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Authors: Priscilla Poole Rainwater

Monster's Ball :Shadow In Time

BOOK: Monster's Ball :Shadow In Time
8.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination, or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.


Cover design by Monique Mark

Copyright © 2009 by Priscilla & Steven Rainwater




The annual Halloween Monster’s Ball is an exclusive, lavish event that is shrouded in mystery, an event organized and hosted by Thoth, a powerful necromancer. Thoth’s one goal is to play matchmaker and hopefully help find the perfect mate for lonely, supernatural beings and humans alike.


Certain characters in this book are only loosely based on their counterparts in mythology and lore, and are not to be perceived as Greek Mythology canon or lore.



                                                           Monsters Ball: Shadow In Time

                                                                           Chapter 1
                                   Wolf Hill Virginia: The Whitman Tobacco Plantation, 1850
Mariotte Whitman finished arranging her golden tresses, excited by the fact she would soon be in the company of Gavin St Cloud, a handsome, wealthy salt mine owner that had immigrated to America from England several years earlier. When he had approached her at the latest social, she had been so excited she felt as if she could leap over the moon, simply because he had chosen her over those other 'holier than thou', stuck-up socialites.



As for Gavin St. Cloud, well, still no one knew that much about him, save for the fact that ever since he had immigrated, he had made several trips back to his homeland, where he still owned property. It was also rumored that he possibly had a bit of distant Royal blood flowing through his veins, something that she herself hoped very much was true. Why, if the young man were to ask for her hand in marriage (which she would gladly accept), she would, at long last, be regarded as a lady, and not the common daughter of a mountain witch.



Staring off into space for a moment, she thought back to when she had 'caught the eye' of one Edwin Whitman, who had become smitten with her so quickly he had gotten down on his knees and begged her to marry him, even when his influential friends had advised him it would be socially unacceptable.



A small, evil smile creeping across her unnaturally pale face, she thought about all the loose tongues that had wagged, wondering why on earth such a man would have chosen her, a plain, uneducated (in the ways of social graces) woman, when there were many more suitable women available in his own social circles. What the fools would never know was that she'd woven a powerful spell that had made the foolish man fall in love with the woman he thought she was. Finally tiring of him, she herself had orchestrated his untimely demise. His blind love and devotion had lasted right up till the day she had poisoned him, using a concoction which consisted mainly of dust from the beautiful Moon Flower, which she sprinkled liberally on his last meal.



Now she was not only a wealthy widow, but the owner of a small, but very profitable tobacco plantation. It was a lifestyle any woman could or should covet, yet still the townsfolk regarded her with suspicious, guarded superstition, knowing her true roots.



Well, no matter, at least not yet. She had bigger fish to fry at the moment, and an itch that only one thing could scratch. She had hoped a man like Gavin St. Cloud would come stumbling into her path. As much as she desired respect, she was still a flesh and blood woman, and craved the strong embrace of a much younger man than the late, inept Edwin Whitman, who in her opinion couldn't have satisfied a sex-starved 'old maid' librarian on his best night. Oh, she supposed he could have been considered a capable lover by some, but not by her. Nay. Fancying herself an extraordinary woman, she had extraordinary appetites for the pleasures of the flesh. She wanted,
she needed
, a young man with a hard body, animalistic passion, and eager to please her in every way conceivable.



“Madam, the gentleman approaches.” a soft voice suddenly interrupted her thoughts. Whirling around angrily, she glared at the beautiful slave who was standing there, Lillith, a woman who was close to her own age.



“Pardon the interruption, ma'am.” the woman muttered, eyes cast downward and hands folded in front of her.



Narrowing her green eyes at the woman, Mariotte's teeth ground together angrily. Despite the fact Lillith was a slave, and was always dressed in the most drab clothing imaginable, she was still much more beautiful than her, and that bitter knowledge alone made her hatred of the woman as intense as a thousand suns. Pointing at the blue dress she'd bought on her last trip to Richmond, she hissed, “Well, just don't stand there, girl, help me finish getting dressed!”






As Gavin St. Cloud stepped down from the carriage, he nodded politely at the burly slave who was standing there, then thanked the man as he took the horse's reins and led him away. Looking around, he had to admit the small plantation seemed well cared for, but he also knew that the twelve slaves who lived here deserved all of the credit for the upkeep, through their unending, back-breaking labor. Saddened yet again at the plight of slaves (not just in the States, but everywhere), he wondered if mankind would ever evolve beyond senseless, stupid brutality, greed, or their desire to exert their will over others, for whatever purpose suited them.


With a heavy sigh, he suddenly remembered what he had been told about the former master of the plantation, a Mr. Edwin Whitman. The man reputedly had been a not half-bad fellow who had treated the slaves here better than most. There had reportedly been forty slaves living here then, but after the man's untimely death, most of the slaves who had formerly been under his care began dying, one by one, of sudden, mysterious ailments. An even deeper frown creased his handsome face as he thought about the stories he'd heard about the man's widow, Mariotte Whitman. She was said to be everything her late husband was not: Cruel, unforgiving, and relentless in her demands for more and more tobacco production from fewer and fewer workers. The tales of abuse made his stomach clinch. Many in town had also said that before Edwin Whitman had married Mariotte, he'd secretly schooled his charges, actually teaching them to read and write. But all of that had changed once the woman came to the plantation. While Mr. Whitman still never mistreated them, from that day onward he had lived his life as if in a complete daze, seemingly unaware of anyone or anything other than his wife.



More determined than ever to help end the mistreatment of the unfortunate souls here, Gavin silently prayed for strength and guidance. Known to only a few members of 'Members of Society of Friends ' (Quakers who were conductors on 'The Underground Railroad'), Gavin was in fact the son of a nobleman, and had traveled to America to help try to free slaves. Periodically he would gather slaves from the harshest plantations, and help them escape to Canada where they could live as free people. Even though he knew he ran the risk of losing most (if not all) of his wealth, property, and even his freedom, he felt it was his duty as a compassionate human being to right these wrongs. So far he'd been blessed (and lucky) enough to have helped free upwards of fifty people.



Taking yet another deep breath, he strode towards the mansion, steeling himself to meet the cruel woman who currently lorded over these unfortunate people.






Helping the cook prepare the food the way their mistress wanted, Knorr looked up as her sister Lilith came into the kitchen.


“She's ready for the food. You should hear how she's acting all sweet. What a facade.” Lilith murmured sourly, but pleased she had finally been presented with an opportunity to use a fancy word like 'facade' in an ordinary conversation. It had been taught to her by her late master, and never in a million years would she have dared utter such a word in the presence of the man's cruel widow.



“What do you mean?” Knorr asked in a normal tone of voice, unafraid of being caught. In all the time their hated mistress had been in charge here, she had never once (to Knorr's knowledge) stepped foot inside the kitchen, deeming it beneath her. In here they all made sport of the woman, often, without fear of reprisal.



“Why, Mister St. Cloud, I do declare, don't you look the dashing part this evening! Why, Mister St. Cloud, you make my heart go pitter patter! Why no, Mister St. Cloud, that's not me smelling like a dead fish what's been laying in the hot sun for two days, I Sway-Uh!!!” Lilith mocked in a falsetto voice.



Both Knorr and Annie laughed, tickled as always by the woman's brash and lewd sense of humor.



“I'll never know what Master Edwin saw in that old bat!” Anne said as her laughter subsided. Shaking her head sadly, she placed the cooked ham on the platter carefully. “Guess you can't help who you fall in love with.”



“He didn't love her, he NEVER did! That mountain witch put a root on him!” Lilith snorted, but the hurt in her voice was evident to the other women present. All of them knew she had cared a great deal for the man, and he for her, before the mistress had came into his life. “She sucked the life out of him with her evil!”



Not knowing what to say, Knorr touched her sister's arm, silently acknowledging her pain.

“Best get the food out there.” Lilith croaked, suddenly blinking back the tears that were threatening to spill. Waving her sister off, she knew that neither tears, nor words of comfort would change the way her life was, or bring back the dead.






Does this woman EVER stop with the mindless drivel?
Gavin thought, struggling mightily to suppress a yawn, but smiling and nodding in what he hoped were appropriate intervals.



“Well, I think ....ahhhh....dinner is finally served! I beg your forgiveness for it taking so long, but the sla....the staff here are both lazy and insubordinate!” Mariotte's voice purred apologetically, although there was no disguising the murderous look in her eyes as Annie, Knorr, and Lilith approached with several bowls, drinking glasses, and platters, then laid them out on the table.

Studying his hostess intently, Gavin had to resist a sudden urge to lunge across the table and throttle her, then ask her when was the last time she had toiled over a hot oven preparing a meal for anyone. Even so, the wonderful aroma of the food made his stomach rumble as the women served them in silence.



“Would you care for some wine sir?” a melodious voice asked.



Tearing his gaze away from the ungrateful hostess, Gavin turned and looked up, suddenly certain his heart would stop beating right then and there. Looking into the most beautiful, soulful brown eyes he had ever seen in his life, his eyes slowly took in the sight of the rest of the woman who had just addressed him. Despite being clad in only a simple, drab house smock, the woman was stunningly beautiful, and despite her meek demeanor, seemed to carry herself with the quiet dignity of an unlawfully deposed Queen. Her face was well modeled and feminine, her flawless skin mahogany in color, with red undertones. As he continued to gaze at her, he found himself suddenly having to resist a different type of urge, and that was to reach out and touch her face.



“Put the wine down on the table and make yourself scarce, girl! Now GO!!!” Mariotte snapped, furious at the reaction her handsome guest was having to the slave.


The woman's grating voice shattering the spell, Knorr jumped, placed the bottle on the table, then rushed from the room. Feeling the man's eyes on her back as she fled, she had to force herself to not look back.



Stepping into the kitchen, she released a long breath, the handsome visitor's face burned into her memory in a way she was unused to. In all her life, never had she reacted in such a manner to a white man, feeling drawn to him by only a single glance.

BOOK: Monster's Ball :Shadow In Time
8.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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