Disclaimer: I don't own it. Thanks for thinking so though. ^^
Mail Order Bride
A Bloody Prologue
Late May 1863
The early evening had always been his favorite time of the day. With streaks of lavender and misty swatches of cerulean, Nature painted the heavens with as much skill as the Renaissance Masters had. Yet the skies of the North had never seemed as lovely as it did at home on the banks of the Potomac. When he was home, it was as if everything was clearer. The night air was crisp and had the ability to erase the smell of blood Kenshin had been breathing in for three long years. This homecoming was a long time in coming and he wanted to remember every minute of it.
It had taken a bullet wound at Gettysburg to get him to come home and already it was worth it. Meandering through the fields of his plantation home, Kenshin felt his spirit reviving. The carnage of the war had taken its toll on him. His bones ached and the slashes on his face throbbed with memory of his misdeeds. He could never forget the battlefield but here he could focus on something else.
His beautiful wife was surely the best reason for coming home. He had only seen her once since the war started and that was seven longs months ago. She had been faithfully sending him letters since his initial departure for Charleston but it wasn't the same as being with her. Kenshin missed the sight of her, the scent of her, the feel of her against his body. Tomoe was the only woman he could ever love, the only woman he would ever want to. Tonight, he would show her just how much he missed her.
That idea cheered him and sped him toward the house considerably faster than his original stroll. As he burst upon the path to the house his keen nose alerted picked up a scent more fitting the battlefield than his peaceful home.
The front door was open. It shouldn't have been. What was going on? Where was Tomoe?
The shadows of the ransacked room obscured what lay before him for a moment as his eyes adjusted. He didn't remember rushing into the house but here he was in the ruins of his study. The sturdy oak bookcase had been upturned and books lay broken on the matted carpet like so many broken bodies. The smell here was much stronger but he didn't rush in to investigate. Instead, the transfixed soldier took one halting step after another like a sleepwalker caught in a nightmare. The floor underneath his beleaguered feet squished unpleasantly, drenched in a dark liquid.
No, it couldn't have been blood because that meant Tomoe was hurt and she was fine. Nothing happened to Tomoe.
It was blood –
It wasn't! Kenshin gripped the edge of the desk as his shins came into sharp contact with the edge. His rational mind was screaming for him to hurry up and see whose blood it was. The rest of him was gibbering with fear of discovery.
"Someone broke into the house," Kenshin muttered as he circled the desk. "But Tomoe escaped. She's with the neighbors. It's fine."
But it wasn't.
The traitorous desk revealed slowly to him a scene that would be burned into his mind for as long as he lived. Her pale hand rested limply on the floor followed by a purple clad arm and shoulder. Those beautiful black eyes peered into his own sightlessly. Her face was chalky and her lips were white. It wasn't right; she was vibrant, colorful, alive.
Kenshin didn't realize he had been screaming until a sharp pain in his throat reminded him. The small discomfort brought him back to reality at least partially. One trembling hand caressed her cold face. It didn't feel real; the whole situation felt like one horrid joke. He tried laughing to see if it would bring an end to this torment but each laugh was agony.
Still giggling, he painfully sat down against the desk and drew Tomoe into his arms. The floor was no place for a lady like her. He smoothed the hair away from her face with a practiced hand. How often had he done that while she slept? Sleeping, she was restless in a way she never was awake. It was easy to relate to such a graceful, elegant lady when one knew she snored.
What a silly thing to think about when sitting on a floor, Kenshin berated. A niggling thought was telling him that this was wrong, that he wasn't making any sense, that he should be doing something but Kenshin didn't pay attention. After all, hadn't he just come home? He wanted to be with his wife.
His stroking hand delved lower, rubbing Tomoe's leg and side. Touching her was like a piece of heaven. Kenshin pulled her closer in a desperate embrace. His sanity was rushing back but he fought it. If he said she was dead, then she really was. It was best not to talk, not to think. That way she could stay with him.
"We're together now," he crooned, rocking her still form like one would a child. Shifting her weight in his arms, Kenshin pressed her face into his shoulder and abruptly froze. Slowly, ever so slowly, he turned his head to look at her, really look at her. His mind balked at the conclusion his eyes gave. Carefully lifting his bride, the anguished man set her down on the chaise, the only undamaged piece of furniture in the room.
Tomoe was dead but she was not alone. With her was his child, the baby that now slept forever in his mother's dead womb.
Before the darkness rushed up to claim him, Kenshin beseeched the God who had abandoned him to end his life.
~A good prologue? I kinda liked it. Chapter Three is coming in a hurry so don't worry! I'm nearly done with it. In the meantime, why don't you review? ~