This is my entry for GreatHites #63. Lot of good authors over there I’m competing with – extremely pleased with the turn out for this topic. There is a bit of extra at the end of the recording so if you don’t normally listen you might check it out this one time. 🙂
July 21st 1897
To my dearest friend and mentor Father Daniel,
I write to you with desperate haste. I do hope the mail courier is able to procure this letter in a timely fashion for I require your knowledge and insight. As you know, Bishop Crane bequeathed to me his post in the town of Fairview New Mexico. The inhabitants here are finding themselves drawn to God and I find myself his living incarnation fighting for their salvation. Silver fever has polluted the many souls here and they look to me to make it right. We are also without a reputable physician so we have become reliant on the trite medical knowledge I acquired under Father Casper during my Monastery days.
The daughter of a prosperous business man Frank Winston, was brutally attacked. The poor dear was taken from her bed while she slept by something awful. She found herself clutching to life in their stable with a deep gash in her back. Daniel, it was unlike anything I have seen in all my forty years. No known animal or blade did that to her. Towns folk here formed a lynch mob that did little more than prowl the out-land ranches and scare a few sleeping farmers. These people are untamed and quick to band together, it makes me nervous.
I write to you because I fear something ungodly might be upon us. Your work with the young Doctor Van Helsing will hopefully be able instruct me and guide me in this dark hour.
May the mighty shepherd keep you and bless you,
July 29th 1897
I’m sorry to hear your new post is not going to be the highlight of your missionary career, but then again, you might find yourself canonized by the locals should sleuth this attack into a justifiable fruition. I would much prefer to come to you for direct correspondence, for I fear it will be most grave if not resolved quickly. Unfortunately, my own duties to the church bar me from such travel. By the time you receive this letter I predict at least one more soul will have fallen victim to this daemonic presence and I pray it not be you. So you must act quickly.
You are in the heartland of indigenous Navajo unrest. You very well might be under attack from one of the most outlawed cultural practices. Much like the satanic witches that permeated the civil unrest of the new world years ago, the local native inhabitants of this land are no stranger to their own practitioners of the dark art. You must not under any circumstance venture out during the night. Encourage the people of Fairview to follow this same instruction, at least until an acceptable explanation can be found. There are certain tasks ahead of you, a few of which I pray you fail, for if you succeed, you are in a danger of the highest caliber.
I need you to start keeping track of the moon cycles. Each day, during dawn or twilight, mark down how much of the white face is exposed. On this same record you must note when the attacks occur. Write to me when you have two weeks worth of observation.
Second, you must venture into the mountains and look for the Atropa belladonna plant. The people there are sure to know it as the deadly nightshade. Look for any sign it is being harvested or cultivated unnaturally.
Thirdly it would behoove you to gain the allegiance of the local correspondent to the indigenous Navajos of the area. Thomas for your own safety they must understand you are a friend to all of the Navajo people. Under no circumstance is he to know that you might possibly suspect his people of anything. Learn all you can about their feelings toward the presence of Fairview’s settlers.
Lastly Thomas, you must persuade some of the local miners to show their support for the church in raw silver ore. Once you have adequate enough supply, conscript the local blacksmith to make you a walking stick tipped on both ends with silver caps and also a new rosary. This may be of use and protect you against the daemon, for most cannot bare the touch of silver.
God bless you,
August 20th 1897
You were correct about the attacks, we have seen two more as I write this letter. The local school teacher, one Miss Lori Kelstin, was found next to a nearby creek with her body completely shredded. Daniel it was a horror that will scar me for this life and the next. Also the banker’s son, Phillip Augustus, has gone missing. It has posed too much for the populous to take. This place is not safe for anyone, and more people are leaving everyday. By the time you receive this correspondence my Sunday mass will be attended by the last horde of miners standing steadfast by their government claims. Still clinging to the hope of striking it rich, they will die before they leave and I fear they will. God has put me here to erase this evil from existence and I’ll see it done, if it is the last thing I do.
My observation of the moon and attacks directly relate to each other. When the full whiteness is exposed we have reason to be afraid. The full moon brings this plague of evil upon us without fail. By my calculation the next attack will happen in one weeks time when the moon is full again. Daniel, it is by the simple mathematical principle of probability that I fear for my own life now.
I sought out the Atropa belladonna as you instructed. I found most of it quite undisturbed except for one patch on the outskirts of a local Navajo settlement. The berries were picked clean, and some of the leaves were visibly torn off. I was advised that the plant is completely poisonous in all respects. Whatever animal fell victim to it’s alluring beauty would surely be dead within a day or two.
The local Navajo correspondent and I have become acquainted, also at your instruction. The subject of the attacks seems taboo for us to talk about. I have expressed my concern for his people in the area but he seems very indifferent to the whole situation and fears not for them. We have discussed at length the history of his people. It is quite obvious to me now that we have no place here.
I’ve resorted to turning the church into a fortress of God’s light to illuminate this darkness. I enlisted the services of the remaining craftsman to barricade the windows with heavy timber and reinforce the doors with heavy iron bindings. Something taps the outside of the building at night and prevents me from getting adequate sleep.
Jesus Daniel what is happening here? What must I do? Please help.
September 1st 1897
It is exactly as I feared. This letter should reach you eight days time before your relief. I’ve communicated the gravity of your situation to our people in Albuquerque. I’ve convinced the proper authorities that it is in the Church’s best interests to extract you from your situation and leave the fate of the town in God’s hands. I will come myself and receive you in Albuquerque.
Thomas I believe you are in the evil clutches of none other than a native Skin-walker. No doubt the local Navajo Medicine Man has fallen from grace. He seeks retribution for the forced March of his people to Fort Sumner by the U.S. Army Forces those many savage years ago.
He is using the extract from the Atropa belladonna to make himself a nightly potion so that he may practice Lycantrophy and manifest the daemon purely out of his own energy. If you come into contact with the man before the beast, you must not kill the man. If the beast is created and the man dies, the beast will turn into a ravenous vampire that will kill anything it can. For the vampire, requires abundant amounts of the life force to survive. Warn everyone you can to defend themselves with silver if it comes to it.
You should at all costs avoid contact with the beast. Lay low until they come for you Thomas. Let God sort it out. It is not worth the risk to your life my friend.
Praying desperately for you,
September 5th 1897 – message delivered via Western Union Telegraph Service.
TO: Father Daniel
FROM: Church of Christ Albuquerque New Mexico
FATHER THOMAS STATUS: DECEASED.
B. CASPER REQUESTS YOU PERSUE INVESTIGATION.
September 9th 1897
TO: Doctor Van Helsing (recorded dictation from Father Daniel)
Abraham the church needs you, I need you. One of my dearest friends was taken from me in a small desert town of the American South West. I believe he was killed by ancient native American lycantrophic means. You will know what to do. Please come at once to Albuquerque New Mexico, US.
September 12th 1897 – message delivered via Western Union Telegraph Service.
TO: Father Daniel Albuquerque New Mexico
FROM: Abraham Van Helsing England
TRAVEL TO U.S. NOT POSSIBLE.
ONTO SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT WITH J. SEWARD
L. WESTERNA LIFE AT STAKE
Daniel crumpled the thin telegraph paper in his fist and brought his hands up in prayer. L. Westerna could only be one person. Lucy, lovely Lucy, the daughter of the one woman he ever loved. He would go to England, to Doctor Van Helsing, and to Lucy. He would give his own blood and life if it meant saving hers.
Danny Machal July 28th, 2009