- - - The Melting Candle - - -

Written and Illustrated by Benjamin Andrew Fouché

It was merely a place of darkness, resting in such despair, so vastly lonesome.  Nonetheless, the forsaken house only appeared this way during the day, under the dull, gray heavens that bore immense gloom.  Underneath the black skies of night, however, the old mansion was a little more seemingly, occupied.  You see, I occasionally traveled through a quiet vale, and every time, it just so happened to be dusk when I would slowly pass the house on my horse.  There was something I always saw, burning about in a window on the second story––the melting candle

From what I could comprehend with my bewildered mind, nobody had dwelled within its interior for well over fifty years.  Yet a single candle flickered in the window at me. Someone had to have intentionally left it there upon the windowsill––that much was evident, but the real question that intrigued me so greatly was the who of it.  The only reasonable answer that came to mind was a ghost, but ghosts  are not  reasonable

My only conjecture was that a person must have still simply lived in the obscured, bleak dwelling.  Thus now, I did not see a carriage, nor horses.  The wrought-iron fence had long been strangled by overgrowth and the yard was strewn in thickened brush.  The few gnarled trees near the house were as dead as doornails.  The deserted works of spiders hung over the four columns like an overhanging shadow.  As the wind begun stirring, the shutters swung open, thudding against the well-aged masonry of the house.  At that moment, I was certain it was uninhabited by any of the living; notwithstanding, the candle’s flame continued to waver behind the thin glass of the window. 

By then, my curiosity had grown and I knew that I was not going to continue traveling about without knowing if anyone did or did not presently reside in it.  I gently pushed open the screaking gate, and stepped foot upon the disquieting residence grounds.  While I strode forward, the mangled limbs of the decaying trees shook in the vigorous gale that began to strengthen above me.  On the front porch I stood, and there before me were the two massive front doors.  I was rather hesitant of jolting one of the door knockers. 

Alas, out of impulse, I went ahead and thrusted one of them against the intimidating door.  I could hear the lurid knocks resounding from the inside––a feeling of trepidation befell me instantly.  I waited several moments and no one answered. Likely, the chances of somebody actually still occupying it were slim to none.  Nevertheless, I was not going to give into the idea of there being a latent wraith haunting this darkened abode.  I shoved open the door forcefully and intruded inwards. 

Everything in the foyer was coated in dust––the crooked chairs, the sofa, the end tables and the grandfather clock.  The hardwood flooring creaked beneath my feet as I paced over it warily.  As I entered what I assumed to be the parlor, I heard an awful noise; a noise that leaves one rather aghast; it was the shriek of someone in great distress.  I remained motionless for what seemed to be hours, but finally, I was freed from my mummified state. 

I proceeded forward, now gaiting down a grand hallway.  At the very end was a stairwell, curving aloft.  From the top, there was a vague glow––it was, without doubt, the ethereal candle.  I hurried to the stairs and began my winding ascent. Precisely as I reached the top landing, I saw a cracked door.  The mysterious gleam that had dazed me was slightly shedding its weak radiance upon the walls.  I scurried over to the door and then, lightly pressed my hands against it. 

Within that very room, I uncovered something which I vehemently wish I had never.  It was the most gruesome sight that I have ever beheld; something that continues to deeply perturb me even now, as I am telling you this story.  In the dim candlelight were many chairs scattered around––some were even mounted to the walls and overhung, upside-down from the ceiling.  But it was what reposed in them that overwhelmed me with utter fear.  Unnaturally sitting in them were the wilted remains of the ill-fated.  Withered corpses with their skeletal arms severely twisted and mangled.  They all stared helplessly with their hollowed mouths stretched wide.  I wanted nothing more than to release a cry from within my lungs, but I could not. 

Although I was surrounded by the grisly furnishings of the room, I felt that an even more unsettling presence was imminent––the one responsible for the ghastly fixtures.  I hurriedly left the horrid scene and made haste all of the way through the house, and outside, to my steed.  While galloping away from the appalling mansion, I never turned my head once.  I did not dare look back at it; for I wanted to leave behind all of the nightmares that lingered inside. Since that loathsome incident, I have not neared the harrowing home.  Every evening I wonder to myself if the wick continues to burn, allowing unfortunate trespassers, such as myself, to discover the ominous things that were illuminated by the weak light of the melting candle.

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