Chamber of Horrors

The glowing sepia room was
crammed with objects from a
virgin century past.

Aanteekwa saw faded medical sketches
plastered to the cracked, abused skins
of the dingy brown walls. Deformed,
yellowing skeletons of every species
reigned ubiquitous in every corner.
A curio cabinet lined with jars held
preserved organs (human, she guessed,
and shuddered at the thought)
suspended in pale gold fluid.

She heard footfalls scratch the
gritty floor behind her. She spun around
and saw Babyface and the musician
peering around the room with eyes
animated by freshly charged fear.

What is this place?
asked Babyface, his voice quavering
in the quiet of the room.
I don’t know, replied Aanteekwa,
But our friend is in here, somewhere.

The trio softly called for D.S.,
trying to coax him out of these
shadowed corners. Aanteekwa sensed
the morose aged air hanging noose-like
around them: she hoped they had
not arrived too late. But suddenly, she felt

the floor throb loudly; the noise rippled
upwards into the air and into her ears,
which she shielded with cupped clamshell
hands. She looked in the direction of the
throbbing and saw a live heart attached to

an ivory chair which arched its back
one hundred eighty degrees backwards
in agony. The disembodied heart beat
a perfect square rhythm: throb on the one,
hiss on the two. Hoses ran to and from
its chambers, instead of arteries and veins.

No one spoke, and no one screamed.
They watched, transfixed, while the heart
kept on beating, oblivious to its voyeurs.

Written 1/2/14
© 2014 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #194: Happy New Year. Following Elizabeth’s suggestion, I created a list of words that looked a little like this:

Happy New Year
blithe virgin century
morose ubiquitous reign
jocund fresh generation
animated green epoch
dour venerable age

I used these word pairings: virgin/century, reign/ubiquitous, animated/fresh, morose/age. And boy, what a horror this is. This poem, a continuation from “Wrecking Ball!“, uses a scene is modeled after a famous music video. I won’t tell you the artist or the song, but I dare you to guess who/what.


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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 37 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and Aspie.
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11 Responses to Chamber of Horrors

  1. stimmyabby says:

    Creepy! Especially the “aged air hanging noose-like/ around them” and the “live heart attached to/ an ivory chair which arched its back/ one hundred eighty degrees backwards/ in agony”. I love the line “No one spoke, and no one screamed.”

  2. 1sojournal says:

    I’m fairly certain I’d scream or run like hell. What a wonder you created from your word choices. I always find surprises in this exercise…glad you followed the leading.


  3. Can’t say I have any inkling what song or artist this scene comes from! I’m pretty sure I would have screamed if I had been in this room!

  4. Misky says:

    Come on, Nicole, write our friends out of that icky place!!

  5. It might take a while, but I’m working on it. Trust me. :)

  6. Misky says:

    Okay. I’ll trust you. :D

  7. Denise says:

    This was scary, but it sure captured my attention and would not let go! Well done!

  8. Pamela says:

    Exquisitely penned, Nicole. Even if a bit frightening.


  9. Pingback: Through a Dream, Darkly | Raven's Wing Poetry

  10. I have been REALLY bad about responding to comments. Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

    As for the origin of the scene for this poem: Not going to give it away quite yet. I’ll only say that the music video from which I gained the inspiration for this (and the next few poems) is about twenty years old and was heavily censored when it first aired on MTV. I’ll also give you a couple of clues: 1) the director of the video also directed Johnny Cash’s video for “Hurt” and 2) the director borrowed from a short animated film called “Street of Crocodiles”. And that’s all I’m gonna tell you. :)


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