What started with a bet will end in death
By Rosana Valu
Scraps of decaying wood lay about the unkept garden like corpses. The dead branches and sharp rocks made the ground uneven. A feeble boy with broken glasses ambled into the garden of Mortimer Estate. Whatever was his name? Ahh yes, Caspian, he was called Caspian, maybe.
Creeping vines latched onto the face of the crumbling villa. Petrified gargoyles lay on either side of the door. Uneven webs drooled from their cracks. Mortimer Estate loomed over him, watching him like a sinister predator hiding in the undergrowth, a single illuminated window like a watchful eye. Weeds smothered the roof and walls like emerald blood, dancing in the gale.
Reaching the door, Caspian brushed a thick layer of dust from the handle- then stopped- petrified. He’d heard about this place.
“Anise,” he called, breathless beast, for he’d been running through the ground woods looking for her since noon, and it had grown dark in these frigid Winter months, “Anise.”
But his sweet darling murderous freak of a cat didn’t come, and he glanced only a dead rat, its rotting tail vanishing into the night. It shouldn’t be so obvious. Fools. This story is one of a bunch of fools.
An endless abyss of darkness stretched on, and he focused into the black. Wrinkled candles, shackled to their sconces by their own melted bodies, struggled to light the winding hallways’ chipping, blood-red walls, flickering in and out of life. Marble pillars held the tangle of corridors together, giving it the look of a ribcage. Caspian called to Anise, and the spiders- the scouts and the odd soldier- what were they doing there– well- they scurried across the walls, lace flickering across the passage. They’d recognised him as the owner of that fiend who’d depleted their members- well their queen did.
Their ghostly pale forms darted across the walls, spindly legs pattering. A small patter that builds and builds with every one, until one believes they’ve gone insane. And still it builds and builds and…
Caspian entered the kitchen.
The kitchen- ahh the kitchen- where chewed guts drooled from the shelves and half-eaten eyeballs burst from hanging ladles. Where cracks tore the tiled floor, and poisonous flowers sprouted near various woodland creatures’ remains. This sight appalled Caspian, weakling, and he didn’t linger long until vomit frothed in his throat and he darted out of the room, splashing in a puddle of blood. What he didn’t know to be hers.
He slammed the door and ran- deeper and deeper inside. The imbecile should’ve run away, but that would’ve only benefitted him. He darted through the study, the nesting ground littered with tiny silver larvae. At least he wasn’t one who crushes them. Well, he went from the nest to the ballroom, which still has no use, and the scouts, alongside soldiers and weavers, chased him, hastening and becoming louder. Louder.
But somehow, beneath the noise, he heard it.
A pained, distressed meow. So distorted and disgruntled that he could barely recognise it.
He stopped, prying his eyes and trying to ignore the reeking remains of a paw beside him.
No, not hers. Some old hound, a stray, who’d wondered in trying to steal the food. That story is nowhere near as good as this.
Another meow, strained and lingering, crept through the open door of the conservatory. He must have felt so wise knowing that.
One last time, he called for her, then wrapped his fingers around the door, and peered inside.
A lantern pierced the night leaking through the smeared windows. Shards of broken glass, torn from a window from which bitter air poured, glistened on the floor like teeth. Fluff spewed from the chairs like guts and other delicious snacks. Spiders scuttled towards their target.
Caspian meandered towards the door again, when there was another meow, louder, but still sickly, and Caspian looked down.
Oh, you should have seen his face!
Thousands of weavers danced around the feline in an organised frenzy. String looped around her legs, and slowly, she crept along. It didn’t take them too long to master it, and Anise was prancing across the room, laced in silky death.
Then they saw him. Only a couple at first, but the panic grew and grew and grew like the torturous patter of the soldiers; shells still with blood fresh from Anise herself. Some shot out from drawers, others holes in the furniture, many a gawping wound in the wall. Growing in numbers rapidly, they swarmed around him, and though Caspian clasped the door, they got there first. They wrapped their netting around his arm, and drew out their poison fangs. He tried to fight back, but he only got more tangled. It was hilarious! Thousands of weavers and soldiers descended on the pitiful creature. They blocked his nostrils and pranced across his mouth and…
That was his demise.
They bought me the tongue the following morning, which isn’t exactly fit for a queen- their queen especially– a finger would’ve been more suited, or a whole hand. Yeah, that would’ve ruined the illusion for the weavers. I’ll have to wait until he is rotten and spoilt- but I can’t complain- shouldn’t complain. Human is always tastiest. Oh my, I’ve gotten sidetracked again. Apologies, now, where was I?
Ahh, yes, why I was telling you about that girl, Lunette.
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Charlie CalkinsFeb 2, 2023
super morbid, but also, n i c e. Makes a great short story.
If you wanted any advice? I’d say make it a bit more obvious that the narrator is an “outsider” (Though you did that really well) and draw out Caspian’s death a bit. maybe- “The weavers told me he had been shivering and twitching even after his eyes rolled back into his head,” or “I wish I could’ve experienced the gurgling screams trying to escape his throat firsthand.” But you’ve got good stories! keep writing 🙂
Nay NayFeb 2, 2023
I’m glad you enjoyed!
I do agree about the death scene, I’m not that happy with it and I love your suggestions.