A Soft Knocking (part 3)

My hands upon the smooth worn timber that lay across the door, resting in forged brackets on either side, my breathing had almost stopped. I knew should I lift the bolt from its place it might never stay there again. A soft knocking…

As I began to lift the smooth wood from its place there came a voice, and it stayed my hands. The voice, whisper soft and pleading, said, “No.” The soft knocking was no more. It became thunderous and angry as I let my hands fall away from the bolt and stepped back from the door. A scream of anguish mixed with violence came as a blast through the huge wooden door before me, and I felt the skin tighten on my cheeks. It was as though winter had come in the carriage and was now storming against my door. I feared I might never see spring. The door groaned, and in my mind—I surely prayed that it was only within my mind—the floor beneath me moved.

It moved in a slow rolling motion toward me from the door, and I felt it as it continued, spreading and undulating throughout the house and escaping somewhere at the back. There was a snapping sound, and then the house sat still. I heard a bird singing sweetly in the cherry tree at the east side of the front yard. Sunlight slipped under the great door. I was challenged to believe what I heard and saw. A soft knocking.

As if a bung had slipped from the keg, the fear ran from my heart and warmness rushed over me in a gushing wave. A small sound of relief, almost a whimpering cry, rushed from my throat and touched the air with certain sadness at its coming. I tore the bolt from its place and swung open the door.

There was neither sunlight nor bird in song. No visitor awaited me on the damp stoop. There was nothing but deep and utter blackness on the other side of my door. I pushed on the huge planks in an effort to undo what I had been deceived into doing, but the heavy door would not move. I looked to my hand, which was upon the door, and saw blood streaming from my fingers. There was a knife above my hand, its point buried in the old and dark wood. A hand shoved me in the middle of my back, and I stumbled into the black abyss outside my castle door.

Tumbling end over end, my arms and legs flailing, I floated through the darkness. My lungs burned as I sucked in the vile essence of the evil, inky substance in which I flew. I knew then that I alone was to blame for the fate I would suffer. For it was the taste and smell and feel of ink filling my senses that would envelope me forever in a world gone mad. To my right…. a soft knocking. I knew then who it was that had come to fetch me.

It was all those of whom I had written in my many years at the lamp and desk. Those many lives I had created and then taken, oft times in brutal and wantonly bloodthirsty fashion in the dark stories I told. They had come for me now, and I knew that my fate would be to tumble and spin in a blackness made of spent ink, blood and lies. A mixing of all the screams and cries of anguish that had leapt from the pages I had wrought would forever wail in the darkness I had created. It was for the years spent alone; the years spent never heeding the call of the one who sought my heart, the one who would have given her very soul to sit by the hearth and watch as I plied my trade. For this, the greatest of all my sins, I would pay the most dreadful price of all. For this crudest of my acts of selfish indulgence, the shunning of the one in white silk stockings who wanted naught from the world but my un-given love… for this… for this… I will forever hear as I tumble through my madness… a soft knocking.       End


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Made me shiver!!

  2. Susan said

    VERY good. And I know what a bung is, Charlie.

  3. Brenda Lewis said

    Awesome & eerie!

  4. Joy Rawle said

    Weellll! I don’t know what I expected but that wasn’t it!! very entertaining though. Keep up the good work.

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