Aphelion Issue 220, Volume 21
August 2017
 
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At Mayfaner House

by Eoin O'Neill




THE JOURNAL OF GEORGE MAYFANER III

October 3rd, 1933

A flag displaying our family’s coat of arms hung above the doorway. The image of a silver owl, wings spread, perched upon a black shield bearing eight unique moon shapes should have impressed me -- but it didn’t: our father has never been one to boast the family crest, and we have shared his sense of humility.

“Flags,” he said as we arrived at Mayfaner House. “What good has ever come of one?”

Years have passed since I’ve kept a journal of any sort. My friends maintained that they were for girls, as if a boy had no business recording his thoughts; but Violet, my twin sister, encouraged me, she having kept one since learning to write. She’s writing at this very moment, no doubt, in her room on the second floor. She was drawn to this particular room, she says, and it would appear to have belonged to a girl before her. I chose mine because it’s up here, on the third and uppermost floor.

(There is a black cat lingering outside my door as I write. She meows as if to shoo me.)

We have travelled to Mayfaner House in the wake of our grandfather’s death. The house is currently under the ownership of Lady S, a mysterious woman to whom George I left what remained of his estate. The Lady politely refuses to divulge any details regarding her history or the nature of her relationship with our grandfather, but has welcomed us warmly upon our unannounced arrival; and though we had come here with the intention of confronting her, our father has demonstrated an uncharacteristic placidness in her presence, going so far as to agree to our family’s assistance in the restoration of the house.

(I should note that I find the Lady’s accent completely unplaceable, as does Violet.)

Mayfaner House was built in the early 18th century on the cliffs of Co. Clare. As it stands (which it barely does) the house is an utter wreck, all three floors and the attic ready to become one at any instant. I needn’t describe the house in detail, as I’m sure Violet is busy doing just that, weaving a beautiful inky tapestry to illustrate how truly terrifying it is -- she reckons it’s haunted; and though it’s not nearly as bad as she’d have you believe, let it be said that if this house were a story it would be written by [MISSING TEXT]

George I spent his final years here, never travelling so far as to lose sight of the cliffs upon which his house is ludicrously perched, drinking wine of his own making. He died of natural causes, we’re told.

Violet was here, taking the opportunity to read and critique my journal while I was busy disposing of the cat. She says I should provide more details about the house and Lady S, and that I do little justice to my years spent at Belvedere with the quality of my writing.

The house stands no more than twenty yards from the cliff’s edge. Facing west, it seems to ponder the wide ocean. Tales of brutal storms are told upon its walls, old brickwork revealed where stucco has worn; this gives the house a wretched, decayed appearance -- one I might liken to that of diseased flesh -- to which the interior corresponds. To inhabit this house is to inhabit the belly of a wounded beast: it creaks and groans as if in agony, or to will itself over the edge of the cliff.

The Lady S, the current owner of Mayfaner House, is an attractive woman of middling years whose pale complexion holds in remarkable contrast to her raven curls. Her eyes, emerald green, possess a look I find both alluring and unnerving; and while myself and Violet agree that she’s in some way dangerous, I can’t help but feel a rush in my gut as I write of her, a stirring in my loins. Perhaps it’s because she’s the only woman here to whom I’m not related -- but I am nonetheless drawn to her.


October 4th, 1933.

There are mirrors everywhere.

I spoke to the caretaker, the gregarious Mr. O’Connor, this morning. Beyond a brief introduction yesterday afternoon, I hadn’t had the chance to properly do so, and I was eager to question him regarding Lady S and the general state of the house.

“What’s on the cards for today, Sir?” I asked after an exchange of pleasantries.

“A lot to which I’m not used, lad,” he replied. “Your grandfather preferred to keep the house in a state of disrepair, making my life easy. I was ordered only to assist him in the making of his wine and the drinking of that wine -- making life easy. … The Lady S, however, is heart-set on restoring the house to its original glory, which makes life somewhat difficult!”

I told the old man that I’d be glad to assist him.

“Your father tells me the same,” he said. “And Jaysus knows we’ll need as many able bodies as possible, the Lady being as work-shy as she is. … Though who can expect a woman of such artistry to get her hands dirty? She’s better off as she is, painting away in her room or sketching the cliffs! Have you seen her work? Stunning!”

The Lady is an artist.

He said she’d be away for most of the day, so I sought out her room, which is on the second floor opposite Violet’s.

It was locked, of course.

It’s late afternoon and clear across the sky. I have a mighty view of the ocean from my window, and the Islands spread northwest. The winds have calmed; the house is silent. As the horizon prepares to swallow the sun, I sit down to write of my conversation with Lady S, the fall, and the dream.

The Lady had returned from her business earlier than expected, startling me as I climbed the stairs to the third floor. She was just leaving the room opposite my own, locking the door behind her. I took note of her soft, delicate-looking hands -- they could have belonged to a woman half her age -- and the lavish rings with which she adorned them. One bore a gem the color of her eyes; it looked like an eye, and might well have been crafted purposely so, given its shape, size, and the small black circle in the middle.

She froze while turning toward the stairs. … My gaze stayed fixed upon the gem: the black circle had begun to enlarge as if it were a dilating pupil -- and I could scarcely believe my own. … Grey clouds parted somewhere high above the ocean, light streamed in through a nearby window; the gem reflected the sun’s rays, and in a luminous burst I was cost my vision.

When I regained it, I was no longer on the stairs to the third floor, nor anywhere else in the house. I stood alone in a wood at night, frozen while my surroundings shifted. All was black, all in motion. The earth trembled and a roving mist spilled between the trees, the limbs of which throbbed -- the pulse of the living forest.

I began to walk, my blood running cold.

A shape moved swiftly across my path -- a shadow cast from above the trees. I looked up, saw the glimmer of moonlight reflected by a burnished surface, heard the beating sound of wings. … A loud thud in the distance: something large had fallen, landed among the trees. … The glimmer again. Then I saw her: a figure so white as to appear glowing in the darkness, she emerged from the mist like a phantom. … The wood seemed to bend to her will -- trees twisting and contorting, throbbing with greater intensity, the ground shaking fervently in her favour. Moonlight raced to her naked flesh, eager to be absorbed. She was the focal point of this feverish place, and I was drawn the most -- my heart pounding, my breathing rapid.

She beckoned me silently.

Then the blackness was truly so, the vague outlines of our surroundings no longer visible in the night.

It was only the Lady and I, together in a void, our bodies becoming one. Whole ages might have passed while I poured myself into her.

I awoke in my bed, sweating. The Lady was here, her voluptuousness barely contained by a black and crimson bodice. She was patting my head with a wet cloth, nursing me, whispering my name in soft, warm tones.

“You’re what I’ve always imagined George to have looked like in his youth,” she said. “You have his sharp features … and his hair … so very dark.” (It’s not that dark actually; Violet’s is much more so.)

I asked the Lady what had happened.

“You took a fall on the stairs, darling.” she said. “Knocked that handsome head of yours. You don’t appear to be concussed, though, so no need to worry. A spell of rest is all you need.”

She smiled then, a smile that could have ended an ice age.

I feigned awe: “You’re a physician as well as an artist?”

The Lady lit up further, the fires of her eyes burning brighter. “I have walked more than one path,” she said, speaking as if to impart some nefarious secret. “Some more softly than others.”

Her smile … her radiance -- and her accent … Spanish? Galwegian?

I asked to the whereabouts of our father. The Lady turned her gaze to a spot above my head, squinted, then opened her eyes wide.

Several moments passed. I dared a glance or two at her breasts.

“He’s downstairs,” she said, squinting again, “in the drawing room. He’s with Mr. O’Connor. The two have just come up from the cellar. They’re carrying four bottles each. No doubt Mr. O’Connor wishes your father to sample the wine. If he’s anything like his own father, he’ll require little persuasion.”

I asked how she knew this.

“The placement of mirrors in Mayfaner House,” she said, indicating the one above my head, “is such that one can see from almost any one room into another. You may have noticed that the house, with the exception of certain rooms -- bedrooms, for the most part -- is open-plan. This was made so by myself that I might keep an eye on dear George as his health waned. … Mirrors reflect mirrors, reflect reflections, reflecting again, again and again. … It is confusing, indeed, to an untrained eye -- but with practice one learns where to look … how to look.”

I laughed (though it hurt my head). “You can see all the way to the drawing room?”

“All the way to the drawing room.”

I’d noticed the mirrors, the open plan. … Is she really able to do this?

I opened my mouth to speak, to ask if Violet was aware that I’d fallen. “What was your relationship to our grandfather?” I blurted.

And if her smile could have ended an ice age, her next words could have started one: “You know I am his lover.”

It’s getting late.

My head’s stopped aching, but I’ve been writing for ages.

It’s time to dream sleep.


October 5th, 1933.

George I, who decreed that there be no ceremony whatsoever in the event of his departure, is buried a half-mile south along the cliffs, a stone’s throws west of Foghorn Wood. Our visit to his grave this morning was much overdue -- the mother would surely be livid!


TO THE MEMORY OF
GEORGE MAYFANER
WHO DIED 9th SEPT. 1933
AGED 88 YEARS

EHEU FUGACES LABUNTUR ANNI

Father’s face betrayed no emotion. Violet shed a tear. Mr. O’Connor mumbled away to himself. My mind raced with thoughts of Lady S … the dream … the mirrors. … All the while we stood still, four figures no less solemn than the stone before them. The silence would have been unbearable, so I was grateful for the howling wind, the waves that lashed the cliffs, and Mr. O’Connor.

“Storm’s on its way,” declared the old man, and you’d think it was Christmas Eve by the way he’d said it.

I studied the gravestone and the house looming distant. My perspective was such that they appeared the same size; I found this amusing, for whatever reason, and barely suppressed a laugh as Violet began to speak.

“I want to be burned after I die,” she announced.

There’s not a single crematorium in Ireland, yet I’ve known a few to share her sentiment. They tell you that they wish to be burned, and then go on to say where they’d like their ashes spread (somewhere of some significance or another); but I suspect that deep, deep down, all the way down to-the-drawing-room in our hearts of hearts, we don’t care what happens to our bodies at all.

As we made our way back to the house we were treated to tales of Foghorn Wood as told by Senan O’Connor.

“It wasn’t always called that, you know,” he said while regarding the nearby wood, half-buried as it was beneath a cloak of Atlantic mist, with an expression of fear and reverence clearly worn for effect. (A proper Gaelic bard of old, he was only short a lute or a harp.) “Nás na Marbh, ’twas known in ancient times, ‘Meeting Place of The Dead.’” … He spoke now as if to an audience of small children: “Stories of Foghorn teem with terror, its demonic dwellers drifting at night from the deep wood and into the dreams of mirrors minors! Bubbling witch’s cauldrons brim with limb and entrail whilst horned man-beasts bent on defilement lurk upon the town’s edge, advancing stealthily forward whenever the night should mists should veil the moon!

“I encountered such a creature, once, when I was a lad. … It was late at night, and I’d arrived at the house of Victor du Pont -- a friend whose father was a frog -- while in pursuit of a shadowy figure I’d seen scurrying about near the wood. It entered the house through the front door, which had been left unlocked by the drunken Frenchman. I followed the beast, knife in hand, for I intended to cut its throat. I left without bloodying my blade, however, having crept up the stairs only to discover that the beast had been let in by Victor’s mother. ’Twas her who’d left the door unlocked -- not Victor’s father, who was likely still out whoring. … What I had initially taken for the sounds of Mrs. Dupont’s smothering death throes were in fact her gasps of wicked pleasure!”

(You may be wondering how I can recall things so precisely. It’s simply that I possess a perfect memory -- a Mayfaner trait, and one that I’d happily trade.)

We all laughed, Violet the loudest. The seanchaidh went on: “A much greater evil inhabits the wood, however. An evil to which all others submit! An Mháthair na Coill, ‘The Mother of The Wood.’ Visit The Bloody Bacchante for a drink or two and you won’t be long hearing a tale! One night, there was a lad going on and on about the witch mother, how she watched him, watched us all, from her dwelling in the deep womb of the wood. Her eyes the eyes of our livestock and the wild ones come begging our scraps, her eyes the eyes of our children. … He wouldn’t shut up, the fool, so we threw him out on his arse. But I ended up feeling sorry for him, so I …”

I had stopped listening, turning my attention to the wood instead. I shuddered at the sight of the house place: black, ominous, forbidding. It stood impossibly still despite the wind, as though Time itself had turned upon its fringes and fled.

“Elsewhere, in the hunt of man and woman,” said Mr. O’Connor as if having read my thoughts. “Easier game than trees. … ”

Our homeward path brought us closer to the wood, where a small creature stirred among the trees. Faint though its movements were, they served to liven that which had seemed so deathly still from a distance; and though trunk and bough remained queerly unaffected by the wind, I saw that they were not entirely black, as I’d thought them to be, but a dark brown perhaps common of a woodland.

“Foghorn Wood awakens in the moonlight,” said our father gravely. “That’s what your grandfather used to tell me. And my mother, rest her, would say, I do wish that father of yours had left the forest in Clare instead of bringing it with him to Dublin, to which he would respond, Mary, must I tell you again -- a forest and a wood are two different things!”

Violet shrieked. The creature had shown itself. “A filthy black rat,” as needlessly confirmed by Mr. O’Connor. “Is it me eyes, or is that bastard the size of a cat?” (He was being ridiculous; it was only about half the size.) The vermin observed us from its post on the tree line, beady eyes wide, whiskers faintly twitching. It looked in need of a good meal, but had fled before I could find a stone to feed it.

Mr. O’Connor laughed as Violet marched in the direction of the house (she was already sour over some remark I’d made earlier, and the encounter with the rat had proven too much). Our father’s attention was fixed to a point high in the trees, where low sounds could be heard: tyst-t--tchk-k … Then, as if suddenly free of its shackles, a bird shot out from between the branches, croaking madly. It flew northwest, then doubled back, circling Violet for a moment before resuming its original course. The croaking had frightened her; she reversed path, and her gallop was worn to a heaving trot by the time she’d reached us.

“Turn around, Lady Mayfaner!” our father teased. “You appear to have dropped your grace in your mad dash! George, help you sister.”

“Scared of a crow?” I asked her.

“No,” said Violet, who paused to regain her breath before correcting me: “It was a raven, actually.”

The storm rages outside, and I have a pain in my arse from sitting on this chair. I’m also developing a callous on my left middle finger from writing. (Our mother’s mother used to say that being left-handed was a sign of the Devil -- she who might well have been his bride, the wicked old hag. I could write her name here, but I’d rather not spoil good paper.) I’ve an ache in my head, too, from listening to Mr. O’Connor blather on and on. He’s on the other side of my door, talking to the cat -- Ms. Eldritch. He continually overstates the size of the rat we saw this morning. First he was as big as a cat. Then a fox. Next it’ll be a wolf.

Until tomorrow,

G.


The door nearly parted with its bloody hinges. The old man bastard had burst in, drunk as a bloody lord, just as I was stashing this journal. He’d seemed sober enough when conversing with the cat only minutes beforehand, so I wondered how he’d gotten so jarred.

“I see you’re relieving your pen of its duties, lad!” he said, and gestured me to silence before I could respond. “Is that your hand done for the night, as well, or have you the Lady on the brain?”

I’d not seen her today, and told him as much.

“That’s not what I asked, boy!”

“Boy.”

“I’ve forgotten the question!” I spat. “Now, what do you want? I’m a bit weary.”

“No matter,” he grumbled, a shade of sobriety infecting his features. “Here ’tis the answer to a query that counts, never mind the original question -- which is to say-y-y-y-y-y, be careful your answers and manner in which you deliver them. … I mean to warn you of the mirrors, lad, and the Lady’s lip-reading abilities. A stunning creature, she is, but devious! I’d plenty warned aul’ George, cautioned him often enough. But do you think he’d ever listen to me? Stubborn aul’ fox. … I warned her about his son, as well, that father of yours, and the pretence he keeps with her. But she’s much too self-assured, the Lady. … Ara but don’t be mistaken, lad, you’ll get nowt past her -- nowt at all!”

The old man’s words trailed off, rain and thunder assuming their place.

“Ara,” I hissed in mimicry, “would you feck off? We’d already sensed as much, myself and my sister. We needn’t have some drunk aul’ eejit telling us what we already know. Now, yourself and Missus Eldritch, piss off!”

That riled him. “Your grandfather was quite the scholar,” he grated. “And a marvellous writer, too. I do hope that if I were to open that journal of yours I’d be met with language more graceful! Aul’ George’d turn in his grave at the talk of you!”

Ms. Eldritch meowed. Mr. O’Connor crossed the room, knelt before a chest of drawers and began to search through them, mumbling indignantly. “The talk of him! … Cheeky little hoor!” A sharp intake of breath marked the end of his rummaging, and I watched as he withdrew a manuscript from the bottommost drawer with such scrupulous care as a field surgeon might employ when removing lead from a fusilier’s back.

“Well then,” I said. “It’s a crumpled manuscript. How impressive.”

The old man cradled it as if it were a newborn child, and the music had gone from his voice when next he spoke: “Tell me, like a good lad, with what do you reckon your grandfather occupied himself in his final years? The making of his wine? The drinking of it with me? Enjoying the lovely Lady Stygia? … We drank to escape the ravages of our superior intellects! And though he frequently indulged in the Lady’s flesh, he’d never allow me the pleasure!

“I’ve told you about the winemaking, haven’t I, lad? But I haven’t told you what I’m going to tell you now. … This-s-s-s! ” -- he indicated the manuscript -- “George’s masterpiece, though his only work at all, and unfinished. He began writing it long before your father’d ever suckled his mother’s teat -- a stunning creature, she was. …”

“Enough about that,” I said. “This work of our grandfather’s, what is it? Our father once told us he’d written poems and short stories.”

“Well,” began Mr. O’Connor, “this is merely a portion of it. Fragments. There are pages in places scattered all over the house -- closets, drawers, escritoires. … Ah-ha, look here! I hold in my hands the title page!”

“Give it here,” I demanded.

“Such is your right!” the old man hissed as he hobbled to my bedside, where he assumed the manner of a Medieval pauper. “At once, my liege! At once!”

“Now, Mr. O’Connor!” I bellowed authoritatively (though my voice broke), and he presented me with the manuscript.

Careful, boy.”


‘THE SHADES OF TARTARUS’
Tales & Recollections Written by The Dead

“Upon the timely death,” explained Mr. O’Connor, “of his father, Ignatius Mayfaner, your grandfather inherited this, old Mayfaner House, and chose it as the place he’d finish his masterpiece.”

“Which he never did?”

“Which he never did.”

“Tales & Recollections Written by The Dead,” I read.

“The Shades of Tartarus,” uttered the old man. “Indeed, they visit from time to time. …”


October 6th, 1933.

I awoke this morning, shaking and sweating, from a dream in which I toiled to comprehend some incalculably great number. … I am ill. Ill and bedridden.

Noon brought a visitor.

“That witch,” hissed Violet, who sat cross-legged at the end of my bed. “You know me. You know what I’m like, George. You know I don’t regard most people highly enough to show them the least bit of respect, no less be offended by the things they come out with -- but that woman has managed to insult me every time we’ve spoken! Well, George, what do you think of it? Be honest with me.”

It was beautiful: a soft silk dress, loose-fitting, green with blue flowers. She rose from the bed as lightly as an acrobat and tiptoed to the west-facing window, where she was greeted by an ocean breeze that swept through her hair before kissing my fevered brow.

“The dress is beautiful, Violet. Don’t mind her.”

“Thank you, George,” she said, a smile blossoming on her face as she welcomed the breeze in return, her eyes closed, their lids quivering. “He wrote a story for me, you know. At least, there’s a story in that stack with which I share my name … or perhaps it’s the other way around and I’m named after the story. … I had a read of it while you were asleep -- you appeared to have been having a nightmare, George.” She turned to face me. “Do me a favour, will you? Hold onto the story for me. I don’t want to keep it for myself -- though it’s hard to say why. … ”

I told her it would be safe with me, and that I’d meant it when I said the dress was beautiful.

The rhythms of her feminine footfalls echoed on the stairs, landing, and between the walls of my skull, where they danced a jig with an ache renewed with fire. I’d have cursed the others -- even my sister -- but granted all pardons to the Lady (Lady Stygia, as the old man had called her); and my heart, too, danced a jig. Here she was coming, unexpected: clip-clop-clip-clop … I sat up, fixed my hair with my hands and cleared my throat to avoid of the adolescent croaking to which my voice is accustomed despite my twenty-one years.

Enter the Lady, beaming, carrying an unlabelled bottle.

“Good afternoon, darling,” she cooed, and her voice was like honey in my ears. “I’m ever so sorry to have missed you yesterday. How’s the handsome patient?”

“I’ve been much better,” I said philosophically. “Not in the full of my health, as the uncle Joseph would say, but open to good company.” (I don’t know why I mentioned my uncle Joe.)

She crossed the room, placed the bottle on my bedside table next to a glass lately drained of water. There was melody in her every motion, an elegance for which I struggle to assign words -- she could have been seen to feed from a trough and still have retained her grace. … Her perfume was of such luscious potency that I could practically taste her when she leaned down to gauge my fever, the soft warmth of her palm upon my forehead expelling the ache as if it had never been; and as I could think of nothing beside burying myself in her bulging bosom, which once again threatened to burst from her bodice (this one a striking chartreuse green), I gave silent praise to the thickness of my quilt.

“You’re burning up, you poor dear,” she sang in tender tones. “Luckily for you, I’ve just the elixir.”

She reached for the bottle and set to uncorking it with a screw seemingly produced from the air. “You may thank your grandfather for this,” she said, and pop of cork from bottle preceded the music of pouring wine. The smell of it, so bitter as to burn my nostrils, was enough to usurp the Lady’s fragrance.

“Your sister,” she remarked while filling my glass, “wears such lovely clothes. … There you are, my dear. Have you got it? Good boy.”

Christ. The smell, the fumes -- that acrid fetor. Here I was accepting the Devil’s chamber pot as if it were the bloody Eucharist; but I, the thorough gentleman that I am (another Mayfaner trait), endeavoured to silence my misgivings as the Lady urged me to drink.

I closed my eyes, held the brim to my lips and braced for the further charge of my senses -- but they were spared by a sudden change in the constitution of the room, as current after current of crimson light flowed in from the landing, setting the walls a-fiery-glow, sending the shadows of bottle, lamp, lad and Lady clawing for the cornices. “A fire,” said the shapely silhouette before me, “has been lit in the drawing room. … No need to worry, now, dear. Have a little sup.”

She held still among the dancing shades. A warm, tickling nausea gripped me. “Drink it up! Drink it up!” whined Ms. Eldritch.

“The mirrors,” I said as I raised my glass. “Of course. … Sláinte -- ”

An obnoxious rap on the open door. Enter Mr. O’Connor carrying a mandolin.

“Welcome, Senan,” chanted the Lady. “Welcome.”

“Ah-h-h-h, without such smiles as yours, my Lady,” gushed the old man, “the world would be barren of song, deprived of poetry. I thank thee on behalf of all mortals!”

I neglected to shroud my disgust: “Not so much as a note from you, Mr. O’Connor. Lay a finger on that fretboard and you’ll crawl from this room.”

“O!” he cried, raised his instrument, took a step forward and cried again. “O! With such queer afflictions does malady burden! The softest melodies scorch the ears! The sweetest nectar sears the throat! The warmest company is met with frost! The --”

“Now, now, Mr. O’Connor,” spoke the Lady as if to an insolent child. “Young George is ill, and I think it best that he mend in silence. Don’t you agree? Do you not remember when the elder George lay upon his deathbed? Did you come barging in with your mandolin then? Fevered ears are sensitive, Senan.”

“Deathbed.”

Mr. O’Connor lowered his instrument and hung his head in mock shame, muttering a mock apology. “I’m sorry, my Lady. I only meant to humour the lad, to abate his symptoms with song. … Apologies, lad. It’s obvious that I’ve intruded upon yourself and the Lady. … We’re all subject to her charms, all of us under her spell … with the exception of that father of yours -- he’s what we call a ho-mo-sexual. … And that’s to say nothing of your sweet sister, who tends toward all manner of depravity.”

I allowed his affronts a beat to settle … then forced a sigh while the Lady shook her head. “Senan, Senan,” she soughed in lament. “Senan, you old drunkard. You are much too mad to fall fully under my spell.”

I spoke coolly: “I’m not typically given to outrage, Mr. O’Connor, but this assault upon my family’s character is without precedent and will end this very instant. Now, there’s the door. If it weren’t for present company,” I said with a courtly nod toward the Lady, “you’d be leaving through the window, so you --”

Thick, blood-laced spittle coated my cheek as the Lady’s poise was betrayed by the abrupt attack of a cough; and like birds dispersed by the toll of a church bell, my lust was sent a-scatter. She recoiled before I could bend to her aid and sank gracelessly to the wooden floor, where she was overcome by her fitful bark. Mr. O’Connor howled with laughter while Ms. Eldritch wailed her meows: a dreadful chorus led by the Lady’s whooping death throes, a macabre anthem to which the shadows grew and danced more madly as the fire burned brighter. Death! Death to the witch! … Her bodice finally succumbed to her breasts -- two rotten, pendulous sacks from which oozed a foul, tar-like substance, a viscous trail of which followed the creature as it clawed its way to the window. “That filthy fucking faggot!” it spat, its long, talon-like fingers outstretched. “Filthy faggot lit a fire! Filthy faggot fled to the wood!”

“With axe in hand!” added Mr. O’Connor, now strumming his mandolin with vigour. “You’ve been bested, you have, my Lady!”

Indeed, as madness reigned at Mayfaner House, our father, somewhere in the deep black womb of Foghorn Wood, hacked away at her roots.


G.

THE END


© 2017 Eoin O'Neill

Bio: Mr. Eoin O'Neill is a professional video editor/sound technician from Dublin, Ireland. His writing is influenced by Gene Wolfe, Yeats, Lovecraft, Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, and Flann O'Brien.

E-mail: Eoin O'Neill

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