The marionettes turned and faced me when I entered the room.
I finished the last of the whiskey, set the empty bottle on a chair, and sat down. The raven left my shoulder and perched on the back of a chair. I waited, hands on the butts of the Colts.
The marionettes, seven in all, consisted of a queen, a king, and five nights.
It was the queen who spoke to me.
“You are Duncan Blood,” she stated, her voice young and tinny, as though spoken from deep within the marionette.
“You’ve come to rescue a boy,” she continued, “and to tear this world down?”
I tightened my hold on the Colts.
“I have,” I answered.
All seven marionettes bowed.
“We wish you the best of luck,” the queen told me. “We have been here, overlong.”
“How long?” I asked.
“Before the Gallows god had come to this part of the world,” she replied. “We were from Boston town, the seven of us, and we were taken by a raiding party of Frenchmen. They were turned around and ended up in the Hollow. They took shelter in what they believed was an empty house, and down we went.”
“Why are you marionettes?” I asked, my voice hoarse.
The king laughed. “We were entertaining. So the Keeper told us. She watched as we slew our captors, and so she took us to keep her entertained.”
“And do you?” I inquired.
All seven shook their heads in unison.
“We have not entertained her in decades,” the queen stated. “We speak to one another, but even that can be difficult at times. We have been trapped here, like this, for as long as you have been alive, Duncan Blood.”
“What will happen to you once I destroy this place?”
“That,” the queen answered, “is something we will never know. We ask that you free us now.”
“Cut our strings.”
I sighed and nodded. Getting to my feet, I drew my knife, and I cut each set of strings. The marionettes collapsed to the floor of their theater, and they were silent.
Without a word, I sheathed my knife and the raven, and I went in search of an exit, and the one called ‘Keeper.’
#horror #monsters #supernatural #death