Black Widow

The street is alive with festivities but my house is sombre and silent. The neighbourhood knows I am a widow in mourning, that I want to be left in peace, but that doesn’t prevent those roaming little brats from ringing my bell.

“Trick or Treat!” they shout, over and over again until I finally come to the door. In my black hooded cloak I look the part. No harm in playing along. I let out a deep evil laugh, throw handfuls of candy at them then slam the door as they plunge into a frenzy. I hope that is the last of them; it is close to midnight and I have work to do. The veil is thin.

I almost nodded off as I sat through your funeral; the monotonous voice of the priest was like a soothing lullaby. It is typical that you choose to be buried in an obscure, old cemetery on top of a hill. I’m sure you were delighted that we had to trek uphill through wet grass, as if we were on a pilgrimage to your holy grave. However, there were more important things on my mind than your egocentricities. My gaze was lowered but not with false humility. I was watching the lake. At the bottom of the hillside, the dark body of water lay silent. Surrounded by thick, long grass and shrouded in early morning mist, it was a festering pit of smoky gloom. I wrung my fingers eagerly as my plan fell into place. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty but some dirty work is below me; I would need allies.

I let you lie in peace for a while before I returned. Enough time for the worms to have feasted sufficiently, reducing you to rotting scraps. In the cold night, I stalked the bank of the lake, summoning the Fae. What kind of fairies frequent cemeteries? The ugliest kind, both in nature and appearance. They pretended they couldn’t hear me as they played in the fog. They provoked me with their foolish fire, bright sparks of blue and orange fizzed on the water’s surface. Their deceptive lights have lured many unsuspecting souls to misfortune. They are stubborn, petulant things but I made them an offer they couldn’t refuse and reluctantly they came forth. Their deformed little faces emerged from the shadows, wicked eyes glinting like polished emeralds at the promise of a feast.

I paced impatiently as they shovelled dirt with sharp little claws, grunting as they worked frantically. They squealed and scattered as I hacked open the coffin with an axe, then flocked around eagerly to see your corpse. Your suit remained immaculate, the blue satin tie and handkerchief straight and neat. You were still a little bloated, chest puffed, as indignant in death as your were in life.

I commanded the Fae to deliver me your head, which they did with glee. It made a pleasant sound as it was torn from your shoulders like the peeling of thick bark from an old tree. I held your head gently in my hands surprised by the lightness of it. Your face had sunken upon itself, black leathery flesh clinging to an empty cavity, your brains long dissolved into a festering mush. The remaining flesh was streaked with the meandering tracks of larvae; deep within the empty eye sockets tiny writhing creatures slumbered, breeding.

I wrapped your head in my cloak and left, not looking back as the orgy erupted. As promised, the Fae were free to do with your remains as they wished. Descending the hill, I noticed they were dragging you back with them, limb by limb, down into the murky depths of the lake.

Samhain. Day of the Dead. All Hallows Eve. All Souls Day. It matters not. The old ways are dead; they have merged and morphed into meaningless pageantry. People parade happily in elaborate costumes, a parody of darker times. They have not seen what I have seen. They have not survived the curse of incurable disease or the plague of devils in robes, travelling from village to village, burning, burning. They have not seen Nature stretching her jaws, unleashing her motley minions to charm and confound. Once the Fae, Pixies and Elves occupied their rightful place in the scheme of things; now they have faded from our eyes and I can hear their ghostly wails. The sacred thread of truth, carried through generations, is strained and weak but it cannot be distinguished completely. The old ways are dead. New ways will rise.

I can hear the faint rumble of music and laughter outside as I kneel within the circle. I recall the hush of the ancient forest, the collective intake of all breath, a pregnant pause. I long for an eternal night, deep, dark and silent. The pact is black. The veil is thin. I begin to draw the sigil; my own innermost blood is the medium. The blood drips and sprinkles and runs lines down the walls, glistening in dim candlelight.

Your head is where I have always wanted it, on my altar. I am not ready to let you go. An acidic hate burns within me; it spurs me on and fuels my ritual. An ancient tongue writhes in my throat and spits in a long lost language. I am shaking as the voice rises and terrified as I watch. Your dead skin changes colour, from rotting tones of black and green to fresh shades of pink. Slowly your face begins to grow plump, cheeks and chin fashioned from living clay. Glutinous grey balls form in your eye sockets, streaks of slime seep from the corners like tears of joy at your rebirth. A black sphere darkens in the centre, your iris. A thin translucent film of skin collects around the milky globes, forming eyelids. Your fresh eyes stare at me with the wild madness of a newborn.

I’m not sure if it is complete but then your eyes blink. They roll side to side like the mechanical eyes of a toy. I let out a small gasp of surprise. They say the eyes are the mirror to the soul and I have claimed yours. I have snatched it out of the ether and brought it home.

Your jaw falls open, the joint grinding loose. A black sludge is coagulating in your mouth, creating your tongue. Perhaps I will grant you a voice but for now, the thick muffled grunts that emerge from the hollow will suffice. Such a peculiar expression on your new face, much like the stiff grimace of carved pumpkins that decorate windowsills this time of year. You will be my lantern, glowing throughout the night, shadows cast by the play of light.

~ Magenta Nero

© Copyright 2014 Magenta Nero. All Rights Reserved

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About Veronica Magenta Nero

Veronica Magenta Nero spins fiction and poetry weaving dark threads of horror and fantasy. She hails from Italy and currently resides in the Northern Rivers, Australia.

40 responses to “Black Widow”

  1. WasimSpeaks says :

    Awesome is too light a word for the article of yours.

    Like

  2. WasimSpeaks says :

    What does, “The veil is thin” mean?

    Like

    • Magenta Nero says :

      Hi Wasim, sorry for the delay, I just saw your comments. It is believed that at Samhain / Halloween “the veil” is thin between worlds, meaning that contact with the dead is easier. I am so glad you enjoyed my story, thanks for reading ! 🙂

      Like

  3. Craig McGray says :

    Reblogged this on From Bright Minds Come Dark Things and commented:
    Black Widow by Magenta Nero

    Like

  4. Joseph Pinto says :

    Magenta, I think Black Widow is simply sublime. It’s not like you wrote this tale – you painted it. I loved the way you melded the sinister element of the Fae into this; I’ll be relishing this many times over, especially this coming Friday on Halloween! Outstanding, Magenta!

    Like

  5. blazemcrob says :

    Such a wonderful tale for the season, Magenta! I have seen many an ugly pumpkin lantern over the years, but I believe the image transported to my brain via your vivid words have pushed all of those to the rear.

    There is a new master of the old ways. Her name is Magenta Nero!

    Blaze

    Like

  6. moondustwriter says :

    Magenta fabulous. I love your character she is cold to the bone but there is good reason. I think the pompous one will learn to “heel” in his new attire.

    Like

  7. dylanjmorgan says :

    Great work, Magenta. I love gory Halloween stories in October, and digging a bloated corpse from his grave to cut off his head is right up there in the awesome category. Nice job.

    Like

  8. marcus says :

    (((Awhoooo))) HATFM

    Like

  9. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on Monster Lane and commented:
    Black Widow by Pen of the Damned’s Magenta Nero

    Like

  10. Thomas Brown says :

    As always, Leslie, I am in awe! The story is saturated with Samhain imagery, which you maintain effortlessly throughout. There is darkness, horror, a healthy dose of damnation, all the while holding true to the holiday’s roots.

    Loved this line: “The pact is black. The veil is thin. I begin to draw the sigil…”

    Like

  11. Magenta Nero says :

    Reblogged this on Magenta Nero and commented:
    A Halloween tale…

    Like

  12. K.Z. says :

    perfect Halloween tale. 🙂 i love your strong and vivid descriptions. i agree with Joseph… you painted this story, and very beautifully.

    Like

  13. Steve says :

    Exquisite! Your skill with words and imagery is second to none. Each story is like a mini movie that we are compelled to watch, as terrified as your character is, as she casts her spell.

    You have us all spellbound Magenta!

    Like

  14. lilychilds says :

    Such gorgeousness; such spiralling intent. I love the poetry and candour of the character’s voice as she recounts her journey, her revenge. Beautifully written – as always – with ‘correct’ understanding of the season. The veil is thin indeed. I shan’t be visiting the lake for a while.

    Like

  15. jonolsonauthor says :

    Great tale, Magenta! Your words created incredibly vivid images, making it a deliciously dark delight! Fantastic!

    Like

  16. b.l. ronan says :

    ever a tinge down my spine when you put pen to page. decadently sinister and as always exceptionally penned. x

    Like

  17. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    A wonderful, sick, twisted and perfect tale, Magenta! What can I say that everyone has already not?? An excellent read, with plenty ritual and homage to past beliefs (not chocolate) woven so well together! 🙂

    Like

  18. zkullis says :

    Magenta, sorry for taking so long to comment on this story. Such a fantastically twisted and amazing story!

    Like

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