The world was unaware that Edgar Allan Poe had written a sequel to one of his most famous tales of terror, The Cask of Amontillado, until the ghost story was found in the home of one of his erstwhile fiancées, thirty years after his death.

A descendant of Montresor has moved his family into the palace, and the young teenage son is checking the place out.


it was much affected by his parents’ obvious unhappiness.  He tried a new start in the home, attending his lessons and playing with two-year-old Alice.  He had yet to begin his new school –Oh the dread!  On this lazy afternoon he ached for word from the mates he left behind.

The palazzo did hold wonders.  He would again have to create his own amusement.

He bounded off the bed to jaunt about the place.  Kit never got very far.  His overactive imagination precluded venturing toward the dark nooks of fascination.  Nowhere in the vastness could he escape the notion that one was always being watched.  He confined himself to well lit hallways.  After dark, chandeliers emblazoned every room in gilded splendor, but an overcast afternoon set the palazzo in dull gray, allowing one to imagine all sorts of phantoms among the relics.

He neared the passage to the old wine cellar, a place that conjured curiosity but abundant fear.  Even standing at the precipice, his heart raced as he strained to see into the thick darkness.  The deathly silence in the house was enough to make one’s bones tremble.  All Kit could comprehend was the drip, drip of something far below, and a distant chime of the attendant hour.  What if a skeletal hand punctured the blackness and reached out for him?

“WHAT, HO THERE!”

Kit was sorely startled, gulping hard at the booming voice in his ear.  He lost footing and nearly tumbled into the pit.  He turned to find Father laughing like a smug upperclassman.

“I’m sorry, my boy,” Charles lied, “when I saw you creep by I couldn’t resist.  Got you a good one, eh?”

“Y-yes Father,” said Kit.  He could barely produce a sound.

Charles looked briefly remorseful.  By way of appeasement, he gestured toward the cellar.

“Want to have a look?  I could do with a bottle,” Charles proffered.

“Oh, yes Father!”  Kit was nearly enthusiastic.  He even used his fingers to part his curtain of hair and look up at Charles.

“There’s a lad,” Charles said, and took a candelabrum from the closest mantle, producing a box of pipe matches to light it.

The descent on a twisting staircase was chilling, particularly as Charles made Kit go first, ahead of the light.  Deeper in, man-made structure gave way to organic catacomb, the temperature dropped, and Kit spied a crystalline seepage adorning the walls.

“What’s that material, Father?” Kit asked.

“Oh, it’s called niter.  I’m not quite sure how it forms, boy, but it can be nasty for the lungs,” Charles answered in his typically dismissive demeanor, intimating that he could not be bothered.  As Kit advanced in his studies, he often thought Father the most ill-informed writer extant.

They continued in silence.  Reaching the bottom, Kit moved aside to let Father lead the way.

“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!”

Oh no, I’ve done something wrong, Kit thought.

“What Father?” he asked.]]———“I’ve not uttered a word boy,” Charles snarled.  “Through here, I think.”  He moved on, with Kit lingering behind as far as he dared without losing the light entirely.  He glanced about, certain he had really heard that declaration.

Forthwith came an archway, with bas-relief above depicting a large golden foot stomping a snake that dug its fangs into the heel.

“Nemo me impune lacessit,” Kit read, showing off his Latin.  “No one insults me with impunity.  What is it Father?”

“It is the Montresor family motto,” said Charles, through the portal now, searching among the wines.  “It means anyone who provokes us will suffer the consequences.”

As Charles turned right to peruse the racks, Kit was left in the shallowest sliver of light.

“Uh, Father?” Kit said into the murk.  No answer came.  Kit stepped under the arch.  The distant cavern’s edge shone more in the direction father searched.

But, what?

Distinctly, down the first corridor to Kit’s right, stood a shadowy figure, motionless.

Kit was equally rigid.  He squinted to take the image in, willing his pupils to widen.  Someone was there, still.  He called out to it.

“Father?”

There were low, rattling coughs from the silhouette, sounding masculine.  It stood absolutely dormant, presumably staring back at Kit.  It wore a hat of some kind.  Were Kit’s eyes deceiving?  Was it his father, facing sideways, refusing to answer and indulge a child’s silliness?

“Father?” Kit whispered, maintaining one last hope that it was Charles.  He somehow knew that it was not.

With louder, phlegmy hacks, the presence moved toward him.  Kit was immobile with terror.  Its step was slow and heavy, and with each footfall came a small jingle of-  bells!  The sound emanated from its floppy chapeau.  Kit couldn’t move.  As it came closer, he could make out a furrowed brow and two yellow eyes glaring straight at him.  It was very angry.  He sensed it with his whole being.  Kit wanted to flee!  It came quickly toward him now as the bells clattered louder.

“FATHER!” Kit cried out as he ran down the center aisle into the light.

“Kit,” Charles answered, finally, from one of the rows.  Kit ran to him.  “What are you on about, boy?”

“Someone’s here, Father.  I saw him.  There’s a man hiding out down here.”

“What does he look like?” Charles asked, momentarily entertaining the notion of an intruder.

“He looks like, uh,” Kit tried to call up some forgotten image.  “Yes, a jester, a court jester!”

Charles burst into a roar of sardonic laughter.

“What an imagination.  Jester is it?  Poppycock,” said Charles, choosing a bottle and heading toward the tunnel.

“But Father,” Kit protested.

“Keep this nonsense from your mother, boy.  I had the devil enough time getting her here.”

As they passed while exiting, the man had disappeared from his spot.

© Richard Alan Scott

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