Ready for this excerpt? Ready to see what comes after THAT ENDING? Yes? Okay. Prepare yourself.
First there is nothing. Only silence. A sea of oblivion. Then flashes of memory take shape. Snippets of sound. The laughter of a loved one, the popping of wood sap in a fireplace, the smell of butter melting across fresh bread. An image emerges from the chaos, sharpening with each second. A crying young woman—her eyes like emeralds, her hair like spilled ink—leans over him, clutching his bloodstained hand, pleading with him in muffled tones. Who am I? he wonders. Dark amusement winds through him. He is nothing. No one. Nobody. The scent of blood suffuses his nostrils, intoxicatingly sweet. Like lechosa from a fruit stand in San Juan, its juice dripping down his shirtsleeves. He becomes hunger. Not a kind of hunger he’s ever known before, but an all-consuming void. A dull ache around his dead heart, a blast of bloodlust searing through his veins. It knifes through his stomach like the talons on a bird of prey. Rage builds in his chest. The desire to seek and destroy. To consume life. Let it fill the emptiness within him. Where there was once a sea of oblivion, there is now a canvas painted red, the color dripping like rain at his feet, setting his world aflame. My city. My family. My love. Who am I? From the fires of his fury, a name emerges. Bastien. My name is Sébastien Saint Germain.