The Short Tale of Charles B. Vondemond
By Austin Durose
The night was dark, but it wouldn’t have been a problem otherwise. Fransworth House was amidst a quiet estate. The locals, like Fransworth herself, were old and never ventured far from home. The area was clear and, with aid of a near by tree, a tall, slender man in black leapt with graceful agility to a small ledge underneath a window. Vondemond had noticed that the windows were not often locked. He opened the window and entered the house.
The window opened into a small chamber adjacent to the master bedroom. He lit a small candle to light his way. Before long he was stood once again under the watchful eyes of a thousand cats who had seen too much the night before. His own gaze focussed on the ancient box as its carvings danced under the flicker of candle wick.
He placed the candle on the bedside table next to the ancient box and fussed in a pocket for his pick lock. At that moment he felt a second presence in the room with him. He turned and saw the reflection of two emerald green eyes. The cat. Suddenly it was upon him, scratching and screeching, clawing and biting. In his shock Vondemond had responded slower than usual. Somehow the cat had managed to claw its way to his face before he had realised what was happening.
In the dark he tore the creature from his head and flung it with force against a portrait on the wall. He heard the smash of the glass and the thud of flesh as the cat’s body fell to the floor. He felt the burning, itching pain of his wounds, and the warm blood slowly making it’s way down his face.
His attention once again laid on the box, he quickly picked the lock and placed his tool beside the burning candle. With a softness he caressed its lid with both hands and opened the treasure.
An explosion of power pulsed through his body and threw him across the room. The force had shaken the cabinet and framed felines, it had unbalanced the candle which engulfed a headpiece in flame.
Vondemond’s eyes adjusted as the new, fierce light lashed violently against wall and bed post unleashing new flame on all it touched. Then he saw it. A shadow pure and black in front of the flame, it writhed in agony and crashed around as a creature bound by ropes furious to break free. This shadow which emanated from the box as smoke from cigar threw its weight blindly smashing portraits and fighting amidst the flame, yet Vondemond could make out no detail, just the purest of darkness. From its figure, unknown shapes or limbs or tentacles writhed around with the same agony, from its head what seemed to be worms or snakes slithered unceasingly and violently lashed out against the walls. More structured parts, almost like huge spiders legs clawed from behind the nightmare. They tried to cling to the wall, but the uncontrollable struggle of the beast forced them away.
In Vondemond’s terror he was silent and could only watch. The once unconscious cat was now awake and spitting in defiance of the beast. It seemed to turn towards the sound like a blind man to a call. It leaned towards the screaming cat in a back breaking manner, slow and purposeful. The worm figures on it’s head moved back and flowed behind. With the movement of a cobra, the darkness attacked head first and the cat was no more. This was when Vondemond re-found his voice, with a hoarse yet shrill cry of terror.
The beast instantly faced the noise, the fires blazing all around it, yet still no definition could be made. The sharp shiver which chilled his spine made the man knew it was looking right at him. He felt his very soul defiled and all emotions of sadness came crashing in like waves of a dark sea on an unforgiving shore. He lay sill on the floor where he was knocked and wept uncontrollably as the monster purged his mind and brought forward dark and repressed memories. He could see the faces of those he had beaten, used and hurt in the darkness of that monster. They screamed in pain and with one voice called for his own bloody murder. He saw the shadow’s edge jut as though breaking from binding rope and at last it had broken free. The monster unfolded huge spider-like legs of deepest darkness before Vondemond. And at last it attacked.
Darkness crept beyond any light of the fire now cremating the bed and vanity chests, combusting with the perfume bottles and whisping up the wigs as flimsy tissue. Darkness crept along his face and under the blood pouring down and into the wounds from which the blood came. Darkness slid up and peeled back his eyelids and covered the perfect round of his eye balls like a thick oil. It slid into his ears and up his nostrils and gagged his mouth and filled throat and Vondemond knew he was dead.
Lady Fransworth returned home that evening with a young gentleman she had met at the fund raising gala. She returned to find her house in flame and though for a while she was horrified at the loss of her possessions, she had realised that life did go on. She stayed with the young man from the gala until she was able to restore her home and had forgotten all about that handsome young man, Charles B. Vondemond.
© Austin Durose 2011