Nature of the Beast

By: Hannah Howell

“Below? Below what? Where?”

Below. I am covered in sin. But, I am not alone.

Penelope cursed when Faith disappeared. She could not help the spirit now but dealing with Faith’s spirit had provided her with a much needed diversion. It had helped her concentrate and fight the power of the drug she had been given. Now she was alone with her thoughts and they were becoming increasingly strange. Worse, all of her protections were slowly crumbling away. If she did not find something to fix her mind on soon she would be wide open to every thought, every feeling, and every spirit lurking within the house. Considering what went on in this house that could easily prove a torture beyond bearing.

She did not know whether to laugh or to cry. She was strapped to a bed awaiting some stranger who would use her helpless body to satisfy his manly needs. The potion Mrs. Cratchitt had forced down her throat was rapidly depleting her strength and all her ability to shut out the cacophony of the world, the world of the living as well as that of the dead. Even now she could feel the growing weight of unwelcome emotions, the increasing whispers so few others could hear. The spirits in the house were stirring, sensing the presence of one who could help them touch the world of the living. It was probably not worth worrying about, she decided. Penelope did not know if anything could be worse than what she was already suffering and what was yet to come.

Suddenly the door opened and one of Mrs. Cratchitt’s earlier companions led a man into the room. He was blindfolded and dressed as an ancient Roman. Penelope stared at him in shock as he was led up to her bedside, and then she inwardly groaned. She had no trouble recognizing the man despite the blindfold and the costume. Penelope was not at all pleased to discover that things could quite definitely get worse — a great deal worse.

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