The Mansiøn øf Ӈell

"Over the last twelve years, nine kids have been snatched from their beds and taken to an unidentified location. No one knows where they are, but police are following a few leads they have found." The man turned off the T.V. They were getting on to him. He had to hide the children even better. But they would never find him, however hard they looked.

The children had all been snatched from their beds when they were 4, 5 or 6. Now they have been locked up in a mansion, ruled by a cruel master. They do housework, live in the cellar and sometimes even get hired off to other people. Some of them have been there longer than others. But all of them have been through more than anyone could ever imagine. And there is no escape from The Mansiøn øf Ӈell.

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1. working hours

They were all in the cellar. It was raining. But they didn't know. It was dawn. But they didn't know. They knew nothing of the outside world. Even if they spent most of their free years as a toddler outside, they were bound to have forgotten all about it. All nine of the once-happy-and-energetic-children were in there, locked up, doing whatever their deranged minds could manage to do.

 

Locked up in the almost pitch black cellar were four girls and five boys, all over the age of 8. The oldest of the bunch was Axel. He was nearly 17 and had been there for 12 years. Poor boy.. . Next were the only twins there were, Tate and Camilla. 14 year old twins who hated each other. But that was OK because that was what made them balanced. A year younger than the twins was a girl named Noelle (but preferably called Elle or Ellie) who had been snatched out of her bed when she was 4. With a 12 year old boy named Reuben who was taken at age 5 and always tried to cheer everyone up when they had nothing to do in the cellar. Three siblings, Caspian, 15, Xavier, 10, and River, 8, were all taken from their beds at the same age of 5, all at different times and years. River's best friend in the cellar was Aluka, Axel's sister. She was the same age as River and shared the same birthday. Their brothers had all said that they could be twins but the girls never believed them, even though their almost identical features. Their big, ocean blue eyes, their, now dirty, light orange hair, and most of all, their lightly placed freckles that went across the bridges of their noses and a bit under their eyes.

 

While waiting for their master to come, they entertained themselves the best they could. Xavier found a ball and kept himself busy with bouncing it against the wall as quietly as he could. River was with Aluka, playing a game quietly while chanting the everlasting chant of misery. Well not their misery. All the others' misery. All the simpler times were when you were about that age the two girls were. The girls were all full of life and conventional fear. But not the others. They were suicidal, driven to insanity...

 

Elle was sitting against the wall, reciting to herself. "It's gonna be alright, it's gonna be alright.." She started scratching her arms until they were red. Opposite Elle was Caspian. He was using a small knife he found in The Master's bedroom to draw on the wall and the floor. Tate was sleeping next to Camilla. And all alone under the staircase was Axel, on a small mattress. He was planning a way out of there. He wanted to bring all of them with him, if he would ever make it. He wrote down in his small handmade notebook with a pencil the length of his index finger which used Caspian's knife to sharpen that there was a loose tile, eight steps from the opposite corner. At that moment The Master walked in and inspected his "slaves" and made sure they were clean enough to work. The Master eyed a sleeping Reuben and kicked him in his stomach twice. Reuben didn't even flinch since he was so used to it.

 

"No food for a week!" The Master yelled and paced to the top of the stairs before announcing, "My mother is coming in 5 hours and I expect the house to be spick-and-span when we arrive with a nice meal for the both of us. And one of you older girls can put on the maid's attire and act like our maid." The Master walked up the rest of the stairs and slammed the door, making River and Aluka flinch.

 

Camilla walked over to Reuben and sat down. "You can have some of my rations." She smiled at him and bit her nails afterwards.

 

 

A pleasant change of events occurred when Elle, the quietest of the cellar kids, went and sat next to Camilla and Reuben. "Hi." She said, looking down at her darkened feet. Reuben was quite surprised she talked and sat up. Camilla said hi back and so did Reuben. There was a deafening silence that filled the room.  "I can cook then act like the maid since I'm the oldest girl." Camilla broke it, but rather smoothly.  "I can help you." Elle looked at Camilla and stood up with her bony arms stabilising her weight. Camilla got up after her and checked if the master had gone yet. " Anyone care to join us?" Camilla took Elle into the kitchen and got the recipe book that they got hold of a few years ago.

 

"Chicken? Or turkey? Oh or maybe this caa-vee-are thing."

"Caa-vee-are sounds... exotic." Of course they had never had such delicacies as they had spent most of their lives in that house with such insufficient rations of food. "What is that thing?" Even though Elle was only a year younger than Camilla, Camilla was much more mature.

 

Camilla's eyes grew wider as she read. "Fish eggs??" Elle was equally as surprised. "Really?" Camilla shrugged and read the recipe. "OK. This sounds easy. Cucumber, sour cream, dried dill weed, pepper, caa-vee-are, dill sprigs, then bread and butter." Elle then helped the older girl gather the ingredients to make  the so called "caviare kisses"  for The Master and his mother. "Slice the cucumber in quarter inch rounds. In a small bowl, mix sour cream, dried dill and pepper. That's the first step. And the second step probably." Camilla read and constructed the meal. The smaller girl cut up the 'dill' and brushed it into the bowl. "Mix it up please, Ellie." She did as she was told and mixed the concoction slowly. They put the mixture onto the cucumber slices and sprinkled them with the caa-vee-are as the book instructed. The next step was to cut out squares of bread and smother a load of caviare onto it and serve. They almost burnt down the mansion  when trying to use the toaster but they still managed.  put three cucumber slices onto each plate with two caviare toasts. Elle took a few slices of bread to share and stuffed them into her jacket pocket.

 

During the time the two girls had finished making the meals, the rest of the group had stayed in the cellar and done nothing. "Guys! C'mon help me and this squirt. We've done the food already so help us now."  She grabbed the sleeping Tate and told him to clean the bedrooms. He groaned and just managed to get up. "I still don't like you so just let go of me." He pulled his arm out and started cleaning up the bedrooms.

 

Elle stayed behind and sat next to Caspian. "I like your drawings Cas." She smiled at him.

He was more of a bigger brother to her rather than a friend. "Thanks Elle."

Elle got out the slices of bread and gave one to him. "Here. I got it from the kitchen. The master won't notice. After all, he doesn't go in there much." She kindly smiled and ripped bits of bread off and ate them. "Are you not hungry Cas?" She tilted her head at him with concern.

"Oh, oh yeah. I am, but I was just thinking. Don't you wanna get out of this hell hold?" Caspian took small bites of the bread.

Elle's subtle grin slowly turned into a small frown. "Of course. Doesn't everyone?" She continued eating like she never spoke a word to him.

"I guess so."

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