The Dawn of the Dragons – Londinium 1886

Chapter 1 

High in the canopy of the sprawling oak trees planted in Abney Park before the ground became a cemetery, that surrounded the graves, catacombs and mausoleums sat a flight of small mechanical dragons each one with a small engraved fob watch ticking. Sensitive prying eyes watching and waiting for a sign for the frenzy to begin. Below them sat a constable of Ravens, each one eyeing the ground for signs of movement that would indicate food. The black rain filling the sky bouncing as high as the standing regimented stones, the ground saturated forming torrents of sticky mud and pools of stagnant standing water. In the newly dug and covered graves coffins began to float, whilst in the pauper graves the rains washed the top soil away revealing the heavy damask encased and bound dead. The feeding frenzy had begun in earnest.

The constable took to the air and as one swept onto the dead, clawing and pecking at the decomposing bodies, many of whom were blighted with the same small single silver ringed puncture wound. Beaks tore at the flesh, reaching inside to suckle on the tender parts, before having had their fill returning to the same position in the trees. Their beaks, feet and wings dripping with the blood of the dead, the consecrated ground hewn in a red tinge as the blood flowed from the recently departed. The mausoleum over which they sat was now covered in ivy, vines and in the middle a single white rose, hiding a dark bitter secret, sealed forever. The only giveaway to the secrets within were a splattering of corroded brass cogs and small keys that littered the marble flagstones. Inside was death.

High in the top of the old oak trees a faint low tick emanated and reverberated throughout the branches. The tick sending the ravens into a panic, the battle was about to begin and there would only be one winner. Feather and claw flew in all directions before crashing to the ground in a crumpled mass of black and red. Then silence, as if nothing had happened, as if time itself had stood still; as someone pulled the winder on a pocket-watch out and the hands rested. The time on the watch face showed thirty-one minutes passed the hour of noon and the sun passed the yard-arm. The division bell decayed for twelve hours and noon-day gun having sounded and faded on the wind.

© The Midnight Messenger – November 2017

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