Out of the Past
Richard Maxwell Frost
A seeker of truth in an unknown land.
Experience: 5 Spent/ 5 Gained
Long Term- Discover Legacy
Mid Term- Find Clues
Short Term- Find my bearing in Germany
What have I forgotten?
Grandaddy Frost was a well respected man in the small farming/railway town that they lived in. He was honestly one of the men most responsible (when he was younger) for creating the towns law enforcement. Before he started cleaning it up it was a rough place. Most of the townspeople nowadays really kind of grew up knowing about frost, and knowing that he would help if you were in trouble. His son (Max’s dad) was also a good man but was so busy trying to keep his farm alive that he couldn’t often help the way old frost could.
I think probably in 1933, right when prohibition is repealed a shady gang of men come into town and open up the first bar that the town has had in a long while. The men of the town are drawn to this bar in large numbers, and it quickly becomes a fact of life. For some men in the town though, the bar becomes more than just a place to relax after work though. Their wives notice them coming home later and later night after night. These men start to appear drained, as though the thought of returning to the bar is the only thing they care about. One of the wives decided that her husband needed some sense talked into her, and goes to Old Frost for help. Frost agrees and finds the man in the fields the next day, he brings Max with him. Max is about 15 now, and loves spending time with his grandfather. Frost tries talking to the man, trying to convince him that he shouldn’t go drinking that night, but the talk quickly turns south. The man, refusing to listen, becomes violent and lashes out at Old Frost. Max jumps in to protect his grandfather and manages to chase the man away, but it is clear that Old Frost has been shaken by the experience.
“This is not what I expected, Max. There is something deeper going on at that bar than I thought. I need to put a stop to it.”
Old Frost then takes Max to the Mayor’s office. He and the Mayor are old friends and Frost thinks that if he can get the town involved he might be able to put a stop to whatever is happening to the men of the town. Unfortunately he has no luck, the Mayor has already become a frequent patron of the establishment himself, and laughs at Frost’s fears.
“It’s been a boon to this town’s economy, you know how hard things are for us right now.”
Something is off with the way the Mayor speaks. Frost has known the mayor since the man was a child, and knows that he wouldn’t normally dismiss him like this.
“Max, go on back to your Poppa’s place. I need to go home and do some reading."
“Reading what Gramps?”
“I need to check the field guide."
Max doesn’t know what his grandfather is talking about, but knows that he should do as he says so he goes home. Alright. So Max goes on home. His fathers farm is on the land next to his Grandfathers. Old Frost helped his son build it when his son first met his wife. Max is sitting on the porch of his father’s farmhouse later that evening when he hears something. The coughing sputtering roar of an automobile coming down the road. He peers into the distance and sees the machine. A sleek silver thing, far more expensive than anything he had ever seen in town. Something catches in Max’s head as he sees the car turn into the long driveway leading to his Grandfather’s home. He suddenly knows without a doubt that there are bad men in that car. Very bad men. He begins running. The car is moving slowly on the dirt road, so he is able to reach the house’s backdoor as the car pulls up out front. Letting himself into the kitchen he is about to shout out for his grandfather when he hears his voice in the sitting room.
“I had a feeling I would have visitors tonight. I’d offer you refreshments but I fear you have already eaten your fill preying on my townsmen.”
Max begins heading for the hallway toward the front of the house when he notices a lamp still lit on the kitchen table. Laying near the lamp is an old book and a pair of spectacles that Max had never seen before. The spectacles were very strange, they didn’t have any glass in them and the rims seemed to be made of carefully carved stone. He then looks over to the book. The old leather bound tome has obviously seen a lot of wear over the years, the words embossed on the cover are barely legible. The title is in german, but Max has learned enough of the language from his grandfather that he can make out the words Eismann family and Handbook. There is also another word he doesn’t recognize. Jäger.
Max doesn’t have time to pore over the book though, as he hears a new voice echoing down the hall.
“I wasn’t expecting to find someone like you this far out. What are you doing so far from the old country TeufelJaeger?”
The voice is strange to Max. Something about it makes the feeling that he had earlier become much worse. His head begins buzzing as he listens to the voice continue.
“I have a good thing going here old man. I won’t let you take this town away from me.”
“I have protected these people from worse than you. I will protect it once more.”
As the men in the sitting room keep talking, Max continues to inch down the hallway. He suddenly notices a cold feeling in his left hand. Looking down he sees the spectacles from the table, he didn’t remember even picking them up. He finally reaches the doorway into the room that the voices are coming from and peeks around the door frame. His grandfather is standing in the middle of the room, facing three gentlemen who are just inside the front door of the house.
The man in the center is very tall and very thin. He is wearing a suit the same silver color as the car outside. On either side of the man are identical thugs. Short, thick, and with the look of men who have no problem asking no questions. The man in the silver suit opens his mouth again, revealing himself as the source of the voice that made Max’s head hurt.
“I think I’ve wasted enough time talking. I told you I would have this town, and if you are here to stand in my way then I’ll just have to make sure I take care of you now.”
The man shifts slightly and suddenly there is a devil standing before Max’s grandfather. Dark skinned, with horns than scraped the ceiling, the demon was taller and thinner than the man had been, but it still wore the same silver suit. Max cries out, instantly overcome with an unimaginable fear. He want nothing more than to run away from the apparition, but the buzzing in his head has developed into a full on migraine, causing him to drop to his knees in pain.
The creature and Old Frost both look towards the source of the noise.
“How convenient.” The thing says, “It looks like I’ll get to remove two of your damned family from the world tonight.”
Saying this he raises a clawed hand, suddenly engulfed in red flickering flames and begins moving towards Max.
“You will not touch that boy!” Frost shouts and he moves to intercept the creature. He reaches into the pocket of his coat and pulls out what looks like an old twig.
“I told you I’ve handled things worse than you. You should have left my town when you first heard I was here.”
Saying so, he snaps the twig in two. A loud screeching wail raises in the home and a gale begins to blast though the hallways and rooms, shattering windows and putting out all lamps.
“Fucking finally!” The voice booms out from seemingly nowhere.“I can’t believe your finally using that damn twig! I thought I’d have to wait for you to die for this debt to be cleared.”
“What have you just done!” The creature in the suit shouts. the flames in his hand extinguished with all the others.
“Little old Frost” The voice from nowhere continues unabated. "So your finally ready for me to help you out of a jam.”
“I don’t have the patience for banter with you Scratch. I beat you years ago and according to your own rules that means that now you have to help me. I want you to deal with this little spider and get my grandson safely back to his home!”
“Is that really what you want? I’ll gladly take the changeling. I’m sure his lord will pay handsomely for his return. But you also want to to make sure your grandson comes to no harm while I do it?”
The devil in the suit is listening to all this with tears in his eyes. It’s possible that he hears something in the Scratch’s voice that Max cannot, but something about the presence in the room has terrified him.
“You know good and well that I only owe you one life Frost. I will follow the instructions you have given me, but you cannot ask me for more than that."
“I know, just do it, you damned creature.”
“Very well, the deal is made.”
As soon as the voice says this the pain in Max’s head stops. He is suddenly able to look up again. He meets the eyes of his grandfather and stops. His grandfather looks sadder than he ever has before.
Then the voice calls out one more time. “I’ve wanted to do this for years. Hope your affairs are in order Frost!” And suddenly Max’s whole world is on fire. An inferno has erupted on all sides leaving just the patch of wooden floor he is kneeling on untouched.
“Watch carefully” the voice called Scratch whispers in Max’s ears.
He finds that he cannot look away as the fire consumes everything in the room, rushing hungrily toward his grandpa. He tries to call out, but moving his mouth is just an impossible as moving his eyes. The fire consumes Old Frost just as quickly as it does everything else, reducing him to a charred skeleton in moments.
“Time to go.”
And suddenly Max wakes up in his bed.
“Grandpa!” He springs out of bed shouting.
His father rushes in to his room. “What’s wrong Max? Bad dream?”
Panting, Max stumbles over the words, somethings happened at Grandpa’s. I just know it!"
He rushed to the window and looks out the see his grandfather’s house consumed by flames.
“Holy Maria!” His father exclaims and rushes out.
Townspeople from all over see the blaze and rush to help, but there is nothing they can do except make sure that the fire doesn’t spread. The home, and everything in it, is reduced to ashes.
It rains the day of the funeral. Max doesn’t attend. Something about what happened bothers him. He knows that fires happen sometimes. Grandpa was pretty old, he probably knocked a lamp over like everyone is saying. A tragic accidental death. But he knew his grandpa better than anyone. Old Frost was the most careful man Max had ever met. and every night since the fire when he closes his eyes he feels the heat of the center of an inferno, and hears laughter in his head.
Max is wandering around town in the rain when he hears a bell ringing as someone opens a shop door. He looks up and sees the farmer from a few days ago, the one his grandfather had tried talking to, leaving the bar.
“Hey You! You have the nerve to come back here after all this! Your the reason he’s dead!”
Max doesn’t know why he shouts this, but also doesn’t bother to examine it carefully as he is overcome with a rage he has never felt before. He doesn’t know how long it takes before some other men manage to pull Max off the farmer, but he does know that the man he assaulted will never be able to walk again without a cane, and will have a lot of trouble eating anything except soup for the rest of his life.
“Terrible” the townspeople said.
“Driven mad by grief”
“He really loved his grandfather”
“We all did. He was a good man.”
Max stays on the farm for the next week. He doesn’t understand why he did that. Why did he blame the fire on that man? What did he have to do with it?
While Max wrestles with his conscience the town quietly goes back to normal. People still go to the bar, but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same hold on the men that is once did. Something about it just seemed gone.
Max eventually works up the nerve to try going back in to town. As he walks down the streets though he sees people looking at him in a way they didn’t before. It’s almost like they’re scared of him. Max’s aimless wanderings end up bringing him to the old schoolhouse. He pauses for a second before going in.
“Hmm, Maxwell Frost isn’t it? Haven’t seen you in here in a long time.”
“No sir, Doc. I just had a question for you. A word keeps popping up in my head and I don’t know what it means.”
He writes the word down and shows it to the teacher.
“This? This is the German word for hunter. You must have heard it from your grandfather one day.”
“Hunter? Thanks. That helps a lot.”
The next day Max had packed up a few of his belongings and hopped on to the first train he could find going east.