“It is very old this thing. You might think it strange looking but truly it is the most amazing artifact!”
The buyer was skeptical. “If it’s so amazing why is it not in a museum or in some private collection? Why have I not heard of it?”
“You have not heard of it for it is cursed with the curse of temptation!”
The buyer, turned to go. “Please! If you think you will get my interest piqued by such a silly lie as that--!”
“But truly sir, it is cursed. It has always been so…! Are you not interested? I understand you have varied tastes and are always seeking out the unusual. Please come, I pray you, come and see for yourself. You will be amazed.”
He didn’t really like the old man, but he had provided the most amazing entertainment for him, so unique was it and so enjoyable he felt he could not say no to him now.
And he didn’t. Instead of leaving he found himself stepping into a darkened room. “How did I know this room would be dark?”
The old man merely shrugged though his customer was growing more impatient by the second.
“Where is it? What are you showing me? I don’t see anything!”
Just when it seemed the customer was going to leave the old man pleaded: “Please good sir, permit me to show you the one thing I wish you to see. It is like nothing you have ever seen!”
“Very well, let’s get on with it.”
He soon found himself gazing upon a shrouded figure. And because there was something about it—he found he could not look away. “It is a woman…” He declared, for he just knew it was. “Who is she?”
The old man took rather a long time to answer but then he finally did. “She is a famous lady, a countess.”
“You don’t mean—that one, you know!”
The old man nodded. “The Countess Erzebat Bathory…”
“The one who bathed in blood! Draw away the shroud for I would like to see her! Do it now.”
The shroud was drawn away. But what was revealed was horrible. For the thing was all dried out and rotted away.
“You charlatan! How can I be certain it is who you say?”
He would have to take his word for it, he was told. And though he wished to leave he found he could not for there was something about the thing that spurred him on and he soon asked: “How much do you want for it?”
“Here you are though I know you are a thief and this is nothing but a fake. Still, you may deliver it here to my hotel so that I may examine it!”
The seller looked delighted when told the name of the hotel. “You are a rich man! That is a most elegant place! I shall bring it by later.”
He waited all evening for the old man. He finally rang up the shop. He even walked over to it and banged on the door though he could see no one was inside.
Then he stormed back to his hotel. After smoking incessantly he went to sleep.
It was during the night that it happened. Someone came into his room, he heard the rustling but that was all he heard for he had been drugged. Whatever it had been was in the mint left on his bed. The mint he had just before retiring.
When he opened his eyes he saw a woman covered in blood. Her back was to him but she turned and smiled at him, her teeth becoming as red as the rest of her.
It was when she reached for a cloth to wipe her face that he recognized her. "You're--!"
He wavered for he felt weak. It was then that he looked down to see he was in his bath.
How red the water looked! He screamed for he understood what had happened.
He was cut all over. There didn’t seem to be much of his body that hadn’t been sliced open.
“In life it was maiden’s blood I bathed in, now in death it is anyone’s I fancy and I fancied you as a matter of fact. And now I shall show you how much!”
She moved to caress him and as she did, she kissed him, “You will die now with a kiss and the lips of Countess Bathory upon your dying flesh…and you will know that you have given me life for one more night at least. One more night to love you as you deserve.”
She smiled then and moved ever closer to him, closer and closer and closer…
© Copyright 2012 Carole Gill