Chapter One: The Shadow

"Livin' in the shadow

Of someone else's dream

Tryin' to find a hand to hold

But every touch felt cold to me…"

—Ashlee Simpson

Seth backed away from the anvil in his father's forge, his bony, slightly callused hands meeting the sheen of fresh sweat as he rested his back against the cool walls. Rain beat rhythmically against the building, soaking the entire village along with his workplace. His gray-blue eyes, identical to his twin sister and mother, were fixed upon his father, Lucius, who gave the impression that he had infinite endurance. Lucius smiled as he met his son's eyes. "Are you tired?"

"Perhaps," Seth answered in an unclear way, as he always did. His red-blonde hair, long enough to obstruct his view, was pushed away as he stared at the ground, obviously thinking. He always had his hair out his eyes when his mind was on something.

Knowing his son's ways, Lucius asked, "What is on your mind?"

He sighed, then said after a long pause, "Mother… I feel guilt… for leaving Lily to take care of her and be with her all by herself."

"Lily does not mind; she loves your mother."

"I know this," Seth replied. "But I know Lily wants more than that, as much as she despises admitting it. She is confided by the village… and our home… and I am here, your apprentice, beginning to make a life for myself."

Lucius made one of his rare expressions; a smile. Reaching out for Seth's hand, he says, "You should not be so worried for your sister. She will be fine, I promise."

From the time that Seth was just a boy, he was fascinated by thunderstorms. But he loathed the severe ones that occurred under the shadows of the night, like the one he ventured in now. He spotted the faint light radiating from the innards of the Hunt residence, through the sleet and the rain.

He turned for a moment, swearing he saw it. The forbidden color. A brief flash, no less, but still…

Seth neared his home, making no haste as he strode up the steps. Lightning illumined the village as he fingered the door, opening it. He stepped inside quietly, knowing it was late and his sister, mother, and father were very likely to be asleep.

Seth hair clung to his face and rivulets of water covered the floor where he stood. Every inch of him was sopping wet, save for the small area he managed to keep the thick cloak, adorned with the dyes of the safe color, wrapped about. His striking face was covered with mud, and he grabbed a clean, wet part of the cloak and wiped the impurity away.

"So much for entering unnoticed."

"You're late," his twin pointed out, dressed in delicate linen night garments as she sat in a wooden chair in front of a roaring fire. Lily smiled, adding, "I think it is safe to assume this storm is rather harsh."

Seth hung his dripping cloak up and began to shiver violently, nodding, "You can bet your life it is."

Suddenly, a scream filled their ears, the hairs on the back of their necks rising up. Its source was from the outside. Seth's complexion couldn't develop a frightened look, so his alternative was with seriousness. He clothed himself with his cloak once more, announcing, "I am going back out there."

Lily got up, catching his hand. "Not without me." She, too, put on her cloak with the threads of the safe color running thick and dry upon it, to her brother's horror.


"I am not allowing you to go out there on your lonesome," Lily interrupted thickly, a thing most women in the village did not do, especially to the men. "I am going with you."

Seth sighed, and the pair wordlessly departed into the depth of the storm. The scream repeated.

"This way," he led his sister on into the darkness, and after what seemed like a very long time, they arrived at a lone tree near their grandfather's home. Seth and Lily simultaneously gasped, and this time, Lily shrieked.

A person, unidentifiable in these conditions, was nailed to the tree by their toes, skinned and dead. The being was covered in blood, and from their outfit, the person was probably a male.

"You did this!" Brennan pointed to Seth, approaching the pair from behind. "Murderer!"

Other curious villagers, including Edward Walker, now ventured from their homes.

"He is innocent!" Lily argued through the noise of the tempest. "We just heard a scream, and came to this place!"

Brennan's eyes narrowed, "Keep your tongue behind your teeth, Lillian Hunt," he hissed.

Lily opened her mouth to continue the debate, but she noticed something. Seth was gone.

He has fled to the woods…

Author's Note: Another short chapter, I know…