Riches

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
The year is 1886. A man is searching for treasure inside an old abandoned mansion. But little does he know, there's a dark secret waiting for him within it's crumbling walls.

Submitted: March 06, 2015

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Submitted: March 06, 2015

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Riches

July 7th, 1886

 

I finally reached the gate of the mansion after a long tedious walk through a wooded cart road. I left in the evening when light was still above my head, but it has become to darkness. Now the moon and my lantern is the only source of light in this god forsaken place. The town’s folk told me not to travel to the mansion. Some told me that it’s haunted or cursed. But I do not believe in such drivel. I merely laughed when they brought up such nonsense about the place, like a gentleman would; one who doesn’t believe in spooks and curses, of course.

Other, less superstitious folk, told me that the mansions decades of abandonment has took a toll on its structural integrity and that if I was to venture inside, I could get injured-or worse. I was willing to take my chances on that. I am quite aware of the risks; I am a cautious fellow, after all. However, the town’s folk did not bother to tell how long of a walk it would take to reach the mansion. I should of rode horse there. It would have been quicker, but I decided walk is better for me. Winded from the long walk, I decided to take short rest. I sat myself down on the over-grown grass near the gate and placed my lantern by my side. All around me was silence. Just sitting on the grass here, made me feel a great sense of loneliness. I could not let it discourage me from going up to the mansion. I never traveled all this way for nothing and I had a very good reason. I dug my hands into the pocket of my pantaloons and hauled out an old folded letter. This letter was my reason for being here. I unfolded the letter and held it up to the light of the lantern.

Here, I read the letter for the fifth time and every time I read the sentence: “I buried your riches where cold now sits in the space once ruled by warmth.” The word “riches” caused me to imagine gold and silver coins, jewelry, and the works. And somewhere in this mansion was where these “riches” lay. I set my eyes to the end of the letter and found it was written bizarrely by Thomas, The Grave Digger. Why would a grave digger write this? I wondered. I pushed my wonder away. I did not care about who written the letter or why, all I cared about was what he buried. I folded the letter and put it back into my pocket then got up off the grass.

I grabbed my lantern’s handle and walked over to the gate. Then I walked around it, stepping over the foundations of what used to be a brick wall. All was left now was the trail that went up the hill in which the mansion sat on top of. Against the moon light, the mansion looked menacingly beautiful- or at least what was left of it did. As I walked up the trail, the trees danced in the wind, thus, creating dancing shadows of their dead limbs within my light. The moon’s light was beginning to fade away now. Anyone frightful would have long since run away from a night here, but I was bold. I kept on walking; fueled by determination to find the fortune that awaited me. I thought about what would happen if I was to find the “riches” tonight the whole way up the path until I reached some stone steps that led right to where the mansion was.

I stopped to catch my breath. The fortune I will find here, will make me wealthy, I gleefully thought. Which means travel will mostly be done in a bloody carriage after this. I will no longer be a “nobody” after this because people will see me as a person of wealth and interest. Maybe I’ll finally find a beautiful woman who would actually truly love me! These thoughts made my legs move up the stone steps, worn by time. At long last, I made it to the mansion. My light shone against its last remaining windows and rotten exterior. A once fancy, now nearly grown over with grass and weeds, stone walk way led right to entrance of the mansion. An opening where a door once stood greeted me.

I felt a pinch of nervousness looking at this opening which led into darkness. I walked closer to the opening and the darkness inside became walls of stone work. I examined the stone inside, the wooden walls have all since rotted away at this section of the mansion. But the stone appeared to be sturdy and the large wooden beams holding up the floor above looked to be safe. So, I took a step inside. My boots created a slight echo on the deteriorating concrete floor. I was in the porch section and was greeted with all sorts of openings missing their doors.

I began to walk around and walked into a large room with a fireplace. To the right of me, was a stone staircase which lead to the second floor- what was left of it that is. From where I stood, I could see that much of the second floor’s wood was consumed by rot. Many boards littered the floor around me. A walked over to the left and found a smaller room that could have been the pantry. A grey wooden cupboard, where food was once placed, was all that remained here. It was here, I realized that the mansion I seen from outside was only a shell whose insides have rotten to a point of beyond disrepair. An illusion of something that in appeared to be impressive in the dark, but was horrible in the light. I decided that only the first floor was safe and that I will only search the first floor for the treasure. It had to be here, perhaps under a piece of stone work which could be lifted by fingers. That is, if nobody found it before me. Ha! How was that possible? I was the only one to find the letter. It was kept in a trunk in the attic of an old ladies house. The trunk appeared to have not been open since the letter was placed inside there. It was covered in a mountain of dust, which was the worst thing about cleaning attics as an occupation. Luckily it was not locked and I was able to sift through what it contained, thus finding the letter. It was the only thing that I found to interest me inside, so I secretly took it and finished cleaning up her filthy attic.

The mess of timber scattered around in the mansion made the old lady’s attic look like a bath house. Where could the fortune be in this horrible rotten place? I wondered. I searched around several intact rooms, feeling the stone work walls for any secret compartments. I did not get what the grave digger said in the letter. “I buried your riches where cold now sits in the space once ruled by warmth.” It was like a riddle of some sort. I kicked some rotten boards away from a spot on the floor, causing sound to echo against the walls. I kneeled down to check the spot I cleared with my hand, nothing. I was beginning to get frustrated. I didn’t want to spent too much of my precious time looking around here. I did not want to be here when the lanterns light burns out, consuming the rooms and I, in pitch black darkness.

I frantically kicked some more boards out of the way, checked the floor, and found nothing yet again. It was becoming hopeless for me. Time was running out. I went to every room that I could safely go in and searched extensively to no avail. I stood stumped in the mansions eerie silence. Then it dawned on me: I never searched the fire place yet! I returned to the room where it was. The large brick fire place was surprisingly quite intact. I went over to it, went down on my knees and took a look inside. The place where the wood once burned was large enough for me to get in there with some room to spare. I crawled in and felt the bare brick base with my lantern in hand. A couple bricks moved when I pried them with my fingers. I placed my lantern down in the corner. A great sense of excitement came upon me. It made sense now.

The fire place was the answer to the riddle. I forcefully pried on one of the bricks and it shifted upwards. I hauled it up out of its place. There was no mortar keeping these bricks in place, I discovered. So I hauled more and more up like taking apart a basic puzzle. I went through two layers of brick, creating a shallow square hole in front of me. I now reached the third and final layer and my fingers were getting sore. But I did not let that stop me. I began to work on the last layer, tossing the bricks out of the fire place. Eventually, I reached dirt which I fortunately came prepared for. I reached inside my jackets large pocket and hauled out a small short-handled spade. With this, I quickly dug into the soft dirt. I dug and dug, going deeper and deeper. Then I hit something hard. I threw my spade to one side and shoved my hands in the hole, digging a little with them. I started to feel something smooth and round. I felt it some more, then dug around it; the dirt soft to the touch and easy to move. What am I digging? Smooth stone? I wondered. I managed to dig enough so that I could place my hand over it. It was almost as big as my hand. I grabbed it and tried to lift it up out of the hole with all my might. The object was surprisingly heavy; a chunk of gold, perhaps? I lifted it out of the hole with one hand gripping it tightly. 

What I found was startling. In the light, I noticed my hand was grasping the top part of a human skull. The skull faced me in a smile. A shot of terror went through me. I yelled at the top of my lungs and in my terror I accidently tossed the skull against the fire place’s bricks, thus breaking it in two pieces. I was stunned and I did not know what to do. I just knelt there looking at the broken skull which I caused. Then, all of a sudden, the mansion began to rumble and shake. In seconds, the mansions roof collapsed before I could even bring myself to do anything about it. I closed my eyes, hoping this was all a dream and that it would stop when I woke up. But it wasn’t, it was real, and now there was a large pile of rubble blocking my escape out of the fireplace. The light in the lantern was starting to flicker its self out. Well, I did find Riches; his remains, and now I’m doomed! I thought dreadfully. I began to cry- for it was apparent to me now- that travelling to this mansion in the hope of finding fortune was a grave mistake.


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