A squid ink shade of black had been overwhelming the sky for many hours, intensifying in colour with each second. The only source of light present was from the tiny spark of light created by my lantern. This delicate flame was keeping me company- and offering me a source of comfort in the back of the rickety, jolting carriage. The flicker of the flame somewhat entranced me, the slight warmth produced by it drawing me in, studying the flame and its beauty. However this comfort was short lived as an arctic blast of air speared through the carriage and murdered the innocent flame displacing the angelic light with a foreboding darkness.
I had never been one to be afraid of the dark; the still of night was a beautiful contrast to the lively daytime. I strongly believed that nightmares were things created and concocted within the mind. The idea of fear was simply a product of an over-active imagination, and I had instructed my consciousness to suppress the idea of irrational monsters and impossible beasts created in the darkness of my room. My childhood years in which I used to believe such things seemed to be a distant memory, despite in reality only being a few years prior.
A lot had changed since then; I had grown up too fast, and the horrific tragedies that had fallen upon me had aged me beyond my years. I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival at the manor since embarking upon the long journey at the first glimmer of morning sun. I had never been to or even seen this manor that my parents had allegedly written to me in their will along with a Bible passage written next to the official agreement; fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Part of me felt concerned especially due to the weird passage as my parents had no affiliations with Christianity, the other half filled with intrigue and morbid curiosity about where this twisted adventure would lead me. If this visit had happened under happier circumstances, perhaps I wouldn’t feel this way. In fact, this venture would mark a reminder of the grim occurrences that had taken place all too recently. For a brief moment sadness engulfed me; I was absorbed with a sense of remorse. My heart beat fiercely against its constricting prison of a ribcage, threatening to break free at any given moment.
For a split second, air seemed to have escaped my lungs, leaving me feeling faint and gasping for breath. The carriage jolted me brutally from my thoughts, allowing me to regain my senses and recover my composure. The driver was a reasonably small man who was dressed in full brown attire, with the exception of a pair of black gloves. Throughout the long journey he had only uttered a few abrupt and harshly whispered words, which came about from my futile attempts to initiate conversation. Sleepily I gazed out of the window, hoping to overcome the consuming boredom.
Despite being a summer night, the air had an eerie chill. The carriage crashing like thunder pierced the still atmosphere of the August night. A thick shield of fog clung to the narrow dirt road, as though crouching in anticipation; an army of trees surrounded the area, peering over the lone path menacingly. As the battalion of trees slowed down I realised that the carriage was coming to a stop; without words the driver signalled that he needed a stroll. Being too tired to follow suit I stayed in the shelter of the carriage- unaware that this would be my lifeline.
As I drifted into reality from a voided sleep I noticed that the driver was late- hours late. Ordinarily I would have exited the carriage in search of the driver instantly, however an ominous chill in the base of my spine and the frantic neighing of the horses which woke me strictly advised the contrary. However sensing that time had to be of essence I urged my unwilling body to take action. Hesitantly, I grabbed a coat with trembling hands and struggled out of the carriage before I could change my mind.
Still cold air, a losing battle between the moon and the darkness, a deafening silence and an aroma of decay epitomized my surrounding. With futile attempts to mentally note my location I decided, after moments of contemplation, to head in the approximate direction of the driver’s disappearance. Treading softly across the muddy footpath I made my way into the dense foliage. After a few metres of travel a sight caught my eye: A torn up banner of some sort strung with a rope of some sort from a low-hanging tree branch.
Striving to read the contents of the banner resembling object I neared the scene. It wasn’t a banner; it wasn’t strung by rope; it wasn’t filled in with ink. The driver’s disfigured motionless body dangled from the branch attached with intestines which had been ripped out of his already wretched body and decorated with a dark coating of thick undried blood. The grotesque composition just hung there eclipsing the moonlight and swaying with the light breeze. Words cannot paint an expression worthy of the horror that was depicted in front of me.
I couldn’t even imagine a psychopathic being evil enough to be the artist of this abominable creation. Filled with all sorts of emotion, my body couldn’t bear it anymore: My legs gave way and I collapsed to my knees into a posture fitting my emotional status. The turmoil of sadness, horror and rage that had accumulated over the last few months rose to a peak obscuring all of my senses and obliterating a floodgate holding back a mountain of tears. Not knowing what to do anymore I just sat there for hours bent over and weeping as blood from the brutally murdered driver dripped onto my feet.
When I had finally regained a fragile composition, I realised that the sadistic killer had left a cliched note written on the driver’s (previously brown) reddish coat with a dark black liquid (retained with the gouging of the driver’s left eye). It read “Fear me for I can destroy both soul and body”. Suddenly feeling a drastic drop in temperature I realised that the murderous creature was here-directly behind me. After seconds of me trying to deny the obvious fact and resisting the urge to look back the creature spoke assuring my worst fear. “Run”. “I like it when you run” it whispered in a harsh sinister voice.