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Footsteps in the Dark

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Alma s sorrow by charon92-d4oz625

From my Deviantart gallery.

It is with great haste that I am writing this as at any second, I fear there will be a knock at my door and I will not be able to tell of the events that transpired over these past few weeks.

Regarding said events, I must inform you that they are at once both perturbing and of a peculiar nature. You may choose to believe them or dismiss them as the idling thoughts of a broken mind, tormented by stress and anxiety to the point of lunacy. I will recount my story regardless and will assume that you are interested as you have read thus far.

It was the morning of Tuesday the 18th of October, 1924 that I decided I should move away from my home town of Lincoln after the sudden death of my mother at the age of 57. Being a young, financially secure man, I decided that I could afford to move to a quieter town. After much deliberation with myself I settled upon Port St. Mary, on the Isle of Man.

Being an astute man of science, I had heard rumours of strange happenings in the town linked to The Occult. I was, of course, immediately skeptical and dismissed any notion of such as merely fantasy or the creation of an overactive imagination. Nonetheless, I was curious when my oldest friend, Lloyd Anderson, expressed his opinions on the matter.

He was a learned man, much like myself, and a man who I have the utmost respect for. So when he came to me the day before I was due to leave for the island, I was both pleased and bemused as he appeared to be somewhat flustered and was breathing heavily.

Sweat was dripping from his unkempt brow and his clothes were dishevelled as if he had risen from the dead; and his face had the look of a man who had seen his own mother's ghost. He immediately ran through me and locked the door behind him. He had the look of a wild man, his eyes darting about the room and his hands shaking as he turned to me and grasped me tightly. Although he was clearly shaken he spoke clearly and precisely, if not in a slightly erratic manner.

“I know it was I who encouraged you to make this change of scenery, but it is my great misfortune to tell you this most grave of news. I heard reports from my local source on the island of strange happenings in the coastal church just outside of the town. There were always ancient rituals and pastimes that some of the older island families take with the utmost furtiveness, but something aroused the suspicion of a few of the newer townsfolk and they started asking questions. The town council is controlled by three of the most prestigious and oldest families; the Dumalliers, the Townsends and the McCallughs.

These families are the ones involved with these ancient rites and therefore the other islanders were unable to investigate into the peculiar actions seen at the old churches. Lately however, a growing collaboration between the newer residents has brought about the creation of a separate council with members chosen by the townspeople themselves.

Their first action was to launch a private investigation into the actions at the churches and what it means for the locals. The elder families on the island were clearly distressed by this but allowed to new council to view their bizarre spectacle. After several hours of watching rites and rituals the council were satisfied that nothing of a sinister nature was occurring in the church.

Exactly a week after the event, all of the new council members were found dead. The doctor exclaimed that they had died of natural causes and there was nothing unusual about it. The families brought in a doctor from the mainland who concluded that indeed, they had died of natural causes but it was mysterious as there was no obvious sign of injury or illness and it was peculiar for so many to die in such a short period of time.

This in itself peaked my interest, so I had decided to investigate myself. Upon arrival, I felt a strange sense that I was being watched. The town was eerily quiet and the cobbled streets were all but deserted. I approached the bed and breakfast a large old Victorian house demonic looking bay windows and a battered wooden door. The paint had all but peeled off and the wood mostly rotten but I felt somehow relieved.

I noticed that there was no one on the front desk so I left my information and some money and took a key to the only available room. The bed and breakfast was quaint, small rooms with outdated furniture. The walls were littered with old photos of strange looking people. At first I thought nothing of this but upon closer inspection I discovered that the faces of all the men had been scribbled out and the faces of the women seemed demonic in nature.

Attributing this to a lack of sleep I decided to get to my room as quickly as I could and closed the door, locking it tightly. As I was unpacking, the feeling of being watched grew to the point that I began throwing my belongings to the floor and rushing to check every available place for someone to hide. After being pleased that there was no one in the room with me I began to calm and remind myself that there was no way I could be being watched.”

Lloyd took what appeared to be his first breath; the look in his eyes grew more and more manic with the seconds that passed. He was wracking his brain trying to comprehend something of the utmost importance; he calmed his shaking hands and began again.

“Later that evening, after wandering around the town trying to find any signs of life, I decided I would try and sleep. I dozed off at around a half past nine. I was awoken early in the morning by what appeared to be footsteps. I shot bolt upright in bed and felt my heart shudder and my mind began to race and dart about. The fear gripped me tight as a winter chill and I couldn’t move, the footsteps were coming from above me and got closer and closer, until I let out a whimper where they abruptly stopped.

I took the candle I had taken the night before and lit it, the dull flame lit just enough for me to walk to the door. I slowly put out my hand and grasped the cold door knob, slowly turning it. The door creaked for what felt like an age, and echoed through the empty halls. Darkness lapped at my feet as I crept into the corridor, the rough carpet brushing against my bare feet as I trod carefully as to not make a sound.

I found a string that pulled down a set of stairs to the attic. I let out my shaking hand and grasped it tight; taking a deep breath I pulled it down gently. The old wooden stairs creaked as I ascended into the abyssal black. I poked my head up into the attic to have a look around, the candle light cast phantasmagorical shadows of a frightful sort that shook my heart and took a hold of my lungs.

I closed my eyes for a second to catch my breath, and then I heard another footstep. My eyes shot open and my heart erupted into a gallop. Almost bursting through my chest as the footsteps grew closer and closer, I frantically looked around and found nothing, but they still grew louder and louder. I shot down the stairs, raised them again and bolted the door. I ran into my room, locked the door and pushed a drawer against it.

I jumped on my bed and shut my eyes, wrapping the covers around myself as the footsteps still grew ever closer. My heart shuddered after every step, echoing through my mind. I couldn’t control my breathing and feared that I had gone mad. I screamed at the top of my lungs and burst out of the covers. The footsteps had stopped; I looked around the room to see the door, still firmly locked and bolted with the dresser perched against it. I tried to calm myself but I knew I wouldn’t sleep that night.

After several hours, the sun began to rise and shone through the window. A sigh of relief erupted from my tense chest as I had survived the night. I collected my things and quickly left the room, shot down the stairs and found a young woman on the desk. She had brilliant blonde hair, vibrant green eyes and a smile that lifted my heart. She greeted me and asked if I had enjoyed my stay to which I quickly replied that I had.

I wanted to say I hadn’t but I couldn’t make myself say anything. It was peculiar but I attributed it to the fear of the previous night. After exiting the bed and breakfast I found the town bustling with people, a market was running down the street and the smell of fresh bread and fish was fluttering down the road. I slowly walked through the stalls and was greeted happily by every person there. I was given free produce and was made to feel very welcome so I decided I would stay for a little while longer, just so I could visit the church.”

His eyes grew wide and his brow furrowed as he said the words, as if they conjured up in him a fear stronger than I have ever seen. After several seconds of silence he continued his story.

“After enjoying a glorious breakfast, I made the short walk to the ancient church to see if I could continue my investigation. The cobbled road leading up to the church was covered in apple blossom which was both magnificent and peculiar for this time of year but it made the journey there all the more pleasant. The sun glistened between the trees and the high stone walls along the road led me slowly towards the church.

It was a spectacular gothic building with great spires piercing the sky. Gargoyles stood mockingly staring at me as I trudged along the road in awe of this gargantuan grey structure. The great battered wooden door was flung open with an old man perched beneath its great arch. He smiled and welcomed me in. I looked around this ancient building and marvelled at its beauty and eloquence.

The triumphant arches and ornate pulpit coupled with infinite rows of old oak pews made for the most impressive sight running down the aisle towards what can only be described as an angelic masterpiece of a stained glass window. It depicted the angel Gabriel fighting the denizens of hell with a flaming sword. The colours flooded the room as the mid afternoon sun hit the glasswork and brought the scene to life.

I was dumbstruck as I left the church and could not see how any wrong could be done in such an awe inspiring place. Satisfied with my visit, I left for the harbour to get the next ferry home. I was talking to a local fisherman and we recounted stories of our youth. He told me about the bed and breakfast in which I stayed and I fearfully told him my story of the night before.

As I told the story, his face grew ever greyer and his eyes sunk into his head. As I finished the story he stood in shock and said that a beautiful young blonde girl was once murdered in the house and hung from the very room I stayed in. At departing this news the man slipped off into town and I contemplated all I had learnt. As I boarded the ferry I heard talk of some newcomer encountering the ghost of Eleanor Pearce. They told of a local legend that at night her footsteps can be heard from the ceiling but she is never on the floor above. The next part of the story is too horrific to recount but I beg of you, please do not go to that island! It is an evil place filled with de…”

He broke off quickly and stared through me for several seconds, his eyes glazed over and his skin pale. I noticed that in the time it took Lloyd to tell his story, the sun had set and the candles had burnt out. Then, there was a footstep on the floor above. I froze and tried talking to Lloyd, but evoked no response, the footsteps grew louder and closer, his face became wider and a look I can only describe as unfathomable fear surged over him.

“She is here,” he muttered through his breath.

Suddenly, I heard a quick scuttling of feet and creaking of bone with an ear splitting scream and then nothing. I woke up the next morning with sunlight streaming through the open window; a cold breeze blew through and made my hairs stand on end. I shot upright and remembered the night before.

I looked around and found my dear friend Lloyd. He was laid on the floor with his arms across his chest. I inched closer, carefully trying not to disturb him. As I got closer I realised that his face was not his own. His eyes had been torn from his sockets and replaced with coals. His nose had been bitten off and left with a puss filled crevice. His mouth had been sewn shut and his cheeks torn open, exposing his shattered teeth.

His chest had been ripped open with his ribs broken and protruding through blood covered flesh. His heart had been ripped through and his lungs slashed. I couldn’t stand the sight and began to heave. My limp legs carried me to the bathroom in a hurry and I can not remember the rest of the morning. Later that evening I buried the body of my dear friend Lloyd, to this day I do not know why but something commanded me to dispose of it that instant.

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