The Writing on the Wall - Finish The Story: Week 46

in fiction •  14 days ago

Image by TheDigitalArtist on Pixabay

This is my fourteenth entry in @f3nix Finish the Story Contest. The prompt, or start of the story, was written by @dirge and is highlighted below in quotation to differentiate between their work and mine. The idea of the exercise is that I finish the story, and try to do it in 500 words. This week I have managed to complete my ending in 656 words. Nearly made the suggested word count 😉

Please be warned, the ending of this story is not for the faint of heart!


Beginning by @dirge

Benjamin Leitner, son of General Reinold Leitner, grandson of Count Dietrich Leitner, stepped from the stagecoach and lit his pipe. The night was cold, the sky a vast black emptiness. The moon, if it had shown itself at all that night, was gone, and nothing but the light cast by Benjamin’s lantern offered solace from the creeping dark.

He’d reached the graveyard, home of his family tomb and its historic dynasty. It was a forbidden place, the site of his late mother’s suicide, where Leitners were entombed stretching back centuries. He hated this place, more than anywhere else on earth. But he’d come, alone as ordered to. He’d come, as he had no other option but to do so. And he’d brought the gold.

The letter was written in her typical style. Loquacious, expounding on the nature of their relationship, apologizing for her affairs, thanking him for standing by her throughout it, remaining at her side despite all the controversy of the town. Despite even her own parents telling him to abandon her as a lost cause.

She’d not only dragged herself down into the mud. But him as well. Benjamin the financier, of Wolfstone and Kauffman, now the cuckold of all of Austria. But worst of all, she’d tarnished the name of Leitner.

And when the accusation came, of witchcraft and devilry, of black magic and the most bestial of sacrilege, of whoring in the night endowed with opiates unto madness. Well, it was no wonder when Kauffman wanted out.

And still he stood by her.

Should he have been surprised when the letter came, demanding the last of his finances or else she’d accuse him in the papers of having masterminded it all? Of being an original scholar of the black arts?
That would render the Leitner name into devilry.

No. He couldn’t allow that.

Benjamin finished his pipe, the tobacco charred and ashen. He cast the ash into the wind then slipped the cherry wood pipe into his coat pocket, beside the letter crested with her seal.

Melinda. Oh, you wench.

I’ll be in the crypts, waiting.

He suspected she wasn’t alone. Benjamin suspected the whole carnal tribe to be down there, waiting for her.

Well, so much the better. Let them all wait for his arrival. Let them all see the truth, the forbidden history denied to the world. Stretching back into the foundation of the soil. Let them know who it was that the Leitner’s may be.

He stepped across the grass, peering at the graves of his forbears till he reached the central crypt. The iron gate was ajar and the darkness seemingly impenetrable. They were down there, waiting for him.

“Melinda,” Benjamin said to himself. “It could have been different. So different. But you threatened my name. For that, I cannot forgive you.”

He entered the crypts.

“Time to meet the family,” he thought to himself, almost with a laugh.

Image by KELLEPICS on Pixabay

The Writing on the Wall

Ending by @raj808

Mist beaded teardrops of obsidian crystal from the roof of the crypt. Silence muffled his thoughts, interrupted every few seconds by the soft fall of a water droplet onto the damp floor.

Marble edifices lined the mausoleum hall. The stern countenance of his ancestors watching his every move.

Alexander Leitner, his great, great uncle. Marble mustache dripping from that cruel face. Hard dark eyes, deep set and maniacal.

Maximilian Leitner his great, great grandfather. Known as the butcher of Amstetten, hired by Maria Theresa to put the whole town to the flame in a strategic sacrifice.

Johanna Leitner his great, great grandmother. Who poisoned her lovers with Nightshade and Hemlock from the castle gardens.

Suddenly a high orgasmic keening echoed from the inky blackness ahead.

Benjamin stopped dead. Dust shivered a curtain of motes from a moon beam that encroached into this place of death. The light faltering just up ahead, a gaping portal of nothingness.

A scratching shocked him out of his contemplation. He turned, dead stone eyes of his great grandmother burned cold white light freezing his bones to the marrow. The statue held his gaze as it scratched a message on the wall.

Time to feed!


He felt them possess him. All of the cursed Leitner dead. As they had when he was a boy, coaxed down into these stinking tombs with the promise of something at the edge of imagination. The raw energy of their spirits raked him from the inside.

Fire and steel in the sacred night. Fire and steel in the sacred night.

The words echoed through his mind, words chanted in another time and place. He saw matchstick scarecrows flailing around in the dust as his hands picked up the pitcher of oil and doused the farmers into living beacons. They shrieking like pigs at the slaughter as flesh melted from their bones. He felt the flames. He felt the flesh crisping and the smell of his own brain boiling.

Benjamin Leitner howled as those spirits inhabited him.


"Benjamin, you don't scare me." Melinda's voice quavered as she screamed into the darkness from the alter room. That pig Simon had run away at that unearthly howl and taken the lamp with him. A good lover but a complete coward.

"Benjamin, do you want to play games?" She loved to tease and torture him, such a weak and ineffectual man. Melinda let loose her own unearthly howl into the darkness as she fumbled with the candle. Better not drop it or I will be in trouble.

She listened as the echo of her howl died away. Silence.

"Benjamin, I hope you have brought the gold or everyone will know about the coven of Llgenberg and the legacy of Leitner will be destroyed."

No answer.

Suddenly an icy breeze rushed into her face, the candle sputtered out and dropped to the floor.

Melinda groped in the darkness for it before taking a deep breath and waiting for her eyes to adjust. Nothing, she couldn't even see her hand in front of her face.

"Benjamin." She screamed into the endless night.

She heard a low gurgling noise as the echo of her scream died down and moved toward it where a dim glow could be seen.

As she rounded the corner of the tunnel she could see a feral figure crouched low in the corner. Glistening ropes of dim flesh in its hands, a gurgling grinding noise filled her world. Benjamin turned to look at Melinda, Simon's entrails spilling from his hands and mouth. Blood covered his face and torso, clotting at the corners of his mouth. In one hand he held a severed arm, splintered bone jutting a pale smear of cream in the nightmare dark. A green glow burned from his eyes at he looked at her and spoke in a rasping wet voice, gore spittle flying.

Melinda.... it's time to feed!

© Rowan Joyce all rights reserved

The pictures used in this post are creative commons licence and were sourced from, please follow links below pics to credit . If you have enjoyed reading this short story, you can check out similar work on my homepage @raj808. Thank you.







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@raj808 - I have been wanting to participate in @f3nix’s Finish The Story since last Fall. Just seems like there’s never time... But your entry has gotten me motivate and excited to participate again! Well written - loved it!


It's the weekend and we offer a freshly baked 47th edition. Don't you smell it's inviting fragrance? Also, allow me to invite you in our Bananafish Realms, a place for brave storytellers only.


Thank you, I'm so pleased you enjoyed the story @aejackson.

Also, that it has inspired you to have a go in the next round. I find the 'finish the story' to be one of the best writers prompts on steem. I always seem to get right into a strong rhythm and natural flow working from someone elses beginning... Also it's fun😉

Thanks again for checking out my post

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I had to read the last part twice. That was intense. The monster got me the first time.


I'm glad you enjoyed the grisly ending Tristan :) Also, how intense and creepy it was. I was sort of hart in mouth while I was writing it lol

Dear Melinda, a good practice would demand that you get well informed before starting to blackmail someone. There's so much in so little space and yet that word limit seemed to me not only respected but also in a large way. The merit goes to the magic in your descriptions and to the knowledgeable dosing between atmosphere, suspense building, and the twists. Once again, a true pleasure to read (and forgive my belated reply).


Ha ha, yes Melinda chose the wrong guy to mess with, or rather the wrong group of ancestral spirits lol

Glad you enjoyed the story m8. This was an exercise in pace for me. I wanted it to be like a real slow build of creepiness with a shock of graphic gore at the end. I could definitely have spent another hundred words on the final paragraphs to make it more gut wrenching but ya know what they say... sometimes less is more 😉

I'll check out this week's FTS beginning tomorrow and have a crack if it grabs me by the toes like dirges did.

Thanks for reading @f3nix 🙂

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I found the moment of the great grandmother's statue scratching the message equally intense and scary. Well, in this edition my story had to keep high the bar after Dirge's one. I hope I accomplished the mission. It's one of those stories where I'd love your opinion 🙂

This post has been manually selected, curated and upvoted by CI mod staff team. Supporting all posts that are in high quality and don’t get enough recognition.

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This is just spectacular, the way you open so beautifully, and then the statues, the way you incorporate his ancestors is just brilliant, it builds this palpable horror tone, painting so wonderfully the weight of the Leitner Legancy Benjamin faces. Then the history you bring in with each of them is like flashes of vivid memory. It all combined in a strong sense of realism, that is just prime for the statue carving its foreboding message.

Then the spirits inhabiting him, playing so fantastically on the set up in the first half. And the moment of memory you chose then, with it's searing descriptions, just a beautiful teaser of the visceral action that follows.

The way you use Melinda, with her lover - a great touch, building suspense in her wavering confidence, until she is forced to find her way through the darkness. It leads so perfectly into your ending, (which I love!! <3) as dripping in horror as his blood soaked face. Just wonderfully done, so very glad you managed to bring us this one!

~ Calluna


Thank you @bananafish knight, Calluna. I must say this is the thing I've missed most on this hiatus from writing poetry and fiction on steem; the wonderful insightful comments that help me see the piece through another person's eyes.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story ending. I wasn't sure if I'd gone overboard with the shock factor at the end but I was really happy with the atmosphere and pace when I gave it a brief edit. It's really cool to have your feedback which confirms my instincts. Glad to be back writing horror, it is one of my fav genres to write :)

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Wow! Everything fits together. The ending like a symphony of gore to an emotional high.


Ha ha, I love your description @cyemela

The ending like a symphony of gore to an emotional high.

I'm a sucker for a traditional gore-fest ;-) Also, I wouldn't wish that death on anyone.... but... she kinda deserved to get fckd over lol

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