Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Lair of the Beast



The pounding I could hear came from my heart, not (for once) the other side of the wall. 

The silence was disconcerting, but I knew I had to go on. It was in there, in that 'room' - and I was determined to recover what was rightfully mine. I paused at the threshold, staring at the lurid symbols on the door and their blood-curdling descriptions of the fate awaiting any transgressor.

I swallowed and, trembling slightly, placed my hand on the door and pushed. Nothing. It was locked. I felt immediate relief. My looked-for excuse had presented itself. I could give up, go have a beer, forget this foolishness. But then, giving a gleeful shriek, the door fell open. My heart sank. I could no longer escape; my fate was sealed. I pushed again, harder, and it sulkily gave way. Beyond and on the floor lay a thick jumble of terrifying artifacts. Fetid air and something else, stung my nostrils.

A cruel and deadly scent, a musty mixture from a hundred sources attacked my senses, making me blink with dizziness. Clasping a hand to my nose, I gasped and tried to steady myself. I mustn't fall into the unspeakable detritus that lay around me as I might never recover. Peering warily into the darkness, with just the faintest light penetrating tightly curtained windows, I could see a ghostly view of the way forward - towards the goal I had set myself.

Stepping tentatively, careful that my tread did not disturb anything that may betray my visit, I moved closer. I shivered and averted my eyes from the terrible visions that covered the walls. Gruesome drawings looked down upon me balefully. Screaming Eagles, sword wielding demons and other strange animals glared at me silently, malevolently. But all the time I was getting tantalizingly close to my objective.

I passed close to the very lair of the beast, skirting its nest of ravaged bedding as my feet brushed horribly against the dismembered remains of other creatures, mere discarded playthings. My heart thudded against the constriction of my chest, my breathing becoming harsh as I took the last two steps and stopped. A hissing emanated from a strange device that lay coiled at my feet. It looked ready to snare me. The heat from its gaping jaws sent cold shivers from my toes to my heart. Taking a deep breath, I stepped over the monster.

Exaltation now swept through me - I had made it! The Desk of Doom lay open before me, the covering of dust muting the glint of discarded treasure. Gold and silver chain, gems and rings sparkled seductively, invitingly. But resolutely I ignored them. To touch even one, invited awful retribution. I wanted only what was mine, and mine alone.

Then, and in sheer horror, I saw the book. I couldn't resist. Temptation forced me to look inside and read what was written. The tales within those pages made my blood run cold, my skin crawled as if desperate to escape my body. I knew I had to leave or lose my mind.

I placed the abomination gingerly, as if it might explode, back into its dusty grave. I had to find my true quest quickly - I could no longer afford any delay! I searched amongst the many plastic containers that were piled high, some lay half-open, many had their precious contents scattered and unprotected. But where was it? Then my eye caught sight of a familiar design, and I realized with a grateful sigh that my quest was ended. Quickly I pocketed the treasure, carefully retracing my footsteps back to the light and to freedom. I pulled the door back into its original position and breathed freely at last. I had escaped - and escaped unharmed!

I turned to leave- when a noise that only Hell alone could summon - sucked the breath from my lungs and rendered me helpless. The vengeful owner of the room had returned and stood accusingly before me, fury incarnate. The creature, eyes glowering, nostrils flared in anger, stoop poised to attack. Blood-red lips drew back, teeth bared. Then it spoke:

'Dad! What have you been doing in my room!'

I staggered back uttering incoherent ramblings to try and placate the beast, but to no avail. I had to face her.

'Rescuing my cd?' I said weakly, at the same time trying to sidle past with a grin that church gargoyles would have been proud to wear.

The creature attacked, I flinched, but she dived past and stormed into her room, slamming the door in my face. Soon the walls of the house started to move - reverberating once more to furious teenage thrash metal, giving voice to her anger.

I staggered weakly downstairs, thankful to be alive and clutching my ‘lost' cd. Pouring myself a strong whiskey, I tried to remove the memory of the contents of ‘that' book, glimpsed upon her desk - but the nightmares persist to this day.

And, in case any one reading this should ever be tempted, let this be a warning. No parent should ever know, should ever read, the dreadful things that lie hidden within the diary pages of a teenage girl.

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