The dawn broke in a ribbon of grays and burnt reds as Cathy stood upon the cliff, her gaze fixed on the distance, obscured by the haze of the morning refractive light. She pulled her off-white shawl tight over her shoulders, then cinched her leather tooled belt to the gasping point in an attempt to ward off the chill of the lingering night air. A shiver ran through her chest, startling her eyes to a downward glance, her teeth ground tight to prevent their chattering. A sob tried to escape, but, firmly lodged, it choked her to silence.
“It’s me. Cathy,” she whispered, near inaudible.
Far below, the sea foamed, crashing up and against the abstract of rocks jutting out of the waters. Cathy found herself taking a step back, then another. Wind whipped up with force, hitting her so that her hair became unbound, freed as if from a practiced hand. Her auburn strands danced out, up, and around, swaddling her freckled face, her eyesight obscured.
Wind and hair subsided as fast as it had thrashed up. She let her tresses lay where they fell, clenching her shawl even tighter in her too white fingers. Cathy allowed free passage of the wetness flowing down, past her nose, cheeks, and chin. Her right hand wanted to wipe them away, but it remained where it was in the folds of the once warm fabric. She knew she was not now alone on the crags.
He was behind her. She felt he always was.
Her name drifted over the mist that surrounded her, syllables riding between the dew drops in the moving air.
Her fleshed crawled with hundreds of raised bumps, ones never derived from any goose that shat upon God’s green pastures.
“Cathy,” and her heart skipped a beat, and then another. Her eyes closed against her will, lips parting, a web of saliva breaking as the distance grew. “Cathy,” and the voice implored her, begged, rose to a controlling pitch.
“Cathy. Call me. Say my name.”
She mouthed his name without a sound.
“Please,” seeped at her back, closer than it had ever been before. “Call my name.”
Cathy tried, but, in shaking, breathless, she did as he asked.
“Again,” he cajoled.
“Cthulhu!”; wrung out with tears.
“Now, Cathy, Now!”
Her voice cracked, merged with the violence of the waves from below and the returned force of the winds:
And she fell onto the damp moss that had lied about her feet. It cradled her body, her clothing absorbing the moisture, her shawl laden with a mixture of this water from the morn and her streaming teary emissions.
Cathy locked her arms around herself, deep within the folds of her wear. Her knees drew themselves inwards, her chin burrowed into her chest, and the reddish hue of her hair hid her face, creating a darknet around her white, white skin.
A tentacled appendage glided gently under her still form, followed by another as the first gained a secure hold. Then another, and still another, until Cthulhu’s embrace cocooned Cathy. Lifting her into the air, Cthulhu’s face burrowed into her hair. He drew his arms around her, then.
Cathy smelled the salty brine of him. Licking her lips, her tongue swirled the sea waters from below that mixed with the tang of other dimensions, repellant and inviting.
She drew them in, letting this fill her throat in a trickle of infusion.
“It is time, Cathy,” Cthulhu purred. It was what she had come here, on this cliff, on this jagged height, to hear. She gave herself over, open to the void Cthulhu offered, his expanse, his otherness.
“Come,” he said.
“Yes,” she answered. “Yes.”
The waves crashed against, and consumed, the empty precipice.
A prompt was given at one of the writing groups I attend. In the space of 45 minutes:
“Write a story where you place a fictional character in the WRONG story.”
So, Withering Heights. Who is in the wrong story, or, is this the right story for the wrong reasons?
Obviously, well, to me, anyway, I drew on several literary reference points, as well as one literary musical place, for inspiration. Care to break them down in the comments section?
Hope you enjoyed. BTW: this is my very first attempt at Gothic Romance/Horror. Yes? No? Maybe so? Let me know.