The Stairs of Eurynome

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Her pretty red dress was a beacon of colour as she skipped through the dark woods beside that strange man. Her pale skin and her chocolate brown hair looked so different in those dark woods.
I ran after my little sister Bobby. She was only three, just a little girl. I knew where he was taking her. Just like all the other little girls. He was leading her to the church. She was never going to be seen again.
I forced my feet to move faster. Forced my chest to breathe harder. I needed to catch her. I needed to stop him from taking her.
“Bobby” I cried. “Bobby” I cried as they walked through the gate. It only took a second for him to pick her up and disappear inside. I stood at the wrought iron gate and listened to little Bobby scream, plotting my revenge against the dark souls that lived within the churches walls.
Every year I stood at the gate of the old church and watched it slowly crumble. Now, nine years after Bobby’s death I stood in front of the church, watching the shadows of the trees pass over the old stone.
My eyes traced over the harsh lines of the church. The walls and floor of the attic were gone, only the staircase to the attic and the ceiling of the main prayer hall or the nave, was the only thing that remained. There were a few small houses built off to the side of the church building, but all of them were crumbling quicker than ash falling to the ground after a forest fire.
I heard a voice. A lovely, little girl’s voice singing a beautiful song.
I slid back behind trees. He must be back from hunting. I watched the little girl in the blue dress holding his hand and skipping along. She was only about four and from another town close by. I’d seen her when my mother had sent me to buy food from there.
The boy looked calm. We were the same age now. He hadn’t changed since he’d taken my sister and killed her. Not his hair, not his face, not even his clothes had changed. I watched as he picked her up and carried her inside.
I listened to her talk to him and tell him what she’d heard about the church. I listened to him tell her that she didn’t need to worry and that he wouldn’t hurt her. I watched him walk up the flight of stairs to the second story. He put her down, blocking the only way out she had.
“Run up those stairs and sing in your loudest voice” he said. “Let everything in the forest hear you sing” he said and she smiled before she did.
She took the steps two at a time and went all the way up to the top. I stood there, mesmerized by the view. She began singing and as she sung I saw a sort of shadow appear in front of her. It wasn’t on her, but in front. It was like death waiting to claim her.
Suddenly she screamed and across her chest were three huge gashes like she had been struck by gigantic claws. She screamed again as those claws ripped down her face. Again and again she screamed as the claws ripped through her skin. It wasn’t until she finally laid still, half on and half off the top stair of the staircase that it stopped.
The creature of shadow then picked up the body of the small girl. It ripped her apart. Her legs were ripped from the hip joints, her arm’s from her shoulder sockets and her head clean off her shoulders. The boy walked up the stairs, satisfied with what had become of the young girl.
“Hudson, my son, you have proved yourself worthy once more” the shadow murmured to the boy. Its voice was soft and deep. Shivers ran down my spine as it spoke.
“Thank you my father, Eurynome” Hudson answered. “I hope that next year I can please you just as much” Hudson said as the shadow began to devour the young girl’s body.
The towns’ men planned to attack the church, to burn it down and destroy the creatures within. We hired hunters of all kinds to go and destroy the creatures within. Though, none returned alive.
The men decided to call in the only help left untouched. A magic man that had been rumoured to live within the forests bounds.
He spoke with the evil spirit and told us that no one could stop it from taking the children.
The men gave up and packed up, leaving their homes and their livelihoods to protect their children. I could not bear to leave my home and my mother and that place. I decided to destroy the creature on my own.
I got ready, bathing in holy water and cleaning myself with rose soap. I dressed in my best, knowing that I would not live to see sunrise.
As the anniversary of my sister’s death, I kissed my ill mother’s forehead and told her not to worry. I then left the house, headed for the church.
I could hear the voice of a young child, walking through the gates and towards the church door. I didn’t know who it was but their voice was soft and sweet. I ascended the first set of stairs.
From my pocket I took the rosary my mother had given me. To protect me from evil she had said. My only hope was that this protection would mean that the evil in this church was destroyed and that the people of my village could return. My mother would die knowing that her son had rid the villages of a cruel menace.
I walked out onto the second storey and looked up the last deathly set of stairs. I moved to the second top step and knelt. For death, I was willing.





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