Another Story to Tell
Stories are important, as is the medium in which they are told. People like happy stories, or at least, ones that turn out well in the end. This one doesn’t. It can’t. It’s based on reality, which makes it senseless and desolate, running counter to what good stories are made of. People wish to be entertained; they don’t want to be reminded of the harsh exactitude we owe life for being here.
Some like the grit, the broken and maimed characters, the pointlessness of it all. Maybe you do too? That could be why you’re still here, still reading. Yes, a good story will keep you riveted, but so too will the choice of medium the story is presented. Stay awhile, read on….
Cold. So bitter cold, outside and in my bones. The fireplace is ablaze with kindling flames that barely blunt the icy edge of the wind. It becomes even worse when he (the ‘hero’) shoulders the metal bound door open. Tendrils of mist trail you like wayward spirits as the accumulated ice and snow rising high on your hunched shoulders begins to evaporate. I do well to conceal my surprise; I wasn’t expecting you quite yet. That’s alright, I’m still prepared. Here I talk to him, assuring him that I’m not of malicious intent (though I really am).
Yes, come, sit by me. It’s dreadful out there, isn’t it? Had to leave your horse back in the village? I know it’d be nearly impossible to ride through the high passes during such a dreadful blizzard. And nobody thought to accompany along with you? That’s just awful. Of course, the village must know that you’ve been branded now, yes?
Here he sits down heavily, his burdens dropping him onto a small creaky wood stool on the other end of the fireplace. He sheds his great hide cloak, all the while looking at me with morose disgust. He wouldn’t realize, I’d been frightfully beautiful in my youth, back before taking the Covenant.
Don’t be so sad…cheer up! I can help you…(I could, but I won’t, I’m far from being done with you yet).
I stand up, feigning a limp, making myself appear harmless and feeble. I move about the large front room of the cottage, collecting various bits and pieces, lowering the large water filled cauldron by winch over the fire. He doesn’t bother to pay attention to me; he’s lost in his grief. That’s understandable, as he’d just lost his wife and two daughters, and now most likely labeled a heretic of God with that fresh looking mark etched into his forehead. I continue to talk to him as I prepare a meal.
So, I’d have to venture a guess, but it appears that the charm didn’t work? Tsk, tak…maybe this is my fault; maybe I didn’t sufficiently understand what curse or dark magic it is that plagues you and your family. I’d heard what happen to your wife, hmmmm? Such a pity. (I caused it; twas me! That fucking pert cunt with her high tits and long legs. Walking about like she was Bitch Queen of the fucking Pack. Those supple legs didn’t help keep her on the ground, as she swung from the rafters of their manor.)
I guess the stress of losing your girls just…snapped her mind like a rotten branch.
All he does is grunt a reply. I go on, emboldened by his abject lassitude.
Now, that was truly a miserable event. Losing both; and at such a young age too! It’s a pity the servants hadn’t been keeping a closer watch on them at the time. I’m sure you had them flogged for such flagrant ineptitude. (I carried them away on my shoulders, both screaming for mommy and daddy as I trundled through the woods back to my lair. Their tear choked pleas were delicious.
Now, I remember when you and your pretty wife came to me, hoping I could help with you two conceiving. I’m just happy that the spirits allowed you the chance to experience fatherhood (Though you didn’t know, in the least, the pact you entered into by me helping you, now it appearing stark on your forehead for all to witness). I can still see them now, when I midwifed; they were so small and pink…
I began to laugh, stirring meat and broth in the cauldron. At last, I got a rise out of him, as he stood up quick and placed a calloused hand on his sword hilt, a warning growl issuing from his throat.
Now, please, don’t be so distressed. I didn’t mean to conjure such harsh recollections. Here, sit down at the table, eat some supper, as I’m sure you must be ravenous after your trek here. We will see what we can do about that mark, and if we can find your daughters (You’ll see them much sooner than you could hope).
He settled himself at the table, a hangdog look of misery stamped into his features. I could see he didn’t really believe he would ever see his children again. The black lump of vitriol that served as my heart pumped with glee to know what would happen. Oh, the way he so trusted me. If I had more time, I would have enacted a reversal charm to be young and soft again, and fuck and suck the grief out of him. But, the book needed to be completed before the fresh vellum dried out. I needed more ink too.
I set stew and drink before him, then walked to a workbench to begin preparation. I listened to him eat in sullen silence, the clatter of wooden table ware running cadence to his loud chomping, slurping, and shuffling. In time it grew quiet. I had just begun to cut a length of quill when I heard him thump over heavily onto the table. I didn’t quite account for his large bulk; the paralyzing poison took longer than expected.
Now that you’ve had something to eat, are you ready for the fun? Or at least, for my fun? The best part of this particular position is that though you’re unable to move, you’ll still feel everything that’s done to you.
Putting emphasis on this statement, I walked over with the now sharpened quill, gently lifted his head from the stained table, and drove the point through his left eye. He managed a weak gurgle, saliva dripping from his slack mouth as a weak rivulet of blood and tears ran from his ruined eye. It would only cause a little blood loss for him, and a significant amount of fun for me.
Now, do you get it? You stupid fucking prick. I’ve pulled the wool over the heads of your entire family for some time now. I hope you enjoyed your meal; I hope it curdles and festers in your guts!
I slammed his head down on the table, hard. In my delight, I told him all the terrible things I’d done to his family over the years as I stoked the fire and prepared vessels to cook his blood and flesh. The process of transfiguration raw material into fine parchment and ink was a lengthy process that required me to cook body parts into acceptable writing material. I told him these things, and many more, as I capered around the room going about my tasks. I would slowly begin to bleed him, but make sure to bind the openings, to prevent him from bleeding out and prolonging his torment as long as it could go. As hardy and healthy of a man he was, I could tell this would last a long time. Much longer than his little girls.
I told him dark and terrible things, draining blood into receptacles. Of all the extra years I’d bought with the life blood of others. Of how I’d once risen into the Circle of Eight in the Grand Coven, standing next to the throne of the Witch-King himself, until we’d all been persecuted and run out by the hunters. I told him of my passion for books, and recording all the secrets of the world. Most of all, I enjoyed telling the stories of the victims I played; I believed the damned and mutilated deserved their final gasping moments etched in their flesh, with their own blood. We all deserve our stories to be told.
I used to just knock out and tie up my work; over the centuries I’ve perfected the art of alchemy to keep them immobile and alive. In between blood lettings, I propped him up in his chair and made him watch me dance about the room with the flayed skins of his daughters, occasionally mounting him in a fit of passion and humping him with my bony and fleshless naked frame. If only I could somehow just immobilize from the neck down. His screams and tears would have been succulent.
In time, he died, just like they all do. His skin dried well, and his blood didn’t clot at all. I would say I’ve nearly perfected my art. Now, I pen his final moments in this book, one of many, made of a legion of souls. The book that bleeds.
And you, you who have found it, however you’ve come across this dire and cursed tome, know that you’ve been marked. Maybe you’re a scribe translating it word for word, or a child that stumbled across this dusty tanned colored book in a lonely corner of a library. Maybe you stand in the ashes and shattered hearth stones of the cottage where this was bound and penned.
However you’ve come by this, you should run. RUN! You little fuck. Flee, before I find you and strip away your skin, and pour your blood upon the dusty earth.
There’s always another story to tell.