Crimson Snake

December 1, 2011
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Silence maintained its relentless hold over the night. Sweat gathered on his brow. Zarek tightened his grip on the cold metal of the knife clutched in his fist. The blade itself seemed to cry out in thirst for the warm blood which would soon anoint its surface. He took a deep breath and stepped forward to the bed where his victim lay sleeping, unaware that he would never awaken from the peaceful slumber in which he now abided. Such innocence would have driven any sane man to leave right then. He was not a sane man. He was anything but sane. He was going to carry out his mission.
He raised his knife with an evil smile. The old man’s eyes opened, sensing his presence at last, and look of pure horror spread over his face. Zarek sneered. They were all the same- so arrogant, so confident, until one glimpse at their demise brought them crashing down to a pitiful, terrified creature begging for mercy.
“No,” his victim breathed, his voice shaking, “please, don’t do this.”
“Audrey did not deserve to die,” he said coldly. “You do.”
“Your sister’s death was not my fault. She should not have been within the castle walls the day of the siege.”
“You started the fire. You killed her.”
Zarek brought down the blade with no hesitation, stabbing the heart of the murderer. The old man’s mouth gaped open. His deep green eyes rolled back into his head, his body stiffened, and he was gone.
“Goodbye, oh mighty general.”
His hands covered with the blood of his adversary, Zarek slipped away into the night. He smiled to himself. The last of the seven foreign nobles who so proudly wore the emblem of the crimson snake was now dead. Finally, his vengeance was complete.
He now knelt before the foreboding tombstone, the grave of his little sister. His head was bowed, his long, dark brown hair hiding his closed eyes. A single tear ran down his cheek. Mist swirled around him.
“It was not your place…”
Zarek looked up at the sound of the voice of a young girl, his hand reaching for the hilt of his dagger. Nobody was there.
Pain shot through him. He beheld with horror a flame crawl down his arm in the image of a serpent. A crimson snake.
He screamed. He fought. He grabbed the snow at his feet and threw it at himself, attempting to put out the scarlet fire.
The snake’s eyes glowed green.
He stumbled backwards into little Audrey’s tombstone. The little girl’s screams joined in with his, as if reliving her burning death.
He fell, and he moved no more. The eyes of the serpent flashed once more, then dimmed. The quiet, crackling laugh of an old man rang out over the graveyard. Silence reclaimed its hold, and it was done.

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