Centurion, Part 2

welcome, fans of horror and fright. halloween is coming and these terrifying tales are sure to get you in the spooky spirit.

< Part 1 Part 3 >

If the exterior façade was an assimilation into modernity and the cobbled floorplan a series of evolutionary leaps, the attic was the primordial nexus of our home. Whatever the house was outside this room, the attic was its true form, and it was both ancient and unnerving.

Stepping inside, my blood chilled. My bones ached. My brain tingled, but the sparks that arced between thought had been doused. I actually checked my own pulse, and waited an unsettlingly long time to sense a beat. As numb as I felt, however, the room felt very alive, very aware.

Dozens of symmetrical, stone pillars shimmering with luminescent ooze rose to a central dome, a dome I was confident did not exist from the outside view of the house. Torches puffing smoke and sulfuric odours encircled a dais below the room’s centre. The fires swelled in time as if a giant spirit loomed overhead, breathing in the flame.

On the raised platform were miniature, stone-like statues, each a creature not found in nature, each more menacing than the last. They had too many arms, too many teeth and talons, too many eyes, and all of them watched me. The vile figures were immobile, but still I knew they were watching.

I stared at them for a long time, forgetting the storm and the strange cat and the disjointed house beneath me. I forgot about my kids, my husband, my sense of self. The stoic, demonic carvings were everything, and I belonged to them. Everything went dark.

“Mum?”

It was Jennifer that brought me back from wherever my mind had ventured, her little voice and the tug of her tiny fist on my sleeve. I turned to her, not recognizing her in those first returning moments.

“Where did these dolls come from?” she asked.

It was then I felt the weight of the thing in my hand. Somehow I had moved to the dais and lifted one of the statues from its perch. The ring of dark rock where it had rested was sunken and discolored, a vein of pulsing liquid trailing through like an infected wound. My breath shuddered as I carefully returned the monstrous totem to its shrine, only…

“I moved the others like you told me,” said Jennifer.

Three of the other statues were missing, the places where they had rested clearly marked, the outlines of their chiseled bases pressed like stamps in the decaying stone. Panic gripped me. I didn’t know what these objects were, but the importance of their placement in this room seemed evident. They were not meant to leave this place.

I turned to her, squeezing her by the shoulders. “I did not tell you to move them!”

“You did!” She squirmed, her eyes already watering.

“Where? Where did you move them?”

“Well…”

“Well, what?” Shadows closed in, narrowing my vision. I felt heat radiate through my skull.

“You said to throw them outside, but the cat blocked the door. She growled at me too, or whatever that cat noise is called, so I…”

I shook her. “You what?”

“Mum, you’re hurting me.”

I was hurting her. I could feel my fingers pressing into my daughter’s arms. I felt anger like I’d never felt before, but I knew it wasn’t my anger coming through. I loosened my grip and took her by the hand instead.

“I’m sorry, love. Let’s not stay here.”

With the attic door shut, it’s broken lock looped through the latch, I already felt more at ease, but the totems had been disturbed and their invigorated evil was permeating around us. Jennifer, however, seemed unphased by the events.

“I’m not sure I like that cat, Mum. I think it has rabies or something.”

Calmly, I asked her again. “Where did you move them?”

“Into one of the rooms.”

“Which room?”

“Well, that’s the thing… I don’t remember.”

To be continued …

< Part 1 Part 3 >

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