The sins of the masses shall become your own…
Monsters do exist. This Suzie Blevins knows without question. But when she is called on to defend a man who cut his wife into bits of flesh and bone, she is way out of her league. The horrific scene meshes with her nightmares, ugly visions of death and gore plaguing her every night. A mysterious man calls to her, the connection one of electricity as well as knowing. Reincarnation. Is it possible she’s lived before?
Dr. Forrest Collingsworth is a well-respected psychiatrist whose work with serial killers is known across the country. He’s also a madman, succumbing to a curse he’s fought for centuries. He is well aware he’s lived before, perfecting his methods of murder as well as attempting to locate the beautiful woman lost in an ugly battle, her spell destroying lives. She could be his only salvation to keep their souls from an eternity of fire.
Daniel Lungren has been on the search for his adversary since the battle of 1492, one lost to a love standing the test of time. An angry and bitter soldier, he forges on as he has for centuries, thwarting the cataclysm of Hell. His destiny can only be fulfilled when he’s found the Prince he was required to kill so many lifetimes ago.
A battle is raging in the streets of a small town in Delaware, a product of a disease woven from a promise of love in a time when a king ruled with a demonic hand. Three souls are intertwined, required to live out several lives while those around them are massacred. This time, only one can survive. This time, the curse must be eradicated in order to save humanity.
Can they end the darkness?
Out of the darkness shall come the light…
Publisher’s Note: This suspenseful, dark story is intended for adults only. It contains elements of paranormal activity, graphic violence, suspense, betrayal, and lovers who are trying to find peace together through the centuries. If any of these themes offend you, please do not purchase.
*** Currently available exclusively at Amazon ***
Out of the darkness shall come the light…
One leading into the arms of death
“You must leave!” Susannah Ravens insisted, her green eyes glowing in the full moon.
“I cannot leave you here alone,” he mumbled, glaring at the sky. The branches, cobbled together with vines, did little but give them the concept of privacy.
She gripped both sides of his face, drawing her own closer. “Listen to me, Captain Forrest Collingsworth, you have a job to do. I can fend for myself. You forget, my brothers taught me well.”
Forrest swallowed hard, bile rising in his throat. He could hear the rumble of the steeds, their hooves hitting the parched earth as they drew near. If she were found with him, she’d be strung up, sliced from ear to ear. Or worse. “Susannah, listen to me very carefully. There is a cabin about two miles from here. Follow the river and it will take you there. Stop for no one for there is no man you can trust, only creatures hell bent on destroying your life.” He closed his eyes for a few seconds, madness overtaking his thoughts.
Blood dripped frown the stone walls, the volume seeping from the course block. The strangled cries of the victims, wallowing in their own feces, permeated the humid air. The stench of death, bile and urine left a permanent mark within the dungeon. No one left alive.
He shivered, goose bumps popping along his skin. The nightmares were real.
“Your demons will no doubt be your death,” Susannah whispered, as tears streamed down her face. She brushed her lips across his cheek, trembling as the earth moved from the sound of the powerful animals.
“My demons have kept me alive in their wretched, vile place.” He gripped her arms, pulling her to her knees. The thumping sound of the advancing soldiers chilled him to the core. He’d been betrayed by one of his own. For such treachery, the minion would be gutted, gored hollow and left for the vermin to feast upon. The vision of a young man strung to a cross, his entrails trailing to the ground swept excitement and hunger racing through every cell in his aching body.
“My beloved. You must go!”
Exhaling, he lowered his head, the whisper hoarse. Unfortunately, she was right. There was nowhere he could run, no location secure enough to begin a new life. His fingers clamped down, sadness overwhelming. “I will always love you. Never forget. I never wanted you to see…”
“Go!” she screeched and pulled them both to their feet. She was shaking yet her face held an air of defiance. “You are the love of my life. You will always be in my heart. We will be together again. Nothing can keep us apart.”
The words were true enough. His heart racing, he eased her into an embrace, his lips crushing hers. He thrust his tongue inside tasting the sweet essence of the only woman he could ever love, one forbidden to him. The rumble under his feet created anger, rage unlike any he’d ever known.
Susannah clawed at his arms, breaking the hold. “Please, I beg you to leave. I’ll hide in the woods.”
He shook his head and took her by the hand. “I’ll lead you to the path where you will be able to find your way. Stay by the river and you should be safe. I’ll come for you as soon as I’m able. Of that I promise.” He slid past the makeshift door and into the darkness, studying his surroundings. He knew the way by heart, the cabin an attempt at a respite away from the tyranny, the daily bloodshed.
“I’m not frightened,” she stated with conviction.
“But you should be. There are monsters everywhere.” Standing at the edge of the tree line, he pointed the way. “Remember, stay by the river. Now go. They are looking for me anyway. They need my services.” This was the life he was required to live. He snorted and sucked in his breath.
She shook her head. “Don’t be a fool, my dearest. Your father has come for a single reason.”
The woman standing in front of him held such beauty, such understanding of his needs as well as his burning desires. No one had ever seen past his tightly woven mask into his very soul. He would love and protect her forever.
Thump! Boom! Wwwhhhhaaa!
“The horses are here,” Susannah breathed as she rose onto her tiptoes, kissing him on the lips.
As she scampered into the darkness, Forrest held his breath. Images of slaughter and gore, skin being peeled away, eyes ripped from their sockets in an effort to eradicate their resolve, remained in the back of his mind. He narrowed his eyes, a grim realization settling deep inside. His father may have won. The bastard.
The whinnying sound of the horses as they were brought to a halt just a hundred yards away reminded him how relentless his father truly was. Lars Collingsworth may be a King, but he was also a monster, cold blooded in his methods. Once revered, he’d stripped the land of its wealth, the good people of their very souls. He chuckled as he brushed both hands through his hair. Thine say to the Lord, though shalt forgive. Forgive nothing. He would see his father strung up and disemboweled.
As he walked toward the open clearing, past the huddle he’d spent the best two days of his life, he shut down his emotions. His life of privilege was nothing but a prison. He stood in the open field, surrounded on three sides by his father’s army, men blindly serving a kingdom of demons for scraps of bread and dirty water. If this was living, he preferred death. However, if he were to keep her alive he had to follow protocol. Tossing back his shoulders he walked toward the lead guard, a brute of a human, one capable of decapitating a man with the use of his knife alone.
The man dropped down from his perch on the massive steed. He nodded, keeping his head lowered in reverence to the rank then slowly lifted his mask of steel. “Captain Collingsworth. We feared you dead, taken by our enemies.”
There was an air of arrogance in the guard’s voice, a sneer laced with knowing. Forrest resisted clawing the man’s face, scooping out and eating his eyes. Instead, he rose to his full height and allowed his gaze to linger on the man’s face. They called him Steele because of his ability to wield a sword. One day, the man would meet his match in an arena, with him on the other side. “Steele, do you really believe there is a man within a fortnight who can best me?” The tittering of the other soldiers usually increased his anger. Today, he was comforted by their mumbles, the words of hatred said under their breaths.
They’d all be dead by the week’s end.
Steele grinned, his broken teeth shimmering in the slice of moonlight. “I must say that sounds like a challenge.”
“I only consider challenges where men have a chance, any chance at all.” Forrest looked at the group of ragtag men, previous criminals who’d been salvaged from the brink of death and spit onto the ground. The meaning was clear enough. By right of his birth alone, he was far superior to the creatures that pretended to contain some type of humanity. When a quiet hush reverberated over the twenty or so soldiers, he lifted his head, his gaze ice cold. “Do you understand me, Steele? Can you comprehend at all what I’m saying to you?”
“Yes, Captain,” Steele hissed between clenched teeth. “You have no idea just how much I understand.”
The moment of tension remained, their eyes locked on one another. Forrest refused to back down. Whether birthright or not, these disgusting humans would never be in his league. “My horse? I assume you brought my horse?”
“Of course, sir. I brought everything you need to take your rightful place.”
The words were far too practiced. There was a game afoot. Forrest looked around the perimeter, his thoughts drifting to Susannah. She was a formidable woman. There were few men who could best her. Her brothers had taught her well. A snicker lingered in his throat. His plans were nearly perfect. He refused to have them thwarted by his father. He held out his hand in a request for the reins, surprised the soldiers remained in formation.
“There is beauty in the wake of death. Don’t you think so, Captain?” Steele’s voice rang clear in the cloudless night.
Slowly Forrest turned his head. “What did you say to me?”
Anguish roared through his system, his breath stolen by instant nausea. Forrest toppled to the ground, panting. The whip had caught him around the throat, the sting of the leather biting.
With a twist of his hand, Steele unraveled the thin strand, striking again.
The soldiers laughed, a few clapping their approval.
Blinded by pain, Forrest managed to grab the end of the whip, yanking yet Steele remained standing. He crawled up by using the strip of leather. “You will be beheaded in front of everyone, your blood used to nourish the very people you claim to fight for.”
A quick kick in the gut sent Forrest down. He landed with a hard thud and immediately attempted to rise to his feet as he grabbed for his sword. The sound of the entire army releasing their blades kept him still. This had been planned for some time and had nothing to do with his desire to mate with a woman. His own father had dishonored him. He calculated the number of guards. He’d been a fool, blinded by his yearning.
Stay strong. Fight…
Her words rang true, settling into the dark corners of his mind.
“The man is a true beast, a betrayer of his people,” Steele stated defiantly as he towered over Forrest.
“Amen,” a soldier shouted from the distance
“He should be punished,” another screeched with glee.
Another crack of the whip knocked Forrest onto his back. Blood formed in his mouth from biting his tongue. He swallowed, relishing in the taste. He clawed at the dirt, managing to drag himself to his knees.
The hard kick in his gut thrust his body across the rough terrain, tumbling over twigs and rocks. His skin was sliced and echoes bounced in his ears. He could hear their laughter, their fueled words of beating him to death. Moaning, he rolled over onto his back, glaring at the moonlight. He’d been a fool to think he could live any kind of normal life.
Steele took long strides, moving around Forrest in a wide arc. He drew his sword, holding the thick metal into the moonlight. “I’ve been authorized to kill you if you resist arrest.”
“Arrest?” Forrest managed. He wiped blood from his mouth as he sat up. He laughed, spitting in Steele’s direction.
A smile creeping across his face, Steele jabbed the tip of the blade under Forrest’s chin. He twirled the sword as he lowered his head, peering down. “For crimes against the King.”
“My father?” Forrest dared. “My father is a bloody idiot and you follow him like a lap dog in heat. You and I both know he’d have you gutted like the pig you are if you so much as break a rib. I suggest you move back and I may forget this incident ever occurred. Do you understand me, soldier?” He glared at the brawny man. Steele was a formidable opponent. Standing at six foot five, bulking muscles gave him a solid advantage.
Steele tilted his head to the side and crouched lower. When he spoke, the tone was even, yet filled with a clear threat. “You’re a fool and you’re finally going to learn your place. I’ve been looking forward to this very moment.” Keeping the blade against his opponent’s neck, he grabbed Forrest by his shirt, yanking him to his feet.
Forrest punched him in the face, the force driving him down onto his ass, his sword slipping from his fingers.
Growling, Steele jumped to his feet, grabbing the weapon within seconds. Holding the handle between both hands, he hunkered down, a grin remaining. “You are no fighter.”
Sniffing, Forrest calculated his next move as well as the reason for his capture. His father had something up his sleeve, but he doubted the deed included killing him in a remote location. His father enjoyed his notoriety. He stole a glance at the other soldiers. They were waiting for a duel, a fight to the death. He had no issue giving them what they hungered for, food. He withdrew his sword, the smooth sound of the blade slipping along the length of leather a righteous moment. He’d wanted nothing more than to carve the brutal man into shreds.
“I’ll gut you.”
Forrest beckoned with one hand as he took a fighter’s stance, his arms prone.
Swinging the implement of death, Steele connected with Forrest’s blade. He laughed, the brute force of his upper body strength enabling him to shove his opponent back several yards.
His anger flaring, he caught himself before tumbling to the ground and immediately thrust the sword. The hard metal snapped against Steele’s before slicing across the man’s forearm. He grinned as he moved around Steele in a half circle. “You know you cannot beat me. The battle is already won.” His laughter was deep, the inflection clear.
For a few seconds Steele gazed at the superficial wound, as if calculating his next move. Throwing one arm back he roared as he lunged forward.
As the blades cracked together, the sound echoing up into the trees, Forrest could hear her voice, the melodic tone ringing like a beautiful song, a gift from the Gods. Caught off guard by the lilting sound, he barely managed to avoid being cut. Taking a giant stride backward, images of Susannah’s face, bloodied and beaten, rushed through his mind. Suddenly strangled, he reached out, only to have his chest sliced open. He stumbled, nearly tripping over a bank of rocks as the visions continued.
Caged, her naked body was shackled against steel bars, her arms and legs splayed out as she was jabbed from every side. Her porcelain skin was mottled with strings of blood, both breasts nearly ripped from her body. While her eyes were vacant, her mouth moved, the ragged sounds calling out his name.
Forrest… Save yourself…
Gasping, Forrest’s entire body shook as he fought back, thrusting the sword over and over again in manic swings. Tears skimmed past his lashes as anguish furrowed deep into his soul. Was this real? “You will die!”
Clang! Strike! Whoosh!
Harder and faster he swung his weapon, every muscle screaming in agony. Still, the beast refused to fall. Spitting out blood and bile, Forrest glared at the solider, his massive body somehow glistening in the stream of concentrated light. The grin remaining on Steele’s face enraged him and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to cut the man down. No torture was good enough for such a loathsome beggar. “This will end now.” Unable to shake the wretched visions of the level of cruelty inflicted on his beloved, a precious gift from God, he lifted his sword one last time, carving a design in Steele’s cheek.
The soldiers growled, several dropping from their horses.
Forrest threw out his arms as he walked closer to the formation. “Enough. This ends here. I am the Prince of the kingdom. I will lead when my father meets his demise. Those who stand with me today will find solace and wealth, whores and food for their loyalty.” He jerked his head toward Steele, a smile creeping across his face. His political stance at this very moment would either keep him alive until he was able to finish what he’d started, or get him killed. The choice was very much up to him.
Steele wiped sweat and blood from his face, shaking the remnants from his hand before inhaling and throwing his arms to the sides. “Fool.” He snickered, the tone deep and husky, as he walked forward. “As your father taught me well, the kingdom of fools is a guise of restraint, a method of imprisoning our enemies. Captain, you will learn from your mistakes or you will die.”
The words were haunting, completely unlike Steele. There was no intelligence in a brute such as the mercenary standing in front of him. There was only the need for blood, food and sex. He narrowed his eyes and took two cautious steps closer. “Blasphemy. You speak words of the Devil.” Suddenly, he heard a rustle coming from the trees. He maintained his place. They needed to know who was in command.
The sins of the masses shall become your own. Revenge is mine…
Forrest’s body shook from the taunting words, the same ones lingering in the back of his mind every night. His resolve remained as he lowered his sword and let out an intense roar. Flocks of birds flew up from the forest, their wings flapping in unison. He howled, the sound rumbling from the pit of his stomach.
Light and darkness swept over him as keening howls sounded from deep within the bowls of the darkness. He gripped his head, the visions swimming in a rambling mass of vivid imagery. He was coming undone, his mind reeling from the realization he’d been captured by the very demon he’d fought for so many years.
“See your destiny, our prince.” Steele’s voice rang clear.
Forrest turned around, gawking at the faceless beings, their bodies cloaked. They walked forward, every step calculated. He was frozen as what seemed like tentacles swept over his body, caressing every inch, burrowing past his skin and muscle, wrapping around his bone. He could swear their eyes glowed. Then there was nothing but blackness. But he knew. He knew. “What have you done?”
“I’ve brought you to the place of infamy. A moment of Heaven or Hell.” Steele motioned toward the forest. “Come.”
Out of the shadows, two soldiers approached, dragging something behind them.
Blinking, Forrest was finally able to focus. “No!” Even in the darkness he could see her. “Susannah!” Scrambling forward, he reached out for her as the unknown beings parted, allowing the soldiers to pass. Protection. He had to protect her at all costs.
Limp, her head swung down, her long hair matted and she moaned as they brought her closer.
From where he stood he could hear her soft murmurs, words of confusion and worry. Before he could move, he was flanked on all sides, the men who’d once fought with him now preventing his advancement. “I asked you a question. What have you done? You’ve imprisoned all of us.” Rage curled in his toes, rattling upward. If not curtailed, he’d destroy everything and everyone, including the woman he loved.
“Quite the contrary. I’ve accomplished what needs to occur.” Steele walked in front of him, turning slightly, a glare remaining on his face. “Your whore has kept you from accepting your position.”
Sensations rose from his gut as the understanding settled in. “Leave her alone.”
He laughed again as Steele shook his head. Flicking his hand, his eyes flashed as he advanced toward her. “You will watch. You will learn. Then she will die.”
Susannah whimpered as she lifted her head, her eyes locking on Forrest. “My love.”
Forrest snapped his sword, catching the closest guard in the gut. The man gagged, his mouth opening wide. He jerked back his arm then impaled the solider, cutting deep. He twisted the blade as he allowed a guttural sound to erupt from his throat, the cry nothing more than a warning to the others.
Startled, the nearest horses scuttled backward, forcing several of the men to move away from their positions in an effort to keep the animals from running.
Several of the soldiers held out their swords in a fighting stance, ready to take on the battle.
Issuing another howl, Forrest glanced toward the beings. They were waiting to take away the dead. “You will all see your maker in Hell.” He yanked back his arm, the bloodied sword releasing its hold.
Steele gripped Susannah around the neck, tugging her toward his body. “You would die for this bastard son?”
The soldier dropped to the ground, his face mashing into the dirt. Forrest lunged toward the two others, who managed to thwart the blows. “She is nothing to you.” He was cold, an intense chill oozing down his spine. “She’s nothing to me.” The words were hollow, said with no emotion.
Tears streamed down her face. She smiled as she nodded. “He is my life.”
A chuckle sounded as Steele dug his nails into her skin. “Then die you will.”
“No!” Forrest insisted.
“If she is nothing to you then you won’t care what happens to her,” Steele shot back.
For a few seconds, Forrest’s vision was clouded. Terror, the ugly horror was real this time. It’s over now. The thought left a sense of foreboding, yet he was lost, his soul scorched by the monster he’d become. “No. She is nothing but a useless wench.” The ugly words echoed.
Steele’s eyes opened wide, the sneer remaining. “Very well.” He lowered his head, licking across her face. “Cunt.”
Her expression was bland as she struggled, spitting across Steele’s face. “You’re nothing. Nothing like the man who holds the key to the future.”
The group of soldiers laughed.
Forrest’s arms were gripped, his sword yanked from his hand. He stood staring at the masked beings, the ones who remained stone faced, unmoving as a light breeze floated between them. He could read her thoughts, knew of her heartache. He was lost in a sea of blackness, the visions no longer crowding his mind. I love you. Dear God, I will save you.
Save yourself, my love. Fight for all of us. Susannah kept her smile as Steele ripped the front of her dress.
When she squealed, Steele backhanded her.
“I will kill you!” Stunned, Forrest managed to slip out of the men’s grasps and raced toward her, only to be toppled and pitched to the ground.
Steele threw out his arm. “Hold him until I say otherwise, lest you die.”
“No! You will not do this. I am your leader. I am in command.” The words screamed in vain, Forrest was lifted to a standing position as her tattered clothes were yanked, leaving her naked and exposed. Why has God forsaken me? Why?
Cast out the sinners…
The dead shall inherit the earth…
You are a creation of evil…
The words and thoughts swirled around him as visions of those he’d slaughtered, men and women caught in a battle of will and might, dragged at his very soul. He was the one who’d lost his way, his very soul. He was blinded by his rage as the men held him. He dropped his head, saliva dripping from his mouth. The moon cast a perfect glow down over her naked body, her voluptuous figure and full breasts once something only he’d been allowed to enjoy.
She spat again, the glob of saliva hitting Steele square in the eye. Giggling, she raked her nails down his freshly carved face, the tips capturing skin and blood underneath.
The single pop to her face snapped her head back. Steele allowed her to sag to the ground as he gazed down, tugging loose his pants.
“Leave her alone. If you want a fight, you have one with me.” Forrest knew the words meant nothing, nor would they stop what was about to occur.
“I bet she’s a good fuck,” the soldier holding his right arm hissed.
Forrest turned his head, his gaze telling the pimple faced young boy exactly what would happen to him if he let go. Thoughts whirled in his mind, voices and images meshing together in a solid flow, the vision rolling faster and faster. He heard the thumping of his heart in his ears as he clenched his fist, determined to break free.
“If he tries to get away, cut off his hand,” Steele commanded before dropping his pants. He rubbed his hand down his hard shaft, rolling his fingers over his swollen balls.
Susannah looked up, blood dripping from her mouth. The sound strangled, she began to hum.
He shivered as he listened to her woeful song, the melody one he knew well. She’d rub his forehead at night to help him go to sleep, to try and prevent the malevolent spirits from stealing his dreams, perhaps his very sanity.
“Shut up, bitch. Whores aren’t allowed to make noise,” Steele hissed. He smacked her again. This time her body remained rigid.
Inhaling, Forrest admired the beauty, her courage as well as her willpower. He’d never met another woman like her. The wind continued to swirl, allowing the sweet melody to float in every direction. He wondered if the beast sent from Hell understood, if they had any idea what an angelic soul they were witnessing.
Steele turned his head, the moonlight allowing Forrest a look into the eyes of a soulless man. The soldier dropped to his knees, jerking Susannah’s legs apart.
She whimpered but continued to hum, the volume increasing.
The whore must die in order for you to live.
“No,” Forrest wheezed. He struggled with the two men holding him, lashing out. He managed to catch the boy in his eyes, his fingers thrusting easily inside, popping them lose from inside his skull.
Wailing, the boy toppled backward, his screams a call for the creatures surrounding them, their sounds of scuttling heard over the cries of agony.
“Do your jobs!” Steele roared his command.
The remaining soldiers rushed forward, prepared to keep Forrest back at any cost.
Steele dropped his head, an evil chuckle mixed with scuttling sounds hovering just behind the trees. “Whores are meant for one thing so shut up.”
“May God forgive you, because you know not what you do,” she stated, the tone of her voice filled with…
“Love,” he whispered. She loved him enough to lose her life willingly. His mind reeling, Forrest recoiled, losing control of his mind. He sagged, every muscle going numb.
You will live to see the end of the Kingdom, the beginning of a new world.
“I said shut up!” Steele huffed.
The boy continued to wail, his body contorting on the ground. “And shut him the fuck up as well.” Dropping his head to Susannah’s mouth, he crushed his lips over hers, shutting down her voice. He shoved his cock inside her cunt, fucking her with savage motions as he twisted his head from side to side.
A soldier grabbed the boy by the arm, lifting him to his knees.
“Don’t kill me. Please, don’t kill me,” the boy slapped at the man.
The hollowed-out core of the boy’s eyes were truly the blackened pits of his soul. Forrest watched as the soldier cut him ear to ear, tossing his body to the dirt as if a piece of meat, worthless. He inhaled, a vacuum clamping around his vision.
Quiet settled through the men, the night sounds now a distant hum. Forrest was vaguely aware his beloved was being raped, skin being shorn as the bastard raked his nails down her neck to her breast. The visions continued, masses of people massacred for the sake of greed and power. He was jolted back to reality by a single pop and the joyful grunt coming from Steele’s throat. No light was needed, no glow of the giant orb to know what had occurred.
Steele chomped, shredding her tongue with his jagged teeth. When he was finished, he swallowed and spit the remainder down onto her face. “Like I said, whores don’t speak.”
“I’ll kill you. Heaven and Hell on this day, hear me, you bastard. I will drag your bloodied body though the streets, stopping to allow the good townsfolk time to carve away bits of your flesh. When they’re finished, I will tie you to a tree, allowing the forest to take you at will. Do you hear me?”
The soldiers whistled, catcalling.
Steele kept his eyes on Forrest as he licked his lips and continued fucking her, the power of his legs shoving her hard against the rocks.
Susannah no longer moved, merely lay still as blood trickled down from her mouth, her pointed gaze studying Forrest. I love you. I love you.
“No. No!” Forrest turned away, begging a God he didn’t believe in to stop the horrors, spare her.
“Yes. Oh, yes!” Steele groaned as he held his body in position, his legs shaking.
Sucking in his breath, Forrest remained expressionless. He studied in fasciation as the guard rose to his feet. There would be a day, no matter how distant in the future or how difficult the situation, in which he’d hunt down the man who’d destroyed his life.
Steele wiped his mouth with the back of one hand while he wrapped the other around the base of his dick, lifting his shaft. His laughter dark and filled with arrogance, he squeezed his shaft, pissing over her face and chest.
Several of the men grunted their appreciation.
When he seemed satisfied, Steele jerked up his pants and moved away from her. He walked toward Forrest, never blinking.
A glow appeared in the distance, floating around the beings. Forrest had no fear, no sense of dread, merely a moment to embrace what had been foretold. Tonight, was the beginning of his eternity.
“If you want to live, if you want to keep the precious people of the kingdom alive, you’ll do as you’re required.” Steele’s voice was even.
He shot the man a look and jerked free of his captors, who instantly dragged him back. Forrest looked from one side to the other. His rage had turned to venom.
Steele held up his hand. “Let him pass.”
The soldiers nodded, freeing his arms. He walked until he was beside Steele. “You do realize what you’ve created.”
“Only the beginning of a new world.” Steele pointed toward the figures. “Her death means our future.”
For a few seconds, he remained where he was, self-loathing settling in. The air around him was laced with an eerie edge. The humid air was at a standstill. He looked toward the creatures. Susannah was no longer on the ground. Her body had been strapped to what appeared to be a cross. He shuddered as he pushed his way through the crowd, his gait unsteady. He began to hum the tune, the one she loved with all of her heart.
Somehow, he found his way in front of her. She’d never looked lovelier, her flaming red hair framing an angel’s face. Forrest looked from right to left at the beings. There was no sound, no indication they had control. They were merely watchers, sick voyeurs from the underworld.
With heavy feet, he closed the distance. She’d been crying, her eyes full of keen understanding. A haze settled over him as he studied her face, her mouth that moved in a silent cry of need. Everything had come to this moment. There was no time to reflect, no method of taking domination.
For he was the damned.
He slipped a sabre from his pocket, swirling his fingers around the jewels covering the handle. A gift from his father. He growled given the irony. Tears formed in his eyes, those of bitterness and hatred.
Fear not, my love. You are wise and strong.
He snapped his head. She didn’t need to speak. Every word, every thought he knew, could understand. “You are my light, my life.”
And I’ll still be in death. Susannah nodded, love remaining in her furrowed expression.
He drew the knife from its protective sheath, flicking the blade back and forth. The sound of her voice remained in the back of his mind, her soft words of adoration and her undying love. Lifting the knife, he dragged the ragged edge of the blade across his hand. The string of blood trickled down his hand. Grabbing her arm, he cut her as well then placed their hands together, interlocking their fingers. “Forgive me. I never wanted you to see my darkest part.” Sweat beading down his forehead he took a step away.
I will always love you…
Driving the knife just beside her heart, tears slipped past his eyelashes as he carved in a circle.
Forever my love…
Forrest held his breath, vile thoughts of revenge forever remaining. When he was done he forced his hand inside.
A roar erupted from the soldiers.
He turned around and lifted his arm. I’m lost forever. Help me, God. Please, help me.
Her heart remained beating.
“Hail to the King!”