|The Configurations of Hell
Author: Eliza Provident Martense PM
It has been several years since Kirsty's first encounter with Pinhead. This time she wants to unlock the Lament Configuration and join him: permanently. Her friend Rose must search Hell to find Kirsty, but will she succeed or find herself damned as well?Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Romance - Frank & Julia - Chapters: 9 - Words: 15,703 - Reviews: 32 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 07-10-11 - Published: 07-27-10 - id: 6183610
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's note: So sorry for the long delay in updating! I hope that you all enjoy this new installment and special acknowledgment goes to laura101 for suggesting that I introduce an antagonistic Angelique to Kirsty and Amy Kane for being such an encouraging and loyal reader.
"Grandfather called out – pleaded with the demon to leave him, to have mercy upon those whom he loved. She only laughed all the more, sinking her long-nailed fingers deep into his shoulder and promising him that she would discover the names of those whom he loved and make them suffer untold agonies if he did not submit at once to her unspeakable lusts." Wilfred Langmore paused and averted his eyes from Rose's breathless gaze. "My grandfather – accepted. But even after performing every lascivious service that she requested, he was still not spared the fate that he had hoped to avoid. He returned to the tenement that he had rented for his stay in Paris, bloodied and exhausted, only to find his wife and month-old infant ripped limb from limb and strewn across his bedchamber. He summoned the police and they dutifully bagged the remains and offered their theories, but my grandfather needed no French inspector to tell him who had done the gruesome deed. It was Angelique – the demon who had pretended to be a helpless young woman, only to reveal herself as a creature whose lust for flesh and blood was insatiable."
Wilfred heaved a shaky breath before continuing. "Grandfather remarried of course, which is why I am here in the first place. But I fear for my own sake as well as his that it was only a prelude to future tragedies. Thirty years later, after his eldest son fathered a child, the same event happened – except this time, the carnage was all the greater. Not only had his son and daughter-in-law both been savagely reduced to mutilated cadavers, but the rotted corpse of his long-dead second wife had been unearthed and likewise cruelly disfigured. It was a gruesome reunion of death that met my grandfather's eyes – but in the very midst of that carnage, his infant grandson lay in his cradle, alive and asleep. Oblivious to the horrors all about him." He paused and then finished his tale with a bright smile: "And that was me, of course!"
Rose stared at him, her face registering incredulity and pity in equal measures. "But – "
"I know," he said with a sigh. "It's all too lurid to be true."
"That's not what I was going to say," Rose replied softly. "I was going to say that I'm very sorry for what happened to you."
"I suppose that I should be thankful, at least, that I never knew them all the way Grandfather did."
"But you've had to live under the shadow of those horrors all your life. It must have been dreadful – especially when you were young."
"Oh, Grandfather has told me these tales so often since I was a child that they hardly seem real anymore," Wilfred said with a rather offhanded shrug. The Scotch had made him both talkative and careless in his movements, though his customarily highstrung nature lingered somewhat in his nervous, twitching fingers as they remained clasped about his dewy glass.
Rose felt her stomach knot at these words. "What sort of a man would tell his grandson such horrible stories repeatedly?" she demanded.
Wilfred shook his head. "You don't understand, Miss St. Aubert. There's a reason why Grandfather read Dante's Inferno to me when I was five years old and made the most Satanic passages in Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal my catechism when I was barely able to walk. He was doing more than reminding himself through me of what he suffered. Don't you see? He wants to unlock the Labyrinth the way that Frank Cotton did. He wants to revenge himself upon the Cenobites – and upon Angelique in particular. I'm to be his guide through the Labyrinth."
"And if your grandfather discovers a way to access their world without solving the Lament Configuration…"
Wilfred nodded. "Then they won't come for us immediately, even though we step over the threshold into their kingdom. Which means," he finished. "That not only does Grandfather have a chance of finding Angelique, but you have the chance to find your friend Kirsty. And save her."
Kirsty ducked beneath the swinging knives and rusted manacles that hung and grated from some dark and lofty ceiling somewhere high above her. She still was searching for some egress – some break or relief in the unending expanse of the Labyrinth through which she travelled – but all she found as she continued on were the same bloodied chains and distant moans that had filled her vision and hearing ever since she had first entered the darkness of that place.
She knew now that her father was not a prisoner of the Labyrinth. The question that had tormented her ever since the fateful night of Frank's second death – that night upon which she had beheld the skinless remains of her father at the feet of his mad, gloating brother only moments before he too was reduced to the same state – had now been laid to rest. Ironically, however, this new peace had been purchased at the cost of her own freedom: she had proven that her father's soul was safe only to trap her own spirit within the corridors of the Labyrinth.
A sound from somewhere ahead caused her to pause in her steps, though she could not immediately perceive a threat.
"Who's there?" she called out, attempting with little hope to hide the fear that she felt. One might have thought that the endless visions of flayed flesh and the silent, inhuman ministers of pain would have numbed her to any further feelings of terror. But any soul familiar with the strength of such sights will know that one can never look upon an object of sublime Horror and feel nothing stir within his breast. Either the heart will quicken and revolt or it will hunger. There is no other way.
"Kirsty." It was a woman's voice that echoed towards her and a woman's face that met her searching eyes as, out of the shadows, the source of the sound that had so startled began to come slowly towards her. But the eyes that seemed to smile at her, soulless and devastatingly lovely, had nothing human in them: even the endless turning of the mute torture pillars with their skewered, bleeding burdens seemed more merciful than the intelligence that shone from those eyes.
"Who are you?" Kirsty whispered.
"I'm the one who will pull your dripping heart out from your breast, but not before you have seen me harrow the souls of all those you love most." Before Kirsty could reply, the woman was at her throat, squeezing the tender flesh there between fingers as cold and elegant as steel pincers. "Who shall it be first, I wonder?" She paused and then murmured, "Perhaps…Rose St. Aubert?"
"Fuck you." Kirsty managed to pull away, shaken by the woman's ability to summon that name seemingly out of thin air. Was her mind so easy to read, even for a demon? Or especially? She shuddered at the thought.
"Not afraid yet?" The woman smiled. "Maybe a lesson is needed first in where my talents lie."
A blinding pain, the feeling of wetness across her cheeks, and Kirsty saw the woman bring her long nails away, fresh blood dripping from their ends. The woman's expression was gloating, but the sensation that Kirsty felt was less fear than rage. She brought her fist into the woman's face, surprising a font of blood from out of that pale, mocking face.
For a moment, the woman gazed at her in silent stupefaction like a wounded child: the blood flowing from her face, as though she could not believe that she – a deliverer of pain – had tasted her first lesson in it at the hands of it a mere girl. The look of startled suffering caused the beauty in her features to somehow deepen for a moment, so that the cruelty that had displaced it was now subverted by the swollen lip and astonished gleam that lit the dark eyes.
Too soon, the enchantment of the moment was exhausted. Kirsty felt herself flung several yards back, falling hard upon the stone floor amongst the greasy leftovers of some recent victim. The woman was upon her in an instant, her two fingers poised over the girl's eyes, ready to snuff their light out forever. Kirsty knew that death was an impossibility in this nightmare world, but doubted that any of the other agonies that the human body could endure were so inconceivable.
"Can you imagine what it would be like?" the woman whispered, as though reading her mind. "To be blind for an eternity – here, amongst us? To still have your nerves primed and ready for every sensation that can be visited upon them, but unable to see what the next one will be? Ah, are those tears I see? Why, you should be grateful for the gift I am offering you – never again will these eyes have to endure the light of the sun, the face of a friend, all of those transient joys that fall so quickly to dust. You should thank me for this gift of darkness, Kirsty."
Again, the twin, upraised fingers levelled towards her eyes and Kirsty readied herself for the shock of pain and then the eternal night. But at that moment of ultimate horror, she heard a voice, deep and commanding, speak:
"Angelique – those eyes are not for you to steal. Release the girl or I shall have you suffer as much as the Labyrinth's slaves."
Both the she-demon Angelique and the girl Kirsty raised their gazes to see who it was who spoke, though both already knew before their glances settled upon the glittering pins fixed within the pallid flesh and the eyes of ebony.
"Kirsty," said the Lord of the Cenobites, holding out his leather-gauntleted hand though his features remained unmoving and emotionless as ever. "Come to my side. You have nothing to fear any longer. From her."