The night was silent. Cautiously the boy stepped from the safety of the house, the bare stone patio scorchingly cold against his skin. Breath left him in small white clouds; he wrapped the furs tighter around his body before continuing. Up ahead, beyond the garden, was a large forest. It was this that he quietly moved towards, taking care to avoid the noisy pebbles and twigs that littered the path. Stopping just short of the trees he listened, barely daring to breathe. A low, grating snarl was coming from within.
Steeling himself, he entered the blackness of the huge evergreens; black, as little moonlight could penetrate through the canopy. The noise sounded much closer, and the boy couldnt help biting his lip anxiously. Surely whatever was there would hear the hammering of his heart against his chest. As if in answer, a scraping hiss filled the air, and light illuminated the night. There, unnervingly close, was the source of the snarl. It was not a beast, nor an animal of any kind; it was a dirty, black haired figure on the forest floor. Its yellowed, long-nailed hands clutched the match and match-box it had just put to use, and its huge eyes glared up into young, terrified ones. It opened its thin-lipped mouth, and the words came out hoarse and low. "Master Grayson Saudley. You came."
"Its Gray", the boy snapped. He raised a shaky hand to the pouch of his jacket and drew out a red-tinted mirt coin. It was barely worth enough to buy a loaf of bread, but the man eyed it with hungry eyes. Gray tossed it towards him, and watched in numb disgust as a yellowed hand dropped the match-box and picked it up, placing it on his tongue. The burning match was now close to his fingers, but he didnt seem to notice. Nodding to himself that the coin was genuine, he stored it carefully in a ragged pocket. "Now take me to my father," the boy whispered.