The Children of Leviathan

Heavy breathing, her fists clenched behind her back against the door, her legs shaking.

Eyes still shut, she took a long deep breath.


She had just marginally been salvaged from the double wrath of the strange limbo-like wilderness, in a two-folded manifestation of the imminent Electric storm and the pack of crones prowling outside. Yet somehow she did not feel entirely safe even behind the bolted door. A false sense of security grew in the pit of her stomach. She could not be sure whether the insides of this House on the Hill held no hostility, no grudges against her, and did not seek to harm her soul. In fact, she was more certain than not that the House was long awaiting her arrival in order to begin its foul play. However, she could not afford to be overcome with panic and so she tried to calm herself by thinking, “confront each fear as it comes, not before”.

But was it fear indeed? Fear of what? Of the unknown, fear of something real, tanglible or of something abstract, of an apparition alive only in her mind? Was it fear of feeling helpless and alone, fear of feeling powerless and lost? Fear of pain, of loss, of damnation? How deep did the rabbit hole go? How much worse could her world be?She still did not know which questions were right to ask, and this scared her more than any demons or traps Leviathan placed in her path.

As she stood with her back up against the door, she opened her eyes for the first time since being inside and tried to focus on the space surrounding her. It was of massive proportions compared to the size of the House from the outside. From the exterior the House appeared to be a worn cottage, yet its interior seemed like a lordly mansion that had once seen glorious days and joyous nights.
In any case, now it was predictably bare. It was as though a living soul had not set foot in that place for centuries. There was thick Gray dust covering every surface, almost every orifice, and the furniture was covered in white sheets that had gone mouldy from the frequent storming. The air was stale, and dense and cold. Very cold. Her breath left trails of warm smoke as she breathed out.

 In and out.   

There was a monumental marble staircase opposite the entrance where she stood. It had two sets of stairs, one on the right leading up, and one on the left, leading down, which encompassed the centre piece of the landing that proudly featured a grand floor clock. It was monstrously big and went all the way up to the top of the staircase with a proportionally large face with intricate numbers and cogs. In the silence that prevailed, she could hear its ticking: Tick. Tock. It echoed across the room steadily, yet the hands were not moving. They were positively static. How peculiar. Meekly she hoped this would be the least aberrant thing she would meet whilst being there, although she already knew that to believe it would be a comforting lie. 

To her right was a large drawing room, predominantly made of wood. The booming fireplace, large enough to walk into, was indubitably the pivotal piece of the room, surrounded by the most generous library she had ever seen, built into the walls. Above the lacquered mantelpiece hung, covered in cloth, only what she could assume to be a painting. Oh how she wished she could get a fire started and warm her bones! She had not got used to the temperature yet, and the sky rumbled loudly as she approached the room to examine it more closely. As she walked away from the marble floor and into the wooden flooring of the room to the right, it creaked under her foot and she instantly remained still, listening.



Armchairs, table and sofa were all covered, or so she presumed that it was those that were hiding away under the dewy sheets. A bulky chandelier graced the high-pitched ceiling, with half melted candles around its circumference and brimming with cobwebs. Closer to the fireplace she went with determination, as if it were fully ablaze, in a futile attempt to feel the illusion of some warmth. She lifted the corner of the cloth that covered the painting above. She discovered it was not a painting. It was a mirror she saw, and without a second thought she threw the cloth down and revealed it. Thunder permeated the house and the windows shook in their cases and the mirror shone bright, a cold silver flash filling the space and she covered her eyes at the sting of the the sudden light.
Eventually she glanced up: there was no reflection of herself in the glass, yet, in the far right corner she could see the pack of crones dancing in the distance, in the outdoor setting, in a circle and the Gray Wolf in the middle. She turned, disregarding her dread and defying her dismay of the abhorrent flesh thirsty crones, in exchange for a glimpse of the him; but there was nothing and no one there. It had been a figment of her imagination, or the games of the House had already started.

Facing the mirror once again, she still saw no reflection of herself. She waved at it and swayed before it, but it did not respond by imitating her. Her eyes fell on the craftsmanship of the frame; it was made of metal, ornamented with curved lines and geometric shapes. She touched one shape that reminded her of a Fleur de Lis and then took a step back as the patterns began to move and take the form of many Fleurs strangling one another. She covered the mirror again and regretted having disturbed its slumber.

Suddenly, she heard the pitter-patter of footsteps coming from the floor above; and laughter, of children, innocent giggles and playful shouting. It made her feel incredibly uneasy as she imagined a group of children sharing moments of merriment in this strange house. It cannot be true or genuine, it cannot be real. There must be a catch, there must be a reason why the House played such charades on her, and she was bound to find out.

Up the right staircase she strode, and as her left hand touched the black marble bannister, she felt the sensation on her fingers changing, from dry to wet, from smooth to scaly, but always cold; cold as stone. Looking down at it was no longer cold stone but cold flesh instead, black scaly snake flesh that squirmed and wriggled under her touch. She gasped as her eyes followed the body of the Basilisk up to its raised head, a triangular source of lethal venom. His eye were slits of fiery orange, and his gaze mesmerized her as she continued to go up the marble steps slowly, coaxed by the soft hissing of the King of Serpents. As she reached the top, he snapped his slithering tail like a whip and her consciousness returned to the cold reality that she had momentarily lapsed from.

Without looking back at him, she entered a dark corridor that had wooden doors on either side. The series of doors seemed unending and she walked without purpose, gradually getting used to the dim light, until she felt a strong sense of destination to approach a specific one. "29" was the number on the door in intricate metal design, similar to the Fleur de Lis' on the mirror in the drawing room.
It clicked open before her hand touched the door knob, and kept opening as she moved forward to reveal a classroom. Desks, chairs, and school bags were all in place, as if the children had just gone out to the playground at break time. On the blackboard "A a, B b, C c..." and on the teacher's desk a bell and a bitten apple; a sweet sticky taste filled her mouth.  

The classroom joined the room next door with an internal door, yet in contrast to the one before this one was fully made of metal. It was marked "Exams in Progress" and the lettering on it were not curved, but jagged. She heard the laughter again, coming from beyond the door. This time the door did no magically open telepathically, she had to push hard as the children's laughter grew louder. She managed to get it open although snagging her left wrist at the steel latch in her effort, and bright blood trickled down her hand and onto her gown.
Entering, she was faced with a sight that turned her blood so thick, she thought the cut would not drip anymore. Rows of children lying on examination tables, wired up to measuring devices, in a comatose condition, yet breathing. No laughter, no giggles.

Tick. Tock: The heartbeats of the Children of Leviathan echoed in harmony.

Tick. Tock: They all lay motionless and still, feeding the Beast their dreams.

Tick. Tock: Ticking away to the rhythm of the great big clock downstairs...

She could not bear this any longer; acid tears burned her eyes but as she was about to turn and exit, she heard a screech like nails scraping the blackboard. She shuddered. She left the exam room in a state of shock and horror.
"A a, B b, C c..." had been erased from the board. In its place was written in child-like handwriting "Lux ex Tenebris" (1). She ran out into the dark corridor.
The Basilisk had not moved, and was still where she had left him, looking wickedly smug and disdainfully pleased with himself. He started to hiss euphorically as she approached and she avoided his stare as she felt more and more vulnerable drawing closer to him. Her soul felt utterly exposed reaching the top to the stairs and she heard his evil
whisper "Facilis descensus Averni" (2), ordering her to descend. She then remembered that there was a second part to the staircase, this time leading down.

(1) Light through Darkness
(2) The descent to Hell is easy

1 comment:

What do you think? x Ra-Ra