By LV Dutton © 2005
A creature of pure darkness, one that could bring chills to the strongest man. Stories were always told of these creatures, only appearing at night, taking what they wanted from those that never seen them coming. Becoming such things, as darkness would hold, the things that even the worse nightmare could never describe. A nightmare children were told year after year, century after century, the children would believe only for as long as killings continued but when the killings stopped the children believed that the stories were nothing more than that a story told to keep them in line. But when the time came for that legend to become real again, a small village in Northern England learns that it’s fate has already been decided. Fates wheel had already turned for them and the new evil that had taken hold of their small town, could they protect themselves from something that had only been told to them over a fire, or during times of a storm?
The house in the distance seemed to almost glow in the lightning. He could see clearly that the house had not been lived in a very long time. But curiosity captured his attention as he approached the large iron gates. In the center of the gates was what seemed to be a dragon intertwined with a tiger, something he’d heard had been seen in the Far East; but something like this was rare here. He could hear the whispers of voice; as if the trees were speaking to him; warning him to stay away. Run from the demon that ran the house beyond the gate, the demon that captured all that dared to enter there. Laughing to himself, he had heard those stories, those that came from books, told over the fire to a child to frighten them. He was not a child but he was nor a man. His slender figure and piercing green eyes flashed in the lightning, all that saw him could see the determination that was held behind those very eyes.
“Those that enter here beware, for you will never return.” He read aloud. He ran his fingers over the gold lettering and pulled his hand back quickly as if scalded. Looking at his hand he saw the mark that was now burned into the flesh.
“A warning by the one that dwells beyond the gates.” An old woman was heard saying. He turned and faced the silver hair woman and walked toward her.
“What?” He asked.
“She warns those that dare enter her domain by burning that warning into their flesh. That is her only warning boy. It is also said that she burns the symbol into the flesh of the one that she will claim as her own.”
“How do you know this old woman?”
“I’ve watched a great many a man enter those gates, all of them have been noble and true, all of them have been valiant but none have returned. Over the last hundred years she has destroyed them all. Taken from them what only a demon can take.”
“And what is that?”
“Their souls. For their now her slaves, always entombed within the walls of that mansion, within her grasp. But fear not the legend of such a woman, but fear the face that is behind it, one of beauty and grace. One that will entice even the most chastened man. Fear that stranger and leave this cursed place. Never to return.” The old woman said before she seemed to disappear into the mist from where she had come. He stood for a moment and looked at his hand, seeing the symbol that now was burned there, forever. But it wasn’t fear that he felt within his heart, something yearned for him to enter the gates, and to find the woman that so many feared. But he turned and walked away from the house, away from what he would soon find to be his destiny, the person that would bring him to a world he only thought was within fairytales and storybooks.
The lightning flashed and a figure appeared in the windows, a figure of a slender woman, dressed in a long flowing dress, she was the one the old woman spoke of, but the boy was gone, have not seen the figure that would have drawn him into her grasp. She watched him leave, her eyes watching his slow movements away from her home, away from his destiny, but she knew, the mark would bring his return and with it would bring the down fall of all those that had betrayed her. Her long flowing red hair and deep gray blue eyes held the secrets of a past long forgotten. She had been feared during her life, for the powers that she held within her were only matched by her own anger and hatred of those around her. Called the lady in red, for the deep blood red dresses she wore, many would never approach her until the fateful night that changed everything about her.
Katherine had kept herself away all that could know who or what she truly was for nearly twenty years, before her he came to her. He was a handsome man, his hair golden, and his eyes a deep blue. He stood nearly six feet in height and captured her mind and soul the minute they had met. His eyes held her gaze as he told her of a future that she could have only imagined, being young only twenty seven, she could hardly believe that a handsome man such as he would even take an interested in her, let alone knowing he was an English Lord. Her hopes and dreams rested within his grasp, but somewhere deep within her own black heart; she held some sign that he was far from truthful with her. But Katherine wanted to be his forever, and for that he was more than willing to help her with that task. When he promised her he’d be with her forever those promises became less than truths and with that promises are always broken by those as evil as he. His evil, only matched by her power, for that was what he wanted was she for the power she held within her. But found that her power was something he could never control. He found that changing who she was and bringing that to the surface, her anger and hatred of those years of solitude nearly poured from her, it could be felt by anyone that approached her. Many that did approach her died instantly, from the unseen fire that burned their bodies, the anger that she held within her was the powers fuel. But that power was too much for him to control, she had learned to control it over the years, but for someone that craved it, that wanted to own it, he learned too late that it was a power meant only for her. He left her late one night when she was hunting. Returning to their home Katherine found that her beloved was gone and now she was once again alone. Over the seemingly silent night, a deep lonely howl was heard, many of the townsfolk looked at the dark sky thinking it was a wolf in the distance. Many had taken that the wolf had lost its mate, but little did they know how far they were from the truth.
Years passed and the mansion went into disrepair, none dared enter the confines of what was now thought to be a haunted place. Many of the town’s elders felt the mansion need be destroyed before the evil within it destroyed them, but none would venture to it. The few valiant and courageous of them did venture beyond the iron gates would never be seen again. Bodies were found in the early morning, headless or worse, sitting just beyond the gates. A notice to all that dared to venture to the mansion was posted. Telling all travelers that they dare not enter the grounds of the mansion. And again years passed and those that had first posted the notice died normal lonely lives. And new comers came to see the haunted Lord Craven mansion.