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Lady Luce [PIC2016]

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posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 01:26 PM
Lady Luce

by AboveBoard

It’s shattering, in the end, what you can see, how every drop of beauty the world has to offer comes into focus, how you regret not seeing it before. The cold muddy earth beneath her back, the jabbing of branches and rocks, the prickle of dead grass and leaves on her neck and wrists and throbbing feet. She lay there, staring up, breath a diminishing cloud, her blood a red stain on her long white nightgown, the layers of cotton and lace turning red and pink and brown. She could run no more. She didn’t even remember falling. The trees stretched up and up, their trunks blackened in the overcast sky.

It could have been different. It could have been a dream come true, her life, her angel, her own… A hot tear blurred the world and fell, singularly, down her cheek.

Bare winter trees, branches outstretched and touching, gently tapping each other in the rush of air through their branches, swaying like dancers to the whoo-ooh of the wind. Unbidden, the sound of a staid waltz floats into her brain, and dizzy, she whirls with the trees, folding into the past, into memory.

His hair, long and golden with curls, hung loose and rakish about his shoulders. His hand rested so firmly on her back, just above her waist. She could feel the warmth of his fingers through the layers of satin and even her corset. His other hand, like flame, nested her small white gloved one like she was a bird come home. Yes, he felt like home, and heat, and the banked coals of him stirred a blush on her neck and flushed her cheeks and lips like too much wine. She was drunk with him, on fire with him, and he spun her effortlessly, staring into her with eyes that seemed to hold a light of their own. What color were they? Violet? Wine? Brandy? The music ended and she froze, staring, then he bowed and she remembered herself, curtsying with some borrowed grace she’d found in his arms. When he’d touched her hand to his lips…her eyes fluttered, the world narrowed and became only Him.

He’d strode over to her father, and they’d shaken hands, and somewhere in their smiles and whispered conversation, they’d sealed her fate. Who could have known? How could her father, an ambitious man, have seen the true nature of her future husband?

* *

Lady Luce Angelus…such a beautiful name. She relished it and the pride and property that came with that title, though his European holdings in Italy were thousands of miles away, his American home was stellar enough to win her green looks from all the less blessed young women she knew. They followed her with daggers in their glances that, for her part, could not touch her. She loved and was loved in return and, she was fairly certain, they had made a child together already. Joy, boundless and unconstrained! It would be a miraculous little boy, she thought, surely as handsome and intelligent as his father, as bold and mannered and well favored as he, her own true heart.

Their home, its old world rambling walls and arches, felt plucked from some medieval storybook and set into the woods on vast land holdings many miles north into the mountains. She loved it. She remembered him carrying her into the house, laughing and newly wed. When he finally set her down, it was in front of a pure white marble statue of an angel, in the nook between two odd mahogany staircases. The room was huge, with arched ceilings like a church and massive carvings the like she had never seen before - it was stark and opulent and overwhelming. She stared at it in wonder, her eyes falling back to the statue, for there was his face! But it was a tragic pose. The figure’s wings were not the graceful feathered arcs of holy beings, and a chain clung to his ankle, a torch lay fallen to the side. What was this? She shook her head at the queerness of it.

The artist had made the angel in Luce’s likeness, but it was a face of grief that she could not comprehend. So she became deliberate, not wanting the somber statue to destroy the laughter and lightness of their arrival. With a sideways glance and mischievous smile, she’d stroked the bare chest of the effigy and that was all he needed to whisk her back into his arms, up the strange curving flight of steps, higher and higher and into a chamber with a carved bed.

It would have been perfect if the bedposts weren’t shaped into twining serpents, wound around tree limbs. Something in it chilled her, so that she had to close her eyes. When she peeked again, her husbands face was transformed somehow, his eyes, for a moment, flashed with a real light, the color of hot coals. She gasped and closed her eyes again, to his unrelenting touch and the heat that grew between them.

* *

Luce kept to himself and had that mysterious occupation of moneyed men known as “business” for which he traveled and went to meetings with financiers and moved proverbial mountains in an effort to sustain the rambling holdings and titles he owned. She saw him most evenings after dark for a late supper, then conversation by a fire with servants floating about trying to be ever-present and invisible, which they seemed to succeed at with grace. How many times had she turned around to find her dress laid out as if by magic? Or her breakfast arrived in her room precisely when she wanted it, without her seeing it done? She tried to remember the names and faces of the maids and menservants but it was strange, as if they all blurred together into polish and gloved hands, feather dusters and the smell of cooking that she could never find the source of in the kitchen. She lived in a waking dream. She was cold unless Luce was in the room, and then all the warmth of summer came upon her full force. The mansion was as winter inside and out.

She took to rambling through its twisted halls, which turned in on themselves like a maze, somehow arriving back exactly where she started. There were so many rooms, most with white sheets thrown over furniture like shrouds. It was unnerving. She panicked one day, running down a hall, seeming not to turn, but ending back at the door of her own chambers, again and again. She told Luce, who laughed and told her she had a wild imagination. The house, he said, was vast, and curved, so naturally she ended where she began. She somehow did not fully believe him.

* * * - continued -
edit on 9-4-2016 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 01:27 PM
- continued -

Being with child slowed her, tempered her and she grew like the moon, though far from full yet. He kissed her belly and steadied her walk and gave her every comfort. But his eye, she noted, had grown distant, worried, weighted. Being in his presence felt as gravid as her blossoming womb, and no matter how he tried to lighten the conversation, he failed to lift it back to the carefree days before the pregnancy. She felt clouds gathering in his eyes, and a storm on the horizon. He would brush off her fears, but it only left her feeling more convinced that something was terribly wrong.

* *
She spent her days mapping the house, finally, trying to write down the rooms and halls and stairways. In so doing, one day, she found a new door, a small, secret door, hidden behind an old, massive clock in her husbands smoking room. It was like so many things in the mansion - beautiful at first glance, then filled with hidden peril. It was angel themed again, but behind the wings, which circled the face of the clock, poked tortured faces, as if the damned hid behind the graceful feathered arcs, their agony enshrined in eternity. It made her shudder. Then another glance, and all was cherubs and clouds, like she’d imagined the horror. But she knew. It had been there. Like the light in her husband’s eyes the night they made their baby, the vision of hell had been real.

Luce was away, and she was alone, again, late at night. She was in her gown, creeping about. Bored, pregnant, and, she admitted, scared. The servants were no where to be found unless she screamed, and then they would help her, then abandon her, and she still could not remember one name or one face. She feared she was going mad. He had forbidden her to go in this room, but in his absence, in her fear, she longed for the scent of him to soothe her. He would not mind if she just went in for a short moment? Certainly, his wife could justify that with the loneliness he left her with?

The room, done in burgundy and scarlet, brass and black ebony smelled of fine tobacco and brandy, of wood smoke from the massive fireplace, and furniture polish. She picked up a cushion and held it to her face, finding his scent in the fabric and inhaling it like it was his skin. She crushed it to her chest and allowed herself to be angry. This was not the life she had dreamed when he whisked her away. Where did he go? What business kept him working so hard that she never saw him leave, no matter how early she rose, or how late she pried open her eyes. She felt justified in probing his secrets. The clock door was a tantalizing one that she could not resist.

It opened with a slight rumble, as if rolling along bearings as it slid sideways, and behind it, an old, angular staircase crept up into the dark. She grabbed a lantern from the room and lit it, determined to see what secrets she could uncover. Forbiddingly, the door closed behind her with the sound of a tomb. She ran back to it, but could find no mechanism to escape! Her heart racing, she had no choice but to brave the stairs. Up she went, twisting and turning around sharp corners, her breath faltering in the cloying air of the stairs. Her hands felt along rough stone, the inside of the walls, so that she felt like she was ascending through a cave. Higher and higher until the stairs ended in another small door. This one opened.

The room was musty and filled with cobwebs. It was an attic, vast and filled with, strangely enough, all manner of instruments from what appeared to be a golden lyre to a massive piano forte. Heavy furniture, enough to fill all the rooms she had seen, was piled about, and stranger things lurked in the corners. A mirror caught her attention. For some reason her eyes kept returning to it, but she did not know why. It showed a cobweb, delicately formed, beautiful in the way of spider’s weaving, and beyond…were woods. She blinked. How could the mirror reflect the woods, while sitting in an attic? Her heart pounded and she grew dizzy. She set down the lamp for fear of dropping it. Mesmerized by the impossible image, she pulled her body forward, her steps leaden, her body shaking with fear.

In the mirror, a scene not possible revealed itself, and she didn’t know at first, what she saw. The spider web, the woods, then a woman, running, her gown white. The woman turned, looking back as if pursued, and Lady Luce Angelus clamped her hand over her mouth to prevent the scream that fought its way past her throat. It was herself! And the front of the gown was covered in blood.

She awoke on the floor of the attic in front of the small carved mirror. It showed only her own white-faced reflection, and the attic around it now. Had she imagined it? Was she simply lost in illusions brought by the pregnancy? She felt ill, and unsure of herself. The contents of her stomach threatened to revolt.

She slowly raised herself up on her arms, finding a low dresser behind her that she used to pull herself back up to standing. What had she seen? Dread. Unimaginable dread filled her as she stumbled around the attic, looking for another door, a way back down and out. Why had she come here? If she screamed, would the servants find her? She did not want that. She would have to confess she’d been snooping in her husband’s private things and that was not something she thought, suddenly, would be healthy for her, if he found out. She wasn’t sure why she thought this, but it settled into her with certainty.

The child in her womb gave a kick. It was sudden, and she caught her breath. What a strong little one he was! She still felt certain it was a boy, and she patted her belly soothingly. “It’s okay,” she said in a sing-song voice, like her mother had used with her as a baby, and her sisters who followed. Her sisters. How odd. She hadn’t even thought of them once in…months? She felt her way around, the lamp still burning steadily where she left it. She picked it up and wove her way through piles of antiquities.

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 01:28 PM
- continued -

Finally, there was another door. She opened it, thinking with relief she’d found a way out. At first she didn’t understand what she was looking at. Cribs, children’s toys, old and crumbling, the heads of dolls staring broken and lifeless from a shelf, piled together like some macabre remnant of Herod’s rage, when he rounded up all children to murder. She stared, tears running down her face. There were portraits lined up against the walls. Family portraits. They went back deep into history. Luce stared out of all of them, a proud father, a beautiful wife, and a single child. All of them were girls. A book, more like a scroll, thick leather burnt with writing in a language she did not understand seemed to mark dates back before the birth of Christ, back to the very dawn of ages. And there were more scrolls just like it, crumbling, stiff, piled around the room. How many families? How many children were his? She, with disbelieving eyes, found only females, name after name, and soon after their birth, was a date of death. And their mother’s date of death. She felt a chill then, that penetrated to the center of her bones. The heads of dolls, smashed by little girls of four and six. Evil little girls.

The angel in the statute at the bottom of the stairs really was her husband. A fallen angel. The fallen angel. Her child was a boy. She knew it. Inside her womb, another kick. She gasped. It hurt! And another. She staggered, knowing it was too early for a child to be so strong. She grabbed at the crucifix that hung around her neck and prayed. The child settled. The devil’s child. Suddenly, she knew what the mirror meant.

She clambered out of the horrible little room and threaded her way back to the door she had come in. She would find a way through the clock, and then she would leave this place forever. Her belly was stretching. She could feel her womb expanding, growing rapidly. She knew the child was somehow growing fast, or maybe the attic was stretching time, she did not know how, only that it was happening. She half ran, half fell down the long stairs, down and down, descending to her husbands smoking room. She went fast, fear giving her wings.

Finally, at the bottom, she used the lamp to see if she had missed a latch or button earlier. She pulled and pushed everything she could see. The knob of the stair railing twisted in her hand and the clock door opened.

She was just in time to see her husband step through the massive fireplace, his angel’s face drawn in sorrow, his wings the shape of dragons.

“You were in the attic!” he thundered, his face enraged.

“No- no…I was caught behind the door! That’s all!” she lied, desperately.

“I am the Father of Lies,” he said, closing the gap between them, drawing her to him, his fingers lifting her chin as she trembled. “I always know when my weapons are being used…”

Tears dropped down her cheeks and he blurred in her vision. Not unkindly he said…”My son, my General in the coming war, wants out now…”

* *

She closed her eyes in pain, and against the memory of the thing in her womb, its sharp claws opening her from the inside as it birthed itself into the world. She had screamed and fallen, her gown erupting with red, and the mess of its exit. She had kept her eyes on the terrible visage that loomed above her.

Luce Angelus, Lucifer, her husband, picked up the bloody squirming thing from underneath her gown. It had wings like a bat. He held it in the curl of his arm, gently, wiping her blood from its glowing eyes. “Do not fear,” he had said to her, a smirk on his beautiful features, “we still need you for a while…”

He reached under and pressed his hand against her belly, running his finger across the jagged line of his son’s exit. She screamed as he cauterized the wound, sealing and mending it.

Her hand found a poker, heavy and made of iron. With a rage that came like a beast from her breast she screamed again and struck the iron against her husband’s temple with a force born of betrayal and pain. He blinked, then staggered, off balance, rocking back to sit awkwardly on the floor, trying to hold the demon child in his arms where it squirmed, crying weakly.

Fueled by unworldly, insane fear, and perhaps something the baby demon had shared in her blood, she rose up and hit him again, seeing the look of shock on his face, his eyes fluttering, a line of blood opening at his temple. She took the moment, while he was stunned, to run.

* *

The tree branches clicked and snow began to fall, the wind whipping across her mercilessly. She felt more than heard the rage that tore the massive mansion apart sending chunks of stone and mortar flying. He would be here soon. She hoped she would be dead already.

Her vision hazed and she heard a sound, sorrowful and beautiful, a wreckage of music played on a lyre. A song filled with such loss and grief that she could not bear it, tears streaming down her face, sobs wracking her wounded frame. A light broke open above her, and she felt feathers and smelled something like myrrh and warmth filled her body. She smelled him, her husband, and saw golden hair, and felt strong arms envelop her.

* *

She awoke in her room at her father’s house. Sally, her maid, was shaking her to get up, or she wouldn’t have time to dress for the party. She awoke, confused, and whole. She got up claiming she felt very unwell, which was only the truth.

Sally shook her head and cajoled her to get into her gown. “There’s a nobleman coming tonight, Miss Anne! He’s from Italy, I think. He’s a Lord something-or-other. Handsome, is what I hear. Wake up! You are the prettiest thing in the city and I’m sure he’ll dance with you. Your father — I overheard him talking to Mr. Vanderstern — your father said this Lord’s looking for a wife!”

In a daze she prepared for the party, a sense of dread in her belly. Her dream had been mostly forgotten, or nightmare, rather, though it had seemed so real to her at the time. Wasn’t it real? She did not notice as she quickly dressed with Sally’s frantic help, that a thin jagged scar, nearly invisible, traced along her stomach.

As she went down the steps she saw a tall, elegantly dressed man, who turned and looked up at her. Their eyes locked for a moment. Then to her shock, she realized his face was a match for the man in her dream! He looked at her with longing, with passion for a moment. Her heart jumped in…fear? That was a curious reaction, she thought. Why should she fear him? Then his expression grew cold, and he looked away. A waltz began. She watched as he took the hand of the giggling Mary Ellsworth. Anne’s cheeks burned with embarrassment that she had been so obviously slighted by him. What had she done wrong?

After the waltz, she tried to find him again, curiosity winning out against caution, but he had disappeared. Her father looked at her strangely when she asked after him.

“Who? Never heard of him,” he said. She never saw the man with the angel’s face again, but there were times at night that she dreamed of wings and music, waking to find herself in tears.


posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 02:00 PM
Wow. That was really good...
SO descriptive!!

Geez, the competition is going to be fierce!


posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 02:03 PM
a reply to: jacygirl

Hey thanks, Jacy!!!

I've been working on I'm glad it came through!

- AB

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 03:50 PM
I was at the edge of my seat!
Good story!

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 06:12 PM
a reply to: Night Star

Thanks so much for reading it, Night!

It's kind of long, so I don't know how many people will feel like taking the time to get through it. The fact that you did is MOST appreciated!! (And Jacy, too!) '

The photos were really fun to work with.

Thanks again!

- AB

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 06:25 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard

I read and flagged your story, I forgot to comment because it is so well written.

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 07:09 PM
Pretty scary! Romance then classic horror. Very Good!

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 07:49 PM
You've done it again AB's!

I LOVE your writing...

I think I'll just get my coat... and shuffle out the back door of the contest...

Game Over.


kindest regards,

posted on Apr, 9 2016 @ 10:50 PM
a reply to: Gordi The Drummer

Oh, stop... Seriously. My gratitude for your appreciation!!

Your writing is awesome Gordi!! I can see my mistakes just fine, thanks!

- AB

posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 04:06 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard

Don't try to dance with him again, for the love of God! Back away!

I do love a good demon story and that was a truly excellent one.

B x

posted on Apr, 20 2016 @ 04:01 PM
a reply to: beansidhe

Hey beansidhe! I got distracted with my Philip Corso thread and forgot to thank you for stopping by to read the story!!

It is so appreciated!!!

So...looks like you may have the honor of being the last person to read it!! lol!

Well, that's how it goes... I'm always grateful for those intrepid folks who can plow through one of my more wordy efforts!

- AB

posted on Sep, 11 2017 @ 12:56 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard

Very well written! You are really good with the words.

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