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The Crypt Of The Marquess
The Crypt Of The Marquess

The Crypt Of The Marquess

Franc68Lorient Montaner

"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.”—Edgar Allan Poe

It was cold and eerie, as a sudden peal of thunder had awakened the alabaster clouds that had covered the sky, with a portentous shade of horror. The westerly winds of the evening had resounded abruptly, like a whistling shrill that blew their echoes. I was forced to seek shelter in a lone palace that stood erect over a protruding hill, nearby the anfractuous road, before the patulous space of the poplar trees that had rustling boughs and deciduous leaves. I had been travelling on horse, when I had located the palace on the outskirts of the city of Madrid. I had descried an incandescent lantern emplaced. My intention was to ask for directions to a local inn where I could sojourn, until I had raught the city. The tale that you will read exceeds the superstitions of folklore, but it is considered to be Gothic in its elements and its revelations. It is said that within that unusual palace, you can hear the cries of the haunting voices of the dead, who erstwhile were visitors of its palatial domain. There is a solitary place beneath that remains aloof and conceals the horrid secrets of a family's lineage. A crypt that contains the past and history of a noble marquess. The year was 1818, and my name is Vicente Sandoval.

The palace was originally built in the year 1790, by a certain nobleman whose name was Diego Ruíz Armandáriz. He would eventually sell the palace to another nobleman, who would be the last person to have owned it, according to records. His name was Federico Velasco Ledesma, and he was known as the Marquess of Valtierra. The white palace had a rectangular structure, with an impressive façade on its long side, with fine, wrought masonry, ornate windows, small balconies, splendid arches, Doric pillars, ornamental brackets. I had entered through the towering front gate that led into the interior courtyard of the estate. There was a fountain of shimmering water that was partially seen, as I had passed on foot to reach the front door.

My expectation was that I would be assisted. There were lit candles that I was able to see from outside. I had assumed that someone of prominence was residing in the palace, such as a diplomat, a nobleman or a high-ranking soldier. I was extremely fortunate that upon my tapping on the front door I was greeted by a young lady, who would identify herself as Señora Elena Ribera Velasco, and display her conviviality towards me. She was the wife of a marquess who had been reported lost soldiering, as was his duty to the country. She had revealed that to me. I had told her that I had come from Toledo, and I was heading to Madrid on urgent business. When I had enquired about any local inns that I could pass the night, she had insisted that I stay the night in one of the guest chambers within the palace, with no reservation attached.

I was hesitant at first, but sensing the difficulty that it would be to locate an inn that was not in Madrid, I had acquiesced and told her I would stay the night then leave in the morning. The wife of the marquess was a beautiful woman with long, flowing locks of raven hair. Her eyes were tinted in the colour of an emerald elegance, and her blue dress was that of a woman of fashion, not of bedizenment. She had just arrived from a trip from Madrid. Despite her coquettish nature, she was reverential towards me. With a lit candle-stick in her right arm, she had addressed me. The palace from inside was illumined with the candles of the chandeliers and lamps. It had a suite of rooms, elaborate architecture, a massive banquet hall, gilded tables, ormolu chairs, a wooden stairway, a fireplace, velvet draperies, and the great hall had a vaulted roof. There were paintings that were representative of a courtly life in the gallery. There was one singular object that had captured my observation within the entrance of the palace, which was a carved bust of the marquess that had chiselled his chivalrous features. It was obvious to me that the arrangements of the palace were still preserved, as was the lavish furniture that was pristine and polished.

There was something that was queer that I had intuited, yet I did not know at the time why I had felt this certain uneasiness. Señora Velasco had shown me the rooms, and she had asked me, if I had a natural preference for either the upstairs or downstairs rooms of the palace. Naturally, as a man of honour, I told her that I would sleep downstairs. I was interested in knowing more about her lost husband and the original proprietor of the palace, but she was rather ambiguous in her reply. She merely revealed that her husband was a marquess and the original owner was a nobleman also. I had asked her if she knew the history of the Marquess of Valtierra, and she answered by informing me that she knew very little of his ancestral story, beyond what was established of his family. She had been assigned the palace. They had only been married for less than a month, but they were a fain couple together. Before she left to retire for the night, she had said to me with a unique smile, words that had resonated as vague to my perception.

'I hope you sleep well señor. If you need anything, I shall be upstairs. One other thing—do not let the peculiar noises that you will hear intrude upon your stay at the palace.'

'Peculiar noises you say señora?'

She grinned then chuckled, 'Don't pay attention to me, I have simply been accustomed to certain sounds that my guests find strange. That is all.'

'I shall try to take that into consideration, but I shall be too weary to notice,' I had replied with a smile.

When she had departed, I sat down on my bed for a moment pondering precisely, about the thought of what I was to expect tomorrow once I had arrived at Madrid. I had planned on staying in the city, for only a few days if necessary. Nothing would have prepared me for the unsuspected suspense that I would be forced to bear, during my unforgettable stay at the palace. The wind had increased by the passing minute, and the thunder had not totally subsided. It was only a matter of time, before the night would be covered with fallen drops of rain. It was to be the dire precursor to the terror that I would confront unwillingly. Unbeknownst to me, the elements of this terror were of an unnatural derivation, and impossible to conceive in their entirety.

The guest room was somewhat uncomfortably cold. There was no warmth except the blankets to accompany me upon this night. There were a pair of three-armed brass candelabrums provided in the room that were lit. I was about to snuff out the nearest candle and sleep, when I heard a knock on the front door. I rose to my feet to investigate and overheard the conversation between Señora Velasco and a soldier, who apparently, she had known. I did not want to pry, and I thought it prudent to remain inside the room. I had the general impression that the soldier and Señora Velasco were of mutual acquaintances. He probably had met and known the marquess. He was also allowed to stay at the palace, but he had been accompanied by two other soldiers. It did not seem like a rendezvous, instead it had seemed to be an improvised visit. Señora Velasco would tend to the soldiers, with the taste of fine food and fine wine. They had been soldiering for weeks and were returning to Madrid. She had changed and dressed herself in an exquisite white dress and wore priceless jewels around her neck that would exude her feminine charm.

She had even invited me to attend the gathering with the soldiers. I was tired and had not intended on being a part of this social gathering that was proposed by her, but I had realised that I would not probably sleep much that night, due to the revelry of the soldiers. For that reason and the fact that my room was next to the great hall where the activity was being presented, I had joined them. The great hall was bedizened in gaudy finery that was noticeable and had a pair of regency glass candelabrums, along with chandeliers that had sparkling candles. It was not a complete display of hedonism, but a festive occasion that the soldiers had missed, since tending to their honourable duties. I was introduced to them by Señora Velasco, who was kind enough to be a gracious host to the soldiers and me. They had fascinating stories of the battlefield to tell, and some had obtained proudly, rewarding medals for their douth achieved.

The first soldier was lanky and reserved, the second soldier was the opposite, short and jovial. The third soldier was the embodiment of both, neither tall nor short, but he was talkative. It was ghost tales that had mostly intrigued them, and those that were specifically told by Señora Velasco, who had a natural disposition for engaging her audience with dramatic presentations. She had managed to arrest our attention, with such commanding words that were appealing in their conveyance and substance. Her facial expressions would arouse me from my fatigue and make me listen attentively to her narration, with keen interest. What I did not know was the fact that she was once a courtesan, but she was never beneath her persuasion for that predilection to manifest so blatantly before us men.

'Would you gentlemen believe me that the supernatural exists?'

'That all depends!' Said the first soldier.

'Believe me. It is worth the wait'.

'What kind of supernatural are you referring to Señora Velasco?' Asked the second soldier.

The third soldier had remained quiet, as I did. We both listened.

'I am referring to the dead that come back to haunt us in this world of mortals'.

I had interjected, 'If we are to believe in that notion, Señora Velasco, then in what form are the dead to return to this world?'

'In the form that is the most terrifying to us people, Señor Sandoval, the spirit realm.'

'Is that even possible? I have heard countless stories about the preternatural realm of spirits haunting people and roaming the graveyards,' the third soldier had replied anxiously.

'Yes that is possible!'

'How do you know that Señora Velasco?' I asked her with intrigue.

'I know that, because I have seen them in person'.

'Do you mean, you have actually witnessed a ghost?' The first soldier questioned.

'Indeed I have soldier'.

'When and where?' The second soldier insisted.

'Here inside this palace.'

'Whose ghost exactly is supposedly haunting this palace Señora Velasco?'

'The ghost of the Marquess of Valtiera and others'. There was a queer look in her eyes, as they gleamed with a sinister imposition.

'You mean your husband señora?' I then enquired.

'You are a very perceptive man Señor Sandoval.'

'Then it is true that the ghost of the marquess haunts this grand palace?' The first soldier asked bemusedly.


'I thought he was reported missing?'

'That is what they want the world to believe. For me he is already dead!'

'Why would he haunt the palace Señora Velasco?' I had interrupted.

'That is an excellent question. It seems that he had a fond predilection for terror gentlemen'.

'And the other ghosts? Who are they?' The first soldier durst to ask.

'The poor souls that have perished in this house'.

Her response would send a deep chill down our spines. She would describe the marquess, as an eccentric man of panache, and she would exemplify his patrilineal lineage. The soldiers were as well astonished by this admission of the wandering spirit of the marquess. It was not rare for them to see terror on the battlefields, but there was something about Señora Velasco that was indeed odd and unsettling. Perhaps it was her sudden candour that was indicative of her mien. What was disturbing was the notion that the spectre of her husband was wandering the interior of the palace at will and was dead not lost. I would never suspect in my wildest dreams that my stay would involve the phantasmagoric nature of the realm of the undead. Such things of this revelation were only at best conjured in the stories of ancient superstitions. A storm had begun to drop rain and roar thunder.

There was no transparency of the ghost of the marquis present, but the wind from outside could be heard blowing with such a rousing stir, amidst the flashing lightning. If was as if it was orchestrated by the presage uttered in the words of Señora Velasco. The eeriness in the palace was so palpable, and the night was progressing with the mysterious sounds that were emitted from the creaking doors, the flapping shutters, the shivers from the planks of the floor, the sway of the chandeliers. From the dauntless shadows then emanated a hushed sibilation that had raught my ears. I had stepped out and went to the fireplace to keep warm. The soldiers were still entertained by Señora Velasco in the great hall to notice the distinctive sound. It was getting late and midnight was quickly approaching, but the festive gaiety expressed by the soldiers and Señora Velasco would not cease it its merriment. The soldiers had continued to drink, and they were served more wine and even hard liqueur, such as brandy to induce their intoxication. They were men who would gallivant, when they were not dutiful. I could imagine many nights in the palace that were spent on bacchanal frivolities.

I had only drunk sparingly and was the only sober man, amongst the men. I had noticed that Señora Velasco was not inebriated. This, I thought was very peculiar. Was she accustomed to the carousing effects of wine or liqueur? Or did she not consume as much as the soldiers? The thought that she was the wife of an eccentric man and was probably accustomed to lavish parties had entered my contemplation. She had continued to intrigue me with her comportment. Perhaps I was merely overreacting, or there was something else about the woman that I was not prevalent to her unicity. There was one thing that was clear to me, and that was that the palace had appeared to be a place for ghost tales to be abundant and convincing. The thing that I was unaware of was the terrible secret that had lied in the concealment of the crypt of the Marquess of Valtierra.

I had felt suspicious about the night that I had left the fireplace and began to walk inside the solitary corridors of the palace. The others were distracted in their delights. I had originally planned on returning to the guest room where I was to stay the night. I had stopped to listen to the sound of a piano playing in one of the nearby chambers. I went to investigate and when I had approached the door, I could still hear the sound of the piano. It had sounded, as if someone was playing notes at such a late hour. Who could it be, since there was no one else present, except the three soldiers, Señora Velasco and myself? Was I merely hearing noises that my mind had mistaken for the piano? I had remembered the emphatic words of Señora Velasco, when she had mentioned the peculiar noises that were common in the palace. Her servants did not sleep in the palace and were from nearby Madrid. Hereat the suspense of the night had superseded the disportment of the wassail.

I headed for one of the adjacent balconies to hear the storm that had emerged from behind the thick, roaming clouds that passed. The rain was cool, as I had touched its moisture with the tips of my fingers. I took a deep breath and then I stared at the landscape of Madrid, which had lied in the propinquity. I could see too from a distance, the image of the fainting moon. It was there at the balcony, when I had perceived the presence of someone who was observing me. I could hear what sounded like murmurations. For a moment I had thought it was most likely the wind that was blowing. Was it a noctivagant ghost that I was witnessing? Or was it my awareness that was perceiving such a queer thing, despite its lack of manifestation? Whatever it was in the end, it had ceased from being present. The conspicuous noises were beginning to affect me and cause me to question my new surroundings. For a moment I felt an all-overish sensation in my stomach, as if someone was hiding behind the velvet draperies.

I had also started to hear the particular sound of doors from the suit rooms open and close. There was a cold breeze of air that I could feel as I had walked forth, conscious about what I was experiencing. I could sense the presence of elusive shadows hovering over me, as they had projected their images from off the walls with a flickering lambience. Something else that was strange was capturing my attention. It had sounded like the resonance of a dreadful whisper that had affrighted me for a brief moment. It was coming directly from the cellar beneath my room. At the time, I could not know, if it was a cellar or a crypt. My imagination could only guess in my approximation of the truth. It was unusual to see such a grand palace like this one be so vast and surreptitious at the same time. The walls had seemed as if they were well-nigh hollow, but they were sturdy in their wrought masonry. The fascination had caused me to seek, beyond the transgressions of the boundaries of the spirit world that were existential.

I had a candlestick in my hand with a bright flame that guided me, as I continued with my curiosity anon. What I did not know was that the door to the cellar was open. Thus, I had proceeded to walk down the stairway cautiously. As I had approached the end of the steps of the stairway, I could see in front of my eyes, the drear and dim sight of what appeared to be a subterrene vault or crypt nigh. There were also plenteous casks of fermented wine that had exuded its Spanish aroma. It was apparent that the marquess was not only a connoisseur, but a distributor of fine wine from the finest vignobles in the country. There was a great fortune he had amassed. It was difficult to fathom what sort of life this man truly had in person. His life was a genuine mystery to me, and the circumstances of his whereabouts were not known to me at that point in time.

I was able to locate through the narrow passage then, a massive crypt that was the supposed burial place of the marquess. The crypt was surreal and had unnerved me. The name of Frederico Velasco Ledesma was written above his wooden coffin, as a haunting reminder of his mortal presence. I was raised with the superstitious belief that it was not wise to disturb the dead whilst they were in their period of repose, but my intrigue had compelled me to open the coffin to look at the remains of the Marquess of Valtierra. The was no cadaverous smell exhaled from it. What I had discovered were the delicate bones and skull of a man who once was a nobleman with immeasurable prestige, but who then was reduced to the anonymity of the discretion of time. Unbeknowst to me I would unveil the secret that was the manifestation of the truth in the obscuration of the night. He was no longer lost to me, but dead and put inside a coffin.

I had the impression that the vague consequence of his death was kept hidden by his astute wife. I was a man who relied on my intuition and rationality for matters of the inexplicable realm of succession of events. I was determined to resolve his death. The one question that had disturbed me the most was why, was he even buried in this chamber of abhorrent solitude. Unless, he had requested this form of burial. Although it was uncommon, I could not rule out that plausibility. For a moment I had wondered if he had not been killed and left there to rot away in this chamber of despair. To concede to that notion was indeed macabre. Life is never fair, and death is but an inevitable course of mortality. I was never an actual believer in the preternatural existence of immortal spirits. However, could the ghost of the marquess be truly present in the palace, as a representation of that irony?

The once revelry of the others just above me, coming from the great hall was silenced. I had climbed back up the flight of stairs, with this morbid sensation that was obfuscating. When I had rejoined the others, it was midnight. What I had discovered next would shock me to the core of my soul in apprehension. There lying in the great hall were the dead bodies of the three soldiers. There was rutilance of blood displayed by the candles that gave me an immediate shiver. Who had killed these brave men of fine apparel? When I had checked on them, there was an obvious sign that they were poisoned first, then they had their necks slashed. Señora Velasco was no where to be located. I had called on her, but there was no instantaneous reply. It was until I had checked the gallery that I had finally found her. She was standing before a portrait alone. She had blood on her hands and white dress that was drenched in a scarlet hue that was noticeable. She was carrying a chalice full of blood that was dripping from her insatiable lips.

Before I could utter a word of response, there was a knock on the door, and it was the local police. Señora Velasco would answer the door and allow them to enter. She would accuse me of the heinous murders of the soldiers and attempting to murder her. Somehow, whilst I was in the crypt, she had managed to summon the police. The accusation had left me in a troubling state of stupefaction. The police would arrest me, but I had strongly insisted in my innocence and that the real culprit was Señora Velasco, not me. She had hoodwinked the authorities. I was taken to a local prison cell in Madrid, where I would have to bear my time there, until the magistrate had determined my culpability. I had immediately requested a barrister to defend me. I knew of one in Madrid. Despite the charge against me, there were no real clues that could inculpate me to the murders. It was mostly the testimony of the wife of the marquess that was condemning me to my imprisonment.

At the solitary cell I was inside, I had reflected upon the maddening succession of events that had occurred, before the terrible incident at the palace of the Marquess of Valtierra. There was no doubt in me that the inexorable terror at the palace was the result of the gradation of the evil influence of Señora Velasco, and the viscerality of her abominable acts. The insidiousness seen in her eyes and beseeming was personified, by her cunning manner in convincing others to believe her evocative narrative. Simply, there was no contemperation in her idiosyncrasy and craving for the taste of crimson blood. She was either a vampiric leech or an insane madwoman, who sought the perverse thrills of imbibing human blood. The idea of that daunting realisation what something that was perturbing to say the least. I could not afford to allow myself to be charged, for something that I did not commit.

When the matutinal light had shone, I was awakened from my slumber, by the active bustle of the streets of Madrid. I had not slept much. The barrister that was representing me had arrived, and I had immediately spoken to him and confessed to him what I had known. I had told him that I was in the subterrene vault of the palace at the time of the murders. When I returned to the great hall, I had found the dead bodies of the soldiers and Señora Velasco drenched in thick blood that was dripping from her dress that was in dishabille. Of course, her version of events differed drastically from mine, but there was one thing that Señora Velasco had not suspected, and that was that I had discovered the desolate crypt of the Marquess of Valtierra, with his skeleton inside. This affirmation I had acknowledged would bemuse the barrister, whose name was Gustavo González.

'What you are telling me Señor Sandoval cannot be possible'.

'Why? I have seen his remains with my own eyes'.

'It cannot be possible, because the Marquess of Valtierra had gone missing now for about a year in my calculations, in accordance to the newspapers'.

'If that is so, then whose skeleton did I discover in that atrocious crypt?'

'That I do not know, but if we can locate it, then we can prove your version of the account'.

'You would need for me to assist you, but how can I do that, if I am in prison?'

'I believe I can assist you in that endeavour. I can speak to the police in charge and allow you to escort them to the area of the crypt, so that you can prove your innocence and her guilt'.

'I would be in debt to you, if you can achieve that initiative Señor González'.

The barrister had departed from my cell, and I would wait impatiently, for any good tidings of my proposal. It was around midday, when the barrister had returned and revealed to me that he had managed to convince the police in charge to escort me to the burial chamber. The marquess was a well-established man of repute in Madrid, and any discovery of his disappearance was of the utmost significance. He had been reported missing by his wife, and nothing more was known of his potential whereabouts. What would ultimately be revealed would be of a gruesome nature and the indication of a wicked perversion devised in the most despicable manner. I was aware of the duplicity of Señora Velasco, but to what degree I was still uncertain of its extent? Her feminine licence had extended the notion of any restraint of her proclivities for murder. I did not question her capability. After all she had most certainly, killed her husband.

It was abnormal to expect a woman to be a ruthless killer in the society and period of time in which we were living. Men were considered murderers, not women. However, this perception would alter in the years to come, and Señora Velasco would be the one to bring that daunting possibility into the idle gossips of the aristocracy. The hour of the truth had arrived and if I was to eschew a prison sentence or worse a hanging, then I had to be precise and meticulous in my words chosen before the agents of the police. Señora Velasco was not advised of our visit. When we arrived at the palace, she was preparing her luggage. It had seemed that she was planning on leaving on a trip. She was surprised to see me accompanying the police. When she enquired about the nature of the visit, it was then that she was informed that the agents of the police had wanted to check the cellar.

She was reluctant to comply, 'Excuse me if I ask, but why do you want to check the cellar? It seems like a strange request'.

'We have been informed that in the cellar there is a crypt with the remains of the Marquess of Valtierra'.

She was stunned to know that they had known of the crypt, but she quickly regained her wits, 'I have no objection whatsoever. I must tell you again that my husband disappeared'.

'Then whose wretched bones are lying in that coffin Señora Velasco?' I had interjected.

'There are no bones there to be found Señor Sandoval. That is your imagination', she responded with a devilish grin.

She then imposed her questions on the agents of the police who were there, 'I see that you are easily swayed by the madness of a man, who has murdered three proud and valiant soldiers'.

'If you don't fear us checking, then we shall proceed with our investigation', said one of the policemen.

I had gladly escorted the men to the cellar and down the steps, whereupon I took them to the spot of the crypt where the coffin of the Marquess of Valtierra was kept hidden. When they had opened the brunneous coffin, they discovered his dead bones. This had confirmed my version of the account. The agents of the police had seen as well, the engraved name of the marquess above the coffin. Their intention was to take into custody Señora Velasco, so that they could question her about the skeletal remains that were inside the wooden coffin, but when we had left the cellar and returned upstairs to the great hall where she was at, we were met with a shocking surprise. She had completely vanished. She had not left the house, because there was no trace of her carriage departing. Thus, she had to be somewhere inside the palace.

The agents of the police were extremely baffled. There were no scantlings of clues to be detected. They had looked around to see where she could have been hiding, but to no avail. There was no other place that had been not checked. Of the three agents that had accompanied me, one went outside the estate to look for her in case she had escaped. I was left with the other two agents. Both were middle-aged men of medium stature. We were attentive to the eerie sounds that were made in the house and the gust of wind that blew. One of the agents had checked in a suite of rooms. As we were conversing, the sound of footfalls was heard coming from upstairs in one of the bed chambers. The other agent of police wanted to investigate, but I had attempted to dissuade him. He would not heed my admonition. Instead, he headed up the stairway and had entered the room. There he would meet his ultimate death. I could hear the agonising pain of the agent, who would stumble out of the room and tumble down the flight of stairs.

Quickly, I ran to his assistance, but it was too late. He was dead on the spot, murdered by the notorious Señora Velasco herself. She had pierced his heart deeply, with a long and sharp sword that was dripping in the profusion of the agent's blood. The villainess would appear before me, as she had gradually walked down the stairs, with a triumphant look in her sadistic eyes. She had planned the murders, but she would fail to plan the outcome that had occurred thereafter. Before that happened, she had made certain that I was a witness to her incisive manipulation. The other agents who had accompanied me to the palace were occupied. The thought that they had also been murdered by Señora Velasco had entered my mind, with the penultimate sequence. I could not underestimate the prowess and depth of evil that was demonstrated by this provoked woman. She had no conscious of regret.

'I must admit Señor Sandoval that I never thought you would discover the crypt, but I see that you are a very inquisitive man, who saw what he should not have seen in the first place'.

'What I saw Señora Velasco was the remains of a man who you once professed to love. And whose love you buried along with his body in a wretched place'.

'You don't know what I went through. Besides, there is nothing that you can do now. I shall remove the coffin and destroy the crypt, before anyone else discovers it'.

'But the police already know!' I replied.

'The only ones that knew were the policemen that came with you of which I have disposed of them. That only leaves me with you, Señor Sandoval. Your death will be a merciless one to endure'.

'Then you have murdered the other agents of the police?'

'If you must know. Yes, I have murdered them as well'.

As she stood on the last step, laughing at my predicament, a stranger with a pale complexion would pierce her heart from the back. It was no other than the revenant of the Marquess of Valtierra. Señora Velasco would gasp, as she fell to the floor dead. Her mouth was pouring blood, as she had reached out for my hand for assistance. It was surreal to witness the nature of her death, but the image of the ghost was even more haunting in its appearance. It was the marquess himself, whose eyes were of a flaming, red colour. He was dressed in the attire that he was buried, within the coffin of the tenebrific crypt underneath. He had pronounced no words and made only a token gesture that was a penetrative stare that was incomparable in its intensity. I could not easily forget that dreadful stare of his, for it was indelible in its authentic essence. The agent from outside had entered and saw the image of the ghost of the marquess. He was not dead but alive. He was thunderstruck and had recoiled in disbelief.

It was then that the ghost had disappeared into the secret realm of the immortals of the palace. To where—that I had no clue of its specific place. I had explained to the agent what had transpired and he would corroborate my version of the story. Even though he did not witness the death of Señora Velasco, he did manage to see the ghost. She had killed the other agent that was in a suite of rooms. It was learnt afterwards that the wife of the marquess had been involved in a secret cult and murders in the area. Some had durst to call her a witch or a vampiress, who vitiated the marquess, causing him to abjured his old beliefs. I shall defer to make any such claim recognised of her untamed desires, and only profess of the nature of the horror that was in that palace. I was a witness of their occurrences, and they were unthinkable but realistic in their outcome. Señora Velasco had met the same fate that her victims met, which was death. The only difference was the fact that she had murdered these poor souls, after gaining their confidence. Perhaps she was a black widow, and one that was as sinister, as were her devilish acts displayed.

I would depart the palace of the Marquess of Valtierra, as a free man. I was exonerated from any charges imposed upon me. The soothing rays of the sun had cast a reflection upon my sober countenance. The garden that was once roseate was full of drooping blooms. A telling sign of the change that had taken place. The menacing sounds had dissipated and all that I heard were the favonian caresses of the fading wind. There amidst the obnubilation of the clouds that had veiled the secrets of the dead, were the umbras of those whose immortality was forever sealed in the superstition of the mortals. I had returned to Toledo, after I had finished my business in Madrid, yet I had not forgotten the forlorn chamber that was hidden in the penumbral shade of darkness that was the crypt of the Marquess of Valtierra. I would have vivid nightmares that would persist and torment me, with the retention of the facts. In time, I had learnt to accept that they were only conjured in my mind, but were they really?

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About The Author
Lorient Montaner
About This Story
8 Mar, 2024
Read Time
30 mins
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