A Demonic Heritage
I blinked as I regained consciousness. I had hit my head hard, or had someone hit me? Then I realized I was holding a bloody knife in my hand.
What the hell has happened here?
I was trying to focus but my head was pounding as if a deathsman was splitting it with his axe. A sharp pain that didn't let me think straight.
I was looking around, trying to figure out where I was. The room looked dusty, ancient, abandoned, full of antiques. A chest with golden flower ornaments ... A huge medieval chair, maybe a throne, but with a broken leg ... Some chandeliers made of thousands of small crystals hung with heavy spiderwebs ... And a canvas, very impressive, but cut wide open in the middle ... Wait this looked familiar ... I knew this place from my childhood days. I used to play hide and seek around this old furniture. This was my grandfather's house and I was lying in the middle of his attic. I came here because my mother had asked me to take care of all these things after my grandpa's mysterious death. My memories came back like small puzzle pieces ...
Ignazius, my grandfather, had died about six months ago, yet no one could tell what had happened to him. At first the doctors thought he had had a heart attack or a stroke but no trace of this could be found so his death remained a mystery. He had lived in his Victorian mansion all by himself for many years. Since my grandmother had died at the age of fifthy-one, he had isolated himself from our family and the rest of the world. Ignazius was considered to be weird, some would have even said he went completely bonkers, so no one cared about him or took him seriously anyway.
Years passed by like this, actually almost two decades, without hearing a word from him. Then one day I had received a letter informing me that my grandfather had passed away and that he had named me to be the new owner of his ancient mansion. All this came to me as a big surprise because we weren't even close. The last time I had seen him, I had still been a little child of five or six. So at first I wanted to decline my heritage, it felt weird to accept it after all those years. But then I got curious about it and I told myself, I could take a look at it at least once and then decide what to do about it.
So one rainy afternoon, I packed up a few things and drove all the way to the old Victorian mansion. It still looked as impressive as in my childhood days. It resembled a museum with its old paperhangings, the ancient furniture and its huge portraits hung upon every wall. Even the air smelled dusty and full of history. This house was like a remnant of long forgotten times, fascinating and mysterious at the same time.
As I wandered through the numerous rooms, something seemed to pull me up the stairs like an invisible force that I couldn't escape. So I climbed up step by step and reached my grandfather's attic. I could feel this suction getting stronger as if I was attracted to a magnet. Slowly I unlocked the door and it swung open with a loud creak. A ghostly silence welcomed me as I entered the room full of fear and suspense. What would I find in here?
The air seemed to be filled with a silent humming that kept vibrating in my bones, leaving me bewildered and fascinated at the same time. The room was full of antiques just like the others. At first glance there was nothing special to it. But then I saw it ... Framed by some medieval chairs ... Placed in the middle of the room like a relict of a saint ... A huge blank canvas. The scene looked almost surreal. Why would my grandfather keep something like this up here? Had he started painting after my grandmother had died?
The white space seemed to pull me closer and I gave in to it. Step by step I kept approaching it, inhaling its mysterious aura, unable to resist. As I gazed at its blankness, a sudden transformation was about to begin. At first I thought it was just a shadow or a change of lighting, but then I realized that one side of the canvas was shifting its color ... Light-grey ... Middle-grey ... Dark-grey ... Black.
Was I hallucinating? This couldn't be real.
As I got closer, I could observe that black paint had appeared on the canvas, there was no doubt about it. Maybe I should have turned away, run while I still could, but I was unable to take my eyes off this painting no matter how hard I tried.
So I kept staring and the transformation continued. A redish glow started to form behind the fabric, very light and subtle at first, but with every second that passed by it grew more intense and bright. A pair of eyes appeared right in front of me, one eye on the black side, the other on the white part. The thought of Snow White's magical mirror crossed my mind and almost made me laugh. This was too weird to be true. But then those evil red eyes focused on me and every cheerful thought was gone. They were looking daggers at me like the devil itself, they didn't blink or move, they would just stare. And every inch of my body that was touched by this gaze was on fire. The smell of burnt flesh started to fill the air but this couldn't be real.
And then all of a sudden there it was ... A laughter ... None that was filled with joy or happiness ... But one made of malice and pure evil. I couldn't tell where it came from. I didn't know how to stop it. This merciless laughter kept invading my head like a pulsing inferno. I was afraid to go insane, started to scream to make it stop, but the laughter just grew stronger and louder ... "It's the canvas." This thought hit me like a bus. I had to destroy it. I had to end this insanity ... But how?
I looked around ... A weapon ... I needed a weapon to win this war. My brain was paralyzed by this evil voice inside, it wouldn't let me focus, I couldn't see clearly. I was slowly losing my mind but I couldn't give in ... There it was! An ancient knife, maybe an old pirate's comrade, lying on top of one of my grandfather's chests. It wasn't far from the place where I had been held captive, but still every step I took felt like I was lifting a heavy weight.
Nevertheless I had to fight my way through.
And I made it, reached out and got hold of the old knife's handle. It lay perfectly in my hand. I would put an end to this insanity. "Focus on the eyes! Hit the knife right in the middle!", I kept telling myself. It became my mantra to survive. Just a few more steps ... It took me a lot of strength and concentration ... I took aim at the canvas ... And I hit it very hard. The laughter turned into a sharp bloodcurling scream as I ripped open the fabric. Then it fell silent. I felt a triumph, release, it was over ...
But what was that? Blood started to run down the canvas where I had cut it and the voice seemed to get closer with every breath I took. The blood felt hot under my feet, like lava burning the ground and it kept flowing like a river, aiming to drown me. I couldn't get away. And as the room got flooded with this liquid fire, the canvas opened even wider. Red evil eyes were staring right through me as a dark shadow emerged the painting. The voice in my head was rising once again, louder than ever as the shadow approached me at a pace that was faster than light. I could feel its heat floating through my body as it hit me hard. Then everything around me turned black ...
I blinked once again as I became more aware of what had happened. Maybe it was just a dream. Maybe the dusty air had made me tired and I tripped over one of the antiques, fell and hit my head. But then again there was this canvas and the knife in my hand ... I wished I could shake off this confusion.
I was trying to get up, my legs felt so weak, it was a struggle. Just when I thought I had made it, I heard it again ... The evil laughter in my head ... A brain-splitting noise ... A thick blackness started to cover the room like an inescapable haze.
It was here ... All of a sudden it became crystal clear to me what had happened ... That's how my grandpa died ... I had released a demon ... It would kill me too ... Now ...