Bathory. Original flash fiction by Kieran Higgins.


She loved it. The feel of it, sliding over her skin. The way it looked, slopping in waves over the lip of the bath, running down the sides like a crimson waterfall. Most of all, she loved the heat, constant and reassuring.

It was blood, but it felt like a blanket.She loved their screams too. Like a symphony, composed from instruments of cut glass, played by angels.

She revelled in the surprise on their faces. The poor ones thought they would be servants, the rich ones thought they would learn to read. All of them were victims in the end.

“Countess,” called her maid. “Are you ready?”

“Later, Juli,” she said, and the servant stopped knocking.

She sunk lower into the bath and let it wash over her. Restoring her. Unfolding the creases, covering the spots. Lifting and firming that which had fallen with age.

Soothing her, like mother’s milk.

Oh, how she loved it.

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