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The adventurer strode boldly along the grey and dusty path, weary from his latest escapade, although he did not show it.
He was walking for ten minutes or more, when he came across a set of old stone steps. They were wide, with what clearly used to be a magnificent marble balustrade, but were now cracked and crumbling.
As the adventurers’ eyes travelled upward, they widened as they reached the top of the staircase, for there, standing sentinel against the dull gloomy night, was a dark and ominous mansion.
He could not ignore the strange feeling of uncertainty he felt with every beat of his thudding heart, yet he could not look away.
The mansion was extremely large, with branches of browned ivy snaking up the side of the cracked dilapidated walls.
The once white window frames rotted and peeled, the large ornate front door hanging off its hinges, the brass knocker askew.
Tiles were hanging from the roof, most of the ones that remained were broken, battered from years of isolation and decay.
There were dark trees, with spindly branches reaching toward the front of the mansion. They looked like long black fingers luring in their prey.
Despite his misgivings, the adventurer slowly walked up the staircase, breathing in deeply, as if to prepare himself for the unknown horror that may await him.
He did not want to be afraid, for he was a brave adventurer, there was no feat that scared him. He had proved this many times in the past, yet his heart seemed to be beating in his chest, his breath ragged, the adrenaline pumping through his body.
As he neared the front door, he paused for a moment.
He could not escape the feeling that this was not a good idea.
Still, he felt like he needed to prove the point to himself that he was no coward.
He took a deep breath, and walked in through the old front door.
The lingering, musty smell of rot hanging in the air filled his nostrils as he edged into the sitting room.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see the silhouettes of the furniture that remained.
He was starting to make out the various items in the room.
A large, broken grandfather clock, its hands still, stuck on twelve o’clock.
An old-fashioned chaise longue, covered in a moth-eaten throw, discoloured with age and mould.
A battered old armchair, with rips and tears in the old dusty upholstery.
As he made his way through the large room, he began to wonder who must have lived here, how long they had been gone, and why they had left, seemingly without taking any of their belongings.
He walked cautiously up the grand staircase, which was covered in cobwebs, and thick with an untouched layer of dust that had clearly been there for a very long time.
The adventurer reached the top of the staircase, and made his way to the first room he came across.
It was smaller than the sitting room had been, but there was something almost unnatural about this room.
He could see a large, four poster bed, with a pale pink eiderdown spread across, the pillows in disarray.
There was a faded white dressing table, its wood peeling like the skin of a tangerine, the stool knocked over, and a great wispy cobweb stretching from the cushion cover to the cracked mirror that lay atop the table.
The ancient chest of drawers lay on its side in the middle of the room, which the adventurer found a little strange, but he decided not to move it.
Realisation hit him as he noticed a few other objects in the room and his heart felt like it had dropped into his big black boots. There were teddy bears and dolls strewn about the floor, with gaping rips in them and covered in moss. This, he thought, used to be a child’s room.
As he looked around more, his eyes confirmed his suspicions, as he noticed more objects scattered about, including mouldy clothes and broken toys.
This had been a family home once upon a time, and now everything was still and silent.
The adventurer felt the overwhelming urge to leave, for he knew that something had driven this family out of their home.
He started to back out of the room when he felt something icy cold against the back of his neck. It felt like….no, it couldn’t be, could it? It felt like…. breath?
As fast as lightning, he turned around….
As the farmer trudged home along the grey and dusty road, he kept his eyes to the ground, as he knew he would be passing that awful mansion soon.
They said it was haunted, but nobody was brave enough to enter to find out.
As he hastened his step, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed footprints on the dirty marble staircase.
He stopped in shock.
He looked up at the macabre mansion with wide eyes.
That’s when he heard it. The sound that stayed with him for the rest of his life.
An agonising, gut wrenching scream.