A New Home

Pru brings Quinten to her house.


Quinten followed his new mistress as they moved through the streets of the town where she’d imprisoned him. He frowned as he tried to remember how she’d captured him in the first place. He’d been stalking some schoolboy, as he recalled. Had he fed from the boy? He couldn’t seem to remember.

“Mistress,” he asked, frowning. She made a small noise in reply and he opened his mouth to speak, only to find that he couldn’t make a sound. He tried several things before it occurred to him what had happened. “My contract,” he breathed. “I’m not allowed to ask how you captured me?”

“Hm, no,” she said. She glanced over her shoulder and shook her head. “No, dear one, I can’t tell you that, so you aren’t allowed to ask.”

“That hardly seems fair,” Quinten groused. He sighed deeply and brushed imaginary dust off his jacket. “The last thing I remember was stalking a schoolboy. I can’t even remember if I fed from him.”

“You did,” she said, as she turned away.

3-01d936f64dHe stopped when they reached the edge of the river. A building stood before them and Quinten knew that it was on a platform above the water. He wanted nothing to do with that.

His lady continued along for two steps before she noticed that he’d stopped. Then, she turned to face him. “Are you coming, dear one?” she asked.

“You expect me to live in a house over flowing water?” he said, his voice strained. She smiled and then continued forward. He shivered for a moment before he fell into step behind her. “Mistress, please,” he said, “why do you feel the need to be so cruel?”

“How many children have you killed, Quinten?” she asked in response to his question.

He would have flushed at the question, if he’d been capable of flushing. He couldn’t answer her, but he knew he had to say something. “I don’t recall,” he said, his voice strained.

“Consider this your penance, dear one,” she said. Then, she opened the door at the side of the building, overlooking the river. “Have you remembered anything else?”

Quinten shook his head and slipped into the house. It wasn’t a very large house, but it was nice enough. He glanced around the sitting room for a moment before he moved to a deep buttoned sofa of soft leather. The back and arms were of the same height. He dropped into it and then frowned at his lady.

In the soft light of the sitting room, he could see that she was fairly pretty, with even features and a pert little nose. Her dark red-brown hair was styled in the complex manner of married women, but he noted that she did not have a wedding band on her finger.

She slipped into the next room and he stood up and followed her. He leaned on the doorway frowning. “What is it, dear one?” she asked, without looking at him. She was busily making tea.

“Why’m I so weak?” he asked. “How long ago did I feed from that boy?”

“That was earlier tonight,” she said. She poured him a cup of tea and pushed it over to him. “Drink,” she said.

Quinten heaved a sigh. “I don’t like tea,” he groused. He drank it anyway. He shouldn’t feel so weak if he’d just fed. What had the witch done to him in order to secure his capture? “I don’t know your name,” he said, looking down at the smooth wood of the countertop.

“You didn’t read the contract before you signed it,” she said, shrugging. “My name was on there, as were the terms of your contract.”

“I never learned to read,” Quinten admitted. He shrugged. “I can write my name, but that’s all. A priest saw to it that I could write my name. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do that either.” Inwardly, he cursed that priest. He wouldn’t be in this position if he hadn’t been able to write his name.

“Fair enough,” she said, nodding. “I’m Prudence Schrader. Would you like to know the terms of your contract, Quinten?”

“Besides not being to ask you how you captured me,” Quinten said, nodding. “What else is there?” He was fairly certain he’d agreed not to feed from anymore humans unless he had her express permission.

Her next words confirmed his suspicions. Meeting his eyes, she continued, “Unless you secure that permission, you can only feed on animals.”

“That’s fairly standard, isn’t it,” he said, his voice soft. So far, the only surprise was the fact that he couldn’t ask how she’d captured him in the first place.

“Your contract will carry on to my descendants in perpetuity,” she said. “If there comes a time when my line dies out, then you will be freed.” When he nodded, she said, “There’s the usual provision that you obey the orders of your contract holder, both implicit and explicit.”

He was going to hate this, he could tell. However, he also knew that he had no choice, except to comply. He was bound to this woman in a magical contract, after all.


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