I decided to leave the old, dusty room and explore other areas of this ancient, abandoned castle but as I walked towards the decrepit door, I saw a very delicate staff lying on a desk to the side. The staff had a black stem with inlaid rubies arranged in a spiral pattern up the stem and was topped with a transparent orb. It was the most beautiful thing I had seen today and unlike everything else in this castle, it appeared to be completely free of dust. I picked it up to get a closer look at it and I then entered the dark and haunting corridor, taking the staff with me.
Suddenly the orb on top of the staff lit up! I was so shocked that I dropped it and a cloud of darkness flooded into the hall, destroying every bit of light in its path as the darkness devoured me. Then the intense smell of what I could only presume was a rotting animal carcass filled the dark air around me and the sound of a hissing snake began to grow louder, taking control of my senses until it was almost unbearable.
I dropped to the floor and fumbled around in the darkness until I finally found it, I picked up the staff and the orb lit up once more, illuminating the room again to reveal that a mysterious figure was walking eerily toward me with a large blue cobra with silver eyes slithering by its side! The figure stopped and, in a raspy voice, spoke calmly ‘I’m Maybelle.’
I freaked out, scrambled to my feet and frantically raced into the next room, looking for an exit. Not noticing anything strange about the floor as I ran, I took a step and the wooden floor boards made noises and moved slightly beneath my feet as they laboured under my weight. I turned around to find myself face to face with Maybelle, I took one more step backwards and held my breathe. My last thought before being plunged into darkness was ‘Oh no!’
Adapted from an excerpt from Mysteries of Maybelle by Imani Benfell