King Atlas was a bitter and cruel man. The great and almighty God had condemned this lost soul to a life of misery and pure hell for his sin of leading a war against his own God; he was bound to this life that carried more agonising pain that any mortal man could imagine. Atlas had grown a solid heart of stone, which formed him into a bitter and malicious person; he began to take luxury in enjoying other people’s expense and grief, as if it is what he fed off. He dwelled in self-love and worship, he did not care for whom or what he hurt as long as he got what he wanted. Yet, there was something that lay in the back of the loathsome King’s mind, something that even he feared to touch or ponder on. The thought that lay in the King’s mind had been locked away for so long; he seemed to have forgotten all about it. Yet, every night when Atlas retired to his chamber, sleep would take him in its hands and the lonely darkness, that seemed to have become an old friend to the King, swallowed him into its daunting, hollow mouth, the thought would force itself forward and stain his mind with disturbing images of loneliness, death and the thought of never experiencing passion with another. The King would awake in a raging sweat with the gruesome images imprinted on his mind. Yet no matter how much fear pulsed through him, his stone heart never seemed to break.
On a chilling evening, King Atlas paced a dirty and bleak grey corridor of his decaying castle. His arms locked behind his crooked back, he dug filthy, long nails into his yellow looking skin. That morning he awoke, since the images began haunting him, the King had summoned his council to find any young maiden for him to see fit to marry, whether they bring him a girl who had given her heart to another, the King did not care. He would find himself a wife. His red, demon eyes were locked on a plane stone wall, as quick flashes of the images that had tormented him the previous night appeared in his mind’s eye, as each image appeared Atlas winced as if he was being prodded with some form of a sharp instrument. Atlas’ ears pricked up as he heard soft footsteps behind him, a soft sound was a rare occurrence in this now dismal and hellish place. He twisted his body round to face the direction of where the sound was coming from, a small and hunched figure of a man appeared slowly from around a corner, the man was small and delicate with short grey hair pocking out from under a red, satin hat that was perched on his small and bony head. He had watery, beetle like eyes that were darting nervously across the room.
The small man stopped a few metres away from the King, as if scared to move any nearer, he bowed low and spoke, ‘My King’ in a croaky voice that sounded as if he had not spoken in a long time, yet his voice quivered with a slight hint of fear. He resumed a hunched stance, with his small wrinkled hands clasped in a tight lock, shaking. ‘M-my Lord,’ the man stuttered. ‘I have…I have great news, that I assure you will make you –no, will bring you g-great p-p-pleasure and-‘ the man stopped abruptly as King Atlas loomed over him, his eyes turned into threatening slits that pierced into the man like a thousand ice-cold daggers stabbing him. ‘What is it, old man?’ Atlas hissed. The old man flinched at the King’s tone, as if his words were poisonous venom running through his veins. The old man swallowed hard, ‘I have news…’ he looked up reluctantly at the King, a dangerous glare flashed across his repulsive face
‘I have news,’ the old man repeated. ‘Sire, the men have found a woman, a wife, for you’. The old man stopped talking, be bowed again as the King raised a filthy hand to silence him. Atlas stepped towards him as he stood hunched and away from the King. ‘Where is this young woman?’ The Atlas questioned
‘The Great Hall my Lord’
A young girl sat chained to a wooden beam in the centre of the Great Hall. Rusted silver shackles binned her wrists together, the metal was tight around her small wrists, it cut deep into her pale, marble skin ripping small parts of the flesh apart allowing blood to trickle down her hands onto the already murky and blood stained floor. Long and mattered brunette hair dangled across her face, as she bowed her down low. King Atlas stalked into the hall, his long cloak bellowing behind him as he speeded. Atlas prowled up and down in front of the girl, his eyes fell on the young girl glistening with a lustful and unnerving glare; he slowed down till there was only a short distance between the two of them, the girl still remained hunched low, her arms tied limply behind her. Atlas lowered his face so he was level with the girls, ‘Look at me,’ Atlas ordered, yet the girl did not move. Annoyance swept over the King’s face, ‘Look at me,’ Atlas hissed these words through gritted teeth but the same result repeated itself, the young girl remained motionless. ‘LOOK AT ME!’ The King roared, as he did he reached out a claw like hand and wrenched at the girl’s hair and forced her head back so she had no choice but to look at him.
As he pulled her head back, he saw that the young girl was beautiful; she had high and elegant cheek bones, her eyes were a dark and mysterious brown; she had rouged lips and marble, olive coloured skin. She looked up at King Atlas with her large eyes, no fear could be seen in her face instead her lips curled in a state of disgust. ‘That’s better,’ The King sneered. ‘You know why you’re here don’t you? You’re to be my wife’.
The next several months grew to be sheer hell for Catherine; her own father had sold her to what seemed the devil himself for money and a title. She had tried her hardest to bring herself to feel something for the King, not matter how much of a monster he was. Yet her heart remained for another. From this night on, Catherine’s stars had changed course for good, her life was to take on agony and sadness.
King Atlas retired from a day of having to be in the same room as the sick and peasant. Peasants who had begged for an audience with their King, they begged for more money, food and a better physician. Atlas despised these rodents, as he thought of them, if their God was to spare no mercy or compassion for him, then why should he spare any for them> As the King pondered on these thoughts, he turned a corner abruptly to only find hushed voices from behind. The King hovered behind the corner, obviously prying on a conversation that was not supposed to be heard by other ears than the ones involved with the conversation. As he listened more closely he could recognise a female voice, Catherine. She spoke quietly, but with nerves and fear. ‘But Harry, if the King were to find out?’ She whispered. A male voice returned this query, ‘And what if he should, I love you, we will be together, don’t you want that?’
Atlas heard Catherine reply, ‘Of course, but he will…he will have you killed if he finds out, and I, I don’t think I could…’ Her voice trailed off as tears chocked her. Atlas peered round slowly, there he saw Catherine break down in tears, the young man – Harry, he took of Catherine in his arms as he whispered, ‘I would never let him harm you’. At this the young couple came together in a passionate embrace.
The King tore his eyes away from the sight before him, fury took over him. Did that little wrench really believe that she could fool him, the King? For months she had him believe that she loved him. No, she would pay, pay for her insolence!
That morning King Atlas arose with such calmness; the previous night he had planned to take revenge on his, as he thought, sinful and unfaithful wife, Catherine. Yet, he thought to himself, if I were to wake up in a raging mood, then how would one be able perform to their best abilities? As to perform this task, a clear and calm state of mind was needed. He rose from his bed setting aside the torn quilts that were entangled around his body, he pushed them aside and strolled over to his cracked mirror that hung on the wall, he gazed at his own reflection. His eyes were dark red like demon blood with black shadows beneath his eyes, so dark his eyes looked as hollow as the rotting sockets on a decaying corpse. He held a blunt and dirty dagger in his hand, he raised the knife so it was level was his reflection in the mirror. His gaze lingered on the blade as it gleamed in his evil eyes; no emotion entered his face, not even a thought of regret or concern for his present actions. He raised his eye brows with an air of deep thought, ‘This deserves my own talent…’ he spoke this softly and slow, he lowered the dagger, smoothed down his greasy hair and left his chamber.
Atlas entered the Great Hall to where he found a large banquet table placed in the centre of the hall. On the table sat a huge banquet, big enough to feed a kingdom’s hungry army. Atlas had never been one to share food with those who need it more than him such as, the vulnerable or children, instead he indulged in it all himself not caring for others showing another level of his cold and vulgar of his soul. Atlas began filling his face with any food that lay in front of him without a care in the world, as he began eating, Catherine staggered into the hall, and her beautiful face was filled with a day old purple bruise that took over the right hand side of her face matched with a long and bloody cut that slit open her cheek, her red dress was torn and mattered.
A tall guard stood behind Catherine, he held her arm in a tight vice like grip. The King glanced up from the leg of meat he was tearing to pieces; he gave an idle wave towards the Guard who dragged Catherine viciously to the other chair that sat on the opposite side of the table and forced her into it. The King peered at Catherine over the new leg of meat he was devouring to pieces like a hungry pig, now a fleshless bone; Atlas flung the bone to the table and licked his fingers in a repulsive manner as he watched Catherine. ‘Catherine,’ he licked his meat stained lips slowly while he rubbed his hands vulgarly together. He raised himself from his seat and slithered towards her. Once he reached Catherine, he lowered himself to her level and crouched so close to her she could feel his warm and vile breathe against her cheek.
‘I know your secret…’ Atlas hissed this down her ear making her cringe away.
‘I..I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ she whispered in a nervous tone.
‘Don’t lie to me,’ Atlas raised his voice till he was spitting in Catherine’s face, he extended out his claw like hand and grabbed at Catherine’s face forcing her face towards his. They were so close now; Catherine could see every broken vein under the yellow skin of the King. ‘I saw you to together,’ he spat in her face, he dug his putrid nails into her cheeks so hard he drew blood. Once again Atlas licked his lips slowly and intently, ‘Well, if I can’t have your heart, then I’ll take your virtue!’ As he finished speaking these words, he forced his way into the space that had lain between him and Catherine, his grip on her face tightened as he pushed his face against hers.
Atlas tried to push harder against her with his hands digging into Catherine’s shoulders. Catherine raised her hands and dug her own fingers into Atlas’ pushing her away. The King staggered backwards tripping over the edge of his robe; he rubbed his mouth with the back of his hands, a small trickle of blood appearing on his hand. Incredible wrath took over the King’s face, his eyes burnt with such rage and anger. ‘You little VIPER!’ The King spat these words of venom through clenched teeth as he grabbed her. Catherine tore herself from his vice-like grip on her slender arms. Her body twisted away from him, she staggered back and flung herself behind a wooden chair that stood between the two of them. Her long pianist fingers trembled lightly against the head of the chairs; glowing tears slithered down her cheeks.
‘Your lover, Harry, is dead!’ Atlas sneered at Catherine; he began stalking towards her like a Vulture picking its defenceless prey. ‘No! No, you lie!’ She cried these words with such sorrow. ‘I took her his worthless life with my own hands, and now I intend to do the same to you!’ Atlas pounced on Catherine, knocking her to the floor. Atlas’ heavy body pinned her to the ground, as Catherine writhed and shrieked grief stricken crying Harry’s name. Suddenly, Catherine fell silent, only the sound of dry sobs could be heard through the heavy silence that dwelled on The King and Catherine now. ‘Go on then! Kill me! At least I’d have escaped eternal damnation with you, and I would be with the one man I love!’ Catherine moaned.
‘So be it!’ The King spat. ‘Let Luther have your sinful, wretched soul!’ At these words, the King took hold of Catherine’s thin neck and held down till her body twitched and quivered, as the life bled from her - the burning flame in her eyes, dying along with her.