Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The First Day of the Rest of His Life

Roland groaned as the light of the new day started to filter behind his eyelids. He turned in his bed and the fine, cotton sheets felt like they were rasping the skin off his legs and body. Every part of him ached; his joints, his head, even his teeth seemed to throb in their sockets. He felt like he had been doing an assault course for the last four days, where the only thing he had had to drink was vodka.

He swung his long legs over the edge of the bed and padded into the shower. He turned the water on to the hottest setting and let the burning torrent pound his body. As the tension and the aches began to ease, he began to review the events of the previous night and became grimly aware that he could not go through another change in the box. Both he and Malvolio needed to run free, to stretch their limbs, do some hunting and be true to their nature at that time.

And there was Prosperpine to think of. She was almost ready to experience her first change, and it should be out in the forest, under the light of the moon. Roland couldn't even imagine how terrifying it would be to go through the first change in the box. It was an exciting, heady experience, but could also be scary and intimidating if you did not know what was going on.

No, it was time to take what remained of his clan back to south west France for an extended visit. There Proserpine could go through her first change in her ancestral home, with her clan around her to guide and comfort her. She could make her first kill under his watchful eye as clan leader and be initiated into the ways of their kind.

He switched off the shower and walked back into the bedroom towelling his dark auburn hair dry as he went. The people who worked for him at De Cazalrenoux Private bank, the bank that his family had run for the last century, had nicknamed him 'The Fox', which he regarded as somewhat ironic in the circumstances.

He was just sliding the last gold cufflink into the cuffs of his linen shirt, when the phone rang on his private line. He picked up the phone warily - very few people had this number, and it was rarely good news when it did ring.

"De Cazalrenoux speaking," he snapped into the receiver.

"I need to meet with you urgently," replied the urbane voice of the older man on the other end.

It was a voice that Roland had hoped he would never have to hear again in his lifetime.....

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