“Come to me child . . .”
I heard those words. The very same that had called to me in the night, every night of my imprisonment. She produced herself without anticipation or weight, and glided across the void toward me. The unholy Sister Raven of the Red, what corruption she bore upon her infected me deeper with each passing moment, there was to be no end to the torment she brought me, no respite from the gentle torture she inflicted upon my every waking hour.
“Your suffering . . . is an illusion . . .”
She caressed my face with what slithering appendage she had in place of an arm and beckoned me to remove her cowl.
“Peer into me . . .”
She begged me to remove it from her head. She embraced my frame and sent a shudder through my very soul. The eye, the EYE! The unblinking, all-seeing eye! O, how it mocked me. Now but a finger’s length from my face, it looked into me and withdrew everything. I raised my fists in defiance, but found only the temptation of holding her in my arms. What lust overcame me, I cannot convey, but the Sister Raven of the Red: I longed to have her for my own.
“Come to me child . . .”
Vexed, a commodity under her ownership, I could not but obey, and lay my hands upon the blood red cowl. Gently, I slid the thing from my lady’s face, a hideous veil meant to conceal her beauty and perfection. But, what was revealed to me . . . a horror beyond comprehension. Snakes and maggots, slugs and spiders, a grotesque orgy of putrid vermin, sliding in and out of one another, gnawing and scratching with their ringed teeth and phallic bodies, all doused in a pool of blackened blood. My Sister Raven of the Red, O what terror she had in store for me, for embedded within the treachery of her scalp lay the image of my beloved. My daughter, tangled and torn among the squiggling creatures that lay there.
Back I staggered, away from her embrace to gather myself, for I knew it to be a lie. Into the blackened void I wandered, my Sister Raven falling away from me, shrouded by the distance between us and the encroaching nothingness of the void. She gestured to me, saddened to see me fall away, but, in my release I shook from myself the spell she had placed upon my being.
Feeling in my fingers and in my face had returned, and a nagging chew became apparent at the top of my own skull. I screamed, but my voice had been taken from me. And as I ran my fingers across my face, I found, that they were no longer fingers at all, but a slithering appendage in place of an arm. Disgusted by my own deformity I struck myself in the face, attempting to shake myself from the nightmare I endured. But, found only upon my chin that an eye had grown. Try as I might, I could not close it. But, with it I saw through the void, and in the distance a whimpering child appeared. The urge to comfort her became my single overwhelming desire. But, I could not move. I seemed shackled to the very groundless void within which I had been chambered. At last I called out to her -
“Come to me child . . . “
Written by Kalan Ray
Illustrated by Anthony Jones