THE PRODIGY SERIES
This series is dedicated to my alma mater
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts
& the graduating class of 1990.
Book One is also written in honor of
my little violinist, Abby.
Mommy loves you.
In the shadow of the Kremlin, snow powdered the limestone walls like enormous blocks of sugar. Dark figures clad in fur trudged through the bleak landscape like black ants milling around on white sand. The ashen faces of gargoyles stared down from the parapets, eyes full of stony disdain. Klimt, unaware of their scrutiny, walked by consumed wholly by his need to find Grazyna.
His red cape flashed above the snowy carpet, his trepidation increasing with every step. He focused on the drifts, searching for any sign of her. She had never failed to meet him before. Something had to be terribly wrong.
Moisture seeped through his beard and bathed his chapped skin, but he surged through the relentless snowfall until he caught a glimpse of pink. Scrambling forward, he fell to his knees and began digging through the frozen embankment with his bare hands. The touch of pink turned blood red as he unearthed the body of a young woman. Pushing back the snow in a frenzy, yellow silk and lace was revealed. It was Grazyna.
Though still breathing, life ebbed from her porcelain face, once rosy cheeks and lips now an inhuman blue. Cradling her against his chest, her blood stained the fine linen of his military uniform. A deep and burning hatred formed in his bosom for whoever mercilessly left her for dead.
“Grazyna, can you hear me?”
Her eyelids fluttered.
“I will make this right, my love. With my own hands if need be!”
Her lips parted and her eyes finally opened.
“But you cannot. It was him, your—your…” her voice trailed off, fragile and thin. “What of the gift?” she managed to whisper.
His tears fell as he realized who was responsible. Molten words tumbled from his mouth.
“Gift,” he scoffed. “Curse, more like. I shall find a way, and no song will save him when I do.”
He brushed her face with trembling fingers. She was stunning, even so near death. Desperately, he absorbed every detail, wanting to remember it all, each delicate and perfect feature.
“Klimt…” she faltered.
Her body arched, seizing. Struggling to steady her, a fresh wave of tears washed down the angular planes of his face. He watched red pools seep through the butter-colored silk of her gown, spreading like crooked, red rivers.
“I am here,” he murmured through clenched teeth. He knew nothing could save her.
“I love you,” she whispered. Her soft breath rose into the frigid air and then her body grew still.
A cry of misery escaped his lips, shattering the silence of the filthy alley where they lay. Birds broke into flight at the tortured sound.
Doubling over her, his torso rocked with violent sobs. Hate overwhelmed every other sensation as he dwelled on the monstrous evil committed against the woman he loved. He had understood the danger of her being promised to another man and regretted not being there when she most needed protection. This brutality was the work of a man who destroyed what he could not have—a man Klimt knew well.
He struggled to his feet, hoisting the lifeless body of his precious Grazyna into his arms. With every step, his determination grew. He pressed into the cruel autumn wind, his hate blossoming into vengeance.
“I will repay you, brother!” he shouted at the muted sky.