Lights in the Attic
Story by Wolvun
In the Samhein Manor, there are many passages and hallways. Rooms and corridors that are not often used. The ever expanding building seems to create and move rooms at its will. Or perhaps Serena has a plan for such things. If she is, she’s not telling.
That would ruin the fun for her.
Yet, there are quiet places in the Manor. Places where the maids do not need to tend to. Places where the monsters settle in for the day. Where slaves curl up to try and get the rest they need. To bide their time. Not everything is active all the time.
But it is during these quiet times, that one certain person is.
High above, above even the upper floors, are the attic levels. Reachable only by the ladders once they can be found, and seem to stretch high beyond the top of the building, if logic were anything that could be relied upon. The Ill Manored, a rebellious group of escaped slaves, know the ladders and vertical passageways well. Sneaking through the crawl spaces between walls while the tormentors enjoy their prey. However, even this group has little reason to go all the way to the roof sections above the upper floors, often only venturing up carefully, and with a single purpose.
Soul Wisps often gather here. Floating about amid the dust mites. Aimless without purpose. Merely going where the air current takes them. Without a way to pass on, these Soul Wisps are stopped by the roof. Unable to pass on, bound to merely flutter about the rafters. Trapped in Misery Manor, with everyone else.
That is how the Seamstress finds them. A single eye watching them dance in the moon light filtering between worn boards and windows. Many hands reach out . Fingers cradling the small apparitions. A gentle humming lullaby dancing through the rafters as a lantern is brought forth. Iron and well worn. Gently placing the wisps inside. Many hands gathering them softly, with the care of flowers trimmed from them stems. All the while she hums. Heading back to her nest to set to work once more.
There was not originally a window in the Sematress’s nest. When she had broken through a wall, the damage reformed itself, the house itself healing the wound, shaping into a circular window. One that let her watch the outside world.
For now, the curtains are drawn. The Soul Wisps get agitated during the daylight. So the Seamstress returns to her abode, lit by their natural glow. Dozens of lanterns hung and set all around the room. Decoration wasn’t something she concerned herself with much. Pictures and photos hung loosely on the walls and dangled from strings beneath high lanterns. Every photo lit well, but dusty and often cracked or broken. Cobwebs reached from the photos to the floor and ceiling and lanterns. Spiders and insects hiding behind the walls, enjoying the dark as much as she did.
All the while, she hums. Placing the newest lantern onto its hook, she returns to her work. It lays across the table where she had left it. Empty, gazing upward without eyes. One of the many that she has learned she was able to produce. In the bright times. As she worked, sewing more onto the large sleeve of an arm, her mind wandered as it always does. Wondering if this was what the Good Doctor had planned all along.
The Seamstress could not remember a time before the experiments she was part of. A time before the Nurses explained to her why she was created. Surely, she had been someone like these suits had been. Surely she had. Yet such memories were not there. She had never been encouraged to dwell on the past.
In the bright times, they had ensured everything worked. And what didn’t was covered. It was why the left side of her face was covered in a graft. Why her lips sewn and jaw set. She would not have need for words in her work.
In Greek legend, Arachne was cursed for her skill with her hands. The experiments ordered by the Good Doctor took that to its logical conclusion. Her spideresque lower half created of flesh and blood. Legs elongated. Feet crafted into the spider’s tip. Yet the surgery performed by the Nurses was not limited to merely imitating what legends make her. The Seamstress had far more arms than eight. They extended from all across her back, top and below her abdomen. Wherever the Nurses could find space on her, they stitched arms for her. They wanted the vision met and exceeded. They were fervent in satisfying the interests of the Good Doctor.
However, that interest seemed to hold only so long. Curiosity seemingly satisfied, more projects began, leaving the arachnoid creation to wander the halls of the Manor, left to seek her own purpose. The Seamstress chose to climb. Away from the noise, away from the confusion. Away from the Good Doctor.
Shaking her head, she returns to her work. Continuing to hum as her many hands work over the body. She watched many violent surgeries performed by the clumsy Nurses, and by now far exceeded their skill. She could produce something of a fleshy strains that could be worked into the shapes needed for those walking fleshy suits downstairs. Like those that occasionally came up here to her. Those were the ones that wanted her service. Wanted her dim lights she kept in lanterns. They came with offerings of things. To which the Seamstress simply picked out pictures and photographs. She felt so close to remembering. If only she had more. That was why she worked. That was why she busied herself through the daylight hours.
Well, that wasn’t the only reason.
Collecting the lantern beside her. She retrieves a Soul Wisp from inside and gently places it into the mouth of the what would be its new body. Watching the empty eye sockets fill with faint lights. The emptiness becoming firm and filled. Her daughter rose up, Flexing and stretching confused as her six arms explored around the darkness.
The Seamstress does not remember her past. But she can make sure she won’t be alone in the attic for long. As long as those that come with pictures to trade behave, they will not become one of her Daughters…for now…