Castle Darkest Night
Click on image to enlarge.
by Joe Vadalma
Category: Dark Fantasy/Fantasy
Description: Castle Darkest Night is a dark fantasy in the Gothic tradition. It concerns a Medieval castle, a woman on the edge of madness, the paranormal, obsessed scientists, mysterious events, murder, a torrid love affair and an unholy experiment. Amy is led from horror after horror which sinks her into a quagmire of death, madness and sin. And what of the young Ray Smart? Will he save Amy from the horrors that haunts her? Or will he tempt her into a forbidden love affair?
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner Editions,
eBookwise Release Date: March 2010
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [136 KB]
Reading time: 84-118 min.
Chapter One The Death of an Infant
A cold drizzle started to rain down on Doctor Joseph Kraus and his wife Amy as the priest intoned the ritual words, "In infinite wisdom and love our Heavenly Father has received unto Himself the innocent spirit of this little child. We therefore tenderly commit the body to its resting place in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Joseph and other mourners snapped open umbrellas. Joseph held his in a position where it mostly covered Amy's head and gazed around at the multitude of tombstones, grave markers and monuments. He hated graveyards. They made him feel surrounded by death, the very thing he had dedicated his life to defeat. He was also annoyed at the words of the priest. As a scientist he felt that the mind died with the body. As far as he was concerned, all this business of eternal life through Jesus was simply so much bunk. But his beloved wife was a devout Catholic, so the priest of the church she attended was called upon to perform the service.
When he turned his gaze to the small coffin, his thoughts turned to the small creature inside, its tiny fingers, its waxy gray body like a discarded child's toy, its wrinkled old person face. If it had lived, it was to be his son, Edmund. That was not to be. Amy had gone into labor in her eighth month. The baby was stillborn.
It was a double tragedy. Not only had the child that he and his young wife had prayed so hard to conceive during their five years of marriage gone to his maker, but her gynecologist had told them that she could not become pregnant again.
Although Joseph took the sad news with forbearing, the already ill Amy was devastated. Always a thin woman, she had shriveled down to a walking skeleton while in the hospital. From the time she heard what sad fate had befallen her and her husband, she wept almost constantly.
The fact that Amy was so unhappy stung Joseph deeply. His love for his young wife was overwhelming. He would do anything to renew her to previous cheerful, lively self, always involved in life and love. It amazed him that she could love a man fifteen years older than her at all. As a result, he doted on her every whim for fear of losing her.
At the grave site, a torrent of tears, like the dreary drizzle from above, ran down Amy's cheeks. When the tiny coffin was lowered into the ground, she let out a loud moan. Joseph placed his arm around her and squeezed her shoulder. Yet, words of comfort would not come. What could he say? If she could bear a child again, there might be hope. He thought about suggesting that they adopt. But this was not the right time. Perhaps at some future moment when her grief was not so deep and her health had returned, he could discuss it with her.
After the funeral, as he and Amy ambled back to their car, she said a strange thing to him. "Edmund spoke to me often. I knew that something was wrong when I no longer heard his voice."
Because Joseph was certain that the remark stemmed from her despondent state, he merely nodded. He firmly believed that after a reasonable amount of time went by she would recover from her melancholy and return to her usually happy self. He was dead wrong.
After they went to bed that evening, he endured Amy's tossing and turning for several hours. About two in the morning, she sat straight up in bed and screamed, "No. How could God be so cruel?"
He took her in his arms. "What is it, darling?"
She buried her face in her hands. "A nightmare. It was horrible. Little children and infants being tortured and murdered in cruel ways. It's what they do to unbaptized children in hell. That's what's happening to Edmund."
"Oh, my darling. I'm sure Edmund is in heaven. This has been such a tragedy for us. Let me get you some wine. It'll help you sleep more sound."
He went downstairs to the kitchen and poured a small glass of Merlot. He ground up a sleeping pill and mixed the powder into the wine. The remainder of the night she was quiet.
The next morning at breakfast she hardly said a word. He tried to cheer her up by chattering about his work. Joseph was a professor of biochemistry and was involved in the investigation of the difference between living organisms and dead ones. Suddenly she looked up at him with a strange expression. "When we were dating and you told me what you do, I used to call you Doctor Frankenstein as a joke."
She gazed at him with a strange look in her eyes. "It's too bad that you're not Frankenstein. You could bring our little Edmund back to life."
He smiled wanly at her. What a horrible idea, he thought. "Yes. But he's in a better place."
She shook her head. "He was not baptized. Unbaptized children remain in Limbo."
"Nonsense, my dear. I'm sure he went straight to heaven."
Joseph was an atheist. Although he attended Mass with his wife faithfully, he never went to confession or took the consecrated host. He figured that to do that would the height of hypocrisy on his part.