The Forests of Transylvania, 1725:
Zoltan’s wife, Nataliya, pointed to a scorched wagon. “One vardo was not consumed by the flames. We might be able to salvage something from it.”
Zoltan nodded. “See what you can find inside. The rest of us will bury the dead.”
Nataliya climbed the vardo’s shaky steps and entered the scorched wagon. She rifled through the drawers of a small dresser, pocketing the jewelry and trinkets inside. She was startled by a creaky noise behind her. Nataliya turned in time to see a loosened floorboard rise and fall. “Who’s there?”
The wooden floorboard rose again and a pair of young eyes peered from the dark crawlspace. “Is it safe to come out?” the girl asked tremulously.
Nataliya dropped to her knees and beckoned the apprehensive child, who clambered out from the ebon hole in the floor. “What is your name, chavi?”
“Magda. My mother told me to hide in the crawlspace until she came back. I didn’t want to; I wanted to go with her. But she told me I must do as she says because she is my mother. She said I would be safer here. She couldn’t fit in the crawlspace with me, so she went outside with my father and brothers.” The little girl looked up at Nataliya with doleful eyes. “My mother’s not coming back, is she? None of them are coming back.”
As her brusque exterior gave way to a maternal mien, Nataliya hugged the frightened child. “Your mother was very brave and very wise. You did the right thing by obeying her. She found a way to enable you to survive the carnage and probably led the villains away from your vardo.”
“Is there… Is there anyone else, besides me?”
The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!
Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks