Toy Camera- Charlie

Part I

“In the small town of Gavin, South Carolina, they say, there is a man who plays dreary mysterious saxophone pieces from his chateau window, from midnights to mornings.” As a mystery writer, I was brought to this town by my friend Lakes Macdouvel, a romance author who couldn’t find what to make of the story.

“It could be your major break, Mark, place you among the likes of Bradbury or Matheson,” he said.

Lakes came to Gavin about a week ago, waiting for a train on route to the state capital to attend a Contemporary Literature Convention. On the convention, he filled me in with the details concerning his stay and the living myth he observed.

“My first night in this village, I stayed at an Inn in the center of the town, in an area residing luxurious chateaus and thriving markets. Where I was neighboring one of the rather older mansions of the town, Marson Manor, that’s where the sound came from,” he smirked and then he said, “you wouldn’t understand it unless you heard it, even if I could explain as accurately enough for you to understand, you wouldn’t believe it unless you’ve heard it," he then continued with his story.

“I couldn’t help but notice the spatial sound, so fitting with the night, the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard, so alluring yet uncomfortable,” he momentarily paused, “the next days were spent researching about the musician, apparently a man named Howell, a retired jazz saxophonist, who spent the last twenty years in seclusion, in this modest tranquil town. He was a talented man who had such a high capability, but has decided to retire early in his prime, confounding several talents and critics, who have held him in such high regard prior to his early leaving.”

He looked at me and said, “Look, if you could go to this town and get some information on him, you could write something incredible, I can assure you that. Ask him why he quit or why he plays saxophone at night, or maybe what inspires that eerie melody.”

Lakes then told me how to get there, what trains to catch, where the inn was, and what to expect. Sincerely I was expecting nothing, considering Lake’s rather annoying nature of exaggerating rather small occurrences. Still I was amused and perplexed, I found myself holding my fingers crossed hoping that I would find something.

Part II

I was able to find the area following Lake’s specifically detailed directions, finding myself facing Marson Manor, a decrepit chateau lined in vines and mold, standing tall shadowing some of the other houses in the region. By the location, a middle age woman was sweeping the mosaic-laden sidewalk, looking at me quite confused, noticing that I was but a tourist. I walked next to her hoping to get some answers.

“Hey, ma’am, I would like to find about the man living in this mansion.”

She looked up towards the mansion and then said, “Well, he’ll be out by afternoon, the ol’ man lives a rather nocturnal life, and only comes out for his meals,” she frowned and then continued. “Hey, Mr. Howell does not like having nuisances around, so don’t bother harassing him with questions.”

The time then, I guess, was around three in the afternoon when the mansion door finally opened and the elderly man came strolling out. I stood up and walked towards the man, “Hey sir, Mr. Howell, I would like to speak to you.” The man then stopped and shrugged, as I came forward to meet him.

The man looked rather irritated, yet absent-minded, as if he’d been stopped like this thousands of times before. After a few minutes of conversing with him, the man, elegantly turned down my request for an interview.

I stayed in the Inn Lakes recommended, waiting for the music that never happened, and then dismissing it as purely fiction on behalf of my jerk friend. It came to my mind that there might not be anything unusual about a man who plays saxophone all night, maybe the weird sounding music, was not as unusual as he inferred it was.

I considered the journey a loss, as I didn’t get close to convincing the saxophonist to join me for an interview and I have not heard that eerie sounding saxophone yet. I thought about leaving the next day, leaving behind the crazy legend thinking it was not worth it.

As the clock tower tolled at twelve at midnight, I second thought my decision to leave, as the last toll bought upon something I would never forget. That night I understood what Lakes was talking about, indeed I heard the most ominous sounding saxophone song I’ve ever heard in my life, It was not of this world. There is something beyond weird about this music, and I needed to find out what it was.

Part III

There was no stopping me this time, at around the same time as yesterday, I stopped the man mid-path to his front lawn. I then followed him around as he ran his errands, in the diner, as he bought groceries, to the bookstore, and then in the place where he bought his brass polish.

Eventually he had no choice than to say, “Look, I don’t know who you are, but you’re messing with something far beyond what you’re looking for. If you want to come see me play, okay you do it! But do it on your own risks and following my own rules!”

He shrugged and then said, “If you still want answers, come see me play, but follow what I say and you better not mess up.” I was excited, dumbstruck actually, yet oddly compelled to wonder what the man’s odd behavior.

Night came and I walked aboard to the decaying chateau, the disturbing looking mansion, oddly unfitting to the town’s dreary and monotonous demeanor.

Over this mansion, the sun would not shine, and clouds always looked like it would rain soon. No other residence had that eerie feeling attached to them, it felt as if there was some dark secret tied in to the mansion, something concerning the old saxophonist, the gloomy entertainer of Gavin.

The old man made the rules more than clear, constantly repeating them as if they were some kind of mantra. Sit still, don’t move a muscle, and no matter what you see, don’t make a single peep. He kept reminding me of the rules and time kept moving towards midnight, he constantly warned me and asked me whether I was sure I wished to continue.

The midnight bells began to toll, the man pulled out his saxophone, pointed as me towards where I should sit. “Not a noise,” he repeated.

Strangely, the room became darker with each toll, at the twelfth toll, havoc broke loose, “Sit behind me,” he said and then he began playing.

The song was a soul curdling wonder, and he played towards the darkness that consumed the room. I could make out something out of the darkness, yet could not see what, it wasn’t until my eyes adjusted to the blackness of the room, that I began to understand everything.

Part IV

Dozens of them, oddly shaped monstrosities listening to the saxophonist, twisting in an oddly manner as if Mr. Howell was charming them, still I sat behind him dumbstruck, trying my best not to scream, still I was paralyzed by the sight. Howell stopped to take his breath and the creatures then attempted to get near, trying clasp on to me.

“What the hell Howell,” I whispered to him.

“Wait till morning,” he responded, “not a peep. ”And then he resumed playing his melodic and disturbing recital.

Beyond hundreds of them, and thousands more beyond the window, unbelievable beings, emerging from the chimneys of houses, sitting on the roofs and some were trying to climb the Marson Chateau. Some were reaching about, trying to latch on to me, with their elongated finger and their sharpened smiles, I’ve spent most of the night trying to get away from them, still their persistence was quite disturbing.

Every time Howell would stop to catch his breath, the things would stare disturbingly at us, the ones outside would attempt to break into people’s houses, go down the chimneys. Their insidious intentions reflected on their eyes, the music, It calms them, it keeps us safe. He continued playing the saxophone and the creatures came back to their captivated state.

Shifting mysteriously around the shadows, lulled and soothed, and best they stay that way. They were in all sorts of shapes and sizes, humanoid, beastly, tentacled, short, elongated, all of them looked absolutely terrifying. One could only imagine the stories they inspired and the cultures which call them their Boogeyman. I wondered whether these creatures inspired what people know as demons, whether people with dementia are actually seeing these, are they the true living embodiment of horror.

I came to the realization that Howell’s music has been keeping not only me safe, but also the town, the people sleeping at night, and unaware about the danger they would be in. The creatures would most likely be breaking into people’s homes, kidnapping them, doing unimaginable actions, Howell was aware of this, and if the people were, one could only imagine the devastation that would occur. And every night the same ritual occurred and the locals paid no attention to it after many year of hearing Howell’s mysterious music.

Part V

Morning came and the shadows disappeared, taking along the creatures with it, since then I had not slept a blink, I was terrified that one of them would try to grab me away into the crowd. I just slept as soon as I felt comfortable enough to do so.

Howell woke me up in the afternoon, “You did well, I got you breakfast!” In the comfort of the afternoon daylight, Howell explained everything to me, apparently, he refers to them as “the audience” and the only thing keeping them from wrecking havoc in the night was his eerie music.

“I was born in this town and even back in the days I recall that there was always an entertainer, they always lived in this mansion, and they all fulfilled to their role,” he then sighed, “there will be me and then another and then another, always fulfilling to this responsibility.”

He looked at the window and then added, “They would be doing terrible things if I wasn’t here, that’s why I came back here, but this is not the only place I’ve seen them.”

I then came to realize what he meant, every town has their monsters but not every town has their entertainer. I soon began to wonder about what atrocities they commit in every town. I thought about the millions of people suddenly disappearing year after year, turning up in missing person’s adds, reported as kidnapped in newspapers and bulletin boards on stations, I finally understood it all.

Even after I left this town and gave my final farewells to Howell, I began noticing those figures in the shadows every night; I could tell that they knew I noticed them. I find it hard to convince people to believe in my story; even close friends would believe I was joking or think it as part of a story I’m working on.

I'm just left with the occurrence of the Marson Chateau in my mind, every single detail I find hard to put in words, crawling images invading my brain, I wake up screaming every night thinking about it. Sometimes, I can also feel their long fingers grasping on my arms, and I swear they followed me all the way back home just to get me this time.

I could tell Lakes about it all, about the mystery he sent for me to solve, “You wouldn’t understand it unless you see it, even if I could explain as accurately enough for you to understand, you wouldn’t believe it unless you’ve seen it.”

He wouldn’t believe it, he did not see what I did, I wouldn't believe myself either. I don’t care whether or not you believe me. Whether you believe that I’m writing this from actual experience or whether I just pulled this story out of my ass is left for you to decide.

But anyways, I do recommend that you play some music while you’re sleeping at night, because music soothes beasts like them, and just to make sure.

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