The woman looked with eyes wide from the top most window of the tower of the manor house as her son ran into the cornfield. The scene lay crystal before her, bathed in the light of a full moon, she watched him pick his way through the black maze of tall crops.
The room was dark and cold and the air was thick with the unmistakable scent of fear. A child's nursery, it was littered with toys and the only light came from the window casting a shadowy glow on the now blank walls. Doll's, clowns, bears and toy soldiers watched her, all knowing her fate, yet void off all motion.
The only sound was the thumping of her heart in her chest and her harsh breathing. But then it stopped and silence loomed over the house like the shadow of death. The woman turned and watched with horror as the door slammed shut and the lock clicked into place, the sound ricocheting through the empty halls and corridors. A fierce chill ran down her spine as she turned back to the window. The path in the corn was unmistakable and it carried on into the night seemingly going nowhere.
But then as abruptly as it had started on the edge of the darkness, it stopped and seconds later the night was filled with the child's bloodcurdling scream.
The woman sank to her knees as the world fell silent once more, they had gotten her son and soon they would come for her.
**10 Years Later**
"So tell me again why were all buying a house together?" Jeff asked from the back seat of the car.
"Because" Chris said turning back to the blue haired Carolinian "It'll be fun; it means when we're not working we can hang out together and if we get pissed off with each other its big enough that we don't have to cross paths for days of we don't want to."
"It’s that big?" Matt asked.
"Yep," Adam confirmed from the driver's seat. "It’s huge!"
The 5 friends fell silent as they made their way up the long narrow road. Looking out the window Jeff could see the density off the woodland even though the thick fog obscured his view beyond a few feet. He felt cold looking at the murky darkness and soon turned away from the window. As a growing unease settled in his stomach.
They drove for another half mile and all the men looked straight forward a look of awe showing on their faces when they first saw the huge cast iron gates. Each gate was decorated with pictures of cornfields and children and people playing in the tall crops. However none of the man seemed to look close enough to see the looks of pain and fear that twisted the faces of the images.
All 5 got out the car and stared at the huge building. Three stories of windows stacked the main building and it was longer than it was tall, the old grey stone was worn and vines grew up the walls. On the left hand side there stood a tower attached to the building, all the windows of which overlooked the ripe cornfield that ran all the way down until the woods, there it met an abrupt end and apart from the first few trees the world beyond it was black. It was dropped back slightly from the main building and cast a gloomy shadow along that end of the house.
On the right side of the house stood another tower and in front of it a smaller building with no windows and only a door to break the regular pattern of the grey stone.
"Wow!" Jason exclaimed
"C'mon lets go inside" Adam said holding up the keys. He unlocked the door and they all rushed in, all apart from Jeff. He stood alone in the vast frontcourt eyes glued to the cornfield. There was something very wrong with this place.
Jeff stood at the window and sighed; from this room he could see just the corner of the corn field. The room he stood in was huge; three couches were spread out around a massive fire place. The ceiling was one big painting etched with gold. the walls were dark but every so often broken up with a picture of the crops. In all the sun would blaze overhead and dance of the golden corn, a good yield in every one, just like right now.
The fire was slowly warming the room and the four others sat together around the fireplace talking, each voice full of excitement. Only Jeff felt out of place here, only Jeff felt wrong. He looked out over the crops and felt a chill claim in, he just stood and stared, there was something here that he was not seeing. But in all truthfulness did he want to see it?
"You Ok, Jeff?" Matt asked coming up behind his brother. Jeff did not answer just looked straight ahead. "JEFF" Jeff looked startled ta his brother.
"Are you Ok?" Adam asked having whiteness the scene.
"Sure Just tired I guess" Jeff replied, it wasn't a lie the journey have taken a lot out of him, maybe he would feel better after some sleep and maybe some sleep would disburse the thread of dread that was weaving its slow way throughout his body.
"It’s been a long day" Chris said coming over with Jason "We could all do with some sleep" All five men agreed and filed one by one out of the room. Again Jeff was left until last and as he walked towards the door he took a glance to his left. On the wall a picture was mounted, showing the same cornfield, Jeff moved closer to the picture.
The golden crop stood proud in the picture as it did now in real life, but looking closer Jeff could see something. A child, dressed in a white dress playing in the corn, she smiled and a devilish look filled her eyes. Jeff gasped and stepped back the image was horribly real and twisted in a sick scary way.
He quickly exited the room and followed the others up the stairs. He found his room and said good night to the others. Flopping down on the bed Jeff closed his eyes and sighed 'you’re going mad' he told himself 'got to start sleeping more'.
Meanwhile Adam dropped onto his own bed with a tired sigh, looking round he noticed the huge curtains were closed and so got up and went over to them. Adam stood straight in front of them and placed a hand on each one; with an intake of breath he threw them aside.
His eyes widened when he saw the view, the expanse of lush green grass ran from the house and disappeared into the wood all around the garden. From here he could see everything that was out of the back of the house. He looked along the rim of the grass/trees and stopped tilting his head in confusion. In one little part of the wood that circled the land a dark shadow crept on the grass further than it did either side of this little space. Why was it that this space of tree's cast such a darker longer shadow when the others didn't?
With a yawn Adam moved back to the bed that was something tomorrows exploring could tell him. This was gonna be such a cool place to live.
Jason walked slowly along the edge of the tree's the sun shone overhead and the morning was bright and crisp, perfect for exploring as both he and Chris had agreed. The older man had gone into the trees at the other end of the garden, Jeff had stayed inside and Adam and Matt had gone to look out front. Gradually Jason drifted into the darkness of the canopy and the sun’s rays were few and frequent.
Jason looked round couscous; every sparkle of light that broke through the branches caught his attention. Glancing round he noticed that he had somehow moved so far into the dense woodland that he would no longer see garden or the house from where he stood. Staying where he was he looked round, to his left the tree's disappeared into utter blackness. As they did before him and behind him, but to his right the trees seemed less dense and so acting on impulse Jason moved right.
He picked his way slowly through the trees, there was little sound around but the air seemed to hum with a tension that seemingly had no source. A swell of unease mounted in Jason's stomach, he looked back and suddenly felt uncomfortably alone. He gulped down a lump in his throat and continued on.
As he went on the hum of tension seemed to loom in on him, making him feel trapped and panicky, gradually he picked up his pace every so often looking back, regardless of the fact that he was alone he felt like something was closing behind him, almost as though the air was racing to catch up with him, forcing him to go somewhere.
He looked behind him once more and stepped into a run, as he did his foot caught on something. Jason looked forward to see the ground seemingly advance towards him. The solid floor knocked the air from Jason's chest on contact and he gasped in surprise and pain. Jason lay on the floor looking straight down, frozen in shock.
Gradually his eyes travel up and his newly found breath caught in his throat. Before him the grey stone seemed huge before him, he struggled desperately to his feet and the menacing size diminished. Jason looked down on the shape his eyes wide.
The slab before him was weathered and the writing that had once etched its face was faded and unreadable, he glanced past the gravestone, behind stood four more, exactly alike, they stood identical in shape and size all with the same worn writing.
A chill wind whipped through the trees and Jason shivered, he closed his eyes and took a breath, opening them he looked at the first stone. Although it was just a cold stone slab, there was a look of malice about the shape, it seemed angry, slowly Jason reached out. His fingers drew close to the cold surface; his hand trembled as he rested the tips of his fingers on the rough stone. Jason smiled to himself and let the air slip from his lungs.
He knelt down in front of the stone and closed his eyes once more, suddenly a child's whisper broke through his head "leave", the voice was soft and feminine, but sounded angry and full of evil.
Wasting no time Jason jumped to his feet and ran, not daring to look back for what he'd heard for fear that I might not be there.
Adam walked across the grass towards the dark shadow that had played on his mind the night before. Yet the closer he got to the strange shadow the less compelled he felt to explore its roots. Adam stopped where he was and just looked at the blackness beyond the shadow. Adam felt his heart leap when a figure evolved towards him suddenly out of the darkness.
"Jay?" he asked, Jason dropped to his knees at Adams feet and looked up at his friend. His face was pale and his eyes seemed to be blanketed with fear, "Jay, what happened?" Adam asked Jason just stared into Adams eyes, what had happened?
"So you’re saying that you saw some graves" Adam asked as the five men sat around in the lounge after Jason had finished telling what he'd seen.
"Yeah, then I touched the stone and I heard a whisper, it was like a child" Jason said.
"So you ran away and didn't look back to see if it was Chris playing one of his stupid jokes?" Matt, always the practical one asked.
"Hay, I wasn't even near him," Chris protested.
"It was none of us, Adam was on the lawn, Jeff was inside and Chris was over the other side of the woods." Jason said.
Chris looked over at Matt. "And where the hell was he when all this was going on?"
He asked accusingly "It's a pretty fucking sick joke to play Matt."
"I did nothing" Matt said firmly "I was out front, you all saw me come in the front door."
"And what was to stop you going round the house?" Chris asked.
"Guys this is getting us nowhere" Adam stated, "Matt says he didn't do it, that's enough for me."
"So who did?" Matt asked, all 4 fell silent, "Jeff? Any Ideas?"
Jeff just shook his head and looked at Jason, the blond was sat next to Adam with his hands clasped firmly in his lap, he was looking at the floor, for some reason Jeff could not help but wonder, not scared Jason but what.
"Are you sure it wasn't your imagination Jay?" Adam asked, this whole thing seemed ridiculous to him, it wasn't like the place was cursed or anything.
"I heard it as clear as I heard you then" Jason stated.
"That proves nothing," Matt said. "Let's just put it down to Jason's over active imagination, we all know what that can be like, and if anything more strange happens then we can bring it up again."
All the men nodded and sat back in their chairs, Jeff got up and went over to the window. He glanced over at Jason once more; he seemed less than pleased with the decision Jeff believed every word of what Jason was saying but he also knew that standing up for Jason would do no good now. There was something wrong about the way they had all argued about it especially the way Chris had laid into Matt.
He didn't know why but something about this place made him nervous. Jason was feeling it too now the whole situation stank of trouble. With a sigh Jeff turned his attention to the crop field, he was sure that they would all need each other soon and that starting an argument would no one any good.
And so he stood and waited, the room was silent and an uneasy tension filled the air, what was so wrong with this place?
Adam sighed and looked out the window that seemed to fascinate Jeff so much, the view was beautiful from here, and it looked out over the edge of the cornfield and over the canopy of green that lay beyond the Rook grounds. This place was so enchanting yet so wrong, the air seemed thick and something was getting to everyone, especially Jeff.
Looking round Adam smiled Jason and Mat were sat playing poker and from the looks of the pout on Jason's face Matt had the upper hand. He moved closer and sat on the couch so that he could observe the game.
Jeff stood alone in the old play room at the top of the tower, the wind whistled around the old structure and even though it seemed to be sturdy and strong Jeff did not feel safe or warm in this room, looking round he could see toys left all over the floor as though a child had been playing there only minutes before and has been called away for dinner and so the toys had been abandoned and forgotten.
No dust gathered on the soldiers that stood in perfect formation and the rocking horse that stood alone in the corner was in perfect condition. Jeff turned and looked out of the slit window; from here he could see over the entire cornfield and most of the far side of the grounds. With a sigh he lent on the windowsill. This place was wrong; nothing could feel like this and be normal.
The entire place was perfect as though only days before there had been people living in it and they had just upped and left for no apparent reason, yet no dust, not one ornament or picture had even a little dust on it. He had overheard the salesman saying that the place was not kept up by anyone and had not been set foot in for years. A shiver ran down his spine and Jeff turned and headed for the door, he gripped the doorknob firmly in one hand and slowly turned it round.
Jeff's eyes widened as a howl of wind swept around the tower, he turned and looked back to the window, the corn stood proud in the field, but not like it did in the pictures. In the pictures the sun gleamed on the ripe crops but not now, nor the day before nor the day before that. The sky was black with thunderclouds and the air rolled with the wind.
Jeff left the room and ran as fast as his legs would take him back to the main part of the house, he burst into the door and down the corridor.
"You're cheating," Jason complained, slamming his cards to the floor.
"I am not cheating, your just crap at poker," Matt defended himself.
"I am not" Jason yelled, looking viciously at Matt.
"Hey guys it's just a…"
The door flew open and a very flushed and tired Jeff stood in the doorway leaning up against the frame.
"Jeff what's wrong?" Matt asked walking towards his brother a look of concern etching his face.
"The corn, the weather..." Jeff stammered.
"What?" Adam asked, looking confused at Jason, who shrugged.
"Look," Jeff said pointing to the corn out of the window.
"Yeah, so?" Jason said.
"Notice anything wrong?" Jeff asked. The three men looked at each other confused.
"It’s fucking January!" Jeff yelled. "The field should be bare."
Jeff sat alone in the room and looked out of the window, Jason and Matt had gone to look for Adam and Chris and had left Jeff alone with his thoughts. The room seemed so big yet even though he was alone in the house it seemed so full, almost as though someone else were living there with them.
With a sigh he stood and turned to the painting on the wall, moving closer Jeff looked thoughtfully upon the picture then saw what he'd been looking for. The faces of the children, so small and innocent seeming were twisted in smirks and with pain. Jeff stepped back and shook his head, 'was nothing in this place normal?'
The was a small thud in the hallway outside the door and Jeff turned and looked at the door awaiting its opening and his friends walking in, but they did not. Jeff stood and watched expectantly but still no one entered the room. He took a cautious step forward and took a hold of the doorknob.
Stepping out of the room Jeff froze at what he saw. Alone in the hall 3 small children sat playing in a circle on the floor. Two blond girls wore white dresses and the boy a shirt and pair of grey pants. Jeff took a step towards them, then another and as he got closer he reached out.
The smallest of the girls, whose back was turned to Jeff, turned her head to look at him. He took a quick step back in fear as he looked upon the girl’s revealed face. Her eyes were full of malice and anger and they seemed to glow with hate.
"Hello Jeff," she spat in a loathing tine "Would you like to play with us?" An evil grin spread across her face and the devil himself seemed to appear in her eyes. Jeff shook his head and stepped back, his whole body trembled with fear. Jeff's back hit the wall of the hall and he froze once more, long enough to see the other two children raise their heads and look towards him. The same malice and anger filled their eyes and the same evil grin etched their faces.
Jeff shook his head and turned, with blinding quickness he ran for the stairs. His heart raced and his body trembled with fear, this whole place was evil. He took the stairs 3 at a time, his strong legs carrying him swiftly to the top. He turned once more and headed down the hall to his room. Jeff almost ripped the door off its hinges in his haste to enter. He slammed it shut behind him and rested back breathing heavily, eyes tight closed. He dropped his head back to the door with a small thud.
Jeff's breath caught in his throat, as the thud echoed in the room, then again. His whole body trembled as he forced himself to open his eyes. Looking straight ahead he felt a tear slip down his cheek as the devil child moved agonizingly slowly towards him, he knew he could not escape and she grinned in triumph.
Adam, Matt, Chris and Jason walked into the house.
"JEFF?" Matt yelled, Adam looked into the living room then turned to the others.
"He's probably gone to his room" he said, "I'll go get him."
"I'll come too" Mat said following Adam up the stairs. Chris and Jason filed into the living room and sat to wait.
Matt opened the door off Jeff's room and froze at what he saw, seconds later he turned and doubled over as his body rebelled "What's wro…" Adam trailed off seeing what lay before him in the room.
"Jeff," Matt sobbed as he calmed he took a breath and turned to look upon the tattered remains of his brother. The floor was pooled with blood and Jeff's face was slashed and bloody, the skin all over his body was tattered and ripped as though he'd been clawed to death by some wild animal.
A tear slid down Matt's cheek and he dropped to his knees and reached out, he pulled his hand back not daring to touch the tattered remains. As he did more tears fell and a sob ripped from his body.
Adam stood in the doorway, his face an icy picture of fear, what creature could have done this? He moved into the room and froze when he turned to the corner. In its shadow stood a tall figure dressed all in black. The figure looked up, her face was drawn and the skin seemed to hand off her bones. She was pale and ill looking, her shallow eyes locked with Adams "You must go" Her voice was frail and tired, full of long torment "they will kill you, please leave now, while you can..."
Matt stood and looked accusingly at her, finding his strength he growled "who did this?" As he pointed to his brother.
She looked woefully down on Jeff's broken body "My children" She whispered "We lived hear many years ago and they died in a fire in the cornfield, they will not let anyone have this house it is there house, the corn grows from their ashes and has done since the day I died 3 years later, they plagued even me, their own mother, that is why the corn does not die, you must leave now, they will kill you all."
Matt shook his head in disbelief and looked down at his bother suddenly an overwhelming fear consumed him and with a strangled cry he ran from the room. Adam watched him go then turned back to the corner, the woman was gone.
Matt burst through the door and out into the day light, looking round he saw the corn and stopped. A sense of intrigue fell upon him and he moved closer, with a curious hand he reached out and touched the corn. He heard a movement behind him and turned to look around. Nothing moved around him, he was alone in the courtyard.
Something from behind him took a tight grip on his throat and Matt felt his body pulled back into the corn, he dropped to his knees and clawed at the invisible hands they gripped his throat. Matt's breath became short and as his body began to feel heavy he glanced up to see 5 evilly smiling faces watching. As the life force seeped from his body he could she their excitement grow and then a cloak of darkness fell around him and he knew nothing more.
Chris jumped and turned to the noise of the front door being slammed, "What the fuck is taking them so long?" Chris asked getting annoyed "And what the fuck was so important anyway?" Chris looked at Jason.
Jason sighed. "It’s probably better if Jeff's tells you; he seems to understand more than the rest of us."
"He has been acting kinda strange lately" Chris pointed out, Jason nodded his agreement.
"I'm gonna go see what's keeping them," he said leaving the room. He walked out into the hallway and headed for the stairs a dark shadow seemed to linger to the right of the staircase and Jason stopped and looked puzzled at it. He took a slow step towards it and then another into its darkness. Before him he could just make out the outline of a door, small and plain.
He reached out and pulled the door opened, it opened slowly and heavily to reveal a small dark room. Jason stepped inside and looked round, in the corner stood an old fashioned spinning wheel and next to it stood a table on the table something glinted in the small rays of light let in for the corridor. Moving closer Jason could see that the object on the table was a small knife.
Jason reached out towards it, as soon as his fingers brushed over the handle he pulled back, it was covered in a thick warm liquid, and bringing his fingers to his face Jason sniffed the liquid and froze. He turned just in time to see the door shut. Jason ran to the door and groped at it, desperately looking for a knob or handle to open it with, but there was none. His breath was short. "CHRIS," he yelled desperately as he slid to the floor. The yell seemed to be consumed by the foul air within the room and Jason felt the fear welling up inside him "CHRIS" once again there came no reply, almost as though the door had never even been there, Jason was trapped.
He turned and rested his back to what had once been the door, a tear slipped down his cheek as he looked down at his fingers, looking up he saw the knife and it was not alone, by the side of the table a boy stood, he could have been no more than 11 but he looked at the knife with a lusty stare and Jason gulped as the boy picked up the blood covered knife and walked slowly towards him.
Jason shook his head "no" he whispered, as the boy neared he could see the blood thirsty smirk on his face. Jason's body froze; he could not move nor control the tears the tears that streamed down his face as he watched his death walk slowly towards him.
He pressed his head back against the door and tried to scream but no sound came forth and in one slow long stroke the cool blade come down across his throat. Jason choked; he could feel his own blood seeping down is neck and soaking into the rim of his shirt. Jason felt his life slip from his body the last thing he saw the boy stood before him watching as he died with a smile on his face and the knife in his hand.
Chris stood and went over to the window, the world outside seemed so dull and drab; he would welcome the colour and life of spring, and the heat of summer.
"Help me" a small innocent voice filled his head and he turned, in the doorway a small girl stood, Chris jumped seeing the figure, dressed all in white with tears rolling down her cheeks, where had this child come from?
The girl reached out a hand and sobbed, blood stained her small fingers "Please help me, it hurts" her tears increased and she looked pleadingly at Chris. He moved slowly forward and knelt down in front of her gently taking the small hand into his own. He looked round and took an unused duster from the table. As gently as he knew how he wiped the blood from the girl's hand.
She whimpered and sobbed as he did "shh" he cooed "hold still" looking up he could see more tears falling from the girls sad eyes and he reached up and whipped them away "what's your name little one?"
"Sarah" she sobbed back, Chris smiled and returned his eyes to her hand. He ran the cloth gently over her hand once more and stopped abruptly. All the blood was gone and n cut marred her soft pale skin. Chris ran his fingertips over her hand checking the other side for a cut but there was none.
Puzzled he looked up, and then froze. The child's tears were gone, her sad look was replaced with one of wickedness and she smiled menacingly at him "Thank you Chris" she whispered spitefully. Chris jumped back and stood and the girls grin widened.
The girls grin widened upon seeing the fear on his face and she stood still and looked him straight in the eye "Look behind you" she told him.
Chris closed his eyes and turned he opened them in time to see another girl dressed in white reach up and grip his throat, she dug her nai8ls into his skin and with the strength of Satan ripped his gullet from his neck. Chris fell to the floor in a pool of blood and the girl let the peace of flesh in her hand fall next to him, she looked up at her sister and smiled.
Adam ran from Jeff's room and bolted down the stairs he opened the living room door and felt his gut wrench, the room was drenched in blood and in its center Chris led still and bloody. Adam shook his head and back away. Stopping in the middle of the hall something caught his eye on the stairs, turning his head he looked up on them.
The 5 children stood smiling at him, two boys dressed in shirts and grey pants and 3 girls all in white, the smallest girl reached out towards Adam "Come to us Adam, come and play with us" Adam shook his head and backed away. Turning he ran for the door opened it and ran down the drive.
Behind him the haunting calls of the children followed him "Adam, please stay" he ran faster on his right the flames of the field that roared long ago filled his head and tears streamed down his face. He reached the gates and pulled them open his breath coming in raged gasps he ran on.
As he felt the flames die and the calls cease he turned back to the old house. The dark stone stood as it had before, the grounds were encased by woodland and the corn field stood tall and proud next to it, in the up most window of the tower a tall figure dressed in black watched him and as the huge iron gates closed Adam turned and walked away from Ravens rook, the children, the watchers had claimed his friends and never would he be rid of their voices.