The Maybrick Estate

Two lovers embrace

3:26 PM
The situation had become less about finding the others, but more about how quickly we could find the others and how we could do it in the safest possible way.

A part of me wanted to save my own ass and get myself out and as far away as possible, however there was the niggling guilt that pinched at the back of my neck. The house belonged to me, left to me by a father I hardly knew, but he was my father nonetheless. I could leave now, I was no ones prisoner however I knew I had nowhere to go - as putrid as this hell gate appeared it was the only thing I could call home. Even if I did find somewhere else to stay, I'm sure that the law would eventually catch up with me should Victor and Maria fail to make it out alive.

There was a dense, thick feeling as we sat around the table in the living area. A feeling that reminded me of the times back in high school when a group of us would all sit in Billy Meyers basement and pass a joint around and then buzz out on the couch to every little sight and sound like all of our senses had been heightened and everything little thing made sense like it had been obvious all along. It was that feeling I had now, however things were far from clear. I think I have more questions at this point in time than I've ever had in my entire life. Could I put this feeling down to tiredness? I knew I'd slept within the last 24 hours but It certainly didn't feel like it and it would seem as though Victor and Maria were suffering from the same sort of lethargy. Their heads clouded with thoughts forcing them to procrastinate from getting to their feet and finding their friends.
My vision melted before me - blurred, like I was suffering a severe case of conjunctivitis. Details became nothing more than outlines.
I tried in vain to wipe my vision clear again, realising at that moment that my body would not follow my thoughts. I was paralysed, every muscle pinned to the ground by unseen forces - unseen, but by no means not unheard. The room was alive with the sounds of whispers and barking laughter, and screams that seemed to do circuits inside and out of of my own conscious mind which pressed at the inside of my skull ten times more violently than any common migraine.

I remained conscious enough to feel my numb body being dragged across the wooden floor, dragged through numerous doors and hallways. Sensing a tightness around my ankles and hearing the breath of the person dragging me was all I could witness before my mind faded into complete darkness.

It was the sensation of pleasure that brought me back.

My vision had returned perfectly the moment I'd opened my eyes. I awoke to find myself in somewhat of a master bedroom which had been illuminated by nothing more than a single candle who's flame danced and flickered inside a rusted old glass lantern which sat in front of a mirror on top of a vanity table on one of the far walls. Shadows projected from the lantern against the crooked portraits and the faded leaf green and creme coloured wallpaper that looked as though it had been flaking and peeling from the walls for years without any attendance exposing rotten slats behind it.
It was these shadows, that projected the image - the reason behind the feeling of lust that washed over me as I awoke in this room.
I had company, and without even looking I knew it was Cadence. I sensed her presence, there was something in the way she smelt, the way she touched, they way her silhouette stroked the wallpaper with every moist wave her mouth made as she pleasured my shaft, vibrating me to the core with every gentle moan she exhaled.
I raised my head from the bed to catch a glimpse at her beauty - it was only then that I realised that I was chained by the wrists, ankles and chest to the four corner posts of the bed limiting my movement and making a good look virtually impossible.

"I know it's you Cadence......" I spoke aloud, not only fearing that breaking the near silence would bring an end to the ecstasy that she was performing on me but also fearing an outcome similar to the last man that I'd seen in her presence.

"What do you plan on doing with me? I continued

"More than your bitch of an ex wife ever did for you" She replied, her voice while sweet sounding seemed hollow and more inhuman than human. She wasn't wrong either, already she'd done more than what my ex had ever done for me.

"I'm gonna make you scream" I could feel her breath against my groin as she chuckled with that comment, the sensation was enough to make me even harder. My heart rate quickened.

"Fear not handsome, If I had any intention of killing you I would have done it already"
Her reassurance wasn't enough to settle me, I still wasn't ready to trust her, but in reality what more could I have done? she had me right where she wanted me and I was in no position to make an easy escape. However at the same time did I really want to leave? I couldn't deny that the feelings that I felt were pleasant ones and as my ex wife often stated: I never thought with the right head - as if she knew.
Cadence continued her performance, creating sensations that I never thought possible. It was like she had a forked tongue in which she used to wrap around my cock like a boa constrictor, and draw me deep inside her warm moist mouth which was cushioned by her full gentle lips.

My muscles grew tense, anticipating climax - she withdrew and pulled away.
"ah ah ah - not yet" she teased

She crawled up the bed on all fours, I could feel her nakedness as she brushed up against me, her silken hair tickling at my chest until she reached me, face to face. She looked deep into my eyes, they were warm and lustful. She kissed me passionately on the lips and whispered:
"I'll let you stay with me this time"
Her thighs squeezed tightly at my sides as she straddled. Her velvety smooth folds teasing inches away from the tip of my shaft. She eased herself down, slowly sliding down the entire length of my rod and drawing her self back up in quick succession. She breathed her essence into me as she moaned. Her eyes closed gently with satisfaction making her all the more beautiful. I pulled tightly against the restraints making the frame of the bed creak, I had no intention of escaping at that moment but rather begged to hold her tightly in my embrace.
She leant forward, brushing my lips with the soft flesh of her nipples as they teased with every upward motion. She became more vocal with her moans as her breathing and pace quickened, her thrusts pounding me harder and deeper into the bed.
Together we released, with a climax that shook the very foundations of the room itself as she quivered and exhausted moans so loud that it shattered the mirror on the vanity table.
Cadence slumped her body down and rested against my chest.

"On the eighth day, God did not rest........he created us" Cadence purred. If I had any clue what she was really referring to by that comment, I would probably be wrong.

"We've made something special" she sighed.

"That we did" I replied, satisfied to the point of nearing a far-too relaxed slumber.

"If I release you, will you run?"
"No, I wont.....I promise" She had me under her spell that easily, but I'd also seen what she was capable of so pissing her off wouldn't be on my list of good ideas for the day.

She unlocked and released the clasps from my wrists and ankles and removed the heavy chains from my chest. I was free but dared not move. She continued to straddle me in an upright position, her eyes fixed on mine and a devilish grin on her face. She trailed a finger up from my naval all the way up to my throat where she nicked the flesh with a fingernail. I flinched slightly.
"I thought you said you weren't going to kill me" I said, bold but slightly fearful.
She laughed, "No, I said if I wanted to kill you I would have done it the time I didn't feel like killing on the other hand"
She slumped herself forward in hysterics.
"Now.....I just want to see if you taste as sweet as you sound" She licked the blood that had trickled down my neck from the nick.
"mmmm you taste good......just like your Daddy"
The thought sickened me, "what?" I yelled in disgust, lifting her off me.
"Take it easy handsome" she laughed "I'm just yankin' your chain, you taste nothin' like your Daddy"
"Still messin' with you hun"
She got herself up off the bed and sat herself down at the the vanity table, her image reflected in each of the broken fragments of mirror, all of which projected her flawless beauty.

"We should really prepare ourselves for dinner" she stated.
"Excuse me?"

"It's Sunday, the family eats together on a're part of the family now", She smiled.
"And Mother has invited some guests whom she met during her time away, I believe you've already met them"

To be continued........
Next issue: Guess who's coming to dinner

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A History of Violence

9:41 AM
It had become apparent of how little we knew about the actual size of the house as we sat down in the living area and began mapping out the rooms in which we'd already explored, each room that we put to page contained at least one other door - locked or unlocked was just as much a mystery as what kind of room hid behind each door. From the foyer, to the second floor, to the hall and the library seemed to only be the tip of the iceberg as far as exploring the house would go.
The night outside continued on for what seemed like an eternity. Waiting for daylight to continue our search for Victors crew would have seemed like a safer idea however the truth of the matter was that there was either a murderer lurking within the house or a murderer amongst us - it was better to find either him or the crew before any of us fall victim in the same manner as Jacob O'Neil.

I'd retrieved the satchel from drawer when I'd gone upstairs to fetch the scrap paper and pens from my room - the contents of the books were just as much an enigma to me as anything else within the walls of this house, but I figured that If Victor believed there was reason for him being here then perhaps he had knowledge of the house, the books, or even my father.
I slumped the satchel on the small dusty coffee table that had become our makeshift workstation as we sat around it on the hardwood floor amongst the debris.

"What is this?" Victor asked, knowing that the contents would be more of interest to him than the satchel itself.

"I was hoping you could tell me, or at least help shed some light on these", I said as I unbuckled the fasteners and emptied the satchel of its contents. As I did so a small container fell from one of the satchels side pockets and rolled across the floor, rattling like a maraca before coming to a rest in front of Victor. he scooped it up in his hands identifying the iodine brown coloured capsule with a white lid.

"Prescription meds?"

He asked, assuming that they belonged to me. He turned the capsule around to read its label.

"Chlorpromazine.....better known as Thorazine"

Victor looked me up and down, with a look that was just as much suspicious as it was fearful and increasingly untrustworthy toward me.

"They're not mine, I can promise you that, none of it is" I pleaded with Victor, in hopes that I would ease his suspicion of me.

Victor sighed, and held up the envelope from the pile.

"And I suppose this letter isn't addressed to you either?"

He tossed the pill capsule toward me before I could utter my defence in return.

"You better hope for the three of us that you remember to take them Sunshine" He warned.

I read the label myself, It definitely was Thorazine, the type of stuff that they give to those that suffer from certain forms of more serious mental illnesses. The label read that it had been prescribed by a Dr Charles Hope however the name in which the pills had been prescribed for had faded, I could make out a Mr W, and then a lower case d and then it finished off with either a Y or a V. I threw the capsule back to Victor.

"Check the label a little closer. My name is Sam James, these are prescribed to Mr W...."

Victor stared at the label eating his own words. He was the "too proud to admit he was wrong" type so I didn't push for an apology but at least he knew that I wasn't the crazy that the picture in his head was painting.
Victor Cleared his throat, "I can do with your help - so I'm gonna have to take your word for it, I can't verify that you are who you say you are any more than you can, so at this stage all I have is my gut feeling, and my gut tells me that I can trust you. But I swear to the heavens above that if you step out of line I will not hesitate to paint these walls with your brain matter" he petted the shotgun at his side as a reminder to me

Victor sifted through the books that I'd emptied out on to the coffee table. He took an interest in the inked leather book, studying its cover with what looked like a certain degree of understanding.

"Interesting" he said as he placed it back on the table and picked up the textbook and flicked through it.

"Interesting how?" I asked, forcing his attention away from the textbook.

"Interesting, that it appears to be an original"

"An original what?"


"A Grim-what?"

" of the dead.....perhaps even a Key of Solomon"

"You mean like a Necronomicon?"


"But the Necronomicon is fiction.....H.P Lovecraft, books that summon the dead and invoke evil spirits and demons don't exist"

"And you know this for a fact?

"Fact? its common sense! these things just don't exist"

"You keep telling yourself that. Common sense was invented by those who wish not to believe the truth behind what lays beyond the veil"

I was lost for words and didn't care to continue the argument. I didn't want to admit I was wrong any more than I wanted to admit that he was right (not to mention that it seemed as though he was more educated and intelligent than what I gave him credit for) - I didn't want to believe in the things that I've been seeing nor did I want to admit to seeing them. But in their own way they all made sense, they all linked like small pieces of puzzle that's constantly increasing in size.

"Interesting" Victor announced yet again, while laying the textbook flat on the coffee table to an open page, displaying a newspaper article with a heading of "On the run" in large font, and a subheading that read "Ellanor Maybrick, mother of the notorious mass murdering Maybrick family still on the run from police"

"God damn, that's the bitch right there" Victor pointed to the photo in the article, "That's Ellanor Sutherland". There was a slight crack of uncontrollable fear and emotion in his voice.

He read an excerpt from the article out loud:

Two years have passed since police uncovered the grizzly scenes that went on behind the closed doors of the Maybrick Estate situated roughly 5 miles out from Georgetown. Police uncovered and excavated the remains of over 75 male and female corpses from the Maybrick property which were believed to have been used to take part in both Satanic and sexual rituals....

Victor exhaled a "fuck me!..." and continued reading

The Maybrick family were also believed to have been surviving via feeding from the flesh of their victims as human remains were also found in ample supply within the Estates walk-in freezer and also found curing in barrels of salted water in a cellar below the house.

"So at least now we know they have a freezer. Its just a matter of finding it"

"What does it say about the family? what happened to them?"

Victor skimmed the article.

"Here" he said pointing to a small paragraph

Upon the grizzly discoveries police made the arrest of Charles Maybrick and his only daughter Cadence. Little was known about the Maybrick family at the time, however after interrogation and questioning neighbouring towns police are led to believe that the wife of Charles Maybrick, Ellanor is not deceased as first believed from the statement made by Charles. Ellanor [pictured] is believed to have evaded police on the day of arrest and may have even been hiding within the Labyrinthine property during the recovery of the bodies by police.

"Now that would make some sense, the name change from Maybrick to Sutherland - her behavior towards us kids at Orphanage, she was continuing the Maybrick reign of terror"

"The Maybrick destiny - I think they believed that they had to commit so many murders, it was their life, it's how they survived, it's how they learnt, it's how they became so self contained. Ellanor had merely taken what she'd always known and applied it to her life living at the Orphanage. But it doesn't make sense - how did she manage to convince the other sisters so easily? and how did she manage to escape arrest....twice?"

"I don't know, but I get the feeling she's returned home"

"It's possible, but its not necessary - you see I've been speaking to the locals, the article states that only Charles and Cadence Maybrick had been arrested. One local whom I'd spoken to suggested that there was at least one other Maybrick. Now I can't guarantee that he's a reliable source but he described being here, and described things in detail. He claimed that the Maybicks had a Siamese twin, a son and a daughter fused together whom they referred to as Gemini."

"Male/female Siamese twins? that's unheard of, is it even possible? The story sounds a little bogus to me"

"let me put it to you this way then - do you believe that the human race is the only intelligent life in the whole universe?"

"You mean out of every star in the sky? the millions and millions of stars that go on forever? it would be crazy of me to think that out of all those stars, Earth is the only one that's home to intelligent life"

" when you look at this house, its size doors with rooms that lead to more rooms that seem to go on forever isn't it a little crazy to think out of all those rooms that this Estate was home to only two three Maybrick family members? Heck we don't even know how far this house really goes, there are secrets around every corner and you and I both know that nothing is really as it seems here"

"I see your point, interesting theory for someone who argues the existence of Grimoires. So what is it that you are you suggesting?"

"I'm thinking we may be outnumbered. We need to find your friends and get the fuck out of here"

To be Continued
Next issue: Two lovers embrace

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The Devil's nest

10:46 AM
There was a luminescent sheen that glistened on the abomination's skin in the glow of the neon light. Steam rose from the muscular tissue as if we were standing in the middle of a walk in freezer.

Thankfully were weren't, trapped in a confined space with no means of escape - yes, but adding the cold to the equation would have added salt to the wound. So I could at least be thankful that while the situation was bad - It could still be much worse.
The Beast ripped the silver chain from around it's neck and laughed,

"Do you really think this puny scrap of metal is going to save your souls? It did nothing for Jacob O'Neil". The cross lazily fell through the beasts fingers on to the tiled floor with a chimed tinkle.

"Who are you?" I asked the putrid being as it hovered its way closer toward Victor and I.

"My name is Raum, I am the Great Earl of hell, your friend O'Neil was merely a vessel, a sacrifice offered to me as a gateway into the realm of Gods Children, he no longer resides in this plane of existence, his body now belongs to me".
The beast elegantly bowed as if despite his intentions to kill us both, he at least offered us his respect while introducing himself - it was a delay all the same whether or not it was intended as a an honor or an actual act of mockery toward us.
Victor had obviously interpreted it as the latter.

"Fucking murderer" he spat as he raised the sawn-off shotgun and fired off two shells, spraying Raum with pellets that ripped through the exposed flesh and shattered the already deformed bone structure of Raums chest and mid section. Raum stood in shock, standing unmoved from his spot despite the blast from the shotgun being enough to send a normal human being flying across the room. Raum placed a clawed hand to the open hollow wound as black gritty smoke escaped the orifice. He fell to his knees whimpering in high pitch like a child with a grazed elbow ending the over dramatic performance by slumping the rest of his body to the floor.


Victor snapped the shotgun in half and replaced the spent shells as he approached Raums body laying like a mound of rancid meat on floor. Victor knelt beside him and retrieved the cross that had belonged to O'Neil which he clenched tightly in his fist as he got to his feet.
"I have no regrets, that is no longer O'Neil", he said out loud as some sort of justification for firing at the body that had once belonged to his friend.
I placed a hand on his shoulder a one part reassurance and the other part for saving our lives.


"Damnit Wake up!"

A mechanical sound echoed throughout the room accompanied by a rumble that shook the room. A cool breeze entered the small room as a gap appeared across the room. The wall that led to the Library was opening once more, bellowing dust and grit into the air as it sunk into the floor.

Victor stood over me, jabbing his steel capped boot into my side.

"You drifted off" Victor acknowledged, "I guess my story isn't that riveting to everyone" he said with a little annoyance in his voice.

"I'm sorry" I said as I tried to rub the blur from my eyes and trying to adjust to the lighting in the room. The skinned body of O'Neil still swung lightly from the ceiling in the middle of the room. The whole thing - the body coming to life, the demon Raum - all a dream?

The house seems to be having some sort of an effect on my sanity, I can no longer draw the line between dream and reality other than what seems to be dream comes across as being slightly more fantastical.

Dreams and Demons aside, there is still a monster lurking within these walls. Someone or something murdered and tortured the man that hung before us. Whether disfigured looking hulks that resemble an amalgamation of the grotesque or purely taking human form, monsters do reside in both planes of existence.

Maria let out a startled scream as the library wall sunk beneath the ground, exposing Victor, myself and the body of O'Neil to her.

"Don't Move!" Victor yelled holding his palms out to halt Maria from moving from her spot.

"The last thing we want is for all three of us trapped in here alone with no means of escape" he mumbled on the quiet.

Maria nodded her head and stayed put, she was as still as a possum in headlights anyhow. Her eyes fixed on O'Neils remains. It must have come as a shock to her to first of all stumble upon the button in the floor in the library and then of course to see ( but not hear ) the wall come falling to the floor - and then of course the sight on the other side of the wall would have been most disturbing for her.

Victor stepped outside of the tiled room and back into the Library. Maria glanced into his eyes and half mouthed, half mumbled the words "We 'ave to ge' ou' of 'ere. We no' alone, it's no' safe".

"I know......I know" Victor answered, "but we have to find the others first"

I appeared that Maria agreed with him to a certain degree, however she followed his response with "She 'ere, I c'n fee' it".

To whom the "She" was that Maria referred to was uncertain, but It didn't take a rocket scientist to come up with the theory that their past was linked to this Estate - Was Maria referring to Ellanor Sutherland? could Ellanor be hiding out somewhere in the house? The idea seemed a little to convenient but with the happenings over the last couple of days I'm prepared for almost anything.

Maria pointed toward O'Neils body hanging in the small tiled room, "Who?" she asked Victor, her eyes fixed to his lips awaiting his answer.
Victor took a moment before answering, it was as if he was responsible for the demise of one of their own - he didn't she a tear, nor did he break down, but there was a tension in his manner as he broke the news to Maria - whom placed her hands to her mouth in shock and shed a tear for both of them.

"Please!" Maria pleaded - or could it have been "Police", either way Victor shook his head in refusal.

Victor broke away from Maria, "We need to get him down" he instructed, "do you know of any refrigerators or freezers that we may be able to place Jacob in? know, so that he doesn't smell" He asked.

I shrugged my shoulders - I'd done very little exploring of the house since being here, but surely there would be a kitchen with some a freezer or cold storage of sorts, whether or not it was in working condition would be a different story.

"Where have you been within the house?" I asked Victor, " I mean, since my return this afternoon, how long had you been here? enough to locate and get the power reconnected obviously"

"The power is running off a generator, with a full tank of fuel. It should last a few days hopefully but there were plenty of refill drums in the basement below the caretakers shed out in the back courtyard" Victor scratched his head, thinking, " I didn't come across any kitchens on my way out to the courtyard, only bedrooms, sun rooms and galleries, all of which led from one of the doors from the foyer, none of which led me back to the foyer other than the way that I'd already come. Which could mean that there are potentially a greater number of rooms behind every one of those doors in the foyer. And who knows, what's behind the other doors down the hall, this library is only one of many and already it proves that there are also hidden rooms and passages within. This place is a fucking Labyrinth! a maze of evil..........the Devil's nest!"

"Interesting to know.What are you suggesting we do? split up?" I asked,

"Safety in numbers is best in my opinion. It may take us longer to find a kitchen or the rest of your friends but we have a better chance of survival against whoever......whatever did that to O'Neil if we stick together. Agreed?"

"Agreed", Victor answered, "and may I suggest that It may be a good idea to keep a record.....a map of sorts to the house so that we can find our way around without getting lost".

"That's, not such a bad idea, we can start some place central, like the foyer and work our way from there, it will at least give me a little bit more sanity in regards to the impossible structures to the house that I may or may not have experienced".

"May or may not?"

"In other words I have a feeling that the house is fucking with me".

The duo followed as I exited the Library and back into the hall, being sure to leave the Library door open enough to let the light spill down into the dark corners making it easier to navigate our way back to the foyer.

"I have a paper and pens in my room on the second floor of the foyer, It should do the trick to document our progress"

To be continued:

Next Issue: A History of Violence

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1:02 PM

All sense of time had been lost, but I'd guessed that we had been sitting in that small room for over an hour. All of the options that we could think of to escape had been exhausted. The crank on the steel door would spin freely but nothing would happen - it was a useless mechanism and it was even more useless wasting our energy trying to make and sense out of its purpose other than to seal off the wall to the library. If the door opened at all I assumed it would only open from the other side.
The native man and I sat at opposite corners against the wall on either side of the steel door. Countless questions that I could ask him ran through my head, after all it looked as though we weren't getting out of here in a hurry - if at all, so starting a conversation seemed like a slightly more pleasant way of passing the time rather than sitting and listening to the rhythmic buzz of the neon light and the tap-tapping of the blood dripping from the corpse that was quickly beginning to slow down in tempo.

"How did you know it was him?" I asked, my voice croaky after a long period without speaking.
"I'm sorry, what?" the native man grunted.
"How did you know it was him.....O'Neil is it, are you sure its him and not someone else?"
"I regret to say that I'm pretty certain that it's O'Neil"
"How can you be so sure? to me that body that hangs in front of us could be anyone - hell, I can't even tell if that is man or woman".

The native man unclasped the chain around his neck and tossed it toward me.

"The cross, turn it over" he instructed. Engraved into the back of the cross was the name Victor.
"What does it mean?" I asked as I tossed the cross back to him.
"Victor is my name. We each have our own."
"So the one you found in the library..."
"Belonged to Jacob O'Neil, correct" Victor interrupted, "I can't be 100% sure that this is him, but it definitely doesn't look promising. I know that if this really is him he wouldn't rest in peace without his cross around his neck.......we should never have come here, we should have listened".
There was a slight quiver of fear in Victors voice - how much did he really know about the house?

"So what did bring you here?" I asked, pushing for more information.
"Its a long story, and I mean a real long story".
"it seems to me like we have some time on our hands"
"I guess you're right, I guess somehow we were destined to cross paths at some stage, how it all ties in together I don't know, but we're all connected".
"I don't quite follow - what do you mean?"

Victor scratched his head, took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, and so his story began:

As children, my sister Maria and I had been sent to an orphanage for troubled kids. The Sacred Heart home for children it was called. We'd been sent there after our parents had been murdered - the innocent victims of a home invasion. I never had a chance to say goodbye properly, I find it hard sometimes to remember their faces. Detective John Beringer - the cold hearted fuck suggested that Maria was the likely suspect. She was only 7! A bloodied butchers knife was found under her pillow and blood splatters consistent with the crime scene placed her in the room at the time of the murder. The autopsy found childlike bite marks on my mothers chest but were never proven to be either mine or Maria's. They sent us both away for psychiatric analysis, and while I was determined to be mentally stable, Maria on the other hand had completely shut down. She wouldn't talk or respond to anyone, she went from being a bright, happy and energetic child to a soulless husk literally overnight. I refused for us to be separated, I was a protective older brother but for the sake of both of us we were all one another had left so it meant a great deal to have the opportunity to stay together under the one roof, no matter what the circumstances - so the authorities figured the safest place for us to stay together would be an orphanage where by under the care of the sisters there, we would be able to live together and monitor Maria's behavior closely.

So they said - however, Saint Rose opened doors to new horrors for us. Rather than being the start of a new chapter in our lives, it felt more of a continuation of the past coming back to haunt us.
Dorm number 25 was where Maria and I, along with eleven other children slept under the watchful eye of Sister Ellenor Sutherland whom claimed that she was married to the highest of powers (referring to God I assume) and that all negative influences should never go unpunished.
Like any child we were never perfect, and Sister Sutherland would find any excuse to abuse her power. Any chance she could get, she would lead us off down the hall and down the stairs and into the storeroom behind the laundry room where she would cross that fine line between discipline and abuse knowing that our screams from the torture would go unheard behind the blanket of noise created by the industrial washing machines. She was careful of her abuse at first, keeping the beatings to a minimum and being careful not to inflict injury to parts of the body that couldn't be covered with clothing, however in time she managed to slowly convince the other sisters that she was merely following Gods orders and they should apply the same discipline on the children in their own dorms. Like sheep, they followed. Some choosing to turn a blind eye while others choosing to join in, and with that not only did the abuse continue, it intensified. The abuse became less intended as a punishment and more of an excuse to turn us kids into specimens for her sadistic experiments in torture. She would even go as far as strapping us down on tables or chairs with buckles or tied up with rope and some of the devices she would use where of her own invention, the kind of things only the sickest of minds would invent: Vices used to break bones and re-set them at funny angles, chairs encrusted with razor blades for bloodletting - to which she sometimes drank from, pitch black closets in which she would line the walls with sharp spikes and hang children upside down in and confining the space with more spikes as she closed the closed door like her own spin on a makeshift iron maiden. She would sew mouths shut, eyelids shut, sew fingers together and attempt her own experimental surgeries, all of which resulted in permanent damage and in more than one occasion even death. Which is what became of Blake "Sidd" Siddal. He was a hero if you ask me. God loving to the very end. He believed that Ellanor's reign would come to an end and God would save us all, sparing us from her evil. It was Sidd that made these crosses for his friends......for his family in dorm 25. He made them in the metalwork class taken by Sister Olsen, one of the few non-abusers but certainly one to look the other way. Sidd worked for days melting down the metals and engraving each and every individual cross. Ironically its likely that the very tools he used were the ones used to create the devices that killed him.
Despite Maria's behavior, Sidd had quite the crush on her. In some ways he acted even more protective of her than I was and It was this that triggered the events that lead to his murder.

Because of Maria's behavior, sister Sutherland became infatuated with the concept that Maria was possessed by demons, or even the Devil himself, it almost seemed at times that sister Sutherland was jealous however she always used the excuse of taking Maria away in order exorcise the demons within. It was on one occasion that I lay bed ridden in the dorm (after a bout of abuse) that Maria was taken away by Ellanor. The look on Ellenor's face was a lot more sinister than usual ( if that was at all possible ) which was enough to make Sidd fear the worst. He paced about the dorm listening to Maria's screams as they trailed off down the hall. It was obviously to much for Sidd, he couldn't just stand there and let them do these things to Maria, and knowing that I was too unstable to do anything myself, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He drew a cross in the air and looked up to the ceiling muttering the words "It comes to an end today" before storming off down the hall.

He found Maria strapped to a chair, a vice-like contraption held her head at an uncomfortable 90 degree angle. Ellanor had a funnel embedded deep within Maria's ear canal and through the funnel she poured scalding hot motor oil. To exorcise the demons she said. Sidd took matters into his own hands, kicking Ellanor in the kneecap and dropping her to the floor like a ton of bricks, spilling the motor oil on herself in the fall, covering her face and hands. One would think that would have been enough to bring an end to such a monster, however it was only fuel to enrage her even more. I'm thankful that his actions took Ellanor's attention off Maria but in the end Sidd made the ultimate sacrifice. His own life.

She didn't even wait to heal her own wounds. She rounded up a handful of sisters, took him out to the room behind the laundry and tied ropes to each arm and leg requesting her fellow sisters to pull as tightly as they could while she cracked a whip against Sidd's small frail limbs, eventually the skin gave way the tighter the sisters pulled, ripping with each laceration from the whip.

I can only hope that God numbed his pain, and that he didn't have to endure the torture of his last moments on earth.

He was right though - although perhaps too little too late. It wasn't long after that the Sacred Heart home for troubled children was overrun by police and SWAT teams. It turned out that one of the sisters wasn't as silent as Ellanor had hoped, one of them was on our side after all. Most of the sisters were arrested while some took their own lives during the moment of desperation and then there were those that simply got away - through the back door so to speak. Ellanor Sutherland included.

From that day the remaining twelve of us kids from dorm 25 : Myself, Maria, Jacob O'Neil, Delta Hannigan, Joe Dermont, Vivian and Allan Lee, Logan Buckley, Raine Simmons, Rakesh Chandra and Jeremy and Robbie Walker - were all separated, moved into foster homes well away from Sacred Heart.
We all kept in contact via the mail from time to time (the police and social welfare were kind enough to grant us that much), and while no one even hinted about our times at Sacred Heart in our letters to one another, we couldn't help but not at least think about it with every letter read. We were all a little scared that the monster that inflicted so much pain on us had never been caught.
It wasn't long before age and hormones converted that fear into a taste for justice. Avenging Sidd's death became impor....

Victors story had been interrupted by strange sound that echoed through the small room. It was sound that can only be best described as a cackling laughter, the type of laughter that kept the same rhythm and pitch that could easily have been confused with the sound of hands clapping in slow applause.
It was hard to tell, but between the intervals of light and dark offered by the buzzing neon light, it looked as though smoke was rising and from the drain in which the blood from O'Neil's body was dripping into. The smoke, while only visible in that that brief moment between light and dark ( as if invisible in bright light ) engulfed O'Neil's corpse like a spider spinning its silk around its prey.

"Are you seeing this?" Victor asked as he slid to his feet with his back against the wall. I gave him a silent nod as I followed his lead and got to my feet.

The intervals in which the neon light flickered became quicker - there was a sense that together with the smoke there was a presence within the room which sped around the perimeter of the room creating clicks and popping sounds with each complete circuit. Whispers could be heard throughout the room but they were either too quiet or in a completely different language entirely to be understood, they were just like the rest of the sounds within the room - nothing more than disruptive noise.

And then the sounds ceased - as quickly as they had begun. The light had flickered back on to a more permanent length of time.

"What the fuck was that?" Victor pleaded.
"Truth be told, I have no idea, but I have a feeling that it was just the beginning"

The laughter began once more, however this time it was more direct. It had a source, and the source was indeed straight from the mouth of O'Neil.

The upturned corpse jigged as it laughed despite its absence of lungs. The laugh grew louder, there was no denying what was making it, the impossibilities had been defied, the dead was laughing and more than likely it was laughing at our expense. O'Neil's spine arched back as he coiled around to face both Victor and myself.
Rough butchered flesh hung from his cheeks as he uttered the words that were clearly not of his own spirit, "How many more gallons of blood need to be spilled Victor? how many more lives need to be sacrificed?" O'Neil's skinless jaw permanently grinned as it spoke, "Ellanor expected dorm 25 to make an appearance at some stage, however she applauds you, she really didn't expect all of you to make it"

"How many of us are here?" Victor angrily grunted at O'Neil's corpse.
"Its like one big HAPPY family again, we all here, together under the same roof"
"Where are they? where are the others"
"Consider it a game of hide and seek, I'm aware that you used to like playing that game when you were younger - who knew you'd eventually be able to put those skills to the test - however this time, WE make the rules"
"Oh really? so what are these rules?"
O'Neil's corpse cackled in a fit of laughter, "Our rules? ..... our rules are that WE win - and you DIE!"
With that, the corpse broke free of the chains that held it upside down from the ceiling - the links flying in all directions shattering the tiles lining the walls like bullets as they hit their random targets.
The corpse corrected it's position with a back flip in mid air and landed neatly with both hands and feet pressed against the floor. It's head snapped back and looked at the Victor and I, both standing motionless with our backs against the wall. It crab walked a few steps toward us, foaming white froth and the mouth and exhaling and animalistic growl.
The muscle on its back bubbled and pulsated into large cysts and blisters which gave an inhuman birth to quills and thorns of varying sizes, littering the walls and floor with pus and mucus as they burst through the thin membrane. A hollow crunch rang from O'Neil's skull as the corpse continued its transformation. Two leathery tentacles protruded symmetrically from either side of the forehead, moist like two black eels trying to free themselves from the confines of his skull. The tentacles coiled themselves around at the corpses temples and set like stone, forming horns that resembled that of a ram.
It stood upright on two feet and admired its own mutation, feeling strength in what was once nothing more than human meat and bone on a hook.
Its eye's glowed a dark rose red under the control of of the supernatural parasite that took control of O'Neil's husk.
"Now......who wants to die first while the other watches and waits?", the beast taunted, grinding its teeth as it spoke through its lip-less grin.

To be continued......

Next issue: The Devil's Nest

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The cover of darkness

11:16 AM

The sun set deep into the horizon as if someone had covered the world in a dark blanket with tiny pin holes which were the stars.
The Estate was quite as I had expected, aside from light bulbs that crackled at random intervals and a low humming noise which I could only assume was generator of some sort, churning away in some unexplored room.
I felt like a prisoner in my own home. I lay on the mattress in the room I'd made my own on the first night of staying here, unable to get any sleep out of fear that my unwanted guests could take advantage.
The woman whom I was lead to believe was called Maria had set up camp in one of the rooms down the hall and hadn't left her room in quite some time. I could only assume she'd fallen asleep, either that or she was too afraid to come out. The native looking man on the other hand could still be heard below, pacing about in the foyer, opening doors and allowing himself access to explore the first floor of the building. He was adamant that he wanted to stay awake and keep a look out for the "others" that were due to arrive. He didn't explain when or why he was expected to meet them, but his anxiousness and pacing gave me the feeling that the "others" were long overdue to arrive and that there was an unexpected double crossing that didn't go in the couples favor.

I sat on the mattress with my back propped up against the wall, staring into the corner of the room in which I'd seen someone or something perched the night before. I tried to convince myself either way to make a decision on what it was that I'd seen. It was animal in appearance and certain mannerisms but also had human qualities, most notably it's ability to stand on two legs like a man and run off down the hallway with ease. If I had to apply scientific logic to what it was that I'd seen then the only thing I could best describe the creature as would be an emaciated gorilla due to its skinny yet muscular build and dark coloured skin. But why? here of all places would a gorilla live in an abandoned house? what would it feed on? where would it have come from in the first place? Surely I would have been more of a threat to an emaciated gorilla, especially after throwing a shoe.
However, on the other hand could it all have been a dream? much like the corpse in the bathtub and the encounter with the murderous woman whom was practicing acts of sacrifice in caverns under the house. Were they even dreams themselves? on a second inspection of the bathroom the bath appeared as though it was intact, and falling through the bathtub on the second floor in a maze full of underground tunnels just didn't make any sense. But on the other hand the woman I'd seen there looked just like Willard had described Cadence looking like - even down to singing Ave Maria. Was that an uncanny coincidence or is it something that's too "real" to ignore? If the Ketch brothers were anything to go by then perhaps there was no truth to Willard's story at all, meaning my encounter was nothing but dream and a coincidence at that. But what about the key? had it been a dream then how is it possible that I have hard physical evidence of taking something from it, after all dreams and reality are meant to be opposites, it's just not possible for them to co-exist.
I reached over to the set of drawers beside the mattress and snatched the small key into my palm, turning it in my fingers as I studied it, wondering where its matching lock was, wondering what mysteries could be uncovered that were worth locking away in the first place. Would it be anything significant at all?

I closed my eyes as I held the key, trying to remember anything from the moment the key had come in to my possession. But my mind failed to come up with anything new. I remembered the woman placing the key in my hand, I remember her kiss, and then I remember waking up on the mattress. The events in between the kiss and waking may as well not have existed. It was as if the events had unfolded on a tv set that had been switched off at one point and turned on again showing the same characters in a different scene, everything in between remaining a mystery.
And then It hit me, like slap in the face. It was obviously worth a try - when I first came into the room upon my arrival I had tried the dresser drawer, it was locked. By the size and shape of the key it only made sense that it would be the perfect match for the small lock.
So I tried it, I slowly inserted the key into the small lock and turned. The snapping sound of the locks mechanics moving out of place came as quite a relief, I wasn't entirely sure why, I could have potentially unlocked Pandora's box for all I knew. But at least the mystery of the key was solved, I no longer had to rack my brain over it.
The drawer was stiff, It squealed as it slid along its wooden runners. Dust leaked out of the open drawer like a mini tornado, taking its time but eventually clearing and settling enough for me to inspect the contents.
Inside were two books, both looking weathered and aged. One appeared to be bound in some sort of hide or leather which had been decorated in blue/black ink with a number of symbols, some of which I recognized throughout the graffiti in the house and also in the dream/encounter I'd had the other night. I was however familiar with the inverted pentagram which was the biggest and most central symbol on the front of the book. The other book was much more worse for wear, it was your basic run of the mill school textbook which was fat with the addition of glued-in news paper clippings and articles. I continued to sift through the drawer rather than reading through the contents of the books which I sat beside the mattress on the floor.
In addition to the books in the drawer was a medium sized leather satchel. Inside the satchel was a generously sized hunting knife, secured neatly in its own compartment. Deep in the bottom of the satchel hid an envelope sealed with red wax that had been stamped with what looked like a family crest, the name of which I was unsure of. As I turned the envelope face up I discovered that it's contents was meant for someone in particular - that person, was me. Written in fine ink calligraphy was my name - Sam James. I snapped open the was seal and removed the page from Inside. It was a brief note:


You're either with us or you're not
don't fight it if it feels right
live like us, live free
live like a king
we make the rules, the world is truly ours
Make the sacrifice


Why would my Father leave me a note? he'd never really even acknowledged my existence before. No letters, no birthday cards, not even the occasional visit. He was as dead to me when his cold heart was still beating as the day It had finally stopped. So why now? why from the grave has he decided to make contact? Why did he leave this house in my name? I didn't even give him the satisfaction of attending his funeral - we were worlds apart, we were strangers. So why leave this house to me? was did I have a legacy to fulfill or was this his way of kicking sand in my face one last time? was this his final curse upon my already ruined life?
Footsteps could be heard thundering up the steps from the foyer to the second floor, I expected them to stop when they got to the room in which Maria was supposedly sleeping but instead they came to a halt in the doorway of my room. It was the native man, he entered the room and stood over me. "I need your assistance downstairs", It was an order rather than a request, It wasn't like I had the option of refusing. I swept the books and the letter into the satchel and locked it back inside the drawer. The native man watched with curiosity, but didn't push for information in regards to what or why I was locking anything away in a drawer.
He lead me down the hall on the second floor, which in comparison seemed different in some way than it did before, wider and there were paintings and portraits along the flaky and graffitied walls that I hadn't noticed before. Perhaps it was the absence of adequate lighting that hid them away from my attention. The floor also seemed sturdier than it had been that morning, it failed to creak and groan in the same way that It had before. It felt as though its supports and beams were much more solid. I followed the native man down the stairs and back into the foyer where he took me through a door into yet another hallway. It was much like the rest of the house - once a picture of elegance, now telling a story of abuse and neglect. The hall was dark due to the absence of light. A tarnished chandelier repeatedly squeaked as it swayed from the ceiling on a abnormal angle, the thick cobwebs that hung from its broken bulbs suggested that it had been like that for many years.
The debris littering the floor was as atrocious as ever - liquor bottles, cigarette packets, used condoms, hypodermic needles amongst other noxious wastes that had been accumulated over the years and left to simmer in their own putrid juices. I was surprised that not once had I seen a rat or roach scuttle past, I expected the house to be a haven for all sorts of pests but apparently this place is too fucked for even them to want to live here.
There were a number of large wooden doors to yet more rooms that ran down the length of the hall, the end of which trailed off into a pitch black darkness. The native man removed a lighter from his pocket and lit it. The flame offered very little light other than a small glow within a very small radius of the native mans hand. The darkness engulfed the light like a thick black oil, the dominant of the two contrasts taking on a life of its own. It was then that I became aware of the familiar sounds of the house, the constant inhale - exhale. "hey" I whispered out to the native man, "do you hear that?". He stopped in his tracks and looked as best as he could in the confined area of light, his eyes wide as the panned over the walls and ceilings. "You did say it was just you living here?" he asked, appearing just as puzzled by the sounds as I was growing to be. He shrugged his shoulders and turned, taking a few more steps before once again, coming to a halt. He turned to one of the large wooden doors and turned its handle as he gave the door a shove with an open palm. The door opened easily aside from a small groan from its hinges. Light from the room flooded out into the hallway making the darkness retract like the tentacles of a sea anemone. I could have sworn I heard a deflated sigh as the darkness faded. The native man helped himself through the open door, leaving it open while I took my time to study the hall in closer detail now that the light had made things more apparent. We weren't that far from the end of the hall as it turned out, the darkness had been deceiving in the way that It had made the hall look longer than what it actually was. There were various paintings and wall hangings lining the walls of the hall in between each door. Portraits of people, previous owners perhaps along with tapestries that had long lost the colour and appeal of what they would have originally had. Along with the portraits and tapestries along were the occasional paintings, most of which depicted acts of violence and torture, executions and murders all of which also containing images of inhuman beings whom appeared to be enjoying the barbaric activities taking place in each scene.

The paintings reminded me of Willard's story and how he described such a hallway, the recollection encouraged me to confirm for myself of what was at the end of the hall. A large rusted metal door with a large circular crank at its centre just as he'd described. He really had been here - the details of his story were too accurate to pass off as being a good guess. The debris along the hallway crunched underfoot as I approached the steel door. Large rusted streaks ran from top to bottom, a result of years of condensation left to run and rust and bubble away at the paintwork which was flaking on to the damp rotten floor of the hall. Turning the crank was useless, Its mechanics had ceased tightly with corrosion so getting it open in a hurry would be out of the question.
The native man called for me to join him in the room that he had entered. The room appeared to be somewhat of a library, lined from floor to ceiling on all four of its walls with row upon row of hard covered book, all of which were in relatively mint condition if you were to excuse the dust and age spots. I was surprised to the cleanliness to the room in comparison to the other rooms I had seen so far in the house. The room looked as though It had been untouched as if the door had been sealed shut up until now, left the way the last official owners had intended. It was litter free, graffiti free and although the air smelt stale it was a nice change from the offensive smells the other rooms gave off.
I found the native man standing in front of of a bookshelf that lined one of the far walls, he was rubbing his chin with his thumb and forefinger. "What do you make of this?" he asked, pointing to a dark stains that streaked across the room and finished at the bookshelf. I knelt down to inspect the stains closer, dipping a fingertip in and studying its colour and consistency. It was dark red, and sticky. I looked up at the native man, "It's blood, not exactly fresh blood but I wouldn't say entirely too old either". The native man nodded in agreement, "Yes that's the conclusion that I also came to, but if you look closer, the blood - its cut off by the bookshelf". There was no denying it, that's exactly how it looked. As cliche as it sounded, the library in what was beginning to feel like a haunted house, looked as though it had a secret room behind one of its bookshelves.
The native man began removing books from the shelf in bulk and discarding them on the floor. "There must be a secret switch......a latch of some sort to get this shelf to move". There was frustration on his voice as if even he knew that the thought of having a secret switch was a little far fetched.
"Why are you so determined to find out what's on the other side of that wall?" I asked, "By the looks of things I'm not even sure I want to know, at least not until we contact the authorities or something".
The native man flashed me an angry glance and pulled a bloodied silver cross from his shirt pocket, it looked similar, if not the same as the one I'd seen Maria kiss earlier. "You see this, this crucifix is unique, sterling silver......only twelve were ever made, and I know each and every person who owns one. The plan was for each of those people to be here right now, those are the people Maria and I have been waiting for - but now, when I find one amongst blood stains on the floor in this house I find myself pretty fucking convinced that at least one of those people are asleep on the second floor of this house, one is standing right in front of you and is behind that fucking wall". The native mans chest heaved as he got more and more worked up with his own words, "And no one, is gonna call the hear me? now help me move this fucking wall".
I'd now seen a different side to the otherwise calm man that he had been up until now. I did as requested and helped him remove the books, starting from the top shelf down and eventually working our way to the bottom. With every book removed from the shelf we were no closer to finding an opening to the other side. The native man kicked at the shelving in frustration, "how does it open!" he yelled. He punched and kicked yet again but the wall did not move an inch. He turned to me and pointed a finger, "you told me you live here, why don't you know!". He advanced toward me with his shotgun in hand, it was only natural for me to take a few steps back and in doing so I felt the floor give way slightly underneath me, my foot sinking no more than half an inch into the rug that lay on the wooden floor. I'd found the switch.

The shelving made the mechanical clanking sound, the sound cogs and gears make when they grind together. The shelving sank beneath the ground exposing a small looking room which was covered in plain white tiles, from floor to wall to ceiling and yet another closed steel door on the back wall, not unlike the one in the hallway except smaller and in better condition and a fluorescent light that buzzed and flickered in a caged fixture in the ceiling. It would have otherwise looked as sterile as a hospital room had it not have been for the blood that was caked thickly in splatters against the wall and the vomit inducing sight that hung from the ceiling.

A human body gently swung from chains that hung by the feet from a winch on the ceiling of the room. The body had been hung up and skinned like a piece of meat, exposing muscle and sinew. Thick semi coagulated blood slowly dripped down into a small drain in the middle of the floor. The body structure looked to be that of a male, but it was hard to tell considering the genitals appeared to have been removed and the body had been sliced down the center all the way down to the chest cavity which had been opened and pinned back and the ribs, heart and most of the other internal organs had been removed. It was crass of me to think but It was clear that whoever had done this was far from being an experienced butcher.
The native man gasped and drew a cross from head to chest and from shoulder to shoulder. He approached the body with a look of shock and sorrow in his eyes. "O'neil, my brother.......", were the only words he seemed to be able to muster. He got down on one knee and placed the silver cross around the neck of the body as best as he could. He gave a moment of silence while he knelt, his head bowed like he was in prayer.
"We came this house, it was meant to be abandoned, it was meant to be a safe haven a place for the 12 of us to meet and regroup and dividing up the money before taking off together, crossing the border and starting new lives. It looks as though our safe haven, isn't as safe as we were led to believe. We've left one horror and fallen right into the hands of another.
I entered the tiled room and stood beside the native man, "You do know I had nothing to do with this don't you?" I apprehensively asked.
He nodded, "Yes, I am aware, although I didn't count on you being here, I do know more about this house that you may think. I know the stories, I just chose not to believe them". He got to his feet and made his way over to the steel door at the back wall. "My guess is that who ever did this escaped through here". He spun the crank clockwise with a single thrust which left the wheel spinning on its own accord.
The desired effect would have been for the door to open but stayed closed, not even budging a little, however to say that spinning the crank had no effect at all would have been a lie, it did something alright - it triggered the wall we'd passed through to rise up from the ground.
Trapping us in - the two of us and a hanging cadaver, left in a confined space with no known means of escape.

To be continued........

Next Issue: Necrophobia

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6:29 PM

The station wagon parked on the verge at the front of the house was indeed the same station wagon that sped through town, the same wagon that nearly struck me down. If I was to think any more deeply into its symbolism I could see it as either a second chance or a sign that perhaps death himself was hot on my heels.
The car was empty however the tell tale ticking of the engine cooling suggested that the driver had not shut it down that long ago. A quick look inside the passenger window revealed nothing out of the ordinary, the wagon was littered with fast food wrappers and what looked like a black knitted skull cap but was otherwise empty.
I carefully crept my way up to the front door of the Estate, making sure as possible to try and not disturb the gravel underfoot. The front door was wide open - not that it closed properly anyway, but it was without a doubt a pretty good sign that the driver of the wagon had entered the house. '

I had a feeling deep within in my gut that the driver probably wouldn't have stopped had I been run over a few hours earlier. To me, my gut told me that perhaps whatever the driver was running from and was now hiding from was worth taking a life should it get in the way.
I entered the house and was once again reminded of the sickly sweet smell of urine and filth that had greeted me the the first time I'd entered the house. I closed the front door behind me as best as I could, and as I did so there was a distinctive change in the atmosphere, for a few brief seconds I felt like a tonne of lead, as though I was being vacuum sealed within the house despite the front door not closing fully flush against its frame.
I took security in a charred piece of 2 x 4 that I found discarded amongst the debris in the foyer, someone must have tried to light a fire inside at some stage. To be honest I don't blame them for trying, the constant chill in the air was a bitch. I've never been much of a fighter but I've certainly got a swing that would knock any sucker for a home run should they try anything funny.

I searched through the foyer looking for anything out of the ordinary, to which it became apparent that there was a vast number of doors hidden away in the shadows cast by the staircase and mezzanine of the second floor that I hadn't noticed earlier. They were doors to rooms in which I was yet to explore. With that thought on my mind I began to wonder how big the house actually was and how much work it would take to restore it to reasonable living standards.
The search was interrupted by by an unexpected blood curdling scream that made my heart skip a beat, a commotion that was accompanied by a continuous thumping that came from behind an yet another hidden door that would otherwise have gone unnoticed underneath the stairs. I quickly ( but cautiously ) made my way to the door. Friend or foe - either way the person on the other side was in a considerable amount of distress. With one hand white at the knuckles, clasping hold of the 2 x 4 and ready to strike, the other hand fumbled with the iron lock-bolt that vibrated with the repetitive thumping from the other side.
My persistance paid off as the door swung open as the person on the other side forced it open, unwilling to wait another second on their side of the door. It was a Woman, she moved quickly in order to ram a shoulder into the door, slamming it shut as she shoved the iron bolt back into its place. She sobbed with her head against the door. The Woman was covered in the aftermath of her ordeal. What would have been a white singlet was tarnished with sweat and dirty black smudges and the odd spot of blood. Her skin and hair were no different either, like she'd run a marathon or taken part in an army assault course. Her sandy blonde ringlets were dark with sweat which stuck to the glistening sweat on her forehead and shoulders. She was petite and nonthreatening, I had a sudden change of heart simply by judging the look of her. Could she be the driver of the wagon that could have killed me? just by looking at her I got the feeling like she couldn't have been capable of such a thing.
"Are you ok?" I asked. She remained with her head against the door, still sobbing and seemingly oblivious to me being there. She didn't move let alone respond. "Yo!" I yelled, "What's going on? are you alright?". Still nothing.
The room buzzed and as if on some sort of cue, the foyer came alive with a low hum. The lights hanging from the ceiling began to flicker, working their way into a permanent glow. "the electricity" I whispered to myself. I was amazed as well as puzzled to the fact that the wiring was still in working order.

The woman responded to the light that filled the room. She sighed in relief and kissed a silver cross which she'd had hanging around her neck. She turned to me, looking straight at me for the first time. She screamed as our eyes met and she backed up against the door raising a revolver that she'd been holding in her right hand that was initially hidden from view at first when she had her head against the door. It wasn't easy staring down the barrel of a Colt 45. The Woman cocked back the hammer and pulled the trigger with the same speed and precision of a sharp shooter. Once again I realised how close I had come to death, not many people could say nor boast about having that opportunity twice in one day. A hollow click echoed through the foyer. The chamber was empty, the revolver had fired nothing but stale air.
Cheating death was a relief, but my heart (which was now in my throat) pounded to the point of making me vomit in my own mouth. I dropped the 2 x 4 which tumbled to its resting place on the floor. The Woman looked as though she was in as much shock as I was, white as a ghost and eyes as wide as a full moon. She didn't try pulling the trigger again, in fact she lowered the gun to her side and began to sob once more, as if admitting defeat.
My heart rate slowed knowing that I no longer had a gun pointed directly at me, It gave me enough courage to ask the questions that deserved answering.
"Who are you? and what are you doing here" I asked, a little over confident In my stance considering she still held a weapon. She shaded her eyes with her hand, shaking her head and yet still failing to respond.
My attention was ripped away from her by the sound of a door closing behind me. A large built man who appeared to be of native decent entered the room holding a sawn-off shotgun at his side. "She can't hear you" he spoke in a low voice that rumbled like thunder. "She's deaf?" I asked, although more of a statement to myself than a question to the native man. "Yes, she's deaf" He confirmed.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" he asked, "This wasn't part of the deal, the place was supposed to be empty".
"I own the place" I responded, "I live here".
His eyes panned the room, "you don't like cleaning much do you?" he accused.
"Good help is hard to come by these days" I answered, unsure of the tone that I should be taking considering that I was talking to someone who could be considering murder.
"Have you seen anyone hanging around here, any vans turn up?" He asked, as he walked over to the woman whom was still standing, sobbing in the same spot where I'd left her.
"I haven't seen anyone here, although I've been away - out of the house for most of the day". I didn't feel that it was important to mention that I thought I'd seen someone or some-thing in my room the night before after all I was still in limbo over whether or not it was a dream or not.

The man placed his hands on the woman's shoulders, "Maria, look at me - look at my lips". He shook her gently and her eyes met his. She was genuinely nervous about something but you could tell she had trust in her eyes. "Don't worry, we will be fine. Once the others arrive we can go, cross the boarder and then we can be free. We can begin to live again". From the looks of things his words had done very little to calm her down, she gestured to the door under the stairs and mouthed the word "Monster" in the best way that she could. The man took her in his arms holding her tight. "He can't hurt us anymore Maria, he's gone. Gone forever". I was unsure if she heard him or not, if reading lips was her thing then she certainly didn't see what he was saying. I could be wrong but I did get the feeling that while He was referring to the past, she may have been referring to the present.
The man broke his embrace and turned to face me "I take it that you do don't mind if we stay here a while until the rest of the group arrive" he said as he tapped away at the top of the shotgun bulling his way into control over the situation.

"After all, I did get your electricity sorted"

To be continued.....
Next issue.....The cover of darkness
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Trust I seek

1:41 PM
Willard exhaled a big sigh as he held back the tears that had started to well up in his eyes. He waved his hand as if to magically clear the cloud of emotions, "hmmm, nah-ah, story is over" he said, choking on the lump in his throat. He removed a dirty old rag from the front pocket of his overalls and began wiping down the bar. He failed to make eye contact let alone conversation from that moment, he'd completely shut himself off. Whatever ending his story must have had, it must have caused him some serious heartache and pain.
I took his silence as a cue that he would rather be left alone, so I finished my glass and left the bar - feeling a little bit more off balance than what I normally would have expected.
The afternoon sun was blinding after spending so much time inside the dimly lit bar. It took a while to adjust, and not a second too soon - as I was mere inches away from being hit by a speeding grey station wagon that fishtailed its way through the main road in a cloud of dust giving me no choice but to take a leap of faith and dive out of the way. Two men came running out of the hardware store across the road, "Fucking maniacs, you could have killed someone", one of them yelled as the car took off into the distance, while the other helped me to my feet. "Donald - Don Ketch" he introduced himself as he helped me up, "and that there's my Brother Larry".
"Nice to meet you both - Sam James" I said, returning the introduction as I dusted myself off before the three of us re-grouped and entered the hardware store.
"Fucken' hooligans can't help themselves, I tell you what - they're lucky that they just kept on going" Larry muttered as he made his way behind the counter, "If i ever get my hands on those sons'o'bitches there will be hell to pay" his face a beetroot red with fury.
"Excuse him. One of his dogs was killed by a car that was speeding through town not so long ago, he's still not quite over it" Donald told me on the quiet as he went about stocking the shelves. I noticed his accent wasn't as thick as Willard's, he still had an accent but was very well spoken.
"So Sam, obviously you're not from around here, what brings you out these ways?"
"home, I guess" I answered "Well, its more of a house than a home at the moment. It needs work, a lot of work". Donald listened intently, "so you're new in town then? well you've certainly come to the right place for all things fixer-up" he said with a chuckle that together with his spectacles, moustache and pot belly reminded me of jolly old Saint Nic.
"Well no, I'm outside of town" I replied, "and as far as I know this is the closest hardware store to where I'm staying".
Donald had a look of putting two and two together written all over his face "So you're him then, you're the new owner of the Maybrick Estate?".
"Yep, I'm him" I replied, bracing myself for a lecture from him about how cursed the house is.
"Well Son, you've definitely got a lot of work to do on that place, I would suggest getting your essentials hooked up and then I would set about gutting the place out and starting over"
"So that's It" I returned "Aren't you gonna warn me about the cursed land, the deal that Charles Maybrick made with the Devil so many years ago?" I regretted my rudeness as soon as the words left my mouth, fortunately Donald's reaction assured me that no offense had been taken. He chuckled, turning his eyes into thin slits as his Rosy cheeks raised with the amusement, "You've been over at the Lady Belle haven't you - talking to Willard Holiday" he struggled with his words as he continued to laugh, "That crazy coot is as coo-koo as coo-koo clock, he'd tell his story to anyone who'd listen - but I wouldn't believe it, his story is full of plot holes the size of tractor tyres. He spins so much bullshit that he can't separate the truth from the lies".

"What is the truth then?" I asked, "If I'm gonna live there I'm gonna need to know something at least. The place is old, it has to have some sort of a history". Donald pursed his lips and nodded with agreement, thinking. "So what exactly did Willard tell you?" Donald asked, smoothing out his moustache.
"Well, long story short - he told me that the Maybrick family were the founders of this town, but were kicked out due to their strict religious beliefs and their murderous behaviour by a mob that was lead by your father. The Maybricks leave town, sold their soul to the Devil at the crossroads - yada yada yada, and boom the Devil builds the house out of the bones of the dead buried under the earth. Many years later Willard meets a girl - girl invites him home (the Estate), girl serves him wine infused with her blood - he blacks out - he wakes up and finds out that he's been raped (I think) by the girls mutant sister/brother - he blacks out again and wakes up back at the Lady Belle where they end up serving the very wine that the girl served him at the Maybrick Estate which made him hear voices telling him to send the customers at the Lady Belle to her. And that's where he ended his story - obviously quite upset about it all."

Donald choked, hand over his mouth, trying to hold back the tears of laughter that were beginning to stream down his face, but he couldn't hold it in - and neither could Larry who's laughter could be heard in the background. "In the seventy eight years of my life, that has to be the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard", he removed his spectacles and wiped his eyes dry with the collar of his flannel shirt.

"So what is the truth?" I asked again.

"Well, for a detailed account of what really happened I would suggest that you go and see Sister Mary Sutherland in the town library, she'd probably at least have record of the Maybrick family if they ever lived in this town and no doubt she'd have a newspaper clippings relating to them and the house. But if you want my account of the truth - to my knowledge the truth is that they were a close knit family who kept to themselves and were pretty self sufficient. The mystery that they liked to surround themselves in lead to all sorts of accusations, they were accused of running a brothel, they were accused of being murderers, they were accused of being cannibals, they were accused of being incestuous, they were accused of being highway men/women - but to my knowledge they were never found guilty. They just lived and either moved along or died out without continuing their bloodline".

I had to admit, Donald's opinion was a lot less fantastical than Willard's, but there again there were parts of Willard's story that I couldn't help but believe, especially with the description of Cadence and how she sung Ave Maria - I couldn't deny the uncanny resemblances in his story that I could relate to the dream I'd had the night before.

"So, a sledgehammer then" Donald insisted as he handed one to me, practically forcing the sale upon me. "And some rope, electrical cable, and perhaps some hand tools - monkey wrench, hammer, pliers, hand drill, those sorts of things too please" I asked.
Donald directed me to Larry behind the counted while he fetched the requested items.

"You look just like him" Larry said, studying my face.
"I'm sorry, I'm not sure who you have me confused with" I told him, "I'm not from around here obviously".
"Your father!" Larry said matter of factly, "You look just like your father, except younger".
"You know my Father? I asked.
"No, I don't know him. He's been here before asking about the house. Looks just like you, so I did the math".
Donald interrupted the conversation with his return, carrying a basket full of essentials which Larry added their values up on his till.
"want me to load these into your car?" Donald asked. I looked at the pile of tools remembering that I was an hours walk back to the house. "Yeah, I was about to ask" I started, "Is there any chance of catching a ride back, you see I don't have a car, I sold it before I moved here for 5 grand which is as it turns out the only money I have left in my name.

"Divorce is a bitch" Larry blurted. It was an accurate assumption. Donald reached into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out a set of keys which he threw toward me, "You see that piece of shit out front?" I figured he was referring to the rusted pick-up, "Take that, it's yours on loan for as long as you like, just don't go stinking it up in there". I was grateful to say the least but latter comment made me a little self conscious even though it appeared that he was joking.
"Thanks Don, I owe you one" I said, shaking his hand in appreciation. "Yep, you sure do" was his response.
I waved the brothers a goodbye with a promise to return and headed out the door to load the tools into the truck. The old dog that was shading itself under the truck greeted me with a whimper, It nuzzled for a while before lazily wandering into the hardware store.

Despite its looks, the truck started up like a dream. It's low rumble was music to my ears - the folk music blaring on the car radio was not. Willard was standing outside the Lady Belle, waving, "You take care now you hear" he called out, I could still sense sadness in his voice. Without drama I was off up the road heading back to the Estate, consciously on the look out for any signs of the river that Willard spoke of - but unless is was hidden further out behind the trees it was nowhere to be seen.
The pick-up hummed as I pulled up to the front gates of the Estate, to my surprise they were wide open. I was sure I'd closed them on my way out that morning. I shrugged It off and closed them behind me before jumping back into the truck and heading up the long driveway.
I was met with quite a surprise as I pulled up alongside the house that afternoon. For It seemed as though I was no longer alone. Parked up on the verge at the front of the house sat a familiar dusty, gun metal grey station wagon.

To be continued....
Next Issue: Outlawed.
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Darling Cadence

10:27 AM


Cadence sat me down in one of the livin' room chairs and placed the silver platter and wine bottle on a small side table which she dragged across the room and positioned infront of me. She lifted the lid off the silver platter spinnin' around like a ballet dancer and bowing all in one fluid motion."And on todays menu, Sir Willard we have fried Prairie Oysters on a bed of baby spinach leaves and cherry tomatos" Her accent had changed to impersonate a Royal English accent which she had mastered very well.

I was apprehensive at first, I'd never had such a dish before and I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, I played with the egg sized balls of meat for a while with my fork tryin' to be subtle about my inspection. "What animal does an Oyster come from" I asked Cadence, pryin' fo' more information about the meal she had prepared before I tried my first bite. "Traditionally", she began, pausin' to find her words "Traditionally Oysters are from the ocean, have you ever seen the Ocean Willard?". I shook my head, as far as I was concerned the Ocean was only something that I could read about in the town Library, I still (to this day) wouldn't know where to find it. "So if Oysters are from the Ocean, then how'd you get them then" I asked Cadence. "Oh, these are a special kind of Oysters Willard, these Oysters come from the land, you should be honored, these are quite a delecacy" she grinned from ear to ear, it must have been from the thought of the magnificent animals that this meal had come from, a needful prompt that gave me the encouragement to dig my fork into the spongy meat and take my first bite. The taste was unbelievable, it was like there was a party in my mouth and everyone was invited. It had a melt-in-your-mouth creamy texture with a mild salty taste that left me hangin' for the next mouthful bite after bite. Cadence appeared to be pleased that I was enjoyin' myself, not once did she interupt me until I'd devoured the contents of the entire platter.

"Quite the appetite you have there my friend" She said. The term, while used briefly meant a great deal to me. Friend, was a word that I hadn't heard that often, and friends were somethin' that I didn't have a lot of, so it made me proud to hear those words no matter how insignificant or not that her use of the word was. She arose from her chair mad her way to one of the bookshelves where she removed a generously sized leather bound book from its resting place. She carried the heavy lookin' book to the table with ease and sat it beside the empty silver platter. Its cover was blank, not even a symbol on it like some of the other books, It was just a plain black leather book which was held together with a basic brass buckle, which she unfastened to open the front cover. It was a deceivin' piece of work, the book was hollow on the inside, infact to call it a book at all would be incorrect, it was more of a housin' for the contents inside, which consisted of drinking vessels which looked like they were made from either ivory or bone and were engraved with patterns that must have been rubbed with coal or indian ink to highlight their edges. Along with the vessels was a flawless, golden coloured blade, its handle too was made of the same material as the goblets except the handle was obviously carved in such a way to look like a skeletal spine.

Cadence removed the goblets from the book and placed them side by side on the table and then removed the sharp blade which she used to look at herself in its reflection. "so beautiful" she whispered. I wasn't sure if she was reffering to the blade or her reflection, but in my opinion I wouldn't have disagreed with the latter. She raised the blade above her head, her eyes still fixed on her own reflection. And then - whack! she swung the blade down in a stabbin' motion. It was so quick that it startled the shit out of me, but I was quick to realize that blade had entered the neck of the wine bottle sittin' on the table and was embedded in the cork which was removed in tact when she withdrew. "Lets make a toast" she said as she filled the goblets with wine, "To an everlastin' alliance between you and I". I liked the sound of of the word alliance, it sounded a lot deeper than simply callin' it a friendship. "Give me your hand" she asked, and I did so willin'ly, "we have to do this properly" she insisted, takin' a firm grip of my wrist with one hand and reachin' for the blade with the other. A single stroke of the sharp knife cleanly severed a vein, I could hardly feel it but it was the thought that made me wince the most. I put all of my trust in her so I wasn't afraid at the time. She cut her own wrist and the blood flowed just as easily. She clasped my hand, interlockin' our thumbs as if ready to arm wrestle, the vessels were placed under our elbows lettin' our minglin' blood trickle into the wine. The sting of the wound became more obvious to me the harder she clenched at my hand. She had a rather transfixed stare on our blood, it was a rather unusual look, a look of insanity that I didn't think possible for a girl as beautiful as her to make. "Let us drink" she said, her eyes meetin' mine as she let go of my hand. "I'm not sure that I want too" I said, a little apprehensive about the idea, "Is drinkin' one anothers blood all that sanitary?" I asked. "You live in a whore house Willard, and you're complainin' about MY blood being sanitary" She calmly scolded. She did have a point, I could see her reasonin' although the Lady Belle did have a strict cleanin' routine.

So we drank, swallowin' the cocktail down in large gulps and together finishin' within seconds, both of us slammin' the drinkin' vessels down on the table on completion and lettin' out a large satisfyin' sigh of relief in unison like we'd just made love. "The alliance has be made, we serve one another, together, we are one" Cadence advised, "It's been a long time comin', we've been waitin' for someone like you Willard". I was unsure as to whom exactly the "we" was that she was refferin' to, but I had the impression that it extended further than just her and I. "Can you feel it Willard?" Cadence asked "Can you feel me inside you? can you feel US inside you?". I did, I felt it - I no longer felt singular, instead I felt plural - I no longer felt pre-pubesant, instead I felt like I'd lived, like I had the knowledge of generations sendin' shockwaves to every livin' cel on my body. "I can feel you Cadence" I answered, "I can feel all of you". The feelin' was intense, I could not only feel, but I could see my.......our blood coursin' through my veins, pulsatin' through by body and thumpin' away at my head like migrane that was more pleasure than pain. "Ride it through Willard, theres no turning back now" Cadence told me assurin'ly. My heart was poundin' with a mixture of panic and exstacy. I lusted over the sensation I was feelin', but at the same time had no idea of what was happenin' to me.

And thats all I remember of that moment.

Next thing I know, I waking up in a, dimly lit room. Dust particles danced about in a small beam of settin' sunlight that cut through the darkness via a small window above me. I was strapped and bound by leather belts to a frail and rusted metal framed bed. The dirty stripped mattress had a strong smell of body odor and was in no state for anyone in their right mind to sleep comfortably on. The room itself lacked colour, from what I can say to describe it was that it was simply "brown", as if it was a room that had been forgotten about since..... well since forever and left to accumulate a thick layer of dust and spider webs. It was far from being anywhere near as desirable as the rest of the house. "Hello?" I called, "Cadence? where are you? where am I?". My calls were interrupted by the slitherin' clink of chains bein' dragged across the wooden floor boards coming from an unlit corner of the room. "Who's there?" I called out into the shadows. "Fear not my love" returned a hauntin'ly familiar voice. I wasn't Cadence however - It was the voice that I'd heard comin' from behind one of the doors while I was In the hallway. I was not alone in this room. "Cadence?" I called out once again, ignorin' the voice that was comin' from the corner of the room. "She can hear you my love, she's just a little tied up at the moment". Before I could respond the child-like voice was interrupted with a gruff "He is not my love, bitch!", a second voice from which also came from the direction as the first. I was in the company of two others. "Who are you? what is it that you want?". My question was answered with high pitched childs laughter, " They call me Gemini, I am Cadences' Sister....Brother" replied the two voices in unison. The sound of the chains draggin' across the floor and the shuffling of footsteps drew closer to me, I could hear Gemini's heavy breathin' and could make out her/his silhouette approaching the beam of sunlight. Gemini laughed again and threw her head into the sunlight, mere inches away from my face - she was split, straight down the middle. I say she, because the right hand side was was the perfect spittin' image of Cadence, beautiful if it weren't for a few bruises, a bloodshot eye and lookin' generally emaciated. The left hand side on the other hand, scarred, skeletal and bloody. A masculine jawline protruded from an open flesh wound exposin' teeth and bone, the eyelid drooped as if it had been torn from the face and left to heal without stitches exposin' a yellowish bloodshot eye which darted from left to right in an eyesocket clumped with pus. In contrast to the right hand side whos features looked relatively groomed, hair neatly combed and decorated with a bow, the left hand side was almost bald, aside from a few tufts of hair that grew in random areas of the otherwise exposed scalp. The body itself leaned slightly to the left, its obvious weaker side whos leg was merely a splint holdin' them up and whos arm hung lifelessly at its side. "Can you see what this bitch did to me" the gruff voice spoke. "Willard wants to know what we want" the childish voice spoke, ignorin' the other persona. "What I want is to take a knife to your fuckin' throat", the gruff voice returned. The right side of Gemini frowned and replied "To bad, you've lost your control - girls are stronger, they live longer" spoke the childish voice, " And that is why we wear a dress". Clearly Geminis throat was also covered by a heavy steel clasp with was attached to a length of chain that trailed off into the dark corner of the room from which she came from.

Gemini placed her right hand on my restrained leg and awkwardly sat down on the bed beside me. I was disturbed by her grotesque looks but not afraid for some reason, I felt like I knew her, like I loved her like we were family, I felt her inside me like I felt Cadence. She moved her hand closer toward my privates. I realised at that moment that I was missing my shorts. She wrapped her thin boney fingers around my member as if about to snap the neck of a chicken and whispered to me in my ear, "Willard, you've already given me what I want" and kissed me on the cheek, the gruff voice whisperin' "Whore" in return. The moment was disturbed by the metallic sound of a crank turnin' from somewhere outside of the room we were in. "Fuck!" Gemini's voices spoke together, as the chain around her neck suddenly went taut and slowly dragged Gemini step by step back into the dark corner of the room. A door slowly opened near the foot of the bed with a gust of wind that disturbed the dust that had settled on the floor and showerin' the room with light from the hallway. It was Cadence, she cautiously entered the room, turning to speak to Gemini who was trying to struggle free from the steel brace around her neck. "Settle down now Gemini, you know why", Cadence soothed. Gemini's hand slumped to her side and she relaxed a little. "Is it done?" Cadence asked Gemini. "Its done" Gemini's childish voice confirmed her right hand rubbin' her belly. "Filth!" the gruff voice spat.

Cadence sat beside me on the bed and ran her fingers though my hair, she huffed a small laugh "Its done" and she smiled. She gently unbuckled the leather restraints and helped me to my feet, I was In shock. Deep down I knew what "done" meant but I wasn't sure if I was ready to believe it. "Here, you'll be needing these" Cadence said, throwin' my shorts at me, "Its time to go home Willard". It was then that I remembered why I was even there at the Estate, what my mission had been before even meetin' Cadence. I had to find the delivery man and bring back some alcohol for Gran'ma and our Guests at the Lady Belle. "I have it sorted Willard, you're not to worry".

She read mind, I could feel her in there - stiring away at my brain.

Again, from that point details are vague my mind was a blur. I came to in the arms of one of the regular patrons of the Lady Belle, he was standin' before Gran'ma, "I assume he belongs to you" he said "He was cold passed out in your entrance way". I was panic stricken, it looked as though the Lady Belle had started fillin' up and I'd come home empty handed. Gran'ma looked at me in shock "Willard my boy, where have you been, I was worried sick - the alcohol was delivered, sittin' at the front door hours ago". She had a flustered look about her " granted the delivery was entirely of red wine but the boys seem to be likin' it, sales are through the roof - did you not catch a ride home with the delivery man?". I didn't know, my mind was still cloudy. I couldn't give her a clear answer. I scanned my eyes aross the bar lookin' out to the dancers and seeing the men hollah and clink their glasses of wine together, buyin' and pourin' bottle after bottle of wine. All I could think about was Cadence, I could hear her voice tellin' me over and over:

"Send them home Willard, send them home"

To be Continued.......

Next Issue: Trust I seek

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