Ambrose fell silent as they came closer and closer to the brick barricade. A dark oppression burrowed into his skin and bones.
Barbara looked up at him. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t like this.”
He stopped. “We shouldn’t go any closer.”
“Why? What do you sense?”
“A darkness. I don’t want to go near it. I can’t. I just can’t.”
She laid her hands on his chest. “Then, let’s leave.”
Unseen hands slipped through his clothes and latched their claws into his skin. come come come come
He swallowed hard.
Ambrose gave her one last stricken look before the voices pulled him to the front gate. He looked through the gritty black iron bars.
A brick mansion lived alone in a mostly empty yard. No driveway. No garage. No tire tracks in the snow. One lightning blasted apple tree stood broken, lichened, and gnarled off to the right side.
Otherwise, the house was all alone. No friends, no neighbors, no true companions.
Ambrose touched the metal bars.
His pupils widened in shock.
Stake after stake struck his heart, piercing it sharp and true. Flames licked and digested his skin, charred and exploded his bones.
A woman in a red hooded cape swept his bones into a grinder. His bones became smaller and smaller and finer into powder into sand.
Into black paint spread all over the gate.
“uh uh uh.” Ambrose stumbled back. “uhh uhh.”
Barbara was there to catch him as he fell.
Then, the screaming began. Screams mixed with bleak moans of despair. Images flashed inside his head.
Images of pain.
Images of torture.
Images of Olessa Caten smiling. “I’m going to do something different today. I’ve never done this before on a vampire. You’re my lucky guinea pig.”
Ambrose pressed his hands against the side of his head and cried out. He hyperventilated into choked up sobs.
“It’s all right. It’s all right.” Barbara’s arms were all around him. His head laid against her chest. “I’m here, Ambrose. I’m here.”
The mental assault lasted for a full hour.
Barbara held him the whole time.