You have 4 free member-only stories remaining for the month. Subscribe now for unlimited access

The Ancestral Letter

A curse has been placed upon our family. Long before your conception, when I was but a mere child, it silently crept its way into our hometown. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was sitting on a dock covered in whales and jellyfish placed there by the local artists when the tides rolled in, bringing with it a thick fog. Off in the distance, I heard the faint ringing of a bell. Suddenly as if in response, the wind became wild, blowing to and fro, ushering with it a deep sense of dreed. This was only amplified by what pierced through the fog. A massive skeleton holding onto the bowsprit cut through the water as a sickly green ship made itself known. The sails were a pale, ghostly white, and they were tightly strapped down onto two towering masts. Almost instinctively, I got up and started following the ship as it made its way to port.

I know I should have left my curiosity behind, should have collected my things and gone home for the night, but there was something about that damn ship that called to me. Or perhaps that’s just what I tell myself to quell the nightmares that so often plague me. The truth is, life was stubbornly dull back then. While the adults were content with the monotony of everyday life, I required more significant stimuli.

The warning signs were everywhere: the decaying wood and the torn sails, but the most obvious was the crew’s lack. Nonetheless, I pressed forward, falsely thinking myself brave as I climbed onto the deck, only stopping momentarily before entering the bowels of the mighty vessel. Upon entry, I felt an enormous pressure weighing down on me. It turned my legs to jelly, nearly taking me from the conscious world. Yet without hesitation, I persevered. It wasn’t long before I found the idea of being scared ridiculous in its entirety. If only I had the maturity and foresight to know what I was getting myself into.

I turned the corner and was met with a hall lined with doors. Usually, I’m not one to indulge in my curiosity, but the same couldn’t be said about my past self. Stupidly I pressed my hand on one of the doors, and without hesitation, I pushed it open. What I saw in that room will haunt me till the end of my days.

A man sat there tied down by various devices to a particularly unsettling chair. He was neither dead nor alive, a husk of his former self. He almost seemed unaware of my presence, a mind without thought, a body without a soul. The skin at the top of his head was pulled back and his skullcap removed, revealing his brain and the metal rods that lined it. In my state of shock, I was unaware that we were not alone. A particularly grotesque creature humanoid only in shape stood behind the man staring directly at me. Its face was lined with hooks that pulled its skin back, pushing its gums and teeth unnaturally forward and placing its eyes in an unblinking state. I flinched when the otherworldly creature lifted its charred hand, gently placing each finger just above one of the rods. It raised its other hand; this one was bloated and splitting at the seams. Water was dripping from its wounds as it pointed to me. The man in the chair started violently twitching and shaking uncontrollably as drool poured from his mouth.

No longer under the illusion of false bravery, I quickly ran down the hall, paying no mind to the other doors or the horrors that lay within. Curiosity was no longer my companion; it was replaced by a singular, more primal instinct, self-preservation. Hands thrust from the doors grabbing and tugging at my very being. I desperately swatted them away as their screams stripped me of my sanity. A portion of my soul was lost, now belonging to the ship. With nowhere else to go, I ran to the captain’s quarters, my cackling laughter following close behind.

Upon entry into the captain’s quarters, I was greeted by a mountain of riches. Atop the gold lay an eldritch corpse. Its muzzle was bone with loose hanging skin forming at its cheekbones before continuing up the rest of its face. It struggled to lift its emaciated body before collapsing back into its original position. A deep snarl echoed from the many mouths which shifted around its torso. It was gargling incomprehensible sounds produced by a being far more remarkable and wiser than myself. Through the incoherency came clarity; I came to know its purpose. It gave knowledge to those desperate enough to set foot on its ship, but that knowledge came at a price. I was unknowingly linking my future and the future of my bloodline to the creature’s past.

It held out its unnaturally long arms and opened its hand, revealing a single gold coin with a ship and three tentacles on it. It was a token of our newly formed bond, a reminder of the debt I owed. Upon taking it, I was forcibly thrown into the cosmos. While there, the knowledge of man and beast filled my every orifice. I desperately tried to make sense of what I saw, but In the end, it was too much for my feeble mind to handle. Instead of a vast wealth of knowledge, I was driven to madness—the only gift bestowed upon me, the sweet embrace of unconsciousness.

A curse has been placed on our family. I know now what I should have done, what must be done. If I’m successful, you will never see this letter, but if I’m not, If the intoxicating madness consumes me. I leave it to you to correct the sins of my past. You must succeed where I could not, or our whole bloodline will be doomed to follow in my footsteps.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Fiction, Horror, Mystery/Thriller