Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gothic Story: The Colonel and the Commodore

The Colonel and the Commodore
The fog descended with the darkness of night. It was heavy fog, covering the ground like a blanket, and stifling any perception that would have remained in the dark of night. Away from the city there were no lights, only the stars and the moon hung in the sky, and none of them were sufficiently luminescent to penetrate the murky fog. 
The heat was almost unbearable; summer in the South was not yet something I had experienced, and it was much harsher than that of North I hailed from. It was unmercifully humid as well, a heavy, debilitating heat that was so unbearable. It was all unbearable. I had been supposed to arrive at my uncle's house hours previous, yet fate had not smiled upon me, and the car that I had been so reliant on in the past few months had finally failed me. 
The death of my car was a demoralizing affair of extreme magnitude. It was just over a year since I had bought that car. It had been a moment of supreme triumph, the consummation of a torturous epic that had spanned six years of my life. Since the moment I had turned sixteen I had wanted a car of my own. My father thought that it would be good for me to buy my own, to learn how to support myself, and I had finally accumulated the capital required to make my purchase on twenty-second birthday. Now, only a month after my twenty-third birthday, my car had literally died in a ditch. 

It was the rain, in truth, was the cause of losing my car, and not that I had done something wrong. The rain had fallen for hours, a virtual monsoon rained down upon the road I had driven along. It had denied any semblance of visibility beyond several feet away, and at one particular bend in the road my car had a meeting with fate. The roads, under the abuse of torrents of rain, were just a field of mud. When I reached this corner, I had not the time to react, for I had not been able to see the bend until too late, and even though I tried to break the car's inertia maintained its passage along the slippery slope into the overflowing ditch. I had been lucky, my car was wider than the ditch, and was thus wedge between the two sides and not sinking to the depth of the frothing pit. I was able to open my door and climb out, but as I did so part of the wall of the ditch gave way, and my car was submerged under nine feet of water. Drenched and semi-shell-shocked from my ordeal, I had do e the only thing that had made sense to me; I set off on a trek to my uncle's house. 

Several hours had passed since then, and the midday sun had turned to a waning ember, before slipping out of sight. At least the rain had stopped about an hour ago, but the fog was only thicker because of it. The ground was muddy, and difficult to traverse, and I myself was not doing so well. My clothes were more soaked than the spray deck at Niagara, and shoes had rolled in more mud than a hundred piglets. My visibility was bad, and I had numerous cuts and bruises from branches and brush that I had not seen until it was too late. I had walked into two raspberry patches already, and I was not eager to do so again. I was hungry too, and thirsty. This whole ordeal was very rough on someone who had lived his entire life away in a city.
It was another full hour, a total of six or seven, I think, after leaving my car, before I heard the noise of windmill cutting through the air like a scythe. It was a noise of welcome relief; I had heard from my father that my uncle was the only person for 100 miles with a windmill, and that meant I was close. I changed my direction and headed for the road. It had been easier to walk amongst the trees than the road because the ground was a little less liquidous, but now I decided it would be easier to walk from there to my uncle's. Is tumbled through the foliage, tripped over several fallen trees, and half-walked, half-crawled out onto the street. I stopped for a moment, semi-dazed by the light that entered into the road. The moon was clearly visible hear, and the fog seemed to dissipate somewhat. I looked ahead to see the fork dividing the road. Of the two directions, one was clearer; it looked as though it had been lumbered, and from there I could see an open expanse that more resembled a prairie than the jungle I had just struggled through. Yet, there was something disheartening about the other road. It was dirt as well, but redder, like there was clay in the earth. The trees that guarded the pathway were old, decaying, and huge; a pair of relic sentinels stationed, a pair doomed to an eternity of vigilance. The trees beyond we're not much livelier, and I felt trepidation fomenting inside me.
I took a deep breath, and the forged on down the dreary path. The light of the moon faded away as I progressed and the traces of fog began to become copious amounts. After just a few minutes the fog became exceedingly oppressive, and the darkness around me was making it incredibly hard to negotiate the rough terrain that served as a trail to my uncle's. Multiple times I stumbled and become immersed in the muddy ground, and each time it was harder to get up and back in my feet. My clothes were now completely covered in mud, and I felt another mental blow with the memory that my suitcase with all my spare clothes was at the bottom of that trench. I pressed on, harder now, a soldier, waging his own personal war with nature's infinite power. 
I walked another sixty yards before a silhouette became discernible from the cloud of darkness and throng of trees. At first it was a shapeless thing, ethereal, yet unsettling, as if it were the form of some vengeful specter. I shivered, from being cold and drenched, of course, and sped up my pace. The closer I got, the more the fog cleared, and soon it took on a more concrete form, and I could see that it was one of a weathervane, very old and antique, with an angel on top as a decoration. It was grim indeed, for the angel was missing his head, and all that remained to be seen was a figure, winged and robed, staring without eyes at the world around for miles. Then the rest of the house came into sight, and it was less of a house, and more of an enormous mansion. It was an uncomfortable view, as the house was rundown, and yet still retained some of what had made it beautiful in a long expired age. 
I walked down the path to the house. Up close it was in an even more morose condition. The walls, which had looked to be in the best condition of any in the house, we're actually full of small cracks, most near the very bottom or the zenith of the outer wall, and it gave a surreal feeling that the house was an archaic monument of another lifetime, and was living on borrowed time. It must have been between the hours of one and three in the morning. I climbed the crumbling marble steps up to the front door and was about to bang on it when I stopped, intrigued with the very door itself. The rest of the house may have been eroding, but the door stood resolute in exception able condition and perplexing magnifigance. It was of an ancient mahogany, with a deep black color obtained from a surplus of sleek lacquer. It was intricately carved, depicting a grand gateway. The lacquer had pooled in certain places of the door, and it appeared as though there was a black lake at the foot of the gate. The pristine condition of the door was in stark contrast with the disrepair of the house, and I spent several seconds observing the smoothly hewn image.
My eyes began to look higher on the door, and I saw a knocker, dull and black, at the pinnacle of the gate where the two halves met. The knocker was the only part of the door that didn't seem new and in prime condition. It was a neutral, matte black, but looked as though it had once been of a more favorable sheen. Years of use had worn it smooth and absolved it of its shine. It was in an odd shape, curled around, with a handle protruding out, in a way that gave the impression of a coiled snake. The hinge was higher up, and looked as if it was just a continuation of a tail. I reached for the locker tentatively, almost as the fearing it would bite me like the snake it mimicked. As my finger closed around the lock, a click emanated from the door, and I immediately jumped back. I stood heart racing, as the single click became a cacophony, and before I could decide what to do the door opened, blasting me with the untainted radiance of a candle. As I covered my face, I heard a voice rasp out,
"Who are you, then?"
I nearly jumped out of my skin, but forced myself to remain calm. Is lowly lowered my hand, and the light was not so aggravating to my eyes. It had been so dark out for so long, the light was a welcome solace from my ordeal. The person holding the light was a woman, probably over the age of sixty, with skin wrinkled from excess time spent in the sun. She was about a foot shorter than me, maybe a little more than that, probably about 4'8". I found myself stumbling for words, and stopped talking for a moment to gather my thoughts. 
"My name is Adrian, ma'am. Adrian Commodore. Is this the residence of Mr. James Colt?"
"Oh, Adrian!" She said (pronouncing the first "A" like the "A" in the word ad), "We had been so worried when you hadn't showed up. We had been very a'feared that something had happened to you in the storm."
Before I could respond she had pulled me inside, and lead me through the entrance hall and into a room on the left. I couldn't help but stare at the entrance hall as I passed through it. It was a high ceiling, probably up to the top of the house, meaning there was likely no second floor, and ornately decorated from ground to roof. The ground was a chessboard of marble, deep, bottomless black and pure, vibrant white, but also veined and cracked from the many years of use that it had endured. The walls were a mighty black, sheets of mighty, soulless obsidian absorbing all the light that hit them. It gave the room a muted, antique, and stifled feel which was unsettling. The ceiling was obscured by the grand chandelier that floated above. The chandelier was made of gold, or at least a. Perfect ringer for gold, and it had a radiance that would make most stars envious. At the outskirts of the light’s blinding domain, there appeared several patches of the ceiling, little bits of a lit gray substance that seemed no more than a satellite in the solar system that the chandelier anchored.
The maid tugged my arm, as I had fallen into a dazed semi-trance, and brought me into a more subtle, yet equally exquisite room as the one I had just left. It was smaller, but the colors were lighter, but not of an in-your-face, garish hue or obnoxious brightness. She opened a closet whose handle had been masked by the darkness that pervaded much of the corners of the room. This room was also much darker than the one that I had just left. Only several lights glowed weakly along the walls, none with a far reaching radiance. The door had been in one of the most shadowed areas, and when the maid opened the closet, it had the effect of materializing from thin air. Within was an assortment of garments, for they were too grand to be just clothes. They were dusty, and some rather moth bitten, but the maid handed me a pair of earthy-brown pants and a burnt-orange button-up shirt, along with a pair of thick, black socks. She motioned at another door that had, until now, been a mere stretch of wall, and told me that the bathroom was within, and I could go change.
I walked through the door, and was surprised yet again by the level of wealth in the house. This room was small and windowless, not that it mattered in the pitch black conditions outside, but stifling. There was a small couch made of a fiery red stain, with pillows of an equally soft black satin. There was also a sink, on the right wall, and for all I knew there was a door leading to a shower or restroom that was camouflaged by the lighting. The floor was carpeted in a thick, geometrically patterned rug characterized with deep blacks and vibrant reds, with a small set of white lines running through it like the cracks in the marble of the entrance hall floor. The apparel I held felt warm to the touch, and I happily removed my sodden clothes. In a minute I had dressed, and I exited the small room. Upon doing so, I managed to entangle my ankle with one of the legs of the sofa. I landed on the floor and a proverbial mushroom cloud of dust burst from the floor. Coughing from the deluge, I pushed myself to my feet. This room was very old, and looked as though no one had been in it for many years. It struck just how empty this ancient dwelling must be.
     When I finally managed to extricate myself from the room, I was greeted by the eerie tolling of a large grandfather clock, which, like many other things in this house, looked so much like the wall around it that I had yet to pick up on its presence. Slightly alarmed, I started, and nearly backed into the maid, who had just come in through another door. She was carrying a small tray of food along with a steaming glass of some liquid that was unfamiliar to my eyes. It was thick and red, and looked as though it had small bits of something floating about in it. The maid smiled, and then, by a nod of her head, ushered through the door to the main hall, and then down another door into a long hallway. We proceeded down about halfway before I was instructed to turn left through a door that I had been able to pick from the wall. It wasn’t that this door was any less conspicuous; it was that I had been adjusting to the house. Through the door I went, down another corridor, and into a room that was much plainer than any other I had seen before. There was a four-poster bed in the corner of the room with heavy, unsettling drapes, and a dresser on the far wall. Next to the dresser was an old oaken desk, and the maid laid my meal on the desk, and then walked out. I walked over to the bed, but didn’t think I could sleep. The old clock had wrung five times and I knew morning was not far off. Yet, even as I sat on my bed, I felt weariness overtake me. Within moments, I had surrendered my consciousness and lay asleep on my bed.
I started awake, heart pounding from a terrible nightmare, and immediately attempted to inhale deeply. With a horrifying shock I felt my neck constricted, and unable to obey my brain’s command. I began thrashing wildly, my arms getting caught up in whatever was assaulting my neck. For a moment of cold, unadulterated fear, I thought that I was going to suffocate, when there was a tremendous ripping noise, and the drapes around my bed were amputated from their holdings. The pressure on my neck dissipated, and I lay on my bed hoarding all the air in the vicinity.
After several moments I regained enough strength to get myself up into a sitting position, where I rested for several minutes before surveying my surroundings. The room was darkly lit, as it had been the night before one solitary light on the wall above the desk. The rest of the room was thrown into varying amounts of shadow by the feeble luminescence, and it was all the more eerie now that I was fully awake.
     When my heart had returned to a something-like-normal speed, I got up and was immediately perplexed. When I had entered last night I had come through a door opposite my desk, but when I turned to exit now I faced two doors, each with the possibility that I had come through it. They were right next to each other, and even opened in the same way. Both lead to identical hallways, and I had been too tired last night to have clearly remembered the exact spot I came in the room from. I tried walking out and then back in from both doors, but my memory was unhelpfully adamant that it knew nothing. I didn’t like the idea of walking through someone else’s house when I had yet to even meet them, but I had little choice.
     I should take a moment to help the listener with the comment I just made, I had never actually met my “uncle”. He wasn’t really my uncle, in all truth, but a distant family member, second cousin thrice removed or third cousin twice removed, or some insane minimalistic link. He and my dad had grown up together, but had lived apart since about their mid-teens. My dad had said my “uncle” was a weird guy, but I had never met him in person. I had hoped that the terms of our meeting would have been a little more certain.  
The only thing I really knew about my uncle was that he had been in the military, and had topped out at the rank of colonel. That’s what my dad called him. My “uncle the colonel”, Colonel Geoff Jackson, a true southerner, born and bred. The loom on my dad’s faced when he said this still brought a smile to face, and after a brief moment I dispelled it.
I still had my choice to make; right or left. Right is right, right? I told myself. Annoyed with myself for thinking something so childish, yet also with my mind made up, I went to the door on the right and proceeded to walk down the hallway. I had already trekked through miles of country, this couldn’t be so bad, I reassured myself.
     I walked down the hall, and took a door on the right (the only door in the hallway) and was immediately assaulted with a very bright light. The room I had entered was unlike any other I had been in yet, mainly owing to the copious amounts of light it had. While many of the other rooms had only one or two lamps, there seemed to be some light-creating device every other foot on the wall. I was about to leave and try the other hallway when something caught my eye, and ornate banister, belonging to a spiral staircase, snaked up into the room. I walked over to the banister, and ran my hand along part of its length. As I began to think of descending down it a voice exploded into use behind me louder than a gunshot.
“Get yourself away from that railin’ Mr. Adrian Commodore (with my name pronounce the same odd way as the maid had done)! What in the name of the South do you think you’re doin’?”
My heart migrated out of my chest for the third time in such a short while, and I spun around to see a portly man in a set of old military fatigues. I almost wanted to comment on how lame it was that he still wore fatigues years after his service had ended, and might have actually done so, except for the unbridled anger that radiated from his countenance.
“I…the two doors…lost my…like a maze…” the words gurgled out like a stream across the rapids, and I could tell my experience was going to be just as rocky. “I didn’t know…”
“What d’you mean you din’t know? Well, ‘asn’t Marie told you ‘bout the basement bein’ off limits?”
He stared at me with harsh eyes and I felt a twinge of unease at remembering that when the maid had introduced herself she had said her name was Anne.
“M…Marie…”I stammered, “I don’t think that I know a Marie. Mrs. Anne was kind enough to help me out last night.”
Immediately the anger receded, and the Colonel’s face turned from a shade of purple to a pensive mask.
“Well I’m a ‘so sorry Adrian. I completely forgot ‘bout how I hire’ a new maid. I ‘pologize sincerely for my tone. Missus Anne don’t right know ‘bout the basement yet, well she know ‘bout it, jus’ not ‘nough to tell you’self about it. You goin’ to have to ‘scuse me for this ‘ere outburst. It’s not like me to react with words when I get myself upset. Come along, an’ will get ye some breakfast.”
And with that he walked right out, through another door, and I hesitantly followed him. As I had tried to say to him, the house was truly a maze. He took me through what I could only describe as a concealed passage, and within a few seconds we were in a magnificent dining hall. It was huge, with a ceiling whose zenith seemed to be higher than I would’ve thought possible from what I had seen last night. The colonel directed me to a small table, which stood alone in the open expanse.
I sat down at the table, which had three chairs, and he sat to my left. In a moment, the maid came in and brought another tray of food. At the sight of it my stomach growled, and I immediately dug in. almost immediately I began to regret opening my mouth, because it seemed like there was as much dust on the food as there had been in the side room. Trying not to cough, I put down by fork and listened to the conversion that had just started up between Ms. Anne and the Colonel.
“Did you hear about old Mr. Dommers?”
“Well, nah, no I do not recall anythin’ ‘bout mister Dommers.”
“Well, they finally found his truck, after three days of searching, and he wasn’t in it. The police are confused, and I his family in a grievous state.”
“Well, I never liked the man much, an’ it wouldn’t surprise me major if he hadn’t found ‘imself on someone dangerous’ bad side.” The Colonel said this with a note of finality, like that was all that was an acceptable opinion on the issue.
“Excuse me, but who is Mr. Dommers?” I asked, trying to bridge the tide of silence that had just rolled in.
“Mr. Dommers was one of the closest neighbors to this house.” Ms. Anne said, cleaning up some of the empty plates that had lain strewn across the table. “He went missing about a week ago, and the case has the authorities baffled.”
I looked to the Colonel, expecting him to weigh in, but he sat, as though he was somewhere else, staring off across the empty room. Slightly perturbed, I began a second assault on my breakfast. It was a long and quiet morning, and after breakfast I retired to my room, where I spent the rest of the room. From what I had gathered, only the three of us lived in the house, and I felt that I was in for a lonely stay.
I spent the rest of that day in my room, reading, and slowly it began to get late. I didn’t know exactly what time it was, but the clock gave me a baseline, for its low chime seemed to resonate with everyone room of the house. It was sometime after nine when I first heard the noises. I had just put down my book and was changing into a somewhat too-small night shirt, all of my luggage had been lost with my car, and I was having particular trouble navigating all of the holes for limbs when the noise first started. It was a low hum, a kind that sent a tingling down my spine. The noise shocked me, and I manage to jar my arm when I a flinched and pulled one way when the shirt was pulling the other. The shirt was strong, and held, so as I clutched my smarting elbow I attempted to discern which direction the noise came from. It was this that really disturbed me, because no matter which part of my room I stood in, the noise was about the same. And it seemed to come from every direction, as though the whole house was vibrating with one note sung way too flat.
Off-put, I left my room and began to look for Ms. Anne or the Colonel, hoping one of whom might have an answer for the anomaly that was plaguing the house. I may have searched for almost an hour, I did know that the half hour mark came and went, and I still couldn’t find anyway. The house was truly a labyrinth, with a multitude of doors, dead ends, and loops, each in varying difficulty to find, ranging from painstaking to nearly invisible. Finally, I found Ms. Anne dusting in one of the hallways. Ms. Anne had an ongoing battle with dust, and she was losing because whenever she cleaned an area, a new reservoir of dust would pile even higher. Delighted that my search had proved fruitful, I asked was about to ask her about the noise when, all of a sudden, it whined, and then died like the motor of my car. Suddenly at a loss for words, and with the possibility of it all being in my head, I quickly excused myself from the room and attempted to navigate my way back to my room.
It had been such a weird noise, but I had no reason to expect anything sinister. After all, the people here were very simple people, nothing to worry about. The city was a much more dangerous place anyway.
I kept up this mental fa├žade all through the next day, until, late that night, the noise made its return. More startled the second time, because it assuaged me of my fear of insanity, I sought out someone again. This time, even though it was long after the end of the noises when I found someone, I asked Ms. Anne about it. Her reply was somewhat reassuring, for she told me that it was a problem with the windmill, and that it would sometimes make weird noises. She said it had happened before, when she’d first arrived, and she thought nothing of it. So even as the noise would continue in the following days, I began to pay it no heed as well. After all, a simple cannot hurt a man.
It was a couple days later when I first wondered about Ms. Anne and her tenure. The Colonel had said that she had not been here long, and she herself had mentioned something of the same token when I had asked her about the noise. One morning, at breakfast, I decided to ask the Colonel about it.
“Uncle,” I had said, “Earlier you had said that Ms. Anne was fairly new. She also told me that she had not been here very long. I was just wondering what had happened to your previous maid.”
“Well,” said the Colonel in a deep base, “all the cops could figure is that she just went off back north. What a sterlin’ group of ‘em we ‘ave ‘ere, let me tell you.”
Again, as was the way with many things he said, there was a note of finality, and I did not breach the subject with him again.
Sleeping in the mansion is often hard. The bed is comfy, but it’s what’s in the other parts of the house that doesn’t help me. At first, when the noise was going, they could be a mighty difficult thing to sleep through, but when they were done, it didn’t get much better. The house was an antique, made with many incredibly valuable and incredibly old woods. Those woods creak with the slightest breath of wind, and when they get going in the house you could swear that there was a hoard of people coming through. The cracks in the walls were mostly silent, but a few of the more substantial ones would whistle louder than any man that I ever heard could. It’s like a symphony of ghosts, a cacophony of chilling tones that keep me up at night.
Normally I am a pretty good sleeper, but these noises were unbearable. There was one night where they became oh so unbearable. It was storming, a gale force just like the one that was raging when I first came to the house. It was late, probably past eleven, and the house sounded like a terrible instrument playing its own death march. Every time the wind blasted the whistles I shivered, and every monstrous creak of wood had me swearing that someone was about to come in a bash my door down. It was a monsoon from hell, and there was no way that I could sleep. 
I got up, and began to sit at my desk. I read slowly by the light of my solitary lamp tales of grim happenings of the past. I had been reading a book about medieval torture. Right know I was reading about the process of being drawn and quartered. The details of the book became more and more graphic, and I was having a hard time reading it with the rest of the things that were going on in the house.
 What finally finished off my attempt to keep reading was a particularly earth-shaking crack of thunder, which frayed my already faltering nerves. I put the book away, and tried to go to sleep, but my head was filled with the images I had just read about. I knew it was late, but I decided to take a little bit of a walk, because I have paced my room before, and it is not as cathartic as going around the house. When I walk around the house at night I feel more confident because I know the creaking noises are my noises and I feel the wind that makes the whistles. I may whistle back, compete with the wind. It all helps. But tonight was different. Tonight was a whole different animal, and I really need the peace of a walk.
I started out going through different doors, not really caring about any direction or path. I walked for several hours through the museum of fading glory. It was much more peaceful, even though the storm only rallied again and again, determined to outlast the aged house. It was probably about one in the morning when I heard the scream. It was shrill, it was bloodcurdling, and it chilled me to the bone. I stood frozen, unsure whether to run to assist or to go hide within my room. It was definitely Annie who had screamed, her voice.
After a few minutes of quite, other than the gale that blasted the house, I decided I should check on what had happened. It took me maybe twenty minutes to get there, for I had improved upon my skills at traversing the maze. When I found the source, Ms. Anne’s room, I found naught, save for an unnatural feeling in the depths of my gut. She was not in her room, but there were books left out as though she had been in the middle of reading. The thought that she may have been in the middle of something when, I don’t know, when something happened to her, was deeply unsettling. I was in the middle of a mental debate on what I should do when the night got better. The barely surviving lights of the hallways winked out in unison, leaving me in absolute darkness.
I ran, no more thoughts for Ms. Anne, I needed to make sure that I was safe. I didn’t know what had happened and what was going on, but I didn’t want to. I twisted through the house, tripping, falling, running headlong into bits off wall I could have sworn were doors. Finally I found myself in the hallway that I could access from the left door in my room. It was with a sinking stomach that I began to hear the noise again, that ungodly keening that bore into my skull. It was not a choice anymore; I ran into my room, barricaded the door, and waited for the clock to strike, six, because by then the sun would have risen.
That was the longest night of my life. The noise, the raise, the whistle, the creak, and I all the while sweating bullets under my bed. It was neither dignified nor comfortable, but I lay there, resolute as the guardian trees who guarded the approach to the house. When morning finally came, I was a shivering husk, battered by my ordeal.
The storm abated by about five-thirty, and it was blissfully quiet then. I had been drifting in and out of consciousness, and the welcome relief of quiet nearly put me to sleep. But then I heard the noise of footsteps and then a banging on my door. The handle began to turn, and I braced myself for the worst.
The Colonel walked in, looking extremely tired.
“Adrian, my boy.” He said to the room in general. The he stopped, unable to see me. “Adrian, are you there boy?”
I crawled out from under the bed, and made look like I had just fallen out of bed on the opposite side. I was incredibly scared, but I was not going to let it show.
“Ah, Adrian. Fallen out of bed. My, my, what a strange day. Already six and I am yet to get breakfast.”
He didn’t seem to know about what had happened last night, or maybe it had all been in my imagination. But by a check through the house, I discovered that there was no Ms. Anne in sight. I spoke with the police, and after several days of searching it seemed as though she had disappeared fully. It was very disturbing to me, but the Colonel never seemed to acknowledge it. He just kept talking about how his breakfast was never ready on that day whenever anyone brought it up.
The whole affair affected me badly, but I was able to manage. It got better the farther I was removed from when it occurred. The cops found nothing in a month’s investigation, which was hardly reassuring. However, I spent much more time with the Colonel, and that was okay. I didn’t like being alone anymore, and he seemed to enjoy company. It was just the two of house in the house now.
It came time for me to head back to the city, and I was sure I would not miss the old house in the middle of nowhere. The Colonel was somewhat distance in the days leading up to my departure, but I paid it no heed. I was excited to go home and see my parents and friends. I had been given the best of news that my car would be fully repaired by the time I was ready to leave. I spent the last few days in great spirit. It was not until the last night when I could not sleep again.
It was a peaceful night, not like many of the harsh nights I had been plagued with during my time here. I could not sleep though, but it didn’t bother me to spend my last night here conscious. I could breathe the surroundings, and then be able to enjoy that I won’t have to see them again.
I decided to take one last walk, and I enjoyed it more than any before. The old, dying luxury seemed so surreal, now that it would no longer serve as my habitat. It was a strange walk though for I found myself again in the room with the spiral stairway. The Colonel had had a lot to drink, and he would not be awake anytime soon. I decided I should go down, just because I never had, and I was feeling a little rebellious.
The stairs were made of the creakiest wood in the house. As I walked down, each stair screamed out individually at my trespass. I paid them no heed, this place would ware upon no longer than the rest of the night. Then I would be free of this oppressive labyrinth.
The room I found myself in was dark, but I felt the wall and found a light switch, which I switched on. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the things I saw were not very special. There was a table, with two different sections, a tool bench and a collection of photos. There were numerous photos, probably more than fifty, all of faces of people. It was slightly unnerving because they all had a strange, almost scared look on their faces.
I turned my attention to the tool bench for it was more my speed. There was a large array of utensils. Pliers, hedge trimmers, hammers and screwdrivers. In the most central place, seemingly glorified above the rust was a sturdy hacksaw the looked to be dulling from use. The worn quality about it was eerie, but I didn’t feel like going deep into it. It was just a hack saw.
I looked back at the pictures, and felt a bit of jolt when I recognized one of them. It was Ms. Anne. And next to her was a man whose face seemed mildly familiar. I seem to remember him being in the newspaper about the time I arrived. My foot brushed against something on the floor, and bent down to pick it up. It was the head of an angel, the neck severed by a hack saw. On it was written;
“The model for all.”

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