Friday, March 29, 2013

Castle of Despair- Writing Prompt and Short Story by Guest, Morgan Jane!

BEWARE! This castle is not an enchanted place, but a prison. You find yourself trapped here with thousands of men and women from a dying race. Will you stand up and lead them? How? 



Castle of Despair
Morgan Jane

At this point it shouldn't bother me that I have lost my beaded shoes while being drug down ten flights of jagged steps. But it did. My two foreign looking feet pushed me further into the corner. I inhaled deeply to fight the searing pain tearing my back in two. I kept my head down staring at the swollen things on the end of my legs, then searched for solace in the cracks in the concrete floor. Something floated to the ground and I turned only to see a clump of my golden hair, the handle for our captors.
“Look at me!” Richard demanded and I raised my head automatically, only to find him still hideous, scary. 

I watched him rub his chin just like he always did when he was in great thought but now with hoof like hands. Flakes of burnt rotting flesh fell off his face to the cold dungeon floor sizzling like bacon.
With a pout, I turned my head away from him to the stare through the bars, forgetting that past them were others just as grotesque. One of them moved, looking at me, hissing. The only clue it was a lady was the fact she was in a dress like me. 
“Susan,” he reached out toward me this time but I wouldn't dare touch him. Steam rose from his body making it hard for me to breath. The smell coming off of him was 
unbearable. 

My eyes watered then widened as they adjusted to the dim candle light. I noticed his multiple rows of pointy teeth. 

“Sweetheart! It isn't what it looks like.”
“Then what is it Richard? Really I should have known!” I hugged my knees thinking of all the times our plans had fallen through. At first it was Richard's boss that was more important than his life with me. 

“Let's elope, you said, no interrupts that way, you said.” I took my engagement ring off my finger and threw it at him.

Richard leaned, scrambling to catch it, like it might shatter if it hit the floor. “Now, Honey, you can't think this is my fault! Look at them, this was obviously some sort of trap.” He pointed to the multitudes of sickening figures in the next cell, dressed as bride and groom. “Besides, you picked this castle, I wanted to go to Vegas.”

I buried my face in my hands realizing he was right, this was a trap. The whole wedding package had been to good to be true. Married at a real castle, an all inclusive honeymoon, plus airfare included. I cursed my small budget and lack of family. Running off to get married seemed like such a fun idea. I spread my fingers apart and wiggled them around scared that I too would turn into an ugly goat creature. 

“I thought you said you were Greek, another lie!” 

I couldn't fight the anger bubbling up. I loved Richard but he broke my heart so many times. What can I say, he's a ladies man. Every female wanted him and he had fallen prey too many times. He begged and I tried to forgive him. I sincerely wanted to but it was never long before I caught him with another woman. Resentment had grown in me like a tumor, a painful black one. The good times with Richard had been my only relief so I jumped at the chance to be his blushing bride when he swore off all his past lovers and his love of alcohol. Not to mention his job and buddies for two whole weeks, for our honeymoon.
“I am Greek, believe me, this is not what it seems.” Richard was slurring and choking on his own words. I was silent, I had heard that a hundred times. Believe him, yeah right. I listened instead to the hisses and grunts all around. Then I realized out of the whole dungeon, full of a thousand or so abominations, we were the only ones talking.

“Richard, talk to me, what are we going to do?” He looked at me, his eyes the same deep emeralds I had fallen in love with and said nothing. I panicked, “Please, we have to get out of here. I'll believe anything at this point.”
He coughed again and his hoof hand went to his neck. I realized he was trying to undo his bow tie. The fear of being left alone with Richard, not able to speak to me, propelled me forward. I crawled over to assist him. Undoing the buttons, I saw the smooth skin of his chest start to crack and turn black before my eyes. 

“There is something in the air down here, burning you?”
He nodded his head in agreement. “Susan, this isn't what it seems. I am not a monster. Our lives are in your hands,” he pleated in hoarse whisper. His eyes bore into mine trying to impress his message further into me. 
“But what am I to do? This isn't my fault. I am normal!” I said in frustration as he put his arms around me. I laid my head on his simmering chest surrounded by his crackling arms, embers falling off. But it didn't hurt me. I reached up and touched Richard's now black and glowing forehead, only to feel it really smooth. It didn't burn me either. An illusion, magic, I thought. My fingers felt for the knobby protrusions I saw on his head. They were real, horns! Was Richard a demon? 

“That would explain all the fornication,” I said under my breath.
Richard chuckled slightly, obviously in horrible pain. My chest tightened at the thought of losing him, no matter what he was, really. 

“Free us, Susan,” his whisper almost inaudible.
“But how? I am pretty sure I am only human!” I slowly got up to my feet to think. Pacing was excruciating. I was sore but Richard was burning alive. I leaned on the ancient metal bars to observe the rest of the prisoners. They were all on the floor in the same condition. There was no guard in sight. 

The man that forced us down here was huge, he couldn't be human. Richard had tried to best him and fought like I had never seen before. I would be no match for the giant or anyone one for that matter, I thought as I looked down at my delicate frame. Next, I felt my own forehead and mouth to make sure I didn't have rows of fangs or horns. My hands were still normal too. My hands, I thought, if I could only set all these monsters free, maybe they could fight their way out.
I studied the lock carefully, I had picked locks before as a child when my brother locked me out of my own room. It had taken me ages to find the right pick. On top of my door frame, I hid a long hair pin in case he ever done it again. Running my fingers through my elaborate bun, a smile threatened to take over my face. I had plenty of metal on my body, from the hair pins to the under wire that molded my bridal cleavage. It wasn't long before I had our cage unlocked but I didn't dare leave yet. 
I turned to the now silent Richard, placing my hands on my hips, “How am I sure that those things won't think it is feeding time when I open their gates?” I really didn't want to get eaten, I was serious, but Richard looked at me like I was being ridiculous. “If it happens, I told you so,” I reached for him. “Are you coming with me?” I took back my hand remembering he couldn't grab it. The hooves. “Come on!”
Richard's suit was torn and smoking. He smiled as he stood on unstable goat legs, he had a tail and his horns were getting bigger. At least if he was with me he could ram any enemy we came across. The silence was my biggest threat while undoing the locks. Every scrape of my hair pin and clink of the jail doors seemed to echo. My nerves were shot by the time I had finished the tenth door. Richard started to led the freed creatures to the stairs. 

“What about the others?” I whispered but he was gone. I turned to work on the next lock not wanting to leave anyone behind when I noticed it was useless. Even half of disfigured beings in the last cell I unlocked lay still, unable to move. They weren't going anywhere. With about twenty per cell, two hundred would be fighting for our freedom. Quickly I followed behind the crowd. A good place to be since I was defenseless. My under wire wasn't going to save me now.
The dungeon was so deep in the ground my ears were popping as we climbed the steps. Just as I spotted my shoes, I heard screams and growls along with shouts from the people above. The fight had begun but instead of following them when I reached the top of the stairs, I grabbed my heels and ran the opposite direction. 
I was a coward, I didn't care. If I was going to escape this crazy Castle, I wanted my luggage. Our suite was on the ground floor and I remembered the way. I ran as fast as I could on the lush carpets ignoring all the intricate tapestries that decorated the stone walls. When I reached the door, I had to pick that lock too and began questioning the reliability of locks. I guess they don't expect intruders to wear hair pins. I giggled in triumph only to find my belongings scattered all over the room when I entered. 

“Damn them,” I said out loud while trying to salvage what I could.
My cellphone had not been taken and I had three bars. I threw it on the bed. I didn't know who to call, no one was going to believe me. Gathering up my carry on bag and purse, I thought I could sneak out of the back during this fight. It was a good plan but I hated to leave Richard. Surely, he would rather I be safe. I did undo the locks. 
Going through the empty kitchens, I could hear the sounds of commotion coming from the front of the castle. It was way too easy to find and leave through the back door, that I was practically giddy at my cleverness. Sunlight caressed me and I looked at the sky so glad to be free. My mother always said pride comes before a fall. I should have ran because two men appeared out of nowhere. 
“There she is, grab her!” They were shouting and running now did me no good. They scooped me up easily, carrying me under my arms and by the feet back into the medieval castle. I went through every swear word in the book as I tried to kick free before we reached the large ball room. The one I was suppose to be married in. Now I might die here, I thought. I swirled out of their hold and landed with a thud.
When I raised my head, I saw the room was full of regular people in tattered wedding clothes. Back up on my feet quickly, I realized the evil creatures had turned back to normal looking people. I backed away, knowing what they were really, I was frightened as it all sunk in. No longer in danger, maybe, I was angry too, angry that Richard lied to me again. I had been sleeping with a monster. 

“We are not monsters my dear,” a petite old lady with flowing gray hair stepped toward me, holding out her hand. I felt her poke inside my mind, urging me and took her delicate hand letting her gently tug me forward. “Come see, he changed so you can view his true form.”
The crowd parted like the sea and Richard stood before me, magnificent and very naked. Yes, he had goat legs and horns but also his same gorgeous arms, chest, hands and face. His dimples appeared as he smiled at me, making me remember all the beautiful moments we have shared. I could never resist his charm. 

“What are you?” I asked in amazement.

The old lady answered for him, “We are all some form of mortal nature spirit. Except you. He is a Satyr, my dear. Do you know what that means?”

I shook my head, “No.”

“No, child, I suspect you already do,” she winked.


For more on Morgan Jane:
www.TheMorganJane.com  
www.twitter.com/morgijane