Scared and lonely, the candlelight my only company, my only friend, I walked along the endless corridor. The wind howled outside and the rain hammered on the rusting window sills. All day long, I had been exploring this gigantic house yet I had only recently discovered this dim, dark place I now found myself in.
My sisters, who had hidden some time ago, must be down here - for where else would they be? Ever since we had moved to this strange town we had been constantly playing hide and seek. Stanhope was a beautiful but mysterious town; it had many secrets as I was soon about to reveal……….
Whispers crept their way slowly down into the labyrinth of darkness. Deep down inside of me, I screamed for the comfort of my mother’s arms. However I could no longer share her warmth because she had passed away the previous month. Moreover, my father was like a stone cold statue, stilted by his depression. I had learned to stand on my own two feet but, despite being the only responsible person in the family, as an 8 year old boy, I was actually always ignored! Life was already becoming a living nightmare and now, what horrors had I unearthed in this place and what lay ahead of me?
So, in such a dismal place as where I had found myself, the shadows that cast upon the wall made it feel as if someone was watching my every move. It was as dark as the mind of a monstrous fiend. Apprehensive and tense, I still walked, trying not to make a sound. The closer I got the more my blood curdled with terror. The ghostly whispers of my name broke the airy silence: “Theo… Theo …Theo…”
There were more mysterious sounds still luring me further into the darkness. My natural instinct was to scream for help; but, instead, I found myself running, following the sounds that echoed through the long labyrinth of darkness, hoping and praying that I would be getting out this stuffy chamber of secrets.
Each advance was stiff with fear – horror submerging into every part of my thin body. As I started to run at some speed, a gust of wind slivered through the air, finding its way to my candle. It extinguished my only source of light. I was left alone in complete darkness.
Lightning struck, sending a stream of energy lighting up the endless corridor. A few seconds that’s all it had took and my feet had left the safe ground below me. All I could see was a misty blue light. My breathing became laboured as a thick, blue gunge slowly started to fill my lungs; my breath becoming short, strained gasps.
Suspended in the air, not falling just floating, I wasn’t even drifting although my surroundings were moving around me. Stifled under a dense substance, I began to panic.
All of a sudden I remembered my mother saying something about this strange place... Realisation dawned on me - I was in a portal! But, who had sent me? Who wanted me so bad that they were ensnaring me?
Pain shot through me like an electric shock racing though every inch of my tiny body. I had been released from that deadly portal and dropped onto a frosty green carpet. Now catching my breath and letting my heart return to usual speed, I trembled. Lying on the ground, helpless and good as dead, I tried to look around. However, as hard as my eyes strained and squinted, the fog, resting on the earth like a thick, woollen blanket, was making it difficult to even see one inch ahead of me.
With all my might I slowly got up on my feet. Now, with my head straining I could see over the thick dense layer of fog. A gigantic derelict ruin stood tall and proud; casting an eerie shadow over me. The dilapidated place reminded me of a church. I thought to myself, if this was a church, then I must be in a churchyard! Fortified, I looked around taking good care to find any clues of my whereabouts; engraved with fine details, to my right, a grand stone stood tall and proud along with so many other grave stones.
The rain came tumbling down, soaking anything in its path and smothering the fog so that it was easier to see. I moved forwards, only to lacerate myself against a rough intricate tree. Following the massive tree up towards the sky, my gaze was steered to a million branches entwined together, their arms hugging each other for dear life. I desperately wished I could have joined in with the comfort they were sharing.
The monstrous storm was raging on and on; my clothes clung to my skin, making it an effort to walk, weighing me down like a lead weight. Lightning struck. This was my opportunity to find a safe path - leading me on further towards whatever fate awaited me.
Seconds, that’s all I had, to frantically look around with the whole world lit up in a bright stream of light. There! The skin of the now thinning fog had been sliced open, making a clear pathway. My gaze streaked along the moist ground until my eyes cast upon a figure. Her back was turned away from me; her body was covered in the most beautiful dress I had ever seen! The pure white material spread across the ground and the threading was done with the upmost care. Pearls and lace decorated the top half making the wedding dress twinkle whenever the storm broke out.
“Madam, could you please help me? My clothes are torn and I’m very far from the safety of my home and the warmth of my fire.”
Almost elegantly, the maiden turned round looking as if she was suspended.
When the woman was facing me I could tell something wasn’t right. A flash of light lit up her face; this was no sweet maiden but a dark, terrible demon! Black holes instead of eyes swallowed me up; a gaping jaw bone hung lopsidedly to the left. Her breath, as she inhaled deeply, drained all happiness out of me and her putrid exhalation replaced my only hope with terror! The beautiful dress did not disguise the wretched features of this monster.
Reality snapped back, I tried to scream, but only a small whisper escaped my mouth. I couldn’t stare at it anymore. My eyes hurt as I blinked, fighting back terror and tears.
It took a step my way.
This time I did scream, shattering the long, still silence of the graveyard. However it would do me no good - all who would hear me now were the dead.
My feet entrenched themselves into the soil, deeper and deeper into the ground. Now trapped and helpless, the tall figure stepped into the shaft of moonlight and embraced me in her darkness........