I placed my love’s gift at the very base of the glittering tree that’d been covered in tinsel and baubles. It was perfect, and I’d made sure that it’d be the final one she would find on Christmas morning. The most special of all and saved for last. I’d taken care in wrapping it for her, closing the thick black paper in impeccable triangles at each end before I’d then finished it with the perfect accompaniment, grinning as I tied it with a red velvet bow.
Then, I crept back into the shadows and waited patiently for Christmas morning to arrive. I watched silently as she marvelled at her various gifts and celebrated the special day with her friends and family, but then…
“What’s this?” she asked, plucking my gift from its home, however her companions each shook their heads. A flicker of recognition contaminated her smile, but she refused to indulge in her fear. Oh, how foolish she was to think I wouldn’t strike on Christmas day of all days.
She opened it slowly and peered inside, and I knew what her eyes had laid upon. The black rose I had delivered was a sign. A promise. A symbol that her time on earth was over. I would give her one last day. A final twenty-four hours of life, but then she was mine.
“What is it, dear?” her mother asked, her brows furrowed tightly, but my love could not answer. She had made a deal of the darkest kind with me ten years before and I had come to insist she paid her debt. Like a thief in the night, someone had stolen her heart and broken it, so naturally she had sought vengeance. And I had, of course, delivered it. His soul was mine, but in return for my gracious gift, I had also demanded hers as payment, to be cashed in when a decade had passed. Ten years means nothing to a creature of darkness like me, but to my love it’d seemed like a lifetime away. Not now that she’d received my present. I’d told her how she belonged to me and I would come, marking my return with the gift of a black rose, and already I could see her mind working to rationalise what was in that box.
“Is this some kind of a joke?” she demanded, looking around at the others. Dumbfounded, they each shook their heads. My love then stormed away, my gift still grasped tightly to her bosom and I followed, gliding within the shadows alongside her.
I materialised right before her eyes and covered her mouth with my hand to stifle her screams.
“Did you think I wouldn’t collect on your debt?” I asked, but she was too shocked to respond. “My deals can never be forgotten or bargained out of, my love. I will return for you, body and soul.”
“Please,” she whimpered as I removed my hand, but rather than answer, I simply grinned. I summoned her mark—my mark—to appear on her right forearm and she peered down at it, rubbing her finger over the black inverted cross there. “This can’t be real…”
“Oh, it’s very real,” I replied before disappearing back into the shadows, leaving her shocked and screaming, tears falling down her beautiful face. They only served to make me want her more. To look forward to taking her with me down into the fiery depths of the underworld.
The next morning, I took my love’s life and forced her soul to accompany me to my personal dungeon, where I showed her everything there was to both love and loathe about me.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you my story? What I might possibly have to gain by revealing my vile intent and methods to you. It’s because I have another gift to deliver. One to someone forgetful and foolish, yet still a love of mine all the same.
I came one night while you were lost and alone. When you prayed for an answer, but were left only further doubting your faith when none came. That’s when I made you a deal, do you remember? When you said you’d do anything to feel happy. Sacrifice whatever it took to make it? That’s when you became my next love.
So here is my gift to you, made of black petals and thorns. It’s wrapped in black and tied with a red velvet bow.
See you tomorrow when the fun really will begin…
© Laura Morgan 2016.
About the author – Laura Morgan
“I’m a hopeless romantic with a dark side. Be warned, I may give my characters their Happily Ever After, but I make them work hard for it!”
Laura is a self-confessed computer and gadget geek. She’s always had a wild imagination and a sense of creativity that often runs away with her, engrossing her for days in many a story that haunts her thoughts until it eventually makes it to the page. An avid rock music fan, Laura spends much of her free time listening to music at home or going to concerts with friends, and this love of music often makes its way into her creative writing. Laura loves edgy, gritty books that strip your heart and soul bare and leave you with an epic book hangover at the end. That’s what she aims to do with her stories and thinks her readers agree! At times they’re dark and controversial, but that’s also what makes them unique.
Laura also has a YA science fiction series written under the pen name LC Morgans. It’s a story set a thousand years in the future, in which humans have used and abused the planet beyond repair to both the earth itself and to society. Close to cataclysm, an alien race called the Thrakorian’s step in to save the planet, and the humans, but at a price. The human race is then enslaved to their new masters, albeit willingly, and this is the story of a young girl and her journey into adulthood beneath their reign.
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