Monday, November 20, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 30: Reynolds' Character Has Spoken


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Erich.  Welcome to The Gal.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Erich Heydloff:
I am the sheriff of Taovaya County, Texas and have been for several years now. I am originally from Eastern Minnesota and was formerly the sheriff of St. Croix County, Minnesota. I was forced out of that job after an incident that resulted in the loss of many lives could not be explained. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Erich Heydloff:
I once believed in reality. What we could see for evidence was what existed. As a result of my experiences over the last ten years, I think I can believe in just about anything. There is more out there than we know, and it’s showing up more and more.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Erich Heydloff:
I’m haunted by all the people who have died under my watch. All the ones I couldn’t save are in my head and my dreams forever. I’m cursed. I believe that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Erich Heydloff:
I have some of the common ones. Snakes make me jump. Heights make me uncomfortable. I find it very hard these days to be alone in the woods where I can’t see a road or some kind of escape route. Again, there’s more out there than we know. I’ve seen some of it. Being the sheriff of a rural county makes it hard to avoid completely, but I have a deputy with me if possible.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Erich Heydloff:
The list of horrible things I’ve experienced is rather long. I’ve seen more than my share of loss and death. The thing that jumps out at me is the time I got a call and went into the woods behind a home to find a kid who had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The kid said an animal told him to do it. I believe him, crazy as that sounds. If that wasn’t bad enough, the woman who bought the house ended up being a woman I fell in love with, Martha. I had to relive that in my mind every time I was at her home. Then one morning I got a call, Martha’s son had jumped on a knife and killed himself in that same exact place. I felt her loss. I felt my own fears. That was the worst thing that has happened. Not sure it really happened to me, though. But I was certainly affected. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Erich Heydloff:
Lying to myself is the only way I carry on. I tell myself I’m okay. I go through the motions of doing my job. But I’m haunted by the things in the woods. There were creatures, monsters, along the St. Croix River in Minnesota. There was a demon spirit and an army of child... ghosts… or something in Texas. I’ve seen death, pain, and loss. Some days I’m paralyzed with fear. So much so, that I can’t face leaving my home. But, I do anyway, because I’m needed and if it happens again, I’m the one that can fight it, with the help of a couple of friends I’ve met along the way.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Erich Heydloff:
I suppose I had a pretty normal childhood. I was an only child. I grew up in rural St. Croix County in Minnesota. I spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring the forest, fishing in the lakes. The winters were long and cold. My father was a police officer and my mother was s seamstress. We had a fairly normal life. There were bumps. My father’s job was stressful, but he did his best not to take it out on us.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Erich Heydloff:
I can promise you, I would never have chosen the situations I have had to face. I had to fight something not of this world, then by some fluke, I ended up sheriff again a thousand miles away and had to do it again. Did I mention that I’m cursed?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Erich Heydloff:
Yes. I’d never have gone into law enforcement. I would be a teacher, or a dressmaker, or a mail carrier. Anything but this. I guess destiny did choose me. There’s nothing I can do about that now. But if I had avoided the whole mess, I could have a normal life right now.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Erich Heydloff:
It reflects my Norwegian heritage. I come from a line of police officers, but I just told you how I feel about that these days. Am I proud of my name? Yes. But in the end, it doesn’t mean much.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Erich Heydloff:
I have a burn scar from where I burned my leg on the exhaust of a snowmobile when I was young and stupid. I have some scars from lacerations I received in the woods while trying to survive against some pretty bad odds. Fortunately, I’ve never been shot. I’ve come close a time or two. It’s the nature of the business.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Erich Heydloff:
Taovaya County is the Southern Cross Timbers area of North Texas. It’s natural, old growth forest choked with vines and briar. It’s not an easy environment to move through. It presented a lot of difficulty. Seems like everything has some kind of thorn to poke into me. But the real problem was the snow. It snows a little there now and then, but never like it did that week. Sub-zero temperatures and feet of blowing, drifting snow is not something North Texas is prepared for. People could not move about. Things broke. Systems failed. It was a nightmare. Then having to face the problem out there in those choked and rocky woods, while everything was concealed by that snow, was just impossible. It’s a wonder the setting itself didn’t kill us all.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Erich Heydloff:
I look in the mirror. *Laughs* No, I’m just a regular guy. I’m no better or worse than anyone else. I was put in extraordinary circumstances. I could have done nothing without the help of Matt Brimson, Fred Sadler, and a couple of my deputies. I’m just a piece of the puzzle. I’m as human and vulnerable as anyone else. I know others see me as some kind of tough guy, but I’m scared and damaged on the inside. I speak with my heart and do my best to always be kind. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Erich Heydloff:
The monsters see me as prey. The criminals see me as an adversary. The wannabe outlaws see me as a cop with nothing better to do than harass them. My political opponents see me as someone who brings trouble and death. It’s a thankless job most of the time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Erich Heydloff:
He sees me as one of the heroes of our story. The streetwise, or dirt-roadwise, law enforcement officer who comes through when no one else will. To him, I’m someone who has the right experience and knowledge to accept what needs to be done.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Erich Heydloff:
It’s certainly a compelling story. Like anything else, the news outlets got it all wrong. I think the author got it right for the most part. I think he built us up a little too much. We had no idea what we were doing. We were pulling things out of our asses hoping something would work. But, most of the details were right.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Erich Heydloff:
I think he needs to rewrite it. I was a hell of a lot worse than it currently is written.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Erich Heydloff:
We’ve covered this already. He made us look more competent than we were. Not too much though. I mean we did do all those things. It just didn’t feel like it had any direction at the time. It doesn’t go into what happened back in Minnesota. It only mentions it from time to time. But I guess that’s another story for another time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Erich Heydloff:
Yeah. I got interested after hearing he was writing our story. Some of his short stories are kind of messed up. What kind of mind thinks of that? His novella, Ivy, was a nice little story, though. Not so depraved.


About the author:
I. Clayton Reynolds is an author of horror, suspense, and the supernatural.  He studied Anthropology, Psychology, and History at the University of Texas and Iowa State University and gained extensive knowledge of legends and beliefs from around the world and deep into the past.  His research has helped him to understand how and why frightening legends and cautionary horror tales have developed throughout the human past.  A native of North Texas, he now lives in the Texas Hill Country.

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