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Lost in the sway of her red dress

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Feb 17th, 2021
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  1. Lost in the sway of her Red dress
  2.  
  3.  
  4. “A moon’s old reflection and cold toad weeping colors of sky,
  5. lucent walls slant across through half-open cloud towers.
  6.  
  7. A jade-pure wheel squeezes dew into bulbs of wet light.
  8. Phoenix Waste jewels meet on mist-scented paths.” - anonymous
  9.  
  10.  
  11.  
  12. falling Fog, that’s the first thing I remember of that night, coldness and heavy Fog while walking to my aunt’s house. That morning she had sent for me saying she had a surprise for me and that I should come to her house after sundown
  13.  
  14. I reached her house and knocked on her door, for some reason my nerves were on edge as I waited for her to open it but I pushed those stray feelings aside, When finally she opened the door, she wore her familiar red dress, she had a energetic smile on her ripe old lips, I kissed her apple-skin wrinkled cheek and she said “Come on in! have some tea”
  15.  
  16. I sat in her oriental style ornate flower chair and waited for her to prepare the tea, as I waited I looked around her home, the Arabic rugs, the asian prints of spring time birds, cherry blossoms and strange “oni” or was it yokai?
  17.  
  18. she had various little trinkets and small oil anointed idols from around the globe, most striking was the red-cinnabar image of the fat bald headed man with bulging eyes.
  19.  
  20. i eventually settled my eyes on her sloppy book shelf, filled with titles that showed her tastes clearly, antiquarian texts such as the Egyptian secrets of Albertus Magnus, liber nigrae peregrinationis, oriental literature such as the Lieh-tzu and the Upanishads, many works of psychical investigations such as those written by Blavatsky.
  21.  
  22. She always had an odd air about her, if something was foreign or exotic she always had to have it, even if it cost a fortune she had to bind herself to it. For example she only wears Red dresses because of an oriental superstition claiming that it brought luck, since then she bought only the brightest red dresses.
  23.  
  24. She was a spinster by choice preferring to dedicate her life to her strange studies, I wondered sometimes if she prefers such exotic strangeness because she herself was born an oddity, she is an extremely pale albino, her pink eyes always sensitive. she’s always had a remarkable Will and liveliness to her though, I on some level respect how she always embraced life, especially the eerie aspects honestly.
  25.  
  26. She finally returned, pouring me some Cassia flavored tea, she sat on the chair next to mine and quietly with a large smile on her face began
  27.  
  28.  
  29. “well, come out with it. Why are you so excited?” I said
  30.  
  31. She smiled and said “have you heard the stories about the abandoned building near the waterfront? About people going in, staying for three hours past midnight and then running out unable to say what they’ve seen?”
  32.  
  33. I replied “no but I’ve seen the building, there’s only one by the waterfront and it’s completely rotted. someone your age could get very hurt there”
  34.  
  35. “That’s why i sent for you!” She replied “ and besides you need a little excitement, it’ll keep you alive and well”
  36.  
  37. I began to look at her. Her ugly, lined, enigmatical face was alive with excitement. There was the glow of genuine enthusiasm round her alabaster countenance like a halo. Her pink-stained limpid blue eyes shone.
  38.  
  39. “Thank you aunt Julia for being so considerate , thanks awfully but”
  40.  
  41. She interjected “I should not dare to go quite alone “she went on, raising her voice; "but with you I should enjoy it immensely. You're afraid of nothing, I know."
  42.  
  43. "Thanks so much," i again said begrudgingly. "Eh, no one has been too severely hurt doing this have they?”
  44.  
  45. She gained a serious look in her eyes “I suspect many have but they have not returned to speak of it.” Half of me laughed internally at her dramatic comment the other half felt that same odd nervous feeling from earlier.
  46.  
  47. She then wordlessly got up, went out of the room, returned with two candles, one red and one white,
  48. she then took a little knife and wrote the names of us both into the candle over and over in a circular pattern, her name then mine, hers then mine, until they were both covered. “these will keep us safe” she said, handing me one.
  49.  
  50.  
  51. and then she began to walk out of the house, she pulled me by the hand “we better get there soon or we might miss the time”
  52.  
  53.  
  54. I followed her along and prepared myself for the night ahead of us, the night grew colder and a light amount of rain began to fall.
  55.  
  56. silently and solemn
  57. our shadows stepped as one
  58. silently and solemn
  59. shivers seeped into us both
  60.  
  61. Slowly we walked along the empty streets of the town, a bright autumn moon silvered the roofs, casting deep shadows. there was no breath of wind and the trees in the formal gardens by the sea-front watched us silently as we passed along. To my aunt's occasional remarks i made no reply, realising that she was simply surrounding herself with mental buffers, saying ordinary things to prevent herself from thinking of extra-ordinary things
  62.  
  63. Eventually we reached the abandoned building, it was made of brick and each side of it had slots for windows, many of these windows were boarded up with wooden planks and others were completely broken, only a few stray windows remained, the entrance wasn’t much more than a wooden board which would be easy to remove, aunt Julie spoke up “when we get in, close the door behind us dear, no opening it until sunrise okay?” Not wanting to fight I did as she asked, opened and then closed the wooden board behind us. She grabbed me with her free hand and led us deeper into that yawning darkness before us.
  64.  
  65.  
  66. dead door dashed
  67. damp and dirtied clothing
  68. dreary deeper darkness
  69.  
  70.  
  71. In front of us were Concrete floors and rusted beams, as we entered deeper the floor was covered in old coal which crunched underneath our steps, as we walked deeper we reached the center of the building, the moonlight through the broken windows partially illuminated the building, just enough to show us the grime and metallic blight.
  72.  
  73. I heard something like an old woman’s coarse cough next to me, I asked my aunt if she was okay to which she whispered back “I didn’t cough” “there’s someone here, I heard them”
  74.  
  75. I told her “be quiet, it was probably just someone outside coughing or perhaps the wind through the windows”
  76.  
  77. “Oh! Get a light quick!” she said, giving me the red candle, i fumbled with my free hand to open a box of matches, I accidentally opened it upside down and let them all fall to the floor with a rattle, no echo was heard however and within a minute I had lighted our candles.
  78.  
  79. Deeper into the building we went and noticed a flight of partially broken iron stairs which led to the top of the building, as we climbed the stairs we heard something like people walking behind us and in front of us but when we turned our heads backwards we would see nothing and equally empty was the stairs in front of us.
  80.  
  81. empty words everywhere
  82. no one is anywhere
  83. yet they step and crack
  84. in the darkness black
  85.  
  86.  
  87. Finally we reached the top of the stairs, if we walk left we could go to the left most side of the building and climb down, to the lower flights but to the right seemed to be a few different rooms.
  88.  
  89. The closest room to us had a heavy black door and as I pushed it open, I saw dimly a mirror on the opposite side of the room, floors covered in mildew and bathroom stalls all partially broken Except three. She pulled me into that damp cold bathroom and wanted me to open the one unbroken stall, not wanting to see such filth I urged her we move on, so I stepped out of the bathroom. I heard her behind me open it, she let out a laugh which made me turn my head.
  90.  
  91. HA HA HA
  92. HA HA HA
  93. HA HA HA
  94.  
  95.  
  96. She walked back and silently grabbed my hand again, once more leading us to another room, this one seemed to have a little table with old ruined papers, the room’s particular tenebrous gloom made me speak “we should investigate this place top to bottom and not spend too much time in any one area, we wouldn’t want to miss whatever happens, right?” I said leading her out of that oppressive room.
  97.  
  98. As we walked down I longed for that moon-illuminated part of the building once more, as the entire corridor also seemed to have the same type of gloom permeating it, the feeling of heaviness making it difficult to keep ones mind clear.
  99.  
  100. At the end of the corridor was a wooden door with a hole in its center, I opened it and as we were walking through a woman’s shout came from behind us and echoed over and over throughout the building. We turned to see who was there but nothing was before us, we stayed in silence searching for the origin of the screech for a little while.
  101.  
  102. I gazed upon my aunt and noticed her face had an odd look about it, she was now a ghastly pale, even more so than her normal complexion but there was something else I couldn’t quite make out.
  103.  
  104. She spoke “we must be sure no one is hiding or playing a game with us, let’s continue forward”
  105.  
  106. I admired the courage in her to want to continue
  107.  
  108. “Are you sure?” I asked, “it’s not too late-“
  109.  
  110. “I think so” she whispered, “quite sure” her eyes darting around nervously trying to look in every direction
  111.  
  112. “Quite sure only one thing “ she said.
  113.  
  114. “What’s that? “ I asked
  115.  
  116. “You must never leave me alone for an instant”
  117.  
  118. I composed myself and said “as long as you understand at any sound or appearance we must investigate it at once without admitting fear, if not our own fancy shall plague us”
  119.  
  120. We continued on through the door stealthily, feeling as if we were being watched by veiled eyes, with every step of ours the pressure on our nerves grew more and more intense. This room seemed to be a locker room, many of the lockers broken on the floor and the walls covered in holes.
  121.  
  122. As we went deeper I saw in the corner of my eye for a moment a flash of light as if from one of the holes. I put my eyes close to see through it.
  123.  
  124. When I looked I saw a strange silent sight
  125. A large mirror reflecting my own light
  126.  
  127. and a wooden door and a wooden floor
  128. And dimly I saw clearly white curtains
  129.  
  130. adorned with a gold and vermilion trim
  131. and stitched in black were traces of faces
  132. fiendish and foul and fully inhuman
  133.  
  134. I turned back around to tell her what I saw, but her mouth was open in surprise,
  135.  
  136.  
  137. directly facing her stood the figure of a woman. She had dishevelled hair and wildly staring eyes, and her face was terrified and white as death.
  138.  
  139. She stood there motionless for the space of a second. then the candle flickered and she was Gone, utterly Gone. And in front of aunt Julia was nothing but empty darkness.
  140.  
  141. “Just an odd reflection of the light “ he said quickly in a voice that sounded like someone else’s and was only half under control. “Come on, aunt, there’s nothing there.” With a feeling like ice in his spine and a hollowness in his chest he dragged her forward.
  142.  
  143. As we went forward she whispered “it’s beginning” which she whispered in a voice I hardly recognized as my aunt’s
  144.  
  145. Her head was turned towards another room where she thought she heard something like steps, we went to investigate but as we entered all we found was rusted pipes and though no steps or moving of air, there was the sound of the rushing of many steps back and forth, back and forth.
  146.  
  147. She with renewed courage said “let’s check the other side of the building, I don’t want to miss anything” her fearless vigor a second time won my admiration. As we passed the locker room again I tried to glance briefly at the mirror room again, not having had a chance to speak of it. I spoke up “wait I need to see something “
  148.  
  149. the faint candle light threw her strongly-marked face into vivid relief against the rotten Wall, But it was something other than the mirror room which made me catch my breath and stare. An extraordinary something had come into her face and seemed to spread over her features like a mask, it smoothed out the deep lines and drew the skin everywhere a little tighter so that the wrinkles disappeared. it brought into the face with the sole exception of her old albino eyes an appearance of youth and almost of childhood.
  150.  
  151. in the face of my friend
  152. I felt some kind of fear
  153.  
  154.  
  155. I stared in speechless amazement, amazement that was dangerously near to horror. It was my aunt's face indeed, but it was her face of forty years ago, the vacant innocent face of a girl.
  156.  
  157. the dreadful signature of overmastering fear was written plainly in that utter vacancy of the girlish face beside me and when, feeling her intense gaze, I instinctively closed my eyes tightly to shut out the sight.
  158.  
  159.  
  160. “Never mind “ I said, pushing the thought away and we continued, her renewed vigor causing her to step a few steps ahead of me, accidentally dropping her candle from excitement and didn’t even stop to pick it up.
  161.  
  162. she opened and walked through the holed door into the corridor but as it closed behind her I saw something very odd through the hole in the door.
  163.  
  164.  
  165. I saw then, the room of many mirrors
  166. But it had an odd illumination
  167. filling with the forms of frightening figures
  168. who’s maws and fingers willed mutilation
  169.  
  170. And In the center there stood very still
  171. My aunt Julia but from her dark red dress
  172. crimson blood and orange colored rust spilled
  173.  
  174. her dress whirling with invisible wind
  175. winded about wildly as she began
  176. To spin and as she was spun lights gathered
  177.  
  178. each red orb entering her one by one
  179.  
  180. She finally stopped her spinning and stared
  181.  
  182. silently and solemn where I was sat
  183.  
  184. her pale hand she placed before her pale face
  185. and her fingers felt its every place
  186.  
  187. my heart raced , she removed the mask, the face
  188.  
  189. and behind it was that evil being
  190. who we kept seeing with disheveled hair
  191.  
  192. She smiled at me then brought back the mask
  193. then mocking me with a cacophony
  194.  
  195. “HA HA HA
  196. HA HA HA
  197. HA HA HA”
  198.  
  199. and i forced the door open.
  200.  
  201.  
  202. And as I opened the door to rush to my dear aunt, I was suddenly back outside the building facing the street covered with its fog. I ran back in screaming for aunt Julia and searched every inch of the building for her, but I neither found her nor did I glimpse any other oddities within the building.
  203.  
  204. I rushed to get to the authorities but as I passed building to building I noticed they had that familiar rusted blight infecting them, each was abandoned, the more I searched, the more rusted buildings and more fog, though the abandoned building was the same, the entire town was now different.
  205.  
  206. No matter where I walk or where I go, there is nothing but rust and decay, even as I sleep this melancholic foggy world and eternal tenebrous night doesn’t end. My only company is in the rare hours as I pass through the holes in certain walls, I see the form of my dear aunt Julia, her spiral dance and I wonder how I have become Lost in the sway of her Red dress.
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