Chapter One

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"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble."
~ Macbeth (William Shakespeare)

Jonathan Blackwood stepped out of his car and couldn't help but beam at the five storey mansion that stood before him. The old, crusty metal gate had been newly painted yet he could feel a mysterious, rusty aroma overpowering his senses as he thrusted the key in the ginormous lock. A twisted fencing ran gracefully around the mansion, keeping it enclosed. The light blue paint on the walls glinted as sunlight washed over it. The roof had a Gothic arch, making it appear like a Cathedral. A small chimney protruded on the side of the roof with brickwork running along its length. The spiral front steps were stone carved and perfectly depicted the art of traditional sculpture.

Jonathan was paralysed by the mansion's beauty and he almost jumped as he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to see his wife and sighed as he took the cardboard box that she held.

Avery Rose Blackwood gave her husband a phoney smile, her white teeth sparkling as she examined the house. Her eyes shone as she admired the garden full of wild nut-grass, nettles and huge clunks of bindweeds and chickweeds that clung to the tree trunks like parasites. She immediately started imagining herself restoring the garden to its utmost bloom. Her foolish husband had been skeptical about moving into such a humongous house but she knew it was the right decision. She could feel it in her heart. Besides, they had got the mansion at a ridiculously cheap price and the children had fallen in love with the house at first glance. Though Olivia, their oldest did not like the idea of moving away from her friends and changing schools. Ah, typical teenagers, thought Avery Rose. She called out to the kids to get out of the car and follow them.

"Mom, can I have my own room now that we're moving into a bigger place? I don't like sharing with Olivia. She's very mean to me, especially in front of her friends," cried out Lucy, a frisky eight year old with deep green eyes and red hair. She had a chatty tongue and was adored by almost everyone she met.

"We'll see, sweetheart. Go help your brother, he's carrying too many boxes."

Lucy zestfully ran over to his brother, Julian; a shy, nerdy eleven year old boy with dirty blonde hair and freckles covering most of his face and neck. He was often bullied at school for wearing glasses and topping all his exams but he didn't really mind as he was far more interested in exploring the worlds of Narnia and Hogwarts rather than making friends.

He chuckled as he passed over a small box over to his sister. He felt pretty anxious moving into Montwood Mansion as he had never liked huge houses. If he got his own way, he'd love to live in a small cottage in the woods or even better, in a caravan.

"Lucy, come handle this stupid dog, he's ruining my new Parka!" shouted Olivia, indignantly glancing at her phone.

"Chester's just excited. Come here, good doggy."

"I don't like this place. Looks like a fucking abandoned haunted house. No wonder we got it so cheap. Watch it, Lucy or Chester might die, like all dogs in horror movies."

"I'll tell mom you used the f-word. Besides, Chester loves it here. Look, he's already inside!"

"That's funny, because the last time I checked, Chester seemed terrified of this place," said Olivia but she could not help but notice that, indeed, Chester was happily wagging his tail as he stood in the porch.

"Girls, get in at once. It looks like it's about to rain. I don't want you all getting sick," Avery called out from the porch.

Olivia rolled her eyes but she did notice the change in the weather. The sky wore a necklace of deep grey clouds; cold gusts of wind wavered around with the occasional sound of the thunder. It reminded Olivia of the time she had gone camping with her friends where the sudden storm had blown away their tent and they had to drive back and stay the night in an overpriced motel.

Olivia shuddered as she turned around to look at the sky one last time and that's when she saw him.

He was slumped close to their car, an old, scarred man; his deep sunken grey eyes were as dead as a fish on a plate. He had a long, crooked nose, his shoulders drawn in, dishevelled black hair matching his fuzzy facial hair, scars and blemishes covering his face like a garment. His clothes were scraggly and black....and his face bore the most sinister look Olivia had ever witnessed in her sixteen years of existence.

She stood immobile as the man slowly met her gaze and smiled, a crooked grin full of malicious glee. This was too much for Olivia. This man reminded her of him.

She screamed.

                                         *****

"Once again, we're really sorry for Olivia's behaviour, Mr. Reznikov. Thank you for the cake," said Jonathan.

"That's alright. I'd be frightened too if I see an unpleasant old man in my backyard. Anyway, I must get back. See you!", chuckled the old man.

"What were you thinking, Olivia!? We've been in this neighbourhood five minutes and you're already making things difficult for us!,"Avery yelled.

"You weren't there! You should've seen his face! I don't—,"

"Olivia, just apologise to your mother and start unpacking your things," Jonathan sighed.

"I hate this. How can you take her side, dad? How can you? You know what she's like! I don't know why she didn't abort me if she fucking hated me so much!"

"Language, Olivia!"

It was too late. Olivia had already stormed off to her new room.

The house itself was pretty cozy, with it's traditional heating system and an old well in the backyard that was connected to the water line to provide for fresh and clean water. The only drawback of living in such a huge mansion was that their rooms were far apart but Lucy did not care, as long as she had her own room which she indeed got in the end.

Her new room was bigger than her and her brother's room combined at their old house. The french windows overlooking the backyard became Lucy's new favourite spot as she put down her binoculars on the window sill. Lucy had a thing for birdwatching. Ever since she was three, when her dad had saved an injured bird and let Lucy take care of her, she'd become an adamant animal lover. As she explored her room, she noticed that the closet and a few shelves hadn't been cleared out by the previous owner. She decided to check them out in the morning and went to bed.

                                     ********

Olivia sat up with a jolt, her earphones went flying across the bed as she looked at the window with a petrified look on her face. She had just heard a clank of what seemed like a rock hitting her window. She slowly got up, her chest heaving up and down in fear and suspense. Sweat beads formed on her forehead as she walked towards the window. Squinting her eyes shut and then gradually opening them, she looked outside the window. To her surprise, she did not see anything apart from the tree leaves rustling, wet from the thunderstorm and the sidewalk that was completely clear.

Rubbing her temples, she made her way back to her bed, convincing herself that she must've heard the tree branches drumming the rooftop as the storm passed by.

Little did she know that thunderstorms could destroy lives. It was just the beginning.



Sooooo, how was it? Let me know down below. I promise it gets better hehe. I wrote this entire thing in the span of a few hours so forgive me for any typos. Anyway, see ya! xx

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