Death’s Chateau

Bryant Montgomery, Staff Writer

The sky was as black as the reaper’s cloak. It could have taken anyone’s breath away, he thought. Each step taken felt as though the sky was getting darker and the moon was more radiant. As if death had something in store for him.

When he had originally seen the copy of the will, he hadn’t expected its crusty pages to have the main estate be given to him. After all, why not give it to the oldest and best son? Then, at the footnotes of the page, was the sign of his old grandad’s mind still hard at work as it revealed he couldn’t sell the estate or the land. Even after all those years he still had it out for him, and now what was he going to do with a big house in the middle of nowhere? 

Upon reaching the door, he had a different perspective. He had found that this place, based on what he managed to see through the window, was a manor that had been through some incredible amounts of neglect. His main intention now was to salvage anything and everything that held any value to itself. 

With the chateau resting on the large plot of land, even in this condition, it still held some power to it. For many, it was intimidating to step foot onto this property. As the grass grew past his shins, the driveway leading to the entrance had weeds sprouting from the cracks, and the paint was peeling off the estate while moss covered the roof; fear seemed to emanate and latch on to him. Like the house, the key had been through some mistreatment which led to the teeth beginning to dull alongside the development of rust. His only option was to break into the place. He didn’t want to turn around now, but he wouldn’t be able to replace the key since it appeared to be a relic. Options were limited but he had broken into places before and some leverage might do it. He looked to the sides of the door and saw the windows were boarded.  After a while of looking, a sharp rock presented itself on the floor, and by throwing as hard as he could, the windows splintered into a thousand dusty shards. Once he had climbed on the window sill and removed the boards, he could only see a good couple feet ahead of him, but that was only with the assistance of the moon. Resting on a table was a lantern, he had turned the knob. He hoped it still had some gas in it to provide a source of light. Once turned, he could hear the hiss alongside the smell of the gas as it started to release. He had started to search inside the drawers of the table for matches. Upon the fourth drawer he had pulled open, he found a box that was relatively empty. His hands were covered in dust, but he struck the match against the box before he had turned the knob, again releasing gas as he had lit the lantern, which helped him see an extra couple of feet ahead of him. He then heard a clang as if a pot was dropped inside the chateau. “Maybe raccoons have grown generations here; after all who wouldn’t take advantage of such an overgrown environment?” he thought. Refurbishment came across his mind, but burning it would be better; even the trees must have thought that this large mansion was an eyesore compared to the rest of the forest. Considering that the rest of his family had already jumped ship and left this place, that had some restrictions to it, to his own bidding, only angered him. Angered to the point he had armed himself with a hammer on a table nearby. Promptly, he started to briskly walk towards the sound. Both hands were occupied. In his right hand held the hammer and in his left hand held the lantern. The halls became more narrow and he was even surprised when he found a light switch. He figured the lights wouldn’t work, but he still had flipped the switch. Only a couple of seconds had the lights come on before it had shown signs of failure. The fact that his grandfather could live in such a dilapidated place for so long scared him; his first steps in the house had pretty much depleted whatever confidence he had, but now he wondered if it was even worth foraging through this place. His dubiousness never seemed to falter, but he was in the house so he figured it was pointless to leave now.

Before he ventured toward the study he headed towards his favorite place when he was a child, the kitchen. The sound likely originated in the kitchen, but that didn’t stop him from proceeding on. Whatever his crazy grandad hid in the other rooms of the chateau, he didn’t hide anything in the kitchen. It held the only redeeming quality about his grandad – his appreciation for great French food, which as a child he took advantage of as best he could. He forced the doors open to the kitchen. Either door hit opposing walls, he didn’t care about further damaging this estate. As he had looked down at the ground he had noticed the pot on the ground. This had been responsible for the sound. Taking a couple of steps forward, he had crouched down and held the lantern forward. He could see a substance that had the consistency of a green goo oozing from the inside of the pot. Once he had gotten a whiff of it, the smell had been putrid. This caused him to recoil as he had rocked back to his feet and taken a couple of steps away grimacing. As he rolled the opening of the pot towards him with his feet, a sewer-green head rolled from the opening and rolled into a table nearby. 

“What the-” By the sight of it, the man could feel his heartbeat quicken, but he had gazed at the top of its head where a pink mush and eyeballs hung; they were barely attached by a thin vein. Grandad’s secrets were always held closer to his own heart than his family, now evident by the fact that he started experimenting in the kitchen.

The sound of some kind of table falling came farther down the hallway. Fear began to overwhelm him as the sense of anger had faded away. He felt sweat starting to accumulate on his forehead. Hastily, he pushed the door open. Running back to the entrance; he blew on the dusty window and saw it started to rain outside. Promptly after, he could hear the booming of thunder.

The fear of being stranded plagued his mind like his grandad’s craziness plagued him. More sounds came from the rooms and hallways, ranging from pots and tables falling, loud groaning, and an overarching terror came over him. Then the thought occurred to him, “This is his revenge, huh?”

Large figures came out of the hallways and the groans came louder. He quickly looked around the room for something he could use as a weapon; he stopped as he looked at a large wooden plank with nails sticking out at one of the ends. With some common sense still in him, he sprinted for the door.

With the swing of the board, the nails hanging for the board had plunged into the head of the first abomination. As more and more came the more forceful his attacks were. Aiding him was the rush of adrenaline that overcame him; as he started to clear the front of the stairs; he had made it to the top. Now, the hoard was decreasing in size, but the anger that had driven him began to deplenish. Besides the racing of his heart, he could hear the rain begin to subside. The roof alongside the windows of the manor had provided evidence that the storm had passed; he had taken this as an opportunity for an escape. 

Once he had made it outside, he could feel his heart drop to his stomach. He still grasped the board in his hand that was covered with foul-smelling blood; well a mutation of it that turned it to thick, but also sticky substance. He also still had the lamp and the fire was even intact. A fire that could burn a mansion…