The Unwanted (Black Water Tales Book 2)

BOOK: The Unwanted (Black Water Tales Book 2)
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BLACK WATER TALES:
THE
UNWANTED

Volume 2

JeanNicole Rivers

 

Copyright @ 2015 JNR Publishing

All rights reserved.

 

ISBN: 0692549927

ISBN
-13: 9780692549926

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015917063

Jean Nicole
Rivers
- Pearland, TX

CHAPTER ONE

M
asses of listless faces entwined within the crowd, but Blaire’s loneliness was apparent. No matter how hard she tried to hide it, her eyes always told of the shadow that crept alongside her and at times, dark and dismal times, towered over her. The loneliness she carried was dark and telling of a grotesque obscurity of the heart, one that haunted her every move and moment. Yet, it was hers, and over her life had become a cheerless, but dear friend.

The young woman glanced down nervously at her gold watch, then back up to the new horde that discharged from the train, traversing the platform rapidly. When she noticed her foot tapping on the cement, she abruptly ended the unconscious movement.

Travis Wells was late.

The previous evening she spoke to him over the phone for the first time, exchanging information that included what each of them would be wearing today. Despite her watchfulness, Blaire had yet to see a young, white man with curly, bleach blond hair, wearing jeans and a clover colored
t
-shirt that read Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition. She rolled her eyes at the thought. Earlier that morning, Blaire pulled on her tailored navy blue Capri pants and a black and white top with horizontal stripes, just as she described to Travis the night before. After gazing down at her casual pair of boat shoes, Blaire frowned, but hoped that her
globe
-trotting would speak for her bleak attire. Traveling for two full days with any measure of cheer required a great amount of comfort.

He’s going to miss the train. He will. I know it
, Blaire thought as she adjusted her
black
-rimmed sunglasses.

Just as Blaire reached for her bag, she glanced a sign that caused her to moan aloud. A picture of a cigarette with squiggly lines emitting from the tip of it, inside of a crimson circle with a line through it, tended to have that effect on her.

Blaire hoped that Travis would not miss the train. The thought of showing up at St. Sebastian alone gave her tremendous anxiety. Starting a new job was worrisome enough but doing it in a strange country and staying in an unfamiliar place only made it worse. She didn’t know Travis personally, but at least he would be sharing the same unknown fate, which offered her some relief.

“Travis, where are you?” the young woman whispered as she searched for the man in the masses.

Emma described Travis Wells as tall with dramatic
emerald
-green eyes. Emma Galon was one of Blaire’s dear friends and her advisor from the United Care Organization. A delicate breeze kissed Blaire’s face just as she closed her eyes to create a moving visual of the robust man that would be her partner for the next year. He strolled up to her striking an urbane pose. With deliberate sensual prowess, he removed his sunglasses, revealing smoldering green eyes that set everything they touched, including Blaire, ablaze. Without warning, the sharp tongue of a
collegiate
-looking fellow cursing himself for spilling tea on his shirt jolted her from her silly fantasy. Curtly conscious now, Blaire scanned her surroundings and fanned herself briefly, wiping a small patch of wetness from her chest. She then reached into her bag for her phone to see if there were any new messages or missed calls. For the second time that day, Blaire called her partner whose phone, again, went straight to voicemail.

“Hi, Travis. This is Blaire Baker. I’m just calling again to make sure that you’re going to make the train to Borslav. It’s about seven minutes to four, and I am just a little nervous that you may miss it. I believe that the trains stop early on Sunday, and I think this is the last one. So…call me back when you have a chance. Thanks.”

After allowing her phone to drop back into her bag, Blaire distracted herself with the study of the stunning landscape of Kerchaviv. The sky was clean of clouds and the calm cerulean blue of it went on forever. Though the air contained a slight chill, it was a phenomenal day. The afternoon sun lingered, overpowering everything it touched with a divine glow. Colorful architecture and smiling faces made Blaire feel as if she were on a movie set, a place not quite real. Blaire wondered how Borslav would be; it was not like Kerchaviv, she was sure. It was a small
sea
-bordering town that sat at the end of a
one
-hour train ride from the city.

“Blaire?” a gravelly voice called to her.

Looking up, Blaire hardly noticed the drop of her jaw. Every word of Emma’s glowing description of Travis Wells was accurate, except for the fact that she forgot to mention that he also worked out.
Way to go, Emma!
Blaire thought.

“H…hi,” Blaire croaked.

Travis spoke again and Blaire’s preconceived notions washed away.

“Seventy
-eight degrees and this is supposed to be summer? These people must be out of their minds!” After resting two colossal pieces of luggage on the platform, Travis fussed in a playful manner that gave her unmistakable confirmation of her theory.

“I’m going to kill her,” Blaire said under her breath when it finally hit her that neither she nor anyone else of her gender would be of any interest to Travis romantically. It was not obvious at first glance, but over the years Blaire had become adept at picking out men with whom she had no chance, which seemed like more of them than not.

“What?” Travis questioned.

“Nothing, I was just agreeing that this is not the summer weather that we’re used to in the States.” Blaire stood up and straightened her clothes, caring even more now about how she looked.

“I’m Blaire Baker. I’m a teacher. Looks like we’ll be working together for the next year,” she said, extending her hand toward her new acquaintance.

“I’m Travis Wells, nurse extraordinaire!” He laughed as he hugged Blaire, disregarding her hand.

As the last train to Borslav pulled into the station the rails shook. It exhaled noisily as if it had been running a marathon all day. Garish dinging blared from speakers on the platform, and the doors of the train opened wide, releasing mobs that fled so furiously one could have easily assumed that this was the last stop before the end of the earth.

A lump crawled into Blaire’s throat when she noticed that only she and Travis entered the train at this stop, and only two others remained on board for the last leg to Borslav.

“So, where are you from?” Travis asked, as he stowed their luggage in the overhead compartment before settling into the seat next to her.

“Thank you,” Blaire said, noting his impeccable chivalry. “You wouldn’t know it. It’s a small Midwestern town by the name of Black Water.”

“Who names a place Black Water?”

“I suppose it’s a fitting name for a town that’s cursed along with all its inhabitants.”

“Cursed?”

“Sure, but it’s just an old wives’ tale, of course,” Blaire said, as she gazed out the window, giving silent farewell to the clamoring city.

“Good thing you got out,” Travis said with a laugh. “Where’d you go to school?”

“A small college close to home, nothing fancy. I just finished my master’s in educational management and I’ve always wanted to do a tour with United Care. You know Emma Galon, don’t you? She’s a good friend of mine, and helped me get into the program.”

“Right on!” Travis said, once again displaying his relentlessly sunny attitude.

“What about you? Where are you from?” The train chugged to a start, jerking them angrily.

“Originally from Virginia, but I moved to Miami for college. I just finished my nursing degree, psych minor. I got a scholarship from United Care, and doing a tour after my graduation was part of the deal so…here I am.” Travis read Blaire’s expression, “It’s not that I don’t like giving back, it’s just that when I told them I wanted to go to Europe, I was not expecting to be in back country...east...wherever we’re going. I don’t even know where we’re going, can you believe that? I was hoping for something more glamorous, like Paris or Geneva, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. That’s what my father used to say.” He smiled.

“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” Blaire confided. “I’m not so sure I’d want to
do
—”

“Ticket!” a broad man towered over them, his calloused hand outstretched. The tips of his fingers only inches from Travis’ face. Nebulous eyes sat far back in his head and his thick, cream colored skin highlighted cavernous lines, which were dug deeply into his face, most prominently around his tooth crammed mouth.

“Excuse me?” Blaire said.

“TICKET!” the impatient request blared again, washed in a thick accent.

“Oh, our tickets,” Travis blurted as he shuffled through his bag, nudging Blaire to do the same. Both Americans pulled out their tickets, which were haphazardly reviewed by the man before he shoved them back at the clueless passengers and moved on without another word.

“Wow! Excuse me, can I see your customer service manager?” Travis whispered only after ensuring that the brutal conductor was out of earshot.

“So, what do you know about this
place
—St. Sebastian? It’s some type of home for kids, right?”

“It’s an orphanage. It’s underfunded, understaffed, and the caretakers have no experience in education or medicine. They just care for the children on a daily basis. I’ll be setting up an academic curriculum, something simple that the workers will be able to keep up even after we’re gone,” Blaire explained.

“The children don’t go to school?”

“I don’t think so.”

Travis sighed. “So I’m assuming they don’t go to the doctor regularly either.”

“Probably not,” Blaire answered, as she watched the bleak landscape race by the window.

“I guess that means I’ll be giving some basic medical attention, some vaccinations and stuff like that. I can handle that, but if this is what they call summer, I don’t know how I’m going to get through whatever they call winter around here,” he said, speaking more to himself than to Blaire as he fished out a tangle of headphone wires from his bag.

“The winters are brutal,” Blaire said. “I read up on it.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Unfortunately, no. I hope you brought a coat.”

“I live in Miami for crying out loud. I don’t even own a coat. I barely own socks. I thought I left the cold behind in Virginia.”

“Looks like you’re going to have to make some adjustments if you are to survive winter here.”

“And a long winter it’s going to be,” Travis said as he placed his earbuds into his ears, laid back and closed his eyes.

Blaire burrowed deep into her seat and stared out the window. As the train put miles between itself and the stirring city of Kerchaviv, the desolate countryside opened up and swallowed the urban landscape behind them.

Only when Blaire’s eyes blinked to life, fluttering to adjust to the sudden light, did she realize that she had drifted off. Blaire found herself filled with a fleeting euphoria. Sleeping next to her, Travis was silent, like everything else on the train. The universe inside the car was measured only in the serene clicks on the rails beneath them. These moments offered a sort of
black
-hole time warp, and she felt compelled back to sleep but was teetering somewhere on the border of reality and unconsciousness.

“You can’t escape the curse”, a familiar voice murmured in her ear.

“Arrival at Borslav, last stop on the line, in approximately twenty minutes,” the intercom snapped, startling Blaire from her
dream
-swirled reality.

After shifting and yawning Blaire focused her attention out the window. In the distance ahead, she spotted a young girl traipsing treacherously close to the tracks. Blaire’s breath caught in her throat as she watched the girl, praying that she didn’t trip and fall into the path of the unstoppable force that revved them toward Borslav. The strangely familiar child who wore a pink dress with white polka dots waved to her. Blaire pressed into the windowpane as the speeding train approached the child. Blaire watched in abstraction as the girl’s hand swayed back and forth. As the train pulled closer, Blaire could see that it was not her hand but her finger, one finger moving side to side in warning. Blaire knew this girl. Full speed ahead, the train sprinted forward with no hesitation. She was close now, so close. At the moment they passed the girl Blaire pushed back in her seat. Her hand shot up, covering her mouth and concealing her alarm as she caught a close glimpse of the little girl who had no eyes, no nose, no mouth, just a distorted, featureless mask, covering what should have been an innocent face.

BOOK: The Unwanted (Black Water Tales Book 2)
10.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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