Deadly fingers crawled along the floor, inching toward the unsuspecting figure sitting calmly by the cold, frigid open window. Each fingertip extended, one by one, in slow motion, bending just enough to touch the surface and gain distance. The silent air thickened inside this room and somehow remained undisturbed until a spark of life sprang up from underneath the seated character.
It hadn’t asked for permission to be there. It simply claimed its victim, blood scattering everywhere.
No one would be present to hear the last gasp of a wretched soul who once walked inside these stiff, uninviting walls.
A dark figure in the corner witnessed this display, enjoying the shower of liquid red.
“Ahh, the final expression of desperate warmth stirring around an unrisen helpless human heart, ” it described with a temporarily deep satisfied growl.
This mysterious shadow witnessed the failing of another disrespecting soul, which added to the anthology of household sins. By doing so, it upgraded its agency of duty. It knew this manor’s purpose was to hold a full legacy of intricate histories from the insufferable human dimension. It was hungry for more. It was always left hungry for more.
The nondescript shadow retreated into the blackness of the dimly lit marbled penthouse. The setting sun hinted its final farewell with reflections of fading light upon the blood droplets littering the floor.
A few hundred bones crumbled one by one off the chair as if taking their cue from the shadow’s tapping fingertips.
When the sun descended below the stone windowsill, a faint wailing echoed in the hidden hallway. Many of the forty-nine remaining rooms told a unique story of their own, but no one would dare listen.
Down on the first level of this home, an echoing knock on the monstrous front door blared loud.
“Another human risking their dubious existence? I shall be fed twice today. “
The whisking shadow draped the wall in a matter of seconds to reset itself for its newest visitor. Whoever dared to ask entrance did not harbour any instinct about their fate. The already claimed souls within this manor’s walls attempted a warning of magnificent volume. The sounding caution lost all chance of acknowledgement inside the low groan of the opening door. The visitor who dared spend their time here now bore all risk.
“Well, this is it, the Catchold Manor,” she mumbled, checking her list. “Hello? I’m here conducting our national census. Is anyone home?”
A violent whirl of outside wind invaded the open door causing paraphernalia to be loosed into the air, clearing the foyer of debris. The census taker stood with a shock, visibly anxious about her next move and considering the chase of her paperwork.
“Hello?” she asked in a partial squat, recovering her forms.
“Come in,” a bodiless voice commanded.
“I…I am wondering how many live here and I’ll be on my way. Thank you, “she added nervously.
“The exact number isn’t known. Today there might be a specific measure of attendance. Do you wish to proceed to keep your count precise?”
“I’m sorry, Where are you?”
“Do enter. Off to the left, my lovely.”
As she entered, her whole world expanded beyond her five hundred square feet apartment and local census taking duties. A vast open ceiling welcomed her widening pupils. Etched upon the solid cement structure were elegant visual displays of angels, demons, girls, and men who danced in various postures. None of it made sense. It all seemed to offer an interior illustrative effort rather than of interesting storytelling. Many other souls in the same display were buried underground along a road while still alive, holding weapons.
“What is all of this? Where are you…um…sir?”
Bill Bistak, Author, Producer of Bestshorthorrorstories.com & Founder of Friedrich Imagines, Ltd. a media production company