In The Castle’s Shadow (pt 3)

Part one- http://wp.me/p7AdNd-7G

Part two- http://wp.me/p7AdNd-7W

As the phone started ringing, Connor had a moment of panic. He was sure that the time differences meant he was calling Gregor in the middle of the night. He knew from the picture that his great uncle could not be a young man anymore. He doubted that the man would even be awake. He was so sure that Gregor would be asleep that when a gruff voice said hello, he just sat there in shock for a minute. A second rude hello roused him from his stupor.
“Uncle Gregor? This is Connor, um Alexandre’s son. Did I wake you?” Connor managed to stumble out.

“No.”

Connor waited for more before continuing.

“I’m so glad I reached you. I have to do a family history project for my psychology class. I’m supposed to contact living family members and gather some stories. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions?” Connor asked.

“I do not usually take phone calls to talk about myself. It is a waste of time,” Gregor’s accent was so thick that Connor had to concentrate to understand him.

Connor needed to get the answers and decided to ask again. It was easier to push for answers when it was over a crackling phone line. 

“I just need to get one story and any medical history you would be willing to share,” Connor spoke quickly, worried that the phone line was going to die.

He listened to the fading connection, praying that Gregor would give him the answers he needed. His hopes began to fade as the silence dragged on. At one point, he even checked his phone to make sure they had not lost their connection.

“Gregor?” he tentatively asked.

“I do not want to give away personal information to someone I have never met. If you want answers, I will send you tickets,” the line clicked before Connor could answer.

Connor sat there in shock. He had never left the state let alone the country. He had always thought of traveling, but Romania never made the list of countries he wanted to visit. He did not even know anything about Romania. The only thing that he knew about the country was that Dracula’s castle was there. The legend of Dracula had always peaked his interest. Without fully realizing what he was doing, he walked to his parents room to let them know that he was going to visit Gregor. He did not know what he was expecting. He knew that they would not be happy about his decision. 

When he was back in his bed for the night, he was a mixture of anxious and excited. To say his parents were less than thrilled would have been an understatement. Connor had nearly changed his mind when his mother started to cry. He had never made her cry before and hoped to never do it again. The anger on his father’s face battled against his apparent fear. He did not say a word as he comforted his distraught wife. He did not even look at his son.

Connor knew that going to Romania was going to disappoint his parents, but loosing his scholarship would disappoint them as well. He was in a no win situation. He hoped that in time, they could accept this trip and forgive him for making it. Despite their reaction, his excitement mounted. He could not wait to learn more about the country his great grandmother had grown up in.

He feel into a restless sleep, his dreams plagued with vampires and monsters stalking him. Everywhere he turned, horrors waited to greet him.

Jessica

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In The Castle’s Shadow (pt 2)

Part One- ​https://wingswordsblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/in-the-castles-shadow/?preview=true

Connor did not think about his project again until his family was sitting down for dinner. His mother started to cut up the meatloaf. One look from her and he knew what was coming.

“How was your day honey?” she asked.

“It was okay. We started a family history project in my psychology class. I need to interview a couple of living relatives. Dad,” his father looked up from his phone. “Don’t you have an uncle from Romania? My teacher wants me to get in contact with him.”

Connor felt the mood in the dining room shift instantly. The air itself seemed to grow icy. If he had not been watching his father, he would have missed the sharp intake of breath and the furtive glance towards his mother. The tension mounted as the silence waned. Connor regretted asking the question. He felt dread settle around him as his father relaxed his clenched jaw. 

“My uncle Gregor,” was all his father said before turning back to his phone.

Connor waited for more, but nothing came. He stared at his father in shock. Their family had always been open about everything. He never felt like he needed to keep secrets from his parents and they had never kept secrets from him until now. He was not sure what they were hiding from him, but he had to talk to Gregor in order to pass his class. He decided not to press the matter and do some research on his own. 

The meal passed in silence and soon Connor found himself in the den. He was flipping through the old photo albums, making notes about hair color and other defining features. He knew one of the albums would have a picture of Gregor. His patience was rewarded when he found a tattered black and white photo. The photo was that of a much younger version of his great grandmother standing beside a young man. Someone with spidery handwriting had written their names and a date so faded that he could no longer read it on the back of the photo.

Connor smiled as he studied the picture. He had not known his great grandmother very long, but he only had good memories with her. The man standing next to her was wearing a soldier’s uniform and a grim face. He seemed tall with dark hair and haunted eyes. Somehow, Connor could tell that those eyes belong to someone who had already served their time in the military. Someone who had lost loved ones and returned home without them. 

He quickly flipped through the remainder of the photo albums, hoping to get more information but finding nothing. He was going to have to talk to his father about reaching out to his uncle. He was not looking forward to pressing his father, but he was not willing to loose his scholarship over an awkward conversation. 

        Connor found his father in his study. His father’s law firm often overloaded him with cases, so most nights he worked from his study. He knocked on the open door before walking in. He felt like he was in the principal’s office at school. 

“Dad, I can’t find any information on Gregor. I need to do good on this project,” Connor watched the same dark cloud cover his father’s face.

Connor found himself debating if it was worth it. The carpet mills provided a steady income and had a good benefits plan. He did not want to cause his father any strife, he just wanted to pass his class. He felt his determination grow as he waited for his father to answer. He did not want to get stuck in this town like all of the other athletes who peaked in high school. 

“I do not know much about my uncle. As far as I know, he has never left Romania. Even when your  great grandmother died, he refused to leave. I do not think he even has an email. You can try calling him, but you might want to consider getting creative,”  his father slid a slip of paper across the desk towards him. 

Connor took the slip of paper, careful to avoid his father’s eyes. His father who had just implied that he should cheat on a school project. He could remember being forced to return a stolen candy when he was younger. He could not believe this change. He could not imagine what would posses his father to encourage such dishonesty. A foreboding feeling filled his room as he looked at his phone. He was not sure he wanted to call Gregor if his father was so against it. He could easily make up dates and information and his professor would never be the wiser. Just the thought of cheating did not sit well with him. Reluctantly, he punched in the numbers.