I have been quiet here for the last week or so, trying to refresh the batteries, although I am still writing for ten minutes a day over at Thinking Ten.
Monday's prompt was Deep in the woods beyond Campanella Point and so, without further ado, here is the piece:
A Secret To Keep
I had been summoned to my elderly - if not slightly eccentric - aunt’s home in the deep woods just north of Punta Campanella, in the town of Faro. Rumours had circulated about the sanity of Aunt Masina for years; rumours that were both bizarre and terrifying.
I had left Marina del Cantone just after a splendid breakfast overlooking the bay and had arrived shortly before lunch. Although the trip was only short in distance, it took quite a while to navigate the twisty, narrow potholed roads.
I was greeted at the door by her elderly servant Ridolfo, who excused himself after showing me to the sitting room; presumably to prepare refreshments for his employer and her visiting nephew.
“I hear the walls.” That had been her greeting once he had left the room. “They talk to me, telling me secrets of this house, this family - secrets that I can no longer bear to keep to myself. Our family have killed others - many times over many generations. The voices boldly confess of murder and mayhem perpetrated by members of our family. They tell me if I reveal these sins to others, appalling things will happen to all those who know the truth. They...”
A shriek from the kitchen halted her narration. I hurled myself out of the sofa and raced to find Ridolfo laying face down on the scarred linoleum; his neck bent at an impossible angle.
“They have returned – and I for one, welcome them.” Her voice startled me. I spun to face her and shock overcame me. Just like Ridolfo, her head had seemingly been twisted a full three hundred and sixty degrees; the skin around her neck looked like a corkscrew, her eyes bulged from their sockets like a bug-eyed goldfish. Blood oozed down the wall beside me. I turned my head and saw the others were the same. Dear God, what was this madness?
A cold hand touched my neck and then, as quick as lightning, two arms grabbed me; one around the neck, the other holding my arms by my side. I could barely make out Ridolfo behind me in the dirty kitchen window; head still twisted, smiling grotesquely.
“They have returned to tell their tales. There are, however, some secrets that just need to remain hidden...”
(This is also a highly edited version of the original, which I am currently reworking for submission.)