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In darkness, does one remain...


Kevin Kingswell
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"In darkness, does one remain... In darkness, does one remain...In darkness..." the lonely hunched figure continued to repeat the same series of words over and over again. The shape and size of the figure revealed it was clearly a woman, though one who had been starved and left to rot for a long time. She was clad in only a thin shirt and leggings with a ragged blanket wrapped apart her slim frame and she would shiver every time a gust of cold air entered her confinement. 

 

The room she was confined in was a hard, cold stone prison cell with only a steel door and a slim metal grate built into the ceiling marking a difference from the stone walls. How long she had been confined the woman did not know for she had lost count of the days some time ago and as her separation from other human contact had increased she had slowly felt her mind unraveling, So she repeated the series of words that she continued to hold dear to herself in a last desperate attempt to stay sane in some small way.

 

And it had worked, where once she had seen the darkness as an enemy and a threat she now saw it as an ally and fell into its comforting embrace as often as she could. She was currently doing so, murmuring to herself in one corner of her cell when the sound of approaching footsteps echoed from behind the door, this sound was swiftly followed by another of a key being pushed into a lock and turned and finally the metal door keeping her prisoner was opened allowing a ray of light to enter and flood the chamber.

 

The woman hissed and clawed at the walls as if she could dig through them to escape the attention of the light and those that brought it, her efforts though only brought a bout of laughter from her captors and tormentors and she screamed as two pairs of rough and dirty hands grabbed her and pulled her out of her cell. She kicked and screamed the whole way as the two rough men who had seized her dragged her through a long blank stone corridor, up a flight of bare stone steps and into a small but warm chamber.

 

Dumping her in the center of the room in a heap the two men turned and left as quickly as they arrived shutting a large oak door behind them as they did so. The woman did not look up instead she pulled her blanket around herself even tighter and stared at the carpeted floor before her. She did not need to look up for she knew what the room was like having been brought here many times already. A big king size bed with silk sheets rested at the back against one wall, twin bookcases rested either side of her upon the other two walls, two windows opened out into a bright sunny day which promised freedom that she knew to be fake. And against the wall with the bed lay a fire place which was in full fiery bloom and a small table where he waited.

 

The leader of her captors the man was a sick freak of human being, hunchbacked with a sweaty pox marked skin the man had two small beady yes and a crooked nose and a mouth full of broken and rotting teeth. Though he was slightly overweight with fat the man also had a well hidden mass of muscle buried away which would surprise many. He was also very strong as she had personally learnt from her earlier visits and worse of all he was sadistic and cruel, he took much enjoyment from inflicting harm on others.

 

The man stood rising from the stool he had been sitting on and started to walk towards the woman who against her best wishes recoiled very so slightly from him. Her captor saw this and a deep rumbling laugh erupted from his throat as he approached a pair of red hot tongs held in his gloved hands, the tips were a bright red from having sat in the fire for so long and the woman flinched as the sound of sizzling metal drew nearer. She had felt their touch before and clearly would once again. 

 

"No. No again. Never again" she said to herself almost silently and as the man leered at the woman and reached down to brush her cheek with the tip of the tongs. In a blinding flash the woman struck out with one hand striking him across his face, the wet slap of flesh striking flesh loud in her ears the woman leaped up and drove her other hand straight at his upper face. To her immense satisfaction she hit her target, one long finger sliding into the man's right eye and she felt her finger nail pierce his eye ball which ruptured and sent a gush of fluid down her hand. The man let go of the tongs that fell to the floor and grabbed at his eye screaming in pain.

 

As he fell back step by step the woman reached out and grabbed the fallen tongs and before he could even react she had brought them up and punctured his crotch with them. The man's screams built into a screech before falling to a whimper as she withdrew them in a hail of blood, a sudden desire to make her tormentor suffer came over the woman but her senses told her she had not the time to indulge such whims and so she granted him a mercy but stabbing her makeshift weapon into his chest and straight through his heart. A single gasp of breath left his lips before his body fell still and silent.

 

Rising to her full height the woman threw her battered and now bloody blanket over her shoulder like a cloak and stared about the room, she saw a dagger lying discarded on a nearby dress table and walked over to retrieve it. A quick search gave her a sheath for the dagger, a small tinder box and flint and a small but hardy travelling pouch into which the tinder box and flint went. With no more time left the woman turned to leave but stopped short as she caught sight of herself in a body length mirror. She ran her eyes over the bloody and battered reflection before her and it and thus she smiled in quite the grim fashion before she strides across to the oak door.  

 

"In darkness, does one remain" repeated the former Empress Carla Varos of the Russian Empire as she pulled the door handle and opened the heavy door. "Fear the shadows, for they brig death" she whispered as she stepped out with the dagger held ready. Freedom at last lay within her reach. 

 

 

    

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The former Empress pressed her back up against the wall that descended down the spiraling stairway, she had avoided any guards up to this point but she knew it was only a matter of time. Taking a deep breath she pushed off from the wall and ran down the stairs as fast as she could, to her incredible luck she ran into no one as she descended and she truly felt that she could slip away without being seen only to have her hopes dashed as she exited the stairs into what must have been an access corridor. She saw directly in front of her what must have been a servant to her captors for the man, who looked to only be a boy in his teens really was dressed in only slightly better rags than her own. Carla cursed for she knew what she had to do, she just couldn't let him remain alive to report on her escape.

 

With a sigh the former Empress sprang from the last step, her speed from the descent giving her no time to draw her dagger and she crashed into the servant boy knocking him back to strike his head against the stone wall at his rear. She had hoped that it may have proven enough to knock him out cold but alas it did not and so Carla had little choice but to grasp his head tight in her hands and slam it once, twice and then a third time against the hard solid stone wall. On the third strike the boy's cries became silent and his eyes rolled up into his head and a trickle of blood poured out from his nose. Dropping the now motionless body Carla stumbled away only to fall to her knees and retch vomit onto the floor.

 

It was not the act of the killing that caused her to be so ill but it was the awful feeling of personal enjoyment she had felt when she ended the young lad's life. She stared at her shaking hands in part horror and in another part wonder. Further contemplation of her actions were halted as a cry of alarm was heard from above them and a loud shrieking alarm began to ring through out the old castle that had been over taken by her captors. Knowing they must have discovered the body of their fallen leader Carla threw all caution to the wind and took of at a flat run determined to escape she turned back and forth through the various corridors and was soon beginning to think she would never escape when she burst through a wooden door to find herself on a small wooden platform suspended above a rushing river located against the castle.

 

The platform must have been used in the olden times as a means of disposing of rubbish and had been renovated as part of the project that had restored the rest of the castle. In fact that was its current purpose as an old woman stood staring at her off to one side of the platform a bucket containing food and other waste held in her hands. The pair exchanged looks as they each thought on what to do next when the sounds of shouting and running boots came from the door Carla had just entered from. Knowing this was her only chance at freedom Carla steeled herself and jumped from the platform.

 

Down and down she fell, it felt like it would go on forever when in truth the fall only took moments. The sudden crash of hitting the water and the icy coldness of its watery touch stole the breath from the former Empress' lungs. She kicked and flailed as the current pulled her along the river's course but soon her old friend of darkness returned and wrapped her in its black and silent embrace.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

The former Empress Carla Varos sprung up with a cry, the blanket covering her body falling off to hit the floor with a solid thud. Her head throbbed slightly with pain and she put one hand against it in comfort as she looked about the room she was in. The bed she was on was quite simple, a wooden frame and a soft mattress made from some fiber which set it out as clearly being home made in some rural place. The house she was in also appeared to be of rural origin being constructed from timber and other basic building materials, simple windows of dirty glass kept out the rain which she could see and hear thrashing against it. The furniture inside her room was also made of simple and solid wood and she noticed a set of simple peasant garb resting on a wooden chair at a desk by her side. Climbing out of her bed she walked across to it and lifted the garb up revealing that it was in her size and she guessed it was for her. Pulling the garment on and over her body she fitted into it quite snugly and found underneath the chair was a pair of basic but rugged boots which she slid on to her feet.

 

Now properly dressed she made her way to the door that led from her room and pushed it open to find herself in some hallway which was bare of any decoration and only offered one more door across from her and a set of stairs leading down at the other end. Deciding to head downstairs she made her way through the hall and down the stairs to find herself in a fairly open living room which though showing signs of occupation such as seating, a fire place and a table for eating was empty of people. A quick search of the other ground floor rooms revealed more signs of occupation including fresh food of which she ate some to quell her hunger but no signs of the people that should have been living in the home. Pulling the hood of her garments up she opened the front door, finding it unlocked and stepped out onto the street.

 

Here she was met by a fairly morbid sight of an empty rural town built upon mud and awash with filth, the houses lining the street way were built in the same rural manner as the one she had just left though some were built with stone in place of wood. The whole scene seemed over hang with a morbid and dark feeling and she shivered even though it was not particularly cold. Looking up she recoiled in shock as she spied an old corpse hanging from a wooden bar from one of the homes and it was disturbing that this was the only sign of human life or ex-life she had come across. Looking the other way to avoid seeing the body she saw a built up castle in the distance at the end of the town she was in. Guessing and hoping that there may be some sort of life inside she pulled her clothes tight against her body and set off into the streets her feet kicking up water and mud with every step.    

 

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Edited by Kevin Kingswell
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  • 1 month later...

Carla entered the confines of the dark and foreboding castle the twin doors having been left open as if someone had been expecting her, hugging her clothes tight she took one step after another trying to pierce the sheer darkness to see her surroundings. She leaped in fright as the doors slam shut behind her and a loud clanging of a lock told her they wouldn't be opening. Still she ran to them and tried to pull them open to no avail before hammering on them and crying out. Her only reply was a sharp but booming laugh from deeper inside the castle and it followed her as she left the doors and stumbled through the darkness.

 

On and on she stumbled, every window having been perfectly shuttered to stop any light creeping inside, she had passed through room after room by blind chance and luck and so was not expecting this newest room she had entered to be any different. Thus she was unprepared when a blaze of blue light lit the room as a series of torches sprang to life with blue flame to reveal a tall statute of black armour in the center of the stone room. At least she had thought it to be a statue until she saw it was in fact moving slightly, swaying from side to side. In its hands was a long sword which now reflected the light from its blade, Carla was wondering what it all meant when the person lunged at her and she barely threw herself to one side avoiding the blade by inches.

 

As it was Carla was still more than close enough for the armoured man to spin around and slam the pommel of his weapon into the side of her head, lifting her up and throwing her across the room. She flew across the open space and smashed against the opposite wall, lifting a hand she could feel blood flowing from a wound there and she staggered to her feet. She could hear the heavy footsteps of her opponent coming towards her but she had no idea what to do next.

 

Just then something fell down in front of her vision and clanged off the floor, looking down she saw it was some kind of mace. "Fight!" roared the same voice from before from the darkness above and with the armoured man only a few steps away she lunged down for the mace rolled up and brought it across her body just in time to block a heavy over head strike from it. The strike still caused her to stumble backwards but it did also give her room to swing the mace around alas her strike was clumsy and off balance and the weapon merely bounced off the figure's pauldron. 

 

Cursing Carla leaped back to give herself some room and got a better grip on her weapon, the figure didn't immediately follow instead choosing to look up into the darkness and she got the feeling it was both surprised and confused. Not willing to let such an opportunity go to waste she jumped forward, screaming and bringing her mace down for an over head strike of her own. Her enemy tried to bring his own weapon up to block was too slow and she struck him square on with a sickening crunch as her mace smashed and crushed his helm, splattering her face with blood and brain matter. Her enemy's body sank to its knees and collapsed to the floor and Carla leaned on her mace for support.

 

"Good, good!!" laughed the voice from before, "continue on my dear. More awaits". On these words a section of the wall behind her lifted up to reveal a lit passage of steps going upwards. With little choice left to her, Carla swung the mace over her shoulder and began to go and climb those steps towards whatever was left. 

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