The Secret Keeper–last half of the story

Ten hours later Tearden was on a plane to America. He’d always wanted to travel but had never had the money. Now he was going on somebody else’s dime. By the way the men kept glancing at him when they thought he wasn’t looking, he couldn’t tell if they didn’t trust him or feared him. The Nicolae hadn’t been a people to fear for the last few centuries. Before that peopled feared they would come and steal their daughters but that was a thing of the past. So it must be that these men don’t trust me, he concluded.

I guess I did lie to them, he thought as he looked out the plane window. But I don’t trust them yet either. The last thing I want them to know is that I inherited a few gifts from Dracul as well.

“We’ll be landing in a few minutes.” David said from the seat next to him.

Tearden was suddenly nervous. I hope I haven’t made a mistake, he thought.

An hour later he was about to enter a building that he could feel had over 60 Nicolae inside. David and Nicholas had implied they had only captured one of the Nicolae. Tearden was led to a room on the fourth floor. There were several men staring at an empty room through a window. A greying man stepped forward.

“You must be Tearden. We’re glad you could join us. My name is Bill and I’m in charge of this investigation. In a couple of minutes we will be interrogating one of the Nicolae. I’ve been informed by Nicholas that that’s what you know them as?”

Tearden nodded. The door to the room opened and a tall muscular soldier brought in a middle aged dark haired man that was undoubtedly Nicolae. The soldier directed him to sit in one of two chairs that sat on either side of a metal table and then stood against the wall. Bill nodded to one of the men and they left the room Tearden was in and then entered the room with the Nicolae.

“Hello Danny, my name is Nick and I’m going to ask you a few question. Are you aware of the consequences if you don’t answer?”

Tearden had never seen a Nicolae look so scared. Not in all of his ancestors memories. “What consequences is he talking about?” He asked Bill.

“For the moment just observe. We’ll discuss things later.”

Maybe this was his purpose. He and his ancestors had always wondered why they were able to access the memories of those that had died before. Every contact his ancestors had ever had with the Nicolae he had knowledge of. He could feel when one of them was near and even pinpoint their exact location. Tearden knew much more about the Nicolae than he planned on letting the Americans know about.

I can make a difference, he thought. Maybe I can help them . . . maybe they’ll let me join them.

Tearden focused back on the interrogation.

“How many of you are there?”

“I don’t know.”

“Tell me how many you know about then.”

Danny paused and licked his lips, obviously nervous. “I can’t tell you how many I know about.”

“Why not?”

“Only our king can give you information relating to us as a people.”

“How about you give it to me anyway.”

“Please . . . I . . . can’t.”

Nick, the interrogator, nodded toward the window and Bill turned to one of the men standing behind them and nodded.

“Go ahead August. One cut on the arm.” The man said as he tapped a device in his ear.

Tearden quickly turned back to the interrogation and watched as a cut mysteriously appeared on Danny’s arm.

“Please, stop hurting her! I’ll tell you everything I can!”

“Okay, how many Nicolae do you know about?”

Tearden could see the panic on Danny’s face.

“I told you I’m not able to tell you. If I could . . . I swear I would.”

Another nod and another cut appeared on Danny’s arm.

“Please . . . ask me something else.”

“Fine. What exactly do you mean when you say you can’t?” Nick asked.

“I physically can’t. If I opened my mouth to tell you, I wouldn’t be able to speak and if I tried to write the information, my hand would be stopped. I can’t give you information that is forbidden, no matter how desperately I wish to. So there is no point in torturing her.”

“Tell me about your king then.”

“There’s not much to tell. He left us around 300 years ago and we haven’t seen him since. We’ve searched but haven’t been successful. That’s about all I’ll probably be able to tell you.”

“You really haven’t been very helpful.” Nick said, nodding at the window.

“Stop!” Danny yelled when another cut appeared on his arm. “What have we done? We haven’t hurt anyone. What right do you have to hold us here?”

“We have a right to protect the American people.” Nick said.

Tearden turned towards Bill. “Let the poor man go. I can give you more information than he can.”

“Really? The facts you gave my men were barely bread crumbs.”

“I had no reason to trust them. I’m not sure I trust you, but I might be able to help both parties.”

Bill spoke into an earpiece and Nick stood up and addressed the soldier. “Take him back.”

Tearden watched as Danny was escorted out of the room, blood still dripping from the three cuts on his arm.

Tearden followed Bill out of the room and into a conference room on the same floor. Four other men joined them and sat around a table. “This is Tearden.” Bill said addressing the other men. “He has some information on the men with powers. Apparently they are called Nicolae. Please introduce yourselves.”

“I’m Josh.” The youngest looking man said first.

“My name’s Nathan.” The next said with a smile.


“My name’s Anthony.” The last man stated, with a nod.

Tearden know nothing about any of them, other then their names but he already liked Nathan and Anthony best. Dale was his least favorite. He seemed . . . well, kind of cold.

“Now that that’s taken care of what can you tell us?”

Tearden took a deep breath. “First off, Danny was right. They won’t be able to tell you anything that will jeopardize their safety or give you any real information about their king, so it would be pointless to continue to interrogate them. However if you found their king, then you could ask him all the questions you want.”

“And I assume you are able to give us that information?” Bill said, leaning forward onto the table.

“I can . . . but before I do, I would like you to promise, in writing, that if you are able to bring him in, I get to be a part of the interrogation.”

“Agreed. Dale, right it up.”

Tearden watched as a document was printed and signed.

“Now . . . what do you know?” Bill said sliding the paper to Tearden.

“The king has a mark on the underside of each wrist in the form of an intricate dragon. They would be mistaken for a tattoo but there not man made. The mark on his left wrist he was born with and will be void of color. The one on the underside of his right wrist will be even more vivid and detailed and will contain many shades and colors.”

“He’ll look between the ages of 21 and 45, regardless of how old he really is. He may have boys but the oldest son will have a similar dragon on his left wrist. About 150 years ago the king at that time told my ancestor that they were headed to America. I’m guessing his descendants are still here.”

“That’s not much to go on.” Bill said.

“The only other thing I can think of that might help is he’ll have moved around a lot. The king can live up to 200 years, so he can’t stay in one place very long. I’m guessing he would also change his name frequently. Also, I doubt he would live anywhere near the Nicolae. He’s been hiding from them for the last 300 years. If any of them saw him they would recognize him.”

“Thank you. Is there anything else?”

“Not that I can think of at the moment.”

“Well If you think of anything call me immediately. Josh will take you to your apartment.” Bill said, dismissing him.

Tearden didn’t hear from anyone for over a week. He quickly got bored of sitting in his apartment and spent the days exploring the city. Josh had given him a credit card to use for food and other needed items, so Tearden took advantage of the time and money to explore different restaurants and shops.

One night as he sat and watched TV the doorbell rang for the first time. Tearden tentatively moved toward the door not sure of what to expect. He looked through the peephole and quickly opened the door.

“They found the king,” Josh said. “Bill wants you to come immediately.”

Tearden ran inside and quickly put on his shoes. Finally, Tearden thought, both terrified and excited. If I don’t do this right, I could be considered a enemy to the Americans and a traitor to the Nicolae. But on the other hand I could be a hero. He thought as he left with Josh.

The Secret Keeper

One of the problems with being the holder of a secret centuries old is the constant worry that someone will find out. And when they do . . .

Tearden was such a keeper. He was the great, great, great . . . never mind it was just to many greats to mention. The point is, he was a descendant of one of the most vicious men in history, a man that only his descendants were aware had even existed.

Now there were legends . . . everyone in these parts knew those, but the legends only scratched the surface of who the Nicolae really were. This was the secret passed down to Tearden, a secret that came in the form of memories from his ancestors, every last one of them. It was a lot of information to sort through and a lonely secret to keep.

So when two men in suits knocked on his door asking him if he knew anything about the legends of the Nicolae, he was both terrified and excited.

“May we come inside?”

Tearden swallowed and opened the door for them to enter.

“Please sit down.” The tall brown haired man invited Tearden.

Shouldn’t I be the one inviting my guests to sit, Tearden thought as he sat down in the chair opposite them.

“My name is Nicholas Kline and this is David Robertson,” The tall man said gesturing toward his shorter, stockier companion. “We did some DNA testing on a young man in the U.S. and discovered that he came from this region of the world. In an attempt to find more answers we came here. An old woman a couple towns over said that you might have more information for us.”

The men waited patiently for Tearden to reply. “I’m sorry . . . exactly what information are you looking for?” Tearden said.

“There’s a legend in these parts about a mysterious people called the Nicolae. We want to know how they came to control magic and we’re pretty sure you can tell us.”

“What makes you think I would know anything more then the rest of the town?”

“We’re good at what we do.” David, the shorter man said, speaking for the first time.

“Well? Nicholas asked expectantly.

“Okay . . . well, first off, I don’t think magic is the right word.”

“When and how, did they get this magic or whatever it is you want to call it.”

Tearden took a deep breath and decided to tell them just a little more than what the legends told, “It’s the ability to manipulate matter at will and it started about 100 AD.”

“Do you have this ability?”

“No.” Although Tearden was void of the ability to manipulate matter, he did inherit something from that ancestor of his and these men did not need to know about it. Tearden didn’t mind that he hadn’t inherited all that the Nicolae had. Their power came with a high price. One that Tearden was glad he didn’t have to pay.

“How is it you know about them?”

“Tearden certainly wasn’t going to let them in on the fact that he was a descendant of this heinous man from history. My ancestor was in the same village as their ancestor.” He would keep his real relation a secret. “The knowledge has been shared from father to son for generations.”

“So if you don’t know how it started, can you share what you do know about this power’s origin?”

This is where Tearden needed to be careful. If they found out that the power and curse had affected his ancestors as well even if it was in a different way, then they might want more from him than just answers.

“What I know . . . is that a cruel and viscous man showed up in my ancestors village with the power to control matter. This man and his followers decimated the people killing and raping. His name was Dracul. One man from the village was determined to stop him. The people were not hopeful. What could they do against such power?”

“A couple of years later the man returned. He said that the only way to stop Dracul was for a virgin to willingly put herself in a position where Dracul would notice her. If Dracul harmed her in any way it would bring a curse on him and his followers. Much to the man’s dismay, his own daughter volunteered. When Dracul returned to pillage the village again, this young woman made sure she caught his attention. What happened next isn’t really understood. We know that Dracul raped her and then became furious and left the village with the girl and his men. Every year the descendants of Dracul would show up in the surrounding areas for a day stealing young girls of marriageable age and then disappear again. This happened up until a few hundred years ago when those attacks stopped. There hasn’t been any sign of them since.”

“Did anyone ever try to go after them and get their daughters back?”

“Many did. They would follow their tracks into the mountains but at some point the tracks just stopped. No one was ever able to find or recover their girls.”

“Why do you think it stopped?” Nicholas said.

“I have no idea.” Tearden lied.

“Have you ever met these people?”

“No.” Tearden lied again.

“You seem to know more then anyone else we’ve talked to. Why?” David asked.

“Like I said, my ancestor came from the same village. The knowledge has been passed down to me.”

“There were other people in this village as well that lived to tell the tale?” Nicholas asked, cocking his head slightly.

“Of course.” Tearden swallowed nervously.

“Why is it . . . that you seem to be the only descendant to know any real detail?”

“My ancestor was the village bard. He was afraid that Dracul might come back and seek revenge on the village, so he left, and passed the history to his eldest son, charging him to keep it a secret.” This time Tearden only told a half lie. It was true, that his ancestor left the village with his family but his ancestor was never a village bard.

“Exactly what secret was your ancestor afraid would be known?” David asked.

Oops, Tearden thought scrambling for an answer. “That they had the power to manipulate matter.” He responded a little too quickly.

“The whole village would have known that. I don’t think you’re being completely honest with us and I’m wondering why.” Nicholas said.

“What exactly do you think I’m hiding?” Tearden asked defensively.

“I think you know what happened to them and where they went. I think you’ve met them personally, and I also believe you have a very good idea of their powers.” Nicholas said.

Tearden stood up. “I think you can leave. I’ve been very hospitable to two American strangers and don’t appreciate the accusations.”

“I don’t think you understand. We’re in a bit of a crisis and we think you can help us out.” Nicholas said.

“We would like you to come with us to America. We’ve found some of these people, your people, and we would like you to help us figure out what we should do with them.” David said,

Tearden’s curiosity was peaked. “They are not my people, and did you just say you have the Nicolae in captivity?”

“We do.” David said.

Tearden walked over to the window and looked outside, while he contemplated the ramifications of going with them. If I refuse . . . I wonder if they would take me by force. Then again if I went with them willingly . . . I could . . .

“I’ll go.” Tearden said. “But I expect to be treated respectfully and not like some criminal.

“Why would you think we would treat you any other way?”

“I’m just making sure we understand that I’m coming on as a consultant and will expect payment and accommodations.”

“Agreed. You will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement before we leave.”



End to the first half of a short story based off of a character in one of my books. Second half to come next week.