He must have taken a wrong turn.

He must have taken a wrong turn. He had been walking in his father’s castle, going to his mother, but it had been such a long time since he had been home… all of the corridors seemed so much longer than before, and they went up and they went down and they never led anywhere. And he knew his mother was calling for him, but he could not remember how to get to her room.

And now he was here. This was the wrong place. And it didn’t make sense—he should have been able to turn around and go back the way he had come, but he couldn’t remember where the door was, or which corridor he had taken. And he could no longer hear his mother.

What was this place?

What was this place? The light was dim and the air was cold—as cold as a winter night, but still. If only there had been a breeze he might have found the door.

Theobald looked around the room, and the more he looked, the more terrible things he saw. There were knives and blades and pikes—there were dark stains—blood, perhaps? It seemed that everywhere his eyes fell, something new and horrible sprang into being—as if nothing was, except what he saw, and only upon his seeing.

He turned to the wall, looking desperately for a door. But everywhere his eyes fell, there was a body. Theobald moaned.

Theobald moaned.

Some were still hanging, some had fallen to pieces and lay in a pile on the floor. Some still wore traces of clothing—some still had mats of hair clinging to their skulls. Some hung their heads in despair, others leaned their heads back against the wall with their jaws hanging open in a never ending, silent scream. Some had been women.

Theobald closed his eyes, stood shuddering. He must not look. Everywhere he looked he created new horrors.

But he could not stay here! He could not stay here another minute! He had to find his mother. He turned and ran to the opposite corner of the room.

He turned and ran.

But they were here as well. There was no door. There was no way out of here. He had to remember how he got in! He had been walking…

“Mother!” he cried, as he had not cried in many, many years. He hoped desperately that she would hear his voice and tell him the way. But his mother had fallen silent.

His mother had fallen silent.

He turned back into the room. There were the terrible things, but not the same—there were new knives and new bodies and new horrors everywhere he had looked before.

The sweat on his back chilled him in the cold of the room and made him shiver—he clenched his jaw to keep his teeth from chattering.

He noticed a pedestal in the middle of the room, surrounded by grim statues. But what caught his eye was a glassy sphere that hovered over its surface, seemingly unsupported by anything.

A glassy sphere hovered over its surface.

Curious, curious… His mind could find no words for what the thing must be called, and yet he felt that he should know what it was. This was important, he knew.

He touched it.

Theobald leapt back.

Theobald leapt back as a flash of light erupted before him.

The knives and chains that had lain on a polished stone slab had been replaced by a single bright sphere—it seemed to him that it held a bolt of lightning trapped and writhing inside.

It held a bolt of lightning trapped and writhing inside.

He moved closer, fascinated. This was the important thing. He felt that he should know what it was.

“My lord!” a voice cried joyously—the voice of his mother.

He lifted his head.

He lifted his head.

“Where are you?” he called.

“I am here.”

Theobald screamed.

Theobald screamed.

One of the skeletal bodies had lifted itself from the floor and was walking towards him.

Theobald crossed himself, called out to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, but the thing did not flinch.

“My lord,” it said again in his mother’s dear, soft voice.

Theobald shoved it as hard as he could, expecting it to fly across the room, to fall apart, to shatter.

Theobald shoved it as hard as he could.

But its weight resisted him as a living body would, and it only lost his balance for a moment.

Theobald was sick and blind with terror. This was the wrong place. He was lost.

He ran desperately into a corner.

He ran desperately into a corner, sent his hands scrabbling against the rough stones like a trapped animal trying to dig its way out.

The creature was coming up behind him. It was too late.

He turned to face it. He would see his death come to him.

“My lord,” it said again in dreamy happiness, defiling the soft voice of his mother with the hideous clacking of its jaw. “We have found you.”

Theobald screamed.

Theobald screamed.