gone well in Nucet, Romania. Through their oral history, the people of the
village remembered Adriana’s ancestors and were not about to let her set up
shop in her ancient home. Their home. Adriana, Rory, Angelika, and two family
servants had barely escaped through The Dark Door with their lives.
Adriana had been furious with
Rory for chastising her in front of her staff. She had told Rory they didn’t
need the two servants who had escaped with them at the last minute through the Dark
Door. She would have left them behind to be killed by the villagers.
Rory had said he needed to
bring them along to safeguard his humanity, implying Adriana might be lacking
in that area.
Adriana planned to punish Rory
for his insolence, however the multitude of tasks involved in getting set up again
in a new place has prevented her from doing so.
But she remembers the slight
and will take care of it when time permits.
When your life expectancy is
several hundred years, time has a different meaning than it does for mere
And to further complicate
things, Adriana discovers she is pregnant.
They had settled in Nice,
France. Adriana’s extended family connections in that venerable old city had
provided their little group of refugees with a fortified villa and a new
battery of servants and bodyguards.
The bodyguards would probably
have light duty in Nice. The residents of that city knew nothing of her
family’s background and unless someone from Nucet took it upon themselves to
follow up on that town’s vendetta against her, things should be fairly quiet.
“Do away with him, I don’t care
how you do it; he’s outlived his usefulness,” Adriana said to Angelika one
They were in her study and Rory
had gone to the market to mill around with some of the locals. He hadn’t told
Adriana, but he had grown increasingly dissatisfied with just spending time
with her, the servants, and the bodyguards.
He needed to be with regular
people now and then.
“I probably should have gone
with him to the market,” said Angelika, not commenting on Adriana’s order. “Suppose
he gets into trouble?”
“He’ll only get into trouble if
he crosses the wrong person, not because he’s connected to me. People don’t
know or fear us here.”
“He got you pregnant. He gave
you a child. Was that all he meant to you?” asked Angelika.
“Angelika!” Adriana shouted. “Quit
changing the subject. Focus. I told you I wanted you to get rid of him. Is
there something the matter with your hearing?”
“You would do it yourself if
you didn’t have feelings for him,” said Angelika. “You do have feelings for
him, don’t you?”
“What has gotten into you?”
Adriana said, just barely keeping herself under control. “Feelings? Feelings do
not enter into the decisions I have to make. Decisions that keep the both of us
“You would have left me for
dead in Nucet,” said Angelika. “And those two servants, Edward and Joseph, too.”
“So you think if I was more
compassionate, had more feelings, our lives would be better? We’d be
safer? You didn’t have these feelings before. Where did they suddenly
“I may have picked up them up
from him,” said Angelika, meeting her gaze. “I think he may be the Ferryman.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said
Adriana. “He’s just a hick from the Midwest in the States. Someplace in Iowa,
for Christ’s sake.”
“Is that what you fear,” said
Angelika. “That he may be the Ferryman?”
“I fear nothing!” raged
Adriana. “I fear nothing and nobody and that includes you! Now dispose of him I
as I ordered!”
“As you command, Adriana,” said
Angelika, getting up from her chair. “As you command.”
Two weeks passed and Angelika hadn’t carried out Adriana’s orders. Whenever
Rory left for the village, as he did more and more lately, Adriana would
question her about it.
“What do you mean you are
waiting for the right time?” she asked.
“He has powers now,” answered
Angelika. “I don’t know if I could take him. He’s been practicing what you
taught him in Nucet. You didn’t know that, did you?”
“Maybe I should just do
it myself,” sighed Adriana.
Angelika had been with her for
over fifty years. Most of those years Angelika had been behind The Dark Door,
going back and forth between Nucet and New York City. Adriana realized now she
really didn’t know what Angelika had been doing for many of those fifty years.
She stared at Angelika and
wondered if she might have to dispose of her as well as Rory.
“I can see it in your eyes,”
said Angelika, rising from her chair. “I’m going behind The Dark Door to
contemplate some things.”
“So now you contemplate
things?” Adriana called after her. “You have feelings and you contemplate?
Damn that Rory!”
“Do you and I have a problem,
Angelika?” asked Rory.
They were walking into town to
the market. Angelika had asked Rory if he wanted some company and Rory had agreed,
though he had easily detected duplicity in her demeanor.
“You have a problem and I have
a problem,” Angelika responded. “I can help you with your problem, but I’m not
sure you can help me with mine. It appears that I, therefore, have two
“Waxing philosophical, are we?
It wasn’t that long ago when the most I could get out of you was a grunt and
maybe a veiled threat against my person.”
“I’ve changed. You’ve changed
me,” said Angelika, looking down at the ground as they walked.
“So, I’m part of your problems.
Are you part of my problem?”
“Adriana would like me to be. She
wants me to do away with you.”
“And because she knows I won’t
do so, she may do it herself.”
“Have you ever disobeyed one of
“Why now?” asked Rory. “I
sensed the tension between you two recently, but couldn’t get past the barriers
you construct to hide your thoughts.
“If I lowered my barriers so
you could see why I won’t kill you, you would…, you would laugh.”
“Laugh at you, Angelika? I’m
not that crazy,” said Rory. “You think I want you to rip off one of my arms and
beat me to death with it?”
“Look.” said Angelika. She
stopped on the path and turned to face Rory, lowering her mental barriers to
Rory stared into Angelika’s
eyes. She was wide open to him. “You think I’m the Ferryman?”
“You are the Ferryman,”
said Angelika. “I won’t hurt you if you laugh at me, but it would sadden me.”
“You are changed, aren’t you?”
said Rory, resting a hand on Angelika’s shoulder. This simple act of camaraderie
caused Angelika to shudder.
“You are the Ferryman and I
will not allow Adriana to kill you—”
“Hey, ugly, you’re hurting my
eyes,” shouted a young tough who was walking their way with a group of ne’er-do-wells
from the city.
“The stress involved with all
of this changing has given me an appetite for violence,” said Angelika. “Pardon
me while I indulge.”
Angelika waited until the men
were upon them. Without a word she grabbed two of them and hurled them at the
other three. She kicked and stomped their arms and legs as they writhed on the
ground screaming and crying.
Then, thoroughly sated, she
motioned Rory to continue their walk into the city.
“Much better,” she said. “I
needed that. They did too.”
And then she laughed.
Rory stared at her. “I don’t
think I’ve ever heard you laugh.”
“Your influence again, I’m
sure,” said Angelika. “I told a joke to one of the bodyguards the other day and
he laughed uproariously. It wasn’t all that funny, but I’m sure he thought it
best to play the part of the enthusiastic audience.”
“So if you’re not going to kill
me, and you’re not going to let Adriana kill me, what’s the plan?” asked Rory.
“I’ve been thinking about
that,” said Angelika. “In eight months, you’ll be a father. If not for that, we
could just run away right now and never look back.
“Knowing you as I do, I’m sure
you wouldn’t do that and leave your child to be raised by Adriana. But Adriana
won’t let you live for another eight months, or probably even another eight
“We can’t kill Adriana and we
can’t let her live,” said Rory. “We can’t leave and we can’t stay.”
“We need to act soon,”
continued Angelika. “Though we can’t kill Adriana because of the baby, maybe we
can go away until after the baby’s born and then return for it.”
“I found him in the riding
stables,” said Edward. “His throat was cut.
Someone must have come upon him from behind or there would have been
more signs of a struggle.”
“Why do you say that?” asked
“Joseph and I have been more
watchful since you and the Ferryman told us of your plans. No one could have
taken Joseph unless it was by surprise.”
“No one?” said Angelika.
Edward hung his head and stared
at his feet. “Only you. And maybe her,” he said, looking up, looking at
Angelika defiantly as he said her.
“I’ll tell the Ferryman we must
leave immediately,” said Angelika. “Are you prepared?”
“Joseph and I had everything
ready in case …, in case we had to leave in a hurry. Have your things and the
Ferryman’s things in the parking garage as soon as you can. The Rolls Royce has
had proper maintenance and is ready to go.”
Rory got behind the wheel of
the old Rolls and turned the key. Nothing.
Edward jumped out and opened the
“The distributor cap and the
spark plug wires have been ripped out,” he said. “Quickly, throw everything
into that pick-up over there.”
“Is it reliable?” asked
“It’s also had recent maintenance,”
said Edward. “Plan B.”
“You and Joseph are to be
complemented on so expertly developing a plan,” said Rory.
“Joseph and I are …, we were, pretty
good at coming up with a plan when one was needed,” said Edward. “But it’s
Angelika who is the genius at executing a plan. Executing of things being
right up her alley.”
Angelika and Edward both broke
out laughing, slapping high fives.
Rory rolled his eyes, sighed,
and slid in behind the wheel of the pick-up.
This was going to be strange
MORE TO COME
Dorman, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Madison, WI, who wrote BP #90’s
“The Return of the Ferryman” (+ 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.