Ichor Falls

Chateau d’Augustine

by on Dec.11, 2008, under Submitted

Upon the polished tiles of alabaster marble glided a figure gaunt and garbed quaintly. The bleak hallway of opaque white lingered into a coiling miasma of black –- infinitely cold and eddying in its pitchy depths. The odd décor of arabesque patterns upon the papered walls gleamed whitewashed beneath the moonlight, which spilled forth from casements draped in blood red. Through these windows, dusty parapets rose ominously against the pink sky, their blackened faces looming over vacant battlements in silent vigil. Hills blanketed in dense wood rolled beyond a stone bulwark, and at their edge sat a small town glowing dimly in the growing light.

Augustine’s passage through the ghastly corridor produced upon the cold marble floor an unnerving serpentine slithering. The starkness of his black robe hypnotically coalesced into the shadows. He passed tall portals of dark wood lacquered unsparingly with mephitic oils, and stone daises whose glassy surfaces reflected the sputtering sconces, dim flames tossing luridly in the musty darkness. Upon each dais sat an odd figurine or statuette; artifacts carved intricately of ivory or pristine obsidian, resembling those things which the mind can conceive only in the darkest of nightmares. Oily portraits of noblemen grinned at his passing; their fragile vampiric countenances suggesting a time long ago. In the lofty heights of the rustic ceiling were folding stone faces and wooden girders veiled in cobwebs and the dust of time.

Augustine approached a dark portal lacquered heavily with pungent oil and ornamented by a charm of silver, encrusted with a profound ruby of sharpest red. He placed his hand upon its curved handle, pausing briefly to breathe deeply the peculiar odor. The bitterness of a half century fooled his senses as a knave of time’s breadth. He heard faintly a discordant ringing of gothic bells from another chamber and then a queer chant accompanied by an evil plucking of lute strings. His thin lips melted into a tight line and he entered the room.

* * * *

He observed a sterile room crowded with polished metal marvels reflecting the world in warped mimicry. Six metallic caskets seven feet in length and five in width lay upon polished stone catafalques, mirroring the low stone ceiling upon their glassy surfaces. Each casket appeared latched at the side by a metal plate and had a patch of thickly welded iron at the center. Above each coffin hung precariously an iron weight.

Each catafalque stood opposite the other, in a circle of six with three to a semicircle. Augustine crept to the center of the gathering and came before a small pedestal, upon which lay a lever connected to an intricate pulley system that included the devices used to suspend each weight. He briefly regarded the walls, ornamented by dark velvet tapestries and burning oil lamps, and they seemed to close in on him -– the distance between each coffin head and the wall measured only five feet in length; the room measuring roughly thirty square feet.

He pulled the lever toward him and the weights dropped heavily upon the caskets, their force against the iron plates preventing the frames from bending. The top halves, connected to the bottom via a system of hinges and bars, fell beneath the weight and compressed the occupant inside. Painful cries wrenched forth and blood poured into a pipe system that led from the base of each casket to a table where wooden casks sat heavily. He reversed the lever and the weights returned to the ceiling, but then pulled it forward again and they dropped once more. He repeated the action until the screams ceased and the casks filled.

* * * *

He called for a group of swarthy wretches, minions of the night summoned by cryptic words of dark scripture, and they entered from an antechamber veiled with gauzy red cloth. Their diminutive bodies crept about roguishly as skulkers do, and their long devil-tails swung violently while greedy fingers grasped clumsily about the casks and mutilated bodies. They took the cadavers to a gruesome butchery and the blood to an icebox purposed for chilling.

Augustine pulled his cowl back and dark black locks fell about his pale and fragile face. He flashed a smile and revealed a pair of glistening white fangs. The devil-spawns labored, and as a cask passed by, he took his finger along its bloody edge and then ran it across his tongue.

“Ichor Falls… the blood of gods serves the children of the night well.” He cackled.

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19 comments for this entry:
  1. Tom

    Holy shit man, you killed the thesaurus!

    Awesome!

  2. blade

    *gasp* Werewolves!

  3. Brandon Romack

    Thank you, but I didn’t use the Thesaurus for this story. It comes naturally after reading an abundance of Lovecraft and Howard.

  4. Sean

    thirty square feet? So.. 6′ by 5′? for five coffins? Just sayin.. Other than that it’s quite good.

  5. Brandon Romack

    30′ x 30′ my mistake.

  6. Brandon Romack

    For those who have taken interest in this story, I plan on making several installments that will shed light on this mystery. I’m working on another as of now, and hope to have it ready within a week.

  7. Emi

    I hope someday I can write half as good as you.

    That was amazing.

  8. Anonymous

    I found it to be overly wordy and descriptive to the point of distracting and frankly it was painful to read. However, the story premise is a simple Barker-esque style that quickly delivers.

  9. Shake

    Loved it, very classy.

  10. Ara Elkins

    You need about a million percent less purple in your prose, seriously. Lovecraft is awesome, but his most overwrought prose is less purple than this. I thought it was cool and all, but the style needs a bit of revision here.

  11. yotan

    i’m sure this could be awesome, but the prose is so fucking purple, prince is crying.

  12. LINDARRAGNAR

    This is the most well written and interesting story I’ve read in a while!

  13. Burgomaster Chupacabra

    Loved the story, very visual, but at the same time subtle. Kudos.

  14. mkahmvet

    Definitely over the top with the language. I can tell you didn’t use a thesaurus much if at all, but it does look like you wrote down every purple word you know and tried to include it. The language detracts from what looks to be the beginning of a really good story arc.

  15. Josh

    Agreed on the purple prose, you language choice is overly wordy and distracting. Also, the character isn’t particularly compelling to me. Seems like a stereotypical vampire story about a stereotypical vampire, where my favorite stories on this site take a more unique (or at least interesting) character voice and use less obvious characters with less hackneyed antagonists. Sorry if this seems harsh; I just think you need to learn to do more with less.

  16. Joseph

    Here is a summary of this story:
    The most purple prose ever to exist
    Count Melodrama says something cringe-worthy.

    Really, this was bad. Twilight bad. And considering nothing happened it might’ve been written in a single paragraph.

  17. Avi

    The writing was excellent but the plot was dull and uncreative. Truly an interesting combination.

  18. braindance

    I’ve found this site only recently and been reading all stories in a row from the beginning, so memories are quite fresh and I can easily compare the ones I’ve read so far. So it is with confidence when I say that this one is the least subtle so far, which is really bad when we talk about this kind of genre.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad. It just doesn’t feel like it belongs here, it really yanked me out of Ichor Falls mood.

    tl;dr: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

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