Homage of sorts

Tunnel-31

It is a terrible shame.  The estate was immaculate in my youth, but has since fallen into a very regrettable state of disrepair.  Only the groundskeeper and his son reside on the property now; good working people, salt of the earth you know.  In my youth I thought the grand hall was the most amazing thing I had ever seen; it was the sight of countless family events and was by and large the crown jewel in an estate replete with splendor.  Mr. Pickerly bought the estate from us just last year and while he’s not the most social of gentlemen he invested a good deal of his not inconsiderable resources into restoring the home to its proper condition.  Just the other week I took tea with him and answered many questions which seemed to have been on his mind for quite some time.  In the process of renovating some of the ancillary rooms he had come across some peculiar volumes that I honestly have no recollection of being in the main library and can only assume that the groundskeeper or his son had taken up an interest in the occult.

The last I spoke to Mr. Pickerly he told me the most peculiar tale concerning the dumbwaiter.  Apparently while looking for the lowest point of the device he found an extra room in the basement and upon entering realized that it wasn’t a room at all, but the mouth of a long dark tunnel that seemed to run beneath the property.  He wanted to know if I had ever seen this passage, perhaps in my youth, but I had to tell him that I honestly had no idea that it existed.  There was a definite fear and excitement to his questions and although he indicated that he had not yet traversed the passage, he seemed determined to do so even after I warned him several times that it may not be structurally sound and I should be quite regretful to no not take tea with him again because some flight of fancy ended in him being trapped deep in the bowels of the estate.

It was quite a shock when I received a letter several days later containing the details of his first trip down the tunnel.  In my initial perusal of the document I immediately noticed frantically drawn illustrations of a spiral staircase ascending from an abyss; it appeared that he had written the letter over additional similar illustrations that he had for the most part erased.  The text of the letter proved to be equally enigmatic as Mr. Pickerly skipped entire sections of sentences and paragraphs; doubtless a reflection of his frantic mind groping for meaning in something where there seemed to be none.  I sent my doorman Richard over to the old estate with a care package of wine, cheese and bread, but he reported the old house as rather abandoned at the moment.

Fearing for the safety of my new acquaintance, I sent Richard back again, this time with several members of my staff with instructions to find either Mr. Pickerly or the groundskeeper’s son and deduce the cause of the apparent strangeness transpiring in the home I once called my own.

After two days I was at my wits end and was about to pick up the phone and call the authorities when there came a knock on my front door.  I opened the door upon a man possessing most of the physical qualities of Richard, but of age untold.  He silently passed me to enter the house and poured a glass of brandy without any regard whatsoever for my permission to do so.  After looking into the fireplace for no less then fifteen minutes he sat in my chair and removed a package from his coat.  An odd silence came over the room; so much so that my footfalls sounded like the gentle strokes of a paintbrush over canvas.  The package dropped with great weight on the end table and sound rushed back into the room; driving me to my knees with its unmitigated constancy.  He gestured to the misshapen paper envelop implying that I should open its crudely wrapped contents.  I did so carefully and looked upon what appeared at first to be a stack of blank paper.  Moments after laying eyes on the unbound pages, the Grand Hall appeared on the top page; a perfect representation of its heyday and my youth.

Following my looking on the now moving image, Richard started to speak and seemed to go on for hours regarding original language and accursed smallness.  He spoke of a library deep in the abyss of the old estate and the librarians thereof; grand and eyeless, lest they read the text of Undoing.  It took all of my strength to ask regarding the welfare of the other members of my staff, but he only snapped his frozen eyes at mine and continued his wearying monologue.

I awoke to a draft from the open front door and found no trace of Richard except for the pages he had left.  The pages did not seem affected by the wind, as if bound by some unseen power.  They remain untouched on the end table even as I write this, and visibly increase in weight by the hour.  Every day new cracks appear in the wooden table top and its legs.  I dare not touch it as I fear I will be taken by whatever took my doorman, but I cannot leave either.  My staff has abandoned me thinking me mad, but they do not see the pages, they cannot because it was not presented to them and therefore cannot understand.  On nights I sleep I dream of it breaking through the end table and then the floor, falling into the abyss, me with it, becoming part of some forbidden knowledge possessed deep in realms unseen.  Until that time I will look at the Hall and want to be there again young and unknowing.

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About christophermwilt

Design, invent, write, parent, cook, create View all posts by christophermwilt

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