Friday, August 04, 2006
Scarevella - Chapter 3
The mission: 1000 words, or not to exceed, taking the current fiction project forward.
The genre: Horror.

Chapter One, Resurrection, by the very talented Christina, was decidedly chilling.
Chapter Two, Death Tolls, by Lolly, introduced a few new characters and gave me plenty to work with. Next week, That 1 Guy will follow up my chapter and the finale will be brought home by Amelie.

I want you to know that I have never before written something for this genre and I am a bit...nervous about it. I actually had Christina read the first draft to make sure I wasn't way off track. My sincerest apologies to all if I have disappointed, but mostly to those who come behind me. I hope there is something you can do with what I've left you.

And now, without further ado, I humbly present Chapter 3:


Unnatural


Jeffrey braced himself against the wind in the pitch black night. No good would come of this errand, he was sure. He hastened quickly onward in spite of the knowledge that evil had a hand in this perfect storm.

The evidence was all around him as he made his way home. The parish priest had been called to New Orleans. The storm had been raging all night and seemed to only keep building. The sky roiled with anger and even the trees, dripping with Spanish moss, seemed to have their own malevolent secrets. There was no comfort to be found. Not even the ever-present sweetness of
Magnolia on the breeze could be found. Instead, the pungent and heady aroma that seemed so welcoming had been replaced by a rotting decaying noisome smell of death. Another ghastly wave blew in with every wild tossing gust of wind. God help him. There was nothing else to be done.

He arrived back at home, tattered, torn, and soaked through from the icy cold rain. The front door banged open like a shot in the wind. Inside, his oldest son Emile was cowering under a blanket, furtively watching Pascal rock. Jeffrey knew a moment of indecision. Should he take both boys?

“Pascal, get your coat. You are coming with me.” His tone brooked no argument or discussion.

The young boy’s head pivoted at his words. Fluidly, he rose to his feet and went to the rack, drawing his coat around him with wildly glazed eyes. Emile continued to cower.

“Emile, there is still a slice of cake in the icebox. Help yourself. We will be home soon.” Emile seemed to relax as Pascal and Papa departed back into the storm.

***

“I knew you would come, Papa.”

“Yes, Pascal. I know you did.”

“I have work this night, don’t I, Papa?”

“Yes, Pascal. Madame LaFleur wants to see you.”

“Yes, I know. I sensed it.” The boys eyes glittered like obsidian, though there were no stars to offer light to glitter by.

“Do you know Mme. LaFleur?”

“Papa, you should not ask questions if you do not want answers. You have held your tongue this long, you can continue. It is not time to pay for your sins…yet.”

“Pascal…”

“I know the way, Papa. Why don’t you go back to mon frère, you wouldn’t want anything to happen to him. Would you?”

Jeffrey Niette had never been comfortable around his second son. The boy was unnatural, knowing things that he couldn’t know, seeing and hearing things he shouldn’t, so it was with a mixture of cowardice and bravery that he stopped in the path and looked at his son. The wind did not touch him, but the boy’s eyes glittered on. “Fine. I will go back. Do not tarry, but make haste. The old woman is in a bad way.”

“Yes, Papa,” the boy answered sing-song, “Tonight it is ma Mère who must pay for her sins…”

But Jeffrey hadn’t heard the final words, absorbed and carried away as they were on the putrid wind.

***

A banging woke Corrine from her fitful rest. She rose to close the loose shutter, but found instead a boy at the door. She crossed herself at the look of him and sent up a prayer under her breath.

“That won’t do you any good now.” The little boy seemed calm in the face of such a storm. It seemed so unnatural to Corrine. “Mme. LaFleur sent for me. Take me to her.”

Corrine exhaled a breath she hadn’t been aware she’d been holding. “Follow me,” she directed, leading him through the long shadows of the parlor and to the back bedroom. She rapped once on the door and Lacy opened it.

“Corrine. Pascal. Where is Papa?”

“He stayed home to take care of Emile. It is a dangerous night, ma Mère.”

“Pascal, Mme. LaFleur wants to see you. Do not upset her, you hear me?”

“Yes, ma Mère.”

Pascal moved into the room, heavy with the scent of death and dark save for the flickering light of the fire. The lamp lay broken on the floor by the bed. Mme. LaFleur’s eyes opened as Pascal approached the bed.

“I am here, Madam.” The boy spoke so quietly it seemed he hadn’t spoken at all.

The old woman came alive at the sound, however, so Lacy and Corinne hadn’t imagined the words. She sat bolt upright in her bed, the sheet falling to her lap. The fire brightened, sending a blaze of light upon the scene. Mme. LaFleur’s arm rose from her side, skeletal with skin hanging. Her finger pointed to the door and her voice menaced.

“Send them away!”

Corrine and Lacy looked to Pascal. His eyes were rolled back in his head and he too was pointing. The stagnant air changed and a wind started to blow from behind the boy.

Corrine didn’t need to think twice. She pulled Lacy back out the door, both of them never taking their eyes from Pascal. Once they had crossed the threshold, the door slammed shut.

The two women stood there, transfixed. Several minutes passed before either of them moved. Lacy watched as the crack under the door showed rapidly shifting shadows. Corrine pulled her away when a keening howl began.

Lacy reached reflexively for her rosary, seeking comfort. She and Corrine were both praying, not knowing when the interminable keening and wind would stop. It seemed to go on forever, the cries getting louder and louder as the whole house shook violently. The shutters banged, the house creaked, and the chandelier swayed overhead on a path of destruction. The firelight
flickered again and then suddenly, it all stopped.

Corrine and Lacy’s eyes were drawn helplessly to the old door of the bedroom. Pascal stood in the opening. The child seemed wild, almost feral, with hair askew and garments tattered. Corrine pulled away in revulsion.

“The old hag has gone. And now, ma Mère, you pay for your sins too.”
posted by Phoenix | 5:38 AM


>4 Comments:

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Christina said...

Amazing!

You carried the story forward seamlessly, Phoenix!!

I bow to you!

Thank, lady.

; )

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Lolly said...

*laughing nervously* This is where I usually turn off the tv and quit watching.....

Well done!

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous t1g said...

I'm still drawing a blank...

This was great, Phoenix!

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger amelie said...

*gulp* you are setting it up briliantly... i just hope i can give it a decent end!

 

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