The harsh electric lights blinded his sensitive eyes, so thick creamy candles dripped in candelabras scattered about the study. The two-story windows, with their ornate stained glass upper panes, were open to the night’s moonless sky. Heavy, dusty brocade drapes hung limply next to the windows, ready to be dragged, in a moment’s notice, across the room’s eyes.
Books, leather- and cloth-bound alike, lay abandoned on the desk and two Victorian fainting couches that were the room’s only furniture. More tomes idled in random piles around the room. A chalkboard, covered in spidery notations, lingered in the corner next to the windows, forgotten in its master’s agonized fury. The once luxurious carpet was now worn down to a memory, tossed aside upon the barren ocean of hardwood.
The room’s master, bare-chested and wearing only a pair of silk-soft ancient jeans, paced around the oasis of light in the center of the room. Growling murmurs escaped his parched lips. He chanted to himself, repeating two phrases to himself in an effort to escape his prison. His feet, roughened by months of shoelessness, nimbly avoided the mountains and molehills of abandoned books.
Abruptly, his left foot just rising to begin another journey, the master halted. His breath rasped in and out of his chapped lips; his chest heaved in aching longing for the sweet night air. Frantic with remembered illusion, the man raked through the discarded books, searching for his prize. But the piled tomes revealed no more secrets than they had in the beginning of his quest.
The sickeningly sweet odor of his breakfast being prepared pulled the man from his research. His quivering stomach yearned for the warm, dripping meat of a fresh kill, but his mind, still a reasoning thing, refused to yield to the beast inside. Silently, he waited, hands clasped tightly behind him as his maid timidly presented his repast.
His time was up. Reason fled, leaving only the beast. Alone. But for a single, petrified, girl.