Abel walked into the kitchen as his wife cleaned up after dinner. He stopped and just watched as her behind swayed back and forth as she scrubbed the food off of the plates. Abel smiled.<br />With a mischievous grin on his face he walked up behind her and gave her butt a little pinch.Marsha yelped."
Why don't you forget about the dishes and come up with me to the bed, Wife?"
He loved saying that word.<br />Marsha turned around and wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck, pressing her body closer to his. She hoped they would never get tired of each other."
I would love to, Husband, but if I don't finish them now I’ll have to do them early tomorrow before breakfast. You could help me."
she said.<br />Abel was about to do just that when he noticed the sky was getting dark."
It's getting late. Caine and Meadow should have been back by now."
Marsha instantly became worried. It was almost time for Meadow to have her baby. “Do you think something happened with Meadow?"
she asked walking to join her husband by the door."
Caine wouldn't stay out this long, especially with all the sightings of the creature lately."
They both turned as they heard the front door open."
Caine? Is that you?"
Abel called out.<br />Seconds later Abel's little brother, Seth, walked into the kitchen."
No! It's me. Is there any food left?"
he asked with a big grin on his face.<br />"
I thought I told you this morning to stay out of my house."
Abel said to Seth, a deep scowl on his face."
I figured it was later and you would be done..."
Don't finish that sentence if you wish to live."
Abel threatened.<br />At sixteen Seth was the baby of the family. If he wasn't eating his family out of house and home, he was chasing the teen girls of the town around. He also had a knack for getting out of doing his chores. <br />Abel thought he was lazy."
Did you see Caine or Meadow outside?"
No, but I wasn't looking for them. Why would they be here?"
he asked, looking around the kitchen for any signs of food."
Have you been home at all today?"
Marsha asked slightly irritated at her brother in law’s lack of discipline.<br />"
Um, no. Why? What happened? Do you have any apples or cheese or something?” he asked Marsha.<br />Marsha ignored Seth's question and turned to Abel. She was becoming increasingly worried the darker it got outside.<br />"
You need to go look for them. If something happened with Meadow he wouldn't leave her to get help. He wouldn't leave her by herself."
You’re right. Stay here with Seth, I'll go look for them."
Abel turned his attention to Seth. “Stay here with Marsha. Do not leave her alone and do not let anyone else in the house, understand?”<br />"
What's going on?"
Seth asked as Abel raced out the door to look for Caine and Meadow.<br />Abel searched his property calling out for Caine and Meadow. When he was satisfied that they were not nearby he jumped the wall in the back of his house and headed down to the beach that his property shared with his Father’s.<br />It was an hour after sunset and the moon was full. It provided enough light that Abel did not need a torch to see. He quickly scanned the beach and spotted a figure lying near the surf. Fear gripped his heart as he ran towards it.<br />Panic filled him as he reached Caine’s body. It left just as quickly as he realized Caine was still breathing. ‘He’s not dead!’<br />“Caine!” Abel shouted as he slapped Caine hard in his face. “Wake up!” Abel may have been happy his brother was alive, but he saw no sign of Meadow. He feared Ivah’s vision had finally come true.<br />Caine opened his eyes and quickly closed them again. His head was killing him. He felt behind his head and grimaced at the size of the bump that had grown. Suddenly Caine began to panic when he remembered what had happened.<br />“The Monster! It attacked me!”<br />Caine looked around for signs of the beast and momentarily calmed when he saw none. “Did you scare it away? Where’s Meadow.” he asked his brother. <br />Caine looked at Abel’s grim face and his heart sank. “It took her?” <br />“I’m afraid so.” Abel answered. His stomach wrenched because he knew he would die if anything had happened to Marsha. His brother was going through a living hell and all Abel could do was to be there for him.<br />Caine quickly got to his feet and began searching the ground for any signs of Meadow or the beast. Abel joined in the search and after a few minutes they realized there were no tracks. Caine’s heart sank. Abel tried to calm his brother’s panic by suggesting that maybe Ivah, who had the original vision of Meadow’s abduction, might have seen something else. Caine agreed and the two men headed back to the Creation home. Caine fought back the thought that he may never see his pregnant wife again. <br />The Sun was setting in the sky as Adam sat quietly and watched Tristan pace up and down the room. <br />It was getting dark earlier. His family still had a lot of work to do to prepare for winter, but right now his focus was on the young man he hoped would be the answers to his and Eve’s prayers. As they waited for Eve and Ivah to return, Adam decided to find out a bit more about the man.<br />"
How old are you Tristan? Adam asked. He looked older than Caine, but the roughened features could come from wear, not years.<br />"
Twenty-five.” Tristan responded absently. <br />‘Five years older than Caine.’ Adam thought. <br />Tristan wasn’t really paying attention to what Adam was asking him. For the first time in his life he was unsure of those around him. He had a man sitting in front of him, a complete BLANK. ‘This is how regular people live their lives, not knowing what each other are thinking.’ It was frightening to him.<br />The man's daughter, Ivah, scared him more. She had pictures in her head of a future he was sure would never come true. He had been so caught off guard by her visions that he no longer knew what to feel or think.<br />"
Do you have some gift or Power?"
Tristan asked Adam. It was the only explanation he could come up with to explain why he couldn’t read Adam.<br />It also would explain where Ivah had received her gift. It was rare for a witch or warlock to be born into a non-magical family. Father, sons, mothers, daughters, siblings, might not have the same power, but they shared a genetic tie.<br />"
No. I have no power."
Adam answered. <br />"
Even my Mother can't hide everything from me."
he said, perplexed by the man sitting in front of him. “But I get absolutely nothing from you.” <br />"
Does she also have some kind of power?"
Tristan barely heard Adam’s question. His mind was racing in a million different directions. 'What am I going to say to the girl with the big blue eyes that seemed to look right to my soul?' he thought.<br />"
Tristan asked. He was so distracted he wasn't sure what Adam was asking him. Suddenly it hit him like a ton of bricks. <br />"
Oh my God, my mother!"
Tristan exclaimed. "
Adam, I need to leave. You need to let me go!"
he said even more agitated than before."
You’re not a prisoner Tristan; no one is going to hurt you. There's no need to be so nervous."
No, Adam, you don't understand, she'll kill you all!"
he said.<br /> “Why would she want to kill us?” Adam asked.<br />Before Tristan could answer Adam, Eve and Ivah walked into the room. Tristan immediately protected his mind from the images he was sure to see in the young girls head. He wanted his feelings to be his own and not to be influenced by what Ivah felt.<br />"
Caine said he and Meadow were going to Abel's."
Eve told Adam. <br />Eve looked over at Tristan. He looked like a caged animal, scared, unsure and very dangerous. Instinctively she kept Ivah behind her. <br />"
What's going on here?"
Tristan has a gift, like Ivah.” Adam said to Eve.<br />Eve nodded her head, signaling to Adam she understood what he meant. A little hope grew inside of her. Maybe this man was an answer to their prayers.<br />“Do you have visions too Tristan?” Eve asked. “Is that why you are here?”<br />“No, Tristan knows what people are thinking and feeling, Eve. He can also use emotions to influence.” Adam explained.<br />“Influence what?” Eve asked.<br />“Influence people, to do what he wants them to do. Caine believes he is dangerous and that’s why he took Meadow away.” Adam clarified.<br />Eve was taken aback by this information. The knowledge that the young man standing in front of her could read her mind, or make her hurt someone she loved against her will was frightening. <br />“Adam! He’s just a stranger, how do you know he won’t harm us?” Eve asked as she struggled to keep Ivah behind her and away from Tristan.<br /> <br />"
He's not dangerous."
Ivah said as she walked around her mother towards the man she loved.<br />"
How do you know that?"
Tristan asked. He was a little angry that this girl seemed to know so much about him. He had heard what Eve had thought and didn’t blame her for her unease.<br /> "
I have done horrible things in my life."
he said avoiding Ivah’s eyes. Tristan thought that maybe if he scared her she wouldn't want him there anymore. "
I've influenced men to give me all their money, to kill each other. I've slept with their wives…"
he took a step closer to Ivah looking directly into her eyes "
If he thought the prospect of sleeping with him would scare her he was sorely wrong. Tristan knew his plan had backfired when the sweet smile on Ivah’s face turned more alluring. <br />Eve tried to stop Ivah from getting any closer to Tristan but Adam assured her it was OK. Eve went to stand behind her husband as Ivah got closer to Tristan.<br />Ivah stepped forward and took Tristan’s hand.<br />"
You have done all those things, yes, but that isn't who you are Tristan.” Ivah said as she looked into his eyes. He was lost. <br />“You did not find pleasure in the vicious things you were forced to do Tristan. Your own choices have been far from malevolent. You were merciful when you could have been cruel. Countless times you’ve chosen good over evil. You walked a noble path Tristan, one that was not always easy or beneficial to you. You might have come from Evil Tristan, but you’re not evil. Your life isn't forfeit. She can no longer have any power over you if you don't let her.”<br />“She will kill you, like she killed Cordelia.”<br />“Not if you don’t let her Tristan. She is not as powerful as you think.”<br />Tristan closed his eyes. He didn't think he could be any more confused. How did she know so much about him? He got lost in her eyes and for the first time he felt peace. He was being drawn to this family, this girl. He had just met her, but looking into her eyes he knew he would love her. <br />For that reason he needed to get far away where she wouldn’t be hurt. His life was forfeit. The only other person he had loved was slain by the woman who brought him into this world. He would not subject Ivah, Adam, or any of this family to his mother. He needed to leave before he couldn’t bear to.<br />Tristan let go of Ivah’s hand and turned towards her father.<br />"
Adam, I must leave, now! My mother is one of those people who use their power to do bad things. Very bad things!"
he emphasized. “She will kill you all if she believes I have any feelings towards your daughter."
<br />“Do you?” Ivah thought this so only he could hear.<br />Tristan turned back around and looked at Ivah. She was a pretty girl and he knew she would grow into a beautiful woman. The visions Ivah showed him confirmed that. They were burned into his brain. Ivah laughing as they sat in the garden. Ivah, her eyes clouded with passion, her hair fanned out, as she lay under him. Ivah, smiling at him, as he rubbed her swollen belly. He saw so much, yet he couldn’t believe any of it. The Witch would never let him be happy, his life was forfeit.<br />“I can not give you what you want.” He said to her and turned back towards Adam. <br />“Adam, I must leave, now!”<br />Adam momentarily ignored Tristan’s plea, not wanting him to leave. Adam believed Tristan was the one he and Eve had prayed for every night since they discovered Ivah’s gift. They had been concerned about her future. Many men of the town had made offers for his daughter’s hand, but Adam was afraid to give Ivah to just any man. Not everyone would understand her or her gift. Some could view her gift as a threat and try to hurt her. Others would try to take advantage of it for their own benefit. This was why the family had limited Ivah’s contact with the outside world.<br />Tristan, however, also had a gift. He seemed to know more about such things and, if what Ivah said about him was true, he would the perfect partner for his daughter. Of course Tristan couldn’t marry Ivah if he didn’t stay with them.<br />“Ivah, how do you know so much about Tristan? Adam asked his daughter. <br />“Yes!” Eve said. “You seem to know more than what your visions would show you.”<br />Ivah looked at her parents and then back to Tristan. She sat down on the floor and motioned for Tristan to join her. Tristan hesitated but ultimately sat down with Ivah. He was also curious how she knew so much. Eve went to sit next to Adam. When Tristan sat down, Ivah smiled at them all and told them the secret she had been keeping for 3 years.<br />“When I was fifteen years old I had a dream, at least I thought it was a dream. I was in this meadow surrounded by tall trees. The grass was thick and there were beautiful wild flowers in every color of the rainbow growing. Despite its beauty, I was confused and a little scared because I wasn’t sure where I was or how I got there. I heard some voices coming from the trees directly in front of me. When I looked closer I saw a small trail leading into the forest and I decided to follow it.<br />I only walked a short distance before I reached another clearing. It was much larger than the first, and much more curious. There were structures built in a fashion I had never seen before. Trees and flowers peppered the land and there was a large lake in the middle, water so blue I knew it could only exist in my dream.<br />Adam sat silently while his daughter described the strange place he knew he too had been long ago, when Ivah herself was only a baby. He had never told anyone of that place, because he too had believed it was just a dream. Now he was hearing that his daughter had been there. He wondered if Ivah had met the two women he had met on his visit as well.<br />“You’ve been to Peerless Park?” Tristan asked Ivah. He was starting to understand how Ivah knew so much about him. The elf was meddling again.<br />“Yes, that’s what she called it.”<br /> “Who called it that Ivah? Who else was in your dream?” Eve asked.<br />“Naenae is what she calls herself. She’s an elf and she is charged with keeping the balance between good and evil in the world.”<br />“This sounds like a very strange dream Ivah. What does it have to do with Tristan?”<br />“It wasn’t a dream Mom, but it wasn’t really real either. Peerless Park is gateway between the world of Magic and our world.” She clarified. “I mean, Naenae and Peerless Park exist, but not really in a way you or I understand reality. I wasn’t physically there, but I could smell the flowers, feel the warm air on my face, and hear Naenae’s voice as clear as you are hearing me now.” Ivah turned to her father. “Can you explain it any better?”<br />Eve was startled by Ivah’s question. “Adam! You know what she’s talking about? You’ve been to this park?” Eve asked.<br />Tristan was also surprised. Only those of magic were allowed to go to Peerless Park. Adam did have some power that he was unaware of. This answered at least one of Tristan’s questions.<br />“Yes, I have been there. I never said anything because I too thought I was dreaming.” Adam said. “Remember long ago, when Ivah was still a baby, you were scared to be with me?”<br />Eve nodded, blushing slightly because of the personal nature of the subject. She was also embarrassed because she also knew Tristan understood what Adam meant. Eve did not yet know Tristan could not read Adam’s mind.<br />“I found myself there as I was hiking one night. I fished in the lake and came to understand your fear of our lovemaking. I met two women there, though I did not know their names.” Adam turned his attention back to Ivah. “Did you meet the other woman? She seemed to glow with a white light and had a cat with her.”<br />“There was another woman there one time I visited, but she did not glow white.” Ivah turned to look at Tristan again. “The woman I saw had an eerie green glow and she didn’t have a familiar with her.”<br />Tristan’s face turned very solemn. “You met my mother?” he asked, already knowing the answer.<br />“Yes. She tried to kill me.” Ivah answered.<br />“She said I wasn’t going to spoil her plans by spreading my legs for her worthless, no good son.” Ivah chuckled. <br />“That’s not funny.” Tristan stated, unnerved by yet another bit of unexpected news.<br />“No it wasn’t! She cast some spell that made my head feel like it was going to explode. I thought I was going to die. I didn’t hear much after that, just bits of things, something about a prophecy. I didn’t really care at that point, because like I said, I thought I was going to die.<br />“She was pretty angry. I wasn’t sure if she caused it, but it started to rain really hard. Just as I was about to pass out, Naenae came. When I woke up, the green lady, your mother was gone. That’s when Naenae told me about the prophecy made at your birth.”<br />Tristan grew nervous once again when Ivah mentioned a prophecy. “I know nothing about a Prophecy Ivah.”<br />“No, of course she wouldn’t tell you. Why would she tell you about a prophecy that would be the end of her?” she said teasingly to Tristan.<br />Ivah was slightly startled when Tristan cursed and got up from his seated position and began to pace the room again. <br />“Why are you so angry? Don’t you want to know about the prophecy?”<br />“No!” he said between the mumbled curses. <br />Ivah was confused and a bit angry. She had been waiting 3 years for this moment and Tristan had been nothing but distant and uncooperative, fighting her every step of the way. He didn’t even want to know about the prophecy. She scowled at him, her anger growing. <br />‘Doesn’t he see that we’re meant to be together?’<br />Adam and Eve looked at each other and smiled as the hope they both felt grew. Adam was slightly amused by the confusion and frustration Tristan and Ivah felt. They were so much alike, passionate, determined, and stubborn. They were perfect for each other. There were differences as well. Ivah had grown up in a loving family that nurtured her strengths. From what Tristan had said about his mother, Adam was sure he had been beaten, and made to feel useless. Such treatment left marks that were not easily forgotten. Tristan needed them to help him heal.<br />In any case, Adam wanted to know more about this prophecy, even if Tristan didn’t,<br />“What does the prophecy say Ivah?”<br />Ivah, scowling at Tristan, turned her attention to her father. She took a moment to try and calm down, but it wasn’t working. The man was impossible!<br />‘Well, you’re going to hear the Prophecy whether you want to or not!’ she thought. <br />“The prophecy says:<br />Good and evil must coexist to create balance on the earth, but one cannot tolerate the existence of the other<br />Good and evil have sown their seeds in the garden and they grow side by side<br />Evil endeavors to overtake the garden like a weed<br />Should the roots of good and evil become tangled and joined, a blossom shall grow, opening wide its petals, blocking the sun from the cancerous weed<br />Only then can balance be brought back to the garden”<br />Ivah took a moment to look at Tristan to see if he was paying any attention to what she said. Her brow furled when she saw he was still pacing and mumbling to himself.<br />“Naenae says that you are good…” she says to her father, “…and Tristan’s mother is the evil. The seeds they have sown are me and Tristan.”<br />“Evil… Tristan’s mom, Enid, has been amassing great power, killing any who oppose her. She has become a weed in the world and must be stopped.”<br />Ivah turns her attention back to Tristan. He was still passing, but had stopped mumbling. Ivah took this as a sign he was finally paying attention.<br />“When I told Naenae of the visions I was having of Tristan it reaffirmed her belief that the next line in the prophecy about the blossom might mean that a child born to Tristan and I will be Enid’s undoing; the child somehow bringing balance back to the world.<br />Ivah waited for Tristan to respond to her last statement. She knew he had been listening and very much desired to know what he thought. When he still said nothing she got up and walked towards him.<br />“Tristan?” Ivah was growing more nervous every second he remained silent. She felt as if the rest of her life would be determined by what he said next.<br />Tristan turned around and looked at Ivah. He hadn’t known of this prophecy and didn’t know what to think about it. Was it possible she could be destroyed? He had spent his whole childhood afraid of her. She had beaten him mercilessly, berated his mind with words designed to tear him down. Cordelia had given him a measure of his confidence back, but whenever he saw his mother, he was the same scared little boy he had been so long ago. <br />If there was a chance to be rid of her shouldn’t he take it? <br />This family confused him. He hadn’t grown up with such love and support. He was jealous of their closeness. He very much wanted to be a part of it, but he was scared. He was scared to let himself love again. He didn’t want this family to share Cordelia’s fate. He didn’t want his mother to destroy yet another beautiful thing.<br />He looked around at Adam and Eve and he remembered how much love Caine and Meadow had for each other. They each took pleasure by making the other happy. Even though he couldn’t read Adam, Tristan could see Eve desperately wanted her daughter to have the same happiness. He hadn’t realized that he too wanted to find such happiness until that very moment.<br /> Eve believed that, if what Ivah said was true, Tristan would be a perfect mate for her daughter. He wasn’t so sure. What was in his mother was in him. Would he be poison to this family, to this girl he was supposed to create a life with?<br />Ivah walked to him and took his hand in hers. “Tristan?” she whispered, afraid of what he might say. When he said nothing she looked into his eyes and said:<br />“It’s not a man’s blood or bones; it’s the actions he takes and the decisions he makes that make him good or evil. You are not like her. Stop letting her control your life. Won’t you stay with us?”<br />Tristan gasped. It was if she was reading his mind. <br />He opened his mouth to answer her as Caine barged into the room.<br />"
It took Meadow! The creature took Meadow! She's gone!” Caine exclaimed as he ran into the room. He ran to Ivah and grabbed her by the arms. “Where did he take her Ivah?” he said shaking her like a rag doll.<br />“I don’t know!” was all she could get out as Caine continued shaking her.<br />“Caine! Stop! You’re hurting your sister!” Adam exclaimed heading to intervene. <br />Tristan simply put his hand on Caine’s shoulder and whispered “Stop.” He let her go immediately.<br />Tristan gritted his teeth when Caine released her and Ivah pulled her arms around herself and rubbed her bruised skin. It took all of his self control not to beat Caine down where he stood for hurting her.<br />Caine looked wide eyed at his sister and stammered an apology. “I…I’m sorry Ivah.” <br />“Are you alright Ivah?” Adam asked his daughter. <br />Ivah simply nodded her head, fighting the tears that threatened to fall from her eyes.<br />“What happened to Meadow, Caine?” Adam asked. <br />It took a moment for Caine to regain his composure. “We were on the beach. It was getting dark so we were going to head back to Abel’s. I helped Meadow up and she froze. I could see the fear on her face. I turned around just as that creature attacked. It knocked me to the ground. I must have hit my head pretty hard because the next thing I remember was Abel rousing me.”<br />“I found him about an hour after sunset. We looked around to try and find some tracks or any kind of sign that would tell us which way it was going. We didn’t find anything so the creature must have stayed in the surf to cover its tracks.<br />We headed back here hoping Ivah had seen something since she had the original vision of the beast.<br />“What about Marsha?” Is she alone?” Eve asked her son. “Do you need to go to her?”<br />“No, I left her with Seth.” Abel answered. “I don’t think he’ll leave her alone.”<br />Adam scowled, “That boy has no discipline. We haven’t seen him all day.” That would change, and soon, Adam thought. <br /> <br />“Ivah, please try and find her. She is in danger.” Caine pleaded.<br />“It doesn’t work that way Caine. I don’t control what I see; the images come to me randomly.”<br />“Ivah can find her.” <br />“No Tristan! I don’t know what I’ll see, it's random. I…"
Ivah’s voice caught as Tristan lightly pressed his hand to her lips. Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes widened at the unexpected sensation his fingers caused on her lips. <br />“You haven’t even begun to explore your power Ivah.” He whispered to her, very aware of her reaction. “You can find her. Close your eyes.”<br />Ivah let her breath out in a rush when Tristan lowered his hand. She wanted to help find Meadow, and if Tristan could help her do that she would do what he said. Ivah closed her eyes and concentrated on Tristan’s voice.<br />“Take a deep breath” he instructed her. “Clear your mind and relax your whole body.”<br />She took deep breaths, and visualized her entire body relaxing. She started with her head and relaxed every muscle in her body all the way down to her toes. <br />“I want you to think about Meadow.” Tristan told her. “Think of what she looks like, the color of her hair, the sound of her voice. Think of anything that will bring her face clearly to your memory.”<br />Ivah did what Tristan said. She envisioned Meadow’s golden hair, the smoky blue of her eyes, the whisper of her voice. She could she Meadow’s face as clearly as if she was standing right in front of her. Suddenly she seemed to be looking from eyes other than her own. It was dark, but as her eyes adjusted she could see she was surrounded by rock. “I’m in a cave.” Ivah said. “It’s dark and cold.”<br />Tristan was surprised at how quickly she was learning. He opened his mind to hers to see what she was seeing. <br />“I am walking towards the mouth of the cave.” Tears fell from Ivah’s eyes. “It is too steep; I cannot get down alone.”<br />“What do you see Ivah?” Tristan asked, coaxing more information to aid them in their search.<br />Ivah looked for any distinguishable feature that would tell them where Meadow may be.<br />“The cliff is near the ocean. There is a jetty of rock protecting the beach.”<br />Caine looked at his father as hope sprung in his chest. There was only one beach that had such a jetty. King George had commissioned its building to benefit the local fisherman. There was a rock cliff close by.<br />“Let’s go!” Caine spoke to the room. <br />Adam nodded, “Yes. Abel, stay here with your mother and Ivah please. Tristan, would you come with us? Your gift may be useful.”<br />Tristan nodded. Once again he would help when he could easily have turned his back .He looked at the young lady standing before him. “You did well Ivah. You learn very quickly.” he said and walked out the door after Adam and Caine.<br />Meadow awakened and cried out as a contraction tore through her abdomen. She breathed through it, the way Eve taught her, looking around at her surroundings. She was disoriented and unsure of where she was. It was dark outside and she was cold. Her body started to shake from the chill. Her eyes adjusted to the dark and she realized she must be in some sort of cave. For a few seconds Meadow though she was dreaming.<br />Then she remembered Caine and the incident on the beach. She was having a baby and Caine might be dead. Sorrow came over Meadow, tears fell from her eyes; and then she remembered the creature and panicked. She looked around for signs of the creature, relieved when she saw no sign of it. <br />After the contraction was over, Meadow tried to stand. She had to find a way back home. Even if the others had discovered Caine and came to look for her, no one would know where she was. ‘Even I don’t know where I am’ she thought as she slowly got up on her feet.<br />She held onto the wall of the cave and headed to the entrance. Her body began to shiver violently as the wind from the cave opening hit her skin. Its bite was testament to the fast approach of winter. Meadows heart sank as she reached the mouth of the cave and looked down.<br />There was no way she could climb down the steep rock face without help. Fresh tears began to fall. Grief began to overwhelm her. <br />Suddenly Meadow shook herself from her dark thoughts, berating herself. “Stop it!” she shouted.<br />She had to stop crying and figure out how to get down. No one was coming to save her. It was up to her to escape before that beast got back. <br />Unfortunately she was too late. <br />The werewolf climbed up the ledge just in time to witness Meadow’s escape attempt. In one jump onto the caves ledge, he was in front of her. He snarled at her, angry she was trying to leave. She was his.<br />The beast startled Meadow and she fell backwards and tripped. “Oh God!” She said, catching herself before she fell onto her belly. She ignored the pain in her hands, scratched raw by the rocky floor of the cave. <br />“This looks like the place.” Tristan said, recalling the picture in Ivah’s mind. <br />“She’s probably up in a cave on that rock wall.” Adam stated. “It’s pretty steep” Adam commented.<br />Caine nodded his head. “It must have carried her up there. Can you sense her or the creature?” Caine asked Tristan.<br />Tristan stopped and searched the area with his mind. “There’s something up there, but it isn’t thinking like a human. I sense a lot of anger and confusion.”<br />“What about Meadow? Caine asked.<br />The three men looked up as Meadow screamed. Caine looked at the two men and ran towards the cliff wall, jumping up to catch the first ledge.<br />“She’s up there! “He’s hurting her!” he called back and began to climb the steep rock wall.<br />“Caine wait!” Adam called after “We don’t know what’s going on. Let Tristan look some more. You could be killed by that thing!” <br />“I can’t wait down here while she is hurting! I have to get to her!”<br />Meadow crawled towards the back of the cave and turned around. The creature hadn’t moved. Its eyes were bearing into her and she could hear a low guttural growl.<br />“What do you want with me?” she asked. “Why have you taken me?”<br />The creature didn’t answer. It continued to look at her. Meadow held her belly as another contraction hit. She continued to breathe through the pain as the beast came towards her. <br />The beast stopped in front of her. He bent down on one knee and continued his study of her face. She looked familiar to him. Her smell was familiar. He was sure she was his. As Meadow breathed through the contraction, he could see she was in pain. He put a hand to her cheek to comfort her.<br />Meadow recoiled from the beasts touch. “Get Away!” she screamed, “Don’t touch me!”<br />The werewolf’s growl became louder. She was rejecting him. He picked Meadow up off the floor by her arms and pressed her against the wall of the cave. He did not understand why she was rejecting him. She belonged to him. He leaned in, his face inches from hers. He could smell his own scent on her, telling him she belonged to him, but there was something else. <br />He could smell the scent of that Man. So this was why she was rejecting him. He leaned in, breathing the scent of the Man again, so he could track it. He would kill him for trying to take what was his. In his twisted mind, he didn’t understand how the girl belonged to him only that her scent meant that she did. He would not let the Man take her away again.<br />Meadow turned her face from the beast, terrified of what would happen next. “Oh God, Please help me.” she whispered. Just then another contraction ripped through her abdomen. The beast felt the movement and looked down. He noticed her swollen belly and realized she was with young. His anger grew as he realized the Man had already claimed her as his own. This offspring would be an enemy to him.<br />He would have to kill them both.<br />He howled his rage to the sky, she had betrayed him and now she would die.<br />Caine reached the mouth of the cave just as the beast lunged towards Meadow. He did not stop to think of the consequences as he ran into the cave to face the beast.<br />“You get the hell away from her!” he shouted, charging the beast.<br />The animal turned towards Caine. ‘The Man, the one who took her.’ Blind fury enveloped him as he dropped Meadow to the ground and turned to face his true enemy.<br />“He’s Alive!” Meadow said as the two figures collided. Her happiness turned to worry and fear as she watched the two figures struggle against each other. <br />Caine charged the beast, his head down and managed to knock it down to the ground. Caine struggled to pin the animal and get his hands around its neck. However, it was stronger than he was and managed to break free. Caine rolled away before the animal could pin him to the floor. Caine and the beast leaped off the floor and squared off against each other once again.<br />Meadow crept to the mouth of the cave, trying to stay out of harm’s way. Caine noticed and moved to block her from the beast.<br />The animal noticed this possessive move and was enraged. He had taken her away from him and now he would die! The animal took over as he charged Caine. Caine waited until the beast was almost on him. He bent down at the very last moment and flung the animal over his shoulder out of the mouth of the cave.<br />The beast let out a blood curling scream as it fell down the rocky cliff face to its death. Its eyes burned into Caine’s mind and would forever haunt his dreams. <br />Caine called out to Tristan and his father, who were already making their way towards the lifeless body, assuring them he was okay.<br />He waited a couple more seconds to make sure they had everything under control and then turned his attention to his wife.<br />“Caine! You’re alive!” Meadow exclaimed as her husband grabbed her and kissed her passionately. Once again Caine was scared about how close he had come to losing her. He didn’t want to let her go, but he needed to make sure she wasn’t injured.<br />Meadow tried to keep up as he peppered her with questions, his hands searching her body for injuries. <br />“Are you okay? Did it hurt you?” he tenderly stroked her hair.<br />“Yes, Yes! I’m okay. No I’m not hurt.” She said drawing closer to Caine. She was so happy he wasn’t dead. “How did you find me?” she asked.<br />“I’ll explain later. Come on we have to get you down.”<br />In all the excitement Meadow had forgot about her labor. “Caine, the baby is coming!” she exclaimed. <br /> <br />“Now?” he said rubbing her belly.<br />“Soon.” She told him as tears of joy started to pool in her eyes. <br />“Come on, let’s get you home.” Caine took Meadow by the hand and headed to the mouth of the cave when another contraction rippled across her belly. They were getting stronger.<br />“Are you okay?” Caine asked, concern dripping from his voice.<br />Meadow held her belly and breathed as Eve had taught her. “Yes, but the contractions are getting stronger. It will be soon.” <br />Just then Caine heard his father calling him from the bottom of the cliff.<br />When Adam and Tristan saw the figure fall from the cliff they thought the worst. When they heard Caine call out to them that he was alright they breathed a sigh of relief. They ran towards the beast, wanting to make sure that it was truly dead. What they saw when they got there shocked them both.<br />“This is a Man!” Tristan exclaimed. “I thought you said it was some sort of beast.”<br />“It was! It walked on two legs, but it was covered in fur.”<br />“A werewolf!” <br />“A what?” Adam asked. <br />“I’ll explain, let me turn the body over, make sure it’s dead.” <br />When Tristan rolled the body onto its back Adam gasped.<br />“What? Do you know this man?”<br />“Yes.” Adam answered. “It’s Meadow’s father. We thought he had been killed a year ago by a wolf.”<br />“That makes sense then. The wound from the wolf bite was cursed and turned him into the werewolf. Did anyone see the wolf?”<br />“Yes, Meadow saw it. She said its eyes glowed yellow. Other people have seen the animal too, including me, but no one had ever seen anything like this werewolf until Joseph here.”<br />“I need to let Caine know before he brings Meadow down here.” Adam said. <br />Tristan nodded. He wondered if his mother had summoned the evil wolf and let it loose upon this town. It wasn’t below her. She needed to be stopped. <br />“Caine!” Adam called. “You need to see this!”<br />“Caine momentarily left Meadows side when he heard his father call. He walked to the mouth of the cave and looked down. Where the beast had fell now lay the body of a man. Caine looked closer and gasped. ‘Joseph’ he thought and turned back to Meadow. <br />“Meadow, he said enveloping her in his arms once again, “I need to go down to talk to my father. I’ll need his help to get you down, okay? He did not want to leave her, but what he said was true. He needed to discuss what they were going to do next and he would need his father’s help.<br />“I’ll be okay. We still have a bit of time, but please don’t be long.” she said. <br />Caine kissed her mouth once more. “I love you.” he said and headed down the cliff wall.<br />They decided to tell Meadow about Joseph. Caine did not want to repeat the mistake he had made two years earlier by keeping information from her. <br />Adam and Caine climbed the cliff face. When they reached the cave Meadow walked to them, prepared to leave the darkness. <br />As she got closer Meadow saw Caine’s face and knew something was horribly wrong. “What happened? Did it escape? Is the beast still alive?” she asked.<br />Caine brought Meadow closer. “No it is dead.” Caine took a moment and caressed her check before he continued. “Meadow, do you remember the night Jospeh died? Remember the wolf with the yellow eyes?” <br />Meadow nodded her head. She wasn’t sure why Caine was asking her about that horrible night so long ago, but she knew it couldn’t be good.<br />“Tristan says that it was a cursed wolf, an evil wolf. The bites your father received did not kill him.” He knew she was beginning to understand what he was saying. A look of horror crossed her face and she struggled against him. “The bites were cursed and turned Joseph into that creature.” <br />Meadow’s eyes filled with tears of grief as she shook her head. She held them in and simply asked her husband to get her out of this horrible place. Caine nodded and he and Adam slowly brought Meadow down the cliff, stopping several times as other contractions began.<br />When they reached the bottom of the cliff wall, Meadow broke free from her husband and ran towards the limp body of her father. She sat down in the sand and brought him to her lap. She stroked his head as tears fell from her eyes. Great sobs wrecked her body and was soon joined by the pain of her labor. She ignored the pain and continued to stroke her father’s head.<br />She had believed her father was dead and now she had to mourn that loss again. She was torn inside. He had tried to kill her, the man she loved all her life. Her father had kidnapped her and tried to kill her. And Caine, the man she had pledged to love, honor and obey, the man whose child she was about to deliver, had killed him. <br />Guilt clouded Caine’s mind as he watched his wife cradle her dead father in her arms. Great sobs of grief wrecked her body and he could not comfort her. She had flinched from his touch and continued to stroke her father’s head. After 15 minutes of watching her pain, he could not bear it any longer.<br />“Meadow, you are in pain. You need to let him go and come back home with me now!” Caine said. He regretted his tone, but wanted to convey the seriousness of the situation. If they did not leave soon, Meadow and the baby might not survive.<br />“Meadow!” Caine pleaded and walked to her side. He kneeled down beside her and gently whispered into her ear. “Please think about the baby. I understand why you hate me right now, but don’t put you or the baby’s’ life in danger. Please!”<br />Meadow bent her head down and kissed her father’s head. She lifted his head off her lap and got up.<br />Caine stuck his hand out to help her up and she took it. She looked into her husband’s eyes. She kissed his mouth softly. “I don’t hate you Husband. I love you more than anything else in the world. That beast was not my father; it would have killed us both if it had the chance. Let’s go home so that I may give you a child.”<br />Caine was relieved and took her hand and headed home.<br />The progress back to the creation house from the cliff had been slow. Meadow had to stop every couple minutes as a contraction started. Once they arrived and Meadow was in the bed she and Caine shared, Eve had said it was already time to push.<br />Tears fell from Meadows eyes as she pushed through the pain of another contraction. It was almost unbearable, but Meadow wanted to have this baby more than anything else in the world. She needed to have something good happen after the tragedy of the night.<br />“That’s it Meadow. One more big push and you can meet your baby.” Eve encouraged. <br />“One more push Sweetheart!” Caine exclaimed as he rubbed her back and held her hand. He was so proud of Meadow. His mother had said Meadow was being very brave. He knew she was in a great deal of pain, but she hadn’t complained once. <br />Meadow waited until another contraction came and then bore down. With the remaining strength left in her body Meadow pushed. She didn’t have to wait long until she heard the clear cry of the new born baby fill the room.<br />“Congratulations!” Eve said. “It’s a boy!”<br />Exhausted, but happier than she had ever been, Meadow collapsed on the bed and watched Eve hand her son to Caine, his father.<br />“What should we call him Meadow?” Caine asked as he handing the baby to his wife.<br />Meadow brought the babe to her breast where it sucked greedily. Tears of joy ran down her face as she looked at Caine. “Joseph, we’ll call him Joseph.”<br />Despite their exhaustion, the Creation family milled about the common area, waiting to meet the new baby about to join their family. Adam lit a fire in the hearth, chaperoning Ivah and Tristan as they sat together and talked. <br />On their way back to the house Adam had asked Tristan to stay and be a teacher to Ivah. The battle waging inside Tristan raged on between his need for Ivah and this family and his fear his mother would destroy them. Ultimately he agreed to stay awhile and help Ivah discover the extent of her talent.<br /> ‘I’m staying to help her learn, not because I get lost in her eyes.’ He was trying hard to convince himself that he wasn’t already falling for her.<br />.<br />Ivah was ecstatic at the news, but Adam reminded her that Tristan was staying as a teacher and that she was not yet of age to be courted. She made up her mind that she would do everything she could to keep him there well after her adult birthday the following week.<br /> Abel had returned home to relieve Seth of his duty to watch over Marsha. Abel told the family he and Marsha would come by later in the day to meet their new niece or nephew. Abel was also happy that he and Marsha were alone.<br />Seth sat apart from everyone and pouted. He had gotten home soon after Abel relieved him. As soon as he walked into the house he was greeted with harsh words from his father. He had been severely reprimanded for being gone all day. Apparently he missed a bunch. Marsha had told him some of it, but she hadn’t known the extent of it for sure.<br />Seth’s scowl deepened as he recalled his dad’s harsh words. He had called him spoiled, lazy and undisciplined. The lecture seemed to go on forever as Adam told Seth he needed to contribute more, especially now that winter was approaching. He wasn’t allowed to leave the property and would do, not only his own, but Ivah’s chores for the foreseeable future.<br />The stab of jealousy Seth felt as his father embraced Tristan almost broke him. He fought back the tears in his eyes. He didn’t understand how his father could love this stranger he just met more than him. <br />All eyes turned upward as the cry of a new baby reached them. A new generation of Creation’s was born.<br />Meadow held her son and walked outside into the courtyard. It was the first day of winter, but the sun was bright and warm on her skin. It had been one week since she gave birth to her son. The Creation family had a small service for Meadows father two days later. Meadow placed a blanket in front of her father’s grave and set his name sake down on it. She sat down next to Joseph and played with his fingers and tickled his belly. She was rewarded with his coos. <br />“This is your grandson Daddy. We named him after you.” She laughed as the babe started to mildly complain about being set down on the cold floor. “He is his father’s son for sure. He wants to be held always.” <br />Meadow bent down and scooped Joseph up and cuddled him to her. Grief slowly overtook her as she prepared to say what she had come to say to her father’s grave.<br />“Tristan told me that when you woke every morning as human you had no recollection of what you did as the beast. He said you probably woke every morning covered in…” tears fell harder down Meadows eyes. “He said you feared harming anyone you loved and that’s why you stayed away.” <br />Joseph started to fuss more in Meadows arms. She soothed him with gentle strokes and soft kisses to his head. She smiled through her tears at the son she loved more than she thought possible. Then she looked back at Joseph’s grave. <br />“I just wanted to tell you that I’m not mad at you for staying away in your human form. I forgive you for trying to hurt me and for trying to kill Caine. It wasn’t you when you were the beast. <br />I hope you are at peace now Daddy. I love you very much and will miss you everyday.”<br />Meadow bent down and picked up the blanket Ivah had made for Joseph and wrapped it around his body. She looked at her father’s grave one more time.<br />“Goodbye Daddy” <br />
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