Blood dropped from the heavens. Lady Swan looked up at the sky with a scowl. Her dark lace shawl tried to whip free from her grasp. The sun exploded into a spectrum of red and orange along the horizon. She scanned the ledges. She saw nothing in the trees that barricaded the world away from the manse. Gusty wind sprayed the blood on the windows and the cold grey stones of the tower, drawing demonic faces and sigils.
Father Cahill blessed the manse two days ago. Did he bless or summons? The scullery maid quit after a nefarious shadow molested her in the larder. Lady Swan found her passed out, blood soaked through her skirt, pooling on the floor. She swore it was nothing more than a shadow that raped her.
Two years ago, fire rampaged the church, leaving an empty shell of blackened timbers and stone. The congregation sold the manse to Lady Swan. Soon after moving in, she felt as if someone watched her. She attributed it to the workers. The cook found knives missing. She found them later in inexplicable places with blood smeared across the blades. When she confronted other members of the staff, they would deny knowledge of the knives’ affairs.
Night brought Lady Swan distressing dreams that woke her drenched with sweat. Memories of the dreams teased her for fleeting moments before vanishing from her reach. She spoke to Father Cahill, who immediately performed a cleansing. He chanted and sprinkled Holy Water. He took Lady Swan’s confession. It seemed to work.
A shriek of agony erupted from the building site. Lady Swan and Father Cahill approached the reforming church. They saw that the baptismal font pinned a man to the floor. Blood seeped from under the stone, drenching the floorboards in shimmering crimson. Father Cahill ran to the dying man.
Before finishing Last Rites, the ground trembled. A low echo vibrated in the foundation. A warm, acrid air swirled from the floors, then all was silent. Lady Swan observed, the terror in the workers’ faces. Father Cahill completed his testimony as the life drained from the worker. With much respect for the fallen man, the others rolled the bowl from his crushed body, revealing the mutilated flesh and pulverized bones.
All was quiet for several weeks. Then like a moth dancing around a flame leaves a mark in the light, a shadow passed over the sun’s beams. It did not last more than a moment and was not visually noticed by everyone. However, everyone noticed how it felt. A cold wind blowing on one’s neck is how some described it, while others described it as the absence of joy.
The night terrors returned to Lady Swan vividly. The iron smell of freshly spilled blood filled and never left the air. The scullery maid raped by an unknown entity. Father Cahill apologized to Lady Swan for not being able to rid her of the demon that stalked them, camouflaged in the grey, stone walls of the manse.
The workers fled when the first drop hit the ground. They prayed and kissed their rosaries. They asked forgiveness for their sins. The rain made Lady Swan’s hair sticky. A flash of lightning illuminated the heavy clouds, reducing the maroon cast they held, as the sun set, to puce.
She looked up to the tower; the lightning outlined a figure in the stained glass. She closed that room when she moved in. No one should be up there. The blood falling on her ivory skin, trailed and veined in the pores and fine lines.
Lady Swan returned into the dark comfort of the manse, determined to discover who entered the locked room. She climbed the wrought iron, spiral staircase detailed with fleur-de-lis in the railing. Her footfalls echoed as she made her ascent. She stopped three steps from the top. The door to the room stood open but not enough for her to see the tenant. She advanced to the landing. A tremor shook her hand as she reached for the door.
“I am yours,” a deep voice seduced.
The door swung inward without a sound. She could not see who she faced clearly. Lady Swan stepped forward. Her labia tingled. Her nipples became erect. Her senses knew him immediately. She dreamed him, his power, his finesse. He did not move; he stayed in his position, watching her approach.
She closed her eyes and tilted her head back. She unbuttoned the top of her bodice, freeing her full bosom from its prison. She pulled down the top of her dress and reached behind her, pulling a cord that held her skirts together. The dress landed on the floor around her, her nakedness glowing in the remaining light.
“I am yours,” Lady Swan repeated.
He stepped forward. His hands pierced her abdomen then he pulled them free of her. Her warmth gushed forward covering him. His enraged member glistened with her liquids. He caught her around the waist as she swooned and penetrated her. He finished his mission and slid limply from her. Lady Swan slumped to the floor. He turned from her.
“Did you not say that you are mine?” She asked.
A smirk glistened on his face and he turned back to face her. She no longer lay slumped among her fouled clothing on the floor. She hovered inches from the ground before him. Her flesh healed. She glowed like the rising sun. He shrank from her. She advanced toward him as he retreated backward.
She stopped, taking him in with her gaze. This man sent to protect from the demons of hell so easily taken by them. He dropped the daggers he held in his hands. Father Cahill looked around quickly. He saw no way out, except the window against his back. He felt for the latch. It popped open and the window swung out into the evening air. Father Cahill lurched backward. His eyes bulged in terror as he watched the window shrink above him.