The Castle – Short Story

They called it a castle. I called it my home. Some called it a dungeon. I called it my own.

 

She trembled as she slowly placed, one bare-foot in front of the other. Her white nightgown was wet with her sweat. The third floor of my home was not hot. She was merely terrified. In her hand she held a candle, her quickened breath caused it to flicker from side to side. She was lost. Her room, I knew she would not find. She would find mine, as so many had before her. As I watched her soft delicate features contort a sudden sense of pride filled my body. I was causing this fear. I wanted her to scream for me. I wanted her to feel pain at my hands. “Tell me who’s in charge”, I would whisper in her pixie ear.

 

I had built my home with extreme care, I don’t mind telling you. I had created a labyrinth, a deadly one at that. The first two floors were solely designed for my own pleasure. The third I rented out to tourists. We had a lot of sites to behold in Chicago. Not that I was partial to any myself, I liked to create my own amusement. This young girl I speak of had rented a room on the third floor the previous day. I had been idle for a while, now was when the fun would begin.

 

There was a sudden knock on my door. I knew it would be her. Opening the door I blew out the candle and pulled her close to me. I had hoped she would scream but her body froze. I caressed her face gently, feeling her breath on my hand. My hands trailed the length of her body, her young and supple body. My own heartbeat grew faster, trying to keep in time with hers and my own aching desire to have her dead, naked body in my arms. Killing her would be easy.

 

Her heart pounded in her chest, each beat echoed through the room. She knew what was coming. It was better this way. True fear made for a much more entertaining demise. Her sweat had turned cold; I could feel it as I slid my hand up her thigh. My hand tightened around her throat. For a moment she tried to fight, her nails clawing at my hand, but it was a pathetic attempt. The scream that left her mouth was riveting, guttural, almost loud enough to be heard. Unfortunately for her, there was no one else on the third floor. Not wanting to kill her just yet I released my hand from her throat. Her body grew limp in my grasp. I kissed her lips and took her into my arms.

 

She lay on the rack, panting. Her naked body, glistening in the light of the candles scattered around the room. You think I am mad don’t you? You think I am a cold blood killer. I am neither and both. Her hands and feet were strapped in tight. I would not begin until her beautiful eyes opened and realised where she was. I wanted to see the realisation, the dread in her eyes. I took a seat beside her. To you, reading this, she might be someone. You might know who she is, heard that she was staying in Chicago. To me, she was a body. A case for a spirit to dwell. Her features were chosen at random, she didn’t have to look like this. It was the luck of the draw. And thus I could change how she looked. Would I do that? At that given moment I did not know for sure.

 

Her eyes flung open with a cough from deep within her chest. She struggled to move. The reality of where she was hadn’t hit her yet. I took a scalpel from the tray and slid it across her chest, gliding it under each breast. The blood poured from the cuts, running down her body, each trickle racing to her navel. Her screams filled the air, like a banshee warning the Irish of an oncoming death, except the oncoming death was hers. If you hadn’t guessed by now, as she had not, this beautiful young girl was strapped to a stretching rack. One turn of the lever and her body straightened. One more and her muscles began to stretch, causing a considerable amount of pain. Her screams did not cease. I continued to turn the lever. Her shoulders pulled away from her chest. I awaited the body rattling sound of her joints dislocating. She was sobbing now. Tears soaked her cheeks. The blood had dried on her body. She begged me to stop, but her begging only encouraged me, satisfied me. I spun the lever, with a jolt the rack extracted and the cartilage in her limbs stretched beyond repair. Her limbs now would be ineffective, the muscles being unable to contract. If you have ever heard a hundred crows screeching at once then you would be prepared for the sounds coming from her. If you have ever heard the screams of a dying woman then you’d be familiar with her cries, as I was.

 

Bored with the rack I retrieved the scalpel once more. I stared at her pretty little face. I slashed her cheeks. The blade sunk deep into the skin below her chin. The sweet scent of blood filled the room.

 

I began to dissect the body. This is what a surgeon did. I was no more than a surgeon performing an autopsy. Her skin, once so soft and tan, slid from her body like a glove. I dare say it, cause of death; multiple stab wounds, and inevitable shock. All that was left now was the tissues and muscles. I lifted her bleeding body from the rack and brought her into an adjacent room. My god was she heavy, for such a fragile looking sprout.

 

In the new room, I placed her on into a large basin. Into the basin, I poured acid. The acid would clean the bones up nicely. A woman’s figure looked best stripped down to the bone. Leaving her sitting in the basin I made my way over to a large cabinet. A carriage was waiting outside. They wished to collect something. A skeleton. The very skeleton of a girl just like the one who sat lifeless in the basin. In death there is sadness, in murder there is money.

 

After reading this account you may very well believe me insane, disgusting, a man without morals. But you have read my tale. You have stayed until the very end. Your eyes have not left the page; your very hand has turned them, seeking the horrid reality of this young woman’s death.

Now good sir, I bid you farewell and good night.

 

 

Leanne Scott

 

 

 

 

 

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