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The door closed with a monstrous creak and a heavy thud. The hinges protested as the man pulled the aged handle inward, as though they knew of his terrible deeds and were loathe to harboring such a person. Quickly, he crossed the dark threshold. The only light was that of the moon, which filtered in through the dusty windows. The hall of the abandoned mausoleum echoed with the quick patter of his footsteps, and to him it seemed as though an army of a thousand was at his heels, coming closer, and closer. His harsh breathing, though it was only a small exchange of air, seemed to him to be the sounds of a great storm, its blackness looming on the horizon.
His thoughts returned to the violent scene only moments before. He shuddered at the terrible thought, trying to banish the demons from his mind, even as they circled ever closer, consuming his thoughts. The blood on his hands seemed to seep through his skin, to his bones, through his body, until it seemed to taint his very soul with the dark stain of death.
As he raced up the stairs, his fear increased, and his heart beat faster as he prepared to flee. Just as he reached the upper landing, he heard the muffled shouts of those who had come to capture him. Once again he heard the thud of the door as they entered the hall. The man’s pace quickened as he headed toward the doors balcony doors. He had no clear plan of escape in mind; he only knew that he must continue on, putting as much distance as possible between he and the pursuers.
With great speed, he hurried down the hall. The thick rug served to muffle his steps, at least temporarily concealing his whereabouts. Every few paces he would turn his head to glance wildly over his shoulder, his eyes wide, and his face pale. When he reached the balcony doors, he pushed them open. The cool night air rushed up to meet him as he walked out. Sighing, he paused for a momentary respite.
The balcony overlooked a great dark pond. Its waters lapped slightly at the banks, causing a slight slapping sound. The side nearest the mausoleum was bordered by a sweeping stone path, cracked with age and overgrown with weeds in places.
The architect of the place, it seemed must have had a strange way of thinking, for this side of the house was most impressive, as thought it was meant to be facing front, presenting itself to the world. The walls were solid stone, though crumbled slightly in places. Intricately patterned wrought iron latticed the windows. The door, carved of solid oak was flanked by a fearsome lion on each side. They crouched with jaws open wide, as though preparing to attack any person that dared try to make entrance. Upon the rail of the balcony on which the man stood were perched two gargoyles, one on each corner. Long, bat-like wings rose from their gnarled backs, long claws sprouted from the tips of their paws, and their ugly faces consisted of wide eyes, a broad nose, and fearsome fangs that curved down. They were facing such a way that they seemed to have one eye on their territory and the other aimed inward, towards the house which they so fiercely guarded.
Though these aged sentries were made from stone, they increased the feeling of dread in the man. They seemed to scorn him, as though they had been witness to what had happened on the flagstones below. Daring to look down, the man glanced over the edge of the balcony.
There on the stones below she lay, like an angel fallen from heaven. Her light gown was draped upon her; her arms were spread wide. The girl’s fair hair encircled her head like a halo of light, and etched eternally upon her face was a look of utmost horror. The picture of innocence was disturbed only by the single, jagged line that cut deep into her breast, stained crimson around the edges.
Gulping in a sudden breath, the man wrenched his face upward; no longer could he bear to look at her. Instead he attempted to consider his possibilities of escape.
But there was no hope of rational thought for him. His mind was still reeling, still horror-struck by the sight of his victim, and fearful of capture, his mind spun in endless circles. His mind was a whirlwind of fear, of thoughts of the girl and the knife and the blood and the white gown. Nightmarish images flew through his scattered brain. He heard the voices of those searching for him. They seemed to be coming nearer. Their steps echoed on the hard, wooden steps as they pounded up towards him. Instinctively, he stepped back as far as he could. When he reached the rail, the gargoyle seemed to stare at him. The man glanced to the side. The moonlight reflected off the dew that glistened on the gargoyle. It seemed to spark a life in the deteriorating remains of the monster. Perhaps he was only imagining. But could he be sure? Was it the moonlight reflecting, or had the stone demon’s eye moved? Was it a shadow of his movements, or had the hardened muscle of the stone arm flexed? Horror rose in the man. He knew that the aim of these foul creatures, guardians of the very building they were hewn from, was to punish him. He could see it in their wicked eyes that seemed to dance with cold light. He watched as they slowly revolved towards him, as their wings began to spread, as their jaws slowly parted wider.
Screaming, the man scrabbled to stand on top of the rail. Desperation and sheer terror infused him as the beasts came ever closer. All other options of escape eluded him. The only escape was over the edge, and he took it. Screaming out into the night, he spiraled downward, gaining momentum in that very short space until he met with the unforgiving stones.
Attracted by the wild shrieks, the police tore down through the house and raced out to the rear of the house. There, on the stones, lay the murderer. He had died instantly upon impact. The force of the collision had split open the stone he lay upon. His dark coat fanned around him, at odds with the pure white gown that he was nearly touching. He lay face down, his head smashed into the crack, as though he was diving into the earth, as though the hell he was about to enter for eternity had delighted in consuming him.
Above, perched upon the rails, the gargoyles, still covered in dew but warmed by the rising sun, silently stared, resuming their eternal watch.