A short and sweet creative Gothic piece drawing its roots from Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and with delightfully frightful ending.

            They called it the Great War; not a soul expected the world to ever again experience such profound sorrow. Then came the Second World War, and they began to discover the limitless nature of the human capacity for suffering. But they claimed there was more. They claimed to know of POWs that were brutally murdered, tortured, experimented on, and worse. They claimed to know about the queer results of these experiments, the miserable chimeras confined within countless clandestine castellated laboratories. Miserable excuses for creatures these chimeras apparently were, unable to love or laugh of their own accord; past experiences long erased, they took on the likeness of their creators in every fashion.

            I had been called to investigate one such castellated laboratory in a most peculiar case. Several teenagers from the town nearby had come across its barred entrance the week before and had broken in through the windows, perhaps in an effort to secure themselves some sort of rare treasure. Evidently, their plan failed, as no one had heard from them since. My task was to trace the paths of these teenagers and figure out what had happened to them; as I approached the door, a thick fog enveloped me and my trench coat. I could observe not a mark on the ornate brass handles. The door seemed to open by itself once I was done appraising it. The walls stank of sulfur and blood. Immediately before me lay the bodies of the seven German teenagers in question, their faces painfully contorted and their limbs torn from their naked bodies. Now that I had solved the first part of my task, what of the second? The laboratory was far too immense for my investigation to end here. I hurried up the spiral staircase by the scarlet tinted window in the corner of the room, wondering if the person who did this to the teenagers was still at large. Curiously, when walking up these stairs, I heard the faint noise of footsteps in the distance. Even more curiously, upon reaching what I had perceived to be the top of the staircase, the scene that unfolded before me was the same as the previous, albeit body parts were ‘mixed and matched.’ I climbed up the staircase once again, and the scene remained essentially unchanged. After many iterations of this process, I realized I had come to the highest level of the laboratory, some sixty six stories above ground. The footsteps had been growing louder the whole time, and the same seven bodies had been on every floor. Suddenly, the footsteps stopped. A disembodied hand flew to the wall directly in front of me and began writing something ineligible in what looked like blood; upon further inspection, I could vaguely make out the phrase: “You’re next.”

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