The title comes from Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life"
After a long and dreary ride through the London countryside, my carriage finally pulls in front of the manor. It has been so long since I've visited this part of the world; I forgot how cold the English summers could be, and how the daily rain showers could give the land a stark, melancholy backdrop. The gray sky, however, completes the picture of the country manor before me. It is quite nice, I think to myself. Gothis in style, with those cathedral-like windows and tall iron spires jutting from the roof. The landscaping intrigues me as well-lush, well-tended gardens surrounding a tiled outdoor courtyard, complete with a marble fountain at its center. All these observations pass through my mind as I step down from my carriage, gathering the crushed velvet of my skirts to prevent the hem from trailing the moist gravel.
This is the home of old money, I think to myself. And plenty of it
I am almost too distracted in my observations of the manor; I don't notice the slim form of the Earl of Phantomhive standing before me in the path.
"Careful miss," I hear a voice say. A hand is outstretched to prevent me from walking into the young Earl. The white-gloved hand merely touches my wrist; a warning gesture, and nothing more.
I look up, a bit startled. The body attached to those long fingers is still, towering over me. A debonair gentleman in a black suit, hair equally as dark and a smile sickly-sweet. His hand retreats from mine and motions towards the manor. "Welcome to the Phantomhive estate," he says, white lips curled at the edges.
I nod at his gesture, and then face young Ciel Phantomhive.
"Hello, my lord. How are you?" I smile at him.
"I am fine. And yourself, Lady Desrosiers?" he asks politely.
"That is wonderful to hear." says the boy Earl, turning slightly away from me, distant look in his one visible eye. I have always wondered what might lie beneath tat satin patch of his. "We have much to discuss , but that can wait until this evening. For now, the necessary formalities are in order. You are foremost my gues, of course. Now, Sebastian, please show the lady to her chambers."
I am led away and into the manor by the butler named Sebastian. I am instantly enchanted by the grand ballroom, the spiral staircases and baluster railings, all done in a pale cream-colored marble, veined with pink and gold.
I am shown upstairs and to the elegant bedroom that has been prepared for me. It is much nicer than the places I have been sleeping as of late, with a grand four-poster bed draped in royal purple sheets and satin pillows. The walls are painted lavender, the floorboards stained dark. There is a gilded armoire in one corner, a vanity mirror hanging beside it. On the far wall I notice a neatly organized bookccase and the painting of a vermillion-lipped woman in white hanging above it.
"My lady, I have the honor being the Phantomhive butler, Sebastian Michaelis. If you are in need of anything, I am here to serve you," says the butler, bowing deeply and swiftly, his tailcoat unruffled. His tone is thick and sweet, like honey or melted chocolate. I have never trusted that tone in a man.
"Thank you," I murmur, still scanning the room. I hear his retreating footsteps.
There is a fine view of the garden courtyard from the window beside the bed. I set my suitcase on the bed and begin to unpack what few necessary items I have brought along. This room is very well kept, I observe, Either the Earl has guests quite often or he is working very hard to make it seem like he does. That or he simply has one hell of a butler.
I have never been to the Phantomhive manor in all of my travels to London in the past. I am quite pleased with my reception, as well as the lonely estate. All of this means next to nothing, of course, considering the true reason for my visit. There has been much talk of a string of decidedly… unnatural murders in the area. The odd circumstances surrounding the murders in the area. The odd circumstances surrounding the murders have left the Queen's guard dog baffled, and so, because of my particular set of skills, I have been called in from France to assist in the case.
The clock on the wall strikes five. I stroll over to the writing desk in the corner, where a single book has been left. I pick it up, curious that this volume alone would be left out, when all the others have been placed in the shelf with great order and care in the immaculate room. Frankly, it is suspiciously out of place. The red, leather-bound book has a strange design along its spine, leafy whorls embossed in a dusty-gold colour. I flip it open and notice the same design in the corners of the yellowed pages.
I slip the book into my bag. Will its disappearance be noticed? I wonder. I have bot time to study it now, but later I will be sure to do so, and with great care.