This was my first attempt at the prologue for Memories of Faust, my third novel and the second in the Elizabeth Investigates series.
I didn’t like this intro because it was too dark and a little cliché. Hopefully the next will be better.
It was a beautiful winter day. The sun’s rays reflected blindingly off the snow. It could easily have been the scene on a Christmas card, except for the pool of blood around Simon’s body. Until a few moments before he had been a creative and vibrant six year old boy. Short for his age he’d often be tease for his bright orange hair. In those times his twin sister and two older brothers, all with matching hair, would stand by him.
The Barrett family children had vowed to take care of each other after their mother had died. She died in childbirth with Simon and Amanda. Their father, when home, was usually drunk. When they were lucky, he would fall asleep before he became angry.
They had been playing outside their house near the neighbouring forest. Simon wanted to play tag. Christopher being the eldest at ten was decided to be It. The children ran around in circles chasing each other from the edge of the forest to the back of the house. Eventually Peter became It and started chasing his youngest brother. Simon ran for the forest squealing as he ran through the fluffy snow. He ran into it and Peter hesitated before following him.
A loud bang rang out and the crows that made their home in the forest took flight. Peter was the only one of the three to see Simon fly backwards and land on his back. A red spot swelled on his chest and blood started to flow from his wound.
Running towards him Peter saw a man in a bright red and orange vest stumble out of the forest. Peter fell to the ground and cradled Simon’s lifeless form in his arms. Tears rolled off his cheeks and blurred his vision. He heard and felt Christopher and Amanda walk up behind him and gasp. His nose was filled with the sickly metallic smell of blood.
There was a wild growl from behind Peter and Christopher started running towards the man. The man was so drunk he could barely walk. He should never have been operating a firearm. Leaning on the butt of his rifle, the man reached into his coat for a flask. He was completed unprepared for Christopher for jump on him. Christopher’s weight knocked the man over.
Christopher’s small fists pounded the man’s face. All his anger for his father and for his own inability to protect his family came out in a feral yell. Eventually he calmed down and climbed off the man. The man didn’t move. There was a puddle of blood forming around his head. When he fell his head had hit a hard rock. The fall snapped the man’s head forward killing him instantly.
Half-walking, half-crawling Christopher returned to the dead form of his brother. The three siblings held their brother and cried. Their sobs fell into a rhythm that would have been both haunting and frightening, had anyone heard it. Despite the midday sun, the forest became dark. Their sobbing turned to chanting and it became louder.
Every living creature has the ability to use the power of the Aether to do magic. The Aether is the world of power that envelops ours. It could me described as another dimension. Mostly only magical practitioners have the innate connection with the Aether and can manipulate it. Even those few that have the ability must be trained for years before they can do so safely.
The Aether is fuelled, some say even created, by the emotions and imagination or all living things. For that reason, there are times that non-magical people can accomplish amazing feats of magic.
In their pain and grief the Barrett family, managed to pull from the Aether enough energy to resurrect their brother. Unfortunately, there are always consequences when dealing with enough power to bring someone back to life. Once the essence, or soul, of a person is gone, it’s impossible to bring it back completely. If the magic is strong enough, the Aether tries to fill in the missing pieces. It’s never pretty.
For the Barrett’s, nothing mattered but their brother’s life and in that moment of pure sorrow, they managed to save him. Once they were done, they all collapsed. They were found that night by their father; four living beings, in a pile of blood on the snow.
Latter that night at the hospital, their father swore he’d never drink again. They doctors said it was a miracle that Simon survived and the others hadn’t gotten frostbite.