Lady Annabelle woke just as the clock’s bells rang twelve. Reaching for her husband Luther, who she realized was absent when she felt the cold spot beside her. He must have left hours ago, as he had countless times before. Where he went was a mystery to her, but this night, she felt compelled to find out.
Despite the chill, she pulled her feet out of her feather-down comforter, briefly putting a hand to her swollen abdomen. The baby moved within her as Annabelle moved across the floor to retrieve her dressing gown, covering herself.
Moonlight filtered through the nearly transparent curtains, lighting her way. Not even one ember remained within the fireplace. Surly her husband couldn’t have left her, and their unborn child to freeze, she pondered.
Opening the door leading to the hallway, she grabbed a lit candlestick from the table outside. Silent as a tomb that lay outside, no movement, or sound could be heard as she made her way up the great hall.
Descending the spiral staircase, she walked slowly down, not wanting to hasten and risk losing her footing. Once on the main floor, she heard sounds coming from the spare bedroom in the back. Freezing briefly, when she heard a scream echoing up the corridor. Annabelle wasn’t dissuaded, and continued her way towards the spare bedroom, stopping in front of the door, placed her ear to the door, and listened.
“Hold her down,” Luther said.
Annabelle knew it was Luther's voice, but whom was he talking to she pondered. More screams were heard and she gingerly pushed open the door a crack. Peering inside, Annabelle spotted a woman with long brown hair held to a table by two men with black hooded cloaks, concealing their faces as they had their back towards the door.
Luther was wearing a black cloak and hood also, and she could see him clearly, a green amulet dangled from his neck. Eleven black candles of different shapes and sizes adorned the room, all lit.
The woman continued to struggle as Annabelle saw a jeweled dagger held in Luther’s hand, raised above the woman’s breast.
“Dark master, please accept this sacrifice as a sign to know we serve only you,” Luther said.
Suddenly, Luther dropped his hand, stabbing the woman in the chest. Screams filled the room, and it took a moment before Annabelle realize it came from her. Annabelle froze with fear as Luther and two men she didn’t know, gazed at her.
“Annabelle what are you doing here?” Luther bellowed.
She ran from the doorway and made her way to the great door leading outside. Pulling it open, she ran into the night. Gasping as the cold air gripped her. She ran through the cemetery and slipped through the hole in the fence.
“Annabelle, come back here,” she heard Luther yelling.
She continued to make her way across the frozen grass. Her heart pounded, and the baby kicked, urging her on, and all she could think about is how easy it was for Luther to kill that woman, and she knew he wouldn’t hesitate to kill her; now that she knew his secret.
She stopped, standing at the edge of the cliff, hearing the roar of the sea, crashing on the rocks below. Turning she saw Luther running towards her. Looking back down the cliff, she knew what she had to do, the only thing she could do. Annabelle stepped off the edge of the cliff.
“No,” Luther screamed!
He lunged forward, and grabbed her hands before she fell, and breaking one free, she clawed at his face. He let go, but before she fell, she grabbed his amulet, breaking it from his neck, and held it tightly in her hand as she fell.