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The dark house on the hill, now the centrepiece of my nightmares, at one time, tempted me into its grasp with promises of solitary sanctuary. I was abroad one morning, wandering aimlessly across the misty moors and I stayed like this for hours. However, as I wandered I spied a tenebrous shape form from out of the mist, I was so distracted by it that I stepped on an adder. Fortunately, its bite did not pierce the leather of my boot. I decided to approach the nebulous building, walking towards it until it acquired form. As I approached the once platonic shadow I became privy to its true form. The shadow was, in fact, the ruinous corpse of a baroque style house that had now become consumed by ivy. I am an introverted person thus my discovery presented me with the prospect of a sanctuary within which I may enjoy solitary pastimes. Instead, the house was a womb that birthed me into a nightmarish new world filled with dark reveries.

I entered the house, walking over the mould eaten remains of an oak door, making my way into the heart of this dilapidated domain’s entrance hall. The sight of ivy wrapped around decaying bannisters and crumbling, weather-worn walls filled me, at that time, with the pleasure introverts know when they wander neglected necropolises. How should I know of the terrible tale that the house had hosted within itself? I wandered the decaying hallways of the house for a while before discovering the remnant of the houses' library. A few books had survived their abandonment, so I decided to stay a while to read from them. It was as I was reading Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy that I began to drift into the sweet, deathlike grip of sleep.

My mind drifted away from my body into a reverie in which I found myself standing outside the house in a former condition of good maintenance. As I stood there I began to hear faint feminine whisperings that seemed to emanate from the house, I followed them into the house and as I did they became less unintelligible. I managed to make out the words “the diary” which caused my dream self to become intrigued so, I carried on following them until I found myself in the presence of something most awful, an eldritch horror that shall never leave my nightmares. I beheld an emaciated, feminine figure standing before me barefooted and with matted raven hair flowing down to her pale feet. As my eyes moved upwards I saw that she held a tenebrous object in her pale hand however, it was not until my eyes bore witness to the inhuman insanity of her face that I began to be filled with terror. Her face was barren of features, it looked as though she were a clay model whose face had been folded over itself and despite her lack of a mouth the whispering never halted. I am not too proud to confess to the fact that I awoke screaming in terror, only to be greeted by the faint glimpse of a marblesque barefoot in the corner of my eye. My exodus from that tenebrous house was swift, my sanctuary was clear in my mind. I returned to my hotel in the nearby town of Oakstone where I resolved to return to the house the next day.

At around three o’clock I awoke from my deep slumber in a state of paralysis, my eyes alone retained mobility and through them, I became aware of a tenebrous, feminine figure standing on the inward edge of my room’s threshold. The figure approached slowly seeming to glide across the floor, as she came closer I beheld her image. Unlike the foul inhuman monstrosity of my nightmare, she had a face. Her presence was oppressive, as she got closer I felt my already immobile limbs become forced down. She stared down at me with a predatory focus and as she did so my mind became consumed by a maelstrom of mental imagery that filled my minds eyes. These images were of the dark house upon the hill and a black book; as she glided back out of the room these images alongside my paralysis began to dissipate.

After the terror I had been subjected to subsided I arose from my bed, opened my suitcase and poured myself a glass of port. As I drank the wine I slowly fostered in myself a strong enough sense of curiosity to quell the terror. I began to entertain the idea that the diary from my dream was the black book, so I resolved to search for the book upon my return to the house on the hill.

After breakfast, I set off on my walk over the moors to the house on the hill. The sky was overcast but the moors had lost their mist. As I walked across the moors I felt an oppressive dread looming over me like a satanic spectre stalking me as I walked in the desolate sea of grass. As the house came into view I saw an indistinct figure standing in front looking out at the moors, as I looked at it its head seemed to turn to look at me and as it did I felt the sinking feeling one suffers when they trip on a staircase. I knew it was her.

I entered the corpse house tentatively, for I had no desire to again meet with the eldritch woman. I searched the house, going from room to room but it was to no avail. As I was beginning to consider leaving unintelligible whispers began emanating from upstairs, so I followed. Once I had ascended the staircase I caught a glimpse of the marblesque foot of the woman across the hall disappearing as it glided to the left of the hall. I followed it. I found myself in a dilapidated study populated by the weather-worn remnants of books and the mould consumed corpse of a writing desk. I investigated the desk only to discover that it was locked, I looked around for a key but to no avail, so I smashed my elbow down onto the lid of the desk to open it. The desk was barren save for one solitary page of a diary, hardly any of which survived the blight that afflicted the house.

“January 12th,”

“Dear diary,”

“The volunteer who had written to me has arrived and the basement is ready, I can finally begin my experiments”

That was all of the page that had survived the mould. I needed to get into the basement, so I descended the staircase and went in search of it. I eventually discovered the oak door to the basement which has, unfortunately for me, evaded the mould and it was locked. There was no way I could get in without the key. I decided to return upstairs and go in search of the key, first I would look in the study and if that did not reward me I would go looking for the master bedroom.

My exploration of the study led, not to the discovery of a key, but instead to the discovery of a plethora of peculiar playing cards. The cards bore not the images of diamonds and kings but instead, they were emblazoned with five symbols, at the time of my discovery of them I was naïve as to their purpose so, I ventured onwards to the master bedroom paying, paying no attention to them. The noon sun shone through the crumbling ceiling as I walked through the hall to the bedroom casting out the shadows that call the house home. Upon reaching the ruinous room I beheld a door of similar resilience as is displayed by the basement’s, however, it was unlike its subterranean counterpart in one principal way. The door that blocked my entry into the ruinous remains of the master bedroom differed from the basement door as it was unlocked thus allowing me to enter unobstructed. Upon doing so I discovered a room characterised by the presence of decay, one was struck not only by the wretchedness of the weather warn walls and mould consumed furniture but also by the acrid aroma adopted by those rooms that play host to festering food.

After adjusting to the acrid atmosphere of the room I began my search for a key or any notes that could answer my questions about this most tenebrous of houses. As I began my search I became aware of a presence, it was not tangible in the sense that it was known to my mind rather than my body. I was filled with the feeling that I was violated yet I could not discern as to why. Despite this, I carried on in my search guided by some uncanny intuition that in a short span of time led me to a most peculiar drawing. This drawing depicted a box connected to barrels via pipes.

No key. I could not to the best of my ability locate a key. So, resolved as I was to make my way into the basement, I decided to go abroad in search of a shed. I found one. As I left the barren baroque house I discovered at its rear a dilapidated shed of sanguine colouration. The door was one bound by a padlock which, fortunately for me, had suffered the red decay of rust.

I opened the door. The very first thing that I beheld upon my entry into the shed was a shadowy spider sitting on its silken web, the desiccated husks of arthropods serving to give the web a most macabre décor. Almost as though it were in repose to hesitation to enter, for I am afflicted by a terror of spiders, the black arachnid spontaneously combusted. However, the spider dropped from its now burning web and onto the floor. I proceeded with my search.

I eventually found an axe at the back of the shed. With axe in hand, I bid the shed adieu and made my way back into the house. As I proceeded towards the house my gaze was drawn to the upstairs windows where the wraith woman stood, her predatory gaze directed towards me.

Upon reaching the basement door I raised the ageing axe above my head and struck the door. Before the last splinter touched the floor I again struck the door, I continued in this manner until the door was no more.

Once the door had been destroyed I began my descent into the darkness of the basement, feeling around for a light switch as I did so. At the bottom of the stairs, I discovered a light switch. I turned on the light. The room became filled with the warm, orange glow of incandescent bulbs.

Upon the illumination of the basement physical form, its purpose began to be known to me. I saw a desk, with a number of papers lying discordantly atop it alongside an old phonograph, whose cylinders were in a similarly chaotic arrangement, and a black book reminiscent of the one I saw in my dream. I saw the coffin depicted in the drawing. In the real world it was a black object wrought of a metal, iron I presumed, and most peculiarly it had upon its form a multitude of small perforations around the oral aspect of its top region.

After the opening of the tank I decided to play the wax cylinders, my curiosity would lead me to my understanding of the nature of the esoteric experimentations that I sensed had some part in the fall of this tenebrous house. I played the nearest one to me.

"January 1st"

"I tested the subject and they achieved only eighteen percent accuracy; I began the experiment after offering her an apple at ten in the morning. She remained in the isolation tank for the full hour; upon exiting the tank she reported experiencing the usual relaxation and the sight of lights that were at first amorphous and then took the shape of unknown visages. I repeated the experiment at twelve in the afternoon with the subject reporting much the same experiences; afterwards, I repeated the Zener card test however, the subject’s percentage only fluctuated by one percent and it was negatively."

"January 6th"

"The subject spent an hour and a half in the tank this morning; she reported afterwards that she was beginning to see more distinct shapes form from the nebulous lights, remarking that these forms have bodies of anthropoid outline. She reported similar anthropoid light forms in the afternoon claiming that they were looking in on her in a fashion similar to doctors looking over a patient. After her time in the tank was up I tested her with the Zener cards; she displayed a three percent improvement in accuracy."

"January 10th"

"Today the subject was kept in the tank for three hours. Afterwards, she reported seeing the same anthropoid light bodies however, she also reported that upon coming out of the tank she could perceive a number of orbs that darted about the room and she claimed to hear unintelligible whispering when she was in the chamber. She also claimed hearing the same whispers and seeing the same orbs throughout the day; the experiment seems to be working as Eve does appear to be slowly developing clairaudience and clairvoyance. This has been supported by the fact that after the afternoon session Eve got a forty percent accuracy score with Zener cards." "January 20th"

"The subject was kept in the tank for twelve hours, those twelve hours of oddities. After a six-hour period had passed the chamber became subject to a number of peculiar, preternatural occurrences; the lightest of my equipment began to tip over ledges they were far too distant from to be the result of natural impetuses and the incandescent bulbs began to switch on and off in rapid succession. Upon the achievement of the twelfth hour, the odd occurrences reached a crescendo when the lid of the tank flew open, she lay screaming. She seems fine, in so much as she does not appear hostile to me, though she has become more introverted and resigned to silence."

It was as I listened to that cylinder that my mind began to understand the nature of my stalking spectre, the reason behind the library’s collection of grimoires, in particular, Agrippa’s, and why throughout my exploration of this tenebrous house my choices seemed to be guided by a will other than mine own. I knew not, however, if my silent stalker bore malevolent intentions or if she simply wished for her story to become known to another soul.

After I had finished listening to the phonograph I felt compelled to read the black book, so I proceeded to pick the book up and opened it.

"January 21st"

"Dear diary,"

"I awoke in the late hours of the morning, rising from my bed just before the sun reached its zenith, as I was barred from sleep during the night by a number of loud noises; the hallways were permeated by the sound of windows being blown asunder and the shrill screams of Eve. As I went to investigate I believed that Eve was consumed by a temper that led her to wreak destruction upon my home; I thought perhaps she sought catharsis through revenge, through violence. I was wrong."

"I knocked on the door of her room, as it was from there that her cries emanated from. I knocked and knocked, to no avail, so I broke the door the door down and entered the room; inside that chamber I became beholden to the destruction, a window was indeed destroyed however, it seemed as though it could not have been through Eve’s agency that the ruinous pile of glass could claim origin from. Eve though she be in the grip of sleep did not lie peacefully nor quietly; I believed her to be the victim of a night terror perhaps caused by the window’s destruction thus I elected to rouse her from her sleep, also out of concern that she may have developed a chill. I placed my hand on her shoulder and began to urge her to awake, however, as I did so she became more agitated; some spectral gust slammed shut the door as Eve screamed in terror. I managed to rouse Eve from her stressed slumber; she remained, upon her awakening, in a state of terror which caused to flinch from movements that were beyond my senses."

"Once the hour of the afternoon experiment had arrived I went to the basement where I found Eve awaiting my arrival; despite her apparent eagerness, displayed by her punctuality, she was reluctant to enter the tank. Though despite her reluctance she did enter."

"Throughout the evening, the house began to bear witness to a number of occurrences, though mundane individually together they were reminiscent of the accounts of poltergeist activity."

"January 22nd"

"I once again rose from my sleep in the later hours of the morning as a result of a second unquiet night. This day has been plagued by a plethora of similar noises, objects falling to the floor and others being blown asunder by some preternatural agency that lay outside of the realm of human perception. I both fear the experiment is providing me with evidence of my worldview however, I fear that my goal may not be achieved. The poltergeist activity becomes distinctly violent during the periods of time when Eve is in the chamber or asleep. I fear we may not yet be of the disposition to achieve apotheosis."

"January 24th"

"Today has been a tumultuous day more so during the experiment. When Eve was in the tank I became, after a period of time had passed, beholden to a terrible sight. The door of the tank flung open, Eve ascended into the air above it, the lights flickered, and as my mouth let loose a scream I was sent crashing into the wall; I was flung against the grey granite wall by some preternatural power that was palpable yet ethereal like the wind. I fled the basement after this, what needed to be done was clear in my mind, I went to the shed to acquire a shotgun. However, upon my return Eve had disappeared; I went out onto the moors in search for her but in the wan light of dusk I only saw shadowy spectres forged by my mind, so I returned home."

As I read this entry my ears perceived the distinctive sound of unshod feet walking down the oak staircase. I knew then that each step was like the breaking of one the seven seals heralded my doom; as the sounds of the bare feet lifting up from the wood of the staircase grew louder my thoughts were drowned out by low pitched orotund voice:

"I was, as you have already ascertained, the doctor’s victim; I was, in his eyes, his chosen one whom he would raise to a higher level of existence. However, I did not hear this from his lips but, instead, I was informed by his mind’s murmurings; I was simply told by him that I would be a test subject in an experiment pertaining to human perception.

"The doctor’s experiments led me into a wretched world of nightmares and nameless horrors. As you heard I began to observe strange lights of vaguely anthropoid outline and will-o’-the-wisp like orbs, which I now know were truly phantasms; the eldritch entities were the true impetus behind my state of terror in the tank. These geister began to whisper in my head of the terrible tales of how they came to pass from the mortal plane of existence and I learnt of the true nature of the afterlife, I learned that man need not lie in death forever but for the weakness of his feeble will. However, it was not only the ever-present murmurings about their deaths that drove me to such fear; I became aware, over time, of older inhuman presences that were divorced from knowable forms and from human conception. The omnipresence of these preternatural presences drove my mind to the tenebrous emotion of fear, the fear caused me to lash out wildly with my newfound ability. I fled the house when I sensed the harm he had intended to inflict upon me."

"Though fearful or more precisely due to my fear I resigned myself to the life of a hermit, however, in my solitude my will grew strong and I grew capable of the task of conquering my fear. Over my period of solitary existence abroad the moors the emotional void inside me, left by the dissipation of my fear, became filled with horrendous hatred and my will became malignly guided by this chthonic tempest of malignant emotion. I resolved myself to accomplishing the tenebrous task of revenge. I returned to the house that birthed me into this new nightmarish realm that I now dwell in, in order to cast the doctor into oblivion."

"Now that you have learned what you have learned you must know that I simply wish that you be the teller of my tenebrous tale; if you would grant my wish I shall permit you to make your exodus from this house alive whilst if you should be so cruel as to refuse my request I shall let you learn of the lands that compromise my nightmarish world."

After her orotund voice seceded from my mind I gave a quick of nod of agreement before swiftly fleeing the basement, fleeing the house with no desire to be as Lot’s wife until I was at a substantial distance from that horrific house on the hill. I returned to my hotel before making a most abrupt departure for my home; my homebound journey was, I felt, dominated by an oppressive presence that has not since left me; I have spent the time since my return home spreading the tenebrous tale of the house on the hill though I must confess it is an altered version, if not I would be thought mad by my neighbours. I fear my desire to preserve the image of my, now faltering, sanity may be the cause of my passing. As I recount this tale I fear I can perceive the presence of a palpable malice that seems by each passing hour to wax, I know not if this perceived malice be wrought by my imagination or a truthful perception of that which shall bring about my death. I feel that I shall soon know the source from which my terror originates from; I am resigned to my fate. I know I can not evade my fate if it be so chosen by her.

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