Behind the white curtain a waterfall cascades, shimmering as if struck by sunshine, hidden from the prying eyes of those who do not understand such things. Beyond the torrent of water that rushes forth to cleanse the soul, a chamber awaits. Within this chamber, it is said, a most valuable treasure lies. Do not attempt to take this treasure, for a powerful curse taints it, protecting it from any who cannot prove themselves worthy. The legend speaks of souls doomed for all eternity, stone grotesques that haunt the cavern for all of time, horror etched upon their withered faces...
Elfrida tiptoed through the enchanted castle, frightened that her movements would awaken that something that she could feel was hiding within the unnatural stillness. Hanging from her side was an ancient sword with runes etched along its length in a language no longer understood. A present from her father upon his death bed, along with a half-whispered tale of enchanted castles and ancient treasure.
Elfrida's feet felt numb and frozen upon the flagstone floor, but they made no sound. Her steel-capped boots would have clattered upon the ground, making noises she could ill afford. So instead she went barefoot, ignoring the cold and discomfort. Elfrida crept along a narrow corridor, one hand resting on the hilt of her sword, the other clutching at her throat. In front of her stood a white curtain that stretched from ceiling to floor. It fluttered as if moved by a gentle breeze, an impossibility within the depths of a castle. With a trembling hand Elfrida pulled aside the curtain, uncovering a raging waterfall, the sudden noise of it deafening. She abruptly let the curtain fall and drew in ragged breath upon ragged breath, the sudden silence making her ears ring. So it was true! The legend was true! Perhaps she would encounter a treasure after all.
Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Elfrida drew back the curtain a second time, prepared now for the noise and magnitude of the waterfall. It ran along the entire length of the wall, allowing Elfrida no chance to slip around the side of it to get into the cavern she felt was sure lay behind it. Gathering all of her courage, Elfrida broke into a run, slamming headfirst into the wall of water. She opened her eyes and stood, gaping at the large room she was standing in. She could feel the trickle of water down her back as if it were another world away. She couldn't believe her eyes as she scanned the cavern, from the frozen stone statues of would-be robbers, to the jewel-encrusted walls. She took a handful of tentative steps towards the centre of the room where a glass orb stood upon a granite plinth. Elfrida reached out a hand to touch it, before snatching it back. She didn't want to touch anything that she didn't understand.
- Written by Ash Oldfield 2013
My apologies, ladies and gentlemen. This is as far as I got for my short story this week. I hope you enjoy it so far. I ummmed and ahhhed about posting it incomplete, but on a whim decided it was better to post something than nothing at all. Time permitting I would like to complete this story, although I am spending so much time on my novel of late that I am not sure if I will manage it. Don't forget to share your stories on Twitter using the hash tag #AshWriteTime