Occult zoologist Nigel’s whirlwind romance with witch Celeste is cut short when, during their investigation of the ritualistic killings of mystical creatures, Celeste is taken by a beast. Armed only with the knowledge that Celeste has been cursed, Nigel must piece together clues of the ritual that left him heartbroken or risk losing his new daughter to the magic as well.
The chimera had been dead several hours before Nigel arrived.
The creature had six eyes; two each of lion, goat, and snake. All six eyes faced north, though each of the creature’s three heads emerged from a different part of it. Nigel cocked his head this way and that, trying to decide the cause of death, but coming only to the conclusion that it was killed and placed this way for some reason he couldn’t immediately discern. Kneeling by the creature’s cold body, he ran a tentative hand down the scaly skin of the serpent head, paused, and rubbed his fingers together.
‘Most unnatural,’ he murmured to himself.
The sun had not yet set, but the forest was dark, as if the sun simply refused to infiltrate the canopy above. Mist clung to the trees and furry mosses crept wetly across the forest floor. Nigel furrowed his brow beneath his tangle of curly dark hair.
Pushing his fist into his knee for support, he rose. ‘Let’s begin,’ he decided.
He opened the car door and turned the key to auto, a soft electric buzz filling his ears as the headlights flooded the forest floor. He reached across the driver’s seat and pulled over a heavy black case from the passenger side. Flipping open the box’s brass buckles, Nigel hummed a melancholy tune. In the glow of the dome light, silver tools and glass vials glinted dimly back at him.