petals Issue #89 Autumn, 2019

Orphans at the Dark Door
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A Tale of the Dark Web-Fiction by Blair Frison
Drop, Pt. 2: Help Thy Neighbor-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
Gas Stop-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Grandad's Legacy-Fiction by Jan Cronos
Hive-Fiction by Dan Cardoza
My Nighttime Parents-Fiction by Malik Mandeville
Orphans at the Dark Door-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The News that Night-Fiction by June Driver
The Raft-Fiction by Stephen Caesar
The Voice from the Dark-Fiction by Scott Kimak
Dear Pneumonia-Two poems by Michael Mulvihill
The Well-Poem by Jason Rice

bp89orphansatthedarkdoorhlyon.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon © 2019

Orphans at the Dark Door

 

A Serial by Roy Dorman

Part I

A journey into dark magic

 

Sitting by himself in the Bronx Community High School cafeteria, gangly, red-haired Rory Davis thought back to the afternoon when he had become an only child. It had been the afternoon before the day he had become an orphan. He thought about those days a lot.

Rory’s mother and his two younger sisters, coming home from dance lessons, had been hit head-on when a semi driver who was tired and drunk crossed the center line and killed all three of them.

Rory had been a troubled fifteen, already been pretty much estranged from his father. His father hadn’t even waited for the funeral of his wife and two girls; he had shot himself in the garage the day after the accident. No note, no anything. To Rory, that had pretty much summed up their relationship.

He had gone to live with his mother’s brother’s family. It had not been a hardship for them; with settlements from lawsuits and insurance money, Rory brought plenty of survivor’s benefits with him. 

He had been excited to move from Des Moines, Iowa, to an older Bronx neighborhood in New York City. He loved his new high school and planned on starting a new life when he graduated and turned 18. 

As the initial shock of losing his family had worn off, he had grown optimistic about his future. After what he had just been through, things couldn’t get worse, could they?

Yes, they could. And it began with a certain sultry and sophisticated brunette.

 

“Hey, I know I may look geeky right now, but I’m only sixteen; I won’t look like this forever.”

“You’re sixteen and I’m…um…twenty-seven,” said Adriana Ardelean. “A relationship with you could send me to prison. To prison, that is, after I lost my business, my house, and everything I’ve worked for these last…um…ten years.”

Adriana owned an occult store, The Dark Door, and Rory’s interest in the supernatural had brought him to her business a couple of months ago.

“But we share a history,” Rory countered. “We were both orphaned as teenagers and each of us came away from tragedy with funds to make our own way in life.”

“You’re welcome in the store as a customer anytime,” said Adriana. “But as to being a customer with benefits, no way.”

The history these two shared was similar in the end result, but not how that result had come about. Rory had become an orphan due to a cruel set of circumstances beyond his control. Adriana had become an orphan by committing murder—50 years ago! 

 

Propped up on pillows in Adriana’s bed, she and Rory were talking about the future of The Dark Door. Adriana had locked the store for the lunch hour and Rory had taken the afternoon off from his city parks department summer lawn mowing job.

Rory wasn’t eighteen yet, he would be next month, but a couple of months ago he had convinced Adriana there was no need to wait. In addition to Rory’s persistence, she had also noticed he had been starting to outgrow his teenage awkwardness. And she had some upcoming occult business where a trusted partner would be helpful.

Adriana’s ancestors had been dealing in the dark arts for over a thousand years. She was the last of her line and, though she intended to live another couple of hundred years, thought it might be time to consider producing an heir.

Adriana had “inherited” The Dark Door from her parents. She hadn’t yet told Rory about her part in their deaths, how black magic kept her young, or that The Dark Door was not just the name of the occult store.

There really was a Dark Door.

“You’re selling the store?’ asked Rory. “Why?”

“I’m moving back to the land of my forebearers,” said Adriana. “I’d like to take you with me if you want to come.”

“Forebearers?” said Rory. “I thought your family was from here in New York. And I’ve been accepted at NYU for this Fall Semester. What’s going on, Adriana?”

 

Adriana set out to tell Rory everything—or almost everything. The telling of her history would take most of the rest of the afternoon and it was only because of Rory’s obsession with both Adriana and the dark arts that he believed what she told him.

The Ardelean family was originally from Romania, in a remote forested area—at that time, Transylvania.

“I know,” said Adriana, slipping into an Eastern European accent for Rory’s benefit. “Transylvania sounds so cliché, does it not?”

“Are you a vampire?” asked Rory, hoping it were true.

Adriana laughed. “Today’s accepted lore connected to vampires mainly comes from Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Buffy. No, I’m not a vampire, but our family’s work in the arts has given me the benefit of living a very long life.”

Adriana told Rory of her parents coming to America in the early 1800s. They had landed in New York City and had purchased property in what was now the Bronx. Her mother gave music lessons in a small flat above her father’s apothecary shop. They didn’t need the money, having smuggled in wealth from Europe, but did need to have businesses to justify that wealth.

As often happens when the length of life is prolonged by use of the dark arts, the body’s continued good health separates itself from that of the mind. After living more than three hundred years, a form of dementia crept into her parents’ lives. They stopped seeing people from the outside world and became recluses.

As to their deaths, Adriana decided to save that part of her history until she and Rory were in Romania.

“I’m going to take a shower and then we start packing for the trip,” said Adriana. “Get out of bed; I know you want to.”

“Take a shower?”

“No, silly boy, move to Romania.”

 

Two weeks later, Adriana and Rory were standing in the basement of The Dark Door. The store had been sold to a distant relative of Adriana’s who was not involved in the arts.

Rory hadn’t packed much, just some clothes, books, and pictures of his mother and sisters.

Adriana had quite a bit more. She had the belongings of both her and her parents (which had to do with the history of their work in black magic).

Finally, they were standing in front of a door Rory had not seen before. “Why can’t we just stay here in New York and live happily ever after?” he asked.

Adriana gave him a withering look. “My family was never big on ‘happily ever after,’” she said. “We were more into the ‘then everything faded to black’ ending.”

Adriana chanted some words in what sounded like Latin, and the door slowly opened. Behind the door the absence of light was so complete it appeared the door opened onto a rectangular sheet of polished black obsidian.

“Put your things inside the door and then help me with mine,” said Adriana.

Rory tentatively pushed a small suitcase toward the darkness. Surprised it slid through the seemingly impenetrable surface, he looked back and grinned at Adriana. “Cool,” he said. “But if we put our stuff in there, how do we get it when we get to Romania?”

“After we get all of our things inside we will go in and I’ll shut the door,” said Adriana. “An incantation will carry you, me, our things, and the Dark Door to the basement of our new home in Romania.

“Once there I will open the door and we’ll start a new life. You have much to learn, but you are young and we will have many lifetimes for you to learn what you need to know.”

After placing the final box of her belongings into the doorway, Adriana stepped into the blackness. Rory stared at the sheet of dark and thought he could either follow her or turn from the Dark Door and run up the basement stairs to the outside.

Before he could decide, a huge hairy hand reached out from the blackness and pulled him through the doorway. Standing in complete darkness, Rory heard Adriana chanting. He sensed the door closing and felt Adriana take his hand in hers.

“This is the part where the scary background music usually starts, right?” she whispered in his ear.

Rory gulped and hoped Adriana knew what she was doing. For Rory, the scary music had started just before that hairy hand had grabbed him.

 

After a few minutes, Adriana said, “We’re here. Take a few steps to your left so that you’re against the wall.”

The dark was still impenetrable. During the brief time they had been behind the door Rory had heard the snuffling of what sounded like a large animal. He guessed the sound belonged to whatever had dragged him through the doorway.

“I’m against the wall opposite you,” said Adriana. “When I open the door Angelika will be in the center of the doorway and will go out first. I don’t expect any surprises, but my family always had enemies.”

She began chanting, and Rory could sense rather than see the door opening. He smelled Angelika’s intense body odor as she rushed past him through the door. There was growling, high-pitched screaming, and then silence.

“We can go out now,” said Adriana. “Stay against one of the basement walls and keep away from Angelika; she can be unstable until her bloodlust has been sated.”

Rory stepped through the door and hurried over to a side wall. His jaw dropped when he saw the gargoyle-like creature who must be Angelika feeding on two corpses. Angelika snuffled and turned toward Rory, gore dripping from her face. She picked up a severed arm from one of the bodies in front of her and playfully offered it to him.

“Angelika!” Adriana shouted. “Back behind the door! Now!”

Angelika snorted and shook her head in negation.

“Cremito. Cremito. Cremito,” chanted Adriana.

Angelika continued to mutter, but then howled as the hair on her head started to burn. She put the flames out using both of her large hands and slowly walked through the doorway, glaring at Adriana.

Adriana closed the door. Walking over to Rory, she took both of his hands in hers.

“You have much to learn before you will be allowed to interact by yourself with Angelika.” Adriana pointed to the heap of dismemberment in the corner. “She would do to you what she did with those two who were waiting to ambush us.”

“Not much chance she and I will ever be buds,” said Rory.

But the scary music had stopped and Rory was once again ready for the adventures he was sure to have in his new life.

To Be Continued

 

 

Roy Dorman, roydorman@yahoo.com, of Madison, WI, who wrote BP #89’s “Orphans at the Dark Door” (+ BP #88’s “Blood on the Riviera,” BP #87’s “The Sepia Photograph”;  BP #86’s “New Orleans Take-Out” & “Not This Time”; BP #85’s “Door County Getaway” & “The Gift”; BP #84’s “Goodbye to Nowhere Land” & “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple St.”; BP #83’s “Door #2”; BP #82’s “A Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”; BP #81’s “Nowhere Man in Nowhere Land” & “The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s “Andrew’s War” & “Down at the Hardware Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” & “Get Some Shelter”; BP #78’s “All Is as It Should Be”; BP #77’s “Essence of Andrew”; BP #76’s “Flirting with the Alley”; BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…”; BP #74’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others”; BP #73’s “A Journey Starts with a Flower”; BP #72’s “The Beach House”; BP #71’s “The Big Apple Bites”; BP #70’s “Borrowing Some Love”; and BP #69’s “Back in Town” and “Finding Good Help…”), is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Birds Piled Loosely, Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows, Cheapjack Pulp, Crack The Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights, Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, The Creativity Webzine, Theme of Absence, The Screech Owl, The Story Shack, & Yellow Mama.

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