Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Cursed FGC (2012) #10

Luke’s arm slithered across my shoulders slowly. I smiled in the darkness hiding my delighted reaction from the others. Moonlight picked out the ghostly forms of the headstones standing like sentinels along the gleaming white stone pathway.
“Just a bit further. You gotta see this.” I didn’t need to see his face to know he was grinning. My heart hammered as I flushed; my hormones raging, screaming to be set free. 
Every cricket, hoot from an owl and rustle from the trees made the four of us press a little closer to one another.  I felt my heart pick up its pace as the scrunching of our footfalls echoed between the headstones. Deep into the oldest part of the graveyard, silent homes crouched along untrodden cobblestoned paths. Gates into long burnt out eternal flames hung from rusted fittings.
“The street of the richest dead people in the state.” Lukes arms extended forward to present a perfectly maintained avenue of marble and sandstone. “Unlike the tatty ones we passed, each one of these has a crypt.” He bellowed a theatrical evil laugh. 
“Some double date.” Vashali sidled up to me and whispered. “I hate you. You so owe me big time for this.”
I bumped her with my thigh. We smiled at each other and giggled.
A light breeze rustled the long grass behind the mausoleums. Bullfrogs called to each other across the swamp that hugged the edges of the graveyard.
“Now,” continued Luke, “Which one will we visit tonight? So many to choose from; but if you’ll allow me. I have one thats been calling to me for a while.”
“Calling to you?  You freak. I thought the goth girls didn’t do it for you?” Tom took a swig from his beer.
Patting his friend on the arm, Luke laughed. “I’ve come down here a few times and this one place; I dunno, there is something special about it. Wait till you see it. It will call you as well.”
Gently caressing my hand, he pulled me to walk beside him. I ignored his wandering hand as it brushed across my bottom.
We stopped in front of an ornate mausoleum equipped with weeping angels standing guard outside its wooden doors. Luke released me and patted a pocket. He grunted as he fished out a small mag light and shone it under his chin. His charming grin was now an illuminated leer; a mask of horror. Vashali and I shrieked for good measure. Tom spat beer at him. We all laughed uncertainly. 
“Who wants to follow me down and see what treasures the Belvedere’s have been left us?” Luke put a hand on the chains wrapped round the gate and rattled it.
Tom sucked the last from his beer and threw it against the wall of the tomb. “I hear they hid stolen confederate gold in every coffin.”
Shaking her head, Vashali looked at each member in the group. “But people have checked it out, even the family have searched. Everyone knows thats just a story.”
“And everyone of them went mad or plain disappeared after they went down there. Some say its cursed.” Luke drew his hands up dramatically and spun round to strike a pose. “With no Belvedere’s left now to claim the gold, its finders keepers. Who is with me?” He put his hand up to his ear. “Can you hear it calling you?”
A chill ran up my spine as the wind caressed its icy fingers around my bare legs.  “Its just a load of rubbish. No-one’s been down there for years.”
Flicking the lock with his torch, Luke attempted to cock an eyebrow. We stared at the broken links as he pushed the gate open with one finger. “I noticed this the other day. I nearly went down me-self. The gold is waiting for me. Its calling me. But,” He twirled my hair and ran his fingers up my neck, “ I thought I’d like to share the discovery with my closest friends, so I waited till now.”
He threw another torch to Tom. “Ladies first, unless you’re too scared of what might be down there?”
Vashali wrapped her arms round her waist and stared into the dark maw. She looked up at me uncertainly. I pleaded with my eyes for her to follow. Every delicious moment with the towns hottest guy was something I wanted to savour for as long as I could; but I still needed the assurance of my back up girl.  
My breath shortened and I shivered as Luke nibbled the top of an ear. The heat from his body beckoned as his husky voice whispered.  “We might get some alone time down there in the dark. Who knows what might happen?”
I shook and nodded. Tom held his torch at eye height, modelling the position most cop shows have their detectives handle their mag lights. “Lets get rich.” He wrenched the gate wide and strode in through the door. 
Inside, we searched the walls, disappointed to find dried flower arrangements, fragments of ribbon and windswept leaves piled to one side. Luke pushed past us.”There’s nothing up here, idiots. All the coffins are in the crypt downstairs.”
Vashali gripped my outstretched hand. “Remember, you owe me for this.” I squeezed her hand and we giggled as we began our decent. Following the bobbing lights of the boys ahead of us, our laugh was silenced as we wounding down the sweeping staircase. I wondered at the enormous expense building such a monument to the dead might have been.
At the bottom, two lights shone onto a shape on the floor. I stepped on something that snapped and scrunched underneath my weight. I stared at what I’d stood on, ignoring the silence of the two boys ahead. My hand flew to my mouth as I muffled a scream. “I think I just stood on a bone. Are you boys messing with us?”
Vashali kicked it with her foot. “Please don’t tell me its human.”
“Its not a squirrel. Its probably part of this.” I tore my eyes away from the fragments underfoot to gape at the unmistakable outline of a human skeleton sprawled across the passageway. 
Vashali’s legs wobbled as she tumbled against me. “Can we go? I need to get to fresh air. This date has gone far enough.”
Luke shone his torch onto her face. “You want to find your way up those stairs and then through the graveyard by yourself? We’ve got the torches and its pretty dark out there.”
She clung to my shoulder and shook. I felt her tears dampen my shirt.
I stared at the bones. “How did it get down here?  I mean isn’t it supposed to be in a coffin or something?”
Tom shrugged.”Who cares. It can’t do much harm to us laying there.” He held a hand out to a trembling Vashali. “Come on. We are down here now. Lets just look around and then get out of here.”  She shook her head and buried her face into my shoulder. “ I just want to go.”
“Suit yourselves” He waved his torch around the space. Its feeble light failed to reach the other side of the room from where we were standing.
“Shit. Luke, look at this. More bones. How many dead dudes are out of their coffins?”
“Its not funny Tom. We want to go. Please.” I wound my hand round the stair banister, not trusting my own legs to carry me closer to the pile of bones, or to explore the others. Vashali’s fingers dug into my arm. The oppressive darkness of the crypt clung to me, pushing the air out of my lungs. 
 “Holy Shit.” The lights wobbled and bounced from the other side of the room. “You better come and see this.” Tom squinted as he unsuccessful shone his light toward the voice. “What ya got?  Gold?”
He strode over and swore. “You girls going to stay in the dark or come over here?” One of the lights dipped to shine a path for Vashali and I to creep unsteadily towards their excited voices.
Against the wall, a withered body hung at impossible angles from rusted shackles .
Its dry thin arms still bore dark stains where blood had trailed down them. The oversized shackles had dug cruelly into the wrists as the figure had obviously struggled to break free. Her fingernails were torn and the tattered dress she wore was dated. Her head had dropped forward and long stringy tresses hung limply to her waist. 
“What sort of weird shit is this?” Luke flashed his light around the other walls, as we half expected to see more bodies hanging in similar fashions. “Looks like she was tortured and just left to die here. Sick bastards.”
I gasped for air. I could almost hear her screams as she been dragged down the stairs. 
“Look at the scrapes on the floor here.”
I struggled to get air into my lungs as I stared at the scuffle marks in the thick dust leading from the staircase to where the body now hung. She’d  have fought and begged before they left her locked in the darkness. Her moans and screams may have been heard by anyone daring to approach. I dry wretched realising that the night sounds of the swamp would have all but drowned it out. I stared at the withered arms, wondering how long it took for her to starve to death.
“Any of you know who is it?” We shook our heads.  
“Who knows how long she’d even been dead. Look at her dress. Years out of fashion.”
“Trust you to know anything about fashion Tom.”
We stared in silence at the body, unwilling to acknowledge the attempt of humour.
“How long does it take for a body to decompose?”

I shrugged, “Who listened at all in biology?”
“I mean, she still looks ok; apart from being all dried up and dead.”  Luke approached the body and shone his torch to get a better look. A bright glint sparkled at her chest. “See that beautiful necklace she has?  Someone has to know her. If we took that to the police, we’d be able to trace her - tell her family.”
“That she was murdered, tortured? That’s just what her family wants to hear.”
Luke sniffed. “She looks like some goth chick and it was all some sort of sick game that went wrong.”
Tom put a hand on Luke’s shoulder. “Let’s get out of here.  Don’t touch anything; we’ll get the cops to check it out.”
Luke shook it off. “Are you kidding?  That necklace is coming with me.” He stared at me. “My next girlfriend will look great in it.”
He put the torch in his mouth and reached over, picking up the necklace. He gingerly shuffled forward to unclip it from behind the lolling head.
The girls’ head shot up. She opened her mouth and sunk sharp teeth deeply into his neck. Luke jolted and tried to pull away but shuddered and convulsed as the life drained away from him. His torch smashed the ground, the beam cutting off immediately. 
Her eyes looked over his shoulders at us as she allowed him to drop at her feet. 
“Unbind me.” Blood trickled from her mouth.
Our feet were frozen; our bodies paralysed.
“Locks.” I found my voice as I stuttered and pointed to her shackles.  “There are locks. We don’t have a key.”
The female straightened as a blush fluttered across her cheeks. Papery arms began to fill out as her hair curled and glossened. She narrowed her eyes at me. “Unbind me now.” 
My feet stumbled towards her. I reached and pulled at the shackles, expecting them to not to yield.  At the touch of my hand, they both sprang apart easily, releasing the female’s arms.
As I stared with disbelief at the fluid workings of the latch; the female flashed over to Tom and gripped him under the chin. She smiled as she tore at his throat. Blood gushed and drenched the front of her dress. He didn’t have time to shriek before he too, slumped to the floor. His torch clattered to the floor. Its beam highlighting the oozing blood as it crept from under his body.
Vashali screamed as her legs collapsed under her. Her body convulsed and her gurgling cries ceased after the female drank her fill and threw her to the floor.
I pressed my back to the wall as my heart hammered. The woman used a fingertip to stop a trickle of blood from her mouth. Her barefeet whispered across the stone floor toward me.  I squeezed my eyes closed, holding my breath and waited for death.
A cold finger traced its way down my cheek and I was forced to open my eyes. Large dark eyes explored my face. “Thank you for releasing me. Though, you’ll wish you joined your friends.”
She slammed me against the stone wall and kissed me deeply. I felt her tongue explore my mouth as her fangs scratched tantalisingly across my bottom lip. I tasted blood  but felt no pain. I drank deeply as her body melded into mine. My lungs emptied as my heart beat slowed. Icy fingers scraped their way through my body as I arched my back, desperate to be consumed.  
Gentle hands searched my torso and cupped my breasts, squeezing rock hard nipples. They slithered up my arms. The kiss ended and I panted. Heat rushed through my body, dispelling the chill I had felt. She brushed her lips against mine and grasped both wrists, pushing me flat against the wall. 
The shackles clicked as they locked around my wrists. She pushed herself away slowly.
“Cursed as I once was. Like a spider, you must wait for your prey.”  Her hands smoothed my damp fringe. “They’ll come. One or two at a time. Your presence calls them. Your body may wither as mine did, but it deepens the thirst all the more when you get a visitor.” She brushed a tear away from my cheek. “And you must drink. If you let them them take your hand out of that shackle, they become trapped with you. Screaming and drowning in their own vomit beside you.” She unclipped the necklace and fastened it round my neck. “Its not pretty, take it from me. Just hope you get a group like yours was so you feed before you are released. Choose your replacement wisely. She must release you of her own will.” She adjusted the necklace and smiled slowly at me. “Come and find me when you are free. I have a feeling you and I will have alot of fun together.” 
She picked up the torch and snapped it off. “I’ll tidy this mess up so you don’t frighten your replacement off.”
I watched her drag the bodies of my friends into coffins. Her lips suddenly brushed mine. “Don’t be too long.” A dark shadow swept up the staircase.
I was left in the cold comfort of darkness.


This was written in response to Write Anything's Form and Genre Challenge ,  Horror

This was submitted for #10 of FGC. 

Word Count - 2499

This  was also submitted to Friday Flash.


Storm Dweller said...

Oh my god! I love it!

Steve Green said...

Great story, I was just expecting the door to slam shut trapping them in there, so the ending held a great impact for me. Nice work.

Di Eats the Elephant said...

"The Street of the Richest Dead" -- I love it, great line, great story.

Carolyn Wagner-Writer said...

OMG my skin is still crawling and I'm usually unaffected by horror. Beautiful work. :D I'd love to see this story as a film too. Or a novel. Or both. :D

Torggil said...

Nice. I enjoyed that. Try reading Mark of Death posted on my blog, Torrgil's World. Length, 2039 words

John Pender said...

Ooh, good one, Annie!

J. M. Strother said...

Good story, Annie. Could sort of see it coming, but there were some great unexpecteds as well.

Anonymous said...

:) love every bit of it