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Souls of Ashes

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     Year 943, near present-day Munich, Germany. An event which changed my life forever that, more than one-hundred years later, I have just now ripped from the deepest twists of my psychology and penned onto paper. It was spring then, however the cooling air and dismal clouds alighted the hint of a storm. Rumors had been spreading throughout the whole of the miniscule farming community of a whisper in the dark, a being raiding taverns in the night, the victims, few in number but fairly frequent, ne’er to return. Then the rumors expanded. Children being stolen from their beds, entire herds of cattle disappearing, then found weeks later as naught but rotting, stench-ridden carcasses.
     However, being a man of nineteen at the time, I worried not about such trivial, insignificant things. After all, I was to be married in the early hours of summer, even if it was to a girl just matured into womanhood that I had barely just begun to look upon, in any light.
     It was a graying Sunday morning and, as was custom, I had taken my mother, sister, fiancé to the Catholic Church that was always packed to the brim with superstitious beings. My father had passed away a few years before, the dregs of some unknown disease finally finishing his weakened body off. And now, being the head of the household, the families’ property, residing next to a thickened overgrown forest, was mine to manage.
     “A storm is coming…” My mother, Sarah, murmured as she turned her fair face to the ever-darkening sky. “Alas, it seems this one will be a lingering one…”
     Intertwining my hand with Ellisa’s and bidding my fiancé to pause from walking up the cold stone path that led to the dreary house, I glanced back at Mother. Concern riveted visage, soft brown eyes were dazed as she found her gaze ever-fixed ‘pon the Heavens. And I knew why.
     “Mother, come. We must get inside before it starts raining.” It was on a day such as this when Father passed away. And even though it had been many years ago, his death still grieved her. I had been praying for her, however…
     “Yes… I suppose you are right.” She stayed right where she was, however, despite her words. And then, still looking up to the Heavens, she spoke again. “You three can go ahead. I will rest here a bit.”
     “Mother--”
     My fiancé cut off my concern. “…Israfel.” She gently touched my arm with a soft hand, and I looked down to her. “Leave her be, she wishes to be alone. You should come inside before you catch cold.”
     With a final glance to my mother, I reluctantly retired hand-in-hand with Ellisa into the living room. Christdean, my sister, conjured a fire while we sat down. That would be the last time I sat down in peace, the last time I exchanged words with my mother. The last day that I awakened alive, knowing I was in Gods’ good graces. The last day for everything. The last day to be a mortal.
     It did indeed rain that night, and Mother found herself herded finally inside by its drenching downpours, blinding lightning, and cruel winds. However, she would not join us in a gathering around the fire, and instead conceited straight to bed. And, obeying my fiancé’s wish, I let her be.
     And now, looking back upon it all, I wish I never had.
     As the harsh rain pelted relentlessly down on whatever it befell upon outside, the three of us- Christdean, Ellisa, and I- were quite comfortable inside the confines of our cabin that was adequate lodging for the time.
     Telling various stories was what Christdean did best, and so she did now to shake off the drudgery of outside.
     “…And then the evil man, fearing the power of God, fled into the mountains to hide. After ten years he finally succumbed to death and perished, his body returning to the dust from wench it came. But even then his fear of God and the Judgment kept him alive, at least in spirit. Some say you can hear him crying out doing anything he can to stay in this world. He cries out: ‘My Satan, why have you forsaken

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