Untitled, Part III - why do I somehow always end up with Oh, Crap! part of the story?

A piercing shriek of claws against stone slashed through the church. People clamped their hands over their ears. The sound died as abruptly as it started and in the ensuing silence a raspy male voice sang out, "Cordeeeelia..."

Fear skittered down Cordelia's spine, piercing her skin with icy claws.

The doors of the church clanged shut.

She glared at the minister. "Finish it!"

He just stared at the ceiling, his eyes bulging from their orbits, mouth gaping. Sweat broke at his hairline.

The thing from the ceiling dropped into the aisle and sat there, an ugly twisted creature of mummified skin and dried muscle. Its baleful white eyes fixed on Cordelia. It stretched. Huge yellow talons clawed the carpet, leaving ragged tears in the fabric.

She snapped her teeth. The beast flipped backward, leapt across the aisle to the double doors, and sat there.

A dull thud echoed the church - the mother of the groom fainted. The minister flung the bible to the floor and scrambled away, past her, running to the exit, his robes tangling his feet.

The thing at the door snarled, snapping its serrated fangs. The minister halted, unsure, and just stood there, inches from freedom, so close yet so far.

"Oh Cordelia." The voice came again, chiding, indulgent. "Why do you treat me so bad?"

Cordelia whipped around and saw him, perched on the railing of the second floor balcony. Her heart skipped a bit.

His black dreadlocks framed his deathly pale face like a nest of snakes. His face, despite the ugly scars of runes branded into his cheeks, mesmerized her the way it had done long ago. He was inhumanly beautiful. As he sat there, perched above the sheer drop, his lean body clad in black leather, he seemed a fallen angel sans his wings.

Samuel.

His blue eyes shone with power. She clenched at Gabe, afraid she would lose herself and ran down the aisle to claw those blue eyes out of his head.

Gabe crushed her to him. His voice shook. "I don't know who this Cordelia is, but this is my wedding. Get the hell out."

Samuel ignored him. "Have I not been kind? Everything you ever wanted, everything you ever wished for, I had provided. I've kept you alive for three hundred years. All I ever asked for was loyalty. And this is how you repay me?"

Cordelia ground her teeth.

"Why?" Samuel shook his head. "What is it you want?"

"Freedom," she snapped. "Freedom from you!"

"And so you decided to get it by marrying this poor sod?"

"Jennifer, what is he talking about?" Gabe clenched her arm.

Samuel laughed like a crow. He rose from his crouch in one fluid motion, his arms spread wide, a mockery of the crucifix at the opposite wall. A cloud of green spores burst from him. Cordelia watched it billow in horror.

"Hold on to your bride, boy. This party is about to get a lot more interesting."

The minister was the first to go. The cloud swept past him. He twisted, seized by a spasm. His eyes rolled into his head. His throat bulged. Blood erupted from his mouth and gut in a crimson spray, drenching the carpet. He toppled forward like a log.

People screamed.

Cordelia ripped at her palm with her nails, grabbed Gabe by his neck and dragged him down to the floor. Too stunned to resist, he made a small strangled noise. She pressed her bloody palm to his lips. "Drink! Drink, damn you, drink if you want to live!"

He gasped and swallowed as the wedding party died and kept drinking, even as Jennifer's skin she had so painstakingly stripped from the dead girl disintegrated from Cordelia's body, drained by the blood loss.

The minister's bloated body jerked. Slowly he struggled upright, his lifeless eyes staring into space. The telltale zombie scent - cloying, sickeningly sweet and tinted with odd bitterness - claimed the church.

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