Part Nine - The Asylum
The journey through the small villages outside Carfax and the through the forest road to Carfax Asylum was an uneventful one. Heavy rain threatened and thunder could be heard in the distance as the two vehicles made their way up the hill road to the abandoned asylum. As the road levelled out the headlights of Jason’s Land Rover picked out the old rusted gates of the asylum. Once they were regal looking gates painted gold, now after years of neglect they were a sorry site to behold. Both cars came to a standstill, cars doors were opened and the team made their way to the gates and stood in awe as they looked at the magnificent but decaying building which lay within the walled grounds. Nothing stirred and all was quiet except for the distant thunder, “Right then, let’s see about getting these old gates opened shall we, and get inside before we get trapped in a torrential downpour.” Hector said as he fumbled about in his inside coat pocket, “ah here they are, just the thing a good paranormal detective needs to get into places.” He produced a set of strange looking keys and immediately began trying to work the padlock with one of the keys. “Skeleton keys, if anyone needs to know what they are, remember these Joe?” asked Hector smiling at his old friend and mentor. “So that’s where they vanished to Hector, you sly old devil you. I looked everywhere for those after you and Dan left the Police Force. I might have known they would end up with you.” replied Joe smiling back. “Well, they have come in handy don’t you know. There we are, its done, commented Hector as he heard the tell-tale click of the lock as it sprung open. I best keep hold of this and replace it on our way out.” Ivy trailed around the gates and tall weeds grew in front of and behind them, and Jason and Dan forced the gates open wide enough for the vehicles to get through. Both cars travelled the short distance to the front car park, which was also covered in weeds, moss and debris.
Leaving their cars, Jason lifted up the trunk of the Land Rover and Penny and Alice helped lift out the cases of equipment. It had been decided that they would all try and contact Jennifer’s spirit and help her move towards the light, providing she wanted to be helped. Penny looked up at the dark gloomy features of the asylum, “My god it reminds me of the house in that film “The Haunting” you know the old black and white version.” Alice stood next to Penny and gave her a hug, “You know something Penny, that film scared the life out of me when I first watched it. I hope none of us end up like poor Eleanor did in the film.”
As members of the team unpacked items from the cars, Hector once again used his strange looking keys on the main doors of the building and with hearing a double click of the lock, he turned the large doorknob and pushed open the two large doors blackened with age. Joe Welsh, Dan and Jason all carried the cases of equipment in and placed them down on the once gleaming marble flooring of the entrance foyer. To their right were the remains of the reception area, now looking forlorn and vandalised. Papers lay scattered on the reception counter and on the floor, chairs long empty lay upturned. The telephonist area inside the reception office was now a tangle of wires and smashed old phones covered in dust and dirt. In the centre of the foyer stood a massive staircase with ornate balustrades and what would have been a plush velvet red carpet, now covered in dirt and moss running its length.
Penny walked to the left of the foyer where the remains of a double doorway lead to a large oak panelled room. The room housed a large ornate wooden fireplace that had two large twisted wooden pillars on either side and two smaller pillars in the centre supporting a large grey stone mantel. This was obviously the room where the less dangerous patients would spend their day. Faded framed photos still sat on a rotted out cabinet, its small carved feet full of woodworm holes. Penny picked up one of the photo frames and brushed away the dust with her hand. The faded photo showed a group of doctors and nurses, ten in all, all of them looking stern with their arms held stiffly at their sides. As she placed it back on the side cabinet, she noticed books scattered on the now mildewed filthy carpet, their pages fading with age. Along one long wall were shelves which at one time would have housed a good reading library, now most of the books were gone or were rotting along with the rest of the room. To the left of the large fireplace was an open archway, and Penny could see another set of stairs leading to the first floor. She was drawn to them, and began slowly walking towards the archway. It was then she heard footsteps coming from the area where the stairs were. She turned her torch towards the area and the beam of light picked up the dark shadow of what appeared to be a person, and then in an instant it was gone.
“In here, everyone now!” shouted Penny, Hector was the first to enter the large room but was quickly followed by everyone else. “What is it Penny, wow what a room!” Hector said stopping in his tracks to take in the room he had just entered. “This must have been one heck of a splendidly glorious room in its day.” He began taking photos using the camera on his mobile phone. “I’ve seen something Hector, over in the archway there. I heard footsteps first and then I caught the shadow of a person in the beam of my torch.” The team gathered up a few torches and headed towards the area where Penny had seen the dark shadow. Passing through the decorative archway they headed towards the back stairs. Taking the lead Hector shone his torch up the stairwell. “Looks like they lead to the first floor, watch out though, the stairs could be rotten.” The team headed up towards the first floor, where plant life was starting to take hold of the stairs and moss covered a number of steps. Holding onto the rickety bannister they carried on to the large landing which took them to a smaller flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs was a large oak door, tarnished with age and damp, Hector tried the doorknob and to his surprise it opened, creaking noisily as he pushed it open. The stench of decay that hit his nose was so powerful he quickly thrust his hand into his trouser pocket pulling out a handkerchief. “Hold your noses everyone or if you have a handkerchief I would use it now, the stench is awful in here!” Passing through the doorway, the team could see they were in a very long dark corridor with around twenty doors on either side. “This must be one of the areas where they kept the patients, how awful it must have been for them all. A lot of the doors were open and the rooms inside were mainly empty, some had the odd bed in them with mildewed stained mattresses still on top of rusted bed frames. As they continued down the long dark damp corridor they all began to feel a sense of unease in the air.
Outside the thunder rumbled overhead and heavy rain began to pour from the heavens, lightening now flashed through the night sky and the air turned cold, the long corridor was lit up by the lightening via a lone window at the far end of it and all at once the team all saw the dark figure of a person standing halfway down from where they stood. “Hey, who are you, what are you doing in here?” shouted Dan Taylor. The reply he got was an ear piercing scream from the dark shape, which then inexplicably vanished in front of them. “Well ladies and gentlemen, I think we have just witnessed our first spirit of Carfax Asylum” remarked Hector Saint-Sanson. “Let us continue our task.” Skirting past various obstacles in the corridor they rushed to the area where the spirit was sighted. There appeared to be a larger doorway which Hector pushed open, this lead to another long corridor again full of rooms. The corridor was in a worst state of repair than the first one, and the floor was sodden and extremely wet, flashing his torch upwards Joe Welsh spotted a large hole in the roof, where rain was now coming through. “I don’t think we should venture any further Hector, that floor could collapse at any moment.” Heading back to the original corridor the team headed back to the stairs. As they got to the landing area, Joe Welsh spotted something strange about the far wall. “That looks like a doorway that has been blocked up and not very well. It’s been made to look like part of the wall, see where the wall dips inward in that area.” said Joe pointing to the spot. “By jingo you’re right Joe, and it doesn’t sound that solid.” replied Hector knocking the wall with his left hand. “I wonder what has been hidden behind there?” spoke up Jason, who had been very quiet up to this point. “Dan, can you fetch the large hammer from the foyer downstairs, we’re going to have us a wrecking ball and see what lurks behind this false wall.” smiled Hector.
Returning minutes later, Dan removed his jacket and lifting the heavy hammer he struck the wall, once, twice, and again and again until there was a large enough space to walk through. Taking up his torch, Jason shone it through the large space. “My god I don’t believe what I’m seeing here.” cried Jason in horror. What had been walled up made everyone feel uneasy and nauseous. It was a large room which had rows of manacles on all four walls, and attached to some of the manacles were the remains of around thirty small skeletons. Looking around the room, Penny said quietly, as if to herself, “Dear god, they were just children, and they were left in here to die. Who in god’s name would do something so horrendous to innocent children?” Slumping to the floor, Penny began sobbing her heart out. Jason rushed over to her and sitting next to her he held her close. Everyone felt the same as Penny, and even Superintendent Joe Welsh, a man who had seen many a horrific sight during his life as a detective was lost for words. “This goes beyond evil; this is cruelty in the extreme. What were the people who ran this place thinking of? Look here, these seem to be the remains of mouth gags next to each skeleton.” said Welsh walking around the room. “They gagged them all to keep them quiet and then left them to die once they covered up the doorway. This is an outright case of murder of innocent children.”
The atmosphere was so oppressive that all the team decided it best to leave the area and headed back down to the foyer where they had left their belongings. Hector turned to everyone saying “Well I don’t know about you, but after what we have just discovered in that room, I feel like calling it a night. I think we should pack the equipment into the cars and get out of here.” Everyone nodded in agreement, and Joe Welsh spoke up, “I will need to get what we discovered phoned into the station. We’ll need to have those bones removed and DNA tested. We might find out who the poor children were, if we can’t find any records here.”
But as they walked through the once grand oak panelled room, they all stopped in their tracks as they could all hear a cackling laugh coming from the reception area. “What in god’s name is that?” asked Jason. “It’s Jennifer, she’s here, she’s waiting for us through there.” replied team psychic Alice Washington pointing towards the open doorway.