The Curious brothers have already faced great adversity in the name of love. Now they will be taken to the very door of Death Himself!
This story takes place in the same Universe as To Fear the Dawn... approximately seven years later.
Pale Horse Riders: Chapter 1
Nothing could be worse than this. Absolutely nothing.
Vidcund Curious stood beside the grave of his wife, Charity, holding the small hands of their twin son and daughter; all of them sobbing forlornly. After a few moments, the children let go of their father’s hands and held onto one another, speaking comforting words in a language only they understood. Although Gavin and Grace Curious were halfway to being teenagers now and generally tried to act very grown-up, the sudden loss of their mother had devastated them, and their father was too lost in his own grief to offer them much comfort.
Vidcund’s brothers Lazlo and Pascal Curious stood nearby, also overwhelmed by grief; Pascal was likewise holding the hand of a child; his half-alien daughter Sophie had been born from a second alien abduction while Gavin and Grace were toddlers.
Although Pascal had never married, little Sophie had never wanted for a mother in her life. Charity had raised her right alongside her own children, never making any distinctions among them, and they all loved her fiercely.
If Vidcund was thankful for one thing, it was that all the children had been off at school when the tragedy involving his beloved wife had happened...
Charity, trying to be helpful, had taken it upon herself to attempt to fix the broken dishwasher. She’d seen her husband and brothers-in-law do it many a time, and felt confident enough to try, yet she had forgotten a crucial step.
She had not remembered to turn off the power to the kitchen before dismantling the appliance, and Vidcund had come home from the lab to a horrifying sight. The Grim Reaper... Death, himself, was standing over Charity’s electrocuted body, shaking his head with mock sadness, while he prepared to take her soul.
Vidcund had crashed into the house and thrown himself in front of Death, begging, pleading...
>>Please, don’t take her! Please..she’s everything to me!
>>I will give you one chance to try to save her. See this orb of light? If you can guess which of my hands it’s in, you can have your wife back.
>>What are you saying? You think this is a game? My wife’s life is worth more than a simple guessing game, Reaper!
>>Be that as it may, mortal. Choose!
Vidcund closed his eyes in painful remembrance. He, had, of course, not chosen the correct skeletal hand which contained the glowing blue ball of light, and, with a peal of delighted laughter, the Reaper had taken Charity’s soul, and left Vidcund with nothing.
A game. Her entire life was worth nothing more to Death than a game! She was everything to me...my whole life! I can’t go on...I just can’t! Not without her!
Choking back sobs while hot tears ran down his cheeks, Vidcund remembered everything he had gone through to be married to Charity, the woman who had first come to the Curious household to be their nanny, back when Vidcund’s half-alien adult twins, Xander and Xena, were still only babies. Charity had taken care of them, along with Pascal’s adult half-alien child, Orion, who had been a toddler at that time. Charity had lived with the brothers and their children, and became an integral part of their family.
Eventually, Vidcund had quietly fallen in love with Charity. However, at that point in time, so had Pascal... and on a night when the two brothers nearly came to blows over it, Charity had left, saying she had to get away from them to think. Then, later that same night, Charity had been taken by a vampire to be the creature’s mate.
Vidcund sighed when he remembered all he and his brothers had gone through to bring the woman he loved back to their family where she belonged. They had worked tirelessly, day and night, and had eventually created the cure for vampirism... which Vidcund had half-jokingly named Vamprocillin-D. In the end, they had restored Charity, she and Vidcund had finally declared their love for one another, and they had gotten married.
Then, shortly afterwards, when Charity gave birth to the vampire’s son, who was a half-vampire himself and a completely new form of life, Vidcund had loved the boy as his own, and even had given him his last name.
Lucas Curious was away at college now, and soon would need to be told of his mother’s death.
It was not a conversation Vidcund was looking forward to having, although he knew as the only father Lucas had ever known, he would need to be the one to do it.
Vidcund wiped angry tears from his cheeks, standing on the hot sand, staring at the lifeless granite that was all he had left of his wife, chafing at the unfairness of it all. The Reaper thought the price of Charity’s life was nothing more than a turn of a card, or a spin of a wheel... but she meant so much more! She was his beloved wife, his brothers’ trusted friend and sister, and the mother to all of their children, whether they had been born to her or not!
It’s not right...it’s just not right! Charity had so much to live for! Why should the Reaper play with our lives that way? Doesn’t he understand? Yes, we all have to die, but not before our time! It wasn’t time for Charity!
“You doing okay, Vid?” Lazlo walked softly up to his older brother and put his arm around him. The sun had set, and Pascal had just taken Sophie and the twins inside and made them something to eat. Vidcund, it seemed, could not be moved from his spot in front of Charity’s grave, where he had been standing ever since his beloved wife had been laid to rest there, hours before.
Vidcund looked up at Lazlo, and his light blue eyes seemed to burn with the inner fire of his pain and loss. “No, I’m not, Lazlo,” he said in a voice heavy with sorrow. “It’s just not right. It wasn’t time for her to go... and I could have saved her, if I only would have beaten Death at his stupid little game...”
Vidcund could hold back the sobs no longer, and he broke down in his younger brother’s arms. Pascal came out of the house then, and silently walked over to them, wrapping his arms around them both.
Devastated beyond measure, the three brothers wept.
To Be Continued...