Music of Souls (Chapter 2, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 2

1854 England

Struggling with consciousness, Jackson first noticed the intense burning in his throat. He felt as if he had swallowed the contents of an ashbin while embers still lived. Once able to sit upright, the pounding in his head commanded his attention, as well as the bone-numbing chill. These physical discomforts rendered rational thought and remembrance near impossible.

The reason for the chill became evident as he took in his surroundings. He sat in a stone cellar, and he was not alone. Cowering in the opposite corner, sat a young lady rocking, with her face in her hands. She mumbled something he could not understand until he forced concentration, eventually discerning the thin voice whispering The Lord's Prayer.

"Pardon me, are you unwell?"

She startled then cowered even deeper into the corner. "Please don't hurt me."

"You have my word. I bear no intent to harm you. I only wish to understand what this place is and how I came to be here."

The woman relaxed somewhat and lifted her face to appraise Jackson. He paused momentarily, taking in her beauty. She had eyes the deepest blue-green of the Celtic Sea and flaxen hair, which although matted and unkempt, promised to shine sun-kissed when groomed. He surveyed the perfection of her bearing while she spoke.

"I can give no aid on that account, for I have no recollection of how I came to be here, either."

Jackson crouched in front of her to meet her gaze. "Perhaps we should endeavor to approach our problem together."

Either his words or his soothing voice caused the woman to abandon what little self-control she possessed; she threw her arms around him, sobbing. "I am so frightened! Who would do this to us?"

Although taken aback by such intimacy from a stranger, as well as terrified himself, he felt an overwhelming need to comfort her. While stroking her hair, he spoke softly, "My name is Jackson Parrish, and as God is my witness, I will do all in my power to correct this situation."

She made no move to release him, "I am Sarah Carrington."

The two sat together comparing their experiences, which were identical. They both suffered the same physical discomforts, yet did not feel ill. The last memory each held involved a man with eyes piercing and black as the night sky.

A man opened the metal door and another entered with a tray holding two large, silver goblets.

Jackson rose and spoke with authority. "I demand our release immediately, I am a Parrish! My family will exact vengeance for this violation. Keeping us any longer will only serve to bring additional retribution."

The man who opened the door pushed Jackson against the wall, holding him easily. "You will do as you are told or be destroyed. I can crush you, so mind your tongue and obey or die. Your family name holds no weight here."

He returned to his partner, lifted the goblets from the tray, and approached the prisoners. The aroma from the goblets invaded Jackson's senses causing the burning in his throat to intensify, and his jaw to throb with pain. Stricken with horror, he threw himself against the wall, covering his mouth as his four canine teeth grew into sharp fangs. Sarah mirrored his shocked countenance.

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