Prologue…(due out next month, I think)
The woman stood alone in a courtyard of blood.
The bodies that surrounded her looked more like meat than anything else.
The man watching her from the shadows had lived through enough slaughters to recognize the one before him now.
These people had been alive not that long ago. If he had only arrived sooner, he could have helped. It made no sense. Why was he here now?
Perhaps whoever had killed them would come back for the lone survivor.
She stood there, drenched in blood, her head bowed.
Frowning, he eased closer, uncaring of the blood and gore. Some would fear it would stain the pristine white garments he wore, but the clothes never stained. Never showed signs of wear or weather. The wonder of that no longer puzzled him, nor did he consider it a wonder. Just another observation in his long, wretched existence.
He stepped in a puddle of blood and not even a drop trailed behind him as he continued forward, his steps soundless on the earth.
He no longer completely moved in this world.
A fact he had yet to fully accept. A fact he’d never completely understand.
Who are you? He eyed her closely, almost willing her to lift her head, to take notice of him.
Who are you…who am I? Why am I here?
And that, if he were honest, was the question that bothered him the most.
Oh, he had a vague idea. He was here because something had led him here, to this isolated home, perched on a lovely mountainside. From a distance, it had been rather imposing, a sign of wealth and power.
Death and hell had waited within. Not too long ago, he never would have been able to sense the evils that had taken place inside here.
But not that long ago, he had been a dead man himself.
Not that long ago, he never would have seen what was about to happen.
It was a knowledge he hated, the way he saw it unfolding in his mind. As though he had split into two people, the part of him that still clung to his mortal coil was terrified and desperate to flee from this hell place. The other part watched was what to come—the way the woman went to her knees, her fingers sliding through the thick, red mess that was blood and earth.
Then both sides of his brain reconnected.
His mind did not understand what she held at first.
But then he saw the glint of the blade, and he knew.
He went to move—
He could even hear the scream forming in his mind.
That was not the answer. No other knew that better than he.
But he could not move.
He physically could not move.
She has to take this step.
He shook his head, denying the voice that whispered to him from within.
Yes. Because once she does, once she is almost past hope, you can reach her. Then, you will offer her the choice.
As she plunged the blade into her chest, finally, he could scream. Their screams mingled as one and as the inexplicable bonds controlling him loosened, he rushed to her side.
He slid an arm beneath her and even as he touched her, he felt it. The buzz of something…more. He did not know how to describe what it was, but he knew it was powerful.
And as her gaze held his, he saw everything…
Everything she was, everything she had ever done.
And she looked into his eyes and saw everything he was. Everything he had ever done.
They whispered it as one.