The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Read Between the Lines
I have only a vague idea of what transpired in my uncle’s library. So I suppose you could say I was accused and imprisoned for a crime I didn’t commit. Well, at least I can’t admit to it, since I wasn’t there, in a manner of speaking. Yet it couldn’t have ended better.
It was over a year ago that it happened. My first sensation was one of gradually coming awake to the sound of screaming, and the sight of vague shadows rushing past me. There was a terrible buzzing in my ears, and a wetness soaking my hands.
As my vision cleared, I could see that I was in the town square, not far from Uncle Bon’s home. I remember wondering why I was standing outside when, only a moment earlier, I had been in his library with my hand on an inner page of a very odd book.
It dawned on me that I was holding something heavy, and when I looked down, my terrified gaze took in a ghastly sight.
I was holding the head of Magistrate Malfleur, the tyrant who had taken it unto himself to be the tyrannical ruler of our little valley. The reason my hands were wet was now obvious as well—his head was entirely separate from his body!
My horror was replaced by a sort of morbid delight, as I realized that they monster who had invaded my emotions and my dreams had ceased to exist. But what of his body? Where was it?
A quick look around at the vacated plaza answered that question. Bits of body parts were strewn everywhere. But I was still puzzled—even counting what the local stray dogs had probably dragged away, there was still a lot of M. Malfleur missing.
A sudden pain in my stomach made me drop the head and fall on the bricks. A moment later I was seeing the contents of my stomach. Again, my question was answered—here a finger, there an ear, plus who knows what else.
Just before I was seized from behind by the gendarmes, I had a realization of the sharpness of my teeth. Indeed, my own tongue would have gotten bitten off if I hadn’t taken care to keep it in its allotted space. They were gradually receding to normality, but not before my tongue had explored every razor-sharp tip.
In my cell, I could hear them bringing out the guillotine. No trial here, not for someone who had done such a brazen thing right out in the open.
But—how could I have done this thing?
Earlier that day, I recalled, I had been summoned to M. Malfleur’s office, and had once again been cajoled, argued with, and finally threatened by his advances. I had had enough, and had boxed him a good one on the ear and had stormed out. He had immediately called for his gendarme cronies, and had given chase.
But I, being twenty years his junior, had successfully lost that pack of hounds, and had taken refuge in my uncle’s home. He had been out walking his dogs, and did not know of my arrival. As I waited impatiently for his return, I wandered past the books he so loved, reading the titles and wondering of their contents.
One especially pretty volume caught my eye, and I reached for it. I was sure that its contents would give me entertainment until my uncle’s return. But as my hand touched the volume, a huge grey spider ran out from the darkness behind it.
I leapt back, and as I did so, my hand caught on the book next to the one I had desired. It fell with a thump and a cloud of dust to the floor. I picked it up, and was putting it back in its place when it suddenly felt so heavy that I had to drop it onto Uncle’s desk.
The tome flew open to a page, on which was written a single word: “beteméchanceté”
I know it was actually two words, but for whatever reason they had been melded together. I ran my finger over the word, and as I did so I felt a strange thrill run up my arm. At the same time, that same buzzing sound filled my head.
I do remember the door to the library being kicked in, and M. Malfleur and his gang descending on me. That was when the world flew away, and I knew nothing until I woke up on the plaza.
Just as I remembered these things, the door to my cell flew open, and in marched two very serious-looking gendarmes. They grasped me by both arms, pulled me up, and we were off on my final walk.
At least that’s what everyone thought. The cheers of the crowd, as I emerged from the prison, disappeared in a cacophony of buzzing and screaming, as my teeth once again sought a target.
The mantle of power rests easily on my shoulders. Pity that there are so few to rule. Yet I hunger so…
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author K.R. Morrison:
Lydia’s faith in God is strong – at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst – Vlad Drakul – she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.