Lot and Josef get up close and personal with Field House
Hastings – 1844
The wooden bar it snapped. I fell off the gate, and I landed with a grunt on my back in the damp undergrowth. Josef jumped the gate and landed as if he’d hopped over a log.
‘I may not be entirely used to being a vampire yet,’ I said and let him pulled me up.
‘In fairness the gate is bigger to you,’ Josef said.
Things crunched underfoot and caught at my clothes probably hiding creatures that might think my legs looked tasty, bloody countryside. ‘What’s he thinking going into a haunted house at night?’
Cold wind gusted in my face and I threw up my hands.
It was grey daylight, through a haze of snow. It lay thick on the ground, cold white stained with warm red. Hands raised against the swirl I squinted. There was no house, it was a field of bodies, dark heaps silhouetted around me. Crying echoed, distant then closer. A man’s sobs.
The wind howled. Trees groaned. I was alone with the crying.
I stumbled in the bracken and Josef caught my arm. I blinked. There was no snow, nor bodies.
‘Millie’s here,’ Josef murmured. ‘I caught her scent on the breeze and there’s magic at work.’
‘I was getting that impression,’ I whispered as if the house might overhear us.
It loomed in the darkness, its windows multifaceted eyes that gleamed in the moonlight. I had a sense of a wood in the same place as the house… translucent, only hinted at by a sparkle as clouds moved across the moon then gone again.
‘I can’t sense anything inside,’ Josef said, hand tightening on mine. ‘Something is blocking me. You?’
‘I know Bran’s in trouble,’ I replied. ‘No direction.’ I’d never used the magic that tied us together so precisely, impressions only as far as I knew. ‘I’ll go with my gut.’ I let go of Josef’s hand and started walking.
There were whispers all around me. Screams and cries. Weaving in and out of each other. Echoes of the past seeping into my present.
I shook my head and focused on putting one foot in front of another. It wouldn’t do Bran and Millie any good if I let my magic overwhelm me.
Bloody magic. Bloody house.
Magic wrapped around my legs, whispering of things to see, power to be taken. Great things I could do. And terrible ones.
Power to help. To heal. To destroy.
All I had to do was open the door and let it in.
There was the house a few feet away. Millie and Bran were in there, they needed me.
Magic brushed at my skin, warm touches that tingled and temped like a lover’s caress. Let me in, let me in, it seemed to whisper, you want power, here I am.
Millie needed me.
I wasn’t a fool. I tried holding too much magic before and it had tried tearing me apart.
Millie. Needed. Me.
‘Enough.’ I kicked the ajar door open and it bounced against the wall. The thump echoed in the stone entrance hall.
A warm wind whipped through the overgrown garden and the house groaned. Everything went still and quiet as if the house was watching me with interest.
Josef rested his fingertips on the ajar door. ‘Well, that was… interesting.’
I drew in deep breaths. ‘I control my magic, it doesn’t control me.’
The house was silent and still in reply but I could feel it watching.
Josef stepped passed me and stood, head tilted in the hall, listening. Even the plants swallowing the rotting furniture and creeping up the walls seemed still and watchful.
I sighed, the magic was so thick in the air it was a weight on my shoulders.
‘Bran,’ Josef said, not needing to raise his voice for Bran’s vampire ears. ‘I can’t hear them.’
‘An illusion?’ I asked.
‘Perhaps. What do you hear?’
I stepped towards him and fell. My head hit something hard. My body hit something soft and cold.
I lay still, eyes closed. My body felt too heavy and my head throbbed as the wound healed. My clothes turned wet and cold. I couldn’t hear Josef.
The animals sounded different but I wasn’t sure why they seemed different.
There was a growl in the distance.
I opened my eyes.
I was face down in blood-stained snow. It was the end of summer but the nights were still warm, snow should’ve been a months away.
I shifted stiffly and looked towards the door.
There was no door.
There was night sky, moonlight, and woodland.
That wasn’t good.
Read the second part of today’s double bill here.