The Eden Project
by obscire

- Prologue -

"Fear is the parent of cruelty."
- James A. Froude [1818 - 1894]

The mist hung over London like a blanket of silence, sneaking between nooks and crannies of old, decrepit buildings. Pale street lamps shone out against the dark, providing small circles of light across the pavements below, but as the middle of the night drew near even they couldn't fight off the impending darkness. It was winter, so the night held more secrets as it hid the stars from the sky.

Suddenly, from the stillness there erupted a burst of noise and a shaft of light fell onto the street. Standing in it, their silhouettes stretching long across the pavements, were two men. They clung to each other as they tried to walk, stumbling and tripping every now and then as they went.

William and John had been out at the local tavern, celebrating the fact that John's long lost love of several years had finally agreed to marry him. It was a hearty celebration done in the most enthusiastic of ways, and they would probably both pay for it the following morning with headaches as piercing as white-hot metal.

Still, they seemed in good spirits as they made their way slowly up the deserted street – they were also totally oblivious to the fact that they were being watched.

From the darkness, a pair of small, gleaming eyes watched them go and a hand twitched silently beneath a concealed cape. As the laughter of the men hit its ears it moved, so fast you wouldn't even have known there was anyone – or anything – there. Up on the rooftops it moved like a shadow, footsteps silent against the clay slates, its eyes never once leaving its prey. It crouched down, a long neck straining to follow the path of the friends.

Then it stopped.

In the silence of the street the new, crooning noise was completely unforgettable – in a flash the creature moved away, leaping from one rooftop to the next and using its cape as makeshift wings to glide to the floor. Then it scampered off, moving between the shadows like a ghost, leaving its prey for the night unharmed. It could still hear the screams of fear in its head, it could still see the terror carved on his victims' faces. But that night would see silence and peace in London.

Several streets away, a blue police box began winking into existence – and out of it there stepped a man who the creature never wanted to lay eyes on again.