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A scream echoed through the hallway as if the sound was trying to find its way to me. It’s Jamie. The most bloodcurdling sound you could have ever heard and it came from my best friend. I started to look around the old house for him. The scream came from the basement. Oh God why did it have to be down there? I simply don't know why but I open that ancient creaky door.
I flip the old light switch. No lights come on, just a flicker that lasts less than a second. All I see are a few cobweb covered chests and boxes.... and a trail of muddy footprints. Every step I take feels like another step deeper into hell. Why am I doing this? I think to myself. But my feet carry me on. It feels like an eternity descending these stairs, by the time I reach the bottom I just can't comprehend why I am down here.
Oh yea I have a flashlight I remind myself. I turn it on. Almost as fast as the light hits the wall a sharp pain crashes into the back of my skull. I slump to my knees. Then it all goes black...
I blink. My head feels like someone hit it with a brick, possibly they did. It takes me a few seconds to realise what happened. Jamie?
“Jamie? Jamie? Are you there?”
No reply. My flashlight is still on and shining at the wall. There is something written there.
You should never have come. GO HOME.
A shiver goes down my spine. Oh god no. What have I got myself into? I slowly stand up, despite feeling dizzy I turn and sprint as fast as possible with rubber legs, to the basement door. I turn the handle. Bloody hell it’s jammed.
Oh god.... no, no, no, no. “LET ME OUT!” I scream. I hear footsteps behind me. I turn. “Jamie, is that you?”
The shadowy figure is in the corner of the room. I can’t make out any facial features and I don’t think it’s Jamie. I just stand there, frozen to the step. It’s slowly moving towards me. Why the hell can’t I move? It’s getting closer. MOVE DAMN IT! Closer. MOVE! It’s right in front of me. I close my eyes and hope to God that it’s over quickly. Nothing happens. I wait... and still nothing happens. I slowly force open my eyes, nothing is there.
Did... did I just imagine that? What the hell is going on in this house? Help... Me... Please, I moan to myself. I notice that there was a small window up in the very corner of the basement. I start walking, almost running, over to the window. A flash of white lightning illuminates the basement. There is a body in the same corner of the basement as the shadowy figure. It is Jamie.
His eyes are wide open, looking straight into my soul. His arm is covered in cuts and his neck has a large cut right across. He is covered in blood. There is blood everywhere. I just can’t look at him. I climb the rough old wall and push the small window. It won’t budge so I hit and hit and hit until it flings open. Oh fresh air. I scrape through the opening in the basement window. I can barely see, fog shrouds everything. I am still shaking. Jamie’s face is burnt into my brain, his eyes.
I don’t know where to go, I’m miles away from anywhere. I remember seeing a phone in the hall of the ominous house. I do not want to go back in there, but I have to. So I nervously shuffled back to the front door, I probably shouldn’t be calling this a house--it’s more like a manor, decaying but still a manor. So here I am, stuck up here on the moors. The front of the house is covered in ivy and moss. I feel too open and exposed out here but I know there is something inside the manor. I have to go in... I have to. It starts to rain heavily as if forcing me to go inside.
I push open the old oak door. The hall is extremely dark but thanks to the elongated windows either side of the door they have slightly lit up the hall. The walls inside are covered in almost as much ivy and moss as the outside. One of the elongated windows by the side of the door had been smashed at the bottom and has let moss, grass and vines creep inside, spreading half way across the hall, the old wooden oak planks have turned to mush with the damp. Even the slightest amount of pressure added to them would make them collapse. The old delicate chandelier hangs precariously from the ceiling.
The fog starts creeping in through the holes in the windows reaching half way across the hall before it disperses. So I move up to the large spruce table by the side of the wall and reach for the old spin dial phone. It is still amazing that the electrics work in this house--it was probably last wired in the 1930's. I picked up the phone with a shaking hand and put it against my ear. There was just static. I dial the police.
”Hello?” I ask.
“Hello? Anybody there?” I ask again.
I hear a voice shrouded with static. “Look behind you...”
I turn. Lightning flashes. There is a figure standing in one of the windows. Its mouth has a large grin. Eyes black as night and unruly hair. His eyes fix on me. He is grinning like he knows me, everything about me, and he has something planned for me. For the second time tonight I stand glued to the spot in sheer terror. Another flash of lightning blinds me for a second and the figure is gone. I still don’t move. The phone is still clenched in my shaking hand. I put it back. I remember the garage outside where we parked our car. Before I realise it I am sprinting outside and up to the garage door, pulling up the shutter, reaching for the car door and... it’s locked.
“Damn it!” I shout to the moor. I remember now that the keys were left upstairs in one of the bedrooms.
I dread going back into that house, so much that my stomach wants to bring my lunch back up the way it came.
I steady myself as much as possible with a few deep breaths. I prepare myself to run, to focus on the keys and only the keys. I turn, still slightly dizzy but ignoring it. I aim myself like a bullet towards the door and run as if my life depends on it... a small frightened voice in my head knows that’s the case.
My panting breath and racing heartbeat are all I can hear, pounding in my ears. I tell myself I am fast, I can do this. My feet bang against the floor as I enter and head for the stairs, out of the corner of my eye I see something move but try my best to ignore it... faster, faster my feet take on a life of their own. Two stairs at a time, I reach the landing and virtually leap down the corridor to the bedroom. I daren’t stop to look around the room, I see the keys on the dusty table and before I realise it, they are in my fist.
I spin round, the doorway is clear, no one there, I run again toward the stairs; they seem further away than I remember. My brain hasn’t really had much input until now, it’s been cowering in fear but it now wonders how I can get downstairs without breaking my ankle. I push the thought away and pound my way down. A hand grabs at my calf but it can’t stop my momentum. I hear a loud, angry growl but I do not want to see where it came from... so I run, I push the fear away. As the growl gets closer, I am almost at the door and something grasps at my collar, almost stopping me. I jerk away to free myself.
THUMP! The angry growl turns into a more painful one. I imagine him falling through the rotting wood, I hope so but I will not stop, I will not stop. I am like a windup toy. I am in the car, the keys frantically missing the ignition and then the engine roars, I am reversing without looking in the mirror, I don’t care who or what is behind me I am getting out of here. I bump over a few potholes in the dark and switch the headlights on as I speed away. Nervously I look in the mirror I see the house behind me, the glow of my rear lights turning it red. As I speed away from Black Moor Manor, I remember Jamie.
I’m far away now. Tired, I forget about driving. As the rain hits the window screen completely drift away and as I hear the screech, I snap back into focus. My car is skidding off the road and I’m bumping down a steep embankment. I can’t stop the car. My head smacks into the steering wheel. It all goes black. Colours are fading in and out inside the blackness of my eye lids. This reminds me of being inside that basement. My eyes slowly open. The sun is rising, what must have been hours felt like minuets. The widow screen has shattered and the passenger door is open. I’m looking downwards. The car is jammed into the bottom of this ditch. I stumble out and climb out of the ditch. I start walking, walking home, to the police or whoever can help.
Three weeks later and the police still have not found Jamie’s body... but they found his blood. Ever since that fateful night I have been researching Black Moor Manor. This has happened before, and it will happen again. I’m not sure what to do now. Maybe I will write it down. I, Damian Holt experienced this, and I hope to God I don’t ever again.