Excerpt from “Chapter Fourteen: Something’s In The Drumheller Library”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Fourteen: Something’s In The Drumheller Library”:

St. Charles’s autumn atmosphere had a peaceful smoldering
scent of burnt embers as the Canadian geese flew overhead,
distancing themselves from their northern haven. Something
about the sound of the neighborhood wind chimes at this time of year
brought the crisp and magical air to life. It was Friday night the week
before Halloween. Jake stared out his bedroom window into an abrasive
solitude. His brain had a tendency to close down to protect itself
from its symptoms. His mind encumbered, yet embalmed against the
rest of the world, trudged through its darkest hours.

Lowering his consciousness into a deep, soupy psychological
filth, Jake’s symptoms had disintegrated to the lowest possible
rung, belching up every marble in his head that was purged from
his profound awareness. On some level, he knew an internal mental
shutdown was near as his soul fell like a rock and hit the aching pit
of his stomach. Colors seemed distorted, and in waves, he found he
could not understand the difference between green and blue, or
between red and orange. Waves of confusion had begun to take over.
Sounds in his head seemed muted and muffled, and pockets of reality
that he had remembered seemed sheltered away in sealed glass
bubbles. His sporadic hallucinations were becoming more lifelike,
and his paranoia became more dominant—even the sight of an ant
crawling in a continuous circle could mean the end of the world to
him. His ill and fractured psyche stretched deep into the darkest corners
of where his mind had never gone before this illness.

Excerpt from “Chapter Thirteen: Dreams In The Entangled Depths”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Thirteen: Dreams In The Entangled Depths”:

The shadows trailed after the setting sun. The thick layers of
shady trees grew thinner by the night’s wind. With the shedding
of the russet-colored leaves, Halloween drew near,
bringing bright pumpkin-orange jack-o’-lanterns up on every
doorstep in St. Charles. Their candles flickered and fought against
the winds. Jake had made it home safely after his visit to the sanitarium
before the storms started and rolled through repeatedly that
evening.

The shutters outside flailed in the wind. Jake made a bathroom
stop and noticed what appeared to be strange faces in the grooves and
designs on the tile floor. The faces stared back at him.

Jake walked from the bathroom to his bedroom. He headed
toward the windows in his room, gazing longingly at the horizon, and
rested his forehead against the glass. He felt as if each droplet of rain
were echoing the stinging and regretful ache of his life. He felt that
his life was slipping further away from him.

Excerpt from “Chapter Twelve: The Haunted Sanitarium Of St. Charles”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Twelve: The Haunted Sanitarium Of St. Charles”:

The next day was also cool and crisp. After school on Monday,
all the kids with the exception of Jake met up at Captain Jack
and Jimmy’s home and then headed for the sanitarium. After
all, there was safety in numbers. Passing the archaized gaslit street
lanterns and stuffed in their cozy fall jackets, the kids made their way
up and down the town’s cobblestone nooks and crannies toward the
uninhabited sanitarium just outside downtown St. Charles. With the
smell of burning leaves in the air, the kids passed the Drumheller-
Hunt Museum as they got closer to the train tracks. Quickly perusing
the sights and scents of the magically lit-up stores, they got to Pottawatomie
Park. The kids walked part of the haunted railroad tracks
as a flock of geese flew over the heads of the towering autumn oak
trees and sweet maples. The winds caused the leaves to chase them
down the path.

Excerpt from “Chapter Eleven: Mr. Elliott Graver”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Eleven: Mr. Elliott Graver”:

Jimmy, Jaclyn, Jordan, and Ariel fled the warmth of the St.
Charles Library into the chilly fall air and headed to the
Royal Mantle Hotel in hopes of finding Mr. Graver. With the
aid of the volatile winds, the kids swung open the grand front doors
of the hotel. The sound of clinking glasses and the strong aroma of
coffee filled the air of the hotel’s café as the kids strolled over to cozy
up by the seven-foot-tall fireplace to warm their chilly hands.

Soon, they made their way up the winding stairwell to Mr.
Graver’s tiny office hidden in the walls of the hotel.

Mr. Graver was affectionately known as the town stammerer. He
stuttered his way through life, doing nothing to try to fix his stutter,
believing that God had made him that way. He belonged in St.
Charles and was important as a piece of history of the community
with his eclectic style and quirks.

Excerpt from “Chapter Ten: An Ounce Of Prevention”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Ten: An Ounce Of Prevention”:

The morning after judging night on the tour was glorious, with
the frost melting instantly off the rainbow of trees as the
magenta sun rose over the sleepy towns of St. Charles and
Wayne. Jimmy, Jaclyn, Jordan, and Ariel had arranged to get together
to discuss Jake’s outlandish symptoms. Discussing Jake’s recent
behavior was a tall order of business, and they were not sure what
they were up against. All they knew was that their friend was getting
worse and his sanity was sliding fast into a world of dark madness, as
if his mind were sinking in quicksand.

Making their way in the early hours, Jimmy, Jaclyn, and Jordan
walked over to the coffee shop and café owned by Tristan’s mom.
Everyone called her Aunt Yvonne.

Jake sat on his back porch and watched Ariel catch up with the
group. Feeling disappointed and left out, and at the same time not
caring either way if he were included with the group, Jake watched
the group gather near the end of the street as the leaves fell to the
dew-covered ground.

Excerpt from “Chapter Nine: Ghoulish Homes Tour Of St. Charles”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Nine: Ghoulish Homes Tour Of St. Charles”:

The next morning, Jake and all of his friends spent the early
part of the golden autumn day at Cantigny Military Park,
down the road a bit from the town of St. Charles. All of the
kids were enamored with the mammoth oak trees surrounding the
grounds as they mounted the tanks and stacks of cannonballs. After
an hour or two at the military park, the kids walked home to finish
some things they all had to do.

Ariel would also be joining them this year on the haunted tour,
as her presence seemed to calm and comfort the troubled Jake. That
morning, she had made up one of her herbal ointments and wrapped
it up in some wax paper. She had forgotten about it for most of the
morning but found it in her pocket and brought out the ointment on
the walk home from Cantigny. Jake’s immune system was down
because of his symptoms, and the cut on his neck had a hard time
healing on its own. She rubbed the ointment on Jake’s neck where the
cut had appeared after his tumultuous dream a few weeks back, when
he had been awakened by a sharp tug of the key and chain around his
neck. Ariel seemed to know how to help Jake even before he could
ask for it.

Excerpt from “Chapter Eight: The Arcada Theatre”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Eight: The Arcada Theatre”:

Trying to get some sleep after hearing the news of his twin sister,
Jake felt held down by his sporadic fatigue like it was an
iron weight. His mental symptoms were only getting worse
and had begun taxing his body. He felt his mind spin. His anxiety
made it difficult to unwind and relax, as his muscles were weak and
lethargic. He spiraled deeper into despair as his fatigue and anxiety
played an internal tug-of-war. His mood rose, fell, and circled
around, a lot like a merry-go-round spinning out of control. Jake sank
deep into a nap as his exhaustion took over and he begged his subliminal
mind for a resolution to what was happening to him.

Just before dozing, he thought of the spiritual woman…the
mommy ghost, as he used to call her; she had come to him in a dream
when he was just a small child. She was strong and kind and had a
gentle soul; Jake remembered he had been around two years of age
during his first visit with her. Even then, he had known that she was
from a much different time and era, and he always had a sense that
she held the power of a great spiritual leader who was thousands of
years old. Jake always remembered her wearing a long tan cloak and
a tattered veil. The spiritual woman had powerful and remarkable
words of faith every time they spoke about Jake’s fortune and future;
her words had repeated in his head through the years: “You are more
than what you appear to be.”

Excerpt from “Chapter Seven: Un-Hauntable Boy”

Haunted Nights at Drumheller Castle: Ethereal Quandary: A St. Charles Tall Tale by Faly Colaizzi

Excerpt from “Chapter Seven: Un-Hauntable Boy”:

Looking off to one side, Jake recognized tall Jaclyn with her
long blonde hair and Jordan with light brown hair pulled up
in a ponytail. This was Jordan’s last year at home before she
headed off to a university. She and Jimmy were attending the same
local college that Jordan’s mom had attended. Jimmy still had another
year locally.

Walking back from one of the shops in town, the girls had
decided to hang out near the end of the bridge, spotting Jake and
keeping a concerned eye on him. It appeared to them as if Jake were
speaking to himself, then for no apparent reason his voice increased
and he was spouting nonsensical phrases. His voice momentarily
raised then lowered as his eyes glazed over, and he started acting
angry, desperate, and boisterous, which was not like Jake at all.