Ch. 1 - A Last Contract (I)Mature

The seemingly young man, now free from her grasp, closed the door of his basement. It was a tiny studio, humbly furnitured and decorated. An old couch, an iron bunk bed, a small fridge, a smaller tv, an even smaller laptop, a large rug, and a dusty portrait hanging on top of a small rug. No bathroom.

"My retirement is permanent, Maerwyn," he said in a grave tone.

"What if I told you a certain Countess has returned to Lisbon?"

Suddenly, the pale young man started trembling, with his gleaming hazel eyes open as wide as they could; indeed, he looked like he had seen a ghost!

"Coun...t-tess...Ast-trid...is b-back?"

"Exactly! And there's someone who wants her dead - that is, completely dead."

The man in black sat on the couch, still shivering. Tragic memories flushed his centuries-old mind, remembering him of how the old vendetta between him and the Countess had shaped their miserable living deaths. Her return to Lisbon was to him the deepest of his fears.

"What's wrong with you, Caitiff? I've never seen you so agitated!"

"No... it-it cannot... be!" The Caitiff took a deep breath before speaking again, "we killed her! I killed her!"

"What?"

"I eliminated her... nearly eighty years ago!"

"What are you talking about, Caitiff? Rumour has it she's come all the way from Spain to help the absolutists in Lisbon as they now prepare for all-out war against the Prince!"

"Maerwyn..." said the pale gentleman, deep and mellow, "the woman you speak of... Countess Astrid... was my last contract!"

The End

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