Monday, 27 June 2016

Chapter Six

The Dead London Chronicles: Vol I, June 2016 is now available FREE at Smashwords, Apple and Kobo!

On with the tale...


As Dan and Lucile drifted into off to their dreams, their fellow travellers also relaxed into the safety of this unexpected sanctuary, cosily held in the cocoon of the shelter the landlord had swiftly constructed.

In the den that had seemed so utterly terrifying, so tomb-like, Renaud settled against the straw beneath the blankets Lucile had provided, idly strumming the lute and singing a gentle French lullaby, his poodle at his feet and Grace at his side as she had been since the night he awoke as... well, as more than French dandy and a fine playwright. 

The brocaded coat lay beside him, neatly folded, and the air was light with scent, springlike despite the heavy darkness and freezing snow without; all in all, Renaud reflected, it was a long way from Cavendish Square and even further from Versailles, but it was safe and that was all that mattered tonight.

"See?" the girl told him softly, "An adventure. You could write a play on it."

"Where would I be with my choux and my Sabine " Renaud smiled, lifting his gaze to meet Grace's, seeing behind those bright eyes a world of mystery, of secrets. He paused at the playing and reached out to touch her hand, adding, "My best friends."

"The wolves," the girl whispered then, "Would eat him first - there is no need to worry."

Renaud could not help the frown that creased his features at her words and he began to strum the instrument again, casually asking, "Why do you dislike Mr Miller so, little choux?"

"What," she countered, busy twirling a strand of golden hair around one finger, "Makes you think I dislike him?"

His reply was an indulgent tut, the Frenchman never one to be anything but adoring where his young charge was concerned. Hers was the first face he had seen after death, the golden hair a halo that, in his confusion, he believed meant he had made it to heaven. Instead he had woken from what he knew was his last night, the consumption gnawing at him, torturing him, to a life after life, reborn as a vampire thanks to someone, he knew not who.

It was not Grace, that much he was sure; no, she had found him after someone had drained him of blood and filled him with this... this power. He had settled beneath the trees of Hyde Park to watch the sunset in his best gold suit, to watch the last sun set on the last day of his life before the consumption claimed him and then... well, instead of oblivion he woke to the London night, the excitement and drama that it contained. He woke to Grace.

This lone child  had found him there beneath those trees and sat beside him as his body turned from human to vampire, the hours passing as Renaud knew nothing of what ailed him through that long night. He knew only her concern, her care, the companionship she had shown him since that day, teaching him the ways of his new life.

"I think you like only me and Sabi," Renaud eventually smiled, setting down the lute.  "We are honoured indeed."

"I like only you and Sabi," she confirmed, "that is it." 

"Well, we are the best family," he smiled, pressing a kiss to her hair, "And you are one third of it!"

"Family..." her expression turned wistful he thought for a moment. "Yes." 

"And tomorrow, you shall meet a very handsome devil!"

"I think I might have seen him," came the careless response, "Once before."

"More handsome than I?"

"Never." 

"Choux, you are a tonic," he laughed, kissing her hair; not for the first time he wondered who she was, who she had found him and not for the first time he realised he little cared, her friendship was all that mattered.

"When we get to this party," the girl yawned, though he vaguely wondered if she actually needed to do so, "Will there be dancing?"

"Only if you will give me the first dance!" The thought of it cheered him as much as her company, "And we will change into our matching blue silk, you and I?"


"The first," she agreed much to his delight, "And the second too - we will show that Devil how to dance!" 

The story continues on 4th July!

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