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By:Amy Miles

“Seneh live here.”

Gabriel rises swiftly to his feet and begins pacing. “I don’t understand. Is he here now?”


He glances toward the window, catching tiny glimpses of moonlight through the shifting clouds. The snow has let up slightly, but a great wall of cloud is approaching. Katia was right. This storm is about to get worse. It looks like he’s on his own tonight.

He turns back. “Where did he go?”

Her shoulders rise and fall with an indifferent shrug. She slops a bit of stale bread into the dredges of her bowl and pops it into her mouth. “He come and go.”

Gabriel grinds his teeth, annoyed at her cryptic answers. Isn’t Seneh supposed to be protecting him? And what about Elias? He has vanished again, with zero explanation. Shouldn’t Elias be preparing him for his next task?

“Sleep tonight. Back tomorrow.” She rises, sets her bowl on a small wooden counter and sinks back down onto the creaky bench.

She watches him closely, eyes wide with unspoken curiosity. He struggles to swallow back his anger. This isn’t her fault. “I’m not tired.”

“Miss girl.” She stares at him, unblinking.

“How did you know?”

She smiles, ignoring his question. “Talk now.”

Katia motions for him to return to his seat, so Gabriel relents and moves away from the window. He shuffles his feet, tugging on his ear as he delays speaking.

He doesn’t want to talk about Roseline, especially not to a complete stranger. His guilt is still too fresh.

“What’s there to tell? She needed me and I left her. End of story.”

“She know.”

“Knows what?” He can hear the uncertainty in his own voice. Who is this girl? How does she know so much about him?

“You love. She know.” Her gaze is unflinchingly direct.

Gabriel blows out a breath and leans back into the chair. The pillow behind his head is surprisingly soft and inviting. Even the heat from the flames has begun to die down a bit.

As he stares into the dancing flames, he realizes just how weary he feels. “I sure hope so.”


Roseline’s arms and shoulders are on fire. It’s been hours since she lost feeling in her toes, and her hands have gone numb now as well. Her energy is waning quickly, but she eases her head to one side, gently stretching her aching neck.

She has no idea how long she has been hanging from this wall. Her wrists are manacled in old chains, reaching high above her head. Her ankles are similarly bound, turning her into a human X against this cold, roughly hewn stone wall.

When she first came to, she was dazed and dizzy. As her senses returned to her, she realized the true nature of her captivity. The material that hangs over her body is scratchy against her skin. Holes have been cut for her arms and neck, the edging beginning to fray as she struggles against her chains.

A shiny, black gossamer material was clinging to the metal, binding her. She was confused, but a few tugs on the chains immediately gave her an answer: angel hair. She knew she wasn’t getting out of this mess alone.

Now, hours later, she groans in agony. A brilliant white light shines down from above, blinding her from seeing the other walls. The air in the room is close and stifling.

Suddenly, Roseline senses a presence. As she peers into the shadows, she can tell something is lurking there. Its scent is dark and earthy, unlike anything she has ever come across before.

It remains just out of sight, hovering on the edge of the shadow. She thinks she can see a tail swishing back and forth along the ground. Possibly an elongated mouth, similar to an alligators. The clacking of claws against the floor is unmistakable.

“Who are you?”

The creature sways. She searches for a telltale sheen to its eyes, but none appears. There is only darkness. A shiver of apprehension trickles down her spine.

“What do you want from me?” Her chains clink as she tries to crane her neck back to follow the creature as it shifts to her far left.

She feels increasingly vulnerable. She can see nothing more than a hulking form. The creature’s moves slowly, sluggish and yet there is something decidedly purposeful about them. As if she is being stalked. Roseline tenses as she realizes that is exactly what is happening. It is toying with her.

“You can’t make me talk,” she insists, turning her face away.

Raspy laughter rises from the shadows. “And yet you keep doing it.”

“Yes, and now you are too.” She grins as her head swivels back around. She stares at the creature. “I’m sure Lucien didn’t send you to bore me to death.”

There is the clatter of metal on metal as a silver tray is pushed out into the light. A wide array of clamps, scalpels, knives and other horrific utensils are spread across the top. Dried blood still clings to several of the sharpened tips.