I'd like to run away
From you,
But if you didn't come
And find me ...
I would die.
by Shirley Bassey

PROLOGUE: What Happened After:

Lady's POV

A gust of wind.

It went through the open window carrying a flail of icy rain.

I shivered and it was plain to me that I would have to take this route.

It was a long way down from the top of the roof of this manor.

Scanning the perimeter, I sought for things like a blanket, a sheet or anything to cover myself in the dark of the night.

Instead I found suits of armour standing erect against the wall, like evil sentinels or prison guards waiting for me to take the plunge.

In the darkened room, I could see very little and my eyesight was usually very good. My diet however was not. That's right, Lady, you need to eat more, to gain more strength and stamina. I tell myself this over and over again and all I could do was meet the end of a toilet bowl or bucket to cough out what remains of breakfast I had that day.

I would not remain prisoner here any longer. What made me stay was the sheer terror of my mother dying or being left alone. Now she's gone and I've yet to want to remain in this place.

But he has the entire area surrounded by security and cameras. He would at all costs keep me here and drive me insane, like my own mother.

I would not cry, dammit. I can't. I have more resolve than that.

My hair may be short, but it wouldn't be brightly visible in the cover of the darkness. It was the paleness of my skin that made me hesitate. The moon was full tonight and would anyone outside see? Would there anyone besides the guards that roamed their stations to stop me?

Staring up at the moon, I started to feel a sting in the back of my eyes. God, don't start, Lady.

But they went falling down the curve of my cheeks, wetting my dark lashes and I had to wipe them away with the back of my hands.

If only I had made this plan on the eve of an absent moon.

The windows allowed me to push my way through and as I looked down, there was a vertical drop of flat yet smooth granite, without any drainpipe or creeper, to the hard cobblestone below. I thought that if I could find blanket or sheet I could knot them together and make my descent an easier ride.

I had made sure the cameras were not pointed in the direction of my escape. It was not an easy task, mind you.

One would think that after all this time; I would have expected to become braver, as I grew up. I am disgusted, however at my cowardice. Disgusted at myself for being so afraid.

So it was with sheer strength and will to open up these windows, to disable the security systems and know how to bribe a few guards.

To top off my lack of bravery, the night was cold and the sheet of drizzle battered my senses. But I was out of the window, and I clung desperately to the down-pipe which ran beside it. I could thank my father for the fact that he loved gothic architecture or the fact that he assembled this manor in the 19th century style, not withstanding of course the benefits of modern technology.

The cold metallic feel of the pipe made me numb with cold against my naked thighs. I had donned a pair of knee high combat boots, laced up tightly.

I had to jump off the pipe for it stopped at another floor and curved at the opposite direction of where I was falling. My booted feet landed on the smooth wet slates of the roof. From the ridge of the top of the covering, the slates sloped downward on the inside at the matching awesome slant.

The wind grabbed at me, sent me back momentarily but I eddied my way and at the moment, my face and hair became so wet with rainwater. I looked up to see the dripping of each drop from the sky, small darkening clouds that played hide and seek with the fullness of the moon.

I jumped down to the next metallic drain pipe and there I slipped away; the pipe scraped against my skin, opened up flesh and blood dripped to meld with the crimson of my boots.

When I finally made my trek down to the bottom, I fell off abruptly, landing face down on the downy green wet grass. As I lifted myself, my scraped right knee pushed up and my hands flattened against the floors, I saw a pair of male boots I recognized in front of me.

My guns!

I reached for them behind my backpack but he pulled me up instantly.

His face was close to mine and his hair had gone down around his eyes and angular face. I struggled slightly, still shocked to see him here as if he were waiting for me.

"Let me go!" It was a lame cry and the beating of my heart hammered against my chest.

Virgil half grinned, "Foolish girl, did you think you could escape without notice?"

"No." I blinked back the wet raindrops, "You can't be in league with him."

I kneed him instantly but he blocked my attack. During that split second, I produced a gun that directly pointed at his chest and fired blindly.