So, I’ve been brooding on a story for a book for a while now, and I wanted to ask you guys’ opinion. So far, I have 2 drafts done, one of them being slightly more elaborate. I myself prefer the second one more, but I was wondering what you guys were thinking. Also, sorry for the lack of style in the first draft, makes it hard to read I know, but I now really can’t be bothered to put paragraphs in right now, might do that later on.
‘Are you sure this is the right house,’ Peter said. ‘Because it looks quite… derelict, to be honest.’ ‘Let me check,’ I said, while looking around for a street sign. I spotted one across the street. It was pretty dark though, and the sign itself was pretty worn, so I had to squint my eyes to read what was on it. ‘Shining Street,’ it read. I reached into my pockets for a piece of paper, and looked at it. Written in scrawly letters, it said ‘42 Shining Street.’ I looked up again, at the sign next to the big, iron gate. It had the number 42 on it, or at least, that is what I think it used to had. Under the hands of time however, all that was left of it were the imprints of where the numbers had once been. I looked around a bit more, and started to feel that I had to agree with Peter; The whole place looked like nobody had been living there for centuries. The gate was more like a giant piece of rust, instead of a proper gate. The walls surrounding the mansion and its giant garden were overgrown with moss, creepers and lord knows what more, almost making it look like there wasn’t a wall in the first place. The lamps that were next to the gate were either smashed or just missing altogether. All in all, the place was a complete mess. Yet, it had only been a couple of months since grandpa died, and left the house to me. Of all the people in the family he could had given it to, he gave it to me. I barely even knew grandpa. Seen him once or twice during a wedding of some family member, and yet he decides to leave me a giant mansion in some remote little town nobody had ever heard of? But alas, he would have had a legitimate reason to do what he did. ‘And, is it?’ Peter said, as he waved his hand in front of my face. ‘Eh, yes. Yes it is,’ I muttered. Peter looked at me, with a faint sense of concern on his face. ‘Are you alright?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine. I wandered off a bit. About how it’s weird that my grandpa left me this house, even though I barely knew him.’ ‘Just take your chance and don’t ask why, or you might regret it when you’re about to die!’ Peter sang smiling, as he walked to the gate. ‘So, are you coming or what?’ ‘Oh well, what’s the worst that could happen’, I said to myself, as I walked to the gate as well. I grabbed the key from my pocket, but before I could even reach for the lock, Peter had already snatched the key from my hands. Moments later, the lock falls to the ground with a loud bang. Peter and I together push against the gate, slowly opening it. ‘Right, here we go,’ Peter says. As we step through the gate, we hear a loud scream, just behind us. We both rapidly turn around, only to see a small speaker sitting behind the gate, with a small wire connecting the two. Peter starts to laugh. ‘Damn kids around here, trying to scare visitors. It seems the youth hasn’t changed a bit.’ I laugh too, although it is more reminiscent to nervously giggling than an actual laugh. I turn back around, only to just see something move from the corner of my eye. I quickly look around, but cannot see anything. I start to feel a little bit uneasy, as I walk back to the speaker to take a closer look. I pick up the speaker, and see that it has a small hatch for the batteries, although the screw holding it in place seems rusted. ‘Hm, I’ll take a look at that later, wouldn’t be wise to start fiddling with it right here.’ I think to myself. ‘There’s probably a table somewhere in the house which I can use as a stable workbench,’ as I turn around and start making my way through the garden. I couldn’t see Peter anywhere anymore, but I could hear the faint sound of rustling plants just up ahead, so I followed the sound. As i was struggling to get through the thick shrubbery, I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened at the gate. Peter thought it to be kids trying to prank somebody, but the speaker looked really old. As in, tens of years old. It just seems weird that kids, or anyone for that matter, put that speaker there that long ago, and that nobody had even bothered to remove it. And then there was that movement from the corner of my eye. I mean, it was most likely just a bird, or some insect. But still, the thought of it being something else wouldn’t let me go. Maybe it was one of the kids Peter mentioned, who saw us coming to the house and wanted to see how we would react to his little trap. However, that idea didn’t hold out that long, since that kid had to get into the garden, which would’ve meant he had to scale the walls, or get through the gate somehow. And despite the fact that the gate was completely and utterly weathered, it was still a firm and big gate, easily capable of keeping unwanted visitors out. And even though the walls were overgrown with vegetation, they were pretty high, and a lot of the plants growing on the wall were littered with thorns, so unless the kid was wearing thick gloves, wore body armour and was a trained mountaineer, the chances of him scaling the walls were pretty slim as well. The only way he would be able to get past the walls, was if he made a hole in the wall somewhere. But even that seemed highly unlikely, seeing how you would probably need a jackhammer to get through the wall, and surely somebody would notice if anyone tried to do that right? I kept on thinking a bit, until I stumbled on a small, open area in the middle of the shrubbery. I kept moving, until I came to the middle of the small patch, where I noticed how there was a small circle of dark stones lying around. As I moved closer, I noticed how the stones were not just dark, but pitch black. And how the stones were laid down in such a careful manner, that it hardly seemed natural. Of course, the pitch black stones weren’t natural to begin with, but the way they were laid down made it seem even more artificial. I took out my flashlight, partly because it really was too dark already to be walking without any light, but also because I wanted to take a more careful look at the stone circle. The moment I shined my light on the circle, I noticed something sticking out of the ground, right in the middle of the circle. I grabbed for it, and pulled. My eyebrows raised as I took a look at it. It was a artificial hip joint- I recognised it, because both my grandpa and my grandma had one- but it appeared to be entirely made out of silver. Seeing no use of it other than to freak me out, I dropped in on the ground again, and turned around, to further proceed towards the mansion. But then I noticed another glinster, just at the border of the open patch. I hesitated, thinking if I really wanted to know what it was, but my curiosity got the upper hand of me, and I walked towards the glinstering. Again, there was something sticking out of the ground. I pulled again, but it quickly slipped out of my hands. I put the flashlight on the ground, grabbed the thing firmly with two hands, and pulled again. This object was bigger and heavier than the hip joint, and as I grabbed my flashlight again and shone it on the object, I started to feel really uneasy. This seemed to be a thigh bone, again made out of silver, however, the upper part, where the hip joint usually is, was missing. I walked back to the middle of the patch, grabbed the hip joint and tried to fit them together. If was a perfect fit. I dropped both bones, and was about to run away, when a thought crossed my mind. What if these two bones weren’t the only only things buried here? My body wanted to run away, find Peter, and go to the mansion. But my mind wanted to stay a bit longer, and see if there was anything else around. I stood there for a moment, pondering about what to do. Then I decided to dig a bit, and see if there was anything else. I grabbed into my backpack for a small shovel, and started digging. And surely enough, I quickly hit something; it was a small chest. I couldn’t open it though, as it had a lock on it. As I looked at it a bit more, I heard leaves rustling behind me. I jumped up, and shone my flashlight around. Nothing. The uneasiness started creeping up again, and I decided to leave. I quickly put the chest in my backpack, and started walking towards the mansion again. I held a firm tempo, and in just a few minutes I managed to step out of the shrubbery and onto the big grassfield surrounding the mansion. I made my way towards the front, where Peter was already waiting for me. ‘Took you long enough mate,’ he said. ‘Yeah, I got caught up in some things on my way here,’ I replied. ‘Care to tell me what kind of things?’ Peter asked. ‘Sure,’ I said. ‘But do you mind doing that tomorrow? It’s getting late, and it has become too dark to really do anything anymore. Let’s just set up the tents, and go to sleep.’ ‘Fine by me,’ Peter said. We set up our tents just outside of the front porch, rolled out our sleeping bags, wished each other goodnight, and fell asleep.
As I opened my eyes, I immediately notice the dark sky. But not just any dark sky. I’m staring at a blanket of pure darkness. No stars, no clouds, just the colour black everywhere. Even the moon is missing from the sky. As I keep wondering as to why the sky is as it is, I roll on my side and reach for my flashlight, but instead of my flashlight, I feel a piece of paper. I grab it, while using my other arm to sweep the area around it, to see if my flashlight is somewhere around it. A sign of relief goes through my mind when I manage to find it. I flick it on, and quickly shine it around, to see if there’s anything wrong. I notice how Peter’s sleeping bag is empty, but then I spot that his shoes are missing too, so I immediately assume he couldn’t get to sleep, and decided to go for a little walk. Then I remember the piece of paper that I found. I reach for it, and written on it, in scrawly letters, it says:
“He isn’t doing what you think he’s doing”
I jump up from my sleeping bag. ‘Did Peter write this?’ I think to myself, as I quickly slide into a pair of jeans and hastily pull on the nearest sweater in reach. I jump into my shoes, not even bothering to tie my laces, and start looking through Peter’s gear. As I zip open his sleeping bag, another note falls out, with the same scrawly handwriting as the previous one. This time however, besides the text, it has something else on it. A big, deep red stain covers half of the note. I notice I got something of it on my fingers as well. I quickly lick my finger, and instantly recognise the faintly metal-tasting liquid; blood. I quickly read what’s on the note:
“He wouldn’t just leave you without telling you, would he?”
People had told stories about the mansion before. They always had. Ever since the mansion was build, people whispered stories about it. About how the landlord supposedly murdered people inside. And how the place became haunted with the spirits of the victims. And how that drove the landlord to suicide. But nothing of that was ever proven true. And so they stayed what they were in the first place: stories, that people told to one another during a night of drinking at the bar.
That is, until one night, when a couple of people disappeared. Soon, folk began to talk about the house in another fashion; suddenly, the stories were told with a more dreadful tone. As if, the stories weren’t really stories after all. Shortly after that, more people started going missing. Contact between the village and the outer world slowly deteriorated, as more and more people went missing. Until one day, when suddenly, all communications were suddenly cut of.
Naturally, people got curious what happened in the village. Most of them however, never went further than the sign at the entrance road to the village, for it was broken in half and, written in what was later confirmed to be blood, it said “Go back”. Below the sign, skulls and other human remains were found. This all was enough for the authorities to close off the entire village, until they found out what happened.
While it kept the common folk out, it only further encouraged the thrill-seekers to try and get access to the village. Some of them tried to talk their way through the road blockades. Others snuck through the forests surrounding the southern side of the village. Some even tried going by boat, entering the village from the north via the coast. Most of these people were never heard from again. Occasionally, a survivor would come stumbling out of the village, constantly repeating the same random words and sounds, heavily traumatized by whatever he had seen inside of the village. This only happened in clear daylight however. At night, the occurrences changed. Instead of a screaming person running towards the roadblocks like he was being chased by a demon from hell, it was just a body, crawling from the darkness, dragging himself towards the roadblocks, as if that very same demon had managed to found himself a body. These encounters were considerably more rare, but all the more harrowing.
The first time it happened, the soldiers stationed at the roadblock ran towards the body, to see how badly he was injured, as they did with every other survivor coming their way. Once they got close enough, they could see the body was horribly mutilated; the limbs bend in inhuman ways; the skin torn off in most places; chunks of flesh missing, exposing the bones underneath; and the eye sockets, completely empty, except for pure darkness. Horrified, the soldiers backed off. Moments after, the body lunged itself at the nearest soldier and started slashing at his throat, before being shot off by the others, who then dragged their dead colleague back to the gates, while others covered their retreat. After the event, soldiers were commanded not to approach anything that came walking out of the village.
The second time it happened, the soldiers kept their distance, as ordered. The body kept walking forwards, until it reached the roadblock, where it stopped. The soldiers, confused on what to do now, raised their guns and waited for instructions from their commanders. Before they could give any orders however, the corpse let out an agonizing scream. It started to run towards the nearest soldier, but was shot before it could get close enough. Ever since, anything seen leaving the village was shot on sight.
In the beginning, these encounters were relatively rare. However, as the story of the haunted village spread across the country, it attracted more and more people who, despite the terrifying stories, wanted to get into the village. Soon, as more people forced their way inside, the encounters worsened. Because of this, the government issued a wall to be build around the village, to keep people out, and the ‘things’ inside.
This strategy worked. Nobody was able to get inside anymore, and over the weeks following the completion of the wall, the encounters diminished in frequency until, 1 month after the complete lockdown, 3 months after the initial lockdown, and 4 months after communications from the village ceased, there were no more encounters whatsoever. The gates in the walls were sealed off, troops were pulled away, and roads leading to the village were blocked off. The village was left to rot, leaving behind only a faint memory of the events