Screamscapes: Tales of Terror (27 page)

BOOK: Screamscapes: Tales of Terror
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The wind gusted as James walked further into the room, lifting the curtains into the air to greet him. Sheer fabric and lace careened around him, caressing him. Every touch was a spark on his naked skin that sent shivers of pleasure through him. Rather than being frightened, he felt himself growing aroused.

The curtains seemed to grow longer as they swayed about him. James watched, enthralled, as the five curtains floated up into the air and met in the middle of the room. When the ends touched, the cloth began to twirl, twisting together as though alive, lengthening and taking shape until the solid mass of fabric grew long enough to touch the floor in front of him.

The mass of twisting curtains pulsed with desire. The column of cloth continued to take form as he watched, like soft clay being molded by invisible hands, some parts tightening, others separating, curving, straightening. At last a pale silken specter stood before him, wearing a little white dress, sheets of white curtains flowing out from its head like hair to the curtain rods above the windows.

James recognized the figure instantly. Ten-year-old Sophie gazed at him, her brilliant sapphire eyes gleaming with a fire of deep longing in the moonlight.

“I knew you would come back for me,” she said, her little voice drowning in hope. “You promised you would never leave me, remember?”

James took a step back away from her, unsteady on his feet, unsure if he was awake or dreaming.

“Please don’t let the lonely take my heart again,” little Sophie pleaded.

“I don’t understand,” he stammered.

“You will, Jamie, I promise. I love you so much.”

James stared in awe, mesmerized, at the little girl standing before him, so perfectly formed from curtains that glimmered as they flowed in the warm spring breeze.

“I’m not a little girl any more, Jamie. I just wanted you to see me as you remembered me. I’m all grown up now, and I need you so bad,” she said, and let out a groan of desire that echoed through the rafters high above.

Little Sophie disappeared as the curtains swirled apart in the wind. After a moment the curtains came together once again, twisting and sculpting themselves into the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was naked, the silken skin of her swollen breasts iridescent as they glistened in the moonlight.

She held out her slender arms and a deep desire flooded through him, hot and uncomfortable in its intensity. Her full lips parted as she mouthed the words
come to me,
not asking, but demanding.

He was unable to resist. He practically ran to her and was immediately swallowed up in her silken embrace, the sensuous cloth of her being flowing around every part of his body, ichor pulsing warmly through her veins.

For hours they were lost in the rapture of each other’s arms until, at last, James collapsed, satisfied and spent onto a bed of silk and satin on the tower room floor.

Claire found him the next morning, naked and snoring on the hardwood floor in the tower room, his clothes tossed into a messy pile in the corner.

“What the fuck, James?” she asked, as she prodded him awake with her foot. “What the hell are you doing?”

James sat up and rubbed his eyes, remembering what had happened the night before.

He quickly surveyed the room, but everything looked normal. The curtains all hung neatly from their wooden rods, the windows closed.

“I don’t know,” he said sheepishly. “I guess I came up to check the windows and fell asleep.”

Claire inspected the room with a look of disdain. “I hate these curtains,” she said. “I want them taken down. They give me the creeps.”

After James showered and dressed, they said nothing more about the awkward incident; but Claire was quieter than usual throughout the rest of the day.

James’ thoughts continued to drift back to what had happened in the tower room the night before. He knew it couldn’t have been real, Sophie was long dead. But the passion that had been ignited inside him was very real and still throbbed; he desperately craved her touch, her satin caress. Even the thought of it aroused him.

Several times that day he crept back to the tower room, vaguely hoping to find something there. But each time he found nothing but an empty room and old curtains, hanging limply from the rods. Once he quietly opened a window to see if a fresh breeze might bring them to life, but the air outside was strangely still.

That night, James was once again awakened. The same voice, floating through the darkness, softly calling his name. Without hesitation he slipped from his bed and went eagerly to the tower room, unsure if he was truly awake or still dreaming.

The silken apparition was already fully formed and mobile in the room, sheets of hair flowing up to the rods behind her, her silken skin sparkling. The only clothing she wore was a sheer shroud, wrapped tightly around her sensual hips.

Tonight, something was different. The room was frigid, the scent of the air antiseptic.

Sophie swirled around to greet him, her blue eyes glowing with an icy fire.

“I won’t share you,” she declared. “It’s her or me.”

“What would you have me do?” James asked.

“Trade her life for mine,” she said. “Bring her to me now and I will pull her breath inside of me, so I can be yours for always.”

“I can’t do that,” he said “I love you, Sophie, I always have, you know that. But I can’t hurt Claire, I won’t. I love her, too. It’s not right.”

She turned away from him in anger, the loose fabric edges of her body rippling in the breeze, as she rose, streaming through the air towards the rafters. After several moments of billowing furiously about, her fit of jealous rage seemed to subside.

“I understand,” she said, softly, resignation in her voice. “You always were a kind man, Jamie.”

As she spoke, a warm wind blew through the windows once more and the scent of sweet jasmine on the breeze washed away the sterility of her anger in an instant.

She floated down to him like an angel on soft clouds, her smile a string of pearls in the moonlight.

“Then take me one last time,” she said sweetly as she gently guided his lips to her silken breast, “and I will bother you no more.”

Unable to resist, he took her into his arms, her porcelain body unfurling into sheets that wrapped around him, locking onto his every limb. Overcome with ecstasy, he collapsed with her onto the floor, consumed by passion.

Knowing this would be their last time together for the rest of eternity, James poured every ounce of his love and lust into their final coupling, entwined with her for hours until finally, spent and satisfied, sleep once again pulled him into the deep.

In the morning James awoke, relieved to find himself in his own bed and not on the cold floor of the tower room again. He rolled over to snuggle with Claire, but her side of the bed was empty and cold.

Panic filled him and he felt his heart clench tight like a fist.
Had she seen him with Sophie last night?

A faint smell of acrid smoke stung his nostrils, and James jumped from the bed, alarmed. Something was burning.

“Claire?” he called in a panic, but received no response.

He ran to the end of the hallway and glanced up the spiral stairs. The door to the tower room was open wide.

He bounded up the stairs and into the room, but it was empty. Individual beams of sunlight were outlined in the light smoke that was beginning to cloud the air, but he saw no fire - not in this room, anyway.

He felt relief for a split second and then the realization struck him: the curtains were gone. Every rod in the room had been stripped from the walls, as though the curtains had been torn down in a rage.

“Claire!” he yelled again as a sickening feeling spread from his stomach and into his legs. His body suddenly felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Then he heard a faint reply. It was Claire.

“I’m downstairs, in the living room.”

James suddenly wished he hadn’t found her, wished that she had gone, had left him instead. Now he would have to face her, would have to try and explain what she had undoubtedly seen him doing with Sophie the night before.

He had been such a fool, and for what? A figment of his own imagination? A lingering memory that refused to fade away into the dust of time as it should?

Claire was hunched over the massive fireplace, her back to James as she intently prodded something that burned there with a long iron poker. Thin tendrils of smoke streamed from the fireplace out into the living room.

James quietly walked across the room and stood beside her. “I think you need to open the flue,” he said softly and turned the lever to allow the smoke to escape into the chimney.

Claire didn’t say a word, just continued watching intently as the fire consumed the fabric, turning it from white to brown to a bright glowing red for an instant before it crumbled into a deep black ash.

“What are you doing?” James asked as casually as he could manage, even though he knew full well already.

“I’m getting rid of these nasty old rags. I spoke to Mr. and Mrs. Hill; they said we don’t need to keep them hanging up anymore,” she said, her voice surprisingly bright and cheerful. James was confused.

“They said you could get rid of the curtains? They didn’t at least want them back?” he asked.

“No. They said to burn them. They’re coming over this morning to visit, by the way” Claire said. Her voice was full of life and joy. “They want to make sure we’re both going to be happy here, together, for a long time.”

“So you’re not angry?” he asked, still so nervous that his stomach felt like a garbage disposal grinding tin cans. Maybe she hadn’t seen him in the tower room with Sophie after all?

Claire set the iron poker down by the fireplace, then turned and embraced him, holding him closer than she ever had before. She laid her head on his shoulder and breathed in his scent deeply.

“Are you kidding?” she said as she held him tight. “I’m getting married to the love of my life and living in my dream house – what reason on earth would I have to be angry?”

James let out a sigh of relief and put his arms around her, nestling his face in her hair. It smelled of jasmine and honeysuckle. She felt so alive, so vibrant to his touch, almost trembling.

“So the old folks let you get rid of the curtains,” he said bemusedly as he watched the fire consume the last bits of lace and fabric. In the bottom of the fireplace he spotted the two jewels that had been embroidered into the curtains. The heat and smoke of the fire had turned their bright sapphire-blue into a dull cinnamon-brown.

Claire noticed him looking away and placed her hand gently against his cheek.

“Hey, look at me,” she said, drawing his lips to hers.

As James kissed her, he gazed deeply into her bright sapphire-blue eyes, so full of life, and he knew the truth.

“True love endures,” she whispered.





A note about
Curtains for Love


Most stories start as small ideas, only growing over time through much nurturing and love as the writer tries to spark life into dead words to bring a new reality into existence.

Some stories, though, arrive without warning, fully formed from out of nowhere, begging to be set free upon the page. As an author the task of liberating these spontaneous incarnations is more akin to being a scribe rather than creator, simply the process of writing down something that already exists.

CURTAINS FOR LOVE is one of those stories. I was driving, music was playing. I distinctly remember it was the first time I had heard a song called THE LONELY by Christina Perri. As the music played, a bright flash of light burst into my consciousness and this entire story, every bit, arrived as a complete entity in my head and demanded to be set free.

I feverishly made several pages of notes, hoping I wouldn’t lose what I had been given so unexpectedly and over the following days the entire tale was put to paper.

BOOK: Screamscapes: Tales of Terror
7.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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