That night as Nadia sat up in bed drinking her cocoa, she had other things on her mind apart from the waking dreams she regularly had about Baron La Croix at this time of day. These daydreams all so often segued seamlessly into true dreams that usually left her feeling tired and weak in the mornings, but still strangely satisfied.
Tonight though, she was thinking about the events of the day just coming to an end. There was so much that she needed to review and reconsider.
Today had started off so well. It had been such fun selecting clothes for them both to wear from the racks and wardrobes that filled the commercial unit she lived in. Admittedly most of the ones she'd tried had originally had to be reworked to fit her petite figure, but it had been a particular challenge to find anything that would fit Harry with his basket-ball player physique.
It'd also been great to go to the house at last, after having suddenly planned to do it on that day that she first met Harry. Obviously she'd had some reservations, knowing how holding the compact had affected her, but she'd always been insatiable until she saw a plan through, once she got the idea in her head.
Obviously, the way that she'd seemingly been taken over by the events that had happened in the house was more than just a little disconcerting. However, as long as she made certain that she always had someone she trusted with her whenever she put herself at risk, she was sure it was worth taking a chance if it got her to where or what she wanted.
Which brought her to the final thing on her mind. Harry.
Harry had been a revelation to Nadia. True, he was that little bit older than she was but women matured sooner than men and, more to the point, he was fun to be with and seemed to care about her. And she cared about him, too. She was a little reluctant to get involved too much too soon though, but it was still very early days and she supposed that if things took a turn towards getting serious, then that would be the time to start thinking about whether it was going to be anything more than just two people sharing their time together.
Or did the fact that she'd been thinking about it mean that she was beginning to think about Harry as something more than just a friend?
'I never had that problem with you, Mr Baron La Croix, did I', she mused out loud, looking at the poster facing her bed.
In her dreams they had spent many a night together, with La Croix serenading her on his guitar whilst singing 'Death Wedding'. Then, once he'd put his instrument down, he'd inevitably continue playing with her emotions as he flirted with her and then took her to the brink of death and back again, her senses overloaded with the rush that resulted when the life thundered back into her body like the sparks flying out from a Roman candle firework, but only in reverse.
Tonight was different. A different dream-scape materialised in her sleeping thoughts, not long after Nadia closed her eyes. Tonight it was Baron Samedi who welcomed her into her slumber. It wasn't the familiar boat on the river and the picnic on the river bank that she regularly enjoyed with La Croix, but something somewhat less attractive.
Nadia found herself in an old church with broken windows that looked as if it had been stripped of everything of value. Most of the pews had gone, and the few that remained were mostly broken. There were holes in the roof and the skies were dark and starless. The pulpit still remained intact, and it was beside that where she saw Samedi, beckoning to her to follow him as he hurried into a room beyond the nave within the area of the transept, taking the only source of light with him.
She followed the guttering light thrown out by the globe of the oil lamp, hurrying across the dirty stone floor until the light suddenly disappeared. As her eyes slowly acclimatised to the darkness, she saw a faint glimmer coming from the direction of series of steps in the corner of the room that wound downwards into what must have been an undercroft beneath the church. Hesitantly, she followed the light.
The steps were cold and dirty underfoot. Suddenly she realised that she had no shoes on and that all that she was wearing was a thin white lace night gown that floated around her like a cloud, offering no warmth or protection. The walls were running with water and this began to pool at her feet as she paused for a moment.
Samedi's voice cut through the silence. 'Nadia, my pet. Come, come, my child. Come into the light.'
Nadia moved on to the bottom of the steps, seeing the light getting gradually brighter as she neared the doorway that led into the space beyond.
Samedi was sitting nonchalantly on an old battered box filled with yellowed and broken bones that were spilling out onto the floor beside it. The lamp was standing on a further box immediately to his left and it was to this that he motioned, theatrically dusting off the lid, so that Nadia could sit there.
'Come sit with me child. Come snuggle up close beside me and give me your warmth. Come here to me so I can take your life...'
Nadia woke up suddenly, feeling cold and afraid.
'Harry?, she asked, already knowing that she was alone.
She looked up at the poster facing her bed, seeing Samedi and La Croix looking down at her and, for the first time, felt little comfort from seeing it there.