Count Desmodus LbNA # 11463 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Oct 8 2004|
|Last Found||Apr 21 2007|
7/12/2008 - checked today and this one has been removed, destroyed, or washed away.
31 Oct. Olathe. Left Bucharest Oct 25. My host made arrangements for a carriage to meet me at Indian Creek trailhead on East side of Black Bob south of 127th street across from Olathe Library – Indian Creek branch.
Slept fitfully last night, with strange visions and dreams. It was either the wind blowing the Bradford pears outside my window or the Big Bubba’s ribs I had for dinner.
While I waited in the parking lot, a young mother with a jogging stroller asked me where I was headed. When I shared my destination, her face paled and she shrieked “Must you go? Don’t you know what day it is?” Surprised, her child looked up momentarily from the game he was playing on his mother’s cell phone.
I tried to politely excuse myself, but she fell to the ground and grasped my ankles and implored me to at least wait a few days. Her water bottle fell from its cupholder on the stroller, and began to spill on the ground. Embarrassed, I picked it up and helped her to her feet.
She reached into the pouch of her windsuit and pushed something into my hand – “at least take this with you!”
I felt the bulk of a combination MP3 player/heart monitor. Awkwardly I thanked her for her concern and extracted myself to the entrance to the trail, as I strapped the monitor strap around my chest and arranged the earbuds on my head.
As I stood at the odd triangle-shaped sign, I was relieved to see the black carriage arriving on the path to my left. The driver had a strange smile as he grasped my hand like a vise and nearly tossed me into the cab.
He turned the twin black horses around, and we were ensconced in the forest from which he had come. The sun was beginning to set and I shuddered with a chill, but not from the cold.
I was trying not to think of my strange encounter with the soccer mom on the parking lot. I assumed her Zoloft prescription had been held up at the pharmacy due to some sort of clerical error, but it still was quite unsettling.
I unconsciously fingered the MP3 player to settle my mind, and was soothed by the sounds of Nelly pumping “I got the can’t stop, won’t stop in my veins, that’s why they can’t stop won’t stop screaming my name…”
After a moment passed, I saw a river on the right side of the path. Farther ahead I could see that a gloomy bridge crossed the river. Momentarily we arrived at a park bench, and I entertained hope that we would turn left and head alongside the road out in the sunlight. But instead he stayed the course and soon we were in the darkness under the bridge.
It may have been only a minute or so under the bridge, but it seemed like more. At length we made it to the other side, and I was surprised when the driver jerked the horses to follow a path on the left, rather than continue along the river. We climbed a hill and looped around until we were heading East alongside a road.
The darkness was quite profound by now, and a rain was pelting the side of the carriage. I felt sympathy for the horses and driver getting the worst of it. I peeked my head out the window and saw a signpost of some kind; we turned again to the left and the carriage headed down a steep hill.
At this point I heard a faint howling ahead of us, which began to frighten me. But my attention was otherwise engaged as the driver cracked his whip repeatedly, and the horses raced down the hill. The carriage bounced along at such a speed that I had to close my eyes. At the bottom of the hill the path turned sharply to the right, and I had no hope that we would make the turn. The outer wheels left the road for several seconds, but somehow the brave horses pulled the carriage back right. I no longer felt sympathy for the driver.
By this time we were close alongside a forest, and the unmistakable howling of wolves was too loud to ignore. I thought I glimpsed the icy blue eyes of dozens of wolves pacing the carriage just inside the skirt of the woods. I hollered to the driver to ask if he saw them, but the only reply I received was a gleaming smirk.
By this time I was frightened beyond what I could imagine. What began as a business appointment now seemed like a foolhardy mistake. My heart was thumping wildly, and the peak heart rate alert was beeping at my waist as I pulled my cloak tighter.
We headed downhill to the left, and just as suddenly as the trip had started the driver skidded the carriage to a halt under the outstretched branches of a grand oak tree. As I exited my compartment, the wordless driver nodded his head down a dirt path to the left of the carriage. I stepped out with my laptop case in tow and walked through the mud and shadows.
The path ended at a medium-sized tree about 10 feet from the edge of a stream. Looking in both directions, I spotted a dwelling to my left and faced that way. At this point each step required all the courage I could find. One, two, three steps … eleven, twelve … finally after exactly 28 steps, I stopped and leaned against a tree on the right of the path.
Walking to the other side of the tree, I realized I had found my host’s home. After pausing momentarily to arrange myself, I knocked at the grand entrance.
And now I stand waiting to meet the man whose invitation caused my strange journey this night, Count Desmodus.
-- apologies to Bram Stoker