Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
Unease By David Worley
Larry Kite sold funeral plans to people anticipating their departure from this world but he had no plans for his own exit. “Live for today” was Larry’s motto and let someone else pick-up the tab when you’re gone.
Larry’s taxi drew-up outside the Mansion Hotel where he was staying for the night. As he paid the driver he noticed a woman passing through the Hotel’s rotating doors. She wore a long, exotic, gown of midnight blue with raven-black hair cascading onto her bare shoulders. She glanced back as if expecting a companion to be there. Larry glimpsed a sad, pale, face; ruby lips parted as if about to speak. And then she was gone.
Entranced, Larry grabbed his bag and followed her into the Hotel foyer where, to his dismay, she entered the lift. Larry’s eyes followed the lift’s progress to the 10th floor; the top of the Hotel. He dreaded confined spaces but, when the lift returned, Larry was drawn into its cell-like interior. The doors closed and panic filled him with dread as the sickening ascent began. An eternity seemed to pass before Larry arrived at the 10th floor only to be confronted with a new sense of unease. The doors opened onto a candle-lit room of great antiquity and haunting shadows. She was sitting by a small window; a ray of sunlight falling upon a letter she was reading. Exquisite, thought Larry, but somehow, otherworldly.
She rose as if to greet him; the letter falling from her hand – then, suddenly, she crumpled to the floor in a pool of blood that spread ominously towards Larry.
Terrified, he staggered back into the lift only to realise, with gut-wrenching horror, there was no lift; just a dark shaft and a dread-filled fall to his death. His scream echoed the madness that overwhelmed his mind in those last few seconds before the inevitable impact.
The lift doors slid apart and Larry fell into the arms of the concierge.
‘May I help you, Sir? You look like you have seen a ghost.’
Larry tried to explain about the beautiful woman on the 10th floor; her blood-soaked body and his dreadful fall down the elevator shaft.
Puzzled, the concierge said there was no 10th floor. ‘Odd though,’ he reflected. ‘There was once a mansion on this site. Apparently, the owner had a beautiful daughter who always dressed in blue. When her fiancé, a soldier, was sent to war she confined herself in her bedroom to await his return. Upon hearing the news that he had died in battle; the grief-stricken women threw herself from her bedroom window.’
‘My God,’ gasped Larry. ‘Do you think I saw her ghost?’ He stared wide-eyed at the concierge. ‘Part of her dead,’ he gasped, ‘and part living in torment; doomed to re-enact her dreadful tragedy for eternity.’
‘Quite so, Sir,’ said the concierge reassuringly. ‘Now, may I show you to your room? We can take the elevator or would you prefer to use the stairs?’
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