Arkhaven logo

Book 1: The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Prologue Part 2: A Shadow in The Basement

“Johan Bernhard! You scared the living snot out of me!” Charlie whined in a cracking voice that in an older man would’ve come off less like whining, and more like righteous indignation.

“Oh Charlie, I was just here hunting some with my old man to see if all the rumors of bears sniffing around this far south was real. You all should probably not be out so early till we know if they’re rummaging around or not.” Johan’s father was the local Game Warden big man himself. What did you call a Game Warden boss? Chief? Sheriff? Big Shot? Bohdan had a sudden curiosity, and since nothing much seemed to be happening while they waited to be let into the looming country club castle he decided to break out his phone to check.

“Bernhard you, and I both know a black bear is going to leave loud punks alone especially when we have two bigger blond bears right here,” Charlie punched Karl and Harald's shoulders getting some awkward laughs out of the boys who were obviously not comfortable with their oversized bodies yet. Bohdan also imagined they were wondering if that was an insult or a compliment. Knowing Charlie it was probably both.

The boy thought jabbering other kids was hilarious. Bohdan had to admit the antics kept the weirder basement dwelling weebs away which gave anyone around the middle school football captain peace from the awkwardness. That type of social reject always assumed the solo quiet kid who liked videogames had to be part of their number. Guess again nerd. Bohdan had grown into his loneliness, and was rather fond of his alone time. Also, Game Warden ranks are hard to find on the internet. Strange.

“Whatever you say Captain,” Bohdan almost forgot Johan was on the football team,” I take it you guys are up to something.” That was a statement not a question. A blind man would know a bunch of middle schoolers up past three in the morning, even on a weekend, were breaking some kind of curfew. Or a proper space raid in Bohdan’s case.

Maybe if he changed the wording of his search for Game Warden Ranks he’d have better luck. For guys tasked with tagging fish, and ticketing boomers for not keeping up to date on their hunting license they kept themselves a bit mysterious.

“You could say that Bernhard,” Charlie started. Bohdan rolled his eyes as he heard the social game start. The Captain would save face pretending it was no big deal, Johan would keep hinting that he wanted to hang out but would be too embarrassed to ask directly. So on and so forth. They weren’t doing that tonight.

“You can come along Johan,” Bohdan called while still having his nose buried in his phone,” We’re ghost hunting at the Country Club Basement tonight.” Charlie looked up almost as if he’d forgotten Bohdan was there even though he’d practically black mailed the local loner into joining the group. When they were in elementary school Charlie used to try to badger Bohdan a bit till they got in a proper fist fight. 

Since the Mayor was not only a master martial artist, but also Bohdan’s father the old man had been training his son since birth on multiple combat stances. Instead of that becoming a problem Charlie had latched on to Bohdan like the over obsessed extrovert he was. Also, he took lessons with Bohdan’s father now, and was Bohdan’s sparring partner. There was mutual trouncing now, and Bohdan had the bruises to prove it. 

Was this loner annoyed at the extrovert’s antics? Sometimes, but most shut-ins like mayor's son still wanted to be invited to places. They just wanted the option to say no. Bohdan was being taught by Charlie that was not an acceptable option in the male half of society. Say no too much, which is often once when dealing with high ranking Alpha types, then you’ll stop being invited to places. The things you learn. Bohdan was the type to still say no despite getting phased out, but Charlie was able to out endure anything when he set his mind to the task.

“Linda getting burned by the angry Apache ghosts. Yeah I want in on getting payback for that.” Bohdan raised an eyebrow. A pup wanted revenge on long dead Indian pillagers. Interesting. Oh! So boss wardens are called Captains like in police forces. Captain Bernhard then was Johan’s father. Now Bohdan could sleep in peace if Charlie ever let him go to bed.

“Everyone knows about this place but me,” Charlie huffed, crossing his arms that seemed like sticks compared to Harald and Karl’s guns. Again an unfair comparison, but he was constantly around the pair of giant Viking cousins so he was still to blame in his own way.

“That’s because this is a core part of New Venice history. Everybody learns about the Apache Massacre at Bloody Valley,” Karl said in a rare rebuke of his football Captain. Karl and Harald’s families were OG original founder families. They had some direct ancestors on the revenge posse that chased down the Apache who had just tortured a whole school house full of kids, and raped the teacher to death.

Pretty standard apache raid stuff. Bohdan always found it interesting that they still called the event an Indian massacre in every history book written outside of New Venice, and the horrible bloody death of twenty white school children and their teacher was just another footnote in history to be ignored.

As far as this white boy was concerned they should erect a monument to celebrate the posse. Only weak modern men thought they weren’t meant to avenge the deaths of loved ones.

Revenge may be of the Lord, but that as his father always taught him was meant to comfort those who could not seek revenge. Those who had no way to find justice in life. The passage was not meant to hamstring those who could seek, and thus enact justice on Earth. The Israelites were overrun by their enemies more than once for failing to purge the unjust judges and corruption in their ranks.

“Fine you got me. I slept through most of the local story stuff in history class, and hey Hadrian you said we were waiting on Greg to let us in. He’s already in there look,” Charlie pointed over to the allegedly haunted country club castle. There in a lower basement the lights were flickering on and off.

Following Charlie’s finger Bohdan saw that he was pointing directly at a dark shape in the window of the basement level staring right back at them. They were too far to see anything but a shadow like head and shoulders. The shape was undeniably human if darker than you would expect even at this distance. Also, flipping those lights on and off again was a quick way to develop epilepsy.

“That’s not him, Captain,” Hadrian said slowly...

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

Click the image below to follow and support the Grizzly Clan, and keep the stories flowing.

A Shadow In the Basement panel 4
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
List icon
Comment icon
Prev icon
Next icon
Fullscreen icon