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Sinner [ENG]

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Darkness is the beginning.

At the end is the Devil and God, but on this September evening, devoid of all that is good and pure, is something much more.

The bright red moon has risen. The leaves of the trees swayed in the wind, absorbing the light, casting bloody shadows on the damp earth that dance like tormented corpses.

The crows launched themselves from their perches on the branches and descended into the shadows beneath. They swirled: a vortex of feathers, first colliding, then blurring into an indistinct mass which slowly coalesced into something resembling a human figure. The vanishing heads of the crows cried out as they were absorbed into his the darkness of his long black cloak.

He straightened, inhaling deeply from the chill night air. In his demonic claws he clutched a book bound in red leather, stamped with a gold pentagram. He began to move, floating inches above the ground, traversing a muddy trail towards the distant lights of the unsuspecting village. He remained hidden in the darkness of the trees: his own kingdom.

They had screamed, the surviving families of the village, as they lost their loved ones on that bloody evening which had gone down in history. He had left his mark on the past and had continued hunting for many generations.

The village’s name: Salem.

* * * *

New York, 1986

She knew she could not escape him.

Naked soles struck rain-drenched concrete. They were worn raw from running. The dark-blue tunic, which barely covered her body, was soaked; and she shivered in the cold rain. Her breathing was rapid. It came in gasps, catching in her throat.

Lightning flashed, and its purple glow turned the stormy night even more ominous.

Pausing, she placed a steadying hand on the rough granite wall of City Hall, taking a deep breath.

The creature did not stop to catch its breath. It continued, looming ever closer.

“Anicus oparius,” she said, trying with all her strength to make a magic shield. The blue light flickered for an instant, then disappeared. She let out a shaky sigh and lowered her hand. The negligible aura that remained in her after the battle was not enough to cast even a simple defense spell.

She glanced down the dark street and felt the creature’s bloodthirsty gaze slam into her with the force of a bull. It left her gasping for breath and as she held her hands over her chest to lessen the pressure, she found its eyes at the end of the street.

The creature’s eyes shone like headlamps in the pitch-black of a moonless night. She heard a gust of wind and felt it as it slammed into her, but the air was still. Not a single pebble tumbled down the street.

Crouching besides the building, she brought her right arm up, spread her fingers and extended her hand out, in front of her face.

“Anicus oparius.” She said, trying the shield spell once again. She waited for a heartbeat, two, and three. Nothing happened. Desperately, she rubbed her hands together, but the blue light did not appear. Not even a spark this time.

The street lamps flickered to life and illuminated the creature as it flew towards her. Sharp claws, protruding from its jacket sleeves shone in the sodium vapor-light. It lifted its head, sniffing the cold air.

She knew that her rapidly-beating heart lured the creature towards her like a beacon. The faster it pumped, the greater the creature’s bloodlust. It was a losing battle – as he closed in, her panic only increased.

“Anicus oparius!” She intoned the spell a third time, almost as a plea.

Nothing.

She hazarded another look back down the dark street, certain that the claws would be poised to strike.

The street was empty. She let out a long breath. The tension drain from her. For a moment it was quiet.

Where had it gone?

She turned and there it was; inches from her. Its burning yellow eyes pierced her frightened ones, rooting her in place as its merciless gaze seared her soul. She tried to scream but it was too late. Its sharp claws were already tearing the soft flesh of her throat, ripping out what little voice she had left.

Her eyes were frozen in place, wide open, unable to blink, yet unseeing. A single tear rolled down her cheek, rounding her jawline to mix with the river of blood that flowed freely from her throat to stain the wall of City Hall.

Her lifeless body slumped silently to the ground amid the spreading pool of red.

The stormy clouds cleared out, revealing a starless sky with a sliver of pail moon, no bigger than the tip of a fingernail.

The creature lifted the dead woman’s sleeve. The moonlight dimly shone on the faintly glowing blue numbers on the inside of her arm, which were already disappearing: 653.

His mission had almost come to an end.

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