A cold chill settled across Vaxen –
Not an icy wind off the river
But a ripple of evil that reached deep
Into the town’s soul. Bony fingers
Tightened around its long-held superstitions,
Rarely voiced in the Father’s presence but
Remaining nevertheless, just beneath
The town’s veneer of rationality.
The only visible sign of this fear
Was in their eyes – a look of almost feral
Desperation, a fear defying logic –
Though clearly something had changed for the worst.
But while the town responded to the change
In subtle ways, most people went about
Their lives as usual, afraid to break
Routine, seeking shelter in the familiar.
Just two of its inhabitants were moved
To act, by unexplainable events:
As evil’s tide crashed Vaxen’s helpless shore,
Miss Devin’s room was filled with a bright light.
She shivered as she felt the darkness force
Its way inside… but then, the warming glow
Appeared and, growing ever brighter, pushed
The dark away; surrounding her, she heard
A quiet voice say, “Lilian, my child!
The darkness comes for you. Seek shelter! Fly
Away now, fly to Vaxen Abbey. NOW!”
Obedient, she fled to Benedict
And, more importantly, to Dietrich Bonham…
Though why that should have mattered, she knew not.
Down by the river, Benedict’s eyes widened.
He saw it more than felt it – something from
The pit, a spirit given flesh by one
Man’s lust for power, rising from the depths.
It was just a vision, and yet he knew
The truth of it, that something had arrived
In Vaxen; something of this world, yet not
Of flesh and blood; unnatural, ungodly,
And dangerous. It must be stopped! And then
The shock, the guilt of what he’d done struck home.
He saw the truth he’d hidden from himself,
That he’d refused to face: that he had caused
The deaths of all these evildoers and
Unless he acted quickly, Dietrich wouldn’t
Last the night. This evil wanted his friend!