Tempted by the Light

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


She can hide from life in the old cemetery but not from the light of the sun.

Submitted: February 22, 2018

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Submitted: February 22, 2018

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“Where have you been?”  His question reverberated in the young woman’s ears with the sting of an accusation.

“Nowhere,” she said, too quickly to sound nonchalant.  “Walking, that’s all.”  She paused, wetted her lips with a nervous flick of her tongue and frowned.  For a moment she listened to the steady drip of water echoing from beyond the feeble circle of light.  “Anyway, what difference does it make where I’ve been?”

“You’re unhappy.”  The guttering candle highlighted the sharpness of his teeth.

“No,” she said, well aware that he would sense her lie.

“I’m going to release you.”

“I’m not a prisoner,” she protested.

“You’re a prisoner of your fears.”  She felt the tips of his cold, hard fingers glide up the smooth skin of her arm.  “It’s time you left this place.”

“Please ...”  Hot salty tears welled up in the corners of her glittering emerald eyes.  “I can’t.”  She raised a small, perfectly formed, hand to her face and wiped the tears away.

“Yes you can,” he said, his words scurrying into her brain like marauding fire ants, “and you must.  I know where you go to when you’re away from me.  You stand in the light.”

“No!”  She pushed him away.  Pushed harder than she’d ever done before.  “Have you been spying on me?”  She scowled at him darkly.  “You’ve been following me, haven’t you?”

“It’s true,” he said, his head sinking to his leathery chest.

“Why?”  She stepped back, her bare feet insensitive to the cold of the stone floor.  “why can’t you trust me?”  It felt good to be angry; it affirmed that she was still alive.

“I needed to know what was making you sad,” he replied, his voice hardly more than a whisper.  “Please forgive me.”

“It’s just a phase, something I’m going through.  It will pass,” she said, the anger of a moment ago retreating before his discomfort.

He shook his head.  “It’s only natural that you yearn for the light.  Darkness is for the dead, not the living.”  He stepped forward and grasped her shoulders firmly with his wizened hands.  “Bone doesn’t care whether it’s light or dark but flesh does.”  She stifled a sob as she pushed him away again.  Then, with an urgency she hadn’t felt for years, she turned and ran from him.

With practiced ease she ducked down and scrambled through the hole in the stone wall of the crypt.  Her feet, with their splayed toes and broken nails, grasped at the slippery earth of the tunnel as it snaked between the twisted roots of the cemetery trees.  It didn’t matter that her eyes couldn’t penetrate the inky blackness because she navigated by touch alone.  Her hands slid knowingly over the undulations of the meandering burrow, recognising each bump and hollow, each crevice and shard of stone.  The air, cold and moisture laden from the winter rains, was tainted with a pungent mix of sour, earthy odours and the stench of human putrefaction.

With a heaving chest she wriggled through a narrow opening into a dusty vault and fell to her knees on its polished stone flags.  Dimly visible in the crepuscular light, moldering coffins occupied niches in the vault’s damp-stained walls.  As her panting subsided she raised her head, brushed the tangled veil of golden hair from her eyes and looked towards the mottled bronze of the massive door and the fanlight above it.  With a smile she stood and padded into the pallid shaft of sunlight that struggled through the grimy glass.  With a purr of delight she let the cool light play across the seductive contours of her naked body as if she was taking a shower.

He came, as she knew he would, and nuzzled beside her, his parchment-like skin crackling as he moved.  She let the cold fingers of his hand curl about the lithe curve of her hip and breathed in the musty fetor of his body.  With an appreciative sigh she rested her head against the abrasive solidity of his shoulder and closed her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his words breaking the silence like gently falling spring rain.  “Of course you can stay if you want to.”

“No.” She shook her head sadly.  “You’re right, I’ve been here too long.”  She gazed into the opal milkiness of his eyes.  “I wonder if anybody still remembers me?”

“No one could ever forget you, my lovely,” he murmured, quietly stroking her skin.



It was autumn when she returned to the old cemetery that squatted, like a beetle, on the eastern flank of the city.  Heedless of the harm she was doing to the green leather of her shoes, she scuffed her feet through the sodden mulch of leaves disfiguring the grass.  Her hair had been tamed, her nails were buffed and the beautiful oval of her face was rouged.  Stopping before a crumbling tomb, she licked her carmine lips nervously with the sinuous tip of her pink tongue as she wondered how he would receive her.  For a full minute she stared at the gap where a stone block had become dislodged and now lay on its side.  Over twenty years ago she’d forced her way through that impossibly small opening in her bid to escape from the man who’d controlled her.  He was dead now, knifed in a dark alley by an unknown assailant, but others would soon be looking for her.

She sucked the dripping air deep into her lungs and exhaled slowly.  It was now or never.  She glanced furtively about, saw no one and dropped to her knees.  The blue cloth of her skin-tight jeans darkened as it soaked up the morning dew.  With growing determination she began to wriggle into the claustrophobic darkness.  Its rank odour, filling her nostrils and clogging her lungs, set her coughing.  Tears streamed down her cheeks.  She ignored both as she forced her way in.  Then the cloth of her thin white jacket snagged on the jagged edge of a stone block.  With an exasperated grunt she tugged at the jacket.  There was a sharp tearing sound as the material ripped.  It didn’t matter.  Triumphantly she slid into the interior of the tomb and lay still.  For a few seconds she didn’t move, then she began to scrabble frantically at the mildewed earth in a desperate search for the hidden entrance to the labyrinth of tunnels below.

Finding the hole she thrust her arms into it, inserted her head and wormed her slender body into the oozing ground.  Fighting back her fears she slithered her way down until she felt herself falling into a void.  With a muttered curse she stood and bumped her head against the tunnel roof.  Stooping, she caressed the tunnel walls with her hands.  Old memories, telling her which way to go, filled her mind.  Without lingering she headed towards the intersection that would lead her to the stone crypt, and him.

 

It had been a month since she’d returned and now her screams were engulfing the shocked ghoul like molten lava.  Wave after wave of pain dashed against his preternaturally acute ears as he raced down the narrow tunnels.  He found her in the vault with the fanlight above the door, the dank space reeking with the coppery smell of fresh blood.  She was stood, trembling, in a shaft of silvery moonlight.  What remained of her clothing she’d ripped from her lissom body and flung around the sepulchre in a wild orgy of abandon.

“What’s wrong?” he shouted.

She turned and faced him, crimson tears staining her cheeks.  Through her gaping mouth an inarticulate keening pulsed and died.  She held out the tightly clenched fist of her left hand and staggered toward him.

“I had to kill temptation,” she gasped, drawing a shuddering breath into her swelling chest.  Slowly she uncurled her blooded fingers to reveal two glistening orbs, side by side, in the palm of her hand.  For a moment he didn’t recognise what they were.  Then, in a vertiginous instant, he realised that they were her eyes.

“What have you done?” he screamed, his voice raw.

“Without them I can stay here, content, in the darkness, forever,” she replied.  She twisted her face into a ghastly smile and tilted her hand.  He watched, grimly fascinated, as her eyeballs rolled from her palm and fell to the floor with a plop.  “The light will never tempt me again.”

“You silly little fool,” he mouthed, stepping close and encircling her with his arms.  He shuddered as he felt the violence of her pain course through him like an electric charge.  She rested her head against his chin and slowly her sobs subsided.  The guilty realisation that he was secretly glad she’d committed herself to her subterranean existence he kept to himself.


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