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Horror Suspense

Absinthe Valven was hiding. She crouched in the shadows, her legs folded and tense. The tiny stained nightgown she wore was pulled tight across her knees, revealing grayish bloomers underneath. As she turned her head left and right, looking, her raven black braids brushed her cheeks.


She was hiding from the monster.


Only a few hours ago she was happy, eating a delicious dinner alongside her parents' party guests. They talked about her, and she liked it. About how shiny her black hair was, how pretty her face looked. They commented on her full lips, her rosy cheeks and the pretty lavender-colored dress she wore. And they said she had her mother's eyes.


She didn't want her mother's eyes.


No, her mother had cold eyes. Even when she caressed her daughter lovingly with soft hands, or gently helped her button a dress, her eyes stayed the same: hard and cold, black and endless. Whenever Absinthe--or Abby, as her father called her--looked into her eyes, all she saw was icy hatred. And it scared her.


But today they scared her even worse.


Absinthe lived in a large mansion, in England. Valven Manor had been passed on down through the generations, each one going to a Valven son. But Absinthe's parents hadn't had a son yet. They only had a daughter, and she often wondered whether she would be the one to inherit the house. She never did.


A few hours after the supper party, Absinthe's maid took her up to her room. Most eight-year-olds didn't have maids, but Absinthe's family was very rich and could afford such things. This particular maid's name was Dianne.


"You might want to be extra careful tonight, miss," Dianne said as she selected a nightgown from the closet.


"Why?" Asked Absinthe as she surveyed the nightgown with a hint of displeasure. She hadn't gotten a new one in years; whether her parents had forgotten or didn't think she needed any more clothes was beyond her. But her current nightclothes were tight at the waist and the sleeves barely reached her wrists. And the fronts were stained with something light brown, which was strange. Absinthe couldn't remember having ever stained them.


"Your mum's in a bad mood, I'm afraid to say," the serving girl answered with a hint of fear in her voice. "Yelled at your father something awful. Best not to tip her off, don't want another bruise!"


She meant it as a joke, Absinthe knew, but it hurt all the same. Disturbing memories flashed into her brain and she tried to block it, tried to forgive Dianne for making her remember.


"I'll stay out of her way," she promised, climbing into bed after her nightgown was fastened. She clutched her stuffed bear close to her chest and curled up in the soft blankets.


"Good girl." Dianne kissed her forehead, which was something neither of her parents had done, and left the room. Dianne was more of a mother to her than Mrs. Valven was; she fed her most meals, dressed her, bathed her, and played with her whenever she was bored. She loved Dianne fiercely.


Absinthe drifted off into sleep, peaceful and quiet. But she was awoken abruptly by a sudden sound. She sound of unnaturally loud, echoing footsteps.


Footsteps nearing her door.


Absinthe froze, tightening her hold around her bear. Suddenly the room seemed darker. The footsteps grew louder, scarier. The little girl shook and pulled the covers up to her chin.


The footsteps grew louder.


The door slowly creaked open...


There was someone in the doorway. Someone big.


Absinthe's mother.


She walked into the room, bringing a coldness with her. Absinthe let out a whimper, her throat too blocked to speak. She wanted to run, needed to run, but her legs were frozen.


Her mother's face was illuminated with a sudden shine of moonlight from the window. She looked gruesome, cruel. She reached a hand into her pocket and drew out something that glinted.


Absinthe screamed as her mother pulled out a long, black needle. Her legs found the energy they needed, and she ran.


Taking her bear with her, she scrambled out of bed, dodged her mother, skidded out the door and ran down the hallway. She wanted to call for Dianne, needed her beloved maid's help. But her voice was gone, her throat empty. She swerved down a corridor and found a shadowed corner. There she sat, breathing heavily, her little heart pounding in fear.


The monster was going to get her.


One minute passed. Then two. After five minutes, Absinthe's breathing evened out and she relaxed. Why did she act so scared? It was only her mother, holding a needle. There was nothing so scary about that.


But there was. If only that little girl had known...


A few more moments passed, and Absinthe was sure it was safe to go back to bed. She stood up from her corner, turned.


And became face-to-face to her mother.


"Carry on my duty," she rasped. "I finally birth a daughter. Carry on my duty..." She raised the hand carrying the black needle, and before poor Absinthe could react, she plunged forward.


***


Casper absentmindedly followed his parents through the old mansion. He thought it mildly interesting, this ancient place, but the way his folks droned on and on about it was quite irritating. "They ate meals in this room!" His mother exclaimed excitedly, pointing at the dining table with a little too much enthusiasm. "And this was their broom closet!"


They had come to England for vacation, and as his parents loved history, Casper was now visiting the old Valven Manor, which had belonged to a long line of Valven families. They had strangely died out in the early 1700s, the last daughter dying of causes currently unknown to man.


His interest had only fully been caught when his father began talking about the last Valven daughter. "Her name was Absinthe," he said. "A bit of a scary name, if you ask me. So many rumors as to how she died."


"Tell me some of them," Casper asked, for the sake of conversation. It wasn't as if he truly cared.


His father was happy to oblige. "The most popular one is that her mother killed her," he said.


Casper shook his head. "That's awful!" He cried.


"Yes, well, I'm sure it wasn't the case," he said. "Ah, this was her bedroom." They had arrived in front of a small room, the door having been removed. A long line of tape marked the room out-of-bounds.


"They say this house, especially this room, is haunted," Casper's mother said. "Some claim to see a little girl wearing a stained nightgown on that bed." Casper looked to the bed she was pointing at. It was small, though elegant. Something only rich people could afford back then.


"Let's go look at the parents' room, this one unsettles me," his mother said with a shaky laugh.


"You go on," Casper said, waving them away. "I want to look here some more."


His parents looked uneasy, but agreed. "Meet us in the lower hall," his father said. "Don't be too long."


Casper nodded. Then, making sure they were out of sight, he slipped into the bedroom, his heart pounding. There was just something about it that intrigued him, that made him want to look around.


It wasn't that much. There was a bed, closet, and toy box. But there was a lump in the covers. Moving closer, Casper threw off the blankets and saw a teddy bear, rotten and clumpy. Its fur had congealed together, and it had an eye missing. Slightly revolted, Casper covered up the bear again. But not before something white caught his eye.


It was a small square of paper, under the pillow. He pulled it out. The paper was grimy and covered in red stains. His stomach churned uncomfortably as he realized it was blood. Turning it over, he read the words written in black ink.


ABSINTHE LIVES


He threw down the paper and ran for the doorframe, but it was no longer there. His eyes watered in fear, and he began to shout for his parents. No one came to get him. He was trapped, in that dusty old room that belonged to a dead girl...


A shadow moved in the corner.


A girl with black hair stepped out.


Casper's eyes widened and he choked.


The girl smiled and held up her needle. Then she lunged.




March 15, 2021 14:29

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10 comments

Aburrow Marsh
13:40 Mar 25, 2021

Nice handling of description and atmosphere.

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Svara Narasiah
14:21 Mar 25, 2021

Thank you :)

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Claudia Morgan
16:59 Mar 15, 2021

Woah. First Felix, now Casper... OK I know Blackheart and Valven are different but, they are just the same amount of beautifully haunting. Well done!

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Svara Narasiah
01:00 Mar 16, 2021

Thanks! This is a prequel to one of my other stories (not on Reedsy) called Absinthe’s Needle. This story shows the history of her, of how she came to have the black needle. She obtained the name Blackheart when she married, which will be in another story if I can find the right prompt!

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Claudia Morgan
05:23 Mar 16, 2021

Ooh, yay! Will you publish Absinthe’s Needle as well if you find the prompt?

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Svara Narasiah
12:23 Mar 16, 2021

Definitely!

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Svara Narasiah
12:23 Mar 16, 2021

Definitely!

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Svara Narasiah
12:24 Mar 16, 2021

Oh my god how did it say definitely 21 times

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Claudia Morgan
12:41 Mar 16, 2021

That happens alot when it lags so you spam "Reply" then it catches up....you might wanna delete them-

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Svara Narasiah
13:35 Mar 16, 2021

Yeah I think I will XD

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