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The Stone Angel

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The stone angel sat on the warped, gnarled bookshelf in the attic of a house that had been unoccupied for a long, long time, forgotten and alone. It had sat there for many generations, and bore the dust and cobwebs that blanketed it as proof of every season, every year, every decade it had spent sitting there, unmoving. It was carved out of the darkest granite, as black as night. A carved stone tear hung on its cheek. Sadness seemed to be etched into the very stone of the angel, seemed to glow darkly from the intricate network of cracks in the ancient stonework.

One day, a family of three moved into the old house, a young couple with their seven year old daughter. They put up all their paintings, set out the furniture and unpacked their personal items. They played, they cooked, they worked and they slept, but they never ventured into the attic.

A few months later, a thunderstorm hit. The likes of it had not been seen in more than fifty years in this forgotten little corner of the world, and it raged for over a week. The storm was like a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, spraying wetness everywhere and terrorising the entire neighbourhood. On the ninth day the young girl wanted to play hide-and-seek, and her parents who spoiled her so, agreed. The little girl dictated that her mother would seek first, and she scurried off to hide in the one place where she knew her parents wouldn't look: the attic.

Her creaky footfalls echoed up towards the unknown, undiscovered, unholy darkness. As she reached the door, she hesitated for the first time. A little voice inside her was nagging at her to turn away, to leave, to never enter the attic. But she ignored that little part of her, and entered.

As the door swung inwards with an eerie creak, the thunderstorm crescendoed into a wild fury. It battered the house with a renewed strength, and the little girl shuddered involuntarily. Suddenly, she saw the stone angel. Its carved face almost seemed to be alive from the dramatic shadows cast by the flickering, flashing lightning. There was something dark about it that made her want to run away screaming, but she couldn't. It was like the blank, unseeing eyes of the angel had hypnotised her. She lurched forwards, a clumsy step that was completely against her will. She stumbled again, and a primitive, cold terror filled her small body as she arrived at the angel's side. The young girl placed her hand on the angel's cold brow. Her head reared back at the cobwebbed ceiling as she screamed in pure agony, a heart-wrenching cry that tore itself from her throat as a bolt of lightning struck. The ancient oak tree that had guarded the front yard for many a long year burst into flames, illuminating the eerie scene in the attic with an orange glow for a mere five or so seconds before the raging flames were doused by the torrential downpour. The little girl collapsed in a heap and didn't move.

The next morning.

The little girl lay in the foetal position, unmoving. There were no wounds on her body whatsoever; she seemed to be in perfect health, despite the fact that she was undoubtably dead. Flies swarmed around her, and mice skittered over her cold, still body. Her face was frozen into a mask of terror, and her sky blue eyes which had always shone with a joyous light in life gazed unseeingly into the distance, glazed over with death.

The stone angel still sits on the warped, gnarled bookshelf in the attic of a house that has been unoccupied for a long, long time, forgotten and alone. The house had been occupied a short time ago, but they left soon after the unfortunate and mysterious demise of their beloved daughter. The stone angel has sat there for many generations, and bears the dust and cobwebs that blankets it as proof of every season, every year, every decade it has spent sitting on the shelf, unmoving. It is carved out of the darkest granite, as black as night. A child's bloody handprint stains its brow. The body of the little girl lies less than a metre in front of it. But now, it smiles.

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