Be Not Afraid - Part Two: a John Hansen, Chris Mills Collaboration

Updated on November 1, 2019
Jodah profile image

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

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The Story Continues

Be Not Afraid was intended to be just a one-off short horror story, suitably scary for Halloween, and leaving it up to the reader to imagine their own ending whether "happy ever after", or otherwise. However, the responses we received in comments where overwhelmingly encouraging us to continue the story and offer more of a closure. Readers seemed to be genuinely concerned with what would happen to Gerald, and to a slightly lesser extent, Beth.

Being the kind hearted souls that we are, and always open to suggestions, Chris and I conferred, and decided to continue the story. Welcome to the second chapter of Be Not Afraid. * There is a saying "be careful what you wish for," and so if you want full closure and to know the final outcome you will have to read part three (coming soon.)

Be Not Afraid-Part 2

Gerald’s mind was torn. On the one hand he wanted to stay away from the power of the figurine, and clear his head, recover his memory, and return to some form of normality. But, on the other hand this voracious hunger was consuming him. He needed to satisfy it first.

Tucking the oilskin bag into his pocket he made his way into the park. It was almost midnight so, apart from a few homeless sleeping soundly on the benches and the odd drunk taking a shortcut home, the place was quiet. He had no idea what he was hoping to find, in fact, most of the animals were asleep so his chance of finding prey was remote to say the least. But, he had to try…he was hungry, so hungry.

There were streetlights around the perimeter of the park and a few where the main walking and bike tracks meandered through, but Gerald made his way to a more remote and secluded section. The full moon provided enough light for him to make his way around and, anyway, in this changed form his night vision and other senses had become much more acute.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay | Source

A rustling in the bushes just off to his left caught his attention. He stayed still and listened for a moment, but then slowly and cautiously made his way towards it. A deer had gone to the small man-made lagoon to drink but one leg had become entangled in a piece of fishing line (children often played truant from school and came here to hide, and fish instead.) That fishing line, in turn, had obviously snagged on a bush and the deer was struggling to free itself.

“Be not afraid,” Gerald coaxed as he edged closer. “Such a lovely creature,” he said as it looked up at him with big frightened eyes. Then, in a flash, Gerald pounced. His hand gripped the small head, and with one quick and powerful twist the creature fell limp and lifeless at his feet. He crouched down and feasted gluttonously, ripping flesh from the still warm corpse.

Once satisfied, he lumbered back towards the abandoned warehouse. He replaced the oilcloth bag and “amulet” (that word emerged in his mind) into their hiding place and went to sleep.

Abandoned warehouse Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay
Abandoned warehouse Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay | Source

Gerald stood precariously on sanity ́s knife-edge. If he kept the figurine hidden, he thought more clearly, but it beckoned him constantly.

He remembered that his name was Dr. Gerald Thompson, an archeologist. Another name came to him almost simultaneously—Dr. Bethany Shackleford,a professional colleague, ex-lover, and the woman he had attacked on the street. He also remembered her address.

#

Beth wasn’t the type who scared easily, but she had to admit the recent encounter,or re-encounter, with Gerald disturbed her and she wasn’t sure what to do about it.

She had no way of contacting him anyway, and did she even want to after being attacked by him and seeing what he had become? But, saying that, could she just ignore their previous friendship, and how did he become…the way he was? These questions played on her mind and she decided to do all she could to investigate what had happened to Gerald.

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

#

Gerald made his way down alleys and along dark streets carrying a metal box he had found in the warehouse. It held the items he valued most.

He entered a building. People stared at his filthy, torn clothes. A stairway got him to the 13th floor without encountering anyone else.

He approached the door and pressed the doorbell. Floorboards squeaked as someone moved across the room and fell silent as they observed him through the peephole. The door opened slowly and Beth’s face appeared.

“Gerald! Is it really you? She pushed the door until it was almost closed. The last time I saw you...

“I barely remember that, but yes Beth, it is me.”

“I’m sorry. Come in, please.” She backed away as he entered the room. She saw his dishevelled appearance, but threw caution to the wind. “This is a surprise Gerald,” she paused slightly, “It’s good to see you again, my friend.”

They took a seat on the couch.

“Here, let me set that on the coffee table for you.” Beth reached for the box.

“No!” He jerked the box away from her, his eyes wide with fear, or anger.

She put her hands up. “Okay, okay. I understand you don’t want me to touch it.”

“I have some things to tell you about my time in Thailand,” Gerald said.

“And I need to tell you what I’ve learned about that same topic,” she said. “But you go first.”

Gerald stood and paced the room. He still held the box in front of him. “I was digging one day away from the city in an area rich in folklore.” Gerald opened the box. “I found this.” An amulet representing a hideous creature hung by a leather cord from his hand. He quickly put it back into the box. “And this.” He showed Beth a leather casing and a parchment wrapped in oilskin cloth inside.

“Do you know what it says?” Beth stood and joined him in the middle of the room.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay | Source


≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ to be continued ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

© 2019 John Hansen

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    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Good to see you back on board Roderick. Thanks for your thoughts on what you would have done in Beth’s position too. I tend to agree.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      9 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      I have been out of commission for a while, but finally getting to read this continues to pique my interest. I feel gipped by the shortness of the article. Gerald was about to reveal something awesome.

      Beth, bless her heart, she is on meds or something. I would have called The People to come and get Gerald. I might not have let him into my house and if I did, the conversation would not have been so casual. He would have had to shower too.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I agree Lawrence. If I was Beth I would have stayed a million miles away.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris and John

      The mystery gets better and better. Beth is a little too trusting though.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A very trusting girl is Beth..lol. Thanks for reading Li- Jen.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      10 months ago

      Haha, I'm curious to know what the parchment says. I like that Beth still welcomed him into her house.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Hey Linda. I was going to drag the ending out for a day or two up Chris wouldn’t let me.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      10 months ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm off to read Part 3. I'm glad you didn't make us wait.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I understand Nikki. Most readers hated that part. Thank you for reading.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      10 months ago from London

      I felt so sorry for the little deer, how he was torn apart into and been eaten, heartfelt incident. Gerald is an animal in form of human or deceasing his humanity to become a beast. Getting over to third part to read what happened after.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I agree Lora. Gerald is not nice at all when he is in beastly form and only concerned with his hunger. I hope you enjoy the conclusion.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      10 months ago

      I felt so sorry for that beautiful deer! I certainly don't like Gerald in the state that he is now and I hope that he can go back to being who he was before this Mr. Hyde transformation! I can't wait to see what happens to him in the conclusion.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Flourish, Gerald certainly can be an animal. I feel sorry for his prey. Thanks for following on.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Rodric, thank you for your insights. Yes the deer satisfied Gerald’s hunger for awhile. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      That poor deer. How awful that he told it not to be afraid before snapping its head and tearing it apart. Beth needs to watch out for this guy. He's an animal.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      10 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      The pull on Gerald of the cursed object is not so strong now that his hunger is satiated by that dear. I hope Beth is not on the menu next. He tried attacking her previously. I would not trust him. This is good. Thanks for continuing.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Glad the plot is keeping you interested Ruby. That Beth is one brave girl. Enjoy part three.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      10 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Well the plot thickens. If I was Beth I would put on my running shoes and get out of Dodge. I too wonder what happened to Gerald to make him act like an animal. I see you have the next installment written===Off I go into the wild blue yonder.....

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, Shannon, it is hard to ignore when most of your readers call for more. We do value you, so we have even published the third and final part as well. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      10 months ago from Texas

      Ask and you shall receive more teasing? LOL. I'll be watching for the conclusion. :) How fortunate we are that you value your readers enough to give us more.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for reading and enjoying Jason. Glad you liked the Dark Piano accompaniment too.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I am glad we managed to leave you hooked and curious for the next chapter Pamela. ope you enjoy part 3.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks, Shauna. I am glad we decide to continue as well. Most tall buildings here in Australia also skip a 13th floor. Now you know why.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      We really appreciate you being drawn in, Lorna. Thank you.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Bill, and the readers sure shouted loudly that they wanted more haha. Cheers.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Bill, and more you shall receive.

    • Nicoartz profile image

      Jason Nicolosi 

      10 months ago from AZ

      Thrilling and suspenseful. I need more, more! I love reading it while that Dark Piano plays in the background. So creepy, nice mood setter. Great job guys!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Pamela, you are asking all the right questions. Thanks for reading so carefully.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Shauna, I guess Beth may want to rethink living on the 13th floor. Of course, she has to keep on living to do that.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Lorna, There is definitely more to come. I'm glad the story is pulling you in.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      We're glad you are enjoying it, Tiyasha.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Eric, You never know the twists a story can take, or how many.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      10 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Clive, I'm a short story guy. haha. Thanks for reading.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I am happy that you wrote part 2 of this story and you are not done. I am curious as to what changed Gerald, and also, I want to know what Beth found out. I am also curious as to what Gerald has in the metal box that he is holding onto. You two really wrote an interesting 2nd part of this story that has all of us hooked.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      10 months ago from Central Florida

      John, I'm so glad you and Chris decided to continue with this story. Gerald seems to be remembering things, and apparently Beth has been doing some research of her own.

      I find it interesting that Beth lives on the 13th floor. Most tall buildings in the U.S. don't have a 13th floor. They'll jump from 12 to 14 because of the superstitions behind the number 13.

      I'm off to part three. Can't wait to see what happens next!

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      10 months ago

      This tale has a habit of drawing you in and leaves you wanting more. Nice work John and Chris.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always leave the reader wanting more...that's what you two have done and a bravo is shouted in your direction.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Glad.you are finding the story creepy, Tiyasha. See you on part 3 soon.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      We said it was terrifying, Eric. You have to read Part 3 to find out Beth”s fate.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for the encouragement Clive. Part three is published.

    • Cattaleya profile image

      Tiyasha Maitra 

      10 months ago from Gurgaon

      I am really enjoying this series John. Will go on to part 3 in some time. Ooooh the shivers!!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am terrified and will be back later. Will she also be afflicted? I do not know.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      10 months ago from Jamaica

      Nice, continue and do the novella.

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