The wide hall was silent.
Each door that the squire passed was flung open, green corpse light gleaming.
A group of dead children and their governess, chests and lips covered with yellow vomit. They were laid out in a perfect circle, feet to the center. A basket of apples placed at the center.
Three men dressed as nobles slumped around a silver table. One man’s arm had been cruelly spiked to the table, the flesh and bone laid bare. Golden forks and knives were still clutched in all three’s hands – gibbets of meat hung from all three’s lips.
The green doorways opened their arms, as Jonas began to move faster.
A fat man that brained himself against a stone ledge.
A room stacked high with furniture, dressers and bureaus pulled in close. A thick stench rose from the center of the barricade.
Two skeletons huddled in the ashes of a massive marble fireplace, hands still clasped.
Jonas found broad stairs, and climbed.
He kept his eyes on the steps ahead, and forced his wounded leg to move faster.
The final step caught him unawares, and he stumbled forward. His shoulder screamed as he crashed into a stone pillar. He leaned against it for a moment and caught his breath.
He heard laughter, and jerked his head up.
The wide doors were twenty feet high and enameled with steel and silver. They were slightly open, and the sound of brittle glass-laughter came from within. The green light was brighter here, forcing him to squint as he stared at the crack between the doors.
Jonas took a step towards the door, then stopped. He passed his sword from hand to hand for a moment, wiping the sweat of his palms on his sodden trousers.
Glass-laughter, knife-laughter – the laughter of breaking. It sounded again, and the squire found himself backing up slowly from the door.
He leaned his head forward, shaggy hair fallling forward. He gripped the hilt of his sword , each knuckle a sickly yellow-white.
Too far. Too far to turn back now. I must know what happened here, I must.
Jonas of Gilead stepped through the silver doors.