A Call of Vengeance

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Fantasy, Fiction, horror
Tags: , , , ,

This week’s Chuck Wendig Challenge. This is somewhat familiar ground for me. It would probably be considered a tad adult, so the usual warnings will apply. I’m reasonably happy with how this came out all things considered and any day I write 1,000 new words is a good day in my estimation. 

With my blood, I call you
With my tears, I call you
Spirits of death and vengeance
I call you.

Arianne sat cross-legged on the cold concrete floor, the mantra spilling from her lips. Blood dripped from her slashed wrists into the stone bowl before her. Candles flickered fitfully, casting strange shadows on the bare stone walls.

Some thing stirred in the middle of the dark design she’d drawn, a whirling mass of darkness sucking the light to it.

“What calls me?” It wasn’t one voice speaking, but a multitude: sweet as reed flutes, harsh as brass saxophones, all clamor and cacophony. Voices nearly human, and voices so alien as to make Arianne weep.

Still she chanted, and still she bled. She kept her eyes fixed forward as the bowl filled, as she felt herself growing weaker.

“Answer witch,” the voices called. The darkness grew and took shape.

With my blood, I call you
With my tears, I call you
Spirits of death and vengeance
I call you.

“You have called witch, and I am here.” The darkness wore the form of a man, though shadowy and indistinct. Its eyes glowed like candles, and its mouth was a line of fire. “What purpose would you bend me toward?”

Arianne smiled and whispered her desires.

#

Corantin lounged in the oversized armchair, swirling the cognac in his glass as he watched the fire. The wind howled fierce as wolves outside his window, but inside his manse all was warmth and comfort. A small tome, bound in human leather and inked in blood rested on his lap. He traced his fingers lightly over the illuminations, his eyes flitting over the blasphemous incantations it contained.

His sister, Faustine, lay on the couch opposite, her eyes half-lidded, and the pink of her tongue just poking out from between her lips.

“I’m bored, brother. Come to bed with me.” She traced her long fingers along her exposed thigh. “Maybe we should invite the new girl? What was her name? Marie?”

“Can’t. She’s already left us.” He didn’t look up from his book, instead flipping another page.

“What do you mean, ‘she left us?’ I didn’t give permission for her to go. You know how much I enjoy the new ones.”

“Mmm. Yes. Well, I may have been a bit too enthusiastic this morning with her. You know how I can be sister.”

Faustine pouted. “I didn’t get to taste her at all. Very selfish of you, Corantin. You will have to make it up to me.”

Closing his book, Corantin looked up at his sister. “I wasn’t aware I needed to always wait on you, dearest.” He sipped his cognac. “Besides, how many servants have we needed to replace in the past year due to your lack of restraint?”

Faustine snarled at her brother, her teeth growing long and sharp, her eyes slitting like a cat’s. “You go too far, brother.”

“Easy sister. You forget your place.” Corantin smiled as cold crept into his voice.

She glared at him, then lowered her eyes. “Of course, brother. Forgive me.”

The faint tinkling of a bell announced the arrival of a servant. Naked save for a leather collar, the young man’s eyes were lowered, his entire body hunched as if waiting to be struck.

“Does master and mistress require anything of me?”

“Are you coming to bed, brother?” Faustine stood up, stretched her arms up over head, allowing her diaphanous robe to fall partly open.

“No, sister, not yet,” Corantin replied, thumbing the book open to where he’d left off. He held up his glass, studied how much he had left. “I expect to be to bed within a few hours. Do try not to take all of your aggression out on our pet, would you?”

Faustine flashed a fang-filled grin at her brother. “I make no promises,” she said, shedding her robe. She stalked over to her slave, grabbed the leash attached to the collar. “Good night, brother.”

Corantin lost himself in the book, occasionally sipping from his snifter, forcing his eyes to follow the torturous designs, his mind to comprehend the blasphemous instructions. Outside, the weather turned fierce, thunder cracking the sky and lightning flashing against the tree lines. He felt a prickling sensation on the back of his neck, and the fire burned low.

Setting down the book and snifter, he worked some spit into his mouth, barked a few words of magic into the night. Lights blossomed around his head, a bit of minor magic to be sure. The manse was well warded against rival magic, but there was tension in the air of the sort he normally only felt when Faustine was up to some mischief.

A harsh cry split the night, coming from the direction of Faustine’s bedroom. Sprinting, he grabbed an ancestral sword from the wall, one that belonged to his grandfather. Her door was closed, light spilling out from under the crack of the door. He pressed his ear to the door, and could hear sobbing coming from behind it. Pushing it open, his eyes went wide in horror.

Blood. Blood everywhere. On the sheets. On the rug. On the walls. The great window was shattered, glass covering the floor. The slave was cowering in the corner, covered in red. Of Faustine, there was no sign, just a hunk of butchered meat on the bed.

“F-faustine?” Corantin stepped into the room, glass crunching under his feet. “What did you do to my sister?”

The slave looked up, and Corantin recoiled. Where his eyes should have been, twin flames burned. When the slave opened his mouth, fire burst forth.

“No. This cannot be. There were wards. There was protection. How did you get in?”

The spirits of flame and vengeance laughed. “A poetic pattern retains inertia. Drawn lines of chalk dust and bits of bone and feather cannot stand against our calling. A sister’s vengeance, paid for in blood, does not go unheeded.”

The slave lunged across the space, and Coratin brought his sword down. The slave’s arm was severed near the shoulder, but its remaining arm closed around Corantin’s throat, his fingers biting deep. Coratin felt the flames on his face, tried to push away from the slave, but he’d have as much luck bending iron nails.

In a cellar, in the dark, Marie’s sister smiled.

 

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Comments
  1. Very nice use of the phrase. Awesome story.

  2. Mark Baron says:

    Very well done indeed – excellent use of the challenge!

  3. Em J says:

    This is awesome! I’m usually the ghost reader type but I just had to say something. Very creative and well written piece.

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