The North Window

Fiction By Ariel // 11/5/2009

           The events in his life seemed unavoidable; as if nothing in this world could have stopped the things that transpired in the dark night, yet we will never know. I wonder if he ever imagined the terror that he would have to endure forevermore the night that he closed that window and replaced the sword up against the mantelpiece were it had rested for generations. He must have known that thoughts of the past would haunt him forevermore, causing him to seal himself off from the world permanently in hopes that they would never find him. But who can tell? I will never know what thoughts ran through his crazed mind that night or this night. He was much the same as he had been that day, yet so different. He had been a young man on that first night, but on this night, he was an old man.

          I stood in the hall watching his stooped figure pacing about the room. His wasted and decrepit body could barely move, but still he paced, just as he had every night on this date for as many years as I had served him. No one knew exactly why he locked himself away, or why the north window was kept heavily curtain and locked during all seasons. The old man was not poor; he paid us generously and the rooms were furnished with exquisite tapestries and rare works of art, but he insisted on starving himself and wearing the thread barest of clothes. The long linen shirt that he wore this evening hung on his thin frame and the raveled sleeves flapped as he paced.

          A crash of thunder sounded outside. From my post in the hallway I could see a flash of lightning reaching its twisted fingers down to the earth.  The hall clock struck eleven and the old man’s pacing ceased. I expected him to go to his great armchair in front of the fire and lower himself slowly into as he had every other year, but tonight was different. He turned to me and spoke with a voice rusty from want of use; he nodded his head at the north window,

          “Open the window; I want to look out,” I crossed obediently, but something in his voice had made me uneasy. When the window finally swung open after its long disuse, I leaned forward to part the thin sheer that hung over it. A shout came from behind me and I pressed up against the frame of the window. The old man came rushing at me, the heirloom sword in his hand and a look of terror on his face, “Stand back!” he shrieked.

          A bolt of lightening skittered across the sky behind him, followed by a terrific clap of thunder. A great draft blew along the hallway we stood by, blowing the drapes and snuffing out the small fire; the room was plunged into absolute blackness. I heard the old man’s terrified breathing beside me and I envisioned his twisted hands, clutching the ancient weapon. There was something about that black room that made my skin crawl; I was suddenly overcome by the feeling that I was being dragged down, deeper and deeper into the earth. I fought the urge to scream and pressed my face into the silken curtain next to me.

          The room was lit up by a bolt of lightening and I glimpsed the old man standing near me, the rain running off his bony shoulders. The sheer drapery that I was clutching between my hands moved and I sprang back in terror, knocking a vase to the ground with a crash. Simultaneously, a crack of lightening lit up the room and the curtain fell to the ground. Silence reined again for a long moment, but I shrank back against the wall at the sight of what was happening in the middle of the room.

          A pale blue light appeared in the fallen window covering. It illumined the man’s emanciated face and cast ghoulish shadows on the walls of the room. The curtain moved and began to rise. I saw the old man fall to his knees with the window open behind him and the lightening streaking across its emptiness. The curtain of the north window was no longer a household object, but the figure of a young woman. Her loose dark hair spilled over her shoulders and her face was tight with pain. Her dress was pure white with a sash of red. It was only when she spoke that I realized the sash was blood. The blue light illuminated her face and the picture behind her; my mind began to lose its grip on reality when I realized who it was that I imagined stood in the room -- the young wife of my master, brutally murdered on this very night, more than sixty years before. Her body had been found in the flowerbeds below the north window the morning after. Her voice came into the room –distant and pain filled. I couldn’t make out what it was that she said, but my master let out a scream of rage, or terror…I wasn’t sure which. The thin blue hand gestured at the sword in his hand and then and the window. I could hear my heart beating in my ears and my hands were icy.

          The apparition moved closer and closer to the old man. He shrieked once again and lifted the sword above his head. His dead wife moved closer and I saw that her hands were covered in blood. Her lips were still moving, but now his were as well. He screamed and plunged the sword into her transparent body,

          “How long must this agony last?!” the curtain melted to the floor and the room was once more dark. A flash of lightening lit it up momentarily; the old man was lowering himself into his chair. The curtain lay on the floor unmoving, a bright stain of red in its center. The room plunged again into utter blackness and I lost all consciousness.

          I awoke in my room in the servant’s wing. Not even stopping to dress I ran to the north parlor. The north window was once again locked and the curtains drawn over it. The stain of blood that I expected to see on the floor was nowhere to be found. My master lay sleeping in his great chair with the sword clutched in his hand. When I went to touch his shoulder, I found that he was cold and stiff. The doctor pronounced it a case of malnutrition resuslting in heart failure. I will never know if the events that I witnessed were merely a fantasy that I had imagined or if they really did transpire. The north window now stands open, but I can never pass it without shuddering at the memory of that awful night. The family sword rests in its proper place on the mantelpiece with the picture of Mrs. Evreux staring down at it, her long, dark hair flowing around her white shoulders and the red sash at her waist.

Comments

Creepy!!!! This was so vivid,

Creepy!!!! This was so vivid, I could see everything happening. *shivers*. Well done, OFG!

Heather | Wed, 11/11/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

:)

Thanks! We studied Poe recently...can you tell? ;)

Ariel | Wed, 11/11/2009

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

 Yes, I can tell!

 Yes, I can tell!  *shivers*

And this was very good, in a creepy, Poe-ish way.

Mary | Thu, 11/12/2009

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

WHOA... That was incredible. 

WHOA...
That was incredible.  It's like mystery story, almost.

Bridget | Thu, 11/12/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Spooky, my dear, spooky

This reminded me of 'The Beating Heart' or whatever that Poe story is. It's the only one I ever liked, really. Excellent!

Laura Elizabeth | Fri, 11/13/2009

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The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

;)

"quoth the raven nevermore..." Poe is awesome!

Thank you for all the comments!

Laura -- was it the "Tell-tale Heart" ?. That's actually the one that we had to read before writing this :)

Bridget -- A mystery indeed...but what was the mystery? MWahahahaha..

Question for everyone -- when you read this what did you think was the reason the old man acted like he did? I had a definite idea for what he was hiding in his past, but nobody else in my family seemed to get it.

Ariel | Fri, 11/13/2009

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

I think he murdered her. 

I think he murdered her.  Otherwise he wouldn't be so scared.

Bridget | Fri, 11/13/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

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