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Darkness. Barred windows and blood. Particles of dust languidly swimming in the pallid, grey twilight as it comes in columns through the windows of a long corridor. And the spiders.  Women with long robes and habits betraying their role and the long, dripping black hair hanging beneath them. Faces obscured by masks and pupil-less eyes and still no faces when the masks are removed. And the little girls in white nightgowns, trapped in white prisons with only a small window in the door for the faceless to look in on them and the small slot through which meals are passed and a bed. And Cynthia.

Cynthia was special. Cynthia could see through their masks and their eyes. Cynthia could see the spiders. Hiding in the corners. Under her bed. Crawling up their legs when they entered her room to perform their ministrations. They could not see them, none of them could. They were Cynthia's spiders, her army. Tiny black soldiers that would creep out from the shadows, from every crack in the floor, from the spot just outside of your vision that you notice but upon turning see nothing but stillness and the deafening roar of silence.  But that was not all she saw.

Cynthia could see the skeletons and cobwebs of centuries of pain that to others pass like the shadow of a stranger that one passes in the street under a full moon but to Cynthia, they lingered. Underneath the stale air and peeling paint were the memories of all those with the cursed misfortune of having called this cell 'home' before her. She could see the scratches in the walls, the screaming and cracked fingernails and bloody bed sheets. The fear and tear-streaked razor blades and the scars. Some of them couldn't breathe. She saw the pain and euphoria as widows and harlots alike bled their last on the cold, stone floor and all the time empty eyes watching them. Pieces of their shattered minds still lay in the corners of her cell. Cynthia could see them. That is why they kept her.

None of this would happen to Cynthia. She was not bound to share the same fate as the poor and terrified souls that her spider now fed upon. She just smiled and it all went away. Cynthia found herself sitting on the swing beneath the willow tree, a warm spring morning and the family estate just visible from the bottom of the garden. A happy, innocent little girl sat swinging in the dappled light beneath the tree. A girl that had not yet met the spiders. A girl that had not yet died. But Cynthia only indulged in this memory for the sadistic joy of seeing the little girl become something else, of how she saw her first spider. It was a tiny and unremarkable movement in the corner of her eye that immediately caught her attention. The ribbons in her curls fluttering behind her as she giddily went to investigate. She found one tiny, black spider sitting, staring at her from a small rock beneath a bush. A curious little thing with shiny eyes. She slowly reached out a finger to allow the creature to climb upon, that she might make a closer inspection. But with a miss-timed blink, the tiny black thing was gone. Replacing it beneath the bush was the cold hand of a corpse that, long ago, was buried and rotted away.

Such apparitions now appeared for Cynthia. Her father became concerned when she began asking why there was a girl hanging by the neck from the beams in the attic or why one of the servants was cutting her wrists in the kitchen or what were the screams and squeaking that came nightly from the guest bedroom that was presently unoccupied. And no such occurrences visible to anyone else. The old family manor had seen decades of suffering and cruelty, all of which was now revealed to Cynthia. Things that don't speak chanting their secrets to her, the walls themselves showing a history of debauchery and violence and spiders crawling from every echo of past suffering.

A carriage came fast through a series of iron gates set in stone, wickedly arched and crowned with tall spikes.  Beyond the gates stood a set of doors, heavy and wooden, iron barred and studded with heavy bolts. The Asylum. The doors opened and out stepped Madam Mornington, the doors closing again behind her by the power of unseen hands or simply from years of habit, more accustomed were they to being closed than open.

Master Stockhill came from within the carriage to meet Madam Mornington on the steps of her lunatic asylum. Before they had any chance to exchange pleasantries there came a screech from within the building that would make a banshee cry and stone bleed, the sound building to a cacophony that shook the very foundations of the Asylum. The sound died quite suddenly and, upon regaining her composure, Madam Mornington retreated back through the heavy doors followed swiftly by a most concerned Master Stockhill. His eyes adjusting to the relative darkness of the entry hall and, upon doing so, he saw the secrets of the Asylum. The screaming and sorrow and Madam Mornington nowhere to be seen. From the corridors above came the voice of a little girl. His little girl.

"We... to be... alive..."

Master Stockhill rushed frantically up the stairs into the labyrinthine corridors of the Asylum.

"We don't... alive..."

The sound of her voice waxing and waning as he navigated the seemingly endless corridors and the sound every growing but still distant, as if coming from the other side of a pane of glass or through a body of water.

"We don't have to be alive... We don't have to be alive... We don't have to be alive..."

Master Stockhill rounded a corridor, everywhere around him limbs were strewn like those of marionettes in a puppeteer's workshop. Everywhere spiders scuttled about him as he ran, balck tendrils reaching from the corners of the floor and the corners of his perceptions, reaching, ever reaching and the cold, melancholy signing of his daughter permeating the air.

"We don't have to be..."

Cynthia stood at the end of the corridor Master Stockhill had just entered, her spiders surrounding her. The light through the windows flickered, the heavens themselves afraid to show their light in such a place.

"...alive... We don't..."
"...have to be alive..."

Stockhill fell to his knees, crying, screaming, weeping, as his daughter continued to walk towards him, singing her melancholy dirge, her face a picture of narcotised tranquillity as she continued her stumbling approach towards her father.

"...don't have to be..."

His words did not reach her. Nothing could as her empty eyes and freezing gaze bore holes straight through her father. Spiders swarming around her and blood splattered along the walls as she closed the distance between them.

"...alive... We just have to be dead."

Cynthia laid her fingers upon him, his expression changing from twisted, impossible fear to that of empty, mindless serenity as the spiders overcame him, too.
Something kinda experimental I did. Not entirely sure if it worked or not.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated :D
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MaryEvans Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Very nice atmosphere towards the end. i would look over the beginning though, it is a bit too vague and slightly confusing. Also check your tenses and if you used them correctly, avoid using present and past together in the narrative. In any case, very well done, interesting story and good execution.
Eremitik Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2011
interesting piece. Your opening lines grabbed my attention and I wanted to read more.
I like the sense of mystery you created here, how you reveal Cynthias view of the world without giving away much of her story. This adds to the atmosphere of the story, leaves the reader wondering who and what Cynthia is, where she is and how she came to be there. This also has a dark fantasy, gothic feel to it, which I think it tough to pull off.
Led-Feather Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Student Writer
Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you liked it :)
Kira73 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
This piece has been featured here --> [link]

:heart: KM
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