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The Cats Of Talamanca
The Cats Of Talamanca

The Cats Of Talamanca

Franc68Lorient Montaner

"The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame.”―Edgar Allan Poe,

On the verdant slope nigh a lofty mountain lies an ancient castle in Sicily, where the caliginous shadows descend from the gibbous moon, within a sinister shroud of a looming alabaster mist that covers the sunken sorrows of an ostentiferous murk. It is an inimitable place where the unsely souls of despair dwell in the incertitude of the aeons of time and where the fleeting winds redound with ethereal echoes. Thither, is a hoary castle that remains from centuries passed, and whose innermost secrets are concealed within the immemorial walls of their confinement. There is an ominous legend of which the townspeople of Carini know all too well. For it is far worse than any nightmare conceived by the human mind. What will be told of this account that I shall disclose, only you the intrigued reader will know of the genuine veracity of its entirety. Thus, the actual horror that I had experienced was considered of a preternatural origin.

It was close to the evening, when my carriage had arrived from Palermo in the year of 1818. The night was particular damp and drear, as I had stepped off the carriage, feeling the cool effects of the dripping dew of the midday rain upon my cloak and shoes. The soil and grass were still drenched and the weather was unsteady. I was led through the towering arches of the entrance gate, walking upon the archaic cobblestones. Along the ascent to the castle, I had descried the distinctive images of the remarkable structure. It was not until I had reached the circumscribed passage to enter the castle by carriage that I was truly able to witness more of its exterior architecture. The castle presented a medieval appearance with its rectangular towers, the machicolations, the gate tower commanding the centre of the south front, while an ashlar round tower protected the east end. In the west wall were Romanesque arches of pure masonry, plus there were old battlements of one of the impressive towers. What was uniquely demonstrative was the polygonal shape of Castle Talamanca.

It was there at the venerable castle that I would meet a certain baroness, whose name was Bianca Talamanca. The reason for my visit was that I had come on behalf of a reputable nobleman, who was interested in buying the castle and reforming it. I was a solicitor by the name of Gianluca Maldini. Once inside, I was greeted by one of the faithful servants of the baroness, who was ironically not present to greet me inside the castle at the time. I would be informed that she had been sleeping. I was told to wait in the hall, until the baroness had awakened. I thought it was a bit queer, but it did allow me to see the interior of the castle with a keen curiosity. As I was waiting, I began to look around me to see what my observant eyes had beheld. I had only been inside a castle once before, when I was a child, but never like this castle, which was eldritch and extremely mysterious. Thus, began my inquisitive urge to explore it.

The first floor which was complanate had a commodious main hall, and on the ground floor one of the rooms contained an external wall with oriel windows covered in scarlet draperies and an entrance door. There was a colossal hall that was divided by two pointed arches with a central column, and there was a wrought staircase that would reach the second floor which was comprised of a ballroom, a ceiling, a fireplace adorned with the noticeable emblem of a black cat over the mantelpiece. There were also mullioned windows with leaning seats, bed chambers with elegant frescoes of pastel shades that had illumined with a momentary splendour, the adjoining rooms on the upper floors, a gallery and a small terrace. It was, in particular, the frescoes that had arrested my studious fascination. As I was observing them, I turned around and saw a Cimmerian shade of wandering cats, with a sonorous purr that had startled me. It was then that the baroness stood before me, carrying a cat in her arms.

At first, I was not aware of her immediate presence and was uncertain of what to do, but I then managed to compose my inopportune reaction enough to speak to her, 'Forgive me baroness, I did not see you standing there. I was entertained with the cats that I had seen'.

She was dressed in the Gothic raiment of a dark coal-black dress that had epitomised her Sicilian features. Her feline eyes were sable, and they had a lustre that was uniquely imposing. Her raven hair was long and flowing. Her figure was slim but illecebrous. Her bosom was well endowed, but there was something inusitate about her that I had intuited in her aura that was deeply conspicuous. I had the strong impression that the baroness was a woman that was appealing in her nature, yet she was inhibitory in her mannerisms to some degree. There was a puzzling mystery that had lingered in her eyes and penetrating stare, as I had perceived her natural gestures with her façade. When she finally spoke to me, I would hear a certain tone of voice that was somewhat malacophanous that it had captivated me.

'Signor Maldini. I see that you have already been able to enjoy the castle'.

'What I have seen of it so far baroness,' I had replied.

She had asked me to join her in the courtyard, 'You do not mind, if we go out to the courtyard for a bit to continue our discussion? I must let the cats outside, so that they can get some fresh air'.

'Of course not!'

We had stepped outside. The rain had subsided, and we had resumed our conversation at leisure. We had discussed an array of peculiar topics, but it was the topic on purchasing the castle that had impelled me to enquire, about a possible interest of hers in selling it. Unfortunately, for me, she had no real intention of selling the castle soon, but her reasons were vague to me. My perception was that the baroness was the type of person that could not be easily persuaded or convinced. That was where my dilemma began in the first place. I had assumed that with the declining economical situation in the town of Carini, and the erosion in certain parts of the castle that were apparent that she would ultimately acquiesce to my demand, but I was sorely wrong.

'You must understand signore. This castle has belonged to my ancestral family for centuries. Its age and its architecture are strongly embedded in our memories. It would be foolish of me to sell it'.

'With all due respect baroness, there are parts of the castle that need immediate renovation. The person that I am representing is willing to pay for that renovation and restore the castle to its stately grandeur. Surely, you would agree with that assessment'.

'That I do not contend signore, but it still does not change my opinion'.

'Is there anything that I can say to convince you otherwise?' I had insisted.

'No—there is nothing you can do to convince me to sell the castle'.

'Perhaps, if I gave you a day or two to ponder the offer of mine'.

'There is no amount of money that will sway me signore, but you are welcomed to attempt to do so at other time'.

'I shall be staying at a local inn in the town, and shall return in the morning. If that is not inconvenient to you?'

'In the morning you said? You must forgive me, but I do not awake that early in the morning. Perhaps it would better that you come in the afternoon, if it is not any issue with you?'

'No. It is not an issue with me. Before I go baroness, I must ask, why is a lovely woman such as yourself alone in this old castle?'

'I have had many courtiers who had sought me and proposed to me, but few of them have ever lasted enough to finish their courtship'.

'I see baroness! Unlucky men they must be'.

'Luck signore. I would say more of their bad luck'.

We had abated the conversation, and I then left the castle and had returned to the town that was below the slope. At Carini, I had located an inn called Catalano, in which I could lodge for the time that I would be sojourning there. The proprietor was an elderly man by the name of Paolo Viscuso. He was a willowy man in stature, but like the baroness he had distinctive, catlike eyes that were creepy. Was this purely coincidental or did all the residents of the town share this same descriptive feature? I would quickly dismiss this oddity and instead, I had concentrated on how I could be persuasive enough to make the baroness sell the castle. I had offered her an extraordinary amount of money as a benefit, thinking that she would agree, but apparently, I was wrong in my initial supposition.

I had heard several stories told about the baroness and her family. None of them were flattering to say the least. Her family was once of a proud lineage in Sicily, but something of a mysterious origin had begun to associate the Talamancas with death and evil, ever since the first reported case of death in the town, two centuries ago. These stories were not of my concern at that moment in time. However, I did find them to be quite interesting and revealing. It had almost seemed to be a portentous legend of folklore that had been enhanced, by the local townspeople through their gossip. Who was this Bianca Talamanca that they had protected or feared? I knew practically nothing about her, and the little knowledge I had acquired was not sufficient to make a valid opinion. But it was those feline eyes of hers that I could not forget, for they were alluring in their essence and frightening at the same time.

Inside my room, I had wondered about the strange fact that the baroness was all alone in the castle, with the exception of a few diligent servants to tend to her needs. I had learnt that she had never married and had never had an established relationship with anyone outside of the area. It did make me think about the misfortune of those particular men. There were things in her comportment that were subtle, whilst other things that were eccentric that could be construed as unconventional. It was my first visit to the town of Carini. The horror that would linger there was one that was terrifying in its origin and ineffable in its nature. In the world that we dwell in there are innumerable secrets that appear indeterminate and unprecedented.

The howling wind outside of the inn could be heard resonating, like an echoic vibration. The mist had begun to reappear on to the vicinity of the area. The night would persist with its eeriness, as I sat there in my room with the contemplation of the unusual events that were unfolding. The image of the baroness was beginning to creep into my mind more, as the minutes had passed. I began to hear her seductive murmurs reach me from afar. At first, I was unaware of its puissant influence or its effects on me. I had felt that there was something that was controlling me, but I did not know how to describe it, except that it was forceful. I had stepped out of the room and outside of the inn to escape the daunting murmurs. I could scarcely see any one on the street at the time. There were only a few children.

The children too had those catlike eyes of distinction that clearly were abnormal to see. Another thing that was visibly displayed were the number of black cats that were everywhere in the town. It was as if they were the watchful eyes that were observing my every step taken. These inexplicable things, that I was witnessing were unsettling me, because I did not fully comprehend their attachment to each other. I had noticed that there was a full moon that was emerging from the tenebrous sky, and this would precipitate the horrendous episodes of terror that would ensue thereafter. I had often read about stories of the supernatural, but I had never experimented such a gruesome chasm of horror that was so vivid in its sequence of occurences, as what I would endure this grim night.

The murmurs of the baroness had intensified and had caused me to seek her in the castle, but not before I had resisted for a brief period. I did not know how I had managed to resist her. Instead of walking towards the castle, I took refuge in a nearby cathedral that was centred around the square. Then, I went to the square, thinking I was rid of her taunting whispers. There were people on the streets, staring at me profoundly with a measure of indifference. I could sense the alteriority in their actions. All of them with feline, sable eyes that were haunting in their nature. Unfortunately, for me, they would return and with a greater eeriness. I had continued to walk down the old streets of Carini upon the cobblestones, not knowing what to expect or what I would encounter next. My anxiety had increased and so did the uncertainty that encompassed my presence.

The unbearable disquietude had made me questioned, whether or not I was conjuring the inconceivable thoughts in my mind or was it merely a hidden fear of mine subdued, since I had left that imposing castle? Once more, the distant whispers of the baroness had reached my ears and this time I could not ignore them. Therefore, I was compelled to go to the castle during the night to see her. I could not refrain myself from succumbing to her control wielded over me. Her powerful spell was impossible to break, and my will was seized. I had told the carriage driver who had brought me to the inn before that I needed his service. We immediately headed towards the winding path that led to the castle. As I was seated inside, all along I heard her voice calling me to come and come I did.

Shortly, I stood before the front door of the castle, where I was left by the carriage driver. He wore a top hat over his head, but it was those catlike eyes of his that had illumined in the night. The restless wind had begun to howl, like a symphony at the theatre. The roaming black cats were all around the castle to be seen so plainly. They were the loyal guardians, who were apparent and committed to the baroness. As I passed the cats in the courtyard, I had gradually entered the castle at my discretion. I passed the hall and inside were the black cats as well, lurking in the darkness of the attentive shadows. I could hear the enrapturing voice of the baroness call me, but I did not see her or could I find her. I felt the coldness of the recesses of the walls, and I walked towards the fireplace that was lit to warm myself. It was there that the baroness was seated in a special ormolu chair waiting just for me.

I began to sweat in irrepressible chills that ran down my spine forthwith. On one hand, I was clueless of the unknown, but on the other hand, I was yearning to see her afresh. Cautiously, I had approached her, sensing I would discover the real reason why she had summoned me. The hour had arrived for me to confront my deepest desires and fears. I would soon discover that the baroness was no normal woman that I had ever met ere. Her history would be attached to the curse that she had been forced to bear. It was an abominable curse that began centuries ago, with her first ancestor, Isabella Talamanca. Instinctively, she knew I would come, and that I could not resist her irrepressible control over me. The baroness then rose to her feet to greet me, with a sinister smile that I would not forget so easily.

'Signore Maldini. I knew you would come, once I had called on you. You are no different than the others'.

I stood there listening to her words expressed with such uninhibited candour, 'What others are you referring to baroness? Why am I here?'

'The other men were seduced by me and whose passion I induced was irresistible'.

'And what happened to them?'

'They all had succumbed to their passion Signore Maldini. Just like you will'.

She would make a disturbing revelation, 'I know that you think I look human, but the truth is that I am not completely'.

I was utterly perplexed, 'What do you mean by that baroness?'

'I am certain that you have wondered why there are so many black cats inside and outside of the castle'.

'Yes I have! But they are everywhere in the town also'.

'That is correct!'

'And the reason for that?' I enquired.

'The cats have always been here signore. Ever since the Romans brought them to Sicily centuries ago'.

'You spoke of an ancient curse. What curse baroness?'

'It is a wretched curse that has condemned me to the need for human sacrifice'.

'Human sacrifice? Explain?'

'As I have told you signore, I am not all that human'.

'But you look in appearance to be human', I responded.

'I am from an ancient race of beings whose genes had bred with humans, and I was naturally born from a full blood black cat and a human. My parents, their parents, and the rest of my lineage were born this way too. It was not of their selection, but they soon embraced their gift, as I have embraced mine'.

'A gift? Have you gone mad baroness?'

'Not one bit! You will soon understand, once you have become one of us'.

'Become one of us? How?'

'By allowing me to make you mine?'

She began to walk towards me, 'Don't be afraid Signore Maldini, I swear that it will not be painful at all. Once our bodies yield to our sensual pleasures, you will not notice the difference'.

I took several steps backwards, trying to stay away from her, but as she had continued to walk forward and talk, she then transformed into the unbelievable thing that was half human and half cat. I was in sheer shock of what I had seen, as her feline eyes penetrated into mine so profoundly that they mesmerised me. It was then, when the dauntless cats that had surrounded us in the castle had altered their appearances into naked humans. What I did not know was that all the black cats, including the ones in the town were half human also in their constitution. It was too surreal to fathom, and it was like an incessant nightmare that never ended. I wanted to scream out loud, but I was incapable of expressing the madness that I was confronting. I had scurried out of the place with unrestrained chills and ran towards a surreptitious vault that had a narrow passage that led to an old catacomb that lied beneath the castle. I grabbed one of the lambent torches.

As I had walked through the darkled passage, I could see bloody imprints still impressed on the stone walls. I had looked back to see if the beasts had not been following me to the hoary catacomb, where bones were aligned in the ossuaries. For a moment, I was all alone to ponder the unnatural episodes of terror that were impossible to describe with mere words of apprehension. Immediately, I had to think rationally about what my next move would be in its course of action. I could not stay hidden in the obtenebration of the catacomb for much time, before I would be eventually discovered. The night would soon turn at dawn, and the rays of daylight would ultimately reflect through the niches of the eroding walls. Perhaps, there was a particular passage that led outside of the subterrene catacomb.

I had followed my instinct and searched for the passage out of the castle. Ultimately, it would take me to a solitary chamber that was covered in picturesque frescoes and selcouth drawings. I had recognised some of the frescoes, but the drawings were foreign to me. For a moment, I had pondered the significance of the drawings, but to no avail. There were also some descriptive letters that were more Roman than Greek in their derivation. It was difficult to guess, where exactly was the egress out of the castle. There were no clear intimations that could steer me in the right direction. Thus, I was indecisive and uncertain of what would be my next course of action. The only thing that I knew was that I could not remain a fragile hostage to the terror that was inside the castle.

I started to walk back towards the catacomb, when I had heard the familiar sound of the dreaded cats once more. This time they were hissing. There was no doubt in my mind that they were looking for me everywhere in every nook and cranny that I could hide myself behind. I had to react. I hid behind an ossuary that was full of bones and skulls amassed. As they approached, I could see an imposing figure emerge. From the shadows had emanated a strident sibilation. It was the baroness. She began to call on me with her devilish whispers that were tantalising me, with an uncontrollable urge that I could not resist its sudden seduction. There was nothing I could do that could break her immense influence. She had located me, and when she did, she had transformed back into a human and performed a spell on me that would leave me unconscious.

When I awoke, I was in one of the tapestried chambers upstairs. I was not bound or restricted in my movement. I still had the vivid memory of the catacomb in my head and the last encounter with the baroness. What did she have prepared for me was the question that was haunting me? The anxiety in me had incremented into a ceaseless desperation. There was no window inside the chamber that I could open to flee. Once I had realised what was occurring, I tried to escape through the door, but she would thwart me. The door was absolutely locked, and I had pounded on it with all my might. It was impossible to open or budge it. I knew then that I was an unwilling prisoner of the baroness and participant to her perverted game of diversion. What I had no clue of was the outcome. Would I succumb to my demise or would I live to tell the insidious horror of the castle?

After waiting impatiently in the chamber, I would be escorted then to her bed chamber that was upstairs as well, where the baroness was waiting for me. There she was dressed in a lustful black dress that was intended to provoke my most sinful stimulations. As a man, I was aware of the susceptibility of faltering to the temptation of my inner desires. How could I oppress them and resist the carnal flesh of her feminine persuasion? She had insisted that I come to her willingly. Slowly, I walked towards the canopy of the bed in which she was lying covered, with the scent of a senticous and dusky rose that was of a muted colour. She began to undress me, as she used her long and pointed fingernails to scratch my chest. I could sense the excitement in her and mine as well. The gnawing restlessness in me had been effaced, by the wicked concupiscence that she had aroused in me with pleasure.

'The anxiety in you will be soon over, Signor Maldini. Allow yourself to be enraptured, by your desires to want to me'.

'I can't! I shouldn't want to desire you, but I do'.

'Don't fight it! Let your natural desires manifest and allow you to enjoy the pleasures of my flesh'.

'What will become of me if I do?' I asked.

'Your world will forever change. You will become one of us. You will no longer have to occupy your mind with senseless fears, uncertainties and thoughts that enslave you'.

'No—I must resist!' I had screamed, as I rose to my feet.

'For how long can you resist?'

In the end, I could not resist her, and I had succumbed to her carnal flesh. I too was then, one of them—half human, half cat. It was something that I had struggled to accept as my finality. It was easier to embrace my new life than to continue to permit the torment to burden me, but I could not concede to the notion that I was no longer my quondam self. The baroness had attempted to convince me of the wondrous adventures of my new life. The human essence in me could not bear this radical alteration of not only my life, but my mortal soul. It was doomed to the merciless depravity of my animalistic side of me. It was extremely difficult to refrain from the acute senses I had acquired. I could smell and see things that a normal human could not dare to achieve.

Bright light would affect my eyes. I would dread to look into the mirror, because it would mean that I too had the reflection of the catlike eyes of the others. I broke all the mirrors in the castle, which had infuriated the baroness. She had installed in me the beauty of my eyes. However, to me the mirrors were a reminder of the umbrage of the curse that I would have to endure for the rest of my natural life. Although it was a curse that was afflicting me, the baroness had come to accept it and told me that it was pointless to reject my new life. It was time for me to bury my old life and assume who I had become. This was something that had caused me to suffer and lament my fate. I would no longer be able to enjoy the rays of the sun or the splash of the sea. This had saddened me, and the gloom of the castle would burden me.

The days became weeks, and the weeks became months. Despite my struggle to resist, I eventually had yielded to the life that had appeared was destined for me. The baroness no longer would have interest in me, and she would begin to seek other fresh prey to transform into her species of beings and quench her insatiable thirst for sexual gratification. Many men would soon fall prey to her lascivious seduction and become half human and half cat. This was the manner in which the baroness discarded men, like unwanted toys to be forgotten. I was free to remain in the castle or seek earthly pleasures elsewhere. For a whole month I left the castle and had travelled abroad, but I could not forget the intense attraction I had still for the baroness. There was no other woman who could replace her. Though I tried, I was unsuccessful in my endeavour. She was driving me mad to the point that I could not tolerate her being with another male.

I had wanted to live a normal life and regain the life that I could never return to its felicity and equanimity. Therefore, I was racked with unnecessary guilt and hopeless despair. I had revelled amongst the most beautiful and sensual women in ephemera, but none could fulfill the core of my lust than the baroness. There were moments when I thought of committing suicide by throwing myself over a cliff or drowning in the waters of the sea below. In the end, I did nothing. The continuation of my curse would not cease to progress or torture my soul. There was only one thing that was left to do, and that was to return to the castle of the baroness. To be with the cats of Talamanca. My intuition was linked to them, as was my instinct. No one would understand my new life better than them.

I had stopped at Palermo to speak to
my brother Marco, and I was wayworn. He was the only person who I had confided my innermost secrets to. How would I even start to make my earnest confession? What specific words could I express that would be convincing, not irrational to conclude? Would he believe that I was deluded? When I reached his home, just outside of Palermo, I had told him what had happened to me, and who I had become. I had to disguise my eyes with dark spectacles, so that he would not be discomposed with their hideosity. At first, he did not believe my narrative. I was forced to removed the spectacles, when he finally saw my feline eyes. He had gasped in apprehension. Before I had left him, he told me to save my soul, before the grace of God.

Upon the lurid lighting and peals of thunder of a rainy evening, I had returned to the town of Carini. This time, not as a mere stranger, but as a familiar face. The townsfolk knew who I was, without having to speak to me a single word. They knew that it was only a matter of time, before I would come back to be with them again. I had rented the same room at the local inn that I had previously been staying at, when I first came to the town. My intentions were to remain there and assimilate to the life that the townspeople had assumed. Perhaps, I had forsaken my soul to the devil in accepting my new life. I was tired of fighting against my other half that was not human, and I had wended my weary way back to the place of my unnatural transformation. So much of this new life of mine was predicated on the acceptance of the remarkable attributes I had acquired. Through my procurement of their eventuality, I lived with the thoughts of my unwanted downfall.

When I returned to the castle once more, the baroness had recently disposed of her latest conquest. A young man who like myself was condemned to the irrevocable curse of the Lady Taramanca. It was impossible to know how many men had become her reluctant victims of sacrifice. She had no pity for them, because to her, it was giving them a life that only a few could ever obtain as mortals. She had not changed at all. Her appearance was still ravishing in her long black dress, and with her exquisite jewelry she wore. She was near the terrace standing, when she had sensed my presence. There was an urgent need in me to confront her and tell her everything that I had to endure under the affliction of the curse, but I would desist once I was under her immediate enchantment.

'Signore Maldini. I knew you would return to the castle and to me'.

'Why can I not resist you baroness? Why do you continue to torment me with other men?'

'It is a natural thing that you are experimenting. Your jealousy does not concern me. You must learn to control it and enjoy me while you can'.

'But how?'

'It is a primal instinct that you are born with. You must tame your jealousy by realising that your desires are endless, but you must accept that I do not belong to one man. I am attached to you with the blaze that burns inside of us. This is how it is to be done'.

She started to seduce me and soon her feminine persuasion had stirred the untamed passion in me. It was a passion that I could not resist. We made love, but whatever jealous sensation I had before had only increased. I was welcomed to stay, under the conditions that I would have to do what she had requested of me. For a whole year, I was an obedient slave to her demands and her desires. One day, I had determined that I had enough and yearned to abate the madness of the castle. Once more, I thought of taking my life. However, I was too much of a coward to execute that grievous task. I even thought of taking the life of the baroness. That would only be a temporary relief. Therefore, I had decided to burn down the castle. It would not be an easy thing to do, because the baroness and the other cats would sense what I was planning. I had to be astute in my deliberation and preparation.

There were sufficient torches in the castle to burn it down from the interior of its ancient structure. I knew that this would mean that the cats would also be burnt. I did not fault them for what I had become. It was merely a choice that I had to make. Nor did I seek to kill the baroness. I only wanted to burn her lair down to absolute rubble. I had waited until the baroness was away from the castle, and the cats were occupied. This would be the revenge that I would exact upon the baroness. Perhaps it was madness on my part, but this was the only recourse of action that I had to punish her. There were manifold things in life that I had forsaken and had once cherished. Indeed, it was the moment that I had to seize then, if there was ever a time to take advantage of its timeful opportunity.

Thus, I began to grab as many torches and began to burn the draperies first. Afterwards, I had proceeded to burn the rest that could be burnt. I watched in absolute horror, as the fire had extended throughout the entirety of the castle and its opacity. Many of the black cats had fled through the apertures of the walls, while others had perished. Some had attacked me. I was able to accomplish my task of burning, as much of the castle that was feasible. I could not bear the inhalation of the smoke, and I was forced to leave the castle. The baroness had been alerted and had arrived. Her attempt at saving the castle was futile. I had grabbed her and pleaded for her to not go inside. However, I could not retain her for long. She had cursed me and told me that she would never be mine. This had blinded my wrath even more.

'Why have you done this to me Gianluca?' She asked with sheer astonishment.

'I wanted to punish you!' I answered with anger.

'This is how you punish me, by destroying the castle that has belonged to my ancestors for centuries?'

'It was the only thing that I could do!'

'Don't you realise that by punishing me, you are only punishing yourself?'

It was then that I understood what she was trying to relay to me, 'Good God, what have I done?'

It was too late, and the baroness Talamanca had perished inside, with the remaining black cats that had guarded the castle. My obsession for her had caused me to commit an abhorrent act of desperation. I could hear the sonority in the sombre cries of the cats and hers as well. The fire could be seen from afar, as the townspeople had arrived to witness the burning of the castle. A sudden regret had entered in me, as I stood observing the scorching flames that I had lit with the torches. Never would I see the interior of the castle as it once had been presented. Nor the seductive presence of the baroness anew, but the terrible curse that had afflicted me had not ceased with her untimely death. Instead, it would only get stronger and torment me with such an unrelenting guilt I would never be able to erase completely. I Gianluca Maldini would forever be half cat and half human.

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About The Author
Franc68
Lorient Montaner
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4 Mar, 2024
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