Brian D. Moore

Thump. There’s that noise again. He rolls toward it and presses his hand to the wall. It is cold and wet with the damp. The light leaking under the door of his cell flickers in the beads of sweat on his hand, sparking a favorite memory that takes him far away from this place–to a vision of his sister Anne, giggling in her sequined party gloves.

Thump. And again. And this time he feels it. A beat against his hand. And with it, a dark droplet comes out of the wall by the tips of his fingers, and grows until the wall can’t hold it. It runs down the wall, under his raised thumb, swallowing the smaller beads in its path until it is lost in a deep crack.

Thump. He kicks the tattered wool blanket off his bare legs and slips to the floor. It is cold where the wet has puddled. He huddles on his knees and elbows, shuddering violently, his face pressed into his hands. Is he safe here? Safe from the sound?

Thump. No. It rings through the solid link of bone on rock and chatters his teeth. He crabs across his cell and scoots into the corner, his arms wrapped around his knees. He knows the sound now. They are coming.

Thump. Who will they take? Whose turn is it to be led to the chambers below? Never to be seen again, but to be heard. Piercing

Thump. screams, sharp until snapped off, silenced forever.

Thump. Are his efforts to escape too late? Will he

Thump. be hauled below to be stretched

Thump. apart? Torn limb from

Thump. limb?

Silence. Except for his heart pounding against his ribs and the squeak of skin against skin as he squeezes his knees to his chest. His cell door creaks slowly open and he presses farther back into the corner, his faced twisted in fear, eyes wild. A giant shaggy form looms over him, framed in the light from beyond. Click. The room is flooded with a blinding light. He shields his eyes with both hands, protecting them from a blaze brighter than any he has seen since they locked him away so many years ago. An innocent man.

“John! What are you doing still up? Get in bed this instant!. You have a soccer game first thing.”

“Mo-om. Call me Monte.”

“That’s it. No more scary movies for you,” she shoos him into bed. “Besides, his name wasn’t Monte, he was the Count of Monte Christo.”

As the cell-keeper leaves he drifts off, a small smile pressed into his soft pillow.


“Although I am new to fiction writing, I have already had success with three stories.” Brian (bmoore[at] has work published or forthcoming in The Prairie Light Review, Spring Hill Review, and Agrippina.

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