Meg Anne Brighton Books

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Inside the novel, The Fairy Tale, lies another world, a dark world.  It is the eighteenth century.  In this scene, Stephanie meets Lucifer for the first time.

A scene from Ludwig Castle:

THE DARK TOWER

The sound of a bolt sliding across metal broke the silence.  

Lucifer stood near a large, heavy wooden door with metal bands, his eyes adjusting to the light. A flaming torch on the wall cast an eerie glow over the fevered face of the angelic eighteen-year-old sleeping fitfully. He faltered, struck by her beauty, then strode across the room and folded his long frame onto a wooden chair next to her bedside. He gazed at her thinking she looked too still. He leaned in to see if she was breathing. Barely. He reached over and touched her smooth hand. She was cool to the touch—too cool.

Other than the four-poster bed, the room was stark and sparsely furnished, like a living tomb.

“Wizard,” Lucifer stressed the word as a command.

In an instant, Wizard materialized, his white, long, flowing white gown barely touching the floor. He was small in stature, not more than four feet, and even with his tall cone hat, he dwarfed next to Lucifer.

Dr. Spade, professionally dressed in a black suit with starched cuffs, and a white knotted scarf strode out from the adjoining sitting room. His dark eyebrows twitched. “I’ve brought the leeches,” he stammered as he gestured to a jar filled with black, curling leeches.

Repulsed, Lucifer turned his eyes to the girl. “Take the leeches away,” Lucifer commanded. “She’s from the twenty-first century and knows nothing of such things. If she wakes up and sees them, she’ll be terrified.”

Wizard tapped his beak-like nose and nodded in agreement.

“If I don’t bleed her, she may not survive the night,” Dr. Spade said. The jar shook as his hand trembled.

Lucifer brushed away a tendril of pale blonde hair from her face, smitten with her. “The girl cannot be allowed to die,” he said. “She’s barely breathing.” At that moment, it didn’t matter that Wizard had promised her to his brother, Damien, on the day she was born, or that her father by blood was a monk whom he had befriended. He wanted her. He stroked her cheek lightly and whispered, “Awake, my sweet beauty.” The words had no sooner left his mouth when he felt a shudder pass over her. “I think she’s coming around,” he said with a strange intensity in his dark eyes.

Stephanie groaned aloud, “My head is pounding in pain,” she said wincing. She pulled at her ears. A faint communal thrum sound had settled in them. She opened her eyes tentatively, fixed them on the ceiling, and her body went rigid when her eyes roved to the stone, cold, gray walls. She trembled with the grim realization that she was not in her sunny, wallpapered room at Brighton House.

“God Almighty, where am I?” her voice weak and hoarse. She appeared unaware. A flicker of recognition that he was watching her passed over her face. She hoisted herself up from the billowy, goose down pillows. She rubbed her temple, blinking as her sleepy green eyes adjusted to the dim light.  She froze as Lucifer’s dark, penetrating eyes met hers.

 He could see her body tense as if she wanted to run. He saw goosebumps appear on her arms when she threw back the duvet and dampness hit her. He watched her sink back down into the feather bed, seeking warmth.

She shuddered. “Why am I here in this godforsaken place? And where is Damien—my prince charming?”

“Damien, a prince charming?” Lucifer mused. “This isn’t a fairy tale, my dear. My brother is dark, as I am. He is the Lord of Ludwig Castle and has gone to his chamber. He is sleeping.”

“What is your name?” Stephanie asked as her eyes cast a coil of suspicion around him.

“I am Lucifer, the King of Darkness,” he replied.  Lucifer, was a mirror image of his brother, Prince Damien, but with an undertone of raw power. His eyes burned with an intensity that pierced the soul and his lips curled in a way that felt like he knew your heart and was mocking it.   

She scrutinized him as if she despised him.

“Why are you looking at me like I’m a beast with fire flaring from my nostrils and cinders in my mouth?”

“Because you are the devil,” she said. “Everyone hates the devil.”

Lucifer did not wince at the blatant insult, but his jaw tightened. “I don’t breathe fire, nor do I own a red suit,” he said. “Trust me, you are quite safe with me. I am a fallen angel.”

“Everyone knows the devil is a liar,” she hissed.

Lucifer was dismayed at her feistiness and brazen attitude.   Her eyes roved over him scrutinizing him though he was impeccably dressed. He noticed that she had pulled the duvet up to her chin as if seeking its protection, even though he was certain that there was nothing about him that appeared sinister. And then her eyes left him and wandered around the room and fixed the on the guards.  What was in her mind?  Perhaps she thought she was in bondage.

Her oppression and gloom was obvious to everyone. Dr. Spade tried to soothe her. “My dear, you are perfectly safe.  You have nothing to fear." He noticed that she eyed his monocle, and looked as if her mind was racing. And then she shifted and lifted the covers staring at the brass pan with heated rocks.

“My God,” she blurted. “What century is this?”

 “The eighteenth century.” Lucifer gently took her hand and laid it on the rocks. "We have no electricity, and we must keep you warm.”

Stephanie recoiled from his touch and dropped her eyes refusing to make eye contact “Don’t touch me,” she spat. “This can’t be happening.  It has to be a nightmare.”

Lucifer stood beside the bed, burdened with the fact that the girl whom he was enamored with could not bear the sight of him. “Stephanie,” he said gently as he slowly leaned forward.

He had said her name so gently, and with such genuine concern, she raised her eyes to his and asked, “How do you know my name?”

“Everyone at Ludwig Castle knows your name,” Lucifer said, his nerves stretched to breaking. “We’ve been waiting for your arrival for years.”

“Well, if you’ve been waiting for me for years, why aren’t you hospitable? Why am I here in this dark, despicable place? I’m freezing to death,” she snapped.

“The Dark Tower is the safest place in the castle,” Lucifer replied. “No one comes here.”  Her eyes were wary, and he knew she wasn’t satisfied with his answer. He’d been as genteel as possible. He couldn’t tell her of the many dangers that awaited her at Ludwig: not yet.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Where are my clothes?” she asked looking down at the thin white chemise gown.

 “It looks as though she is on the mend,” Dr. Spade said.

“I want my clothes,” she repeated forcefully.

Wizard stroked his snowy white beard, his blue eyes twinkling. “She once had a sweet temperament, but it seems that she’s grown feisty.”

“Why am I being ignored?” she spat. “I want my clothes, and I’m leaving this God forsaken place.”

 “She’s downright sassy,” Dr. Spade said. “Her mouth could get her into trouble with Damien.”

“I like her spirit,” Lucifer said, raising his brows. “But I fear my brother will not. Never mind about waking him. It might be best to let her calm down. I will take her to my chamber. It’s warm there. The fireplaces are roaring. Ring Nettles to bring her food and drink.” He swept her up into his arms as if she were a feather.

“Put me down, you uncouth barbarian,” she cried out as her tiny fists beat on Lucifer’s hard chest.

But her protests were ignored as if no one heard or cared—except Wizard. “You’re shivering, my lady,” he said as he snapped his wand. A red velvet cloak magically appeared and wrapped itself snuggly around her slight form.

Stephanie’s eyes widened in surprise. “How did you do that?” 

“Ludwig Castle is a magical place, my dear,” Wizard beamed. “But it’s also a dark place. Mind what I say: you can never be left alone. Danger lurks in unexpected places, and there are things here that can hurt you...” He stopped mid-sentence because she looked fearful. He paused and wrinkled his crooked nose. “Welcome,” he said, waving his wand, sending magical beams of light to her.

“Oh, my goodness,” she cried out, her head spinning as her eyes followed the tiny lights whirling all around her.

“Ha,” Wizard shouted. “I have found something you like.”

“Stop with your blasted magic,” Lucifer said as he carried her away. Then he turned his attention to the armored guard and thundered, “Open the door, you idiot.”

Lucifer felt her tremble in his arms. He didn’t know if it was from fear or cold.  He hoped it was cold and not a reaction to him but given her earlier statements, he assumed it was to him. When he felt her cling to him his heart rose, but then he remembered he had promised food and warmth.  Perhaps that was enticing her.

Wizard floated above her, making a feeble attempt to amuse her as beams of light danced from his wand. But her eyes seemed to rest suspiciously on Lucifer’s face. His strong jaw twitched as he trudged along growling at anyone who dared get in his way.

Wizard, undeterred, quietly glided in the air, keeping up with Lucifer’s long strides. “When should I wake Damien?” he asked as he brazenly poked his wand into Lucifer’s broad shoulder.

“There’s no need to wake Damien until dawn,” Lucifer replied. “I would take care of her if she would allow me, but she’s haughty and disagreeable. We must fetch Lillian immediately. She will know what to do with the girl. And Nettles must hurry with her food and drink, or I fear…” He stopped mid-sentence because he could feel her shaking. The thought that she might die weighed heavily on his heart. Though his heart was black, there was something about the girl that warmed it.

He held her close and walked through dark, narrow passageways and up spiral staircases. He inhaled deeply. Her scent stirred the beast in him. He tamped his feelings not wanting to frighten her.

Finally they reached his chambers in the dark tower. The chamber was elegant, Hunter green draperies hung from tall windows, large paintings and tapestries adorned the walls, and a fire roared in a beautiful marble fireplace.

“It’s warm—at last,” she said with a long sigh.

He watched as her eyes took in the luxurious room obviously impressed by her surroundings.

“It’s elegant,” she said.

It was the first pleasantry that he’d heard come from her mouth and he was relieved as he put her down gently and asked, “Can you walk, my lady?” He’d though she might have sea legs.

“Yes,” she said, taking a few steps.

“Good. The water closet is there,” Lucifer said, pointing toward a door to the right.

She looked perplexed and asked, “I’m not sure. Is there a chambermaid?”

He looked at her as if she were daft and called out, “Lillian, where the blazes are you when I need you?”

Within moments, she heard muffled voices in the distance and the sound of footsteps moving gingerly across the room. A lovely young woman appeared, dressed plainly like a peasant and wearing a white covering over her head, carrying a lamp. “You’re awake at last, my lady,” she said in a warm voice.

“Take care of her needs,” Lucifer said, his concern making him gruff. “She’s hungry and cold.”

“Of course, Master,” Lillian curtsied.

Lucifer turned on his heel and left the room.

“What a relief to see a friendly face,” Stephanie stammered, her fear subsiding. 

“I’m Lillian, your handmaiden,” she answered with a bright smile. “I’ve been looking after you since you arrived. You’ve been asleep for over a day. Master has been worried sick and called Dr. Spade to check on you. And as it turned out, he didn’t have to bleed you. That’s a good thing, don’t you think?”

“Bleed me.” Stephanie’s skin crawled as if there were leeches on it. “That’s an antiquated practice. Doctors haven’t bled patients for centuries.”

“Well, it’s still done here at Ludwig Castle,” Lillian said in a sweet, uplifting voice, “for everything that ails you. How are you feeling, dear?”

“I’m fine,” Stephanie lied through clenched teeth. She had a pounding headache but was afraid to tell her, fearing that Dr. Spade would come to bleed her. She was thirsty but perplexed because her grandmother had told her never to drink the water when she was out of the country, and she was in another century. “I’d like a bottle of wine,” she said, thinking that it would be safe to drink and might help her thirst and headache. 

Lillian stifled a smile and said, “I’ll ring for the butler, Nettles. He will be happy to bring you whatever you want, my lady. Are you quite sure you want the entire bottle?”

“I’m sure,” Stephanie said, trying to sound older than her years and confident—though she was not. Her eyes wandered about the room. Her intuition was screaming at her to escape, and a small voice inside of her told her to do whatever she had to do to survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 - 2019 Meg Anne Brighton Books. All rights reserved.

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