Wind swept past the hollow branches of trees long forgotten in that particular part of the World. Voices of beings, ancient and grand in their silent reign over the dwellers of the Earth, whisper harshly as the skies darken and secrets threaten to be exposed to the World.
His cold eyes scanned the landscape. It was barren: the once flourishing, strong trees were now brittle, sunken. It appeared it was time.
He turned from the vast array of trees and viewed the horse that neighed nervously. The man atop the horse gripped the reigns tightly to steady his steed. "My Lord," he called. "The Duke has arrived."
The smile was thin, and it probably meant nothing, but there it was. And it would not fade. "So he has." It was a whisper. Not meant to be heard by the ears of the man atop the horse.
The dirt underneath the hooves flew like shreds of debris into the sky, and he followed their trace as they returned to Earth.
The Duke bowed low upon his entrance into the main hall and servants scurried out of the room. He walked, with loping grace to the table, pulled a chair and sat, before gesturing for the man opposite him to follow in his movements.
Once seated, the Duke wiped beads of sweat from his high forehead, his brown eyes glittering with anxiousness. The man simply observed the sweat that clung to this man’s skin; why, he perspired so much, his blouse had begun to dampen. The smile that had not left him since he had strolled back to his home, widened in its berth. The thinness, oh, the thinness remained.
“Your Grace,” he said at last, giving this man some freedom from terrible thoughts for the time being, “you look absolutely ill. What has happened?”
“It is a strange – a strange matter,” the Duke gasped. A strange matter, indeed.
He feigned a look of benign curiosity. But he already knew, of course. “What on God’s green Earth is the matter, Charles?” he asked in his voice of great concern.
The brown eyes finally found him across the long table and the Duke jumped from his seat immediately. “You!” he said, lifting a terribly shaking finger toward him. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?!”
The man did not make any sudden movements, he did not flail from the room like some scalded dog, no, he kept his seat. The higher man always kept his seat.
“One of what?” His voice should have been higher; it should have been filled with disbelief. But it remained quiet, calm. Terribly odd given the circumstances, indeed.
“You – you,” the Duke stuttered incoherently, his eyes bulging from their sockets. The man was reminded of the previous man who came to him like this…the year before…around this same time…speaking of strange…strange matters. The smile disappeared at last.
“I, what, Charles?” he asked, a bit of exasperation lined in his voice now. And it was real. He stood slowly, keeping his black eyes on the man before him who had slumped back into his chair rather quickly. “Either you spit it out or you can see yourself off my property.”
His hat clung tight to a single, strong fist as it rested against the table. Still, it shook. “Tell me…tell me what you are, Sir,” he said in a voice barely above a whisper. “I won’t leave – I won’t leave until I know. What I have seen – what I have witnessed—”
Danger. It flared in his eyes but the Duke had not seen this: his eyes remained glued to the wooden table top, glistening with tears now. The man would not see the tips of fangs that resided in the man’s mouth now, he would not see the hands clench tight underneath the table. No, he would not see any of this, but that did not mean it did not exist.
“What,” and he tried his damndest to keep his voice any morsel of sane for to do otherwise would be foolish, terrible, “have you witnessed, Charles?”
“Monsters,” he said immediately, his eyes not rising from the tabletop.
He was grateful for this, for if the man’s eyes rose from the wood, he would be most privy to a horrific sight, indeed. The door opened before the man could say a word and in he stepped, looking terribly handsome, as usual. He stopped short upon seeing the expression the man wore, and then his eyes drifted to the Duke who hastily wiped his tears upon seeing who it was that stood in the doorway.
The Duke stood at once, bowing painfully low, far more than was necessary. The newcomer bowed his return and turned at once to the man who had not risen from his seat at all. “David,” he said, his voice far more scolding than it should have been, perhaps, “this is the last time I will have your…wily daughter cavorting about on my property. She scared half the horses last night. Most likely with that bloody…boy she fancies. I won’t have it, are you listening, David? I won’t bloody have it anymore.”
David turned to stare at this man slowly, for he had been staring upon the Duke with an odd expression. Upon seeing this man, David stood as well, although he did not bow. “It appears, Master, that we have a problem,” he said slowly instead.
The Duke figured this a rather weird thing to say to this man, for the man’s title preceded him. Who was David to speak to this man in such a way? And what he said – it was not a proper response to the man’s words. The Duke watched as the man turned two hard gray eyes to him and he stiffened with fear. He was one of them.
“What is it?” the man asked, his voice colder, not at all as light as it was just seconds before.
“He has seen,” was all David said.
The expression the man gave him now was crushing, Charles decided with weak knees. He suddenly realized he did not want to know what these men were, he did not want to see…but what more did he have now that his wife, his lovely wife was gone…?
“Come with us,” the man said at last. He ran a strong hand through his black hair which barely touched his shoulders before turning on his heel and striding to the door.
David gestured for Charles to follow behind the man, something Charles did with tears welling in his eyes once more for he was quite sure he was to see his death the moment he left the room with these two men.
He did not. The man led him through David’s grand home with purposeful strides until they stopped at a large bookcase. It bore no books. Charles watched with confusion and welling terror as the man said a few words in spitting tongue and the bookcase split in two, revealing a long, winding flight of stone stairs. The man descended at once, David pushing Charles forward with an impatient hand.
They descended rather quickly, or perhaps they did not, time froze for Charles at least as he took his first step onto the gray stone. And then he was in a large, bloody room, filled with swords, bows and arrows, javelins, and torches. He was surprised to find himself sitting in a chair as the two suddenly stared down upon him, their irises the color of blood.
He swallowed a scream as David bared two sharp fangs in his direction, but he did find his breeches soiled with a growing, warm liquid.
“Disgusting,” the other man said. “Gunther, be sure to fetch him some new breeches when we’re done here.”
Charles blinked, not understanding who Gunther was, but David inclined his head subserviently to the man at his side and stepped away through the bloodied room, stopping at a wall. He turned to eye them, Charles seeing his distance as a new reason to feel fear.
“What is your name, sir?” the man with black hair asked, stepping to him.
He pushed himself against the chair as the man came closer, not realizing that he was not secured against anything. He fell backwards with a scream, only to land upon the hard stone floor, his side aching as it was upon this that he landed. He stared up upon the tall, handsome man with tear-filled eyes, and almost lost his mind as the man’s face was now so terribly close to his. The man opened his mouth, showing him the same fangs that David or Gunther just showed and he tried to scream only to find himself letting out a whimper.
“We won’t hurt you, Charles,” the man said although Charles did not remember giving the man his name, and he suddenly realized the man was kneeling beside him. But how? Just a moment ago he had been standing—
The man extended a hand to help him rise from the floor but Charles was not at all sure if he desired to take it. It was with an impatient noise that the man instead grabbed hold of Charles’s arms, pulling him up to stand. Once he let go, Charles sunk back to ground, this time landing on his knees.
“C’mon, man!” the man said, staring down upon Charles with impatient anger. “Fine, I suppose we shall do this on our knees.”
“D—Do what?” he barely breathed before the man had a cold hand upon his neck. His voice was lost in his throat as the man’s fingers traced his back hairline down to the collar of his damp shirt.
The gaze was steady as the man stared straight into Charles’s eyes as he did this, and Charles wondered what in the world was happening for all he felt were icy claws probing his neck. He vaguely thought of numbing before the doctor injected the needle.
“There,” the man said suddenly and he pressed a finger into the middle of Charles’s neck. Charles was suddenly aware that he felt terribly cold.
“What—What have you done to me?” he breathed, his voice shaking through chattering teeth. The temperature of the room had not changed, for all that Charles knew, but as he talked he could see his words leaving him in a stream of thick, icy air.
“You will be dead within the hour, Charles,” the man said simply, rising to stand, leaving Charles there upon the bloody floor, kneeling as though praying to some forgotten god.
The man turned to Gunther, who had been watching all of this with greedy eyes, and he said, “Return to your home, my friend. Keep up appearances.”
Gunther appeared uncomfortable at these words. “But Master, the skies have changed…,” he whispered.
“And that does not mean that you will do so overnight. We still have a few nights left to us, dare I say it,” he said coldly.
Gunther stared at him, as though not understanding what it was the man said.
“You remain for what reason, Gunther?” the man said at last, for he had turned to stare upon Charles who seemed frozen upon his knees, his eyes darkening.
“This is dangerous, Master.”
“What is dangerous is you not leaving me the moment I ordered it.”
“Go, Gunther! Take your doubts with you if you please,” he snarled.
Although trapped in his icy tomb, for that is what it felt like, Charles’s heart pounded with fear at that sound. That snarl. It was inhuman. What were they? What had the strange man done to him? He had killed him, hadn’t he said it himself? He had killed him and he would be dead within the hour….
Gunther swept from the room at last, looking terribly disconcerted, but saying no more, at least aloud, to his master.
The man he left behind, the man who had killed him, Charles thought warily, remained, although he looked greatly troubled. With his hands behind his back, his head bowed, he strolled idly from one wall of the bloody stone room to the other, and Charles realized he had the air of one waiting for something.
It wasn’t until thirty minutes later that Charles felt his heart slow greatly, and although his mind screamed at it for it to pump, for it to send the juice of life through his veins, he felt his insides slowly begin to shut down.
It was at this that the man stopped pacing and turned to stare upon him. His red eyes were glistening with deadly hunger as they bore into his black ones, and Charles realized with a fluttering jolt that the man had been waiting for him to die.
I've nothing more to say because I must go continue writing this lovely story. =] Tell me what you think so far, yeah?
I'm Sheron Parris, and believe it or not, you helped me write that.