Posted on November 16 2018 by Sean Gadus
Warning this story contains mature content. Continue at your own peril…
Beth’s body was caked with the sweat by the time she made it to the enormous front door of the Forest Temple. With a hiss of pain, and a slow but steady effort, Beth put her hand on the front door handle. With all her might, the weary girl heaved it open. She stepped into the dark courtyard, squinting into the musty darkness.
Beth limp passed the enormous twin courtyard trees without a second thought. If she had looked; she would have noticed the flecks of crimson blood near the base of the right tree.
If she wouldn’t have been in so much pain, perhaps she would have noticed that the courtyard door she had just entered through had been hanging wide open. But she didn’t.
The cold stone hallways seemed to stretch on forever. It took Beth so much effort to limp through each cold and lonely hallway. Grunting, Beth opened the thick door to the central room, where the elevator stood. Beth took a step, her face screwed up tightly from the effort. Her toes connected with the hard stone step. Beth felt herself falling, yelping as she did. She put her hands down to soften the blow, but hitting the ground felt like being hit by a hammer.
Beth struggled to her feet, using her good leg as an anchor. Looking up, she noticed that only two torches of the torches near the elevator were lit.
“Jo.” Beth called, her voice hoarse. Her throat screamed out to her, begging for relief from the yelling. “Jo!” She glanced around the dead room. “Meg!”
Click Click. The sound of Joelle’s shoes echoed through the empty chamber. Beth searched the room, scanning every corner of the room. She couldn’t see Jo anywhere; it was just a cold, empty room. Nevertheless, Beth smiled. It was their sign. It had always been their special sign. The twins had shared so many special things, but the signal had stood the test of long years together.
“Jo!” Beth yelled again, limping forward. She hissed in pain, the hard stone floor did her damaged leg no favors. “I’m here! Where are you?”
“Jo?” Beth said, scanning the room again. She struggled to listen carefully, trying to determine where the signal was coming from.
Beth smiled grimly. It was coming from the far hallway. She limped across the darkened room. It was just like Joelle to play games with her. Perhaps Meg and Jo were playing this game together. It was so good that they had bonded while she was away. Beth always wanted Jo to understand Meg better, to love Berth the way Beth love her younger sister.
Beth opened the door and made her way to Jo’s room. It was a small square cell of a room, with tight walls and a thin bed along the wall. It was empty. The room was perfect as Jo always left it. Jo could pack up her room and belonging in five minutes and leave it all behind. What mattered to Jo was family. Looking around the room, Beth scratched her head, where was her foolish twin sister?
Shaking her head, she continued down the hall. Then she gasped. A red scarf, half finished, was strewn on the floor ahead of her. She limped toward it, each step slowed by pain.
Beth picked up the red material with tenderness. That’s odd. Beth thought quietly. Sewing was Joelle’s gift. And she never, ever left it lying around. Every strand and scrap of fabric was sacred to her sister. Jo would never leave it lying on the fl—-
Beth jumped in shock. It was coming from further down the hallway, the door that lead to the twin stairs. The twin stair led to a single octagonal chamber, where they stowed their belongs.
Beth wrapped the half finished scarf around her thin neck. Beth’s hand twitched as she approached the door knob. Something was wrong. The feeling in her soul was growing, like Amy’s infection, consuming her. Something was wrong. Slowly, she turned the door knob. She could hear it turn with a sharp click. The door creaked loudly as she eased it open.
“Jo.” Beth said, stepping through the doorway. She took each step gingerly. The pain had not gone away and she was tiring greatly. “Please stop this.”
“Jo stop!” Beth wailed, her voice breaking. She heard her voice echo through the room as she descended the sprawling staircase. The stone here was different than in the main halls. In the main halls, the stone was thick and smooth. Here in the basement, the bricks were thin and jagged, a sickly brown color.
“Is this some kind of punishment for going to find Papa. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
It was getting louder. Beth shivered with each step. She was pale as a ghost. She was a mess of dirt, sweat and blood. But that wasn’t what scared her. Why wasn’t Jo answering her? Jo, who had never stopped talking to Beth, no matter how angry she was. She yelled, she raged, but she never was silent. It was Meg and Amy that went silent. And Mama. Not Jo.
Beth looked around. The noise had stopped. She waited on the basement’s final step. Ahead the doorway loomed ahead, gleaming eerily in the low light. Beth put her ear to the heavy door. She listened, her ear pressed gently against the thick wood. Nothing. Deadly silence. No noise. The world had lost its sound. Then a sound started. Loud. The beating of Beth’s heart. Joelle was behind the door. She was angry, she was more angry than she had ever been. Beth would have to face her. She would have to apologize. It was only right. Beth only hoped Joelle would accept her apology. Beth put her hand on the door knob. It was locked.
Her frustration growing, she shook it, screaming out into the silence. Nothing. She shook it with all the force in her aching body and there was a click. The door knob turned. Beth shivered, taking a deep breath.
She pushed the door in and spoke: “Joelle, I’m sorry I left you, I—-”
Beth screamed the words in anguish. She rushed to the center of the room, ignoring the piercing pain in her own body. Halfway into the room, Beth stumbled on the hard floor, hitting the stone floor hard.
She looked down out her hands as she struggled to get up. They were scarlet. Her shoes were scarlet, her dress was scarlet. Blood.
Jo lay crumpled on the ground. Her body limp. Her legs were twisted tightly together, but her arms were spread out wide, as if welcoming Beth home. One hand was open, the other a clenched fist. Beth crawled towards her twin sister and put her arms around her sister, who was limp. Jo’s eyes were open, staring blanking into space, lifeless. Her mouth slightly a gap. A trail of blood lingered on her chin.
Beth cradled her twin sister tightly in her arms. “JOELLLE!”
Her sister’s blank eyes stared back at her; dead eyes for a dead sister. Gingerly, Beth reached down and felt a heavy wooden knife handle protruding from Jo’s side, jammed deep into her torso. Despite every instinct in her body, in her soul, Beth pulled the knife out. There was disgusting sound and the knife came free. Beth held it up. It was one of the kitchen knives. The one they used to slice the meat precisely and accurately. And it had been rammed deep into her sister.
Half of Beth lay dead on the floor. Jo and Beth had entered the world a minute apart, Jo had been older by a minute. Now Joelle was gone. Her existence had been stabbed out, it was oozing out on the floor in a puddle of scarlet.
Beth reached out and gently closed her sister eyes. Tears fell onto the bloody floor, mixing with the stained flood. She reached out to the ground, where Jo’s left hand rested, balled into a fist. She pried Jo’s fist open and held the limp hand, the finger fell open, never to close on command again. Touching the inside of Jo’s dead hand, Beth felt soft fabric brush her hand. With remorse, Beth let of her sisters hand fall back to the floor.
Purple. Beth held the handle of the knife tightly. Only one person had purple clothes in her family.
Beth shook her head. “No.” She moaned. “No!” It couldn’t be. But it had been. “NO!” She shrieked the words to the heavens, cursing the Goddesses for their torture. How could anyone be so cruel!
“Why are you yelling Bethy?”
The high voice spoke again. “I said: Why are you yelling Bethy?”
“Meg.” The words were involuntary. It was dark in the storage room, with only a few torches lit. Beth squinted, desperately sweeping the room several times. Panic was growing in her, where was she? Where was she! Then in the corner, Beth saw movement.
The young girl stepped out of the shadows. Her once pristine dress was a tattered wreck, stained black with dried blood. The girl’s hair was disheveled, with clumps missing at her scalp. On her feet, Meg wore fiery red shoes stained, dirty, and foul.
“Meg. Why!” Beth hurled the words at sister, her voice breaking. She stood up, rising on her aching legs. She brandished the knife at Meg. “WHY!” A river of tears dripped down Beth’s face as she stared at her little sister.
Meg’s face was expressionless. Blank. Like a doll’s. She took another step toward her sister. In her right hand, she held one of Papa’s long kitchen knives. The knife glinted in the low light of the torch behind Meg.
Meg cocked her head sideways in confusion. Then a manic smile bloomed sweetly on her face, spreading from ear to ear. “I wanted us all to be together. Amy went away. But I figured out how to get us all back to her.”
“Amy died.” Beth moaned. “Amy Died!”
Meg ignored her comment. She took another inch closer. Beth took a step back toward the door, backing away from Meg’s knife, which was still positioned rigidly at Meg’s side.
“Mama told me what to do. She gave me instructions. She gave me encouragement. She helped me be brave.”
Confusion raged inside Beth’s heart. But more than confusion, she was motivated by an overwhelming, nauseating sense of fear. The need to be as far away from the thing that was moving closer to her, inch by inch. This place, this thing, it would not hesitate to kill her. It had not hesitated to devour Amy, or Joelle, it would not hesitate to take a third.
“Meg, Mama’s gone.”
“I know. But like Amy, I she’s on the other side waiting for us.”
Beth backed towards the doorway, now only a few steps away. She moved slowly with each step, still holding the knife toward Meg, which was stained with Jo’s blood. If she could just get away from Meg and out of the temple, then she could survive. She was taller than Meg, faster, perhaps still, even with her legs in their ruined state. She could outrun the girl if her life depended on it. And she knew that fact was true. Inside her, every part of her was screaming ‘GET AWAY NOW!’ But she couldn’t take her eyes off Meg until she knew she could make her escape. She held the knife toward Meg, her hand shaking.
“Meg.” Beth said desperately. “Mama isn’t dead. Mama couldn’t stand Papa. She hated him. So she left. I watched her leave in the middle of the night. We were so ashamed that we lied to you and Amy. Told you Mama died. But she didn’t.”
Tears dripped Beth’s face as she confessed the secret. But it had been more than a confession, it had been a distraction. As she spoke, Beth twisted the door opening and began backing up the twin steps. Beth took each step with caution, at any moment, Meg might snap. She had to make sure to never give Meg an opening to hurt her. If Meg came at her, she would be ready.
Meg followed Beth slowly, like corpse, her knife arm held at the same strange, stiff angle. “That’s what Jo said.” Meg shook her head, looking sad for the first time. There was deep line in the young girl’s temple, as if something was troubling her deeply.
“Jo didn’t understand. She tried to fight me. I had to lock Jo away for a day without food and water before she would let me help her. But don’t you worry Bethie, I helped her.” Meg flaunted another maniac smile.
“You murdered her!” Beth screeched back. She was at the top of the steps, now she was passing through the hallway, it felt impossibly long. Each step felt like a inch rather than foot. Still, Beth did not break the rhythm. She had set the pace with her exit. If she only maintained it she would be free soon. Each step was one step closer to freedom, freedom from Meg and her nightmares.
“Jo loved you.”
Meg smiled, not with joy, but like a shark showing teeth. She swung the knife out in front of her, with a quick flick of her wrist. There was a sound, as if Meg could cut through the air itself.
“Jo didn’t understand that I was helping her! Mama said I could reunite us all with Amy. Don’t you care about your sister!”
“Stop!” Beth screeched, without turning her eyes away from the monster inching towards her. Reaching behind her, she fumbled for the door knob. If Meg decided to strike now; she was ruined. But then, with infinite relief, Beth found the cold door hand and twisted it viciously. The door creaked open. Beth reached the main chamber. It was almost time to make her escape.
With each step, Meg would swing the knife closer to her, baiting her, playing with her. Beth’s arm was trembling as she pointed the knife towards the thing that followed her. She needed to distract Meg, confuse her, or reach any kernel of Meg that still existed in the madness. “Meggie. I’m your sister.”
“It’ll just hurt a little.” Meg said calmly, her knife flashing across her body again in a viscous arc. “Jo hurt more because she struggled, she fought me. Don’t fight me Beth. Just let me help you join Mama and Jo and Amy.”
“No, I won’t let—”
Beth stumbled, her well thought out escape plan shattering like fragile glass.
For Beth, it happened so fast. One moment she was inching backwards, then next she was hurtling towards the hard stone floor. She hit the ground hard, her body screaming out in agony, her knife went sliding away behind her. Quickly she got up. Without a thought, she lunged for her knife on the ground next to her and—-
Screamed in pain. Meg’s knife protruded from her side. Blood oozed from the wound, bubbling out. Fighting like an animal, Beth launched herself at the thing. She raked her fingers across the thing’s cheek savagely, coming away with flesh and blood. The thing that was her sister let out a sharp cry and recoiled, dropping its knife as it reached for its own face.
Stumbling on her own oily blood, Beth limped forward across the room, toward the exit. MUST GET OUT. The words pulsed in her, forcing her on, despite the fiery pain in her side, and the growing confusion in eyes and ears. The blind spots were starting to grow. MUST GET OUT. She dragged herself along the cold stone floor, each step a monumental struggle. Pain was nothing, if she did not escape she would die. She would die the way Amy died, the way Jo died. She didn’t want to die. She needed to live. She limped on furiously, the adrenaline and fear driving on like a revenant.
MUST GET OUT. She crawled up the first step towards the courtyard, her fingernails were broken and bleeding, her eyes drenched in hot tears, her body screaming in pain. MUST GET—–
The second knife ended Beth’s life. The blade slashed across her throat. There was a flash of scarlet, which exploded onto the hard stone steps, then nothing. Beth faded to black on the steps, her left hand still reaching for the next step, towards escape.
Meg hissed, examining her gory knife. Blood dripped from the tip of the weapon, plopping on the floor like water. The young girl, covered in the blood of her three sisters, stumbled back to the elevator. Leaning against the hard iron the elevator, she descended into darkness. Meg could feel her face burning with pain, but it didn’t matter. She looked down. Her purple dress was black now, the blood had transformed. Meg liked it better this way. She put her hand on her disheveled hair. Jo had ripped out her hair,.Sure, it had hurt, but Meg loved her sister too much to let the pain stop her. Beth and Jo, they would understand soon.
Meg made her way to the gallery. She had taken one portrait off the wall, so she could feel closer to it: closer to Mama.
But Mama wasn’t in the portrait. When she looked into the portrait. She saw some… thing…. with a torn, bloody dress. With chunks of hair missing on a once beautiful head. A knife held tightly in one hand.She hissed at the thing in mirror. She shrieked at it like a banshee.
WHERE WAS MAMA! She raged. What was this hideous thing in the mirror, get it out! Get it out! IT MUST GET OUT! Meg shrieked one last howl at the portrait like an angry wolfos. She swung her knife in a jab—
Into her own belly. Her eyes widened in shock. She looked down at the carved handle protruding from her belly. Blood oozed out, bubbling as if from a witch’s caldron. As her sight began to fade into an endlessly dark tunnel, she returned her gaze to the portrait. Mama was back. Mama was smiling. Meg reached out her hand to the image of Mama, her entire body shaking from the pain as her body went into shock. Then, Meg began to cry. Loud, pathetic, wailing tears. Mama’s face was changing, distorting, until Mama was gone and the monster was all that remained.
The monster is all that remains.
Sean Gadus is an Associate Editor at Zelda Dungeon. He loves playing video games, reading books, watching movies and geeking out about all things Star Wars, Batman, and Harry Potter. His first Zelda game was Ocarina of Time. He is an amateur writer and a professional Zelda fan.