Mistaken Identity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
In 18th century Britain, a shadow has fallen over the estates of Burkhouse Manor. A survivor of the evil makes his break for freedom through the forest, but not before a familiar sight catches up with him.

Submitted: October 14, 2015

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Submitted: October 14, 2015

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The night air hung heavy as the survivor limped his way through the thick undergrowth of the forest, the fog weaving its way around him and trapping him in its snare. It couldn’t be far now, he must nearly be there, surely. He attempted furtive glances over his shoulder to check if his pursuer, whatever it was, remained close behind him, however, the fog’s shroud prevented any visibility. Stumbling over an upturned root, he tumbled with a thump to the floor, the rustling of the auburn leaves that broke his fall the only sound in the dense, still air. Suddenly, a crisp gust of wind carried a shrill cry across the bare treetops. The survivor’s eyes darted around, squinting, desperate to pierce the fog with his gaze. He crawled backwards on his rough hands, his leg oozing crimson blood onto the rich, loamy soil. Backing up against a tree, he tried to draw deep breaths, gasping for oxygen. Beads of sweat dripped from his brow onto his torn woollen overcoat.

The survivor attempted to gather his thoughts. Only hours ago he had been dining with Lord Ashby in the great hall of Burkhouse Manor. What had started out as a pleasant evening stroll with the Lord’s eligible daughter had quickly taken a terrible turn for the worse. Where was she now? Was she even still alive? The survivor shuddered at the very thought, his hairs standing on end.

The loud crack of a branch nearby quickly brought him back to his senses. For a moment he was unable to react, paralysed with fear. After what seemed like an eternity he found his courage and cried out.

‘Who goes there?!’

There was no reply.

Trepidation and wild, unbridled panic and fear caught his breath. The survivor dug his hands into the ground, desperate to feel something other than this unrestricted terror pulsating through his body with every heartbeat. Another branch cracked, this time on the other side of him. Whatever this thing was, it was toying with him, exploiting his fear and feeding on it hungrily. His manly visage gave way under such tension and pressure as he let out a whimper ‘I say, who goes there?’ His breath caught in his throat as a deep, rumbling laugh echoed through the old oak trees. Covering his face, the survivor curled up in a tight ball, petrified.

All of a sudden he felt a hand on his shoulder, pulling him roughly to his feet. Keeping his eyes firmly closed, he whispered ‘No, no, no, please, no…’ trailing off as his voice failed him. To his surprise, an eloquent voice replied, ‘I dare say my good fellow, I do think I’ve given you quite the fright!’ Daring to open one eye, the survivor looked around to see the source of the rich, aristocratic accent. Standing there was none other than Lord Ashby, dressed in his hunting attire and bearing a Winchester rifle.

‘Lord…Ashby? What on earth…?’

‘Well my chap, I could hardly have you gallivanting off with my dear Louisa now could I? You know full well I have intentions to marry her to the eldest Courtenay boy. After all, you’re merely our coachman, hardly a befitting groom don’t you think? I merely aimed to give you a little fright that’s all.’ A smile spread across the Lord’s face, though a thought soon passed over his brow, furrowing his features with consternation. ‘Though I dare say, I have only been following you for a short while. How did you get in such a frightful state old boy? And where is my fair daughter?’

The same shrill cry as the coachman has heard previously rung out sharply. Ashby turned abruptly, raising his voice to pierce the veiled fog ‘Louisa my dear? Is that you?’ The coachman, still cowering, crawled back to the tree that he had been hidden under as Ashby called out again ‘Look, whoever is there better show themselves at once! This isn’t a jest!’

Without warning a shadowy figure darted past them at great speed. Ashby raised his rifle, his hands quivering as he aimed frantically into the deep mist, voice remaining as arrogant and lordly as ever as he cried ‘I say! Come out now or I’ll shoot!’

Quick as lightning, the figure sped past Ashby, slicing his throat wide open. Spouts of scarlet jetted from his throat as he choked on his own bubbling blood. His hands rising to his throat to stem the flow, he tumbled to the ground, flailing wildly. The Winchester rifle fell with a thud to the floor, misfiring directly into the coachman’s gut. Screaming in agony, the coachman’s head swam, vision blurring as he tried to control his breathing. His hands desperately tried to cover the jagged hole in his stomach, trying to stem the blood-flow, to no avail. Pitifully moaning, he noticed that Ashby had gone quiet. The next thing he saw made his eyes widen like those of a deer in the path of an oncoming train. Ashby’s lifeless corpse was slowly being dragged away into the fog, leaving a trail of sticky, thick blood on the soil. The coachman involuntarily moaned again in pain, before clamping his mouth closed. If the thing heard him now, it’d surely kill him too.

It was far too late.

The shadowy figure rose up out of the fog to fill the coachman’s entire field of vision, cackling loudly as it gripped his head, lifting him off the ground. He closed his eyes, not daring to open them again. He felt the hot, stuffy breath of the creature on his cheeks, it smelled indescribably foul. Wincing from his plethora of pain, his eyes again opened. What he saw made his bowels turn to water. Whatever this creature was, it was wearing the facial skin of Louisa Ashby as a mask, its distorted features making her face lumpy and malformed. ‘God have mercy on my soul…’ thought the coachman. As if sensing his thoughts, the creature shrieked ferociously, crushing his head between its powerful hands like a vice. Howling with pain, the coachman’s ears began to bleed as he struggled against the impossible might of the beast. As his skull began to fracture, the last thing the coachman ever saw was Louisa Ashby’s twisted mouth contort into a smile.


© Copyright 2020 LukeW1997. All rights reserved.

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