I have selected a fragment from the short story “The stone chamber ” by H.B Marriott Watson.
☥ ☥ ☥ Read the whole story here ☥ ☥ ☥
It was published only 1year after “Dracula” came out and remains one of his most recognizable short pieces.
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In alarm I hastily ran down the corridor and entered Warrington’s room. The girl was lying upon the bed, her hair flowing upon the pillow; her eyes, wide open and filled with terror, stared at the ceiling, and her hands clutched and twined in the coverlet as if in an agony of pain. A gasping sound issued from her, as though she were struggling for breath under suffocation. Her whole appearance was as of one in the murderous grasp of an assailant.
I bent over. “Throw the light, quick,” I called to Mrs Batty; and as I put my hand on her shoulder to lift her, the creature that lived in the chamber rose suddenly from the shadow upon the further side of the bed, and sailed with a flapping noise up to the cornice. With an exclamation of horror I pulled the girl’s head forward, and the candle-light glowed on her pallid face. Upon the soft flesh of the slender throat was a round red mark, the size of a florin.
At the sight I almost let her fall upon the pillow again; but, commanding my nerves, I put my arms round her, and, lifting her bodily from the bed, carried her from the room. Mrs Batty followed.
“What shall we do?” she asked, in a low voice.
“Take her away from this damned chamber!” I cried. “Anywhere–the hall, the kitchen rather.”
I laid my burden upon a sofa in the dining-room, and despatching Mrs Batty for the brandy, gave Miss Bosanquet a draught. Slowly the horror faded from her eyes; they closed, and then she looked at me.
“What have you?–where am I?” she asked.
“You have been unwell,” I said. “Pray don’t disturb yourself yet.”
She shuddered, and closed her eyes again.
Very little more was said. Sir William pressed for his horses, and as the sky was clearing I made no attempt to detain him, more particularly as the sooner Miss Bosanquet left the Abbey the better for herself. In half an hour she recovered sufficiently to go, and I helped her into the carriage. She never referred to her seizure, but thanked me for my kindness. That was all. No one asked after Warrington–not even Sir William. He had forgotten everything, save his anxiety to get back. As the carriage turned from the steps I saw the mark upon the girl’s throat, now grown fainter.
I waited up till late into the morning, but there was no sign of Warrington when I went to bed.