The Reading Room Other stories


a horror story by

Derek Hibbert



Julian was out on the moors, desolate isolated land where the wind howled through the stunted trees like it was dead and wanted release from the Earth. Dressed in a camouflage jacket he was fairly inconspicuous, five foot nine and skinny built, a face ravaged by acne and blonde, almost white hair that made him look almost evil. That was hardly surprising, he was. Needless to say he wasn't very popular, all the women he knew made it clear that he made their flesh creep and wouldn't come within six feet of him. The young man was in an angry mood, none of his snares had caught a rabbit, three had been removed. In a sullen mood he was heading back to his car.
There was a young girl standing against the hedgerow when he got to the road, she was picking blackberries. Julian smiled wickedly, said hello and headed for his car. As he opened the boot and tossed in his empty rucksack he studied the deserted by-way carefully, the child was alone. The youngster looked about twelve, long jet black hair, a red skirt that reached just below her knees and feet in socks and red shoes. Julian pulled out a polythene bag and walked across.
"Are there enough for me as well?"
"Oh yes, if you want to start at the other end I won't be in your way."
Julian put his hand over her mouth, picked her up and carried her to the car as she struggled violently. Lashing a piece of rope around her arms and legs she was soon immobile. Then he pushed his handkerchief in her mouth, tossed her inside and closed the boot. Maybe it was a worthwhile trip after all. Julian lived on the edge of town, a modern terraced house with an integral garage. Inside it was tiny, but nobody could see what he took out of his car. Eagerly he carried his prize upstairs, unwinding the rope and stripping her naked before tying her securely to the bed, the white fabric still preventing a cry for help. When he looked at her it was quite unsettling, her eyes too were jet black, as though there was nothing behind them and her expression felt as though it would almost melt lead. Julian laughed to cast the unease away, then spent over an hour playing with his new toy, exploring every inch with eyes, fingers and mouth. The girl lay motionless, staring at the ceiling. A couple of times she mumbled softly through the fabric, although it was impossible to hear what she said. After a while temptation became too great, he had delved as deeply into her body as his tongue would allow.
"I'm going to take the gag out. If you scream I beat you until you stop. Do you understand? The neighbours won't be back for maybe another hour anyway." The child glared at him but didn't struggle; then, as his mouth writhed over hers she just relaxed, knowing there was no defence. When he began to penetrate she started to squeal, tears trickled down her cheeks. "Is it good then?"
"No you arsehole it hurts. I think you had better stop now." The girl's voice was dark, deep and menacing, but all the rapist had on his mind was satisfaction. Julian slid out, she was bleeding and rather dry inside. In the bedside cabinet was lubricating jelly he used for masturbation. After making sure there was ample around the tiny opening he slid back inside and started moving cautiously. It wasn't long before his movements became rather frantic, sealing his mouth over the girl's muted her screaming until he collapsed. When he rolled off the child was sobbing softly.
"Do you believe in God?" she asked, almost as though they were sitting in a church.
"No, should I?"
"It doesn't matter. Only my family can trace their ancestors back to Central Europe, the Carpathian mountains. Our blood remains pure."
"Are you trying to tell me you're a vampire?" he laughed.
"No, they don't exist, at least not the way you imagine. But you'll be dead within a week all the same."
"You are a stupid kid. I will feed you, fuck you, even wash you until I get bored and nobody will know you are here."
The child laughed. "My family already know. I have talked with the spirits of the dead. They will show my mother where I am."
Julian shook his head, stuffed the handkerchief back into her mouth and went downstairs to eat. It wasn't the words that worried him, well barely worried, it was her calm attitude. When he went back into the bedroom to play, he washed all the blood away carefully before lying on her again. It was a pity his body wasn't yet ready for a repeat performance. The girl stared at him as though her mere look could kill, pressed both hands against his chest, partially to try and hold him away. Holding her close Julian couldn't see her lips moving and her voice was so soft the words barely left her mouth. So, she may have been twelve, that did not mean she hadn't the strength to kill him. There was a slender chance that then she might die too if he became too heavy, still tied to the bed. Only she was sure help would arrive soon regardless of the evil man heavy on her frail body, then he would suffer the full wrath of the Gypsies. The small but warm body was comforting him, because her hands were draining his energy he felt incredibly tired, as his eyes became heavy he was trying to work out how difficult it would be to keep the young girl for a while; a week, a month, a year?
The doorbell woke him at maybe ten that night. Pulling on his jeans he walked downstairs. There was a woman outside, her outline distinctive through the partially glazed door. Opening it on the chain he peered into the night. The female was probably in her late thirties, stunningly attractive and wore a perfume that instantly tightened his trousers. "Yes?"
"Well, aren't you going to invite me in?" she crooned sensuously.
Julian peered into the darkness, there was no car, nobody nearby. Briefly closing the door he slipped off the security chain, opened in and managed to close it again without anybody else rushing out of the darkness. The woman dropped her light coat onto the back of a chair, the dress she wore barely covered her upper body, the only reason it wasn't already on the floor was her voluptuous breasts had it gripped firmly. "I've come for the child."
"What child?"
"The one you kidnapped and raped this afternoon."
Julian went red, puzzled as to why the woman was so calm. "I don't follow."
"Look, I know you are a sad sick excuse for a man, that Rosemary is the first human female you have even touched, but she is still a child. I have not called the police, God or the Devil will punish you." The woman smiled radiantly, glanced down at the erection fighting for escape. "It looks as though you find me attractive. I will allow you to make love to me if I can take the girl back afterwards. No recriminations, we should not have let her out alone."
"No tricks?"
"You can see I have no weapon." No underwear either.
They went upstairs, the woman untied the child and kissed her on the forehead. "Have a bath sweetie, then get dressed." As the girl left the room the tight dress fell to the ground. "Well, drop you trousers and lie on the bed if you want me."
Julian obeyed, unable to believe his luck. The woman sat over him, rubbing jelly sensuously into her crutch to tease him. After a while she guided her body down until it enveloped his penis. Julian moaned, reaching up and grabbing her breasts as she began to rock hard, forcing him deep into her body. Strangely enough in his hands the skin felt different, hard sagging and wrinkled. "Is something wrong?" she asked, rubbing her fingers onto his shoulders as she rocked on his pelvis.
"You feel odd," he mumbled warily.
"Yes, I'm not surprised, appearances can be deceptive. I am a gypsy, I have the power of the ancients." Yes, the power of illusion for one thing. Leaning forwards her mouth sealed over him, her lips hard, almost brittle against his, the skin around her mouth felt hairy. As her face nuzzled into his neck her hands slid beneath them, hauling their bodies close. Hard bony hands with sharp fingernails that readily drew blood. The woman was working Julian hard, he should have come sooner, only sensitive skin was sending odd messages, confusing his mind. Almost hammering her pelvis against him he screamed, and as her vagina closed around him like a vice he found final release. "Was that good?" she cackled into his ear.
"I'm not sure, you feel so strange." Then she sat back up and Julian lost all colour from his skin. The woman looked about a hundred years old, her skin was like leather, her face little more than a death mask. An evil smile revealed black rotten teeth, her eyes were a little sunken and her hair short and wiry. There were no breasts to speak of, just old skin, decrepit material that seemed only essential to hide the bones that dug into him.
"You should never cross a purebred Gypsy line my child, we have more power than God himself. Only this little game was just for me, the punishment for raping my great granddaughter will be something special."
Julian began to sob. Totally paralysed his mind was unable to cope. The woman was massaging his head, licking his face with her stubby purple tongue. "Oh God, I'm sorry," he whimpered
"Oh, he has little say in the matter." The woman pulled back, rested her hand on Julian's chin. Eyes began to widen as his mind tried to prepare for more terror, the way she was smiling something bad was about to happen. A large red and black centipede emerged from her hair, it was about eight inches long and as thick as his finger. It flowed down her arm like water, rested on his lower lip. Only his mouth was all but welded shut. The trouble with centipedes is that they can bite. Fang like jaws tore into his lips and he screamed. The massive monster scampered into his mouth, curling around, biting his tongue several times before running down his throat. Then he could feel it in his stomach, snapping mouthparts reeking havoc with the lining.
Julian was writhing beneath the old woman, and every movement seemed to cut into his prick, still trapped inside the old woman's body in the same way a bitch holds her suitor captive to increase the likelihood of conception. Only the thought of that was disgusting.
"Granny, can I play with this big knife?"
"If you like dear. What do you want to do with it?"
"Can I make him bleed, like he did me?"
"I think that is a good idea." The witch like crone slid higher up his body so Julian could smell the sex they had shared. Only then he couldn't see the girl. The cold steel from his hunting knife against his balls made him struggle violently, only the old woman was on his chest, her hands pinning him down with incredible strength. The blade ran up the underside of his penis and the pain w
as incredible, before he woke everyone in the street she shoved his underpants into the wide opening and the knife moved again. Julian could feel blood pouring out over his body, waves of nausea flooded over him. As they broke he felt brief bouts of darkness. It was becoming difficult to breathe. The woman pulled out the gag, getting air into his lungs was more important than wailing. Mouth wide open, sucking in life, something fell into the back of his mouth. To prevent choking he swallowed several times, the second time it happened his mind was spinning out of control. "You know what they were, don't you," cackled the hideous woman, glaring at him with an evil grin.
Julian began to cry.
"The human mind has much potential, sometimes the reason doors are closed is to maintain sanity. Fear is the key to the universe's darkest secret." Julian was barely conscious, terrified beyond his imagination what the woman was talking about. "Young man, your fear is so powerful you will be able to see the spirits of the dead when I summon them."
Within minutes the air went cold and seemed to begin to move. Even though Julian's body was all but paralysed his eyes were free to wander. The air was turning black. Wispy trails of darkness than moved in circles around the room.
"Feed my dead ancestors," laughed the woman as she slipped of his body and wiped herself with a wet flannel. "Feed at will."
The cold air rushed down, as a shadow drew close it found more form. Julian's heart almost stopped as an almost transparent skull, with flesh dripping off the bone screamed towards him, mouth agape. As it surged through his body it was as though it ripped something from him, chilling him to the core. The second spectre was more frightening, its jaws huge, teeth that he felt would rip out his heart, closed on his chest, sending pain surging through his body. A continual stream of the dead rending his soul to shreds. Julian was so scared he couldn't even cry. An unending assault that sapped energy, life from his body. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the child clapping her hands with glee. The dead occasionally found more form, raking black nails across his body, festering the flesh. A woman, it may have been a woman, sealed her dead mouth over his and filled his lungs with ice, stinking ice that turned his stomach until he started gagging. The torment seem to last for hours and with every demon he felt weaker, more drained. Vaguely aware of diminishing movement around him he began to calm, the persecution had ceased. Then raging pain in the groin swept a tide of darkness over him.
The woman had been into the kitchen, heated a saucepan until it was red hot and stopped blood streaming from the remains of his genitals by holding it against him until smoke issued freely. Then she carried him into the bathroom and stood with him under the shower until he began to regain consciousness. Julian felt empty, hollow, his thoughts were no longer his own. Countless voices filled his head in a language he did not understand. The old woman dressed him, then herself and helped him downstairs, through the house and into the garage, his own vehicle. Julian sat in the back, leaning against the side of the car as they drove back out onto the moorland. At about three in the morning he regained a little more understanding, he was inside a small wooden hut and from the pain, his hands and feet had been nailed to the floor. Needless to say, he was naked and vulnerable.
Above him stood the old hag in her black dismal clothes, she was smiling cheerfully. "You no longer have a soul, the dead fed on your fear, then they drained your spirit, your essence of life. All that is left is a shell, you can feel as you did, cry out in pain, only there will be no emotion, there is only a biological machine left. That you raped a child is unforgivable, that she was one of us... Well, you will not die quickly." As she cackled the walls of the shed seemed to vibrate. "If we let you die at all."
The chamber went totally dark as she closed the door, a lasting image of an old crone standing silhouetted in the moonlight lingering in his head. Although he felt incredibly weak he was fully conscious, all thought processes were active. One reason why he wanted to panic when he heard what sounded like movement. Only although after a time his mind told him there were rats edging closer he could feel nothing, no fear at all.
Small teeth nipped his side and he flinched. The movement caused the creature to scamper away, though not for long. After a few minutes the air was filled with the sound movement, maybe a dozen animals had surrounded him, began to crawl over his body, snapping their jaws freely, slicing tiny fragments of skin away. Julian screamed as though his life depended on it. Only it didn't seem to worry the dining team. It seemed like an eternity of torment, the rats gorged until they were bloated and staggered off into the darkness. Every square inch of his body seemed to burn, but without his soul, fear had not been able to shut the systems down, he was still fully conscious. Julian knew that once the animals felt hungry they would be back. Before daybreak, despite the pain he fell asleep. Unable to even dream.
Bright sunlight woke him, the door was open and the young girl he had raped was standing look at him. "You look an awful mess," she giggled.
Julian tried to speak, but words just wouldn't form.
"Daddy says your wounds will go septic if they are not treated. That is why I am here." Thrusting her hand into a bag she sprinkled something liberally over his body.
Salt. That sort of stung. Kneeling next to him she massaged the tiny granules into as many of the wounds as she could, laughing each time his body shook, tightened, or a tear fell from his face.
After that Julian lay motionless throughout the day. Trying to analyse perhaps, only although he knew right from wrong there was no guilt or remorse. But then there wasn't anything else, hope for instance. As darkness fell he was not afraid of the dark, even what he knew the night would bring. Julian accepted that the rats would come, that their small jaws would snap over his body, tearing away countless pieces of his flesh. As they stuffed their stomachs he would feel their bodies fatten, grow heavier, but it was pure logic. It was going to happen, it was going to hurt. If he was lucky they would cut an artery and he would bleed to death. That however was not guaranteed, there was plenty of meat near the surface, as yet they hadn't broken through the wall of his stomach. Perhaps it would have been a quicker death if they did.
Julian didn't sleep much that night, pain kept him awake. Occasionally the animals would try to dine on his face, only violent movements were able to dislodge them and sometimes he didn't have the strength. Breathing felt strange, the air no longer flowed over his lips. Just before daybreak a rat made a big enough hole to squeeze inside his hot stomach wall, it was possible to picture movement, only the intestines are not sensitive to slicing of tissue, it could have been feasting but Julian couldn't tell. All his brain was registering was scampering feet and gnashing jaws. Eyes were unable to prevent heinous images flooding into his mind, a couple of the menacing furry balls had eaten his eyelids. The pain had been so intense as the first light of dawn broke through beneath the door Julian wasn't exactly sure how much of his face was left.
The girl came in quite early. "Mummy thinks we should call an ambulance," she said as she sprinkled the salt. Julian was past screaming, just not past the pain it brought. When she rubbed his face his whole body wanted to explode. The figure of a man appeared, lifted the child high in the air, she hung something above him, then they left.
It was a mirror.
Julian no longer had lips, most of his cheeks were missing, along with vast portions of his neck. The whole of his body was red, both from drying blood and raw flesh. A little of his intestines had been pulled out through a sizeable hole. As his eyes fell lower he could see that his penis had been opened like a bread roll and cauterised completely, there was a six inch circle of black tissue around it.
In the distance Julian could hear the wail of an ambulance. The strange thing was he didn't have any opinion either way. There were no emotions at all, not even the desire to die.

If you enjoyed this or wish to write a comment please write to Derek Hibbert


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