Samantha cursed after the string on her guitar broke. She had just changed them and yet… she sighed and then bowed her head. It had been a month since she received a gig and now that she finally landed one, everything seemed to have gone against it.

All her misery started when dawn broke. First, the owner of the inn she was staying at knocked on her door and demanded that she vacate the room if she failed to pay for it by the end of the day. Then, the pizza she ordered for breakfast turned out to be vegetarian—she hated that kind of pizza. When she went out to look for a new string for her guitar, she learned that a festival was to be held in that town on that very day so the stores were closed.

By mid-afternoon, she thought things were getting better because the inn owner recommended her to the local band as a substitute for a missing guitarist. The man clearly did that so she could pay for her rent. A selfish motive, but she was thankful.

Unfortunately, her guitar was still missing a string. So she had asked the inn owner if he knew where she could buy one since it would benefit him too once shed gotten her pay. The man, a stout, bearded guy who couldn keep his eyes away from her legs and chest suggested that she take the string of his guitar. He assured her that they were new. She had no choice, so she took the mans advice and used his guitar string to replace hers. She never should have trusted him.

”Sam, we
e on in five, ” an emo-looking teen called out to her. Earlier that day, when she was introduced to the band, she felt out of place. They were a group of teens, fresh looking, and seemed to have already made a name for themselves.

”Great, ” she murmured. Not only was her guitar an old-looking thing with broken and rusty strings, she too was an old and rusty player. Disheartened by the thought, she decided its best to preserve what little dignity she had left and carefully exited the makeshift dressing room that was given to the band and headed back to the Inn. She knew it was wrong to ditch them without notice, but what would she say? She couldn play because she messed up the strings of her guitar? She was too prideful to borrow one from any of them and deemed it best to run and hide.

As she reached the entrance to the Inn, she cursed and tears slowly dripped from her eyes. ”Stupid, stupid, stupid, ” she whispered. She had been a traveling musician for years but not once was she given a break. Not because she lacked talent, it was due to her cowardice, or perhaps hesitation. She couldn tell. Shed been in the grey about that, confused as to why she couldn take a step forward.

Every time she was faced with a difficult situation that had to do with her dreams, she found the word run, to be her best option. She was a dreamer who was too scared to leap. But even if she was a coward in going after her dreams, she knew she had courage hidden deep inside her. She couldn call it an adrenaline rush because that hidden courage would appear as if it had always been there yet never acknowledged. But it does come out, especially when she felt trapped and couldn take comfort in running. Unfortunately, that specific courage never came out when it concerned her dreams.

She has her mouth too. A mouth with flowery words that had served as her weapon on many occasions. Some may find this duality in courage that she believed in contradictory, but hey, one could be courageous about one thing and be a coward in others. She thought to herself.

Unfortunately, all she did in the previous years was go after her dream. A dream that she was too cowardly to face. Perhaps that was the reason why she felt she was a coward and all everyone saw in her was cowardice.

In the end, it was perhaps safe to surmise that she has been running and a coward her whole life because she has yet to face a challenge that would test her hidden courage and force it to stay.

When she made it in front of her room, she found a man standing by the door. It felt weird. But despite her inner warnings, she smiled and brushed it off. Perhaps, the owner had sent the man to collect her payment, she thought to herself. Well, he just has to wait. Shed be paying him if his string did not mess up in the first place.

”Tell Brando I will hand him the payment tomorrow, ” she said to the guy as she fumbled with the room key in her hand.

The man eyed her up and down, then pulled out a paper from his coat pocket. Without a word, he held it out towards her.

Samantha frowned and then landed her gaze on the envelope. ”Whats that? ” She questioned.

”Miss Samantha, please read your invitation. ” The tenor in the mans voice was deep and sounded older than his face. Curious, Samantha took the paper and stared at it. It looked ancient and was sealed with wax that had weird markings.

”Whats this? Some kind of an invitation for a demonic band or something? Dude, I will play for any group but this letter looks suspicious. Im not joining any bizarre band, alright, ” she chided. She snorted, chuckled, and shook her head. Various kinds of musicians had appeared in recent years. Some of them were just too much for her to handle or understand.

”Please open the letter, Miss Dela Torre. ”

Samantha was about to laugh again, but stopped when she realized something, how in the world did the guy know of her last name?

Feeling weary, she took a step back. With her eyes still locked on the man, she said to him, ”Alright dude, I don know how you found out my last name, but you better leave before I call the cops. ”

”I believe thats unacceptable. ” The man answered.

Samantha knew when to flee and that moment was it. So, she turned using the balls of her feet and was about to run but failed to do so when she collided with two huge bodies.

”What the… ” She wasn given a chance to finish her words because someone from behind her struck her nape and she fell unconscious.


Something ran down her hair. It was relaxing and she would have kept her eyes closed and reveled in the feeling if she hadn heard a male voice. As a traveling musician, she had encountered numerous situations and heard a lot of stories about life on the road. She had trained her senses to feel sensitive to her surroundings to keep herself safe. So when she felt a hand gently land on her cheek, she snapped her eyes open, grabbed whoevers arm it was, and twisted it. A scream escaped the persons mouth as Samantha instantly jumped off from whatever she was laying on and further twisted the arm. Her eyes were predatory as she held firm on the hand and then angrily asked the person, ”What the hell do you think you
e doing? ”

She thought she was about to fight for her life and dignity when the person growled, but she was dead wrong. The person instead, cried and tried to tug his arm free from her grip. He gazed at her with a pained expression, and that forced her to let go.

”I just wanted to remove the dirt on your cheek. ” He said as he stifled a cry.

”Never lay your hand on an unconscious woman. You might end up in the gutters. ” She warned him.

”I… I will keep that in mind young miss. ”

Samantha shook her head dismissing the presence of the teen in front of her then rubbed her temple and took a deep breath. She felt too hazy at that moment, she hadn the mind to view her surroundings. Well, that was until a male voice echoed from her right. She turned to look at the person and thats when she realized that she was inside a luxurious-looking room. The thing that cradled her body earlier was a red couch, with a high backrest beautified with rose and angel carvings. In the middle of the room was a king-size bed with a tall bedpost that held together a white lace curtain obscuring her sight of the mattress inside.

Confused, she turned to the person she injured earlier, landed a hand on her hip, frowned, and asked, ”Where am I? ”

It was the newcomer who answered her, ”Welcome to your estate, miss Dela Torre.

Samantha raised an eyebrow, laughed then shifted her gaze from one man to the other. ”Excuse me? ”

”Mr. Frederick will explain everything upon his return. For the time being, please, make yourself comfortable. ” The man replied.

Weary and confused, Samantha shook her head and retorted, ”Id rather return to my Inn, thank you. If this Frederick person needed to tell me something, tell him hed find me there. ”

”Im sorry young miss, but our orders were to keep you here. ”

”Hell no! ” Samantha yelled and made a run for the door. She didn make it far though, because the guy she had an altercation with had grabbed her and swiftly covered her nose with a piece of cloth that instantly deprived her of consciousness.


The butler staggered as he made his way toward the forest near the mansion. As he entered the edge of the forest path that led deeper into the dark thicket, a death-like mist preceded through the trees, enveloping him into a chilly snipping fog. A lone oak shivered, its leaves rustling as the wind blew past it when he finally reached his destination. Eyes teary, heart hammering, and stance unstable, he called out for the being.

Instantly, a loud clap of thunder permeated from within the cave, followed by a dark fog-like substance that the butler knew to steer clear of. The smell of death oozed out of the caves mouth and then, the low tenor voice which Frederick had long associated with the devil answered, ”It has been months, Frederick. Where is the heir? ”

The butler stifled a scream before he answered, ”Shes here. She will come to you tonight. ”

”Perfect, ” the being answered.

”You will uphold your end of the bargain, right, ” the butler questioned.

Silence answered him. It stretched for a few seconds before the being inside the cave answered, ”As long as the conditions are met, I will do as asked. ”

Despite the hammering of his heart, Frederick smiled to himself. Maybe, all is not lost. But first, he must assure that the woman will succeed.

Before he left, a solemn, austere tune blared from inside the cave. The butler gazed a little longer at the deep expanse of the foreboding entrance then flinched when orange and purplish light flickered from within. It extended over the walls of the tunnel illuminating the cobbled and moss-covered path in the middle.

Frederick gulped, then turned to his heel and once more tackled the impossibly dense and dark woodland that cradled the nest of the being. As the gloaming fog blanketed him, he couldn help but doubt if his recent decision was right. The woman may not even last an hour in the presence of the being. He knew how intimidating the thing was and how competently he played with the human mind. He knew because he had answered his questions long ago, hundreds of years ago.

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