I have been writing this creepy horror story for a while now and I hope to write the final part in time for Halloween. This is the next bit.
If you’d like to start reading it from the beginning, here is the first bit:
This story contains the following word prompts:
Jennifer had forgotten that tonight was Halloween until Mrs Ponsomby had mentioned it. For some reason, it gave her quite a jolt, sending a shiver that she felt gradually creep down her spine. The already grim atmosphere in the house seemed to increase. Despite the fact that it was still daylight outside, she got up and turned on the lamp on a nearby table.
The additional light made her feel fractionally better. The bulb flickered and buzzed in its old-fashioned leather lampshade. moth-eaten gold tassels hung around the edge, in keeping with the general shabbiness. Most of the books lining the shelves showed the damage of the years. A damp patch on the ceiling threatened further damage to come, and this was one of the better rooms in the dilapidated old ruinous house. The sooner they tore it down the better, as far as she was concerned.
“Well, just one more night and then the money will all be ours,” she said to herself. She wasn’t by nature a particularly money oriented person but having endured one night in this godforsaken place with another one to come, she felt she’d earned it fair and square.
She did cast a thought briefly over poor Aunt Elizabeth who had also come there to spend the weekend and had disappeared. “Were the screams really hers? What did happen to her?” Jennifer muttered out loud.
Walking back over to the armchair she reached down and picked up the diary from the floor. The book held some kind of compulsive spell over her. The words written in it, words written by her own great-grandfather apparently, revolted her and yet she felt she had to read on. She wanted to believe he’d been some kind of fantasist or fabulist, making stuff up, but she had the unpleasant feeling that it was a true recollection of events. The few things that Aunt Elizabeth had told her about growing up in this house seemed to corroborate a lot of it.
She opened the book and read on from the last macabre entry. It was mostly technical jargon about chemistry and formulae, it seemed that Old Josiah had been experimenting with substances and he seemed to have been dabbling in what appeared to be magic. Not the stuff you read about in children’s stories with Elves and wizards and fairy tale happy endings. This was dark stuff; summonings and sacrifices.
Her eye caught on another entry.
“I couldn’t help myself. I told them again and again, they mustn’t go down to the Cellar after midnight, not ever. Why did Edgar disobey me? There wasn’t anything I could do about it. I had to kill him. I didn’t want to, but promises were made and had to be kept. Martha knew it was me, she wouldn’t look at me, she refused to share my bed. Martha knew, but she’ll take the secret to the grave.”
Chilled to the bone, Jennifer stopped reading and looked up. Aunt Elizabeth was standing there smiling down at her with a fierce look of intensity in her eye.
She cackled in an old ladylike way “I see you’re reading my Father’s journal, my dear. It’s quite a read, isn’t it?”
Jennifer looked stunned at her. She hadn’t heard the door open and they had searched the house thoroughly, where had she come from?
She must have voiced that last bit aloud because Aunt Elizabeth cackled again and answered “Oh, I know all the nooks and crannies of this house. There are hideyholes all over the place, my dear. How are you enjoying that book?”
She smiled and passed her tongue over her lips in a gesture that reminded Jennifer of a reptile. That intense look still burned in her ice blue eyes.
“I can’t say I’m enjoying it at all. It’s rather disgusting actually.”
“I said it before, my dear, You don’t really belong here. You’re not really one of us at all. Not like your brother. He’s much more our kind.”
“Thank you, Aunt, I take that as a compliment. I must say, I was quite worried something had happened to you, like you had fallen down the stairs or even worse, had died.”
“Oh did you? Well, let me tell you, my dear. There are worse things than death”
Aunt Elizabeth changed; she became transparent, her clothes transformed into the type Victorian children would have worn and her hair became a waist length plaited braid. She laughed in a childish and mischievous way and then ran through the bookcase.
James was still exploring the cellar, the cavernous chambers separated by their arches. The lowest part of the cellar was all built from stone. He was no geologist but he thought it was actually granite. He knew that granite was often used for foundations of large buildings because it was so hard. It also sometimes gave off a kind of miasma. That could account for the atmosphere quite well. None of the other chambers contained anything of interest so he walked back to the main room where all the jars and books were.
He picked up the leather-bound copy of Malleus Maleficarum again but running his eye over the words did not help him decipher the Latin text. He knew of the book’s reputation though. Its name meant the Hammer of Witches and it was supposed to teach the way you could defeat evil magic, devil worshippers and that sort of thing. Why was it here? It was a puzzle to him.
He walked over to the shelf on which all the jars were kept. The jars were of different sizes and each contained different organs, lungs, heart, kidneys etc. They also had handwritten labels with names on them. One said ‘Henry’s heart’, another said ‘Sally’s left lung’. As he glanced down, he saw a jar containing a strangely familiar pair of ice blue eyes. The label seemed less discoloured by time and the ink was unfaded. It said ‘Elizabeth’s eyes.’
Then James heard a piercing scream. It was Jennifer.
He turned and ran back up the stairs. It was coming from the Library.
He burst through the door and saw Jennifer standing with her back against the far wall. She was ghostly white but when she saw him, she stopped screaming and collapsed to the floor crying.
He ran to her and pulled her into his arms. She looked up at him and through her tears she said.
“It was Aunt Elizabeth. She’s dead!” she wailed.
James responded “I know. I know.”
End of Part Seven
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 20/October/2018