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   Chapter 1 I THE LONG DARK OF DAY i. Wulf & Wylde

New London Masquerade By Rian Torr Characters: 12190

Updated: 2018-10-21 12:03

Devin led Sadie in circles—slow-dancing in his studio.

Sadie kept in step with him—eyes drawn down—ever watchful of her wrappings to make sure that they did not come unwound.

Devin drew her into him—kissing her deeply. His incisors slowly unsheathed from their gums. His eyes burned to black as he began to entertain his bloodlust. His Wulf urges had been peaking all day.

He reigned himself in—softly caressing her cheek. He brushed back a bang of her white hair that stuck out from under bands.

She breathed huskily—choking up on heart for him.

He had always been hers—ever since the accident.

Somedays she almost wished he were free of her.

But most times she was greedy and kept him close.

He liked the attention—but he knew it was unhealthy.

He humoured her anyway—for he loved her to death.

She was already dead, of course, but he overlooked it.

"Tell me something, Devin—do you remember ... Do you remember when ... When we went over the edge together—that day ...?"

"You mean when we decided to stick it out as a team?"

"No ... No ... Dev—I'm talking about ... on the bridge."

Devin fell silent. She had not called him Dev in ages—since they were kids—before the tragic event that Halloween night long ago.

"We were different then--Sadie. I try not to think on it."

"I know—I know it was another life, but isn't it sad?"

"That's exactly why I block it out. What's the point?"

"I just wish we could go back--edit the events. Regret."

"I know babe. But don't torture yourself—or us. Easy."

"I won't--I promise. I just get sorry you put up with me."

"Please Sadie, that is the last thing in the world I would do."

"You mean you really stay with me just because you love me?"

"Absolutely ... How could you have such doubts after all this?"

"I guess I get relapses is all. I'm a woman. I need reassurances."

"I only ever loved your heart hun. I don't need your body too."

But he got her corpse every night. They were no longer human, but they still enjoyed the dance carnal. He had long before traded revulsion at her rotting frame—in for a burning need to touch her soul despite her husk. She had early on dispensed with all hesitation over his carnivorous cavorting—deciding that he may kill at night, but it was out of hunger--not love of the hunt. As far as she was concerned, he was committed to keeping her.

They danced for another few songs. It was good of his friend Roc to let him borrow the studio keys for the evening. His paintings hung all around them, reminding him that there was still work to do before long.

Soon they left and he lingered at her apartment for another hour before carrying on with his starry slaughter. The moon was full and he would without a doubt be in the papers again the next day. Sadie went to sleep in her coffin, praying to reign in her imagination—and not let it wander to what Devin was doing in the wee hours far away from her. She tried to stay attractive as possible—given the sub-human tools with which she had to work—but some days she feared it was a useless effort overall. Some day—she deigned in her darkest dreams to predict—that he would find a living woman to love him—and move on under shroud of night, never heard from again.

But every morning that he returned to her—covered in blood and nearly upon the brink of unconsciousness from exhaustion—relief washed over her--as her doubts dimmed in the shadow of his presence. She would hold on to every shred of him then—for she knew she had him unto dusk that night—and until then she planned nothing but to absorb his company.

Devin's fragile secret, however, was that he often played up the severity of his misadventures out in the streets of New London—for rather than spending every night on the kill—he had someone else he was seeing.

He was caught between a rock and a heart place. He loved Sadie in the way that makes you ache with passion—where you give over to your mammalian emotions entirely—forsaking all reason in the role of the show.

But while she was the summation of everything he ever wanted in life—in death she was all but that last percent that sometimes counted most—when he was partaking in a purer honesty. That final spark that differentiates rock from fire was something that he had never consciously given up on finding in a partner—despite his new feral nightlife—and he had accidentally found that in Barb, for she was still so full of the brightness of being.

At first, she had approached him at Sadie's funeral, to offer whatever comfort she could provide—and take whatever she could earn. He in turn had embraced her advances for friendship—and ever since he had been there for her, watching as she climbed the ladder of business to become a gym diva mogul—offering olympic level fitness programs to powerful customers. She had become a leader of men—which was an absolute transformation from who she was prior to the accident—when she was just a ditzy cheerleader—always deferring and putting on small airs of idiocy.

Even on the fated night itself—she had already begun to exhibit her newfound strength. The way that she had smashed the glass and yanked Sadie out was superhuman. How she had scissored her legs to speed them both up out of the water in a heartbeat was phenomenal. She had given Sadie mouth-to-mouth within minutes—only tragically to lose her anyway.

Something supernatural came over their lives that night—albeit under Gavin's hidden, malevolent direction--for what they had each picked out to wear for Halloween had come to consume their souls unto eternity.

So in the aftermath—he and Barb grew close—but he never told her about how he had been seeing Sadie ever since her death. At first, he was not sure if Sadie was even real anyway—or if he was just a victim to the visions as a result of his deep depression. But then later—when he knew for sure that Sadie did indeed still exist in spirit—he had already begun to fall for Barb. So now he was in it thick with them both—and he jea

lously feared losing either due to one finding out about the other—shattering his lies.

Still, he justified his position to himself by believing that Sadie truly needed him—while he desperately needed Barb—and if the three of them were happy, even with two of them in ignorance—then that was enough.

Devin knocked on Barb's office door--entering.

She came out from around her huge oak desk.

They embraced, kissing wildly. She forced him back against the wall and took control of the love-making like usual.

She was boss now, in all aspects of her life—whereas before she was just a meek, mousy mannequin. What used to turn her off and make her afraid now fed her every mounting confidence—almost to a fault, where she was engaging in ever riskier behaviour—from skydiving to professional wrestling—to space and ocean exploration—and underworld mapping.

When she had first made a move on him, he had been totally taken aback—but then the shy side from his youth summoned old feelings and he found himself beginning to like the strong flirtations—despite Sadie.

But lately he had come to wonder what it would be like if he ever tried to make a break from Barb, for she did not seem the type to take it cleanly. He may well be the Wulf of olden day legend—but she was a lot like the Wylde—and he did not want to underestimate her for anything.

The Wylde was a type of Woodwitch in New London lore. They lived in abandoned barns in the country—but came into the city during sleeping hours, to mesmerize the men—mixing up mischief by implanting subsconscious desires in their minds—meddling with their waking lives.

Few ever claimed to seeing a Wylde, but it was common for people to cross their hearts—rather than laugh about it—just in case—to be safe.

An hour later, when they were clear-headed and talking again—rather than just crushing lips—Devin got to thinking about the Wyldes more—and whether loving one of them would be better than loving Barb.

"There is someone else, isn't there? She lingers on you."

Devin went dead. He could not talk. His heart splintered.

"Barb ... Please ..." he began—lips slightly trembling up.

"Just be honest babe, I don't really care, " she said, sneering.

"Don't be ridiculous—nobody can replace you Barb—honestly."

"Well that is a rather cryptic reply I must say, clear as sewage."

"Alright—alright ... fine ... You want to know the truth? Fine."

She only nodded quietly—a slight smile creeping at lip edges.

"The truth is—there is somebody else. I'm in love with her."

He could almost not believe that he had just said this aloud.

But then, a sort of freedom overcame him—a peaceful resolve.

Barb grew more furious by the second, but only in a fitful way.

Then he said what he truly felt: "She is more of what I need."

"What does she have that I don't?" Barb snapped, red-faced.

"Please—it's not like that at all. I love you both differently."

After a moment of new clarity—Barb wiped her tears away.

"I never want to hear about her again—or we're through."

That was it. He never mentioned the matter again until it became of such urgent import that either he told her everything--or Sadie died.

It was a foreign concept to him—being willing to share someone's love with a stranger—instead of just letting them go—but Barb seemed to embrace it. Sometimes he thought she was just waiting for the right moment to take her revenge on him—but then other times he felt that she was taking her revenge on him every single day that they spent together in chains.

Despite all that, they got married the following year—signing their license down at City Hall—and planning their future on a cafe napkin.

He would go to see Sadie less, but still once a week at least.

She grew depressed, nevertheless, coming out of her sarcophagus less and less—getting tired of waiting around for him to come back, knowing he was getting settled in wedded life. She started thinking of an exit.

Then it happened one night--that Barb was out on a ladies romp—when Devin decided to pay Sadie a surprise visit—despite the looming spectre of a full moon coming on—and his tracker's vibe telling him chaos could be afoot. He saw Sadie so little lately, he could not afford excuse.

Lightning clapped just then—and he heard the front door swing in.

He thought that it must be Barb returning early—but he found nobody in the hall—saw nothing in the doorway. He called out to silence.

He looked out into the cool summer night and shortly shuddered.

Instead of retreating indoors and locking up in safety, however, he put on his tear-away suit and pack. Danger was not scary to him, especially when he was getting amped up for a kill thrill. His conscious mind knew he became a monster—but the specific details always remained a blur—like after a night of six-fisted drinking. Still, prior to going out, the onset of a distant tsunami of adrenaline racing his way was impossible to mistake—and he usually found himself drowning in the lure. He would take one step outdoors—and then on to the next block over—when before he knew it he found himself half-way across town—and every scent and sound was singing to him to move further on—like a dog on the prowl, some days never coming back for a week, getting so caught up in the chase and clash.

Eventually he climbed Snake Hill up to Cinders Cemetery where Sadie's mausoleum stood looking out over New London. He crept through the tombstones--passing the giant statue of Sadie—mounting up to the entrance which she usually left shut but unbarred. This time, however, he found that the door stood ajar—and so he entered, assuming she had stepped out. But when he got inside to find lit candles flickering, he sounded off.

"Sadie!" It was not like her to leave flames burning, but he did not see her anywhere. He checked her sarcophagus, but it was empty.

He was almost about to begin prowling the yards, when he came upon a ream of parchment beside the door.

The horror then unfolded before him.

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