Excerpt from Blood Behind the Castle Walls



1600, Csejthe Castle



High above the village of Csejthe, on the massive mountaintop of the Carpathian

Mountains, a castle hides the beginning of a murderous rampage.

Elizabeth sat looking at herself in the mirror, admiring her beautiful reflection.

Behind her a servant terrifyingly combed her hair, petrified of doing something


Elizabeth smirked; she knew the terror she invoked. The punishments she

would force on these servants if they stepped out of place was legendry. Like her

aunt, she didn’t just punish her servants for minor inconveniences, she would

punish them for any reason. She enjoyed watching the pain in their eyes, aroused

by the screams and pleas.

She stared at the young servant. Such beautiful unblemished skin. She was

once like that. Unmarred by age and trials. Now she felt herself getting old, even

though her beauty was known all over Hungary, she felt sure one day that too

would fade. What would she have then?

Her husband dead, her children occupied with their own lives, and her beloved

aunt brutalised and murdered.

She felt an inner resentment to this young child, the young girl’s hand

trembling under her steady gaze. Dropping her eyes, she wanted to whack all the

beauty from her. Suddenly, a sharp yank jolted her back.

Wheeling around, glaring at the trembling creature, “you fool. How dare you

hurt me that way.”

Her large brown eyes widened in terror, “mistress, I didn’t mean to. I’ll try

better, I promise.”

Elisabeth didn’t bother to listen to the girl’s pleas. Her hand whacked against

the girl’s soft flesh. Tears trickled down the servant’s face. But Elizabeth wasn’t

looking at her; instead transfixed by the small amount of blood left on her ring.

Touching the crimson liquid, she felt the rejuvenating properties of the young

blood seep into her skin.

The young servant stared, terrified, wondering what would happen to her.

Elizabeth turned, gazing at herself in the mirror. She could swear she looked

younger, healthier; a new glow started to appear.

Ignoring the frightened child, she rushed from the room, thoughts catapulting

in her mind. Excitement filling her.


“IIona, I’ve found what I have been seeking. Come, we must begin right away.”


Chapter 1


2012 Germany


Pain radiated through the young woman’s body. A bone creaked, blood

spurted from her nose. Her opponent towered over her, disdain turning

to a sneer. Grabbing her by the hair, he tossed her across the room. Her

body slammed against the hard cement wall, the coldness of the cement

floors permeated through her body. The overwhelming pain increased

with every move.

“Now will you talk? Tell me what I need to know and this can all stop.”

Spitting out blood, she watched his lips move. “You can go to hell,

I’m not telling you anything.”

He smiled, “oh, I have other ways of getting you to talk. You’ll be

begging to tell me everything you know.”

* * *


2016 Romania


I woke up feeling the familiar surroundings of my small Romanian

house. The biting cold chilling my flesh as I quickly got dressed and

trotted downstairs to where my punching bag was located, converted

laundry room to mini gym room.

The bag swung backwards and forwards as my fists and feet connected

instinctively, my imaginary target bloodied from my onslaught. Cold

sweat started to form as I reluctantly strapped on my snow running shoes,

emerging into the freezing morning.

Snow blanketed almost every house, the roads covered with the heavy

snowfall during the night.

Jogging past the old village cottages, I thought back to what brought

me here. It had been six years, and still those memories lingered in my

dreams. Waiting patiently to resurface; people and events governing why

I came here.

I had only been in Transylvania for two years, my body still refused to

adjust to the icy chill carried by the snow.

At this time of the morning sanest people were still in bed, as I picked

up my speed, I wondered about my own sanity.

I missed the warm weather; where even in winter snow remained in

isolated regions. Now snow even blanketed the city’s main centres.

The Poiana-Rusc Mountains loomed high above the small village of

Ruda, the snowy peaks a beckon for villagers.

I’d travelled all around Europe and nothing could compare to these

mountains. The Poiana-Rusc Mountains that swept from Ukraine to the

north, through Transylvania and towards Serbia. When I first saw these

mountains the sight was breathtaking. It had only started to snow, the

peaks showing the evidence of the approaching winter. The Carpathian

Mountains arched around the 600 miles, seen by every angle.

Although winter was freezing here, most visitors claimed it was the

most beautiful season, resembling the days of the infamous Dracula


My warm breath mingled with the cold air, creating a smoky haze in

front of me. Continuing around the village, my footprints made tracks

all the way back to my cottage.


The tall Acacia trees hunched toward one another, its barren

branches covered in snow.

I first glimpsed the cottage, hidden amongst the golden-yellow

flowers, changing from cream to white, all crowded in globular heads or

cylindrical spikes, decorating the deep chocolate trees.

Peering through, and finally daring to enter the diminutive winding

gravel pathway. Feeling as if I was a giant intruding on a peaceful fairy

tale. Birds chirping, the fresh smell of spring and flowers. And there

it was; a Hanzel and Gretel cottage, its oak milk chocolate panellings

fitting perfectly, plucked from nature.

Stepping inside was like stepping back in time. The large open

fireplace dominating the small sitting room, with a large sofa perched

in front of it, a white oak coffee table in the centre, on either side

two hand-crafted birch rocking chairs. Hand-woven cushions placed

respectively on top.

Off to the right a dainty kitchen, an old fashioned tea pot and kettle,

aligned with a range of English teas beside them. The modern appliances

of a fridge and microwave seemed somewhat out of place. As if shoved

there, and forgotten.

Moving through the sitting room, immediately in front of me was a

door with lace curtains covering the small window leading out back, to

an awe-inspiring view of the mountains.

Off to my left and up the oak stair case the bathroom, with a bath

and shower combined. The lace curtain assemblage ever present. At the

far end of the shortened corridor lay my room. Its pine panelling of the

wall and ceilings immediately placed me in the comfort of a forest. The

queen-sized bed taking up most of the room and maple dressing table

the other end, each covered with matching white lace doilies.

Opening the balcony doors to reveal the mass of green meadows

covering the mountainside, I knew that I wouldn’t want to leave.

A trickling of snow brought me back to the present, the snow turning

my clothes into mini icicle sticks; I knew I had to get a move on before

I froze to death.

I hastily unlocked my door, hurriedly removing my mittens and

beanie. I strolled over to the fireplace and quickly started the fire,

immediately feeling the warming effect of the embers sparking to life

once again.

Taking a steaming shower, I sat down with my cup of roasted coffee.

Staring into the fiery furnace, I wondered what this new week would



Published by sharlene25

Sharlene Almond is the author of the genre-bending Annabella Cordova series, and a New Zealand travel book Journey in little Paradise. She has written a range of health, writing and body language articles; contributing as a guest writer on other blogs. Over the last ten years, Sharlene has attained qualifications in Body Language, Criminology, Journalism, Editing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Pet Care, and Animal Behaviour. While setting up an online nutritional business, she is studying to specialize in Medicinal Cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sharlene is also currently editing her second Annabella Cordova novel, with two others in the works. To support her online business, Sharlene sends out a trimonthly newsletter covering health, body language, writing, and even articles centered on health topics for your pet.

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