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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 151) Snow

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you, that’s just what she told me to say.” Viktor states in a calm tone.

“No son, I’m not upset, I’m just surprised and I guess I shouldn’t be.” Carl states quickly. “I always knew she was special, more in tune than the rest of us.” He sniffles again. “For you to know that phrase, I am confident Josie likes you and believes you to be a good person.” Carl releases his hug with Nadja. “It is nice to meet you, Viktor.” Carl says as he walks over to Viktor and shakes his hand.

“It is nice to meet you too.” Viktor says still a little on guard. “So I take it Josie is your aunt?” He looks to Nadja for the answer.

“Yes, to me she was and always will be Aunt Josephine. Carl is the only one who could get away with shortening her name.” Nadja laughs. “They were, and in actuality still are, soul mates.” She loops her arm though Carl’s arm and he once again clears his throat.

“She passed in her sleep two months ago.” Carl says as he looks in the direction of Josephine’s bedroom. “I woke up early, had a supply shipment coming in and I needed to catch the first train down the mountain.” Carl runs his finger along the corner of his right eye as he continues to look toward the bedroom. “Before I slipped out of bed Josie touched my face with her hand. She looked at me and smiled, then we shared our final kiss.” He looks down. “If I had any idea that was going to be the end,” Carl pauses and clears his throat.

“It is okay, Carl.” Nadja says softly as the big man steps into the shadows of the room and out of the light. “She is beautiful, isn’t she?” Nadja directs this question to Viktor as she steps closer to him.

“Your aunt? Yes.” Viktor says as fact. “You look just like her but younger.” Viktor then realizes how flirty that sounds and instantly feels embarrassed but Nadja laughs in understanding.

“It’s okay, I know what you meant. We were always mistaken as Mother and daughter and for those with bad eyesight, as sisters!” Nadja grins. “I would like to hear about your experiences with her and the things she has said to you. Aunt Josephine was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to know. You are lucky to have connected with her.”

“The rain is turning over to snow.” Carl says as he steps back into the conversation. “Nadja, may I have a word with you?”

“Um, yes.” Nadja looks at Carl as she answers. “Excuse me Viktor.” Nadja says politely.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 150) Truth

“No, I don’t know anything about this Aaron guy, except that in my dream. . .” Viktor pauses for he knows how odd this sounds. “All I can say is that I have very vivid and controllable dreams. I have been here several times and talked to the older woman with the long hair who I believe is Nadja’s aunt.”

Viktor is frustrated and afraid they do not believe a word he is saying. However, with this remark barely out of Viktor’s mouth, Carl swiftly turns his eyes to Nadja and does not say a word. Looking up at him as if trying to read his thoughts, Nadja seems puzzled.

“What is it Carl?” She questions and with a quick glance, she looks at Viktor then back to Carl.

“Nothing,” Carl states as he looks at the photographs resting on the fireplace mantel.

“Oh, I just remembered, she said if I need to prove my innocence, and it appears I do, I should recite the following phrase.” Viktor looks from Nadja to Carl.

Carl and Nadja look at each other for just a second and then turn their attention back to Viktor. He stands silent and then looks down at the floor as he tries to recall the exact saying.

“I don’t have a clue how this will make any difference but here goes.” Viktor says in a mumble as if embarrassed. “Through lifetimes of days asleep and awake, I’ll always find my way to the place near the lake.”

Immediately, Carl takes one step back and then turns around to face the front door. Without a word, he walks over to the wet glass and looks out at the dark world that surrounds the little cottage.

“Carl?” Nadja questions as she glances at Viktor with wide questioning eyes. “Are you alright?”

“He is telling you the truth, Nadja. He is being honest.” Carl states without moving, he then sniffles and clears his throat. “I was never able to be free at night like Josie, she was so connected to the mysteries of the world.” Carl rubs his nose and sniffles again. “The phrase was one she and I created so that if we ever became separated in death, we would always remember to come here and find each other again.”

Nadja begins to tear up as she walks over and puts her arms around Carl’s waist. The big man immediately pulls her into a bear hug as they stand there silently weeping. Viktor remains alone in the doorway of the kitchen feeling awkward with this situation.

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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 149) Stern

“Viktor?” Nadja says as she and Carl enter the room closing the door behind them.

“Yes. Nadja?” Viktor replies, his voice sounds funny to him.

Pushing the hoods of their rain jackets off their heads, both Nadja and Carl stand still just looking at him. There is tension in the small structure and Viktor feels very nervous, unsettled, as if he does not belong there and in a way, he doesn’t. Then it hits him, he is inside the cottage and in not owning a key, he had to have broken in.

“Oh, I can explain how I got in.” He quickly states as he wipes his wet hands on his pants.

“Well I think you should hop to it.” Carl says as he helps Nadja out of her raincoat.

Stepping toward them, Viktor stops in the entrance between the living room and kitchen. The layout of the tiny structure is in such a pattern that it seems bigger than it actually is. However, right now to Viktor, it feels incredibly small. He looks at Nadja, her hair wet along the edge of her face where the hood of the raincoat failed to cover her strands. She is silent and expressionless.

“So? Have you an explanation as to how you broke in?” Carl questions as he steps closer to Viktor.

“Yes, Sir. I do, but you may not believe me.” He replies and then looks again to Nadja for a reaction.

Quietly, Nadja walks over to the fireplace and holds her hands out to warm them closer to the flames. She remains quiet and does not look at Viktor as she lets Carl do his questioning. She has watched Carl control Aaron so she trusts what he is doing.

“I do not believe you know me well enough to grasp my belief system.” Carl states in a stern manner.

“You are correct, I don’t.” Viktor says as he looks down second-guessing the money and time he spent to get to this point. “It started to rain hard and I noticed the window over the sink,” he points in that direction, “it was unlocked so I pushed it up and came inside.” He says as he turns back to look at Carl. “I wedged a wooden spoon in it so someone will really have to work to get in that way again, you know, if it’s left unlocked again.” He does not wish to disclose the cut in the glass, but then wonders if once noticed, if he will be accused of doing it, but it is too late to backtrack now.

Viktor looks over at Nadja and she has a slight grin on her face. Actually, he is not sure if it is a grin or if she is disgusted with his story. Looking at Carl, he notices the older man’s face relaxes a bit.

“I built the fire to warm up to and plan to gather more wood as soon as the rain lets up. I’m sorry, I know how this looks but I do not have any ill intent here.” Viktor says honestly. “I will leave if you want me to.”

“No, I believe you, VikT1000.” Nadja grins as she uses his blog name and then looks at Carl. “I do not want to send him out in this mess.” She glances at the front window.

“Are you working with Aaron? Do you know him?” Carl questions of Viktor and both stand perfectly still.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 148) Skill

In the cottage, next to the fire, Viktor sits on the floor patiently waiting. He has no way of communicating now that his phone is gone. He is a firm believer it is at the bottom of the lake, which is where he would have been had that small ledge not been there.

“So, the sun is setting and I’m here in a house I broke into.” Viktor says to himself. “But I have wine, now all I need is some company.” He looks at the fire and with a thin stick, pokes at the red embers on the side of the log.

He has not turned on any lights and with boredom setting into his normally over active brain, he finds himself becoming fidgety. Standing up, he glances around at the items in the room. The deep colored sofa with its wooden details and throw pillows looks inviting but he dare not sit down. With all the traveling and moving about that has taken place today, he feels tired and knows within minutes he could easily be asleep.

“Yeah, that would be great. Fall asleep and Nadja walks in thinking I’m some parasite looking for a place to be a slug.” Viktor shakes his head at the thought of making that first impression. “Now I’m kind of wondering if she is truly living here.” He comments to himself. “My luck she probably stays in town and only comes here once in a while to make sure the place is still standing.” Viktor looks at the photograph of Nadja and her aunt. “I’m pretty sure I’m getting nervous, it feels like something is getting ready to happen.”

Walking to the front window he stares out at the darkening landscape wondering how long this night will last if he ends up here alone.

“Damn, I can’t believe I lost my phone.” He mumbles as he turns away from the glass and walks over to the fireplace. “I better keep you full, you hungry flame.” He comments as he places another large log on the toasty fire.

Standing there in silence, he can hear the rushing water as it gurgles down from the roof through the downspouts. The rain is heavy which creates a static type of sound, like a television that cannot tune into channels. A steady tapping sound is coming from the kitchen which he is positive is a leak. He turns on the light as he enters the room, and sure enough, in the right hand corner near the bathroom, is a small puddle splashing water with each drip from the ceiling.

“Let’s see. . . if I were a bucket where would I be?” He questions as he reaches for the cabinet door that is under the sink. “Ah ha, perfect.” He states as he picks up a purple bucket and grabs the dish towel from the counter.

Tossing the towel down onto the floor, he rubs it around with his foot to soak up the water that has splattered there. Quickly he places the bucket in the area, catching the next drip that falls from the ceiling.

“Skill, I’ve definitely got skill.” He grins.

At the sink, he wrings water out of the towel, folds it over a few times until it forms a square, and leaves it near the faucet. Suddenly, he hears rattling at the front door and before he can turn around, the door opens and the scent of rain fills the cottage.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 147) Misty

“When he sent this photo today,” Nadja holds her phone up for Carl to see, “I recognized him. We have been chatting on a dream interpretation site for a few days but, I just don’t know what to think about it all. Is it possible that he is traveling here in his dreams?” She walks across the room and looks out the window. “He knew about the secret room, Carl. He described it perfectly and even referenced the conversation between you and me.”

“I think we need to head up to the cottage.” Carl says in a low tone. “We only have a couple hours of daylight left, and I know outside in this mess is not where we want to be, but we have to solve this mystery. We need to find and talk with Viktor. Why has he not reached out to you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe there is a connection between him and Aaron. Maybe they both left the village together. I just do not know for sure.” She says softly.

“Or it could be a simple cell tower problem.” Carl says with his typical stay-positive attitude. “Come on, let’s get some rain gear on and head up the trail.

The sky is gray with heavy clouds slowly moving east along the mountain range. Puddles of water have already formed in low areas of the trail as the rain continues to fall at a steady pace. The large evergreen trees stand tall against the gentle wind that blows against them in small bursts. Carl and Nadja know this is the calm-before-the-storm as the temperature continues to drop causing foggy misty patches to form low to the ground.

Wearing light green rain coats that have a thick internal lining of cotton fabric for warmth, they pull their hoods up over their heads. Almost in unison, they lift small backpacks of food onto their shoulders and begin to walk along the gravel trail in the direction of the cottage.

“I’m sorry Carl.” Nadja says in a loud voice so she can be heard over the rain.

“For what?” Carl questions as he gives her a quick glance.

“For being complicated.” She replies.

“Now Nadja, you are like a daughter to me. There is nothing you can do that would make me not want to be here for you and to help you.” Carl says as he tugs at the front of his hood. “I worry about you and want you safe, so if this guy Viktor is at the cottage or along this path, I want to know about it.” Carl laughs and then says, “And put him in his place if needed.”

Nadja laughs as they continue along the trail. She does not say anything else until they find themselves at the halfway point, near the ranger’s hut and the tunnel that leads to Aunt Josephine’s bedroom.

“Are we going to take the tunnel?” Nadja questions as she points in the direction of it.

“No, not this time.” Carl replies. “Your friend would not know about it.” He then pauses. “Well, then again maybe he does, but I doubt if he is in trouble or needs help, that he would be in there. No, more than likely, he will be along this path.”

“Oh, I didn’t think of that.” Nadja says quickly. “You are right and we are going to be soaked by the time we get the last half of this walk done.”

“Yes, Ma’am. There is no doubt about that!” Carl says in an agreeable tone as a splash of water drips on his nose.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 146) Judging

“Have you heard from that jerk Aaron? Has he tried to contact you?” Carl asks as he opens the large pantry door where he stocks his dried and canned goods.

“Not a peep.” Nadja says quickly.

“How about that Viktor fella?” Carl questions without looking at Nadja.

“No, I haven’t.” She replies without elaborating as she grabs two cans of vegetables to hand to Carl.

“Well, he is here on the mountain.” Carl says and Nadja pauses in her movement to look up at him as he sorts items on the shelf. “I asked Martha and Sam if they noticed any travelers or tourists today, they pretty much described Viktor perfectly.”

“Really.” Nadja states. “It is odd, he has not replied to any of my messages since he sent me his photo.

“Sam said he was a nice young man, they actually invited him for breakfast.” He says in a calm tone.

“Ha ha! Really?” Nadja laughs.

“Well you know those two, they have usually had enough of each other by mid-morning.” Carl grins. “Not in a bad way.” He quickly clears up. “They just don’t have many new things to share with one another.”

“I suppose you’re right there.” Nadja agrees with a smile and Carl stops what he is doing to turn and look at her.

“With many years of customer service between them, they are very good at judging people the first time they meet.” He looks her in the eyes. “They ran into Aaron a day ago.” He pauses and he has all of Nadja’s attention at this point. “All I’m gonna say is, it is a good thing the authorities are escorting Aaron out of here. He is pure evil, they actually used the word evil.”

Nadja does not say anything as she nods her head up and down in agreement. She knows this is true about Aaron and there is no need to elaborate on why Sam and Martha would use such a word in describing him. The longer she is away from her ex-lover the more she can see how wrong he is for her.

“Are you sure he is gone? How do we know he will not simply turn around and head back this way?” Nadja asks.

“They have two officers escorting him all the way to the airport.” Carl says happily. “Once they drop him with airport security, they will return. Hell, by then half the roads may be starting to flood before the snow hits. I just hope they make it back safely and Aaron’s flight out to god knows where, actually leaves on time.”

“Yes, me too. I can see things so clearly now, I do not know how I lost so much of myself in him.” Nadja says without looking at Carl. “I’m actually really embarrassed that the locals know he was here because of me.”

“Nah, don’t worry about that. Everyone here loves you and they want you safe.” Carl reassures her as he puts his arm around her shoulders. “Now we just need to make a decision.”

“About what?” Nadja questions.

“Well, we’ve got that Viktor fella out there somewhere. I would like to say I’m not worried about him, but Sam said he was a city boy, so if he is lost, he’s probably not doing very well out it this storm.” Carl looks up to see out the window. “I don’t know why, but I feel a bit responsible for his safety.”

“Oh you’re right! I’ve been so wrapped up in this mess of a day that I didn’t think Viktor might actually have gone to the cottage.” Nadja says quickly.

“Wait, wait, wait.” Carl says as he lifts his hand in the air like someone trying to stop traffic. “How would he know where to go? Did you give him directions to the cottage?” There is a distrusting tone to this question.

“Oh no, absolutely not!” Nadja says as she looks at him. “You are going to think this is strange, but. . . he has been dreaming about the cottage and the village for weeks. It’s as if he has been watching some of the things that have taken place here. He actually has many details to my activities that no one could possibly know, yet somehow he does.” She pauses as she waits for Carl to respond, but he stays quiet. “He, well. . . remember earlier today, I told you I saw him in a dream this morning. He was sitting near the fireplace with Aunt Josephine.”

Carl still stands quiet and does not comment, he simply watches her and waits for her to continue.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 145) Relief

A distant rumble of thunder rolls for a long time as if slipping down the mountainside to the valley below. Tipping her head to the right, Nadja has a full view of the train station but the evening train has not arrived and it is half an hour late already.

“I hope Carl makes it here okay.” Nadja mumbles to herself. “They couldn’t have shut the line down already.” She says as she continues to look in the direction of the small station. “Maybe the rain washed away part of the track, I hope not.”

She checks her phone to make sure she has not missed a message from Carl, but nothing is there, not even a reply from Viktor. Opening her picture file, she looks at Viktor’s image once again. He appears calm and relaxed with his head tipped sideways slightly leaning on the window of the train. She is confused as to why he has not responded since up to this point, he was very quick to reply to messages. Doubt is beginning to creep back into her thoughts about him. It just seems odd that communication from Viktor stopped about the same time the authorities apprehended Aaron and sent him away.

The sound of the train whistle shakes Nadja from her deep thoughts as she leans closer to the glass to watch the activity at the depot. Sure enough, she sees Carl, that big loveable man, pulling a handcart loaded with boxes and he is heading toward his cabin.

“He stocked us up on supplies.” She grins as she rushes to the door.

The rain is falling heavy and Carl pulls his hood tighter around his face to avoid getting soaked. Not really paying attention to anything other than where he is placing his feet, he finally looks up and sees Nadja grinning at the open door.

“Hey there!” Carl yells in a happy tone. “I thought I’d better go shopping so we won’t end up starving to death once this storm really gets cranking. Snow is coming, you know!”

“Yes, I am actually kind of excited for that!” Nadja yells back so he can hear her above the noise of the rain.

“You have a twisted sense of fun my dear.” Carl grins as he pulls the cart of boxes across the threshold of his home.

Laughing, Nadja closes the door and follows Carl to the kitchen area of his cabin. She feels such a relief of anxiety to have him here and she wonders if he has any news about Aaron. However, she hates to ask the question and ironically, Carl feels much the same, but his need to know is quite deep.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 144) Calm

“Aged wine, she must have been a connoisseur.” Viktor mumbles as he places the bottle back on the shelf. “What do we have over here?” He says as he steps across the room and slides another bottle from its resting place. “Ah, okay. This one is only a year old so you haven’t had time to be worth much more, you’re coming with me.” He laughs as he takes the bottle with him back upstairs to the main room.

The heavy pounding of thunder has moved off in the distance, but it left behind a steady rain that continues to fall. Looking out at the mountain path, Nadja sits quietly waiting for Carl to join her. From the large front window of his cabin, she can see the train station, the path to the cottage, and the old country store. She knows it will not be long before this little area and the dwellers who reside here will be nestled in, waiting for the snow to come.

Nadja has only been on the mountain twice in her entire life when a snowstorm has come through. Once when she was a young teenager and the other was only four years ago. She has fond memories of each event. Aunt Josephine always made the best sugar cookies and they would spend time baking and decorating the tasty treats. Of course, the staff members at the factory were thrilled as well because they were the happy recipients of such sugary delights.

Her favorite times of all were the nights of sitting near the fireplace, talking about their plans for the future, the factory, moments they held close to their hearts and the nightly wanderings of their bedtime dreams. The stories her aunt would tell mesmerized her because most of them came to her while in a sleep state. Nadja found this fascinating and it kept her on task with journaling every night before bed and after a dream.

Sitting here, watching out the window of Carl’s cabin, the memories come flooding into her mind as beautifully vivid expressions. The snow always capped the sounds of the forest with a hush. It always seemed to bring a peaceful silence to the mountains.

“That is what I need,” Nadja says as she rests her head on her hand, “a quiet calm.”

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 143) 1970

The wood is inlaid in tongue and groove fashion from the floor to the ceiling in thin strips. Sliding his hand along the boards, he tries to feel if any of them are loose or have a gap in them, but they feel sturdy and straight. Next, he begins knocking on the wood with his knuckles and once he hits the very center of the wall, a hollow sound emits from the polished panel.

“Well what have we here?” He questions as he tries to place his fingernails in one of the grooves.

The wood will not budge and just as he is about to give up, a log shifts in the fireplace causing his already on edge nerves to jump and he falls against the wall. With a pop and a quick squeak, the thin panel opens just a crack.

“Ah seriously?” Viktor whispers.

Pulling the panel open, he finds exactly what he saw in his dream, a dark, extremely thin and very steep staircase leading down below the cottage. On the wall across from the first step is a light switch.

“You have got to be kidding me.” He grins as he flips the switch and looks down the staircase. “I always like my dreams better than reality so I sure hope I’m not still on the plane dreaming this entire day.” He laughs.

Nervous about Nadja walking in on his snooping adventures, he quickly runs to the window and looks out at the path. Just as before, it is barren, wet and growing darker by the minute. He glances at the fire to make sure it is secure and then proceeds to walk down the narrow steps. The floor is made of packed dirt, and wooden racks full of dusty bottles and old wooden shipping crates line the walls. Pulling one of the bottles from the shelf, he reads the label and date, which states 1970.

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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 142) Expelled

Seeing Aaron today, with the police controlling him, Nadja cannot deny it felt good. In fact, it almost made her laugh for as long as she has known him, he always gets his way. No one ever denies him anything for they know he will simply take what he wants anyhow. Yet today, for a few minutes, he was the one in the demeaning position, he was denied access to the train, and then expelled from the village.

“Wow. I have to admit that was great.” Nadja says as she turns away from the window. “I need to reach out to Viktor, I’m not sure where he is and he has not replied to my last message. I hope he is not lost out in this storm.”

She types a quick message, explaining she realizes from the photograph that he is here and was on the train. She then, once again, asks where he might be currently and goes on to warn him about the weather conditions.

With a toasty fire warming the cottage, Viktor looks out the window near the front door. The world around this little place is beautiful, even with the wind and rain pushing its way through. The low plants and evergreen shrubs seem to glisten from the rain soaking their foliage and branches. The sky is dark but with a strange pale yellow color to it as well. It is almost as if the sun is shining on the clouds from somewhere in the distance, which gives him hope the storm will pass before nightfall.

“Oh I just remembered!” Viktor says to himself about his latest dream as he turns to look at the wall to his left.

The short wall that the front door bumps into when opened all the way, is also the area where he found an access panel to a tight and steep staircase. He remembers dreaming this when he lost consciousness after his fall earlier in the afternoon.

“Okay, let’s see what we have here. This would be so cool if it turned out to be real.” Viktor says as he kneels down next to the wood paneling.

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Copyright © 2012-2016 All rights reserved
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