By Derrick Keeton
Contributing to the effects of the deceased were fragments of a wedding gown soaked in blood and containing traces of hair. The gown belonged to his wife Alicia, a woman of petite build who enjoyed an array of deviant sexual practices. For instance, she derived a great deal of pleasure from cutting herself along the waistline, which would explain the most soiled areas of the fine white satin. On a peculiar note, she enjoyed, quite ecstatically, the feeling of having her hair pulled out by Monsieur’s servants in the dark of night. As the men woefully removed the long brunette strands, as the now deceased watched on in glee, swelling with sexual excitement, he was quoted by one of his servants as having said, “My dearest, you may absorb all the pain visited upon you from all men. For if all men could inflict such sweet harm upon you, I would die a much satisfied man.”
The oddity being that he died under suspicious circumstance, having been found by one Monticello Grindelia, with an upside down crucifix clasped tightly in his hand. So much so that a small puddle of blood had accumulated there under. Yet a wide grin had donned his tired face, and the stench of liquor hung heavy on his lips. Scattered about him were empty bottles of cognac and wine, as well as articles of his wife’s underwear, saturated in spirits not regularly imbibed yet reserved for special occasions.
His body was discovered by the Monticello late one evening after he failed to appear to both dinner and a ceremony involving his daughter, who was to be christened in the Catholic faith by Father Crisco. The Mademoiselle had also failed to put in an appearance, having been predisposed to a whipping she had specially arranged herself with some friends of Monsieur and servants specifically entrusted to the task. She was deloused and covered with ash and brandy (a ritual she had relished in as a tribute to a goddess she had claimed to see as a child.) The chamber in which the whipping took place was aligned on all sides with black candles on tall stone pillars. In between the pillars was the arrangement of men who were to take turns issuing six lashes each with a rather sizable horsewhip.
Yet the mystery loomed over Monsieur’s whereabouts. For all about the manor those who weren’t directly involved with Mademoiselle’s whipping and the young daughter’s christening were vehemently searching for the now deceased. This man, a large and oft fatigued bodice, partook of alcohol to great consumption along with an unbridled appetite each day. He once fell ill and blacked out. Once awakened he stated, quite loudly, “Fetch the devil’s wine and brandy! And a great trough of the finest roast and rump! I will skin the pigs myself!” Those who heard laughed aloud until they realized his utter seriousness with the matter.
Other effects of the deceased were a chest full of currency and jewels, elegant paintings, the deed to the manor, and his identity papers. However, these papers were invalid and there was no definitive proof he was a legal member of my country, or world, as the papers were genuinely falsified. They read as such, “Wraith Deambulatoire, born May 9, 1743 in Marseilles, France. ParentsEdith and Palo Deambulatoire.’’ And this small token of falsehood could only contribute to the overall aura of both decadence and deviance the Monsieur honeycombed his existence with. For it was found, with much dismay and horror, that the Father Crisco was not indeed a Priest of the Catholic church, and that he was an insane man let loose by Monsieur Deambulatoire’s authority from the asylum south of Varennes, the town where this manor of horrors was located.
Not to the night in questionJune 6, 1783. The time is estimated between 11pm and midnight when Deambulatoire expired. Before then, at 11 o’clock, the insane Crisco drowned the daughter, Nell, in the bath before a crowd of 12 women and four men, two being servants not assigned to the horrific torture ensuing in the chamber four stories below. The woman cried out in panic, yet the men began laughing maniacally. I, however, being situated between a few maids and a sleeping nun in attendance, flung myself wholly at Crisco and, after a great deal of struggle, managed to break the demented man’s neck. My efforts, sadly, were not enough to prolong the death of Nell. And, after exiting the bath, I and the others were aquainted with the screams of both pain and pleasure of Mademoiselle Alicia, and set out to follow them to their source.
Left behind were the men who took to the task of removing poor Nell from the bath and wrapping her in sheets. The halls of the manor were dimly lit by candles, many of which had long snuffed out. A yellow glow swept through the brick walls as we ruched down a winding black iron staircase. Descending down to the source of the shrieks, it then occured to methat the sleeping nun, Monticello Grindelia, was not with us. This seemed peculiar, yet I assured myself she surely must have stirred with all the excitement and gone to see the master of the home, whom she attended to regularly while he was ill or otherwise unable to attend to matters for whatever reason. (Often due to opium or drink, or injury resulting from partaking of the delight in his wife’s agony.)
At last we arrived in the chamber, the screams having reached a pitch almost intolerable. As we crept along it became apparent that the men had gone beyond what was asked, those friends of Monsieur, and that the naked backside of Alicia was merely a crimson slab of meat, the blood upon the floor an equally crimson, darkened as the light could hardly touch upon it. Thus providing a terrifying aura that this puddle may be as deep as the darkest oceans of any sailor’s nightmare. I resolved to end the whipping,“By order of the Constable!” This being the lie that stopped them. And to our collective horror, Alicia begged, “More! More please! I must be whipped, for the demon in me is not quite dead yet!”
We ignored her wishes and watched as this wretched creature fell limp from where she stood tied with ropes laced with shards of glass that cut into her wrists the more she squirmed. She then lay against the board, dead, with a grin so obsequious and hideous I was certain the ecstasy experienced had met with the realization she had died and gone onto a most horrid place for depraved souls of her kind. Then another shriek emanated from somewhere. At first we were certain it was Alicia, then corrected by one of the maid’s assurance, “It came from above! Quickly, we must go back up!” And so we all left, this time accompanied by those given the task of torture. This provided myself, and the others who bore witness to the drowning of Nell, a most uncomfortable state of mind.
This state persisted until we entered the hallway from where the scream had occurred. There was only silence, however, and we soon scattered to search within the rooms. Three rooms were hollowed-out, large crevices in the wall, resulting in the loss of six of the whipping men, their screams stifled by a long fall and sickly thud below. These deaths seemed justified, given the nature of their task. The remainder of the rooms, three to be exact, contained nothing of importance save for small beds, chests, cabinets, modest drapery, and a few paintings about. With the exception of the room situated at the end of the hall, this containing a large bookshelf. And after examining one volume entitled, “Read Here,” I read lines on its jacket aloud, “Whosoever quotes this, Abyss! Abyss to the excess-leaden victims of vast fortune! Hell shall grant you access into its finest caverns!”
The bookshelf then slowly fell into the floor and a room adjacent revealed itself. Within stood Monticello Grindelia, frozen in disbelief, and lying dead on the floor to her left, Monsieur Deambulatoire, surrounded by the deluge earlier described. “Who is given the task of handling his assets?” Asked Grindelia lowly. “I am.” I replied reluctantly. I will not now recall the great deal of chores that took place over the days ensuing this dreadful night. Let me describe my share of the burden as such: I, wishing to remain anonymous, undertook the grievous task of furnishing these grisly details to the authorities. In addition, I had to provide the aforementioned assets to the heir of Monsieur’s estate: one Dahlia Tulane, an estranged daughter of the late Mademoiselle Alicia Deambulatoire