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Offline theupsideofdown

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Wraith - Stories About A Dead Man (ongoing)
« on: June 08, 2020, 01:14:52 AM »
Something of a slow burn. It may also be the first in a series, if my discerning fellows like it well enough.

WRAITH

THEIR FILTH IS UPON ME

I do not remember my name. The magistrate must have spoken it before I was hanged, and that might be the last time that it was ever said aloud. But when I think back on the day my name is the one thing I can not recall. I do remember the townsfolk's disinterested faces mutating into rage when the lawman listed all the things I had done. I do not think they were expecting to hear what they heard, spoken about somebody who looked the way I looked. They knew about rapists and highwaymen. They had seen many of them take the drop before. They knew how that kind of villain was meant to look – coarse and weather worn and ill-fed, with pale and defiant eyes – because they knew what it took to make one. (“Of course you did those terrible things. The world is cruel. A man can only take so much.”) Every commoner is one bad day away from brigandage.

I am not a commoner. Even filthy and brutalised and completely exhausted, the difference between them and me was as obvious as the sun. I stood on the scaffold in my sullied officer's suit with the practised posture of any man of my station, as though I was still on campaign and still a captain. I was staring out past the crowd, past the town and the fields and through the forest to where they had found me, bollocks deep, grunting and laughing; spending – so it seemed – the final corrosive remainder of my soul into the arse of that struggling girl. The crowd knew as much as I knew how immense was the gulf between us. And so when the magistrate told them how I had brutalised her, and how many more there had been before her; how I had wended my way through the settlements at the empire's margin, a gluttonous, un-satable serpent, and how upon discovery I had not surrendered but had struck four men dead and injured another – what infuriated them was not what I had done, but that a man such as me could have done it. A lord's son. A patriot and a hero. Even at the end I wore the ribbons on my chest.

I had not bathed since abandoning my post almost four months before, so the filth of all those young women, as much as my own filth, was still upon me. I must have stunk near as bad as a corpse. But a strong autumn wind blew against me and away from town so that the crowd was spared the worst of the smell; and when it was time to say my final words the townsfolk could not hear them. Those words are something else that I forget, though I doubt they were important. I do remember that the rope was far too short and that it took a very long time to die.

BUT WE KILLED YOU

In the old stories, knowing the secrets of the dead is sometimes an advantage. In reality, nothing the dead know or do is of any use at all. It is far better to be alive – which is why, the very night after my execution, I returned from the dead. There was no moon and it was terribly dark. I was no longer dangling from the gibbet. At some point the rope had failed and I had crashed through the platform's unstable boards. Absurdly, I thought: “The fall must have woken me.” No one seemed to have heard the fall; or if they did they had thought better of investigating a strange sound on a moonless night. I stood and, entirely confused, made my way down the execution hill and away from town.

The full nature of my condition would not be obvious for some time, but I will spare you my own confusion. I was in fact a corpse. I was not breathing and I felt impossibly cold, as if I had been fished out of a frozen river. The tan skin of my hands had become as pale as bone. Though it was the middle of the night, my vision was as clear as if it was midday. None of this felt significant at the time. All that seemed to matter was that the idiots who had strung me up had failed to finish me off. When they were killing me I had understood in an abstract way that stories like mine were supposed to end in violence. You can only destroy so much before you are in turn destroyed. But the farther I walked the clearer it became that this attitude had been a kind of capitulation. That I had surrendered my life to these common men, though I had not surrendered it to ten thousand better men before them. They had killed me because I had let them kill me, and the killing had not worked. Still walking, I began to laugh. A hoarse and savage and animal sound. I laughed at myself, at my killers, at all those ruined girls, and at all the girls I had not yet met, whom I was going to destroy. None of them could stop me. I am not ever going to stop.

“Who's there?"

Moving forward it will be useful to understand that creatures like the one that I now am are each drawn to a certain powerful something. We can always find that something without searching for it, as if guided by a divine hand. It is a different something for us all, but every one us has it. You can guess what that thing is for me. I had sensed her long before I could see her, and in the middle of my musings I had followed that sense of her, unthinking, down into the woods. A boy was with her. He had a lantern in one hand and a long dagger in the other, and his trousers were unfastened. The girl was pressed against his back, clutching her own dishevelled garments together, staring. I could smell what they had been doing in the moonless dark. It was vivid and compelling, as if they had strewn their sex across the wind to signal me, and draw me near. My cock stirred, and I stepped closer.

“I tell you, get away from here. Whoever you are. I'll finish you.”

You know by now that I am an accomplished killer. Whatever my name had been, I had made that name by bloodshed. This boy did not know how to hold his weapon. He brandished it with the expertise of a toddler with a stick. So I took it from his hands and put it through his gut. I passed the full length of the blade through him, drawing close until the matted and reeking tangle of my hair was falling on his face. It seemed to take a while for the fact of his death to register in his mind. He looked at his belly, and up to me, and back to his belly, and up to me once more. When I could see that he understood that he had been murdered, I drew his weapon out of him again. The lantern fell to the ground and went out.

“But we killed you,” he said.

He pressed his hands to the coursing river of his wound and then, his companion forgotten, began to stagger away from the clearing where they had fucked. “We killed you,” he said again. Stupidly. “We killed you.”  The girl followed him with her eyes as he stumbled away from us and away from town and out of his own life. She had the wide eyes of an infant, but in the consuming darkness she could barely see me. I was little more than a looming, stinking, murdering silhouette. “We killed you.” Her paramour had entirely disappeared from view. Only his voice and the clumsy shuffle of his feet remained. And then not even that.

I HOPE IT IS SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

She had pissed herself, and the stink of it was mingled with pungency of her open cunt. The girls usually piss themselves, often before they even have the presence of mind to scream. I was a very large and intimidating man when I was alive, and more often than not those qualities were enough to terrify my victims into compliance. But now that I am something entirely beyond humanity, their minds sometimes desert them before I even have their flesh between my fingers. That is a disappointment and a waste. There is no pleasure in ruining a thing that is no longer really there. This girl was still present. Her breathing was more composed than I expected. Unsteady and shallow, but regular, as if she were trying to master herself. It did not register at the time, famished as I was, but I have wondered since what that lovely creature must have known – what she must have been – that she could possess so much clarity in that moment, at the beginning of her end.

I discarded the dagger, lifted her by the waist, and brought her lips to mine. Now she made her first sound, a nasal whine that rose to a high and quavering note before dissolving into staccato. Her lips were pursed. My tongue teased between them and raked across her clenched teeth, and as her whine transformed into a scream, I took what must have been my first true breath, filling my lungs with the humid savour of her own. Finally she began to struggle. Her legs batted uselessly against my midsection and my groin. She swatted my head. She pressed her palm against my brow to force me back, and I only kissed her harder. The reek of my insides was on her and in her now. She began to gag.

As I have said, I had not bathed for several months. I had done a hundred despicable things in that time and made no effort to conceal the evidence of them. My skin, my coat, my beard were all a mess of grease and blood, of piss and shit and vaginal emissions. I surrounded her with it. Suffused her in it. I carried her down into the dirt and lay my ruin across her like a shroud. She might have persisted in her struggle then. I do not remember. With the full weight of me upon her it could not have made a difference. Certainly she had begun to beg, as my tongue dragged heavy across her naked skin. Shrieking at first. Wailing like a child. But with every moment she was inching back toward calm. Collecting herself again, until behind the dread and the despair and the disgust, I could discern a genuine entreaty. “Please,” she said. Not merely the panicked and instinctual noise of so many girls who had known in their souls that they were doomed. “Please.” As if there was something, anything, that could be said. “Please.” As if I had not long ago discarded reason and the possibility of mercy and the succour of the gods.

“Please.”

When I began to fuck into her, the girl's composure disintegrated once again and did not return. The pain of my entry stunned her for a moment into silence, but I could tell by the wild movement of her eyes that her sanity was not gone. When a girl is destroyed her eyes become quite still. She will stare into you and through you and beyond you. I have no idea what they see in that moment. I hope it is something beautiful. This girl was looking everywhere but at me as she began to sob against my brutal rhythm. None of the girls have been able to take the length of me, but that has never stopped me trying. I do terrible damage to them.

A CREATURE OF EXQUISITE DESOLATION

I always take as much time as I can to pull a girl's soul apart. Now that I am dead I suppose I could torment them for days without stopping. But I have never found a flower worth taking that much time to trim of its petals. (Magda was almost worth it. Ask me about the witch Magda later, and I will tell you how she died) Still, I had set upon this one with unusual haste. It occurred to me that if I carried on in the manner I had begun she would be spent long before sunrise. By the ease of my thrusts, her cunt must have been bleeding heavily, and I withdrew to confirm that my shaft had become dark and slick with her injury. She did not move and she did not cry out. But she was conscious and aware. She understood that sound and motion had become futile.

That stillness and silence persisted even as I pressed into her anus. Now her only motion was in her eyes. She squeezed them shut, and new tears streamed along the transparent tracks of old ones. Like almost every girl before her, these depths were unplumbed. Her blood eased my passage but it did not ease her pain. I sank deeper and destroyed her as I went. Farther than I had managed in her front, I filled her bowels until the complete and gory mass of me was embedded in her body. I like to think she understood then that those parts of her were not repairable. That when I was done with her she would be done with sex (and men and love and perhaps even the world) for good. The heat and press of her guts enlivened me as I stirred what was inside of her. I revelled in the humiliating sounds of her. I delighted in what came out of her and what could not be put back in. When she cried again it was not a human sound at all. It was the sound of some sad animal, savaged and split open, devoured in the unremitting blackness of the wood. She cried like that all the long hours that I fucked into her. And when I erupted at last into the darkest part of her, and the godless cold of my satisfaction coursed through her and curdled the wounded depths of her, she cried yet louder still.

She was not dead. I do not know if she has died since, but I know she was alive when the sun began to rise and I departed. Travelling westward I passed the cooling body of her lover. He had gotten remarkably far before his belly had filled with blood and he had died. He was tangled in the branches of a fallen tree and had expired with his arse in the air and his trousers at his ankles. Seeing him there, so rudely posed, I began to curse. These ones had not been good work. I had been hasty and sloppy and artless. I had fed my hate and my madness but had created nothing. I am to become a creature of "exquisite desolation". That is why I left the legion and its order and its restraint; “to write my own message in scar tissue upon the harlot face of the world”. That is the oath I swore to the Black Goddess, and I suspect it is why I was brought back from the dead. This girl, like all the others, was supposed to be the herald of that message. And yet through her I had said nothing at all.

And it dawned on me then, as the very sun's light dawned upon the pale hindquarters of the youngster, that in my flight from civilisation, snaking through the diminished country of the imperial borderland, I had forsaken not only my humanity but my craft. Had that been the oath that I had sworn? To become an animal and to die like an animal and to be remembered as less than one? That could not have been enough. That much could never be enough. I intend that the fullness of my evil will eclipse the tallest citadels of hell. My purpose restored, I smiled and clapped the boy upon his cheek. I turned eastward again, toward the capital, toward my home.

“I think it is time I took a bath,” I said, and began to make my way.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 08:25:44 PM by theupsideofdown »

Offline CerealRapist

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Re: Wraith - Stories About A Dead Man (ongoing)
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 01:56:25 AM »
You write like Dickens, Hugo and Mary Shelley. Wow!

People accept evil when it looks as it ought. Your protagonist turns the tables on the simple minded.

Cheers!
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Offline cosmicwitch

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Re: Wraith - Stories About A Dead Man (ongoing)
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 04:47:53 AM »
Oi, @theupsideofdown ... so... what happened to the witch, Magda? Asking for a friend.

Also, the bold red text at the end... you've been reading my journal again, haven't you? HAVEN'T YOU!?

You paint unpleasant pictures gloriously. + rep.

 

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