The Twitch is a scary story about a man who is staying at a hotel when he meets a strange father and daughter. It is based on an old French story called “Le Tic” by Guy de Maupassant.
It was Summer and I was on holiday, staying at a hotel near the beach. In the evening, I went to the hotel restaurant, I found myself a table and ordered a light dinner. I watched the other guests file in and take their seats.
I noticed two people who seemed very strange. It was a man and a woman. They seemed to be father and daughter. They reminded me of characters from the stories of Edgar Allen Poe.
The man was very tall and thin and his hair was completely white, which was strange because his face still looked quite young. His face was grim and he walked with a stoop.
His daughter was small and pale, with slumped shoulders and tired eyes. She seemed like she had the weight of the world pressing down on her.
There were no free tables left, so they asked if they could sit at mine. I told them that would be fine.
As they sat opposite me, I noticed something that struck me as strange. The father had a very peculiar nervous twitch. Every time he reached out to pick up something, like a fork or a napkin, his hand made a crazy zig-zag movement. It was so annoying that I turned away so I wouldn’t have to look at it.
I also noticed that, even though she was eating, the daughter kept one white glove on her left hand. She ate with a terrible slowness, as if she was barely able to move her arms.
Over dinner, I struck up a conversation with them. I was curious to know more about them, so I asked them what had brought them here on holiday.
“My daughter has a strange illness,” said the man. “We don’t know the cause of it. She suffers from incomprehensible nervous disorders. Sometimes they think it’s her heart, sometimes her liver, sometimes her spine. Now they’re saying it’s her stomach. In my opinion, it’s her nerves. That’s why we’re here. So my daughter can get some rest and relaxation.”
“Perhaps she inherited her illness from you,” I said. “Don’t you have a nervous condition?”
“Me?” the man asked. “No. My nerves have always been fine… Oh, you mean my hand? That’s because of a terrible experience I once had.”
“What happened?” I asked, suddenly interested.
“Let me tell you my story,” he said. “My wife died years ago. It was just myself and my daughter, Juliette. My daughter suffered from heart murmurs for some time. I thought her heart was diseased and we were prepared for the worst.
One cold day, I found her lying unconscious in the garden. I summoned the doctor immediately. Whe he came, the doctor examined her and told me that she was dead. I was inconsolable.
I wanted her to be buried with all of her jewels, her bracelets, her necklaces and her rings. My butler, Jeeves, helped me place Juliette in her coffin. Then, we carried her to the cemetery and placed her in our family tomb.
You can imagine my state of mind when I returned to my empty home that evening. My daughter was the most precious thing in my life and now that she was gone, I had nothing to live for.
Exhausted, I collapsed into my armchair and started sobbing. I was overcome by misery and my soul was like an open wound. Jeeves asked if i wanted anything. I told him no and sent him away.
The hours passed by. It was a cold night. The fire crackled in the fireplace and a freezing wind battered against the windows with a sinister sound. I sat there, unable to sleep, unable to eat, my body weak and my mind filled with despair.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I looked at the clock. It was after two in the morning. Who could it be at this hour? I wondered.
I went to the front door and unlocked it. My heart was beating fast. I was afraid. When I opened the door, I saw a shadowy white figure standing there like a ghost.
I recoiled in fear and asked, “Who are you?”
The figure came towards me and I stumbled backwards. I waved my hand to chase it away.
A voice replied, “It’s me, Daddy.”
It was my daughter. I thought I’d gone mad. My hand kept waving crazily back and forth. I couldn’t stop it.
“Don’t be afraid,” my daughter said. “I wasn’t really dead. Somebody tried to steal my rings. They cut off one of my fingers. That’s what woke me up.”
She held up her hand and it was covered in blood. I saw that one of her fingers was missing and all that was left was a bloody stump.
I fell to my knees, sobbing, gasping for breath, almost suffocating. My hand kept spasming in a zig-zag motion. I had no control over it.
I brought my daughter inside and sat her down in front of the fire, trying to warm her up. She was as cold as the grave. I rang the bell to summon the butler.
When Jeeves entered the room and saw my daughter sitting there alive and well, his jaw dropped. He screamed in horror, clutched his chest and dropped dead on the spot.
It turned out that it had been my trusted butler Jeeves who had entered the tomb where my daughter lay. It was he who mutilated her hand, chopping off her finger to get at her rings. He hadn’t even bothered to replace the lid of her coffin, because he thought nobody would ever check.
You see now, why my daughter and I are such troubled, tormented people?”
I couldn’t think of anything to say. Without a word, I got up and slowly walked out of the restaurant.