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The Chronicles of Claudia Labelle -- Part XIII
By
ZMahnke

The Chronicles of Claudia Labelle -- Part XIII

Claudia practices her gift alone.

Entry XIX –

Practicing my gift has been quite the undertaking, especially when I am all alone. It is not that I am saddened by my loneliness, but it would be much easier to train if the Prior was still speaking to me. Nevertheless, I have attempted to replicate the process of sight into the Realm of Death through memory, and have had . . . some success.

My first few efforts were difficult to say the very least. I have strained my eyes trying to see the blue and violet colors in my mind, which then have lead to insufferable migraines. I took the time to relax my body and focus solely on my eyes, but it seemed to have no luck as even the slightest noise made throughout the inn would distract my thoughts, and unfortunately the inn was quite crowded with drunken patrons this evening.

There were some moments when I would see the colors blend and swirl together, but when I would open my eyes there was nothing out of the ordinary within the room, and the blues and violets would fade returning my vision to normal. It was beginning to seem as though I was unable to initiate my gift without the help of the Prior.

But just as I was about to give up, I noticed a peculiar black shade in the corner of the room between the door and a small wooden table. It held slight transparency; the wooden walls of the inn were visible beyond it. I could see the round outline of a head, and possibly a pair of shoulders beneath it. It appeared to be crouching or leaning, as the head would occasionally bob. Usually, this would have frightened me for the rest of the night, and I would not have slept well. However, I was not afraid, nor would shy away from the shadow.

I stared at the figure for a while, not blinking no matter how much my eyes itched and burned. I focused on its outline, making sure my mind captured every minute detail. Then I closed my eyes, and kept the image of the shade fresh in my thoughts, and swirled the image with the blue and violet colors.

Success!

The room had become filled with a dull mist when I opened my eyes, and the shadow in the corner was now a man. A bloated old man, bald, with pale gray skin, and he sat naked in a fetal position with his arms and legs covering most of his face. He rocked back and forth, moaning with such lament that it broke my heart. I moved toward him and knelt down close to help. He looked up slightly; his eyes yellow and bloodshot. His moans grew soft, and I thought for a moment that maybe my presence alone was helping.

I touched his cold arm and pulled it away from his face. He jumped, and wailed as he flinched his limbs away from me; a sagging tongue and exposed throat spit saliva as he cried from the open wounds of his missing jaw. The rotten flesh, layered with squirming maggots. I stepped back, tripping over my own feet and kicking up dust as I fell onto my back. The bloated man pounced onto me, forcing his weight against my body, pinning me to the floor. His putrid breath filling my lungs, and his tongue dangled from his disgusting “mouth,” as a few maggots fell onto my face. He screamed into my ears, and as he did, I closed my eyes tight.

The bloated old man was gone.

I sat up, wiping a couple of tears from my cheeks. My breath was heavy, and although I was disturbed by what I saw, I was not at all afraid. I would not allow myself to be scared of such horrors any longer.

There is a pain in my heart as I write this entry, as I am saddened by the thought of what could have happened to that old man. What was his name? Did he live here in Sigtuna? When did he die? Who inflicted such suffering and mutilation upon him?

Dare I ask these questions?

 

Claudia Labelle

19th of November 1097

 

 

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Copyright © 2017 ― Zachary W Mahnke

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