Strange Findings At A National Trust Estate – Part Four

Missed the beginning? Read part one here.


 

I am writing this update in case I do not return. Whatever is happening here is not natural, be it a curse or a creature, and I fear I may succumb to wretched ways come morning.

Andrew is gone. I don’t know when, or if he was taken against his own will or not, but he is gone. I had a long day trying to prise further information from the journal, and from what I understand Andrew spent the day studying the metal stake. I had thought that his obsession with it was odd, especially the fact that he was not affected by it as I am, but my brain was so mangled that I could hardly process rational thought. The idea of getting more information from Tobias’ journal gave me a single point to focus on, as opposed to leaving my attention scattered to the wind. Still, all I can try to do is describe to you what led to this dire situation.

I was exhausted, having spent my energies in staying awake until daybreak, too afraid to sleep, and then spending those precious breaking hours of light delicately dividing the pages. Andrew quickly wrapped the stake up whenever I decided to see what he was up to downstairs. We made brief conversation, although I succumbed to my tiredness after he admitted that he had made no further progress as to what the runes on the stake were or what they meant. I returned to my room, and it did not take long for sleep to claim me.

I slept for longer than I had wanted, and awoke just after midnight. I don’t know what woke me or prodded me to consciousness, but the first thing I noticed was that the dull dread hum of the stake no longer affected me. Initially I thought I had become used to it, that perhaps it now fed into some kind of mental background noise, but the truth was much more horrific. I stumbled out of my room to use the toilet and noticed the air was terribly cold. I checked upstairs to ensure all of the windows were closed, but none were open. The light which rose from the stairwell signified that Andrew was still awake. I went to see if he had opened a window – I found that was the least of my problems.

The door was wide open, blowing in the night breeze. Icy air rushed in, chilling me to the bone. Andrew was not there, and nor was the stake. I ran to the door and looked outside, hoping to see a light of the workhouse on, that perhaps Andrew has wanted to study it where it would leave me undisturbed. Nothing but darkness surrounded me. The door swung gently, not showing any sign of being forced. I switched on the outside light, and found fresh tracks illuminated.

The same tracks from the previous night had been renewed and, in the now boggy mud, a fresh set of footprints walked alongside them. I don’t know how, but I swallowed my fear and followed. The tracks led the same path they did as last time, but this time they did not stop at the hole where we found the stake. I followed the tracks with my torch and found them leading off into the forest. I had no choice but to follow.

I have never walked deep into those woods, only ever skirting their edge, but I soon found it to be dense with thorns and nettles. I followed the tracks as best as I could, tracking them by torchlight. I wandered for half an hour before they abruptly stopped. Both Andrew’s and the other tracks had simply ended in a small clearing. Considering most forests are alive with noise at night, the silence of that area deafened me. It was that silence that allowed me to discover where Andrew went next.

It is going to sound impossible, perhaps even mad, but I could hear Andrew calling out for help. His voice was hoarse with effort and volume, but I recognised it straight away. It had an odd and muffled quality to it, as if being heard through several walls. It dawned on me that he was beneath me. I only had my torch, so scrabbled at the earth in a vain attempt at reaching him. My hands barely broke the surface, but they did uncover the first step of a flight of stairs which led down into the ground. My heart thundered, and has not let up since. I don’t know how deep these steps will go, or where they will lead, but all I know is that Andrew is somehow down there. I cannot leave him to die.

I go now to try and unearth whatever horror has swallowed Andrew. I will leave you with the latest journal updates. I hope to return with one last outcome.

 November 16th,

I supply them with more and more, but still it is not enough! Their demand for drugs seems to have no limit, and each time I meet a shipment requirement they ask for even more the next time. The cartloads of workers have increased, always woman and children – but especially the children.

I have continued my spying sessions as and when I can. I have taken to calling the creature ‘the Ogrid’, as it seems to be the one word I can pick out of the rhythmic chants. It seems to match its odd, misshapen figure to a degree, although I still have no idea as to what it truly is. It always comes from the forest, and its appetite seems exceedingly voracious as of late. I do not stay for the end of the rituals any more, I do not think I could stomach it. All I see is that now it is groupings of workers chained to the stake, as many as five or six at a time.

Usually I would refer to God in this situation, but he seems to be of weak power here.

November 23rd,

I am at my end. I can barely write, my quill shakes so violently in my hand. I am not ill, no, it is fear that is causing my ruination. I knew I should have stopped spying, that I should have simply minded my own business, but it is too late now. One of them saw me. I suspect that they have thought that someone had watched them for a while, as one of the men with lanterns was specifically sent to check the perimeter. He caught me in his lantern, and I knew full well that he saw me. I expected him to give chase, but he simply watched as I scurried back to the gatehouse. They know that I know.

I do not think it is death itself that scares me, but what will become of me after. If there is such a thing as God and Heaven, I do declare that such dealings with these monsters has blackened my soul. There is no chance for redemption, I will die, or worse be sacrificed, and find myself cast into the pit.

They are at the door! The smallest of knocks has announced them, and a glance from my window confirms that all of them are there. From this distance I can see quite clearly that they are wearing masks, although of what fearful entities they are I cannot tell.

I go now into darkness. God have mercy upon me, and anyone else who uncovers this place.

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