ABOUT THE STORY
It starts with BLINDED (my novella of 18,298 words), which sets the stage for The D’Arkane Files. That novella is included in my NIGHT DESCENDS collection:
Morgan wondered what had happened to her life. Sure, you have a responsibility to take care of sick family until the very end. It’s what you do for those you love. But after her mother died all she had left was an uncle she was once close to but they had drifted apart. And her life had become a routine of working in a meaningless, mundane, job with no future and very little energy for anything else. She just couldn’t break out of it. Then a mysterious, burning, mark appeared on her chest the same day she got a call that her uncle had disappeared in what she discovered was one of the most haunted and bizarre regions of our planet, the Hoia Baciu forest in Romania. People have experienced the inexplicable, disappeared and died there for centuries and after a cursory search local authorities had given up trying to find him. He was the only family she had left so she decided she had to find him even if it meant doing things she’d never done before. It’s what you do for those you love.
Much of the story is set in one of the most paranormally active areas of the world. In a region rife with legends that have resulted in derivative stories, books and movies that have delightfully scared generations of us going all the way back to, and even further beyond, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Most of us realize and have learned that behind many legends and myths are often some truth. Through the ages men have searched for objects and beings of power, told about in stories and folklore, that could help them dominate mankind or benefit them in some way. There is so much we’ve still to learn about our world and its past. We’ll find that some of what they searched for exists. The legends, though warped and muddled over eons, have some truth in them. Strange things are out there in our world to be rediscovered. And sometimes… feared. Some of what we may come to find that’s been lost… would have been better left buried and forgotten.
Morgan discovers this firsthand. She finds out what’s in the Hoia Baciu and that it’s been freed, mistakenly, by her uncle. She has to save him and also prevent a powerful, malevolent, demon from being able to walk, at large, in our world. What she doesn’t know is that the demon wants her to come and find her uncle. It’s waiting for her.
[From some of my First Look Readers who received an advance copy of the novella.]
“Absolutely fascinating story! Once I started, I could not stop reading. Your very vivid descriptions of scene after scene made the reader feel as if he was there experiencing it alongside the characters. When it comes to the paranormal genre, the sign of a good writer is one who causes a reader’s heartbeat to quicken. Mine did!” –Jim Zumwalt
“I really enjoyed this. Many times you hear people say – I couldn’t put it down. I don’t always agree with them but in this case it definitely held true. The pacing is very fast, like an action movie – and keeps you going from scene to scene. The headers with time/location worked well for that as it didn’t require lengthy exposition to set a new scene.” –Doug Metz
“OMG, I loved this! But then again, I do love your writing. I had to put it down the first few times I started to read it because I was at work and couldn’t keep reading. A wonderful thing to have as a reader. I would love to continue reading the story. It’s a great story, moves at a nice clip and all the characters are interesting and beautifully written. It’s like I’m right there with them.” –Susan Lewis
“You can’t stop now Dennis… a masterpiece in the making. I love how defined you have made each time period. And, how relatable the characters especially in relationship of one to another. Written on the heels of halloween, I held my breath, cheered for the heroes and applauded their courage. This takes the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions… pain, sorrow, brewing love and more. Bravo Dennis!” –Lena Kindo-Kamara
“I loved it! I was not ready for it to end, honestly. There seemed to be more to be said. You are so very good at what you do. Loved Morgan and the fact that she was a barista. I may have squealed a little bit when she busted open the Sumatra. Alex was a bit of a mystery, which I am sure was intentional. Anyhow…thank you again. It was perfect for today [Halloween].” –Dawn Hart Jackson
Excerpt from the draft–a scene that occurs shortly after the end of BLINDED–that reveals more of the backstory and steps deeper into what Morgan has gotten herself into:
“The unconscious sends all sorts of odd beings, terrors, and deluding images into the mind whether in a dream, broad daylight, or insanity. For the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the neat little dwelling we call our consciousness, goes down, deep, into dark unsuspected caves.” The scar that ran along the tall young man’s face was visible as he spoke, the light from the window catching it, even through the stubble of a 5-day old beard.
Joshua Clayton turned in his wheelchair and looked up at him, “You’re paraphrasing Joseph Campbell… and the words are accurate. But, what exists in the caves in that region,” he pointed at the map, “according to the files Thomas D’Arkane took from Heinrich Himmler’s vault before the fall of Berlin in late April of 1945, is not imagination. It’s fear itself.”
“Who is Thomas D’Arkane?” Morgan asked as she poured fresh coffee into two cups.
Her uncle, the gray-haired legless man, and the tall, disfigured, younger man looked at each other. After a moment, the older man spoke, “It’s difficult to describe him.” He shook his head. “But basically, he is… was…” he looked up at Alex standing by the window next to the table and then at his niece. “Our employer.” He picked up his cup, sipped and scalded his tongue. “Hot!” The cup gave out a ceramic on metal ring as he set it back down. He glanced again at the silent man. “You know the rumor that D’Arcane actually worked for Himmler?”
“It was never proved. D’Arkane’s war record shows he was OSS.” Alex pulled a chair out and sat at the table.
Joshua noted that he selected the one next to Morgan. “Well, we know documents can be forged…” he studied Alex, who shifted in his chair not looking at him. “I believe he did work for Himmler… and I think he actually caught him emptying his secret repository and killed him before escaping his fate with the Allies… or worse, the Russians.”
The cup clank came from Morgan this time. “You mean your boss is a Nazi?”
The two men avoided her glare. Her uncle looked into his coffee and tasted it again. “It’s complicated…”