RE: Cutteridge Creative Writing Contest Submissions
Everything changed that day young Charles fell into the well. Lady Victoria became an empty shell of a woman, crying whenever the slightest thought of her son crossed her mind. Lord Hector had become angry at life itself; he stomped around the house, nothing able to calm or please him. Jack, the groundskeeper, had told Charles not to play by the well, but the boy wouldn’t listen. He was simply just too excited to have his new red ball, and nothing would stop him from playing with it. Jack now kept to himself in his shack out in the corn field, wracked with a guilt he had never felt before. Of course the Lord and Lady loved their son, but Charles and Jack were each other’s best friends. He should have done more to save him, he thought. He could have even jumped into the well himself to help Charles escape.
None of that mattered now; Charles had died that day in the well. Luckily there was no suffering; the fall had killed him before he had the chance to drown, though nobody else would ever be able to learn of that small solace granted to the young boy.
Eventually the loss of her son wore on Lady Victoria. She swore herself that she was going mad; she swore she could hear his laughter, and even sometimes she swore she saw his little red ball. Once she thought she even saw a ghostly apparition of her son, and that one chance is what drove her to the occult. She scoured the manor library until she found a dusty old book titled, ‘Necronomipedia.’
To her delight she found many spells, but the only life-giving spell required the deceased’s body to be present. So she settled for the next best thing: she’d use a spell to make her husband strong enough to go down into the well to get the body.
After days of convincing him, he finally agreed to accept the spell. That night, Victoria drew a large spell circle and seal in the foyer. Hector stood inside, and Victoria began to chant. As she did, the seal opened up to release some spirits. They entered Hector, causing his muscles to bulge and his figure to warp. He grew fangs, and thick dark hair. Victoria stood, frozen from the horrific image in front of her.
Hector howled as his transformation completed, as his glowing red eyes fell upon Victoria’s slender form. Victoria ran up the stairs to her bedroom without a second thought. The beastly Hector gave chase, following after her like a crazed wolf on the hunt. She slammed her door closed and pressed against it. She could feel the beast pushing against the door, his loud growls and howls drowning out the sound of her own heartbeat. She began to cry against the door; surely this was the end for her.
Suddenly there was a loud clang, and the sounds of a struggle. She heard a man scream and flesh tear… she knew it was Jack and she knew he was hurt. There was one more loud clang, and then there was silence. She meekly opened the door and looked out, seeing her beast of a husband lying unconscious, and Jack bloodied, holding a shovel. He dropped it and looked at her. “We need to move the body,” he said flatly.
With their combined efforts, they were able to move the body into the nearest room. Jack sealed it with chains and padlocks, and shortly after, the beast had woken and tried to escape.
Victoria noticed Jack’s arm was limp and bleeding. As thanks for saving her, she offered him a spell to fix it. He cautiously agreed, and she flipped through the Necronomipedia as Jack sat in the center of the circle.
A spell for a new body seemed perfect! Victoria wasted no time with the enchantment. As she chanted, Jack felt a soft warmth within him. It felt comforting, almost like when he used to sleep in the hay at his farm as a child. Things went black for Jack suddenly as he fell to the ground. Victoria had finished chanting, and looked down at Jack.
His body twitched slightly, before starting to shake and convulse. Victoria screamed and just watched until Jack had stopped moving. First Hector, and now Jack… Victoria began to cry uncontrollably, feeling immense guilt for what she had done. She never meant for things to turn out this way.
Victoria jumped as she saw Jack move. She rushed over to him; he was not the same man she had known for years. His skin was dark and twisted, and his face barely looked human. She could smell hay coming from him, and he looked almost like he was stuffed full of it. Jack opened his eyes, now glowing red and looked at Victoria. Jack silently got up and ran out of the house, into the woods. Victoria stood, shocked. She silently cried, her body heaving with sobs.
As she did, the magic circle on the floor began to glow. Spirits had finally pushed their way through, and were now invading Cutterridge. Victoria noticed too late, and as she tried to run, her spirit was ripped from her body and she was thrown into the grand mirror above the staircase, sealing her spirit within the manor itself. As she realized what she had caused, she began to cry loudly. As she cried, clouds covered Cutterridge and it began to pour rain.
Legend says that if you were to go back to Cutterridge today, you can still hear the sound of Charles laughter. Few people have reported seeing Jack the scarecrow wandering the grounds, eternally looking for the body of Charles he will never find. Some say Lord Hector still remains trapped in the very same room. Others have reported seeing Lady Victoria herself weeping. The manor itself now weeps, hoping one day a visitor will come along to set things right.