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Ghost StoriesEventually, the stories of the ghost reached towns up to a hundred miles away.They claimed to see him as well, and they could describe with a strange but practised accuracy every single detail about the spectre. The ushanka he wore upon his head, its ear flaps tied up over the crown. His hair, a strange fair sort of colour, which wisped and curled around the back of his neck, stray strands escaping and falling over his face. His round, innocent childlike face, as pale as freshly fallen snow. They could describe so clearly how long the sleeves were on his military style coat; so long that his hands were rarely seen, and those who had claimed to see him push back the baggy sleeves reported that where hands and fingers should have been, there was only bone. They would always turn dramatically white whenever they described those skeletal hands reaching for them, and those listening to their tale would shudder as if the ghost was standing behind them, and about to place his little hand on
Without TrustNot so long ago, not so far from hereLived two friends who held the other dearOne would not lie, one would not trustFor friendship, honesty, faith are a mustWhat disaster betrayal can bringWith doubt you cannot trust anythingNot the man you thought you knewNot the one who loved you tooTrusting John, upright and trueWas always stubborn through and throughHe befriended the vampire JanNot a monster, just a manYears they spent at each others sideNever thinking they would fightBut unhappy Jan had a terrible thirstJohn didnt know his friend was cursed.Jan had lost his faith, he would not tellHow the world had become his hellLost in the shadows, away from lightHe prolonged his life with every biteHe longed to unclasp the secret in his heartHe feared it would tear them both apartHe continued his sinful life in silenceAlone in this terrible world of violenceJohn held honesty above all thingsMore important than law, or even kingsAnd to his friend, he was alw
PrologueThe twentieth century had not been kind to the undead.Even before the turmoil of the world wars, vampire kind had sensed that their utopian age of dark winding streets and ignorant, nervous prey was slowly and surely coming towards the end. Gone were the days of safe and forbidding shadows in which they could hide and hunt, gone were the irritable and superstitious men and women who would no more disturb a vampire than they would scold the devil. Universal suffrage had brought on the age of the sceptic, and the colder, more intellectual populace explained away every bump in the night with some clever weather phenomenon or some cruel hearted criminal.But as the century aged and decayed, the undead found themselves displaced and forced out of their homes. With no protection from the sunlight, thousands of vampires died across mainland Europe and beyond, the heavy bombing and artillery fire destroying their little sanctuaries. But their names would never be found on any list of the dead
Winter Chills December, 1927 His nerves were numbed as he sat on the edge of the bed and as he sat there contemplating everything, he could feel his stomach churning with guilt. Everything his brother in law had said was completely true; he had failed the memory of his wife, he had failed his children. In trying to be too generous, hed stolen the bread from their own mouths just so he could give it to others. And why? There was a different between kindness and stupidity, and the more Iosef thought about it, the more he came to realise his own foolishness.No one had asked him to be more than what he was; he was a father but he hadnt been doing a very good job of it. He hadnt taken a strong enough hand of Mikhail and now the young man was almost unmanageable, and despite the love he had for his son, Iosef wasnt blind to his faults. Father and son couldnt have been more different and hed stood by while Mikhail turned arrogant and cruel. Foolishly, hed
First Steps September 1959, Exeter Maximilian scrunched up his face with concentration and determination, his hands gripping the table top surface tightly and with a monumental effort, the infant pulled himself up off the floor and onto two rather unsteady legs.His father watched his progress with a certain bemusement. There had been a sort of wall between Jan and his only child, the paternal bond hadnt strengthened as it should have done, but he suddenly found himself taking a great deal of interest in the little ones progress, and he leaned forward slightly in his arm chair, intrigued.The toddler wobbled slightly, his bare feet pale against the living room rug, and it didnt seem as if there was enough strength in them to hold his weight. The little knuckles went white as he gripped the coffee table and then very slowly, Max sidestepped along until he reached the end. There was a distance of only a few feet from the end of the table to Jans armchair, but you cou