November 30 at 8:00 PM
Photo by Jess Norman
The mangled brute hauled Yakim into the carriage and wrestled her onto the cushioned seat. He pressed her into the corner, leaning on her so hard that she could barely breathe. Clarence eased back into the plush crimson interior, a sliver of moonlight kissing the rim of his hat and perfectly trimmed goatee. After a few moments, the second minion joined them, placing a pile of books at his feet.
"Listen Yakim, and listen carefully. This is how the game will be played. Tell me all I ask of you and you will be returned, unharmed. If you do not, things will go badly for you."
Clarence picked up a silver cane lying on the seat next to him and ran his fingers over the hilt. Carved into the handle were the heads of two lions, each trying to devour the other.
"Whole clans do not disappear overnight," he said, "especially when vampires are concerned. Not long ago a word fell upon my ears. A word that I've been implored not to repeat. It carries a certain weight, I am told...a certain darkness. History is its cross to bear, especially among the undead. I've been warned that uttering its name will conjure something fowl in the night. But I am a man of faith; certainly I do not believe in such superstitions. To be fair, I do believe in vampires...and this one called Enura. Who or what is she?"
Yakim did not reply.
"The terms of your survival are not negotiable." He held up the cane and then pulled it in two, revealing a wicked blade.
"Go ahead, strike me down. I will not tell you a word, much less her name."
Clarence chuckled. "You already have." He tapped the window with his sword. A few moments later, the carriage began to move.
Pain shot through Yakim's skull, knifing down the base of her neck.
"So tell me. How did it all begin?" asked Clarence.
"She came with a song," Yakim replied, "riding the morning breeze."
Yakim shook her head. Was it only a moment ago that she had uttered those words? And how could it be? She would never reveal her darkest secret, not even to another vampire. He was toying with her, this one.
"Yes, a song. A hymn," said Yakim. She pulled herself free of the two goons and stood over Clarence. "Are you sure you can spare the ruin that it brings? "
"Come, have a seat," Clarence implied the space next to him.
"As you wish."