I AM GOING TO POST THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK FOR YOU TO ENJOY. IT’S THE FIRST OF THE DARKNESS AND LIGHT SERIES IN ORDER OF TIME, THE PREQUEL TO THE FIRST WRITTEN.
“Dad, it’s getting dark, don’t you think we should go in?” Marcus called to his father.
“You only want to get inside because you can smell dinner.” There was a chuckle in the man’s voice. Dark grey eyes were hard to read as he squinted, trying to see his son. “Jeez Marcus, you’re almost as tall as I am.”
Marcus straightened his shoulders, pushing long dusty hair out of his eyes. His full lips split into a lopsided grin, softening the straight line of an aristocratic nose. “If I stood right next to you, I bet I’d be taller.”
“Maybe, but you don’t have my muscles yet. I’m still stronger.” He made a fist, pumping up large biceps.
“Getting there.” Marcus’ voice, so much like his fathers, returned the chuckle. “Come on Dad, I really am hungry. How do you expect me to get as strong as you if you don’t let me eat?”
“Ah, but you get strong by working, not eating. Besides, there are only a couple more rows.” He turned away from his son, frowning. “Did you hear that? Sounds like there’s a man walking in the woods.”
“I am a man walking in the woods.” Though softly spoken, there was menace in the voice and Marcus felt the hairs on his arms rise.
Turning a white face that seemed to hover over a body that could not be seen, the stranger smiled.
Marcus grabbed his spade. He knew he must get to his fathers side. He began to run. It was too late.
He heard his father scream, a sound he had never heard before. He could not tell what it was he saw, but he knew there was blood, his father’s blood.
“Dad,” his voice disappeared into the night. He choked back a sob, swinging the spade with all the strength of a man used to hard labor. The sudden stop, like hitting a cement wall made his jaw snap shut. There seemed to be an explosion. Bright lights, a darkness descending. He thought he heard his mother, sister, calling, their voices frightened wails.
It was quiet, dark and so very cold. He reached out to feel the back of his head, where the throbbing pain was coming from. It was then he realized why he was so cold. He was naked. He tried to stand, but the chains were too heavy.
“It’s a cellar, a root cellar, maybe.” Marcus broke the all too loud quiet.
There were sounds, someone, something was pacing on the floor above. He shivered. Not from the cold. Reaching around, he realized he was not lying in mud. It was blood. “Dad,” he fought back the scream, reaching to where he thought his father would be. Surely, with this much blood, he must be dead. There was no one near him. He felt again the wrenching pain. It was everywhere and he knew the blood was his own.
“I thought I heard you.” It was the man from the woods. The bloodless face was thin, with deeply sunken cheeks. A few dark hairs crossed his large skeletal head. Dark bushy eyebrows sat above impossibly black eyes, eyes that were cold.
“It will be more fun now that you are awake.”
The chains rattled.
“You were so brave, running to save him when you must have seen what I was doing. Your father did not satisfy. Sweaty, dirty, he did not taste good.” It grinned and the chains once again rattled. “You, strong as you think you are, cannot break those chains. They have held stronger men.”
White teeth showed between thin blood drained lips. “You will see that you are not strong. Soon you will be crying, begging me to let you die. I will, of course. It will be less painful if you cry sooner.”
Gregor looked to the ceiling and Marcus could see that this time he was not talking to him.
“I will show you that he, that no one, is stronger than I was. I cried, yes, they all do.” He turned to Marcus. “You are wondering who I am talking to. I shall tell you.”
Marcus turned away. Feeling a slap sting his cheek, his chin cruelly grabbed, he was once again looking at his tormentor. Something rose inside him. Grey eyes darkened to that of an ocean just below the foam. Sitting as straight as the chains allowed, he looked directly into those soulless eyes. “I don’t care to know. Feel free to talk to yourself.” He swung his head, pushing the hair out of his face as he turned away. “I will not cry for you. Whatever you do, will not make me beg. You cried. I won’t. You will see who’s stronger.”
The growl filled the room. Too quickly he was at Marcus’ side. There was pain, a searing pain. Nails, sharp as any butcher knife, sliced the already torn skin of his back, but the chains did not rattle.
“Look at me.”
Stormy grey eyes met black. A soft, unexpected caress, as the bloodied hand stroked Marcus’ thigh. “Will it be lovemaking that makes you beg? Beg for me to stop, or perhaps you will beg for more.”
It took every ounce of the strength gained from years of harvesting potatoes, backbreaking work he’d done since the day he first began to walk. He sat still, willing his muscles to steady and sent his mind to a different place. The chains didn’t rattle.