The child knelt, two candles in sliced halves of apple her only offering on Samhain night.
She steepled pale fingers in flickering light. Whispered a prayer. Then faced the locked door of her small room draped in its deep shadows.
“He’s coming,” she said.
“You don’t frighten us, young lady,” an unseen guard replied from the castle hall.
“I don’t wish you death,” she said. “It’s your lord that is the murderer of my parents, not you.”
The guard huffed. “We won’t betray our liege, because you believe a ghost story.”
The clatter of armored footfalls in the night ended the conversation.
“Who goes there?” the guard asked, as others drew weapons in the hall.
In her room, the girl huddled beside her tabled offering.
“I said,” he asked again, “who—”
He screamed. Blood sprayed.
She covered her ears, trembling at cries of terror. At the clang of swords.
Yells fell silent, each in violent turn, until only silence remained.
A latch lifted. The door creaked open above a spreading crimson stain. Armor burned black, blade bloody, he entered.
Her gaze met ghostly blue points floating within a skull’s empty eye sockets.
“You have your mother’s magic,” he rasped.
She took his skeletal hand. “Mother could heal. I only grant unlife, Father.”
“Now neither death nor the gods shall keep me from saving you.”
Copyright © Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.