The Red Death is a scary story about a prince who hides in his castle while a terrible plague sweeps across the land. It is based on a classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe called “The Masque of the Red Death”.
There was a prince named Prospero who lived in a huge castle in the mountains. His servants and courtiers attended to his every whim. The castle had high stone walls and was surrounded by a deep moat. At the entrance, there were were giant iron gates and an enormous portcullis over the door.
The prince heard rumors that there was a terrible plague sweeping across the land. They called it the Red Death. The disease was highly contagious and whole towns had been wiped out in a single night.
Those who were infected suffered from sudden dizziness and sharp pains and their skin broke out in a red rash. Then, within minutes, blood would start pouring from their eyes, their nose and their mouth until they collapsed, writhing around in unbearable pain and died.
As the plague drew nearer, the prince invited a hundred of his friends to take refuge in his castle and keep him company. He locked the gates, barred the windows and lowered the portcullis to keep everyone else out. Inside, the prince and his guests laughed and danced and made merry while outside the walls, the poor people suffered and died as the Red Death raged on.
To keep his guests entertained, Prince Prospero decided to hold a masquerade ball. He ordered his servants to redecorate seven rooms, especially for the ball. The first room was painted blue, from floor to ceiling. The second was pink, the third was green, the fourth was orange, the fifth was white and the sixth was purple.
The seventh room was completely black. The walls and ceiling were painted black. The carpet on the floor was black. The curtains that hung from the walls were made of black satin. All of the furniture was upholstered in black velvet.
On one of the walls, there was a large black clock with a pendulum that swung slowly to and fro, making a loud and monotonous ticking sound. Every hour, the clock would strike, giving a series of loud clangs, like the tolling of a bell.
None of the rooms had any lights. In each room, the only illumination came from a blazing fire in the fireplace that cast flickering shadows across all the walls. In the seventh room, the firelight cast such strange and frightening shadows on the walls that very few of the guests were brave enough to set foot inside it.
The masquerade ball began in the blue room and the guests were all having fun. Everyone was wearing a mask. The musicians played merry songs while the guests danced. They ate the food and drank the wine that had been laid out on the tables for them.
Whenever the clock struck the hour, the musicians would stop playing, the guests would stop dancing and everyone would stand and listen to the dull clanging chime. When the echo of the tolling bell had died away, the guests would move on to the next room and the revelry would begin again.
As the night wore on, they moved from the blue room to the pink room, to the green room, to the orange room, to the white room and to the purple room until they found themselves entering the black room.
At midnight, the clock began to strike twelve and everyone stopped to listen. As the chimes subsided, the guests became aware of a masked figure standing in the middle of them room. None of the guests had noticed him before.
The stranger was tall and gaunt. He was dressed in a dark red cape and his face was covered by a red mask in the shape of a skull.
When Prince Prospero caught sight of the figure standing among the guests, he shuddered with anger.
“Who are you?” he demanded hoarsely. “How dare you insult me by coming here without an invitation! Leave my castle this minute or I will have you killed!”
The masked figure made no move to leave. Instead, he stood there, staring at the prince. Just then, an unearthly red light illuminated the black room and the guests became so frightened that they were shaking in their boots.
Prince Propsero did not like to be disobeyed. He drew his sword and held it up. “Leave now or I shall slay you myself,” he shouted.
The masked figure slowly walked towards the prince and all of the guests drew back, too afraid to stop him. Standing in front of Prince Prospero, the figure reached up with bony hands and took off his mask.
The prince let out a sharp cry and dropped his sword. The guests screamed in horror. Behind the mask, there was no face at all, just an empty black void.
All of a sudden, Prince Prospero grew dizzy and he felt sharp pains in his sides. His skin broke out into a red rash and blood started pouring from his eyes, his nose and his mouth. His guests collapsed around him, writhing in agony and their screams echoed through the seven rooms.
The Red Death had come like a thief in the night and one by one, the prince and his guests succumbed to the terrible disease. The clock stopped ticking, the fires went out and darkness and decay and the Red Death triumphed over all.