“It vintage feel and look.” Briskly handing Peter over

 “It has caught up to me “, is theinitial thought that crossed his panic-stricken mind.  As he stopped to calm his racing heart, Peterinstinctively discerned that he had entered an abandoned manor. Unaware that hehad infiltrated into the mansion, Peter foraged the entire house in search of amuch-needed landline telephone. His efforts went down the drain however, and heresorted to camouflaging within the gloomy shadows relentlessly cast by the awkwardlysized trees and rundown furniture that were obstructing the path of dim lightemitted by the glimmering stars. His gut feeling indicated that someone was standingright behind him, but he was too afraid to turn around.

An unpleasant tap on hisback greeted him. Peter vividly recollected the conversation hehad with the landlord two hours ago.  “There is no need to worry Mr.Parker”, weakly said the somewhat troubled landlord as he swiftly signed alarge chunk of numerous house-related papers.

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Shifting his lean stick-likefigure against the sophisticated oak-brown antique table piece, the landlordconfidently announced, bearing a wide grin, which evidently expressed asensation of affirmation and assurance, “You have absolutely no reason to worryabout any of the house’s many features and its advanced capabilities. I canfully assure you that this manor will also maintain its vintage feel and look.”Briskly handing Peter over the house keys with his bruised left hand, theperturbed landlord promptly left about for his nightly ‘routine work’. Dubiousabout the unusually cheap price of the large but isolated villa, Peter wasstill thoroughly impressed by the elegant design of the enormous bungalow. Asthe exhaustion of the tiring day at the acreage finally set in, Peter threw himselfupon the comfortable armchair, relishing the peace and calm environment of thedensely vegetated forest.  As night rapidly fell upon the woodlands, the final nagging rays ofsunlight dissipated into the abyss. An enormous swath of jet-black ink wasspilled onto the canvas of the overshadowing night sky; ominously scrutinizing thescarce life rambling across the greenwoods.

The only detectable source of lightwas the awning of luminous stars. As owls started its routine session ofcacophonic hooting- a universal symbol that the sun had gone off to repose andthe moon has taken over its role as a diminutive beacon of light, a chilledbreeze whizzed onto his pulpy crimson cheek. Peter didn’t bother to shut thewindows in order to cease the screeching of the freezing wind, for he relishednights like this, nights where faded leaves constantly rustled, where glimpsesof the menacing eyes of ferocious wolves were occasional; nights where thepower of nature reigned supreme.

The shady darkness concealed his blemishes, hisdeformities, the cicatrices of unpleasant retentions burned onto his flesh, thestabs of disquieting betrayals by loved ones left behind. The luster of theyellow full moon steered his soul through the night. At night, Peter possessedthe ability to do whatever he desired …as his rational thoughts, his panic-inducingapprehensions, silently combusted into ashes as they rose and transversed throughthe ceaseless night once again. This immense solitude of pure serenity was spiritual; Peter never wantedit to end. As if his trivial thought had jinxed his very existence, suddenly, aloud BANG in the garage was heard, accompanied with an untimely power-cut.

Quickly grabbing a flashlight, Peter hurriedly headed towards the garage. Anabhorrent surprise awaited him however; a jumbled tangle of multicolored cutwires were covering what must have been the estate’s main power supply,insinuating that all of the chateau’s electrical appliances, including thelandline telephone, had been rendered defective and useless in this exigency.It was impossible for him to fix this complicated mess of random cables thathad been diligently tampered with. A piece of paper attached to his car’swindshield managed to grab his attention from the corner of his electric-blueeyes. The peculiar note read out in bold red letters carved out in fresh blood-“TRAPPED IN THIS FOREST,DARK AND DEEPI OFFER YOU, ETERNAL SLEEP.”  Thewolves’ howls and the roaring thunder do nothing but attribute to the macabreambience. The night sky stood an inky canopy of darkness illuminated only bythe fewest of stars, where just hours ago it had been a bright summer’s day.The intermittent hoot of a hidden owl was the only reverberation to imbue thesilence until an array of slapping footsteps and crunching gravel furiouslyechoed into the emptiness of the night.

As a soft whisper quickly followed, theowl omitted a screech of protest and took flight. With his heart pounding morevigorously than a group of infuriated tribal banging on their drums, andadrenaline gushing through his veins, Peter rushed to the only residencenearby, which was visible in the dark night as it emitted a faint light, toseek immediate assistance. As he neared the enigmatic house, a profoundsensation that the handwriting of the note was quite familiar, and he had seenit before; however, being unable to precisely remember when and where. Quicklydismissing the flood of intrusive thoughts from disrupting his scamper, Peterresumed his dash to the enigmatic house. As the house drew nearer, everything around him became quieter and moredistant. The trees mumbles weren’t audible anymore and the cold steel gateswere far back in the distance. Owls couldn’t be heard anymore and there were noleaves present on the ground, only some ragged concrete steps, and a doorway thatstood in front of him. The house was towering and harrowing from the outside, constructedfrom large grey stones that possessed a rugged feel all of this being crumpledtogether by crumbling cement.

Climber Plants grew up the house, winding aroundthe interconnected drainpipes like famished snakes; grabbing for the littlemoonlight that reached this desolate place. The windows vigorously rattled fromthe yowling wind, as though they were about to fall out of the frames whichwere fabricated from rotting wood being eaten away by a colony of worms. Oncethere for immaculate presentation, three wilted, brown potted-plants lay undisturbednext to the entrance, certainly dead. The main door was left ajar, as it wasinviting him in. As he set my first step in the peculiar bungalow, Peter’sinstincts warned him that he had committed the gravest and perhaps the lastmistake of his life.

“Hello! Is anybodythere? I need help!” The deadly silence was deafening; with only his steadyfootsteps’ uniform resonance echoing throughout the wide hallway. Heoccasionally caught terrifying glimpses of the mysterious figure’s eerie shadows projected on the ruptured sofa. What made Peterquestion his very own sanity was the repulsive stench of putrid meat effusedfrom several jet-black plastic bags that were located on the pale yellow grassof the rather small backyard.

The subtle but adequate plangency of the creakingdoor sent an electrifying chill down his spine.  “It has caught up to me “, is theinitial thought that crosses his panic-stricken mind. Unaware that he hadinfiltrated into the mansion, Peter foraged the entire house in search of amuch-needed telephone. His efforts went down the drain however, and he resortedto camouflaging within the gloomy shadows.

A photo frame managed to grasp hisattention despite of danger lurking in each and every corner. The frameaccommodated a family photograph comprising of a man, his wife and hisdaughter. But something did not seem right; the man’s face was blurred out withblood. Out of sheer curiosity, Peter nervously wiped out the blood with histattered shirt. “No! It cannot be. The note, the familiar handwriting! How aperson could tamper with such a complicated power supply circuit in such ashort period of time. It all makes sense now.” In the midst of his thoughts, anunpleasant tap on his back greeted him.

The face of the landlord, whoseveneered presence on the family photograph was blanketed by the dry blood, keptreappearing in Peter’s trepidation-engulfed mind; and now, the landlord stood infront of him, grinning, holding a carver in his contused left hand. As thelandlord switched-on his computer in avid search for his new victim, the daggersmeared with fresh scarlet blood continuously dripped drop by drop. Logging on toa renowned real estate website, the landlord customarily typed in conspicuousletters the irresistible offer “Triple-Storey Manor in Humboldt-Toiyabeforests with a 100 square yard backyard AND 500 square feet garage on sale formerely $150,000.” As the website briefly flickered green, an automatedindicator of a new interested buyer; the landlord manifested a wide smile withhis chapped lips, a genuine beam that he had not bore since the day before thefatal mishap that transpired to his family in the advertised chateau.”Wow! This exquisite mansion also comeswith a 100 square yard backyard. At such a low price, I cannot even get my haircut”, exclaimed the exuberant new buyer. Delightfully signing the papers, thenew client sat on the comfortable armchair; feeling the slight warmth as thoughsomeone had sat there the previous day.

 Suddenly, a loud BANG in the garage was heard, accompanied with an untimelytimely power cut…  END