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Turning around, setting the heavy suitcases back on the floor, focusing on the open door, he wondered without dread, but concern: what could be the problem? His broad, angular and stern face held a pair of deep yet light blue eyes, and he squinted at the open door. His boots striking the wooden floor, rebounded a deep echo as he walked through the wide and stately hall; the boots were black leather, finely polished, but still with his steel toe, heel and shank inside the material - a fit he had never abandoned.


The house was empty other than a couple servants who were attending to chores in the kitchen which was on the opposite side; not needing it, Daemon did not want their help to carry baggage.


“Dame!” ripped into the still air again.


He hastened his steps.


From the first time he heard that cry, he knew something was wrong, but the repeated call locked his heart in his chest and drained the blood from his cheeks. The second scream was clearer; in its perspicuity he could hear a terrible and desperate cry as the woman shouting it never made such a sound before. To his added horror, there was a smaller and faint shriek behind the screamed name from his wife, and that second shriek was from his six year-old daughter.


Now at a run, his trench coat flapping about his legs, his driving cap fell off revealing his short, jet-black hair, trimmed to a buzz-cut, he dashed out the door. It was just before night had fully overcome the earth, but enough so all was covered with a shadow.


“Daemon!”


“Daddy!”


The screams filled the vastness between the lines of trees encasing the yard.

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