“She had been his friend then, but it is easy to have friends when you have a handsome face.”
Chapter Two – Aleksandar
Embers grew cold in the grate and the lights dimmed. Rain pounded against the window. The room, once elegant, lay in tatters. Great gashes tore into the wallpaper and plaster. Furniture lay smashed on the floor. Iron chains and a collar sat in the corner, waiting.
This house had been his jail for some years. He left out money for the women from the village who brought him food and supplies. Everyone else from the village agreed to ignore the howls and snarls that come from the Hardwick house and to never approach on a full moon.
Sitting on the bare floor, Aleksandar reread the letter. Again. Each time, he swore he could smell the girl’s perfume, an innocent mix of fresh-picked herbs and ink. Years had passed but he could still hear her laughter, bright and clear as a bell. He held the letter up and breathed deeply.
She had been his friend then, but it is easy to have friends when you have a handsome face. If she could see him now, scarred and disfigured, she’d recoil in horror.
Growling in frustration, he crumpled the paper and tossed it into the dying fire.
Godwin and his family needed him.
Aleksandar did not like to dwell on his past. His family had been slaughtered on a full moon. Godwin Marechal arrived like a savior to rid the small village of its monster infection. The fucking sunlight even gleamed on his golden hair. Aleksandar had been entranced. Godwin appeared so noble, so admirable, that the orphan followed the hunter in a desperate case of hero worship.
Fortunately, Godwin Marechal was as good of a man as he appeared to a starry-eyed child. He took in the half-starved street urchin, gave him a home, taught him a profession, and treated him like family.
He could not say no; he owed too much to the Marechal family.
Unfortunately, much had transpired in the decade since he left the Marechal home. He found the monster that slew his family but paid a price. At the time, he had been happy to pay.
Now? He could not find it within himself to regret his choices. A cursed half-life for the lives of his mother, father, and brother? A bargain.
If the Marechals knew of his curse, he doubted they would welcome his help. He could barely keep himself contained. Leaving would endanger the very family that sought his help.
And yet he yearned to see the only family he had, the people who needed him. Wind rattled the windowpanes and the house groaned.
Aleksandar retrieved the letter from the fire, batting at the charred edges and blowing away soot. There had to be a way to help. He would find it.
Copyright 2020 Nancey Cummings