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Rampion Prelude

edited for "Coven" challenge

By Kari McLeesePublished 8 months ago 3 min read
Rampion Prelude
Photo by Claudio Carrozzo on Unsplash

"Tarry sweet stranger, And bid me good day. Your body was wandering, Now here to stay."

On a hill in the middle of a thick forest stood a tower. This tower was tall and straight, and though you could tell it had once been grand and well built, it was now beginning to crumble and sag. The bottom showed no door, but high in its walls were wide windows paned with beautiful coloured glass. One of these windows was now flung open by a thin white arm, allowing the gentle breezes of the spring morning to drift through.

From inside the top tower room now came the clear, fair notes of a harp; notes being plucked carefully out of its strings, by long white fingers. A high, sweet voice joined in, flowing out into the spring day. The voice sounded rich and strong, until it reached the bottom of the hill, when it suddenly become muffled.

The muffled voice fell upon the ear of a man who happened to be travelling through the forest near the bottom of the hill. He was a bright young man, with golden hair cropped close and a keen awareness sparkling in his eyes. Hearing the voice, and thinking perhaps it was someone in need, for they were very deep inside the forest, he followed it. He made his was quickly towards the tower, and when he came to the bottom of the hill, the words the muffled voice were singing suddenly became clear.

"Tarry sweet stranger, And bid me good day, Your body was wandering, Now here to stay."

The man now knew there was no one in dire need, but the voice was so beautiful that he was enchanted. He followed it, and as the trees thinned he could see the tower, with it's wide high windows, and caught a glimpse of a dark haired woman sitting just inside them. He felt drawn towards her.

Walking in circles around the tower, he searched for a door so that he might join her in the top room. Finding no door, the man called up "Lady, how do I enter? There is no door here."

In response the voice sang:

"Tarry sweet stranger, And bid me good day. Your body was wandering, Now here to stay. Help me sweet stranger, My freedom do give. Bring death upon thyself, So I might yet live."

The young man looked dazed, and began to grope around in the grass at the bottom of the tower. His hands fell upon a jagged stone that had crumbled off the tower wall. He ran the sharp edge against the inside of his wrist; it slid through the skin and pulled forth pinpricks of blood. He repeated the action three more times, until a thin line of blood ran down his fingers.

When the first drops of blood hit the ground, a low rumbling laugh reverberated in the air. The walls of the tower seemed to shake.

The man knelt on the ground and raised the stone to his other wrist, preparing to make another cut. Running the stone across his skin, the man quite suddenly stopped, blinking rapidly. The rock fell with a thud. The man slowly moistened his parched lips with his tongue, and pulled a dirty handkerchief from his pocket. He pressed the cloth to his arm, trying to remember how he had cut himself. The flow of blood was already slowing. Turning his back on the tower, he made his way back through the woods.

åIn the tower, she growled softly as she watched the golden haired man walk away. Turning her head slightly, she could see the silhouette of another man beneath the trees, and though she could not see him clearly, she knew who it was.

"That was a close one Elias," she breathed. "Losing your touch? Dozing, are we?" She ran a slender finger along the window sill, a mocking grin on her pink lips.

In the shade of the forest, the man called Elias heard her whispered words and shivered.


About the Creator

Kari McLeese

teacher, wife, mom, bibliophile

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  • Phil Flannery8 months ago

    Deliciously creepy end.

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