Two missing children, the caretaker and groundsman of Ford's Playfield was discovered dead with his throat torn apart and his flesh shriveled up like a raison.
The two missing children and the mysterious death berthed a police operation and a curfew, nobody under sixteen allowed outside on the streets past seven. Dusk draws quicker in the Autumn and the sky is already turning into a blood soaked canopy.
“We should go home,” Aden remarks.
“Piss on that we’re in a group anyhow so the curfew doesn't apply to us” - Chris says while he commands his platoon of friends, marching up the vertiginous hill, stomping through the wilderness of suburbia.
“Where are we even going?” Jeffry is struggling though he was originally eager for this crusade he is now exhausted, his sweat and flying critters are irritating him.
“It's a surprise! Came here with my brother back in the summertime. ”Chris has a rucksack strapped to his back containing two flashlights, rope and a lock-knife. Chris is feeling ambitious, Aden is feeling anxious and Jeffrey feels like he's in boot-camp. The trio march through the dense forest, twigs snap, the soundtrack of nature and the shafts of light which shower through the trees is the definition of tranquillity. They start walking on a rocky and rough pathway which is scattered with tropical and crisp leaves of Autumn. Two collapsed trees block the pathway and the splintered heap looks like a deathtrap and the entrance to Hell if they dare to climb over it.
“We gotta climb down this slope,” Chris announces and points downwards.
“We’ll break our necks!” Jeffrey protests.
“Just aim for the trees or slide down” - Chris starts climbing down and the others start following. Trip and tumble you'll be impaled by a branch or you'll fracture your skull when you collide into a tree. The trio climb down into a ravine and start moving through there feeling like they're soldiers in the Vietnamese jungle on patrol. The ravine twists and turns, fragments of the forest flowed down into the ravine during the previous rainstorm and the boys stumble upon a dead and mangled deer.
“What's a deer doing down in here?” Aden asks a very good question.
“Probably fell down and broke its legs” - Chris is the rationalist but he knows that there can't be a logical reason for this rotten deer which has it's a organs and guts spill out on the earth like a busted can of spaghetti.
“Look at it's neck. Like somebody attacked it with sheers and why is the animals belly all ripped open?” Jeffry sounds terrified and the stench is making him feel sick.
“I reckon that it fell down the slope, broke its legs and foxes made its corpse into a meal.” Chris is trying to be the voice of rationalism and logic but he’d feel better if the wildernesses of suburbia were homed to bears and wolves but not in this country.
“Come on just a bit further.” Chris continues leading the march and the reek of death still flows in the atmosphere. The ravine starts getting narrower and it expires when it reaches a crumbled stone entrance, pentagon shaped and dressed in moss.
“This is it. The entrance.” Chris pulls out a flashlight from his rucksack and beams the light into the entrance revealing a gloomy and damp tunnel leading into the abyss.
“I'm not going in there! It'll be dark soon,” Jeffrey backs away tripping over rocks.
“It’s 4:40 and in the next hour it's going to dark. We’ll come back tomorrow. ” Aden snatches the flashlight from Chris and conducts his own investigation.
“Listen, we’ll go and just see what's inside. About a mile or so from here is the castle ruins and this tunnel is an entrance into the castle.” Chris found this medieval entrance with his brother but they were both hallucinating on shrooms so they didn't adventure inside. Chris's brother has since enlisted into the Parachute Regiment quite a evolution from eating shrooms in suburbia to serving Queen and county armed with a rifle. Chris after the discovery went into his local library and investigated into the town history. The fortress was built in the 12th century and abandoned when the last heir Arthur Royce died on the Western Front in 1916.
The buried secrets and the remains of immorality from the extinct Royce family lurk inside within the chambers.
“Listen I have knife, if it makes you better you can have my knife.” Chris offers his knife holding it out and Aden claims authority of the knife. Jeffrey takes a flashlight but cowards behind, Chris and Aden take the lead and crouching down like turtles they shift through the tunnel. The more they move from the daylight the more the air turns frozen and droplets of moist spit onto them. Jeffry glances behind his shoulder and you cannot see the daylight anymore.
The travel through the tunnel felt infinite. It got colder and their youthful curiosity grew more.
“I can see an exit," Chris declares while he hustles like a tunnel rat. Shallow puddles of filth has made their trainers and socks dirty and wet. Reaching the end of the tunnel they’re faced with a circular entry, beaming their flashlights their jaws drop when they find a chamber. A massive chamber with pillars and collapsed beams of wood, clambering out of the tunnel the atmosphere has turned glacial.
“It's freezing!” Jeffrey's voice echoes and a polar mist follows behind. Like penguins huddled together they investigate the chamber, they find centuries old furniture and they move with caution fearful of the floor and ceiling collapsing onto them. Moving through the chamber they're captivated by curiosity.
They find a stairway leading downwards to a door with rusted hinges and a colossal ring handle. With struggle they manage to push open the door and a repulsive smell shoots up their nostrils and their instincts are tingling however being impulsive and curious are the ingredients of adolescence. Taking a few steps Chris didn't expect the crumbled stairway so he slips and drops down to the damp cobble floor, landing on his forearm and his forehead bashing to the floor also. Chris yelps in agony and shock, his forearm is broken and blood dribbles from his forehead.
“Shit you alright?” Aden and Jeffrey jump down and help Chris back onto his feet.
“No," Chris whimpers.
“Let's get out of here I knew we shouldn't of come in here! Chris you're bone is broken and this place is creepier than my grandpa's attic! Let's—”Jeffrey's wailing voice is interrupted by a sound of rustling and a fate screaming sound.
Aden shines the light and hovers the flashlight scanning the chamber like a lighthouse. The light exposes the darkness and a terrifying surprise which exterminates their innocence.
Pinned to the grimy wall like an animal pelt is the flayed flesh of a man, recently alive and the blood which flows down the wall is only recently dry. Chris spews, Aden is struck with nausea his skin turning to the colour of milk and Jeffrey starts hyperventilating, he stumbles backwards and he collides backwards crushing into a bony carcass which still has ribbons of flesh attached to the rib-cage. Chris can't stop puking, Aden stares at the fleshy decoration his body dressed in goosebumps and his hands trembling. Jeffrey realising that he's tumbled into a human carcass starts screaming but with his hyperventilation its now like he's trying to cough up shards of glass. Jeffrey yanks out his inhaler, lodges it into his mouth and squeezes the rapidly, Aden snatches the inhaler from Jeffrey and sticks it into his own gob which calms his trembling.
“WHA…WHO...IS THAT?” Aden has seen a dead body before but this is disgustingly and horribly worse. Two years ago, Aden found his Uncle Patrick dangling from the beam in his shed but Uncle Patrick had his body intact but this person decorated on the wall is nothing except a coat of skin. Chris scoops up a tattered wallet off the dusty ground, examining its content's he reads the driving licence.
“Stephen Chalmers, born in September 21st 1947...he's a teacher at our school," Chris announces wiping away the droplets of dried blood on the driving licence.
“Mr. Chalmers? He was my English teacher bastard said that I was too slow and put me in the special ed class.” Jeffrey despised the patronizing and overly stern Mr. Chalmers.
“Well he's dead. Very dead. We need to get out of here right now." Chris and the others observe the canopy of flesh like some horrendous piece of ancient artwork. The flashlights which were dropped onto the floor start flickering, Aden picks up the flashlight shaking it and Chris does the same but the rays of light still shimmer.
Backing away they struggle climbing up the crumbled stairway and the more they attempt the more the stones and earth collapse. A rummaging and shrieking sound erupts from the dwelling of chambers which are hidden inside the shadow's the size of a labyrinth. The shrieking draws nearer, unable to clamber up the broken stairway they run behind a stone pillar and they switch off their flashlights. Captivated by darkness they're totally blind, the darkness, sinister sounds and the coldness pumps their system full of fear tingling their spines and ringing in their minds like siren drills. Something comes walking towards them but they can only hear it's footsteps, eyes the colour of the moon starts getting closer. The three of them watch the moon coloured eyes drift through the darkness while being pioneered by fear. Aden moves his left foot without grace and he steps onto a bone which makes a CRUNCHING effect and the noise attracts the attention of the moon coloured eyes. Scared the boys turn on their flashlights and beam the light towards the unknown being and the light reveals a bat the size of a man, folded wings, skin like leather, it has a gargoyle face and when it shrieks the creature reveals its row of needle teeth. The creature doesn't seem to enjoy the light and it screams, howling and using its wings it transforms itself into a cocoon and it moves swiftly back into the darkness. The boys make a run for it,they sprint and practically leap up onto stairway, into the previous chamber they get lost for a moment but they locate the entrance to the tunnel. Shrieking and footsteps follow them, scrambling into the tunnel they move fast like rats on speed. The winged creature moves faster and it also scrambles into the tunnel chasing them with its wings scraping against the walls. With daylight in sight they move faster, Jeffrey launches out of the tunnel, Chris shoots out afterwards but the creature manages to clamp its jaws onto Aden's ankle. Screaming in pain Aden using his other leg kicks the creature and Chris pokes himself back inside grabbing Aden and yanking him out. Aden manages to escape the jaws of the creature, the creature pokes its upper body out of the tunnel but the daylight scorches it. Chris and Jeffrey help the wounded Aden and they escape back through the ravine, Aden moans and groans in agony veins of blood cascade from the teeth marks in his ankle. Relentlessly and pumped with horror and shock they climb out of ravine and crawl up the slope, moving through the woodland they get out into an open meadow. Aden collapses on a mound, Chris and Jeffrey fall flat on their backsides. The view is the infinity of meadows and woodland coated hills. Blood begins flowing faster and his skin starts turning blackish and purple. Aden's eyesight begins getting blurry and the boys already know that they won't be able to make it back to the populated town before the nightlife swallows the world. Very soon when the nightlife swallows them then that creature can depart its dwellings and hunt for its prey, the boys won't be able to locate sanctuary before nighttime. Whatever that creature was and despite praying that this is all a dream Chris knows that premature death is now possible.
“I don't feel good." Aden is changing. The sky is blood soaked and the blood of their former innocence decorates the tropical Autumn leaves and the dirt. Curiosity killed their innocence.