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“It was too afraid to turn around. An

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“It has caught up to me “, is the initial thought that crossed his
panic-stricken mind.  As he stopped to
calm his racing heart, Peter instinctively discerned that he had entered an abandoned
manor. Unaware that he had infiltrated into the mansion, Peter foraged the
entire house in search of a much-needed landline telephone. His efforts went down
the drain ,however, and he resorted to camouflaging within the gloomy shadows
relentlessly cast by the awkwardly sized trees and rundown furniture that were
obstructing the path of dim light emitted by the glimmering stars. His gut
feeling indicated that someone was standing right behind him, but he was too
afraid to turn around. An unpleasant tap on his back greeted him.

 

Peter vividly recollected the conversation he had with the landlord two
hours ago.  “There is no need to worry Mr. Parker”,
weakly said the somewhat troubled landlord as he swiftly signed a large chunk
of numerous house-related papers. Shifting his lean stick-like figure against
the sophisticated oak-brown antique table piece, the landlord confidently
announced, bearing a wide grin, which evidently expressed a sensation of
affirmation and assurance, “You have absolutely no reason to worry about any of
the house’s many features and its advanced capabilities. I can fully assure you
that this manor will also maintain its vintage feel and look.” Briskly handing over
Peter the house keys with his bruised left hand, the perturbed landlord
promptly left about for his nightly routine work. Dubious about the unusually
cheap price of the large but isolated villa, Peter was still thoroughly
impressed by the elegant design of the enormous bungalow. As the exhaustion of
the tiring day at the acreage finally set in, Peter threw himself upon the comfortable
armchair, relishing the peace and calm environment of the densely vegetated
forest.

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As night rapidly
fell upon the woodlands, the final nagging rays of sunlight dissipated into the
abyss. An enormous swath of jet-black ink was spilled onto the canvas of the
overshadowing night sky; ominously scrutinizing the scarce life rambling across
the greenwoods. The only detectable source of light was the awning of luminous
stars. As owls started its routine session of cacophonic hooting- a universal
symbol that the sun had gone off to repose and the moon has taken over its role
as a diminutive beacon of light, a chilled breeze whizzed onto his pulpy
crimson cheek. Peter didn’t bother to shut the windows in order to cease the
screeching of the freezing wind, for he relished nights like this, nights where
faded leaves constantly rustled, where glimpses of the menacing eyes of
ferocious wolves were occasional; nights where the power of nature reigned supreme.
The shady darkness concealed his blemishes, his deformities, the cicatrices of unpleasant
retentions burned into his flesh, the stabs of disquieting betrayals by loved ones
left behind. The luster of the yellow full moon steered his soul through the night.
At night, Peter possessed the ability to do whatever he desired …as his rational
thoughts, his panic-inducing apprehensions, silently combusted into ashes as
they rose and transversed through the ceaseless night once again.

 

This immense
solitude of pure serenity was spiritual; Peter never wanted it to end. As if
his trivial thought had jinxed his very existence, suddenly, a loud BANG in the
garage was heard, accompanied by an untimely power-cut. Quickly grabbing a
flashlight, Peter hurriedly headed towards the garage. An abhorrent surprise
awaited him, however; a jumbled tangle of multicolored cut wires was covering
what must have been the estate’s main power supply, insinuating that all of the
chateau’s electrical appliances, including the landline telephone, had been
rendered defective and useless in this exigency. It was impossible for him to
fix this complicated mess of random cables that had been diligently tampered
with. A piece of paper attached to his car’s windshield managed to grab his
attention from the corner of his electric-blue eyes. The peculiar note read out
in bold red letters carved out in fresh blood-

“TRAPPED IN THIS FOREST, DARK AND DEEP

I OFFER YOU, ETERNAL SLEEP.”

 

 The wolves’ howls and the roaring
thunder do nothing but attribute to the macabre ambience. The night sky stood
an inky canopy of darkness illuminated only by the fewest of stars, where just
hours ago it had been a bright summer’s day. The intermittent hoot of a hidden
owl was the only reverberation to imbue the silence until an array of slapping
footsteps and crunching gravel furiously echoed into the emptiness of the
night. As a soft whisper quickly followed, the owl omitted a screech of protest
and took flight. With his heart pounding more vigorously than a group of
infuriated tribal banging on their drums, and adrenaline gushing through his
veins, Peter rushed to the only residence nearby, which was visible in the dark
night as it emitted a faint light, to seek immediate assistance. As he neared
the enigmatic house, a profound inkling that the handwriting of the note was
quite familiar, and he had seen it before; however, being unable to precisely
remember when and where. Quickly dismissing the flood of intrusive thoughts
from disrupting his scamper, Peter resumed his dash to the enigmatic house.

 

As the house drew
nearer, everything around him became quieter and more distant. The trees mumbles
weren’t audible anymore and the cold steel gates were far back in the distance.
Owls couldn’t be heard anymore and there were no leaves present on the ground, only
some ragged concrete steps, and a doorway that stood in front of him. The house
was towering and harrowing from the outside, constructed from large grey stones
that possessed a rugged feel all of this being crumpled together by crumbling
cement. Climber Plants grew up the house, winding around the interconnected
drainpipes like famished snakes; grabbing for the little moonlight that reached
this desolate place. The windows vigorously rattled from the yowling wind, as
though they were about to fall out of the frames which were fabricated from
rotting wood being eaten away by a colony of worms. Once there for immaculate
presentation, three wilted, brown potted-plants lay undisturbed next to the entrance.
They were certainly dead, for a long time. The main door was left ajar, as it
was inviting him in. As he set his first step in the peculiar bungalow, Peter’s
instincts warned him that he had committed the gravest and perhaps the last
mistake of his life. “Hello!
Is anybody there? I need help!” The deadly silence was deafening; with only his
steady footsteps’ uniform resonance echoing throughout the wide hallway. He
occasionally caught terrifying glimpses of the mysterious figure’s eerie shadows projected on the ruptured sofa. What
made Peter question his very own sanity was the repulsive stench of putrid meat
effused from several jet-black plastic bags that were located on the pale
yellow grass of the rather small backyard. The subtle but adequate plangency of
the creaking door sent an electrifying chill down his spine.

 

 “It has caught up to me “, is the initial thought that crosses his
panic-stricken mind. Unaware that he had infiltrated into the mansion, Peter foraged
the entire house in search of a much-needed telephone. His efforts went down
the drain ,however, and he resorted to camouflaging within the gloomy shadows.
A photo frame managed to grasp his attention despite danger lurking in each and
every corner. The frame accommodated a family photograph comprising of a man, certainly
with his pleasing wife and pretty daughter. But something did not seem right;
the man’s face was blurred out with blood. Out of sheer curiosity, Peter nervously
wiped out the blood with his tattered shirt. “No! It cannot be. The note, the
familiar handwriting! How a person could tamper with such a complicated power
supply circuit in such a short period of time. It all makes sense now.” In the
midst of his thoughts, an unpleasant tap on his back greeted him. The face of
the landlord, whose veneered presence on the family photograph was blanketed by
the dry blood, kept reappearing in Peter’s trepidation-engulfed mind; and now, the
landlord stood in front of him, grinning, holding a carver in his contused left
hand.

 

As the landlord switched on his
computer in avid search for his new victim, the dagger smeared with fresh
scarlet blood continuously dripped drop by drop onto the unfurnished flooring.
Logging on to a renowned real estate website, the landlord customarily typed in
conspicuous letters the irresistible offer “Triple-Storey Manor in
Humboldt-Toiyabe forests with a 100 square yard backyard AND 500 square feet
garage on sale for merely $150,000.” As the website briefly flickered
green, an automated indicator of a new interested buyer; the landlord
manifested a wide smile with his chapped lips, a genuine beam that he had not
bore since the day before the fatal mishap that transpired to his family in the
advertised chateau.

“Wow!
This exquisite mansion also comes with a 100 square yard backyard. At such a
low price, I cannot even get my hair cut”, exclaimed the exuberant new buyer.
Delightfully signing the papers, the new client sat in the comfortable
armchair; feeling a slight warmth as though someone had sat there the previous
day.  Suddenly, a loud BANG in the garage
was heard, accompanied by an untimely timely power cut…   

 

 

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