December 7 at 12:00 AM
Photo by Vera Kratochvil
Although he had not seen her with his own eyes, there was little doubt that this was the stranger's handiwork. Unfortunately for the enchantress, she had crossed paths with Vissorouy's most powerful family.
And it would not be soon forgotten.
"We must act quickly." Vangley threw on his coat. Before he could grab a hat, the servant had already run to the children's aid. He hurried along, becoming quickly overwhelmed by dawn's first rays.
Humans were a resourceful lot, a point that always surprised him. When Lord Vangley founded the humble town of Vissorouy, he had grown tired of the withering relations between man and the enlightened, and built a society where they could live in harmony without fear of retribution.
That was not to say that Vissorouy belonged to humans. By and large, they were still slaves by their own design and frequently enslaved each other. But the old sage had taken a chance, especially on Melody, and this morning she would pay him back in full.
He took a deep breath and continued on as Melody struggled with the chains. Dionte and Deverell pleaded with her to break the shackles as night became day.
Although the sun was not at full strength, neither was Vangley. With each step he grew weaker. Reluctantly he had no choice but to turn back, realizing that in a few moments he would no longer be able move. He retreated to the shade of the porch and watched helplessly as the sun burned holes in his offspring.
As hope faded, a blacksmith a few doors down ran over and threw a blanket over the three of them. With a hammer in hand, he uncoiled the chains from the children's necks and struck the manacle that held them there until it snapped.
Their hands and feet still bound, Melody scooped up the two boys and inched towards the shade of the mansion. As the good neighbor guided them along, he kicked open a bag lying on the ground. Three severed heads spilled out and ignited as they made contact with the light. There was little time to gape, for something far more heinous awaited.
As Melody tripped over the dissolving skulls, the wicked tots turned on her. In a mad rush to regenerate themselves, the twins feasted on the easy kill, draining the guardian with glee.
"No!" Lord Vangley cried.
The blacksmith took one look and ran, fearing a similar fate awaited him.
With the sun now in full view, the children were still far from safety. As he debated whether or not to make a mad dash for it, a dark figure slipped past him. She bolted ahead and snatched them up, separating the murderers from their meal. Weaving the blanket tightly around them, she sprinted for the porch and deposited the miscreants into the hands of Lord Vangley.
Irritated by the interruption, the twins snapped at their father as he ran his fingers through their hair. "You'll be the death of us." He scolded and then stepped inside.
The savior slammed the door and peeled off the black scarf from around her face.
"Still quick as a shadow, and just as beautiful." Vangley gazed at Olivia as she let down her long, red hair.
Before he could tell her how much he loved her, she replied, "Have a word with your sons."