Chap. 20—Lucifer’s Island: A Gothic Horror Soap Opera (Season 1)

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TWENTY

Ethel Explains

Lucifer’s Island: A Gothic Horror Soap Opera (Season 1)Ruby felt like she had done something terribly wrong by the way Ethel’s eyes began to tear and her contorted fingers trembled as she lit another slender cigar. “I had to take the job. You understand that, don’t you?”

Ethel’s hands shook so badly she could hardly bring the brown stick to her mouth. She puffed gray smoke between her dry lips and then blew it toward the floor. “I’m sorry, I just don’t want anything to happen to you. Besides, who in their right mind would believe a strange old lady whom they had only just met on a ferry.”

Ruby knew Ethel meant well. It made her think of the antique religious women who came around to her home every few months, dropping off flyers and trying to convert her to their faith. They thought they were helping her—saving her soul or something—but there was no way they were changing her beliefs. Then she remembered Ethel saying something had started. “What did you mean when you said that things have already begun?”

Ethel placed the cig in a plastic ashtray and looked at Ruby. “You remember me saying on the ferry ride that the reason I was coming here was to teach classes at the Feathered Peacock because there has been a lot of goths seen around town . . . right?”

“Yeah, but goths aren’t anything to be afraid of,” Ruby said. “They’re merely young people expressing themselves.”

“That’s right,” Ethel said. “But I also mentioned these were not regular goths, they were something else.”

After coming face to face with Draven, only a short while ago, she knew what Ethel was talking about. He was not a typical goth, so why was she trying so hard to dismiss what Ethel wanted to tell her—it was all so unbelievable. “I’m sorry. I’m listening.”

Ethel slid an arthritic hand across the table toward Ruby as though she was about to grab Ruby’s arm. The abrupt movement caused the bangles on her wrist to clank like a warning bell. “What I’m going to tell you may sound far-fetched. All I ask is that you hear me out. All right?”

Ruby nodded as her shoulders tightened. The whole reason she had gone to Ethel’s in the first place was because she realized there was something, just not right, about her encounter with Draven. “Of course.”

Ethel picked up the flavored cigar and leaned back in the dining room chair. “There are many things we don’t understand in this world and one of them is what you ran into outside the church today.”

Ruby knew exactly what Ethel meant. It was as though Draven recognized her. It even seemed like she had seen him before, but there was no way they had ever met. Yet, strangely, she felt drawn to him, but she was not sure why.

“When I lived in the sanatorium—after it was converted to apartments, of course—I came eyeball to eyeball with ghosts and a . . . psychic vampire. These evil entities nearly destroyed a young woman who had moved in there. Fortunately, Claudia and I managed to trap them.” Ethel tapped ashes into the ashtray. “At least, they are buried for now. I sure hope no one finds the hiding place. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that these things are real and they can be dealt with, but they are very dangerous, and I cannot emphasize that enough.”

“I’m confused. Are you saying Draven is a ghost or a . . . psychic vampire? That makes no sense, he was as real as you and me. I could have reached out and touched him.”

“No, sweetheart, I’m not saying he is a psychic vampire, I’m saying Draven is a . . . real vampire.”

Ruby could tell Ethel was waiting to see how she would react to what she was saying. Sure, if vampires were real, then Draven and the others would certainly pass for the creatures. But in her gut, she acknowledged there was some truth to what Ethel was saying. “I don’t know what to say.”

“I need to do some research on the one who sought you out . . . Draven. There was a reason for the encounter. It was not by accident. Until I figure this whole thing out, I suggest you stay away from them and anyone, or anything, that does not seem as it should.”

She understood what Ethel was trying to tell her, Draven had put himself in her path while she walked to her car. But why? “He did say the strangest thing to me.”

“What did he say?”

“He said I looked just like someone, but he did not finish the sentence.”

“That could mean a few things,” Ethel said. She tapped a fingernail on the tabletop as if it was helping her think.

When Ethel did not come up with a single reason for who she could possibly look like, Ruby asked, “Where are they from?”

“The only possible place is . . . the old monastery.”

“Castle Moldovan? That means I’ll be living right next to them.”

“I suspect Draven will seek you out, again,” Ethel said.

“If he were seeking me out, I’d like to know how he even knew I was coming here,” Ruby said. “I have only just arrived and very few people even realized I’d be working here.”

“I don’t want to frighten you, but there is a reason. I don’t know their intent, but it is not in your best interest. As long as you are on this island, you are in jeopardy. If you see him, or any of them, turn around and run away as fast as you can.”

“Are you saying that a den of vampires is living on Monks Hill?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“So, if this is true—”

“It is,” Ethel interrupted. “You must trust me.”

“So, if I believe what you say, then what am I supposed to do? I’m not leaving this island until I find Alan and there is nothing you can say to me that will change that.”

“You have a stubborn streak, Ruby,” Ethel said. “I don’t think you will leave until you have done what you came here to do, so I will help you. I’ll do some research on the one named Draven and see what I can do to help you find your brother. The sooner this is accomplished, the better, otherwise I fear they will grow attached to you and may follow you back to the mainland. We have to find out what they want, what their intentions are for you, and stop them before it is too late.”

Too late? “What do you think will happen?”

“I don’t know, but they have a plan for you and I fear you may lose the battle if you’re not careful.”

There was too much to think about. Life sucked. Everything was being taken away from her and the only hope was to trust in this peculiar old woman. “I’ll follow your advice.”

“Great,” Ethel said, putting the cigar butt in the ashtray. “Let’s go down to the store and find you some items of protection.”

Chapter 19

Chapter 21

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