Angel Falling Softly

Chapter 1

The devil lives next door

Bedlam beat against the boards. The oaken beams shuddered. The reverberations echoed through the great hall of the manor house. The sound of thunder, perhaps. Or the Master slamming through the empty rooms in another one of his senseless rages. The child they’d brought him had not satisfied. He would beckon her soon enough, glower and remonstrate, pace lines on the drawing-room carpet, smacking the leather of his riding crop into the palm of his hand.

Always the same accusation: “You have wrung her dry! Do you hand a hard sponge to a thirsting man?”

Always her plea: “But there are three of us and only one of you!”

Always his dismissive answer: “You are children. You need hardly a drop!”

She closed her mouth and clenched her teeth and repeated to herself: I am not a child, and one day you shall know this.

Another harsh report. Milada’s eyes flew open. The darkness hung around her like funerary curtains. Her heart raced. She listened closer. No, these were not the echoes of the Master’s temper. It was not lightning, nor was it thunder. It was the sound of angry men and their fists pounding on the door.

Kamilla turned to her, eyes glowing in the dark. “What is going on?” she demanded. “What have you done?

The heavy iron hinges were beginning to give.

Copyright Eugene Woodbury. All rights reserved.