Author

Shadows Of Guta 460-479

Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 479) Foolish

“The wood and iron on and around the door,” Stephen directs this to Klara. “You told me it creates barriers for the Guta. With it on this door, my grandfather would have been under its protection here in his bedroom. Why did they move to the gatehouse where he was attacked and died?”

“Your grandfather had been attacked twice in two days here at the manor and then your grandmother left for a three-day visit.” Laszlo states rather quickly. “I have no idea where she went or who she stayed with, but while she was away, I inlaid the iron as a protection device.” He pauses as he looks back at the door to the bedroom where Tamas is resting.

“Your grandmother realized what I had done.” Laszlo says before he once again puts his hand to his forehead. “I tried to conceal it from her. Your grandfather was my best friend!” He raises his voice in anger then it drifts down to a light whisper. “I did not want anything to happen to him. I was so foolish.” He drops his hand down to rest it on the arm of the couch.

“When she started this, all of this evil business, she told me she would trap this creature in a small room where she could control it. She told me all entries to the manor must be embedded with wood and iron at all doors and windows to keep the Guta there, trapped and under her control, just in case something went wrong.” Laszlo says in a low tone.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 478) Bits Of Iron

Resting her head on Stephen’s shoulder, Zsofia stares out at the seemingly empty doorway. With her this close, Stephen can smell the lemony berry scent he has come to recognize so well. Her hair is sweet and soft as she nuzzles up to him. This feels right to Stephen, comforting and calming, he cannot stand the thought of her being hurt or frightened by the monster lurking in the hall. He feels stronger and more in control of himself at this moment but anger is growing inside.

All this time, he has been watching it, this nasty creature that he fears. From the moment they entered the room, it has focused on them, pacing back and forth unable to cross the threshold to enter. Stepping to the left then crossing to the right it moves in a woven pattern becoming more and more agitated. Its body crooked and bent, and shiny as if wet. The protective line of salt Klara blessed and sprinkled on the floor seems to bar if from the group.

It is now, as he focuses on the doorway, that Stephen sees tiny bits of iron inlaid in the wood of the door and frame. He had not noticed this before for it looks like whoever put it there was trying to conceal it. If this is indeed part of the tool used to keep the Guta out, then his grandfather should have been safe here in his own bed and sitting room.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 477) My Role In This

The small cubicle in the basement, Stephen thinks to himself as he listens to Laszlo’s explanation of the confinement room. He does not dare mention that he has already stumbled upon such a sight.

“She planned on the Guta doing her bidding,” Laszlo continues in a low voice. “And then she planned to trick it into the room, and she was successful.” His voice quivers. “I was told to seal it by layering a trail of salt all the way around the room and across the threshold of the only door.” Laszlo looks down and puts his hand to his forehead.

“Grandfather, what is it? What are you thinking?” Zsofia asks.

She watches her grandfather for a reaction to her question but he does not acknowledge her immediately. Instead, the elderly man stares at the fireplace with its dancing flames of golden light flickering in his eyes. He then takes in several slow deep breaths before speaking.

“I have put all of you in danger and now realize the damage created due to my role in this.” Laszlo looks at his granddaughter with teary eyes. “I have never seen the beast but poor Tamas, he has the ability, just like you.” He says as he looks in Stephen’s direction while Zsofia does the same.

“Do you see it now?” Zsofia whispers to Stephen as she stays focused on his face.

“Yes.” Stephen replies as he puts his arm around her, pulling her close and she reciprocates by wrapping her arms around him.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 476) Underworld

“I’m guessing the next section is hell, right?” Stephen asks as he watches the candles sitting on the table.

“The roots of the tree are indeed the underworld. It is the place of bad souls and dead people who did cruel and evil things in life.” She shakes her head back and forth.

“It is where pesky insects and flies and lice were hatched to be bothersome to the living. It is home to the creator of all things bad for humans, a place where evil spirits and demons thrive and most of all, it is the birthplace of the Guta.” Again, she wraps her thin and crooked fingers around the silver and gold-plated amulet hanging from her neck.

“Your grandmother thought of herself as blessed with the ability to contact spirits, and interpret dreams, but when events did not go as she planned, she became bitter and began to harden.” Klara looks out at the hallway as lightning flickers at the windows.

“She became an ugly soul full of hatred, selfishness, and revenge.” Klara says in a gruff manner as Laszlo looks over at her, seemingly coming out of his silent gaze.

“Before she summoned it, she had me build a small room in the basement here at the manor. It was made of stone and wood and the door was embedded with strips of iron.” Laszlo proclaims.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 475) Three Spheres

“Istvan, please pay attention. It is important that you understand the ways of this world.” Klara says as she waves her hand in a wide circle in one flowing motion.

“I’m sorry, please go ahead and explain. I really do want to know.” Stephen says sincerely as he stuffs the locket into the pocket of his jacket.

Our world is not one, but three spheres, much like a tall tree standing firm and straight. First, the top or foliage of the tree is the upper World, where the gods and good souls live. They shape the fate of humans and have much control of our doings.” Klara takes in a deep breath. “The lightning you see tonight is a warning from the heavens as they observe us here, where we dwell, in the chaos of the Middle World.”

“Chaos? What kind of chaos?” Stephen questions.

“The trunk of the tree, the middle world, is not only home to humans but is also the land of many mythological and supernatural creatures. Ghostly spirits of the water and forests are here to frighten us to keep us walking a straight path.” She leans toward Stephen and Zsofia as she speaks.

“What you consider to be of nature, even the wind and rain, are controlled by beings only fairy tales speak of.” She looks over at Laszlo who is looking down at his hands. “Some would call me a babak.”

“What is a babak?” Stephen questions quickly and Klara acts as if she is about to laugh but stops short of doing so.

“A Catty old witch,” She snickers then looks Stephen in the eyes as she laughs. “I am nothing of the sort. I am a wise old woman who speaks the truth which frightens those who wish not to hear them.” She reaches to her neckline and takes hold of a small amulet hanging from a chain.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 474) Not Listening

“What is the world tree?” Stephen asks as an ominous clap of thunder crashes down.

It hits so hard that a small item falls from its perch on the fireplace mantle, landing near Laszlo’s foot. Stephen steps over to where it fell and picks it up to examine it. Upon first glance, he realizes it is a silver toned heart-shaped necklace. Inspecting it further, he finds a round decoration of a bird that looks much like a family crest carved on the back. As he begins to flip it over, his finger touches a little latch on the side, which opens up as a locket. Inside, a small photo of his grandmother reveals itself.

He looks at this very personal item for several seconds without speaking. Then as if afraid to view it any longer, he quickly snaps it closed as he grits his teeth, which shows in the muscles of his face. Holding the shiny item tightly in his left hand, he takes a seat on the sofa next to Zsofia.

Fluidly, she reaches out to hold his free hand and he thinks to himself how comforting it is to have such an ease between them. His nervous energy seems to dissipate when she is near and he wants to tell her that very thing, yet now is far from the time to be discussing his feelings for her. Zsofia looks at him and smiles as if she knows exactly what he is thinking.

“You are not listening, Istvan!” The old woman states in a roaring manner.

She slaps her cane down so hard on the table sitting between them, that everyone is surprised it did not break. All the flames of the candles in the room flicker as if a gust of wind just entered the room, yet no such thing happened.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 473) Attention

Rumbles of thunder boom in low rhythms and the feeling of dampness seeps its way into the manor. As the thickness in the air grows stronger, a pressing chill settles in on the group. Stephen shivers as he stands up and walks to the fireplace where he places two large pieces of wood onto the brightly burning fire. For just a moment, the flames nearly die out but soon the warm flashes of flickering light dance across the smoking logs once again.

Stephen turns and looks back at Zsofia who is watching her grandfather with strong intensity. To Stephen, Zsofia is the most fervent woman he has ever known and as he observes her, his own self-assurance grows. His life up to this point has been unpleasant at best and he never saw himself maturing past his early twenty’s. Yet, somehow in some way, Zsofia has given him strength and a sense of self.

Even though he is looking right at her when she turns and catches his gaze, he continues to hold his stance. Zsofia grins and tips her head down in the slightest blush and Stephen finally realizes she now knows he has been staring at her. A smile burst across his face that he cannot control and he does not want to. He knows without a doubt, he is in love with this fair-haired spirit.

“Before we go any further, all of you must first understand the three important parts of the world tree.” Klara says as she looks at the open door.

The room was so quiet just before she spoke that Stephen and Zsofia both jump from the sound of the old woman’s voice. The attention they were giving to one another ceases as they glance in Klara’s direction.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 472) Confined

“Before the passing of Istvan’s great-uncle, you were never in danger here, for it had not been released from its small dark confinement.” Klara looks at Laszlo and waits patiently for him to comment.

“The monster was held in its chamber where it had been trapped all these years.” Laszlo says nervously. “It was not until Stephen’s great-uncle went looking for money and items of value to sell that he found the small room. His greedy mind was telling him to search for money and treasures and he stumbled upon the cell of the Guta, which he disturbed by breaking down the barriers that kept it confined.” The old man says as he tightens his left hand into a fist.

“Opening the door freed it from years of darkness and one might think the creature would be thankful,” Klara pauses as she shakes her finger at them, “but we all know the outcome of his mistake.”

“I ordered you to stay away after I realized what may have happened.” Laszlo says to Zsofia as tears fill his puffy eyes.

“You still came though, every week.” Klara says as fact as she shifts her gaze from Zsofia to Stephen. “She wanted to keep things tidy for you, Istvan.” She turns as Laszlo looks down shaking his head, for he did not realize how often his granddaughter ignored his direct order.

“The Guta lurks in the shadows of dismal days and ventures out under the veil of shadows and night so it did not bother with you, dear child.” Klara states with authority. “Besides, it wasn’t you it was after.” She looks directly at Laszlo as the room falls silent.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 471) Very Close

“I do not understand. How can this be?” Zsofia asks as she looks from Klara, to her grandfather who is being extremely quiet, and then she directs her attention to Stephen. “I’ve been coming here for years and have never witnessed anything out of the ordinary other than an occasional strange feeling, but that can happen anywhere. Was I in danger coming here?” She pauses, and then looks at her elder. “Grandfather?”

“Because you do not see it does not mean it is not real.” The old woman snickers, not allowing Laszlo a chance to reply to his granddaughter. “Istvan can see it. He has observed it many times.”

“Is this true?” Zsofia asks and Stephen nods yes. “Have I been with you when this has happened?” Zsofia questions.

She leans over to look into Stephen’s eyes but he is looking down at the floor as if in deep thought. He sits quietly, unsure if he should tell her and for several seconds mulls his words over in his mind before replying to her question.

“Yes, when we were together at your house, it was sitting next to your grandfather while he was lying on the floor in your kitchen. You were very close and when it reached out to touch you. . . well. . . that is when I grabbed you and pulled you away.” He looks her in the eyes and prays she understands.

Shocked by this, Zsofia lifts her hand to her mouth as she holds back the breath she quickly gulped into her lungs. Her sparkling eyes are wide and fearful as she glances at her grandfather who is staring into the bright light of the fire.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 470) It Listens

“You cannot let it win and you must first understand it before you can banish it forever.” Klara says as she turns to look at the open door to the hallway. “It is there, just outside the door but it cannot enter.” She says in her normal tone, she then leans across the table between the two sofa’s and whispers, “But it listens.”

This sends a sharp twinge of fear through everyone as they all turn to look at the muted gray and black tones just outside the open door. The seemingly empty blackness of the hall is energized yet appears oppressed and lifeless. Zsofia watches, just like everyone else, but she then slides closer to Stephen who puts his arm around her in a protective manner.

“What is she talking about? What is out in the hall?” Zsofia whispers to Stephen.

“It is a creature of unimaginable pain, sorrow, and death.” Klara states as an answer to a question that was not loud enough for anyone other than Stephen to hear. “Its trickery and methods make you believe the victim passed due to natural causes, but what actually takes place could not be farther from the truth.”

“But what is it?” Zsofia asks as she presses herself closer to Stephen as fear rises from her toes to the top of her head.

“It is a demon sweet girl, one of the most terrifying minions from the depths of hell.” Klara quickly sits up straight on the sofa cushion as if she was touched and startled.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 469) Same Traits

The last words spoken in the room, just minutes ago, were from Stephen as he questioned Klara about Tamas but she never gave an answer. Everyone in the room seems to be in their own thoughts for no one is speaking and with this silence, they can hear the storm outside as rain pelts the windows and thunder rattles the glass. With a deep breath, Klara sits down on the sofa next to Laszlo and she looks directly across the table at Stephen.

“The answer is no, Istvan.” She says in a calm tone.

Confused by this, Stephen looks at her for several seconds wondering if he blanked out and did not hear all that she was saying.

“Come again? What is, no?” He questions.

“You are nothing like her, dear soul. You do not carry the same traits as your Grandmother.” The old woman tips her head to the side as she coughs.

Once again, Klara has answered a question Stephen carried only in his mind.

“There is a passion in you and it’s terribly stifled, but you can overcome it. That is if you wish to.” The old woman states.

Out of the corner of his eye, he can tell Zsofia is looking directly at him. He wishes to open up and to tell her how he feels about her, but maybe self-doubt is what keeps him from acting on his impulse. He wants to spend time with her, to learn about who she is, to see if she is true in how he sees her. The loving kindness she demonstrates makes him feel a happiness he never knew nor ever thought he would find. Now, images of the Guta step into his internal sight, which darkens his mind and the happiness rather quickly.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 468) Overjoyed

As Stephen looks around the room at the faces of the strangers who are now his friends, he wonders what would posses someone to commit murder. Oddly enough, the first thing that comes to mind is the recent and tragic visit from Kate. He was not at all happy to see her on his doorstep and the hatred he felt toward her at that moment, when she interrupted his and Zsofia’s endearing moment, was beyond anything he felt in years.

The next day, when the authorities notified him of her death, he actually felt a sense of relief. In reality, he was glad if not overjoyed! He wonders, is he like his grandmother, does he easily toss people aside? Would he have schemed and plotted a plan in order to get the girl he wanted? Would he have stepped into his grandmother’s role to do away with Kate for Zsofia’s love?

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 467) Darkest Aspects

Knowing that Tamas is safely nestled in bed, only several feet away in the adjoining room, Stephen feels less pressured and more open to conversation. To him, not only are the stories discussed here his history, but also he is gaining insight into the deepest darkest aspects of whom his family members were. He ponders on how their actions may have modified what should have or could have been for him here and now.

Mostly, his thoughts are of the grandmother he never knew, this odd woman who seems to be saturated in mystery and manipulation. What did she do in her time that may have altered his life and did she know her actions would become such a part of the generations beyond her? If so, did she even care about repercussions if she felt they would not affect her? The picture being painted of this foul woman through stories and memories is shining a sinister light down upon her.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 466) Intertwined

Standing near the bedroom door, the old woman glances down, clears her throat, and walks over to the sitting area where Zsofia has now taken her seat next to Stephen. The layers of her skirt rustle and the click of her shoes on the wooden floor as she takes her steps, sound loud and clear in the thick silence. Klara pauses and again rolls her shoulders back and forth to loosen her muscles. She nods her head up and down as if she is having a conversation in her mind of deep thought.

The silence of the participants in the room speaks volumes to the intertwined details of their lives. Snapping sparks from the dry wood burning in the fireplace crackle loudly as if trying to interrupt the hush that has fallen over the room. The storm outside the old walls of stone continues to pound the earth with rain and thunder as the occupants inside try to sort out their strange interlocked history.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 465) Preparing Them

“We must find Tamas. If what you say is true. . .” Stephen starts but is interrupted by Klara’s rising hand as she gestures for him to stop.

“The boy is fine.” She says.

She walks over to the door that connects the sitting room where they are, to the bedroom on the other side of the wall. Quietly, Klara turns the handle and swings the door open slightly. Stephen and Zsofia immediately rush to look inside and there on the bed is Tamas sleeping peacefully. Leaving the door cracked Stephen and Zsofia go back to the sofa but only Stephen sits down.

Zsofia walks over to her grandfather and kneels down on the floor next to him. When he makes eye contact, she takes his face in her hands and smiles, the reaches up, hugging him tightly around his neck.

“I love you grandfather.” She says softly in his ear as he reaches around her, holding her close.

“How did you find and bring Tamas to this room?” Stephen directs his question to Klara.

He is now wondering even more about the mysterious abilities of the old woman. With each minute that passes and as the tales told unfold, he is realizing the knowledge she seems to possess of his family is great. Not only does she happen to have answers to events of the past, but she appears to be preparing them for an experience in the future, the immediate future. The apprehension Stephen is feeling has caused his heart to beat a little faster as he waits for Klara to answer his question.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 464) Manipulative

“It, the Guta, killed your grandfather just as your grandmother wished, Istvan.” Klara says in a soft voice. “Her evil intentions were strong and she was gifted in her deeds and taunts.” She then looks at Zsofia. “You young lady, you’re grandfather is a good man, you know this, but love makes you do crazy things, even when it goes against what you believe.”

Zsofia nods yes but then places her hand over her mouth as she begins to cry. This breaks Stephen’s concentration as he turns to look at his lovely friend. Her blue eyes have filled with tears as she looks at him. His natural response is to pull her close, which he does without question or hesitation.

His heart is aching for her and in listening to this tragic story, it reminds him of the type of person Kate was. She was very much the manipulative selfish person that his grandmother apparently was. He has no doubt in his mind that Kate would have easily schemed against him in order to gain control of the property and money he has inherited.

Here, in his arms is the wonderful person he never dreamed he would find. Her good-hearted tendencies and sweet demeanor is so honest and compassionate, he is determined to keep Zsofia and her family safe. This brings his thoughts back to Tamas, the reason they are here, and the fact that he did indeed hear the young man calling for help.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 463) She Did It

“After the death of your childhood friend, on the doors and windows, you bound the wood with iron!” Klara smacks her cane to the floor. “A non believer does not go though that much trouble.” She glares at him. “A non believer does not plan and scheme and spend days and hours to secure nothing!” She hunches over, rolling her shoulders, as if she has a pain in her back.

Laszlo looks at the old woman with sorrow and a sadness that Zsofia has never seen upon his face before. She is worried about her grandfather, for she knows the kind of man he is and this entire story is out of character in every way. She looks at Stephen who is sitting next to her. He is very quiet as he stares at the fireplace and Laszlo begins to speak again.

“She did it. . . she was able to bring the demon, the Guta. . . she brought it up from the depths of hell to do her biding.” The old man punches the arm of the sofa and looks up at the ceiling.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 462) Did Not Believe

“I. . . I could not believe what I was hearing! First of all, I thought she was joking. I did not believe in such tales and then it hit me, I could not comprehend how she could even think of killing him. How could that even be an option?” Laszlo places his hands on his knees as if he is going to stand, but then does not do so. “She wanted him dead so she could be with me yet have the money she would inherit from his death.” The poor man begins to weep and is unable to continue.

“You helped her, didn’t you!” Klara says in a low tone. “You helped her with the details for confinement.”

“I didn’t believe in demons and folklore. I never once thought anything would come of it.” Laszlo wipes his face with his hand. “I could not kill my best friend but she was so consumed with her plan and I wanted to spend time with her. . .” He stares at the fire as a deep rumble of thunder echoes through the manor.

“You built a chamber, in the basement of this house.” Klara spats off and Zsofia quickly looks at her grandfather.

“I did not believe it could happen!” Laszlo yells angrily and then he slouches in the couch. “You have to believe me; I never once thought such a thing could happen.”

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 461) Went Too Far

As Laszlo tells his story, Stephen begins to think about the small trunk of letters he found in the basement of the gatehouse. He remembers wondering why his grandmother would have written letters to his deceased grandfather, now he realizes they were from her relationship with Laszlo. She must have tucked them away in the basement since grandfather was too ill to navigate the steps.

“She was unhappy, said she married for money, but I do not believe that is how it always was. I do feel they loved each other at one time.” Laszlo pauses to catch his breath and to find the best way to explain what follows.

“Stephen, your grandmother was different from most women I knew. She was very strong-willed and when she wanted something, she made sure she got it. She read many books and mixed herbs for various medicinal purposes but she went too far.” He looks at Klara but again, the old woman remains silent as she stares straight ahead as if this conversation is boring to her.

“One day she had me meet her in the woods, she was so excited about something she read that she wanted my input. I could not believe what she was saying to me. We have all grown up hearing of folklore and tales and spooky stories to make sure little kids stay in bed at night but. . . she wanted to summon a demon to kill your grandfather!” He blurts this out and the expression on his own face is one of shock.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 460) Bit Of History

“So what happened?” Stephen asks now very intrigued in hearing this bit of history.

“What happened was. . .” Laszlo repeats just under his breath. “She, your grandmother,” he looks at Stephen, “she began writing me letters, leaving them in jars on the steps of my house, dropping them in my pocket when she was near. All of this was right under your grandfather’s nose but I didn’t have the heart to tell him.”

“So you had an affair?” Zsofia questions honestly.

“Yes,” he answers quickly for he cannot deny it, “and I am not proud of it because I betrayed my best friend. If he had ever found out, it would have crushed him and I know it was wrong, but. . .” He does not finish his statement.

“I remember her being around the house, slipping in to talk to you. I never thought anything of it but now, it all makes sense.” Zsofia confirms.

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