• ERIC BUTLER

The Ephraim Godwin Chronicles - The Early Years: The Awakening Part 14

This story takes place 5 years before the first Ephraim Godwin Chronicle Serial. It will be longer than a simple stand alone story so I will be releasing parts of the tale every Wednesday. Part 14 contains Chapters 27 & 28.


CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN


The stench of burned flesh overwhelmed Ephraim's senses and he stumble to the corner retching. Not finding a bucket, he stuck his face between the bars and vomited the little food he'd eaten the last day onto the floor. Wiping the back of his hand across his lips, he wished there was something to wash the taste from his mouth.


"Or something to light the torch," he mumbled as he moved back to the door. He fiddled with the lock, twisting and turning to no avail. Gritting his teeth in frustration, he fought the urge to lash out at the still smoldering corpse behind him. Wouldn't be right to take it out on Tanner. A giggle slipped out at the thought.


"What's so funny?"


Ephraim stared where he thought the body laid, eyes wide as he tried to will them to see in the dark. "Tanner?" he asked, his voice so soft he truly wondered if he spoke.


"What? No you daft idiot," the voice replied in disgust. "It's Henry."


Ephraim let out a sigh, relieved the dead weren't speaking to him. Bad enough he stood and walked around a bit. Another giggle escaped.


"My word Ephraim," Henry said his words snipped with irritation. "get a hold of yourself."

Ephraim nodded, and gripped the bars of the door and shook. A moment later his brother's hands found his. He bit his bottom lip as he struggling to keep in his relieved laughter. The darkness was weighing heavily on his mind, pushing him deeper into a nightmare he had no desire to revisit.


"Brother dear," he said with a shaky voice. "I am in desperate need of assistance. If I am not freed, and soon mind you, I may not return for quite some time."


Ephraim wasn't sure if his brother ever knew the true depths of despair he had fallen after discovering his family missing when he returned from the Continent. The amount of blood left behind, and the pure ferocity of the destruction to the interior of their home struck Ephraim like a lightning bolt.


If not for a close friend whose family helped nurse Ephraim back, body and mind, he would surely be in the loony bin. While he struggled with the loss of not only his military career but his wife and son, he now had a mystery to solve. It was that mystery that gave Ephraim the focus needed to get well.


Henry's hands slid up Ephraim's arms, stopping at his shoulders where they gave a reassuring squeeze. Ephraim pictured his brother's face, hoping he was wearing that reassuring smile that had comforted him when they were younger.


"Bless you Henry," he whispered, tears running freely down his cheeks.


"Enough of that," Henry said releasing his brother and shaking the door. "We need to figure out how to open this door."


"If you can manufacture some light, I know where Lady Farkus placed the key."


Ephraim listened to his brother release a sigh and then fumble around a bit. He opened his mouth to question what was going on when a light flared. Henry held a match and a sheepish look on his face. Ephraim reached out, snatched the match before carefully carrying it about his cell. With a cry of success, he bent over and scooped the extinguished torch from the floor.


Once the torch flared to life, the crushing weight slipped from his shoulders. He stepped to his brother, holding out the torch. He motioned to the far wall where the keys hung from an iron ring. Soon he would be free from this cell, but it wouldn't be soon enough.


CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE


The Baron woke on the floor in his bedroom. His chest throbbed to the beat of an imaginary heart. He struggled to his knees, crawling to the mirror he had against the far wall. He blinked at his reflection, confused as to where his clothes might be. I have no memory...

His thought trailed off, as his fingers gently probed the scarred knot upon his chest.


Although dark pink in color, the knot periodically flashed an angry red as it pulsed and throbbed. His touch didn't cause discomfort, but every so often a jab of pain set his body into spasms. The Baron leaned closer, resting his forehead on the cool smooth surface of the mirror. This close his vision blurred, and if he angled his eyes just right, he saw someone else in his reflection.


A blast of pain pulled his thoughts away, and when his vision cleared he no longer saw anyone except himself. He shivered as cool winds blew though the room. Using the mirror as a brace, Hall stood on shaky legs. He needed to clear his head, remember what needed to be done.


"Kill the vixen," he whispered, Selina Farkus's face suddenly floated in the mirror. He slammed his fist into the looking glass, enjoying the way the fractures split her face.


Hall spun around, stumbled a moment before catching his balance and marching to his wardrobe. Wouldn't do for him to wander the countryside in the nude...not yet at least. A smile split his face at the thought. He was so close to fulfilling the master plan. One more death and it would all be his...wouldn't it?


***


The horned giant stalked through the darkness, holding Selina like a man holds a babe. He studied her face, pleased to see a smile on her lips as she slept through the journey. He was well aware this was no place for a conscious human, so he made sure she would not awake. There was still much for her to do, and it would be near impossible if she were to be overtaken with madness.


Even removing those two irritants from the board left them with no time to travel through conventional means, and so he had no choice but to move her through the shadows. The horned one shook his head, soon with Selina's help all obstacles will be removed.


He glanced down once more, a tender expression flashed over his face. If she asks, I will make her my queen. Together we will reign supreme over this land.


A pinpoint of light appeared ahead. The giant hurried his pace, shifting Selina in his arms. The light grew, forming into a large rectangle as he stopped in front of it. On the other side the Baron struggled to stand. A gasp slipped from the giant's lips as he studied the scar tissue on the man's chest. He recognized the mark and with that a realization that his plan was in jeopardy. He glanced down at Selina once again.


For him to succeed a sacrifice would be required. Oh well, there will be other queens. The light fractured, splintering on the other side and sending the horned giant staggering backward. Shaking his head, he hurried into the darkness. They needed to leave the darkness if he had any hope of success.



© 2020 Naked Cat Press. All Rights Reserved

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All