Behind The Maiden

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The House of Macabre
Back in the days of the 14th century, people were accused of witchcraft by false claims and died innocently or were tortured to confess to their crimes. This story takes you back in time to that era and relive the experience with the character who was put eventually Behind The Maiden after days of torture.

Submitted: August 15, 2017

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Submitted: August 15, 2017

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'The Maiden' we called her. This was the name given to her by the peasants in Farné, a village that laid on the outer boundaries of France with a medium sized castle resting on the highest hill. For every villager knew of her dirty deeds she did for the king. Her steel stature was strong and deadly, and all the women and men knew that life ended with her if you were taken by the king’s Royal Guard. As for the kids, talk about her never arose in conversation, at least not until they reached the age of maturity. The king made her to be evil and damned that now I’m the one she is punishing.

It all started by lies in the village when we first heard about witches and warlocks committing practice of witchcraft. With little faith I had, even though I still went to church, I had no belief in it. The village grew with disease and death leaving animals, crops, and people to wither and die. It soon became infested with swarms of flies and maggots that fed upon the dead. No burial was held for the deceased, but their rotting bodies were thrown in the river that ran across the village, sweeping them away from whatever humanity was left in the village. People started accusing their neighbors and friends to rid of the decay and fatalities. I was a single man during all this living in a small cottage on the village’s outskirts. I was a medicine man who made herbal remedies for the sick in the community and they always worked to perfection, but I was also devoted to the science of it. I studied all the healing powers the wild plants possessed, making different medicines for different sicknesses. It all changed when they came.

It was four days ago when they came on a sunny day when the sun is at its peak in the sky, and around me sweet sounds of chirping from birds echoed bringing delight into the cottage. Then the rumbling of the door came. It sounded of thunder first, but when they tore down the door and three men from the Royal Guard came in pinning me to the wall in the dining room, I knew that it wasn’t. My head was slammed against the wall and a gush of blood entered my mouth and rushed down my throat. I felt the cooling of metal wrap around my ankles and wrist, and heard the jingle of chain as they placed shackles on me. My mind was now flooded with confusion. I was forced off the wall and spun around to meet the eyes of the knight in charge. He was a middle-aged stocky man, with a shaggy beard and short hair upon his head that were both black in color.

“By order of the majesty, you are hereby under arrest for the crimes of practicing the use of witchcraft.” He said placing his hands behind his back.

“But I have done no such practice. Please sir you have……” I was punched in the face by the metal surrounding his right hand before I could finish the sentence, now spilling more blood in my mouth.

“You will shut your mouth you filthy peasant or I will shut it for you. You do not have the right to speak at this hour. Do you understand that.” He came within six inches of me and from there I could see the fire in his eyes. I could see his soul burning in the depths of Hell through his eyes. “Your God has abandoned you.”

I was shoved forward by two men of the guard out of my cottage and was forced to walk towards the sickened village. I looked behind me as I was still walking and watched four men set fire to my home. I could hear the crackling of the wood that held it together and watched it all burn to the ground. All my work and studies were now becoming piles of ash. As we walked through the village I saw people of all ages in there weathered clothing, roaming the grounds desperately hungry, but with the scarce of food they were becoming skin and bone. I also witnessed the sight of a bloated man lying dead on the ground outside of what used to be a meat market. His skin was swelled to the point of exploding, but did not. Two scrawny men with great effort picked the dead carcass up and carried it to the river that ran a quarter of a mile behind the market. “The Lord works in mysterious ways” the priest would say at church, but I didn’t know if this was his doing or not. Was it a punishment delivered by God or just some unexplainable phenomenon? All remained unanswered.

We reached the wooden gates of the castle and waited for their opening. Inside I saw women and men dressed in fashion pacing the court-yard. Their clothes sparkled in the sunlight as they moved, revealing beauty at its finest; a fortune most likely for these speechless garments. Beauty laid inside this place, hiding itself behind closed gates while the ugly rested on the outside. In the middle of the court-yard sat a circular stony stage with a small wooden pole stuck out at its center with chains dangling to its side. It was haunting and made my skin crawl. We walked through the main threshold, strolling on the red carpet that was rolled out on the marble floors. Finally we approached a plump man sitting in a golden chair, his clothes too were of great fashion, but with more beauty embroidered and stitched into it.  Upon the bottom of the steps that lead to the godly man’s chair, I was shoved to the ground, forced to be on my knees. The Royal Guard knelt to theirs in honor to the great man, and rose to their feet leaving me on the ground.

“Your majesty”, the head knight began, “we have arrested yet another who takes part in these practices of witchcraft.”

“How do you plead you revolting peasant?” The king asked in a deep voice.

“Not guilty. I have done no such thing to what these people claim I did. These men amongst many others are liars.” I confessed but no reaction came upon the king’s face.

“You expect me to believe that these people are falsely accusing you peasant. You are nothing to me besides another person who lies outside my castle doors begging for food and water. So how can I believe one like you?” The king hissed with great hatred.

“Majesty I beg you to let me go.”

“Silence you filth. Confess or die.” He replied.

“I have done no witchcraft.” I told him.

“Then see to it that you will spend days of being tortured until you confess. If not, then The Maiden will have you. Any final words?” He asked. I held my tongue not speaking a word to lies. I was then taken to the dungeon where I was chained to the wall with hay spread out on the floor and a small window to look out to see the world. Within it I saw dried rat droppings and half eaten rats. Their blood dried to the hay with limbs and tails from their bodies missing. The smell of death and dried urine filled the room, engrossing my sense of smell. This is where I laid for the four days of my torture.

The first day came upon me and I was shown to the stocks out in the public area of the court-yard. My neck and wrists held down by a single panel of wood that was locked, keeping me in place. The poor and the rich looked upon me in disgust and threw rotten vegetables and small stones at me, even the children joined in with their parents cheering on them. One of the stones a small rich boy threw clipped my left eyebrow and a river of blood exited the wound and ran down my face. My face was covered in the smell of decay and dried blood by the time they shoved me back into my prison room. At the end of the day I stayed in silence, refusing to confess; so the torture continued.

The second day arrived with the sunlight hitting me square in the face through the little window. The guard came in and unchained me from the wall and started pushing me out from the room. I was brought out to the slab of stone that rested in the center. The shackles there were placed on my wrists and clamps strapped my ankles to the ground. People started to surround me, yelling and cheering in sinister laughter. A loud crack echoed in my ear as the sound came to life behind me. It was the sound of a whip. Two me from both sides of where I was put, tore open the back of my top exposing the flesh of my back. As the cheering grew stronger the first lash slapped across my back and the crowd loved the sight, even the children that stood next to their parents. The crowd got quiet and when the second one landed, the crowd roared to life. Off and on they went as each lashing ruined my skin and blood started pouring down my back. Sweat started to join in mixing with the blood and when the salt, whatever little there was in my sweat, touched the wounds, a little strike of pain shot up my back. Blood painted the ground as it ran down my back and thighs, and fell off at the knees spreading a puddle on each side. My back grew numb as the lashings came to an end at midday, and I was taken from the pole marching back to the dungeon. They threw me to the ground where I rested with my blood now mixing with the rat dung and blood in the hay, but when the king came in to see me, not a word was said. That night I asked God to take me, but he didn’t show. I knew the pain wasn’t over, for the drop of confession wasn’t spilt.

Then day three snuck into existence. I was still lying on the floor with the wounds from the whip now entering their healing state. The guard came in and dragged me from off the floor and stood me to my feet. My top hung like a skirt with splotches of blood on it. We exited the room and entered the room across it where a table with gears, rope, and a wheel were at each end of it. They lifted me to the table laying me down on the sore wounds that lied on my back and placed my hands and feet through the holes of the rope, tightening them. The king walked in and starred down upon me with no pity reflecting in his eyes.

“Do you confess?” He asked. Not a word exited my mouth and with a flick of his hand the man who dragged me in here turned the wheel at my feet stretching my legs. I screamed at the top of my lungs as the pain revealed itself.

“Do you confess?” He asked again. Still no answer and the order was called again. The man turned once more with the ropes pulling even stronger now and I felt the joints pop as it was stretched.

“DO YOU CONFESS?” The king asked again raising his voice. Again I didn’t reply and round three happened. This time my left leg was tugged out of the socket and the scream bounced off the walls as it echoed in the room, but no one cared. He kept asking and asking but no syllable came out of my mouth. After one last turn of the wheel at my legs, the man then came up to the wheel with the ropes that tied my arms in place. Four turns of the wheel was executed and the pulling made both arms pop out of place, but the false confession still resided within me. After the king new there was chance of me confessing he ordered the men to untie me.

“Have it your way then you filth. By this time tomorrow, The Maiden will have you.” He said.

“Tu brûleras en enfer.” The final words retreated from my mouth and were sent to the king. His eyes grew in distaste and he ordered the men to put me back in the room I came from. I lied on the floor once again now feeling the agonizing pain that traveled throughout my body. My leg laid displaced on the ground while my arms lied backwards. I rested in the light of the Moon while sleep took over.

The final hour passed of day three and on the morning of day four they took me out of the room, and carried me to the far right side of the castle where The Maiden waited for my appearance. She stood in the darkness of an empty room greeting me with a smile. No hello from me was said back. She greeted me with open arms and took me in covering me with her metallic clothing. Now I sit in the bowels of The Maiden waiting for the approach of my death. She held my eyes as her own and my body as the organs and blood of her insides. Her spikes penetrated my flesh spilling the blood from me where it rushed out from the crack at the bottom of her. I have been here for a couple of hours or more, and now the darkness was now coming to blind me. The last thing I saw was at the bottom of the door where shadows walked pass leaving me, Behind The Maiden.


© Copyright 2017 Reaper. All rights reserved.

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