December 6 at 12:00 AM
Photo courtesy of Photos8.com
Lord Vangley of Vissorouy stirred in his sleep. Voices echoed in his dreams, familiar hauntings that he could not place. On red sands they wallowed, grim spirits waiting to be ripped from their earthly core. They were distant blurs, as warped as their hellish screams. One by one they faded, until only two remained. "Father," they cried.
"Oh no." Vangley jumped out of bed. "The twins, have you checked them?"
Olivia sat up, struggling to open her eyes.
Vangley did not bother waiting for a response. He bounded down the hall and tried the door, but it would not budge. "Damned miscreants," he cursed. He smashed it open and tossed the dresser aside, an impressive feat for a vampire his age. Desperately he stripped the sheets off the beds and glanced underneath, but all he found were pillows.
Not a trace of Dionte or Deverell lingered.
And the sun was slowly rising.
He took the stairs two at a time, and then burst through the cellar door. In the parlor he started, moving along to the living room and then closets. When the kitchen and pantry turned up bare, he thundered up the spiral staircase.
"Have you seen my children?" he pleaded with a servant making her bed.
"No." Melody replied.
"Please, help me."
She nodded, following Vangley downstairs. They searched the house again and again until something caught her eye outside. She stepped toward the window and gasped.
"Tell me, what is it you see?" he begged.
But Melody could not reply. She continued holding her hand over her mouth and staring through the windowpane.
Although it scalded his eyes, Lord Vangley tossed the curtains aside and scanned down the street. At the base of a fountain, just beyond the courtyard, two boys struggled with their restraints. "Sweet madness, what has she done?"