Chapter 9

Written by: E L Russell

Gretchen, fearful of Albert, was relieved to see Grandma Whitaker. That relief changed to apprehension and fear when Grandma Whitaker turned to face her. Grandma had changed to an old hag with penetrating red eyes and a twisted sardonic smile.

“Hold her. Don’t let her move.” The old woman shrieked. “Bring her. I want her to watch.” She disappeared into the basement.

Albert grabbed Gretchen’s wrists, twisted her arm behind her back, held the other tightly against her breast, and painfully forced her to the top of the basement stairs.

The hag stood at the bottom. A single naked light swung slowly behind her animating the shadows of her evil presence. She wrung her hands and leered. Then she beckoned with open arms.

“Please, don’t!” Gretchen cried as she twisted to escape. “What have you done with my baby?”

Albert squeezed tighter, and shaking her said, “If you struggle, you’ll tumble, dearie.”

She heard her baby cry and froze in horror.

The hag stepped back to reveal baby Brent’s tightly wrapped figure lying on the basement floor. Only his head remained unbound by the swaddling.

Gretchen struggled to contain her fury. “Don’t you dare hurt him!” The words slid from her clenched teeth.

“Now, now, behave or I’ll drop you.”

Gretchen glared over her shoulder at Albert and stopped struggling.

“Yes,” the hag cackled, “Come down now. We don’t want you to stumble and fall on your baby.” Her evil laugh filled the basement. “We need him alive.”

Gretchen, her mind racing for an escape, allowed Albert to force her down into the basement. A rotten, musty stench encircled her. To one side she saw dingy shelves with dusty glass jars filled with embryonic forms in dirty fluid. In front, a steel table with handcuffs on each corner sent a momentary chill through her, but her attention remained on her baby.

The hag had picked him up and held him for her to see.

“He’s fine. Just what the doctor ordered.” The hag’s shrill cackle startled the baby and he cried.

“What are you going to do to him?” Gretchen struggled against Alfred’s bony grip.

The hag spoke in a mocking tone of comfort, “Nothing. We will do nothing to harm your baby.”

Gretchen pulled against her captor and thrust her face at the hag. “Then, what do you want?” she screamed.

The hag pointed to a dark recess at the other end of the basement. The baby carriage slowly rolled out of the darkness toward her. As it approached, the stench grew and she could hear a sound of something like snapping twigs coming from inside. Gretchen knew the stroller held something unspeakable.

The hag picked up her baby and pointed to the steel table. “Albert will tie you to that table and he will see to it you feed your baby.”

Albert gave another tight squeeze and chuckled in her ear.

Approaching the stroller, the hag cooed, “And your baby will soon feed mine.”

E.L. Russell (USA


Enos, your writing technique is flawless. However, the treatment of Gran Whitaker here seems to have taken on a cartoonish bent for me and jars against what's come before. Putting that aside, there are too many tags of "the hag" - while she's taken on some kind of demonic possession issue, she could still be called Gran Whitaker or something else to break things up. And Albert's turn from adoration to evil slave feels clunky - his calling her "dearie" sounds more like Gran Whitaker talking. And finally, if the baby is a couple of weeks old and being bottle fed, they can try to make her breastfeed all they want, it won't work. All that said, things have definitely fallen into the frying pan for Gretchen and her baby. How will Mat (our last author - not the dead Matt in the story) save them? Or will he?
Yes - I agree with Annette on cartoonish and about the two week old baby (I made that mistake) and about breaking up Gran's title. Having said that, what a fun piece. I could see the dingy basement and the jars of unmentionable thingys, in 'orible' fluid. The stink from the 'whatever it is' in the cot together with the musty surroundings made me gag. How wonderful. The table and handcuffs suggest there might be torture and blood to come. I'm all for that. The serial has come to life with a shreik of horror streaming from your keyboard. I love your style. You never dissapoint.
shriek - see what happens when you get excited? You forget to spell check!
I do agree with above about the cartoonish depiction of grandma.  Better if hag wasn't used at all.  The reader can make up their own mind about grandma.  Albert is still in the background as a servant and maybe he'll come to life and be human at the end.  There is good material for the final chapter to end so whoever has responsibility for that pressure. 
I loved the Frankenstein's evil laboratory effect of the basement. However, the transformation of Gran Whitaker into the wicked witch of the North, in my opinion, detracted from a serious thriller. Other than that purely personal objection a think the writing style is very effective.