This time we take several paragraphs from a story entitled The Beckoning, which is found in my first book, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror.
In this tale of pure horror, our protagonist continually experiences a vivid, unsettling dream in which he is drawn to a hidden crypt, in which appears an incredibly seductive woman from out of the darkness. She taunts him with her sensuality and desirability--invites him to join her. Still, he fears that to do so, might result in his own death.
We pick the story up just hours before All Hallows Eve, where the narrator, unnerved by the latest dream, attempts to drown his unease with a glass of absinthe:
“Clearly, I need some fresh air,” I say to myself as I head for the door. Perhaps I drank a little too much this afternoon.
Stepping outside, I hear the familiar creaking sound of the wooden screen door. I am somehow reassured and grounded by its resonance; that is, until I take in the new landscape in which I find myself. I gasp at what I see. “Shit! Fucking shit!”
Gone is the gently rolling prairie that surrounds my habitat. In its place is the forest that doesn’t exist—the forest of my dreams. It is a forest of hickory, oak and maple. The brilliant sunshine, to which I earlier denied access into my domicile, is now obscured by a thickening veil of clouds. The wind is rustling through the trees, slowly stripping them of their colorful bounty.
For a while I watch, as leaves of yellow, red and golden brown swirl toward the ground—their final destination. This isn’t real. It can’t be. I must be dreaming!
The sensation of the wind blowing through my hair and its caress upon my skin tell me that that I am attempting to deceive myself. This is no dream. It is very real. Intuitively, I understand that now is the time to realize the reality that lies behind my nocturnal visions. Now is the time to take the step from prophecy to fulfillment. My blood boils with an almost exquisite level of excitement, for I fully understand with whom I am about to have an encounter—she whom I cannot resist. Still, I am filled with a potent sense of horror and dread. I think of the crypt, the coffin contained within and the two hideous gargoyles and their dire warning: Nevertheless, I’ll do what I must. Casting one last look at my country home, I set out for my final destination—an encounter with fate.
The walk through the forest is exactly as expected. There is death and decay here. Decomposing leaves, acorns and mushrooms cover the damp forest floor. Eventually, I come to an all too familiar clearing at the base of a hill. “There it is,” I mumble to myself, “the cemetery, just as I remember it.” Then I cast my eyes upon the crypt! A voice wells up from inside me. Go back. Forget this forsaken place! I can neither forget nor turn back however. So haunted am I by the mysterious woman who resides within the crypt, that dark but irresistible angel of death, that I have no choice but to continue on.
Suddenly, the multitude of candles comes alive with flame; their shadows dancing upon the walls. My heart is racing; the sound of its beating pulsates through my eardrums. In spite of the still evident intoxication induced by my afternoon revelry with the Green Fairy, pangs of terror permeate my entire body and cut to my very soul. The gargoyles cry out to me. “Stay back! Flesh and blood may not enter here. Still, I stand my ground.
Then I hear it; the sound of a woman’s heels—footsteps, walking slowly and deliberately toward me through the passageway. Each step is louder than its predecessor; every stride she takes brings me closer to the unknown. Yes, the unknown, because all of my previous visions ended with an awakening. This time there will be no such return to my familiar surroundings. This experience is authentic. Reality has shifted somehow, but this is reality nevertheless.
“Hello there lover,” she greets me from the beginning of the dark passageway. Walking toward the coffin she continues. “I’m so glad that you decided to meet your true destiny—the fulfillment of your dreams.” A seductive smile comes to her lips. “Do you find me desirable? Are you willing to share your deepest and darkest yearnings with me?”
Her black lips draw me. Her jade-colored eyes sparkle in the candlelight like the eyes of a cat caught in the headlights. In spite of whatever may come next, I can only muster a barely audible “yes.”
“Then what are you waiting for? Come to me. Embrace me.” She beckons me with her seductive smile and manual gestures. “Come on; let me feel your body against mine.”
“The creatures that stand watch here, they warn me that flesh and blood may not enter. They terrify me.”
“You must overcome your fear to earn my affections. Put them out of your mind and approach.” With a deep breath I make my advance toward her.
Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery