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Mystery of the Lockwood Mansion

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avatar Mining_Mr_Fox
Level 29 : Expert Architect
“I’m so glad Heron Lockwood died in prison”, Captain Brian Berkley of the local police force said to his colleague, as the dispatch team arrived at the decrepit Lockwood Mansion. “Might be a cruel thing to agree”, officer Johnson started, “but yeah, monsters of his kind should never have seen the light of day in the first place. It’ll be a pleasure seeing this place torn down.”

Heron Lockwood, sole owner of the woodland mansion, had been arrested fourteen years ago, on charges of abduction, false imprisonment, torture, murder and other human rights violations. Eight pre-adolescent boys had gone missing in the span of a few years and all but one had been found dead in the crypt-like basement of the mansion. The police force had been able to rescue one young man, who had fortunately not yet been harmed in any physical manner. This very rescue had been the reason for Brian Berkley to become part of the police force. Some time with a psychiatrist had mended his traumatised mind and freed him of the fearful memories this place held for him. Now, fourteen years after his rescue, he had a lovely wife, a handsome son, and had been able to save many as he had been saved all those years ago. However, there was one question that had kept ringing in his mind to this very day; “why?”

What could possibly have moved Heron Lockwood to commit such crimes against Brian and his fellow abductees? In the back of his head, he knew Lockwood had probably just been suffering from a mental illness, but Brian had to see the mansion for himself. Reports of the investigation at the time seemed intentionally vague and hadn’t provided the information he was looking for. When, during the interrogation, Heron Lockwood had been asked about his motivation for murdering the poor kids, he had simply responded: “They failed me... every last one of them.”

What did that even mean? Perhaps, entering the mansion himself could finally provide the answers Brian was looking for. It was fortunate, then, that multiple reports of strange lights and noises around the house had been reported by the people in town. You see, the state had not been able to tear down the building, since until recently it had still belonged to the imprisoned owner. Standing there, all desolate in the depths of the woods, it was likely to fall prey to pesky junks – or worse criminals –, looking for a place to hide. The reports had been the perfect opportunity for Captain Brian Berkley to launch a thorough investigation, thus finally seizing the chance to take a look at the mansion himself (with the safety of his team to fall back on).

When the team was ready to move in, the captain placed his hand upon the cold knob of the front door and pulled it open. It protested with shrill cracks of old age as it revealed the dusty entrance hall. A sense of resistance turned his legs as brittle as the crumbling, crimson walls, which eagerly invited him into their midst. Every plank shrieked under the pressure of his boots as the darkness slowly engulfed him. His team members followed with hesitation, lighting small parts of the hall with their torches. A broken chandelier lay shattered on the floor and painted eyes of the dreadful owner menacingly stared down at them for invading his home. At last, the captain broke the silence with a whispered command: “Listen up, it may look deserted, but be on the lookout for possible trespassers hiding in the shadows. Do NOT stray from the group; you may have a gun, but a group of armed junkies will still be able to overpower you. We don’t need heroes today, we need this place scoured to the last corner. Phillips, Marsh, Allen, you take the upper floors. Chambers, Scott, Trent, you search ground level. The basement shouldn’t be too big, so Johnson and I will take care of it. All right, let’s move!”

However, the captain had his own ulterior motive for moving downstairs with Johnson; perhaps, this could finally provide the answers he was looking for. The two first entered into the drawing room, where they found ruined furniture and cabinets with violently torn out drawers. The fireplace was not as cold as the rest of the environment and fresh piles of wood lay beside it, indicating other human beings having been recently present in the building. This fact sharpened the nerves of the officers, as they entered into the basement with hands upon their holsters.

Step by step, Brian Berkley took the lead with Johnson carefully following behind him. The image of his frightened young self being dragged to his demise kept crawling onto his mind; a memory, gnawing and biting like an unending stream of hungry rats that slowly devoured him. He had been constrained in a dungeon, where he could hear the screams of the others as their bodies were deformed one by one. And with each scream, his turn came closer and closer. Soon, his door would open for the nefarious form of Heron Lockwood to tell him of the scars Brian would bear on his arms for the rest of his life.

Each new step of the staircase felt like a blow to the captain’s diaphragm, punching his breath out of his lungs. Unable to control the trembling of his tightened muscles, he paused for a minute – as he had been unable to do when he was first dragged down into that dark hole ahead of him. “You ok?”, Johnson asked, disturbing the silence as little as he could. “Brian, you’re the captain, but this is man to man; I’m one of the few who know what you’ve been through. There’s no shame in turning back now. We’ll make something up and send in the others.”
Johnson’s support finally gave Brian the strength to respond: “Thank you, Johnson, but I have to do this. I cannot turn back now that I’ve come this far.”

Brian had lived through this moment time and time again in the safety of his psychiatrists office. His mind conjured up the wise words of the therapist. “Fear is not the enemy. Only by accepting it as a part of the moment, will it cease it’s assault. Hit the wolf, and it will bite back. Let him pass in peace, and he will do you no harm. Now... breathe slowly, relax your muscles one by one and when you are ready, walk down those stairs.”

With this in mind, Brian Berkley continued the descent. His fingers softly slid over the rough bricks, which became ever danker as they neared the bottom of the pit. At last, his head cleared as his boots reached the soft dirt of the basement floor. The two officers shone their torches around the area, finding a long hallway with a vast line of rooms on each side. The wood of the doors had been rotting away for a while and the bars in their small windows were stained brown with rust. “These were the cells”, Brian thought to himself as he pictured the misery of Heron Lockwood’s victims. Surprisingly, he no longer thought of his own misfortune when he opened the doors one by one with officer Johnson. His thoughts mostly went out to his son, who would reach the age of the boys once imprisoned here in a few years. Every aspect of his mind made the effort to expel the thought of his son being locked away in such a place; pleading without effect, screaming for help without anyone to listen. How could anyone ever bring so much torment into the world? Perhaps, the mystery might unfold this day, when he’d finally set eyes upon the true horrors of the woodland mansion. With this in mind, captain Berkley hopefully turned the corner at the end of the hallway.

Before the two officers now lay another corridor, splitting into two directions at the end. While peering into the distance, Brian thought he saw something at the end of the tunnel. Was that a dim light in the back, coming from the opening to the right? Yes, it was faint, but there seemed to be a strange glow in the distance and Johnson appeared to see, too. With a set of gestures, Brian told his colleague to be on his guard and move as silently as possible; if the light was to be any indicator, one of the trespassers was definately near. As the two officers moved through the corridor, a shade came into view at the back wall, originating from the room with the strange glow. It was the outline of a person, who suddenly stopped when he was halfway across. The officers stood absolutely still as the shade turned it’s head in their direction and stared at them for what seemed like an eternity. Could he see them? How? The hallway was pitch black and they had turned off their torches after seeing the light. Yet, he stared right at them, just... standing there.

Then, all of a sudden, the shade jolted to the left of the corridor and disappeared into the doorway at the end. Johnson lost his patience and sprinted after him like a hungry lion. “Johnson, stand down!”, Brian cried out, but his attempt was in vain. The captain ran after his officer to the end of the hallway, but Johnson was already out of sight. “JOHNSON! GET BACK HERE!”, he yelled, but neither a voice, nor Johnson’s footsteps responded. Captain Brian Berkley was alone.

Out of pure curiosity, he turned his head toward the soft light, which was now directly to his right. He could not make out the source, for another man sat motionless in front of it, simply staring ahead of him. Brian cautiously moved closer, but the man appeared not to notice him. He merely gazed at the source of the light, as if in a hypnotic state. When the captain was close enough to look over the shoulder of the man, he could see the most peculiar installation. From veins in both the man’s arms, thin tunneled lines emerged, leading straight to some contraption in the wall. Of this contraption’s purpose, Brian could make no sense, but at the heart of it lay the source of the light; a slightly turquoise, glowing pearl. Whatever this procedure was, it certainly didn’t look healthy or legal and he couldn’t just leave the apparently unconscious man sitting here. He was going to need some backup though, because Johnson might be in trouble and it’d be safer to let a medical team take care of the man on the floor. Brian reached for his portable transmitter, but soon noticed the signal was down; probably due to the thick layer of sand and stone above him. Well... he had better go back and get the rest of the team, then. But what about the man? Curiosity took the upper hand and he walked in front of the still figure to inspect the situation up close.

Brian Berkley slammed his back against the wall at the sight of the young man’s face. That short, brown hair! The slick goatee! Down to the slightest detail, every feature of the face perfectly resembled one he saw every single day... in the mirror! His mind broke down before the thing sitting on the floor in front of him. How could this be? The only things that didn’t exactly resemble him were the pupilless, white eyes, which almost seemed to glow in the darkness of the basement. And this version of him seemed so much... younger? What was this madness? How could there be two of him? After a moment of terror and confusion, he screamed at the top of his lungs; “JOHNSON! Johnson, please... there’s... there’s...”

“There is no Johnson”, a dark, royal voice replied from outside the room.
“Who’s there? What have you done to Johnson?”
“There is no Johnson”, the voice repeated, as it’s source slowly emerged from the shadows. Although half of the man’s face was covered up, Brian Berkley sunk to the ground as he once again transformed into the frightened boy he had once been in this very basement. For the approaching man, shrouded in a dark cloak, definately bore the countenance of the deceased Heron Lockwood.

“No... that’s impossible! You’re dead! You died in prison!”, Brian cried in confusion. After a few seconds of silence, Lockwood responded; “You seem to have lost your way again, Brian. No, I did not die in prison. I never actually went to prison. And neither have you ever left this place. You’re still here, sitting on the floor. You’re simply dreaming, Brian.”

What? What was he even implying? Brian thought of his rescue, fourteen years ago. He thought about his family. His son’s first words and first steps... and his wife. The day he had met her, the day of their marriage! She would make dinner tonight... they would all eat together and share their stories of the day... they were waiting for him at home!
“No, they’re not, Brian. They’re made up people of a mind in denial. You never left the mansion. Just look at yourself, sitting on the floor, and you’ll know what I tell you is true.”
No, this couldn’t be real. Brian sobbed as he looked at his mirror image on the floor, whose white, featureless eyes now cried similar tears.

“No... How...”

Lockwood removed his hood, and the top right of his face became visible. It was charred black as the obsidian sky, with nothing but a purple glow where his right eye should have been. “You see Brian; the End calls for me, but I won’t answer. I need a new body. When this is over, you and I will be one... and we will be gods. Imagine what we could do... Heron and Brian.”

Brian no longer listened to the poisonous words of the snake before him. He didn’t know what to think or feel, but he knew what he had to do. This would end, here and now. He took his gun out of the holster and aimed it right at Heron Lockwood, who seemed not to be affected in the least. “What are you going to do, shoot me?”
The monster made a mocking nod at Brian’s blue uniform. “I’m sorry, but you’re not a Hero, Brian. You’re right here... and you can’t escape”, he spoke, as he placed a hand upon the head of the young man sitting on the floor. For a second, everything became awfully clear as, simultaniously, Brian felt a cold hand rest upon his own scalp. A sharp pain sneered through his mind as the world around him crumbled, melted away and quickly faded to black.

That night he dreamed of his wife and son, and their last dinner together.

“You’re not a Hero, Brian.”

Comments : 4

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  • 1blackhawk
  • Level 16
  • Journeyman Ninja
  • November 15, 2017, 7:12 am
Very nice paper Mining_Mr_Fox!
Why thank you, dear sir!
  • Mining_Mr_Fox
  • Level 29
  • Expert Architect
  • November 12, 2017, 10:15 am
Oh man... 2,498 words, according to https://wordcounter.net/
The limit is 2500. Living on the edge! x)
  • Cib
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 36
  • Artisan Pixel Painter
  • November 12, 2017, 11:38 am
Wow! My entry sits at around 1900 words

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