GOING DOWN THE BLACK STEPS

Submitted into Contest #117 in response to: Start your story with the words “Everything was ready for the ritual.”... view prompt

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Black Crime Mystery

GOING  DOWN THE  BLACK STEPS

It was midnight . The last toll of the high bell tower arrived , even if as clouded by the fog(drowned in the fog) when Thaddeus announced to his guests that everything had been set up perfectly for the ritual to which all of them, as his precious friends,  would have the very special honor of participating. Thaddeus wore a wide black cloak, long up to his feet, under which the red of his tunic and the yellow of his trousers stood out, when he, standing at the top of the stairs, with his arms outstretched, gave the announcement to….his dear, very dear friends, as he called them, but it would be more right to say that they were his disciples. Who ( they), as soon as Thaddeus had finished to claim his announcement, would have started to go down the interminable stairs  that led to the room where the ritual would take place. The ritual, they so called it, even if Thaddeus’ s opponents spoke openly of SACRIFICE, they also insinuated that human sacrifices were made in those ceremonies which, always according those who opposed Thaddeus, were very orgies of hard violence, where blood flowed easily and abundantly.

“ Come on, dear friends, now you can start your descent! The precious secret enclosed in the black  room  awaits only you!  Only to you it will be revealed!” Thaddeus ended his announcement so saying. While he pronounced these words, he folded his outstretched arms , bringing them crossed on his chest, hinting at a quickly bow. ( and he hinted at a quick bow) The participants for the ritual, who were thirty people, men and women of different age, started to descend ( to go down) the steps of that staircase , which, as they knew, would have taken them very deep underground.  The staircase had black marble steps . The acolytes, that is Thaddeus’s disciples wore the prescribed white tunic to participate in the ritual, and were barefoot. There were those who went down alongside another acolyte , and those who went down alone, but ,in any case , followed and even preceded at a short distance by other disciples. However, since there were those who proceeded very quickly, who almost running threw themselves down the descent, and those who instead faced the descent slowly, it happened that someone of them could be considerably distanced from all the other, during the descent, and then it was as if he, or she, were going down the steps alone. That was what happened to Esther, who was the first to notice red stains, and even red drops on the black marble steps, which were always very clean, even shiny.  Esther noticed the red stains and drops since she put a foot on them. She felt, before to be able to see, something sticking to his foot. Esther stopped her descent, and bent down to see what had stuck to her foot. She picked up that dark matter which had smeared her big toe with a finger and screamed in a shrill voice : “ BLOOD! But it’s BLOOD!”  Her cry echoed in the emptiness of the stairs, it went down and then went up, and roared, but no one answered her, and no one even ran to her, since those who preceded her were already far from her, and perhaps there was no one behind her. Esther saw that even on the other steps, the ones on which she had not yet set foot, there were stains and, above all, drops of blood. They were very thick and sticky. How was it possible that those who had descended the steps before her had not noticed these drops and stains of blood? Esther wondered. And then she, scare as she was, (  began to rant against Thaddeus, who never had gone down those stairs with them, with his disciples. Every time he reached them only when all of them had arrived at the end of the descent. Then he came suddenly, yes, he appeared in front of them. No one knew how he did it, if he used a mean

like an elevator_____but was there an elevator in that very old building? To them it there was no,, or, instead  as some were inclined to think, of course they were the most enthusiastic of his disciples, he resorted to some magic.

No one had rushed to her, no one had even answered her, not even Thaddeus, who(m) she, screaming, had called A SWINDLER, and  a SCOUNDREL, and also a DAMNED DEVIL, a lousy CHARLATAN too, THE BIGGEST SHIT IN THE WORLD…..GIANT OF SHIT… had made his voice heard, not even only a word.  Esther, frightened, she was trembling like a leaf. She didn’t know what to do. She did not feel like to kept on going down those steps stained of blood. And going back up the stairs ( it) did not seem to her to be the case. So she stood ( remained) on that step where she, by chance , had put her foot on a stain of blood. Esther  also kept on yelling at Thaddeus, begging him to answer. She wanted, she had to know WHY there were those stains and those drops of blood on the steps. “ On, Esther, don’t tell me you didn’t understand that the stains and the drops on the steps are not blood, but paint! Ah1 Ah! Ah! Red paint, yes! Blood red paint! Ah! Ah! Ah!” Thaddeus laughed at her. His laugh was gurgling , it sounded decidedly sinister. “ Ha …ha Esther, I really didn’t make you so ( much) silly! Ah! Ah! Ah! You are such a poor fool ! Such a poor thing! Ah! Ah! Ah!” It seemed to Esther that Thaddeus’s voice was falling on her from above. It was as if his grinning voice was bombing her. She couldn’t understand where his terrifying bad voice came from, but she felt threatened and even hit by his voice, as if it were a weapon firing at her, which would have kept shooting her until she was killed. Ah, this then, that those stains, that dripping on the stairs was  (were) paint. But no! She knew they were of blood! It was blood! They had the sweetish smell of blood, not at all the pungent smell of paint!

“ What stories are you telling me, you ugly asshole ?” she shouted at him. “ This is blood! Blood!” Esther screamed and at that screamed word: BLOOD! It was as if a flood of blood was pouring down the stairs, “ Oh, but how can you be sure it’s blood? Eh, to be sure ( it is blood) you should taste it!” Thaddeus challenged her, with a grim voice which sounded more sinister and very bad too than ever. “ And the others, where are all the other participants to the ritual? What happened to them? What became of them? ( what have been of them?) I want to know! Since no one answered me when I shouted ! No one came to me!” Esther continued to cry.

“ Oh, come on Esther, but of course that they, all my very dear friends, have already reached the room where the ritual will take place. They are all waiting for you to start the ceremony” Thaddeus said in a slightly falsetto voice, which sounded mocking. Thaddeus continued to insist , inviting her….but what she waiting for to join the other followers , so that the ritual could finally begin? “ On, Rachel, hurry up! Go down the stairs! But she ( Rachel), more and more anguished, didn’t really feel like to keep on descending( going down) those bloody steps. “ Come on, move! What are you waiting for?”Thaddeus continue to urge her, and his voice now was harsh.

“ But can I at least know the reason for these stains ad drops of blood on the steps? Whose blood is this? I want to know!” She screamed, at the height of her anguish. Only a hellish laugh came in response. Esther, terrified, she turned to go back up the stairs. But she couldn’t move a step. It was like she was nailed to that step. She screamed with all the breath she had, asking for help. But no one answered her.  Suddenly she felt herself being pushed violently down the stairs. When she arrived at the bottom of the stairs one of the Thaddeus’s most enthusiastic disciple put her body into e black sack. He would have thrown it in the garbage as his Master had ordered him.

October 26, 2021 14:43

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3 comments

Brenda Butler
18:53 Nov 04, 2021

Interesting.

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Dani Martin
02:09 Nov 04, 2021

This is an interesting idea but the plot line is a bit muddled.

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Mara Masolini
02:32 Nov 05, 2021

THANKS also for your observation for the plot line which, yes, should have been more linear

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