At Midnight the moon glows A novel

Anne Mary Westwood, a seventeen year old girl from Las Vegas, Nevada, is visited by an Imp who offers her immortality. When she declines the offer, it warns her that on her eighteenth birthday she'd be its wife...which leads to further complications.

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1. Midnight

****

Mary Westwood stared out of the blackened window of her Las Vegas house that she lived with her parents. She was seventeen years old. The lamps illuminated the cold road that led to the bright casinos that were part and parcel of modern, 21st century living. She was dressed in a new black nightgown. Her hazel eyes focused on the moonlight, as if it had decided not to feel alone in the World. Her friends, May Gordon and Rachael Clements, were enjoying their time with their boyfriends. Mary didn't care about her social life. Being alone was part of her desire to embrace the darkness of Midnight. She heard the Grandfather clock was tolling 12 in the hallway; her face was etched in the portentousness of fantasy that had gripped her. The modern romantic notion of a Prince saving her from an evil King bothered her. She wasn't going to be married to someone who wrapped his strong arms around her body if she was upset. That happened only in fairy tales...and movies. She heard the toll of the clock strike 12; she was about to go back to sleep when an thick, red smoke burst through the old black wood. An Imp grinned at her. "Greetings, I am waiting for you". Mary Westwood blinked her hazel eyes. She was thinking about what to say when she screamed. "​Be quiet, child! Be quiet!​". She heard the sound of footsteps coming down the hallway. "Mary, what's wrong? Why did you scream?", Brad Westwood asked his daughter.

"I had a nightmare, Dad. Don't worry", she answered him.

"Okay, if you need anything, I can set the burglar alarm...and call the police".

"No, Dad. Everything's fine. Tell Mom I'm fine, too".

And he walked back to his bedroom which was to the far right near the Jesus Christ statue...then opened the door, and went back to bed.

****

Mary stared at the black Imp. Its red eyes were aimed at her.

"Why me?", she asked it.

"You've been chosen by the Grand Imp of Nevada to marry me at Midnight on your eighteenth birthday". Mary's face was rigid. Her life as she knew it was full of romantic novels of love...and rejection. She even read fantasy novels in which Princesses married their Princes. And the cycle of romance fuelled the imagination. "I can't marry you; you're not real". The Imp's face was aflame in anger. "Not real, girl. I am real". Its bat-like black wings fluttered around the medium-sized bedroom; its ears were pointy like an elf was. Mary gazed at the lamps that were on top of her light tan dresser. A chandelier swayed to and fro on the ceiling. "You're making me dizzy". The Imp smiled; Mary groaned. "Forgive me, girl! I am going to marry you. It was written down in The Gothic Book of Fantasy Marriages". Mary shook her head.

"A likely story". The Imp looked at her.

"And your beauty is wonderful to see".

"I'm no one to say such things".

"No one. Your family don't know that you're a Imp Princess".

"Imp Princess. That's weird".

"Of course it's true. King Ambrose III and Queen Margarethe are the most powerful imps in Las Vegas". Mary struggled to know what to do.

"I'll marry you".

And the Imp laughed.

Then it celebrated by kissing her...and disappeared before Mary could change her mind.

****

Mary awoke.

She struggled to stay awake.

Suddenly she saw a Prince on a black horse. It neighed, as she looked out of the window. "Whoa! Steele. Look out!", Prince Thorn said. He smiled at Mary. She opened the bedroom door. The midnight glow of the eerie moon surrounded the black sky; the glow was covering the regal Prince's face.

"And who are you, my Lady?", the Prince asked her.

"Mary. I didn't think a Prince would be in Las Vegas", she answered him.

"The Royal Family of the city hasn't had a new Princess for twenty years".

"And you're looking for a wife?", Mary said.

"Yes. At midnight I like to take Steele on rides".

"May I sit on the horse, my Prince?".

"Yes", he smiled.

****

Mary slide along the silvery pole with her hands. She saw Steele. It was a female horse. "She won't bite, my Lady", the Prince said.

"I hope not", she said.

"We'll go to the Midnight Bridge. It's romantic".

"I have to tell you that I've decided to marry an Imp on my eighteenth birthday".

"Dolman".

"Yes".

"You can't marry him, my lady".

"And you will, my Lord?".

"Yes", he said.

And he smiled...and kissed her.

****

Dolman, the small Imp, shook its head in fury.

"Prince Thorn won't marry my wife-to-be". It shook its head. Then it flapped its wings like a bat. It was too frustrated to see out another year. It saw Midnight Bridge. And was prepared for the final confrontation with the Prince.

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