Held Captive (Series, book 1)

Europe in the late 1800's Damian Moretti is struggling in his life as a street rat, he is refused every time he reaches out for a good life. He is starting to think he is invisible before he attracts the wrong kind of attention. After drinking a hot cup of tea offered by a stranger he finds a bag over his head and he is thrown into a carriage unable to fight back. He awakens in an elegant but unfamiliar room, lit by candles, with a note on the bed beside him. Little does he know, about the mess that is about to unfold.

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1. Chapter 1 (Unfinished Preview)

It was dark... Very dark and he, Damian Moretti, was neither afraid or comfortable in this shadowy scantness. He knew he was not conscious, because he could not move his limbs. It ended at the thought of raising his hand and vanquished into this mysterious dark void. His thoughts had even gone austere. He thought to himself. Though he didn't feel dead, he was lost. He wondered if dead people even had the ability to think. A silent nocturnal peacefulness to lay and dwell on the way you had met your end. But the thing was, He couldn't remember what had happened. The last thing he had remembered was taking a cup of warm tea from a complete stranger. Which he should have thought twice, or maybe in his case three times, about the unusually kind gesture on the streets of London. But he had been a kind enough person to dismiss any harm in the woman's actions. Did she actually do something to the tea? As he thought, an unfamiliar smell subconsciously surrounded him. And he didn't take note of it until moments later when he froze in thought, realizing the change. It was an old smell. He could relate it to mold or heavy moisture in the air or a cold refreshing breeze while standing under a balcony, sheltering yourself from the rain. It relaxed him in a way that he couldn't quite understand. He laid for a minuet in tranquility before he opened his eyes abruptly. 

Upon opening his eyes Damian found himself lying on a large mahogany bed in a fully garnished room. He tilted his eyes over the room, examining the blue fabric that outlined the coffee colored wood, and the white victorian walls outlined with pinstripes of gold, leading up to the ceiling which he could see through the canopy draped over the bed. The ceiling was filled with golden swirls surrounding a chandelier that hung high above him. It made him feel strange. The decorator obviously had extravagant taste, and they did not allow one flaw in the rooms particularly peacefully demeanor, because there were none. As Damian sat up in the bed and looked around a bit more, making sure no one was hiding anywhere in the room, his eyes focused on the door. The door sat shut securely, and it was very still and cool in the room. He turned his head, a slight shimmer attracting his attention. A glass of water sat under candlelight. Inside the glass, through sheer forced perspective he found the visual of words. He stared at it for a moment before moving closer, discovering it was a letter. An optical illusion cast on him by the glass of water. He assumed the letter was addressed to him and scraped it up into his hands conspicuously.

 

"To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,

Gives in your weakness, strength onto your foe,

And so your follies fight against yourself. 

Fear and be slain-no worse can come to fight;

And fight and die is death destroying death,

Where fearing dying pays death servile breath."

 

He read the words over a few times before he appreciated the poetry, but he couldn't quite understand the underlying meaning behind this carefully selected clause and he couldn't distinguish who the writing was by. It seemed familiar though. He folded it and put it into his pocket. Even though it made him feel a bit uneasy considering the situation he still kept a certain equanimity about him and decided it would be better to keep his guard up. And there was no way he would even consider touching the glass of water. Too risky. He found himself still fully clothed as he last remembered, consisting of a white button-up underneath a blue coat, and a slightly darker shade of trousers, and his shoes still on which were a black roughed up leather shoes. It made him feel a bit better, not so lost in this situation. he swung his legs off to the side ready to get up now. He checked the floor as if it might contain some kind of trap before pressing down on the polished dark wood. 

He stood and stepped around the bed to look outside of the window on the far left wall away from the door. It was night time and he could see no buildings, no cobbled streets, no sign of inhabitance. Just a plain of grass and blotches of hillsides and trees here and there under the bright blanket of moonlight. He concluded that he was in quite a large estate. He had been on a higher floor than ground level, maybe even a third floor, and the estate didn't look well managed outside. But the inside had already flattered him... He slid his finger along the window sill, bringing it up for speculation. Not a spec of dust. The inside was completely pampered beyond a doubt. More than just a preparation for him, but the polished furniture and the crisp clean sheets. The room was kept very well. He looked back to the window wondering if they, the people who had abducted him, had fortified the windows to keep him inside. He reached for the bottom of the wooden pane, pulling upwards. It slid up with ease and he stopped. They obviously had no intentions of harming him. At least not now. The only harm that would come to him would be from his own stupidity. He shut the window and walked across the room to the door, pressing his ear flat against the wood, he listened... Hush in the air, nothing else. He placed his hand on the knob, his gut wrenching from the horrified curiosity of what he would find outside of the sheltered room. Though he knew either way he had to open the door and leave the room. He let go of the knob, being overwhelmed with disquiet as soon as he started to turn it. He swallowed hard, shook his head, and grabbed hold of the knob. He was better than that. He wouldn't walk out of the room in fear for his life, that would only plunge him deeper into trouble. He pulled the knob, turning it in his hand and hearing it click open. This time, no weariness about it. It was as simple as opening the door.

He peeked out into the pitch-black. He could see nothing outside of the room and the darkness seemed to leap at him to bite at first until the smell hit him. The damp refreshing rainfall. This was the same smell, and he was no longer frightened too much by the thought of walking out into the unknown territory. He just needed... His eyes turned to the candle that sat on the nightstand. He walked over to the candle and took hold of the shiny brass base. There was a loop that fit his finger so he could carry it comfortably without dropping it. As he looked down at the candle, he noticed the drawer on the nightstand partially propped open. He pulled it open curiously revealing a tiny round container. The container as he picked it up and studied was gold in color and in the very center on the top there was a thick round piece of glass about an inch in diameter. He opened the small container and found that it was merely a tinderbox. Flipping the lid upside down he looked at the glass in the center. He had never seen a tinderbox with a lid quite like this one. The ones he'd had a chance to see were always squared and brass or a flimsy wooden construct. He had never used one either. But that didn't keep him from replacing the lid and putting it into his pocket. He would return it to whomever was waiting for him. 

He then turned back to the door, noticing for a split second a small flicker of a light outside of the door. His heart jumped into his throat then fell back down, pounding in his chest. The blood immediately drained from his face and the air became cold in the room, nauseating him. It had been so quiet. He readied himself for an intrusion, but the light passed by his doorway, caressing the face of a spectral young woman in its fluttering amber glow. Her pale face did not linger or even notice his door being opened, and he didn't know whether he should be bothered by that or not. But instead of waiting to see he walked towards the door, her light dimming further by the second. He opened his door further now looking back and forth before stepping out into the unknown, taking with him his only light, his only clue, and the small tinderbox that he felt the urge to take since he had seen it. 

The woman's light had dissipated, but his own candle lit the walls around him. Among the walls were ever so often large extravagant paintings some of flowers, some of people either doing every day things, or engaging in a bloody scene of violence. Some depicted eerie visuals of nature, including one of a blood red sky over a decaying forest. As he had been walking for a little while he noticed one particularly large painting to his left, he slowly approached it only to be washed over with this unshakable disgust. The painting, once illuminated, revealed a beautiful woman laid in a small boat just big enough to fit her entire small form. The boat was surrounded by a daunting sky and the dark water of a river. She floated alongside the shore,the shadows around her emphasizing her own death. The woman appeared to be clenching her chest as if she had been in pain. Though the painting itself was not that gruesome, the feelings it interpreted were toxic.

Damian pulled his attention away from the painting and turned to face the hallway again. The feeling of dread jumped up to dismay as he realize that he had been standing right in front of an open doorway. He didn't see it before, he was too distracted by the painting, but now as he gazed across the hall, his candle illuminating only a fragment of the room. He was able to see the translucently pale bare feet of a human sprawled out along the bed. He couldn't move. He had to compose himself once more. He took a deep breath as quietly as he could and tried to assess the situation. He was not an intruder, they had brought him here. He was a guest. Right? He had a bad feeling and was overcome with fear as the feet slowly slid along the bed towards the edge, preparing to shift to the floor. Damian stumbled down the hallway as quickly and quietly as he could, He found the end of the hallway and turned the corner quickly. He wasn't sure why he was running away, only that his instincts told him to. It was a gut feeling. The presence grew upon him but he couldn't turn around, not now. He kept his pace but he couldn't force himself to blow out his candle. He was fearing a heart attack at this rate and he couldn't bear to be in the dark in this unfamiliar place. He could barely breath, and he felt surrounded by evil before he made it a little further down the hall. He heard a slight noise not far away.

The music of a violin. It was a beautiful delicacy and a relief. Unlike anything he had ever heard. Welcoming. He slowed to a walk but he still could not turn around. He couldn't shake the feeling of eyes on his back and there was a growing darkness behind him that was forcing him forward. It was his only way. He walked for a while, listening to the music growing louder as he came closer and closer then he seen the door. A blanket of light covering the darkness of the hall. A sanctuary of safety. He made his way to the light, letting out a sigh of relief as he stepped into the room. In front of him a tall man, caressing the violin masterfully and absorbed into the music. His hair was such a pale blonde that it was almost white, It may had been white he just couldn't tell from the resonance of the candle light. His skin was a normal fair color, like his own, and he wore white trousers and a dark halfway buttoned undershirt with a ruffled collar tossed across his shoulder as if it had been suffocating him. Damian watched the man play, not interrupting him. 

Once inside and relaxed, he felt safe enough to turn and face the open door just so he could dismiss his tremors of fear only to find the complete opposite. He shriveled in fear as a woman stood right behind him, so close he almost bumped into her. Her eyes were very dark and sunk into her vein streaked skin. Her hair dark brown and down to her waist and knotted from sleep. She grabbed hold of his arm so quickly that his eyes could barely follow and then demanded in a harsh childish tone. "Who are you..??" He was so frightened that he could not make a sound he just fell to the ground and lumbered away backwards, though she walked after him quickly. He had dropped the candle beside them as he struggled to get away from her. He felt unconsciousness take hold of him once more as the soulless girl approached him, and the man with the violin was sure to have been playing along in a sick mocking way, a slight smile on his face but his eyes still closed. Damian's eyes fell shut and the darkness greeted him again, the same darkness, but this time it was much less appealing. 

 

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