From beyond the door, I heard laughter and the mewling of a cat.
“He is there,” Grimnir said, “in that room, with the Keeper.”
The raven dropped to the floor and peered at me with his one eye. “I will watch over the children, Duncan Blood. Do what must be done.”
I nodded, and without a look back, I opened the door and entered the room.
I was in a narrow breezeway, paneled with dark wood and lit by flames contained within brass lanterns. I heard a violin as I slipped my Bowie knife out of its sheath. The light of the lanterns danced along the edge of the blade, and I advanced quietly.
At the end of the breezeway, I found a heavy, maroon curtain, and I pushed it aside to enter a large room.
The violin stopped as I looked about me.
Johnny Coffin stood by a fireplace, his eyelids sunken and stitched together. Dried blood was caked on his face, and in his hands, he held a violin. He was thin and ragged, and he shivered where he stood.
A few feet away from him, the Keeper sat.
She peered at me with disdain, a cat on her lap. Her lips twitched and then curled up into a wicked grin.
“There is no recognition in your eyes,” she told me, and her voice struck me like a blow. She laughed. “There it is. I was beginning to fear you would never make it.”
“I made it,” I told her, taking a step closer.
“So, you most certainly did,” she smiled. “Few of you come this far. None of you have left this room. Will you not draw your pistols and shoot me down?”
I shook my head and edged closer.
The smile on her face faltered for a moment. “You think a knife enough for me?”
Without a word, I threw myself at her. The cat sprang away, and the young woman tried to launch herself out of the chair.
My knife caught her beneath the sternum, and I drove the blade to the hilt. Slamming her against the wall, she vomited blood over me, laughing as she did so. Twisting the knife, I heard bone break. With blood-stained lips, she smiled.
“What,” she whispered, “no kiss for your mother?”
#horror #monsters #supernatural #death