As foolish as it was to lock himself in a room he had no idea even existed until he saw it while he was dreaming he still could not help but run towards the room. As he slept, Ash saw in his dreams as a small silhouette led him into the kitchen, into the pantry, down the stairs and into the room behind the door at the bottom. Of course as soon as he had walked into the room the dream was over and he had taken off.
Ash looked ahead and at the very end of what seemed like a tunnel he saw a very faint light, a light that seemed to have been emitted by a small group of candles. Ash was not sure what he would find but he had a rather comforting feeling when he looked at the light so he walked towards it.
The closer he got the more radiant the light became. As Ash was walking he could feel he was walking on dirt as his feet dragged across the floor, he placed his hands on the wall and felt they were stone. This strange tunnel seemed to differ from the manor's main design; it felt as if this was a place to hide in.
As soon as Ash reached the end of the tunnel he found a small room, the floor and walls were made of wood, there was a very old and worn down bed and next to it was a small wooden box with at least a dozen candles. The room and its contents were not what surprised Ash; it was the fact that the candles were all lit.
With the room vacant and no idea of what he was really doing there he sat down on the bed and looked straight at the wooden box. To his surprise, there was a small red box in the middle of the crowd of candles. Carefully Ash reached for the box and took it. As he held the box in his hands he examined it.
The color was faint but he was sure it used to be red, and there was a small, now fragile, lock on the front of the box which Ash was sure could break open with enough force. Ash held the box with one hand and with the other tried to pry the box open. As the amount of force he put into opening the box amounted the lock finally gave way and the box was now open. Ash gasped as he looked inside and saw what appeared to be a girl's diary. Hoping to find some sort of answer to what was happening he took the diary from the box and at the bottom of the box was an old picture. It was a family picture; the photograph itself was originally in black and white and it speared to have been taken in the front of the manor.
In the picture there was a man and a woman, who Ash assumed was the father and the mother. Right next to them was a young man and a girl and at the very end of the line was a small girl who seemed to be around six years old. Ash focused on the little girl, something about her seemed familiar but Ash had never seen her before. Setting the pictures aside Ash opened the diary and landed on the first page, the writing was that of a small girl; perhaps it belonged to the girl from the picture.
Ash then began to read the almost unintelligible writing which he read in a whisper.
"Our first night here and I already miss our home. Mum says this is our home now but I don't feel like I used to back at our other house. All day long I had a strange feeling about this place, it was scary. Mummy says that feeling will pass, but I don't think so not with…him watching me—"
Ash suddenly stopped as he heard a loud banging sound at the door, he figured it was Brock and the others so he continued to read from the diary. He turned the page and continued to read.
"I saw him today, as I was eating breakfast he watched me from the other end of the table. I can't see his face but I know it's a man and a mean one too. Just minutes before I joined mum and dad outside for a game of croquet he pushed me and I fell down the stairs. I told dad about what was happening and he laughed saying it was only my imagination. He doesn't believe me; none of them believe me…"
As Ash was about to turn the page an even louder bang made him jump and drop the diary. Ash turned his head slightly and looked behind him but he didn't see anything. Without realizing it Ash was beginning to breathe heavily and rapidly, he felt something was wrong but he couldn't seem to be able to pry himself from the little girl's diary. He bent over and picked up the diary and began to read from the page he slipped his fingers through when he picked it up.
"Danny's gone. Mum, Liza and dad have been searching all day long and he's still missing. I heard screams last night but I was so afraid it might have been them. My nanny won't come anywhere near me now, she says I tried to kill her but I don't ever remember trying to do such a terrible thing. I would never! Still…some times the old woman comes and tells me things about the ghosts, they're horrible and really mean but I'm scared of the old woman too. Her eyes are creepy but she's not mean like the man, he's done some really bad things now. He painted the walls red using our little Meowth, Fluffy. Fluffy cried as he did, I think she was really hurt but mummy and daddy took her away and said she was somewhere better now. I do hope so. Anywhere is better than this old manor."
Ash's eyes widened with fear as he saw the bottom of the page tainted with dried blood. It had been smudged meaning the blood came from the writer's hands. As he stared at it he saw something written in the bloody bottom of the page.
"Outside…outside…they hid and lied…"
Ash tried to decipher what that meant, he had a clear picture of the manor's front in his head and there was nothing special about it, not to mention the front door was buried under several feet of snow. Perhaps it meant outside as in the backyard. Ash closed the diary and as he stood he put it in his back pocket but before he could make another move he froze at the sudden sound of sudden but faint rasping breaths. Ash's heart accelerated and his breathing, although quite, was rapid and frightened. Slowly he turned his head to look behind him which deep inside he knew was going to be a very stupid thing to do.
"All right, this should do the trick!" Brock had gone upstairs to his room and searched his backpack for the keys the old woman in the bakery gave them. He took the key that was for the lower floor and walked quickly to open the door and get Ash out before something else would happen. May and Max stayed behind in case Ash would come out but so far he thought Ash was still down there.
As he walked down to the kitchen he thought of a million things he could have yelled at Ash after he got him out of that room. He was both angry and concerned but a part of him was also frightened. He did not know the history of the manor nor did he know if Ash was doing this at his own expense. Brock wasn't a firm believer in ghost or the paranormal but he never said any of it couldn't possibly happen.
For the moment he kept any and all possibilities open for an explanation. His main preoccupation was getting Ash out of the room he had locked himself in.
As soon as he got to the kitchen he rushed down the stairs and before he could even insert the key into the hole the door burst open and Ash ran out. At the top of the stairs May and Max moved out of his way but he stopped the minute he heard Brock's irritated voice.
"Wait a minute!"
Ash froze. The expression on his face was not easily identified; it was a mixture of anger, fear and sympathy. As he stared at the wall in front of him Brock walked up the stairs and grabbed Ash's left arm tightly as he turned him around so he could face him. Brock was angry, he had no idea why Ash was acting the way he was. At first he thought it was all some sort of sick joke due to the fact that they were in a strange abandoned manor and the concept of ghosts and goblins would make perfect for a few pranks but this was well over the level of a prank and Brock's patience was mere inches from evoking its retirement.
Brock and Ash stared at each other for a few minutes while May and Max looked at them. They were as confused as Brock but not angry, to them this was a joke that got out of hand and it needed to end before a fight broke off between them.
"What do you think you're doing?" Brock said in a low and angry whisper, "If this is a joke then it is a really bad one and one I am ending right now!"
Ash did not respond he simply looked at his friend with an empty expression of carelessness. In the very depths of his mind Ash wanted nothing more than to be able to tell Brock exactly what was going on but he knew none of them would believe him. The subject of ghosts was one preserved for camp fires in the woods on dark nights or on Halloween and despite what many people think said subject was not credible in any way save for stories and s'mores around a large camp fire.
In his silence Ash simply debated whether it was a good idea to tell them what he saw, heard and found down there but logic and reason betrayed him. Even he was not sure if he really saw what he saw but deep inside he knew it was real, he merely looked for some sort of safe haven to avoid confronting reality as he experienced in the manor.
In all his soul searching for the brief moment Ash opened his mouth slightly to say something and Brock leaned in close to hear what he had to say.
"There was never a joke to begin with."
Brock loosened his grip on Ash's left arm allowing Ash to simply walk away from the kitchen. Brock stood there silently as he let out a sigh. Max walked next to Brock and saw Ash walking up the main stairs in a sordid manner. He looked like a phantom walking quietly up the stairs, a troubled specter from beyond the grave come back to share some sort of horrid news with who ever was willing to listen.
"Brock…" May's trembling voice caused Brock and Max to turn around and look at May. She was quivering as she pointed to Brock's arm and as soon as he placed his eyes on his hand he gasped as he saw blood on the hand he grabbed Ash's arm with.
The three of them took off after Ash but they did not need to wander far since at the top of the stairs Ash was sitting on the last step. His knees were close together and he wrapped his arms around them, the look on his face was sad like he had a problem and could not find an easy way to deal with it.
Brock walked up the stairs and grabbed Ash's left arm. To his horror he saw several deep lacerations on his forearm, all indicating the need for stitches. Nothing crossed his mind at the moment he did not care how he got those he only cared about stopping the bleeding. Brock saw Max and May wandering by with the corner of his eyes so he turned to May and said with a worried tone, "May, I need a clean piece of cloth and some water. Max, get me some bandages from my backpack."
Both siblings nodded and quickly went off to their assigned tasks as quick as possible. As Brock looked at the lacerations Ash simply looked at Brock. Suddenly Ash felt a sense of discomfort that was only associated when he saw the strange silhouette, the one responsible for the lacerations on his left arm. That horrifying chill that traveled down his spine was all too familiar and every time Ash felt it he felt a part of him die from terror. His eyes slowly traveled from his wounded arm and beyond Brock towards the front door. How he wished he hadn't done that.
In front of the door there was a small child holding a torn up plush toy. The small boy looked right at Ash as if he were the only one in the room. Ash let out a quite gasp as he saw the boy's face. Half of his face looked like it had been peeled off with a potato peeler; his left arm had deep lacerations like the ones on Ash's arm and the boy's right foot was missing.
Ash closed his eyes in hopes of making the apparition feel ignored so it would leave him alone. Ash had done that before but knew it did not work but in his blissful ignorance he was doing what he would do when he was little and was afraid of something he could not explain. He used to close his eyes and when he opened them whatever was scaring him left.
As Brock tended to the wounds he saw a small drop of transparent liquid land on his hand, Brock looked at it carefully and then looked up at Ash and saw a faint trail of tears from his eyes to his chin. Brock of course immediately became worried that he had accidentally hurt him.
"Hey, what happened?" Brock said in a brotherly tone.
Ash gave no answer, he simply opened his eyes and turned his eyes slightly to his right and immediately began to breathe rapidly. Brock was then struck with a memory not too far behind. He remembered when he found Ash in the kitchen early in the morning and he remembered the events that went on and he recalled that similar method of breathing, as if Ash was seeing something that frightened him to no end.
The small, gory apparition was sitting right beside Ash and staring right at him with its rotting eyes and rotting face. Ash immediately began to shiver in fear. Brock, who was still holding Ash's arm felt as he shivered; now he was very worried. There was no way Ash was faking any of this but he hadn't the slightest idea of what was happening to him.
"Ash, what's wrong?" Brock tone of voice carried a hint of worry and mixed in it a bit of fright.
As Ash looked at the apparition it looked at him as it began to weep. It later lifted its arm and pointed behind Ash as it actually spoke to him in a whisper.
"He's done something bad…"
Suddenly Ash could hear a faint creaking sound. Not of old wood when a person walked over it but lighter. Ash knew he would regret it but he could not help but slowly turn his head to look behind him. At the top of the stairs an old woman's body hung from a rope as the weight of the body made the rope creak as it swung sideways as if the wind was blowing at the body.
Ash let out a loud horrified gasp as he quickly stood up and began to walk down the stairs with his back facing the front door. His eyes were fixated on the strange apparition and as he looked at it the more he tried to tell himself that it was not really there.
"It's not there…it's not…there…not…" Ash was whispering but Brock could hear every word clearly. The look on Ash's eyes was almost maddening; the essence of a pure bred terror encrusted into his eyes made it seem like anything but fake. Brock was now convinced Ash was not faking these panic attacks but he did not know why he was having them. Either way, he was determined to find out exactly what was happening to Ash.
Brock slowly got up from the stairs as he slapped some of the dust off of him with one hand and with the other stretched it out towards Ash. Brock slowly and very carefully began to descend from the stairs towards his friend, always keeping a sharp eye on him and saying in a soft voice.
"Ash, what's not there? What is it?"
Ash stopped at the bottom of the stairs and as a faint trail of tears crept down his cheeks he then focused his attention on Brock who seemed very worried. After looking at him for several seconds Ash then drew his attention back up the stairs but to his ever lasting surprise both apparitions were gone. Ash's eyes widened as his lower jaw dropped and let out a small gasp.
"Ash you need to tell me what is going on." Brock said still in a low tone.
Ash heard him but did not reply. For the first time since they entered the manor he was filled with anger, anger that he was the only one affected by these beings, anger that they would not leave him be, anger that he did not know what was happening and why. Ash's eye brows lowered and his eye narrowed. He had the same look he had just when he was about to start a battle or when he was genially angry at something or someone.
Ash clinched his fists together hard enough to turn his fists red and as he did he bit down on his lower lip as he let out a frustrated sigh. Ash looked back at Brock with an angry look and sharply replied to the questions he had asked earlier.
"Nothing! Absolutely nothing!" Ash then turned around to walk away but before he took a single step Brock grabbed his arm and held him back but to his surprise Ash grabbed Brock's hand and tightened his grip and said in a low and very angry tone.
"Let go of my arm Brock."
Without a second thought Brock released Ash and watched as he walked away. In all honesty Brock was sort of relieved that Ash's attitude had changed but it was so strange how his attitude just simply went from terrified to angry in a matter of minutes. He let it go and went off on his own to do some much needed thinking.
Late at night while everyone was asleep on their beds Ash was still up. He sat on the bed as he faced the nightstand which had a lit candle. It was not much but it was enough to allow him to see in the dark in order to keep reading the diary he found in the kitchen. He continued on from the page he last read.
"This morning when I woke up I went downstairs and found everyone at the kitchen table having breakfast they were all strangely quiet. Danny was not there and Liza seemed strange herself. Usually she will eat anything in the morning but she was merely poking at her eggs and bacon and her juice seemed to be intact. Mum and daddy were strange as well; daddy was reading the newspaper but he seemed preoccupied with something else. Mummy was just sitting at the table looking out the window. Maybe she was looking out in case Danny would come back? Boy, is he going to be in trouble when he comes back. It's been a week now. Anyway, I sat at the table and Liza looked at me with a scared look. I looked at her and saw she had a black eye. I was going to ask her about it but she suddenly left without saying a word."
"Through out breakfast mum and daddy ignored me. It was as if I was not there to begin with. Things have been very strange indeed. I some times wonder if it has anything to do with me but I know it's them. They like to play games late at night—"
A loud knock at his door knocked Ash out of concentration. He settled the diary down on the nightstand and as he swung his body off the bed he walked over to the door and opened it. There was no one around.
Ash blinked hard twice and looked again but there was no one in sight but he knew he heard someone knock on his door. He walked away from his room and took five steps down the hallway; he felt something was not right.
As he stared into the empty abyss of the hallway he jumped when he heard a door slam shut. Ash turned around and saw the door of his room had been closed. Knowing Pikachu was in there he ran back and grabbed the doorknob and turned it in order to open the door but it was futile. The door was locked. Ash rattled the doorknob and slammed his body against the door in order to bust it open if he had to.
As he kept to said task for some reason he turned his gaze back down the hall but his eyes met with a massive and strong looking hand that tightly gripped his throat. The hand belonged to the strange silhouette that he first encountered when they first arrived at the manor. Ash was still not able to see its face but the structure let him know it was a masculine figure.
The silhouette then lifted Ash by the throat with a single arm, proving it was strong beyond words. Its hand closed more and more causing Ash's air supply to diminish little by little. The tight grip closed more and more to the point where Ash tried to breathe but he only managed to scratch his throat.
Ash's rasping and kicking seemed to amuse the creature. It tilted its head sideways like a child would when they saw something they had never before seen and were amused by it. Ash, in his despair, tried something. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out an old rusty kitchen knife. Ash reached to the point that he felt he was in danger so before going up to his room he snuck into the kitchen and grabbed the first knife he found.
Ash swung it wildly at the silhouette but he was not doing anything to the creature. Knowing it was futile Ash just kept swinging and plunging the knife at the silhouette out of fear for his life. The silhouette then turned Ash around and just as Ash was about to plunge the knife at the creature again his hand passed right through the silhouette and he slammed his hand right into the window breaking the glass.
Ash managed to yell out in pain as he looked at his hand. Several shards of glass had pierced into his hand causing several trails of blood to fall down his hand. As Ash was being chocked he felt light headed and finally dropped the knife.
In her room May heard the loud noises and ran out of her room towards Brock's. When she opened the door she saw Max was all ready there and Brock was getting out of bed. Without saying a single word to each other they knew it was Ash who yelled but they didn't know for what reason it was. They hurried across the maze of halls towards Ash's room at the very end.
At the end of the hallway they saw Ash just standing in front of the broken window, the wind from outside swiftly flowed in and moved the old curtains around Ash. The light filtering in from the moon through the thin curtains also reflected on Ash in a creepy way. Brock, May and Max were also able to see the knife in his hands that was dripping in his blood. Brock noticed his injured hand and immediately concluded that the broken window was because of Ash.
Brock took a step forward but was held back by Max, who said, "No, you don't know what he's up."
"We've got to try something, Max."
Brock once again began to walk towards Ash, in his mind he had no idea what he was to say or do, he was at a loss of ideas and was not prepared in anyway for what was happening. He assumed he would figure it out as soon as he reached his friend.
The closer Brock got the clearer he could see the knife. His blood slowly slivered down Ash's fingers and onto the knife and finally dripped onto the wooden floor. Ash himself was merely standing still with his gaze fixated on the floor and his hair mostly covering his eyes. The sight frightened Brock to no end but he knew he had to do something.
As Brock took yet another step Ash suddenly lifted his gaze and stared at Brock right in the eyes. Ash had a maniacal look in his eyes and the smirk on his face was nothing short of devious. Brock froze while May ad Max held each other trying their best not to run away screaming.
Ash smirked widened and the look in his eyes became wilder and more maniacal. He gripped the knife tightly in his hands, despite the fact that he had an injured hand and looked at Brock who only managed to say, "Ash, is that you?"
Ash's smirk was beginning to draw as wicked and the wild look in his eyes shun like the blood on the floor when the moonlight hit it directly. After remaining quiet for a few seconds Ash finally spoke.