Author: Seribaba PM
300 years ago, a dark deal was made. Now, Carlisle must face the terrible consequences of his father's great sin...the price of which may cost him his very soul. *Twilight/Constantine crossover*Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Mystery - & Carlisle - Chapters: 7 - Words: 19,206 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 12-07-09 - Published: 12-23-08 - id: 4738290
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Author's Note: This chapter has been completely rewritten from its original, thanks to an error pointed out by Fang Cullen. Any confusion that might result from reading below is intentional. Further explanation will come in later chapters.
London, England. 1651.
The storm was finally starting to lighten up. It was now possible to hear the rapid clicking beats of the horse's hooves against the cobblestones. The old carriage groaned and shook as it rolled over the uneven street, the occupants enduring an unusually jostling ride.
"Easy!" shouted the man as he quickly reached out a hand to brace himself.
"I apologize, sir," the carriage driver replied. "Easy, Ben. Easy, boy."
The cadence of the horse's gait slowed slightly. Both of the carriage's occupants gave soft sighs of relief. A moment later, the other, a young boy, chuckled slightly.
"I believe our cabby wishes to reach our destination with us shaken to pieces."
"Not if he intends to receive his full fare."
It was not clear whether the carriage driver heard the man, for he did not comment. However, the ride had become considerably more comfortable. His passengers were finally allowing themselves to relax again.
It had been a long evening for the father and his young son. A visit to a mutual friend of the father on the outskirts of the city had become more complicated than expected with the storm. The main road had been washed out, forcing the carriage driver to take them on a long-about route around the city. That alone had added over two hours to the day. Weariness was making the man more irritable than normal, and he had not appreciated the carriage-driver's recklessness. His son, however, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the ride.
The soft thrumming of the rain upon the carriage roof was softening even more now. The horse's gait was now a slow, steady trot. The man looked out the carriage's back window, relieved to see the familiarity of the buildings along the street. They were not far from home.
Very suddenly, the carriage lurched to a stop. The man and his son were rocked forward, but they remained in their seats. He was now thoroughly aggravated with their hired carriage-driver.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded, but his words were drowned by the driver's sudden shouts.
"Easy boy! Easy!!"
The carriage was rocking back and forth, the sudden rapid clacking of hooves against cobblestones informing both the occupants that the horse was starting to panic.
The driver leapt from his seat and grabbed his horse's thrashing head. The animal's eyes were bulging with fright, the harness of the carriage the only thing keeping it from bolting. Quickly, while the driver had the horse restrained, the man and his son climbed out. Immediately the boy ran to the horse and grabbed the other side of its bridle, helping the driver restrain and calm the beast. After a minute, it stopped thrashing, but its breath still blew from its flared nostrils in great snorts.
Once he was sure the horse was safely calming down, the boy turned and tried to see what it was that had spooked it. The familiar street was very dark, lit only by the dim flickering firelight from the houses. A little ways down, the street curved to the right, and a streetlight upon the curve illuminated the steps of the church where his father preached. There were no lights coming from the windows. Everything was as he and his father had left it…completely quiet and deserted.
"I would expect a carriage horse to be more behaved," the man said sharply to the bewildered driver.
"I do not know what happened, sir," the carriage-driver replied. "Ben has never been like this before."
The father gave the driver another scowl before handing over his pay.
"Be certain that you will not be hearing from me again," he said sharply. "Good night, sir."
"Good night, Father Cullen."
Young Carlisle watched as the carriage-driver climbed back into his seat and clicked to his horse, turning the carriage around. They disappeared into the night at a brisk pace. His father watched them depart until the sounds of the horse had fully faded, then turned back around.
"In the house, boy," he said quietly. "It has been a long day today, and it will be an even longer day tomorrow."
Obediently, Carlisle turned and started off down the street, his father following. He glanced back only once as he neared the front door of their small house a few doors down from the church.
"What was that about, Father?" he asked curiously.
"A poor horse and a driver who has no idea what he is doing," Father Cullen replied gruffly. He passed by his son and pushed open the door to the house. "Remember his face, son. We will not be employing is services again."
Carlisle nodded and followed his father into the dark house. Almost immediately, a low "whuff" echoed, and an old hound slowly got up from the patch of floor by the stairs where he had been sleeping. Carlisle reached out for the dog and scratched him behind his ears.
"Hello, Travers," he said.
His father, through the light of a freshly lit lamp, smiled slightly.
"To bed, son," he said. "And remember your prayers. Tomorrow we…"
But his father could not get another word out. At that moment, Travers abruptly started barking. Not his normal deep slow barks, but loud terrible snarls. The dog's eyes were wide, and spittle flew out from his wide open mouth with each loud bellow. His aged yellow teeth were bared. Carlisle tried to grab hold of his collar, but at the last moment the dog bolted forward and slammed himself against the front door. He yelped loudly at the impact, faded back a few steps, and lunged for the door again, gouging long scratches into the wooden surface with his dull claws.
"Travers!" Carlisle shouted.
The dog lunged for the door again, his bark breaking into another shrill yelp halfway through. He staggered backwards a few steps, leaving bloody pawprints on the floor. The dog made it halfway to where Carlisle and his father still stood. And then, the bony body gave a gruesome shudder, and the dog collapsed onto his side.
Both Carlisle and his father moved at that moment. Carlisle rushed to the dog's side, his hands trembling as he realized the old, faithful hound was dead. His father opened the front door slightly and glanced outside. In the dim light of the single lamp, he saw his father's face turn ghostly white.
"Father, what is it?" he asked, trembling.
"Stay inside, Carlisle," his father replied grimly. "Do not move."
But before Carlisle could protest further, his father had disappeared outside, slamming the door behind him.
For several minutes, Carlisle did not move. He remained crouched over the body of the dog, staring at the closed door. Everything was absolutely silent. There was no sound of a struggle. Finally, the boy convinced himself that his father had not gotten attacked, and slowly rose to his feet. Too fearful of his father's wrath to open the front door, he ran to the window in the sitting room, pushing the curtain aside just enough to see out onto the street.
The first thing he saw was a horse. It was slightly bony, and a smoky gray in color, but there was nothing about it that looked overly unusual. Save for the fact that it stood completely still; neither hoof nor tail twitched.
And then Carlisle spotted what he could only assume was the horse's rider. It had the appearance of a man, but the face was shrouded in darkness that defied what light there was out on the street. His father stood in front of it, and they seemingly were deep in conversation. His posture was betraying unease, but he was standing firm nevertheless. At the angle they were standing, Carlisle could not see much of anything else.
The two talked for only a few minutes more. Then, the rider shifted, moving from his father to the horse in the time it took the boy to blink. Another second more and the figure was mounted. Only then did the horse move, turning out onto the empty street.
And then, the rider turned and looked straight at him. Carlisle jumped in shock. He still could not see the face.
For a moment, nothing happened. Then, the figure raised a hand and tipped its hat.
The horse and its rider were gone before he could react. The beast had broken into a fast canter and disappeared around the curve of the street. He stared into the darkness where they had disappeared, unable to move. He did not react even when his father reentered the house and approached him.
"Up to bed," he demanded, making Carlisle jump and turn.
"Who was that, Father?" Carlisle asked, horrified to see that his father's face was pale and drawn. The anger in his demand did not reach his eyes.
"Never mind, Carlisle," he replied tersely. "Just one of my flock, come for advice."
"To bed! Now!"
Carlisle had no choice but to obey. Fear still pounding in his heart, he retreated up to his bedroom. He looked back only to see his father sink into a chair and drop his head into his hands.
That night, the young boy's dreams were filled with dark figures riding upon skeletal horses.
But inexplicably, when he awoke with the dawn the next day, Carlisle had no memory of the shadowy figure from the previous night.