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I well remember the day I entered into this foreign world. The day the music seduced me, luring me into darkness’s depths. Fanciful in notion, yet who could resist such godly music, I ask? It dances through your thoughts, jeering yet beautiful, and you can’t help but cry at the longing. You can’t help but be lost to a mad man’s passion as its fingers snatch you up and whirl you away into nothingness. Not even a whisper left behind.
The wind twirled through the air, bringing with it the sounds of fall. The pavement, however, remained empty of the purr of the motor, the squealing of wheels.
Humming, I skipped along. “When we…” escaped my lips as I fell into a chorus of my own creation. However, my tongue quickly stilled, my voice a dying whisper. My movement altogether ceased to exist. Something was…odd, for lack of a better word.
Was it the sudden halt of the whispering wind? The silence which had seeped into all? The rapid heartbeats my chest was host to? Heedless of cause, there was doubtless an effect and an unpleasant one at that.
I grew uneasy.
Be it imagination or truth, my heartbeat seemed solitary in its existence.
My violet eyes wandered, skimming over my surroundings; searching. Their drifting quickly came to halt however, transfixed.
There before me stood a Victorian mansion, riddled with age. The stones on its front stood chipped and worn. Along its face, windows once glittering lay cracked and dirt-smudged and ivy had crept up along the stones, its tendrils hugging the ridges and ruts. In front of all laid an overgrown garden, a jungle of weeds.
It spoke of abandonment. Forlorn and forgotten, what glory or grandeur it had once known had faded, their broken remnants left behind.
It was not its appearance which left me perturbed, however.
It was instead the fact that my eyes had never before been met with such a sight here in this place. For what reason would they have?
Had I turned left or right, I would have been faced with mansions of the rich, sparkling in their youth; yet here stood this house decrepitly posed.
And wouldn’t I have been aware, had it been there before? I traversed this street everyday to get home. Perhaps I had merely taken a wrong turn? Lost my way? The answer to that was meaningless, however. As the minutes crept past, some alien voice wove its way into my thoughts.
Go inside, it whispered. You should see what’s inside.
Nodding, I stumbled forward as if in a trance, mesmerized though by what I could not say.
My hair snapping behind me as the wind tugged at it, tugged at me to turn back it seemed, step after step led me onwards. My footfalls echoed in my mind, resounding and intertwined with them was a curious hum; almost a long forgotten melody.
Entranced, I stumbled up to the daunting wrought-iron gate: it seemed an impossible obstacle. These thoughts passed unheeded, however. The mere nudge of a finger forced it open.
A rank smell fell over the air and overgrown weeds scratched my ankles as I pressed onwards. Yet, what were they to me? All that mattered in the world was that I might find that melody. It was steadily intensifying in my mind and, oh! The longing rent my heart in two. I wished to the fall to the ground; to languish there in my misery. It was almost too much to bear the knowledge that I could reach out yet my fingertips would never brush that unearthly beauty. Even so, onward I trailed, filled with the fleeting hope that perhaps I might reach my desire.
Before me, the house grew ever larger. Its shadow draped over all while its shadow of music draped yet more over my mind. Indeed, as my footfalls rang out upon the steps, thought all but vanished; only the intoxicating music remained.
Eventually, grand doors rose up before me. To my pleasure as I pushed, they swung open as easily as the gate had, with just the smallest of nudges; as if they had been prepared just for me.
Whispers of age met my ears and a chill breeze caressed my face as I stepped into a grand foyer. The roof towered over me; murals depicting some dead man’s memories swept over it, a vast array of tiles forming the floor. All around, wood panels melded into one another to create the walls, décor lining them. Yet, for all the grandeur, the condition that the great estate had fallen into could not be concealed.
A coating of dust had settled upon all and tears had found their way into the furniture. A musty smell hung about the air and the ominous sounds of rats met me.
However, heedless I swept onward, more eager then ever to find the source of those melodies which drove me. To my joy, they no longer resided merely in my mind. No, they resounded within the house itself.
Chasing after them, I passed through decrepit room after room and to those places through which I roamed, there was no end. Though door after door closed behind me, the distance I had traveled seemed unchanged and soon, my feet cried at me for reprieve. I would grant them no such luxury, however. I would have rather died than have been delayed a single moment.
To my undying relief, however, the notes slowly began to increase in volume. So loud were they eventually, the very air seemed to be woven of them.
And as yet another door fell open at my urging, I stumbled forth into an ancient sitting room and my heart all but exploded. There, there it was…
A thrill of ecstasy passed through me as my eyes fell upon an old, grand piano from which emanated the music for which I had so yearned.
“Welcome,” a deep, velvety voice rang out. Turning towards it, I spotted a young man, black hair sleeked back, a handsome suit upon his frame, a smirk about his lips.
He languidly rose, ignoring the chairs surrounding him, filled with woman adorned in gowns which seemed to span all eras of fashion the world had ever known.
Gazing about, rivulets of thought slowly formed in my mind once more. Unsure of myself, I attempted to move my lips. However they refused to budge for the fear that began to grip me.
“Ah…” the man soothed, the hint of a smile playing upon his lips. “Don’t be frightened. Join us…I’m sure you want to.”
The eyes of the women behind him fell upon me, expressions apathetic. Eyes wandering from one to the next, I almost nodded. I longed to join them in their quiet serenity. All the same…his eyes; they unnerved me.
I took a hesitant step forward.
“That’s it…” the man purred, creeping towards me. “Now come, join us…there’s plenty of chairs left.”
Those chairs did seem rather tempting…and he did seem rather charming…and of course, there was that lovely music…How could I turn away from such an inviting place?
As my thoughts trickled sluggishly, the man stepped causally towards me, holding out his hands. “Come, don’t worry. After all, we’ll be so upset if you go. We’ve been getting awfully lonely here.”
He came closer and closer, a lion about to pounce upon hapless prey.
I was helpless but to watch, mesmerized.
“Come...” he told me, so close his breath brushed across my face. “We’ve been waiting for someone and you’re just perfect…”
“Why am I…perfect?” I asked, alarmed. Yet for all my worry, my senses were lulled by that music.
“Well,” he whispered in my ear. “I’ve been watching you and you seem just lovely…And, after all, I am forever searching for more to keep me company.”
“What?” I stuttered as fear fought to break through veiled senses.
“Of course…imagine it: you and I, together for centuries and centuries with all these other lovely ladies…Won’t it be fun?
“Of course,” he answered, lips grinning. “No one leaves once they enter…and no one ever will.”
60 Years Later
Laughing at your friend’s wariness of the old, dilapidated house, you stroll forward with ease. Yet, your ease soon turns to an all-consuming fascination. Your petty curiosity morphs into some other emotion entirely…
As your eyes travel across the forlorn stones, naught but a strange urge pulls you inside. All else is repulsed by the hallow darkness which, as it drapes across your form, does away with thought. In its place, there burns the desire to continue onwards.
No, not desire; it is pure and utter need. So fierce is the temptation, your form trembles, stumbling forward. Your thoughts do not concern themselves with such a fact, however. They instead know only that your soul shall be rent in two if you do no stumble upon this unknown elixir for which you lust.
Your footsteps ring out clamorously among the silence which fills the old halls. Yet they are not alone completely alone. Accompanying them are the creaks and groans of old age to which this house is bound.
As time passes, however, silence gives birth to a new sound. Flitting through all a lilting melody hangs, a haunting tattoo, and you embrace it. Others with more sense could scarcely have taken a single step into the world which you now roam. A certain foreboding fills all, yet you are oblivious. You know only the music.
Your wandering eventually leads you through grand doors into the shadow of a lavish and comely sitting room. A jewel among the tattered curtains and moth-eaten couches, there sits a woman. Beside her poses a man, his arms cast about her shoulders, both seemingly ignorant as to the aging of flesh through countless years.
Flawless pale skin frames her violet eyes, slanting as they drink you in. Beneath them, there rests a smirk.
As you stand there, her lips part to utter one word: welcome.