The Manuscript of Damascus

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An account of the miserable life of Layla, unfortunate wife of the Mad Poet, Abd Al Hazred.

Horror / Fantasy
Age Rating:

The Manuscript of Damascus

My name is Layla! My name is Layla! My name is Layla!

Frightened my spirits may leave me, repeating my own name for fear of forgetting even it. I will now write the story of my damned life, so my children and maybe others may remember it.

I must calm myself while drawing on this parchment, lest it will not be readable except by the worst demons of this world and others.

I was born about twenty six years ago, eighty years after the Prophet fled from His foes.

The Prophet.

I used to pray Him and His God, The Only One, The Almighty. I am not so sure, now.

Father was a rich man, one of the richest merchants of the City of Jasmine. He had three spouses, sixteen children: ten daughters and six sons. They are all dead, now.

When I was fifteen, the Fortunae hit my father hard. He had to settle a deadly deal with a weird Yemenite recently established in the City. His name was Abd Al Hazred. Though almost unknown at his arrival, his dubious skills quickly opened him the doors of the wealthiest palaces in the country.

Before long, I would know how and why his power grew so fast, as a part of his agreement with my father was to have my hand. Due to this alliance, my father's fortune quickly was restored, as if magically.

Abd was a sorcerer. One the crueler and more powerful this poor land will ever suffer.

After our marriage, I was imprisoned in his house, cut off from my family. If I dared to protest, he would menace me and my kin, in the most horrible manner.

Abd was ugly. He had horrible scars on his face; it looked as if his ears and nose had been cut, then reattached. During the first three years of our marriage, he never slept with me, nor touch me. At first I thought it lucky, as I felt only disgust for him, but I didn't know what plan this demon had.

He took my blood, almost to my exhaustion. Some drops every day, a full jar once a month. I had to hide the scars on my arms, but as I did not see any outsider of our household, no one would have cared.

At first I tried to resist. Once I almost succeeded to flee from the house. But I was caught by one of his servants, one horrible Tcho-tcho giant. The punishment Abd promised then was not long to come: on the morrow, a messenger came from my brothers. Father was dead, beheaded and emptied of his blood in his sleep. His last cry cursing my name.

My mother, my brothers and sisters, and all my family were not long to join father in death. I was soon alone in this nightmarish world.

I didn't know what Abd did with my blood. Only heard noises and chants and screams in the basement of the house, at the demons hours. I didn't dare to ask him anything, utterly subdued.

One night, after three years of this miserable life, I heard louder chants and screams than accustomed. The noises were also horrible. It was as if the earth itself would break and the fires of the underworld be brought free to eat the living.

After this night, my life changed utterly.

Abd came in my room in the morning, he undressed himself and tore my sleeping clothes. It was the first time I saw him fully naked. His hard member was huge and red. It bore the same kind of scars as his nose and ears, as if it was a piece of flesh re-attached to his crotch. This monstrously throbbing member tore my flesh. For the first time, my blood remained on my mattress, and his burning semen burned my womb.

Then, for several months, Abd came to my bedroom every morning and evening. Before and after disappearing in the basement of our house, as his nocturnal demoniac plots didn't stop. It was a new kind of torture. He was in a frenzy of copulation, as if to catch up the time of pleasure he missed while being emasculated.

There was something else, the madness in his stare told it. Something was coming, and he wanted to impregnate me beforehand. Finally, I became pregnant from his unholy semen.

It's a miracle these ordeals did not take hold of my sanity. Or did they ? I am sure of nothing, now.

When it became obvious that I was with child, the daily intercourses stopped. The relief did not last long, alas. A dark foreboding stretched a shadow on my soul. Showing an attention as he never did before, Abd hired several women servants to attend to me, with obvious instructions to ensure my comfort and caring for my health, as well as keep me under a continuous watch.

He got also some concubines to replace me in his couch. My servants and me didn't meet them often, and they seemed to be replaced every two or three months. I suspected they did not survive long with all their sanity to Abd's assaults.

Just after entering my twentieth year, I gave birth to twin children, one girl and one boy. Joyce mingled with fear of what would happen. Now that Abd had the heirs he seemingly wanted, what would he need me anymore ?

But I feared for no reason, it seemed. During six years, my servants and me were let alone to raise my children. Abd only watched us discretely, continuing his dark business on his own. He only forbid us to go out of the house. Fortunately the house was extended, due to some neighbours' sudden death and cheap price, enough for our quarters to be isolated from his unholy activities.

So my children were not troubled in their innocence by the nightly noises, chants and screams. During that time, he did not pay much attention to the twins, only looking them from time to time.

Nevertheless, I spied his whereabouts. He got at least five other children, or for what I knew, got five of his concubines pregnant. I never saw their children as they all disappeared when birth was at hand. After each of these disappearances, Abd's eyes became more filled with madness, if that was possible. He looked more and more like a hunted beast. We avoided his eyes, though he did not bother us, seeming not to even see us.

After almost six years of this life, the horror struck.

It was one of the darkness nights I ever saw. Black clouds had covered the skies all the day, as if announcing a cataclysm. Abd was not to be seen from the morning, I only crossed him in a corridor, he was hurrying to the basement, holding a great pile of parchments in his trembling arms, covered by his erratic writing and horrible drawings. His stare was a nightmare to see. Death lurking in a living flesh.

Even in our isolated rooms, we heard him scream all the night, throwing demonic incantations to the veiled stars. Outside, winds and thunder joined the dance, the Jinns hissed in the air. Abd went on praying and chanting to appease I do not know what demons. This was not a holy ritual as I learned in my childhood. Allah and Muhammad His Prophet, never intended the tongue now chanted by Abd to be pronounced or heard by human souls!

I dare not even to utter the Words I heard this night. For fear they will summon again the same horrors. Even less would I try to render Them on this parchment, for fear They would fly and crush my throat!

Unexpected, morning came, luminous. In His Holy Mercy, Allah seemed to have spared us, thrusting the black clouds to the West Sea. A crowd gathered in front of our house, poor, rich, peasants, warriors, with fear and murder in their eyes. Their tolerance for Abd's deviances seemed at its end, at last.

Abd came out of the basement, went to them, panting. He crouched before them, like a beggar. Asking for pardon and mercy. Drawn swords would not let him live long. Some warriors, oathed to fight the Infidels, would not let so an unholy fellow walk under the sun.

They could not reach him, though. Abd got on his feet, screamed horribly, and began to levitate!

These were not the damned Words he sprout from his throat in the night. Only horror, apologies and pleas, so human!

Stunned, the crowd just watched, motionless. Fearing their doom at hand with this madman's new sorcery. But it was not so.

While Abd was floating in the air, his spine began to bend backward, to the point it broke. His chest opened and a flow of blood rushed from the still living carcass. An invisible mouth swallowed it. And the creature holding the sorcerer became faintly visible, as blood filled its body.

As it became visible, this creature looked like a living nightmare escaped from the hellish pits. Faith utterly left me when I witnessed it. If there was a God, He would not allow this to be, even to punish the worst sinners.

The demonic being revealed by the blood it has just gulped, was an amorphous mass of flesh, a bulbous

vibrating insanity. Fainter than the body, members - or were they tentacles? - floating around, some still holding high Abd's still stitching corpse now empty of blood and life, some sticking to his flesh and sucking the last remains of fluid.

What was serving as head to this demon was even worse. Most of it was a maw, wide open, rigged by three rows of fangs, surrounded by a pack of wriggling smaller tentacles. After engulfing the last drop of blood, the maw snapped shut, and we saw the demon's eyes, bright yellowish bulbs. The demon glanced at the stunned crowd, his mouth now shut drawing an evil mocking smile.

He turned his stare to me. The yellowish eyes pierced my very soul.

He then opened his maw one last time, howling deafeningly, laughing demoniacally. There were Words in those screams, but I would not dare to try to render Them. I covered my ears with my hands, and fell on my knees, hiding below the window I was looking through. The screams lost themselves in the Ether. The crowd broke from its stun and vanished in panic. When I dared to raise and look at the scene, only Abd's cadaver remained, his flesh grayish and falling to dust. The wind blew from the East, only the bones stood still.

My servants carried me to my room. Taking my children, we were all fleeing in the hour, before the frightened people came back to storm and wipe the house of all what remained inside, dead or alive.

One of my servants took Abd's book and some parchments he let on a table in his basement hideout. At noon we were at her uncle's place. The old wise man was so joyful to find his niece alive he hid us and kept us safe without any questions.

A new life then began for me and my children, which would prove no more peaceful than the previous one, but that is another story...

Layla bin Malik al-Fulan, first and only wife of Abd Al Hazred the Cursed.

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