A Horror Tale

A Horror Tale

A Story by Drifter

A vibrant crimson and gold sunset greeted the sky as it watched over Kapitol City. Gently, a cool breeze danced from the nearby Pearl Bay, and seemed to cause the thick air to sparkle. Nocturnal birds and young crickets started to crawl from their daylight shelters to put on an enchanting orchestra. Somewhere in the city, a church bell chimed the hour, before it too faded into the peaceful void of night.

In an elegant brick house that sat in the middle of a quaint, shaded yard, a tall, grizzled man was engaged in acts prohibited by legal mandates. Using a chemical agent mixed with- what he believed to be- the proper dose of psychic extract, Doctor Victor Kane intended to reinsert the spark of life in the corpse of his murdered son, Antony. Determination, bordering on madness, prodded him forward, despite the undeniable and unknowable risks. Buried within the splintered fragments of his proverbial heart was the unwillingness to let go and accept certain realities; this was the fire that kept him from turning back towards safer ground.

A frenzied gleam filled his bloodshot eyes as Victor examined dozens of rare and worthless arcane texts in an attempt to discern the proper starting place. He could not begin the process without the Symbol of Eden, an intricate design rumored to open the gateways to the spirit world. Stolen glances to his nineteen-year-old child’s broken and bloodied form, which still reeked of metallic death, provided sufficient motivation to keep him going. Hours had already passed and weariness begged to entry, but he pressed on and refused to relinquish Antony’s body to the proper authorities.

Tome after tome and volumes of heretical notes that he had gathered from all around the known world yielded nothing, but Victor refused to give up hope. Despair threatened to kick in as the telltale signs of rot became apparent on the boy’s exposed upper torso. Stifling a cry of anguish and the glassy tears it was harbinger to, he renewed his savage quest and prayed for a breakthrough. Pages became smeared with blood as he earned numerous paper cuts; yet, oblivious to his own pain, the mad doctor worked through the night.

“Father, you have to stop!” cried his other son, Dante, as he burst through the sturdy door, sometime later. The boy was a wiry sprite with long, stygian hair and twinkling aqua eyes that seemed as endless as the great Western Ocean. Terror contorted Dante’s handsome face as his gaze shifted between the crazed Victor and the still, lifeless form of his brother. Large, crystal droplets lingered on the rims of his eyes as he wavered in the open doorway. “You can’t do this! It isn’t right!”

“Quiet!” snarled Victor, spinning around to scowl ferociously at his younger son. There was nothing of familial love in his maddened expression as he surveyed Dante with unrepressed contempt. Shock gripped the boy as he looked at the loveless, animal-like expression; it forced him to take a few unsteady steps back into the outer hall. As he did this, Victor said, “I cannot let him remain this way.” His stony gaze softened as he turned from Dante and returned to the frantic search for the symbol. “You must understand. I cannot lose your brother. Not now.” His baritone voice echoed with an empty ring of dismay, smothering Dante in a symphony of sorrow.

“But Father, this is wrong.” Dante came forward, hesitantly, so that he stood just within the disturbing room, by one of the dusty bookcases. The putrid aroma of death and chemicals battered his delicate senses; it had the indistinct hint of copper and lavender. It was not a pleasant scent, but, wiping the salty tears from his face, Dante closed the door behind him; it emitted a sickening thud as it slammed shut.

“Are you staying?” asked Victor, absentmindedly. Dante nodded meekly as he edged by the narrow table where Antony rested; his brother’s arm dangled over the edge and seemed to point towards the cold, concrete floor. Brownish red lines of dried blood snaked down the length of Antony’s arm, leaving crude trails of gore in their wake. Vomit threatened to spill from Dante’s throat, but he fought it back down and moved forward.

“Fine. Wait over there.” Victor motioned towards a cluttered chair that was sitting next to the wall. Dutifully, but filled with fear and doubt, Dante worked his way around tables and stacks of books until he stood in front of the chair. Wordlessly, he unloaded its contents and took a seat, before returning his gaze to his father’s work.

Night wormed its way towards morning as Dante watched his father rage over the fruitless tomes. There was something captivating about Victor’s crazed ravings when he thought he found what he was looking for, only to realize it was not what he wanted; this was a damning fascination that maintained his unfaltering attention. The fog of sleep was held back as Dante watched, but he felt his body grow sluggish after a while. Time passed slowly as he sat, like an unspeaking sentinel, until, finally, the gilded sun started to peek over the distant horizon. It was nearly time for breakfast, when suddenly, Victor shot up from his seat with his fists held high.

“I’ve got it! By the seven gods on high, I’ve got it!”

A wild tear fell from Victor’s cheek as a strange light exploded in Victor’s eyes. Scrambling from the table, he stormed to a nearby worktable, with a journal in his hands, and started to rummage through the various chemicals and ingredients. “I need to- yes, here it is. With a few minor adjustments, I believe I have the correct materials to begin!” Victor looked in the bound, leather journal that rested beside several vials of green and blue substances- some liquid, others not so much- and studied the intricate symbol that would provide the doorway for Antony’s soul to return. “If I’m correct, this will work!” Dante flinched at the childlike jubilance in his father’s voice.

“Father, please don’t do this,” begged the boy as he came to Victor’s side. Reaching out towards the elder Kane’s trembling shoulder, Dante hoped to rouse him from his frenzy, but Victor pulled away, forcibly.

“I cannot give up, Dante. Why don’t you understand?” Victor gripped the edge of the table so tightly that it started to creak and splinter. “It should have been you. It shouldn’t have been Antony.” Immediately, Victor regretted his rash words, but it was too late. Bleary eyed, Dante stumbled backwards into the nearby bookcase, sending some of its contents to the floor; without bothering to pick them up, he turned and fled the room. Victor called out behind him, “I didn’t mean it!” but Dante ignored his words.

As Dante rushed from the room, Victor buried his remorse and went back to work. Quietly, he shoved the tables and clutter towards the edges of the room, freeing a sizeable space in the middle of the floor, and grabbed some chalk from one of the tables’ side drawer. Swiftly, Victor fell to the floor and started to draw the magical Symbol of Eden on the freezing floor. Minutes trickled by, unveiling more of the arcane design with each swoop and circle. Finally, it was finished; Victor clambered back to his feet and wiped the dust from his garments.

He turned back to the table where Antony’s body lay and moved to lift the corpse into his weary arms. In a moment of weakness, as he looked at the bullet holes in Antony’s tattered clothing, Victor nearly changed his mind. Drawing on the iron will that he had utilized since the illogical endeavor began, he pulled Antony against his breast. A hefty lump started to rise up in his throat as he carried Antony to the intricate circle. He gingerly placed his son in its midst, making sure that he did not smudge the chalk, and moved Antony’s body into the fetal position.

Letting his fingers trail over Antony’s pallid cheek, Victor contemplated the intelligence of his brazen decision; he was tampering with God’s domain and there would probably be consequences. Now that his frenzied, the elder Kane wondered whether he was committing an unforgiveable sin against nature. As this thought left his head, Victor immediately shrugged the notion away and rose to his feet so he could continue.

“I will save you from death’s gates. I promise that I shall do what- I shall do what I can.” Methodically, Victor started to combine the appropriate measurements of wormwood with other rare substances of natural and magical origins. A strange, pea-green glow started to emanate from the letters within the symbol. It mingled with a putrid aroma that reminded one of rotten eggs and decaying flesh, mixed with licorice found in the wharf markets, as Victor started reciting the words written in the dusty leather tome.

An ominous hush fell over the room as the unnatural glow’s intensity sharpened and magnified. A heavy blanket of power smothered the thick air as Victor’s recitation became even faster; though he was not about to stop, he noticed that it was becoming more difficult to breathe. Victor’s eyes mimicked saucers as Antony’s fingers started to twitch and curl, but he could not halt. He was at the precipice- the boundary between worlds- and despite his growing terror, Victor knew that to stop would bring greater ruin. So, with a uneasy feeling clawing at his innards, he ignored his own racing fears and continued.

“Father! No!” Having been unwilling to let his irrational parent’s words keep him away, Dante knocked open the door and burst into the room once more. “My God- Father, what have you done?” His gaze fell on something that Victor was not noticing; there were dark shadows floating behind and over the horrible scene, as if some unseen entities were watching a travesty unfold. Faint music seemed to be lingering in the back of his mind as Dante stared at the peculiar shapes; slowly, he realized that they were not shadows of objects in the room, but living beings from a place he did not comprehend. Utilizing what he could from the deep well of courage within himself, Dante ran towards Victor and shouted, “Stop this before it’s too-!”

“No Dante! Stop!” Victor screamed at his surviving son as the tip of Dante’s boot crossed into the glowing circle. As soon as he did this, something changed drastically in the room’s atmosphere; a preternatural force gripped Dante as Antony started to rise. The hovering shadows seemed to smirk wickedly; their intangible shapes shimmered and descended down upon Victor and his children with otherworldly swiftness.

The last thing that Dante saw before his world erupted in a brilliant flash of light was his father reaching out for Antony, who was rising from the floor as the shadowy things engulfed him. A shriek tore from Dante’s lips as the interrupted incantation took a turn for the worse. Something exploded around them and he was lost to a sea of unfathomable pain. Before he faded, he heard his father cry, “By the Gods, what have I done?”

*

A bloodcurdling scream reverberated through the nearby streets of Kapitol City, riling birds from their peaceful roosts. A gentle breeze, blowing in from the water, carried it to the ears of anyone within a two-block radius. In the thunderous moments that followed, Antony Kane exited the house and walked down the winding cobblestone path that led to the street, while horrified onlookers stared; within seconds, he vanished in the gathering crowd. As curious people drew closer to the dark portal that led into the eerily silent house, a strange aroma filled the humid air.

A burly man, on his way from the Kapitol City Merchant Quadrant, stopped just to the right of the yard’s gate. “Smells like death,” he muttered; within moments, he too was gone.

© 2012 Drifter


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very well written. you are a great story teller. i could picture this scene in a black and white film. it's funny that you named the scientist 'victor' as he is frankenstein's first name. great literary allusion. the story is reminiscent of that book, but yours depicts his state of mind. you set the scene with raw emotion. excellent story.

Posted 6 Years Ago


Drifter

6 Years Ago

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is, perhaps, my favorite novel. Certainly, it is up there in the top fi.. read more

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Added on November 27, 2012
Last Updated on November 27, 2012

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Drifter
Drifter

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About
The great joy of writing fiction is that you get to play God and not feel bad when you ruin peoples' lives. In stories, all the things we detest in day-to-day existence is acceptable; we want drama, .. more..

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