Trapped In The Moonlight

I wrote this as my extension 2 English major work so it's only a short story, but I'm rewriting it in first person later so it's a lot more than 8,000 words and more in-depth.

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1. Trapped In the Moonlight (Doesn't really have any chapters)

           You enter the meadow, peering around nervously. You stand amidst a large field, a wall of trees enclosing the edges; your hands are shaking from running, the adrenaline rush causing your heart to beat erratically, fearfully. Wind whispers through the trees, their branches stirring, as if they sensed your unwanted presence. They watch you closely.

 

            You step forward, knees trembling. You are aware that an unnatural darkness approaches, somewhere a branch snaps, causing you to jump. You twist around nervously to see what it was. But you are unable to discern anything but deformed, dark shadows. Your only light shimmers from the moon, filtering through the clouds. You can barely see the ground at your feet.

 

            You turn away from the trees and begin to venture warily forward. You trip and stumble in the darkness.  There is something blocking your path. You peer into the gloom to find a set of stairs, the entrance to a towering mansion. Its architecture makes it appear as though it had come straight from the Victorian era.

 

            You hear the rustle of trees, another branch snapping, and a low, menacing growl. You run up the stairs and straight to the door, the handle is jammed. You jiggle it desperately. You hear footsteps behind you. The growling is louder. You can hear claws on wood, scratching, sharpening.

 

            You push the door with all your strength. It gives way and you fall through the entrance landing heavily on the sand stones. You leap up and close the heavy timber door just as the creature leaps at the entrance, its jaws open, teeth aimed to kill. You hear it hit the door forcefully and yelp as it slumps to the ground. 

             

You race to the window, breathing heavily and arrive in time to glimpse an ominous shadow limping back into the forest. You instinctively move away from the window. You prop a heavy timber chair against the door. You will wait here until morning.

 

Somewhere in the expansiveness of the manor a clock chimes midnight. You peer

 

cautiously around the room. You are standing in a grand parlour full of odd shapes, covered

 

with calico and a thick layer of dust. Undisturbed for years it coats the floor. You are drawn

 

towards an object in the shape of a painting that is leaning against another form that appears

 

to be a divan. You cautiously slide the sheet off it. Underneath the sheet lies a painting, the

 

frame is damaged, decayed with age, cracked and falling to pieces. The paint is peeling and

 

even the subject of the painting, seems to have decomposed.

 

As you peer closer at the painting, grizzly evidence of human decomposition falls to the ground. You scream and throw the sheet back over the painting and scurry away. Without stopping to remove any more dust covers you cross the floor and continue to walk the length of the grand room.

 

An archway leads into an enormous hall.

 

You feel like you are walking into the past. A crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, several metres above your head. At the end of the hall, in what is possibly the rear of this grand mansion, are a set of stairs which split in the middle. One side leads to the left, the other to the right of the second storey; each has a pair of grand double doors at the top. Lining the hall on both sides were six other doors, three on each wall. You make the decision to pass the night exploring this grand mansion rather than hiding, in fear, easy prey for anything evil.

 

            You walk to the next door, across from the archway. Pushing open the heavy oak doors, you find yourself in an open room, possibly a dining room. In the centre of the room dust sheets cover what appears to be a long dining table surrounded by chairs. Moonlight shines through tall stain glass windows evenly spaced along one side of the room, the other walls are covered in paintings. From the window you see a solitary oak tree close the mansion, separated from the thicket of trees you had run through earlier.

 

The clock strikes one. A single, resounding chime echoes through the house. 

You feel a shiver run through you.

Tick Tock.

You feel your body fall to the ground as your mind slips into oblivion. Dark, black, nothing…

 

Then from the depths of your unconsciousness you hear a voice, “This is the Moonlight Mansion, it is here to assist those wandering through the Wakely Forest. But, be warned, there is a curse upon this mansion. Inside one of the thirteen rooms is a clock, as it chimes every hour from midnight to midday; any persons trapped inside the mansion are transported to other realm inside their mind. A different realm, a different story for each hour the clock strikes.”

Silence. You hear a deep sigh, and then the voice continues.

“While their minds are in these other realms, they will be observing a segment of a story that the clock wishes to tell them. You are only there to listen and watch. Never interfere! Otherwise you may not make it out of here alive. After each story is complete, you will be able to roam the house and explore the rooms; you must search for the clock. Find it, and you will be freed. Fail and you will be added to the collection. I will speak with you throughout your journey, listen closely to my advice. The first story begins.”

 

 

Seeking Solace in Space

 

           

A little girl sits in a tree, perched on a branch close to the top, her head tilted towards the starry sky above. Moonlight reflects off her dirty-blonde curls, dark smears cover her face. Coal dust from tending many fires also coats her hands, but she doesn’t mind, this is the only place she can escape and be in peace.

            A millions points of light are scattered across the sky, winking down at her. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and makes a wish. The wish, to one day be free.

“You’re too late, that star is dead.”

The silence is broken by a voice. She rolls her eyes, sighing in annoyance. Again, he has found her, no matter how high she climbs to escape him. The boy climbs up clumsily, stating in a factual voice, “Your stars are already dead, your wish is dead. By the time the light from the star reaches the Earth, the star has died.” She crosses her arms and turns away in a huff. She moves to the edge of the branch. Precariously placed she peers upwards.

 

“You’re better off wishing on a nebula.” The boys states as he climbs up and sits on her branch, keeping closer to the tree trunk. She was curious. “What is a nebula?” The boy laughs, he had managed it again, he always got everyone’s attention with his knowledge of the world. He sniggered smugly.

“A nebula is a massive cloud of gas and dust out in space,  its centre is where stars are usually formed. So if you wish on the nebula, the star will be forming inside, we just can’t see it yet.” He nodded his head as he spoke.

“Why can’t we see it yet?” the little girl asked, eager for more knowledge. If she learnt more she could escape quicker and fulfil her dreams.

“Because space is so big, everything is far away, this means the light from the new star takes millions of years to reach us.”

“Oh… But why do we see the light if they are already dead?” the boy was a little confused at this question, he had never wondered about that before.

“Well, I guess it works the same way, the ghost of the star maybe. The light is still travelling and because it has so far to travel, the death of the star doesn’t register, like an echo of the star’s life.” They both contemplated the boy’s theory in silence.

“So what else is in space? Planets, stars? What about the sun? What is it? And that mass in the sky that looks like a milk stain? What’s out there?” The girl questioned him excitedly, thirsty to learn more about this far away universe where she sought sanctuary. The boy sat up straight, as if ready to deliver a speech he had practised a thousand times.

“Space, is a vast place, its size can’t be comprehended by the human mind, it is never-ending.” The girl’s mouth dropped open, “there are millions of stars and planets out there, all completely unique. Scientists are still unsure if there is life out there as they have only discovered a miniscule part. Although with technology advancing so quickly, one day man might be able to travel to space. It’s almost the twentieth century; many things will begin to happen.”  

Of this the boy sounded completely certain.

“Tell me more about the planets and the sun!” The girl demanded. The boy laughed, enjoying being able to share his knowledge.

“Scientists have discovered that we live on Earth, a sphere shaped planet that they once believed was flat. They also believed that Earth was the centre of everything, and all other planets, stars and the sun, revolved around our Earth, but they are wrong.”

“Who are ‘they’?” the girl questioned.

“Religious people mostly, they think God created everything, but scientists have proven them wrong. The universe was created by a Big Bang. Anyway, scientists have discovered that the sun is the centre of our Solar System. It’s a giant ball of fire, and all nine smaller planets revolve around our sun.”

“Wow. But the sun in the sky looks so small!”

“That’s because it is so far away. Same as the stars, most of them are bigger than the Earth and the sun.” The girl gazed up at the night sky, eyes full of wonder. “And see that thing you called a milk stain,” the girl nodded, “that is our galaxy. It’s an enormous spiral of stars and planets, and in the centre, a black hole full of space dust.”

“So the planets orbit around this black hole?”

“Um, sort of” said the boy. “The scientists aren’t completely sure; most of their discussions are just theories, as everything in space is millions of light years away. So far, that is what they know.”

“And there are more galaxies out there?”

“Scientists think there are MILLIONS of them”

 

A loud crack echoed through the night. The brittle tree branch snapped under the weight of the children and fell tumbling to the ground. The little girl fell with it. She plummeted downwards and upon hitting the ground lay motionless, dead, branches and leaves scattered around her.

 “Your star is dead, your dreams are dead and you are dead.”

The boy stood against the tree trunk.                  

 

You open your eyes; shimmering light once again floods your vision. You stand slowly, cautiously; the story’s ending echoing through your mind. Your head thumping, like a ticking clock. A time bomb. You now realise that the tree that you can see is the tree from the story. It’s the tree where the girl fell. You turn away and leave the room. Out in the palatial hallway you glance around, before heading towards the next room.  You enter and find that this room has a bed and one of the walls is covered in a faded painting of the night sky. You tell yourself that if the story was painting a portrait of someone who used to live in the mansion, this would have been the little boy’s room.

The clock began to chime again.

Tick Tock.

You feel your body slump to the ground, blackness encompasses your mind. You wait for the second story to begin.

 

Life

            I walk through the gates and a hundred different aromas assault my nostrils… I recognise buttered popcorn, salted chips, burgers and pies. Trailers serve a variety of hot food. Screams of excitement and fear emanate from all sides. Rollercoasters whizz over slopes and around corners at incomprehensible speeds. They use no motors, only the force of gravity to push them faster.

            I turn in a circle, having walked to the centre of all the chaos. Brightly coloured lights shine from every spare space, eradicating the darkness. It could be the middle of the day and no one would know. I didn’t know where to go first, to the numerous tents holding vast possibilities of magic and wonder, or brick buildings full of surprises, the roller-coasters, and carousel beckon. I decide to wander around first. I taste the unique foods and explore the seemingly endless grounds of the night time wonderland.

Both sides of the path are lined with trailers selling food, gadgets and gizmos, drinks and toys, all brightly lit. Whimsical music plays and neon signs display catchy phrases to attract passers-by. I pay little attention to the excitement, it was all the same. I am only interested in the food, and once I’ve had my fill boredom sets in.

            I wander to the end of the path. I find only darkness, no colours, lights or music. I am drawn on by intrigue. In the nothingness of night I can discern two giant luminous eyes. I approach them and an archway appears. I walk through it, my curiosity pushing me further. I enter a hallway of flickering lights, at the end of which is a solid steel door. I walk through. On the other side of the door is a track, with a carriage perched precariously on top. I climb inside; a steel-bar harness comes down over my head, snapping into place around my waist. There was no escaping now.

            I wait nervously as the carriage fills with people. All harnesses click into place. I hear the sounds of an engine burbling to life. The sound fills the dully lit tunnel. It builds in power and velocity, the whole track begins to vibrate. All light is extinguished. Then zoom! The carriage flies out of the tunnel, around a steep corner and down an unexpected slope. It rounds another corner, and races through the darkness. I find excitement in speeding through the obscure night, destination unknown. Screams of exhilaration are the only sounds I hear, apart from the wheels rattling and foundations of the tunnel shaking.

            The coaster relies on gravity alone after it is catapulted out of the tunnel. I wonder how the carriage is staying on the tracks. I have no idea. An inescapable uncertainty fills my mind, ascending into fear.

            I feel the coaster complete a loop, another sharp turn, and then I feel it start to descend. It gathers speed. I gasp for breath as the carriage speeds recklessly through the track, twisting upside-down, then back the right way up, bolting from corner to corner. I am forced back into my seat; my breath is pushed out of my chest. I brace myself for impact. But instead of a massive collision, the coaster levels out. I feel it complete a few more sharp turns. I am thrown from side to side, a couple more loops then the carriage comes to a sudden stop. I realise that I am back in the tunnel, at the beginning. My heart beat returns to normal. I climb unsteadily out of the carriage. As I stagger towards the door, I am confronted by a newly hung sign. It simply reads ‘Life’.

                                               

You wake, then stand.  You blink to refocus your eyes. You hurriedly take in the room. Your temples thump and then like clockwork the voice reverberates through the silence.

 “Your second story is complete, and you are no closer to the clock than you were before. You must hurry! The curse moves ever nearer.” The voice echoes through the hallway as you race into the third room and search frantically. You realise you have no idea what the clock looks like.

You are relieved when an image suddenly appears in your mind. You recall a tall grandfather clock, made from mahogany, a circular face at the top and a glass door showing a swinging pendulum.

You find nothing in the third room. You run hurriedly back into the hall. The fourth room appears to be a craft room. You discover cloth, an art easel and numerous brushes. You hastily uncover a sewing machine covered by a dust cloth. You are the drawn to a tall rectangular shape.

“Is this the clock?” you ask yourself.

You race towards it, hoping it is. You have an urgency that is overwhelming.  Your hand reaches for the sheet and your body becomes weak. Three chimes echo through the house, your body collapses to the ground.  Your mind ventures into a black empty void.

Tick. Tock.  

The clock begins the third story.        

           

Escaping the Air of Conformity

            I stand in silence, leaning against a wall at the edge of the room. There are many people in the room. They all wear masks, and are unable to distinguish anyone else’s identity. They will dance all night, drink fancy wine and eat worldly delicacies. The masquerade balls of Venice are well known all over Italy. I, however, despised these people. I have been trapped here all my life, just wanting to escape.

“Then go,” A voice whispered to me,

I looked around.

“How?” I whispered back.

“Through there.”

Instantly an image of a wide glass door leading into a courtyard appeared in my head. I knew exactly where that was. Gracefully I walked over to the door, feeling nervous about being followed. I stepped through the open doors, onto a set of sandstone stairs overlooking a fountain and a magnificent garden, full of fragrant red roses.

 “Follow the path to the hedges.”

Frowning in confusion, I listened to the voice, desperately needing to find a way out.

The hedges loomed ahead, “a maze,” I thought. I entered the maze through an opening in the hedge. I followed the path until I came to an intersection. Voices approached from behind me, shouting my name “Genevieve!”

I panicked, not knowing which way to go.

“Take the path on the left.”

I listened to the voice, and follow the path that it indicated. Laughter echoed through my head as the pathway came to a dead end. I turned and ran back to the intersection, tripping over the hem of my ball gown.

“To the right,” advised a different voice.

Ignoring the voice, I ran straight ahead.

At the end of the path stood a huge gilded mirror. I could clearly see my own reflection in it, but something was wrong. Instead of seeing the hedges in the reflection, there was a door way of sorts, I reached into the mirror and grabbed the handle of the door, I pushed it open and hesitantly walked through.

A soft breeze blew my hair. The smell of the ocean air filled my nostrils; the breeze stirred my exposed skin. I glanced down in surprise. No longer was I wearing a delicate ball gown, instead tattered leather pants covered my legs, snakeskin boots encompassed my feet, and a woolly animal skin coat was draped over my shoulders.

I turned slowly, taking in my surroundings, I was stunned, “How had I come from a maze in the centre of Venice, to the deck of a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean?”

Filthy sailors rushed back and forth on the deck, shouting at each other and making the ship ready to sail.

“Evening ma’am, I am Raphael, 

the captain of this ship. Your father has sent me from Spain to collect you.”

My father, I thought. My real father was the most powerful wizard ever known. Of course, it had to be him. He had finally received my letters, informing him of my entrapment, and forced marriage, and he had sent this ship to rescue me.

“Well then, to Moonlight Mansion we sail!”          

 

You rose from where you lay crumpled on the ground. Your clothes are covered in dust. You brush it off, looking around. What were you doing? Your head is pounding. You are missing something, but you’re not sure what. You shake your head in confusion. You walk out of the craft room into the hallway; next in line is the fifth door. You go to open it when you notice an intricate design etched into the handle. Your fingers trace across it before pushing down the handle and opening the door. Your jaw drops in wonder as you enter this room. You are stunned. This room contains thousands of books. Shelves extend from floor to ceiling, two stories high. You enter on the top level. You step carefully down the stairs, glancing furtively around you. Your hands run along the spines of the books, they feel so delicate, ancient, and fragile. “Possibly from the beginning of time” you think to yourself.

Tick Tock.

Four chimes resound through the mansion; steadily you lower yourself to the ground, more prepared this time. You let go, the blackness empty, but welcome.

The fourth story begins.

 

 

Disciplined Chaos

           

“Step forward” The voice commanded, “Go through the doors and into the fluorescent lights.”

I did as he said, the cold air of the room causing goose-bumps to appear on my skin. I stand in a concrete room, each wall lined with shelves, piled high with food, a long shelf breaking it in half down the centre.

“Pick up a basket.”

I turned to my left, a stack of blue baskets were waiting for me, I took the handle of one and held it at my side, “Good, now I need you to gather for me these items butter, dark chocolate, caster sugar, warm water, coffee, plain and self-rising flour, cocoa and eggs”

I made my way through the cool room, finding the necessary ingredients and placing them in my basket.

Sweet aromas filled the air. Gradually the basket became too heavy to carry.

“Now leave the room and close the door”

I check to make sure I have everything. I knew that this was unnecessary, as the voice would be sure I did, it dictated my every move, similar to a narrator. I struggle to lift the basket, but managed to drag it into the kitchen and over to my bench.

 “Find a large saucepan; place inside it the butter, chocolate, sugar, water and coffee.”

I did as he bid, my expectation of chaos in the restaurant replaced by control and discipline. “Place the saucepan on the stove, turn it on, and melt them together.”

I walk over to the stove, place the saucepan down and turned up the heat. I stir the mixture as it melts.

A wonderful smell of chocolate emanated from in the pan, I close my eyes and breathe in deeply, delicious. Looking down, the mixture had become a smooth, creamy, chocolate sauce.

 “Take it off the stove and place it in a mixing bowl, allow it time to cool.”

My hand reaches for the handle, I gasp and jump back, holding my burnt hand.

A loud sigh, “Run it under cold water you silly girl.”

I run to the sink to turn on the cold water, hot water spurted out the tap. I hear another sigh of exasperation. I check the water and found it cold. I run my hand under the water, soothing the burn.

“Now grab a towel to take the sauce pan off.”  I pick up a towel and used it to protect my hand from the hot handle, while placing the pot on the bench.

“Find a large mixing bowl and a cake tin.” I did as he commanded, hands shaking unsteadily. “Now a sifter”

I find it, placing it beside the bowl, “Grease the cake tin” I follow his orders robotically. “Pick up the sifter and sift both the flours and cocoa into the mixing bowl, once that task is complete add the cooled chocolate mixture into the flour”

Again I complete the task. It was simple and repetitive, the same process every year. “Add the eggs and beat gently.” The mixture folded together nicely, promising a delicious chocolate cake, the boy’s favourite.

“Pour the mixture into the tin and then place it into the oven.” I push it into the gas fire. Now I must wait for it to rise. I step away, close the door and cleaned up my equipment.

Screams echo through the kitchen, alarms ring through the building.

Smoke quickly fills the air. I choke as I inhaled the thick suffocating air.

 “RUN!”

But it was too late, the ceiling above me caves in, the timber seasoned with age, burns rapidly. The flames release an intense heat. Another beam falls. Screams and shouts reached my ears but I can’t reply.

Moonlight mansion was falling to ash.

“This is your fault” the voice echoed in my head until all light faded away and I could no longer see, or feel.

You blink your eyes rapidly. You are still in the library, in the fifth room and the mansion wasn’t burning. “It’s not in here” the voice resounded. You question the voice directly, “Who are you?”  You hope he will answer. You sigh. You rise unsteadily; climb up the stairs and move out into the hallway.

“My name is Sebastian; I am the butler of the Moonlight Mansion. I have been in charge here for the past fifteen hundred years. I have seen the mansion rebuilt several times. Quite a unique style, don’t you agree?”

The voice faded as you entered the last room on the floor. At first you believe it to be completely empty. You notice that the floor is waxed and polished. You realise that this was the ballroom. You turn, searching for the clock, instead you find a table. You approach it cautiously; on top you find a small box. You lift it from the table to examine it closely. It is silver, decorated with symbols, writing carved into the side, “Septum Mortalia Peccata”. You think it may be Latin. You unlatch the lid of the box cautiously and open it. You are intrigued when you discover that inside the box lay seven ornate rings, each with its own unique design and colour.

Five chimes resonate through the mansion. This time it takes you by surprise.

Tick Tock.

You drop, unconscious, and knock your head on the corner of the table. You feel blood seeping across the floor as darkness envelopes your mind. The fifth story, the seven rings of seven deadly sins begins.

 

Septum Mortalia Peccata

            All seven women stood in a circle, standing tall and proud. Speaking aloud, they voiced their opinions. Seven friends in the circle, fighting and arguing again, each infected with a different sin. The seven deadly sins wreak havoc once again.

Demi is consumed with Pride. Her vanity causing her to speak words she wouldn’t usually think, “I am better than you, smarter, more accomplished. You wish you could be as good as me.”      

Claire is fuelled by Wrath. She has no choice; she wants to hit her friends, to hurt them for no reason. Her rage builds as their argument continues.

Elena, lost to Avarice, holds within her a greedy desire for power. Power over her friends, over others, her screams and shouts barely heard as she attempts to silence the group.

Chrystal is envious. Envy of her sister’s happiness and jealous of her mother’s ability to work hard clouds her relationships with those close to her. She wants to be enthusiastic and energetic like her once close friends, but she is always tired and depressed.      

Tiffany has been overcome by Sloth; the sin of laziness has taken the motivator of the group. A desire to do nothing fills her body, she lays on the ground, bored. She stares at the clouds, ignoring the arguing circle.

Melanie watches closely as a young man walks pass, a strange attraction for him building inside her. She wants him. Lust has overcome all reason.

Erica yearns to have more. She is infected with Gluttony. More, more, she must have more, more of everything. She needs to consume, she needs more.      

Fury, frustration, irritation, envelops the group. The sins are taking hold. As they grow stronger, their victims begin to glow with colour; the sins are being fuelled by the negative energy of the women.

Claire stopped. Usually the most calm and rational of the seven, she is now filled with a fiery rage. She peers at Tiffany; they used to be sisters, now she only felt a burning hatred for her. Claire’s skin shone a sickly light blue. She stretched out a hand for her sister to take. Tiffany looked up and shrugging her shoulders let Claire pull her to her feet. The light emanating from Tiffany was no longer as bright a blue, and neither was Claire’s.

Claire turned to her left, Erica was beginning to fidget and twitch uncontrollably. “I-I-I n-need th-that,” she stuttered as she lifted her hand and pointed at a nearby clothes store. Claire gestured to Tiffany and they each grabbed Erica’s arm to hold her in place.

Chrystal’s envy was almost at an exploding level, Demi was boasting of her accomplishments, and this infuriated Chrystal.  

Claire was always there to help enrage the situation. She stomped over to the three girls, and pushed Chrystal out of the way.  Chrystal pushed back with abandon. Claire stumbled backwards with the force. She was shocked. Rage built up again inside her, she tried to fight it but failed. Pulling back her arm, she flexed before throwing it forward, hitting Chrystal in the side of the head, knocking her to the ground. She hit the stone path hard, cracking open her head. No one moved to help her, to check if she was okay, the women simply continued their argument, their sins not allowing them to stop.

            Tiffany held Erica in place as Claire’s body began to shake with fury; she had to let it go. Demi’s voice grew louder, higher in pitch. Then stopped, cut off. A red light flashed through the circle and Demi’s body dropped to the ground, her windpipe crushed. Claire froze in shock. Melanie walked off, she knew what she wanted and she was going to get it.

Elena, however, noticed what Claire had done and wanted to be able to do it. No one else should have more power than her. The sin of Avarice compelled her to run at Claire, she barged into the girl, knocking her onto the ground. A knife appeared in her hand, glowing yellow as she fed her Greed. She lifted the knife up, ready to plunge it into her sister’s chest.

            Tiffany saw what was happening and dived towards the group, pushing Elena away. Claire leaped up, Tiffany watched her closely, but was unable to stop her. Claire glared at Elena, menacing, full of Wrath and hatred. As if in a trance, the girl plunged the knife into her own heart, falling to the ground. Tiffany backed away, grabbing Erica’s hand on the way.

Melanie was unaffected by the astonishing events, still entranced and full of yearning for any human that passed by the group. This was, until Claire stepped in front of her. Claire grabbed her hair and dragged her to the ground. She whimpered, “Claire, no, what are you doing?” Fear filled her eyes, her deep pink glow extinguished, but Claire’s red aura glowing much stronger now. Melanie looked  into Claire’s eyes, like burning embers of a raging fire; they were the last thing she ever saw.

Leaving the four dead bodies of her sisters on the ground, Claire ran after her last two victims.

Wrath always conquers all.

You leap to your feet and race up the stairs. “Run, get up and run” screams the voice. You must get the end of the hall, quick!” You force open the door and sprint to the end of the hall. You run as quickly as you can but half way there you collapse, a fierce pain booming in your chest, like the deep resonating chimes of the grandfather clock. 

Tick Tock.

 “Too late, you’ll never find it now.” said the voice. You wait for the sixth story to begin as the darkness takes hold.

                                               

Camellia’s Death Waltz

            Spring is approaching, the flowers are blooming, trees flourishing, wildlife thriving. The faeries dance all night and work all day to ensure Mother Nature is at her best. But now, there is an apocalypse coming. No more did it rain on time, the sun grows warmer without reason, the earth dries up, the plants are weak and lacklustre, and the wildlife frail. Mother Nature is sick, and so is her saviour.

Camellia is unwell, sick from the destruction reeking down on her realm. The humans are abusing their privileges, taking advantage of what had been given to them to keep safe.

Abused, hunted, ravaged and slaughtered, the land is dying. Nature is vanishing. What had once been beautiful is now rotting and infected, taking the faeries with it.

Camellia lies upon a leaf, watching the destruction take place before eyes.  Forests are hacked to pieces, animals hunted to extinction. The normal winter wonderland of the Arctic is melting, the ice falling into the ocean, its inhabitants falling with it. Earth is becoming uninhabitable. It will soon to be destroyed in a war greater than anything ever endured. And nothing can stop it.

 

            A figure appears beside Camellia. “It is time,” said the hooded shadow as it stares down at her, sadness in its glowing eyes. He too is suffering. His task made harder by the many lives being taken each passing moment. More souls burst with grief and anguish. It is almost too much for him to bear.

Camellia bows her head as the first explosion shakes the earth. It destroys everything. She clutches her chest, heart pounding, failing as the war breaks out. Nuclear devastation ravishes the Earth. Nature stands no chance now. Thousands of faeries fall around her. More explosions battered the atmosphere. Seconds later she falls  towards the ground. But her body never meets the sanctuary of the moist earth below because at that moment, everything blows apart, propelling itself into space.

Humanity has finally destroyed itself completely.

                                               

You open your eyes while gasping for breath. “Hurry!” The voice urges you to your feet. You run to the end of the hall, yanking open the door. You notice immediately that the inside contains a more modern room, no dust, no sheets. A barred window, a bed and desk, nestle against one wall. You can see that near the window stands a telescope. You approach it cautiously. “DON’T TOUCH IT!” The voice shrieks at you. You immediately draw back your hand and instead, read the writing etched on its side. ‘The property of W.C.’ you read. You hear laughter echoing through the room, followed by a boy’s voice. You believe that you’ve heard the voice before. You hear it begin to chant. 

 

‘This is my mansion, that was my tree, this is my telescope, it’s all for me. I killed the girl, and burned down the mansion, all because it needed an expansion. I hated the design, despised the staff, I killed them all and I laughed and laughed. The future, the past, my clock tells stories. I killed them all, now you are next.”

 

You back out of the room and into the next, trying to find a safe haven away from the sing song voice of the manic young boy. You dash into the room, where a fire burns in the corner.

“BURN!” cries the voice.

You race out of the room and through the next door. You immediately notice that paintings line each wall.

“YOU’RE NEXT!” cries the voice and you hear the door slam behind you, the clock chimes seven.

Tick Tock.

Laughter fills your ears as you drop to the ground. You tell yourself “The seventh story, you’re in the ninth room, maybe you will survive…”

 

Dragons of the Earth and Moon

With wings outstretched, scales full of life, teeth sharp and frightful, they are creatures of light and dark. Good and Evil. They soar through the sky, through space. Some say that our universe was created by a series of Big Bangs and explosions. They are wrong.

Our world was created by dragons.

In a time when the universe was beginning to form, billions of dragons soared through the sky. Breathing the elements of the universe from their nostrils, they created all that we see in the night sky. Each dragon became a star or a planet, the greatest dragons became our suns, the smaller made up the nebulas. Clans were formed inside dragon nations, those groups we have named galaxies, and they are still at war today, but moving slower with age.

Our galaxy, the Milky-way, is a special nation of dragons, the initial clan, bringing birth and life to the other nations. Inside this galaxy is our Solar System, made up of nine of the superior great dragons, and their leader. Each of these superior dragons created their own smaller clans, some made many, others few, not succumbing to the greed of the other Solar System clans and dragons. The third dragon didn’t yearn for company, so it followed their leader alone. But soon, it wanted more, to be with another. So their great leader created its opposite, dark and cold. The Earth Dragon was excited and soon fell in love with this new Dragon, the Moon is its name now. But the Moon Dragon had a cold dark heart, preferring to ignore the Earth and instead admire their leader, the Sun Dragon.

 

As time passed, both dragons chased each other through the sky, but the Moon always stayed attached to Earth, never able to leave its side. After billions of years, the Dragons grew bored, turning to hibernation, the fire at their centres continuing to burn, but most still yearned for the warmth of their leader, rather than the cold distance. The Moon became fond of Earth and rather than keeping the Earth in darkness for long intervals, it absorbed the light of the Sun and shone it upon the Earth so she was always able to see.

 

You awake to laughter, the paintings are burning. You watch the ghost of the little boy dance in the flames. “Burn little one,” you hear him say. You rise to your feet and tear towards the door. You wrench it open and run back to the stairs.Your body collapses, toppling down the stairs. You lay there, full of pain, something is broken.

Tick Tock

“You’ll be dead soon,” says the boy as his laughter echoes through your head.

 “Story number eight. Don’t let him beat you, you’re their only hope!” says the voice as you immerse yourself in the void.

 

Birth of the Seasons

            They fluttered through the sky, two birds up high. One belongs to the dark, the other to the light. Symbols of storms and terror, growth and love, they became entranced as they catch each other’s eyes. They danced and sang, flittering from tree to tree, until they found the perfect nest, beside a mansion, where magic flourished. In the spiritual tree they gathered their nest. Mating was a time for creation. Four eggs they laid, in the delicate nest. Two moons later these little eggs hatched. Bursting forth came four birds. All were different colours, a combination of light and dark and magic. The four birds quickly learned the ways of the world, making the sacred tree their home at the same time each year.

Nature’s clock.

Tick Tock.

 The first magical bird was Summer, beautiful and warm, but also harsh and deadly. It wore the colour of the bright sun on its top feathers, but a severe and scalding crimson on the underside.

Next was Autumn, its lighter warmth drifting towards an exquisite coolness and a promise of renewal. Oranges and reds, were the colour of its feathers. But be warned; with light there will always be dark, a heady combination of a deadly summer and an unforgiving winter.

Winter, was ice-cold and heartless. Blue and black its colours. Freezing, and bringing darkness and cold, it would rarely bring joy. But there will always be hope in darkness. Happiness and love conquered the fear of surviving the long harsh winters that were brought by the Winter bird each year.

Spring was the last to nest, bringing a promise of new life before summer. Vibrant colours adorned its feathers. Rainbow hues. Flowers flourished and nature was at its best before Spring brought its  storms to terrorise so many. This was Spring, her severe beauty almost over-powering.

 

You lay at the bottom of the stairs while another story was completed.  You climb steadily to your feet, no pain, nothing broken.

“Thank me later, now RUN” Sebastian’s voice screams.

You bound up the stairs taking them two at a time. You hurdle through the other door on the second floor. “Hurry!”  You fling open the door, chains, manacles, ropes and bars line the walls.

“Torture, torture, torture” like a ticking clock, the boy’s voice repeats the words. “Oh how I love it.” The boy’s frenzied voice and hysterical laughter fill the room.

“Your worst nightmares approach!” nine chimes ring through the room, the clock sounds close.

Tick Tock

“The ninth story, a story for you, stay strong young one,” says the voice

 

Beautiful Nightmares

            I’m alone in the room, trapped in a corner, with no way out. I attempt a scream for help but my throat is dry. I know that no one will hear, that no one will know. The walls seem to move closer, the darkness is oppressing. I struggle to breath. I close my eyes, hoping this scene will disappear. I’m scared. It’s dark, cold empty. The walls are moving closer. Dark. Cold. Empty. “GO AWAY!”  I scream to myself.

            I’m standing on the edge of a building, looking down at the streets below. I hear joyous laughter and smile as I look out at the view. I can see a beautiful beach stretching out, not far away. I hope to soon be digging my toes in the sand. I am frightened as a terrible gust of wind unsteadies me. I arm knocked off my feet by another and sent sailing over the guard rail. I am falling, tumbling, the ground rushes to meet me. My heart accelerates, it’s beating too fast. I feel the wind speeding in my ears. “Or is that the blood rushing to my brain?” I ask myself in panic. The people grow larger. The concrete grows closer. I close my eyes.

I wait for impact.

 I’m standing in a forest. I’m facing another fear. Spiders! Giant hairy legs with pincers, menacing, hungry to taste your flesh. I shake with fear as its eight ghastly eyes observe me. I  look down to see hundreds of tiny spiders crawling up my legs. Their tiny legs skitter across my skin.I’m frozen, unable to move. I am trapped in your fear. I look back and straight into the eyes of the massive spider.

Pincers close…

My body is frozen by ice cold water that rushes around me. I’m immersed in a lake. I’m open my mouth, to scream in panic. I move my arms and legs furiously trying to swim upwards. But is it up? It’s too dark to tell. My lungs shriek for air. I become weak and I feel life fade away. My vision is disturbed by dark spots. I am succumbing to the cold. I am passing out.

I welcome death as it means no more of this pain.

 

 

 

You wake again, to find the door is open.

“I hate you. I hope you die!” cries the voice of the boy still present in the room.

You are filled with unrelenting fear. You crawl out of the door. Your body feels as though it is still submerged in the water. You struggle to your feet, and open the next door – the Eleventh door.

Tick Tock.

Chimes ring through the air. Ten chimes, it’s almost midday. You once again collapse on the ground.

Story number Ten” The voice is weakening.

 

 

Struggles to Desires

            A bridge. It’s a bridge we all share. On one side we stand. We are weak, unaccomplished, and yearning for more. What lies on the other side? There lies our goals, desires, hopes and dreams, those things we have always wanted to accomplish. But how do we get there? How do we cross the bridge? Torture, torment, frustration, pain and agony lie in the crossing. But is it even worth it? The stress and heartache caused by those troubles and obstacles just waiting in our path to bring us down. At any time the bridge could crumble beneath our feet, plunging us into icy water, and it’s our choice to climb out or drown.

Some bridges are solid, stable constructions that we have worked most of our lives to build. Others are paper thin pieces of wood, rotten and weak, hanging over crevices of unfathomable depth. Eventually we decide to cross and discover what we want, occasionally we even receive help. In the end we almost always make it, despite those who attempt to push us over the edge.

You can see nothing at all. The eleventh room is empty.

“Stay here where it’s safe. Leave this room and death will surely take you,” the voice is just a whisper now.

You run to the door, pounding at it, screaming for it to open. You know that your desperation is over-powering your better judgment.

Tick Tock

You drift into the veil of darkness as eleven chimes sing true.

                                   

A Deep Sea Passion

            Water rushes over my skin, easing the pain. The poison still lingers. The cruelty of the world weighs heavily upon my mind; I wish it would go away. I have been alive for two thousand years and have witnessed much change. From the era of the Vikings to Kings and Queens, they have all sailed across the water. They came in little row boats or enormous tall ships. All the time they watched wearily for the flick of my tail, the prize of the ocean. But now my water is polluted. Oil and debris poisons me. The cool ocean water is filled with fear and death. There is no escape.

The bottom of my ocean is filthy with memories. Sunken ships full of sunken hopes and dreams. Plans of adventure and treasure lost to the depths. The pirates were the most intriguing of all. But now all that wander, on the top of the sea, are towering ocean liners, cruise ships, ships of war and tiny paddle boats. Modern architecture bores me. So I stay away from the top. I stay below where I am safe. A mere myth to man-kind.

 

I travel all over, from the icy cold seas, to the warmth of the tropical oceans. I find beauty and terror in each place. I am shocked at what I find. Sewage, dirt, refuse and debris fill ever crevasse. I am disgusted. The ocean is now almost empty, lifeless, destroyed by man. The future will only hold more of this if the destroyers are not stopped. But I have not seen another merman in years. My heart grows heavy, full of dread and despair. Am I the last one left? Will I soon be dead?

My beautiful tail, covered in scales, shines when I moved in the light. But the light grows dull, although night is far from approaching. I feel that this is different. It’s oil, thick, sticky, black oil clinging to my skin as I swim to the surface. Cries for help reached my ears, and I soon discovered to whom they belonged. But it’s too late. The oil has snatched us up. Its dense weight swirls around my body, choking my skin, filling my gills, poisoning me. Soon I will be dead. Like everything else that I once thought beautiful.          

 

You hear the voice, its urgency brings your mind back from the darkness.

             “Get to your feet you fool, out the door and into the hall! Find the clock before it’s too late!”

   You test the handle, it opens with ease. Your heart is racing in terror. You find the twelfth door and thrust it open. You can see it now. The clock lay on the other side of the empty room. Your body grows weak; the first chime of midday begins.  You begin to step towards the clock, a step with each a chime.

          Your hand reaches the clock as the ninth chime sounds.

          Tick Tock.

You close your fingers around the wood, it’s warm and has a pulse, “this is not made of wood?” you tell yourself.

          The Eleventh chime resounds. You can see the key sitting precisely in the lock. Your fingers tremble but you unlock the door and open it.

          Strike twelve. Your body falls. You land inside the huge mechanism of the clock.

          You wonder if you made it…

 

                                       The Writer and the Clockmaker

 

          I sit at my desk, peering at the blueprints for my latest project. It’s a request for a special man, he needs a clock which he wishes to gift to the inhabitants of the ghastly Moonlight mansion. This man wishes to place a curse upon the mansion, just as it has cursed humanity with its presence through the centuries. This man intends for the mansion to disappear, its time of murdering and wreaking havoc upon those around it is finished.  But this man also wishes to give its demise some assistance, and this he indeed did.

            I sit at my desk, quill in hand, waiting for words to form. My task is to write an article about the misfortunes of Moonlight Mansion. Apparently it is the tale of a gift gone wrong.  A curse which meant only to harm its inhabitants has turned, and now those that once lived inside are coaxing their victims back to the nest, offering assistance, using them for entertainment, and then trapping them inside the mansion for ever.

            This clock would be a vessel to hold many stories, the complete stories of the manor. Its curse was intended to entrap the spirits of the manor, the little boy in particular, and force him to relive each and every horrid story. I stare at my blue prints, confusion filling my mind, unsure of how I was to manage this, considering the powerful, magical inhabitants who had ruled in the Mansion for many generations.

            My article is written, but not quite ready to be delivered. I am missing one important witness, someone who could provide much needed information. I needed to meet the clockmaker, to figure out how he had done it. The man who had given them the clock had been the first victim. The little boy had apparently enjoyed watching his terror as his gift became his death, trapped forever in a painting. Although I had not seen the mansion myself, I had heard the stories, the rumours spread by the little boy himself. I pondered upon what the mansion would become in coming centuries.

            I finally completed the clock, although still curious about its purpose, I knew those in the manor were terrifying in nature, but why do something so treacherous, after there had already been so much death? It had been an intriguing piece to construct, but I had changed it a little, from the initial brief, developing a way to break the curse one day.

 

          You fight the story, stopping it in its path; the light of day is weakening its power. You break free. In front of you stands the clockmaker. You watch as he gestures to the open clock, inside are gears, in the shape of a human heart. You recall the warmth of the vile, pulsing object. You reach in determinedly with your hand and tear the heart apart with furious force, self-preservation your main source of power.

The clock explodes, the mansion begins to collapse. You watch, as the timbers creak and glass smashes. You are frightened by the destruction but you close your eyes in relief.

Finally destroyed, it crumbles to the ground.

You breathe deeply and then open your eyes to find yourself on the other side of the field, unhurt. You are overcome with relief. You peer in amazement through the thicket, only to see nothing at all but the road that you had previously been running along. 

 

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