Silver Coins

After a rather unfortunate event, a simple rich man during Victorian times is plunged into a horrific nightmare that he can only hope to be in his head.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary… The tale I am writing down this cold December evening, is no poem. It is not some childish folktale or fable, but a warning. As you read on you may be inclined to bar your windows and doors, or maybe just to close the story, and never read it again, but the warning I have to offer is that such things give no protection. These words you are about to gaze upon as you read forth are as true as anything you may read in the papers, and four times as frightening. Alas, the time I have to finish this is quickly fleeing from me, for my execution is at hand, so I shall simply pen the summarized version of the events that landed me here.

It was another cold evening in December when the terrible actions began to take place, and they all happened in my humble abode, the Walker Estate. I, being Mr. George Walker, am, or at least I was, the lord of the Estate and lived there with my wife, Sally, and our three children.

My grandfather, Grandfather Walker, was coming to visit us at the estate that night, so Sally had the servant prepare a wonderful three course meal of turkey, potatoes, and many other delicious morsels. He arrived on schedule, around five o’clock, and after exchanging a few kind words with him, we all sat down to the great meal. Everything was faring quite to my content, until it happened. The large chandelier hanging above the table began to make a rather loud creaking sound as it continued to illuminate the entire room with its candles, and other than the sound, all was well. All of a sudden, the creaking became louder for a brief second, and the chain holding the chandelier simply snapped of old age! The massive ornament fell and collided with the table almost catching the thing on fire. One of the servants ran for a bucket of water, and attempted to put out the candles, but the water missed completely and drenched the floor on the other side of the table. What I was about to do next sealed my families unpleasant doom. There was a large spittoon on the other side of the room, and I decided to rush for it. Running as fast as I could, I slipped forward on the large puddle of water created by the servant, and went headlong into Grandfather Walker’s side. Being of a rather unbalanced age, he fell forward towards the table, and was set ablaze by the burning candles! Trying to desperately reclaim my balance I fell a second time onto the ground. Calling for help, the nearest person was the servant who was busy escorting my wife and children out of the house, just in case the chandelier did spread fire through the remainder of the house.

Finally I reclaimed my balance, and threw the spittoon’s contents over my burning grandfather, who was unable to pull himself from the flames. To my relief, the fire extinguished, but my joy lasted only a moment. He lifted his charred head, and looked at me through reddened eyes and said, "What have you done?" and, unable to close his eyes because his eyelids had burned away, he died staring at me.

Since most of the candles went out with the spittoon’s contents, when the servant came back with a bucket of water the rest went out easily. I told of Grandfather Walker’s fate, and then I had to tell Sally and the children as well, and a funeral was to be held the following afternoon.

The following day, at the funeral, the next of the horrific events that would plunge me headlong into a terrible nightmare, took its course. It happened when we were meant to view the body, and say goodbye to him once and for all. First my wife, Sally, went, and then my mother and the children. When it was my turn to go up, I took with me two silver coins, to cover his forever-open eyes. I stepped up, and bent over the coffin to see him in his final state. The body was as I expected, dressed in a suit, and burned badly. I said a few words to him, then said goodbye before putting the coins onto his eyes to shut them. It was after "goodbye" left my lips when it happened: his dead eyes stopped staring at the ceiling, and they flashed over towards me, and the corpse whispered, "It’s not goodbye yet." And as he let out a small ominous laugh, I fell backwards off of the steps, the coins clanging to the ground.

His words haunted me throughout the remainder of the funeral, not just because he spoke them when he was dead, but also because I was worried what they may mean. I was very thankful no one further questioned my falling when I said I had slipped, for being thought of as mad would not help my situation.

I never thought myself as a superstitious man, but shaking off the past events of that day as simple mind tricks, was easier said than done. Eventually though I was able to put them aside for the most part. Finding myself in a cheerier mood after I had done so, I went home with the family and was ready for a great meal, with a new chandelier. Having such delicious food without any fatal interruptions had put me into an even greater mood, until the moon began to rise into the night sky.

Being exhausted from the long day, Sally and I had decided to go to bed early, the same time as the children, but it was not long after we lay down when I heard a noise in the kitchen area downstairs. I told Sally I would be back shortly, and I left the bedroom. Hearing the odd noise again, sort of a faint jingling, I picked up my pace and lost my footing at the top of the stairs. I toppled head over heels down the entire flight, and landed on my face with a loud thud, at the foot of the stairs. A sharp pain shot through my body when I landed, and I could tell my nose was bleeding. Starting to feel a bit faint and light-headed I tried to stand up, but when I saw what was in front of me, I immediately fell. A pair of silver coins, stained with blood lay before me, but I had only gazed upon them for a second before I fell into unconsciousness, smelling the pungent aroma of burnt human flesh as I did.

It was around midnight when I woke up in my own bed, and feeling no pain in my body, I had assumed that the event on the stairs was a nightmare, and had not even happened. That was of course until I realized my nose was bent and twisted, making me believe it was broken, and Sally simply helped me back into bed. I lifted my arm out from under the sheets and brought it about her, trying to show affection, but I pulled it away when I felt it get wet. The candles next to the bed had been blown out, and the window shut, so I could not even see her. I reached over to the nightstand, grabbed the matchbox and lit one. The first thing that I saw when the match lit was myself in the mirror across the room, and I almost screamed in terror. The entire upper half of my body was drenched in blood, and bits of bloody human flesh dotted my nightgown! Trying to withhold my scream, I turned to Sally’s side of the bed to shake her awake, but I found sheets also drenched in blood, and her head looking the other way. At that point I was worrying for my wife’s life, and I continued with my plan to shake her awake, but when I touched her head it toppled off of the other side of the bed! I threw the sheets off of what I hoped would be the rest of her body, but what I saw next finally made me scream. Her entire nightgown was covered in blood, and a knife, which I recognized as mine, was protruding from her chest. I let out a loud scream of terror and fell backwards out of bed, instantly getting up and running out of the room to check on the children.

To add to the horrific night I was being thrown into, there was a loud crash outside of the house, signaling to me that there was a storm. Every so often the lightning flashed through the window, illuminating the halls with a white glow, and making it slightly easier for me to see. After I left the bedroom I stopped running for fear of falling again as I made my way to the children’s room. Suddenly there was a large flash of lightning that lit the entire house for a brief second, and the eerie shape of a child formed in front of me, but when the light went away so did the form. I had assumed I was hallucinating images because of what happened with Sally, but that soon changed when another flash of lightning came through the windows; suddenly there was another form in the hallway, but instead of a shadowing figure there stood all three of my children, plain as day, and pale as ghosts. For the split second they were there I ran for them, asking them if they were okay, with no reply. When they disappeared I started to become paranoid, looking over my shoulder every few seconds, hoping that this was all a bad nightmare. I was nearing the children’s bedroom door then, and I feared greatly what was going to be behind it. Reaching for the doorknob, there was another flash of lightning, and I jumped back and fell over myself when the knob appeared like the face of one of my children. After the room became dark again, everything was back to normal, and after slowly standing I reached cautiously for the door once more. It slowly creaked open as it usually did and, shaking in fear, I glanced inside. Alas, the room was very dark and I was unable to see anything, so I took another match from the box in my hand and struck it. The small light that it gave off was barely enough to see two feet in front of me, so I was forced to walk closer to one of the beds. "William?"I whispered… no reply. "William?"still no reply came from the bed and just as I feared the room lit up white as yet another flash of lightning came through the windows. Quickly I looked around, and I almost fainted at the sight. Each of the three children was lying in their beds, with a frozen look of horror on their faces. Their heads were severed from their bodies, and the bodies were slashed to ribbons with a knife.

The next morning the storm was over and I found myself lying in my bed, clutching my wife’s severed head to my chest. A mad person I am not, and I was not then, but the dread and fear that night put me through was enough to make any man go through a state of trauma. The only thing that was able to bring me out for a moment was the loud knocking at the door, and even then I went to answer it like a walking corpse.

To my utter despair the one who knocked was the servant, and behind him five policemen. They most likely had come to investigate my screams from the night before. All of them made a face of confusion and horror when they saw my blood-soaked nightgown that I was still wearing, and the police did not even wait to arrest me. They forced me into the coach they arrived in and were pulling away when I saw it. Standing on the front steps of the house were four people, my three children pale as ghosts, my wife, Sally, holding her severed head under her arm, and standing above of all of them on the balcony was Grandfather Walker, charred and blackened. He was holding a blood- stained knife… my knife. They all disappeared from the steps in a gust of wind, leaving me to the hangman’s noose.

To those reading this story you may think I currently fear my date of execution, but I anticipate it. As I said once before, bars cannot keep you from the specters and fears like those I have told you of, because sooner or later you will have to meet them. The second my neck snaps at the gallows, I will be meeting mine, and I will be able to take my revenge just as my grandfather did.

The End

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