The Devil’s Daughter – description
This should be your Halloween read.
The Carpathian Mountains have long stood as the jewel of Eastern Europe with their magnificent peaks, steeped in folklore and mystery. But in the village of Gura Haith, something lurks in the night, screaming out in maddening hunger. Now, Nelu, one of the village’s most skilled hunters, tries to devise a plan to eliminate what has become a threat to the lives of everyone in the small mountain village. However, it is also haunted by the presence of a small girl, rescued from the mountains by a hunting party. Taken in by Nelu and his wife Anca, she almost immediately begins to exhibit strange behavior, prompting many to believe that she is cursed. Yet, with Nelu’s plan having failed, only one option remains for the centuries-old village, and the results will be devastating, leaving its people locked away at night with few remaining choices for their survival.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired by a music video by 'Disturbed'.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Some of the characters I create come from real-life people whose personalities fit with the book's plot. Others I create from my imagination. What I look for in characters from real people are: personality traits, mannerisms, personal interests and any impressions they leave me with.
Days passed, and the priests' body had been consecrated to the earth. Out of respect, the church was left as it had been when Father James last sat in residence. Normally, the death of a priest was reported to the regional Bishop, but with the village being as isolated as it was, it was unlikely that the priests' unfortunate demise would ever reach beyond the Carpathians.
The entire village turned out for the burial, including the children, all of whom Father James had baptized. Alina's parents, at first, hesitated to take her, knowing what others thought of her. However, seeing the need to pay their respects, they attended the event with Alina in tow. Once at the graveside they, like others in attendance, bowed their heads in silent prayer. But Alina was far from mournful, as she stood behind her mothers' legs, grinning with amusement while peeking around at the casket. Standing next to them was Ileana, one of the village elders, and noticing Alina's behavior, as well as the quiet reaction of those gathered around the priests' freshly dug grave, she leaned towards Anca and whispered in her ear.
“Perhaps it is time to take the child home.”
Without a word, Anca took Alina by the hand as the small family walked the short distance home. Once they arrived, Alina was sent to her room as her parents prepared to discuss her odd behavior.
Nelu paced in front of the fireplace while Anca, tearfully struggled for words.
“This child is evil,” Nelu began. “She has brought something terrible to this village.”
Hearing the anger and frustration in her husbands' voice, Anca pleaded for reason and compassion.
“She has done nothing!” she replied. “How can a child hurt anyone?”
Sitting down, he tried to organize his thoughts.
“Anca,” he said. “Nearly everyone in the village is afraid of her. Our friends and neighbors no longer speak to us. We are practically outcasts.”
“Nelu,” Anca replied. “I see it too, but she is our daughter! What are we supposed to do? And these people, they don't understand. Yes, she is touched but not by evil! God only knows how long she was in those mountains. It's a miracle she even survived. What would you do, throw her back to the wolves?!”
“No!” Nelu interrupted. “Of course not, but it’s the way they look at us. Something is terribly wrong, and I don't like the feeling of being helpless. The only person who stood between us and the village is dead. I feel as though God has abandoned us.”
The burial service was quick, and nearly silent. Those in attendance threw a handful of dirt onto the priests' coffin, and crossed themselves. There were, however, a few tears. One might think there would be an outpouring of grief, given who the deceased was. But the people of Gura Haith were both strong and reserved, and the expression of pain was something they normally did not indulge in. Survival always seemed to take precedence.
Alina spent most of that evening staring out at Father James' grave, a grin frozen on her face as her parents looked on in fear and concern. When called to dinner, she continued to stand at the window, as if anticipating some strange visitation, and when Anca tried to coax her to the table, her request seemed to go unheard. Finally, lacking in patience, Nelu got up and carrying her back to the dinner table, sternly prompted her to eat. In response, Alina dropped her hands to her lap and sat with an expression of anger. Anca and Nelu realized that Alina could not be forced to eat, nor would an angry reaction be useful.
“Alina,” Anca began. “You must eat. You will wither away to nothing!”
As many challenges as she presented, eating was not usually among them.
With her dinner sitting cold in front of her, Alina was allowed to return to the window overlooking the burial ground, an oddly joyful smile returning to her face. Anca and Nelu were at a loss to explain this new behavior, much less arrive at a solution. Anca looked at her husband as her eyes teared up.
“What do we do?” she asked. “Why this sudden fascination with death? This is not normal for a child.”
The stress of dealing with Alina's difficulties was beginning to take its toll on them, but they would not abandon her. They knew from the beginning that Alina arrived with many troubles, yet as a childless couple and as Christians, they felt compelled to take her in. They had never had a second thought regarding their charitable actions and never would, in spite of this new development.
Nelu struggled for an answer, yet none was forthcoming. But there was one thing that could be done. Often, when all rational means have been exhausted, people will drift into the irrational, falling back onto religion, ceremony and faith. However, with their priest dead they, like the rest of the village, felt not only a profound sense of loss but a weakening of their faith as well. Still, Anca and Nelu sat at their crude wooden table and prayed, begging God to heal their daughter, to bestow upon them a clear path to a solution, and for the people of Gura Haith, that they might see through the eyes of wisdom, accepting Alina, in spite of the madness she seemed to possess.
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