Deicide, Vampire Confessions, and the Legacy of the Brethertons
By Stephen Bills
Prologue: The Dark
Paddington stumbled to his knees. He hadn’t seen where the shot came from – some unseen window, no doubt – but he heard its crack all around him. He felt the intense heat in his chest and the spreading cold. His left arm gave out and dropped Beck’s body onto the bridge beside him. Paddington stared at it as he tried to take a final ragged breath.
Then he fell forward… and forward… and forward.
And staggered forward a step. Now he was standing. How had that happened? He’d been kneeling. On a bridge. He’d fallen forward, so he should have smacked his face into the stone. How was he now standing? Had he spun a full rotation frontwards and collected his legs on the way?
And where was the bridge?
Where was the… anything?
He looked around. Nothing. Just blackness. Emptiness. Void. He looked down and saw himself clearly, though there was no light source to illuminate him.
It reminded him of the place inside him, where the wolf dwelt while he was human, except this place felt… bigger. Huge. Endless. And his wolf form, James, was nowhe—
Oh, there he was. Standing close by his left, almost tickling his hand. Paddington extended his fingers and felt its fur. No, his own fur. James could feel the hand running through the fur on his back, and he looked up to see Paddington, the human, standing just to his right with an expression fascinated excitement.
Yeah, this was different…
James stepped around Paddington’s back and looked. There were five bullet holes in his coat, but no scent of blood. Paddington’s fingers found the wounds: old scars long healed.
Damn it, he was dead, wasn’t he? Shot in the back by Adon—
No, that wasn’t right. He’d been walking toward the castle. Any new wounds should have been on his chest… unless he hadn’t been shot from the castle. He’d been shot from behind.
But the only person behind him had been…
“Mitchell!” he said.
Ah, he understands at last, said a voice behind him.
James and Paddington looked around and, seeing nothing, shared a glance. The wolf raised an eyebrow. Paddington said, “What?”