A Farsighted View ~ part I


Tower of Ruin

It rose up into the night sky, silhouetted against a full moon. The tower was all that remained of a once mighty castle. It had seen many wars and sieges. Death had stalked it more than once, harvesting the spirits from the bodies of the fallen. The very bricks were steeped in horror. The name of its lord was lost in the darkness of its black history, but still it endured and stood presiding over the 21st century town, now lying sprawled at the foot of the hill on which it stood.

It was inevitable that it would come under the eye of the developers and eventually, refurbished in mock medieval style, its many rooms were rented out as apartments for the rich, greedy and foolish.

 The tales that surrounded it didn’t prevent the rich and influential flocking into the new apartments. However, as time passed and several strange, unexplained deaths and disappearances occurred, the structure became abandoned by its wealthy patrons…this didn’t mean it was left unoccupied…

The myriad windows dotting the façade winked and glimmered in the moonlight. Behind each one, the eyes of the remaining “occupants” stared out at the night sky, locked in perpetual fear.

The interior of each apartment still retained its elegance, albeit tattered and decayed now. There was just enough left to mock and torment those imprisoned within. It was a reminder of all the things they’d lost and could never have again. An eternity of punishment stretched away into the distant future, with no hope of parole.

Talia’s tale

Talia had married a man much older than herself. Blonde, willowy and with a flawless face, she flirted and manipulated, until the old man had pushed aside his doubts that she was just after his wealth.

Of course the minute he’d put the ring on her finger and confirmed his will had been changed in her favour, Talia wanted rid. She plotted and schemed, but nothing seemed to work. The heavy tin of paint, balanced precariously on the step ladder had fallen all right, but missed its target. She was furious. The plush new carpet, just fitted in their swish apartment had been ruined, but hubby survived.

Then there was the cooking oil squirted on the kitchen floor, just in front of the stainless steel sink. To be absolutely certain her trap would work, she’d opened the door of the under sink cupboard; he’d be sure to catch his ugly bald head on that, when he fell. But hubby had once been a champion ice skater and had weathered the slippery floor with ease, gliding to a graceful halt, just before he reached the sink.

Bad luck dogged all of Talia’s efforts, until at last she’d reached the end of her tether and decided to drown the old sod in his bath. The tub was a free standing structure, placed in the centre of the marble tiled floor. She waited until he’d settled back in the steaming water and then sneaked in, grabbed the heels of his feet and pulled him down into the water. He’d tried desperately to free himself, but thrash and twist as he might, he could not haul himself upright.

Talia straightened up and pushed her soaking hair away from her face. She stared down at the dead body in the tub and grinned. Free at last. She’d call an ambulance and ring the police, playing the part of the bereft wife to perfection

She ran into the living room, but as she crossed the room towards where the phone stood on the windowsill, the lights dimmed, flickered and then went out. Talia swore, when she almost tripped over a stool. She managed to retain her balance and then started towards the phone again. A quick movement from behind her, caused her to turn quickly, but there was nothing there. She stared around the room and noticed that, despite the near darkness, she could see shadows clustered in the corners. They appeared to shift and drift across the floor, slithering and sliding, twisting and twining, as they flowed towards her.

Sibilant voices filled the suddenly cold air and Talia shivered, or trembled, she wasn’t sure which. Terror, like a spike of ice, stabbed into her chest and she stumbled back, one hand outstretched, groping for the phone. Before her fingers could grip the receiver, a heavy, solid object hit the back of her knees and she tumbled down into the armchair, she could’ve sworn hadn’t been there a moment before. Something thin and leathery twined around her wrists, strapping them to the arms of the chair. She tried to scream, but a broader strip of leather slapped itself across her mouth, silencing her.

Seemingly of its own volition, the chair twisted towards the window and Talia found herself looking out at the star strewn sky. Her gaze darted down to the river that lay beyond the town. The black waters, speckled with the town’s light and from the full moon above it, churned and splashed.

‘As thou hast drowned thy lord, so shall ye also drown,’ a voice whispered in her ear.

Unable to move, Talia’s tear blurred eyes darted back and forth, in an effort to see her invisible attacker… there was nothing to see.

A few days later, alerted by the neighbors, the caretaker used his pass key to enter the apartment. What he found caused him to call the police at once.

‘What d’you think happened here?’ one of the officers asked him.

‘Well, I dunno,’ the caretaker replied, scratching his head. ‘Like I said, I found the old man in the tub, stone dead. As for the wife, not a sign.’

‘Hmm,’ the policeman replied, flipping through his pocket notebook, ‘her clothes are still in the wardrobe, her bag’s still here.’ He nodded towards the sideboard, where Talia’s bag sat on its shiny, walnut surface.

‘Tell you what did strike me as odd,’ the caretaker said.

‘What?’

‘That chair,’ the man said, pointing at the armchair in front of the window.

‘What about it?’

It’s usually stood in front of the desk over there. Times I’ve been in here to carry out repairs and what not, that’s where it’s always been.’

The policeman strolled over to it and stared down at the dent in the seat. ‘Look as though it’s been recently occupied,’ he said

As the two men began to leave the room, Talia tried to free herself, but she couldn’t move – would never move again.

chair

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