Immortals Saga #1: Immortal (Copyright 2008)
Author: Allison Cassatta

Chapter 0
Prologue (Edited 10-20-10)

Prologue

 

I’d never realized what a miraculous thing the sun had been until I’d seen it for the last time. I would no longer spend my days basking in the warm, serene presence of daylight. The golden glow I once loved to bathe in would slowly, painfully cause my final death.

I stared into the rising sun, and the first pangs of regret began to wash over me. Maybe this had been a mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him to save me when my time came.

While I knew I could never again feel the sun’s warm kiss on my skin, something inside me begged for just one last glimpse. My body glided absently through a pool of surrounding darkness towards that beautiful, glowing window. I watched as the sun illuminated every tiny particle of whatever danced in its path and sliced through the blackness of my new life. My beloved world had faded away nearly as fast as a sun settling into sleep. I needed to tear myself away, but no matter how much my mind screamed to turn back, my treasonous heart refused to follow. Blind faith wouldn’t allow me to believe something so heavenly could ever be meant to kill, but that same faith allowed me to fall into this hell, to become nothing more than a naïve victim.

I don’t remembering hearing the footsteps rushing towards me. Even if I had, the presence of new company might not have stopped me from reaching out towards the world that existed within that tunnel of mesmerizing light. Suddenly, cold, strong arms wrapped around my body with nearly crushing force. Those arms fought against the need inside me and struggled to keep me away from that glorious, fatal, golden light.

Only the feeling of my love’s skin pressed against my own could shatter such unwavering attention. His arms caressed my body, and this time, unlike all of the times before, his touch didn’t feel so cold. It felt natural, like our bodies were one in the same. His death had become a part of me, a fact that I could no longer deny.

His touch meant that very soon he would be pulling me away from the beautiful mosaic sky that held my attention so firmly. And yes, while it may have been for my own good, I fully intended – as idiotic as it might have seemed – to stay there for as long as I could stand it. He allowed it for as long as he could. 

I struggled to cross over from that pure darkness into the threatening light, but as soon as my body managed to pull away, heat stung the bare flesh of my legs. I stared down at that red patch of burning flesh and knew my life was over. It stung with warning, stung with threat and forced everything to truly start sinking in.

That forbidding mark led to the firm and undeniable realization that my life would absolutely never be the same. Those sunny days of my not so distant past would now be lost to the safe dark shadows of a place I knew I would never be able to escape.

Our bodies fell to the floor as he pulled me further into the safety of darkness. Still I struggled to get back to one of the few things that I knew would kill me. It’s not that I am suicidal. I just needed to get one last glimpse of what I had given up for him.

At that moment, I didn’t think love would be enough to allow my sanity its survival. Love wouldn’t keep my heart from crumbling. Love wouldn’t be able to keep me from trying to kill him for my freedom, but I gave up fighting. Even in my delusional, confused mind, I knew I’d never be able to get away from him. I merely wasted my energy, which was just as precious as the rarest gold or the finest silk, because now only the taste of blood would replenish it. And that always meant a sacrifice.

I shoved my face into his chest. My tears drenched the black t-shirt that clung so perfectly to his sculptured body. My now dead hands smoothed over him, ran up around his neck. I needed his strength. Every bit of me fought for control. I could’ve thrown it all away, allowed myself to die for one last caress of the life I’d lost, until I looked into his eyes and saw his regret.

Our pain had become two gentle creatures that simply needed to hold one another. I could smell it as though it were the cologne infusing his skin. He didn’t get to enjoy one last sunrise before being forced into this life. The last thing he saw before joining the ranks of the undead had been his wife bleeding to death and a spear being plunged into his abdomen.

 “Madeline, I know this is going to be hard for you.” His Bavarian accent stole me away from the images rolling through my head. “I can only pray you do not hate me. I can only promise to try to understand if you do.” His eyes turned glassy, but his soft lips managed to stage a smile. He brushed the caramel curls back from my moist face. “You, my sweet, are an angel, the one sent to save me. You deserve better than this life.” He held his arms firmly around my chest.

I settled into that loving embrace, felt the cool death of his chest against my face. One arm remained locked around me while the other lifted from my body. I knew his eyes held unshed tears, and the beast in me wouldn’t be able to handle such weakness; but the woman in me needed to see that weakness. As I turned my face up to gaze at him, a single tear managed to escape his eye only to roll down the cold, pale beauty of his face. Still I refused to look into those sad, glassy eyes.

As I sat there curled in his embrace, I noticed something I could no longer ignore. Something that tickled my senses and begged the monster buried inside to escape. The smell that radiated from his body; it drove me wild, pushed me to the edge of utter madness. He should’ve tied my hands and bound my feet while he had the chance.

A fledgling has almost no control over their thirst, and I had been no different. I couldn’t fight the urge that had begun to well up inside of me. I immediately recognized the pain, the desire, the insatiable hunger that I tried so hard to fight. I could feel my eyes burning, not from tears that fought to escape. No, this time the infernos that blazed beneath my lids would be dreadful, bloodthirsty.

What I thought had been my mouth watering had actually been blood fleeing from my gums as sharp, dagger-like fangs forced their way through. I needed to feel his flesh give way to those weapons. I had to taste his blood as it trickled down my throat. God help me, I tried to fight, but I wanted to devour my lover more than I wanted him safe.

I crawled away, hoping that the moist air would quench that hypnotic smell, and I would be able to stop this before it turned deadly. The darkness had suddenly become anything but safe, and with the fear forcing me to fight to survive, I knew the bloodthirsty beast in me would soon take over. I didn’t want him to see me like this. How could he possibly accept me when I couldn’t accept myself? How could he love such evil?  He began to crawl towards me.

I hid again.

He persisted.

I could no longer control it.

The thirst took over.

 

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