Fleeing for her life, Sybrina leaves behind everything to escape the dark and ominous creature that killed her family.
It wants to finish what it started.
Sybrina stows away aboard a clipper ship and poses as her recently murdered brother, Paul.
The year is 1866, an age in which science is a man’s game.
Can Sybrina solve the mystery of the creature that exsanguinates it victims?
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It is a societal domination that never dies with the progress of mankind. It crafts a vampiric buffet table, blood-soaked earth the tablecloth. The meal encased in shiny metals forged to futilely protect its fragile hosts. Hunting is easy and enshrouded in the mayhem, despair, and fear that accompany battle. It disguises the vampires’ unnatural feast making us undetectable. The remnants left behind are contorted in some bizarre repose. The only indication of its death being of unnatural causes.
A fruitless meandering brought me to the Russo-Turkish war. The plain lines of unremarkable uniforms jumbled against the ground piled two to three deep was like walking through a meadow of flowers, crowded together and all the same. My unhurried walk is slow for my kind. I have nowhere in particular to be or wish to be, filling my deathless body my only task.
A gloved hand rises, black and torn, changing the terrain before me. I walk to it and bend down. I know not what draws me to the dying Cossack but the hand beckons to me among the dead. The irony interests me. I flip off the rubble that is charred limbs and body parts of his deceased comrades. A young, clean, unlined face, chiseled as though made of marble, stares back at me. Eyes not clouded with the shadows of death, but vibrantly blue and warm with life.
In the cavalry’s haste, someone tasked with the gruesome ordeal of clearing the dead has mistaken this wounded man as a corpse. I shuffle more debris and expose the man’s legs. Beneath, they are attached barely by sinew and fragments of broken bone. My original thought of this man’s happenstance, being mistaken for dead, is quelled. The condition of his injuries, blood loss, and damage make him a worthless endeavor for a surgeon. Others in this situation would be pallid and unconscious, rapping on the door of death. This man’s spirit is strong.
“Are you death?” he asks me.
Contemplating his question, I stifle a sardonic chuckle. In the truth of my existence, I can be either, take life or give it, eternally. I take more time, as if I am drawn to this soldier, to examine him closely. His body is ready to face the other side, but his mind is not.
“No.” I smile weakly.
“What are you then?”
“What do you think I am?” I question back curiously.
“A wraith,” he surmises, looking thoughtful.
A ghost would be too easy of a life, I think as I laugh at his response. A phantom to walk among the living and not have to partake of their company, but watch them with curiosity and indifference, having no substance or feelings to interfere. I would welcome such an existence.
“I am neither wraith nor human.”
“Do you have a soul, sir?”
“I do. A spirit like any other man.”
A small breeze travels past our intimate meeting and the Cossack’s blond hair dances around his face. He casts his eyes away from me and peers up into the cerulean sky, thinking.
“Are you here to save me?”
“What do you need saving from? To be able to leave this world and pass on to another is the gift of being human.”
“That path... it doesn’t seem to be the right one.”
“I have seen a great deal of death in my long days, and I know very few are ever ready for it when it comes.”
The maimed soldier contemplates and answers surprisingly again. “I would say very few are ready for love when it comes.”
My cheek lifts, forming a half grin in amusement. “I believe that is true as well.”
“I feel nothing from my waist down. Can you help me?”
“I can. But what I have to offer comes with a heavy price.”
“Eternal existence in this world.”
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~About the Author~
Amy Rachiele is a military spouse and brat who spent many years volunteering and on staff for the Army National Guard and Department of Veteran Affairs with Family Support, Family Readiness,
as well as, Families of the Fallen.
Amy devoted 10 years to teaching English to at-risk students in the Providence School System. She holds a Master's degree from Rhode Island College in English and Secondary Education. Amy published book one in the Mobster Series, Mobster’s Girl, in 2012, and has continued to self-publish since. Her novels have climbed to the bestseller lists nationally and internationally on Amazon.com for romantic suspense and family saga. She is an active member of New England Independent Writers and has volunteered her time at her local library facilitating a writer’s group in the
hope of inspiring other writers.
Amy hosts a public access cable show called Book Talk. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, sewing, and traveling. Amy lives in Massachusetts with her son and husband.
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