27,145 / 50,000
I really do enjoy writing dialogue.
The church was of a classical design. It was built mostly out of stone, save for the doors and windows. Charlie knew it had been built almost as early as the town had been founded, and was thus one of the oldest buildings in the entire county, if not the state. He ran a hand along the stone wall, feeling the smooth roughness of the weathered material. Charlie could only imagine what this place must have looked like when it was first built.
Charlie never knew why the church had closed. All he knew was that it had shut down, and it was when he was very young. His parents had been local parishoners, and Charlie was told they used to come here when he was young. He had no memories of it, just what he had been told. Whatever had shut the place down had happened before Charlie could be raised properly in the ways of the church, and his parents never got around to taking him anywhere else. He grew up to find his own path, instead.
Throughout his youth, he had passed by this building a number of times, often daily. It was on the path from his house to school, which he didn't always walk, but most days when he was awake early enough.
He remembered looking up from the vantage point of a boy whom had yet to enter his teens, and staring up at the church. To someone so young, and where he grew up, it was the tallest, most imposing building he had ever seen. Now, with years of travel, and spending time in cities like Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta, it somehow seemed less now.
It's twin spires at each corner did not rise as high now, as they did back then. The church was built similar to the outer wall of a castle, with each corner being constructed to resemble towers, which were almost octagonal in shape, save for where the rest of the church interested with them. The towers were decorative, and did not contain any actual stairwells. The cross-like windows along each side of them let light straight into the main hall of the church. The designer had forgone any stained glass windows, choosing to let natural light in, through regular windows, besides the tower crosses.
Atop each tower, instead of parapets, the towers were capped off with conical rooves, and in between the two, where the high, arched roof of the church came to a point, was a large cross at the front of the church. Charlie had seen it struck with lightning more than once in his time.
The large wooden doors were recessed underneath an arch that mimicked the roof of the church, leaving the dark wood to seem even darker in the shadows. Above it, in between the door and the rooftop, was set a large, round window, with ironwork holding the panes of glass in a spiderweb like shape, all culminating in a smaller circle of glass in the very center.
Charlie was always afraid of the building, since he always remembered it as being closed, and looming large with it's tall towers reaching for the heavens. It was a mixture of a haunted house, and scary religious place to the young Charlie. That forbidden place all the kids wanted to sneak into, and told stories about no one ever spending the night. Legends had cropped up soon after it had closed, building a mythology as strong in the minds of local children as that of Jesus himself.
Now though, it was just like any other building. One among many, with all of its mysticism stripped away, both made up by the children, and the dogma brought in by the church.
Charlie patted the cool stone, feeling the chill even through his thick gloves. He tried to remember what the church had been built with. It was unlike most stone Charlie had seen, a blueish grey and yet somehow familiar. It reminded him of slate, but it was different. He'd spent enough time with slate in his various jobs to know it wasn't that. He had heard the stories of the stones being sent over in boats so many years ago. The cost alone must have been staggering. Charlie had heard stories of people shipping castles across the ocean from England, and while this was no castle, it still most have set back whomever had funded it back quite a sum.
As he stood there remembering what he could about the church that was no longer a church, it finally creeped back into his brain, the name of the stone. All Charlie could do was shake his head, at the ridculous appropriateness of it; bluestone. Not local bluestone either, as that was a far different sort of stone. This was built out of British style bluestone, the same type of stones used in the construction of Stonehenge. There was ever posibility that was the reason the church was built with that type of stone, hoping to forge a strong mystical connection with whatever some saw as the spirit of England.
"I'll give the Order credit, they are consistent to a fault," he said, and passed into the archway, and into the shadows. The building had remained unused the entire time Charlie was in school, since it had closed. He had never given it more thought than those of a frightened child, which he eventually passed by. He stopped feeling the urge to cross the street every time he was near it around the time when he reached puberty. And any and all lingering fears had died in the years since he had parted ways with the town.
There was a feeling of apprehension inside Charlie, though. It wasn't founded on anything, but it was there. He had always hated these sorts of groups, and with the possibility that one of their members might have committed the act in the Four Winds Cafe just made him feel sick to his stomach. There was a high probability that he was stepping into the proverbial lion's den. Charlie longed to have a baseball bat in his hands, or anything for protection, just in case.
He gripped the large brass handle of the left half of the double door and gave it a strong yank. Not strong enough it seemed, as the door remained firm in its archway. Charlie gave it another pull, even more forceful than before. All he succeeded in doing was making the door rattle and he could hear scraping of wood and metal against stone, but it otherwise did not move.
Just as he was about to try again, the right half of the doors opened up beside him, the old hinges creaking into the cold Vermont morning. Inside the half-arch stood a man who looked to be about the age of Charlie's father. Not that Charlie had seen his father to guage what he had looked like upon his death, but a general feeling of late 50s-ness oozed from he man.
The man's hair was greying, but still had about half of its old colour, a dark brown, almost as black as a raven. Charlie could tell he used to dye it, but had ceased not that long ago. His eyes were a dull grey, matching the hair almost. Charlie had been half-expecting a preacher to open the door, but instead this man was dressed casually. His dungarees were worn, but not ripped, the sign of a favourite pair of pants. He had on a pair of thick, brown winter boots which his pants were tucked into, with heavy tread to make getting through the snow and ice all that easier. He had on a plaid flannel shirt with blue the dominant colour, mixed with shades of red, black, grey and yellow, over a red t-shirt. His skin was starting to wrinkle, but only around the eyes and mouth, but Charlie could see spots forming on the back of the hand leaning against the door.
Charlie tried to take a casual look at the man's other hand, but was surprised to discover it was missing. His entire right arm was gone, not even much a stump disturbed the empty, pinned up sleeve. He hid his shock at the realisation, and stopped trying to size up the person standing in front of him.
"Hi there, friend!" he said in a voice almost as cheery as Charlie's sister's. "I heard you making a ruckus out here. We tend to keep that door locked, because this one overlaps it when they shut. If we leave them both open, they usually won't close right, and you don't want that this time of year, do ya? Well, look at me just going on and on, why don't you come in out of the cold, friend?"
Charlie opened his mouth several times to try and interrupt the man, or get a word in edgewise, but he just kept rambling. Charlie soon stopped trying and just waited for him to pause.
"You look mighty trouble there, fella."
"People keep telling me that," Charlie responded during the brief lull for the other person to breathe.
As Charlie passed by the one armed man, he continued on, "Well, that's because it's true, it is. I see it all over your face. I bet you're having a rough day, or is it a rough week? By the looks of ya, it could easily be a rough life. I bet that's it, you've got the look about you."
Charlie was astounded at how much the man could say while saying so little. His shocked expression only helped ingratiate himself with the man even further.
"Yeah, a hard life," Charlie said.
Before he could continue, his new aquaintance started right back up again, as if someone had taken him off pause. "I knew it, that I did. I see folks come through here all the time, that look just like you, and I bet you've got the same story as they do."
Oh I very much doubt that, thought Charlie.
"This place was a great spot to set up a chapter of the Cerulean Order. Secluded, middle of nowhere town, not much in the way of distractiosn, it can wear on a person's soul, you know?" Charlie did know, all too well. Even if he had not had such a rough go of things, he would have left this do nothing town as soon as he could. He had plans of college, somewhere on the other side of the country, and had been accepted to UCLA and Stanford. Plans to start a life of his own, make it big. Unfortunately, Kraftsbury replaced his dreams with nightmares.
"Yep, Kraftsbury is a great place, so many souls crying out for guidance, and I'm more than happy to help them out. It is what mother ocean would want, to embrace our brethren and lift them up to the sky from the darkest depths."
Charlie could feel himself getting ill from all the mumbo jumbo. He did not begrudge anyone that could find their way with this stuff, but it always sent chills down his own spine. Charlie thought it was nothing more than meaningless drivel that only helped people by confusing them into whatever the person spouting it wanted them to think.
"Where are my manners? I'm Richard Meyers. I work as one of the volunteers here. I run most of what goes on here in Kraftsbury."
Needless to say, Charlie had his doubts about the truth of that statement. He's sure Richard believed it, but if this place did have anything to do with whatever was going on in Charlie's life, then this guy was little more than a front man. He ran his mouth far too much, and offered up an astounding amount of information for someone who would be any sort of mastermind. At the most, Richard ran the day to day, front of the business sort of things, with the actual support group type work this place claimed to partake in.