Uncharted, Misbegotten.

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Uncharted, Misbegotten.

Chapter 1

Back to Old Habits

 

 

1

 

It was late in the fall of 1987 as Ethan looked up at the castle-like manor, walking up along the long gravel path. The time was 15 minutes to 11 pm according to my wristwatch. The manor towered up in front of him, covering more and more of the overcasted night sky. A chilling breeze came upon him as he gazed over the massive structure. It gave off an ominous feeling, and suddenly as if planned, the clouds parted and the moon divulged. The light casted of the moon and the building engulfed in the moonlight, it’s shadow not going further than just a few feet down from the door; about halfway down the rough cobblestone stepps. Ethan thought the house looked familiar, like he had seen it before. Though this was the first time that he had set foot near this area. In fact this was the first time he had been in this state, which was confirmed to him by his parents right before he left. The reason for him going here was to see his old friends, which he hadn't seen since he moved to Denver. His father had gotten a promotion. That meant they had to move, and leave their old life behind. 

Three years hadn’t gone by easily. Being so far away from the friends that he had spent so much of my free time with really took a toll on his mental health, something that showed to have made a quite clear decline in his schoolwork. It was only when Ethan started to find a new set of friends at the new school, that he started to feel calm and do better in school. 

During hours spent alone however, reminiscing about exploring with his friends in Fort Collins was his favorite pastime. Like that last abandoned shack they had found whilst hiking in the woods. The last time they had found a building to explore in fact, before he had to move. That dreaded day. Ethan both wanted to forget, and to go back. The reason for wanting to go back was mainly to confirm that it hadn’t been a dream. Sarah’s mom had given them a ride out to the Arapahoe forests, where they were to get back within six hours. They had brought with them each: various hiking equipment, along with rations to last the afternoon. 


 

2

 

On that day, they trekked through the forest in search of shelter during a downpour, hoping against hope to get back before six pm, when they came upon a little shack. They all looked at each other, the heavy rain thundering down all around them. Silently agreeing that it was worth a shot. Having dashed up the little hut, they were amazed to find luck finally in their favor; it had been left unlocked. Maybe years, possibly decades had passed since its owner had left for a final time. 

Having just stepped into the shak, Ethan closed the door behind Simon, horn rimmed spectacles ascue from the sprint, who had been the last to enter. But just as Ethan was closing the door, he felt it pull shut, the air getting sucked out. If you even could call it a door, it was more a few rough wooden planks nailed together. And just as the door closed, complete silence engulfed the room. And that seemed to be all that the inside of the shak was, a quite small, rather unkempt looking room. It had been like putting on a pair of really high end noise canceling earmuffs, having left the defining thunderous downpour outside the thin door. Ethan looked at the others, agast. They looked back, wearing similar expressions of utter confusion, migled with hints of utter terror. Getting back before 6 pm was hardly the main concern anymore. Sarah was first to make a sound. “W-w-what’s happ...” she began in a shrill, frightened cry, but Emma interrupted. Emma had always been like an older sister for Sarah, acting as a comfort when Sarah became distressed, which happened rather often. Now Emma, though clearly quite as nonplussed, hid her fright well. Micah and Emma were often a comfort, acting calm and leading the group in the right direction during moments when the rest didn't know what to do. Micah firmly cut across any unpleasant murmurs anticipating the worst, attempting any and every cause to dispute this being anything else than coincidance. That there must be a way to explain this just having happened. But he did not feel what happened to the door as it drew close, almost on its own. Ethan conveyed this thought to Micah. He stared at Ethan, looking like a madman. Ethan understood how distressed Micah felt, how he wanted to think of any way to explain this phenomenon. After thinking, and feeling there was no other explanation then: The wind blew the door shut, right then the storm stopped outside. That had to be it. And so, with that in mind, he briskly took two great strides towards the door, and confidently tried the door handle. Nothing happened. Then he grabbed it again, more firmly and forcefully twisted the handle. Again, nothing happened. He stared at the door, then gave an almighty tug at the handle. Yet again, nothing happened. He stepped back, waited, staring at the door intently, seeming to consider it. Then, he threw himself at it, putting his full bodys weight into getting the door down. We others had just been standing still, as if fixed to the ground. Now they all, Ethan, Emma, Simon and Sarah rushed forward to hold Micah back. He was about to start hurting himself if he kept going like that. With a huge sigh, he shrank to the ground, hands on his head, seeming out of options. 

“What the hell is this place!” He exclaimed after a moment. 

They had never heard him like this before. He sounded shrill and absolutely terrified, nothing like his usual steady clear deep voice. Even though he was only 14, one year older than me at the time, he already had the faint hints to the voice of a man. Ethan started to look around the room. There was a kind of banquette jutting out of the corner of the room. Next to it was a very small fireplace with a kettle hanging under the opening. There was a thick layer of dust coating all surfaces. In front of the banquette was a table. Under the table was a very old, very dirty hearth rug. Beneath the rug he saw something that made me feel a fresh bit of hope. An irregularity in the pattern of the floorboards. There was the outline of what looked to be a trap door. He beckoned Simon to come assist him in moving the table. When they had moved it just off the rug, they set it down and Ethan crouched down in front of the edges. He then started to roll it up. Sure enough, under the rug, having been almost completely hidden apart from two outer edges, was a trap door. Ethan thought absently, that this would usually be Simon’s affair, spotting things like this, being deemed the smart kid. Micah jumped up from his position on the floor, everyone else gasped. Everyone was now staring at the trap door. They stared at it for what seemed an eternity, as if transfixed. Then they all collectively looked up at each other. 

This time it was Sarah who spoke: “I think we should go open it. Maybe it’s a way out.” She spoke with a tone of finality, ending the sentence in a tone of hopefulness. 

Ethan was just about to agree, when Simon spoke: “I agree! We have to find a way out of here. And I want out as soon as possible!” 

He spoke very fast and excitedly. Micah and Emma, both nodded at Ethan in agreement. He nodded, affirming the plan, and knelt down, grabbing the latch embedded into the board and pulling hard. It creaked merrily. Peering down the hole, Sarah pointing a flashlight, they saw there was a ladder descending down about 12 feet or so. It ended in a hard packed dirt floor leading away into the dark unknown. Ethan looked up at the others. Micah returned a nervous grin. “You first!” He said, in that same unnaturally shrill, hysterical voice. Ethan swallowed, and hoisted his legs down into the hole. After fishing a flashlight out of my bag, which he had slung over my shoulder, he started to descend down the ladder. Shortly followed by Micah, then Sarah, then Emma and last to descend the ladder was Simon. Just as we were all down, as they heard Simon set his feet on the dirt ground, there was a creak, a swing, a loud bang. Then came total darkness, followed swiftly by the echo of the trap door having been swung shut. They were trapped. 

The thought had barely reached his mind however, before blinding light penetrated Ethan's vision. Shielding his eyes, he could just make out trees all around him. The sun in the middle of his vision. He then realized that he was standing on a dirt road. It seemed so familiar… but… no, it just could not be… He was surely standing on the same exact spot where Sarah’s mom had dropped them off, where she had told them to be, 6 hours later. And if his ears weren’t deceiving me, that must be Micah’s, Emma’s, Sarah’s and Simon’s heavy breathing and shuffling footsteps behind him. He spun round. There they were, each looking as confused and terrified as he felt. 

It turned out that they had, somehow, gotten back just in time to get picked up by Sarah’s mom. They had all agreed not to speak about whatever we had just been through with anyone else. 

Ethan had been in touch with his old friends while in Denver, but as they  couldn’t talk for long on the phone, because he didn’t have his own phone at the time, they couldn’t really catch up or talk the way they wanted. Ethan had been 13 by the time he moved. Their age had been a real restriction to their exploration hungry habits, limiting them to an area near their houses. Now that most of them were of the age to have a license, our area of possible finds had exponentially increased. Now Ethan was back in Fort Collins, their old habits back like he had never gone. He was staying in his uncle's old apartment, as he had moved into a new house recently. But at this very moment Ethan was not in Fort Collins. Not even in Colorado for that sake. They were in fact deep within the Shoshone National Forest. 


 

3

 

The way Emma had first found this manor, she was with some of her old friends on a hike. Camping and going on haikes had always been a big interest of theirs. To get out into huge unknown forests, unknown to them at least. Sometimes they had a designated route to follow, sometimes they would just see where the trip took them. There was something exciting in not knowing what really was to come ahead of their journey. 

On that hike, they had been trekking through the wild terrain, talking excitedly about who knows what. When all of a sudden they were walking out of the thick woods, and coming out into what looked like a large field. The manor had been far ahead of them then. A few minutes of walking through the high grass, and they would be at the foot of the manor. Emma had then said it had felt like walking through a forcefield almost, the air went from the warm summer air, to cold, with an eerie feeling in the air. The others in the group had thought the same thing. 

“Do you really think this is a good idea?” Asked one of her friends. 

“Why wouldnt it?” Said Emma.

Although, Emma revealed that she too had been hesitant to go any nearer. 

Though they pressed on. When they had gotten up to the steps to the entrance, she said that they heard a noise pearce the silent stillness. It had been coming from the massive gates at the end of the moss covered gravel path. It had started as a growl, quickly progressing into a high pitched scream. They had not wasted any time in looking for the cause of the noise. A soon as the sound met their ears, they were out of there. 

After the fact, Emma had realized that the sound had most likely been that of an elk. Yet she could not as quickly explain away the sudden change in temperature, as it, along with the feeling in the air, had all been restored to normal by they had passed halfway through the field going back.

Now Ethan was standing here in front of the manor. Minutes went by like seconds, as he pondered what could be lurking within the confines of the manor. This was of course a nonsensical thing to think about, there would be nothing in there, other than some animal perhaps. He had not thought about this. They had been caught up in debating the paranormal so much as to glance over the possibility of there being anything of this plane of existence posing a threat. What if there was an animal in there that could attack them. This in mind he started contemplating the utility they had brought: a crowbar, Micha’s, to pry open any loose hinge somewhere around the perimeter of the manor. He had also brought an axe for a similar purpose. Four flashlights, one for each of us. A 60 feet hemp rope capable of withstanding around 600 pounds, again that was Micha’s idea, in case we would have to escape by rappelling down the wall. Sarah had also made sure we had prepared rations. 

Suddenly, Ethan felt a hand softly rest on my left shoulder. He turned to see my friend, Emma, who he for some abnormal reason had momentarily disregarded. He had forgotten the reason why they were there. The point of the excursion into the woods was for them to explore this old and, supposedly haunted, abandoned manor. Ethan pardoned his odd behavior and asked for her opinion on recommencing. She answered affirmatively. She had been exploring prior to that with some other friends, though this was the first time that she was exploring this one. She had been wanting to go and explore this manor for the longest time, ever since that first time of stumbling upon the manor, but she hadn’t been able to go here whilst Micah had been busy with other stuff. Another reason for postponing the visit was due to Ethans absence, and since he was set to return not too long after, the next visit was almost resolutely set to be during Ethans visit. 

Each time Emma had spoken about the manor, Ethan had had either strange dreams, or an apparition. The dreams usually regarded running through endless hallways, or standing paralised in a hallway with a door adyar at the end, flickering light casted on the opposite wall. Or it was an apparition, of just the same thing; the same flickering light at the end of the same hallway.

Now they had all been gathered, the whole crew back together. Except for Simon of course, as he had projects to complete. This time Emma had decided to invite Ethan and Sarah, her other friend. Though Sarah was quite polar to that kind of thing, it was the same case with Simon. She was really not the kind of person to explore the paranormal for fun. She loved exploring, just the same as the others, though not for the reason of scouting out possible hauntings. 

In that regard they moved on up the uneven, cracked steppes to the large double doors that stood in their way. Ethan tried the handle. Unsurprisingly it was locked. Sarah suggested they all turn back, however, micah being the more adventurous kind wanted them to at least look around. Emma however, who always had Sarah’s best interest in mind, said they’d better head back and they could come back another day, during the day. 

“That’s a good idea.” Ethan said, thinking it would be better to at least have seen the house clearly before entering.

It also was usually a good idea to obey Emma’s proposals when it came to Sarah, as Emma had always been like an older sibling to Sarah, and the two were basically inseparable on most occasions. 

They were just about to leave, until Ethan noticed light appear in one of the third floor windows on the right. The manor looked to have at least four floors above ground, the fourth being under the gable roof. On the gable were five dormers, one large in the middle, and two on each side of that one, all equidistant. It was in the middle of the night so a light in the window was hard to miss. And it was an old house, probably over two hundred years old. So for there to be light, there would either be someone lighting a candle, match or fireplace, or turning on a flashlight. The light did appear to be flickering. In conclusion, for there to be light at this hour coming from inside the house, there would have to be someone in the house. Or for that sake something…

Ethan turned to his companion and saw the shock in her eyes. He decided it would probably be best to turn back. They turned to face the gates at the end of the long path with big metal gates at the end. 

Then, they heard faint scratching sounds, just inches behind them. It must have been coming from behind the doors, wherever the sound may have emerged from. As they heard that, they all thought the same thing, for at the moment as they heard the sound, they looked at each other. Then, right at the second sound, they all boulted down the long path.

As they came closer to the gates, they started hearing what sounded like horse hooves echoing from behind. Ethan dared not turn around, but he made himself think that it was all in his mind. 

As soon as they got out, and then out of range from the gates, they started slowly closing. There was no way that the gates were nothing more than metal gates, as they looked to have been left unused for over a hundred years. As they had grown moss, and the lock practically shattered. Something was wrong. Seriously wrong. Paranormal. Ethan was not the type to doubt the paranormal. That wasn't the first time they had encountered something like this after all… 

Shara looked at him with a shocked and frightened expression. Then he turned to Emma, her expression told him that it was time to leave. Even though Ethan had pretty much already made up my mind. It was not worth going back in just yet.

They walked back to the car which had to be at least over a mile away as it took about twenty minutes, even when walking briskly. As they got in the car and started going, they agreed on just going home and sleep for now, and then telling their friends about it the next day. 

That night Ethan had the strangest dream.

He was standing in a dark corridor. At the end was a flickering light. The light looked to be coming through the door at the right, just at the end of the corridor. He heard screams then… All went black.

 


Submitted: January 24, 2022

© Copyright 2022 K. K. Enocksson. All rights reserved.

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