Number Twenty-Seven: Horror
There was a sudden strange sensation in the air as Jacinthe carried her newborn across the hallway towards the bedroom. She spotted Acelin skipping over to her side with a strange, pallid expression upon his face as the gargoyles within the household were suddenly waking up and growling. Jacinthe grasped her ten-year-old by the hand, dragging him after her towards his father’s wing of the household where she was sure the strange sensation was not so heavy. After the explosion at the wedding, she was not taking any chances with her bad feelings and this time even the natural protectors of the household had reacted to it. Acelin was quiet, he didn’t want to question his mother’s actions as she bustled them into his father’s bedroom where she hoped they wood be safe as the sensation seemed to slap into the household with a wave of hideous shrieking that made Jacinthe and baby Remi scream out as Acelin covered his ears and roared.
Outside the bedroom, glass shattered across the front of the mansion and the gargoyles squatted against the floor in pain for the sound. They hissed and growled as the sound backed down and they spotted the familiar shape of the owls slipping through the dark clouds under the moonlight. Immediately, those protectors with wings were in the air, screaming and bellowing in their fury, their hands stretching out in talons, paws and clawed forms to chase the Strix out of the area and clear the air. They spilled out, all twenty of them coming from the huge shattered window at the front of the mansion like bats from a cave. They swirled and swarmed in the air, their heavy bodies dragging through the air to create a strange protective vortex that would prevent the bird people from getting into the vampire’s household, but the bad sensation hadn’t faded yet.
Jacinthe lay the baby upon the bed, trying to soothe him as she squealed and croaked, his ears bleeding just as hers, Jacinthe death to anything but low throbbing sounds and a slight bubbly sound as if she was trapped with a hideous cold underwater! She couldn’t hear what Acelin was saying as he tugged at her sleeve, his eyes fearful as his mother just sobbed as she tried to soothe the agony of the newborn. Acelin could see his mother was not responding to his questions and now he was getting terrified of a strange clacking and scratching sound coming from one of the other rooms in the wing. He hopped to the door of the bedroom, shuffling to grasp the handle before gently probing his head out into the hallway. He could not see anything, but he could hear beating hearts and strange clawed limbs brushing aside boxes and papers from his father’s desk. He took the door and pulled it close, locking it and then hurrying to the large set of drawers under his father’s bed that were always empty.
Jacinthe opened her mouth to question what was wrong, but Acelin’s hand smothered her face, knowing his mouth could not control her volume and glad that Remi was now too exhausted to try crying. Acelin pointed towards the door outside and Jacinthe tilted her head about in confusion, but Acelin yanked the drawer out and clasped hold of his baby brother, gently shifting the baby into the drawers and then climbing in too. Jacinthe was worried and confused, her ears were starting to make a horrible high-pitched whine and she grasped at her son for some kind of explanation. Jacinthe did not like the fact she couldn’t hear, her hear was starting to beat fast and she grabbed at him, pinching at him to try and get him to explain as he clambered into the drawer and gripped his brother tightly to him.
Acelin though was petrified, he could hear the clacking of talons upon the wooden floors outside and his mother still couldn’t hear. His heart was racing and he was scared that he’d have to smother his brother’s face to make sure he did not scream, but when his mother continued to pinch, he slapped her hand. Jacinthe bared her fangs, angry that her son was acting strange before he made a gasping motion and pointed to the door. Jacinthe turned, the jiggling of the handle caught her eyes and suddenly she clocked on, punching herself mentally for not realising before. She pushed Acelin down into the drawer, slid it back under the bed and then managed to turn herself into a soft looking chestnut-coloured bat, flapping about dizzily within the air until she hooked her fingers onto the bed curtains, clambering onto it and laying there, trembling and panting hurriedly through her tiny little muzzle as she watched the door handle jiggle, unable to hear if the being was furious behind or just giving up, until she watched the wood splinter beside it and a long taloned fist with a feathery wing attached bust through.
The talon hooked around the door, grasping the key and unlocking it before baring in, a male Strix, smaller than the females but decked out like a barn owl with its flattened face and slit-like eyes shifting and clicking unnaturally to the sides walked in. Confusion ate into Jacinthe as she stared at the being, she could not hear anything to know what was happening with the gargoyles and she couldn’t hear if her babies were screaming and about to be hurt. As she stared through her tiny bat eyes towards the creature as it seemed to aim straight for the bed, stepping slowly and purposefully, was that this creature might have been the one to plant the bomb on Cesaire’s carriage and killed her eldest son! This creature was even bending down straining as if to peek under the bed where her other sons were and if she did not defend them… Thibaut would never love her again and she would have failed as a mother and lost her precious treasures!
Within the drawer Acelin held his brother tucked to his chest, the baby was silent at first as Acelin could hear the talons of the bird’s foot tap upon the ground. He’d heard in stories that the Strix had a penchant for eating kids in particular and he trembled to think that he and baby Remi were about to be feasted on. As the breathing, grunting of the creature as its beak clacked and its skull clicked every time it moved its head, filled the air, Acelin could feel its weight upon the ground aiming towards him and Remi. His body wouldn’t stop shivering and he was fearful it would make the draw rattle as he pulled his brother close and then Remi opened his eyes, blinked at his big brother in confusion and opened his mouth, ready to scream.
I’m not that great at horror because it takes a long time to build up so for a short piece I could only give you an initial chunk. Plus, I didn’t want to spoil too much here as I covers events in book eight of the Viper Clan “The Last Rattle”, wherein Thibaut’s earlier murder of a Strix comes back to bite him and the old hatred between the vampires and the Strix escalates into a war. The war hasn’t started yet, but this attack on Thibaut’s wife and remaining sons is the trigger for him and the French vampire clans to initiate their attack.
Sorry for the squiggly drawing but I hoped you liked the text… Acelin is an adorable character, he’s in my top twenty of the Viper Clan and Jacinthe is sweet too, but Remi… that’s a sad situation really.
You can check out the Viper Clan and my other Beyond the Veil stories on Patreon here – patreon.com/ClareSMKeating
And the first two books of the Viper Clan are out now on Amazon, with book three “Ancient Venom” due to be published June and book four “Bat and the Snake” due in December!