Hello there, Dear readers! We've reached the middle of April and that means that it's time once again, for another Creepy Samples Offering.
Today's excerpt, from the story entitled, "Horror in the Tunnel," takes place in and under an abandoned railway tunnel on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island; the same neighborhood in which horror writer H.P. Lovecraft both lived and located some of his stories in.
In this particular tale, the protagonist is drawn back to the tunnel years after the city had sealed it off. His desire is to investigate a possible connection between the pagan rituals that had precipitated the tunnel's closing, and possible supernatural or otherworldly influences that may exist there.
As we pick up the story, the investigator is in a subterranean chamber below the tunnel after hearing the sounds of a woman's screams as well as that of a slow, persistent drumming.
After about ten minutes traversing this odd walkway, the incessant rhythm of the drum and the strange voices of the participants reach a volume so intense that I pause and turn off my light. In its absence I can see a flickering orange glow reflecting on the walls ahead of me. For a few moments I allow my eyes to grow accustomed to the dim light before proceeding. As I inch forward, my heart is pounding so wildly that I wonder if it can be heard over the ruckus that is taking place so close to me.
A few more steps brings me to the point where the end of the passageway comes into view. It opens into a moderately sized cavernous chamber. At its center is a stone slab roughly the size of a queen-sized bed. Behind it a beautiful but stately woman sits upon an elevated throne. She's wearing an elegant black dress as she watches the activity taking place around her. Burning torches encircle the center of the cavern, leaving an open space directly before the stone slab.
There are at least a couple of dozen participants drumming, dancing or otherwise moving around the cavern. All appear to be wearing masks and long, ragged robes. Still, the masks are the most realistic that I've ever seen—ghastly even!
Wait a minute! Their facial expressions change as they communicate. They're not masks at all. Their faces are inhuman--shriveled, distorted and skeletal with bulging, jaundiced eyes. The creatures' hands are almost claw-like, with long fingers and rotting nails on the ends. Their thick skin appears stained with blood.
My mind reels as I stare at the spectacle before me. My God! I have stumbled upon the secret of the tunnel and it's more horrifying than I could ever have imagined. I should leave while I can but...
My thoughts are interrupted by s spine-curdling scream. It's a woman's voice; possibly the source of the screams I heard earlier. I stand almost spellbound as I watch two of the ghoulish creatures leading a hysterical, naked woman to the central slab. Without hesitation, they force the struggling woman onto the central stone face up and set about chaining her limbs tightly to the stone's extremities.
I stare in amazement, wondering if I have stumbled upon some secret BDSM ritual. Yet, how could that be, as these repulsive creatures before me appear as real as anything I've ever seen. And the victim is clearly frightened, struggling.
Suddenly, the stately woman arises from her throne and for a moment, the drumming stops and an eerie silence falls over the cavern—a silence that is only broken by the captive's pleadings. “Please let me go. Please!”
As the woman in black takes her first steps toward the terrified female, the beating of the drums begins anew. This time, the rhythm is agonizingly slow as hands and sticks strike the instruments in unison once every three seconds or so. The sound echos throughout the chamber like some sort of death march as the obvious leader of the assembly walks toward the terrified person lying before her.
The drumming ceases when she reaches the panic-stricken prisoner. The woman looks down at the young lady affectionately as she gently brushes back her hair and strokes her face. The girl is whimpering amid hysterical cries. “Please, please!”
I realize that something sinister is happening here as I contemplate the possibilities. Clearly, this is no consensual ritual; at least, not as far as the woman on the rock is concerned. Yet, I feel a certain excitement when the lady in black bends over and whispers something in the girl's ear. I watch in amazement as she begins moving her lips slowly and sensually along the captive's neck. Before long, she ceases her movement and lets her lips linger, kissing her victim passionately. The affectionate attentions of the woman in black seem to calm the young woman down as she begins moaning ecstatically, offering her neck to her captor's passionate caresses. I find the scene before me both unnerving and yet, exciting, as my mind fills with conflicting feelings of guilt and arousal.
The sinister woman's ministrations continue for several minutes until finally she backs away from the now still form lying below her. A crimson liquid covers part of her face and runs in streams from her mouth until she wipes it away with a hand, which she in turn, licks hungrily.
Oh my God! She bit her. She tore open the flesh of that poor girl and drank her blood! What the hell's going on here?
Without warning, the slow drumbeat commences once again as the first of the ghoulish creatures, which had led the young victim to the stone, steps before her limp body. The second hands him a colorful but folded and elongated piece of cloth. He at first, holds it above his head for all to see. Then, he carefully places the fabric on the stone next to the young woman's body, where he begins unfolding it. Within moments the content of the package is revealed as he lifts a fearsome looking dagger above his head. The assembly roars in approval, but the sounds emanating forth form a chorus of ghastly, ungodly moans--sounds capable of making the bravest man's blood run cold.
The chamber becomes quiet once again as the creature lowers the knife toward the young woman's body. Although my body is almost stiff with fear, I cannot stand by watching this spectacle any longer and I react without thinking of the consequences.
“No, no! Get away from her you bastards!”
My hand reaches into my coat pocket and within a matter of nanoseconds, my weapon is out and I aim it at the creature with the dagger. Two shots ring out in rapid succession. The ghoulish thing drops the dagger and reaches for what must have been a wound in its left arm while the rest of the assembly seems caught off guard. All heads turn in my direction as I struggle to take control of the situation by shouting at the gruesome beings once again.
“Get away from her!”
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed that. If so, please check back here again around the beginning of May, and we'll do it all again. Today's story comes from the book entitled, "The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre." So until next time, keep it spooky!
Photo source: Waymarking dot com. Photographer unknown.