Part 8: Riddles in the Dark
Chapter 6: Riddles in the Dark
it has been the most horrific night of my life. sitting here writing these words is the only solace i can find from the terror that hangs upon my shoulders. what i saw last night was... was real. it had to be real. oh god please let it be real, im not insane im not insane im not insane
[Editor's note: the next few pages of Mr. Arthate's journal contain garbled, cryptic passages written in such terrible handwriting that they can scarcely be translated. A few pages later, the author appears to regain his senses.]
The dream was much like the one from the previous evening--the more I seemed to stare at one place, the more I seemed to move towards it, while remaining stationary.
Slowly, I curled my hand around the doorknob and pulled the door in.
... The mask! It was gone. But where? Who? Frantically, I turned around to exit the storage room.
I pushed the door open...
I awoke with a jolt, sweat pouring over my face and hands and arms. What a nightmare! And to make things worse, it wasn't even daytime--I had been awakened in the middle of the night, once again, by those terrible scratching noises.
Once again, I was awaked during a bizarre dream by those scratching noises...
I moved to the fireplace, to check if the noises were coming from the same source as last night.
The stone in the fireplace was cold to the touch.
I pressed my stethoscope against the stone and listened carefully--I could hear the scratches in the distance.
I had to find out their source...
Carefully, I made my way downstairs. I was not going to waste any more time; I knew the sounds were coming from the basement. With my lamp in one hand and my matches in the other, I made my way to the squat little door.
Having lit my lamp, I paused at the top of the stairway, gazing down into the hole below. ... Why was I not back in bed? What drove me to face such unspeakable horrors, to assault the very fabric of my sanity with these terrific experiences? And yet, despite all the foolishness that I inherently knew I was putting myself into, I simply had to find the answer. I was one with the house now, and I had to decipher the message it was trying to give me.
It had to be the boiler.
I slowly pulled the doorway open, and peered into the darkness within. With one lengthy, drawn out breath, I crawled inside.
I could see bars through the wall... and the scratching noises certainly were louder. Shivering, I leaned in closer, trying to discern what lay beyond those bars...
... Only to recoil in terror as something, or someone walked straight across the room beyond the bars! Betraying my secrecy, I shrieked in terror and turned right around, scurrying through the claustrophobic boiler to its exit!
Stumbling into the basement, I ran upstairs as fast as I could.
With my heart pounding, I barely gathered enough strength to leave the basement.
As I stepped out, my lamp flickered out all of a sudden.
The last drop of oil in the lamp had been consumed.
Panting for breath, I made my way back to my room.
I was too confused to think straight and decided, almost against my will, to return to bed.
I would be lying to you if I told you that I had slept easy for the rest of the night.
* * *
I write these final entries in my journal from the safety of my home in London. The mystery of the manor is solved, but I doubt I shall be able to forget the horrors I experienced in that God-forsaken place. I suppose, to make sense of it all, one would have to understand what I experienced during my last day at the manor...
My third and final day inside Blackwood Manor began with an odd feeling of expectation. Still shaken about the occurrence of the last night, I managed to pull myself together and focus on finding out what really happened inside this place.
The rain had stopped; I could go outside at long last.