Prepare to meet the beast within. A lonely wife cheats. A brutal husband gets revenge. A not-so-innocent stranger hears a cellar door scrape shutand begins 20 years of indescribable horror, chained in total darkness, feeding on live rats and human flesh, becoming himself the nightmare creature that lurks within us all...
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Then, once more, for half an hour, he tore across the darkcountry as if an unchained pack of devils followed howlingat his heels. He ascended the hills, he plunged down intothe narrow gorges. He went through two streams, one afterthe other, drenching himself to the hips. A bush, barringhis progress, exasperated him. His only thought was to gostraight on, further, still further, to flee, to flee from the otherone, the mad animal he felt within him; but the beast accompaniedhim, it flew along as fast as he did. For months he hadfancied he had driven it from him; he had pursued the samelife as other people; and, now, he had to begin again, hewould have to resume the struggle to prevent the brute[Pg 57]leaping upon the first woman he chanced to brush againstin the street.
She found herself in a large study, with black furniture,a thick carpet, and heavy door-hangings, so severe and socompletely closed, that not a sound from the outside couldpenetrate within. Nevertheless, there were some flowers, somepale roses in a bronze corbeil, and this indicated a sort ofconcealed grace, a taste for amiable life beneath all this severity.The master of the house was on his feet, very correctlyattired in a frock-coat; he also looked severe with his pinchedface, which his greyish whiskers rendered slightly fuller. Buthe had all the elegance of a former beau who had remainedslim, and a demeanour that one felt would be pleasant,freed from the stiffness that his official position made himassume. In the subdued light of the apartment, he lookedvery tall.
"M. Grandmorin, in a scare, instinctively shook himselffree, and stretched out his arm towards the alarm knobjust above his head. He managed to graze it, but wasseized again by my husband, and thrown down on the seatwith such violence that he found himself doubled up. Hisopen mouth uttered frantic yells, in stupefaction and terror,which were drowned in the uproar of the train; while Iheard my husband distinctly repeating the word: Beast!beast! beast! in a passionate hiss. But the noise subsided,the train left the tunnel, the pale country appeared oncemore with the dark trees filing past. I had remained stiffenedin my corner, pressing against the back of the coupé as faroff as possible. 2b1af7f3a8