This is the first installment. All italicized are noted by *'s which also represent, at times,
thought. Enjoy!

Section I
Progeny

By R. C. Carpenter

The son will turn from what is his
The father will die alone
The mother will bear her pain
In secrecy at her home:
No comfort can be found in kin
This is the word of the world

~R. C. C.

1

The trouble with human existence is that once you get used to it you're already dead. I
had never thought of him dying before. He just wasn't the type that died. Yet there I was
standing before his open coffin, his best pressed suit hanging loosely over the withered
framework that was already feeling the ravages of death extract the color from his cheeks
and lips. His joints had stiffened even before the two dirty, thieving morticians arrived
and took him into the parlor of his home to dress him properly and slosh his face with
make-up that had a crude resemblance to the color of human flesh.

I stared down at his body.

How long ago had it been that he had been up speaking with his family, and
eating a hot meal with his friends? He looked like a player on a stage. Almost as if he
were there to be seen playing death and then when the lights darkened he would rise from
the coffin and prepare for his next role. His eyes were shut, his hands gently folded over
his midsection, and his smile was not there.

Glancing at the scarce objects that had some meaning to him in his life and now
had the honor of going to the grave with him, I noted an inkwell, a few family jewels, and
a crocheted tear of fabric from long ago that had been folded into his jacket pocket. But
nothing of much importance, really.

Nothing ever has much importance to the dead. They're dead, why *should* they
care?

It was up to those left alive to do the caring and I felt the air growing warmer as
more men filled the space around me to pay their final respects to a well-liked old man.
The room appeared smaller than I had remembered it being, probably because of the
large turn out of mourners. They had all brought either bouquets in white vases or tears
on their faces, but what good were flowers and emotions? It is quite amazing to think that
for thousands of years this ritual of bringing the dead gifts has continued when they are
never going to use them or ever going to be able to appreciate them. True, it may have
been helping his family, but why even pretend to give it to him? Why not just admit they
were helping his poor wife and children cope?

The man was dead. Couldn't they see that? No flower would revive him; no tear
could breathe into him life regardless of how desperately they wanted him back.

I wanted him back too, as much if not more so than the others did. I wanted him
to know how much he meant to me and to know that because he died I was disheartened
enough to cry, even.

But I couldn't tell him, could I? No, I couldn't *because* he was dead.

If only I had known how little time there had been left. Perhaps I would have told
him how much I loved him. Or I might have given him a well deserved hug and told him
to take care until we met again.

Even if I knew we never would meet again, I still would have liked to pretend we
would.

But I hadn't been so insightful. I hadn't even been cordial to him. I had left his
life without words, without much of an explanation, and most importantly I had left
without letting him truly understand how extraordinary he was to me …

I had sat outside his bedroom window and stared in for hours as doctors ran about
his room. The head doctor had been called from his home, awakened in the dead of the
night to go to the townhouse. I had seen my friend's lackey running down the
cobblestone street, searching for a carriage to take him to the Philippe's doctor.

Curiosity was always getting the better of me and I had followed on my powerful
riding horse. I overheard the lackey telling the respected doctor that the Madam's
condition had gone downhill and the labor pains had set in.

So she was pregnant. It had been news to me. I had wondered why I had been
kept so totally in the dark from such an affair as his first born.

As the clock tower in the center of the village struck two, the cries of the baby
could be heard inside the townhouse, resounding in my ears like the ghastly hounds of
Hell. I watched intently, leaning closer to the window from the tree I sat in. My friend
entered the bedchamber, a weary and tired smile somehow holding onto his face.

The doctor raised the baby, a girl, to the father.

He couldn't have been happier. Though his smile was wracked with the agony of
stress, the smile was still wider than I had ever seen when he had been near me.

He had glowed and I couldn't have been more hurt.

As he returned his child to her mother, a swaddling of cloth being wrapped
around the newborn's shaking body, I saw his straining smile melt and his dark brown
eyes settled on my shadow.

To his wife he gave a fleeting glance and by the time his gaze had fallen back to
the tree outside he was met with only the gloomy remembrance of a love lost and the
dead leaves on the branches…

I had let him live his life and in death I would never be able to harm him again. It
amazed me how the well-dressed bourgeoisies around me could have felt so terrible for
him and for themselves when they would someday be allowed to join him in the Life
After.

He had his release after all those long years. Years which were filled with
learning, growing, and teaching. He fathered four children, built a successful business,
read books constantly and wrote down as much as he possibly could. His was a life filled
with completion and death brought to a close those chapters in a way that was respectful
and fitting to the life he had led.

Still, I could not see how his pompous friends could be so downtrodden.

Then I thought of his loving yet pompous wife and his four spoiled but beautiful
children. I turned from the coffin to look at his loved ones. Ah yes, there they were,
huddled in a corner like scared chickens. Three fat, sobbing hens, the mother
chicken…and the son. My heart went out to them as I began to realize their loss.

Their loss was my own as well.

The three girls clutched tightly to their only brother as he laid his head upon his
mother's heaving breasts as she wept. To halt his tears, one sister smoothed over his hair,
talking about Papa and saying that they would all be all right, especially seeing how they
were financially well off for years to come.

The other two girls simply cried.

*Poor thing,* I thought of the son, *He's only a boy.*

I moved closer to them, careful not to call attention to myself. *Sweet thing. Only
a pitiful boy who won't find adulthood under the guide of his father.*

He was on his own. His mother had servants and power she could use to remain a
great authority in the city. The daughters had each married a fine gentleman who most
likely had been fooled into believing that they had some form of wealth of their own up
their chubby sleeves. Wealth that would ensure finances in the future because husbands
don't want to leave their dear wives poor and hungry when they run off with the mistress
or go bankrupt playing a bad hand. Yes, the sisters were certainly fine.

But the boy, innocent young man that he was, would have to fend for himself out
in the world and try to make the family business run without the foundation of the
organization. I doubted he knew the first thing about architecture or that he even wanted
to inherit the business.

I let myself look at him. He was so frail and needy. If only I could have gone to
him, to snatch him up and tell him how wonderful his father had been. The dark brown
eyes set deep in his pale ghostly skin glanced over towards my own eyes. With the look
he gave I knew he had no understanding of what a great man his father had been. And
with the look also he cried out for some ease from his suffering. 'Take me away' he was
saying.

His arms tightened around his mother's thin waist and I knew I wanted him. I
wanted him ever so badly, more than I had wanted anything for so long. I envied his
mother, his hands wrapped around her and holding her for comfort. I wanted to lash out
at his sisters as they held and were held by him. Each movement of his precious crimson
lips quivering in fright and suffering was there for me to see, dancing in the light in ways
that only I understood.

It seemed that he did know what fate had in store for him if he remained there in
the crowded, suffocating village. It would drain his life from him one way or another.

His mother clenched a handful of his brown-blond locks and her face twisted with
grief and agony, her eyes swollen from the tears.

*Cry my dear lady.* I thought with disgust, *Cry for all the souls who have gone
before. Cry for those to come. I alone know you cry only for yourself.*

There was no thought of the servants or of the children in her mind, only the
pitiful life she thought was crouched in waiting. I hated to look over at her, pathetic as
she was, but I could not pull my gaze from the boy. I wondered why he stared back. Why
did he not turn his face back into his mother and look away? He knew what he was
looking at: The face of death.

The room began to swirl in tightly against me.

I had spent too long among the villagers without having fed before I came. I
cursed at myself softly for not having had a quick snack to tide me over. But it was only
early in the night. I would not have been so starved if the nectar of my drink had not been
so close, so fresh, and in such abundance. It had been the requests of my dearly departed
friend that there was a nighttime procession, so that I might say to him one final goodbye.
No doubt his lovely wife had fought bitterly to reverse his wishes and I supposed there
would be no midnight mass. *Ah well,* I reasoned, *At least she didn't succeed in
moving the wake to before sunset.*

I broke the locked gaze with the boy most unwillingly and momentary looked
back to the coffin. Finally, he would rest how I rest. I wanted very much to ask him if he
felt as comfortable lying in his casket as I do when I lay down to rest. A thin smile
struggled to my face and I fought to hold it back. It was not showing the proper respect
for my friend to allow such simple pleasantries as a smile on his death. But I could not
help the thought for it was amusing.

Every mortal struggles to stay out of that last of beds. So many turn to
immortality and see it as the key to out witting the damnable box. They call upon the
Bible and the story of Lazarus. They try to believe that if Jesus Christ could return from
the dead, perhaps they too could follow in such divinely footsteps. Those thoughts made
me laugh. No Almighty ruled over my life. No one controlled me. *Any longer that is,* I
corrected myself trying not to think of...

It was slightly maddening to know that no matter how hard I would run to escape
death I was running full force into its arms every morning. Every morning I must close
myself in death and be satisfied to be and bring death.

*The Messenger of death, that's what I am,* I told myself.

But causing his death had not been my doing and so I extended my hands to the
black lacquered edge of the coffin. I lowered my eyes to say my final farewell and out of
old habit I bit down softly on my lower lip. The sharp fangs dug into the flesh only a
moment but there were suddenly two dots of blood where they had grazed. My tongue
flicked out and swiped at the red liquid. Oh lord, I was so hungry. It had to be quick.

My chin sank to my chest and my eyelids shut idly. My voice was crystal to the
dead but inaudible to those around me. "Jean," I began, "I know you are safe
now…wherever you may be. I also can understand your reasons for not joining me so
long ago. You've experienced the life I could never have and a death I can never own. I
will miss you my friend. I am now truly alone."

Tears snapped at my parched eyes like thorns piercing my vision. One, only one,
rolled down my cheek, cautiously and afraid. Then it slipped off into the ebony tangles of
my hair.

I wiped the trail from my cheek, turned from Jean, and walked with quick steps
past his friends and family. A chill swept over my body and I froze in my retreat.

He was staring at me. Jean's son had been following me intently with his roaming
eyes. As if at a Masquerade Ball, he was struck by my mystery and pushed past the others
to keep sight of me, the young woman he had never seen before. But as I fled I could not
look back. I didn't want to let myself look back. I wanted to be doing exactly what he
was: keeping sight of the mystery. What should I have done if I did turn to him, anyway?
Smile? Flash my fangs at him and tell him silently that I was leaving his father's wake to
go develop the same misery for some other family? There would be no bloody point.
Mystery is all well and good but when the fun is over, he wouldn't believe.

*Or would he?*

The thought continued to loom over my head as I rounded two blocks from the
townhouse and came upon a haggard old woman. I stopped short, careful not to let her
see me. She staggered about the cobblestone road; bits of fabric thrown together at
random covered her gaunt frame and long tresses of white hair fluttered in the wind in
tangled knots. A molded metal street lamp that had been lit by a street cleaner only a few
minutes ago was lighting the way and the drops of light hung onto the rays of moisture as
the woman stumbled to a street curb.

She set her weary bones down and mumbled nonsense to herself. It was pleasing
to see her speaking to herself as if no one else in the world was around and, if someone
were, she did not care who heard her raving like a lunatic. She was just a crazy hag and
probably had no family that would miss her save a few pigeons that she may have shared
each morning's meal with.

Still, it broke my heart to step closer.

I came cautiously into the dim light, my long scarlet cloak fluttering behind me.
The hunger inside of me called to me to take her and end my craving so that I might
return to watching Jean's son. I could be with him and teach him.

The hunger taunted me as I drank in the sight of her: a living breathing being with
hot blood coursing through her veins. It was such blood, which could fulfill me in ways
unfathomable.

But I could not let myself believe that I would drink from her for such selfish a
reason as to end my own suffering. How could I be so selfish?

I studied her body and saw that she was direly aged: her hands shook under the
thin robes that swaddled her; her eyes were gray and she was blind from cataracts; her
body was too thin for any human to justifiably live under such conditions as the nighttime
village streets.

I was most certainly helping her. There was no life left for her that would be
worth living. It would all end soon. She'd never have to live another hungry day, never
hearing the taunts of little French boys as she begged for alms. No more pain. I could end
it. I could.

My hunger drove me to her and I for a moment I did not know who was in control
of who. A cold feeling washed over the world as the moon was ushered off the sky by a
closemouthed shadow of a storm cloud.

She raised her tottering head to the faint noise of well-worn boots clacking against
the stone slates of the street. Her voice flowed out of her rough, chapped mouth like
honey over the edge of a cracked jar, "Who's there? Eh?" she smiled softly, "Who's
there? What do y'want?"

There was not a hint of fear in her tone even though she did not who was standing
before her. She simply continued with her smile and shifted her head back and forth,
attempting to pick up any clue of the person that approached her.

I adjusted the white-laced ruffles around my sleeves and, pulling the long fabric
tendrils up over my slender pallid wrists, I slouched down to her to place a well-trained
arm around her shoulders.

"Fear not, mum, I am here only to help ease your pain." As I spoke my lies I
wanted to bite my tongue. They had such a cold peculiarity about them. Was I even
thinking of the woman then or of other more personal details?

A dirty, haggard hand felt my face as she smiled inhumanly. Half a dozen yellow
and chipped teeth bulged out of her black gums. Her swollen tongue lashed within the
cavity as her long nails pressed against my skin. I placed my left arm around her back and
she laughed slightly, in relief I believe. I spoke in my whisper, the coldness still within
the words, "Hush now. The end shall arrive easier if you are still."

She chanted her agreement and I realized in that sickening moment that she was
insane with happiness. Perhaps she had been wandering those streets in hopes that a
pickpocket would kill her for the money she didn't carry.

She could never have guessed what her end was to truly be like.

The night danced all about me, taunting and jeering as if it were a gnome in the
woods. And I was to be its meal. The insects flew in circles, encompassing me and biting
at my ears underneath my thick mat of hair; birds of the night shrieked from their
makeshift twig homes in the trees and snickered to one another of my crimes. The French
houses, ragged and dilapidated as they were, loomed over my head and threatened to
collapse onto me.

The open spaces were suffocating me. I needed the comfort of my home.

With the old woman still tittering beneath my embrace, I brushed a clump of drab,
limp hair away from her lanky neck. For a moment I watched her breath, the air flowing
in and out of her body, filling her blood with oxygen to run. I saw her skin crawl as I
moved my face to her throat.

I shrunk back a moment, too disgusted with my own actions to go further.

Yet… so very hungry.

I felt the liquid life flooding the tiny rivulets under her skin and I had to have ease
from the thirst. Hesitantly, I let my lips press softly over her skin and I slowly widened
my jaw to sink my fangs into her neck.

The flesh parted too swiftly.

I pulled her close to me and felt her laughing again very weakly, the fiery blood
flowing into my body. For her, I was the much sought after caller of rest. For me, she was
dinner.

The fluid fluxed into my mouth and streamed down my throat, thrilling each
parched inch that it fell upon: It felt like heaven.

It felt like Hell.

It was delight in no form that was material but had to be experienced.

And I hated every minute that I enjoyed it. Tears had filled my eyes by the time I
had drank in most of her long life. I forced myself to pry away from her even as my mind
told me, *There's still something left to the old hag.*

I supposed she was happy to finally end the madness she lived in. For the last few
years of her life she had wandered the world in darkness; for the rest of my life I would
be doomed to carry the same vigil.

I did not rejoin Jean's procession, moreover I returned to my place of rest to wallow in
my own wretchedness as I had done every night after a kill. What was it that I fought the
nights to obtain? I possessed no explanation. I never had an explanation. All of my
existence was teeming with unanswerable queries.

It began to be clear that all I was allowed to think in was question form.
Everything was a question. My thoughts used to be answered. There used to be an
explanation to everything.

*Everything was told to you. But ever since…*

In my mortal existence I had resided as a pretty young heiress in Les Sables,
France off the Bay of Biscay. There was nothing more to me than some inheritance and a
pleasurable appearance. At least, that's what the village thought.

The townhouse that my family had once occupied quickly became vacant as we
spent more time in the mountains at the castle my father and the servants built when I
was only a child. My father had built the house for my mother, a total hypochondriac and
very much mentally disturbed.

My mother was a woman of the Era, however, always into the latest fashions of
dressed and wigs. She had the most ghastly obsession with very large jewelry. My father,
despite loving to buy the myriad of necklaces, rings, bracelets, tiaras, earrings and
brooches, would continually sport with her that she would one day fall over the edge of a
boat and sink to the bottom of the Bay, never to be heard from again because of all the
abominable jewelry she was accustomed to wearing. All in good fun, I thought.

This brings me to my father, Jean-Luc Luechant. He was burly man who was
forced to marry in his teens a woman he hardly knew. But he made the best of his
situation and the arrangement had been set up rather agreeably. He grew to love Renée
and made a living in shipbuilding and land trade. I learned years later that he also had
purchased some land in the Colonies and up north in the New World. Perhaps I would
visit that land. Someday.

My family was small and passionless family. I know that what I have told you
previously about my father's love for my mother may have you thinking that this is
contradictory, but the fact was that my family was very cold towards me.

My two much older brothers were always off at parties or challenging duels that
never followed through. Such lazy boys. They could have at least stayed true to their own
threats. At times, they had both said they wanted to become Musketeers in the name of
King Louis the XV, but they could never bring themselves to leave the village behind.

My sister was a married woman who rejected her husband and was mistress to an
up-and-coming merchant in town. There was even the rumor that one of my nieces by her
was their love child.

As far as my younger brother is concerned, I did not know him well for he was
young when I left my family.

Being from the family that I was, anyone can see how I turned into a great
nothing with great swiftness.

I am Emara Luechant. The great nothing that I have become is that I am not the
inheritor of a vast family fortune. I am a vampire.

What is most important about my family is that my father loved my mother and so,
because of his love, allowed her to drag the family away from the seaside village. Our
village was more of a large town and had grown in years after trade opened on the
Mediterranean waters. The merchants could peddle their product overseas and sailors
from other lands would come ashore to get drunk, or buy for the night one of the fancy
Asiatic beauties the merchants would bring back from voyages.

Business thrived in Les Sables long before I was even born. And that was a long
time ago. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

The castle was dying because I had spent little on repairs. After all, it was only a
castle and there's no need to be so painstakingly obsessed with cleanliness.

I had to make the best of my predicament with Jean's son, scrutinizing the
dilemma while I hastened into my castle. The night had evolved gradually around me into
a frigid being that glared at its minions with glassy eyes from hidden shelters. Time had
drawn on in its sluggish manner, weaving about those who were affected by it and
snacking on the old and dying. The clock in the village tower far below me chimed
delicately and told me with a mellifluous harmony that midnight was in fast descent. I
marched by knee-high bushes, the dry twigs groping at my cloak. The fresh growths
snapped off as I ripped with full force away from them, plump deadly scarlet berries
dropped off the sprouts from those of the branches that were tender enough to spring
back into position. My boots tapped rapidly creating a formatted rhythm to my steps that
kept time with my breathing. Shots of shivering air lashed at my exposed skin and I
gripped the edge of the dark cloak that fluttered behind me with my right hand, bringing
it up to wrap around me and leaving my eyes open to the bitter cold. I watched the stone
castle appear up ahead as I rounded a small hill and gazed through black, leafless trees,
staring at the pale moon as she dipped down to grace my haven.

The gravel walkway crumbled beneath my feet as I picked up my pace. I
shuddered violently, almost as if a cold hand had slid its fingers down the length of my
spine.

Something was wrong. Something was out of place.

It had happened while I was gone, the night told me. *Listen,* it said to me,
*Listen to the night. Listen to the secrets.*

What secrets? What had I overlooked when I left?

*Survive. Listen.* There it was again. Its cryptic message rang clearer as I
approached the entrance to my castle.

Then I saw it: The large bolted door of the castle had been flung wide open,
leaving a gape-mouthed hole in its place, darkness seeping from within.

I cursed at the air and sped to the rusted black metal gate. Glancing up the mesh
of bars that loomed high over me I began to panic. The hinge had been broken off by
something metallic, and a creature with overwhelming strength had twisted two of the
bars inwards. I pushed through the loose gate and ran straight for the opened door.

With heavy breaths and my heart forcing the blood of the old hag through my
body at a straining pace, I stepped into the darkness and concealed myself within its
protective barriers. It took only a moment for my eyes to adjust to the new shade of
obscurity and I immediately began to search for whoever might still have been waiting
for me. Yet I found no trace of anyone inside.

Yet.

The stone steps that led up to the second floor, a dark maroon rug with gold
tassels stitched into the sides blanketing it, echoed with some voice and I felt compelled
to search out the intruder.

Walking cautiously to the railing, I ran my hand over the wood and stretched out
my mind, filling the corridors with my thoughts, spreading into the rooms behind their
locked doors and through the thick walls. I searched desperately for whoever was in there
with me.

It had occurred to me as I had entered that whoever had unbolted my door might
not have stayed long. They may have gone on their way when they found all of my doors
locked and no money in any of those rooms that were open.

That was of course an optimistic hope because after all, the main entrance had
been bolted from the inside. I no longer kept any servants from fear of being discovered
save for a young girl who had stumbled into my home one day. She did not speak French
and I believe she had been traveling with some performing troupe and had run away. I
had taken her on as my personal attendant, but she never used the front door. She almost
always stayed in the servant house in the back where she would tend to my horse and
care for the gardens that had gone for years without care.

She never dared to enter the castle without my explicit permission. When she did
come in with me to do a bit of cleaning, we always used a side door or the one that led
out to the courtyard. I doubted if she could move the bolt if she wanted to. I tried to think
of when I had moved the bar there. It was long ago. It must have been back when he
had…

I then took to thinking, *Nothing seems to be missing.*

*What if it wasn't a thief that broke in but something far worse?*

I used the railing to pull myself quietly up the stairwell, my ears listening to every
noise made within the walls, each snap of the spiders' web clinging to the insects in the
drafty castle and every tiny droplets of water that fell from the ceiling.

I held my breath as I focused on the chamber rooms up ahead of me.

The silence was more maddening than the streets of Paris at market. I moved
towards the chamber that had been my room when I was a girl and I thought about all that
had happened to me in that room.

Such long hours I had spent alone in my chamber with nothing more than my
books and my own thoughts. True I had not always been alone in there. There were the
months when….

Something flickered besides me. I instinctively turned to catch the fleeing image
as it ran.

Yet nothing was there.

There was not even the faintest glimmer left that there ever even had been
anything besides me. Eerily familiar was that lack of the faint glimmer. Though it did not
exist, its lifelessness was strangely acceptable. Where had I felt that before? Or perhaps
when…

Was it another vampire? Had they found and wished to destroy me? Or join me?
That they would leave me in peace and go off to rampage another vampiric dwelling I
could only hope.

A name drifted in the air and settled in my ears. The nondescript voice fluttered
its tongue and spoke only one word, slowly, "*Ranant.*"

I turned, searching and hoping. What was Ranant? Was it the name of the being
that had been here? Or of a being that would come? Perhaps a place. A town to go to and
have things explained. I reeled with questions about this new experience. Maybe I had
pulled it from out of the walls.

"If these walls could speak." I quoted an old saying that women gave to each
other when gossiping. If those walls could have spoken to me, I knew most of the terrors
they had seen. Even the staircase was not sanctified from some tragedy. I whispered the
name of a friend and remembered how he had …

"My room!" I suddenly remembered the place that mattered the most and
descended the staircase quickly, heading to the cellar. A large pair of double doors
guarded the entrance to my shrine yet I pulled back on the large, knotted handles and
flung the doors open to full with little hesitance or struggle. A torch was sitting
peacefully in a black metal sconce and I grabbed at it with my pale ghostly fingers. I
wrapped my hand around its bristly straw stem and held the flame before me to light the
curving stairway.

The downward descent was glazed with the aroma of musty rugs and stagnant
pools of water where insects loved to thrive. The ceiling shot up high over my head and
without the aid of the torch I would not be able to see where the walls made their end. As
I came closer to the spacious room that I remade into my chamber, the light grew
stronger within the dark tunnels. There was a faint drifting of a cool, calming current of
air sweeping into the sultry room from the cracks in the foundation between the stones. I
lifted my face to the briskness and shut my eyes slightly, enjoying the moments of
refreshing serenity.

I walked into the open spaces of my confines. I read over my belongings, hoping
to the Eternals that nothing from *there* needed replacement. My casket lay shut in the
center of the room and that was all that mattered to me: having a quiet, soft bed to rest in.

I sighed with heavy relief and sat down on the edge of the marble tablet, leaning
against the sheen of the sarcophagus and removed the black boots that were laced up to
my shins.

Still straining to breathe, I stretched out my arms high over my head and craned
my neck to feel the effect of the welcomed strain. I smiled as I sensed the vertebra
snapping in my spine. I slouched over, able to relax at last.

I was so tired and didn't want to overly worry myself with all the pressure of the
night's occurrences. All I could think about was getting in bed and sleeping the rest of
night and the whole next day.

So I lifted the lid off the coffin and crawled in, my skin cooling against the snug
white silk bedding. As I laid my throbbing head down on the gentle pillow, I shut the lid
of the coffin and them drifted off.

*Somewhere outside the stony castle gate, a figure walked towards the iron bars. He
placed a hand on the pole and wrapped his bony fingers around it tensely. His stare was
transfixed on the shut wooden door and his thoughts were spreading into the mind of the
castle's mistress. *

*The wind picked up and gushed around him, disheveling his silvery mane of hair
that engulfed his face. *

*He raised an emaciated hand to his face and rubbed the stubble on the pointed
chin as he thought to himself with a lascivious grin, his mind sweeping through the
building,* I know where you are now, my love. I won't let you leave me this time *He
chuckled softly, a low throaty laugh,* No, not this time, pet…and never again.

My dreams that night were filled with only two words repeating: Never again...

Never again...

Never again...

-Well, the first part. Review if you want to see more of this, or go to my website to get the
ebook in its entirety... or wait five years for it to be published, whichever.

Until!

R. C. Carpenter