Prologue

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There was a house that stood at the top of a hill in the middle of an island. It was the only house on the island and no one lived there. Centuries ago the Trevelyan's had bought the island, moved there and built a family home that they intended to have for generations. They planned to live there and have their children live there and their children's children, so that no generation ever had to worry about buying their own house and making a living.

The family were rich, very rich. It had been a very prosperous time for them, when they bought the island. It was the first of many extravagant purchases.

It took over five years to complete the house, though no one was ever sure why. Because the people on the island next to it, a densely populated island, saw that when the house was finished, it looked like nothing more than a normal Brownstone mansion. There were downstairs windows and upstairs windows, a fairly elaborate porch and a beautiful garden out front. But there were no turrets or folly's or fancy materials being shipped from their island to the one the family owned, to explain why so much time had been spent on it. No one knew that the family had a secret.

What the secret was exactly, no one knew. No one knew that the family had a secret to know about. But one day, a brave young man, Steven, bought his own rowing boat and spent three hours travelling across the sea between the islands, to see the house. He was an architecture student, not long from finishing his college course. He had vowed that his final project would surpass all others. He would investigate the mysterious house on the island and map it for his architectural project.

The young man was seen travelling from the dock on his own island, just off the coast of the seaside town Charlesville, by a half dozen fishermen setting off on their morning trips. It was from one of these fishermen that he had bought his boat.

Steven wasn't afraid of the tales the locals told about the island or of the Trevelyan's. When he departed for his adventure, he was seen waving the fishermen off, cheerfully boasting of the tales he would have to tell on his return.

Steven was never seen again.

No one ever saw him reach the island.

After an investigation was undertaken as to his disappearance, the people of Charlesville heard, through rumours and whispers that spread from town to town, that a fishing boat had caught sight of his boat. It was tied up safely on the beach of the mysterious island.

No one doubted, from that moment forth, the stories that were told about the island. And thanks to Steven's disappearance, it was renamed from its quaint old English name of Tripps Island, the name of the man who had discovered it, to the much more mysterious and suitable Purgatory Island.

There wasn't one human alive who didn't consider the house on Purgatory Island to be the home of the devil himself. No one ventured near it after Steven disappeared. Not even ships or large boats would get too far into its waters for fear that its evil spread through the sea surrounding it.

A sea burial was held for Steven. With no body and no explanation of what could have happened to him, a single wreath was sent off into the sea in his name and no one ever spoke of him again.

The villagers sent money to his family once a year, in respect for the fact that Steven had been their only financial support since he had gone to college. But beyond that, his name was never mentioned, his story was never told and newborns were forbidden to have his name.

By and by, once the Trevelyan's had moved into their house on what was Tripps Island, they were never seen or heard from again either. This, however, wasn't as tragic as Steven's disappearance. The villagers of Charlesville had expected to see Steven again, not the Trevelyan's.

The family were such outcasts that most people believed they had moved to the island to get away from society. It was never considered that something might have happened to them. Nor did anyone notice that, after ten years, the young, pretty little five-year old that had moved into the house, had never once left to go to school. The people of Charlesville presumed she was being home schooled and thought no more of it.

No one thought of how the family survived on an island and never surfaced into Charlesville for groceries, food or clothing. Once they had moved onto the island, they were forgotten about.

It would have done the people of Charlesville good to remember them.

Although fifty and then a hundred years rolled by, without a single sign of the Trevelyan's or any other inhabitant on the island, the stories still surfaced every now and again.

No one believed them as much as the villagers who had witnessed Steven's disappearance. The old stories were nothing but myths and folk tales told by old grannies to frighten little children.

And, for those hundred years, the house on Purgatory Island remained standing, growing old and dilapidated. All the while everything the Trevelyan's had unpacked on that first night in their new home, lay exactly where they had left it.

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