Echoes of Midnight

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A creepy, crawling sensation wound its way through Greta’s body as she tried to orient herself with her surroundings. Something's definitely not right, she thought. Is this Allafech or another castle she shouldn’t venture in?

She supposed being lost during traveling meant you’re enjoying it, going places with no exact destination was her kind of thing. After the grief that caught her following the death of a lover turned fiancé, she thought it best to get away. Living alone sucked a lot, and she decided to shake up her life a bit, and enjoy its little pleasures.

Yet something whispered inside her - getting lost in this part of Bellevedere sounded terrible, like a bad premonition before an unlikely accident.

Murky thoughts nagged at her then. Which castle was this one?

She wondered as the putrid smell of rotten flesh wafted her senses, taking her curiosity to a higher level.

Where am I and how did I get here?

Suddenly, a creak and shuffles of two giant footfalls rang around the room. A figure emerged from the corner, but she could never pinned that dark gaze speaking to her. It felt inhumane, a thing born out of this world. Greta knew it was rhetoric to inquire about his identity, redundant as it seemed so she continued to stare but the dark man spoke first.

“You should be afraid.”

A man of few words. Interesting! Yesterday, she was aboard a ship to Bellevedere, now she was on a staring contest with a scary man who could be a notorious killer.

He looked a few years ahead of her, dressed in a cloak the shade of midnight and sky blue eyes that sparkle with determined purpose.

“Are you that Phantom of the Opera actor some folks are talking about? Because you really look like him," Greta asked, her sarcasm evident from her lips beaming to a smile.

Silence enveloped the room for a few moments before the man crinkled his eyebrows as if apprehending her and quirked his lip.

“I believe I am not acquainted with what you’re talking about, my lady. I am a High Lord. The master-“

“I know, Mr. Dark Pants. I am so attracted by your appearance but I have tons of questions right now. Apologies for ruining your pity party but I am rather running late to my original destination,” she replied with an emphasis on the word.

A tiny twitch of his jaw told her that this man was a stranger to spontaneous and loud tourists. The air around him swirled with danger as he replied, ”I don’t know how and why you got here, but I assure you, fair lady, Mudwick does not welcome any soul to her.”

Greta sighed with a puff of air and thought, Isn't it obvious already? No matter how unforgiving he looked, she knew he would consider a bargain.

“What if I tell you that this castle is not on my list. I’m supposed to head directly to Allafech.”

The High Lord apprehended her stature. With throbbing ankles and limp arms, there was no way she could drive again with this condition.

“I’ve yet to consult Erik regarding your car but I can take you there,” he paused and before she could exclaim her relief, he continued with a lilting voice, “Tomorrow.”

Holy crap! Her plan was definitely going downhill. What would she do here? Pluck flowers from the garden and have a tea party with this self-proclaimed master?

“What’s with this room? Is this where you murder your wives and dump them in a nearby pit somewhere?”

“You ask a lot.”

“Why does that matter? I was driving to a castle I wanted to visit for months, then suddenly this black icky thing stuck to my car. Next thing I know, I woke up to the dirtiest infirmary I’ve ever laid my eyes upon and then-“

He silenced her again with his eyes, but whatever he was doing, it didn't have any control on her.

“Saying another word would force me to do unspeakable things unfit for a guest. Might be best if you stayed the night here instead.”

“No, please!” she pleaded with an outstretch arm, then tried to grasp his palm but a searing burst of light came out of nowhere. Astonished by what she saw, she exclaimed with fury, “What did just happen?”

Before she could utter another worthless question, the master suddenly grabbed her with the same arm she intended to reach out.

Her eyes threatened to close against her will. The last thing she heard from him were foreign words whispered in a voice not of this world saying, “Forget you ever saw anything.”
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