Please help me welcome Mark Edward Jones with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series, A Gentleman from the Darkness...
I had been outlining a prequel series to my current Detective Henry Ike Pierce series. It included the origin stories of several of the protagonists and antagonists. I adapted that idea with a thin layer of paranormal activity from the main antagonist for a Friday the 13th
It is 1968, and the secretive Group of Thirty has resisted the new Czech regime installed after the Prague Spring. Professor Valentýn Hrubý leads this campus group, fighting for the reforms crushed by Russian tanks. Hrubý keeps lists to help his forgetfulness, and the authorities discover one of these lists, one that shows the names of his associates. The new government hires an assassin to track and dispose of the group’s members. Dressed in a three-piece suit and topped by his ever-present black fedora, Karanosz Tasev stalks his prey.
It is Friday, twelve days before Christmas, and the wolf has arrived.
Dominika let her kitchen door drift open, pushed by a frigid gust. All appeared as they had left it—no power, but the moon glowed in the clearing skies, shafts of light flashing through the shabby curtains. Still shivering, she slunk into the living room. All seemed quiet.
She sucked a deep breath, knowing it was time. The creepy, moldy basement waited with its archaic circuit breaker box hung from a wooden stud near the last step. The door squealed as they all did in this residence, and she instinctively reached to the left, flipping the light switch as if it would do any good. Moonlight filtered through the half window at the basement’s ceiling, offering a sliver of white flowing into the dungeon-like space. She slid her hand gently down the splintery rail and counted the seven steps to the bottom.
Dominika had never had the strength to snap open the latch to the circuit box’s cover. Valentýn had always been the one to take care of this, including replacing dead fuses. But had he not shut the lid the last time? The latch dangled, and spider webs hung fragmented below the box, dancing in the stirred air. She spewed an icy breath, guessing this was not her husband’s doing.
She yanked open the cold metal cover. The individual breakers were on, but the master switch had flipped. She used both hands to pull the switch up. A flash over the stairs, and a yellow glow flooded the dusty space. Dominika exhaled, at once proud she had fixed the issue but wondering how many lights she had left on while running about the house that evening.
She clutched her stomach, consciously slowing her breaths … the sounds, though. Her chest movements slowed, but the breaths grew faster and heavier. She sucked in and held, but the breathing continued. She touched the rail and took a step.
A round object ground into the middle of her back. A man’s snicker blew against her neck, followed by a whiff of cigarettes and body odor.
“Surprise,” a voice mumbled with a heavy Russian accent.
A silhouette emerged from under the stairs. It bumped into the staircase, knocking a fedora cockeyed as the man came into the light. She shivered while she mouthed his name—Tasev.
About the Author…
Mark retired from higher education finance in 2017 and started writing as a new career. The first of the Detective Henry Ike Pierce series, Peculiar Activities, was published in October 2021. The second in the series, Shadowed Souls, is in the editing phase will a publication later in 2022. A Gentleman from the Darkness is his first short story, and his first in a Friday the 13th