For generations, a selected member of the Balcescu clan is chosen to walk the path of a Kulath. A Seeker sworn to purge demonic legions set free by advocates of evil–Necromancers of the Priesthood Council of Nine, also known as The Lucifage Order.
Eras have passed since the fall of the Balcescu clan and Abigail made her accord with the Angel of Death. As a result of her fatal choice, Abigail is now tied between the land of the living and the realm of the dead–while Death presents himself to her as an ordinary black and white cat as he observers her task. Following her grandfather’s footsteps as a Kulath, Abigail’s must bind the thirteen demons that were set free from her family's Book of Knowledge by Necromancers, Reverend, and his son, Bel Cavalera.
Wielding a dual-bladed weapon she calls Kr`isis, Abigail is obligated by oath and curse to rid the world of Reverend and Bel’s demonic throng–Helguun Legion.
Fredrick adjusted himself in his chair. “What did Atherton tell you?”
“Well …” Joseph swirled the Brandy. “Unexplained activity such as footsteps waking him in the small hours in the morning, misplaced objects, voices, children playing in specific places in the house, and a feeling of being watched.”
“Did Atherton also mention furniture moving around?” Fredrick asked.
“He did not. Although, he did claim of a baby crying on one of the upper floors. The second floor, if my memory serves me right.” Joseph took another short sip then continued, “Could this be residual activity or an intelligent haunting? Whatever the outcome may be, my devices will solidify what was said to be true or nothing more than fictional.” He tilted his glass to Fredrick and said, “Nevertheless, I do enjoy a good ghost story, Mr. Tuttle,” then pressed his lips to the brim of the glass and finished what was left.
“All the claims Atherton told you were true,” Fredrick admitted.
“If so, why aren’t you a little spooked?”
“There’s no sense.” Fredrick shrugged. “If I suffer the same fate as my brother, so be it. My legacy is not this house, but my children are. Now that they’re grown and have children of their own, the Tuttle family will live on.”
“Fair enough.” Joseph nodded then asked, “What did you mean when you said, ‘if I suffer the same fate as my brother?’”
Fredrick looked about the room and then back at Joseph. “The manor is more than just a house, Mr. Caldwell. It’s more of a living thing.”
“How do you mean?”
Fredrick leaned forward in the chair and said in a low tone. “The Atherton Manor has a personality of its own.”
Joseph thought about the feeling he had when gazing at the attic window. “You mean the spirits in the house?” He gave a light chuckle.
“A living entity.” Fredrick leaned back. “My brother died in this house.”
Not expecting to hear what Fredrick just said, Joseph’s interest in the house heightened as he sat quietly and listened to the man speak.
“It started with the children. Tabitha and Atherton excused the children’s behavior and chalked it up to child’s imagination. First, it was their six-month-old daughter’s death. Then soon after, their other two daughters, Sarah and Dianna. All three children died suddenly in this house, six months apart from each other.”
“You don’t say?” Joseph’s voice hinted curiosity.
“Tabitha went insane. Six months later, on the sixth hour of the morning, she took her own life by ingesting poison. Six years after his family’s deaths, I found my brother lying bloody at the bottom of the staircase.” Fredrick pointed to the foyer behind him. “When I found him, Atherton was on the floor...” Fredrick paused to collect himself, cleared his throat then continued. “His eyes wide open and with a God-awful expression as if something or someone terrified the life right out of him.”
Could this be the workings of vengeful spirits or the house itself? Joseph thought.
“All of them died in this house, Mr. Caldwell, one way or another. One would say, these events are nothing more than coincidental, but I know otherwise. I can feel in my soul, Mr. Caldwell.”
Joseph leaned forward. “To have a clear understanding of your testimony. Are you suggesting the house itself had something to do with their deaths?”
Fredrick’s eyes skimmed the room once again as he took a leisured breath. “Yes. I know the manor gave them an unmerciful fate.”
Mia stood at the threshold of the
cellar when she awoke. Realizing where she was, her eyes widened and anxiety
abruptly set in as she stared down at the darkened cellar from the top of the
staircase. Yet she stood there. Not only was Mia afraid of the effects of her
sleepwalking disorder, but she also had a phobia of basements—even more so when
they were unlit. It was not the dark but what was in the dark that terrified
her the most. Mia was motionless, as if something or someone compelled her to
be so. She felt the desperate need for running away to safety, but she needed
to know what was down in the darkened chasm. The longer she stood there, her
phobia accelerated to paranoia, but her will to move was paralyzed and her
bravery rendered helpless. The muscles of her mouth felt fatigued yet she
managed to open them to scream, but only a mere whimper expelled. A cold rush
came over her like icy hands.
“H … help m … me,” she tried crying
out, but it came as a whimper as she trembled with breath vapors releasing from
her lips. Her eyes dilated as she saw what looked to be a figure passing at
other end of the staircase. Mia took a frightened breath and called, “L-Logan …
Lan-Landon, is that you?” Her words were quiet as a whisper.
There was no reply.
Suddenly, Mia sensed she was being
watched, not from below but from elsewhere.
“Stay away,” a gentle voice warned.
“I-I don’t know who’s down there.”
Mia continued to stare down the staircase.
“He who binds us.”
Mia gathered enough strength to
slowly turn her head toward the direction the voice was coming from. She saw
the moonlight shining through River’s studio window, reflecting off a ghostly
image of a little girl peeking out of the room’s entranceway. Amazed at what
she was witnessing, Mia took a jittered breath as she saw the apparition of
With eyes set at the entrance to the
cellar, the little girl grasped the doorframe with a delicate hand. “He won’t
let us free.” The ghostly child’s face contorted with fear.
Puzzled, Mia queried, “Us?” Her eyes
shifted back to the shadows of the cellar and gasped.
Three minutes passed after the grandfather clock chimed on the witching hour of three.
River stood past the threshold of the living room and stared at the painting above the mantel. From the corner of her eye, she saw Piper dart past her. “Piper?” She turned and looked to see someone standing behind her. At first glimpse, the little girl appeared as the groundskeeper’s granddaughter. “Olivia?”River walked toward her and the resemblance of who she thought it was had been altered and realized the little girl to be someone else.
A little girl with black hair wearing a Victorian style dress a little older than Olivia. She looked at River with a vacant stare as she held a Russian Blue cat that was similar to Piper cuddled in her arms. “Mother?” The little girl asked with confused tone.
River continued to stare at the little girl. “I don’t think I am.”
The little girl went around the corner to the foyer.
River quickly followed and the little girl was gone. “Who are you? What is your name?” she asked.
Humming in a musical tone came from the upper level of the house.
River wasfamiliar with the melody but could not recall the name of the song
The environment altered to the second floor and River found herself standing at the threshold of the master bedroom. Looking in, she saw no one there and at the same time felt like she was being watched. River turned as she felt an unsettling presence and saw a silhouette of a man wearing what looked to be a nineteen thirties style fedora standing at the far end of the hallway. “Michael?”
The figure stood from afar in silence.
River went to Michael’s study and found the door ajar. As she was about to open the door, she saw the little girl standing without the cat at the top of the staircase that led to the third floor, looking down with the same vacant stare.
“Who are you?” River asked again.
The little girl turned and walked away from the edge of the staircase. “Come. See.” she whispered.
River went up the staircase and felt a bitter chill come over her like a blanket of dread. The closer she got to the top, the more intense the feeling became. When she reached the top, the little girl was gone. At the end of the hallway, Michael stood at the farthest door to the right. “Michael, where did the little girl go?”
In a frame by frame motion, Michael turned to her and opened his mouth.
River saw his lips move slowly but could not hear what he was saying. “Michael!” she called again.
Michael entered the room.
River went up to the door with the same feeling of dread as the door slowly closed. “Michael?” She turned the knob and walked in. Her husband wasn’t there but only the little girl dressed in Victorian clothing standing in an empty room.
Pointing toward the closet door, the little girl whispered in a fragile tone, “Outside. My brother … Jeremiah Thatcher.”
“Who is Jeremiah Thatcher?” River asked.
The little girl stepped back as her eyes glazed white and her facial expression contorted with paralyzing terror. “’The Man in the Hat’ is here.”
At that moment, River felt a pair of ice cold hands clench onto her arms from behind. She stood rigid with fear as the specter’s cold breath covered the nape of her neck.
Blood dripped from the little girl’s eyes and her body flaked into ashes as she stepped back further–leaving nothing left but only a haunting memory of herself.
As the presence behind River consumed her in its dreadful darkness, it said with a bellowing voice, “THE CHILDREN ARE MINE!”