I'm the King of the Castle: Chapter 18: The Taste of Revenge
After the grey and blue of the cold water had swallowed the white naked body of Kingshaw, a serene silence followed. A feeling of numbness, a blinding of darkness.
Kingshaw was still, waiting for Death to take him by the hand, but no kind of spectre appeared among the ripples of the shore. He scorned, and began to swim upward.
There is no aching, no sweating. Every stroke was beautifully easy. Kingshaw took a quick glance beneath him, seeing his body horribly distorted.
Above the water, he rose, feeling radiant with the ability to hover a few feet off the ground. Looking around, he sees the sombreness of the wood, so still in the daylight looming through the trees. He is still here.
When Kingshaw was at school, in life, he remembered reading a book about a place that some dead people would go if they hadn't for filled some kind of purpose. The In-Between. He knew, he was in the In-Between. There were things he needed to do, still.
The spectre moved forward in the mist, his translucent self drifting like ribbons in the wind, looking for the place he once called home, Warings.
By the gates of the old house, Kingshaw saw another white figure like himself, an elderly man. His skin looked old and dry, and every line on his face shone a greyish white. He thought he had undeniable features of Hooper's father, Joseph.
He knew it wasn't him, though.
"Hello?" Kingshaw breathes. He liked the way his new purified voice sounds. Like a child singing to the breeze. "Hello?"
"What? Who's there?" the old spectre signed in a slightly more gruff voice.
"Mr Hooper?" Kingshaw asked, coming close to the old man.
The spirit looked proud: "In life, I was Joseph Hooper the Second," he suddenly looked somber again "but now I am lost."
The boy looked down.
"Please sir, what year is it?"
"You have been dead for ten years. So have I."
"Ten years? It felt like ten minutes!"
The man smiled, "strange I know. I wish I had opened my heart enough in life to have understood such things."
Kingshaw was astonished. Ten years after my death, and Warings has barely changed, apart from the fact that the vines and trees and shrubberies had completely overgrown, winding up the sides of the grey brick walls like snakes from Medusa's hair. Warings was solely abandoned.
Leaving the old man, Kingshaw hovered through the gates and up to the house, roses and weeds weltering beneath him.
Through the doors, the world changed.
The hallway reeked with the small of isolation and blood. Pieces of furniture were tipped and trashed; dust had swept over the floors like a thick blanket; pages and photos were ripped and spread across the floor. Kingshaw picked up a picture that was laying over a pile of wood.
It read: WANTED: Edmund Hooper. Mass Murderer. Reward of £10,000.
Why was Kingshaw so surprised? This was all that bully would ever have amounted too. A bully as a child, and a bully as an adult.
But Kingshaw felt sick, terribly sick. Who else had he killed? And why? Wait no, Kingshaw had no feeling of sickness. He was dead, now, not even this psychopath could touch him, feel him, see him. This was why the spectre was in the In-Between. Kingshaw grinned.
It's only dead. Dead things are finished, they don't matter.
They do, now.
It had been a long time since the shady 20 year old man had been to Warings.
The young man had hair as black as tar covered under a large fedora and skin so oily white, with a look of lust and pride in his eyes. He considered himself a powerful man, with the ability to manipulate almost every living soul that cowered beneath him.
Edmand Hooper was now a man.
And an evil one at that.
Hooper had come back to the deserted Warings in the hope he could make a home out of this place again, a home with all his prizes and money, and discover new ways to gain all the more power. No one will find me here, he thought. The police would never investigate here because they thought he wouldn't hide anywhere so obvious.
They thought wrong.
Hooper approached the door, and rummaged through the pockets of his long coat, and took out the key that had once belonged to Mrs Helena Kingshaw. Unlocking the door, he made his way inside.
A chill went up his spine, then. Something weakened him, in this old but dauntingly new atmosphere.
The knife in his belt suddenly felt blunt.
"Kingshaw..." he whispered, "Kingshaw?"
Hooper felt into his coat and took out a crucifix that had once belonged to his latest victim, and held it between his strong fingers. Why did he feel scared? Was there something stronger than him lurking in the shadows?
Twilight was curdling outside the window, making the place look darker, Hooper gulped and made his way up the stairs, crucifix in one hand, the knife in the other.
"Hello?" he shouted, "Is anyone home?"
Hooper relaxed a little, cursing to himself for being so stupid.
But soon, his mind and stomach completely twisted.
Kingshaw, all grey and bloody, stood in the corner of the room, his hollow eyes fixed on Hooper. He grimaced and whimpered slightly, feeling so afraid.
Feeling so guilty.
"KINGSHAW?" Hooper shrieked.
"No," the spectre said in Hooper's own ten year old voice, "He's only dead. Dead things are finished, they don't matter."
"They don't matter, do they? DO THEY?"
The familiar screamed, shattering windows and glass cases. Hooper with all his might tried to pull on the door, but it was forced shut.
"Go away! Leave me!" Hooper shouted.
Kingshaw lashed at Hooper, mouth gaping and eyes wide with terror. The criminal threw himself on the floor, whimpering and reminiscing.
In the dark, he heard Kingshaw, singing. Chanting. Threatening:
"Fear the world, the dead of night,
Fear my voice, boil in fright,
I'll take your life, like you took mine,
By every last word, one at a time.
"I'm your nightmare, your haunting curse,
In your head I'll bring out the worst.
These threatening words I shall aloud sing.
Until you realise that I am the King."
Hooper awoke in a cold sweat. The Red Room was darker now. He looked at his watch, the face read 11:30pm.
He swore at the top of his breath.
Outside the Red Room, he ran up and up the dusty stairwell until he got to the attic.
The room was large, with crates and boxes everywhere, and a large round window looked outward over the copse and Hang Wood. The criminal remembered how Kingshaw would retreat into places like this, to hide from him and the world.
"I didn't want you to come here..." Hooper reminisced aloud, gliding his hand over the boxes and to a pile of pens and paper, he assumed that had once belonged to Kingshaw.
"Ever since your death," he sighed, in a manipulative voice, "I realised I had some sort of great power over people: I could get rid of people I didn't like, without feeling anyway ashamed or guilty, as easy as I got rid of you, Kingshaw... and I can rid of you again..."
"Edmund?" a woman's voice rang in the room.
By the window, a beautiful black haired lady stood, motionless, her green ball dress whipping in a ghostly breeze.
"Veronica?" Hooper cried, stepping forward, his knife outstretched.
"Why, Edmund?" she breathed, "Why did you push me? Why did you hurt me?"
Hooper was only a few inches away from the demonic lady. She opened her arms as if to embrace him.
"You are dead... You are nothing..."
"No Edmund... I wanted to fix you... help you... LOVE YOU!"
Her eyes widened as if she were struck in the heart, and fell backwards, vanishing into thin air.
"Veronica! No I'm sorry!"
Hooper clasped his hands over his head. His mind was boiling and his heart was crumbling. Remorse filled his veins for the first time in his long dark life.
"I shouldn't have come! I shouldn't have come!" he screamed.
Kingshaw. He was standing there, then, filling Hooper with a sore regret that almost tore him apart. The memories of the homicides were flowing back to his head like a tsunami, The school teacher, Veronica, his father...
"Charles... Charlie?" Hooper whimpered, on his knees by the ghostly being that was Charles Kingshaw, "Don't torment me like this, Charlie. After your death, it was hard. Your mother and my father, they married. They no longer cared for me. You-you-"
Kingshaw grinned, but said nothing. Hooper being so terrified again somewhat pleased him, but he didn't want him to die. That wasn't right. Kingshaw just wanted to teach him a lesson, that what he was doing was wrong. He should stop.
No, this was his purpose. Revenge. Fighting fire with fire, was the only way.
Then they began to sing.
The voices of all whom had touched the blade of Hooper, sang loud in the witching hour, dementing Hooper, torturing Hooper, as he had tortured them:
"Fear the world, the dead of night,
Fear our voice, boil in fright,
We'll take your life, like you took ours,
By every last word, your mind we'll devourer.
"We are your nightmare, your haunting curse,
In your head we'll bring out the worst.
These threatening words we shall aloud sing.
Until you realise-"
The criminal was at his most insane now. Tormented by the blistering words, he tripped and stumbled blindly, as the familiars voices drew closer upon him. He was begging for mercy. None would come.
Kingshaw came only millimetres away from Hooper, his face all the more whiter and dripping with sweat. Hooper was only a few feet away from the window, which promised a twenty foot drop to a certain death...
"I am the King."
Thunder cracked and a shatter of glass. Kingshaw had done it. Everything seemed to slow down as the body of Hooper collided like a comet against the window. Down, down, down he fell.
The spectres were still. The taste of revenge was a sweet, defining taste, and as the sun peaked the horizon, they closed their eyes, and made their way to an eternal rest.