The key to erebus (the f.., p.1
The Key to Erebus (The French Vampire Legend. Book 1), p.1
THE KEY TO EREBUS
By Emma V. Leech
Emma V. Leech
Copyright (c) 2010-2012 by Emma V. Leech
Second Edition 2016
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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Table of Contents
Eleven years ago ...
For a moment the world seemed to hang, suspended. The acrid stench of smouldering undergrowth and the sickly sweet scent of magic stung my eyes and obscured my vision until tears streamed down my face. And then everything was happening in a blur of movement and noise as the spell left my hands with a ground shaking roar of magic. Despite the power behind it the creature was still moving forward, getting closer and closer - the spell simply wasn’t working. I closed my eyes, stubbornly ignoring the panic that was stealing my breath and making blood thunder in my ears and focused instead on the energy that blazed through my body. There was a blast of air and a crackling, electric rush as the magic increased and forced itself through my hands. Pain seared my flesh and my bones felt molten beneath my skin. I cried out, falling to the ground and knew I had nothing left. I could do no more. All that was left was to prepare for what must come next, when to my astonishment the smell of burning and the copper tang of blood thickened the air. In front of me the monstrous thing wavered before collapsing to the ground, writhing and thrashing wildly, sending plumes of deep purple smoke spiralling into the air. I tried to breathe - to calm my thundering heart - but my chest seemed to be held in a vice. I just sat there stupidly, on the forest floor, paralysed with horror as the obscene thing twitched and finally stilled, and the world became quiet again.
She was lying face down with her head twisted unnaturally to the side, eyes staring blankly out into the trees, an expression of startled surprise frozen onto her face. The image of her charred body, once again a woman’s body, seared like a brand into my mind as reality hit me. The knowledge of what I’d done was overwhelming and I felt bile rise in my throat. I swallowed hard, somehow pulling myself to my feet and stumbling away from the body, before turning back and realising that I couldn’t remember which way I’d come. I was lost.
As I stared desperately out into the night, something else moved in the darkness. Every nerve ending strained with the desire to run as far and as fast as I could - but I knew that if I ran, they’d hear me. I crouched down behind a tree, holding my breath against the scream building in my chest. Minutes passed and I was starting to think that maybe I’d been lucky, when suddenly he appeared out of the shadows and stepped carefully over a rotting log to where I was standing.
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