It filled my window, dark and foreboding. The trees formed a line of impenetrable darkness, sending fear spiraling through my body. But I must get out of here, no matter what will happen out there.
To die nameless would be more welcomed than living as an experiment for a mad man.
“Wait…what is up with this book?” a small voice asked, eyes large in the lamp light, surrounded by black hair and pale skin.
“I don’t know. I think it’s a journal though,” a larger male replied, his own hair dark and skin light. Flipping to the beginning, he shifted in his spot. “Let’s start from the beginning and skim through the entries. It may tell us what happened to Mary and the rest of them.”
“You don’t believe that they’re those things that live on the mountains do you?” the smaller of the two asked quietly. The other shook his head and turned back to the book in his hands.
I think I should fear for my life, so I write this and hope that someday someone finds this and escapes where others were unable to. Should you be reading this, my name is Richard Dahl, I’m fifteen years old. The date is January 12, 1953. I write this by the light of the moon, so do forgive me if my writing is hard to read or understand.
I was brought here, to this small orphanage with four other children. There are two girls and two other boys that share my room with me. The girls are Mary-Sue and Savannah, and the boys are Leonard and William. We didn’t share our last names, having made a promise to one another on the train that brought us here. We have papers hidden away with our full names, though.
Should we somehow disappear, the others will remember them and their names would be placed onto the back cover of this journal.
The man that runs this home is dark. Not…dark as in the way he looks. He’s actually quite light in that aspect. White, thick hair, blue eyes, and a face befitting a kind old man. But it is his eyes that show the evilness of this home.
“See, I told you he was evil,” the smaller male hissed, his eyes glaring. The bigger one tapped his forehead with one finger.
“Just because someone is dark does not mean they are evil. That has been proven with both of us and hundreds of others. Now shush and let me read,” he growled, getting a nod and a sheepish look. “He is still evil, no denying that.”
They send shivers down our backs, even just thinking of them. So cold and mean, even when they supposedly sparkle in light and happiness. They are the scariest part of the man.
I can only hope that we get out of this alive.
“Is that all?” the smaller one asked, peering at the journal with curiosity.
“For this entry, at least,” the older of the two replied, flipping through the pages, skimming over entries that talked of days filled with lessons, meals and fearing the man who kept them inside so much. “He talks about how they were barely let outside, about the food they got and what exercises they did. Wait…hold on…here. He talks about the mountain for the first time. He also talks about the creatures that we were shown, the ones that live on the mountain.”
Looking up, two sets of dark eyes turn to the dark form of their nightmares just outside of their window. The dark swaying shapes of the trees just added to the feeling of utter hopelessness, forming a barrier between them and the freedom that they so craved. The dark shapes of the ones they now called the ‘Guardians of the Trees’ flew and dove through the cloud filled sky. It was always surprising to see the sight.
“So read it,” the younger of the two said quietly, drawing his friend’s eyes back to the journal, eyes wider than ever. “We need to know what they were told. If they were told the same as us.”
“Alright, let’s see what they have to say,” the elder said.
The man has finally told us about the mountain, the one feature of this land that hides us so well from the rest of the world. The one place that we fear the most, even though we don’t know what makes it so fearsome for us.
Screams seem to come down that peak.
It’s not all that large, all things considered. It’s the smallest of the mountains, or so it looked with the backdrop of others so far in the distance. But still, it’s said to be the most dangerous for those who are on foot and not safely in a new car or a carriage.
Or so He has told us so many times.
“Why doesn’t he call the guy by his name?” the small one interrupted suddenly, looking up at his companion with curious eyes, the question bugging him a bit.
“I don’t know. Doesn’t really say, at least not so far,” he replied. “Let’s continue reading.”
He showed us why the mountain was dangerous this night. Taking us from our rooms, he led us out into the overgrown backyard, the very one that we are now working on cleaning out. It was so dark; the stars covered by the clouds, the half moon the only light we had.
We stood there for so long, or so it felt. The minutes ticking past as the breeze played with our night clothes, making our hair dance on the air, just waiting and wondering what would happen next.
Soon we heard them. They sounded so human, those tormented screams. Dark shapes, darker than the shadows that filled the sky. They flew around and around the tree that covered the mountain, making us all fearful with each cry and shriek that filled the air around us. Savannah soon started to cry and buried her head into my shoulder.
That’s when he told us that the children before us had been very, very naughty. They had gone out to the mountain and had been taken by the dark creatures. We were all so terrified as he wove his tale. We hide in our rooms like cowards, unwilling to leave the house until it is full light, fearful where the creatures would take us away to.
But…we also fear that there is more to what he told us. We don’t know why we fear this knowledge, but somehow we know that it’s not good.
“Another entry that just kinda stops,” the elder said, his voice soft and worried as he turned to his friend.
“Are you going to see if they talk about the disappearances? That is, if there were any then,” the smaller one asked just as quietly. Shifting, he looked out the window again before quickly turning away from the sight that greeted him.
“Yeah. I think they found out whatever is happening after that night, but I wonder how they found out. Let’s see what they have to say about the disappearances first, and then worry about the secret behind them,” he said, watching his companion shiver slightly and nod his head. Flipping through several pages, he paused on one that seemed to have been written rather quickly, almost as if the writer had been in a rush. “Look, here.”
Savannah has disappeared. She had gone to the kitchen last night for nothing more than some water, something that we have all done at one point or another during our time here. But she never came back to bed afterwards, and we didn’t find out until this morning.
I fear that we have been lied to the entire time we have been here. The creatures upon the mountain, the path that leads away from here, and now…Savnnah.
At breakfast this morning, we asked the doctor about where she was, but got only honeyed words for it. We were told she had been very naughty and had gotten into his office. When he found her, she had run away after being told she would have to spend the next three days in the closet, the usual punishment around here. She had left and disappeared into the trees, being taken away by the dark shapes.
She would become one of them and never again be the Savannah that we knew and loved.
I have a feeling that this was all a lie; a lie that he had told many times in his life. I fear that we may be next.
Savannah had never shown interest in the man’s basement office, at least not that we have seen. She was just hoping that one of the families that came to see us occasionally would one day take her home as their daughter. She wanted nothing more than to survive and find that home that we all longed for. She wanted to leave this place that has become our nightmare.
I think I fear for our lives even more now that I am able to think about it in detail.
“It looks like the man is recycling the excuses for the disappearances,” the bigger male mused, tapping a finger on the page of the journal they were reading. Shifting, he picked up a glass of water and sipped from it before looking at his friend.
“Wasn’t that the same excuse he gave when Alex disappeared?” the small one asked, and getting a nod in response. Frowning lightly, he shifted to lie onto his stomach, his head pillowed on his arms.
“Yeah. Hey, look,” the older one responded, pointing to the journal as he flipped through the pages. Shifting, he started to read again.
It has been two weeks since Savannah disappeared and Mary-Sue is gone now as well. We asked and got a tale of a family coming late in the night and adopting her, taking her away to a new life. She was free and happy from this hell hole.
I don’t believe it a bit. Just another lie to uncover the truth from.
“Wow,” the small male said softly, shaking his head and squeezing his hands against his own arms.
“Yeah. The entries are scattered, talking about how they collect every bit of information they can, writing down little things and hiding them all over the house. All those scraps of paper that we’ve found,” the bigger one said, reaching down under his bed, pulling out a shoe box and opening it. Inside it laid a small pile of scraps of paper, each one with a date and a small note, the papers slightly yellowed with age.
“Who disappeared next?” the smaller male inquired, pulling his friend away from his contemplation of the pieces of paper.
“Um…looks as if William was next. He apparently was odd in the head and had wandered off,” was the soft reply, getting a frown from the prone form. “Yeah. That’s what the doctor said. But again, they don’t believe it. The entry says that he wasn’t able to read very well, nor write, due to having eyesight problems. But he did enjoy just sitting somewhere and listening to things.”
“Sounds like our Nick,” the younger male cut in, getting a nod as the pages were flipped.
The elder one stopped at a new entry and tapped it with his long fingers. “Here, he talks of the secret finally. They found out what it was,” he breathed out, listening to his friend scramble out of bed and sit down next to him.
We’ve found out what is happening to the others. Everything we have been told has been nothing but a lie! Just like we thought. The so-called adoption of Mary-Sue, the disappearances of first Savannah, and then William, all of it.
Leo and I are the only ones that are left now.
Okay, I’ve probably made you wonder about my sanity, if I haven’t already with the words I’ve written in the few months that I have been here.
To start for this, Leo and I went to the kitchen two nights ago to get a cup of water. The man was gone for the night and had forgotten to lock us into the bedroom as he did every time he needed to leave at night. Always something about not wanting us to snoop or to get out into the yard to be taken away.
Another lie. He just didn’t want us to find his secret. That night we were lucky and this night, we are once again lucky.
As we stood in the kitchen, sipping our water and looking out the window to that mountain, watching the shapes fly around, the screams barely floating in through the cracked window, we wondered if we should leave and hope for the best.
A noise from the basement drew our attention.
It wasn’t loud, much like something that you would expect from perhaps a mouse…or a rat in the wall. Just a soft shuffling of small feet upon a dusty floor, but it was enough to arouse our curiosity.
Walking over to the door quietly, the glasses safely tucked back into the cabinets, we opened the door, the hinges not squeaking unlike the others around the house. I swore that I could hear my heart start to beat faster, and faster, and faster, with every step we took as we started down those cold stairs. Reaching the bottom, we paused and looked around. It was dark, barely any light sliding through the basement window. We found a candle and some matches easily enough, hiding the used match in my pants pocket.
What we saw made our breath hitch and voices stutter.
There, in that basement, stood cages. An entire wall covered with cages big enough to contain a child, or large creatures. The floor was splattered with blood and various other stains, while tables with beakers and vials bubbling filled the rest of the space.
The sound filled the air, louder this time, followed by a low keening moan. It sounded like William. Looking around, we found one cage that held a dark shape. Pulling back the cover, we gasped and pulled away from the creature that had been our friend.
With dark, leathery wings, skin the color of mocha, and sad, pain filled eyes, William looked up at us and we couldn’t help but cry for him. He had been turned into one of the creatures, but not by them, rather by the doctor.
He had turned them all.
Looking around, we found several journals that looked as if they hadn’t seen the light of day in many a year. We took those journals with us, promising William that we would stop the mad man. Leaving him behind had been so hard to do. But there was no saving him, at least not now. We could not do anything for him.
But we can help stop him. We have buried the journals in the yard and hope that they stay protected during their time there.
We are leaving this night. We have planned and gotten ready for it. We have food to last and we both know what plants are good to eat and which aren’t. We are ready to leave.
Because, after all, it is better to die a nameless death than to live to be an experiment for a mad man.
I leave this here and hope that you too escape from this nightmare of a house. Mountain of Screams or not, I will not stay here any more.
“Do you think they made it?” the small male asked his friend, eyes wide, hopeful and scared at the time.
Watching as full lips thinned out before a curt nod, he smiled softly.“Yeah, I think so.” Taking a deep breath, he continued, “Kyle, do you want to leave here? To take the chance? Even if we do run into the creatures, our friends, the past children of this place, do you want to?” he asked, watching Kyle think about it.
“I think we need to show the world what is being done by this mad man, at least for these children. I think it’s time he learned his lesson about messing with nature,” Kyle replied softly, getting another curt nod.
It didn’t take them very long before they were packed and ready to go, food stored into bags and clothes perfect for the woods. Stopping only to dig the journals up, the two followed in the path of their predecessors into freedom.
Come hell or high waters, they were free of the nightmare that was the Land of the Mountain of Screams.
Just a quick one lovelies. First of all, Beastie, thank you luv for your wonderful and hard work getting this story up to snuff. Second off all, I do hope you enjoy/enjoyed this story. It’s rather short all things considered, but longer then I thought it would be. Thank you everyone for any comments and suggestions that you have for future stories.
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