Flash Fiction: Twelve Years

“Father, what is there?” Adrei asked.

Costin did not need to look around to know where his son was pointing. He took a swig from the half-empty bottle.

“Nothing,” he said, liquor thick on his breath. “A staircase.”

“Let us go see!”

Costin glanced around. Oh how he wished cameras were here, but he knew why they had been taken down. He had seen the footage himself before it was destroyed – before the castle lost all tourists but those who were in search of the supernatural.

“Andrei, no!”

“Please?”

 

Costin climbed the stairs slowly, his hand on the cold wall to steady himself. The little hand in his was as cold as ice.

 

The door at the top of the staircase revealed a half-burned, decaying floor with a hole in it and a trail of sooty footprints. Costin took another swig from the bottle and felt the liquor burn his throat. He slowly walked towards the hole, peering into the dark depths when he got close.

 

Costin felt the ghosts of the past around him.

“Lots of people died here, there is even a princess!” Andrei whispered. He still had the stature and voice of a six year-old. “She sings me to sleep at night.”

Costin wanted to step forward, but unseen hands grabbed at him. The bottle fell, breaking and spilling its liquid into the hole in front of his feet.

“Do not worry, father, they will not let you fall,” Andrei smiled. “Not like you let me fall.”

Costin started crying.

“Will you come again tomorrow?”

Costin nodded.

Andrei laughed, disappearing from his sight.

“It has been twelve years,” Costin sobbed.

“You will come again tomorrow,” the voices said.

Costin retraced his footsteps, going in search of more drink.

 


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