Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Within the Castle Walls By Danielle Roberts

The cold night air was emphasised by the bitter, howling wind. A large, blinding bolt lit up the empty sky, revealing the moon’s faceless form in full. Thunder shook the vast land around the looming castle, yet the latter stood strong and held its ground, towering above the quaking creatures who dared to go near; like a sign reading ‘danger of death’.

Many of the castle’s turrets cast eerie shadows against its cobbled ground, which looked out of place to say the least, in the sea of vastly overgrown, deserted farmland. The ghost of the colossal monster’s last laugh was lost within many years of dust and rust brown filth.

The hallway, although only faintly lit by flickering candlelight could be said to be long and foreboding, with around a hundred doors evenly distributed across each side. The distinct smell of blood lingered, but it smelled old, stale as though the place hadn’t had any occupants in a long time. Every door was identical - oak with jewel encrusted knobs- except the thirteenth. The thirteenth door looked as though it was meant to be covered by the peeling wallpaper, which appeared to have once been a dark green colour and covered in flowers in a pattern that resembled a waterfall of nature. It was now grey and splattered with something brown, which looked suspiciously red occasionally in the flickering candlelight.

Through the thirteenth door, the musty stench was overwhelming, enough to take over any mortal’s senses. The deep scratch marks in the door suggested that someone or something -possibly the castle’s late occupant- had suffered a great deal in a long space of time. Opposite the door was a crib full of old teddies and toys made from such materials that the room might have been a time warp. Next to the crib was a mat so thick with dust that the design was covered almost fully. In fact, the only visible colour was the vague red that seemed almost like a splash of wine. To the right, there was a wardrobe of fine mahogany. It overlooked the room, which was considerably brighter than the hallway, due to a fire on the other side of the chamber (which appeared to be a nursery).

The fire was set within an intricate mantelpiece of white Italian marble, which had a lion carved into the top of it. The lion’s mouth was wide open, it’s teeth visibly large and sharp, like a course of pointy rocks in gushing water. Next to the fire stood a rocking chair, slowly rocking by itself. A china doll sat in it, at first look she looked sweet and pretty, as though a child had just put her in the chair for a nap, but glancing back at her revealed that truthfully, her face was stern and unkind, like she was used to telling people their place. The doll’s head slowly turned as the chair rocked and her beautiful face, with its unpleasant expression twitched slightly. Scarily. Unnaturally.

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