Continued from 106/366 – The Demon of Watler Manor (Part 1)
“Are you feeling a little better?” Detective Baxter asked as I slid the styrofoam container away from me.
“A little, thank you,” I replied.
“You think we could continue?” he asked, tapping the recorder.
He pressed a button on the device and motioned for me to continue.
“What?” I said as I turned away from Graham to look in Keagan’s direction.
What I saw was blood. More of it than I had ever seen before, and it was covering the back wall of the cellar. It was at this point that Graham started yelling and pushing. He shoved me toward the stairs.
“We have to go,” he said, “now!”
“What? Why? Where’s Keagan?” I protested as he continued to push me up the stairs despite my legs working.
“He’s gone,” Graham said as we reached the kitchen. He slammed the door behind us and put his back against it.
“What do you mean he’s gone?” I asked. Graham wasn’t hearing me. He ran past me to the back door and began trying to open it. “Graham, what happened?”
“I-I don’t know,” he muttered, shaking his head as he looked at the window above the sink and ran to it. He tried to open it, but it was stuck. “Keagan was there, then he touched the wall, and he was pulled into the wall. We have to go!”
I watched as Graham picked up a broken stool from the floor and threw it at the window. I covered my face, but instead of hearing the glass break, I heard the wood of the stool break.
“What the fuck!?” he screamed.
When I uncovered my face, he was looking at the window in disbelief. He turned and ran past me, grabbing my hand and dragging me with him into the dining room. I can remember how firm his grip was on my wrist. It hurt a lot, and I fought against him, trying to get him to calm down.
“Stop, Graham! We can’t leave without Keagan. You said he went into the wall. I didn’t see him. There was blood all over, though,” I said. “Where did it come from?”
“Inside the wall,” Graham said as he released me and grabbed one of the big chairs at the table and swung it at the floor to ceiling windows lining the outside wall. I recoiled, expecting a bigger crash, but the solid chair just bounced off the glass and tumbled to the floor. “What the fuck is happening?” he screamed, looking around the room in a panic. “Where we came in! We can get out that way! Come on!”
“I don’t know what’s happening here,” I said, following him into the atrium, “Keagan is inside the wall in the cellar?”
“I don’t know what happened, but something isn’t right here,” he replied, skidding to a stop. “H-How?”
I looked past him to see the windowpane was whole. The shirt we had climbed over was still on the window sill outside, but the glass had somehow repaired itself.
“How is that possible?” I asked.
Graham continued looking around for anything he could find to break the window but stopped when the entire building shook. It wasn’t a gentle vibration that happens when a plane goes over your house. It was like an earthquake had begun beneath the house. Both of us lost our footing and fell to the floor as furniture and knick-knacks fell over or shattered. I couldn’t stop myself from screaming. Graham may have been screaming too, but I couldn’t hear him over the house shaking. Just as fast as it started, it stopped, and something changed.
The hot air in the room became suddenly comfortable, and actually a little chilly. Graham was on his feet before me and helped me up as his eyes darted from the doorway to another.
“Welcome to Watler Manor,” a voice said. The sound seemed to come from everywhere at once. “Your rooms will be ready soon. Please make yourselves at home.”
“What the fuck is that?” Graham said, spinning in a circle. “Who are you!?”
There wasn’t a response, but I could feel my heart pounding in my chest now. I couldn’t fight it anymore. The fear pushed its way inside. My breath came in big heaps as tears began streaming down my cheeks.
“I’m so sorry, Graham. I should have listened to you. We shouldn’t have come in,” I cried.
“We can still get out of here,” he said, extending his hand to me. “We just have to beat it. There were windows busted out upstairs, right?”
“Y-Yeah,” I stuttered as I nodded and took his hand. “Do you think Keagan is still downstairs?”
“I don’t know, but we have to get out. We can call the cops when we get out,” he said.
“My phone!” I cried, remembering the phone in my back pocket. I fished it out and pressed the button on the side to light up the screen. NO SERVICE took up the center of the screen. “Shit.”
“Come on!” Graham said, leading me into the next room where the stairs ascended to the second floor. “We just have to get out of here.”
We ran up the stairs, doubling back at the landing. The stained glass windows above the landing were some scenes that I can’t remember now, but they seemed to move on their own. I can remember one of the figures looked familiar as it pointed to the left.
Graham reached the second floor hall first. He got to the first door he saw and tried the handle. When he discovered it was locked, he proceeded to the next. I tried the doors opposite him. The handles all turned, but the door wouldn’t budge, even when I put my shoulder into it.
“They’re all locked!” Graham said once we were halfway down the hall.
“There has to be one that’s open,” I said, sparing a glance at him. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move down the hall. I turned to look but only caught a glimpse of something walking into one of the rooms. “There’s someone here! Maybe that’s Keagan!”
I bolted down the hall for the door where I had seen the movement. Graham had tried to catch my arm but had missed, so he followed, trying to catch up to me. He was saying something, but I couldn’t hear him over the sound of my heartbeat pounding in my ears.
I reached the door and turned sharply into the room.
“No!” Graham yelled as I heard the door slam behind me.
“Graham!” I yelled as I turned and tried to open the door. I pounded on the door until my hands hurt, but I didn’t hear anything from the other side. It was as though the door were sound-proof.
The room was in the same state as the rest of the house. There were mold and water damage to the dresser and canopy bed. The windows all had glass in them but were huge letting in the light from the setting sun. There was a vanity nestled against the wall on the far side of the bed with what looked like a large silver jar. If nothing else, I would break the window and get out.
I ran to the windows and checked my phone, hoping for service, but it still wouldn’t work, so I went and got the silver jar. It felt like it was at least ten pounds. I came around the bottom of the bed and turned for the window. I hurled the jar at the glass and saw it bounce off it as though it were plastic. The lid came off, and white powder exploded out of it in a cloud.
“Shit!” I muttered.
“Please proceed to your rooms. Dinner will be served in one hour,” the voice came again as though it were from the walls itself.
“Hello?” I yelled. “Is someone there?”
“Liberty!” I heard Graham yell. It was muffled through the wall, though. “Are you okay?”
“I can’t get out,” I yelled back. “I tried to break the window. Are you okay?”
“I don’t know how I got in here,” he called back. “I don’t know what’s happening. Did you hear that voice?”
“Yeah,” I replied.
“We’ll wait until then since we can’t get out. Once the doors open, we’ll get out of here, okay?” he said.
I turned and leaned against the wall, banging my head lightly against it. The plaster had a bit of give to it, and I felt some of it peel away. I turned back around and looked at the wall. The plaster looked like it had before, but when I reached up to my shoulder, I pulled a piece of it off me.
I walked over to the window and put my hand out to touch the glass. It passed through it as though it wasn’t there. I moved my hand around, and at one point, I was cut on an edge as I pushed it away from me.
“Graham! It’s fake. The window can break! It just doesn’t look like it!” I yelled as I felt around the space and leaned forward.
My head felt the hot air on it again as I looked down to the ground. Most of the glass was out of the way, and with a few pushes, I could get up on the window sill. I jumped before I put too much thought into it, and landed hard on the ground below.
“Graham!” I yelled up to the next window, the glass was already broken, and he was standing at it, trying to move the latch, “Just put your hand out!” I screamed. “There isn’t anything there!”
I saw something move behind Graham, and I heard Keagan’s voice. I saw him walk over and stand with Graham.
“Graham? What are you doing here? Why’d you run? ” Keagan said.
“Keagan! Thank god! I’m sorry, man, I was trying to leave after you disappeared,” Graham said.
“I didn’t disappear,” Keagan said, “There’s a trap door in the basement. It moved a bit fast, and it took me a second to figure it out, but I got out. I heard you and Liberty yelling, are you guys alright?”
“Liberty is locked in the next room over,” Graham replied as he looked toward the door. “Wait, how did you get in here?”
“I came through the door,” Keagan said. “Just like you.”
“The door’s locked,” Graham said as he walked away from the window.
Keagan looked right at me. He smiled and winked at me as I watched his figure shift into something else. His skin changed to an odd grey color, and one of his eyes vanished, leaving only a bloody socket behind.
“Graham!” I screamed as Keagan walked away from the window. “It’s not Keagan!”
There was a scream inside, then silence. I waited for a moment to see if Graham or Keagan returned to the window, but neither did. The air was getting cooler outside as the sunlight began filtering through the trees behind me. I looked at my phone, and having service, I called the police.
“That’s quite a story,” Detective Baxter said, pressing another button on the recorder before he sat back in his chair.
“You believe me, right?” I asked.
“I don’t know what to believe. All I know is that your friends have been missing since last night. You were the last person to see them, and after searching all night in the house, the officers weren’t able to find anything,” he replied, putting his hands on his head.
“What about his shirt on the window? You found that, right?” I asked.
“We did, so we are assuming they were there at some point, but other than that, we have no evidence that anyone other than you was in the house,” Detective Baxter said.
“I saw them after I got out,” I said, feeling tears welling in my eyes. “They’re still in there. I know it.”
“I think it’s time for you to get home. We’ll continue looking for them, okay?” Detective Baxter said. “In the meantime, I’m going to give your parents the card of an excellent therapist in the city. I think it would be good for you to talk to them about everything, okay?”
I nodded, letting the tears come. They were gone, but I was still here. Watler Manor had claimed my friends, and no one believed me.