The Curse of Arnford Manorbymythtrav16©
CHAPTER I: Stages
July 22nd, 1912, 10:15pm.
With little more than the hazy moon to light his way, Charlie parted ways with Enos and Tom, his friends from the cannery and followed his own street home. The chilly night air was unusually still; Charlie couldn't hear any crickets chirping, only the dull, regular beating of his own boots upon the ground.
He would've liked to be home much earlier, but Enos and Tom had insisted that he join them for drinks in the saloon. It had been their simple-minded attempt at cheering him up and it had failed. Charlie, normally a fun-loving, likeable guy had been on edge the last week or so, although he was at a loss to explain why. He just had this gnawing feeling that someone or something was watching him. Whatever was happening, Charlie didn't like it.
By the time Charlie finally reached his modest cottage, he was almost running. He couldn't wait to escape from the sinister darkness of the outdoors. He bounded hastily up the cheap concrete steps and immediately reached for the doorknob, for he never locked his door. Charlie had only opened the door a crack when a sudden whooshing noise caused him to freeze. It was like a sudden, strong gust of wind, though Charlie hadn't felt any such thing. Then, he got that feeling again; that feeling of being watched, stronger than ever this time.
He looked to his left, then right.
"Who's there?" he demanded, trying to conceal his fear. Again, he checked his left-hand-side, then right behind himself and then his right. But there was nothing unusual in the shadows except a pervasive sense of malevolence. His gaze darted back to the left once more. There was a figure standing there that wasn't there a second ago. Charlie was so startled that for a moment, he forgot how to breathe. He pressed his back to the doorframe and began to sink as his knees went weak. His eyes remained locked on the stranger as if his very life depended on it; he didn't even blink.
Bit by bit, the figure's features became clear to Charlie. The first thing he noticed was that they appeared to be shorter than himself by about three inches. Then he noticed that the figure's outline was rather slender and curvaceous, as opposed to bulky and muscular. It was a woman... who was topless! Charlie knew so because he could see the bare skin of her pert breasts in the moonlight!
Discovering that the stranger was just a harmless woman should've put Charlie at ease, but it didn't. There was something about her, some subtle quality that made him uncomfortable. Perhaps it was her brazen indecency, or perhaps it was the eerie way she just stood there, silent and motionless. Yet against all reason, Charlie could not bring himself to retreat indoors. If anything, he felt drawn to the mysterious female.
Charlie jumped when the shadowy silhouette eventually approached him. By the time the woman began to ascend the two steps before him, Charlie's heart was pounding wildly; his blood saturated with adrenaline.
The stranger joined Charlie on the top step, leaned over and kissed him. The first kiss was gentle, but the second was amorous, with the woman softly sucking on Charlie's lip. Her mouth was warm, but only just. Kissing her was like sipping a cup of tepid coffee that had been sitting for a while. Charlie found no joy in the encounter, even though it made him stop trembling.
By now, Charlie had realized that the woman was not merely topless, but stark naked. Attracted to and perturbed by the shadowy female all at once, Charlie reached towards her, but before he could touch her, the woman broke off the kiss and slinked backwards. She stared down at him with dark, imperious eyes and smirked. Somehow, she got him to move away from the cabin door so that she could open it and step inside.
Charlie watched as the eerily seductive figure slowly disappeared into the pitch darkness of his home. He felt like he had been in a daze and he needed a moment to take stock of what had just happened.
The stranger was inside the cabin. The foreboding knot in his stomach was telling him to walk the other way; to run from his violated home and never look back. But Charlie had seen her smooth, inviting backside in the moonlight as she had stepped through the doorway. He wanted to look at it some more, he wanted to test that lithe flesh with his hands and he wanted to taste those enthralling lips again. It was a compulsion beyond reason. So Charlie entered the cabin.
He scanned the shadows of the main living area as he cautiously advanced. Nothing seemed out of place. But the windows offered little light and it would have been easy for the stranger to conceal herself.
The door suddenly slammed shut behind him. Charlie assured himself that it was just the wind, but in the back of his mind he was well aware that there hadn't been so much as a breeze all night.
Charlie had instinctively turned around in response to the noise. When he turned back into the cabin once more, the dim orange glow of the gaslights was radiating from the doorway to the small bedroom. He could've sworn that they hadn't been burning a second ago.
Like a hapless moth, he was drawn towards the flames. The bedroom's gaslights made it much easier to see; though much of the room was still veiled in unusual darkness. Charlie looked around for his unusual houseguest, but once again couldn't find her. A moment later, she seemingly materialized out of the darkest shadow and came towards him with a scheming smirk upon her face.
He could see her clearly now: her gentle feminine features framed by a mane of flowing ebony hair, her full lips and her perfect pink nipples (that seemed unaffected by the frigid night air). Her eyes were wide and captivating, with irises so dark as to be indistinct from her pupils. A swaying shadow covered her private region as she walked, but it was quite clear that there was no clothing there.
She cupped his face between her hands almost tenderly, and kissed him again. Charlie began to feel giddy as his blood pooled in his groin. Whoever, this mysterious woman was, Charlie was now under her spell. He willingly succumbed to his desire to touch her, at first by caressing her smooth shoulder and then by taking one of her firm, nubile breasts in his hand. As the woman led him over to the side of the bed (which comprised of a hay-stuffed mattress upon a simple cast-iron frame), Charlie felt his belt loosening. Her hands were so skilled; he hadn't even felt them at work.
Shortly after his trousers had dropped to the floor, the woman layed down on the mattress. She locked her unblinking eyes on his and began stroking her nether regions the way one would stroke a napping pet. Her legs were parted just wide enough to accommodate Charlie's hips. Charlie hesitated. He knew that it was a sin to fornicate out of wedlock and he had been courting Estelle Jafferty whom he honestly adored. But this mysterious woman had filled him with irresistible lust.
Already regretting what he was about to do, Charlie kicked off his worn shoes and removed his shirt and underwear. As he climbed on to the bed, he leaned over and gave the woman a kiss, which she reciprocated. He kissed her again once he had lain down on top of her. Then, without any further foreplay, he pressed his fully erect shaft into her private place.
Her insides were just as tepid as her lips, though far more moist. The sensation wasn't unpleasant, but neither was it remarkably satisfying. Nonetheless, Charlie continued to lie with the wanton woman. It was not that he enjoyed what they were doing so much as he couldn't bear the thought of stopping.
The stranger silently gasped and writhed with growing intensity as Charlie ground his hips against hers. He began to pad kisses upon her cheek and neck, as if pandering for at least some emotional warmth, but she did not return them.
Then, after many minutes, the climax he had felt building within finally burst forth. His anonymous lover arched her back and grinned in ecstasy. Cum that was thicker than any Charlie had ever felt before surged through his maleness and into the woman's center. At first it almost felt sublime, but then his racing heart slowed rapidly, until it was beating in time to his ejaculations. Charlie began to feel cold... very cold.
The woman closed her arms around his back and hissed with delight as her soft, titillating snatch drained him of his life.
Charlie's ejaculations became weaker and weaker, until every drop of his semen was gone. Then his cock stopped pumping... and so did his heart.
June 28th, 1913, 11:42pm.
The heavy rain showed no intention of easing off anytime soon. Every few seconds, a jagged bolt of lightning would flash near the horizon and shake the earth with its indifferent grumbling.
Mr. Harrigan was not at all comfortable driving in such abominable weather, but it was of the utmost importance that his errand be completed as soon as possible. He looked over at the tightly wrapped bundle on the passenger seat of his Model-T Ford and sighed. He took some solace in knowing that the journey was almost over. But he wouldn't be able to relax until the matter had been dealt with.
As he carefully traversed the smaller roads of the large town, Mr. Harrigan had difficulty finding his way. The rain made it difficult to see anything. At times he had to wait for the lightning to illuminate the nearby landmarks. But before long he came upon the familiar old archway that served as an entrance to a large cobblestone courtyard. Even if he had bothered to think about it, Mr. Harrigan wouldn't have been surprised that the gates had been left open tonight.
He drove across the saturated courtyard, to the three-story building at the far end. A single light was glowing in a window near the grand entrance. Mr. Harrigan parked the car as close to the entrance as he could. With a huff of frustration, he gathered up the bundle and got out of the car. He scurried up the stairs to the building's entrance as fast as he dared, holding the bundle inside his coat to shield it from the rain.
No sooner had Mr. Harrigan rushed into the old orphanage when Mr. Nolan, a portly middle-aged man who wore rectangular spectacles, stepped out of the nearby office.
"I had a feeling we might be seeing you tonight, Mr. Harrigan," he said in a remorseful tone. Mr. Harrigan simply frowned and nodded in reply as he produced the bundle from within his drenched coat. "A little girl, I assume?"
"Yeah," Mr. Harrigan confirmed, as he looked upon the small baby who was wrapped in a clean towel. Trails of blood and afterbirth still clung to her face. "A girl."
Applebury Orphanage, Applebury, NC
July 1st, 1931, 9:22pm.
Katherine was seated at the tiny desk in her room, quietly going about her studies as she often did right up until bedtime. Even though she had recently turned eighteen, extenuating circumstances had allowed her to remain a resident of the orphanage for a few more weeks.
She heard the door to her room open and turned to see Daniel, the cook's assistant entering her room with a sense of purpose in his eyes. She knew why he had come. She had noticed the unusual way that he had stared at her while serving her meals, earlier in the day. Katherine had spent her entire life under the same roof as Daniel and there had never been any connection between them. But today, things were different. A dormant impulse had suddenly awoken.
Katherine's youthful, freckled face maintained its usual humorless expression as she rose from her rickety wooden chair. Without a word, she peeled the flowing off-white nightie from her body and revealed her naked splendor. Her pert, adult breasts had puffy, pale areolae that looked as soft as unspun wool. The feminine vee between her thighs was well defined, with a bush at its apex that matched the light brown hair on her head.
Daniel almost broke a smile in response to the girl's inviting gesture. He removed his shirt as he advanced on her...
Applebury Orphanage, Applebury, NC
July 1st, 1931, 9:27pm.
Miss Perry, the orphanage supervisor, was making her final rounds for the night, which usually consisted of little more than enforcing the facility's "lights out" curfew and instructing some of the younger orphans to, "stop mucking about and go to bed."
Normally she wouldn't have bothered Katherine, as she was a well-behaved girl, if an unpersonable one. But tonight, something made her pause outside Katherine's door. At first she thought her ears were playing tricks, but then she realized she was wrong.
Wicked noises were coming from within. The timbers of her bed were creaking rhythmically and the young lady was moaning like a wanton woman.
Miss Perry was furious. She threw the door open, scarcely bothering to turn the knob in the process.
"KATH..." she began to yell, just before her voice failed her. In an instant, Miss Perry's face went from being red with rage to white with terror. Amidst the darkness of the bedroom were two ungodly red eyes that shone brightly. They were staring right at her.
Miss Perry's blood curdling scream pierced the air for only a second before a black hand, with inch-long claws upon its fingers, shot out of the doorway and silenced her forever.
CHAPTER II: Battle
An Abandoned Cloth Factory, Applebury, NC
July 13th, 1931, 11:04pm.
Four hooded figures silently advanced through the smaller loom chambers. They were spaced widely apart, carefully scanning what little they could make out in the darkness. Around each of their necks was an ancient necklace incorporating a unique gem.
As one of the figures stepped through a brick archway, a dark creature, the size of a human, crawled down the wall behind them. The monster, with its jet-black skin, clawed hands and wasp-like wings traversed the dusty bricks like a giant spider. After sizing up the intruder, the monster opened its fearsome mouth in a silent sneer. The hooded figure was totally oblivious to the immanent danger they were in. The creature contracted its hind legs, preparing to pounce with full force.
"DEMI! DUCK!" an earthy masculine voice warned.
The hooded witch obeyed without question, immediately springing into a forward roll to remove herself from the unknown danger. As she hit the ground, an arrow bound for her would-be attacker whooshed through the air above her head. Swift Coyote's aim was true; his arrow pierced the monster through its left shoulder.
The creature screamed in anger. Demi, the fortunate witch who had just escaped a gruesome death, jumped to her feet and assumed a defensive stance. "Dear Goddess..." she exclaimed, as she saw the beast for the first time.
The monster glared at Swift Coyote with menacing red eyes and snarled. But when it noticed that the Native American warrior had already taken another arrow from his quiver, it evasively leapt across the room to the opposite wall. It scuttled along the wall so quickly that Swift Coyote could barely keep his bow pointed at it.
The monster managed to get uncomfortably close to him and then it pounced. Swift Coyote let fly with his arrow, but this time the creature batted it away in mid-air. With impeccable timing, Levinia, another witch entered the room and summoned a precision gust of wind that blew the monster into a brick column, before it could harm the warrior. By now, the commotion had drawn all four hooded witches to the battle.
Swift Coyote wasted no time in grabbing another arrow and firing it into the dazed creature's back. Half of the factory's grimy windows shattered as the creature howled in pain. Mortal weapons were unreliable, at best, against magical enemies, but Swift Coyote's arrowheads had been laced with a potion that was known to dispel evil energy. Although the arrows seemed to hurt the beast, it clearly had a lot of fight left. Before Swift Coyote could get another arrow, he was tripped by the monster's long, barbed tail.
With the warrior down, the monster rose to its full height and set its sights on a third witch, Nina. It raced towards her, claws bared and ready to rip her flesh apart. The brave witch stood her ground, thrust her arms forward in a pushing gesture and called forth a wall of flames to separate her from her attacker. The creature hit the wall at full speed, only to bounce off it as if it were made of solid concrete. It quickly regained its footing and attempted to outmanoeuvre its enemies by climbing the walls once again.
Demi called upon the bricks in the walls and columns to hurl themselves at the monster, but this tactic only served to enrage it further.
"No good," Levinia conceded, "It's too strong!" With a sigh, she realized what had to be done. "Nerine! I'll need your help!" she said. "The rest of you, buy us some time to cast!"
She crossed her arms over her chest and began to silently mouth an incantation that she alone truly understood. Nerine, the fourth witch, stood behind Levinia with her eyes closed and her arms outstretched, channelling her energy into Levinia's spell.
The two remaining witches continued attacking the dark abomination, until a well-aimed arrow from Swift Coyote's bow skewered it through the left breast. It hadn't been seriously wounded, but the creature had finally realized that it was outnumbered by formidable foes. With a jarring cry that sounded like a dozen iron hooks being dragged down a chalkboard, the creature made a dash for the nearest window.
"It's trying to escape! We can't let it get away!" Nina shouted. She called forth another wall of flames to block the window frame and once again, the creature bounced right off it.
The monster, which wasn't even dazed, circled around the humans at a distance, heading towards the opposite end of the room. It was clever enough to duck behind the looms and pillars for cover along the way. Nina, Demi and Swift Coyote watched the creature intently, poised to take advantage of any clear shot.
When the abomination leapt behind one pillar and did not emerge on the other side, the group became increasingly anxious. Nina cautiously sidestepped into a better vantagepoint. When she was finally able to see the far side of the pillar where the beast was last seen, her blood ran cold.
"It's gone!" she announced.
"Gone?" Demi responded in disbelief, "Can this thing turn invisible?"
"I... I don't know," Nina answered truthfully.
Swift Coyote, Nina and Demi gradually spread out across the chamber, searching for the elusive monster. The worst part was the tormenting silence. Every creak the floorboards made beneath their feet put them on edge.
Without warning, the creature landed on its feet, right behind Demi. It must've been crawling across the high ceiling. Demi turned, with only enough time to see its horrendous dark face hissing at her with a murderous scowl.
"NOOOO!" Swift Coyote cried, as he ran at the beast with his hunting knife drawn. He managed to slam the monster into a nearby pillar before it could harm the witch. But the creature kicked him back before he could sink his potion-laced blade into its flesh.
The muscular Native American quickly steadied himself and entered a tense standoff with the monster. Nina and Demi looked on, unable to hurl bricks or fireballs into the fray, for fear of hitting their friend by mistake.
The monster made the first move, slashing at Swift Coyote with its sharp claws. Once... Twice... The third attack ripped deep gouges into the flesh of his arm. He winced, but didn't back down.
Enraged by what the beast had done, Nina cast a stream of fire from her fingertips that hit it square in the back of the head. It proved enough of a distraction to enable Swift Coyote to drive his knife right through the monster's ribcage. The potion on the knife was a stronger dosage than on the arrowheads and Swift Coyote was sure it would be enough to incapacitate the creature. He was unfortunately mistaken.