: The Mask of the Red Death: Alternate Ending :

The ball was doing fine,
Quite a grand affair,
As Prince Prospero would have nothing less.

It was only for the ominous sound that came
Every hour on the dot,
By the great ebony grandfather clock
That clashed with the delightful time the royals were having.

That is, until Midnight.
When the moon was at its peak,
The clock gave it's loudest yet.

Everything and everyone went silent,
Deathly so.

As the sound of the clock died down,
The most peculiar sound appeared.

Crack…. SNAP! Uuuugh…..

Was it, perhaps, one of the doors,
Heavy on its hinges,
Groaning as it opened?

Crack…. SNAP! Uuuugh…..

The sounds were repetitive,
And overlapping.
In the dead silence of the castle walls,
It almost made everyone there
Want to hear the sound of the clock again,
For, surely, it would have been a baby's lullaby
Compared to this sound of groaning and cracking.

If you listened closer still,
You could make of the sound of bear flesh
Hitting the ground, like a child running bear footed,
Though certainly more harsh.

Slap! SMACK! Crack…. SNAP! Uuuugh….

All of a sudden,
There was a scream.

It was off somewhere else in the castle,
And it was not the scream of one,
But the scream of two.

They heard the sound of rushed footsteps coming,
Along with the sound of doors opening.
Crashing into the walls and almost
Drowning out the earlier sounds.

Creeek… Bang! Boooom! Creek…

It seemed like forever,
As the sounds drew closer and closer,
Nothing in the air but that reverberating sound.

Finally, after many a fluttering heartbeat,
One of the doors to the hall opened

Two royals, a Lord and his Lady,
Burst in,
Looks of horrified terror on their faces.

"The Dead!" the man cried,
Gasping in a breath as he did so.
"The Dead!" he cried again.
And then, right before their eyes,
The man fell at his wife's feet,
Dead, his eyes rolled in the back of his head.
His wife screamed and knelt down to him,
Pleading him to wake up.

But everyone had stopped looking at them,
For something else had enraptured their eyes,
In the most gruesome of scenes.

Just down the hall,
They could see people,
Their skin a grayish blue,
With horrendous splotches of red and black,
Like bruises on the frail man.

Some chunks of their skin were missing,
Rotted away or torn or bitten off,
They could not tell.

Some were even missing limbs.
Were still losing limbs-
And innards as well,
As the rotten flesh of their stomachs
Became too weak to hold in some of their organs.

Crack! SNAP! SLAP! Urrrrgh!

The people watched as the dead advanced,
Reaching out to them,
Hungry for their flesh,
Thirsting for their blood.

Crack! SNAP! SLAP! Urrrrgh!

Groaning as they limped or crawled along,
Their mouths held slack,
Eyes all but deep, dark sockets,
With white orbs rolled in the back of their skulls.

Crack! SNAP! SLAP! Urrrrgh!

Finally, they reached the door
Where the women held her dead husband.

They fell on her,
Gathering around her.
You could hear her piercing scream
For miles outside of the walls of the great castle.

The sound of the Lady's flesh,
As they gnashed at it
Replaced her screams,
As she could scream no more.

All was silent,
Save for a few groans.

The dead arose,
Revealing the women,
Pail from fear and her sudden demise,
Her skin- not yet the grayish-blue of the others,
But almost a snow white-
Torn, and missing chunks.

At first, she lay still,
Then she twitched.
She got up, groaning,
Then joined the dead.

The first to react was a woman
In the middle of the hall.
Her scream shattered the glass of silence.

Everyone ran for their lives,
Pushing anyone and everyone out of the way.

And where was the Prince in all of this?

He, my dear friend,
Was in the black room with red tinted windows,
Laying in his bed of death,
His laugh deep and dark,
His eyes as red as the blood that spilled that night.
His laugh, load and ominous,
That of an evil conqueror.

"All is mine!
All is under my control now!"