Part 11: Catharsis
Chapter 9: Catharsis
I do not recall how much time I spent in James' secret room, enthralled in his writings. I dared not touch his books on the occult, but I read and re-read his essay on the Dhalmaar and the mask several times--I knew what had to be done.
My first instinct was to call Jerry and inform him of this new development.
M: Jerry, it's me...
J: Michael! I was about to call you.
J: I've been thinking about what you told me... and you could be onto something
there. But I'm worried about your safety now. This could be dangerous.
M: What do you mean by "dangerous"?
J: Well, let's suppose you're right and James Blackwood is indeed hiding somewhere
inside the house. He's a madman, a murderer, and your life could be in danger.
M: I'm willing to take that risk. He surely knows I'm here by now. What if he's
waiting for me to leave so that he can escape? I can't miss this opportunity.
J: Michael, don't you realize the risk you're undertaking? What do you think this
M: I'm already too much into this, Jerry... and if I don't know what happened
inside this house I... I won't be able to sleep again!
J: You're... you're obsessed. You were supposed to finish your book, get some
rest. And now look at this... what are you going to say to your editor?
M: I know what you're trying to do. Goodbye, Jerry.
J: Michael... Michael! It's dangerous, do you hear me? Dangerous! You have to
leave that place!
M: I'll keep you informed.
I was... surprised, to say the least, with Jerry's behaviour. Never had he seemed to adamant on me leaving. I didn't have much time to ponder on why that was, however--no sooner had I hung up the phone, I heard a car driving away from the Manor. Rushing outside, I noticed that the mailbox had been used. I flipped it open to reveal a new letter:
NOTICE OF EVICTION
Oct. 12. 1976
Mr. Michael Arthate:
Due to irregularities during its acquisition process carried over by Mr. Jerry P. Carter, you are ordered to IMMEDIATELY LEAVE the property known as Blackwood Manor. IF YOU FAIL to comply, legal proceedings will be enforced AGAINST you.
You have TWO days to effectively abandon the property after the issuing of notice. We take NO RESPONSIBILITY for the courier service. A police officer isue due to arrive at the Blackwood Manor on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Should yo ube present, you will be IMMEDIATELY TAKEN INTO CUSTODY without further notification.
The National Trust
So that was the reason why Jerry wanted me to leave the house so badly! I bitterly realised that he wouldn't come for me... and that it was up to me to find a way to leave the house.
I knew my car's battery had run out of power, and that the garage had a dynamo attached to the bike. Putting two and two together, I knew what to do next; it was as if the urgency of leaving the house had completely taken over my mind!
It was the spot where my car's battery was...
Taking the battery, I carried it over to the garage.
I placed it on a box near the rear wheel and attached it to the dynamo with some wires; then I spinned the pedals for a little while to charge the battery up. With its meager charge, I replaced it in the motor.
As I prepared myself to leave Blackwood Manor, I suddenly felt responsible for disturbing the forces that had, up to now, lain dormant inside the house. I had to do something...
My resolve had returned, and I knew what had to be done. Retrieving the shovel I had found in the greenhouse, I headed over to the spot beside the house where Mrs. Mariani's photo showed James Blackwood digging Catherine's grave. I knew where to dig, for he had been digging her grave right below the manor's tower's shadow.
I was equally terrified and saddened upon discovering the dead body of Catherine Blackwood. All those years... she was left to rot in an improvised tomb. The corpse was all contorted and rotten beyond recognition. What horrified me most was the aspect of its teeth leaping out at disturbing angles...
A part of the victim for the amulet... I needed to retrieve something from Catherine's corpse. Unfortunately, those mangled teeth were the first thing that came to mind.
Doing my best to contain my repulsion, I used my pliers to pull out a tooth from her body.
I quietly left, burying Mrs. Blackwood back to her dead, cold dreams...
As I left her body, a strange suspicion entered my mind--if Catherine had been buried outside the manor, then whose was the body in her coffin in the crypt? What did it all mean? ... But, as always, the sense of urgency in my mind pushed away those nagging questions, focusing me on what I had to do.
I then headed to the only room I could associate with the victimizer... the African gallery. There was only one organic item in that whole room, and that was the tiger's claw fixed to the necklace on one of the display items. I entered the room with a foreboding sense of terror, but I could also somehow sense... laughter? Yes, it was laughter, coming from the room where the mask was kept. Ignoring it, I focused on the task at hand.
My zoological knowledge was as good as my technical expertise... but I was certain that it definately belonged to a lion.
With both items in hand, I made my way to the kitchen, to use the grinder. I had reasoned that it would be easier to combine the items were they in powdered form--it disturbs me now, to think how clinically I decided to grind a dead woman's tooth. A murdered victim's tooth.
The leaves were now mixed with dust from a tooth and a lion's claw.
Though the mixture was prepared, I had no way of affixing it to the mangled branch. This left me almost stumped; until I remembered the small stove sitting atop a plank in one of the rooms still under construction. At the time it felt like a silly idea, but I had run out of options.
A neat little stove was standing on a plank.
Using the last of my matches, I lit up the stove.
After a moment, the ingredients began to combine into a strange sort of stone... I could scarcely believe my eyes! It was almost as if the plant knew what I was trying to do...
I attached the stone to the branch and immediately felt a strange sensation. The amulet seemed to be vibrating... I was ready.
I grinned with pride and a strong sense of victory washed over me as I held the amulet up, and examined it. A simple man as myself, contending with a god! It seemed like something out of the very horror novels I enjoy reading.
Even as I stood there with the amulet in hand, I could hear the laughter rising from the African gallery below. It was a mocking, sinister laugh: one that sent shivers running down my spine--the god, in its last acts, was attempting to scare me. I do not quite know what drove me to press on... perhaps a sense of empathy for the horror James felt? Perhaps pity for Catherine, a sacrifice to the errors of her husband? Perhaps... perhaps it was the thought of little Robin. I do now know--what I do know is that I met the god's laughter with my own! Bravado rushed through me, and I almost ran downstairs to the gallery.
As if it was aware of my intentions, the mask now appeared as if to defy me... challenging me to make the first move...
Grinning, I waved the amulet in front of the mask... and at first, nothing seemed to happen. It took me a moment to realize that the laughter had subsided, and that a sense of tranquility had descended upon the house. Little had change, however, and the result felt intensely anticlimatic. I didn't know what to do with myself... and after a moment, I realized that there was nothing more to do. I left the gallery with a sense of victory, but something still seemed amiss...
I packed my things, and walked downstairs, to leave the Manor once and for good.
I stood there, paralysed in terror, as I heard those horrible noises again. They just wouldn't... stop...
... The scratches were back.
Well, we've almost come to the end of the game! There's just one final bit left, and I hope to manage to film that in its entirety, because screenshots simply wouldn't do it justice.