Author

Shadows Of Guta 280-299

Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 299) Puzzled

Stephen finds himself puzzled by this elderly woman’s statement and wonders if Kate has been talking about him to the townsfolk. It would be just like her to make as many derogatory statements about him as possible in order to seal his outcast appearance. The hatred he has toward Kate at this moment is beyond anything he has felt before. It never surprises him, with her inconsiderate manners and selfishness somehow she always manages to come out on top. In fact, at this very moment, he is wishing that something horrible would happen to shut her up for good, but he also knows it is just an emotional thought.

“I see many things, Istvan. I know more than you realize.” The old woman whispers in her shaky brittle voice as she tips her head as if reading his thoughts. “I can help you, if you want it. . . and you will.” Her head shakes up and down as she chews on her bottom lip.

She knows his name and Stephen is not sure now if he is more afraid of this woman or the hideous thing that has plagued him all these years. How could she know so much? Is she a friend of his great-aunt looking to make some money off him? He is not sure if he is angry or intrigued but he knows one thing for sure, he wants to get away from this hunch backed little woman as soon as possible.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 298) Revealing

The statement from the old woman and her demeanor sends a sensation of fear through Stephen. Is she talking about the evil thing that he witnessed as a boy, the horrible creature that killed his grandfather? He watches her as she continues to look at him with gray watery eyes.

“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Stephen replies as he starts to walk away.

“It is good that you sent Kate away from the manor, she has a level of evil in her as well. And you know,” the old woman pauses as if she is listening for something, “it would feed off of her and grow.”

The old woman has now caught his full attention. She speaks of him seeing something and then without a doubt or a pause, she describes Kate by name and personality. He wonders if she is for real or has simply been spying on the new kid in town and of course, the demonstration that just took place was revealing enough. His curiosity gets the better of him and he must ask the question.

“What exactly do you know about Kate?” Stephen asks.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 297) Gypsy and Witch

In looking at this woman, the first thing that comes to Stephen’s mind is gypsy and witch. This small elderly woman with a large lump at her shoulders tilts her head sideways to get a better look at him. Due to her stature, her head presses forward making it difficult to look straight up. Her attire is of old tattered fabrics and colors as if she stepped out of the past. She has her long gray hair pulled back into a ponytail, partially covered by a colorful scarf of pink, orange, and blue. This contrasts greatly with her gray sweater and long black skirt.

“You have questions, don’t you?” She says as she looks up at him squinting as if trying to read his thoughts.

“Questions about what?” Stephen replies as he watches the lines in her face deepen under her changing expression.

“Your past, this past.” She turns with her arms out as she looks up and down the street and in a feeble manner, takes a step or two to the side and she now has her back to him.

“Okay and what could you possibly know about my past?” He says as he grins, knowing good and well she is just trying to earn money from him for telling his fortune.

“You have seen it, I know you have, you witnessed its evil, and it has stayed with you.” She says quietly as she turns to look at him. She points a thick and crooked finger at his nose now looking him in the eyes.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 296) Eyes Meet

Still wound up by Kate’s spectacle, Stephen watches as she and this other man close the door to the hotel and from the brightly lit window, he sees them talking to the desk clerk. Turning around to continue on his mission to obtain a stiff drink, he once again and with much relief, finds himself alone.

Walking past shop windows Stephen looks at his reflection then glances in at the goods on display. Peering in the window of an antique shop, he focuses in on several unique pieces when he sees the image of an elderly woman stepping up behind him. She is watching him closely and their eyes meet in the mirrored effect of the glass. Thinking she seems to be acting a bit odd, Stephen slowly turns around to face her.

“Hello,” he says quietly.

“Good evening.” She replies in a crackly tone.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 295) Exhibition

“I’m done with you!” Stephen yells at Kate as he holds his hands out to his side for all to see. “I’m done. Just go back to the states and never try to contact me again!” He says in a lower tone.

“You just wish I was dead, don’t you?” She squeals as she starts to cry.

One thing that is certain about Kate, her acting abilities are top-notch. Stephen knows this entire exhibition is for sympathy from the people in the town and he is not up to playing her game.

“Actually, that’s not a bad idea!” Stephen blurts out and immediately realizes this was not the thing to say.

How horrible must it look to the average person, a woman crying, yelling, obviously upset and after she takes a swing, he agrees with her statement. He is hoping the saving factor will be that no one speaks English but this glimmer is short-lived. Stepping up beside Stephen is a young man, a little older than Stephen himself, who walks over to Kate and escorts her into the hotel lobby. Without any other words, the curtains of the shops and little houses slowly drop back into the loose positions and anyone outside, now goes in.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 294) A Scene

“Stop it, Kate!” Stephen says now in a louder and more demanding tone.

“Stop it!” She barks back loud enough for a few of the individuals who were staying inside to now come out of their dwellings.

“You are making a scene Kate, cut it out.” Stephen says as he puts his arm around her waist, while still controlling her wrist.

“You’re hurting me!” She yells out as he continues to walk her back in the direction of the hotel.

“I’m not hurting you,” He says loudly then looks over at a shop where four people are standing as they watch this scene unfold. “I’m not hurting her.” He says as he acknowledges their presence but they say nothing at all.

“Yes you are!” Kate yells as she swings around catching Stephen’s face with the palm of her other hand and this causes him to stop and release her.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 293) Embarrassment

It is extremely obvious that Kate has been drinking heavily tonight. Her words are slurred and the stumble she repeats with every few steps as she walks in his direction are definite results of over indulgence. Looking down the street for prying eyes, several curtains are pulled back as those inside peer out at the spectacle that is about to take place.

“Stephen! You lousy jerk!” She yells again as she points at him.

“Kate, I don’t want to do this right now.” Stephen says with embarrassment as he tries to keep his voice down.

“Oh yeah, sure! That is a common theme I keep hearing from you.” She is now directly in front of him, still with a raised voice, and poking her salon created fake fingernail into his chest. “I come all this way to surprise you and this is what I get? Some lame hotel room and a few cheap drinks?” She now raises her hand back to slap him across the face and he grabs her wrist before she gets him into focus.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 292) Yell His Name

“Come along grandfather, the food is ready.” Zsofia yells out in her sweet voice that to Stephen radiates happiness.

The call for dinner diverts Laszlo from walking any closer to where Stephen lays frozen in place. As soon as the old man steps into the house, Stephen shakes another pill out into his hand then quickly pops it into his mouth. He can feel the blood rushing to his head as he tries to settle himself down from what could have been a grave misunderstanding. Deciding it is too risky to continue to observe the activity here, Stephen quickly walks through the yard stepping out onto the road he knows to follow into town.

The small village nestled in the valley has only a handful of businesses still open at this late hour. Hanging over locked doors and shuttered windows, dim lanterns glow in a mocking display as if to say you are welcomed, but you cannot enter. Just as Stephen spots what appears to be a bar, he hears someone yell his name from across the street.

“Stephen!” Kate shouts at the top of her lungs.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 291) Watching

When Stephen glances back at the window, the small person is gone and Zsofia has Tamas sit down at the table. She does not show any indication that someone else is there, which Stephen finds odd. As he moves to get a better look, he trips over an old tree stump that causes him to fall. This creates a loud rustling, immediately drawing the attention of Laszlo who was still outside gathering his things from the truck.

Stephen freezes in place, still hidden in the shadows and underbrush. He knows how this will look if Laszlo comes to investigate the noise. It will appear that he is watching the house and most of all, spying on Zsofia. The last thing he needs is for the older man to believe him to be watching his granddaughter at night.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 290) Laughs

Just as Stephen is about to continue on his way to town an old truck pulls up in the drive as Laszlo returns home from his trip. Slipping back into the shadows of the woods, Stephen watches as Zsofia steps outside to greet her grandfather with a beautiful warming smile and hug. They stand close talking for several minutes and then movement in the window catches Stephen’s eye.

Tamas is talking, as if someone is in the room with him. He then laughs and claps his hands together, which Stephen recognizes as the way Tamas shows he is happy. This activity seems odd since no one else is in the room with him, at least it does not look like it from this angle. Straining to see if there might be a person sitting in one of the chairs, Stephen catches a glimpse of someone small standing just out of the light. Tamas laughs again this time so loud that it catches Zsofia’s attention and she turns to go back into the house.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 289) Tread Lightly

Zipping his jacket up to his neck, Stephen shoves his hands into the pockets and heads down the path toward Zsofia’s house. The woods are dark and seem to continue to be abnormally quiet. The scuffing of his shoes along the rocks and pebbles of the trail seem exceptionally loud to him as he tries to tread lightly. Soon the lights of Zsofia’s house begin to trickle through the trees and underbrush of the dense forest and he finds himself hoping she will see him and walk outside.

Stepping out from under the thick canopy of the woods, bright moonlight engulfs him. Looking up the sky is clear except for sparse patches of wispy clouds passing overhead. Focusing on the lights of the house, his heart rate goes up and intense nervousness takes hold as he thinks of possibly speaking with Zsofia. How can he set things straight? When Kate arrived, it was clear that Zsofia was uncomfortable and the look on her face when she left both angers and saddens him.

Stopping in the yard, several feet from the house, he watches the brightly lit window for movement. Questions are swarming his thoughts, what will he say to her when they finally have a chance to discuss what was building between them? After the display Kate made upon arrival, how can he assure Zsofia that Kate has been out of his life for some time now? It angers him that Zsofia as well as Tamas may have been hurt because of him not setting it all straight immediately.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 288) Crisp Air

Unfortunately, Stephen fears this incident with Kate may have ruined any chance he had at growing closer to Zsofia but maybe that too is a blessing. Maybe he should just be alone from now on. In trying to gather his senses, he thinks of his fair-haired friend walking alone at night between her house and his, not bothered by the haunting sounds and in this case, silence of the countryside. He decides to force himself to embrace it and walk the path now, but only after plopping down two more pills and half a bottle of water.

“I need a drink.” Stephen says to himself as he screws the lid back on the bottle of water and looks up at the clock.

He wonders if a pub or restaurant in town is still open at this hour. It is almost nine o’clock but that should give him a couple of hours before closing time if he hurries. He has yet to make this trek but since Zsofia walks it twice a day, it cannot be too far. With no further thinking on the subject, he opens the door and steps out into the crisp air of night.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 287) Encumbered

Looking up at the low lighting of the second floor, Stephen does not feel comfortable enough tonight to wander the halls. At least not right at this moment as his anxiety begins to build causing paranoia to settle into his already cluttered mind. Not only does he feel encumbered with Kate’s appearance here and sickened with the ugliness she presented toward his friends, but he wants to make sure his friendship with Zsofia does not suffer because of this.

He cannot explain, not even to himself, the way he feels about Zsofia. Her honesty and kindness is a direct contrast to Kate’s arrogance and deceit. After Kate’s display and then the assumption that she would be Stephen’s number one concern, he is relieved to know she has left without him having to confront her. He knows he would have worked up enough courage to force her to go, but now she has actually done him a favor and saved him from this confrontation.

Now more than ever, he knows exactly what he does not want in life. He would rather be alone than to suffer endless days with someone like Kate always demanding his time for her own personal gain. With her coming here and then leaving abruptly, he believes this is finally going to be the last time he will see her.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 286) Twisted Web

Taking heed of his own gut feelings and emotional state, Stephen does what his impulse is suggesting. In one swift motion, he slams the door shut much like a person would if someone was charging toward them with all their might. After quickly securing the lock, he even takes a few steps back almost anticipating that the entry door will soon be under attack. For quite some time, he stands there, watching and waiting for the slightest sound.

The light from the second floor is dim and that subtle amber glow is all Stephen has to guide him in the room but his gaze stays fixed on the details of the locked door. Thin pieces of black iron bent to fold in and out in every angle and direction in a twisted web, secures itself in the aged hardwood. Stepping forward he touches one of the veins which is cold and wet with dew. He finds this to be odd and a heavy chill begins to settle its way into the manor.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 285) No Sounds

Not taking any chances, Stephen also walks to the north end of the manor and glances around the corner at the entrance to the mudroom that connects to the kitchen. After inspecting the grounds at the front of the manor, it appears he is completely alone. In fact, he feels isolated and that is when he realizes there are no sounds resonating from the woods. The typical night birds are hushed as are the insects and no dogs are barking off in the distance. The sudden urge to be inside seems to rush at him from the quietness surrounding the structure.

As he steps back inside the manor, he recalls what Zsofia said about the door and that it is never be left open when it is unattended. At the time, he thought it was an odd thing to say but for whatever reason, she was serious about it. With his hand on the handle, he looks at the woven features of the black iron with its twists and turns in and out of the wood in a crudely woven pattern that almost makes him ill.

He shivers from the cold, or so he believes that is why his body is reacting in such a way. The longer he stands with the door open the more fear he begins to feel. It is not a dread of the dark or a frightening atmosphere from inside the manor. Instead, his instincts are telling him to slam the door and bolt it tight to keep something out!

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 284) All Is Quiet

Even in this dim light, Stephen feels the need to squint his sensitive eyes to avoid the lights blinding glow. Shaking his head at what he perceives to be his own stupidity for making such a mess, he walks out of the kitchen and into the long massive dining room. Light is filtering in brightening the entry hall from outside.

“What the hell?” he questions as he walks closer.

The door is hanging wide open and Kate’s bags are gone. Folded up and stuck in the lock of the door, is a piece of white paper. Pulling it from its resting place, Stephen unfolds it and begins to read.

“Asshole.” Is the first word he reads aloud then he comments on it in a low tone, “Well that’s a lovely touch, Kate, as expected.” He says to himself as he reads on; “I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in you and I hope your house burns down with you in it. BTW, I took a few things that I can sell to recoup the money I WASTED on YOU! Have a nice life, jerk!”

Stephen steps in the open doorway and peers out into the night hoping he does not find Kate sitting there, as she normally would be, expecting him to plead for her to come back to him. It would be just like her to create a theatrical setup, waiting for him to come crawling back. He walks out of the manor and carefully looks down the trail that leads to the gatehouse but all is quiet.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 283) Transpired

Leaping from his chair, Stephen backs into the cabinet spilling loose dried pasta on the floor of the kitchen. Not until he glances at the window does he realize he is safe at the manor or at least, what he believes is the safest place. Now with his thoughts gathering themselves, he begins to remember what transpired that afternoon and wonders where Kate has decided to sleep.

Looking down at the floor, he sees that he has made quite a mess of the place with various sized uncooked pasta scattered about. He plans to come back and clean it up but first he feels he should check on Kate, even though he would rather never have to deal with her again.

“Maybe she’s dead,” he mumbles but truly means what he said. “I know a lot of people who would not mind reading her obituary.”

Even though he despises her, he feels responsible enough to see what might be going on with her. Carefully, in the dark, he walks over and turns the kitchen light on which is dim and yellow in color.

“Looks like all the bulbs are blown except one.” He states as he looks up at the small round fixture in the ceiling.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 282) To Be Alone

Stephen’s mind is strong with rage and disappointment at the same time. He feels angry because of Kate’s inability to care for anyone and upset because he wants to discuss this entire situation with Zsofia whom at this moment is more than likely vowing never to speak to him again. He pops another pill as he walks to the kitchen to get a bottle of water. At this time, he wants nothing more than to be alone.

Each step Stephen takes on the marble and wooden floors seems to echo loudly as the sounds follow him from room to room. Other than the noise he is making, the manor is very quiet. The sun is settling down for the night as Stephen sits at the small table in the kitchen watching the reflection of sunlight as it slowly moves up the wall.

Not at anytime did he feel drowsy and in no manner does he recall falling asleep, but that is exactly what happened. With his head on his arms on the table, Stephen opens his eyes to the darkness in the room. Sitting up rather abruptly, he looks around, confused as to where he is. Sharp spikes of pain shoot through his arms as the blood begins to flow through them at the proper rate. His greatest fear is that he believes he is in the kitchen of the gatehouse where his grandfather died.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 281) Hysterical

“Well, what am I suppose to do now?” Kate questions as she looks up and down the hallway.

“You probably cannot get a flight out until tomorrow, so you’ll just have to stay here somewhere. . .” Stephen looks at the four doorways in the west hall, “I’m not sure where though.”

“What the hell is that suppose to mean!” Kate yells as if hysterical. “This place is monstrous; surely you have a room I can sleep in!”

“That is not what I meant.” Stephen mumbles knowing good and well that once she reaches this point she hears nothing from him. “I haven’t been here long enough to get things organized. You’ll just have to sleep downstairs on the sofa.”

He turns and walks back down the staircase not caring at this point if she wanders the halls or leaves. There is nothing she can do that will change his feelings toward her and if she wants to sleep in a dusty dingy room, then so be it! His only concern is that he has deduced some wild forest animal is probably prowling the halls and if he finds it, he will throw it out as well. Actually, he does not care if it finds Kate and chases her out of the manor for good!

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 280) Indifference

Stunned that Stephen has refused to join her in the typical reuniting ritual that has always worked in the past. Kate steps back from him. Looking eye to eye, she slips her fingers through her dark auburn hair, pulling the short pieces back on one side, barely tucking it behind her ear. With a pouting expression, she stands there and stares at him.

“What is up with you?” She questions in an arrogant way as if to blame him for some appalling action. “I came all this way, bought my own plane tickets, and new clothes,” she points down at her outfit, “and this is the welcome I get?” Her thin lips press hard against each other as she glares at him.

“I did not invite you here.” Stephen replies coldly without wavering from his solid stance in front of her.

This is the first time, during their entire experience together, that he has stood up to her in such a blunt way. Not only does he say the words, but his body language emits confidence as well and Kate honestly does not know how to respond. She simply stands there, expecting a different outcome to her ploy but Stephen’s indifference has her losing the battle of control. It is obvious her spoiled nature is becoming upset.

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